Stem Cells Essay

Submitted By SFallon212
Words: 1886
Pages: 8

Steven Fallon
Medical Ethics Research Paper

In the field of medical ethics, there is one topic in today’s society that attracts a lot of controversy whenever it is brought up. This topic is that of the research on embryonic stem cells for medicines of the future. Stem cell research is something that has been around for quite some time but in the last two decades, the use of embryos for stem cells has grown substantially causing much disagreement amongst many people. It is not the practice of using stem cells in scientific and medical procedures that is the cause of the controversy, but that many of these cells are being harvested from the embryos of many unborn children. Much of the debate on the issue of using embryonic stem cells comes from the moral concern for the life that the embryo could have possibly been born into if it had the chance. Also another major moral question that is pivotal in the understanding of this topic is whether or not the embryo is considered human and if it can enjoy the same rights that we as adult humans enjoy. The answers to these questions are very deep grey areas and there is much disagreement as to which school of thought on the subject has the correct point of view. This worldwide debate draws people of many different cultures into play and the opposition is fronted mainly by religious organizations with the other side of the argument being fought mostly by the scientific community. The major opposing force that comes into contact with the research on embryonic stem cells is the religious, namely Christian, community. The main focus of the opposition of embryonic stem cells is on the fact that a human life is being used as a means for this medical research. In the Christian faith, the life is something that lasts from conception to natural death, and they believe that when the embryo is destroyed for this medical research that the child is being murdered. Another major argument laid out by the opposition of embryonic stem cell research is the “future like ours” argument. This argument makes the point that these embryos being destroyed are being denied the chance to have a “future like ours,” and therefore we are morally reprehensible for committing this act (Kuflik 2007). Because the embryo is being destroyed before it has the chance to achieve an adult age, the opposition believes that we are infringing on the rights of the embryo. This opinion of the opposition on embryonic stem cell research comes mostly from scripture and from Christian ideals that have come to be seen as law. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them” (Catholic Church 2011). One of the very basic tenants of the Christian belief system is that mankind is created in the image of God, and for that reason we are too special to be kept from a flourishing human life. The opposition of embryonic stem cell research would weigh in heavily on this point, noting that these potential human beings are being used as a means rather than an end, which would compromise their rights as humans. Another point made by scripture that supports the opposition of stem cell research is the status of the unborn baby. People of the Chrisitan faith point out that the unborn child is the same as any other human being. “"If men fight and hit a pregnant woman and her child is born prematurely, but there is no serious injury… But if there is serious injury, then you will give a life for a life.” (Exodus 21:22-23). In this piece of scripture, the bible points out that the killing of an unborn baby is just as morally reprehensible as the murder of anyone else and in this case should be punishable by death. When defending the use of embryonic stem cells, the main focus for the debate is to point out the medical advancement that can be gained from this practice. As previously stated, the use of stem cells is not limited only to the use of embryos as