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bioethics lecture notes.docx

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University of Ottawa

Nov 19 2013Stem cell Research contd Creating and sacrificing embryos for stem cells Katrien DevolderWhat is the discardedcreated distinction DCDThe DCD position is a compromise position it claims that The use and derivation of stem cells from spare IVF embryos is justified while the creation of research embryos is notDevolder The DCD position is very weakMain reason for the weakness Inconsistency between the revealed and the professed beliefs of the DCD defendersDevolder Once IVF is accepted as a morally legitimate procedure the creation of research embryos must be accepted as wellThe defenders of the DCD position often quote such principles as The principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence The right to freedom of research The principle of progress in science The principle of proportionality The principle of subsidiarity The principle of waste avoidanceDevolder None of those principles however justifies the DCD position they only express why one may want ESCR embryonic stem cell research to continueIf one can justify why creating research embryos is morally indefensible one will be able to justify the DCD positionSix argument against the creation of research embryos which Devolder refutesThe main complaint against the creation of research embryos Their instrumentalization their use from the beginning becomes a means to an endWhen we create and embryo solely for purposes of research we are treating it and respectively human life only as a means to an endIn other words Kants principle of autonomy and human dignity is violatedDevolder When we use spare IVF embryos for research our goal is to alleviate suffering and increase wellbeingWhy is our goal interpreted as different when we create research embryosThe DCD defenders claim that by creating research embryos we get involved in a distinct kind of exploitative attitude which is not commensurate with the moral status of embryoBut wheat is the special exploitative attitude and what is the moral status of embryos1Creation of research embryos is not commensurate with the moral status of the embryosoAccording to this view even though the embryo is not person it has an intrinsic value that is a value which is independent of human intentionsoThere is no agreement however on what is intrinsic value isor what the consequences for certain research practices exactly areoOn the symbolic value view though the concern is not with the status of the embryos itself but with the impact of certain practices on our communal respect for human lifeoThen the question is Will the creation of research embryos weaken our communal respect for human lifeoDevolder Nothing suggests that this is or will be the case so with regards to the intrinsic value of human embryos there is no moral difference between spare and research embryosoIn other words the defenders of the intrinsic value position do not seem to believe that just because the embryo has human dignity means protecting it under all circumstances2Parental projectoUnder this position the embryo is perceived as the expected child which justifies its creation for IVFoDevolder But according to this view the value of the embryo is determined according to the parental project If the embryo is to be implanted then its value is great if its fate is to be a spare then its value significantly decreases oThen the parental project outweighs the value of the embryo itself
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