The complexity of the ethics of embryonic stem cell research, like the Sorites paradox, demonstrates there is no single, correct way to approach a problem; thus, there may be multiple different solutions that are acceptable.
Whereas the definition of personhood cannot be completely resolved on a scientific basis, it serves a central role in the religious, political, and ethical differences within the field of embryonic stem cell research.
The principal argument for embryonic stem cell research is the potential benefit of using human embryonic cells to examine or treat diseases as opposed to somatic (adult) stem cells.
Thus, advocates believe embryonic stem cell research may aid in developing new, more efficient treatments for severe diseases and ease the pain and suffering of numerous people.
Proponents argue that a human embryo lacks these criteria, thereby is not considered a person and thus, does not have life and cannot have a moral status.
Supporters of stem cell research believe a fertilized egg is just a part of another person’s body until the cell mass can survive on its own as a viable human.However, those that are against embryonic stem cell research believe that the possibility of scientific benefits of research do not outweigh the immoral action of tampering with the natural progression of a fetal development and interfering with the human embryo’s right to live.In light of these two opposing views, should embryonic stem cells be used in research?Thus, the end goal of stem cell use justifies sacrificing human embryos to produce stem cells, even though expending life is tantamount to murder.Opponents of embryonic stem cell research would equate the actions done to destroy the embryos as killing.We should not justify this evil even if it achieves good.Under the deontological approach, “whether a situation is good or bad depends on whether the action that brought it about was right or wrong,” hence the ends do not justify the means.Killing, defined as depriving their victims of life, will therefore reduce their victims to means to their own ends.Therefore, this argument touches on the question: if through the actions of embryotic stem cell research is “morally indistinguishable from murder? The prohibition of murder extends to human fetuses and embryos considering they are potential human beings.Thus, this issue touches on existential questions such as: There is a debate on when exactly life begins in embryonic development and when the individual receives moral status.For example, some may ascribe life starting from the moment of fertilization, others may do so after implantation or the beginning of organ function.