Over the course of the last three decades, scientists have made many notable advances in medicine and technology. While many of these advances have been viewed as a boon for the development of society, some have brought with them precarious ethical and moral questions that have promulgated considerable public debate. For this reason, some of the advancements made in recent years have been viewed as doubled-edged sword. Such is the case with embryonic stem cell research.
With the realization that embryonic stem cell research poses such unique possibilities and ethical problems, there is a clear impetus to examine this issue and explore both the advantages and disadvantages of this technology. To this end, this investigation considers a broad overview of embryonic stem cell research, the pros and cons of using such technology and the ethical implications of research using these cells. Further, this investigation lays out a personal argument which provides a clear rationale for justifying the use of embryonic stem cell research.
[...] Logic and Personal Opinion As the debate on embryonic stem cell research now stands, it is evident that policymakers have stepped outside of logic and legal precedent in their decision to ban embryonic stem cell research. Based on what is currently known about the embryo and current practices used in the context of abortion and in vitro fertilization, the policies enacted with respect to this research simply do not make sense. When the Roe v. Wade decision was made by the Supreme Court, the Justices of the Court had to realize that, based on scientific evidence two conditions could be maintained. [...]
[...] As such, both types of stem cell research need to be examined in order to provide a clear understanding for the controversy. Adult Stem Cell Research Looking first at stem cell research which seeks to harvest stem cells from the fully developed human being, Brownlee (2005) reports that in recent years scientists have discovered that stem cells are present in various areas of the body. Defining the stem cell, Brownlee goes on to note that stem cells are those that have not differentiated. [...]
[...] With this in mind, proponents of embryonic stem cell research have argued that the embryo that is harvested for stem cells is not a human life, as defined by the current laws. For this reason, the imposition of laws banning embryonic stem cell research violates current precedent that is used for making decisions about the life of the fetus. In addition to the fact that embryonic stem cell research follows current precedents set on abortion, other scholars examining the issue have argued that IVF (in vitro fertilization) clinics destroy more embryos each year than what would be destroyed through embryonic stem cell research. [...]
[...] With these problems in mind, efforts to expand adult stem cell research have turn to embryonic stem cells Embryonic Stem Cell Research With the basic context of adult stem cell research clearly elucidated, it is now possible to consider the processes and issues associated with embryonic stem cell research. Brownlee (2005) in his review of embryonic stem cell research argues that this method of research is similar to that used with adults. The central difference is that stem cells are harvested from the human embryo rather than the fully formed adult. [...]
[...] Given that embryonic stem cell research gives rise to the moral and ethical issues, many opponents of this type of research argue that embryonic research should be abandoned. Even when laws are enacted to prevent cloning, opponents do not feel that these are strong enough to prevent this type of research from occurring. Embryonic Stem Cells and the Life of the Embryo While it is indeed true that many opponents of embryonic stem cell research argue that cloning is the central issue for preventing this research, it is evident that many more opponents argue that the life of the embryo is the strongest debate for opposing this research. [...]
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