Culture

The Law Allows Selling Fetal Body Parts — So Reform It

Ultrasound of fetus at 20 weeks. (Suzanne Tucker/Dreamstime)

What’s striking about the reactions to the shocking video of Planned Parenthood medical director Deborah Nucatola has been what the pro-life side and the abortion apologists have each gotten right about the story. The pro-life community has reacted with justified outrage at this display of extreme callousness toward unborn human life — Nucatola’s talk, over a business lunch, of “crushing” different parts of an unborn child’s body is simply repugnant, and that medical, legal, and political elites in this country participate in such behavior with flagrant disregard for the sanctity of human life is a scandal.

What the abortion apologists seem to get right, however, is that this video does not present compelling evidence that Planned Parenthood is violating existing law against the sale of fetal tissue. Investigations and audits of Planned Parenthood clinics are surely warranted, and anyone found guilty of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue should be prosecuted. But as Joe Carter, writing for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, explains, “this despicable practice of selling the body parts of aborted children is likely to be legal and an accepted, if not common practice, among abortion providers.”

The real horrifying lesson from the story is this: The practices described by Nucatola are legal and widely conducted. Consider, for example, the work being done openly by the California biotech startup Ganogen. The company is proposing to take kidneys from aborted human fetuses and transplant them into rats or pigs to grow the kidneys so they can then be used for medical research or transplantation into humans. Ganogen has already conducted experiments placing human kidneys from aborted fetuses into rats.

RELATED: Planned Parenthood’s Bloody Business

No federal law prohibits the use of tissues from aborted fetuses for research, and few states prohibit the practice. In fact, federal law explicitly permits the use of taxpayer dollars to fund research using tissue from aborted fetuses.

Federal law explicitly permits the use of taxpayer dollars to fund research using tissue from aborted fetuses.

Focusing on just how ordinary, how widespread these grisly practices are for the abortion industry, and how much it is corrupting the moral integrity of medicine and medical research, will arguably do more toward putting abortion on the road to ultimate extinction than will calling for the prosecution of a few abortionists or Planned Parenthood executives. The pro-life community should use the outrage generated by stories like these to show Americans the profound evil of the entire abortion industry, and to push for actions that will put a stop to its worst excesses.

There are a number of legislative actions that could be taken to at least curb the shocking practices described in this video. Enacting the 20-week abortion ban would help to stop some of the most gruesome of these abortions. If a complete ban on fetal-tissue research seems politically infeasible, Congress should at least prohibit the federal government from funding research using tissue obtained from aborted fetuses, a step that will encourage scientists to pursue more-ethical lines of research. Even more politically realistic would be closing the loophole in the fetal-tissue law that allows for “reasonable payments” associated with the costs of the “processing” and “quality control” of body parts collected from unborn children. Closing this loophole would make it harder for abortionists to, as Nucatola put it, “do a little better than break even,” and would be another way to encourage researchers to focus on more-ethical sources of stem cells and tissues.

RELATED: Sipping Wine, Selling Baby Corpses

Dr. Nucatola and abortionists like her should be stopped from butchering unborn children, and medical researchers should stop trafficking in tissues and organs obtained from abortion. We in the pro-life movement should do what we can to both put an end to the evils of abortion, and also to cleanse the otherwise noble medical research community of the stain of its complicity in the killing of unborn children. 

Most Popular

Elections

How Trump Should Approach the Final Debate

The so-called mainstream polls of the swing states show the race narrowing. If the trend continues at the current rate, President Trump could poll even in two weeks—in addition to the “other” polls that show him near there already. So Trump’s mission at the final debate on Thursday is to continue to ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Should Approach the Final Debate

The so-called mainstream polls of the swing states show the race narrowing. If the trend continues at the current rate, President Trump could poll even in two weeks—in addition to the “other” polls that show him near there already. So Trump’s mission at the final debate on Thursday is to continue to ... Read More
Media

The Biden Protection Racket

Joe Biden is the most cosseted presidential candidate in memory. He’s run a minimalist campaign that’s avoided the press as much as possible, while the press hasn’t been braying for more access and answers, but eager to avoid anything that could be discomfiting to the campaign. Never before have the ... Read More
Media

The Biden Protection Racket

Joe Biden is the most cosseted presidential candidate in memory. He’s run a minimalist campaign that’s avoided the press as much as possible, while the press hasn’t been braying for more access and answers, but eager to avoid anything that could be discomfiting to the campaign. Never before have the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

A Bizarre and Revealing Biden Interview

William Voegeli of the Claremont Review of Books brought up a strange Joe Biden interview from 1974 I hadn't seen before in which Biden emerges as arrogant and determined to make more money, one way or another. Biden also speaks of his first wife Neilia, who had died two years earlier, in unusually frank ways: ... Read More
Politics & Policy

A Bizarre and Revealing Biden Interview

William Voegeli of the Claremont Review of Books brought up a strange Joe Biden interview from 1974 I hadn't seen before in which Biden emerges as arrogant and determined to make more money, one way or another. Biden also speaks of his first wife Neilia, who had died two years earlier, in unusually frank ways: ... Read More

A Few Cracks in the Progressive Wall

The contemporary progressive agenda — of, say, an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren — has rarely appealed to 51 percent of the American electorate. Most polls show opposition to Court packing and the abolition of the Electoral College. Voters don’t seem to like ... Read More

A Few Cracks in the Progressive Wall

The contemporary progressive agenda — of, say, an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren — has rarely appealed to 51 percent of the American electorate. Most polls show opposition to Court packing and the abolition of the Electoral College. Voters don’t seem to like ... Read More
Elections

Why Hunter?

Hunter Biden, Joe’s younger son, has become a fixture of the 2020 race. Since August 27, 2019, Donald Trump has tweeted about Hunter 59 separate times, making his colorful past one of the Trump campaign’s most important attacks on his rival. For many years, Hunter struggled with serious drug and alcohol ... Read More
Elections

Why Hunter?

Hunter Biden, Joe’s younger son, has become a fixture of the 2020 race. Since August 27, 2019, Donald Trump has tweeted about Hunter 59 separate times, making his colorful past one of the Trump campaign’s most important attacks on his rival. For many years, Hunter struggled with serious drug and alcohol ... Read More