Pro-Life Republicans Crusading To Ban Life-Saving Research

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The term “pro-life” should be self-evident, and indeed if a person is pro-life, one might tend to think they would support any agenda protecting and sustaining the life of all human beings; especially those already breathing. The American pro-life movement is not the least bit concerned about existing citizens’ lives, but they are laser-focused on single-celled zygotes and fetuses and will go to any length to protect what their bible says are clearly not living beings. Now there is a movement in several Republican states and the United States Congress to ban medical and scientific research that saves existing lives to demonstrate just how pro-life the anti-Planned Parenthood Republican movement really is.

One of the primary obstacles that Republicans and evangelicals faced when they sought to destroy Planned Parenthood based on heavily-edited and despicably fraudulent videos was that it is not against any law for the organization to donate fetal tissue for scientific research. In fact, as this column continually states, the most ardent opposition to Planned Parenthood’s tissue donation activities is from Republicans in Congress who voted for 1993 legislation allowing tissue donations and research as a means of saving existing life. As is their wont, since Republicans cannot impose their will and destroy Planned Parenthood for donating tissue for research, they are pushing legislation to make donating and researching human tissue illegal.

It is stunning, but there are already some states that ban any scientific or medical research using fetal tissue, and now several others are jumping on the Dark Age bandwagon to prevent scientists from finding cures to myriad infirmities and debilitating and deadly diseases; all to push a Catholic-inspired “pro-life” religious dogma. Of course, the hypocrisy of the ‘pro-life’ movement is well-documented since they have either murdered medical professionals, called for their assassination, or closed abortion clinics to return to a time when thousands of women died because they did not want to give birth and chose a dangerous option. But the life of the woman, as always, is insignificant to the hypocritical  “pro-life” movement that only cares about the fetus that their bible, and their god, says is not a living being.

In Wisconsin, where scientists in the 1990s pioneered research with human embryonic stem cells‚ religious Republican lawmakers are pushing a ban on the using fetal tissue that will certainly hinder cutting-edge and life-saving research; including major ongoing efforts to find new antibiotics as existing ones grow ineffective. The bill’s lead sponsor, Representative Andre Jacque (R), proposed the legislation that would make it a felony to sell, donate, or even experiment with fetal tissue in any capacity.

When one researcher learned about the legislation banning her life-saving medical research she said, “Oh, I’m going to have to move the lab. Because you can’t stop—you really want to do the research.” However, if Republicans in Congress are successful there may be no place in  America to locate a lab doing research using human tissue. After the congressional Republican assault on Planned Parenthood for adhering to the fetal tissue law, Republicans in nine other states are proposing bans similar to the one in Wisconsin, and more are expected to follow suit. That is the opinion of a state policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, Elizabeth Nash, who noted that a prominent anti-women’s choice group, Americans United for Life, already issued a tissue research ban in its model legislation for Republicans to take up and pass in 2016.

However, the evangelical states’ proposed bans on tissue research may be redundant if the Republican Congress has its way. There is a House bill sponsored by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) Republicans will take up very early next year that outlaws all fetal-tissue research across the nation. This is despite the 1993 legislation that made it legal to donate fetal tissue for the sole purpose of finding cures to save lives; what any sane person would regard as “pro-life.”

One of the veteran researchers at the University of Wisconsin who uses cell lines derived from donated fetal tissue as an important part of her work, Gail Robertson, said the proposed bans are anti-progress. She said,

We’re in a fight for the future of cures to the diseases that will affect us all. I would ask the public to reflect on family members, people you care about who have been saved by this technology. Think about the unanticipated implications of supporting these kinds of legislation.”

Robertson’s primary focus is preventing the greatest natural threat to life in the United States; sudden cardiac death. These “kinds of legislation” will also undermine potentially life-saving research on diseases including diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. But those pro-life efforts do not fit into the evangelical pro-life movement that has already celebrating shutting down fetal-tissue donation programs essential to such pro-life saving research. Their machinations have been successful in shutting down supplies of the tissue to labs and has already “hindered cutting-edge scientific studies.”

Another scientist at Birth Defects Research Lab at the University of Washington, Theresa Naluai-Cecchini, said that pro-life activism has already “hurt the work at her lab” which is funded by the National Institutes of Health and supplies other medical researchers with fetal tissue. She said:

We are in the last year of funding, and if we are unable to supply tissue to the research community we would have to close. We may be able to obtain an extension, but the climate in DC does not look favorable in an election cycle. If that trend continues, promising research to save lives would stop and new findings would take considerably longer.”

Whatever it is that drives these phony pro-life fanatics, it has nothing to do with protecting or preserving life. Placing state or nation-wide bans on using fetal tissue will not, in any conceivable way, put Planned Parenthood out of business or stop women from seeking elective abortions. If there is a law against donating fetal tissue, as a legal entity religiously following the law, Planned Parenthood and any other provider will just stop donating. Subsequently, these Dark Age religious laws will put scientific and medical researchers at a distinct disadvantage to do real “pro-life” work and the phony pro-life evangelicals will have to revert to their other pro-life activities like murdering abortion doctors and burning Planned Parenthood clinics.

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