Ben Carson on Report He Did Fetal Tissue Research: I Didn’t “Kill Babies and Take Their Tissue”

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 13, 2015   |   2:52PM   |   Washington, DC

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson addressed reports today that, decades ago, he conducted research using tissue from an aborted baby. Carson said what he did is entirely different from the scandal at Planned Parenthood — where unborn babies are purposefully killed in order to use their body parts for research purposes.

Carson has been critical of not only the Planned Parenthood abortion business for selling aborted babies and their body parts for research, but he said defenders of that have oversold the benefits of fetal tissue research.

“It’s been over-promised what the benefits of fetal research would be and very much under-delivered,” Carson told Fox News after the scandal broke. “And if you go back over the years, and look at the research that has been done and all the things that it was supposed to deliver, very little of that has been done, and there’s nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue.”

Now, according to the Washington Post, Dr. Jen Gunter, of pro-abortion medical company Kaiser Permanente, recently uncovered a paper Carson co-authored in 1992. In the paper, he and other doctors conducting research say they used “human choroid plexus ependyma and nasal mucosa from two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation.”

Carson calls the reports that he conducted research with aborted babies “desperate.” He appears to say that there is a difference between what he did and what Planned Parenthood and others are doing and what he did. Carson said that “you have to look at the intent” of using fetal tissue.

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He appears to say there’s a difference between specifically selling, as in the case of Planned Parenthood, or buying, as in the case of Colorado State University, University of Wisconsin and Oregon Health and Science University, aborted babies for research and using fetal tissue for comparative research along with other tissue samples because the tissue was already available.

“To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it,” Carson said.  “It’s one of the reasons why at the turn of the last century, the average age of death was 47. Now, the average age of death is 80. Using the information that you have is a smart thing, not a dumb thing.”

“Bear this in mind about pathologists. Regardless of what their ideology is, when they receive tissue, they prepare the tissue. They label it. They mark how it got there,” Carson said.

“Regardless of whether it’s from a fetus or someone who’s 150 years old, they bank them in tissue blocks. Other people doing comparative research need to have a basis. When pathologists receive specimen, their job is to prepare the specimen. They have no job opining on where the tissue came from,” Carson added.

Carson, reportedly, would not say if he thought fetal tissue research should be banned but he agreed Planned Parenthood should be de-funded.

“I may not be completely objective about Planned Parenthood, because I know how they started with Margaret Sanger who believed in eugenics,” he said. “But it would be good for the public to understand this whole aspect of medical research.”

Carson also said he has never done and fetal tissue research since that 1992 publication.

Does Carson sufficiently explain why he conducted fetal tissue research and does he remain sufficiently pro-life enough for Republican voters as they weigh a field of thoroughly pro-life candidates? Carson is rising in the polls now and time will tell if he pays a political price for what he did decades ago.