SINCE THE ISOLATION of human embryonic stem cells by Dr. James Thomson in 1998, the federal government of the United States has struggled to create a standard human stem cell research policy. Much of the stem cell research debate is influenced by the competing moral and ethical arguments that continue to shape U.S. governmental policy in this scientific arena. Federal stem cell policy has wide implications and is not just limited to the stem cell research field. Much of the debate regarding stem cell research addresses the status of human embryos that are used in research.

With the advent of in vitro fertilization techniques and their growing use during the 1980s, the federal government became concerned with developing regulations for biotechnologies that use human embryos or ...

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