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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Planned Parenthood And Fetal Tissue Sale: Manufactured Controversy And The Real Ethical Debate

I. Glenn Cohen
Health Affairs Blog
March 9, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

The Real Debate (We Already Had)

As a bioethicist, what was perhaps most upsetting to me was the way the kabuki political theater obscured the fact that there was a real set of ethical questions to be discussed.

These are questions about complicity. For those who think abortion is seriously wrong, in what ways does the use of tissue from abortion make the user or downstream beneficiary of research complicit in that sin?

This is an interesting question that bioethicists have wrestled with for a long time. But when it comes to law, it is one the law has explicitly resolved in a way that allows fetal tissue use.

As my friend Alta Charo noted in a piece for The Washington Post:
Fetal tissue research is legal in all but a handful of states, and it has been conducted in the United States, with federal support, for decades, except for a brief moratorium on the use of National Institutes of Health funds in the 1980s. It is regulated by federal law, and was funded by the Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama administrations, most recently to the tune of about $76 million per year.
The blog post is here.