This paper presents a philosophical look at the ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research. It investigates the morality, ethics and religious concerns of Embryonic Stem Cell research and the proper alternatives that can be used.
Before being able to decide the morality of Embryonic Stem Cell Research, one must know what Embryonic Stem Cell Research actually is. First off, a Stem Cell is a biological cell that is found in multicellular organisms. They have the unique ability to self renew (through means of mitosis), which allows them to make identical copies of themselves. In the medical world, Stem cells are used for a multitude of different things. They provide doctors with a better idea of normal cell development, allowing them to understand and possibly fix the errors that cause certain medical conditions. Also, medical professionals use the application of stem cells in the making of new tissues and cells for operations and rehabilitation techniques. Everyday, tissue and organs are donated to people who are in need. However, they are in such a high demand that some patients wait years to get an organ or tissue transplant. Sadly, some do not receive any at all. With the use of Stem Cells, it generates the possibility of creating a renewable source of replacement cells for organs and tissues. In doing so, it creates a way to treat many fatal conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, heart disease, arthritis, and more.
However as positive as it might be, the practice of Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR) is morally wrong for many reasons. It involves the complete destruction of a human embryo. Human embryos are considered to be alive with the occurrence of one-cell zygote at fertilization. It is at this stage of life when they are considered “living members of the species homo sapiens” . Also, critics of the practice agree that its forging the path to dehumanizing practices such as human cloning, embryonic farms, and the use of fetuses for spare human body parts. Even if the research provided cures to horrible diseases, it would still be violating the basic human rights everyone is entitled too. Would people justify the ghastly experiments the Nazi party performed if they had discovered a cure to ease the pain of human suffering? No. Every human being started out as an embryo in his or her mother’s womb. On of the biggest questions with regards to ESCR is the meaning of “Respect for life.” If human life were to be considered inviolable, one would be wrong to believe that at a young age we were not worthy of any respect. People who oppose ESCR argue that using human embryos as a research tool fails to properly respect them. Because embryos are people, they are entitled to all the rights a regular person would have. Research should be done along the guidelines as that of a child who is unable to give consent for itself. It is only ethically