This article appeared in the December issue of the Maranatha Manna of
Christ on Delmarva. It is a ministry of WOLC christian radio station located
in Princess Anne, MD. This article was written by Bob Wright. He is the
Director of the Family Protection Lobby. He left the pastorate to take over
the directorship of the lobby from his son. The Family Protection Lobby is
the first evangelical Christian ministry representing the pro-life and
pro-family position in Maryland. The article was not copyrighted.
FETAL TISSUE: A GRISLY ISSUE WE MUST FACE
The Family Protection Lobby is leading the fight in Maryland to prevent the
sale and exportation of aborted fetal tissue. The use of aborted babies for
medical experimentation and as a spare parts bank for human organs demon-
strates that our nation is rapidly embarking on a path to self-destruction.
To remain silent on this issue is to ignore the fact that we are at a major
crossroads in the decline of our society. The practice of selling the remains
of aborted children as a mere "product of conception" is grisly. Mr Gary L.
Bauer, head of the White House Office of Policy Development, said recently,
"If things keep moving the way they are now, we're going to end up with a
whole new industry (the sale of fetal tissue)."
The White House Office of Policy Development recently produced a Report to
the President on the Family. In this report the subject of using aborted
fetal tissue is discussed. By permission, the section on fetal tissue is
reproduced below in its entirety:
Section IX - Equal Protection of Children
When the President said, "America was founded on a moral proposition that
human life, all human life, is sacred. And this proposition is the bedrock
of our national life, the foundation of our laws," he was also pointing to
the foundation of the family in America. Families exist to protect and love
their young, whose lives, as the President said, are sacred. When unborn
babies are deliberately aborted - as over 20 million have been since Roe v.
Wade - the essential purpose of the family itself is undermined as it also
is when they are exploited for their anatomical parts.
Research to date has involved the tissues and organs of dead and live
fetuses and newborn babies. Tissue from the brain, pancreas, and liver of
fetuses has been used for the actual or potential application in treatment
of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's chorea, spinal
cord injuries, diabetes, leukemia, aplastic anemia, and radiation sickness.
Handicapped and anencephalic newborns (malformation of the skull with absence
of all or part of the brain) have been used for heart transplants. Additional
applications are expected for fetal and newborn tissue. Such tissue is de-
sirable because it grows quickly, is adaptable, and is less likely than adult
tissue to cause a rejection reaction.
To make it easier to harvest anencephalic newborn's organs and tissues, pro-
posals are being made to modify the definition of death currently used by most
states (the Uniform Determination of Death Act) so that parts can be removed
from the anencephalics before they actually die. New standards under discus-
sion would redefine death in order to allow handicapped anencephalic newborns
as legally dead, or substitute terms such as "brain absent" or "respiratory brain
dead" for the current whole brain dead requirement of the Universal Determina-
tion of the Death Acts. A commentary in the Journal of the American Medical
Association recently described these attempts to lessen the standard of death
for anencephalics as a "radical reformulation of our definition of death."
We have glimpses of the implications of transplantation from fetuses and new-
borns in these events have already occurred.
Û In March and April, 1988, in England, brain tissue was removed from aborted
fetuses and transplanted into Parkinson's disease patients. The mothers of the
aborted fetuses were not asked for their specific consent to the transplants.
The chairman of the review committee defended the decision explaining, "Most
of us were under the impression that women going through an abortion were deny-
ing the humanity of the fetus."
Û In October, Loma Linda University Medical Center in California transplanted a
heart from Baby Gabriel, a Canadian anencephalic infant whose life was prolong-
ed to keep her tissues fresh for the procedure.
Û In September, 1987, doctors in Mexico City successfully transplanted tissues
from a fetus (said to be spontaneously aborted) into the brains of two Parkin-
son's disease patients. Doctors in Sweden and Cuba reportedly performed simi-
liar operations in 1987.
Û In the Soviet Union last year, an American doctor transplanted liver cells
from fetuses into six victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, who subsequent-
ly died of radiation overdoses.
Û A woman who appeared on ABC TV's "Nightline" wanted to bear a child who could
be aborted to provide tissue in order to relieve her father's Parkinson's di-
sease. (The father refused.)
The use of unborn children and newborn infants for transplantation raises the
most profound ethical issues for policy makers. Fetal and newborn transplanta-
tion may encourage women to become pregnant just to abort children for their
tissues. Even though the use of live unborn fetuses and the newborn in re-
search is strictly controlled by federal law and regulation (45 CFR Part 46),
medical advances may encourage the harvesting of fetal organs before fetal
death; may encourage the commercial exploitation of women; may encourage the
buying and selling of fetal tissues for profit; may encourage an increase in
abortions to meet the demand for fetal parts; may encourage the practice of
keeping anencephalic and other handicapped newborns alive to keep their tis-
Many observers and experts are gravely concerned about implications of har-
vesting parts from unborn children and newborn infants. "This is the ultimate
issue of intergenerational justice," according to Dr. Arthur Caplan, Center
for Biomedical Ethics, University of Minnesota. "You're not just asking for
pocketbooks of the young - you're asking for body parts." Dr. Caplan has also
noted, "The worst possible ethical evil of all this would be to create lives
simply in order to end them and take the parts." Dr. Antonin Scommenga of
Michael Reese Hospital has a vision of "growing fetuses someday for spare
parts," which prompted the Chicago Tribune to comment: "A tiny shadow of can-
nibalism passes over that thought; a hint that an aging society might one day
breed its young to replace its own worn out organs."
