Social ethical and political issues raised by the use of human embryos for research using stem cells

Types of Cloning a. When scientists wish to replicate a specific gene to facilitate more thorough study, molecular cloning is implemented in order to generate multiple copies of the DNA fragment of interest. In this process, the specific DNA fragment is transferred from one organism into a self-replicating genetic element, e. Because this kind of cloning does not result in the genesis of a human organism, it has no reproductive intent or goals, and it does not result in the creation and destruction of embryos, there is little to no contention regarding its use.

Social ethical and political issues raised by the use of human embryos for research using stem cells

The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death. The Instruction Donum vitae was particularly significant. And now, twenty years after its publication, it is appropriate to bring it up to date.

The teaching of Donum vitae remains completely valid, both with regard to the principles on which it is based and the moral evaluations which it expresses. However, new biomedical technologies which have been introduced in the critical area of human life and the family have given rise to further questions, in particular in the field of research on human embryos, the use of stem cells for therapeutic purposes, as well as in other areas of experimental medicine.

These new questions require answers. The pace of scientific developments in this area and the publicity they have received have raised expectations and concerns in large sectors of public opinion.

Legislative assemblies have been asked to make decisions on these questions in order to regulate them by law; at times, wider popular consultation has also taken place.

These developments have led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to prepare a new doctrinal Instruction which addresses some recent questions in the light of the criteria expressed in the Instruction Donum vitae and which also examines some issues that were treated earlier, but are in need of additional clarification.

In undertaking this study, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has benefited from the analysis of the Pontifical Academy for Life and has consulted numerous experts with regard to the scientific aspects of these questions, in order to address them with the principles of Christian anthropology.

In the current multifaceted philosophical and scientific context, a considerable number of scientists and philosophers, in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath, see in medical science a service to human fragility aimed at the cure of disease, the relief of suffering and the equitable extension of necessary care to all people.

At the same time, however, there are also persons in the world of philosophy and science who view advances in biomedical technology from an essentially eugenic perspective.

In presenting principles and moral evaluations regarding biomedical research on human life, the Catholic Church draws upon the light both of reason and of faith and seeks to set forth an integral vision of man and his vocation, capable of incorporating everything that is good in human activity, as well as in various cultural and religious traditions which not infrequently demonstrate a great reverence for life.

The Magisterium also seeks to offer a word of support and encouragement for the perspective on culture which considers science an invaluable service to the integral good of the life and dignity of every human being. The Church therefore views scientific research with hope and desires that many Christians will dedicate themselves to the progress of biomedicine and will bear witness to their faith in this field.

She hopes moreover that the results of such research may also be made available in areas of the world that are poor and afflicted by disease, so that those who are most in need will receive humanitarian assistance.

Finally, the Church seeks to draw near to every human being who is suffering, whether in body or in spirit, in order to bring not only comfort, but also light and hope. These give meaning to moments of sickness and to the experience of death, which indeed are part of human life and are present in the story of every person, opening that story to the mystery of the Resurrection.

Yes, life will triumph because truth, goodness, joy and true progress are on the side of life. The present Instruction is addressed to the Catholic faithful and to all who seek the truth. It has three parts: In recent decades, medical science has made significant strides in understanding human life in its initial stages.

Human biological structures and the process of human generation are better known. These developments are certainly positive and worthy of support when they serve to overcome or correct pathologies and succeed in re-establishing the normal functioning of human procreation.

On the other hand, they are negative and cannot be utilized when they involve the destruction of human beings or when they employ means which contradict the dignity of the person or when they are used for purposes contrary to the integral good of man.

The body of a human being, from the very first stages of its existence, can never be reduced merely to a group of cells. The embryonic human body develops progressively according to a well-defined program with its proper finality, as is apparent in the birth of every baby.

Social ethical and political issues raised by the use of human embryos for research using stem cells

It is appropriate to recall the fundamental ethical criterion expressed in the Instruction Donum vitae in order to evaluate all moral questions which relate to procedures involving the human embryo: This ethical principle, which reason is capable of recognizing as true and in conformity with the natural moral law, should be the basis for all legislation in this area.

In fact, it presupposes a truth of an ontological character, as Donum vitae demonstrated from solid scientific evidence, regarding the continuity in development of a human being.

If Donum vitaein order to avoid a statement of an explicitly philosophical nature, did not define the embryo as a person, it nonetheless did indicate that there is an intrinsic connection between the ontological dimension and the specific value of every human life.

Indeed, the reality of the human being for the entire span of life, both before and after birth, does not allow us to posit either a change in nature or a gradation in moral value, since it possesses full anthropological and ethical status.

The human embryo has, therefore, from the very beginning, the dignity proper to a person. Respect for that dignity is owed to every human being because each one carries in an indelible way his own dignity and value. The origin of human life has its authentic context in marriage and in the family, where it is generated through an act which expresses the reciprocal love between a man and a woman.

Natural law, which is at the root of the recognition of true equality between persons and peoples, deserves to be recognized as the source that inspires the relationship between the spouses in their responsibility for begetting new children. God, after having created man in his image and likeness cf.

In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God confirmed the dignity of the body and soul which constitute the human being.

The Ethical Questions

Christ did not disdain human bodiliness, but instead fully disclosed its meaning and value: This new dimension does not conflict with the dignity of the creature which everyone can recognize by the use of reason, but elevates it into a wider horizon of life which is proper to God, giving us the ability to reflect more profoundly on human life and on the acts by which it is brought into existence.Enabling women to control the number and spacing of their children is essential to reducing maternal deaths and human misery.

Over million women, mostly in the least developed countries, want to use modern family planning methods but can't access them, facing cultural barriers or family resistance, or not having access to contraceptives, or .

Watch video · In the case of embryonic stem cell research, it is impossible to respect both moral schwenkreis.com obtain embryonic stem cells, the early embryo has to be destroyed.

This means destroying a potential human life. We have examined the ethical issues raised by the potential of stem cells derived from donated embryos, embryos created specifically for research purposes, cadaveric . Some, for example, deem embryos less valuable than more mature human beings but argue that the benefits of HESC research are too speculative to warrant the destruction of embryos, and that the benefits might, in any case, be achieved through the use of noncontroversial sources of stem cells (e.g., adult stem cells) (Holm ).

The respected National Academies has just issued its Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. 3 It identified the ethical issues raised by hES cell research as: 1) special status of the human embryo; 2) respect for donors of embryos/gametes; 3) transfer of hES cells into nonhuman animals; and 4) objections to nuclear transfer for.

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research have said the lack of success with these cells is due to the shortage of embryos available for research. This has led researchers to attempt the cloning of human embryos, raising further debate over the creation and destruction of human life.

Adult Stem Cell Research Avoids Ethical Concerns