Stem Cell Research
Yay or Nay?
One of the biggest political debates of recent times is whether the government should not only allow, but appropriate funds for the research of all types of stem cells mainly the embryonic stem cell. A stem cell is a primitive type of cell that can be manipulated into developing into most of the cells present in the body. Scientists believe that the stem cell is the single most important element in the cure of many diseases, which include heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and some types of cancer. Stem cells can be extracted from both adults and young embryos. The differences of an embryonic stem cell and an adult stem cell in most peoples eyes are that cells can be extracted from adults for research without harm to adult, but those extracted from embryos are the result of the destruction of the embryo. Scientists believe that although adult stem cells can be helpful in the research in disease, those cells are inferior to those of a human embryo because the embryonic stem cell can developing in almost all the types of cells in the body, but the adult variety is limited in how many cells it can develop into. The Coalition for the advancement of Medical Research estimates, "
stem cell research shows promise to develop cures and/or new treatments for 100 million Americans who currently suffer from a wide variety of diseases and disorders."
At the heart of the political debate about whether the federal government should sponsor and pay for the research of embryonic stem cell is the cultural and political idea of when human life begins. This question is the most important one in the process of either banning or allowing and funding the research. It is clear that murder is against both the moral/ethical and legal code in this country and in most others. The question of whether life begins at conception; a point of view taken by pro-life activists, or whether life begins later on in the process when the egg forms a sense of consciousness; a view taken by pro-choice activists is the main reason for such debates as stem cell research, abortion, and other major issues in our country.
Prior to August 2001, there were federal funds used to support research on stem cells that came from either human embryos or fetal tissue. The Dickey amendment prohibited the use of federal funds for the creation of human embryos for the purpose of research if an embryo was destroyed. Because the amendment stated that research could not result from the destruction of embryos, scientists could however use federal money for the research of adult stem cells. The only research that could be done with embryos was research that was funded with private money. Other areas of research prohibited with federal money included; research where human stem cells were combined with an animal embryo; research where human stem cells were used for reproductive cloning of a human and research where human stem cells were developed using somatic cell nuclear transfer. In August 2001, Bush announced that federal funding could be used for embryonic stem cell research but the research had to be done with the existing stem cell lines. Under the Bush Policy, federal funds could only be used if (1) the donors consented to it; (2) the embryos were created only as a result of the reproductive process; and (3) without any compensation to induce the decision of consent. Federal funds could not be used for (1) the derivation or use of stem cell lines derived from newly destroyed embryos; (2) the creation of any human embryos for research purposes; or (3) the cloning or human embryos for any purpose.
Although, President Bush allowed funding for the "existing" cell lines many scientists and political supporters allege that not only is there not a many lines as Bush claims, but the existing cell lines approved for research are not very reliable. The concerns of researchers include, one that the existing lines may not contain the necessary...
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