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Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the use of the human growth hormone...

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anythingbutteri | Honors

Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:02 PM via web

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Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the use of the human growth hormone to enhance the height and weight of normal but undersized (i.e., below average height and weight for their age) children or adolescents, including others interested in enhancing their physical appearance?  Explain your viewpoint.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:12 PM (Answer #1)

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This is a very difficult question in that it forces us to either A) draw a line at an arbitrary place, B) ban all use of the hormone, or C) condone all uses of the hormone.  None of these is an ideal solution.

We could ban all use of human growth hormone.  We could say, for example, that we should not tinker with nature (or God’s plan, depending on your religious views).  We could say that it is natural for some people to be shorter or smaller than others.  However, by this argument, you could also say that it is natural for some people to develop diseases and we should not interfere in that case either.

We could allow all uses of human growth hormone.  We could say that any person who wishes to take the risks may do so.  From this point of view, the government has no business telling people when they may take risks in order to improve (in their minds) their physical appearances.  After all, we do not prohibit plastic surgery, so why prohibit the use of HGH?

Finally, we could allow some use of HGH in certain instances.  We could allow it only when a person is going to be much shorter or smaller than “normal.”  This would involve drawing arbitrary lines determining how much smaller than normal a person would need to be in order to qualify. 

Of all of these options, I suppose I would prefer the second.  I do not see the moral difference between using HGH and having plastic surgery.  I would prefer to allow people the choice to do as they wish with their own bodies. 

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