Anda di halaman 1dari 9

WhenDoeslifebegin?

Whetherornotembryonicstemcellsshouldbeusedforresearchisa questionthatourcountryisstrugglingtofigureout.Iflookedatfromascientific standpointthedecisionseemsclear.EmbryonicStemCellsareexactlywhattheir namesuggests,aclusterofcells.Atfivetotendaysoldthesecellscannotfeel, breath,theycannoteventhink.Itseemsfoolishtoletsomethingthatcouldsave lives,enhancemedicine,andincreasethequalityoflifeformillionsofpeoplegoto waste.Thesecellshaveahighplasticity,meaningtheycandifferentiateinto differentkindsofcells.Andtheycangrowanddivideforaseeminglyindefinite amountoftime,andwhiletheyredoingthistheydontlosetheirplasticity.These cellsarelikethesuperheroesofthefuturetheyhaveunlimitedpotential.1 Sowhy areweallowingthesetinymiraclesgotowaste?Whyareweliterallythrowing theminthegarbage? Manychurcheshavethesamequestion.Whyarewethrowingthesecellsin thegarbage?Onlytothem,thesearenotjustcells.Thesemicroscopicbeingsarea futurelife,asoontobechild.Althoughitsnotjustthechurchwhoseesthingsthis wayinfact27%percentofAmericansopposetheuseoffederalfundingfor embryonicstemcellresearch.2Itmaybebecausetheembryosarealife,andif
1

Panno,Joseph.StemCellResearch:MedicalApplicationsandEthicalControversy.NewYork, NY:FactsOnFile,2005.Print.(pg1)
2008Nationalpoll

giventhechancetheywouldbecomeababy.Embryonicstemcellsaremuchmore thantheyappear.Thesecellshaveasmuchpotentialtomakeadifferenceinthis worldasyouandme,maybeevenmore.Thesecellscanpotentiallysavelives throughscientificexperimentation,oriftheyrereimplantedintoawomb,become thenextU.S.president,anauthor,orrightsactivist.Inthefuturethesecellscould befightingfortherightsofembryosortheycouldbetheoneconductingthetests, thepossibilitiesaresimplyendless.Butisitrightforustousethecellsfor informationknowingthattheprocesswillkillthem,andthattheywillnolonger haveachanceatlife? Embryonicstemcellresearchisdefinedasbiologicalresearchonstemcells derivedfromembryosandtheiruseinmedicine.3 Thisissueisoneofthebiggest controversiesinthenationbecausethestemcellsarederivedfromembryos.Afterthe cellsaretakenfromthetheblastocyst,orfetus,theyarethenputintoapetridishandfrom theretheycanbeusedtogeneratevarioustissuessuchasanervoussystem,circulatory system,oranimmunesystem.Anyoneoftheseusescouldbenefitmillionsofpeople. ScientistsbelievethatembryosholdthecuresforParkinsons,Alzheimers,juvenile diabetesandspinalcordinjuries.Stemcellresearchhasvastpotentialforcuring diseases,alleviatingsufferingandsavinglives.,saysRobertMenendez,ademocratic senatorintheU.S.senatesince2006.4 Ifthecellsarenotremovedfromtheblastocyst

Dictionary.com|FindtheMeaningsandDefinitionsofWordsatDictionary.com.Web.3Oct. 2011.<http://dictionary.reference.com/>. Skancke,Jennifer.StemCellResearch.FarmingtonHills,MI:Greenhaven,2009.Print.(pg18)

theyhavethepotentialtodevelopintoahumanlife. Moststemcellsusedaretakenfromfertilityclinics.Afterafamilyhasnoneedfor theirembryostheyaredonatedandthenusedforresearch.Iftheunusedembryosarenot donatedtheyareeitheradoptedandimplantedintoanotherwomanswombortheyare thrownaway.Manypeoplebelievethatusingstemcellscouldnotbeethicallyimmoral becausemorethanlikelytheembryoswouldhavegonetowasteanddiedinagarbage bin.Usingtheseembryosseems,tomanylikearesourcefulsolution. SinceCharlesDarwinpublishedOnTheOriginofSpeciesin1859hintingthat diseasescanbeinheritedfromone'sparents,stemcellresearchhasbeenonthefast track.JustalittleoverahundredyearslatertwoCanadianresearcherswereableto classifyadultstemcellsinbonemarrow.In2009theFDA(FoodandDrugAdministration) allowedtrialsofembryonictransplants,andastheyearsprogresswegrowcloserand closertocuresofmanypainfuldiseasesandconditions.However,itmaytakeusanother hundredyearstoreachthatgoalandtoachieveitwewouldhavetotakethelivesof thousandsofembryosthatcouldhavebeenadopted.WehavebeenstudyingDarwins theorysincethe1700swhenscientistsfirstnoticedanimalsregenerativepropertiesand wehavemadegreatprogress.5Butmakingitthisfartooknearlythreehundredyears. Rememberingthatinthe1700sBenjaminFranklinfirstinventedthelightningrod,and Americawasonlyjustgettingstarted.Anditwasntuntil1775thattheAmericanRevolution began.Inrealitythestartofstemcellswasaroundthesametimethatmanyotheradvances

