Medical Ethics and Embryonic Stem Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Certainly, there is a period much later in pregnancy where a fetus has developed enough human characteristics and senses to argue in good faith that the fetus is entitled to the same rights as a newborn infant. However, to make that argument on behalf of an undeveloped zygote requires specific logical justification. Instead, the main basis of the concern for the zygote is the religious belief about when human life "begins."

The problem with that belief as the basis for public policy is that it violates the fundamental constitutional principle of (1) separation of church and state and (2) equal protection. The belief that human life begins at conception is perfectly legitimate as a personal of religious belief; but it is not an appropriate factor in American law. Recognizing the religious beliefs or definitions in law is a violation of the constitutional rights of every person who does not share those religious beliefs.

Finally, the concern about the slippery slope to irresponsibility is a flawed argument that ignores the obvious facts. In particular, scientific research in general and medical research on humans in particular are strictly regulated by state and federal law and funding eligibility requirements. Virtually any form of productive scientific and medical research could be misused irresponsibly. However, instead of prohibiting tremendously beneficial research across the board, the sensible approach is simply to design appropriate objective guidelines to apply existing principles of medical ethics and law on every emerging area of scientific and medical research. The alternative approach would have prohibited some of the medical treatments that are now considered routine, such as open-heart surgery, organ transplantation, and intrauterine surgery to save…

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