No, David Barton, Vaccines Don’t Contain Parts of Aborted Fetuses

David Barton (left); Eric Metaxas (right)

In addition to history, David Barton often tries his hand at distorting other subjects as well. On his Wallbuilders Live program (which is taped) yesterday, Barton said the following about vaccines:

This is a big fight that’s going on now with the vaccinations. There’s a whole bunch of people that do not like their kids participating in vaccinations for several reasons. One is that so many vaccinations now contain parts of aborted fetuses. So, just as a matter of conscience, “I don’t want that in my kid.”

That’s The Government Getting Involved

David:

And then there’s so many bad things happening from the newer vaccinations. We think we have to have a vaccination for everything now. If somebody gets sick, we’ve got to create a vaccination. And that’s just not accurate. That’s the government getting involved and it’s having bad consequences.

Apparently, Barton is a big fan of people getting sick and opposes medical progress. The only bad consequences come from people listening to nonsense like this and failing to immunize their children. Currently, measles cases are on the rise with more cases reported this year already than all of last year.

Pro-Life = Anti-Vax?

Associating the anti-vax propaganda with a pro-life position would be a ideological win for anti-vaxxers. That is why Barton’s distortion of the facts requires a response. If pro-life people think that actual fetal parts from abortions are in vaccines, some might refuse vaccinations on that basis.  What is the real situation?

In fact, vaccine methods were developed from cells derived from fetuses secured via therapeutic abortions before abortion was legal. The two cell lines in use today came from two subsequent abortions outside the U.S. Fetal cells allow the development of vaccine production indefinitely. As far as I can determine, the abortions were not conducted for the purpose of making vaccines, and no new abortions have taken place to create new vaccines. In other words, vaccines don’t encourage abortion, nor do vaccines use parts of a fetus in the vaccine (see this helpful summary for more information).

If vaccine use was a moral concern for a pro-life position, one would expect the Catholic Church to forbid vaccines. However, the conservative National Catholic Bioethics Center allows the use of vaccines developed from aborted fetuses.

Are there any vaccines for which there are no alternatives?

Unfortunately, at present there are no alternative vaccines available in the United States against rubella (German measles), varicella (chickenpox), and hepatitis A. All of these are grown in the cell lines WI-38 and/or MRC-5. (See note #7 of the statement of the Pontifical Academy for Life for a listing of vaccines and their source).

What do I do if there is no alternative to a vaccine produced from these cell lines?

One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.

The NCBC reasons that the risk to the life and health of one’s own children as well as other people’s children make vaccination the greater good. The NCBC also acknowledges that there are no parts of aborted fetuses in the vaccines.

What does it mean when we say that these products are made in “descendent cells”?

Descendent cells are the medium in which these vaccines are prepared. The cell lines under consideration were begun using cells taken from one or more fetuses aborted almost 40 years ago. Since that time the cell lines have grown independently. It is important to note that descendent cells are not the cells of the aborted child. They never, themselves, formed a part of the victim’s body.

How does one know when a particular vaccine has an association with abortion?

The cell lines WI-38, MRC-5 and Walvax-2 are derived from tissue from aborted fetuses. Any product grown in these cell lines, therefore, has a distant association with abortion. The cells in these lines have gone through multiple divisions before they are used in vaccine manufacture. After manufacture, the vaccines are removed from the cell lines and purified. One cannot accurately say that the vaccines contain any of the cells from the original abortion.

Leaving aside the reasons for the original abortions (they may have been to safeguard the health of the mother), any current cells from these cell lines were never a part of the aborted fetus. There are no parts of a fetus in a vaccine.

I don’t know if Barton’s words were ignorance or a deliberate attempt to distort the facts in order to discourage vaccinations. However, it would be a very dangerous development if anti-vax propaganda became aligned with a  standard pro-life position. He should retract what he said.

Hat tip to RWW for pointing this out. 

