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Bioethicists’ Letter on the “Ethically Abhorrent” Treatment of Children at the U.S. Border

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Over 800 bioethicists have signed a letter calling for the United States government to remedy its failures to assure the children it is detaining at its border are in safe and sanitary conditions.  photo from U.S. Customs and Border Protection The letter has been provided to the lawyers representing the class of children covered by the Flores settlement, which set the government’s policies for the detention of children. There have been numerous reports regarding the horrible conditions in which the children are being kept. Below are some excerpts from the letter: We are experts in medical ethics who have devoted our careers to rigorous analysis of challenging ethical issues relevant to health and well-being, to advancing the ethical treatment of all people and especially the most vulnerable, and to examining historical failures to uphold basic ethical principles so that we can prevent future atrocities. It does not take any special expertise, however, to recognize that the conditions in which children are being detained at U.S. border facilities are ethically abhorrent and demand immediate remediation… We should not have to convince the U.S. government of its obvious ethical obligations to protect vulnerable children in its custody or of its obvious failure to satisfy those obligations to date. And yet, it appears that argument is needed. The basic principles of medical ethics entail respect for persons, avoidance of harm, and fair treatment. These principles apply whenever individual and community health are at issue, as is the case here where the physical and mental health of detainees are being placed at extreme risk. These risks are greatest for children, who may suffer serious long-term consequences as a result of the conditions in which they are being held. The principles are blind to citizenship and to politics. Yet the U.S. government’s treatment of detainees violates each of the core principles of medical ethics… There is no. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

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