Testtube_baby-12561541_Research and abortion

Aborted babies being used for research?

You might think that it couldn't happen - but it happens right here in Australia.

A number of years ago we noted that body parts from aborted babies were being used - and sold - in overseas countries.
Read report - click here.

Since then, people have asked, 'Does that happen in Australia?'

The answer is that tissue from aborted babies is being used for research in Australia. Apparently the mother if the aborted child gives "informed consent" and donates the aborted child to be used by researchers (in a similar way to parents of "unwanted IVF embryos" now donating them for use in research following the federal 2002 cloning legislation).

We could not find any evidence that aborted body parts are sold in Australia. 

2002 cloning debate

During the federal debate on cloning in 2002 it was revealed that some researchers advocating for embryonic stem cell research to be legalised, such as Alan Trounson, were aiming to use tissue from aborted babies to grow the embryonic stem cells on. This macabre notion was rejected by pro-life MPs but was supported by the vote of the parliament. Read report.

During the debate, Trounson showed MPs a video of a rat walking after being treated with embryonic stem cells. However, opponents of the Bill revealed that the rat had actually been treated with cells taken from an aborted fetus of about 5-9 weeks gestation.
Read ABC PM report.

2006 cloning debate - eggs from aborted girls

In 2006, when the federal parliament considered the actual creation of embryos in order to then destroy them at a few days old to extract the 'embryonic stem cells', the bill allowed for the removal of eggs and tissue from aborted baby girls with the idea of using the eggs to create embryos for embryonic stem cell research.

Several MPs called for an amendment to remove that totally objectionable clause from the Bill -  read some speeches here. Read our report of the debate - click here.

The parliament rejected the amendment to remove that from the bill - so it is now legal in Australia.

Aborted babies in 'research'

Yes, body parts from aborted babies are being used in research in Australia. Melinda Tankard Reist mentioned this in an article on Online Opinion in 2004: So what if the aborted baby cried?

Back in 1977, the Australian Law Reform Commission published a report titled ALRC 7 -
Human Tissue Transplants.
It discussed the matter of fetal tissue transplants at Section 4-5, noting that there was no regulation. However, they decided to exclude any discussion on the issue and not make recommendations because of the connection to abortion - they suggested a separate investigation was needed. Read Report.

So what is done?

The following article, published in the Medical Journal of Australia in 2003, explains exactly what is done - and what 'tissues' from aborted babies are used in research in Australia...

Use of human fetal tissue for biomedical research in Australia, 1994–2002 
MJA 2003; 179 (10): 547-550

The article notes that "In October 1983, the National Health and Medical Research Council introduced guidelines governing the use of fetal tissue for biomedical research in Australia."

The article states:

  • Human fetal tissue is a scarce resource that has been used in Australia for biomedical research since 1980. From 1994 to 2002, it has been used for research by 19 biomedical researchers at 12 separate Australian institutions. 
  • The tissue is obtained from therapeutic termination of pregnancies at 8–20 weeks’, but mostly 14–18 weeks’, gestation. The average number of fetuses obtained over the past 10 years was 108 per annum.

  • The major distribution centre for such tissue to medical researchers in Australia is the Diabetes Transplant Unit (DTU) at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney... The DTU organises collection of tissue from therapeutically terminated pregnancies, sorts it, and then distributes relevant tissues to researchers who have requested them.

  • From 1994 to 2002, the tissue was used exclusively for biomedical research. In the previous decade, it was also used for therapeutic purposes in an attempt to replenish ß cells in people with type 1 diabetes.

A box in the MJA article lists the tissues used from aborted babies as "bones, cartilage, eyes, kidneys, brains, spinal cords, pancreases, livers, skin, placentas, adrenal glands and hearts".

Ethics Committees at the various hospitals/institutes give permission for the research and the 'patient' gives "informed consent" in donating the aborted baby for use in "research".

You asked - or someone asked us...

And now you know exactly what happens to some of the unborn babies that are aborted...

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