Stem Cells: A Proverbial Obscurity (Argumentative Research Essay Supporting Stem Cell Research; Includes Works Cited Entries)

1934 words - 8 pages

Human cloning is an often controversial and highly emotive issue with many factors surrounding it. A global ban on all facets of human cloning has been introduced for approval by the United Nations, and it is on the verge of being passed. Banning human cloning on all levels would be an arbitrary mistake with unnecessary consequences. Stem cell research, the eminent component of human cloning, would be outlawed if this ban were passed. According to R. Alta Charo, professor of law and medical ethics at the University of Wisconsin Law School, "Debates over cloning, stem cell therapy, and even genetic engineering have become almost hopelessly entangled in the last five years." The potential ...view middle of the document...

" Scientists hope that stem cells can be manipulated to produce cells that will allow the human body to combat many disorders. Included in the diseases believed to be treatable or even curable with stem cells are diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease. Additionally, tissue damaged by heart disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, cancer, or burns could be repaired or replaced by tissue grown from stem cells. If stem cells could be instructed to differentiate into any type of body cell, they could potentially be used to cultivate new organs to replace damaged ones. Instead of waiting for a donor, an organ could be made especially for someone in need. Researching stem cells also allows scientists to study cell development and differentiation, which would expand knowledge of genetic disorders. The National Institutes of Health explains,"A primary goal of this work would be the identification of the factors involved in the cellular decision-making process that results in cell specialization. We know that turning genes on and off is central to this process, but we do not know [. . .] what turns them on or off. Some of our most serious medical conditions, such as cancer and birth defects, are due to abnormal cell specialization and cell division. A better understanding of normal cell processes will allow us to further delineate the fundamental errors that cause these often deadly illnesses."Anything concerning human life or potential human life sparks profound debate among an array of people including scientists, politicians, and religious groups. Social scientist and ethicist Dorothy Wertz indicates that "just about anything with the label 'embryo' or 'fetus' arouses [. . .] concerns about the dignity of human life or human potential." Scientists and some religious sects claim that life doesn't begin until approximately 14 days after conception when cells have differentiated while most religious groups maintain that it begins at the moment of fertilization. Since the question of when life begins can not be answered completely and truly by any one individual, it is proposed that human cloning technology is regulated in order to reach a compromise.There will always be extremists, but generally speaking, researchers do not want to use cloning technology to clone a human being. Greg Easterbrook insists, "The primary point stem cell researchers make [. . .] is that the cells they experiment upon, once brought into the lab, might be made into muscle or blood, but can no longer become a human being." There is a widespread consensus among scientists, bioethicists, and researchers that reproductive cloning is dangerous, shows no real benefit to humans, and should be outright banned. Similarly, scientists propose that embryonic stem cell research should be strictly regulated. Following these hypothetical regulations, only embryos created during the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process or for therapeutic cloning could be...

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