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Henrietta Lacks Violations

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Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman whose cells from her cancerous tumor led to many medical advances in the world. The cells led to the HeLa line, which have a crucial role in drug development and toxicity testing (Hunt). Prior to the HeLa line, it was proven impossible to grow human cells in a laboratory for any length of time. The conflict in this amazing discovery is that her cells were taken from her body for medical purposes without her permission. People argue that people have to be given legal ownership of their tissues and given money for them or medical advances made using the tissues. The Supreme Court ruled that people cannot be given money for the use of their tissues, because it would dissuade researchers from using…show more content…
This is a result of racism, which is essentially the only reason why the Lacks family were not given money for the use of their family member’s tissue. “...careless journalists and researchers who violated the family’s privacy by publishing everything from Henrietta 's medical records to the family’s genetic information,” (Skloot). Not only were the cells taken without Lacks’ permission, but the medical records of the family were published without the family’s consent. None of the publishers view this as a violation of privacy, most likely because the race of the family. “‘Scientists don’t like to think of HeLa cells as being little bits of Henrietta because it’s much easier to do science when you dissociate your materials from the people they come from,”’ (Skloot). The scientists dissociate the materials from the family not only so that they do not have to give money to the family of the donor, but also because the fact that amazing medical discoveries would have never been discovered if not for an African American woman’s cells, Henrietta Lacks. The only time when white people call the Lacks house is when they want something to do with the HeLa cells (Skloot). These facts are proof that the Lacks family weren’t paid for the use Henrietta’s cells because of their
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