Perverse Incentives in Action

[wendy]http://www.ifeminists.net/index.php
[fox]http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,113734,00.html
The always-interesting "Wendy McElroy":wendy writes on "Fox News":fox about how HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)-infected children in the New York City foster care system were allegedly used as test subjects for experimental AIDS(Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) drugs.

It's obvious this could never have happened if the State did not have custody of thousands of children. My question is, would it have happened if it were legal for people to voluntarily participate in medical experiments?

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Probably. But is it moral

Probably. But is it moral to conduct medical experiments on children if the parents/legal guardians give consent? Kinda goes right to the "do children own themselves" issue...

But is it moral to conduct

But is it moral to conduct medical experiments on children if the parents/legal guardians give consent?

Not unless the child also consents.

Children are human. They own themselves as fully as any other human.

*Devil's Advocate Hat* Are

*Devil's Advocate Hat*

Are children rational enough to understand the choice they'd face in such a situation? Obviously, you can't ask for the consent of someone who doesn't understand the question or the implications of answering it.

My question is, would it

My question is, would it have happened if it were legal for people to voluntarily participate in medical experiments?

To a certain extent, it is legal for people to voluntarily participate in medical experiments. There are ads in the back of many college newspapers and in the Boston Metro newspaper everyday for recruitment into studies.

But you are correct, a lot of voluntary consent for science is illegal for worries of 'exploitation'. I think a true free market for drug evaluation would have far fewer perverse incentives for this kind of thing to happen.

Austin and the surrounding

Austin and the surrounding area has a fairly active community of medication researchers (SCIREX in particular) who advertise regularly looking for clinical research participants. Most often with SCIREX, you get your wisdom teeth removed for free in order to conduct a painkiller test. Dunno if they supply something that actually works in case the test drug fails...but at least you get paid!

If the child is too young or

If the child is too young or too stupid to be able to consent, the question falls to the parent. The parent has the duty to make the choice which is in the best interest of the child, as a reasonable parent in that situation would do.

- Josh

I caught part of this story

I caught part of this story on O'Reilly tonight and the nurse said most of the children were orphans so they had no parents to make the right decision for them and they actually had no choice in the matter.

IMHO, somebody's ass better get locked up.