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(12) Stem Cell Research (Robertson).docx

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12 Stem Cell Research RobertsonEthics and policy in embryonic stem cell research by John A Robertsonp1401451932010The main questions in embryonic stem cell research are undoubtedly what makes a human being a human being Which stages of human life deserve to be assigned valueEmbryonic stem cell research raises ethical questions because the stem cells in question need to be first derived either from human aborted fetuses or from preimplantation embryos And this raises ethical questions similar to the ones that we discussed in the abortion topicHowever Robertson cautions us we have to keep in mind that these stem cells are not embryos themselves and are not capable of forming a new individualThere is a belief that if something comes from an immoral act then no matter what benefit it brings it is still immoralApplied to stem cell research this translates into the claim that we cannot separate the research with embryonic stem cells from the derivation this is called the principle of complicity based on causationThus if we believe that it is morally wrong to kill andor use fetuses and embryos as a means to accomplish something knowledge etc then we should also believe that stem cell research is morally wrongAccording to this causative principle of complicity however only the original researchers who derived the stem cells from the aborted fetuses or preimplantation embryos are complicitThe research which uses these stem cells that have already been derived for a specific research is not complicit and therefore should not be considered immoralAnother principle of complicity is the no benefit principle According to this principle if the researchs somehow benefits from an immoral derivation wrongdoing then the research should be considered immoralRobertson cautions again that this principle seems to be too broad to be taken seriouslyThe first case scenario that Robertson explores is when the stem cells are derived from aborted fetusesAccording to him people that oppose abortion should not feel the embryonic stem cell research is immoral on the same grounds as abortion because the stem cells are removed from the fetuses after theyre already deadIn other words the derivation of stem cells from aborted fetuses does not cause the abortion of the fetusesIf the same people who oppose abortion believe in the no benefit principle of complicity then nothing can convince them that embryonic stem cell research is not immoral
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