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Religion and the Public Ethics of Stem-cell Research: Attitudes in Europe, Canada and the United States

Allum, N and Allansdottir, A and Gaskell, G and Hampel, J and Jackson, J and Moldovan, A and Priest, S and Stares, S and Stoneman, P (2017) 'Religion and the Public Ethics of Stem-cell Research: Attitudes in Europe, Canada and the United States.' PLoS ONE, 12 (4). ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

We examine international public opinion towards stem-cell research during the period when the issue was at its most contentious. We draw upon representative sample surveys in Europe and North America, fielded in 2005 and find that the majority of people in Europe, Canada and the United States supported stem-cell research, providing it was tightly regulated, but that there were key differences between the geographical regions in the relative importance of different types of ethical position. In the U.S., moral acceptability was more influential as a driver of support for stem-cell research; in Europe the perceived benefit to society carried more weight; and in Canada the two were almost equally important. We also find that public opinion on stem-cell research was more strongly associated with religious convictions in the U.S. than in Canada and Europe, although many strongly religious citizens in all regions approved of stem-cell research. We conclude that if anything public opinion or ‘public ethics’ are likely to play an increasingly important role in framing policy and regulatory regimes for sensitive technologies in the future.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Stem-cell research, public opinion, public attitudes, religion, ethics, cross-national surveys
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Social and Economic Research
Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Nick Allum
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2017 09:39
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2017 15:16
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19464

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