A stem cell is an unspecified cell that can regenerate itself and also turn into more specific types of cells that do more specific functions in the body (skin cells and blood cells for example). Since these cells have the ability to turn into any type of cell in the human body, they have the potential to be very useful. Medically it may one day be possible to cure many diseases, and reproduce human organs for transplant using stem cells. The benefits of using stem cells are innumerable, however, the means for obtaining the cells is very controversial. The cells have to be taken from a human embryo, the earliest stage of human development.
The cells are obtained by joining a human egg and sperm, and creating an embryo. The embryo is stopped from developing into a human so that it's stem cells can be used. This is where the controversy begins, is it ethical to stop the embryo from developing into a human being, to benefit those who are already living? In order to answer this question, it is necessary to clearly define what life is and in what way it is acceptable or unacceptable to control it.
Life is considered to be any form of cells that will eventually become a human being by the Church, including a lump of stem cells that is formed dur...
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...mmunity and a lack of dignity to continue research in this area.
In conclusion, there are many useful applications of stem cell research, but some applications are unjustified. Also, the methods of obtaining embryonic stem cells are not only unpractical but unethical and immoral as well. It is not practical to use cells from an unborn child, ending it's short life, but much more practical to use cells from a fully developed adult. These cells can, with research, have all of the benefits that embryonic stem cells do, without morals being involved.
The Genome Management Information System. Cloning Fact Sheet.
Bishop Wuerl. Pastoral Letter on Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Origins 34(42) pages: 674-676. April 7, 2005.
The Vadican. The Case Against Cloning for Stem-Cell Research. The Pope Speaks 50(2) pages: 100-104. March-April, 2005.
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