A day or so after reading this article a little bell was ringing in the back of my mind. I disagree with the article's confident statement that the trafficking in fetal body parts that has recently come to light is legal, but that wasn't what was triggering my mental bell-ringing. It was the mention of Bill Clinton and the year 1993 and a change in a law. What was that...?
Then it hit me: Yes, that was when the ban was lifted on federal funding for research using aborted fetal tissue. The Gospel Coalition piece merely says that the law hasn't changed since. Yes, that too. And why not, through a long Bush presidency? Why, in fact, has no Republican candidate since then made an issue of defunding research using aborted fetal tissue? I'm old enough to remember when that was a big deal.
Do you know what that means? It means that Planned Parenthood is getting its blood money from the taxpayers in two different ways: By the direct route, PP receives moogoo tax dollars for "educational" work. Indirectly, PP receives funding for this very trafficking that we have just been reading about and horrified by, because the researchers themselves can get federal funding and use it to purchase the "specimens" they need!
And some repentance is in order here on the part of establishment pro-lifers.
Here is an article I wrote back in 2008 and took a lot of time to research. The short version is that National Right to Life Committee openly and explicitly stopped pushing during the Bush II administration (in 2002) for a ban on federal fetal tissue research funding. They did this for two reasons: 1) Because President Bush wasn't willing to make an issue of it. In fact, his NIH actually funded research using aborted fetal tissue. (NRLC said that his "hands were tied" by legislation left over from the Clinton administration.) NRLC wanted to support him and not criticize him, and they knew that he was not going to push for a change in the law, so they fell silent on the issue. 2) Because (they said) they believed that embryonic stem-cell research was the real worry and that the Bush administration (and we) should fight that rather than continuing to press against funding for research involving fetal tissue. (Ironically, even that issue was dropped by pro-lifers during the 2008 campaign, because John McCain supported federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.)
That was in 2002. So here we are, thirteen years later. And we should ask ourselves: Has the issue of federal funding for research using aborted fetal tissue been moot? Does it matter? Has it been replaced in urgency by the issue of embryonic stem cells?
The answers are no, yes, and no.
The bloody business of Planned Parenthood and their profit from it, brought so gruesomely to our attention this past week, are continually enabled by precisely such funding. Fetal tissue is extremely valuable to researchers. Its value to researchers has not been superseded by research interest in embryonic stem cells, though the latter is an important issue in its own right. And so the traffic in the bodies of murdered infants goes on, and pro-life opposition to its funding should never, ever have been dropped.
At this point NRLC should face the fact that it did what it did in 2002 for reasons of pure political expediency and a desire to deflect criticism from President Bush, not because the issue was actually becoming practically irrelevant. Douglas Johnson was wrong, wrong, wrong when he implied that. And for thirteen years since then the trade in fetal organs has continued, funded by your tax dollars and mine through research dollars, and nobody is addressing it.
It's time to go back. Potential Republican candidates for 2016 need to be asked if they would do all in their power to oppose federal funding for research using aborted fetal tissue. They need to be asked if they would ask Congress to send them legislation banning such funding. This issue needs to become as "live" as it was during the Reagan presidency and the Bush I presidency. We never should have abandoned it in the first place.