Thursday, March 27, 2008

Not so simple

I've been reading The Hand of God by Bernard Nathanson, M.D. and came across a passage I want to pass on. Nathanson was a one of the founders of NARAL Pro-Choice America and at the time ran the world's largest abortion clinic. He has since become a national advocate of the pro-life movement, although I'm not sure how active he is currently. In the book, he deals with the ethics of using aborted fetal tissue for treating medical conditions. I'm sure we've all heard the, "well, they're already dead, so some good might as well come out of their lives" argument supporting the medical use of fetal tissue from aborted babies, but Nathanson provides an alternative perspective: (here he is talking about the hope of reducing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease by transplanting healthy fetal nerve cells into those with Parkinson's)

"...consider that the placement of fetal brain tissue into the brain of a sufferer from Parkinson's disease is not simply a matter of sticking a needle into the skull of the patient and injecting the cells. First patients suitable for the technique must be screened (the doctors, nurses, and laboratory technicians necessary for this phase of the operation are all well paid). The abortions must then be performed (five for each patient awaiting the transplant), and of course the abortion doctors, and clinic and hospital personnel are compensated for their services. The tissue must then be immediately iced by a technician standing right at the abortion table (also paid), and then the tissue must be transported to a suitable laboratory where another technician will examine all the fetal tissue under a microscope and winnow out the fetal neurons (nerve cells) appropriate for transplant (that technician is especially well paid since this is critical tedious work). The tissue is then processed and prepared for the actual transplant (another costly operation). Meanwhile the patient is also being prepared for the transplant by the doctors, nurses, nurse's aides, housekeeping personnel, social workers, and counselors to the patient and the family"...and on and on it goes.

Bottom line: there is a lot of money to be made by using fetal cells for research and treatment. New industries would spring up to accommodate demand, and certainly not out of pure altruism. Just food for thought.

1 comment:

Marie :) said...

Have you read Francine River's book "The Atonement Child"? It's about a girl who was raped and everyone (parents, fiancee, deans, etc.) tell her that God would understand her special situation and allow her to get an abortion. I just finished reading it - it is great! A little wordy, but the message is clear. I like how it presents all sides of the picture - there are many characters. Btw, Francine Rivers writes many other interesting books - short reads, too. ;)