by Anastasia Chvedova
Imagine opening a newspaper one day and finding a horrifying story about hundreds of people being killed each week and their bodies being sold for research and product manufacturing. Such stories often belong only in science fiction novels or movies. We know something similar happened in the Holocaust, but we don’t really expect it to happen today. However, recently I came across news that is perhaps not very far off. If anything, this information shows the lack of respect our society has for the unborn and the prevalence of the idea that they are not living persons. Prior to doing this research, I had no idea of this side of the abortion industry, and I am guessing that it is not extremely well known. Specifically, I am talking about the ways aborted fetuses are used in research, industry, and medicine.
An article recently published on LifeSiteNews.com describes the use of fetal body parts such as eyes, ears, limbs, brain and skin. Shockingly, these body parts are now an “indispensable commodity for many U.S. researchers and scientists.” They are used by the government, universities, pharmaceutical and biotechnology laboratories to produce cosmetics, food additives, and other products.
How do we know about this now? Dr. Theresa Deisher, a well-known molecular and cellular physiologist with years of experience in top pharmaceutical companies, recently gave a talk in Washington, DC, at a pro-life conference. She spoke of the “commoditizing” and “dehumanizing” treatment of unborn human beings that has occurred over the past few decades, changing the popular perception of them by suggesting they are not in fact human “like the rest of us.” I was surprised to learn that the more grown an unborn child is, the more valuable their body parts are for research – which suggests just how deeply this “dehumanization” has in fact taken root in our society.
Just how many fetuses are we talking about here? For example, “Puget Sound Business Journal discovered that the University of Washington filled out more than 4,400 requests for fresh fetal body parts from fetal tissue for the purpose of biomedical research in 2009.”
That is just one part of the story. There is another way in which fetuses are used: in vaccines. A few months ago, I (unknowingly) got vaccinated for the chickenpox. Later, I learned that viruses used in the Varivax vaccine are typically grown in cell lines derived from deliberately aborted babies! Upon learning this I was appalled and in a way felt violated, because if I had known this information, I would not have chosen to receive this vaccine. (Perhaps in this way, people should be given the “right to choose”?)
Many vaccines currently in use were developed using human cell lines, for example: VARIVAX (chickenpox), Havrix (Hep-A), VAQTA (Hep-A), Twinrix (Hep-A/Hep-B), POLIOVAX (polio), IMOVAX (rabies), MERUVAX II (rubella), M-R-VAX (measles/rubella), BIAVAX II (mumps/rubella), and M-M-R II (measles/mumps/rubella). One article I found suggests that each dose of the chickenpox vaccine contains “residual components…including DNA and protein of cells derived from the aborted baby”. Unfortunately, no alternative, pro-life substitutes currently exist for the chickenpox, Hepatitis A, and rubella vaccines.
A well-known quote says, “A society is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members.” I think this information gives us even more reasons to educate people on the pro-life view and help society see what is being done to its most vulnerable persons, the unborn. After all, who is more dependent, more small and defenseless, than they are? They are unable to speak up for themselves, and all we have for their testimony are the many images of aborted babies. However, we are able to speak, and perhaps it has never been more important to do so than today. It says something when the bodies of these children are used to grow viruses and test new products like cosmetics and food additives. It somehow makes widespread abortion even more inhumane, when the unborn are being used as commodities in our industrial, commercialized age. In my opinion, every life is valuable and irreplaceable. For this reason, researchers need to find new methods of developing vaccines, even if those methods are more costly. As pro-lifers, we should remember what we are proclaiming: that these unborn babies have been made for something much greater – to live, to learn, to be known, to love and be loved.