Embryonic Stem Cell Research Should Be Federally Funded
The undifferentiated cells of a human embryo, referred to as stem cells, hold limitless promise for medical research. When a human embryo consists of not more than 64 cells, its cells are able to learn new ways of being. If injected into a diseased kidney, they take on many of the properties of ordinary kidney cells, and may help the kidney to perform its normal function. This seems to hold for any organ, even any kind of cell. (Goldstein) This is exciting medical researchers, because it means that the cells from an early embryo could cure leukemia, enable people with diabetes to manufacture insulin, treat Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, and repair the nerve systems of quadriplegics.
Although human stem cell research has tremendous medical potential, some of our citizens and 2008 presidential candidates want to prohibit our best and brightest federally funded university scientists and physicians from working with human stem cells. They do so because of ethical concerns about the origins of these cells, which were derived from the earliest human stage embryos. Abortion opponents are attempting to ban stem cell research on the grounds that it is unethical. This is untrue. There is no reason to object to research conducted on a being that has no brain, consciousness, preferences of any kind, or capacity for suffering. To quote the religious, anti-abortion, yet still sensible, Republican Senator Orin Hatch from his letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, "In evaluating this issue, it is significant to point out that no member of the United States Supreme Court has ever taken the position that fetuses, let alone embryos, are constitutionally protected persons. As much as I oppose partial birth abortion, I simply cannot equate this offensive abortion practice with the act of disposing of a frozen embryo in the case where the embryo will never complete the journey toward...
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