Bioethics is a study of the philosophical and ethical controversies surrounding advances in biology and medicine. Embryonic stem cell research is a bioethical issue because it requires the use and destruction of human embryos. Some people feel that this is not right, not ethical. Some even feel it is not moral, that is, against their religious beliefs. Many people are ambivalent and have contradictory attitudes about if this is right or wrong. Others believe nothing is unethical or immoral about human embryonic stem cell research.
Bioethical issues often become political issues. Watch this video. See if you are able to understand the bioethical and political issues that are involved in embryonic stem cell research and which are specifically discussed in this video. See the questions below to guide your understanding.
What are the backgrounds of the two scientists? Why do they have the interest and expertise to talk about embryonic stem cells?
What is a bond issue? Why would a bond issue be important to you and your family? Why is this particular bond issue important for the scientist, Dr. Cohen?
Did the citizens of New Jersey vote in favor of the bond or against it?
How much money in the bond issue was turned down by the voters?
What are the two reasons given of why the voters in New Jersey turned down a bond issue to fund embryonic stem cell research in their State?
Did the scientist, Dr. Cohen ever give a clear answer to the question, "is it possible to see mass production of cures through embryonic stem cells in our life time?
What is hype? Why would someone want to use hype in the media?
What did the scientists/bioethicist Fr. Pacholczyk talk about when he said it was important to distinguish the "hype from the concrete truth when we discuss complex issues? What specific type of hype does the scientist/bioethicists Fr. Pacholczyk refer to? What example does he give about the unrealistic way the embryonic stem cell community has painted a picture about fear?
Were these issues of a political nature or of a bioethical nature?
Think about these issues and comment if you cannot answer any of these questions.