September 8, 2018
The Legislative Process and Healthcare Lobbying
This paper will discuss the legislative process. It will include the process and steps of law making. The political issue of the use of fetal stem cells will be examined and opposing sides will be explored including ethical issues and methods of collection. The end of the paper will explain my position and reasoning behind it and nursing responsibilities and considerations.
The legislative process begins when a problem or issue is recognized. In attempt to rectify an issue, a bill is drafted regarding said issue. The bill is a proposal for a law.
In order for a bill to complete the process in becoming a law it must proceed through several steps. Anywhere along the way the bill can “die”, or fail. The bill then must get submitted to a committee for review and changes may be made at this time. The committee will debate and discuss the bill and wether it should or should not become a law. If the committee is in favor of the bill it will then proceed to the House of Representatives for voting. Once a bill is passed by Congress it will then be presented to the president to either sign into law or veto(“Legislative process”Congress.gov,n.d.).
Fetal stem cell research
Medical research and experimentation includes many avenues, ideas and theories. Some ideas are more controversial than others and can have some ethical and moral concerns and objections. One issue that is being researched is the use of fetal stem cells. Stem cells are type cell that is non-specialized and can potentially develop in to many different types of cells. Fetal stem cells are cells that are harvested from aborted fetal tissue. However, stem cells may also be collected from other sources as well, such as from embryos and adults. Cells can also be induced and engineered to behave in the manner as a stem cell(CIRM, 2018).
The use of fetal stem cells is something the has been an ongoing political issue in the state of California and across the country. In 2004 the California tax payers voted in favor of proposition 71 to fund stem cell research. This funding along with private investors fund the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM,2018) This research takes millions of dollars to fund and may potentially be on the ballot in the future for additional funding.
Another recently passed bill in California is section 684 which mandates medical facilities that provide stem cell therapies to give patients the following notice;
“THIS NOTICE MUST BE PROVIDED TO YOU UNDER CALIFORNIA LAW. This health care practitioner performs one or more stem cell therapies that have not yet been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. You are encouraged to consult with your primary care physician prior to undergoing a stem cell therapy.”
This notice informs patients or potential patients that if they do receive stem cell therapies that they do not have Food and Drug Administration(FDA) approval. This law protects patients by mandating that the efficacy of therapies are not approved. This allows the patient to make a more informed decision before consenting to treatment.
Stem cell research is being used to potentially treat several conditions. Some of these conditions include; cancer, autism, arthritis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, diabetes, macular degeneration, heart failure, multiple sclerosis and many more. According to CIRM 2017 annual report the FDA granted marketing approval for two therapies developed from this research. The CIRM also had forty-one programs in clinical trials in 2017. (CIRM, 2017).
The medical advancements that are gained from stem cell research can benefit millions of people. These treatments can potentially affect healthcare worldwide and change treatment options and patient out comes. There are many potential benefits of this research.
In addition to the potential benefits, stem cell research also carries a moral and ethical burden. Some are against this type of research as they feel that some of the methods used to harvest stem cells are unethical, in particular fetal stem cells. Fetal stem cells are harvested from aborted fetuses. According to an article from “California Family Council”, this is concerning as it could potentially translate to financial gains or encouraging and supporting abortions. There has been some discussion that certain organizations who preform abortions are profiting from selling fetuses(Burt,2017).
Stem cells are also harvested from discarded embryos that are otherwise destined to be destroyed. These embryos typically come from infertility clinics and require consent from the donor(CIRM, 2018). However, many believe life begins at fertilization and feel this is unethical.
My personal position is that I am against the use of fetal stem cells. I can appreciate the potential benefits this research may have. However, I am against fetal stem cell and embryonic stem cell use for research. Stem cells can be harvested in alternative ways that does not cause death to a potential person. According to the article, Ethical Issues in Stem Cell Research, stem cells can be also collected from amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, and adipose tissue(King, Perrin,2013). In my opinion, I feel there is a conflict of interest for facilities to profit from aborted fetuses. I feel this in particular, can possibly cause facilities to encourage, fail to completely educate, make light of, and persuade patients who are undecided and or uneducated.
Nursing considerations and conclusion
In conclusion, fetal stem cell research will likely continue to be a political issue as stem cell research continues to evolve and develop. New bills will likely be drafted regarding research methods. There are many potential benefits to stem cell research and will likely affect nursing through multiple avenues from nurses involved with clinical trials to nurses in the future administrating therapies developed from this research. However, this research poses a moral dilemma to some.
Nurses should keep themselves informed on advances in research as they will likely be providing these treatments to patients in the future. Staying informed about changes in technology will ensure knowledgeable advocacy, patient education, and lobbying to protect patient’s best interests. According to Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, nurses are expected to act ethically and take action against anything unethical(ANA, 2010). Nurses are influential and represent honesty, integrity and are a trusted profession(Burkhardt, Nathaniel 2014).
ReferencesAmerican Nurses Association,. (2015). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice.
Burkhardt, M. A., Nathaniel, A. K., & Walton, N. A. (2014). Ethics & issues in
contemporary nursing. Toronto: Nelson Education.
Burt, G., (2017). California tax payers are spending millions to fund medical research using the oorgans of aborted fetuses. California Family Council. Retrieved from
https://californiafamily.org/2017/california-taxpayers-are-spending-millions-to-fund-medical-research-using-aborted-baby-organs/California institute of research medicine. (2017). Stem cell key terms. 2017 Annual report.
Retrieved from https://www.cirm.ca.govCongress.gov (n.d.). Overview of the legislative process. Retrieved from
https://www.congress.gov/legislative-processKing, N., Perrin, J. (2014) Ethical issues in stem cell research and therapy. Stem cell research
and therapy. https://doi.org/10.1186/scrt474SB-512 Health care practitioners: stem cell therapy.(2017-2018). Retrieved from