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Should Embryonic Stem Cell Research Be Federally Funded?

1841 words - 7 pages

Formal Essay OneJanuary 17, 2012Should Embryonic Stem Cell Research Be Federally Funded?The possibility to cure Alzheimer, Parkinson's, AIDS, spinal injuries, and many more diseases is met with excitement by those in the medical field. The discovery of embryonic stem, ES, cells in 1998 by James A. Thomson, a biologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, was a sensational find for the medical world. This is because ES cells have the capacity to become any type of cell tissue in the body. To the medical world the opportunities seem endless in their ability to cure or provide a treatment for many diseases. However, there is a great deal of debate by some who question the moral and ethical use of ES cells, believing that life begins at fertilization. Supporters argue that we have an obligation to help others who are suffering by using ES cells, because they think they are only potential life. The question is do we have the right to use ES cells for research purposes when the embryos will be grown specifically for research and destruction? And if so, should this research be funded by the government?Understanding the composition of ES cells is the mainstay towards understanding the debate. ES cells are non-specialized cells found in the human body and are capable of multiplying and creating all types of specific cells. ES cells are developed in an in vitro fertilization clinic and not in a woman's womb, as the name seems to indicate. Because these cells have the ability to develop into any type of cell, the research potential for ES cells is very promising. If the correct genes can be turned on they could regenerate tissue cells that are incapable or too damaged to replace themselves. Or they can be used to correct genetic defects or degenerative diseases. ES cells offer a promising future to many people even if that future may still be quite distant. However, because ES cell research uses genetic material that is used to create life, it has been intensely debated for many years.This controversy has been around for years. And for years each side has been resolute in their conviction. Those who oppose ES cell research believe it is wrong because it involves the destruction of embryos. This blatant disregard for human life makes many people who oppose ES cell research outraged. Many opponents believe that since we all started out as embryos and we have certain rights then it would follow that all embryos have certain rights and deserve some respect (Sansom). Using embryos for research and then destroying or discarding them is equivalent to taking the life of a human at the beginning of its life.Opponents further argue that there is other stem cell research that has already shown promise using adult stem cells and cord stem cells. Using adult stem cell, scientists have found a way to reprogram stem cells found in the skin, reversing the cell back to an embryonic stage (Sample). And a more recently study used cord stem cells, stem cells taken from an...

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