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July 21, 2006

Fetus Farms

Topics: Stem Cells

On July 19, President Bush signed the "Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006," a law that prohibits growing human embryos in animals or humans for research.

Did you think fetus farming was a figment of someone's imagination? A right-wing scare tactic, perhaps? No. In Illinois it was a frightening reality.

Posted by tim at July 21, 2006 10:43 PM

Articles Related to Stem Cells:


As I commented on pro-life blogs, it is important to remember that this does _not_ mean a ban on harvesting fetal tissue for research. It just means a ban on growing a child from the outset with the intent of using it for research.

Every Planned Parenthood clinic can be a harvesting facility and every neighborhood around the clinic can be a de facto farm, and nothing in this law will stop it, because the pregnancies were not initiated for purposes of research.

Indeed, the NIH under the Bush administration pays for research using stem cells from aborted fetuses, just the kind discussed of research discussed in the article linked. See my story here


The irony is that the National Right to Life Committee said that it wasn't going to make a fuss about this precisely because its greater worry was embryo farms for embryonic stem-cell research. If it turns out that older fetuses actually provide better material for stem-cell research, the NRLC may have great cause to regret dropping this issue and not requiring candidates to toe the line on it. This just goes to show that it's a bad idea to make a deliberate policy of not blowing the whistle on evil.

Again, this law does not ban the sort of harvesting that would be very easy given the number of elective abortions taking place in the U.S. already. The distinction is rather like that between cloning embryos for research and using "leftover" in vitro embryos that "were going to die anyway." In this case, what Bush has banned is creating fetuses for research, not using fetuses for research when they are killed in abortions. Indeed, there is not even any block on federal funding for the latter.

Posted by: Lydia [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 23, 2006 3:10 PM