Document Detail

Embryonic stem cell research: one small step for science or one giant leap back for mankind?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15568234     Owner:  KIE     Status:  MEDLINE    
At the forefront of modern debate over the ethical use of biotechnology is embryonic stem cell research. In this poignant analysis of its legitimacy, the author examines the history of this research in light of the United States' policy favoring the protection of human beings over scientific progress. Stem cells, which can divide in culture to create specialized cells in the human body, possess significant potential for curing disease, particularly when taken from human embryos. However, as evidenced by the research atrocities committed under the Nazi regime, the benefits of human research do not come without a cost to humanity. Recognizing this, the later trial of these scientists produced the Nuremberg Code, a set of natural law principles guiding future research on humans that continues to influence health policy decisions. Drawing on this background, the author first considers the appropriate legal status for a human embryo. Biologically, the characteristics of a human embryo place it between human tissue and a constitutional person. Judicially, the answer is even less clear. The author analyzes case law in the context of abortion and in vitro fertilization, as well as classifications by the common law, state legislation, and the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, to conclude that a human embryo should be subject to the same legal and ethical restrictions as any other "human subject." Accordingly, the author argues that embryonic stem cell research violates the ethical standards and purposes of the Nuremberg Code and should be banned by federal legislation. Such a prohibition will fulfill the societal policy choice of protecting potential life and vulnerable human subjects.
Consuelo G Erwin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  University of Illinois law review     Volume:  2003     ISSN:  0276-9948     ISO Abbreviation:  Univ Ill Law Rev     Publication Date:  2003  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-11-29     Completed Date:  2004-12-29     Revised Date:  2007-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100972221     Medline TA:  Univ Ill Law Rev     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  211-43     Citation Subset:  E    
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MeSH Terms
Abortion, Induced / legislation & jurisprudence
Advisory Committees
Embryo Research / ethics*,  legislation & jurisprudence*
Embryo, Mammalian* / cytology
Federal Government
Fertilization in Vitro / legislation & jurisprudence
Fetal Research / legislation & jurisprudence
History, 20th Century
Human Experimentation / ethics,  history,  legislation & jurisprudence*
Legislation, Medical
Stem Cells*
United States

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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