Harvesting the Fetus
Bernard Nathanson, M.D.



This is an edited version of Dr. Nathason's speech at Human Life International's Conference on Love, Life and the Family in Irvine, California, April 6-10, 1994.

What I'm going to do, just very briefly now, is to give you an overview of what you're going to listen to and what slides you're going to see. I think we all understand that on a moral basis the use of fetal tissue and fetal organs derived from elective abortion is absolutely unacceptable. I don't think I have to tell anybody or remind anybody in this audience of that particular point of view. What I'm going to try to stay with is the medicine here, and then I'm going to give you certain questions which are going to ,I think, resound in your minds for a long time because this technology, the use of fetal tissue and organ for replacement of failing adult parts is so fraught with very perplexing ethical questions, and questions about the demography and the future of the planet, that it really boggles the mind. Now you may think well how is he going to get around to that? I'll show you how I will, but in the end I'm going to leave you with these questions which I think will haunt you as they have been haunting me for some time, and I've written rather extensively on it in the ethical literature.

I said to this audience, or some audience, I believe it was Wednesday, that I am not in active practice as an obstetrician and gynecologist any more. I stopped my practice on the first of September of 1993, and I became a visiting fellow or scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, which by the way is not an oxymoron, which is at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. And I'm dealing only with theory and research and writing in the area of bio-medical ethics. I must be probably the second pro-life bio-ethicist in the country. I think there is one in Ohio somewhere named Gary Crum, but I don't think he does much any more. But I'm probably the only outspoken of pro-life bio-ethicist that I know of. And the Kennedy Institute being at Georgetown by the way is not pro-life. It's somewhere in that vast middle gray zone, that political straddle. I'm going to lead into it by showing you what problems we face ethically, commercially and morally in the whole area first of organ transplant, not just fetal, but people who need new organs. And then we'll work into the area of fetal tissue and go on from there.

Now, we are looking at a slide which talks about the average cost of a transplant of an organ in this country. If you go to transplant someone's heart into some person who's dying of heart disease, the average cost of this operation runs about $100,000. If you do a liver transplant it's going to be up there around $200,000. And a kidney is $25,000. Now these figures are going to be very important when it comes to the question of rationing of health care. And I'm telling you now that not only is it going to be nationwide within two or three years, but it is actually at work in Oregon now. Oregon has a health care plan which at the bottom line rations health care. In other words you've got to get on line and prove your case before you can get any kind of health care. Especially if it's something as complex as an organ transplant, which is as I said expensive. By the end of 1991, there were 23,000 Americans on the waiting list for any kind of transplant. A new name was being added to the list every thirty minutes. We were not however getting a new organ every thirty minutes. So the gap, the hiatus between those people who need organs and the organs which are available, keeps getting longer and longer. And an estimated 2,206 people died in 1991 still waiting for an organ. You can imagine if you will, the enormous wait there is going to be when there is a nationwide health care plan which strictly rations and limits health care expenses and the waiting lists for such things are going to get to be years long. To give you some idea of the problems involved in organ transplant, a man named William Norwood, in 1985 was killed in a robbery. His body parts were transplanted into fifty two different people. It was later discovered he had been HIV positive. At least four of the recipients of his body parts have contracted or died of AIDS. Now this is one of the problems we face of course with organ transplant. It's a very complex, very demanding and potentially exceedingly dangerous technology. These are transplants from adult to adult, or adult to child, or child to adult. We are not talking yet about fetal tissue.

