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Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

Human embryonic stem cell researchers want t o use human embryos to grow stem cells that form immediately after a human egg is fertilized. T his could be a huge scientific breakthrough. But before one can even debate on that medical research, you have to understand the underlying issue: the worldwide conflict o f the “pro-­life” vs “pro-­choice” debate. People who side with “pro-­life” believe that under no circumstance is abortion okay and they advocate for a law that makes abortions illegal. People who side with “pro-­choice” believe that abortions are proven to be necessary in some situations and advocate for women’s rights and women’s health. I side with “pro-­choice” and this essay will show you all aspects of the abortion debate and how that ties in with human embryonic stem cell research.

Let’s start with the basic “pro-­life” ideals. People who are “pro-­life” believe that the start of pregnancy and human life is at conception, and their definition of abortion is “t he artificial termination of human life at any time from conception to birth.” They refer to the product of conception as a baby, “the unborn,” or “the pre­born”. They often side against medical research for the sake of their religious belief of the sanctity of a human life. They fail to remember that there is separation of church and state in the United States, and that not everyone in the country has the same religious beliefs that form their “pro-­life” ideals. Often, they are “pro-­life” until the baby is born black, gay, non-­cisgender, poor, or a woman.

Why would a person bring a baby into the world where their life would be horrible because of the situation? Abortions (mainly among the poor and uneducated) are going to happen regardless, but it is better if they happen in a safe place where the mother can get the medical attention she needs. Also, “pro­-life” people want to put a law into motion that controls what women decide to do with their own bodies. If you don’t want to support abortion in your own life then that’s fine, but it shouldn’t be decided for anyone else. A woman’s body should not be up for legal debate.

There needs to be a certain amount of respect for women who don’t have the option for adoption available and need to abort based on their life circumstance. My aunt is a maternal fetal medicine specialist. She sees dozens of women a year die from different health conditions, when the death could have been prevented from an abortion at less than 12 weeks when the fetus doesn’t even have the capability to reason or feel pain. Also, if the birth could injure the mother, the whole pregnancy and birthing process isn’t worth the risk. The medical code is to save the mother not the baby. Sometimes “pro-­life” people argue that it is alright to abort if there is a medical problem. But what about if a girl is raped and a baby is conceived and the girl has the baby? The rapist has rights to be a part of the baby’s life and the girl’s life. Would you want your child to grow up with the man who sexually assaulted you as her “loving” father?

One of the most relevant health care providers that offer abortion services and conduct fetal stem cell research is Planned Parenthood. According to the w ashingtonpost.com, “O nly 3% of Planned Parenthood services involve conducting abortions” and the rest is all their other affordable health care services that help tons of women in need. They try to prevent abortions and advocate for birth control and contraceptives. Abortion is rarely used in a careless way or as a birth control method. “Pro-­life” people often rally against Planned Parenthood without fully understanding what exactly the organization accomplishes.

Recently, Planned Parenthood and other medical researchers have started to use the aborted fetuses to grow stem cells. Paul Berg, a professor of biochemistry, said ” I am acutely aware of the ethical sensitivities that have been expressed regarding the sources of stem cell lines. But, surely, obtaining cells from legally obtained abortants or from early stage embryos that are destined to be discarded in the course of IVF procedures and making them available for potentially life­saving purposes would be viewed as ethically permissible if not a moral imperative.”

Accoring to s temcells.nih.gov, “s tem cells h ave the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth.” Many people who are “pro-­life” then argue that adult stem cells can be used instead of fetal stem cells, but in fact there is a great difference between the two. According to stemcells.nih.gov, “Embryonic stem cells can become all cell types of the body because they are pluripotent. Adult stem cells are thought to be limited to differentiating into different cell types of their tissue of origin. Embryonic stem cells can be grown relatively easily in culture. Adult stem cells are rare in mature tissues, so isolating these cells from an adult tissue is challenging, and methods to expand their numbers in cell culture have not yet been worked out. This is an important distinction, as large numbers of cells are needed for stem cell replacement therapies.” This clearly shows that embryonic tissues are extremely important. By being “pro-­choice”, you can advocate for this type of research and help revolutionize medicine.

Throughout this essay, I have refuted the basic beliefs of “pro-­life” people and have argued for the “pro­-choice” movement. You can see now how those beliefs affect the case of embryonic stem cell research. People who are “pro­life” wouldn’t advocate for that medical research. If you are “pro-­choice” you are siding with many medical professionals and scientists who wish to open the doors with this life saving stem cell research. This is something people worldwide could benefit from. Medicine is something everyone should support. I think that in itself is pro-­life because of the capabilities the research has to save and improve many lives. It is also respecting the basic “pro­-choice” beliefs for women’s rights and health. This is an extremely relevant topic that everyone should be educated on to be able to form their own opinions regarding abortion and the possibility it has to help the future of medicine.

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Lou Rambeau
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Lou Rambeau is a young writer, photographer, activist, and artist currently located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Contact via email at mrambeau@lourambeau.com, Twitter/Instagram @lourambeau, or website lourambeau.com.

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