Archive for the Fetal Surgery Category

1970’s Commission looks into fetal experimentation and research

Posted in Abortion History, Fetal Development, fetal heartbeat, Fetal Homicide, Fetal Organs, Fetal Pain, fetal Remains, fetal research, Fetal Stem Cell, Fetal Surgery, Fetal Tissue, The Ryan Program with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2018 by saynsumthn

Some abortion survivors were kept alive almost a day for experimentation

Image: 10 week old Fetus kept alive via artificial womb (Image credit: Life Magazine Sep 10, 1965)

In part one of this series on fetal research, Live Action News detailed a number of experiments conducted on living abortion survivors. Due to the outrage over such experiments reported in the media in the 1970s, the National Research Act established the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. The commission was chaired by Kenneth John Ryan, MD, an abortionist who also taught others how to do abortions.

IMage: Dr. Kenneth Ryan chaired commission on fetal research (Image credit: Harvard Gazette)

Dr. Kenneth Ryan chaired commission on fetal research (Image credit: Harvard Gazette)

A report published by the Harvard Gazette at the time of Ryan’s death states:

 President Jimmy Carter appointed Ken to chair the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research.

…When he became the Chief of Staff at the Boston Hospital for Women in 1973, one year after the Roe vs Wade decision, he established the first abortion service in a university hospital and included training in the necessary skills as a routine part of residency education. In 1975 Ken credentialed and granted admitting privileges to Dr. Kenneth Edelin, an African-American, even as he was under indictment for manslaughter in a politically motivated prosecution for performing a legal abortion at Boston City Hospital.

The Ryan Program, which bears the doctor’s name and partners with Planned Parenthood, was established in 1999 to train OB-GYN residents in abortion.

Dr. Paul Ramsey, a Professor of Religion at Princeton University, also served on the commission. He wrote a lengthy opinion in the section entitled, “Moral Issues in Fetal Research,” criticizing NIH definitions of life and death regarding the preborn child, with good reason:

The answer seems clear enough: the difference between the life and death of a human fetus/abortus should be determined substantially in the same way physicians use in making other pronouncements of death… the 1973 NIH proposed guidelines studiously refuses to speak of the previable fetus as “living” or having “life.” By studiously refusing to speak of a previable fetus/abortus who may still be medically “alive” and by leaving the determination of viability entirely to the discretion of physician researchers (not even excluding abortuses with respiration from being deemed previable and entered into experimentation), the American guidelines can be faulted for lack of definitional clarity. Indeed, if and only if the previable fetus is human, unique for certain purposes, and alive in significant medical respects–i.e., if it is not dead–could claims be made that researchers need the knowledge uniquely to be gained by using the fetus/abortus while it is still living, growing and reacting as a tiny, whole fetal human being or entity.

This national commission was tasked to investigate and study research involving abortion survivors, and to recommend whether and under what circumstances such research should be conducted or supported by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). Up to this time, the July 1974 “National Research Act” had ruled that the “Secretary may not conduct or support research in the United States or abroad on a living human fetus, before or after the induced abortion of such fetus, unless such research is done for the purpose of assuring the survival of such fetus.”

Report Research on the Fetus

At the time the commission began, a New York Times article detailed how members of the commission had reviewed existing research of human fetuses. Members told the paper that the amount of research already conducted using aborted fetuses was “so substantial as to seem surprising.”

Image: article Hundreds of aborted fetuses delivered outside womb, NYT 1975

Hundreds of aborted fetuses delivered outside womb, NYT 1975

The most controversial form of research the commission found was on the “fetus outside the womb,” involving “fetuses delivered by abortion.” The commission claimed hundreds of reports of such cases had been conducted. Experiments were also conducted on already expired fetuses from spontaneous or induced abortions. Below is a small sample of what the commission found:

  • Physiologic and Metabolic Studies: Fetal hearts, removed just after death of a fetus following hysterotomy abortion, have been studied to establish physiologic response data.
  • Studies of the Pregnant Mother: Women undergoing elective midtrimester abortion have been starved for 87 hours before abortion in an attempt to learn the effects of caloric deprivation on pregnancy and to gain some information as to whether the fetus could adapt to fuels other than glucose.
  • Research With the Previable Fetus Outside the Uterus: To learn whether the human fetal brain could metabolize ketone bodies, brain metabolism was isolated in 8 human fetuses (12-17 weeks’ gestation) after hysterotomy abortion by perfusing the isolated head (the head was separated from the rest of the body). The study demonstrated that, similar to other species, brain metabolism could be supported by ketone bodies during fetal life suggesting avenues of therapy in some fetal disease states.
  • Another technique for studying the ability of the midtrimester fetus to carry out endocrine reactions used 4 fetuses (16-20 weeks’ gestation) immediately after hysterotomy abortion. The fetuses were perfused through their umbilical veins while being housed in a perfusion tank. Fetal tissues were examined at the end of the study.
  • After studies with newborn and fetal mice, cutaneous respiration (breathing through the skin) was studied in 15 fetuses (9-24 weeks’ gestation) from induced abortions. The fetuses were immersed in a salt solution with oxygen at high pressure. The fetuses were judged to be aliveby a pulsating cord or visible heart beat; if necessary the chest was opened to observe the heart. Four fetuses were supported for 22 hours in this attempt at developing a fetal incubator.
  • Seven previable fetuses (200-375 grams) from spontaneous or induced abortions were immersed in a perfusion tank and perfused with oxygenated blood through their umbilical vessels. The fetuses survived and moved for 5-12 hours.

Interestingly, in addition to general experimentation, the commission noted that if the fetus could “feel pain” then experimenting on abortion survivors would not be permissible. Of course, that debate continues to linger despite evidence that they do feel pain.

Still, members were mixed:

The fetus in utero or in process of being aborted provides a more difficult ethical analysis than does the dead fetus or the living viable infant. There is a presumption of viability at any stage in gestation for the living fetus as long as it remains inside the uterus. Thus experimentation involving that fetus must have acceptably low risk of any harmful effect on viability or on the potential for meaningful, healthy life. If the process of abortion has begun, the life of the fetus will soon end. There is debate about whether different standards apply in that situation and we disagree in our own analysis.

One view holds that no risks can be imposed that would not be acceptable for the fetus which was continuing life. Another view will accept an increase in risks if the information is important and alternate ways of obtaining the information are not practical, if the methods of the experiment are acceptable in themselves (i.e., would be used in other classes of human subjects), and if the process of dying for the fetus were not altered in an unacceptable way.

In any event, expected benefits from the experimentation still must be clear and must require the use of the human fetus to gain the desired information. Ethical considerations as to sensory perception by the fetus also must be addressed. We know of no evidence to suggest or support a contention that the fetus at midgestation or earlier, when abortions are performed, is aware of pain or has a psychologic fear of death.

Image: Ban on experimenting on live aborted fetuses (Image credit NYT, April 1975)

Ban on experimenting on live aborted fetuses (Image credit NYT, April 1975)

The commission ultimately drafted several recommendations, including a restriction on experimenting on living abortion survivors. But their report also recommended that research resulting in “no harm to the fetus” be permitted, so long as that research might benefit other fetuses.

Unfortunately, this did not stop the push for the research nor the push to obtain federal funding. According to a historical timeline of fetal research regulations published in a report by the Institute of Medicine:

After the National Commission issued its report (Report and Recommendations: Research on the Fetus), fetal research following abortion was permitted under subsequent [Department of Health Education and Welfare] DHEW regulations for therapeutic reasons, but otherwise held to the standard of “minimal risk.” Minimal risk means that no more potential harm is tolerated than would be encountered in daily life. In the case of a fetus, almost all interventions exceed minimal risk, and the regulations did not distinguish between fetuses that were carried to term and those intended for abortion. The DHEW regulations, however, contained the possibility of waiver of the minimal risk standard on a project-by-project basis by a complicated procedure to be decided ultimately by an Ethics Advisory Board.

Image: article 1975 Ban funding fetal research (Image credit Corpus Christi Times)

1975 Ban funding fetal research (Image credit Corpus Christi Times)

The first Ethics Advisory Board (EAB) was convened in 1978. The sole waiver issued by this body was to test the efficacy of using fetal blood samples for prenatal diagnosis of sickle cell anemia. The charter for the EAB expired in 1980, and despite publication of a draft charter in 1988, it has not been reactivated.