Here is an idea of the demand and supply situation. This slide is taken from the Wall Street Journal and it says the number of people in the United States awaiting organ donations vs. the number of individual donors in 1991. Here we have 27,000 people who are waiting for kidneys, and something like seven and a half thousand available donors for kidneys. So you've got a tremendous waiting list of about twenty, twenty one thousand people here. This was in 1991. Similarly for heart, we have about five and a half thousand people waiting for a heart, they have severe heart disease, and there were about 2,000 hearts available that year from the donors. The same with livers. Livers are up here at 5,000 roughly, people waiting for a liver, and about 3,000 livers available. The pancreas the same and the lung the same. These are the most commonly transplanted organs. As you know however in many cases there have been multiple organ transplants to one person. For example some young woman recently, I think it was a child, got a small intestine, a large intestine, a pancreas, a stomach, and a liver all in one transplant. She subsequently died, but the technology has been pretty well worked out. What has not been worked out and still remains to be worked out are the ethical questions. For example, I will just give you a few: Do Americans go to the top of the list as opposed to let us say illegal aliens in the country? Who gets the transplants? Do older people go automatically to the bottom of the list and younger to the top? Do your personal habits count, whether you smoke or drink, whether you've had a transplant before and it has been rejected by the body, do you then go to the bottom of the list or do you come to the top of the list? These are the questions, some of which are perplexing those of us who work in the bio-medical field, in the ethical field. And these questions have so far not been answered satisfactorily.

Here is a case which turned up I believe five or six years ago in the New York Times. This was a middle aged couple in a Los Angeles suburb have conceived a child solely in hopes that the baby's bone marrow cells will save the life of a teenage daughter who was dying of cancer. The couple's name is Ayala, and this was their problem, that they had a teenage daughter dying of cancer and only a bone marrow transplant would save her. Now in order for a transplant of bone marrow to be successful it has to be very closely matched with the person who is getting it, because bone marrow can be easily rejected. So in most cases it has to be a close relative. These people conceived in order that the newborn baby could be tapped for bone marrow cells to save the life of their older daughter. Well that brings up the question of whether or not, laying aside the medical situation for a moment, that is ethically acceptable. And in my view, as a pro-life bio-ethicist, I believe it is not. Because one of the things that Kant, the philosopher left us in his deontology scheme was that human beings are an end, they are not a means merely. Human beings cannot be used to promote the health or life of another human being. That is unethical. And therefore, I think what they set out to do in my own opinion, is an unethical act, and not ethically acceptable. But these are illustrative of some of the problems with which we deal in the field of biomedical ethics.

This is a slide simply which comes from the Wall Street Journal and details roughly how much money is involved in embryonic research and embryonic tissue, fetal tissue.There was and still is a place up near San Francisco in Alameda county called the Hannah Institute. The Hannah Institute specialized in gathering fetal organs and tissue for transplant into adults who needed it. For example they would get a freshly aborted fetus between 14 and 20 weeks, and take out the pancreas of the baby while the baby was still alive from the abortion, because the abortion had to be done in a special way. They would cut the baby open, take out the pancreas, and grind it up. They needed eight babies to treat one adult. And what they did, the Hannah people, was to gather the organs together, to process them for transplant. They published a prospectus indicating that in the first year that this technology was acceptable, that is to say legally acceptable, and the Clinton administration has done that, they projected a profit for the company of 3.5 billion dollars in the first year of work, and worldwide, if they were permitted to ship this material around the world, 7 billion dollars. That's just one company doing this. Now you can imagine therefore why the Wall Street Journal would print an article like this because the commercial possibilities here are virtually without limit.

Now I'm going to turn to the question of Parkinson's disease, and I want to talk to you a little bit about that because that's where the action is right now in the issue of using fetal brain derived from fetuses who have been aborted, to treat something called Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is a disorder of what are called the basal ganglia cells in the brain, right down deep in the mid brain. No one knows the cause of Parkinson's disease, but it is very common. It is not a rare disease at all. Up to the present time we do not have a satisfactory treatment for Parkinson's disease. What Parkinson's disease does is it begins to limit the movement of the afflicted person. It begins to make them into what are called living statues. I think some of you may have seen the movie "Awakening" with Robin Williams and Robert Deniro. It was put out maybe three or four years ago. You might remember how the Parkinson's disease patients would just sit there or stand like statues. They could not move and their faces are frozen into masks. They can barely eat or swallow, and after a while, an agonizingly long while, ten or fifteen years, they die, because they can no longer swallow or take nutrition, and everything just stops. So this is a devastating disease. We have, as I say, some drugs which may work for a while, but they really don't.

