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Mon, Oct. 14

Stem cell research vital piece in health puzzle

Stem cell research is an issue that our society has been battling ever since laboratory discoveries proved the benefit of stem cell research for treating disease and injuries. The results of continued research can save, prolong, or better the quality of life.

Yet, how do we determine the value of one life over another? Where do we draw the line? The public's general knowledge on the subject is less than adequate, and obviously the people of this country need to base their opinion of stem cell research on facts, solely because no matter which side one takes, it means the sacrifice of lives.

Research and knowledge provides only understanding for making appropriate decisions. Regardless of one's stance on the issue, your opinion is legitimate, because both sides value life. This is an issue we cannot ignore, because of the complexity of the benefits and consequences that it presents. However, it is important to keep in mind that we are, in fact, human, and the American people never will reach a unanimous consensus.

The cure for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injuries, strokes, burns, heart disease, osteoarthritis and many more diseases and injuries lies in one tiny stem cell.

It is important to understand that further research of embryonic stem cells furthers the likelihood of finding an equally effective alternative method, so that embryo stem cell usage will eventually cease.

When clinics abort an embryo, they usually discard it thereafter. However, instead of discarding the embryo, science could use these unwanted cells to save others. Abortion itself is a pro-life/pro-choice debate, and stem cell research can use the aborted fetuses without promoting abortion.

Regardless of current private financing, there aren't enough dollars available to support the research properly. This lack of financing jeopardizes the possibilities of successes and of finding alternative methods.

Thousands of people in this world are suffering from diseases that they shouldn't have to endure. Stem cell research holds the promise of preventing and curing diseases, and of prolonging and enhancing the quality of life.

Stem cell research is an issue that we must face and for which we must develop opinions. Because of ethical concerns sufficient research has failed to become a reality; yet the consequences - life itself - demand a sense of immediacy. Whether it's a happier, safer life or just a life at all, everyone deserves it.

Continued studies will solve ethical complications, and the need for embryonic cells will disappear. Alternate methods will emerge and the cause of all this uproar will no longer exist.

We all must face it. It affects you, me, your best friend, your grandfather, your mom. So go and tell everyone. Tell them that our country apparently believes that no one deserves a chance at life because stem cell research makes us nervous. Go tell them that the ethical issues within ourselves are standing between them and death's door. I dare you.

(Meghan Shipman is a student at Bradshaw Mountain High School in Prescott Valley.)

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