SEATTLE, August 31, 2001 ( – The head of the University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Laboratory had his home picketed this month by prolife activists. Alan Fantel, who runs the nation’s largest provider of fetal tissue for federally funded research, expressed dismay at the actions aimed against him. “We’ve been doing what we’ve been doing calmly and quietly for 30 years,” he said.

What Fantel and his four colleagues do is make almost daily visits to Seattle-area clinics and hospitals that perform abortions to collect aborted baby parts. They then sift through the childâs remains to identify the needed body parts, which are packaged and sent off by Federal Express. The UW lab has a list of several hundred researchers who might want fetal tissue, and in 1999 they supplied almost 3000 samples{195}{183}a demand that has been steady for years.

Fantel defends his work saying that it is for crucial medical research and that the tissue would have been discarded anyway. But Elenor Schoen, a spokeswoman for Human Life of Washington, strongly disagrees. “Our concern—besides the whole abortion mentality and devaluation of human life in general—is that you cannot erase the wrong of abortion by doing something ‘positive’ with the fetal remains gotten from the procedure.”

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