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Government Funding Stem Cell Research Essay

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Government Funding Stem Cell Research
Stem cell research is a relatively new science that is the source of much medical promise yet much controversy as well. The type of stem cells required, embryonic stem cells, are only obtainable one way: through the destruction of human embryos. In 1996, the Dickey-Wicker Amendment was passed, making the government unable to fund any research where human embryos are created or destroyed. At first the amendment was a minor obstacle the government had to work around to still get the stem cell scientists the money they needed. It wasn’t until August 23, 2010 that Judge Lamberth’s ruling halted all government funding for stem cell research. Today, stem cell research does not receive government funds as the research, though potentially life-saving, crosses moral and religious barriers that inhibit its growth as a science and as a gateway towards future medical breakthroughs. With the opposing arguments in mind, I feel the government should fund stem cell research as doing so will help speed up the research process and get us closer to saving lives and ending human suffering.

There are two types of stem cells, adult stem cells (found in adults) and embryonic stem cells (found in embryos). Although both possess at least some ability to replicate and develop into mature specialized cells, such as skin cells, heart cells, or nerve cells, the adult stem cells are much less numerous than embryonic and generally much more limited in the types of cells they can form. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning that they can form any kind of tissue and any type of cell. Embryonic stem cells are currently not used for medical treatments yet are the source of much medical promise in the near future. Obtainable only through the destruction of human embryos, embryonic stem cells can be viewed as life savers or the products of life destruction. A type of adult stem cell, the hematopoietic stem cell, is already widely used to treat leukemia; in fact, they are the only kind of stem cells currently used to treat diseases. Though past and current applications of stem cell therapy with humans may seem a bit underwhelming, scientists around the globe agree that stem cell research is worth the attention and will bring much relief to victims of many diseases.

The main reason for government not to fund stem cell research is that it funds or at least encourages the destruction of human embryos. Judge Lamberth severed the government’s loophole used to fund stem cell research, appealing to the numerous United States citizens who do not want their tax dollars going towards the destruction of human embryos. Judge...

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