On July 14, the first of four undercover videos were released by The Center for Medical Progress, a group of citizen “journalists” dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances involving Planned Parenthood and fetal research. These heavily edited videos showed private conversations with both past and current Planned Parenthood employees suggesting they were selling women’s unborn fetuses to make a profit. Although The Center for Medical Progress did an amazing job of stirring up chaos once again around this topic throughout our society and our government, they failed to reveal the truth behind this situation.
Abortion will always be a heated topic in society because so many people take different stands on the issue. The fact of the matter is, women are going to do what they want with their bodies. A woman could keep a child she did not plan for or terminate the pregnancy, however, in the end it is her own reasoning and decision. What makes this process more difficult is when politicians, protesters or any outside forces think that they need to control a situation that just concerns a woman and her body. So why do anti-abortionists seek out more fuel to protest an issue that has nothing to do with them and could help society in the future?
About a week after all the videos surfaced Rochella Tafolla, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson, made a statement on the incident and Planned Parenthood’s role in the research.
“While Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast does not currently participate in a fetal tissue study, we have taken part in such worthy studies in the past, following all laws and the highest medical and ethical standards. These studies hold the potential to cure disease and save lives,” she said.
Fetal cell research has been going on for more than 40 years. Scientists eventually discovered by studying small parts of fetal tissue, that the cells could replicate themselves almost indefinitely. With this discovery they then categorized the cells into three types: HEK293, WI-38, MRC-5. These cells are now found in rubella, mumps, measles, chicken pox, polio, rabies and hepatitis vaccines across the world. HEK293 has also been used to synthesize human proteins such as blood clotting factors. Most recently, HEK293 cells have been used to produce gene-delivery viruses that help generate cells that could hold the cures to Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s and Huntington’s disease.
Not only does fetal research benefit other’s physical health, it also benefits the mental health of the woman having the abortion. Many women who have chosen to give their fetuses to scientific research have stated they feel a sense of relief making some good out of their situation.
Although the videos that surfaced claimed that Planned Parenthood sold the fetuses to companies without the woman’s consent, Planned Parenthood replied that they had received no monetary gain.
“There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field,” Planned Parenthood said.
All Planned Parenthood has done here is give women the right to take control of their own bodies if they wish to do so and in return help make advances in the medical field that will benefit society in the future. That doesn’t sound like a crime, does it?