Despite the sweaty claims of a group of liars intent on gutting Planned Parenthood because their extremist religion doesn't believe women they don't know should get certain medical care they personally don't agree with, there is nothing remarkable about donating fetal tissue for research. Or to put that another way, there is something
remarkable about donating fetal tissue for research. For starters, it helped cure polio
Scientists have worked with it since the 1930s. The 1954 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded for work with fetal tissue that led to developing a vaccine against polio. [...] Some experimental treatments for spinal cord injury and macular degeneration involve transplanting fetal cells into patients. And European researchers recently began a study of putting fetal tissue into patients' brains to treat Parkinson's disease [...]
Researchers rely on donated organs and tissues to make medical advances; doctors use them to save the lives of individual patients whose own organs are, due to accident or disease, irreparable. Yes, some people find all this terribly icky. Sorry—please try to comfort yourself with your not-polio and move on.
The other essential point is that it's illegal to "sell" organs, but it's both an explicitly legal and uniformly accepted practice for researchers needing tissue samples to reimburse the donating group's costs of gathering, preserving and delivering that tissue. Even anti-abortion Republicans recognize the importance of these donations. And there's no possibility that Planned Parenthood in particular is "making a profit" by charging minor, sub-$100 fees. It's not happening.
Sawyer, July 20: In reality, $30-100 probably constitutes a loss for [Planned Parenthood]. The costs associated with collection, processing, storage, and inventory and records management for specimens are very high. Most hospitals will provide tissue blocks from surgical procedures (ones no longer needed for clinical purposes, and without identity) for research, and cost recover for their time and effort in the range of $100-500 per case/block. In the realm of tissues for research $30-100 is completely reasonable and normal fee.
The effort here is an attempt to use the "ick" factor of lifesaving medical research to shut down a women's health organization, and if that just happens to profoundly disrupt that medical research or leave the public with the impression that such medical research is illegal or immoral, that is deemed an acceptable casualty. It is viciously cynical and deeply irresponsible—political malpractice would be the kindest way to put it, if you insist on terminology that hides the actual human lives that would be lost if such research were indeed shut down. Time and time again religious opponents of abortion pipe up with fraudulent, manufactured propaganda efforts that would do great and long-lasting damage—that might outright kill people, in fact—if anyone were gullible enough to believe them, and we are supposed to believe that God demands they peddle that fraud, because no other efforts have worked out and so He's keen on fraud so long as it's got His name attached.
And a goodly chunk of the people who govern us are more than eager to pretend they believe the latest round of transparently obvious bullshit, to hell with the collateral damage, if it will collect the liars' votes. And the media, our saintly media, protector of democracy, can't quite gather the same enthusiasm for pointing out the obvious fraud of the effort as they can to the important question of which political figure is doing his professional best to make the most hay of it.
This is Not Right. The willing adoption of propaganda, of politically manufactured falsehoods that can easily be proven untrue but which are deemed so ideologically valuable that their fraudulent nature is deemed unimportant, is a dangerous way to run a nation. How is this not obvious? How is exposing such charlatanism not considered the highest badge of honor for a free press?
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