Our discussion this week about stem cell research prompted a host of comments, most in favor of Obama’s decision to overturn Bush’s restrictions. Those in favor cited the many new life-saving, life-enhancing treatments that will become available through stem cell research.
We also see different views or definitions of morality, as we always do when discussing controversial topics. There’s a twofold argument for every moral issue.
Stem cell research (and their ensuing treatments) is a matter of individual morality, says Allan Schnaiberg. “This is a situation in which people who are morally opposed to stem cell utilization in research and (eventually, treatment) can feel their OWN values denied, he says, “If you oppose stem cell taking and eventual destruction, then you merely do not get involved in any medical procedure involving this.
“You do not participate directly in funding any research involved in human stem cell extraction and use. Your family members who agree with your values do not accept any medical treatment including direct or indirect use of stem cells. They can even choose not to use hospitals or medical centers or doctors involved in any such research or clinical practices.”
It’s not a matter of individual morality, says Dick H. “To argue that one can remain indifferent to the issue so long as one does not personally participate seems to neglect our common responsibility to be ‘my brother’s keeper.’ As John Donne says, ‘any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind’.”
Those who object to stem cell research, he says, “do so precisely because of their shared humanity. They can no more treat this issue as a strictly personal moral question than they can the other big moral questions of our time: abortion, war, euthanasia and the death penalty.”
Where do you come out on this issue?
Is it a matter of personal morality?
Does the promise of breakthrough treatments override the big moral questions?
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