The embryonic stem cell controversy is becoming increasingly important as its medical potential and ethic concerns are revealed.
A cluster of cells on a petri dish and a child: is it okay to kill one to save the other? All humans start out as just a couple of cells with the potential of being something as complex as a human being. Stem cells are cells that do not have a specific job and have the ability to become any type of human cell. Stem cells’ ability to replace damaged cells gives people hope that these cells hold the promise to cures for many diseases. Although stem cells can be found in adults, embryonic stem cells found in aborted fetuses and frozen embryos have more plasticity and are easier to harvest. There has been an enormous controversy among scientists, politicians, and citizens on whether using embryonic stem cells for research and medical purposes are ethical.
People that oppose the use of embryonic stem cells in treatment and research argue that the use of embryonic stem cells deliberately destroys human life and that there are other ways to potentially cure diseases. In order for scientists to use stem cells from an embryo for research and medical procedures, the embryo must first be destroyed. People that disagree with the use of embryonic stem cells believe that human life starts at conception and that destroying the embryo is equivalent to killing human life. Even if embryonic stem cells show the potential of saving lives, opponents of embryonic stem cell use believe that destroying human embryos for research is disrespectful to human life. They also agree that if there is less funding for embryonic stem cell research, then scientists could find a different way to cure many of these diseases. They believe that more research on stem cells taken from adults and umbilical cords will lead to cures for diseases that do not require embryos to be destroyed. The opposition believes that human life must be respected by not destroying human embryos for research.
There are many people who support the use of embryonic stem cells because embryonic stem cells have the potential to lengthen and improve many human lives. All embryonic stem cells are microscopic and are only three to five days old. These cells used in research would otherwise be discarded by abortion and in-vitro fertilization clinics. Supporters believe that three to five day old embryos do not equal a human life because it cannot survive by itself outside the womb and does not resemble a human at all. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to replace damaged cells that can cure and improve the lives of many patients suffering from diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, and spinal cord injuries. Many people believe that destroying cells that are only three to five days old is well worth it if embryonic stem cells can improve the lives of many patients. Supporters of embryonic stem cell research agree that the medical advantages outweigh the moral concerns.
There are an infinite number of perspectives on the use of embryonic stem cells in research and medical procedures. Those that oppose the use of embryonic stem cells think that destroying embryos is morally wrong and that there are other possible ways to find cures to diseases. Those that support research on embryonic stem cells believe that embryonic stem cells are not developed enough to be considered human life and should be used in research and medical procedures because it can improve the lives of many humans. Regardless of opinion, embryonic stem cell use will continue to be a very controversial topic among scientists, politicians and citizens as people get increasingly more interested in what a cluster of cells on a petri dish can do for humanity.