Is fetal tissue research really as altruistic as Planned Parenthood would like us to believe?
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards and her accomplices have engaged in an ends-justify-the-means argument to defend the abortion giant’s harvesting and sale of aborted fetal body parts for scientific research. According to Richards and friends, this behavior is acceptable – even good – because fetal research might help to achieve advances in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s research. Every compassionate human being wants to help those who suffer from these degenerating diseases. But is Planned Parenthood being genuine in insinuating that their motives for involvement in the tissue trafficking industry are purely altruistic? Absolutely not.
We have already witnessed the sickening haggling of a top Planned Parenthood official over the compensation she expects to receive in return for her efforts to obtain intact tissue samples. We’ve seen another Planned Parenthood big wig explain that abortion mills like to “do a little better than break even” on the exchange of tissue for money. Obviously, profit is an unquestionable motive behind Planned Parenthood’s complicity with fetal tissue harvesting. But if we dig deeper, even their seemingly innocuous claim that the tissue is being used ‘for the greater good’ utterly unravels.
Do you remember the explosive PepsiCo controversy and boycott that began in 2011? A Pro-Life group, Children of God for Life (which monitors the use of fetal cells from aborted children), discovered that PepsiCo and other food conglomerates were partnered with biotech company Senomyx, which contracts with food companies to research flavor enhancers (the stated goal of this research is to enhance the flavor of food without adding as much MSG, sugar, or other unhealthy ingredients as traditional junk food contains).
The problem: Senomyx uses a technology that is, at the very least, derived from the use of cells taken from an electively aborted child. The purported sole abortion occurred in the Netherlands in the early 1970s, and a scientist subsequently cultured, manipulated, and cloned the baby’s kidney cells to create what he called “HEK 293.” (Read more about the science and applications of HEK 293 here.) Whether new cells are being harvested from aborted children to accommodate this widespread research method is somewhat unclear. Most information indicates that the original cells developed in 1973 have simply been cloned for research over the last four decades. However, Senomyx repeatedly refused to actually answer the question of whether they were using fresh kidney cells, or not.
Worth mentioning here is the fact that aborted fetal cells were never an ingredient in the food products in question. Some sensationalist sources strongly insinuated that the cells were somehow incorporated into the food or drink product, but this is not the case. The real –and weighty—contention is that the cells of at least one aborted child were used to develop the technology that PepsiCo’s contractor, Senomyx, now uses to test flavor enhancers. That aborted children are being used with merciless frequency as commodities in the bioresearch industry without a thought to their dignity should be just as appalling as the idea that fetal cells were being included in food products.
While Planned Parenthood is busy arguing that their research is a boon to all humanity, further scrutiny only exposes another layer of the profiteering that motivates all parties involved in the buying and selling of body parts from aborted preborn children. Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of body parts on top of the profit they glean from the sale of the abortion that killed the human who provided those parts. Then, tissue procurement companies – the middlemen between groups like Planned Parenthood and groups like Senomyx – profit from the sale of these so-called “donated” tissues to biotech companies. These biotech companies turn around and sell the technology they develop using the fetal tissue to companies like PepsiCo, which had a $30M contract with Senomyx at the time of the 2011 scandal.
If Planned Parenthood’s objectives in fetal body part harvesting were really so altruistic all along, why has the abortion giant not been shouting their participation from the rooftops? Why do they not list “participation in life-saving research through fetal organ harvesting” on their marketing materials? Like abortion, fetal tissue harvesting pads Planned Parenthood coffers while marring their image. That’s why we hear so little of either from this organization whose most remote goal is altruism.
Tags: bioethics, planned parenthood