Woe to the Bloody City! Are you better than No-amon?... Her little ones were dashed to pieces at the corner of every street. Nahum 3:8-10
"FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN TURN YOUR PATIENT'S DECISION INTO SOMETHING WONDERFUL" reads the glossy brochure sent out to abortion mills by Opening Lines, a fetal tissue "wholesaler." To medical research labs and college science departments Opening Lines offers "FRESH FETAL TISSUE HARVESTED AND SHIPPED TO YOUR SPECIFICATIONS WHERE AND WHEN YOU NEED IT."
Dr. Dodge of Thomas Jefferson University orders "Whole intact legs, including ENTIRE HIP JOINT, 22-24 weeks gest[ation]" from the International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine. He specifies "4-6 specimens per shipment.... To be removed from fetal cadaver within 10 minutes," and wants "no abnormalities." Dr. Charles Cintron of Schepens Eye Research Institute sends a standing order for two each of hearts, testes, prostates, duodenums, epidermises, adrenals, ovaries, livers, pancreases, and eyes -- all from fetuses of 20 to 22 weeks gestation.
Jane Lebkowski of Applied Immune Sciences Inc. orders one each of a thymus, lymphoid node, liver and bone, one shipment a week for one year, 15 to 22 weeks gestation, "charted for age, sex, blood type, and medical history." Another party wants "Limbs weekly, Thymus & Liver twice a month." So the orders go to America's wholesalers of "baby parts."
At least five companies buy and sell fetal body parts in what Canadian newsmagazine Alberta Report (Aug. 25, 1999) calls "a vast trade in human tissue from babies that are aborted, and sometimes vivisected, to satiate the exploding multibillion-dollar biotechnology industry." (Vivisected means cut up while still alive.)
Though the media have been careful not to mention the gruesome trade, the business of buying and selling fetal parts isn't new. Over three decades ago The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (March 1968) approvingly noted an award given Dr. Geoffrey Chamberlain for attaching live aborted fetuses to artificial placentas to see how long they would live. Later, the Cambridge Evening Post published a picture of Dr. Lawrence Lawn standing next to a live fetus suspended in a perfusion tank.
In 1974, as a result of these atrocities, Congress banned federal funding of research on live fetuses "to provide additional safeguards in reviewing activities...to assure that they conform to appropriate ethical standards and relate to appropriate societal needs." The following year HEW Secretary Caspar Weinberger issued "detailed and complex" regulations concerning research on fetuses, pregnant women, and in vitro fertilization.
Weinberger's reports described without comment ghoulish experiments performed on live aborted babies: "Four fetuses from hysterotomy abortion at 16-20 weeks gestation were perfused via the umbilical vessels in a study in Scotland which demonstrated that the fetus could synthesize estriol independent of the placenta. A similar study by the same investigators involving six fetuses demonstrated that the 16-20 week fetus could synthesize testosterone from progesterone. To learn whether the human fetal brain could metabolize ketone bodies as an alternative to glucose, brain metabolism was isolated in eight human fetuses (12-17 weeks gestation) after hysterotomy abortion by perfusing the head separated from the rest of the body. This study, conducted in Finland, demonstrated that the human fetus, like previously studied animal fetuses, could modify metabolic processes to utilize ketone bodies" (Federal Register, vol. XL).
Dr. Harold O.J. Brown later explained in Human Life Review that "the third study described involved the decapitation of well-developed human fetuses and the artificial maintenance of the severed heads for a certain period by attaching them to an apparatus that perfused them with blood containing the necessary oxygen and nutrients" (italics added). Of course the media made no mention of fetal experimentation, in utero or ex utero. They had already circled the wagons to defend Roe v. Wade.
In 1984 Dr. Olga Fairfax described these experiments in "101 Uses for a Dead (or Alive) Baby" in American Life League's ALL About Issues. When a reader questioned lovelorn columnist Ann Landers about these allegations, Landers viciously attacked Dr. Fairfax. "Never in my 30 years of writing this column," she hyperventilated, "have I run into such half-baked distortions, complete lies and twisted facts contrived to make a story sound believable." The popular media dutifully assured the public that Ann Landers had "proven" the prolife "rumors" false. The subject was immediately dropped.
