Embryonic stem cells are a type of cell that can be derived from human embryos very shortly after fertilization. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to specify into any type of adult cells and are thus said to be pluripotent. Because they are pluripotent, embryonic stem cells have great potential for new regenerative clinical treatments including DNA repair and complete tissue regeneration. So then, why has there been such a heated debate about whether or not embryonic stem cell research should be allowed or funded? Well, unfortunately the process of extracting stem cells from embryos results in the inevitable death of the embryo. The death of these embryos has spurred a large amount of moral controversy as many people and religious groups, who will be collectively referred to as pro-lifers throughout this paper, believe that life begins at conception and thus, destruction of a human embryo is no different from murder. However, embryonic stem cell research should not be restricted due to ethical concerns because embryonic stem cell research can be done in a way that satisfies both scientists and pro-lifers, specifically, by performing research only on those embryos that would otherwise be discarded during the in vitro fertilization and by creating strict regulations to uphold a proper code of ethics. .
Before proceeding to argue how common ground can be achieved, first understanding of pro-life ideology is essential as these will be referred to throughout the essay. In his article "Old and New Ethics in the Stem Cell Debate," Richard Doerflinger makes an argument against embryonic stem cell research by exploring its possible ethical implications. In establishing his argument Doerflinger asserts, "The human embryo, even in the first week of development before implantation, is a human being- a living, developing individual of the human species, not just a part of another member of the species" (212).