Federal regulation of human embryonic stem cell research

Catherine L Crocker, The University of Texas School of Public Health


President George W. Bush's 2001 statement, which laid out guidelines for research that uses human embryonic stem cells to qualify for federal funding, intends to prevent new embryonic stem cell lines from being developed, by prohibiting the federal funding of research that uses embryonic stem cell lines other than those that existed at the time of the policy's inception and were approved by the National Institutes of Health. This policy raises questions of medical and technological ethics and the governments' role in making decisions regarding the advancement of science based on moral and political opinions. Federal stem cell usage policy directly affects scientific research efforts that are currently on the path to understanding the mechanisms of cell differentiation and could potentially offer answers and therapies for disabilities and many chronic diseases. By reviewing the current literature on the background information on human embryonic stem cells, including what they are, where they come from, how they are used for research purposes, and the ethical controversy surrounding their use, I have researched and reported the impact of the 2001 policy on medical research. Both those who support the current policy on human embryonic stem cell research and those who are advocates for policy change have relevant arguments and varying opinions on human embryonic stem cell usage itself. The ethical implication of how embryonic stem cells are obtained has led to fierce debate. This paper presents many arguments for and against hESC research in addition to the policy governing their use. This analysis concludes that the current policy on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research should be revised to allow research using new stem lines to be eligible for federal funding under specific guidelines. Supporting evidence for this recommendation is provided.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Crocker, Catherine L, "Federal regulation of human embryonic stem cell research" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1459852.