April 22, 2010 Leave a comment
Most countries have a wide range of technology in the field of medicine. Many treatments were created for tackling major diseases problems. One of them is the research of stem cell, which have the capacity for prolonged self-renewal and can produced at least one type of highly differentiated or specialized descendant (Holland, Lebacqz, and Zoloth, 2001, p.xvii). However, research and development of stem cells become the most controversial issue in the current century. Ethically and legally, it is proven that stem cells have brought negative effects for many people regards the use of stem cells means killing people. Also, the expensive cost of stem cell therapy can be memorable injustice to poor people because only rich people can use this treatment method. Therefore, the stem cell research and development should not be continued. There are several reasons to support this argument, such as stem cell treatment is in a big contradictory with religions because of the process of freezing embryos of these treatment can cause death of embryonic stem cells, as well as the costs required to process this treatment is very expensive.
First, research and development of stem cell is a controversy, particularly embryonic stem cells. Although the process has the potency to produce clinical benefits are very large and more detailed knowledge about human development, our society is divided over how to show the proper level of respect to human embryos and cadaveric fetal tissue, which currently are the source of these cells. However, many people have the view that human embryos deserve respect as a form of human life. Caroline Chisholm Centre justified the reason that “therefore every proposed technology or therapeutic procedures involving the destruction of human embryos should be banned altogether,” (as cited in Smith, p. 10). In addition, Holland et al. (2001) mentioned that “many people believe that the embryo is fully human and therefore should not be killed” (p.xix). Therefore, embryos generated by couples should not be used as stem cell research material because the process of freezing embryos can cause death of the embryo. Moreover, stem cell research is contrary to religions, especially Roman Catholicism. The Bible says that God forbids any person to kill each other (Exodus 20: 13, Good News Bible Today’s English version). Although the use of embryos in stem cell research is used to help others. Thus, the technology of stem cell therapy is very contrast to the commandments of God and against the rights of human life. Therefore, research and development of stem cells are being debated in the religious aspect.
Another reason is that the stem cell technology is very expensive. Consequently, this method is available only for wealthy country with people who have better financial condition. Therefore, this therapy will exacerbate inequalities in health care between the rich and the poor, and could be considered injustice. Although scientists have tried to create a strategy to reduce budget costs by using a simple and efficient medical techniques, the required fees are still very high (Wertheim, 2002). Accordingly, not everyone can use the benefits of this treatment method because of the costs required stem cell therapy is very expensive, as a result of stem cell therapy may be used only by people they have a better financial. In addition, these conditions would be unbeneficial for patients who are economically poor and would lead to social inequality. By reason of the people from among the poor may not be able to handle major disease problems with this method.
In conclusion, the ethics and legal issues illustrate that many negative effects are resulting from stem cell treatment. Moreover, contradictory to religious aspect is one of the reasons for people to stop this research because the processes of stem cell treatment such as freezing embryo can kill the embryo and it is opposing the religious aspect. Also, the costs of stem cell treatment is not cheap, that the advantage is only available in developed countries and the only people who have better finances can use this therapy to treat a variety of major diseases. This can cause social gap between the rich and the poor. Therefore, the stem cell research and development conducted by scientists are not allowed to continue.
Smith, S (2002). Human cloning and stem cell research. retrieved from : http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/WEB_FEED/PHWebContent.nsf/PHPages/LibraryPublications
Good News Bible today English version. (2007). the ten commandments (Exod. 20 : 13). Philippine : Philippine bible society
Holland, S., Lebacqz K., & Zoloth, L. (2001). The human science, ethics, embryonic and stem cell public policy debate. The United State of America : Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wertheim, M. (2002). Stemming the Tide : Clones, Stem cells, & Future of Medicine. Retrieved from : http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/programs/ltf/lectures/rbl/2002/wertheim.html