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There is a lot of debate about Stem Cell Research today in America. But what are Stem Cells? How can we use them? And why is there so much controversy surrounding the subject? The debate itself comes from a few sources, one being the moral view that taking stem cells from an embryo is taking a life. Stem cells are beginning stage cells that can divide into many different kinds of specialized cells. Embryonic stem cells are stem cells derived from an early stage embryo, which can be grown into the different kinds of specialized cells. Adult stem cells are body cells that divide to replace dying cells or damaged tissues. Another reason there is a debate is from an ethical stance; whether or not messing with nature in the way is right or wrong. Then there is the political aspect. Either way, there is a lot to consider when deciding how you feel about this topic- and a lot to learn.
Embryonic stem cell therapy is a very popular idea because of the ability of the stem cells taken from an embryo to divide into different cells. In this way, scientists are less limited with what they can make the cells turn into-and therefore, what kind of patients they can be used to help. Adult stem cells are a bit different. Since they are taken from a person and not an embryo which is rapidly dividing to eventually become a person, they can not be pushed to divide into as many different types of specialized cells. Adult stem cells can still be used to help/treat people though. They are commonly used as bone marrow transplants, which is something needed in Leukemia patients and people with other cancers. Some stem cells are found in the blood stream as well, and so those can be used the same way as stem cells taken from bone marrow. Stem cells taken from umbilical cords of newborns can too be used to treat cancer patients, and patients with blood disorders.
Though some stem cell treatments have proven to be successful, and greatly beneficial to patients, there are many people opposed to using stem cells. To people of many different religions, such as Christianity, and Muslim, taking stem cells from an embryo and therefore discarding the embryo is killing a life. In their opinion, life starts from conception, and so, even though the embryos used are most of the time left over ones stored in fertility clinics that would be discarded anyway, they are against this use of the embryos. Some people, even un-religious ones, are apprehensive to proceed with Stem Cell Research because they believe it is unnatural. Some worry that it could lead to cloning, and think that people should not have other people's/embryo's stem cells inserted into their own bodies. Is Stem Cell Research wrong, immoral, and unethical? It is a hard question to answer. That is why politicians also cannot seem to come to a decision about whether it should receive Gov. funding or not. They are worried that by siding with one idea about it (even if it is the majority in a vote), they are going to anger persons who hold other opinions and ideas. Since there are so many viewpoints to take into consideration with this issue, it is hard to think of it as black and white.
For me, for instance, it was all grey until this year. Until this year I knew that I was not morally against it- because even though I am a religious person (or at least Spiritual), and (I believe) I am a moral person, I do not think discarding an embryo like this would be taking a life. I also think that it is crazy and hypocritical to be okay with the embryos being just destroyed anyway, instead of uncovering their potential to help people. But at the same time, I did have a slight ethical problem about it. Our world's population has nearly doubled in the last 30 years. Science and medicine is developing at such a fast pace that it is almost scary. Who knows what scientists will do with whatever they discover? Maybe the whole world will be cured of every disease known to man! I can't accept this, though. Our world was not meant to hold so many people. If there were some sort of catastrophe, if world-wide famine occurred, what would we do? It would be a crisis beyond our imagination. We are almost at a crisis beyond our imagination right now, with all the over-(and I do believe it is OVER)-population going on. Births go up. The health of nations goes up. Numbers just keep going up. And if medicine and science stays caught up with it-how many less people will die every year? How many children will they have, and their children's children and their children's children's children. What will happen to our country?
So, I may be expected to say that I am against Stem Cell because of an ethical belief that the world is becoming too unnatural. However, even with the strong conviction I have against our population so increasing, personal reasons have driven me to be for Stem Cell Research. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about two months ago. It is not serious now, but it still worries me. I love my mom, and she is really and truly the best thing in my life; I am so, so, so incredibly fortunate to have her. I could not bear to loose her-not right now, not when I need her so much. And so-I understand why this research is so important. I understand why science is being so pushed to find cures for Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, Leukemia, Breast Cancer, genetic mutations, anything and everything! I understand! Because of my life, because of my personal situation, I cannot be against Stem Cell Research. I refuse to deny my mother a cure, and therefore, I cannot think anyone should be denied a cure, because that would make me a hypocrite-which I most certainly am not.
Stem Cells can be used to bring great good to lives of people in America, and in other countries- but also, great bad, if you think about the ethical point I was making. Truly, it depends what you think, and what your situation is. If you're religion is against it, and you are morally against it, thinking that embryos are life that should not be destroyed, that is your decision, and your opinion. If you have an ethical obligation to yourself and your world, and think it is too unnatural, then that is your conviction. And if you are affected, or have a family member affected with Leukemia, Parkinson 's disease, Cancer, Anemia, Hunter's syndrome, Sickle Cell disease, Alzheimer's disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Diabetes, or a plethora of other conditions, then that is your life, and I will not blame you at all for fighting for a cure. I will raise up my voice and help you, because that is what I believe in, too. People need a cure. Not our world as a whole, but individuals, families. Though current politics and a lack of Government funding make it difficult, and expensive to do, people with most of the disorders I just listed are already able to be treated successfully with use of stem cell therapy. Why continue to make it so difficult for them, and why deny the others?