Submitted by: Matthew Neal
With the overturning of the stem cell laws on Tuesday there is likely to be a renewed debate over the ethics and viability of embryonic stem cell research. Obama was smart in how he dealt with this subject. He reversed the laws allowing for the research to be funded by the US government, but left the moral debates to congress. Although this law simply makes it legal for the federal government to use its money on embryonic stem cell research it does not reverse the policy that it is ethically wrong or send any specific funds to the research. This will likely once again open a large debate in congress about whether or not it should allocate funds for this type of research and what moral obligations it may have in this. After hearing about this revived issue I did some research on China. In some ways, China seems to be far ahead of the US in this regard. According to one source â€œThe Chinese government is expected to funnel as much as $132 million annually into [stem cell] research over the next five years.â€
I did some research into stem cell research in China and was amazed at some of the things I found. According to stemcellschina.com it seems that many patients already go over to China to attain stem cell therapy. I did some research on India but surprisingly could not find near as much information. One of my questions is what does this state about the current affairs of American stem cell research and have we been hampered by the lack of funding for embryonic cell research?
At first glance the answer to this may seem to be a resounding yes. When one looks deeper however the issue becomes a little bit more unclear. Take for example the fact that, â€œThere have been no successful treatment trials in human beings using embryonic stem cells. Unlike embryonic stem cells and the recently discovered… “iPS cells”â€¦ adult stem cells do not create tumors.â€ Adult stem cell research has been able to cure hundreds of patients. All while using practices that are almost universally accepted as fair and ethical. Does there really need to be such a push into embryonic stem cells if we are getting amazing results using other forms of stem cells?
What are your feelings on the ethics and moral obligations of scientists and researchers, if any? A can of worms I know, but that’s what I love about these type of debates : ) I am personally against any research done on embryonic stem cells harvested for the sole purpose of research.
Should the government only fund and harvest adult stem cell research?
How about discarded umbilical cord stem cells?
What about the huge stock piles of embryonic cells that are sitting in warehouses?
What about aborted fetuses?
What about harvesting fertile eggs for the sole purpose of stem cell research?
Where should the moral and ethical line be drawn?
Here are some very interesting sites on stem cell research. I also realize that a lot of the â€œtreatmentsâ€ are suspect, so what do you think?