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.
The utilitarian approach chooses potential benefits of stem cell research over the physical lives of embryos without regard to the rights an embryo possesses.
Advocates of embryonic stem cell research claim this will cure diseases but there is a gap in literature that confirms how many diseases these cells can actually cure or treat, what diseases, and how many people will actually benefit.
It is not ethically permissible to destroy human embryonic life for medical progress.
Personhood and the Scientific Questionability of Embryonic Stem Cell Research The ethics behind embryonic stem cell research are controversial because the criteria of ‘personhood’ is “notoriously unclear.” Personhood is defined as the status of being a person, entitled to “moral rights and legal protections” that are higher than living things that are not classified as persons.
Human embryonic cells possess the ability to become stem cells, which are used in medical research due to two significant features.
First, they are unspecialized cells, meaning they can undergo cell division and renew themselves even with long periods of inactivity.
However, since the “zygote is genetically identical to the embryo,” which is also genetically identical to the fetus, and, by extension, identical to the baby, inquiring the beginning of personhood can lead to an occurrence of the Sorites paradox, also acknowledged as “the paradox of the heap.” The paradox of the heap arises from vague predicates in philosophy.
If there is a heap of sand and a grain is taken away from that heap one by one, at what point will it no longer be considered a heap – what classifies it as a heap? When, in the development of a human being, is an embryo considered a person with moral standing?