The following is excerpted from an article in the January 1996 issue of Rutherford, the official journal of the Rutherford Institute (Charlottesville, VA). We have added subheads.
When reports of Chinese citizens eating human fetuses for health reasons surfaced in Hong Kong last year, many dismissed them as fiction . . , but when Eastweek andEastern Express, two English-language publications based in Hong Kong, investigated, the reporters were in for a shock.
DISCOVERY IN CHINA
One investigator feigned illness and asked a Shenzhen hospital doctor for fetuses. Holding up a fist-sized glass bottle stuffed with ten thumb-sized unborns, the doctor said, “[They were] all aborted this morning. You can take them. We are a state-run hospital and don’t charge anything.” A private hospital spokesman offered to sell the reporters full-term unborn, which he claimed “contain the best healing qualities.”
Zou Qin, a doctor who claimed to have aborted several hundred unborn and eaten 100 fetuses herself, said, “People normally prefer [fetuses from] young women, and even better, the first boy and a male.”
She justifies the practice: “They are wasted if we don’t eat them . . Zou Qin has fed fetuses to her sister’s children. “I wash them with clear water until they look transparent white and then stew them. Making soup is best.” A photo depicts Zou Qin smiling, holding up a tiny fetus which hasn’t made it to her bowl yet.
WHAT DO WE DO HERE?
The stories are gruesome and almost unreal. Eating babies? But that, of course, is China, we say. In America, we abort babies, but we don’t eat them.
Or do we?
The ongoing American debate over using fetuses in medicine bears some striking parallels to China. One big difference is that America better understands the importance of “spin” and proper marketing techniques . .
Donating one’s own organs, or even allowing a loved one’s untimely death to take on added meaning by permitting doctors to use her organs to help another, has a long and respectable history. But by interweaving the taking of life with the giving of life, medicine and science begin to confuse their mission. A quick mention of the aborted fetus, and then on to the happy ending, the discovery, the patient’s cure, the family’s joy!
Real life isn’t that simple.
FETAL RESEARCH IN AMERICA
The history of fetal research is inextricably linked to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand in America. Other than a very few failed experiments around mid-century, little fetal research had been done before the 1970s. Roe and its progeny placed the preborn human’s body into legal limbo. Thus it became possible to observe the incredible irony of using the body parts of an allegedly non-human fetus to treat specifically human ailments. The heart might still beat, and the [unborn] child feel pain, but the fetus was now considered a “product.”
And like most products, “The fresher, the better.” Deterioration of brain tissue, as well as other bodily organs, commences almost immediately after death. So it became important to create an efficient assembly line which would seamlessly take the baby from the warm womb to deep frozen sterility . .
Finnish and American scientists did an experiment in 1973, described in Newsweek:
“[The team] decapitated a dozen human fetuses, each aborted live through hysterotomy, and kept the heads alive artificially for study. The ghoulish experiment—partially funded by the National Institute of Health—was designed to measure fetal metabolism. At about the same time, another research team kept a batch of aborted fetuses alive in saline solution in order to find out if they could absorb oxygen. One fetus survived for nearly a day.”
STILL BEING DONE TODAY
In 1974, responding to public censure of such science, Congress banned the federal funding of research on aborted fetuses, and tightneed those restrictions in 1985. This did not, however, forbid private institutions from conducting fetal research, since the fetus is not protected by law in the U.S. And the restrictions on [federal] funding were not total: Fetal tissue transplant research, which to this day remains the most medically and monetarily promising “use” for the unborn, was sponsored by the NIH until 1988, when President Reagan’s administration imposed a moratorium on such funding.
Much fetal tissue research remained unaffected by the moratorium, which continued under the Bush administration. The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment observed:
“Since the Moratorium took effect, NIH has spent more than $23.4 million to support 295 research projects involving human fetal tissue.”
As the old reporters’ saw goes, “Follow the money.” During the 1980s and early 90s, research pressed on in a number of areas.
ONE OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL: AT LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY
One of the most controversial programs of the 1980s was that of Loma Linda University Medical Center, who chose to “harvest” the organs of [live] infants with some or most of their brains missing.
The harvesting did, of course, cause the death of such infants; but, since these infants did not in Loma Linda’s opinion qualify for personhood, their organs were considered fair game. In 1988 the University gave up the program—but not for moral reasons: The transplants didn’t work.
LOMA LINDA RESEARCH CONTINUES
Loma Linda’s, and other American, fetal research does have a Chinese connection. As Loma Linda’s Medical Center notes in an Internet post:
“A fetal brain bank has been established at Hua Shan Hospital, where fetal brain tissue is held in cryogenic [super cold] preservation as part of a long range basic sciences research program. Parkinson’s is only one of many potential uses for the tissue samples.”
The [LLU] Internet post goes on to note that, for qualified doctors, “potential withdrawals” are available from the Chinese “brain bank.”
In addition, seven North American Parkinson’s sufferers were taken to China between 1989 and 1991 for fetal transplants. [About this project of theirs, the LLU post notes:]
“Success was impressive, but the long standing ban on [aborted] fetal tissue research made this kind of surgery impractical in the U.S.”
And Dr. Z.S. Tang, a fetal tissue research pioneer from China’s Shanghai Medical University and Hua Shan Hospital, was a visiting professor at Loma Linda University Medical Center during the summer and fall of 1992.
A Loma Linda doctor, Robert P. Iacono, returned Tang’s visit by doing fetal tissue graft implants in China.
Back in the U.S., in only the third day of his presidency, Bill Clinton repealed the Reagan/Bush ban in order, he said, to “free science and medicine from the grasp of politics” . .
WHY THE INDUSTRY WANTS PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS
But the industry has continued to research and develop their “product.”
Though many pro-lifers have heard about the newest abortion method, the so-called “D&X” [dilation and extraction, more commonly known as partial-birth abortion], few know that the method is often touted as a superior way to obtain “undamaged” viable fetal tissue. Former abortionist Bernard Nathanson described the technique as used by Swedish doctors harvesting unborns’ brain tissue for treating Parkinson’s disease:
“Pregnant women at 13 to 18 weeks are placed on an operating table, the cervix is dilated, the bag of water is broken, the fetal head is guided into position just above the open cervix, the fetal skull is drilled open and a suction device is placed into the brain . . the brain substance is then suctioned out and placed immediately on ice to preserve its viability, then the fetus is aborted.”
Similar processes, according to Nathanson, are used in procuring fetal pancreas, fetal liquid and fetal thymus . .
WHERE WE ARE HEADED
And finally, the runway is being smoothed for full-blown research on living, fertilized embryos, including those artificially inseminated in the laboratory. If embryos, why not grow fetuses in the lab as well? Scientists could then replace laboratory rats with a superior “product” more closely related to the human species.
When, in late 1994, an NIH panel recommended giving the green light to embryo experimentation, First Things observed:
“We are confident that most people, to the extent that they are aware of the Panel’s recommendation, experience an immediate and strong revulsion. This is not to be dismissed as an irrational reaction. It signals a deep, intuitive awareness of lines that must not be crossed if we are to maintain our sometimes fragile hold upon our own humanity.”
Between 7 and 14 million abortions are performed in China each year.
When this story first broke, the major news media in America refused to mention it.
China receives $11-12 million annually from the UN Population Fund and International Planned Parenthood Federation, both of which receive major yearly support from the U.S. Government.
Killing the babies soon means there are more old people than younger ones. China is becoming top-heavy in elderly people. Killing the old ones will be the next step.