The Abortion and Stem Cell Debates

Abortion:

Throughout history, induced abortions have been a source of considerable debate and controversy. An individual’s personal stance on the complex ethical, moral, and legal issues has a strong relationship with the given individual’s value system. A person’s position on abortion may be described as a combination of their personal beliefs on the morality of induced abortion and their beliefs on the ethical limit of the government’s legitimate authority. Abortion debates, especially pertaining to the legal ramifications of abortion laws, are often spearheaded by advocacy groups. These groups tend to fall into one of two camps, with people in favor of legal abortion describing themselves as pro-choice, while those against legal abortion call themselves pro-life.

Stem Cell Research:

Embryonic stem cells are controversial. They come from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, the term for a fertilized egg four days after conception. But while many pro-life advocates stand firm in their opposition to using embryonic cells for research, others, including Senator Orrin Hatch, have cast their lot with the scientific community in favor of continuing research funding. High-profile activists, including actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, have appeared before congressional subcommittees urging that research continue. On the scientific side of the debate researchers are not exactly sure what stem cells can do for humans. What they do know however, is that because stem cells are undifferentiated, scientists may be able to prompt them into becoming whatever type of cell is needed. The cells may also be able to replace damaged or sick cells in a patient with an injury or degenerative disease. For pro-life advocates, the moral cost of continuing such research outweighs any potential benefits. For scientists, however, the possibilities are inspiring and endless.

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