Now in Mexico City a man named Dr. Medrazo concocted the idea about transplanting the cells of the adrenal gland which make a substance called serotonin. It's serotonin which is absent in the brains of people who have Parkinson's disease. That's what they need, serotonin. You can't give it to them by mouth. You can't inject it. It has to be supplied apparently by cells in the brain which will manufacture it. So he conceived the idea that because the adrenal gland, a small gland which sits on each kidney, normally manufactures serotonin, if he put some of those cells into the brains of people with Parkinson's disease, they would get better. And in fact he did that, and in fact he had video tapes to show that the people who got these cells really were remarkably improved. Unfortunately, within six months or a year, as the headline says here, "Fervor turns to disillusion." Originally everybody was very, very optimistic about this technology. The patients seemed to be getting better. They were riding bicycles. They were going to dances. They were doing all the things that normal people do, but within six months to a year they all reverted to their former living statue state, and therefore the experiment turned out to be a total disaster, a failure.

By the way, this slide is about what is called The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Newsletter. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or as it is known ACOG, is really the sort of union for all of us who practice obstetrics and gynecology. Every board certified obstetrician and gynecologist in the United States belongs to this organization, and they more or less set the standards, and pronounce the policies and the consensus of the obstetricians and gynecologists in this country. And here in December of 1988, six years ago, they approved the use of fetal tissue for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, and diabetes, and others. Now I should also in fairness tell you that some of us in this college, because we are pro-life, have opposed the policies of this organization, and we have formed our own organization, which is known as the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and we have been pretty successful in blocking some of these policies. There are a lot of us now. We have attracted over a thousand doctors into our organization and more are coming in every day, because doctors now are finally beginning to lose their fear of this American College of OBGYN power. It's a power play and they are trying to crush those of us who have pro-life views, but increasingly people are getting more and more encouraged and more and more courageous about blocking or obstructing the policies of this college, which is dominated largely by the way, by radical feminists in obstetrics and gynecology.

Now if you're interested in the whole subject of the fetus as a transplant donor, that is using the fetus and fetal tissue from abortions to treat adult disease, this is possibly the best book ever published. It's called "The Fetus As Transplant Donor the Scientific, Social, and Ethical Perspectives," written by Peter McCullough, who is an immunologist at the University of Western Australia. It's published by the John Wiley Company in New York.

Here's McCullough. The Australian International University in Canberra. This is the face page of the book, and he probably knows more about the subject of using fetal tissue than anybody in the world. Incidently, he is pro-life, and it's remarkable that his book delineates some of the technologies which have formerly been used to get fetal brain tissue. For example, he talks about how in Sweden they have been puncturing the sac of a pregnant woman at let us say 14 to 16 weeks, and then they put a clamp on the head of the baby, pull the head down into the neck of the womb, drill a hole into the baby's head, and then put a suction machine into the brain and suck out the brain cells.

And this is directly from his book. Healthy human fetuses from 7 to 21 weeks from legal abortions were used. This is in Sweden. The conceptional age was estimated from crown rump length and so on. Fetal liver and kidney were rapidly removed and weighed. Now at 21 weeks, what they were doing, or 18 weeks, or 16 weeks, was what are called prostaglandin abortions. They would inject a substance into the womb. The woman would then go into mini-labor and pass this baby. 50% of the time, the baby would be born alive, but that didn't stop them. They would just simply open up the abdomen of the baby with no anesthesia, and take out the liver and kidneys.

Now I'm going to pose for this audience a series of questions here, and they're going to be on the slides, and I'm going to read them, and then we're going to try to explore the possible answers and the objections to the answers. What for example is the cost of a fetal tissue transplant program for the treatment of adult diseases and disorders? The two major adult diseases that we are going to be discussing here where fetal tissue from aborted fetuses can be used are Parkinson's disease, which I just talked to you about, and diabetes, which is basically a failure of the pancreas to elaborate a hormone called insulin, and so you have to take insulin by injection.

