Ethical Issues Surrounding Stem Cell Medicine.

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Stem Cell Medicine – Ethical Issues

As you can imagine, not everyone agrees with extracting a human embryo, and essentially murdering (killing) it, purely for the use of medicine. Many people believe that although it cannot do things a normal human can do, it does in fact count a human. And as killing a human is illegal, human rights activists protest against the use of embryonic stem cells in medicine. This forces people to choose between two moral principles; The duty to prevent or alleviate suffering and the duty to respect the value of human life.

As soon as a human is created via reproduction, and after fertilisation, it is technically alive and has full moral status. Stem cells are vital to this ‘child’s’ development and so removing these stem cells will make the embryo unable to live. Thus, by extracting these stem cells, the embryo is being ‘murdered’ by the scientists, because the embryo did not have ‘a say’ in whether they wanted their stem cells to be extracted or not and because of this it also does not qualify as euthanasia. In addition, religious activists believe that it, as with other embryo killing cases, such as with abortions, it counts as removing God’s gift of life and they also accuse scientists of ‘playing God’ by giving and taking lives. They disagree with this and say that it is not their responsibility to kill people and end lives like this, and even though it is for medicine, they cannot kill people for other people’s benefit. They say that because embryo development is a continuous process, it is impossible to pinpoint a particular point when It becomes human, and because it will one day become a person, it should be treated as one.

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However, people argue that early embryos do not have the psychological, physical or emotional traits that we associate with human beings. Therefore, it is not a human being yet and so does not require protection and can be used for the benefit of patients (who do count as people). In addition, as these embryos are only leftovers from fertility clinics, they do not have a chance of becoming a child unless they are implanted into a uterus or externally cultured. Because of this, they will not be people and so, taking their lives doesn’t matter. Furthermore, people take views that ‘blastocysts’ ...

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