According to CQ Researcher, in 1988, an NIH commission “voted 18–3 to pronounce fetal tissue transplant research ‘acceptable public policy’—a position then unanimously endorsed by the standing advisory committee to the director of the NIH. That advice, however, was rejected in November 1989 by Louis W. Sullivan, the Bush administration’s secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), NIH’s parent department. Sullivan decided instead to extend, indefinitely, the moratorium on NIH funding of fetal tissue research first ordered by the Reagan administration in March 1988. The moratorium barred NIH funding of clinical transplantation studies using tissue from induced abortions.”

However, “The NIH moratorium did not affect privately funded research in the United States.”

Co-chairman on that 1988 NIH panel was none other than Kenneth Ryan, the same abortionist/trainer who chaired the 1970’s commission. When the push for federally funded research failed, Ryan began calling for private funding to experiment on aborted children.

In part three of this series, Live Action News will detail who eventually lifted the ban on federal funding of fetal tissue research and how much taxpayers spend on this research every year.

  • This article is reprinted with permission. The original appeared here at Live Action News.

Not just Nazis: The grisly history of research on abortion survivors

Posted in Abortion History, Fetal Development, fetal Remains, fetal research, Fetal Surgery, Fetal Tissue with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2018 by saynsumthn

A look back at some of the grisly experiments once conducted on human abortion survivors will most likely make your stomach turn. This history shows the depravity a society can spiral into when medical research is allowed to advance untethered to any sense of ethical morality. Today, as videos of Planned Parenthood staffers haggling over the price of aborted baby body parts come to mind, a look into the fetal research market dating back to the 1930s reveals again how those who experiment on the bodies of tiny victims will often justify their actions as good.

Davenport Hooker’s Fetal Experiments on Living Aborted Babies

Image: Davenport Hooker University of Pittsburgh

Davenport Hooker University of Pittsburgh

Davenport Hooker (Image credit: University of Pittsburgh)

From the 1930s until the mid 1960s, University of Pittsburgh anatomist Davenport Hooker conducted research on children who survived surgical abortion by hysterotomy, a risky procedure similar to Caesarian section, where the doctor opens up the uterus with an incision and pulls the baby out.

Forensic anthropologist Emily K. Wilson authored a paper in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, explaining how Hooker obtained the abortion survivors:

Immediately following a surgical abortion by hysterotomy, performed on an unnamed woman at a nearby lying-in hospital, Hooker took the seven-week-old fetus to an observation room. He touched and stroked the face, body, arms, and legs as a motion picture camera recorded the fetus’s corresponding movements and reflexes. Over the next thirty-one years, Hooker would observe more than 150 fetuses and prematurely born infants in this manner. The project resulted in over forty articles and one nine-minute medical film and contributed information and photographic stills to numerous scientific and popular publications.

Wilson also writes, “But while Hooker and the 1930s medical and general public viewed live fetuses as acceptable materials for nontherapeutic research, they also shared a regard for fetuses as developing humans with some degree of social value.”

According to PittMed, a publication of the University of Pittsburgh, “Hooker purchased a 35-mm motion picture camera. Having gained the trust and permission of the obstetricians at Magee-Womens Hospital, Hooker was able to observe therapeutically aborted fetuses removed by Caesarian section. Upon stimulating the skin, he recorded the degree of reflex development, and in January of 1933, created the first films ever made of human fetal movement.”

Rutgers professor Johanna Schoen, an abortion supporter, adds, “In 1952, he [Hooker] assembled his footage into a silent educational film called “Early Fetal Human Activity.” The film showed the muscle activity of six fetuses ranging from 8 1/2 to 14 weeks.”

Video from that film can be viewed below (Warning – Images may be disturbing for some):

Author Lynn Morgan also did research on Hooker and discovered a brief account of Hooker’s experiments before the American Philosophical Society were published in a 1938 Time Magazine article entitled, “Embryonic Grasp.” Morgan writes:

“It described how a twenty-five week old fetus “snatched a glass rod weighing three grams from the scientist’s hand, waved it feebly but triumphantly for an instant before the spark of life went out.”

Hooker pointed out to his audience that an abortion survivor at twelve weeks gestation makes a “pretty fair fist.”

Article: Time Magazine Research on aborted baby 1938

Time Magazine Research on aborted baby 1938

The article noted that the doctor was notified by a Pittsburgh hospital, “whenever it has on hand a living abortus so that Dr. Hooker can rush to the scene with his photographer, make pictures and experiments before the fetus expires.”

