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English Literary File_Vol 6

become a blastocyst within a week, when they consist of several hundred cells. He elaborates on his opinion that an embryo is human: “At the first cell stage, you were everything you are today. You were already male or female. You were alive, not dead. You were certainly human as you had 46 human chromosomes.” An embryo, Wilke claims, is a human no matter what form it takes. For Wilke, when a frozen embryo is used for stem-cell research instead of being allowed to develop and die a natural death, it is “cut open” by a researcher, “thereby killing” the embryo in order to extract stem cells. I understand that Wilke is concerned with respecting the human body, but I do not believe his viewpoint properly achieves that goal. Although a blastocyst is a human genetically, the blastocysts involved in the HESC research debate have no potential to be a human being unless they are successfully implanted into a woman’s body where they could develop into the specialized cells that make up the human body. If the embryos are not used for HESC research, they will die a natural death in a laboratory. It follows that the blastocyst would never live out life as a human being or anything close to it, as it has not grown any semblance of organs. Is the quality of life of a blastocyst just as important, or, as Wilke contends, more important than the quality of life of an ailing patient? A person with diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or congestive heart failure presently has no hope of being cured. The stem cells from just a handful of blastocysts could eventually cure every person who has nearly any degenerative disease such as those. Because of that, I believe it would actually be immoral to let the opportunity HESC research offers to cure degenerative diseases go to waste. The United States government should continue funding human embryonic stem cell research because of its life-saving potential. HESC research has nearly unlimited potential in curing degenerative diseases including cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and congestive heart failure. Although it requires the sacrifice of a limited number of human embryos, it could save the lives of millions of people in the future. Without federal funding, HESC research would not be able to continue efficiently or transparently. Could the United States really feel proud if we let those with degenerative diseases die needlessly? Human embryonic stem-cell research could be the next great breakthrough in the field of medicine, so we need to support it however possible. Works Cited Delaney, James J. “Embryo Loss in Natural Procreation and Stem Cell Research: How the Two Are Different.” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.3 (2012): 461-76. EBSCOhost. Web. 1 Oct. 2013. “Embryonic Stem Cell Research to Save the Lives of Millions.” Alliance for Aging Research Newsletters. Alliance for Aging Research, 1 May 2001. Web. 1 Oct. 2013. Harris, John. “Stem Cells, Sex, and Procreation.” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics (2003): 353-71. Print. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stem Cells: What They Are and What They Do.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Mar. 2013. Web. 03 Oct. 2013. Wilke, J.C. “I’m Pro-Life and Oppose Embryonic Stem-Cell Research.” Life Issues Institute. Life Issues Institute, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2013. ELF 2015 (Vol. 6) 4


English Literary File_Vol 6
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