Carson Comes Under Fire for Past Research on Aborted Fetuses

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Dr. Ben Carson, in response to the first of many videos aiming to reveal Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal tissue, told Fox’s Megyn Kelly a few weeks ago that “there’s nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue.” Now, Dr. Carson is under fire for research that he performed in 1992 on the tissue of two aborted fetuses, one terminated after only 9 weeks in the womb and the other after 17 weeks.

Medical research using fetal tissue harvested from abortions and funding for the nationwide abortion provider Planned Parenthood have recently become polarizing issues in the 2016 Republican primary, amidst a slew of videos alleging that Planned Parenthood has profited from the sale of fetal tissue. Dr. Carson has been at the forefront of the denouncement of Planned Parenthood. Concerning his views on life inside the womb, Carson has stated:

I spent my entire career as a pediatric neurosurgeon, frequently staying up all night, fighting, struggling to save the lives of little babies, even operating on babies inside the womb. So I don’t think it should be hard for anybody to understand that I am totally opposed to killing babies.

When confronted with the allegations, Carson defended his actions, calling the media frenzy “’desperate’ and ignorant of the way medical research was carried out”. “You have to look at the intent,” Carson said while campaigning in New Hampshire. “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.” Indeed, Carson considered his research useful:

“When we obtain tissue like that, we want to know what the origin of that tissue is developmentally,” he said. “Knowing that helps us determine which patients are likely to develop a problem. 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.”

Carson has yet to provide his verdict on the morality of testing done on fetal tissue, although he still wants to defund Planned Parenthood:

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

Nick Leaver works for American Principles in Action.