Women Who Have Abortions Should Donate Fetal Tissue to Science

Newsweek Opinion | Elizabeth Nolan Brown
Planned Parenthood says it donates fetal tissue to scientific research, but only at the consent of patients. REUTERS/DOMINICK REUTER

On July 14, a video produced by undercover anti-abortion advocates was released showing Planned Parenthood's director of medical services, Deborah Nucatola, discussing the donation of tissue from aborted fetuses to medical researchers.

As you might imagine, outrage followed swiftly. For many in the pro-life camp, this was evidence of “the inhumanity of the entire abortion enterprise." Even some people with both pro-choice and libertarian views condemned the "ghoulishness" of the whole operation. The Washington Post reported that "a House committee and at least two states have opened investigations into Planned Parenthood" following the video's release.

Maybe my mindless-moral-revulsion factor just isn't finely tuned enough, but I can't understand why anyone who is (1) not against abortion per se, (2) not against research using human stem cells, and (3) not against organ and tissue donation should suddenly be moved to indignation by the combining of these things.

If tissue from fetuses that are going to be aborted anyway might help bring about future medical progress, and the women having abortions fully consent, what's the problem?

Related: Is Fetal Tissue Essential to Science?

Perhaps now is a good time to clear up a few of the untrue statements that are going around about this: No, Planned Parenthood doctors are not doing this without women's consent. (See the consent form Planned Parenthood uses here.) No, Planned Parenthood affiliates are not profiting off aborted fetal tissue—the $30 to $100 Nucatola mentions in the video is what research firms typically reimburse clinics for the cost of storing, shipping and transporting it. No, Planned Parenthood is not breaking federal law against selling human body parts (which would require, you know, actually selling them) Continue reading

You have the power to SAVE Lives
We are asking you to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today.
In California:
...and have a conversation with your family