Term Paper: Stem Cells Without a Doubt

Pages: 7 (2215 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] "(Rosenberg) By this, Brandeis means that individual states should come up with their own laws regulating stem cell research and the therapies and treatments it can provide. In other words, the states would act as individual "laboratories," that can, through their experiences, develop precedents and protocols that can later be implemented nationally.

Of course, ethical considerations are a part of any decision to be reached on the stem cell issue -- especially as it relates to the use and creation of embryos. For example, Ben Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity writes, "It's a question of ethics and morality." (Hall) This means that many hold that the standard of ethics (especially as espoused by ethical philosophers such as Kant), prohibits the "killing" of embryos as a means to a greater good. Further, some more religiously minded individuals view the research in itself as slightly immoral -- almost as if those who peruse stem cell therapies are attempting to cure all humankind from disease, and, eventually, death. What, then, of religion?

In addition to the pro-life stance on stem cell research, other moral and economic factors impact the advancement of the practice as well. Who, for instance, will be able to afford stem cell therapies? Will the procedure become an option only for those who "can afford it?" -- in effect, leaving most of the population of the earth in the cold? How will the practice affect the insurance industry, and what of those who have no insurance? Will those who are paralyzed and poor, for example, watch the likes of Christopher Reeves once again playing the role of the able-bodied Superman, while they remain wheelchair bound?

Like many ethical issues, the issue of stem cell research, especially as it relates to the use of human embryo stem cells, whether it is "right" or "wrong" is largely a matter of perspective. After all, although many religious groups object to the practice of harvesting stem cells from human embryos, one wonders if their moral certainly would be so unwavering should their child be diagnosed with an incurable illness. Further, even pro-embryo harvest groups and individuals may balk at the concept of "cloning" embryos for the purpose of stem cell supply, for many question the safety of the practice.

To be sure, the question of the morality of stem cell research is a complicated one. However, there remains a vast potential of medical benefit for those suffering from terrible illnesses that cannot be ignored. Although taking the stem cells from a human embryo destroys the possibility of human life from that grouping of cells, one cannot help but wonder at the terrible waste that occurs in a country where abortion and invitro fertilization is legal. After all, is it more ethical to destroy the products of abortion or embryo overstock than it is to utilize them for the greater good?

One thing is clear. Stem cell research is extremely promising for the millions who suffer incurable diseases and conditions including cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and paralysis, among others. However, like any truly spectacular medical breakthrough, there looms the possibility of inequity and injustice, and unscrupulous (money-driven) behavior. That said, stem cell research will not just "go away." Once the Pandora's box is opened, there is no going back -- and even if those in the United States wanted to, they have no say about what happens in other countries -- and, eventually, will end up back in this one.

No, stem cell research is here to stay. However, just what the outcome will be is yet to be seen.

Works Cited

Hall, MiMi and Kiely, Kathy. "Proponents of Stem-Cell Research Put on Pressure." USA Today. Online. July 2001. 10 April 2002. Retrieved from Web site on 15 March, 2004<[

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washdc/july01/2001-07-27-stemcell.htm. Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Laino, Charlene. "Navel 'seeds' Sprout Brain Tissue." MSNBC. Online. Feb. 2002. 20 Feb 2002. Retrieved from Web site on 15 March, 2004 http://www.msnbc.com/news/532672.asp

Rosenberg, Samuel and Civin, Curt. "Scientific Debates Best Left to States." SunSpot.net. Online. April 2002. 09 April 2002. Retrieved from Web site on 15 March, 2004 http://sunspot.net/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.cloning05apr.story.htm [END OF PREVIEW]

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