The debate that surrounds the application of embryonic stem cell research is intense and passionately fought, but is in fact just a small part of the wider issue of the role that medical research plays in the contemporary age. Apart from the debate that surrounds its purpose and ethical characteristics, there is also criticism of the amount of public revenue that is invested into it for a supposedly negligible return.

Medical research is something that has the potential to create vast improvements in the living condition and prosperity of those afflicted by illness, and as such has remained a significant beneficiary of public funding. Though the investigations and swathes of research that have been conducted have not necessarily made significant steps towards curing long term ailments, the continued and unrelenting pace of scientific progression suggests that this breakthrough is not especially far away.

Natural Selection vs. Scientific Advancements

The supposed lack of tangible results is not actually the main reason cited for opposition to investment in medical research, and it is in fact a moral principle which creates the most significant objection. This is based on the potential eradication of natural selection, which has for years been the single most influential regulator of global and national population. It is the natural process of death that forms part of the cycle of existence, and helps keep the world from the perils of mass poverty and over population.

Stem cell research is a topic that has prompted much debate throughout the US in the last decade or so. In particular, it is the use of embryonic cells that has created the most historical discussion, with its opposition claiming that this practice is in direct disregard to legislation which prohibits the creation or the destruction of embryos for the purposes of research. The Bush administration of the US moved to curtail public investment into embryonic stem cell research, forcing private investors to contribute in reproducing the requisite cells.

The current government and its leader Barack Obama is in favor of the research however, and imposed rules in 2009 that allowed these privately funded cells to be used and tested in a controlled and well managed working environment. Subsequently, the Federal court last week gave Mr Obama’s administration the go ahead to continue their funding of embryonic stem cell research, lifting a previous injunction due to the ambiguity of the existing legislation on public spending in the US.

A Matter of Individual Opinion

It is thought that those who oppose embryonic stem cell research may well take their appeal to the supreme court, so the matter is likely to rage for the foreseeable future and beyond. It is a matter of individual opinion, with the previous administration of the US opposed to its practice and the more liberal government of Barack Obama in support of both the research and their role in funding and facilitating it.

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