STEM CELL RESEARCH LEGISLATION AND THE LEGAL ISSUES
What is the history of Stem Cell Research Legislation in the United States?
Adult stem cell research on humans began in the 1960's, first achieving success in the treatment of a patient with severe combined immunodeficiency disorder in 1968. Since the early 1970's, adult stem cells have been successfully used for treatment of immunodeficiency’s and leukemia. (Deem, 2004). Many people are in support of the stem cell research and the urgency to do so because of the many possibilities it present. It’s been said by researchers that the possibility is there to preserve life and cure diseases. Diseases such as Cancer, Leukemia, Heart Disease and even AIDS/HIV and many researchers believe the United States Federal Government should issue more funds towards stem cell research. As the benefits out way the risk in their opinion, a German AIDS patient was able to stop drugs he had been taking for 10 years after getting a transplant of stem cells from a donor with a rare gene variant known to resist the deadly disease. The transplant also cured his leukemia, researchers reported. (Waters, 2009)
Embryonic stem cell research on the other hand don’t appear to be ethical and favorable to the wider public as it seems a life is being taken in the process. But at the end of the day who are we to say at what stages life begin. The Blastocyst is a thin-walled hollow structure in early embryonic development that contains a cluster of cells called the inner cell mass from which the embryo arises. The outer layer of cells gives rise to the placenta and other supporting tissues needed for fetal development within the uterus while the inner cell mass cells give rise to the tissues of the body ("Medterms.com," 2003). However the controversy is that embryonic stem cell research is not pro-life. It gives false promises to patients while killing a human embryo. It is dead end research. Embryonic stem cell research has cured no disease nor successfully treated anyone. Embryonic stem cell research has not gone beyond research on lab animals. Embryonic stem cell research produces tissue rejection and unstable deadly tumors. ("www.cwfa.org " 2010) Research advocates conclude that many fertilised human cells have already been banked, but are not being made available for research. Advocates of embryonic stem cell research claim new human lives will not be created for the sole purpose of experimentation (Cowan, & Prentice, 2004).
The issue of stem cell research, particularly embryonic stem cell research, became a high-profile political issue in the U.S. during the first year of President George W. Bush's term in office (2001). On August 9, 2001, Bush enacted a ban on federal spending for the purpose of deriving new embryonic stem cells from fertilised embryos. He argued that performing research on embryos is destroying human life, and should therefore be avoided. Both the 109th and 110th Congresses passed bills overturning the ban, but both were vetoed by Bush. During the 109th Congress, both houses also passed and Bush signed a bill banning the creation of human fetuses with the sole purpose of destroying them and harvesting their body parts. The Senate also passed a bill encouraging research into the creation of stem cell lines without destroying human embryos (sourcewatch.org).
Today’s political and religious societies share different ethical issues surround embryonic stem cell. Patient-specific pluripotent stem cell research is center stage in the attempts by governments to ban these fields for discovery and potential therapies. These interventions require physicians and physician-scientists to determine for them whether patient welfare or personal ethics will dominate in their practices, and whether all aspects of stem cell research can be pursued in a safe and regulated fashion (Weissman, 2005).
How does it compare to comparable statutes in the rest of the