Bioethics Discussion Blog: The Unethics of Denial of Prophylaxis for Injury and Death

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Unethics of Denial of Prophylaxis for Injury and Death

Solomon Moore, reporter from the Los Angeles Times was interviewed on "Reporter's Notebook" segment of the KCRW program "To the Point" titled "Mexico Issues Handbook on Illegal Border-Crossing".


"Since America's crackdown along the Mexican border, immigrants without papers are taking riskier routes to get to their destination. A rising death toll has led the Mexican government to publish an illustrated handbook on crossing the border safely. That guide, which tells migrants to carry enough water, follow railroad tracks and utility lines, and wear the right clothing, has anti-immigrant groups angry, reports the Los Angeles Times' Solomon Moore."


The reason I bring this political issue to this bioethics blog is because there is something unethical in this particular response of the anti-immigrant groups with regard to what amounts to Mexico's attempt to prevent injury and death to individuals
who intend to start out on a potentially unhealthful trip and who cannot be totally prevented from doing this by either Mexico or the United States. There must be some other way to handle the illegal immigration problem other than attacking a humanitarian and beneficent action. I am sure the anti-immigrant groups would find nothing wrong with advice to prevent injuries, illness and death of persons carrying out other activities from obesity to alcoholism to smoking to illegal drug abuse to prostitution. Society attempts to teach illness and injury prevention for these unhealthy or illegal habitual conditions why can't the same approach be applied in the case of those trying to cross the Arizona desert into the U.S. whose motivation for this illegal activity cannot be otherwise fully contained?

To listen to the 7 minute interview, you need RealPlayer and click on the link above.
..Maurice.

3 Comments:

At Friday, January 07, 2005 6:09:00 AM, Blogger Dave Schuler said...

While I agree with your point on the ethics of proffering live-giving assistance, I've seen a reprint of the handbook (actually more a comic book) in question. It goes substantially beyond that giving advice on eluding and misguiding American authorities. Advising people to commit a crime is itself a crime and the Mexican government is involved in criminal activities against the United States.

This is especially troubling in that Mexico itself raises substantial barriers to immigration from the United States, prohibits ownership of land (fee simple) by foreigners, etc.

 
At Friday, January 07, 2005 10:55:00 AM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Dave,the basis for my posting was the radio interview I referenced. Unfortunately, I have not seen the booklet and was unaware of the other advice that you found. If your observation is the case, I fully agree with you on your comment. ..Maurice.

 
At Friday, January 07, 2005 11:25:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

The article in the Jan 6 2005 New York Times International edition( http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/06/international/americas/06mexico.html ) does support Dave's comments about the publication's content. The article presents the view of Mexico about the content:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Mexico's under secretary for North American affairs, said the guide was written to dissuade people from making a clandestine journey or at least to warn them of the perils and legal risks should they decide to go. About 1.5 million copies of the guide were printed and distributed throughout the country in December.
"Just last year over 300 Mexicans died in their attempt to enter the United States, the vast majority if not all of them in search of a job," Mr. Gutiérrez said. "The Mexican government obviously has an obligation to take all actions possible in order to avoid the loss of life."
He added, "It is a natural and fair response to consider this as an attempt to promote undocumented immigration, but that is absolutely not the intent of the Mexican government."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Copy and paste the URL above to read the full article. I'm sorry I could not create a direct link in this comment section.
..Maurice.

 

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