Dr. Ben Carson Used Fetal Tissue In Life-Saving Research Before GOP Candidate Ben Carson Condemned It

Further proof that running for president in the Republican Party may actually kill brain cells, Ben Carson seems to have forgotten his own research in his rush to condemn the use of fetal tissue donations in science. Oops.

According to an explosive blog post by an OB/GYN named Jen Gunter, back when Carson was a world-famous neurosurgeon and not a willing member of the Republican primary clown show, he led a study that used “two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation.” The kinds he now describes as “disturbing” and a symptom of moral decay.

As Gunter noted:

While opining on the uselessness of fetal tissue research to Megyn Kelly Dr. Carson neglected to mention his own paper Colloid Cysts of the Third Ventricle: Immunohistochemical evidence for nonneuropithelial differentiation published in Hum Pathol 23:811-816 in 1992. The materials and methods describe using “human choroid plexus ependyma and nasal mucosa from two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation.”

And what’s more, Carson was so proud of the findings that he published them along with several other doctors in a medical journal.

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via Dr. Jen Gunter

This would be awkward for any Republican candidate – science and abortion in one medical paper? Good luck swaying this guy:

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But for Carson, things are even worse. Carson has positioned himself on the very far right wing of the pack and has spent weeks bashing Planned Parenthood and the very concept of “fetal tissue in medical research” on Fox News and beyond. He even specifically condemned using tissue from 17 week fetuses because he claimed they were “human beings.” Speaking with Fox’s Megyn Kelly he said:

“At 17 weeks, you’ve got a nice little nose and little fingers and hands and the heart’s beating. It can respond to environmental stimulus. How can you believe that that’s just an irrelevant mass of cells? That’s what they want you to believe, when in fact it is a human being.”

The simple fact is this: pre-Republican candidate Ben Carson was acutely aware of the life-saving power of fetal tissue. It was used then and now to understand horrific disorders and develop ways to treat them. He knew this and he used it to do solid, important medical research.

Today’s Ben Carson is a much different story. In a frantic effort to spin what can be generously described as a MOUNTAIN of hypocrisy, Carson has gone off the deep end. Speaking with The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, Carson decided to do the only thing he could think of to save face. He lied. He lied a lot and with reckless abandon.

“You have to look at the intent,” Carson said before beginning a campaign swing through New Hampshire. “To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it.”

There is irony and then there is Ben Carson, noted creationist and climate denier, saying “willfully” ignoring evidence for ideological reasons is wrong. His distinction between “taking tissue” and “taking a dead specimen” is equally disingenuous. Where else does the tissue come from other than a “dead specimen?”And his hypocrisy only gets worse:

Carson had not forgotten, and considered the type of research he did to be useful. “When we obtain tissue like that, we want to know what the origin of that tissue is developmentally,” he said. “Knowing that helps us determine which patients are likely to develop a problem. It’s one of the reasons why at the turn of the last century, the average age of death was 47. Now, the average age of death is 80. Using the information that you have is a smart thing, not a dumb thing.”

Those words you see? Those are the words of Doctor Ben Carson trying to crawl out of the deep, dark hole Republican Ben Carson keeps him imprisoned in. The research is useful. What you did with that tissue is life-saving. Forsaking that science to get elected by “get a brain, morans” up there is morally repugnant. Carson used to be a world-class surgeon. Now he’s a desperate right-winger clinging onto the fringe of his party. Moral, spiritual, intellectual bankruptcy – take your pick.

Feature image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr