Chapter 1

Justice and Vulnerability in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Isaac H. Ritter, Robin N. Fiore and Kenneth W. Goodman

Abstract

Human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research has been a topic of much debate within the ethics community, centering largely on issues relating to the moral status of the embryo. While this discussion has been ongoing, hESC research has progressed at an ever-quickening pace. As this research continues forward, it is imperative that an ethically-optimized framework be established to help guide research. In particular, inadequate attention has been given to issues of social justice and the importance of both protecting vulnerable populations from bearing too great a burden for research while receiving too little of its benefits.

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