The plasma debate: The ethics of paying for human blood
Should pharmaceutical companies pay people for their plasma? Here's why paid plasma is a hot ethical issue.
Peter Jaworski is an Associate Teaching Professor teaching ethics at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He is the co-author of “Markets without Limits” (with Jason Brennan), and has been published in Ethics, Philosophical Studies, The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, amongst others.
PETER JAWORKSI: Let me tell you about the biggest industry you've probably never heard of. I'm talking about the blood plasma industry. The therapies made from plasma help people who suffer from primary and secondary immune deficiencies. If you ever have a serious burn you'll probably need albumin. Albumin is also used to help with a variety of cancers. And then there are people whose blood doesn't clot properly, people with Von Willebrand disease or people who have hemophilia. That's what the plasma therapies are used for. And demand for especially immune globulin. The demand for immune globulin is outstripping supply in almost every country.
Did you know that the United States supplies more than 70 percent of all of the plasma in the entire world that is used to manufacture plasma therapies? The whole world is dependent and reliant on the United States of America, on people in the United States who give their plasma twice a week on a regular basis.
Exports of plasma from the United States account for 1.6 percent of total exports by GDP according to The Economist. The New York Times said it was 1.9 percent. That's not correct. That number by the way, 1.6 percent of total exports. That's more than aluminum. It's more than steel. It's the biggest industry you've never heard of. It's about $26 billion I think annual industry. That's going to double very soon. People are anticipating it to be more than a $40 billion industry by 2040. So we're anticipating incredible growth, ten percent per year. That growth is stable. It's stable growth. There are still countries that do not realize that these plasma therapies are effective. They simply don't have the resources or the means to properly diagnose people or to give them access to these plasma therapies. But once they come online that's going to increase demand as well.
Out of all the countries in the world only the ones that pay people to make that donation are self-sufficient in plasma therapies. And even the ones that pay not all of them are, in fact, sufficient. So there are only seven countries in the world that legally permit paying people for plasma donations – Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czechia or the Czech Republic, parts of Canada. And I'll talk about Canada in a second. The United States, of course, and China. Those are the seven countries in the world that permit payment. Every other country that does not allow payment for plasma donations imports plasma therapies that make use of plasma primarily from Americans. Germans as well, but primarily Americans. That's an astonishing figure. This industry is growing so fast. In the United States alone the number of plasma centers has more than doubled. In fact, it's more than tripled since 2004. There are currently over 824 plasma centers in the United States of America.
So here's a question. We know that paying people for plasma works. We know that it's effective precisely because of what I just said. All of these countries depend on paid plasma to make the therapies and only the countries that pay have enough of them. They produce actually more than enough. They have more than enough. They're able to export to other countries and thank goodness. Imagine what the world would be like if the United States didn't pay for plasma. We wouldn't have enough plasma therapies. vAnd at the moment these plasma therapies are used for rare blood disorders and for rare diseases. Very few people are affected by it. Of course that still accounts – there's still thousands of people around the world who use these medicines on a regular basis. But imagine what would happen if it turns out that plasma is useful for something like Alzheimer's, is useful for something like heart disease. If it turns out that it is useful against an ailment, a disease, a problem that very many people are affected by then demand for these therapies is going to go through the roof. We need to be prepared for that and we need to do what works. And what works is paying people for plasma donations.
So let me talk about Canada for a second because this is where I've done the most work on this issue. So at the moment British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec – this is where more than 80 percent of Canada's population lives. It is illegal for a commercial enterprise to come in and pay people for plasma donation. Meanwhile, Canada continues to import therapies made with American paid plasma all along. And those numbers are increasing. So why did they ban paid plasma? What kinds of arguments did people make in Ontario, in Alberta and British Columbia? I tried to remember all of those arguments and I've got like a little acronym which I call SSACE. It's Safety, Security, Altruism, Commodification and Exploitation. The first one, safety, is a nonstarter. Don't forget that Canada imports therapies made with paid plasma. So the question of whether or not it's safe to pay people for plasma donation is not a realistic question. The law doesn't ban paid plasma and it doesn't say that it's going to stop importing paid plasma.