Marcovitz,Hal."ImportantEventsinStemCellResearch."Preface.StemCellResearch.SanDiego, CA:ReferencePoint,2011.89.Print.

werehappening,itwasthestart,andwearenowherenearthefinish. Theproblemwiththestemcellsisthatyouknowinglycreatealife,thenyouuseit forpurposesotherthanwhatGodwouldhaveintended,JoelZeiner,apastoratChristthe Rock,andagraduateofYaleUniversity,says.Tomany,embryonicstemcellresearchhits afoulnote.Itsparksthesamefeelingassociatedwithprolifersandmanypeopleconsider discardinganembryotobejustasmuchofacrimeasabortingababy.Numerous individualsfeelthatatconceptionahumanbeingisformed,thatatthemomenttheeggis fertilizeditisababyanddestroyingthatembryowouldbeconsideredmurder.According tothedictionaryahumanbeingissomeonewhoisrepresentingthehumanspecies,and theembryosthatwouldbesacrificedforsciencehavetheirownpersonalsetofDNA.That DNAcanbeconsideredaformofrepresentation,andiftheembryoisrepresentingthe humanspecies,itisahumanbeing.Takingthatlifethen,wouldbemurder.6 Fromthat standpointitisnotmerelyaclusterofcells,itisachild.Thequestionthenisifitsethically moraltoendonelife,tobenefitanother? Anotherreasonsomepeoplefinditsohardtoexceptembryonicstemcellresearch isthatwehavelivingproofofwhattheseembryoscouldbecome.Theygobythename snowflakechildren.Thesearethechildrenbornofleftoverembryos.Afteryearsofsitting inafreezerthesechildrenareimplantedintoanadoptivemotherswomb,theygothrough thestagesofdevelopmentandcomeintotheworldthesameasanyotherchild.Intheend itdoesnotseemtomatterthatthesechildrenwereconceivedinapetridish.Theyare raised,lovedandrespectedinthesamewayanychildbornnaturallywouldbetreated.

MaryRunnoe10thgradestudentatKimberlyHighSchool

Afterthechildrenarebornitisimpossibletotellthatanythingisdifferentaboutthem. Snowflakechildrenareapossiblefuturefortheembryosthataresittinginfrontofscientists atthismoment.Butthetruthisthatallofthoseembryoswilldie,tobenefitothers.Theywill diesopeoplewhosuffereverydaywillbeabletoalleviatethepainandliveinpeace.That istheexchangethatdrivesthemoraldilemma.7 AmanwhodidnotstrugglewiththismoraldilemmaisGeorgeW.Bush.OnJuly 19th,2001,hevetoedtheStemCellResearchEnhancementAct.Itwasadecisionthat displeasedmanyAmericansbecauseitlimitedtheamountofresearchthatcouldbe conductedregardingembryos.BeforethisvetoPresidentBushplacedrestrictionson EmbryonicStemCellResearch,sayingthatresearchusinggovernmentmoneycouldonly beusedtoanalyzestemcelllinesthatarealreadyinexistence.Bushwassayingthatno newembryoscouldbedispatchedforresearchusinggovernmentmoney. WhydoesitmatterthatBushvetoedtheact?Embryonicstemcelllinesaregroups ofcellsthathavegrowninpetridishes.Theystartoutasafertilizedeggandseveraldays after,thestemcellsareremovedfromtheblastocyst.Theyarethenplacedinaculturedish wheretherequirednutrientsforthestemcellstosurvivearelocated.Thestemcellsthen growanddivideindefinitelytoformstemcelllines.Butafterthecellsareremovedfromthe blastocystitisimpossibletorevertthecellsbackintoahumanfetus. PresidentBushvetoedtheStemCellEnhancementActforthatparticularreason: thecellsareunabletorevertbackintoanembryoaftertheyareremovedfromthe blastocyst.Afterhisvetoofthebill,Bushheldameetingwhereheinvitedmanyreportersto

Forman,Lillian.StemCellResearch.Edina,MN:ABDOPub.,2008.Print.(pg713)

