The recent media spotlight on fetal tissue donation has exposed a new inroad to petitioning for school vaccine exemptions: One’s pro-life beliefs. A New York City woman recently won her petition to receive an exemption for having her child receive the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine required for enrollment in New York City schools, claiming that her religious beliefs — and anti-abortion stance — prevented her from being able to allow for her child to receive the vaccine. The MMR vaccine is one of many critical vaccines developed from fetal tissue research. The headlines over the past two months surrounding Planned Parenthood and the Center for Medical Progress’ widely discredited “sting” videos accusing them of failure to comply with federal fetal tissue donation regulations have pushed questions regarding fetal tissue-based biomedical research to the forefront — with much attention centering on the fact that most fetal tissue used for such research is donated as a result of abortion.
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Many of us had never heard of fetal tissue donation before last week, and now the issue is dividing the country. Over the past two weeks, a pro-life organization called the Center for Medical Progress released two of what they say will be many undercover videos that have ignited a bitter battle on abortion and put Planned Parenthood, the women’s healthcare organization and abortion provider, under fire. Instead, the Center for Medical Progress has chosen to focus on a little known byproduct of abortions: the use of organs and tissue from aborted fetuses and embryos for research, and the practices — both technical and monetary — that support such research.
A video released on Tuesday by an organization calling itself the Center for Medical Progress says it details a lunch meeting wherein Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s senior director of medical services, discusses how the tissue and organs from aborted fetuses can be best harvested to then be utilized for medical research. The video, through not-so-subtle editing, implies that Planned Parenthood is in the business of encouraging women to abort fetuses so that the organization may then sell the fetal parts for profit. This has been markedly denounced as untrue by both Planned Parenthood itself and outside journalistic entities.
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