One of the most troubling aspects of this issue is the prospect of harvest-
ing parts from living unborn and newborn children - a prospect that would
increase if the definition of death were diluted to allow living anencephalic
newborns to be considered legally dead. Some researchers have defended the
use of living donors for transplants, and there have been allegations that tis-
sues have been removed from living fetuses and newborns. Three doctors from
Case Western Reserve University of Medicine wrote in the Hastings Center Re-
port last year that transplanting tissue from living "nonviable" aborted fe-
tuses "is morally defensible if dead fetuses are not available or are not
conducive to successful transplants." A Yale researcher is reported to have
said, "It doesn't make a whole lot of difference because the fetus is going to
be dead anyway," about letting a live aborted baby die in order to harvest its
The willingness of some researchers to experiment on unborn children was shown
in projects in the 1960s and in the 1970s. In one case eight living fetuses were
decapitated, and their heads perfused (permeated with a liquid) to study the
oxidation of glucose. Among other cases, living fetuses were placed in an im-
mersion chamber to study respiration through the skin; living fetuses were at-
tached to an artificial chamber; living fetuses had organs removed to study
biosynthesis (the formation of chemical compounds by cells of living organisms)
in the fetal liver and brain and to study the enzyme response of fetal liver.
Regulations were issued in 1975 but they have not been modified since 1978 and
may need revision to close loopholes.
NIH awarded $11.8 million for 116 grants for research with fetuses last year,
including a grant for research in China (which has a forced abortion policy,
even in late pregnancy). A report of one NIH fetal experimentation project in-
dicates the far reaching implications of federally-funded fetal research. The
report refers to the cryopreservation (preservation by freezing) of fetal tis-
sues, fetal tissue donor banks and abortions performed each week by dilation
and extraction that "are available for our use as needed."
The Department of Health and Human Services decided in March, 1988, to tempo-
rarily withhold approval for new experiments at the National Institute of
Health involving tissue transplants from fetuses in induced abortion, pending
advice from one or more outside committees.
The President has declared that the nation's "sacred legacy, and the well-
being and the future of our country, demand that protection of the innocents
must be guaranteed and that the personhood of the unborn be declared and de-
fended throughout our land." So far, the Administration has been thwarted
in its legislative attempts to protect the unborn from abortion. The admin-
istration still has the opportunity to take administrative action to protect
aborted unborn and newborn children from exploitation of their organs and
It is recommended that the President direct the Office of Policy Development
on consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop
options such as an Executive Order, or other actions, if appropriate, that
would, to the extent permitted by law, protect unborn or newborn children
from experimentation, research and organ transplantation, except in cases
where the unborn or newborn child would itself directly benefit by any such
procedures to which it was subjected.
Note: Unfamiliar and technical words appear with definitions added immediately
after them in parentheses and were added to the original copy. (This marks
the end of the excerpt from the Report to the President on the Family.)
The moral comparison has been made between the slaughter of the Jews under
the influence of Hitler and the current national policy on abortion. We are
now about to take a giant step in our continuing moral slide. As in Germany
in the late 1930s and early 1940s, our nation's medical research community is
clamoring to do experimentation on the remains of those deemed expendable.
Like others before them, they are using situation ethics to argue their case.
They are saying that the good which may come out of this ghoulish use of
aborted fetal tissue outweighs the moral concerns.
What are we becoming as a people?
Something is being done. But these efforts need your personal support. The
Family Protection Lobby is asking you to become personally involved.
President Reagan is considering a ban on the use of aborted fetal tissue.
Abortion clinics in Maryland and other states are opposing his efforts. They
see a market for their ill-gotten remains of unborn children. This new market
will motivate even more efforts on their part to offer cheaper, more accessible
Misguided medical researchers are opposing the President's efforts in the name
of science and the advancement of health. They are not concerned with the life
of the unborn child. They are only concerned with the quality of life for the
born - an elusive goal and a clear exercise in absurd situation ethics!
The President needs our encouragement.
I am asking you to make a telephone call to the executive Office of the Pres-
ident and give your opinion on this subject. Please call (202) 456-7639. Tell
Mr. Reagan's public opinion representative that you support his proposed ban
on using aborted fetal tissue for medical experimentation and research.
Further action is needed at the state level.
Maryland has the third highest abortion rate in the nation. The abortion clinics
in Maryland are not required to report the number or types of abortions they
perform. There is no tracking; there is no record. Furthermore, this state has
available convenient airports such as Dulles and Baltimore/Washington Inter-
national. The sale of fetal tissue is growing in Maryland, even to the export-
ing of it to other states and to European markets.
To begin a process to stop this practice, I have met with Del. John Gary and
State Sen. Frank Kelly. They have agreed to sponsor two bills in the coming 1989
Maryland General Assembly. The first bill would require the abortion clinics in
Maryland to report the number and nature of all abortions they perform. The se-
cond bill would prevent the sale and exportation of aborted fetal tissue in
If you agree with the introduction of these bills, please contact your Maryland
legislators and request that they strongly support this legislation. Ask them
to co-sponsor the bills which would: (1) require abortion clinics, hospitals
and doctors to report abortions performed, and (2) prevent the sale and export-
ation of fetal tissue in Maryland.
Note: The bills are currently being written, and as of yet no bill numbers have
been assigned. They will be introduced at the first session of the Maryland
General Assembly next month.
The chairman of the Eastern Shore delegation is Del. Mark Pilchard. You can
contact him by writing to him at RFD # 3, Box 100, Pocomoke, MD 21851.
We would suggest you send Del. Pilchard a copy of this article and ask him to
personally endorse these bills and to spearhead an effort to have them ap-
proved as delegation cosponsored bills.
Your legislators need to hear from you on these life and death issues. Unborn
children cannot speak for themselves.
For more information on this and other issues facing Maryland, call the Family
Protection Lobby in Annapolis at (800)633-1667.
Index of Articles of Interest Home
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