For decades, the promise of research of tissue from aborted fetuses has been widely recognized by several scientists. Since the 1930s, tissue obtained from aborted embryos has been used to develop treatments or permanent cures to diseases that range from heart diseases and kidney failure, diabetes and leukemia, to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease. Due tocuring diseases, political support, and the legalization of abortion, fetal tissue research should be legal.
First, as the years go by, more and more treatments for diseases that were once thought to be incurable are developed. Scientific developments such as chemotherapy have proved to be successful in some, but they are not permanent solutions to the problem. Researchers supporting fetaltissue research and transplantation have said “fetal nerve cells, in contrast to mature ones, grow and adapt to new functions so that fetal tissue transplants may actually repair or replace the damaged nerves, thereby holding promises for miracle cures for the needy such as the wheelchair-bound” (Moody 73). Fetal tissue cells could be very well utilized to restore or renew kidney and heart tissue,patch holes in certain organs, and more. Many could greatly benefit from these organ-renewing cells and scientific proof of the benefits of fetal tissue research provides a better outlook for the acceptance and legalization of this development.
Nevertheless, there are many ethical questions and dilemmas directed towards the topic of fetal tissue, usually regarding whether it is correct to usepreviously living embryos to benefit the greater good of future generations. Fetal tissue-related matters are constantly discussed amongst conservatives and liberals, politicians, extreme Catholics, and more. James Burtchaell of Notre Dame University in Indiana has said, “One must decide at the outset not to exploit human individuals to obtain prospective benefits for others.” Implied here, is thatwhen using fetal tissue to develop cures or remedies for diseases, human individuals are being exploited. Many liberals oppose this opinion, for the “individual” is already dead, thus the using of the former embryo for research is not exploitation but simply using it to, eventually, save lives. In addition, there is a great fear that with the popularization of fetal tissue transplantation “a newbusiness in which women are hired to conceive offspring intended for abortion and marketing as a prime supply of tissue for research”(Burtchaell 117) might appear. This is another ethical dilemma that decreases the support for legalization of fetal tissue research.
Consequently, fetal tissue research, defined as the use of fetal cells and tissues generally obtained from induced abortions used in thedevelopment of vaccines and to study aspects of cell physiology and human development (Boonstra 59), has constantly been attacked and blamed for the increase of induced abortions throughout the United States. In 1973, after the Supreme Court’s decision on the Roe vs. Wade case to make abortion legal, right-to-life leaders set out to destroy fetal tissue research as a whole, declaring that suchresearch dehumanized unborn children and violated their right to choose. Following Roe vs. Wade, “research performed on fetuses obtained from elective-abortions came under close scrutiny”(Fetal Tissue Research-Law”). Much controversy followed this court case, including anti-fetal tissue research and transplantation protests, the writing of disapproving letters and petitions, sit-downs at abortionresearch centers and overall turmoil, specially directed toward the government. Since many conservative Americans felt the outcome of the Roe vs. Wade case made the government seem like it was supporting the death of unborn children, they set out to persecute and ultimately stop anything deriving from or involving the use of aborted “individuals.”
Moreover, abortion is already legal, so why...