The fact that embryonic stem cells can develop into nearly any variety of human tissue makes them incredibly powerful tools in efforts to heal a host of human diseases and conditions. But the controversy surrounding their use is full of passion and anger from those who believe that even a bundle of 8 cells is a human being and should receive the full protection of the law regarding its right to life.
Two new discoveries offer promise of leading to ways to overcome human rights objections–though neither is yet free of its own complications. Since this issue hinges directly on the seemingly-eons-old debate about the moment that life begins, a swift resolution isn’t likely. But scientists are stepping up the search because they realize that no matter what their personal beliefs are, they can’t ignore the sizeable portion of society that thinks embryonic stem cells are off-limits as methods for curing human suffering.
The answers will come eventually. The universe would not in its infinite wisdom give humans the ability to discover the power of stem cells without also providing the solution to the objections. So once again as always, one step forward, two steps back.