If you believe in miracles, scientists’ ability to study and cure human disease by looking at microscopic cells from aborted fetuses is indeed a miracle. If you don’t believe in miracles, it’s an extraordinary human achievement. Miracle or not, this science is extending the length and quality of your life, and the lives of your loved ones. And the lives of anti-choice activists.
In order to be used, these cells have to get from an abortion clinic to a research lab, hundreds or thousands of miles away. Federal law regulates this procedure, which has been going on for decades.
Anti-choice activists recently climaxed a three-year infiltration of the commercial world of fetal tissue donation and distribution. The videos they illegally shot, dishonestly edited, and illegally distributed purport to show Planned Parenthood (PPFA) breaking the law while participating in a trade they consider evil.
While PPFA denies any wrongdoing, these activists acknowledge the various laws they broke—counterfeiting drivers’ licenses, creating a phony company (CMP) with a website and history, signing non-disclosure agreements to get private meetings that they agreed to not record, and recording them.
They also got access to the personal information (such as home addresses) of abortion providers, which of course they have now distributed on the internet. These details have predictably led to grisly death threats—which CMP says was one of their goals.
You probably wouldn’t want people sneaking into your workplace, videotaping you, claiming your work is evil, and then publicizing your kids’ names and school location. CMP Board Treasurer Troy Newman is president of Operation Rescue, which ultimately helped murder Dr. George Tiller in his church. In 2003, Newman said that the murder of abortion provider Dr. John Britton was “justifiable defensive action.”
The transfer or scientific use of fetal cells does nothing to facilitate abortion, and fuming over it is a clever propaganda ploy by anti-choice activists. Once an abortion is completed, it’s over. What’s done with the fetus at that point is totally irrelevant. Opponents are using the little-known issue of fetal cell use simply to reiterate their hostility to abortion.
And like the details of virtually every medical procedure (amputation, breaking bones to do heart surgery, installing a colostomy bag, etc.), it’s not for the untrained faint-of-heart. So a couple of Planned Parenthood staff sounded “indelicate” or “insensitive?” Isn’t that what you would sound like at work if people outside your industry heard your slang, your necessarily casual attitude about your work with frustrating customers, dangerous situations, or awful boredom?
If donating your organs for medical research after you die is honorable, why is donating your fetus’ organs less honorable? The tired old “but fetuses don’t get a vote on ending their own life” is a sophomoric distraction; neither does the victim of a car accident. A fetus is aborted (for better or worse); shall we use its cells to advance human life or not?
Anti-choice people should applaud this miraculous assist in the cycle of life, rather than hypocritically deploring it because they disagree with the choice that creates the opportunity in the first place.
To discourage clear thinking about this, anti-choice activists use grisly language, such as “cutting up babies and selling their body parts.” After a deadly car accident, no one complains “You let Harvard Medical School chop up Aunt Lucy for science experiments.”
If these people were honest, they’d distribute the UNEDITED videos they took. For example, the Planned Parenthood (PPFA) Senior Director of Medical Services told CMP ten different times that they would not profit in any way from fetal tissue—and all ten instances were cut out of the video released by CMP. Similarly, the President of the PPFA Medical Directors Council stated clearly that any tissue donation program would have to meticulously comply with federal law—which was also edited out.
CMP Board chair David Daleiden states that his and CMP’s goal is to end safe access to reproductive health services in the United States, and to discredit lawful fetal tissue donation programs. Of course, these are the same people demanding that Congress de-fund comprehensive sex education, which is proven to reduce unintended pregnancies (and therefore abortions), and to fund only discredited abstinence-based programs. This proves that their main agenda is limiting sexual expression, not “preserving life.”
Last year, the National Institutes of Health distributed $76 million for research using fetal tissue to more than 50 universities, including Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Yale and the University of California. Researchers say fetal tissue is a uniquely rich source of the stem cells that give rise to tissues and organs, making them crucial in finding cures for diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and leukemia.
This long-running criminal conspiracy by phony researchers must not end funding for real scientists whose work saves the lives of people who have already been born—including anti-choice activists. Planned Parenthood should stand up and proudly say yes, we do this work, whose blessings the public enjoys every day.
If anti-choice activists find this research so ghastly, they should refuse to use every medical advance it has helped develop in the last quarter-century.