Stem Cell Research Legislation and Related Legal Issues
The first embryonic stem cells were first isolated from animals in 1981 by Sir Martin Evans. However it wasn’t until 1998 that James Thompson first isolated human embryonic stem cells. Since then continuing research with stem cells has shown to be sensitive issue because of the perception of morality by humans. For this reason stem cell research legislation has been enacted and has been ever changing throughout time. Therefore, we will see the stem cell research legislation history in the United States, how it compares to other statutes in the world, what the current legislative state of affairs is, and where the law on stem cells in the United States should go in the future and why.
According to an article from the Fort Wayne Indiana News-Sentinel, The federal government of the United Sates has never banned any research on embryonic stem cells. What has been banned in the United States relating to stem cell research is federal funding for research and it has been changing during the course of time. In the 80’s, Reagan Administration official, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Otis R. Bowen was responsible for the first ban of federal financing of research involving fetal tissue (Hilts, 1992). A few later while during the George H. W. Bush administration, congress attempted to override the ban on federal funding but it was vetoed by the president (“Stem Cell History,” 2011). The same source goes on to list the fact that President Bill Clinton gave out an executive order in 1993 to lift the ban that had been set for federal funding. However, in 1994 after receiving many letters of disapproval, he reversed his decision and the ban was once again in effect. Later on, in 1996 legislation passed what is called the Dickey-Wicker Act which prohibits the destruction of embryos during research. Years later during the George W. Bush Administration, severe restrictions were...
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Hilts, P. J. (1992, May 27). Congress Urged to Lift Ban On Fetal-Tissue Research. New York Times, p. 12.
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Remarks of President Barack Obama. (2009, March 9). Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-of-the-President-As-Prepared-for-Delivery-Signing-of-Stem-Cell-Executive-Order-and-Scientific-Integrity-Presidential-Memorandum
Stem Cell History. (2011, February 1). Retrieved from http://stemcellhistory.com/stem-cell-research-timeline/
Walters, L. (2004). Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research: An Intercultural Perspective. Kennedy Institute of Ethics, 14(1), 3-38.
We Shouldn’t Let Science Get Ahead of Our Moral Sense: The Question About Stem Cells Isn’t? What? But? How Fast.? (2009, March 11). News-Sentinel, The (Fort Wayne, IN).
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