Stem Cell Research Paper

1566 words - 6 pages

A Life In The BalanceLife-threatening diseases afflict thousands of people daily. However, scientific breakthroughs are being made at an increasing rate. Technological advances are enabling the medical community to prolong and save lives - but it can come at a price. One of these breakthroughs is stem cell research which has become a very controversial issue. Pro-life advocates are strongly against stem cell research because they believe in the sacredness of human life while stem cell research proponents support any medical methods that could save lives (Reaves). Although pro-life movements claim stem cell research destroys human embryos, it is actually true that many more lives can be saved by the treatments developed through embryonic research.One cannot disregard the fact that human embryos are destroyed during the process as part of stem cell research. Given the importance of this issue, the Catholic Church has voiced its opinion. In a statement made by its former leader, Pope John Paul II , Catholicism describes the need to recognize the devastating choices made by stem cell researchers. In his article, "Hard Cells," Hertzberg demonstrates the disdain by the Catholic Church whose past leader, Pope John Paul II, says, "Experience is already showing how a tragic coarsening of consciences accompanies the assault on innocent human life in the womb, [which] has led to evils such as the proposal for the creation for research purposes of human embryos, destined to destruction in the process" (Hertzberg). The Catholic Church believes people cannot make moral decisions anymore about life at the cost of life (Hertzberg). Although Pope John Paul II claims that science has deprived mankind of all of its morals, there are larger and more important questions to be asked: However true these ideas may be, how can people, in good conscience, not use this technology to save more lives than the few embryos that are lost in the process? And if life is sacred, how can we allow so many lives to be lost? (Reaves). Whereas Catholicism supports the notion that society is less moral when it destroys life, Judaism embraces the moral obligation to save lives by any means deemed necessary. In her article, "Religion and Stem Cell Research," Knowles summarizes the Jewish position on the value of stem cell research when she states, "This commitment to preserving one's body and health is joined by a commitment to helping others and alleviating suffering. So there is a moral imperative to help those who are suffering from diseases and to explore the potential of all types of stem cell research" (Knowles). There is no doubt that those people who are pro-research have morals and are part of an ethical quest to help those who are living now as opposed to those in an early embryonic form (Reaves). Also, it is true that pro-life movements would prefer to have researchers use adult stem cells and not embryonic ones. By choosing the former, only cells from existing people would be...

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