A court in South Korea ruled that human embryos are not yet life forms, according to USA Today. The conclusion of the case was that, "human embryos left over from fertility treatment are not life forms and can be used for research or destroyed," according to Agence France-Presse.
The court also upheld the pre-existing law that allowed the use of embryos left over for research purposes, it also permitted clinics to dispose of embryos that had been frozen for five years after being fertilized.
The court ruled that these fertilized embryos that had not yet been implanted into a mother’s womb were not yet life forms.
Many pro-life activists are opposed to the bioethics law in South Korea, claiming that the fertilized embryo should be given protection and that these embryos are life forms.
The debate between embryonic research has been a heated subject in the scientific community. Should fertilized embryos be considered life forms? Or are they life forms when implanted into the mother? This debate is not only in South Korea, but in the United States as well.
While there is no clear ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ to embryonic research, there are pros and cons to the use of this research.
Due to embryonic research, scientists have been able to find that stem cells taken from these embryos can be used as any cell in the body, adapting to the body’s function of what it needs the cell to be. Stem cells may be used to repair a damaged spinal cord, a part of the body that serves a very important purpose as far as the nervous and muscle systems go. The cells have been shown to help people with acute spinal cord injuries. Embryonic research also has the possibility to treat and eventually cure diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, lung disease, arthritis, sickle cell anemia, and organ failure. Time magazine suggested the use of stem cells may even cure blindness and possibly cancer.
The pros of using embryonic research to treat the human body is looking to be almost limitless. In 2009, President Barack Obama lifted the ban federal funding for stem cell research.
“Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident. They result from painstaking and costly research, from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit, and from a government willing to support that work...” Obama said.
Since then, the science community as only...