Dr. Peter Adam of Case Western Reserve and his colleagues in Finland had already published in Medical World News their experiments on babies' heads "isolated surgically from the other organs." And The New England Journal of Medicine had already reported that live aborted babies were dropped into a Ten Broeck tissue grinder to "homogenize" their "material."
President Bush issued a presidential order banning the use of federal funds for fetal human-to-human transplants, but in 1993 President Clinton's first act in office was to rescind his predecessor's order. This reversal resumed the flow of federal dollars to fund fetal tissue research. Of course under federal law the sale of fetal tissue was still illegal. But soon after Clinton's action, an ad in the guidebook of the National Institutes of Health, a federal agency, offered to "supply tissue from normal or abnormal embryos and fetuses of desired gestational ages between 40 days and term. Specimens are obtained within minutes of passage...and immediately processed according to the requirements of individual investigators...."
Although the news media continue their efforts to bury such information, knowledge of the bloody mayhem in American abortion mills may not remain buried for long. In 1992 a dynamic prolife leader, Mark Crutcher, founded Life Dynamics to provide litigious support for malpractice attorneys who represent women seriously harmed or killed during abortions. He and his aides soon amassed a file of 6,000 documents.
While compiling documentation, Crutcher's group discovered that thousands of women had suffered serious injury and often death at the hands of abortionists. They also discovered workers in abortion mills who'd come to realize the enormity of what they were doing. These workers supplied Crutcher with the inside information that Life Dynamics used to publish Lime 5, a book describing hundreds of truly appalling cases, referenced in over seven hundred footnotes, of women killed, injured, degraded, and sexually assaulted during abortions.
In 1999 Crutcher published two more shockers. The first was Access, a book of quotes by abortionists, abortion mill operators, and medical students showing the murderous incompetence of abortionists and the appalling conditions in abortion mills. Several months later came the second, even more shocking, revelation when Life Dynamics issued the first edition of Life Talk, a monthly videotaped exposť of the abortion industry.
The first video featured an interview with "Kelly," a man who had worked for Anatomic Gift Foundation of Maryland. His job was to go into abortion mills, dissect newly aborted babies, and ship the "fresh fetal parts" to universities and private medical labs in the U.S. and Canada. One day an abortionist said to Kelly, "I've got you a couple of good specimens," and put down late-term twin boys. Kelly looked at the babies who were moving and gasping for air, thought of cutting into them, but said to the abortionist, "They're alive. I won't do that." The abortionist casually put the twins in a bowl, filled it with water and drowned them, and Kelly decided then that he couldn't continue dissecting babies. He told his story to Mark Crutcher, continued his job in order to collect evidence for Life Dynamics, and then quit.
Although trade in fetal parts has become a multibillion-dollar business, it's still against the law to "sell" fetal tissue, so fetal tissue is neither "bought" nor "sold." Instead, a wholesaler's employee dissects the fetuses, and the wholesaler pays the abortionist a very generous "rental fee" for the "space" the dissector uses. Or sometimes the abortionist or an abortion mill worker does the dissecting, and the abortionist is "reimbursed" for the "salary" he pays himself or his worker. The wholesaler, in turn, charges his customers (the research laboratories) substantial "Fees for Services."
The price of abortions is several hundred dollars or more, depending on gestational age -- the older the baby, the larger the fee. But the abortionist's greatest profit may come from the "reimbursement" he receives when the baby is dissected and the baby's parts are shipped overnight via UPS or FedEx. For example, the "Fee for Services Schedule" sent to laboratories and universities by "wholesaler" Opening Lines, offers $999 for an intact brain, one-third less if the brain is "fragmented." Livers, too, are discounted thirty percent if they are fragmented. Eyes are $50 to $75 each. Gonads are more expensive at $550.
The American Medical Association has publicly stated that there is no medical need for partial-birth abortion, but there is obviously an important financial need. Many of these orders can be filled only by partial-birth abortion. And it should be noted that for an intact brain to be recovered, the baby would almost certainly have to be born alive and then killed.
The Opening Lines brochure boasts that "Our daily average case volume exceeds 1,500 and we serve clinics across the United States."
Joseph Collison is the Director of the Office of Pro-Life Activities of the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut. He also writes for the Four County Catholic, the diocesan newspaper of Norwich.
This article was published in "The New Oxford Review." Read this article on the Pro-Life Forums website. Reprinted with permission of "The New Oxford Review."