Tag archives: Ethics

University of Pittsburgh Succumbs to Moral Depravity

by Joy Zavalick

August 17, 2021

The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) continues to demonstrate the depths of human depravity through their unethical experimentation on human fetal tissue derived from abortions. In a horrifying twist, new reports have emerged showing that the university is extracting organs from viable preborn or born infants for use in its GenitoUrinary Developmental Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initially attempted to conceal Pitt’s incriminating grant application. Judicial Watch and the Center for Medical Progress have successfully obtained the documentation, however, following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Among other things, the application stated the university’s intention of becoming a human fetal tissue “hub.” Judicial Watch reported that the nearly $3 million in federal grants Pitt received funded its collection of human fetal tissue, some of which is obtained around 42 weeks gestation—that’s 20 weeks after infants are viable to survive outside the womb.

Multiple physicians have weighed in on the content of Pitt’s grant application. Pitt’s goal was to minimize “ischemia time,” which it claimed to be “the time after tissue collection procedure and before cooling for storage and transport.” In reality, NIH defines ischemia as a “lack of blood supply to a part of the body.” As the Center for Medical Progress commented, “the fetal organs do not undergo ischemia—lose their blood supply—until ‘after the tissue collection procedure.’ This means the organs are still receiving blood supply from the fetal heartbeat during the “tissue collection.” The consensus among both pro-abortion and pro-life OB-GYNs affirms that the university’s statements on ischemia made it clear that the tissue collection in question was being carried out on either live infants or those aborted via illegal partial-birth procedures.

The University of Pittsburgh also set racial quotas for the fetal tissue they collected—50 percent from white aborted infants and 50 percent from minority aborted infants. Targeting minority communities is a favorite habit of the abortion industry, which places 79 percent of surgical abortion facilities within walking distance of minority neighborhoods.

The recent revelations about the University of Pittsburgh cast a dark cloud on the institution’s once-noble reputation for medical advancement. In the 1940s and 50s, the formation of Jonas Salk’s research team at Pitt led to the development of the polio vaccine, allowing for a world where those who receive the vaccine are 99 to 100 percent protected from the crippling disease.

The university’s descent into depravity hit a notable milestone in the fall of 2020 when researchers published a study in which the scalps of aborted human infants had been grafted onto rodent bodies. Coupled with the disturbing fetal tissue “hub” that Pitt has worked to create through harvesting organs from live infants or illegal partial-birth abortions, it is undeniable that the modern activity of the university dishonors the memory of the ethical scientists of Pitt’s past. The craving for scientific discovery has evidently overcome the consciences of Pitt researchers, leading them to use whatever barbaric means necessary to pursue their goals.

The university has been able to receive taxpayer funding for these unethical research projects because of a lack of federal policies protecting fetal dignity. Pitt’s applications for fetal tissue grants date back to 2015 under President Obama, who repealed President Bush’s ban on embryonic stem cell research and had no prohibitions on aborted fetal tissue research. It was not until the summer of 2019 that President Trump issued a strong executive policy precedent that restricted federal funds from being used to support research on aborted fetal tissue. The policy allowed researchers to use ethically obtained, donated fetal tissue derived from miscarriages and stillbirths. The Biden administration moved to repeal Trump’s policy in April 2021, once again opening the door for taxpayer dollars to fund the horrific projects of Pitt researchers.

It is deeply ironic that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can claim on its “Infant Loss” webpage that “the loss of a baby during pregnancy remains a sad reality for many families” as other federal agencies are funding the killing and organ harvesting of viable babies for scientific research. If legislators are genuinely grieved by the tragic loss of life due to miscarriages and stillbirths, then they ought to be equally grieved by the loss of those aborted for their body parts. It is high time for our elected officials to adhere to a consistent ethic, one that values all human life and holds our scientific community and government agencies accountable.

To take action, sign this open letter to the University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania state legislature demanding that they stop experimenting with aborted babies.

Human-Animal Chimeras Are a Bioethical Nightmare

by Joy Zavalick

June 16, 2021

Family Research Council has published a new resource outlining the ethical considerations of human-animal chimera research. In this report, Mary Szoch explains that these lab-developed interspecies creatures are composed of both human and animal DNA.

