oa Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - Destruction of the human embryo in stem cell research and the moral status of the unborn in the South African regulatory framework - a Christian assessment



One of the most prominent controversies of the last decade has been human embryo research, as obtaining stem cells typically requires the destruction of the embryo. The South African Bill of Rights excludes the embryo from the right to life, yet, in legislation, it is acknowledged that the unborn can suffer harm. The aim of this paper is to help Christians make sense of this state of affairs. First, it highlights a few anomalies in the South African regulatory framework. It then turns to the scriptures, followed by a clarification of crucially important metaphysical concepts and distinctions without which no position on the moral status of the embryo can be adequately assessed and critiqued. The final section comprises a brief response to three objections to the view that the human embryo is in fact a human person.


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