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(LifeSiteNews) — When we first heard about the experimentation on human embryos and foetuses many years ago, most of us were incredulous. Some still are. It is difficult to imagine the perversion of the human heart which justifies the use of vital organs of infants, even if the intention is to help others. To use another human being is nothing less than to instrumentalize that person, to turn them into an object to be used and discarded like a dirty rag. This is a grave thing to do to anyone, but the sin is compounded and increases in gravity when that person is innocent and defenseless. Even if we had used the body of only one infant that was spontaneously aborted, it would be a grave injustice.

The Eugenics movement which dawned in the 1920s oversaw the forced institutionalization and sterilization of the “feebleminded” and made medical experimentation on human beings “acceptable.”[1] Following this, and well into the 1970s, organ harvesting on live foetuses of gestational ages of 3–4 months was not uncommon.[2]

To grasp the gravity of the use of aborted foetal cells in the medical field, it is necessary to be aware of the steps required to arrive at a “successful” outcome. The sanitized idea that the development of the cells came from one female infant in 1973 in a wholly isolated incident is misleading, for the very nature of the scientific method involves performing experiments repeatedly until a successful outcome is achieved.

The currently available COVID-19 vaccines use foetal stem cells (a parent cell that can keep reproducing) in either their production (by using them as a container to culture the viruses) and/or in their testing (the vaccines are then tested on these cells to elicit a safety response on a cellular level). The majority of foetal stem cells are of the HEK-293 cell line (HEK stands for Human Embryonic Kidney, and 293 indicates the number of experiments required prior to the successful isolation of the cell line). The workbook of the scientist for HEK-293 is not public, so the true number of foetuses used has not been confirmed. It is thought to be likely to be over 100 when compared to similar cell lines. For example, there were numerous foetuses used in the extraction of the cell line denoted by the number -38 (WI-38)[3] and nine foetuses in the lead-up to the development of a cell line denoted by the number -2 (walvax-2).

Another misconception is that organs are salvaged after the abortion. Although this is in itself a heinous crime, the harvesting of organs for medical research is far more premeditated. The following is an excerpt from a 2015 publication in a medical journal regarding the development of a new foetal cell line (walvax-2): “The fetal material was provided by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Yunnan Hospital, with legal and ethical agreements from the donator. Before the study, we made strict and comprehensive inclusion criteria in order to guarantee a high-quality cell strain: 1) gestational age 2 to 4 months; 2) induction of labor with the water bag method; 3) the parent’s career should not involve contact with chemicals and radiation; 4) both parents are in good health without neoplastic and genetic diseases, and with no history of human tissue or organ transplantation in the families traced for 3 generations; and 5) no infectious diseases. The tissues from the freshly aborted fetuses were immediately sent to the laboratory for the preparation of the cells.”[4]

In simple language: Several infants of a gestational age of 2–4 months were screened, picked for their gender, race and pristine medical history. The date of the abortion is chosen, labor is induced, organs are extracted while the child is alive (denoted by the word “fresh”), then transported. The cause of death is the removal of the organs by vivisection. The method described above in 2015 is virtually unchanged from the method of organ harvesting in 1952.[5]

In a university application for $2.3 million funding for foetal harvesting in 2016, the method used to guarantee the “freshness” of foetal kidneys is described: “Labour induction will be used to obtain the tissue. We record the warm ischemic time on our samples and take steps to keep it at a minimum to ensure the highest quality biological specimens. We get feedback from our users and utilize this feedback to tailor our collection processes on a case-by-case basis to maximize the needs of investigators.”[6] The expression “warm ischaemia time” refers to the time that the organ remains at body temperature after its blood supply has been cut.[7] In simple language, this refers to the foetus being delivered alive, and the organs extracted with no anaesthesia while the heart is still beating and blood is circulating. This part is crucial to ensure viability of the organs.

In any court of law, a crime that used such methods would be called pre-meditated mass murder and torture. It cries to Heaven for vengeance. It is so grave that no reason whatsoever can ever justify it. Up to here, it is to be hoped that all those who bear the name of Christian will be in agreement. It is a clear violation of the Fifth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill.

What’s more, Church teaching has consistently and systematically condemned abortion, in all its forms — whether therapeutic or for science. Pope Pius XII, in his famous address to midwives, left no doubt about the matter: “The life of an innocent person is sacrosanct, and any direct attempt or aggression against it is a violation of one of the fundamental laws without which secure human society is impossible. … Never forget this: there rises above every human law and above every ‘indication’ the faultless law of God.”[8]

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1 Cf. Adam Cohen, Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck, Penguin Books, 2017.
2 For example, Dr. Robert Schwartz, chief of pediatrics at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, tells how he went to Finland. After a fetus is delivered, while it is still linked to its mother by the umbilical cord, he takes a blood sample. Then, after the cord is severed, he “as quickly as possible,” operates on this aborted being “to remove other tissues and organs.” San Francisco Chronicle, April 19, 1973, entitled “Operations on Live Fetuses.”
3 “One my duties in the laboratory in Stockholm was to dissect human fetuses from legal abortions and send organs to the Wistar Institute. Such material was the source of many important studies of cell lines at the Institute, such as Hayflick’s study of WI-38 cells.” Erling Norrby, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 44.2 (Spring 2001): 304–306.
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4526020/
5 “Human embryos of two and one-half to five months gestation were placed in a sterile container and promptly transported to the virus laboratory of the adjacent Hospital for Sick Children. No macerated specimens were used and in many of the embryos the heart was still beating at the time of receipt in the virus laboratory.” 1952-06; Thicke et al; Cultivation of Poliomyelitis Virus in Tissue Culture; Growth of the Lansing Strain in Human Embryonic Tissue, Canadian Journal of Medical Science, Vol. 30, p. 231–245. https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/10.1139/cjms52-031.
6 Grant Number 1U24DK11079-1 awarded by NIH to University of Pittsburgh, p62, p73 – accessible at https://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/2021/08/aborted-infants-continued-blood-flow-advertised-in-racist-university-of-pittsburgh-grant-application-to-nih/
7 https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/warm-ischemia-time
8 Pope Pius XII, Allocution to Midwives, October 29, 1951