Part II – When improving our lives costs the lives of the unborn
Are you on medication? Have you had a vaccine? Do you use wrinkle cream? Chances are you may have part of an aborted baby in you. In 1980 the Bayh-Doyle Act created the right for universities to patent federally-funded research and then to grant exclusive license to drug companies (Vicki Evans 42*). Repeatedly cited as some of the highest profiting industries, the pharmaceutical companies are benefiting vastly off of abortion and have great power and control over resources in this nation. Evans points out that “The drug companies through their lobbying arm, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), had become one of the most powerful political forces in the country” (Evans 43).
Evans notes what Dr. Marcia Angell says:
“By 1990, the industry had assumed its present contours as a business with unprecedented control over its own fortunes. For example, if it didn’t like something about the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency tasked with regulating the industry, it could change it through direct pressure or through its friends in Congress.” (Source 10)
Because fetal cells grow more quickly and have more applications in research than adult cells, the ethical debate on whether or not to use fetal cells is not an issue to many. It’s a race to create the medicines that can be patented and sold to the highest bidder. Who wants to wait for adult tissue to grow?
According to Angell, the laws passed in the 1990s which increased patent lives of brand named drugs from eight years to 14 only increased this competition, causing drug companies to “employ small armies of lawyers to milk these laws for all they’re worth” (Angell 10). Getting a “blockbuster” drug adds billions of dollars to profits, Angell says. And Evans adds:
“With patent laws structured to extend monopolies on products, it was financial failure for a company not to get a blockbuster drug to market first. Large pharmaceuticals bought innovative biotech start-ups, often founded by academics who held useful patents on NIH-funded research.” (42)
In plain language, that can mean that federal funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) can be given to a professor at a public university who is researching a drug, possibly using fetal cells, and that professor can, under the Bayh-Dole Act, patent that research, found a biotech start-up company and make a fortune off aborted babies, with federal funding of his research from the NIH and his or her university.
It’s not only regular medications that use fetal cells, but historically, vaccines have relied on abortion to thrive. “Several commonly-used vaccines are cultured on human diploid fibroblast cell strains derived from electively-aborted human fetuses” (Evans 44). You can see some of the ties here or here, and this site even includes links to the drug manufacturer’s inserts (click on “PROVE IT” and then the link at the end of the first paragraph).
“One fetus can be the source of a cell strain with a potential yield of about 20 million metric tons (wet weight) of cells, which can be stored frozen for many years… In addition, aborted fetuses and/or their organs are seemingly easy to obtain, and the cost of tissue procurement is negligible.” (Evans 45)
Bottom line: more bang for the buck means aborted babies are a hot market in vaccinations.
While bioethicists debate whether fetal cells should be used to save lives, this debate magnifies when the discussion moves to saving faces. That’s right, the revolutionary idea that an aborted baby can make a vain person look younger is one of the hallmarks of this twisted industry. While it’s rather commonly known that fetal cells were used in designing medication to heal burns without scarring, many don’t realize that it went beyond that to purely cosmetic applications. These include creams that help reduce wrinkles, and sometimes companies openly disclose this. This practice was made more widespread in 1993 when the Clinton Administration approved fetal body parts for research.
Most shocking of all in the cosmetic industry comes in the form of things like spas where women seek cellulite removal and other enhancements. One Barbados clinic had a horrifying method of treatment, Evans notes:
“Women were paid $200-$300 (three months salary) to carry their pregnancies to a very late stage and then deliver the babies alive in a kind of forced premature birth. The procedure allows the living baby’s organs to be harvested while they are still as fresh as possible.” The parts are passed on to buyers, who screen the material and sell it at a huge mark-up to a worldwide network of clinics like the one in Barbados. In Moscow alone, there are more than fifty beauty parlors and cellulite clinics offering fetal injections. These establishments attract rich Russian and Western women for fetal injections to “eliminate cellulite from their buttocks, thighs and arms.” (Evans 55-56)
It’s not difficult to see Ezekiel 22 and its discussion of a land that is guilty of shedding innocent blood as reality when you read such horrors. Abortion is a death industry going far beyond the abortion clinic. It’s streaming through the undercurrents of our society, and the dollars make it quite worthwhile to many. Clearly, babies are sometimes bred and trafficked in the womb for the sake of drugs manufacturing, sometime on federal dollars, and even beauty treatments. What’s it worth for us to stay healthy, to avoid a disease, to slim down or be unwrinkled? Is it worth the lives of the unborn?
In the next blog, I’ll look at fetus farming and the ramifications and substrands of this industry.
*Evans, V. (2009). Commercial markets created by abortion: Profiting from the fetal distribution chain. Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, Rome.
Editor’s note: We ran this series originally in 2010; this version is updated slightly and will expand it.