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Ethical Issues In Fetal Tissue Research

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For the past decade, fetal tissue research has raised worldwide ethical, legal, and social controversy. The primary moral question raised by this practice is whether it is justifiable to “disaggregate living human embryos in order to derive pluripotent cells for purposes of basic research that may someday yield regenerative therapy”(Snead 41). The moral questioning does not arise from what benefits the tissues could possess, but rather how the tissues are acquired because the primary source is from electively aborted fetuses. Neither abortion nor fetal tissue research are illegal according to the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which allows for the use of dead fetus bodies for research, therapeutic purposes, or transplantation. Many people in…show more content…
One stipulation is that the woman is not offered the chance to donate the fetus until she has already decided to have the abortion. Other regulations include, but are not limited to, the requirement of that no person benefit economically from donating and that the individuals involved in research have no influence in the “timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy” (Coutts 88). The fact that elective abortion is legal means that these abortions would still occur regardless of what was done with the fetus following the procedure. The relationship between these two should be founded on the understanding that the cause of death is irrelevant as long as the use of the available organs or tissue “did not contribute to the death” (Verklan 1175). The utilization of the fetal tissue is not intended to encourage abortion; the primary goal of this embryonic research is to contribute to lifesaving vaccines along with treatments for degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Fetal tissue is valuable because it easily adjusts to a new environment without destroying foreign tissue already in the body, which makes it less
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