To pro-abortionists, the unpardonable sin: conceding fetal tissue harvesting is “antiquated” and not cutting edge research

By Dave Andrusko

Dr. David Prentice

Dr. David Prentice

I thought there was nothing pro-abortionists could write that could really surprise me. Wrong.

National Public Radio–NPR–was on the receiving end of a thorough chastisement yesterday from Jodi Jacobson, editor in chief of the pro-abortion site Rhrealitycheck.org. I’m sure a confused and contrite NPR, which is customarily 100% in the pro-abortion camp, is saying, “Say it ain’t so.”

To be clear Jacobson is comparing and contrasting two stories that ran Tuesday, the first of which came as close to a PPFA talking points memo as you can get, the latter condemned to the outer darkness for daring to offer contrary opinions.

The first piece, loved by Jacobson, was the typical media hatchet job on the Center for Medical Progress whose undercover videos have exposed dark secrets about PPFA and its grotesque handling and facilitation of the harvesting of intact baby body parts.

“Reporter Jennifer Ludden did a masterful job of reporting facts about the videos circulated by CMP,” Jacobson wrote. “And she did so without equivocation.”

That means, of course, that Ludden followed the dominate media narrative that the videos were heavily edited, distorted, misleading, etc., etc., etc.

Ironically, Jacobson slid over what host David Greene said to Ludden at the end of her report:

GREENE: Criticism and sort of picking apart these videos aside for a moment, I mean, this is speaking to a question that people take incredibly seriously and feel very passionate about. I mean, there are many people in this country who just don’t believe it is moral. Abortion is not moral. And people are opposed to using fetal tissue for research.

Ludden was reduced to saying it’s legal and that there are rules for this which, supposedly, PPFA follows.

But Jacobson missed nothing in the second story. Or, better put, managed to find everything that from her perspective suggested that the story was not “evidence-based reporting.”

In this story, Rob Stein gives tons of time and attention to those who are vigorous supporters of experimentation using fetal tissue from aborted babies. He gives them the first shot to make the claim that such research is indispensable. (It kind of reminds you of PPFA’s claim that it is indispensable.)

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Jacobson’s lament is (a) that there was a second opinion and (b) that they were not properly identified, aka as outliers to her way of thinking.

The latter is less important, I suspect, than the former. Why? Because the comments of Dr. David Prentice strike at the heart of the mythology surrounding harvesting human embryonic tissue.

Dr. Prentice stated flatly that the “cutting edge” research is elsewhere. As Stein put it, Prentice “doesn’t think fetal tissue is useful at all anymore.”

DAVID PRENTICE: It’s a bit antiquated in terms of its scientific use. This is no longer any type of cutting edge research. It might have been the gold standard back in the 1950s and 1960s. But we’re long past that.

STEIN: Prentice and others say animal cells, cells from umbilical cords and cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells are much more useful.

PRENTICE: The induced pluripotent stem cells are a much better model because you can take those directly from patients to even study a disease in the dish.

Jacobson hackles really rise when Stein commits the unpardonable sin. He then says, “And Prentice is not alone.”

Yikes! You mean there are actually legitimate scientists who think fetal tissue research is passé? Who believe that using induced pluripotent stem cells, which do not require the destruction of unborn life, is a better model for future research?

Actually yes. I asked Dr. Prentice for a further comment and he told me this. “Numerous claims, some ridiculously exaggerated and all unsupported, have been made about the scientific and medical benefits of human fetal tissue from abortions.” He added

Broad, unsupported hyperbole that fetal tissue is still needed for basic biology research or to study the immune system, or understand development, are grasping attempts to justify antiquated research methods. Current progressive alternatives such as induced pluripotent stem cells (made directly from patients using skin or other normal cells), umbilical cord blood stem cells, and adult stem cells provide more reliable, validated models for laboratory study, with significant potential for actual clinical use now and in the future.

To be treated as if fetal tissue researchers are not at the head of the parade but bringing up the rear leaves Jacobson and other abortion advocates steaming.