INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Officials with Indiana University filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in seeking to overturn a newly-passed baby burial law so that the school can use the bodies of aborted babies in medical research—a claim that some say is both unnecessary and unethical.
As previously reported, Indiana lawmakers passed a bill in March that provides requirements surrounding the disposition of babies who are aborted, requiring that they either be buried or cremated, in order to keep fetal remains out of landfills.
“An abortion clinic or health care facility having possession of an aborted fetus shall provide for the final disposition of the aborted fetus,” H.B. 1337 reads. “The burial transit permit requirements … apply to the final disposition of an aborted fetus, which must be interred or cremated.”
The bill also bans the murder of unborn children based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis or any other disability, but stops short of ending all abortions.
Planned Parenthood quickly filed a federal lawsuit over the matter, asserting that the law interferes with mothers’ wishes to have an abortion.
“It is an attempt by the state of Indiana to interfere with and actually prohibit a woman’s right to determine whether or not to have an abortion,” Ken Falk of the ACLU of Indiana, which is representing the abortion giant in court, told reporters. “That is a right that the United States Supreme Court has stressed that a woman absolutely has and cannot be prohibited.”
Officials with Indiana University, which has locations in Indianapolis, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, South Bend and other cities, sought to join the Planned Parenthood suit, but were denied as its claims differed. Therefore, on Wednesday, they filed their own suit, asserting that the baby disposal law interferes with its academic freedom and ability to find cures for neurological diseases.
According to reports, the university’s Stark Neurosciences Research Institute uses babies from miscarriages and abortions to study conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and autism. It obtains the bodies of the children from the Birth Defects Research Laboratory at the University of Washington.
But receiving or selling aborted babies will now be considered a felony under the new law, which is set to take effect in July.
“We don’t do research just for the [expletive] of it,” Fred Cate, vice president for research, told Inside Higher Ed.
“We do new research because it leads to new discoveries and creations, which benefit peoples’ lives,” he said. “If we are told by state law that we cannot use certain tools in that research, tools that are widely used in every other state, that are professionally acceptable, that are ethically acceptable, then we are hurting the people of the state of Indiana. We’re hurting the people who benefit from this research, and we’re hurting the people who do that research.”
However, Dr. David Prentice, vice president and research director at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, told reporters that there are other ways to conduct research besides using dead babies.
“Their complaint makes vague statements about the need for the research, as well as the oft-cited but unproven claim that they will not be able to hire research faculty if the prohibition remains in effect,” he stated. “However, their claims lack any substantive proofs that the research use of aborted fetal tissue is critical or unique.”
Six doctors from the University of Wisconsin also wrote in an op-ed last September that the “use of fetal tissue is unethical and unnecessary.”
“The argument that fetal-derived tissues must be used in research to develop medical treatments is false,” they wrote. “Many therapies have been developed using cell lines not of fetal origin, including insulin for diabetes (produced in bacteria), Herceptin for breast cancer and tissue plasminogen activator for heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism (both developed in Chinese hamster ovary cells).”
The doctors also opined that it is rather the use of aborted babies that is hurting humanity as some scientists will not work in such an environment.
“To the claim that restricting the use of abortion-derived fetal tissue will cause research to come to a halt and an exodus of research talent…, we answer that we have experienced the opposite,” they explained. “Students and researchers have left science altogether after failing to find research laboratories that did not use abortion-derived or human embryonic tissues. Thus, the continued pursuit of these unethical avenues of research may cause us to lose brilliant minds, research grants and possibly the talent needed to discover cures to deadly diseases.”
“Ultimately, what matters most is that we cannot support the exploitation of one group of human beings (the preborn) for the benefit of another group,” the doctors continued. “We became scientists and physicians to serve humanity and to study the natural world in order to improve the human condition. Compromising these ethical standards undermines our work and taints future discoveries.”