In Second Planned Parenthood Sting Video, PP Executive Appears to Negotiate Tissue Prices (Full Video)

Full video at the end of the post.
In the mean time, here is the second sting video dropped by Center for Medical Progress which is designed to bring attention to Planned Parenthood’s policies and practices related to organ and tissue donation and/or sale.
[youtube]https://youtu.be/MjCs_gvImyw[/youtube]
I will reserve comment on this video until I see the uncut footage.
In the mean time, comments are welcome but name-calling and disrespectful comments will be deleted. Discuss the video, the full version, the ethics of secret recording, the ethics of donating and/or selling tissue and other issues. I don’t mind expressions of support for abortion or opposition to it if done without demonizing those who think differently.
Full video:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwAGsjoorvk[/youtube]

Crushed

That word haunted me as I watched the undercover video of Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services Deborah Nucatola describe the care taken by abortion providers when they decide where to crush a fetus.
Crush
Under different circumstances, a physician would take similar care not to crush the baby anywhere but in this case, care is taken to avoid damaging tissue which might have market value.
This is hard to process.
Nucatola says, “I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
Kermit Gosnell missed an opportunity. He kept body parts in jars. Apparently, there is a market for them.
Of course, this video should lead to a legal and Congressional investigation. This video, even though heavily edited as Planned Parenthood points out in their rebuttal, raises enough questions and concerns that an investigation is warranted. Perhaps, we will find everything PP did was legal. Even if so, we may decide that some things should not be legal.
The video reminds us about what happens in an abortion. I remember interviewing Hillary Clinton’s Arkansas physician William Harrison who told me:

Anyone who has delivered as many babies as I have, and has seen hundreds of living and dead embryos and fetuses being spontaneously aborted as have I, knows exactly what we are doing when we provide an elective abortion for our patient. We are ending the life of an embryo or a fetus. Not the life of a person, but certainly a creature that might have become a person under other circumstances.

Crushed.
This video (see below) may lead to an investigation and discovery of wrongdoing. But it will almost certainly lead others to reflect about what happens in an abortion. I doubt any laws will change but I suspect some minds might.

The full version is here.
UPDATE: Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards apologized for Dr. Nucatola’s “tone and statements.”

Abortion and David Barton's Theometeorology

It is all over Twitter. Salon and Right Wing Watch have stories about David Barton’s claim that legal abortion has triggered climate change and all sorts of other weather problems. Barton’s theometeorological pronouncement came during an appearance on Kenneth Copeland’s television broadcast. You can watch the segment here where he begins talking about abortion and the weather at about 18:55. Watch until the end to get the context.
At that point, Kenneth Copeland says that storms and hurricanes and murders don’t just happen. Barton agrees and adds that since we (meaning the U.S. I suppose) have embraced a wicked policy (legalized abortion), then God will take away his hand of protection. Because of God’s absence, then Barton claims:

Whap! Here comes storms like we’ve never seen before, here comes floods like, and here comes climate stuff that we can’t explain, all the hot times and all the cold times. Too much rain and not enough rain; we’re flooding over here, and we got droughts over here. And you know back in the early America days, when something like that happened, first thing they did was issue a call for a national day of prayer, repentance, humiliation, fasting and prayer. We have screwed up somewhere. We gotta get God’s help to get blessings back on this nation. And today we’re saying ‘oh no, it’s global warming.” No, we opened a door that lost God’s protection over our environment and that’s our choice.

Even if there was some theological merit to this line of thinking, the facts don’t support the link made by Barton and Copeland, as far I can tell. Just looking at hurricanes (this seems fair since Copeland specifically mentioned hurricanes), the worst hurricane in the U.S. was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The National Weather Service ranks U.S. hurricanes by number of deaths, cost and intensity. Most of the deadliest hurricanes happened before Roe v. Wade.

