Here Are Just A Few Of The Medical Advances Made Possible By Fetal Tissue Donation

In the wake of the overly edited and misleading videos released to slander Planned Parenthood, much information has been floating around about the “selling of baby parts.” As most reasonable people understand, there is no black market sale of dead babies — there were no abhorrent practices of auctioning off kidneys to the highest bidder nor were Atheists lining up around the corners of clinics to purchase dead babies by the pound for a Tuesday stew.

But, in all seriousness, what has been happening is, for a nominal processing fee (because people don’t work without pay, and electric bills do not pay themselves, nor do packages of tissue for research just teleport automatically to a scientist’s lab) fetal tissue from abortions, with the woman’s consent, is being legally provided for medical research — research that has contributed to medical advances, making life a little more livable for millions of people around the world. It is medical research that has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for many years with millions of dollars budgeted.

According to the Washington Post:

The National Institutes of Health spent $76 million on research using fetal tissue in 2014, records show, with plans to spend roughly the same amount this year and in 2016.”

What was that funding used for?

“Nearly $1 million last year went to Trellis Bioscience, a private company, to fund work on medicine treating Cytomegalovirus, which causes enlarged spleens and seizures in newborns. About $875,000 funded HIV research at Massachusetts General Hospital and $386,000 funded work on neuro-developmental disorders at Stanford University.” Source: Washington Post

Likely one of the most significant advances provided to us through the use of fetal tissue is the polio vaccine. CNN points out that scientists used fetal kidney cells to create the very first polio vaccine. While the current vaccine, which saves an estimated 550,000 lives globally each year, is no longer created using fetal tissue – that work only built upon science made available through fetal tissue. As noted by the Associated Press, Dr. Frederick C. Robbins, Dr. John Enders, and Dr. Thomas Weller received the 1954 Nobel Prize in medicine for their work which lead to the development of the modern day polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk.

Other vaccines created through the use of tissues obtained in abortions are the Chicken Pox, Rubella and Shingles vaccines. The tissues used in these developments were acquired from two elective abortions performed in the 1960s.

While these two advances may provide a false sense of validity to the arguments by those opposed to vaccinations, the worth of something like a Polio vaccine, which has saved millions of children from the crippling and often fatal disease, certainly shouldn’t go unnoticed.

In addition to vaccines, research using fetal tissue has advanced science for diseases like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, AIDS, muscular dystrophy, herpes, blindness and even some pre-natal testing.

Medical discoveries have also been facilitated through the use of fetal tissue obtained from abortions and miscarriages. Some of that research has provided insight in gestational development and congenital abnormalities.

Reproductive choice, which includes abortion, is a right protected by the constitution. Abortions will happen and even when they weren’t legally protected — they still happened. That isn’t going to change.

Look, I realize it’s not a warm and fuzzy topic and I also realize that the manner in which the specimen donations were discussed — casually, over lunch, sipping wine, was an off-putting scenario for many that watched the Planned Parenthood slander videos. However, the aesthetics of that scenario do not invalidate the great value of these donations for medical science.

While the situations surrounding a woman’s choice may be tragic and the decision to abort is not one often taken lightly or joyfully — if something positive is attainable — well, that should be a good thing, right? If anything, not wasting the scientific opportunity to advance medicine by throwing the tissue in the medical waste basket — this is a far more ethical practice.

Featured image via Wikipedia