Fifteen years ago I spoke at Wisconsin Governor Thompson’s State of the State address, promoting organ and tissue donation. I shared that my two-year-old daughter had passed away unexpectedly and that we made the choice to donate her organs and tissues. What I didn’t share is that before she was born, the doctors told us that they were recommending a partial birth abortion because she would never be able to survive on her own. That was not an option for us. After her birth, we often thought about that prognosis, especially as we were chasing her from room to room, just trying to keep up with her after she learned to crawl.
Had we followed the doctor’s advice, our daughter would never have been with us for her two short but incredible years, resulting in one a life lost. And beyond that, the eventual recipient of her organs would have died as well, resulting in two lives lost.
Immediately after I spoke, the father of the recipient of my daughter’s organs spoke. He shared that without organ and tissue donation, his daughter would not be alive. They would have had to bury their daughter instead of celebrate her next birthday.
That, to me, was what organ and tissue donation was all about – turning a horrible tragedy that took a life into a miracle that saved a life. I believed in the process so much that I left my career to start a new one in tissue donation.
I spent five years working for the tissue bank that received my daughter’s tissues. During my time in the industry I saw a side of it that no donor family or recipient would ever want to see. I thankfully was never involved in human baby or fetal tissue, but I can tell you that profiteering in the industry is rampant. There were contests to see who could procure the most tissue per donor and we were expected to maximize each donor, stretching the limits of the family’s consent, all to make more money. Donors and consent were abused regularly. It was all legal, but certainly not ethical or moral.
Planned Parenthood (and many others in the tissue industry) are already operating in a legal, moral, and ethical gray area by exchanging money for tissue with research tissue companies. It is illegal to buy or sell human tissue, but it is perfectly legal to be reimbursed for procurement costs. There is money to be made, and this loophole provides the opportunity to do so.
Organizations like Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics have seen that there is money to be made and they have proven that they will find creative ways to make it by selling aborted fetuses and fetal tissues. What is to stop them from finding an equally creative way to jump into the next gray area – paying women for their fetuses? They could reimburse women for the extra time they spend during an abortion to ensure the fetus is removed in sell-able condition. That would truly increase the supply of fetal tissues and thus increase their income.
Once that practice is in place, what’s to stop women from intentionally becoming pregnant in order to abort the fetus and get paid by Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider? Although many would consider this immoral, individuals in need of money may resort to these measures. This is exactly what some addicts are already doing with prostitution.
We could even take it just one more baby step beyond that – what if fetuses of specific ages could be custom ordered? A research company could tell an abortion clinic that they’re willing to double, triple, or quadruple what they pay for fetuses for each fetus of about 12 weeks of age. The clinic could contact patients with fetuses of about that age and invite them in to abort their baby and sell the fetus for cash.
This hasn’t happened…yet. But it could. It has the potential to turn desperate women into fetus factories. That prospect should shake all of us to our core.
A former abortion clinic employee has said that an intact fetus could bring in $200 from a research company. Multiply that by the hundreds and hundreds of abortions any given clinic could perform in the course of a year and it’s easy to see how this could put millions into the coffers of abortion clinics each year, giving them the motivation to get creative with reimbursements.
Setting the pro-life/pro-choice debate aside, the chilling part of this type of tissue donation is that the tissues they are selling are not from what they consider living human beings with rights protecting them – the tissues are what they would consider to be waste products from a medical procedure.
There is a company named Nebraska Scientific which sells fetal tissues for research and educational purposes. Their brochure describes fetuses that are procured as a “byproduct” of a different procedure – the fetuses are unwanted and are considered “waste products”. Nebraska Scientific has found a way to make money from these unwanted, “waste product” fetuses by selling them to anyone willing to pay for them.
Thankfully, Nebraska Scientific sells pig fetuses purchased from butchers. The butchers don’t go looking for pregnant sows, but rather keep their eyes open for pregnant sows as they do their regular business. If they happen to find an in-tact fetus, they’ll sell it to the research company for a little extra money.
This is an example of a company that has secured an endless supply of fetuses that are unwanted waste byproducts of a procedure, selling them as an additional stream of revenue. The current and potential similarities to abortion providers should shake you to your core.
It doesn’t matter where you stand on the issue of abortion. This is about ensuring that we prevent the a future reality of turning women into fetus factories, treating them no better than sows sent to the butcher to have their fetuses removed and sold as unwanted waste byproducts for a profit. Drug addicts, the poor and and the destitute – there will be nothing stopping them from getting pregnant for the sole purpose of making money selling their fetuses.
Unless Wisconsin AB 305 and bills like it across the nation are passed, there will be absolutely nothing to stop this from happening. The tissue industry is already bending the laws regulating buying and selling human tissue – it’s only a matter of time until it reaches the next level and we end up with human fetus factories, creating fetuses to order. It’s up to you to do the right thing and stop it now. Contact your legislators and ask them to support legislation prohibiting the sale of aborted fetuses and fetal tissue.