In fact, Katrina is the only hurricane after Roe v. Wade in the top ten. I only count seven hurricanes which happened after Roe v. Wade in the top 52. When it comes to cost (see the NWS report for that), the most recent hurricanes top the list because the amount of the losses are not adjusted for inflation. However, in terms of intensity, only two of the top ten storms occurred after Roe v. Wade. In terms of numbers of hurricanes, there has not been an increase in recent years. In fact, the NWS report says: “Table 6, which lists hurricanes by decades since 1851, shows that during the 40-year period 1961-2000 both the number and intensity of landfalling U.S. hurricanes decreased sharply.”
No support for the thesis there.
The murder rate (also mentioned by Copeland) does not support the theory. As I pointed out in an earlier post, violent crime including the murder rate has been falling since the early 1990s. The murder rate now is lower than it was in 1961.
When it comes to floods, prior to the current Colorado floods, the worst flood in history is the 1927 Mississippi River flood, followed by the 1937 Ohio River flood (this flood is famous in my home town of Portsmouth, Ohio since flood walls were built in response). While climate change may indeed bring about long term weather changes, including increased flooding, it does not appear that one can accurately associate meaningful weather disasters with the Roe v. Wade decision.
 

Did Limited Access to Abortions Keep Kermit Gosnell in Business?

On one hand, the responses of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) have not surprised me. Because they are advocacy groups, I expected them to defend abortion even as they applauded the verdicts.
On the other hand, I wondered if perhaps they would seek some common ground. Surely, everyone should be able to agree that killing babies after they are born should be condemned.  In addition, it seems that all concerned should welcome strict enforcement of laws regulating abortion as a means of finding and stopping any future Gosnell-like clinics.
Such reactions are not happening.
Planned Parenthood tweeted:

NARAL issued a statement missing any direct reference to the babies murdered by Gosnell. The statement begins by citing Ilyse Hogue, president of the group:

“Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty and will get what he deserves. Now, let’s make sure these women are vindicated by delivering what all women deserve: access to the full range of health services including safe, high-quality and legal abortion care.”

It seems to me that these statements confirm the worst fears of every pro-life advocate. Whether deliberate or not, by failing to even mention the murder of infants, these groups communicate a callous disregard for the lives of these children.
Apparently hoping to use the verdict to advance the cause, a NARAL tweet blames pro-life sentiment for Gosnell’s crimes:

NARAL spinners find numbers they like, but regarding both regulation and funding, they miss the facts of this case. Regarding funding, sources existed to pay for abortions at Gosnell’s clinic or for options other than his clinic. Delaware Pro-Choice Medical Fund paid for abortions at Gosnell’s clinic as well as at other abortion providers around the Philadelphia area. In fact, this funding source and others helped keep Gosnell going.
In 2007, three representatives from the Delaware Pro-Choice Medical Fund toured Gosnell’s Womens Medical Society in West Philadelphia. They saw nothing wrong. Even though the representatives were greeted by two people who called themselves doctors, the funders did not check credentials and continued to pay for abortions at Gosnell’s house of horrors.
When Gosnell’s crimes were first exposed in 2011, pro-choice advocates blamed the Hyde Amendment for driving women to low-cost providers like Gosnell. At that time, I responded that Gosnell had access to funding for the women who were seeking his services. As noted, various medical funds paid for abortions at his clinic. As this rate sheet demonstrates, it appears he billed Medicaid for allowed abortions. I suspect he stretched the truth on some of those billings.
As is now obvious, none of these funding sources provided adequate oversight. The funding was there but the horrors continued.
Despite the smoke screen from NARAL, one central issue in this case, whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, is the appalling lack of regulation of a so-called medical clinic.
The issue here is oversight, or rather the lack of it, and let’s not forget why that oversight was lacking. Kenneth Brody, Department of Health lawyer said there was consideration given to restarting abortion clinic regulation in 1999. However, the state did not resume inspections. Why? Brody told the grand jury:

…there was a concern that if they did routine inspections, that they may find a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [the standards for getting patients out by stretcher or wheelchair in an emergency], and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion.

Worries over access kept Gosnell unregulated. Generally, pro-choice advocacy groups oppose laws which tighten oversight on clinics. Why should those who operate properly fear rational regulation? Only those acting in the darkness fear the light. For the sake of women and babies, let the light shine.
 

Kermit Gosnell Found Guilty of Murder and Other Charges

A variety of sources are reporting what is emerging from Philadelphia. The first source I saw was this tweet from J.D. Mullane, reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times who is in the court room.

Here is the AP story which provides more details.
According to Mullane, he is guilty of most of the other 200-plus counts against him.

