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Thalidomide is a drug that was used in the late 1950s to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. Unfortunately, as it turns out, treating pregnant women with thalidomide causes severe deformities in their children. Many thousands of people alive today are still suffering the effects of thalidomide.
Most people agree that pregnant women should not be allowed to take thalidomide if they plan to give birth. This demonstrates that some ethical principles still apply even when someone is inside someone else’s body. If the person you’re talking to bites the bullet and says that pregnant women should be allowed to take thalidomide to treat morning sickness, ask about a hypothetical scenario in which a pregnant woman does not have morning sickness. In this hypothetical, unrealistic scenario, the woman is considering taking thalidomide anyway, because she actually wants her child to be deformed so that she’ll get attention. Almost everybody will agree that this hypothetical woman should not take thalidomide.