This is the fourth part of a series; you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here and Part 3 here.
It is important to shine a light on these practices that take place behind closed doors. There are powerful forces conspiring to keep this information from the public and the media with the ostensible conviction that they are protecting a woman’s right to choose.
However, it is becoming obvious that many ideological groups are being used as pawns by powerful financial interests. – Vicki Evans (2009)
When Vicki Evans did her graduate research thesis on the financial ties of the abortion industry in 2009, one of her topics was a subject few understood: fetus farming. The name alone has horrific connotations, and those connotations adequately reflect the practice. Evans writes:
Fetus farming is a method of obtaining whole organs or other complex tissues. Its purpose is to create and harvest body parts intended for trafficking.
She cites, Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, who says, “[W]e have arrived at the point of creating human life merely to destroy it, harvesting it as little more than raw material, a commodity, for exploitation.”
Currently, researchers speak about stem cells as the ideal, flexible cells that will let us make tissues, organs and body parts in the future. The difficulty is that we really don’t have a clue how to make whole organs out of stem cells. …
Years, or even decades, of research must first be carried out before whole organs ready for human transplant will become widely available. But a convenient shortcut may be possible. Instead of destroying a cloned, 5-day-old human embryo to get his or her stem cells, why not simply implant that embryo, allow him or her to grow into a fetus, and schedule an abortion a little while before the baby’s due date? Then mother nature will already have done all the hard work of making two kidneys, ready to be harvested from the aborted child, thereby saving a good deal of time and trouble in terms of scientific research.
These kinds of “fetal farming” experiments have already been done in mice and in cattle, and they provide usable tissues and organs.
Pacholczyk’s caution in 2006 may have seemed as unrealistic as the 2006 Fetus Farming Prohibition Act President Bush signed into law, Evans writes. Many, she said, felt it was a political statement because it wasn’t actually happening.
Evans, looking at this issue in light of the undercover Planned Parenthood videos, says:
The question of how this may play into fetus farming is an interesting one. I surmise that it would be the third-party purchaser of fetal organs that would operate a research facility where organs could be collected and grown in animal or artificial wombs, until they are large enough to transplant into a human being.
While it sounds far-fetched, Evans points out that:
In January 2015, livescience.com reported that human fetal kidneys harvested from aborted babies are being surgically implanted into adult rats to grow new kidneys to be transplanted into waiting human adults.
Another goal of this work that is being actively investigated is to extract the eggs from the ovaries of aborted female fetuses for use in fertility treatments.
In that article, Eugene Gu, a medical student at Duke University and founder and CEO of Ganogen, Inc., a biotech company in California, says, “Our long-term goal is to grow human organs in animals, to end the human donor shortage.”
Ironically, the study was to be published on January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Livescience reports:
In addition to kidneys, the researchers have also transplanted human fetal hearts into rats, Gu said. The work is still in progress, but the researchers said it may also be possible to use the method with other organs.
It continues with a comment from the now infamous StemExpress:
For the organs used in the new study, “All donors are properly consented through an Institutional Review Board (IRB) consent, and donors are made aware of the potential use of any sample that we collect,” said Cate Dyer, CEO and founder of Stem Express, the company that provided the kidneys for the study. This includes being told that the tissue could be transplanted into animals.
Back in 2009, Jacob Appel wrote this troubling piece for the Huffington Post, in which he suggests that fetal farming is an idea whose time has come. He says:
The striking benefit of a legal trade in fetal organs, unlike adult organs, is that it may provide all of the benefits that supporters desire…. Such sales could prove the rare economic transaction in the medical field in which all participating parties can truly be said to benefit.
Appel admits the process will increase abortion, but he pulls the “do some good” card, just as the Planned Parenthood doctors do in the videos, to excuse that increase:
Opponents of reproductive choice will object to such a market on the grounds that it will increase the number of abortions — which will indeed be the logical result. However, such a market might also bring solace to women who have already decided upon abortion, but desire that some additional social good come from the procedure.
He justifies his argument by arguing scientific need, and he suggests many abortions would help science:
Unlike living kidney donors, who must then advance through life with only one functioning kidney, pregnant women who provide fetal kidneys could do so repeatedly without incurring the medical consequences of adult organ loss.
Evans does point out:
[T]he federal Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006 is still on the books, so it would be illegal to create and harvest body parts intended for trafficking. Not that laws haven’t been broken before when research is carried out clandestinely.
Recent videos, including the latest, seem to suggest this may be happening. With more videos to come, and state and congressional investigations, more will come to light on whether fetus farming is happening now.
One thing is for sure: what some call a miracle, others call a curse. Evans writes in her thesis what it would behoove us to remember now:
The moral law does indeed have a bearing on the just ordering of society. When morality is excluded from a civil society, the weak and vulnerable are easily exploited for the benefit of the strong and powerful.
(Next up, we’ll look at what the president of Planned Parenthood called, “laudable”: pharmaceutical research with aborted babies.)