Are embryonic stem cells the cure to many of the human body’s ailments, including defective organs and crippling diseases, or is their use a blatant disregard of human rights and the value of life? Thanks to the rapid advancements in this field, the potential benefits of stem cells are slowly becoming reality. However, embryonic stem cell research is an extremely divisive topic in the United States thanks to the ethical issues surrounding terminating embryos to harvest the stem cells. In response to this debate, Congress passed the Dickey-Wicker amendment in 1995 to prohibit federal funding of research that involved the destruction of embryos. President Bush affirmed this decision, but more recently President Obama lifted many of these restrictions. Despite the significant portion of Americans that do not support embryonic stem cell research, it should be federally funded because of the potential health benefits, the definition of human, and the opportunity to clearly define regulations for ethical research.
The wide range of prospective uses for stem cells could greatly improve the health and wellbeing of many people. In stem cell treatments, undifferentiated cells are programmed to form specific cells, which can then be transplanted to the afflicted area. Stems cells can possibly treat afflictions including “Alzheimer’s diseases, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis” (“Stem Cell Basics”). Another important use is in drug testing. Drugs can be tested on stem cells that develop into the target tissue before using it on human test subjects, which improves safety. Finally, transplantation of organs created from stem cells could eliminate the need for human...
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Keiper, Adam, and Yuval Levin. “Federal Funds Should Not Be Used for Research That Destroys Embryos.” Stem Cells. Jacqueline Langwith. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from “Stem Cells, Life, and the Law.”National Review (25 Aug. 2010). Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.
Waskey, Andrew J. “Moral Status of Embryo.” Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research. Ed. Clive N. Svendsen, and Allison D. Ebert. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2008. 347-52. SAGE knowledge. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.
“What are the potential uses of human stem cells and the obstacles that must be overcome before these potential uses will be realized?” . InStem Cell Information. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009.
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