restricted access Ethics and Policy in Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Embryonic stem cells, which have the potential to save many lives, must be recovered from aborted fetuses or live embryos. Although tissue from aborted fetuses can be used without moral complicity in the underlying abortion, obtaining stem cells from embryos necessarily kills them, thus raising difficult questions about the use of embryonic human material to save others. This article draws on previous controversies over embryo research and distinctions between intrinsic and symbolic moral status to analyze these issues. It argues that stem cell research with spare embryos produced during infertility treatment, or even embryos created specifically for research or therapeutic purposes, is ethically acceptable and should receive federal funding.