There's nothing new about the use of fetal tissue for the treatment of adult disease. As far back as 1910, a doctor named Shaddock was experimenting with this, and in 1928 a man named Fischera also did it. And they both failed. In 1935 two investigators named Willis and Sel failed at it. In 1985 an investigator named Peterson, who was working largely in the area of diabetes also failed. The last group, Peterson's group, reported its work every year at a symposium which was held up in Santa Barbara. It was called the Sand - Sun Symposium. It was funded by the Krok Foundation. Joan Krok and her husband who had founded the McDonald's hamburger franchises had contributed an enormous amount of money to this work. Ray Krok was his name. And I should tell you that in about 1986 or '87 my wife and I lead a crusade against them and threatened that if they continued to fund this work using aborted fetuses to treat adult disease, we were going to start a nationwide boycott of McDonald's, and they backed off. The Krok Foundation no longer exists. They dissolved it.

Well I talked to you about Medrazo, the man who was using the adult adrenal tissue in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, which took place in the 1980's and after the treatment all the patients had reverted to the living statue state. Now in 1985 as I said, Peterson at the Sand - Sun Symposium up in Santa Barbara, reported 90% of fetal pancreatic tissue transplanted to adult diabetics had lost its function within one year. In other words, what they would do is they would take eight fetuses, take their pancreases, grind them up, and process the material so that I could be injected into someone who had diabetes, and who was tired of injecting themselves with insulin. And the theory was that the fetal cells injected into this person's body would manufacture the insulin for them. Well as a matter of fact, the project failed miserably. 90% of the patients who were experimented on had lost their function, in other words had to go back to the insulin injections within one year. So the project was really a failure. The history then of this technology, that is using fetal tissue to try to cure adult disease and disorder has been uniformly disappointing and the question is why pursue it?

Well now, and I'm going back, the now really means 1991, investigators at Yale, University of Colorado, and Lund, in Sweden, reported success in using 13 patients who had Parkinson's disease in which they would implant fetal brain tissue. The brain tissue was from fetuses who had been aborted by elective abortion. And others are talking once again enthusiastically of using fetal pancreatic tissue for the treatment of adult diabetes. These people in short never get discouraged. They just keep pushing and pushing in the face of what is obviously a most disappointing technology and a very expensive one. To say nothing of its moral unacceptableness.

Now what the investigators at Colorado and Lund did was they used 13 patients and they reported some improvement. All of the patients had Parkinson's disease, and what they would do is they would get fetal brain tissue. They needed five fetuses for every treatment. So they would take the brains of five fetuses aborted, mix them up, culture the cells, and then they would inject the cells by means of CAT scan guidance. They would put the patient with Parkinson's disease under a CAT scan device and x-ray, point a needle, put a needle through the skull and guide the needle with the x-ray to the point where the cells had to be in the mid brain. And that technology was the one that was used. Now when you are talking about 13 patients who improved in an area of such complexity, you're not talking science here. You're talking anecdote. I mean we normally would not ever accept a figure of 13 patients as demonstrating anything. It's just too small a number. If you're talking of 1300 patients who'd undergone this, and all of them had improved dramatically, that's different. But 13 patients simply to an investigator or a bio-ethicist or anyone connected with the scientific aspect of this, it's just laughable, doesn't mean a thing.

What are the costs of this technology, that is using fetal brain tissue or fetal pancreas to treat Parkinson's or diabetes? Is it possible, now we are talking only the ethical aspects here, is it possible to disassociate the evil of the abortion act from the so called good of the proposed use of the tissue? And I just got through telling you that in the theory of ethics known as deontology, there is a flat statement that the life of one human being should never be used to promote the health or life of another. One person must never die in order for someone else's life to be extended in any way. That is absolutely ethically unacceptable. It is perfectly acceptable in the utilitarian, or outcome based, or consequentialist theory of ethics, where you say well it's for the general good, and never mind the individual. But that of course is the prevailing ethic today, and that's the one that we pro-life ethicists fight all the time. It has no consideration for morality, for the individual, for the dignity of the human being, nothing. It simply is outcome based. If a lot of people are improved by it, no matter what it is, do it. Well the argument goes if the Nazis had harvested vital tissues and organs from the holocaust victims, and used them to treat very sick Germans, would the holocaust have been any less terrifying in its ethical aspects? Of course not. I mean the fact that they gassed six million Jews, and then they for example took their pancreases, or hearts and transplanted them into some people who needed hearts and pancreases, that wouldn't have made the holocaust any less terrible. The act of killing human beings, whether in a holocaust or in an abortion chamber, is exactly the same. There is no difference.

