Stem-cell research debate rests on humans' value, says researcher
Published: March 21, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) -- The ethics of embryonic stem-cell research can't be discussed in isolation, said Maureen Condic, a neurobiology researcher at the University of Utah School of Medicine and a senior fellow at the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person. The discussion touches on the value of human life and intersects with the issue of abortion, said Condic, who visited Nashville to speak on the ethics of embryonic stem-cell research at the Cathedral of the Incarnation and to law students at Vanderbilt University. American law is based on the idea that all humans have intrinsic value, she said, but many people in modern society believe humans accrue value gradually as they develop and become more easily recognizable as a human being. "The value of human beings becomes negotiable," Condic said. "If the debate can be turned away from the false notion that we don't know whether an embryo is a human being -- we do -- then I think we could talk more freely about what 'value' the embryo has," she continued said. "And there are only a few ways of thinking about this, with most of them coming out in favor of the embryo having full human rights." Abortion touches the debate over embryonic stem-cell research because many ask how society can object to the destruction of an embryo for research if it already allows parents to destroy embryos because they don't want them, she explained.
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