Writing in her book, “Icons of Life: A Cultural History of Human Embryos,” Morgan seemed troubled by the calloused demeanor of Hooker’s audience and the journalist, writing:

“The journalist cited the “admiring voice” of the scientist as Hooker described his findings before a “spell bound” audience… Didn’t the audience question the ethics of fetal experimentation? Didn’t the audience question whether 149 women would have had to be subjected to major abdominal surgery if the researchers had not wanted the fetuses delivered alive?”

Schoen, who approves of using abortion survivors for research, goes on to write that, “Several of Hooker’s images were published in 1962 in an early pregnancy guidebook, ‘The First Nine Months of Life.’ Its author, Geraldine Flanagan, did not discuss how the fetuses were photographed or mention the conditions, such as therapeutic abortion, that allowed them to be used in research.”

Images: Davenport Hooker fetal specimens featured in First Nine Months of Life

Davenport Hooker fetal specimens featured in First Nine Months of Life

Nurse Testifies Aborted Fetuses Shipped Alive on Ice

In 1972, a former Magee-Women’s Hospital nurse anesthetist testified before the Pennsylvania Abortion Law Commission that she witnessed the hospital shipping aborted and still living human fetuses to researchers for experimentation. Wilhamine Dick told the committee she witnessed “live fetuses being packed on ice” for use in research. According to a March 15, 1972, article published by the Indiana Evening Gazette, the former nurse also told the commission, “It was repulsive to watch live fetuses being packed in ice while still moving and trying to breathe, then being rushed to some laboratory and hear the medical students later discuss the experience of examining the organs of a once live baby.” She added that she resigned because she was “no longer able to accept seeing tiny arms and legs considered routine specimens.”

Image: article 1972 Nurse testifies about living human fetuses shipped alive

1972 Nurse testifies about living human fetuses shipped alive

Stanford University Experiments on Living Aborted Children 

A report by the New York Times detailed experiments which involved scientists at Stanford University who allegedly immersed 15 abortion survivors in a salt solution to see if they could absorb oxygen through the skin. An October 4, 1973, report by the Placerville Mountain Democrat quoted an alleged witness by the name of James Babcock, who told a legislative panel that he “learned that live fetuses had been placed in a special chamber, their ribs cut open to observe their heartbeat under certain conditions.”

report by the Stanford Daily, which did not dispute that the experiments happened, claimed the project had been “terminated in 1969.” In fact, according to the report, Dr. Robert Goodlin, an associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics, performed the research at Stanford in the 1960s and told the paper, “Our goal was to keep the fetus alive.” He added, “Cutting the fetus open was sometimes necessary to observe heart action and at other times to massage the heart.”

Paul Ramsey, author of “The Ethics of Fetal Research,”writes that the longest Goodlin was able to keep a fetus alive was eleven days, adding, “Again, the experiments would have been pointless if those previable abortuses had not been importantly and relevantly ‘alive’ before yet having capacity for respiration.”

The Stanford Daily reported, “Funds for further research were halted in 1969 when it was decided that Goodlin and other scientists were ‘too far away’ from their goal of keeping the fetus alive outside the womb….”

Image: article Stanford Daily Med School Doctors attack fetal research ban

Stanford Daily Med School Doctors attack fetal research ban

The paper also stated:

Stanford, along with other medical schools in the nation, made their research widely known in Life magazine article in September, 1965. Life stated that Goodlin and other scientists were “working toward the day when it would become routine to save prematurely aborted fetuses at almost any age and carry them through to “birth” in artificial wombs.

… In 1965, Life magazine depicted a 10-week-old fetus kept alive in an artificial womb by Goodlin’s team of Stanford physicians. Goodlin said the objective at all times was “to preserve life.”

Image: 10 week old Fetus kept alive via artificial womb (Image: Life Magazine)

10 week old Fetus kept alive via artificial womb (Image: Life Magazine)

That same year, Life Magazine published Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson’s photo essay, “Drama of Life Before Birth.” Nilsson later published many of the images in the book, “A Child is Born.”

Today, there seems to be a bit of a mystery about where Nilsson may have obtained his images. In fact, Time.com claims that some of those babies he photographed had been aborted:

Image: Life Magazine cover from 1965

Life Magazine cover from 1965

In the accompanying story, LIFE explained that all but one of the fetuses pictured were photographed outside the womb and had been removed—or aborted—“for a variety of medical reasons.” Nilsson had struck a deal with a hospital in Stockholm, whose doctors called him whenever a fetus was available to photograph. There, in a dedicated room with lights and lenses specially designed for the project, Nilsson arranged the fetuses so they appeared to be floating as if in the womb.