We are still on the ethical costs. Even today interestingly, many scientists reject the use of data gathered by the Nazis in their hypothermia experiments, even though the data is valuable and never again can be reproduced. What I mean by that is this. That during the Second World War, the Nazis were carrying out experiments designed to see how the human body died in extreme cold. They wanted to know how much cold any human being could suffer before they died. So they would take Jews in the concentration camps and lower them into vats of ice water with certain temperature probes on them and then they would find out exactly what happened to the body at extremes of low temperature, right to death. Now these data, the results of these experiments are potentially extremely valuable, especially for somebody who is studying for example, survival in the Arctic, or the use of a hypothermic blanket, that is a cold blanket to stop the heart in open heart surgery, any number of ways. Those data are extremely valuable, but many scientists, as this slide indicates, reject the data. They don't want anything to do with it even though the data are valuable. They don't want to use them for ethical reasons because they were gathered in an unethical way, in an immoral way, and therefore even though we will never get those data again, because obviously that experiment will never be done again, we hope not, they still will not use these data and these results.

Ethical question now. Will women undecided on the abortion decision, and there are many of them, be influenced by the so called good to which the tissue will ultimately be put? In other words if a woman is undecided about an abortion, and the doctor or a nurse or some counselor says look, in addition to clearing up your problems with this unplanned pregnancy, we are going to treat some poor person who has Parkinson's disease or diabetes with the tissue of your aborted baby. And that is a very powerful argument. And the question is will the number of abortions increase? Well of course it will. I mean we don't have any doubt that it will. Let's talk about the commercial aspects here, even assuming the tissue itself is not bought and sold. Think of the immense industry which will spring up around this technology if and when it is perfected. Now the first problem is if -- the Clinton administration has made large grants to several centers to do this work, to carry it out. From 1982 I believe on there was a complete ban on it, once the Reagan administration took over. But Clinton opened it up. The commercial possibilities here you understand, are endless. I mean the buying and selling of the tissue, the treating of people who are afflicted with Parkinson's or diabetes or both, this is going to be the most immense industry imaginable, and I'll go into other aspects of it in a little while, but the money involved here is going to be mind boggling. Even if you banned, and the Clinton administration indicates that it will ban the sale of this tissue, well even if you ban the sale of the tissue, the abortionist still gets paid for his work to get the tissue, the person collecting and processing the tissue gets paid, the surgeons, nurses, lab technicians, x-ray personnel, who are all involved in this work, they all get paid for their work. So you can see that even if you ban the sale, you still have an enormous industry going on. Here are the numbers, or the possibilities commercially. There are now 500,000 people in the United States who have Parkinson's disease, and we're reporting 40,000 new cases every year.

Altzheimer's disease, which is closely related to Parkinson's disease is another brain disease in which there is a certain failure of the neuro-transmitters. There are four million people in the United States with that disease now, and 250,000 new cases every year. In diabetes, there are 1.4 million insulin dependent people in the United States, and 30,000 new cases every year. I'm just giving you some idea of how immense the possibilities are here. You are dealing with six or seven million people who need fetal tissue, and this industry will be the most enormous industry that has ever been concocted in this country. It will make the automobile industry look like nothing. Get the mathematics here. It takes five fetuses at nine to twelve weeks to supply enough tissue to treat a central nervous system disease. Now I only talked to you about Parkinson's disease. I've also indicated that Alzheimer's disease would be another disease which would be treatable by this technology if we are allowed to use it. But there are also paraplegics, cerebral palsy sufferers, stroke victims, all sorts of other people with a brain and central nervous system disease who would be appealing and crying for this kind of tissue. You are talking about enormous numbers, millions and millions of people. We would need 2.5 million fetuses at 9 to 12 weeks per year at least, in order to treat all these people who have central nervous system diseases. Well at the present time there are only 1.6 million abortions a year in this country, and I'm not talking about 9 to 12 weeks. That is the total. So obviously there is going to be an enormous gap between the number of fetuses needed and the number of people asking for fetal tissue. Currently we have as I say 800,000 fetuses a year killed in this 9 to 12 week window. Where are the other two million or so to come from? Well I think you know the answer as well as I do. It will be the third world. To treat adult insulin dependent diabetes, somebody who has to use insulin, you require eight fetal pancreases for each transplant, and the pancreases must be harvested at 14 to 20 weeks. Now that means you don't do the average suction abortion, what you do is this prostaglandin work, and that puts the mother into premature labor or mini-labor. She delivers this baby. 50% of the time it's alive, and these babies are cut up. Their abdomens are incised and the pancreas is removed. And then they are just thrown into the wastebasket. Now that's how they get the pancreas, and they need eight of these babies for every person that they want to treat. I told you before there are 1.4 million adult insulin dependent diabetics in this country. 1.4 million times 8 is roughly 12 million fetuses at 14 to 20 weeks. Now where are they going to come from?

