By John Klar
Vermont strives to be the Yukon gold rush for mining fetal tissues, to “save humanity” by advancing “genetic engineering technologies and techniques” that are entirely dependent on a steady supply of dead baby tissue. If the evolving “bioeconomy” is to be pharmacologically/technologically paramount, fetal tissue supplies for the homeland must be secured at all human and ethical cost. Article 22 guarantees the tissue-mine will remain open.
The ethical dispute regarding fetal tissues has battled for decades, but will now be swept aside in the name of advancing “National Bioengineering and Biomanufacturing.” As argued in a 2019 Science commentary:
A vocal minority in the United States is intent on stopping federal funding for research using human fetal tissue, citing stem cell–based or other alternatives as adequate. ….If there is to be continued rapid progress in treating cancer, birth defects, heart disease, and infectious diseases, then we need fetal tissue research. ….Today, fetal tissue is being used to develop new medicines including vaccines for HIV/AIDS, preventives for Zika virus, and immunotherapies to battle untreatable cancers. Although research into alternatives is worthwhile, there are several aspects of fetal tissue research for which alternatives do not and will not exist. ….Although alternatives may be established in some cases, fetal tissue remains an essential resource for many applications. It is important to remember that the fetal tissue used in research would otherwise be discarded and thus unavailable in the fight against disease.
Note the circuitous logic – we must harvest fetal tissues through abortions that “would happen anyway.” It is important to remember, and pay attention to, this round-and-round illogic: it saturates the perverse justifications for using fetal tissue to cure all ills. This hints at expending billions of dollars away from the diseases that most impact humans in favor of speculative (lucrative) experimental biogenetic research.
There is no substitute for human fetal tissues in this research, Americans are told, “because their brains and chromosomes are so different from humans’.” Under federal law, tissues are collected from “elective” abortions from “vendors” and include “any human extra-embryonic cells and tissue, such as umbilical cord tissue, cord blood, placenta, amniotic fluid, and chorionic villi.” These tissues are routinely collected at hospitals and transported to “tissue vendors” in an industry that claims only modest amounts are paid for the tissues – but clearly enormous profits are gained by their use. (The NIH estimated that 2016 funding for fetal tissue research was $77 million). Much like cheap methane transformed into valuable synthetic diamonds, that inexpensive “electively-collected” fetal tissue is the stuff of research gold. Only, fetal tissue is not as easily obtained as methane.
While abortion advocates downplay the use of fetal tissues as secondary to the rights women’s question, that itself is obfuscation – a cursory review of the centrality of these vendor products to the exploding “bioengineering” expansion is in order.
Human fetal tissues are used in the following research areas, with attendant budgets in tow:
– vaccines for HIV/AIDS, preventives for Zika virus, and immunotherapies to battle untreatable cancers.
– the development of vaccines against Ebola, and the study of human development
– two of the COVID-19 vaccines used fetal cell lines in production of the vaccine and the other two used fetal cell lines in testing the vaccine
– hepatitis B and C (specifically, on how the viruses evade the human immune system and cause chronic liver diseases)
– to study heart disease, including sudden cardiac arrest
– to study Huntington’s disease, juvenile diabetes, autism and schizophrenia
This is hardly a complete inventory of the vaunted necessities of fetal tissues for research used to justify the harvesting of tissues. And with Article 22, Vermont will be at the forefront of ensuring a reliable, inexpensive supply of this commodity for New England and the nation.