Planned Parenthood Defense: AP Promotes 'Highly Charged' But 'Essential' Fetal Tissue Research

August 14th, 2015 6:43 AM

The Associated Press devoted nearly 800 words Tuesday to promoting fetal tissue research in the midst of Planned Parenthood’s ongoing baby parts-for-profit scandal.  Its story, titled “Scientists say fetal tissue essential for medical research,” hyped the “potential” of using cells garnered from aborted babies to further medicine.

AP reporters Collin Binkley and Carla K. Johnson fretted that “Many major universities declined to make scientists available for interviews about their fetal tissue work, saying they fear for the researchers’ safety because the issue is so highly charged,” and listed a slew of treatments scientists are trying to develop using cells from tiny humans in their earliest stages of life.

They promoted what might cure ailments, not what has: "U.S. scientists have been using such cells for decades to develop vaccines and seek treatments for a host of ailments, from vision loss to cancer and AIDS."

University laboratories that buy such cells strongly defend their research, saying tissue that would otherwise be thrown out has played a vital role in lifesaving medical advances and holds great potential for further breakthroughs.

Fetal cells are considered ideal because they divide rapidly, adapt to new environments easily and are less susceptible to rejection than adult cells when transplanted.

"If researchers are unable to work with fetal tissue, there is a huge list of diseases for which researchers would move much more slowly, rather than quickly, to find their cause and how they can be cured," Stanford University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said in an email.

Bizarrely, the article quoted Dr. Carrie Wolinetz, an associate director at NIH, as saying fetal tissue—liberal code for “aborted baby parts”—was “absolutely critical” to the development of a potential Ebola vaccine that has shown promise. But according to a preliminary report about the successful Ebola vaccine, it was developed with Vero, a monkey cell line. 

The AP reporters noted “Some scientists are looking for alternatives to fetal tissue, such as using adult cells that have been ‘reprogrammed’ to their earlier forms. But those techniques are still being refined, and some fields are likely to remain reliant on fetal tissue, such as the study of fetal development.” Yet it made no mention of some of the lives that have been saved using this form of research, which does not require bringing about the death of a whole, distinct, living human being.