Thus to treat diabetes alone, one requires 12.3 million fetal bodies annually at 14 to 20 weeks. We now do 120,000 late abortions every year in the United States. Where are the remaining 12 million or so to come from? Well again, the same answer. They're going to have to come from the third world, and that means that entrepreneurs from this country, particularly where the technology is developed, will be going around Africa, South America, Central America, persuading women to turn themselves into fetal farms, to get pregnant and then have an abortion from time to time, two or three times a year, and get paid well for it. And then the tissue will be brought back to the United States and processed. So a gigantic worldwide fetal farm industry would spring up. And you can think of the flourishing black market in this tissue if the United States government tries to place restrictions on the importation of this tissue. Undoubtedly any administration will say no we don't want you to go to the third world and we are not going to allow the tissue in here, but that's ridiculous. We can't keep out tons of cocaine from this country every year, you can think of how much fetal tissue will come in here as a black market smuggling operation.

We are talking about 14 to 20 weeks fetuses, and that's the time when you have to get them to treat diabetes. It's 15 per 100,000, so we would by ordinary mathematics, expect an additional 2000 women to die annually from this procedure if we are going to supply tissue for adult diabetics. Can anyone calculate this kind of cost, 2,000 women dying every year? Well there's no way to calculate the cost of that. I mean, how many children will be left motherless? How many men will be left without a wife?

The costs -- we are going into the specific technology now. The CT scan, the x-ray which is used to place the fetal tissue, now we are talking about brain tissue into the adult, it cost 5000 dollars, to say nothing of nursing care, hospital cost, anesthesia, social workers, etc. If you multiply this by let us say 1.4 million diabetics who need pancreatic tissue, in the first year, treating the diabetics in this country, you have spent two to three billion dollars, Just in that one technology alone you've expended three billion dollars of health care money.

Now to make matters worse, if RU486, the abortion pill, the French pill, finds it's way into the United States, this will make fetal tissue for transplant even more scarce because tissue from babies aborted by this method are unsuitable for transplant. Remember, the tissue has to be fresh and living when you get it in order to be able to be used to treat adult disease. Now RU486, when you give it, it will kill the baby, and two days later the woman then gets a shot to expel the dead fetus, or a pill, it doesn't matter, but the point is that when the fetus is expelled as a miscarriage, it's already been dead for two days. So that tissue would be not available for use. Well if half of the women in the United States used RU486 or elected to use it if it comes into this country, and it probably will, we will fight it but it may very well, then it's going to cut the number of available fetuses in half, and there's going to be tremendous bidding for the available tissue, and the costs of this technology will soar out of sight. I mean the cost will be immense, and there will be a tremendous class warfare between those who are able to pay for it and those who are not able to pay for it, and there will be enormous resentment in the population for that reason. Black market cost for fetal tissue will soar out of control, especially in the third world where the tissue is coming from.

And in fact, here is a clip from The New York Times one year ago, Sunday April 11th, 1993, and it really bore out a lot of the prophesies I had made in these slides. It says "Clinic to Import Fetal Tissue From Russia." A research clinic in Santa Barbara plans to import fetal tissue and transplant techniques from Russia to reduce diabetics dependence on insulin. In more than 3000 transplants using fetal tissue, Russian doctors have reduced patients needs up to 90%. And so the plan now is to start going to Russia and have their women converted into fetal farms, get pregnant, buy the tissue, bring it into the United States, and start using it to treat diabetes, or Alzheimer, or Parkinson's, or strokes, or cerebral palsy, or anything else which promises in some way or other to be relieved by this tissue. So we are now just invading Russia, literally, to try and get their tissue from them, and there is a lot of bidding for this tissue. It's already getting out of sight.

