The vote for or against Missouri’s Amendment 2 elicits significant controversy around embryonic stem cell research. People of good will and people of faith stand on each side of the debate. The ethical dispute is not about choosing between the protection of human life and the promotion of human healing – each side makes those claims, whether by reason or by faith. Rather, the contest deals with the irresolvable controversy about when personal human life begins. And each side submits substantive moral justifications for their opposing perspectives. There is need for respect and restraint to foster a calm courteousness to help citizens prepare for the referendum.

Gerard Magill, Ph.D., is a Professor with tenure at Saint Louis University’s Center for Health Care Ethics. He served as the Center’s first Department Chair from 1996 to 2006 and was Executive Director of the Center from 1999 to 2006. He has secondary appointments at Saint Louis University as a Professor of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine and as a Professor of Health Administration in the School of Public Health.

His education includes a baccalaureate degree in philosophy, a baccalaureate degree in religion, and a master’s degree in religious ethics at the Gregorian University in Rome, as well as a Ph.D. degree in religious ethics at Edinburgh University, Scotland.

His areas of research specialties include: the policy and ethics implications of human genomics and stem cell research, and religious discourse in health care ethics.