Friday, May 18, 2012

Where Do U Draw the Line?

Bar and Bat Mitzvah gift suggestions at

Where Do U Draw the Line?

One of the most disturbing stories of the year appeared last week then completely disappeared.

The New York Times did NOT cover it (except in a blog).

MSNBC did, as did the Huffington Post (don't read if you're squeamish) and of course the macabre-loving BBC.

Here's the headline:

Korea strengthens customs inspections to stop smuggling of 'human flesh capsules"

Since last August, customs officials in South Korea say to have intercepted between 17,000 and 17,500 pills filled with some type of finely ground white powder. The powder is said to be a stamina enhancer and medical panacea in parts of Asia.

The Korea Customs Service said it had found almost 17,500 of the capsules being smuggled into the country from China since August 2011.

Let's put all cultural issues aside. You and I cringe, but maybe that's merely our cultural bias?

After all, no American dog-lover is up and arms about the consumption of dog meat in some Asian countries and by some US presidents....

So aside from our cultural aversion, is anything wrong with this fetus-pill practice?

According to the South Koreans, the pills are objectionable on the grounds that "such pills could pose serious health hazards".

I hear that. Unregulated ground-up-aborted-baby-flesh could be full of nasty "super bacteria", which was the BBC's angle on the story.

In other words, this is a public health story, which is why it only generated a few brief headlines.

Question for your table: Is there anything else objectionable here? Is the health issue the only ethical red-line? Or are all non-health-and-safety red-lines just cultural bias?

And if there is something wrong here that transcends culture, where is tha red line?

Shabbat Shalom


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