Before Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson was slamming Planned Parenthood’s facilitation of fetal tissue donations from aborted fetuses for research, a 1992 study reveals the retired neurosurgeon was performing his own research on fetal tissue from aborted fetuses.
Dr. Jen Gunter published a blog post on Wednesday, pointing out Carson’s startling hypocrisy and said, “While opining on the uselessness of fetal tissue research to Megyn Kelly, Dr. Carson neglected to mention his own paper Colloid Cysts of the Third Ventricle: Immunohistochemical evidence for nonneuropithelial differentiation published in Hum Pathol 23:811-816 in 1992. The materials and methods describe using ‘human choroid plexus ependyma and nasal mucosa from two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation.’”
Gunter added, “Yes, Dr. Ben Carson has done research on fetal tissue and published his findings. His name is on the paper so that means he had a substantive role in the research and supports the methods and findings.”
She ended her blog post with, “As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson knows full well that fetal tissue is essential for medical research. His discipline would have a hard time being where it is today without that kind of work. What is even more egregious than dismissing the multitude of researchers whose work allowed him to become a neurosurgeon is the hypocrisy of actually having done that research himself while spouting off about its supposed worthlessness.”
After a right-leaning, anti-choice group first released footage of a series of edited and misleading videos featuring Planned Parenthood “selling aborted baby parts,” Carson told Fox News that the scientific benefits of fetal research have been “overpromised” and “under-delivered.” He also said that 17-week-old fetuses are human beings, saying, “How can you believe that that’s just an irrelevant mass of cells?”
On Thursday, Carson tried to defend his position to the Washington Post, saying that his 1992 study was based on a different “intent” than Planned Parenthood’s intention. He said, “You have to look at the intent. To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it.”
Carson specified that fetal tissue research is not immoral and should not be banned, but he believes Planned Parenthood should be defunded. The GOP hopeful would not specify whether or not PP should stop the collection of fetal tissue donations. (Because he would look like a hypocrite if he did.) Instead, Carson pushed the party talking point and said Planned Parenthood’s founder wanted to eradicate African Americans, an accusation that historians dispute. “I may not be completely objective about Planned Parenthood, because I know how they started with Margaret Sanger who believed in eugenics.”
A Think Progress article titled, The Use Of Aborted Fetuses In Medical Research Has ‘Saved The Lives And Health Of Millions’ points out:
“In an editorial published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, lawyer and bioethicist Alta Charo, who’s currently affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, lays out a strong case for fetal tissue research from a moral perspective.
‘Virtually every person in this country has benefited from research using fetal tissue,” Charo writes. “Every child who’s been spared the risks and misery of chickenpox, rubella, or polio can thank the Nobel Prize recipients and other scientists who used such tissue in research yielding the vaccines that protect us (and give even the unvaccinated the benefit of herd immunity). This work has been going on for nearly a century, and the vaccines it produced have been in use nearly as long. Any discussion of the ethics of fetal tissue research must begin with its unimpeachable claim to have saved the lives and health of millions of people.’”