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Rights to Research and the Stem Cell Debate

The Science Behind Stem Cell Research

Restricting and governing Research

Citizen Action

More Information

Over the past seven years a scientist’s right to research has surfaced in the United States political sphere as a controversial issue. Within the rights to research debate, the issue of stem cell research has emerged as a major controversy. The Stem cell controversy combines science with religion and public policy decisions with ethics. There are some who view stem cell research as murder while there are others who see it as the key to curing diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. When President Bush restricted the amount of research that could be done on new stem cell lines in 2001, stem cells and a scientist’s right to research became politicized and emerged as one of the hot topics in the 2004 presidential election. Today, stem cell research is still restricted and is an issue which is engulfed in intense debate. With private philanthropic donations funding research at major universities and prestigious hospitals, science is continuing to dive into the issue without public funding or federal regulations.

It is in this context that the controversy is developing, with the religious right hoping to restrict stem cell research on the basis of ethics while others try to forge through current research restrictions in the pursuit of scientific advancement and cures. The debate over stem cell research raises questions about the governments’ right to restrict research and the future of privately funded findings. This website will explore the rights to research controversy through the debate over stem cell research. It will first discuss the science behind stem cell research and the impasse over the embryo. It will then discus the federal restrictions on further stem cell research and the ways that private funding has helped sustain the research. Finally It will discuss how stem cell research has helped create a new type of citizen scientist and the ways that it has played into the political arenas in the United States.

the science and politics of stem cell research
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photo bilbliography
Figure 1:
Billout, Guy. From "The Great Stem Cell Devide."in The Stanford Medicine Magazine. <>
accessed 4/30/06.

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