And by the way, every medical expert body around the world says that medicine made with paid plasma is just as safe as medicine made with unpaid plasma. The say it's just as safe. Not a little bit less safe. They say it's just as safe. The safety issue is simply a nonstarter. It's not a real issue. The security issue is interesting. It's an empirical question and that question is if we allow paid plasma will we get enough unpaid blood. These are two different kinds of donations. Plasma is the yellow liquid inside of our veins. It's about 55 percent of the liquid in our veins. When you donate plasma usually you do it through plasmapheresis. There's a big machine, takes all of your blood. It separates the plasma from your red and white blood cells and your platelets and then it returns the red and white blood cells and the platelets back to you and keeps just the plasma. A whole blood donation meanwhile takes less time. It takes about 30 minutes as compared to one-and-a-half to two hours. That's how long plasmapheresis takes.
It takes less time but it takes all of those things. What that means is that if you donate plasma you can do it twice a week safely. But if you donate blood you can only do that once every 56 days. Now we don't pay for blood and the concern is that if we allow both paid plasma and unpaid blood to operate side-by-side then people are going to choose the option that you get paid for rather than the option that you don't get paid for. I think that's a very serious worry. It is an empirical question. A colleague of mine and myself we have a paper forthcoming that appears to show that there is no effect on unpaid blood donations from the presence of paid plasma centers, but you'll have to look up that paper. A Health Canada expert panel said the same thing. In the United States, for example, blood donations operate side-by-side with paid plasma operations and it's not that big a deal. Same with in the Czech Republic. The same is true in Austria as well. So the security issue is another issue that was raised. I think it's the most important argument that the other side on this debate have raised. My own view on it is that it is insufficient on its own to justify banning paying people for plasma donations.
The other three are moral objections and I'll try to deal with them quickly. The first one, altruism. The argument is that people should give plasma out of the kindness of their hearts and not because what they care about is the thickness of their wallet. And so we object to paid plasma because we think that like people are doing it with the wrong motives. So the first thing to say is that if you're comparing getting enough medicine that will save lives to the motives of the people that provide the plasma it seems like the saving lives is much more important. So even if people aren't giving it out of the kindness of their hearts that doesn't matter as much as saving as many lives as we possibly can. That's the first thing to say. The second thing to say is that I think it, in fact, is a kind of prejudice. It's a kind of stigma that we associate with people who sell their plasma. Because consider none of us, I'm a professor. Guess what? I get paid to be a professor. But do I, am I a professor because that's the way that I maximize my income? No, I take seriously my obligation to let people know about things that are important, to try to bring up the next generation. And the same is true of teachers all around the world.
And we do see that teachers can both be paid and operate altruistically simultaneously. Human motivations are very complex. We think the same thing of nurses. We think nurses get paid to be nurses. Same with doctors. They get paid to be doctors. And yet we think that it's compatible with that for them to operate altruistically. In a way it's puzzling in the plasma debate in particular because everybody who has anything to do with plasma gets paid. That includes the phlebotomists, the nurses, the administrators. Everybody gets paid except for the person whose plasma it is. And we worry about altruism just when it comes to the person whose plasma it is. Why aren't we concerned about the altruistic motives of nurses, for example, or doctors. So that's why I say that argument kind of reveals a sort of prejudice. It's not a very good one. The commodification worry goes something like this. If we put a price tag on a part of a human being then it's possible that people are going to start thinking of themselves as having all of these different price tags.
So they don't think of themselves as being a person, as a whole person. They don't think of themselves as being sacred in a way. Instead they start thinking of themselves as having different price tags and they're like well what am I worth. Well actually my blood is worth this much, my plasma is worth this much and my hair is worth this much, et cetera. The worry is that if we allow a price tag on a part of us then soon we're going to think of people as commodities rather than as persons. And my response to that kind of argument is first, that's an empirical claim and I haven't seen any studies that show that, for example, in the United States people are more likely to think of themselves as commodities as compared to in Ontario or British Columbia where it's not legal to pay people for plasma. I find that argument a little bit dubious barring empirical evidence. And secondly, I don't know why anybody thinks that at all. I mean we pay for labor. Why doesn't that have the effect of commodifying persons. Why is it that if we pay for plasma then commodification will occur, but not in all of the other standard ways. Things that we constantly pay for and yet do not result in commodification.