So the conclusion here is this technology is ethically and morally unacceptable. I think we started with that premise, that to use a baby, to abort a baby to try and either extend or save the life of an adult is absolutely unacceptable. One human being must not be used as a means for another human being. It is scientifically not workable. We have shown that all of the work which has been done so far has been uniformly disappointing, and even if perfected it would give rise to such immense economic considerations as to be impossible to carry forward, especially in this era of attempting to reduce health care costs. If we talk about treating all central nervous system diseases, all diabetes, perhaps the figure will be anywhere between fifty and a hundred billion dollars a year on just this technology. Well that's one sixth of what we spend on the entire health care program in the United States today.

Now as if in response to my prophecy again, we have this article which was just published recently: "Grant for fetal tissue study is the first since the ban was lifted." And I told you that the ban was in effect through the Reagan and Bush administrations, but in January 1994, the federal government approved the first grant for research using fetal tissue since President Clinton lifted the five year ban on federal financing of such work. The National Institute of Neurologic Disorders is giving 4.5 million dollars in grants to three major university centers, Columbia University in New York is one, and the University of Colorado is another. Again the same topic from another newspaper. This is the New York Daily News. Three hospitals including two in the metropolitan New York area yesterday received a 4.5 million dollar grant to use fetal tissue for experimental treatment on Parkinson's disease.

Now here is some work which is going on in Scotland. A man named Gosden has been transplanting fetal ovaries into women or primates who have no ovaries or whose ovaries have failed. And we are now talking about taking the fetus, harvesting the aborted fetus, harvesting its ovaries and putting them into women whose ovaries have failed, namely menopausal women, women who have stopped having their menstrual periods and can no longer get pregnant but want to get pregnant. Now you may start to snicker but the ethical reverberations of this are enormous. Let me show you.

"Doc Sparks Furor Over Fetal Egg Transplants." Here's another article on the same subject. This is the New York Post. Roger Gosden, who is doing the work at Edinburgh University. And here is a sixty three year old woman who had this done and is now pregnant. A clip from an article, George Anis is a lawyer specializing in bio-ethics I know him, he's very liberal. I mean anything goes with George Anis. But even he said, "I think that this (he's talking about transplantation of babies' ovaries into menopausal women), goes against some of the bedrock legal and ethical principles which have been established with the new reproductive technology". One fundamental rule, said Anis, is that sperm and eggs can only be used with informed consent from their donor, and he made the very important point, and it's perfectly true, an aborted fetus can never consent, so we can't use them, he said. Aside from all the other ethical things, he's worried about the legal aspect. You've got to get informed consent from a fetus to do this, an aborted fetus no less.

Dr. Arthur Kaplan, again another bio-ethicist who is, anything goes. What we really need by the way, is a one handed bio-ethicist because the bio-ethicists are always saying, well, that's true, but on the other hand...you see. So we need a one handed bio-ethicist. But Arthur Kaplan, an ethicist at the University of Minnesota who issued a favorable report on fetal tissue research, agreed with Mr. Anis, and he said it seems to me it would be devastating to grow up knowing you were the product of a situation in which your mother was aborted. There are many difficult things a child may have to deal with in life, but I just think we don't have any scale yet for someone to find out that they exist, but their mother never came into personhood. The mother being the aborted fetus. I mean this is just outrageous, this kind of technology. And yet it is going forward, ladies and gentlemen, it is going forward, with government money.

Going back to Anis, he said that he found the idea of using fetal ovaries offensive. He said, should we be creating children whose mother is a dead fetus? What do you tell a child, "your mother had to die so you could exist"? Using fetal ovaries also creates grandmothers who were never mothers, he said. A further upset in what society views as the natural order of generations. It's one thing to want to have a child he said, but there are limits. I never thought I'd hear Anis ever use the word "limits." He said you'd be turning the dead fetus into a parent without it being involved at all. This is so mind boggling that I'm simply paralyzed by this. And yet as I say, it's going forward. There are no serious objections to it. Ethicists, even these liberal ethicists, are questioning it very badly, severely, but it moves forward.

