HYPOCRISY, lies, misinformation and deception continue to be spewed about +Planned Parenthood by the republican presidential candidates and gop / tea-baggers in congress. These are the same "pro-life" people who promote and legislate for cuts in family health care, WIC, and other social safety net programs. Their propaganda campaign also effects funding for research in many diseases. These from +Mother Jones.....
On Monday, a 48-page report released by Washington state's Attorney General Bob Ferguson stated that his team's investigation into allegations about Planned Parenthood profiting from sales of fetal tissue "found no indication that procedures performed by Planned Parenthood are anything other than performance of a legally authorized medical procedure."
After undercover videos filmed by David Daleiden and his anti-abortion group, Center for Medical Progress, went viral, legislators across the country called for probes of Planned Parenthood operations. So far, none of these investigations have turned up any wrongdoing.
What that have done, however, is have a chilling effect on important research into cures for diseases including diabetes, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's, as Mother Jones reported last month. That Planned Parenthood was cleared of any misconduct in Washington is particularly notable because Washington is one of only two states that allows patients to donate tissue to scientific research. (California is the other.)
Despite the lack of evidence from these state investigations, Republicans in the US Senate continue their attempts to defund Planned Parenthood; they are currently working to pass a fast-track "reconciliation" package that aims to dismantle key components of Obamacare and rescind Planned Parenthood funding.
People with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other afflictions will pay a price, scientists say.
"It's anti-progress," says Gail Robertson, a veteran researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who uses cell lines derived from fetal tissue to study heart disease, including sudden cardiac death, the largest cause of natural death in the United States. "We're in a fight for the future of cures to the diseases that will affect us all."
Since the 1990s, Robertson and her colleagues have developed pharmaceutical technology using cells from embryonic tissue known as the HEK line—research credited with saving lives from fatal heart disease. "If lawmakers were to say, 'You can't use HEK cells because they come from fetal tissue,' it would be impossible to continue my work in my lab," Robertson says. "It’s something we use every single day."
Naluai-Cecchini told the Seattle Times that over the past year her lab has distributed 1,109 tissue samples to more than 60 researchers elsewhere who are working on solutions for spinal cord injuries, eye disease, cancer, and HIV. That supply line relies on about two to three samples per day coming into Birth Defects Research Lab, which has long been the lab's norm. But over the past month, Naluai-Cecchini told Mother Jones, only five specimens in total have come in. If that trend continues, she says, "promising research would stop until a commercial alternative is found. The cost of research would increase dramatically, and new findings would take considerably longer."
Before the videos were released by anti-abortion activist David Daleiden and his group, the Center for Medical Progress, a total of six Planned Parenthood affiliates in Washington state and California had tissue donation programs. Three of the programs have since been shut down, Liz Clark, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told Mother Jones. One clinic discontinued donations to labs after the videos prompted personal threats against some of its employees, according to Clark. Two other programs lost their contracts with biomedical companies due to the controversy.
The legal complaint was filed on July 31; on August 15, StemExpress released a statement: "We value our various partnerships but, due to the increased questions that have arisen over the past few weeks, we feel it prudent to terminate activities with Planned Parenthood."
The legal complaint (read it here) states that Planned Parenthood's medical director, Deborah Nucatola, who appeared in the first of 10 videos released by the anti-abortion group, received similar death threats. Mother Jones contacted additional researchers who work with fetal tissue, but they declined to speak on the record about threats, fearing for their safety.
Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress did not respond to inquiries from Mother Jones about the fallout from their videos.
In Wisconsin, where scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 1990s pioneered research with human embryonic stem cells‚ lawmakers are now considering a ban on the use of fetal tissue that could hinder today's cutting-edge research. That includes ongoing efforts at the university to find new antibiotics as existing ones grow ineffective. The bill's lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Andre Jacque, originally proposed legislation that would make it a felony to sell, donate, or experiment with fetal tissue in any capacity.
"My immediate reaction was, 'Oh, I'm going to have to move the lab'," says Laura Kiessling, one of the researchers in Madison. "Because you can't stop—you really want to do the research."
Jacque has since revised the bill to allow for the use of cell lines that were obtained before January 1 this year. But the latest version would still outlaw the scientific use of fetal tissue obtained after that date, potentially halting progress on treatments for spinal injuries and Parkinson's disease, according to Kiessling. "I think what's upsetting is that the logic of the legislation is not clear," she says.
Thirty-eight states explicitly permit fetal-tissue donation for research, while six states currently ban such research, including Ohio, which is now also moving to make reimbursement for fetal-tissue samples illegal. In mid-October, Planned Parenthood announced that it would no longer accept reimbursements for its fetal-tissue donations in order to "remove beyond the shadow of a doubt the ludicrous idea that Planned Parenthood has any financial interest in fetal tissue donation."
Now, lawmakers in nine states are proposing bans similar to the one on the table in Wisconsin, and more are likely to follow, says Elizabeth Nash, a state policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, which studies sexual and reproductive health. Americans United for Life, a prominent anti-abortion group, has included a fetal-tissue ban in its model legislation for 2016, and Nash anticipates that AUL's language will surface in a wave of legislation proposed in 2016 in light of the group's past collaborations with conservative lawmakers. (In 2010, for example, AUL's Federal Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act was used as a model in Tennessee and Louisiana for opting out of insurance coverage for abortion in any circumstance.)
At the federal level, Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin has sponsored a bill expected to be taken up at the beginning of next year that would outlaw fetal-tissue research nationwide.
"I would ask the public to reflect on family members—people you care about who have been saved by this technology," Robertson says. "Think about the unanticipated implications of supporting these kinds of legislation."