And then the last one which I think is the most important moral argument against paying people for plasma. It's exploitation. If you pay attention to the news in the United States and all over the world, if people are writing about paid plasma they often raise the specter of wrongful exploitation. Because here is a fact. Guess who sells their plasma? It's not professionals. It's not professors like myself. It's students and it's people who are poor. Poor people – the plasma centers are located in zip codes that have higher poverty rates and lower median and household income rates. So it is the poor that sell their plasma. And so that raises the question of whether these people are exploited or not. I don't think that they are. I think, in fact, that the amount of money that people are paid to sell their plasma is, in fact, a good deal. The global price of plasma is about $200 per liter. So the unit is a liter. It's about $200 per liter and donors or people who are paid for plasma receive about $50 for that one liter.
Typically people donate about 810 to 880 milliliters and so it takes about one-and-a-quarter donation to make a full liter of plasma. So people get paid $50 and $200 is the total price. That's a really remarkable, that's a good deal. That's not an exploitative deal. The division of the benefits is fair in my judgment. Second, there's still an open question like what good do we do – what has Ontario done? Ontario has said we're not going to pay people for plasma. That didn't result in $50 in the pockets of people who need the money. When they banned paid plasma they didn't replace that with a tree where you just grab money from that tree. No, they simply removed an option. How did that improve the lives of the people who need the money and are selling plasma maybe primarily for the money. Although footnote, don't forget I do think that most of the people that sell their plasma do it both for the money as well as out of concern for their fellow neighbors. So you don't really make people better off by removing those options.
Now if it as something that was very risky then that would be a different matter. We're not talking about paying people for kidneys. We're talking about paying people for plasma which is renewable. It's renewable and donating it is safe. It's not entirely safe. It's not 100 percent safe, but it is not risky. We are encouraging people to donate plasma. So that's my response to the exploitation argument. That's my response to all of the arguments against it. And none of those arguments overcome the fact that we can get high quality plasma for plasma therapies. We can get more of it. And countries like Canada where I'm from, we're a wealthy country. We shouldn't just be drawing on the global supply of plasma. We should be contributing to it. We are not contributing to the global supply of plasma. We are taking from it. It's just as safe as unpaid plasma. There's evidence, there's substantial proof that paying people for plasma will work. The demand for these medicines is growing significantly and we are simply not equipped to do what we need to do unless we pay donors. It should be legal to pay people for plasma.
- Human blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Plasma is the liquid part of blood. It is used to treat rare blood conditions and has an increasing number of medical applications.
- It is a $26 billion industry, and the US is a major exporter of plasma to other nations. Most nations do not collect enough plasma to sustain therapies for their own citizens. The US has such a large supply of plasma because it pays people to donate plasma—a controversial practice.
- Is it ethical for people to be paid for their plasma? Here, Peter Jaworski, an ethics scholar, explains five key arguments people make against paying people for plasma—safety, security, altruism, commodification, and exploitation—and explains his views on them. What do you think?
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How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Tribalism and discrimination<p>One question the "Genetic Pressure" series explores: What would tribalism and discrimination look like in a world with designer babies? As designer babies grow up, they could be noticeably different from other people, potentially being smarter, more attractive and healthier. This could breed resentment between the groups—as it does in the series.</p><p>"[Designer babies] slowly find that 'everyone else,' and even their own parents, becomes less and less tolerable," author Eugene Clark told Big Think. "Meanwhile, everyone else slowly feels threatened by the designer babies."</p><p>For example, one character in the series who was born a designer baby faces discrimination and harassment from "normal people"—they call her "soulless" and say she was "made in a factory," a "consumer product." </p><p>Would such divisions emerge in the real world? The answer may depend on who's able to afford designer baby services. If it's only the ultra-wealthy, then it's easy to imagine how being a designer baby could be seen by society as a kind of hyper-privilege, which designer babies would have to reckon with. </p><p>Even if people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can someday afford designer babies, people born designer babies may struggle with tough existential questions: Can they ever take full credit for things they achieve, or were they born with an unfair advantage? To what extent should they spend their lives helping the less fortunate? </p>
Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.
- Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
- The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
- The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
A three-dimensional model of the feeding behavior of Bobbit worms and the proposed formation of Pennichnus formosae.
