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New medical breakthrough could make demand for fetal tissue research obsolete

Federal law prohibits the sale of body parts… but it happens every day in the abortion industry. Thanks to David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, we know that Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities harvest organs from preborn babies, sometimes without the mother’s consent, and sell them to fetal procurement companies. The purpose is allegedly for biomedical research into stem cell therapy and diseases like Parkinson’s.

But a new medical breakthrough could make testing on fetal organs completely unnecessary.

In 2015, scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University created Organs-On-Chips (OOCs), which involved recreating miniature human organs on microchips, as small as a AA battery and “embedded with microfluidic tubes containing human cells that mimic the biomechanical structure and function of a human organ.” Already, hearts, lungs, kidneys, and bones have been recreated using OOCs. The next advancement in OOCs is human placenta.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have begun working on placenta-on-chips, which will allow them to study the maternal-fetal interface and do research on placental conditions and pathologies. The immediate goal is to prevent complications from malaria in pregnant women. But long term, the hope is that scientists will have the ability to research diseases without using embryos or the bodies of preborn babies — thus potentially eliminating the need for research using fetal organs or body parts.

Currently, the doctors leading the study, Dr. Sarah Du and Dr. Andrew Oleinikov, are using a $400,000, two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop the placenta-on-chips and come up with new treatments to reverse the effects of malaria in pregnant women. Malaria in pregnancy is known to cause miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight, and stillbirth.

Drs. Du and Oleinikov explained that after the two-year study is completed, the chip could possibly be used to study various issues facing women and preborn babies, without having to cross any ethical lines, like using body parts and organs taken from preborn babies who have been aborted. “There are a number of challenges in studying the biology of the human placenta in its natural form or in situ because of ethical reasons as well as accessibility,” Dr. Du said. “Because it’s not possible to do many things in vivo this would be a nice model to explore many issues which exist in vivo. And see if we can find treatment for many other disorders with no fetal interaction,” Oleinikov added.

READ: Fetal tissue company donated money to Planned Parenthood, got ‘fresh’ body parts

After the undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress were released, the backlash against Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry was swift. Multiple investigations were opened into Planned Parenthood, and StemExpress — one of the major fetal procurement companies — broke ties with Planned Parenthood. There were complaints from pro-abortion advocates that fetal tissue research has been stalled due to the videos, and that the organizations involved in the scandal should be praised rather than criticized. The Center for Medical Progress, meanwhile, was demonized.

Perhaps fetal tissue research does do good work. But the reality of the situation is that there are serious ethical problems with it, because these are human beings whose bodies are being deliberately killed and used for medical research. Who gets to decide which lives are worth saving, and which lives are better off dead?

If some human lives have to be deliberately taken in order to save others, then can it ever truly be ethical?

This new technology is promising enough that there could very soon be a day when scientists no longer have to cross such a line. And that is the kind of science and research that should be praised.

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