Pope John Paul II has stated that support of embryonic stem cell research evidences moral corruption. Opponents of embryonic stem cell research have cast the debate surrounding this research as nothing but the next chapter in the abortion controversy. The ethical issues involved with this research, however, are far too complex to be reduced to such a simple assessment. Portraying the stem cell debate as the abortion controversy is at best intellectually misleading, at worst ethically negligent.
The stem cell debate has been framed by the wrong basic question: its moral heart lies not with abortion, but in its potential good. Stem cell research is morally significant first because it promises healing. Implanted stem cells, it appears, teach the body to heal itself, rejuvenating failing tissues, from organs to nerves. These therapies promise to ease the suffering of millions inflicted with such debilitating diseases as Parkinson's, heart and liver failure,...
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