Credit: Scientific Reports
Beware the Bobbit Worm!<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1f9918e77851242c91382369581d3aac"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_As1pHhyDHY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.
- SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) and FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) started as two separate bills that were both created with a singular goal: curb online sex trafficking. They were signed into law by former President Trump in 2018.
- The implementation of this law in America has left an international impact, as websites attempt to protect themselves from liability by closing down the sections of their sites that sex workers use to arrange safe meetings with clientele.
- While supporters of this bill have framed FOSTA-SESTA as a vital tool that could prevent sex trafficking and allow sex trafficking survivors to sue those websites for facilitating their victimization, many other people are strictly against the bill and hope it will be reversed.
What is FOSTA-SESTA?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="723125b44601d565a7c671c7523b6452"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WBaqDjPCH8k?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) and FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) were signed into law by former President Trump in 2018. There was some argument that this law may be unconstitutional as it could potentially violate the <a href="https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-1/" target="_blank">first amendment</a>. A criminal defense lawyer explains this law in-depth in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoWx2hYg5uo&t=38s" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">this video</a>. </p><p><strong>What did FOSTA-SESTA aim to accomplish?</strong></p><p>The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims. FOSTA-SESTA started as two separate bills that were both created with a singular goal: curb online sex trafficking. Targeting websites like Backpage and Craigslist, where sex workers would often arrange meetings with their clientele, FOSTA-SESTA aimed to stop the illegal sex-trafficking activity being conducted online. While the aim of FOSTA-SESTA was to keep people safer, these laws have garnered international speculation and have become quite controversial. </p><p><a href="https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180321006214/en/National-Anti-Trafficking-Coalition-Celebrates-Survivors-Senate-Passes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to BusinessWire</a>, many people are in support of this bill, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and World Without Exploitation (WorldWE). </p><p>"With the growth of the Internet, human trafficking that once happened mainly on street corners has largely shifted online. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 73 percent of the 10,000 child sex trafficking reports it receives from the public each year involve ads on the website Backpage.com."</p><p>As soon as this bill was <a href="https://www.pivotlegal.org/sesta_fosta_censoring_sex_workers_from_websites_sets_a_dangerous_precedent" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">signed into law</a>, websites where sex workers often vetted and arranged meetings with their clients could now be held liable for the actions of the millions of people that used their sites. This meant websites could be prosecuted if they engaged in "the promotion or facilitation of prostitution" or "facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims." </p><p><strong>The bill's effects were felt around the world — from Canadians being unhappy with the impact of this American bill to U.K. politicians considering the implementation of similar laws in the future.</strong> </p><p>Heather Jarvis, the program coordinator of the Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP), which supports sex workers in the St. John's area, <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/heather-jarvis-website-shutdown-1.4667018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">explained to CBC in an interview</a> that the American bill is impacting everyone, everywhere: "When laws impact the internet — the internet is often borderless — it often expands across different countries. So although these are laws in the United States, what we've seen is they've been shutting down websites in Canada and other countries as well."</p><p>Jarvis suggests in her interview that instead of doing what they aimed to do with the bill and improving the safety of victims of sex trafficking or sexual exploitation, the website shutdowns are actually making sex workers less safe. </p><p>While <a href="https://gizmodo.com/the-uk-wants-its-own-version-of-fosta-sesta-that-could-1827420794" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one U.K. publication</a> refers to FOSTA-SESTA as "well-intentioned but ultimately deeply-flawed laws," it also mentions that politicians in the United Kingdom are hoping to pursue similar laws in the near future. </p>
Has FOSTA-SESTA done more harm than good?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUxMzY5Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2ODUyNDc4OX0.dSEEzcflJJUTnUCFmuwmPAIA0f754eW7rN8x6L7fcCc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=-68%2C595%2C-68%2C595&height=700" id="69d99" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="734759fa254b5a33777536e0b4d7b511" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="sex worker looking online for a job" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Is this really going to help, or is this bill simply pushing sex work and sex-related content further into the dark?