visithishomeattheWhitehousesohecouldexplainhischoice.Withhimatthemeeting weremanyofthesnowflakechildrentorepresenthiscause,andthisiswhathesaid: Theseboysandgirlsarenotspareparts.Theyremindusofwhatislostwhenembryosare destroyedinthenameofresearch.Theyremindusthatweallbeginourlivesasasmall collectionofcellsGeorgeW.Bush.8Despitehisattemptstoreassureusthathemadethe rightdecision,manyAmericansstillfeltasiftheyhadbeenbetrayed.Includingmanyof Bushsfellowrepublicans.Noonecanarguethatsnowflakechildrenarenotvaluable,but thepotentialofthecellslifechangingabilitiescannotbeignored. Throughalloftheprotestsmanyscientistssimplyturnedtoadultstemcelltofurther research.Thedifferencebetweenadultstemcellsandembryonicstemcellsisthatadult stemcellsdontcomefromanembryo,theycomefromanadultorchild.Orinotherwords, someonewhohasalreadybeenborn.Thesecellsaretakenfromapersonsskincells, spine,orfromanotherpartofthebody.Unlikewithembryonicstemcellresearchwehave seenalotmorefruitforourlabor,therearealreadyexamplesofsuccessfuladultstemcell transplants.Suchasbonemarrowtransplants.Despitethesuccessofadultstemcell research,scientistsprotestedthelimitsplacedonembryonicstemcellresearchmainly becauseofembryonicstemcellshighplasticity.Embryonicstemcellsareableto transformintodifferenttissuesbecausetheyaretakenatsuchearlystagesoflife.These cellshaventyetbecomebloodcells,livercellsandsoon,makingiteasierforscientiststo turnthecellsintowhatevertissueisneeded.Adultstemcellshaveamuchlowerplasticity

Forman,Lillian.StemCellResearch.Edina,MN:ABDOPub.,2008.Print.(pg14)

anditsmuchmoredifficulttousethesecellsforcures.Butitcanbedone.Asofnow scientistsusingadultstemcellshavehadmoreprogressinshowingcuresfordiseases andalleviatingpain.Butscientistsbelievethatiftheycanspendmoretimeonresearch theywouldbeabletodosomuchmorewithembryonicstemcellsthanwhattheyhave doneandaredoingwithadultstemcells. Regardlessofwhatdecisionsaremade,thereissacrifice.Liveswillbelost, butthequestioniswhichlivespotentialchildrenorthosestrugglingwithdisease. Itishardtolookatthiscontroversyandseeaneasysolution,becausethereisnot one.Scientistswillkilltheembryos,orthegovernmentwillputanearlyendtothe patientsinthehospitalbeds.Thatistheblunttruth.Wehavetoaskourselvesifit isworthkillinganinfantforawomaninthehospital.Anembryoisnotababy,but giventhestandardninemonthsitcouldbeanditseemsunwisetodiscountan embryoasahumanbecauseithasnotbeenbornyet.Whenlookingatababyits notveryhardtoimaginewhatitwillgrowuptobe.Wecaneasilyimaginewhatthat infantwillbeintwentyyears.Butthenitissohardforustolookatanembryoand imaginewhatitwillbeinninemonths.Everythingboilsdowntowhenalife begins.Everyonehastotakethetimetoconsiderifahumanbeingstartsat conception,itsfirstheartbeat,oratbirth.Whenembryonicstemcellsarelookedat asbeingsimplycells,itseasytooverlookthepotentiallossofalife,butifthat clusterofcellsbecomesahumantheminutethespermhitstheeggthelossis unbearable. Theworldneedstotakethetimetoaskifitsacceptabletoenda

possiblelifetobenefitanother?Isrighttotakeawaythatabilitytogrowand becomeahumanbeing?Thebigquestionis,whendoeslifebeginandisitmurder tomakethelivesofthoseinpaineasier?Whilethisisnotaneasyquestionto answer,itsaquestionthathastobe.

WorksCited "BioNewsStemCellTrialforMSPatientsBegins."BioNewsHome.Web.30Aug.2011. <http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_103575.asp>. Black,Laura.TheStemCellDebate:theEthicsandSciencebehindtheResearch.Berkeley Heights,NJ:Enslow,2006.Print. "BuildingNewFacesfromStemCellsintheEarHealth13August2011NewScientist."Science NewsandScienceJobsfromNewScientistNewScientist.Web.10Oct.2011. <http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128254.400buildingnewfacesfromstemcellsin theear.html>. Dictionary.com|FindtheMeaningsandDefinitionsofWordsatDictionary.com.Web.3Oct. 2011.<http://dictionary.reference.com/>. FetalStemCellTreatment|MedraInc&WilliamCRaderMD.Web.21Aug.2011. <http://www.medra.com/>. Forman,Lillian.StemCellResearch.Edina,MN:ABDOPub.,2008.Print. "LifeforceCryobanksLaunchesNewIdentityCampaigntoHelpCommunicateFullSpectrumof ServicesOfferedbyCordBloodBankandDemonstrateLifesavingPotentialofUmbilicalCord Blood."MarketwireNewswireServiceforOnlinePressReleaseDistribution,Social MediaReleases,SocialMediaMonitoring,OnlineNewsrooms,NewsReleaseAnalytics andReporting.Web.5Sept.2011. <http://www.marketwire.com/pressrelease/lifeforcecryobankslaunchesnewidentitycampaig nhelpcommunicatefullspectrumservices1548631.htm>. Marcovitz,Hal."ImportantEventsinStemCellResearch."Preface.StemCellResearch.SanDiego, CA:ReferencePoint,2011.89.Print. Panno,Joseph.StemCellResearch:MedicalApplicationsandEthicalControversy.NewYork, NY:FactsOnFile,2005.Print. Skancke,Jennifer.StemCellResearch.FarmingtonHills,MI:Greenhaven,2009.Print.