Is genetic engineering (GE) ethically right?

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Ethical issues in Health

TAQ1 – Is genetic engineering (GE) ethically right?

Genetic engineering is our effect of how we make decisions and how we live our lives. Ethics are concerned with what is good for us and the society, it is also described as moral philosophy. The word comes the Greek word ethos which is put into the term custom, habit, character and disposition. The ethics show us how to live our life, a good life and through the decisions we make throughout every day. The ethics give us our rights and responsibilities of our life, this helps us of what is right and what is wrong and moral decisions on what is good and what is bad? This concepts of ethic have been delivered by religions, philosophies and cultures. These infuse decisions debate on topics such as abortions, our human rights and our heath professional conducts. Every single one of us have got our human rights, whatever our nationality, place of birth, sex, national or ethnic origin, religion, language or any other status. Every one of us humans are all equal and we are all entitled to our human rights without being discriminated by anyone. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. Our human rights are expressed and are all guaranteed by law, human law rights lay down obligations of Governments for these acts to be done in a certain way, to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect our human rights.

There are 5 different ethical theories

  • Egoism – The self and its needs
  • Utilitarianism – overall pleasure and pain for all concerned
  • Deontology – duty
  • Care ethics – relationships, vulnerability and empathy
  • Virtue ethics – character

These 5 theories are not the only Ethical theories out there, these 5 are the most frequently discussed within the ethics literature. All of these theories are well-developed system and it helps when pressure is among someone.

Our human rights act was put in place to stop us being treated unfairly and for all of us to be treated the same way no matter what. The human rights act is there for all of us human beings and being born are free and equal to everyone else. All of us have the right to life, freedom from fear and violence and liberty, none of us has to do what another says, and we do not have to be slaves. Every single one of us has the right of protection of the law with discrimination, no matter of age, race, gender, or colour no one shall be judged on these. We all have the same right to standard of living, health and well-being which includes housing, medical care and social security even when unemployed, sickness, widowhood or even old age. We are all equal and human beings we all have the same opportunity no matter what.

The mental health act of 1983 and the mental health act of 2007. These two acts sets our rights which apply to people who suffer with mental health problems. They contain power that in serious cases allow some people who suffer from mental health problems to be compulsorily sectioned into a psychiatric hospital. In serious cases patients will be admitted into a psychiatric hospital on a voluntary basis. They have the same rights as anyone else who is going into a hospital for any treatment and they can leave whenever they want to. In some other cases patients can be detained into a psychiatric hospital for a certain amount of time. An example of this is the mental health act 1983 which authorises patients to be detained for a certain amount of treatment of assessments to be carried out on them by doctors. The purpose of this and the mental health act is ensure that these people who has serious mental health and safe and that their health is safe and not as risk, the assessments will then be carried out on them and then they are given the right treatment that they need. When a person is detained into a hospital this is known as being ‘sectioned under the mental health act’ this decision to detain and individual and is made under a particular section of the mental health act 1983.

Section two under the mental health act allows an individual to be detained for the maximum of 28 days, this is so they can be assessed and the right treatment can be given to them. Section three under the mental health act sections a person so they can get the right treatment they need to become well again the maximum they can be held is six months but more time can be authorised. Other sections of the mental health act help deal with the power to compulsorily detail people who has serious mental disorders and they have committed criminal offences. If they show signs of improvement they can be discharged earlier than they would be, subject to them being supervised within their community. Safeguards are put into place everywhere not just mental hospitals, this is to make sure everyone is safe.

The law is clear that there is a maximum period of time for them to be sectioned depending on the reason behind the patient’s circumstances. The family member who are looking after the patient will be able to apply for a discharge after a certain amount of time of being detention in hospital. When family are making their decision a tribunal is required to balance out the freedom of the patient with the protection of the public and the best interest for the patients. Patients can only be forced to have medical treatment if they are compulsorily detained in a mental hospital under the mental health act, which is then under the circumstances of the mental health act. The patients have a maximum amount of time of three months of what they can be forced to take their medication. There are also special safeguards in place concerning surgery on the brain, mental health patients do also have a lot of rights whilst sectioned under the mental health act.

Human rights are put in place for everyone to be treated fairly and the same. The human rights act was put into place to stop slavery and to stop people being treated badly. Mental health patients can be treated unfairly on some occasions where they are forced to take certain medication and this could be against their own will, and they may not want to take the medication but it is for their best interest. Mental health patients are put into a safe hospital were in most cases they are not allowed to leave as they could be a danger to the public or themselves, they are usually drowsy of the medication that they are given in the hospital. I think it is right as they are getting the help that they need to get well again, but would you enjoy being drowsy and not knowing what you are doing?

There can be a lot of issues surrounding mental health and human rights, is it right to treat them different? No it’s not right to treat them different, but it is for their best interest and it will help them to become well again. It is not right to treat them like prisoners, they should be allowed some freedom, and not kept inside the hospital constantly. Sometimes health workers have to take control on the patient’s life so help lead them in the right direction, but all this is against their human rights, but because they are mentally ill patients their human rights and not kept, as they now are under The Mental Health Act. Their human rights should be taken away but not the way they are at the moment, mental health patients should have a say in what medication they take, and what they do with their everyday life. A lot of these patients don’t have to be locked away like a prisoner, they should still be able to get the freedom and being able to go and side and speak to other people as it may help them to overcome their mental illness.

Overall I think mental health patients should have a bit more control over their life, and they should have a bit more of a say on what treatment goes on around them. They are only human beings who have several problems, which they may end up overcoming and living a normal life. But if they are not living a normal life they will not end up overcoming there illness, and will not know how to live a normal life.


Bibliography: 2014 Mental Health Act 1983 [online] Available at:

Bibliography: 2014 Human Rights Act 1998 [online] Available at:

Bibliography: Illness, R and Illness R 2014. Mental illness Diagnosis and Treatment = Rethink Mental Illness the mental health charity [online] Available at

Bibliography: Wikipedia 2014 Psychiatric hospital [online] Available at http://en.wikipedia.prg/wiki/Psychiatric_hospital