why do people oppose stem cell research
Embryonic stem cell research poses a moral dilemma. It forces us to choose between two moral principles:
In the case of embryonic stem cell research, it is impossible to respect both moral principles. To obtain embryonic stem cells, the early embryo has to be destroyed. This means destroying a potential human life. But embryonic stem cell research could lead to the discovery of new medical treatments that would alleviate the suffering of many people. So which moral principle should have the upper hand in this situation? The answer hinges on how we view the embryo. Does it have the status of a person? What moral status does the human embryo have? The moral status of the embryo is a controversial and complex issue. The main viewpoints are outlined below. 1. The embryo has full moral status from fertilization onwards Either the embryo is viewed as a person whilst it is still an embryo, or it is seen as a potential person.
The criteria for вpersonhoodв are notoriously unclear; different people define what makes a person in different ways. 2. There is a cut-off point at 14 days after fertilization After 14 days the embryo can no longer split to form twins. Before this point, the embryo could still be split to become two or more babies, or it might fail to develop at all. Before day 14, the embryo has no central nervous system and therefore no senses. If we can take organs from patients who have been declared brain dead and use them for transplants, then we can also use hundred-cell embryos that have no nervous system. Fertilization is itself a process, not a вmomentв.
An embryo in the earliest stages is not clearly defined as an individual. 3. The embryo has increasing status as it develops An embryo deserves some protection from the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, and its moral status increases as it becomes more human-like. 4. The embryo has no moral status at all An embryo is organic material with a status no different from other body parts. Different religions view the status of the early human embryo in different ways. For example, the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and conservative Protestant Churches believe the embryo has the status of a human from conception and no embryo research should be permitted. Judaism and Islam emphasize the importance of helping others and argue that the embryo does not have full human status before 40 days, so both these religions permit some research on embryos.
Other religions take other positions. You can read more about this by downloading the extended version of this factsheet below. Do you favor or oppose expanding federal funding for research using embryonic stem cells? Source: A Research! America poll of U. S. adults conducted in partnership with Zogby Analytics in January 2015. P U. S. stem cell policy: Former President George W. Bush permitted federal funding for embryonic stem (ES) cell research only if the stem cells were obtained from a limited number of previously existing stem cell lines. In 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order expanding the opportunities for federally funded ES cell research by permitting the use of ES cells other than those obtained from the previously designated stem cell lines.
However, legislation to protect this expansion in research opportunities has not been signed into law, giving future administrations the discretion to curtail or eliminate federally funded stem cell research. On August 23, 2012, in a decision favorable to proponents of ES cell research, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit that challenged the Obama administrations expansion of federal funding ES cell research. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal in an announcement on January 7, 2013. The announcement allows the decision of the appeals court to stand. Many congressional members in the House and Senate seek to codify the stem cell rules established under President Obamas executive order, preventing future administrations from unilaterally restricting or eliminating federal funding for stem cell research.
Bills such as the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act, which would permit funding for research on stem cells derived from embryos produced but ultimately not used for in vitro fertilization, have been regularly introduced in the House and Senate since 2009, but no legislation has been enacted. The debate over stem cell research continues to be fought at the state level. In March 2015, the Oklahoma House passed a bill banning all ES cell research. PThis legislation is currently awaiting Senate action. The Oklahoma legislature approved a similar bill in 2009, but failed to override the governors veto.
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