HomeoldThe claims of medical benefits from human fetal tissue from abortions are...

The claims of medical benefits from human fetal tissue from abortions are exaggerated and lack empirical evidence

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Over the past couple of days, we have twice offered “Five Takeaways” from Tuesday’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in which PPFA President Cecile Richards defended the nation’s leading abortion provider against all comers. In our previous posts, we have also discussed the fetal tissue ruse. Richards had multiple objectives at the hearing, but one whose importance may be understated was to “prove” that harvesting the intact body parts of aborted babies was a positive good. It should be noted that “fetal tissue” also includes whole body parts such as kidneys, lungs, and livers.

She advanced two arguments. First, research using fetal tissue has been beneficial to patients. Second, the controversy surrounding the undercover videos posted by the Center for Medical Progress has prompted more women to volunteer to donate their baby’s tissues.
As previously discussed, PPFA employs manipulative tactics to induce women to “volunteer.” Let us now examine Richards’ claims regarding the curative powers of human fetal tissue.

As is customary when the subject is human fetal tissue, I sought the input of Dr. David Prentice, Vice President and Research Director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. He informed NRL News Today that

Many claims have been made about the medical benefits of fetal tissue from abortions. One of the most misleading is in the consent forms for fetal tissue donation used by Planned Parenthood clinics.

The forms say that fetal tissue has been used to treat diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and AIDS. This is false. Fetal tissue transplants have been attempted since the 1920s, but with mostly bad results.

Meanwhile, over 1.2 million patients have received adult stem cell transplants for dozens of conditions. Adult stem cells are considered the gold standard for patient transplants. The Planned Parenthood statement was crafted to influence a woman who may still be uncertain about the procedure.

What about the issue of vaccines, I asked?

Some people want to say that vaccines are good for us because they use fetal tissue. This is not true. Most vaccines do not use fetal tissue. The CDC said in 2001 that there was no need for new fetal tissue for vaccine production. The recently tested Ebola vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV) used monkey cells.

What about the claims that human fetal tissue is needed for basic research?

The idea that fetal tissue is needed for basic biology research or to study the immune system or development is an attempt to justify outdated research methods. Newer 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, are more reliable and have the potential to be used in clinical studies.

As we finished our discussion, I asked Dr. Prentice about a story about a new operation for blindness that used human embryonic stem cells.

This isn’t the first patient to get hESC for this condition. Ocata (formerly ACT) has been running these trials in the US for at least two years. They note that they can’t be sure the results aren’t due to the placebo effect.

The Brits are hyping this to validate their embryo research.

We don’t know if this patient will benefit or have an adverse event.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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