20 July 2015

"Sale of Fetal Body Parts" is a phony issue

Many in the "Christian Right"  are galvanized and up in arms about Planned Parenthood's "immoral" selling of "body parts and tissue" from aborted fetuses. (Based on the viral Planned Parenthood video currently a cause du jour)
Look, I don't support the idea of performing abortions for the purpose of obtaining fetal tissue for research. And I don't get that Planned Parenthood does either. I don't think anyone does, outside of lunatics. But the fact remains that even though no one wants there to be abortion, there is abortion, because our society has properly determined that in general, a woman's right not to have to bear a child supersedes any societal or imagined innate interest in/of the pregnancy itself, or of the fetus to "life." (I don't care to debate that, although I suppose my position on the issue is obvious enough). 
And given that legal abortion happens, and that fetal tissue is of very great value for medical research, why would it not be used? Federal law already prohibits "sale" of fetal tissue, but not reimbursement of costs. —42 U.S. Code § 289g—2—prohibits the acquisition and transferring of human fetal tissue "for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce." A definition within the code notes that "'valuable consideration' does not include reasonable reimbursement of costs associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue." People differ on whether abortion should be legal or not, but the "sale of body parts" is already illegal, and is not, in fact occurring... the now infamous viral video does not establish that it is. Even those who believe abortion should be illegal should not oppose the vital use of fetal tissue for medical research (for example, from miscarriage). It isn't pleasant to think about, but the fact is that there is no substitute for fetal tissue for some crucial life-saving research.

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