Hannah Perkins

Stem Cell Debate Essay
Davis
December 3, 2015

Stem Cells: The Stem of Unethical Work?
Was America not founded on freedom? Were the pilgrims not seeking refuge from
the Church of England? Did we found this country on the belief of religious freedom, and
that no citizen will be under the rule of any one religion? Then why is it today, over two
whole centuries later, stem cell research is under attack based on Americans citizens’
religious belief protecting the unborn? Stem cell research is an ethical practice that aids in
the process of cures for certain diseases, better understand the human body, and discover
new medicinal treatments.
Stem cells can be quite a confusing topic as there are many different types and
are harvested in many different ways, but the cells are used for one goal: To better the
medicinal world. Embryonic cells are harvested from a fertilized egg in an in vitro
fertilization clinic. This is highlight of the ethical debate of stem cell as they are harvest
in vitro, so they are not coming straight from a woman, but instead from the consent of
the donors, and that those fertilized eggs will be used solely for that purpose. It’s not as if
doctors ripped the fertilized egg from the woman and were destroying her baby. If an
organism cannot survive outside of the womb, is it actual a fully functioning organism? Is
the growing organism really a living thing until it can respond to stimulus? This is why
embryos have the potential to be a fully functioning organism, but until then are a bunch
of different types of cells that are growing. To add on, there are millions of eggs in a

woman. She isn’t going to use every one of them. So why not put them to good use and
help scientists to explore the genetic world?
Stem cells are a major aid on the road for cures for diseases such as Parkinson’s,
Muscular Dystrophy, and Multiple Sclerosis. Scientists can grow active cell cultures in
petri dishes that can, under certain conditions, can turn into specialized or nonspecific
cells such as nerve or muscle cells, which then can be used on a patient to help their
condition. Stem cells are also the next step for organ transplant. Organs are limited in
supply, but cells that become specialized and learn how to regenerate can reach out to a
multitude of people much faster than just having an uncertain amount of used organs. By
being able to use embryonic stem cells, doctors have much more flexibility in being able
to grow these cells and how to change the chemical composition of each medium to
evolve into a certain type of cell. By also using only embryonic stem cells, there is a
significantly lower chance of the immune system rejecting the new stem cells. There is
absolutely no need to complicate medicinal research just because peoples’ ethics stand in
the way.
Looking at the ethics of stem cells from an opposite viewpoint, these valid
reasons seem extremely invalid. And both sides must be expected. There is a passage in
the Bible that speaks about protecting the unborn, and also the belief that once sperm and
egg meet, that is life. That is a baby. And there is also the argument of, “Well what if the
embryo that is destroyed was the person who had the cure for cancer, or for Parkinson’s?”
And while that seems valid, it’s not. Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, all the
people in the history of time who invented and discovered new technology weren’t
granted that. They thought differently. And if one person hadn’t figured out a cure for

something, somebody else would think of it. People carry answers within them, it all just
depends on thought process and resources used. For the argument of life in conception,
certain criteria must be met for an organism considered to be alive. Such as response to
stimuli and grow on its own. An embryo does not meet any of the seven required
elements. And while most morals are based off of religion, and are valid, not everyone
believes in the same religion and Americans’ have that wonderful glory of celebrating
religious freedom, so one groups’ beliefs should not dictate a scientific study based on
science. Not religion. In America, there is a separation of church and state, and scientific
research is not a church-based practice. Keep it that way.
Ethics will always manage to get in the way of politics, religions, media, scientific
studies, name the topic, and different ethical ideas will arise. As a human species, it is in
us to judge and interpret every little thing as right or wrong. And while there is a right
and wrong, there is also minding your own business on things that don’t affect you. Stem
cell research is a practice that should be based on scientific fact and not on different
peoples’ beliefs.

Works Cited
Stem cell transplant. (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2015, from
http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/stem-cell-transplant/indepth/stem-cells/art-20048117?pg=1
Stem Cell Basics. (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2015, from
http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/pages/basics3.aspx
California's Stem Cell Agency. (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2015, from
https://www.cirm.ca.gov/patients/power-stem-cells