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Post Stem-Cell Research
Created by John Eipper on 06/15/13 3:33 PM

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Stem-Cell Research (Istvan Simon, USA, 06/15/13 3:33 pm)

Maybe I am ethically less astute than John Heelan (12 June), but I see no new conundrum, ethical or otherwise, in his post.

From an ethical standpoint, I don't see how embryonic cells are any different from the skin cells John sheds at night. I see no difference. After all Dolly did not start life as an embryo, and yet she was a perfectly nice little sheep made in a laboratory in Scotland from Dolly's "mother"'s somatic cells.


If this is so, why would an embryo have any more of a right to life than a skin cell?

In any case, irrespective of what some people may believe or not about the "miracle of life," and whether they believe that this occurs at conception or not, stem cell research brings no new ethical problems, because the embryos already exist.

By logic, either embryos have a right to become babies or not. But if embryos have a right to become babies--a right which is not recognized by any country that I know of-- then all the fertility work for infertile couples violates that right, because plenty of embryos are created which do not become babies, which are then discarded. Yet, fertility work has been going on for 35 years, and by now it has been generally accepted: there are four million "test-tube babies" that have been born all around the world. Therefore, it seems to me that the ethical issues were also resolved to most people's satisfaction: most people have now accepted implicitly that embryos do not have a right to become babies--because that is the implication of the fertility work which has been accepted in most countries, and as far as I know, is not being challenged anywhere on ethical grounds.


It follows that there is nothing wrong or new ethically in getting stem cells from already existing embryos, even if the embryo is destroyed in the process, because as I said above most people have already accepted much before this work even began that the embryo does not have a right to life.

By the way, the stem cell company that I mentioned without naming in a previous post is Advanced Cell Technology Corporation. John is welcome to check that they indeed do not destroy the embryo from which they grow their embryonic stem cells:


JE comments:  Just a rhetorical question.  If there is no ethical conundrum in destroying embryos when doing stem-cell research, why then does Advanced Cell Technology pride itself in not destroying them?

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