If lawmakers want to support ethical scientific practices, they cannot endorse projects that rely on the body parts of aborted children.
As pro-life journalist David Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress team discovered through their undercover work in 2015, fetal experimentation not only exploits vulnerable human beings, but incentivizes abortion facilities to commit more abortions for the sake of fetal tissue profiteering.
Then last December, The Western Journal discussed a new development with Daleiden regarding the University of Pittsburgh’s controversial fetal-scalping experiments initially detailed in an article published by Scientific Reports. To create “humanized mice,” scientists scalped children aborted at 18 to 20 weeks gestation and transplanted their skin onto rodents.
At the time, the pro-life journalist said that the public was owed answers as to how “barbaric projects like this have slipped through the cracks,” particularly considering the Trump administration announced in June 2019 that it had halted federal funding of research that used aborted human fetal tissue.
A Pennsylvania House Health Committee hearing on May 4 seemed the ideal opportunity to obtain those answers. Daleiden was one of four witnesses to testify at the hearing, which centered around fetal tissue research and the types of experiments conducted at the University of Pittsburgh.
The Need for Oversight
Speaking with The Western Journal after the hearing, Daleiden highlighted the nature of some of the university’s projects, such as the fetal scalping experiment and ethical concerns surrounding the research methods.
“I think it’s pretty clear that in order to get the scalps from 5-month-old aborted babies to graft onto lab rats, these fetal heads had to be intact when they came out,” Daleiden said.
“That is an indication that those were probably partial-birth abortions that were done in order to get the baby’s scalps.”
As Live Action News reported, this particular late-term abortion method requires the abortionist to partially deliver the preborn child. Before the head fully emerges from the mother’s body, the baby’s head is split open and a suction catheter is inserted into the back of the skull to remove the brain.
The procedure was outlawed in 2003, after then-President George W. Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Abortion vendors like Planned Parenthood, however, have been caught violating the law.
During their undercover investigation into the abortion industry, Daleiden and his CMP team recorded multiple Planned Parenthood abortionists admitting to the use of an eerily similar procedure to harvest and sell “intact” fetuses.
In addition, Daleiden’s investigation also exposed an alleged procurement relationship between the University of Pittsburgh and Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. While PPWP supplies the aborted fetuses, the university reportedly returns the favor by sponsoring the abortion vendor’s operations.
This quid-pro-quo relationship would also fall outside the realm of legality.
Instead of condoning the university’s actions, Pennsylvania lawmakers should demand answers and exercise their oversight capabilities.
Aborted Fetal Tissue Is Not Necessary to Save Lives
Still, those in favor of fetal tissue experimentation often argue it is necessary in order to develop cures for diseases.
During the recent health committee hearing, Democratic Rep. Dan Frankel appeared dismissive of his colleagues’ concerns about fetal experimentation, insisting that the University of Pittsburgh’s projects were an example of “ethical biomedical research.”
“Tissue donation is carefully regulated, and the process is entirely set up to improve and protect human life,” Frankel said.
“If any of your loved ones have suffered from breast cancer, HIV or diabetes, Pitt may have well played a role in extending their lives.”
Daleiden, however, refuted the idea that fetal experimentation is necessary to save lives.
Citing a report published last year in Nature magazine about the university’s fetal scalping experiments, Daleiden noted that even the researchers behind the study admitted the purpose was not to develop treatments for supposedly incurable diseases.
Instead, the scientists were testing different drugs for skin ailments, such as staph infections. But, as Daleiden noted, treatments that do not require aborted fetal tissue already exist for this particular ailment.
“So in reality, this is just developing a new platform, creating something that will allow for further testing for big pharmaceutical companies, so that they can make money off of the new drug preparations and stuff like that,” the pro-life journalist said.
“But it has nothing to do with, like, curing an incurable disease or developing a therapy that wasn’t already available in some form.”
Indeed, Dr. Tara Sander Lee, a senior fellow and director of life sciences at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, has made similar arguments.
In response to an April announcement that the Biden administration had ended former President Donald Trump’s federal ban on fetal tissue research funding, Lee claimed the decision defied “both the best ethics and most promising science.”
“Fetal tissue was not, and has never been, used for polio or any other vaccine, nor to produce or manufacture any pharmaceutical,” Lee wrote in an April 16 statement published by the Susan B. Anthony List.
“There are superior and ethical alternatives available such as adult stem cell models being used by countless scientists worldwide to develop and produce advanced medicines treating patients now, without exploitation of any innocent life.”
“All scientists should reject the administration’s attempts to prey on fears related to the pandemic to advance the practice of harvesting fetal tissue,” she added.
Even if fetal tissue research was somehow necessary to create cures, however, such experiments would still reduce human beings to objects of experimentation.
Daleiden questioned how far people like Frankel are “willing to go” to remain consistent in their support of fetal experimentation.
“The cures are not actually coming from baby parts,” the pro-life journalist said.
“And to the extent that they were, are you really willing to throw down on that and say we’re okay with sacrificing children in order to, you know, quote-unquote, save people’s lives and cure people’s diseases?”
To Daleiden, forcing vulnerable children to surrender their lives to save another person is not worth it, nor does it sound like a policy that aligns with “our Constitutional order in the United States.”
“But that’s basically what that argument says,” the pro-life journalist said.
“That certain children are more valuable dead than alive, you know, because of whatever experimental or therapeutic value we think that we can get out of their body parts.”
Fetal experimentation is not only barbaric, but the existence of ethical alternatives only strengthens the argument that it is completely unnecessary.
Pennsylvania lawmakers should lead through example by demanding more transparency from the University of Pittsburgh and implementing life-affirming experimental methods to prevent vulnerable children from being used as lab rats.
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