Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson (video below) once studied fetal brain and nasal cavity tissue from two aborted fetuses during his days as a neurosurgeon and published a 1992 study about it with his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, according to a new report.
Dr. Jen Gunter, who works as an OB-GYN, published excerpts of the study and linked to it on her blog on Aug. 12.
Carson recently objected to fetal tissue being collected by Planned Parenthood for medical research during an interview with Fox News in July:
"Well, you know, it’s been over-promised what the benefits of fetal research would be. And very much under-delivered. And if you go back over the years, and look at the research that has been done and all the things that it was supposed to deliver, very little of that has been done, and there’s nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue.
"So, it’s a spurious argument, but, you know, what’s really disturbing is the fact that we have become so callous that a lot of people don’t even realize that this is shocking to see the callousness, which we are treating human life.
"It’s interesting that there are so many people who are concerned about snail darters and little spiders and things, and yet, the human being inside of that mother’s womb, just beyond, you know, 10 weeks, is much more sophisticated than many of these creatures that they’re trying to preserve."
Gunter writes on her blog: "The materials and methods (from Carson's study) describe using 'human choroid plexus ependyma and nasal mucosa from two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation.'"
Carson also told Fox News in July:
"At 17 weeks, you know you've got a nice little nose and little fingers and hands and the heart's beating. And it can respond to environmental stimulus. I mean, how can you believe that that's just an irrelevant mass of cells? And that's what they want you to believe, when in fact it is a human being."
Carson doesn't mention the word "human being" once in the abstract of his co-authored 1992 study:
"The histogenesis of colloid cysts (CCs) of the third ventricle has been a subject of controversy. We examined, using immunohistochemical techniques, four CCs for the presence of cytokeratins (CKs), glutathione S-transferase isoenzymes (GST-pi, GST-mu), and glial fibrillary acidic protein. Antibodies to both low molecular weight CKs (anti-CK8) and to a mixture of CKs (AE1/AE3) were used. For comparison, normal fetal and adult choroid plexus, ependyma, and nasal mucosa were also examined. The epithelium lining all four CCs showed positive immunostaining for the CKs and GST-pi but not for GST-mu or glial fibrillary acidic protein. Fetal and adult nasal mucosa showed a pattern of immunohistochemical staining almost identical to that of CCs. In contrast, fetal and adult choroid plexus tissue showed positive immunostaining for GST-pi and low molecular weight CKs but not for the CK mixture (AE1/AE3). Fetal and adult ependyma were negative for both CKs and GST-pi. These results suggest that CCs differentiate along nonneural lines distinct from the neuroepithelial differentiation of the choroid plexus and ependyma."
Speaking to The Washington Post, the pro-life candidate called Gunter's revelation of his fetal tissue study "desperate," but did not deny it:
"You have to look at the intent. 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."
Carson never qualified the "intent" of fetal tissue research by others during his condemnation of Planned Parenthood on Fox News.
Gunter wrote on her blog:
"Many researchers depend on fetal tissue to understand and hopefully develop treatment for a myriad of conditions from blindness to HIV. Without fetal tissue neurosciences research, something essential for the development of neurosurgical techniques, would be far less developed. Dr. Carson should be intimately aware of this fact.
"...As a neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson knows full well that fetal tissue is essential for medical research. His discipline would have a hard time being where it is today without that kind of work."