Student Newspaper Defends Using Aborted Baby Parts in Research: “America is Not a Christian Nation”

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 6, 2016   |   3:20PM   |   Indianapolis, IN

When all else fails, abortion activists often resort to the old “pro-lifers are forcing their religion on us” argument to push their agenda.

That is what a group of Indiana University student editors used to attack a new state law that protects the dignity of unborn babies by requiring that aborted babies’ bodies be buried or cremated.

The new law will help stop the kind of sale of aborted babies’ body parts that Planned Parenthood facilities in other states have been caught arranging. Although Roe v. Wade prohibits states from completely banning abortions, pro-life advocates in Indiana believe the aborted baby ought to at least be treated respectfully even if the abortion clinic treated the baby with disrespect before the abortion.

The editorial, published in the Indiana Daily Student this week, claims the law is based on religious beliefs, not facts, and will stifle scientific research at the university. Indiana University filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation in May.

The students wrote:

The Editorial Board commends IU for the legal actions it’s taken against this heinous bill. We strongly condemn the governor, our legislature and the judges that support this bill and those who unethically use their power to impose one particular religious interpretation onto a spiritually and politically diverse body of people.

… We find ourselves, yet again, having to explain America is not a Christian nation. The First Amendment prohibits passing laws that impose religious regulations on behavior onto all people. A secular university is protected by the Constitution, which should allow them to conduct research using fetal tissue, because such research is not unethical or immoral by secular standards.

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Despite the fact only 29 percent of Americans think stem cell research is “morally wrong,” despite the fact researchers never use whole fetuses at any stage in their viability and despite the fact only 19 percent of Americans think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, Mike Pence and the Indiana legislature has chosen to pander to extremists rather than the majority of their constituents.

And they’ve done so at the expense of our education and our ability to improve treatments for numerous medical conditions that afflict millions of Americans.

… we hope the religious right might become concerned with the lives of actual human beings and less concerned with a small package of embryos.

However, the students did not do the best job with the facts themselves. In touting their pro-abortion beliefs, they ignore some important facts about the issue.

First, not all scientists say that aborted babies’ body parts are necessary or successful in research. In an op-ed in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel last September, six doctors explained why using fetal “tissue” for research is unethical and unnecessary for scientists.

“The argument that fetal-derived tissues must be used in research to develop medical treatments is false,” they wrote. “Many therapies have been developed using cell lines not of fetal origin, including insulin for diabetes (produced in bacteria), Herceptin for breast cancer and tissue plasminogen activator for heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism (both developed in Chinese hamster ovary cells).”

As another example, abortion advocates recently attacked a U.S. Congressional committee for investigating the trafficking of aborted babies’ body parts. They claimed that aborted babies’ body parts were essential to life-saving research on the Zika virus. However, just a few days after their complaint, a group of researchers announced that they had found a potential cure for Zika using monkey and mosquito cells. No aborted baby parts were necessary.

The student editorial also mentioned strong public support for stem cell research. What they failed to mention is that stem cell research is a broad category that includes both ethical (adult stem cells) and unethical (embryonic and aborted baby cells) sides. Few, if any, Americans oppose adult stem cell research because it does not involve killing human beings. However, Americans view research that involves killing an unborn baby much less favorably.

And claiming the pro-life movement is solely Christian is just as wrong. While a majority of pro-lifers identify as Christians, others practice various religions or no religion at all. The pro-life movement increasingly is bringing people together from various belief systems to end abortion in the U.S.

The movement is based on the scientific fact that life begins at the moment of conception and America’s founding principles about human rights. These facts and principles are what unite pro-lifers to defend unborn babies from abortion.