Today, the New England Journal of Medicine published two commentaries; the first is an editorial in support of Planned Parenthood, and the second is a piece outlining the value of fetal tissue for medical research. The full text of each piece is available at the links below.
Planned Parenthood at Risk
George P. Topulos, M.D., Michael F. Greene, M.D., and Jeffrey M. Drazen, M.D.
“Planned Parenthood, its physicians, and the researchers who do this work should be praised, not damned.…
“We strongly support Planned Parenthood not only for its efforts to channel fetal tissue into important medical research but also for its other work as one of the country’s largest providers of health care for women, especially poor women…. The contraception services that Planned Parenthood delivers may be the single greatest effort to prevent the unwanted pregnancies that result in abortions.…
“We are outraged by those who debase these women, this work, and Planned Parenthood by distorting the facts for political ends.”
Fetal Tissue Fallout
R. Alta Charo, J.D.
“We have a duty to use fetal tissue for research and therapy….
“[T]his duty of care should, I believe, be at the heart of the current storm of debate surrounding fetal tissue research, an outgrowth of the ongoing effort to defund Planned Parenthood…..
“The current uproar was ignited when an antiabortion activist, posing as a biomedical research company representative, captured on video — which he then edited in the most misleading way possible — discussions by Planned Parenthood physicians of the procedures they use (when recovering specific fetal organ tissues) and the cost ($30 to $100 to reimburse for costs). The effect was to portray the organization as callous and possibly criminal in its actions…. Along the way, the target broadened, and the use of fetal tissue in research was also attacked. Portrayed as ghoulish vivisection and body-part snatching, it was decried as barbaric by members of Congress. Within weeks, inquiries were announced in Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Kansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas; Arizona began looking into making it more difficult to provide tissue; and bills were drafted in Wisconsin and California to make it virtually impossible to use fetal tissue or fetal cells. The inquiries revealed no law broken by Planned Parenthood, but only time will tell how many bills will become law….
“Virtually every person in this country has benefited from research using fetal tissue…. Any discussion of the ethics of fetal tissue research must begin with its unimpeachable claim to have saved the lives and health of millions of people….
“By using the public's unfamiliarity with the history and realities of fetal tissue research as a back door for attacking Planned Parenthood, abortion opponents have added millions of people to the collateral damage of the abortion wars. This attack represents a betrayal of the people whose lives could be saved by the research and a violation of that most fundamental duty of medicine and health policy, the duty of care.”
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
August 12, 2015