By Dave Andrusko
Later today we’ll post a follow up story to what we wrote yesterday about the 11th Planned Parenthood undercover video. We said a lot yesterday–and thank you for the feedback–but there is so much more to say.
Question: what is the ultimate pro-abortion defensive strategy–the fall back– when the ugliest of abortion is revealed in all its bloody gore? No, I don’t mean denial (in all its many facets), although that is significant.
And I don’t mean “it’s a decision between a woman and her doctor,” although pro-abortionists regularly dust that canard off. Even saying, “Well It’s so small”–with the implication that legal protection is meted out based on size–has it distinct limitations.
Their ultimate defense is to switch subjects–from what happens in an abortion (and to whom) to what happens afterwards.
They will say (in their most reasonable voice), “Well, we can disagree about abortion, but surely we can all agree if the abortion is going to take place anyway, we ought to get some good out of it.”
Which is why all of us who’ve been around awhile knew what the fallback position Planned Parenthood would take when the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress shocked the nation. Not just that the videos were allegedly truncated or doctored or selectively edited. That is an attack on the CMP but it doesn’t place a halo around the head of the largest abortion provider in the world.
What might? Arguing that practically everyone in the known world had benefited from research previously conducted using the tissues (and organs!) of aborted babies.
Am I exaggerating for effect? That’s virtually word for word what pro-abortion militant Prof. R. Alta Charo, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine: “Virtually every person in this country has benefited from research using fetal tissue.”
The Washington Post editorial board recently cited Charo as part of an editorial that channeled PPFA’s defense–that out of their infinite benevolence, the few PPFA clinics that do harvest fetal tissue (and organs) would no longer accept payment, even for costs associated with scavenging hearts and lungs and livers and thoraxes and spines– and echoed Charo’s assertion.
What’s better, the Post asks? Using fetal tissue to save lives (the Post has infinite confidence that future research using fetal tissue and organs will find a cure for Alzheimer’s) or “consign it to the trash”?
But there’s one nagging question? Are these exorbitant claims even in the same area code as the truth?
A few weeks ago we reposted a piece written by Sen. Bill Cassidy and Dr. David Prentice. They debunked in no uncertain terms the myths spun by PPFA, Prof. Charo, and the Washington Post.
In a few words, whatever utility fetal tissue had decades ago (and it is much overblown), it is now old, old, old science, science that has long since been outpaced by the use of ethical sources. There are loads of examples, but let’s focus on the development of the polio vaccine, the go-to shining example for fetal tissue proponents.
“But now most manufacturers of polio vaccine and other vaccines use other, more suitable cell types including monkey cells, and most do not use fetal cells,” Cassidy and Prentice wrote. “Newer cell lines and better culture techniques make reliance on fetal cells antiquated. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and other leading medical authorities now say, ‘No new fetal tissue is needed to produce cell lines to make these vaccines, now or in the future.’
So faced with the bleak recent track record, proponents offer vague promises, and fallback on the notion that fetal tissue is needed to study disease biology or generic development. Cassidy and Prentice responded:
Current, progressive alternatives such as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells provide an unlimited source of cells for study, and can be produced from the tissue of any human being without harm to the donor. These iPS cells, the creation of which won the Nobel Prize, have the ability to form virtually any cell or tissue type for basic study, disease modeling or potential clinical application. Furthermore, stem cells from umbilical cord blood also show significant potential not only as laboratory models but also for therapy, and are already treating thousands of patients for numerous conditions.
The long and short of it is that the heyday of fetal tissue research never really happened, and the gift of adult stem cell science has rendered the occasionally barbaric methods of the past functionally obsolete.
PPFA and its legion of defenders want you to think you need to kill babies to save babies. It is not true, and it is a measure of their intellectual dishonesty that they continue to peddle such lies.