The Moral Debate over Stem Cell Research
President George W. Bush looked stern and confident as he addressed the American people on August 9th, 2001. It was an historic day for the 43rd president, as he explained the debate surrounding embryonic stem cell research, including its possible benefits for science but also its problems surrounding morals and ethics.
“The issue is debated within the church, with people of different faiths, even many of the same faith coming to different conclusions,” Bush said. “Many people are finding that the more they know about stem cell research, the less certain they are about the right ethical and moral conclusions.”
The president made it clear the specific benefits of using embryonic stem cells, and how they offer hope for those with incurable diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and spinal cord injuries. But it was also clear that the U.S. government was at a moral quandary. Bush concluded by saying that federal money – or taxpayers’ dollars – would be invested into research involving cells that were not embryonic, including umbilical cord placenta, and adult and animal stem cells.
“Research on embryonic stem cells raises profound ethical questions, because extracting the stem cell destroys the embryo, and thus destroys its potential for life,” the president said. “Like a snowflake, each of these embryos is unique, with the unique genetic potential of an individual human being.”
As the president heads into his second term, the issue has reached a new level within the United States. Many question Bush’s conservative stance and wonder how the issue can be pursued throughout the current decade. The state of California passed a measure on November 2nd allowing for full stem ce...
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...ng an actual embryo,” according to the Globe. The story also reported that San Francisco Archbishop William Levada wrote a letter to President Bush with support for the method. Thus far, Hurlbut’s proposal is being looked at as a groundbreaking possible solution to the moral quandary that currently exists in this country.
This was a momentous development in the current debate nationwide over the issue, as it presented a possible solution and compromise to both sides of the issue. The nation still waits, however, to see what Bush and the U.S. government will do next. Will the president continue to support all forms of research other than the one creating the most controversy? Will Hulrbut’s procedure play a key role? Or will the rest of the 49 states follow the path of California’s legislature and start funding the research of embryonic cells? Only time will tell.