Who hasn’t dreamed of the day when there will be cures for Parksinson’s, dementia and cancers?
Much of the most promising work on conquering our most feared diseases is coming from research on fetal tissue. Now, the Trump administration has blocked funding for medical research using fetal tissue.
The move has been heralded by anti-abortion groups as a win for their cause. But the decision to stifle advanced medical research will have no effect on legal abortion. In the past, when faced with calls to cut federal funding for fetal tissue research, a majority of members from both parties knew that if fetal tissue from a legal abortion can help conquer diseases, it is far better to allow researchers to use it than to throw it away.
And there are laws in place to prevent a woman from getting any payment for donating fetal tissue for medical research. And clinics that perform abortions can’t profit in any way from donated tissue.
Research on fetal tissue has been going on since the 1930s. It has led to better treatments for Parkinson’s. The polio and rubella vaccines were developed using fetal tissue research. It’s shown positive results for treating spinal injuries and strokes.
Fetal tissue is important because it represents a formative period of human development that can’t be replicated using adult tissue.
Ironically, blocking research on fetal tissues prevents scientists from furthering studies that can save more babies. Fetal tissue research is being used to find new therapies to protect unborn babies from diseases such as Zika.
Fetal tissue has the unique properties to provide life-saving advances in medicine. Blocking it to score political points with your base is irresponsible.