The following news release was issued today, March 16, 2012.
The use of fetal remains from abortion for research continues in U.S. laboratories, according to recent reports. The dehumanization of nascent human life, applied to human embryos in order to justify the exploitation of embryonic stem cells, also is being applied to the harvesting of brain tissue from more developed unborn babies with functioning brains.
The latest experiment, a clinical trial approved by the Food and Drug Administration, uses brain tissue from aborted unborn babies to treat macular degeneration. StemCells Inc. will inject fetal brain stem cells into the eyes of up to 16 patients to study the cells’ effect on vision.
In its press release announcing the clinical trial, StemCells Inc. was careful to refer to the fetal brain material as "purified human neural stem cell product" or HuCNS-SC cells, rather than "fresh human fetal brain tissue," a description which can be found elsewhere on its website.
"StemCells Inc. is not using embryonic stem cells. A five-day-old human being at the embryonic stage does not have a brain, but a fetus at 10 or 20 weeks of development with visible fingers, toes and ears has a functioning brain," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "Developing human beings in the womb are treated simply as raw material for laboratory experimentation by StemCells Inc. and other companies seeking to monetize aborted unborn children."
The misleadingly-named Birth Defects Research Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle is known within the research community as a top government distributor of fetal tissue. The lab has been sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for over four decades, according to a report in WORLD Magazine. The Puget Sound Business Journal stated that the lab "in 2009 filled more than 4,400 requests for fetal tissue and cell lines." WORLD reports that the Seattle facility has retrieved the products of 22,000 pregnancies to date; the lab collects aborted fetuses from abortion centers across the country.
Experimental fetal stem cell treatments have yielded horrific results. Dr. David Prentice, an internationally recognized expert on stem cells and cloning, cites trials in which fetal stem cells have been used unsuccessfully to treat Parkinson's disease. The New York Times called the outcome of a 2001 study "devastating" after "the patients writhed and jerked uncontrollably." Another large clinical trial published in 2003 showed similar results.
"The use of morally illicit material in the biomedical industry violates the 'do no harm' principle that has governed the practice of medicine for millennia," Fischbach said. "Adult stem cells offer the ethical and efficacious alternative. Unborn babies deserve dignity, not dissection and destruction."
It is not known whether the University of Minnesota is experimenting with material from aborted fetuses, but it does use stem cells extracted from human embryos, which are killed in the process. Minnesota's Human Conceptus Statute 145.422 prohibits the use of a living human conceptus for any type of research or experimentation.
"MCCL calls upon the U of M to pledge not to purchase or use fetal material in its research," Fischbach added. "Such gruesome work violates human dignity and has no place in our state-funded institutions."