When this story first broke, I posted extensively about it, including some original reporting:
Gruesome abortion/murder case in Philadelphia (1/19/11)
Abortion clinic regulation scandal in PA (1/20/11)
PA Senate to hold hearings on failure of abortion clinic regulation (1/21/11)
PA Abortion clinic inspections stopped to avoid barriers to abortion(1/21/11)
Did the Hyde Amendment keep Kermit Gosnell in business? (1/25/11)
National Abortion Federation quietly removes reference to Gosnell’s Delaware clinic (1/29/11)
National abortion funding network member visited notorious Philadelphia abortion clinic (1/31/11)
National Abortion Federation suspends Delaware abortion clinic(1/31/11)

Media Blackout on the Kermit Gosnell Case May Be Lifting

The local Philadelphia press has been covering the case, but today Yahoo news carried a lengthy reprint of a story on Gosnell’s trial first published by The Atlantic. Slate’s Dave Weigel also wrote about the case and the lack of coverage. #Gosnell is now trending on Twitter. In what could be titled, “Confessions of a Pro-Choice Journalist,” add Daily Beast to that list. Now WaPo…
I was glad to see these articles which pull no punches in reporting the case of Gosnell who performed abortions in violation of numerous health codes and is accused of overseeing a killing field of women and newborn babies. The story is not for the weak but needs to be told.
When this story first broke, I posted extensively about it, including some original reporting:
Gruesome abortion/murder case in Philadelphia (1/19/11)
Abortion clinic regulation scandal in PA (1/20/11)
PA Senate to hold hearings on failure of abortion clinic regulation (1/21/11)
PA Abortion clinic inspections stopped to avoid barriers to abortion (1/21/11)
Did the Hyde Amendment keep Kermit Gosnell in business? (1/25/11)
National Abortion Federation quietly removes reference to Gosnell’s Delaware clinic (1/29/11)
National abortion funding network member visited notorious Philadelphia abortion clinic (1/31/11)
National Abortion Federation suspends Delaware abortion clinic (1/31/11)
UPDATE: Anderson Cooper’s AC360 show covered the Gosnell trial tonight.

Jake Tapper too…

NJ abortion clinic mentioned in Planned Parenthood sting has troubled history

In the Planned Parenthood expose video revealed today, clinic manager Amy Woodruff (who has now lost her job) refers to the Metropolitan Medical Associates (the actor on the video says Metropolitan Medical Association but this appears to be the same place) as a place where teens can get an abortion with minimal oversight and no identification.

After being down for at least a couple of days, the MMA website is now working. One may also find a link to the clinic at NewJerseyabortion.com, a portal that also links to Women’s Choice Medical Center in Hackensack. The Women’s Choice Medical Center is a smaller clinic than MMA and does abortions for women who are under 14 weeks along. MMA does abortions for women under 24 weeks, according to a source at the clinic.

Recently, the organization has had some medical and regulatory problems. In 2007, the clinic was temporarily shut down due to a failed inspection of the facility following the death of a patient. The patient died as the result of a failed abortion. The inspection revealed dirty and unsafe conditions.

After the incident was reported [the death of the patient], state inspectors found dirty forceps, rusty crochet hooks used to remove IUDs and a quarter-inch of dark red “dirt and debris” under an examining table in the Engle Street clinic.

The state let the facility reopen in March 2007.

Regarding the claim on the Planned Parenthood video that MMA is an easier place for a teen to get an abortion, I note that the front page of the clinic website promotes the fact that one does not need parental consent in NJ. Most of the pictures seem to be of young teens. On the what to expect page, I could find nothing spelling out if there are any age restrictions. There was also an online discount coupon with a restriction on one use per person.

Planned Parenthood video generates controversy (UPDATED)

UPDATE: The clinic manager at the center of this controversy, Amy Woodruff, has been fired. Planned Parenthood condemned the manager’s actions but also had harsh words for Live Action, the group that conducted the sting.

….

CBS News covers the controversy over the Planned Parenthood video released today showing a PP clinic manager referring a man posing as a pimp to an abortion clinic where underage abortions can be secured, and appearing to help the actors skirt the law.

