Health Care Policy Issue- Stem Cell

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Policy Topic: Stem Cell Research
Health Care Policy: The Past and the Future: HCS/455

A very controversial subject in the United States has been Stem Cell research. The United States has a very complicated legal and political history when Stem Cell laws and policies come into play. Scientifically speaking, the practice of stem cell research and treatments consists of the use of cells found in all multi-cellular organisms. There are two different types of stem cells, adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells, each come from different places. The difference is that adult stem cells are derived from mature body tissue (bone, marrow, umbilical cord, etc.) and embryonic stem cells are derived from human embryos. The argument or controversy comes mainly from the way embryonic stem cells are obtained. During vitro fertilization a pregnant woman may choose to have an abortion in which the embryo dies (NIH, 2010). Many religious groups and bioethicists are against this practice because they believe this constitutes killing a potential human being. Researchers have countered these people, saying that the embryo would have been destroyed anyway and the stem cells that live on may have the potential to save lives indirectly through research and directly through therapy (NIH, 2010). Before 2009 the Stem Cell policy in the United States was heavily regulated by a bill President Bush put into place that banned federal funding of research using new stem cell lines in 2001. To be clear, there has never been a law State or Federal that banned stem cell research in the United States, but only placed restrictions on funding and use under Congresses power to spend. In the United States, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been tasked with creating and enforcing guidelines that pertain to stem cell research and treatments. These guidelines created by NIH are backed by federal law. The NIH has published these guidelines known as “National Institutes Guidelines for Human...
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