The anger of the ethicists followed news that a fifty nine year old British woman gave birth to twins after having embryos implanted in a fertility clinic in Rome, and a sixty two year old woman who went to the same clinic is now three months pregnant.

All right here's Fletcher. Fletcher has no limits. He's at the University of Virginia. He styles himself as a bio-ethicist, and he says this: most of the ethical qualms pale beside the good that can be done for infertile couples. For example he said even though a child might be troubled to learn that its genetic mother was an aborted fetus, the child would almost certainly rather have been born from the fetus's egg than not to have been born at all. I mean that's an absurd statement, ethically and philosophically. How does he know what it is like not to have been born at all? How does he know what the state of non-existence is? What arrogance!

Now let's go on to another subject. We have now hurdled the barrier between vital and non-vital uses of fetal tissue. What is next? Well what do I mean by that? I mean this: before we were talking about the uses of fetal tissue to cure disease. Whatever you think of it morally and ethically, at least there is medical indication here. Now we are talking ovaries, fetal ovaries into women who can't get pregnant. That's not vital. We are not treating any disease or disorder here. Now we are treating something which is not vital, not necessary, not medically indicated. Well there's literally no limit to this obscene technology. I mean harvesting fetus is unquestionably lucrative,utilitarian, and may well satisfy man's audacious reach for somatic immortality on this planet, but is it morally acceptable, and is it ethically sound? Well what do I mean by all of this?

All right, once you've taken the step to transplant the ovaries into a woman who wants to get pregnant, this is not medically indicated remember, what is there to stop you from saying well look, I'm getting a little bald; could I buy some fetal scalp, and I'll pay for it, and I'd like it for Christmas. Or somebody else says look my teeth are falling out. The dentist says there's no way to replace them. Could I have some fetal gums and fetal teeth so the will grow in and give me a whole new set of teeth? Someone else says , gee my libido is failing. How about some fetal tests for Christmas? Could I get those transplanted because you know I'm eighty years old now and you know I'd like some, I'd like to have another family, with my wife who has fetal ovaries as a transplant. I mean now when we start talking like this we are talking about extending the life span indefinetly.This is the concept of what's called the body shop, that if an organ starts to wear out or fail, you simply go to the body shop that is the nearest hospital dealing in this technology, and you say, I need a new heart or a new kidney, or a new lung, or a new pancreas, or whatever it is. And as another organ fails, if you've got the money you go back and you say I'd like a heart, or then a year later you need another organ, and another organ, and another organ, and suddenly you are 180 years old. And I put it to you, what is going to happen to this society when the life span normally becomes 200 or 300 or 400 years? That each person who can afford this can live three hundred or four hundred years? What is going to happen for example to job seniority? I mean somebody who is never going to die. You just wait around and wait around. There's no such thing as job seniority. They never die. What is going to happen to the voting block? The whole voting pattern will be different, because people will not be replaced anymore. Our congressmen will be in there for 200 terms. We are talking about term limits. They'll be in there for six hundred years!

Dr. Bernard Nathanson is best known for his part in the formation of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and later for his subsequent denunciation of that organization. He was previously Director of the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health, the world's largest abortion clinic, and in that period of 20 months he presided over sixty thousand abortions, five thousand of which he performed himself. Since 1974, Dr. Nathanson has become a major spokesman for the defense of the unborn children. His films The Silent Scream and Eclipse of Reason bear witness to the humanity of the unborn child and the horror of abortion. Dr. Nathanson now serves as Chief of Obstetrical Services at Women's Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital Center in New York City and editor of the Bernadel Technical Bulletin.

For more information please call Human Life International at (540) 635-7884. Or write Human Life International, 4 Family Life, Front Royal, Virginia, 22630, USA. Web page: www.hli.org. Email: hli@hli.org. Fax: (540) 636-7363



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