An anti-abortion rights activist today released an edited undercover video she says exposes Planned Parenthood for “aiding and abetting the sex trafficking of underage girls” and “covering up sex abuse.”

The latest release follows similar undercover video releases from young conservative activists, most notably the James O’Keefe-led ACORN videos. And like those videos, which were later revealed to have been selectively edited, this one has immediately generated controversy.

The video is below. By the way, the Live Action group has no association with James O’Keefe. The unedited footage is here and here.

The video does not seem to be heavily edited, especially in crucial parts where the clinic manager refers the sex workers to Metropolitan Medical Association and where she advises the pimp how to get underage girls services without “getting anybody in trouble.”

Planned Parenthood has confirmed that Amy Woodruff is their employee, according to CBS News:

Planned Parenthood said in a statement that the action taken by the employee as portrayed in the new video “is not consistent with Planned Parenthood’s practices, and is under review.”

The CEO of Planned Parenthood New Jersey added that “the behavior of our employee, as portrayed on the video, if accurate, violates PPCNJ policies, as well as our core values of protecting the welfare of minors and complying with the law, and appropriate action is being taken.”

Woodruff certainly does seem to be operating in contrast to what she believes other staffers would do so I do not dismiss Planned Parenthood’s statement lightly. I will watch closely to what “appropriate action” PP takes.

Given that PP has acknowledged that this manager is one of their employees, I don’t see how supporters of PP can do anything but condemn the actions portrayed here. This incident, along with the clear lack of regulation of abortion clinics recently uncovered in PA and DE, makes a convincing case for more stringent oversight of abortion clinics. As noted in the Philadelphia grand jury report, legitimate operators will not mind this.

Did the Hyde Amendment keep Kermit Gosnell in business?

By now, the facts are well known. Kermit Gosnell, a physician in charge of Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia, was charged last week with the deaths of a former patient via a botched abortion and seven infants who were born alive and then murdered. The grand jury report of the investigation is here and another post on the matter is here.

Some pro-choice advocates are blaming restrictions on abortion and abortion funding, such as the Hyde Amendment for the tragedy. For instance, Amanda Marcotte, writing for RhRealityCheck.org, asks, “Why can’t anti-choicers accept that restricting abortion means more predators like Kermit Gosnell will get customers?” Susan Schewel, executive director of the Women’s Medical Fund, a group that funds abortion for low income women, suggests that the lack of Medicaid funding caused by the Hyde Amendment drives women to low cost horror factories such as operated by Gosnell. In a letter to supporters about the Gosnell tragedy, Schewel writes, “This prohibition on Medicaid payment for abortion leaves desperate women vulnerable to sub-standard providers.

The problem with this line of thinking is that Gosnell was able to accept Medicaid funding, at least for vaccines. The grand jury report indicates that he took insurance payments, at least some from Medicaid via a City of Philadelphia program that paid for vaccinations. I have also learned this afternoon that he was a network provider for the insurance giant Aetna until early 2010.

According to the grand jury report, at least one pro-choice group, the Delaware Pro-Choice Abortion Fund paid for abortions at Gosnell’s clinic. The issue here was not access but lack of oversight. Incidentally, I can find no indication that the pro-choice funding group ever checked up on Gosnell.

If Medicaid paid for abortion, yes, Gosnell’s clients would have had free or nearly free services, but without oversight, those free services could have been pretty costly. The issue here is oversight, or rather the lack of it, and let’s not forget why that oversight was lacking. Kenneth Brody, Department of Health lawyer said there was consideration given to restarting abortion clinic regulation in 1999. However, the decision was not to inspect. Why? Brody told the grand jury:

…there was a concern that if they did routine inspections, that they may find a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [the standards for getting patients out by stretcher or wheelchair in an emergency], and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion.

Gosnell was performing procedures that few others would do even if the Hyde amendment was not in force. But those Medicaid did allow (rape, health of the mother), he did perform, at least according to this rate sheet obtained at Gosnell’s clinic.

I agree with the Philadelphia grand jury; the massacre in Philadelphia was due to a lack of oversight impure and painfully simple.