Stem Cell Research Controversy

The controversy over stem cell research’s use in the medical field is almost two decades old. So why the sudden intense return of fierce political debates over an old issue? It’s because President Obama recently revoked the ban on stem cell research, as he believes it holds the potential to revolutionize the medical industry in the years to come. As USA Today quoted him saying in March, after he stopped restricting federal funding for stem cell research, “At this moment, the full promise of stem cell research remains unknown and should not be overstated. Scientists believe these tiny cells may have the potential to help us understand, and possibly cure, some of our most devastating diseases and conditions.”
The body’s master cells are the stem cells. The best stem cells are found in a relatively young embryo. Unlike “normal” body cells, they reproduce indefinitely and turn into any other type of human cell. It is easy to see why scientists were ecstatic at the discovery of this natural marvel.
Pro-life advocates are taking a particularly solid opposing stance against this new branch of research. Some pro-life advocates have even gone so far as to label it worse than abortion. The problem isn’t the research itself, but the methods it utilizes; for example, the dissecting, manipulating, and controversial tampering of human embryonic stem cells. Pro-life advocates believe, like the creator of this cartoon, that stem cell research is just another method to destroy infantile human life.
Scientists who advocate this line of research cite two major medical institutions that operate similar to theirs: fertility clinics and abortion clinics. They remind opponents that an abortion clinics would just throw out the embryos, as the following quote taken by Alberto Pareja-Lecaros confirms: “We can potentially cure life threatening diseases but only through killing innocent lives. … the embryo would have been thrown away at an abortion clinic anyway. Now, given the choice of completely wasting the life or using it in order to further research, I’d pick research.” (http://www.juniorpolitics.com/) The fertility clinics, however, appear to be stem cell research advocates’ favorite reference on how their work is ethical and humane in comparison. According to Michael Kinsley, Time Magazine reporter, “Embryonic stem-cell studies are controversial because they involve the destruction of human embryos. However, fertility clinics destroy far more human embryos than stem-cell research ever would, yet they are not controversial.” (http://www.time.com)
Pro-stem cell research scientists have found that citing fertility clinics as a similar field severely lessens the educated opposition against their work. This is because most pro-life advocates and mainstream Christians are advocates for the use of fertility clinics to help struggling couples get pregnant. They view fertility clinics as a place to help create life, not take it. In this, I speak from personal experience, as many of my Christian friends and relatives have been in and out of fertility clinics throughout the years, attempting to procreate a being to love, raise, and care for.
In short, the debate boils down to the ancient debate of whether or not a fetus or human embryo is a life or not. Pro-life advocates say that human fetuses are absolutely, 100% life. However, abortion clinics and stem cell research facilities say, as does the current government stance, Roe vs. Wade, that the fetus is absolutely, 100% not a life. It is the same ideological argument that has been fought in courthouses across America for decades.
` I believe that stem cell research and its frightening potential for insidious evils, such as human cloning or mutation, might cause Americans to finally reconsider their stance on whether or not a fetus is a life.. In my opinion, stem cell research poses too much of a probable risk and not enough possibility of a potential cure. In fact, according to Alok Jha, there is “the nightmare possibility of stem cell transplants that trigger tumors in patients. A February report in the PLoS Medicine journal, for example, described the case of an Israeli child who received lethal injections of “fetal neural stem cells” in a Russian clinic, triggering tumors.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/) Thus, even if stem cell research can continue without killing human fetuses, then it should continue only in the form of observation. I don’t believe it should be implemented on humankind, until it is 110% guaranteed to heal without causing a more lethal disease than it is treating. I think the creator of this cartoon believed as I do, that it is pointless to kill a human embryo–in our opinion, a life–because there’s a possibility it might save the life of an older, more established human being.
Works Cited

Vergano, Dan. “Controversy Doesn’t Derail Stem Cell Progress – USATODAY.com.” News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World – USATODAY.com. USA Today, 20 May 2009. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. .
Kinsley, Michael. “The False Controversy of Stem Cells – TIME.” Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME.com. 2011 Time Inc., 23 May 2004. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <.http://www.time.com>
Pareja-Lecaros, Alberto. “Youth Politics» Stem Cell Research – Killing Lives To Save Lives?” Youth Politics» Youth Politics. Technorati, 08 Mar. 2009. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. .
Jha, Alok. “Look, No Embryos! The Future of Ethical Stem Cells | Discover | Science | The Observer.” Latest News, Comment and Reviews from the Guardian | Guardian.co.uk. The Observer, 13 Mar. 2011. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. .

 

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