Credit: Евгений Вершинин on Adobe Stock<p>While <a href="https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180321006214/en/National-Anti-Trafficking-Coalition-Celebrates-Survivors-Senate-Passes" target="_blank">supporters of this bill</a> have framed FOSTA-SESTA as a vital tool that could prevent sex trafficking and allow sex trafficking survivors to sue those websites for facilitating their victimization, many other people are strictly against the bill and hope it will be reversed.</p><p><strong>One of the biggest problems many people have with this bill is that it forces sex workers into an even more dangerous situation, which is quite the opposite of what the bill had intended to do.</strong> </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-anti-trafficking-activists-cheer-but-sex-workers-bemoan-shutdown-of/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Globe and Mail</a>, there has been an upswing in pimps sending sex workers messages that promise work - which puts sex workers on the losing end of a skewed power-dynamic, when before they could attempt to safely arrange their own meetings online. </p><p><strong>How dangerous was online sex work before FOSTA-SESTA? </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.beyond-the-gaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/BtGbriefingsummaryoverview.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The University of Leicester Department of Criminology</a> conducted an online survey that focused on the relative safety of internet-based sex work compared with outdoor sex work. According to the results, 91.6 percent of participants had not experienced a burglary in the past 5 years, 84.4 percent had not experienced physical assault in the same period, and only 5 percent had experienced physical assault in the last 12 months. </p><p><a href="https://www.pivotlegal.org/sesta_fosta_censoring_sex_workers_from_websites_sets_a_dangerous_precedent" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">PivotLegal</a> expresses concerns about this: "It is resoundingly clear, both from personal testimony and data, that attacking online sex work is an assault on the health and safety of people in the real world. In a darkly ironic twist, SESTA/FOSTA, legislation aimed at protecting victims of and preventing human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, will do the exact opposite."</p><p><strong>Websites are also being hypervigilant (and censoring more content than needed) because they can't possibly police every single user's activity on their platform.</strong> </p><p>Passing this bill meant any website (not just the ones that are commonly used by sex traffickers) could be held liable for their user's posts. Naturally, this saw a general "tightening of the belt" when it came to what was allowed on various platforms. In late 2018, shortly after the FOSTA-SESTA bill was passed, companies like Facebook slowly began to alter their terms and conditions to protect themselves. </p><p>Facebook notably added sections that express prohibited certain sexual content and messages:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>"Content that includes an implicit invitation for sexual intercourse, which can be described as naming a sexual act and other suggestive elements including (but not limited to):</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– vague suggestive statements such as: 'looking forward to an enjoyable evening'</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– sexual use of language […]</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– content (self-made, digital or existing) that possibly portrays explicit sexual acts or a suggestively positioned person/suggestively positioned persons."<br><br> </em></p><p>Additionally, sections like this were also added, prohibiting things that could allude to sexual activity: </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>"Content in which other acts committed by adults are requested or offered, such as:</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– commercial pornography</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– partners that share fetishes or sexual interests"</em></p><p>Facebook wasn't the only website to crack down on their policies — the Craigslist classifieds section being removed and Reddit banned quite a large number of sex-worker related subreddits. </p><p><strong>Is FOSTA-SESTA really helpful?</strong> </p><p>This is the question many people are facing with the FOSTA-SESTA acts being passed just a few years ago. Is this really going to help, or is this bill simply pushing sex work and sex-related content further into the dark? Opinions seem to be split down the middle on this — what do you think?</p>
A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.
- A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
- Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
- The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
Neil deGrasse Tyson wants to go ice fishing on Europa<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="GLGsRX7e" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="f4790eb8f0515e036b24c4195299df28"> <div id="botr_GLGsRX7e_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/GLGsRX7e-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/GLGsRX7e-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/GLGsRX7e-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Water Vapor Above Europa’s Surface Deteced for First Time<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9c4abc8473e1b89170cc8941beeb1f2d"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WQ-E1lnSOzc?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.
- Who am I? It's a question that humans have grappled with since the dawn of time, and most of us are no closer to an answer.
- Trying to pin down what makes you you depends on which school of thought you prescribe to. Some argue that the self is an illusion, while others believe that finding one's "true self" is about sincerity and authenticity.
- In this video, author Gish Jen, Harvard professor Michael Puett, psychotherapist Mark Epstein, and neuroscientist Sam Harris discuss three layers of the self, looking through the lens of culture, philosophy, and neuroscience.