The report highlights that though the National Institutes of Health (NIH) currently bans federal funding for this area of experimentation, mounting pressure from the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) and the apathy of the Biden administration pose risks to the ethical future of federally funded research. A recent amendment introduced by Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) that would have banned the creation of human-animal chimeras failed to pass the Senate in a 49-48 party line vote, demonstrating the political division surrounding this issue.

Human-Animal Chimeras: Unethical and Unnecessary delves into the research that has continually blurred ethical lines in the pursuit of “successful” trials and the progression of chimera experimentation. It describes the creation of the 14-Day Rule in 1979, which limits the sustaining of human embryos in vitro to 14 days after fertilization.

When researchers succeeded in sustaining an embryo past nine days in 2016, however, this rule was revisited by the NIH to consider extending researchers the freedom to continue their trials past 14 days. Mary Szoch writes that, “the 14-Day Rule was simply an arbitrary marker allowing scientists to advance to the point science allowed while simultaneously professing that there were ethical limits to the research.” The NIH is once again reconsidering the rule after a scientist partnering with China succeeded in sustaining a human-monkey chimera embryo to 20 days.

The report also considers the purported purpose of human-animal chimera research that occurs despite lack of current federal funding. There is nothing useful to glean from using interspecies chimeras to study human diseases since the research will not consider the factors unique to actual human beings, such as genetic makeup, environment, and diet.

Perhaps most significantly, the report lists major ethical concerns posed by the development of a creature that is part human and part animal: “Is this new creature classified as a human, animal, or both? Will this creature be self-aware? […] Is it ethical to create an organism that has some human characteristics only for the purpose of studying it and using its parts?”

A key conclusion that this report draws from the capricious ethical standards for experimentation with human embryonic cells is that researchers must weigh whether they “should” do something just because they “can” do something.

Christians evaluating the progression of human-chimera research ought to consider 1 Corinthians 6:12, which states, “’All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything.” As believers inhabit a fallen world, they must carefully consider the morality of every decision and advocate for justice when institutions permit evil—especially an evil that denies the dignity of the human person.

Is Profiting from Hurricane Sandy Ethical?

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 1, 2012

There is a telling story today in one of the nation’s premier business publications, Barron’s, called “Playing a Superstorm.” In it, we read about some home repair-oriented companies whose stock is rising in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Of course, this makes perfect sense: Given the hurricane’s devastation, the value of firms with the resources needed to rebuild is at a premium. However, as the article notes, “These opportunities to scalp some profits out of the aftermath of the hurricane are likely fleeting, so act fast or do not act at all.”

Scalp some profits” - yikes! Profiting from disaster seems untoward. Yet in a market-based economy, such investments can animate economic growth in regions where it is most needed - places such as those destroyed by this week’s massive “Frankenstorm.”

Every action has three ethical dimensions: Its motivation, its implementation, and its effect. Those on the Left who insist on evaluating every action based on motivation (“greedy capitalists!”) rather than outcome (renewed businesses, reconstructed neighborhoods, etc.) are looking at only one aspect of a larger picture.

I’m not suggesting that motives are unimportant. Rather, at a time of national crisis, aspersing the intentions of those whose investments can help transform extensive damage into rebuilt lives seems a tired and useless exercise. The alternative - a government-run, command-and-control economic system - would never provide the diversity, quantity, or quality of products and services needed when disaster strikes. As scholar Jay Richards wrote in his book Money, Greed, and God, we must be wary of “contrasting capitalism with an unrealizable ideal rather than with its live alternatives” (watch Jay’s thoughtful FRC lecture on this theme here).

Ultimately, it’s about what the Founders called “ordered liberty,” the freedom to make reasonable, moral decisions in an open marketplace. To deny such liberty to image-bearers of God is an affront to human dignity. Our Founders understood this, which is why they valued the right to private property ownership so highly. We should maintain their commitment to free enterprise and opportunity with intentionality and energy; unless we do, when a future “Sandy” hits, we will lack the means to respond with the rapidity and resources they require.

Archives