Pro Stem Cell Research Position Paper

Pro Stem Cell Research Position Paper-85
The decision to federally fund research involving the destruction of human embryos would be profoundly disturbing even if this research could result in great scientific and medical gain.

The decision to federally fund research involving the destruction of human embryos would be profoundly disturbing even if this research could result in great scientific and medical gain.The prospect of government-sponsored experiments to manipulate and destroy human embryos should make us all lie awake at night.

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It may strike some as surprising that legal protection of embryonic human beings can co-exist with the U. Most of these provisions prohibit experiments on embryos outside the womb.

We believe that the above legally acknowledged protections against assaults on human dignity must be extended to all human beings-irrespective of gender, race, religion, health, disability, or age.

However, some embryology textbooks now openly refer to the term "pre-embryo" as a scientifically invalid and "inaccurate" term which has been "discarded" and others which once used the term have quietly dropped it from new editions.

The claim that an early human embryo becomes a human being only after 14 days or implantation in the womb is therefore a scientific myth.

Since 1975, those norms have been applied to unborn children at every stage of development in the womb, and since 1995 they have been applied to the human embryo outside the womb as well.

The existing law on human embryonic research is a reflection of universally accepted principles governing experiments on human subjects-principles reflected in the Nuremberg Code, the World Medical Association's Declaration of Helsinki, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and many other statements.Recent scientific advances in human stem cell research have brought into fresh focus the dignity and status of the human embryo.These developments require that the legal, ethical, and scientific issues associated with this research be critically addressed and articulated.Our careful consideration of these issues leads to the conclusion that human stem cell research requiring the destruction of human embryos is objectionable on legal, ethical, and scientific grounds.Moreover, destruction of human embryonic life is unnecessary for medical progress, as alternative methods of obtaining human stem cells and of repairing and regenerating human tissue exist and continue to be developed.As long as embryos are destroyed as part of the research enterprise, researchers using embryonic stem cells (and those who fund them) will be complicit in the death of embryos.If the flawed rationales of HHS are accepted, federally-funded researchers may soon be able to experiment on stem cells obtained by destroying embryonic human beings, so long as the act of destruction does not itself receive federal funds. ." Obviously, Congress' intent here was not merely to prohibit the use of federal funds for embryo destruction, but to prohibit the use of such funds for research dependent in any way upon such destruction.Because many diseases result from the death or dysfunction of a single cell type, scientists believe that the introduction of healthy cells of this type into a patient may restore lost or compromised function.Now that human embryonic stem cells can be isolated and multiplied in the laboratory, some scientists believe that treatments for a variety of diseases-such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's-may be within reach.An international scientific consensus now recognizes that human embryos are biologically human beings beginning at fertilization, and acknowledges the physical continuity of human growth and development from the one-cell stage forward.In the 1970s and 1980s, some frog and mouse embryologists referred to the human embryo in its first week or two of development as a "pre-embryo," claiming that it deserved less respect than embryos in later stages of development.


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