Embryonic Stem Cells and Property Rights
Andersson, Anna-Karin M
The Journal of medicine and philosophy 2011 Jun; 36(3): 221-42
This article contributes to the current debate on human embryonic stem cell researchers' possible complicity in the destruction of human embryos and the relevance of such complicity for the issue of commodification of human embryos. I will discuss if, and to what extent, researchers who destroy human embryos, and researchers who merely use human embryos destroyed by others, have moral use rights, and/or moral property rights, in these embryos. I argue that the moral status of the human embryo, however justified, places few restrictions on the latter researchers' use of it, and property rights in it, once it is destroyed. I argue that the former researchers have no property rights in the destroyed embryo but use rights in it to the extent allowed by the legitimate owners of the destroyed embryo. I discuss the implications of this account for previous and current US federal law regulating human embryonic stem cell research.
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