Ethics and the Harvesting of Foetal Tissue By Mrs Vera West
I came across an abstract of a paper that seemed to be mounting a case against the harvesting of foetal tissue in medicine:
This paper looks at the moral question of the use of foetal tissue form elective abortions, where otherwise the tissue would have been discarded. Such situations always gets the utilitarians going; does this not result in a benefit/utility to society, because of the benefits of vaccines? Why waste it? I must admit, not being a quick thinking intellectual (if only we had them!), I would probably have been stumped if an opponent hit me with that reply in a public debate. So, what is the objection?
“Each medical benefit or scientific advance from the use of fetal tissue from elective abortions desensitizes beneficiaries, scientists, and doctors to the original evil act that produced these cells. Aborted fetal tissues used in laboratories are minimized to merely human cells, and the human beings whose lives were taken to provide those cells become irrelevant and with time forgotten. Of greatest concern is that desensitization ultimately leads to scandal by erroneously validating elective abortions for a greater good. Without careful oversight, the fetus could become, like fetal tissue cell lines, merely cells, cultured within the uterus for scientific exploration. All people of good conscience have the responsibility to voice opposition to the use of fetal tissue from elective abortions in order to promote development of alternatives, affirm the value of all human life, and limit scandal.”
In other words, we should not get on the utilitarian train in the first place. Doing so, and accepting these alleged benefits begins the desensitising process to how the original tissue arose, and that is the real moral point, which is, opposing abortion. A technical article, which took a bit of effort to get through, but a sound one.