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Cloning for scientific purposes begs the question, at what point does life begin such that it becomes unethical to destroy it?With continuing technological developments, the point at which a child is viable outside the mother’s womb becomes earlier and earlier.While many argue that embryonic stem cell research holds the potential of developing cures for a number of illnesses that affect many individuals, such research is performed at the cost of destroying a life and should therefore not be pursued.
Therefore, the attempt to define a point at which life begins past the initial point of conception is futile.
As more advanced technologies continue to be developed, society should not continue to define and re-define what constitutes a human life.
If any answer to the ethical debate surrounding this particular aspect of stem cell research exists, it is a hazy one at best.
The question facing many scientists and policymakers involved in embryonic stem cell research is, which is more valuable – the life of a human suffering from a potentially fatal illness or injury, or the life of human at one week of development?
Those in support of embryonic stem cell research claim that the week-old blastocysts from which embryonic stem cells are derived are merely a cluster of cells and thus do not constitute a human being.
Because these cells are “not human,” the embryos should not be afforded the same human rights as are granted to other more advanced stages of cell growth.Advances over the past decade in this promising scientific field have been encouraging, leading to broad agreement in the scientific community that the full range of promising stem cell research should be supported by Federal funds. Kaufman, who is an associate director at the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute and an associate professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, supports embryonic stem cell research, arguing that the embryos used in the study of embryonic stem cells come from fertilized zygotes that would be otherwise destroyed: It is important to recognize that human embryonic stem cells all come from embryos created in excess by fertility clinics.(White House) The President’s executive order indicates belief in the medical potential and application embryonic stem cell research. All of these embryos will be destroyed if they are not donated by couples specifically to produce embryonic stem cells for biomedical research. Kaufman and other supporters of embryonic stem cell efforts assert that by utilizing embryos for research purposes that were otherwise intended for disposal, researchers are in fact paying more respect to the life of that embryo.Similar to Eckman, opponents of embryonic stem cell research believe that life begins at conception, the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg, and consequentially the destruction of a week-old human embryo is the destruction of a life.Though the majority of critical voices appreciate the effort to discover and develop cures for the benefit of suffering individuals through stem cells, they promote utilizing stem cells derived from sources other than human embryos, arguing that such research will not cause harm to another human being.In the second process, scientists solely manipulate the culture in which the embryonic cells are grown or directly alter the genetic content of the cells.Herein lies the heart of the ethical debate over the morality of destroying a human embryo in order to derive embryonic stem cells for treatment.Recent scientific studies have made significant progress studying stem cells obtained from adult cells and umbilical cords, neither of which involves the abortion of a human embryo.While the arguments in support of human embryonic stem cell research are well intentioned, some have a number of flaws.Many liberals and conservatives alike argue that the potential benefits far outweigh the moral concerns, and for this reason, embryonic stem cell research should be pursued.President Obama issued an executive order revoking President Bush’s previous order that limited funding of research involving human embryonic stem cells for its violation of human rights: Research involving human embryonic stem cells and human non-embryonic stem cells has the potential to lead to better understanding and treatment of many disabling diseases and conditions.