Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Religion: The Ban on Federal Funding as a Violation of the Establishment Clause

Larry J. Pittman
2006 University of Pittsburgh law review  
Many Americans die each day from diseases affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, brain and a whole host of other bodily organs. Scientific researchers are constantly trying to develop new treatments for such medical conditions. Presently, the research community is working hard to develop medical treatments using stem cells from human embryos. That process involves extracting stem cells from either excess embryos that are no longer needed for in vitro fertilization or from embryos that are created
more » ... through therapeutic cloning. At the blastocyst stage, about five days after the beginning of an embryo, researchers extract stem cells from the embryo and place them in a petri dish where the cells divide to produce a line of millions of stem cells. These stem cells are undifferentiated, meaning that they are still capable of transforming themselves into many different types of cells that exist in the human body. The hope is that physicians and other medical personnel will one day be able to inject these stem cells into a patient's diseased heart, kidney, brain, liver, spinal cord or other organ, and the stem cells willtransform themselves into the same type of cells that comprise the host organ. The expectation is that the stem cells will repair the patient's heart or other organs by curing diseases and otherwise improving the patient's medical condition and life expectancy.
doi:10.5195/lawreview.2006.93 fatcat:sfi6j5jfxjeo7hx63xy7ifkjcy