The website Making Visible Embryoscreated in part by an historian of biological and medical sciences, makes a similar claim:

Although claiming to show the living fetus, Nilsson actually photographed abortus material obtained from women who terminated their pregnancies under the liberal Swedish law. Working with dead embryos allowed Nilsson to experiment with lighting, background and positions, such as placing the thumb into the fetus’ mouth. But the origin of the pictures was rarely mentioned, even by ‘pro-life’ activists, who in the 1970s appropriated these icons.

Whether allegations that some of the photographed babies came from abortions is true or not is difficult to verify; however, a paper published in Bulletin of The History of Medicine, written by Solveig Julich, associate professor and senior lecturer at the Department of History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University in Sweden, makes a compelling case. She writes in part:

He admitted that most of the pictures were of “fetuses, just removed surgically” in connection with miscarriages or extrauterine pregnancies. They looked as if they were alive because they were still alive. He had only a few minutes in which to take the pictures before they developed ugly blotches and were changed. A few of the pictures, Nilsson told the reporter, were “taken inside the mother by means of a cystoscope and a flash in connection with a necessary abortion.” But he insisted that his photographs should not be seen as a contribution to the abortion debate: all he wanted to do was to give a clear conception of the origin and development of human life.

In all fairness to Nilsson, now deceased, there is no way to absolutely confirm these allegations nor to understand fully what his motivation was, if, in fact, he did use aborted babies in his photography.

Read the full paper here.

History is full of examples in which scientists and doctors went too far in their research on human subjects. The most vivid example of this comes out of the Holocaust, during which Nazi physicians believed the medical advances from experiments somehow justified their actions. In an article published by the Montreal Gazette, Dr. Hans Munch, an SS research pathologist at a Nazi institute near Auschwitz, described concentration camp physician Josef Mengele, who experimented on Jews inside the horrific camps:

Mengele saw the gassings as the only rational solution and argued that as the prisoners were going to be gassed anyway, there was no reason not to use them for medical experiments.

Sadly, that kind of reasoning for experimenting on human subjects sounds too familiar, as readers will see in parts two and three of this series on the history of experimentation on abortion survivors.

  • This article is reprinted with permission. The original appeared here at Live Action News.

Fetal Surgery vid shows humanity of pre-born baby

Posted in Fetal Surgery with tags , , , , on August 2, 2011 by saynsumthn

The fetal repair at Children’s Hospital Of Philadephia video details the extensive planning and the multidisciplinary team involved in the spina bifida prenatal surgery process. Participants in the surgery include several fetal surgeons, a pediatric neurosurgeon, a fetal cardiologist, an obstetrician, an anesthesiologist, surgical nurses and others. Spina bifida fetal repair at CHOP is a well-orchestrated and complex procedure that is performed with the safety of mother and unborn child as a foremost concern. Every precaution is taken to maintain the health and wellbeing of both patients during these tightly choreographed spina bifida fetal repair procedures.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Fetal Surgery vid shows humanity of pre-born baby, posted with vodpod

Another medical breakthrough in Houston – surgery before birth
Posted 8/2/2011 8:42 AM CDT
A couple devastated to learn that their little girl has spina bifida travels from Dallas to Houston for their baby to have the very first surgery performed in Texas before the baby is born. Intra-uterine surgeries have long been criticized because of the risk to the mother and the fetus but now, after decades of experimental trials, it is likely that these kinds of interventions will become more mainstream.

Colette had the procedure at Houston’s Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in May, then in early July gave birth to Faith, 3 pounds, 9 ounces. It’ll be a couple years before Faith’s overall outcome is clear — the surgery is not a cure – but doctors were confident last week that she’ll be able to walk instead of needing a wheelchair.

The surgery, a first in Texas for spina bifida in the womb, marks a new era. After three decades as rarely performed experimental treatment, usually when the baby was likely to die, fetal surgery has arrived as mainstream therapy for non-life-threatening conditions.

A federally funded study published earlier this year found that prenatal surgery for the most severe type of spina bifida doubled the likelihood the patient would walk unaided at 2½ and halved the chance he or she would need permanent tubes implanted after birth to remove water from the brain.

Spina bifida, in its extreme form it is called myelomeningocele, is a devastating disorder that renders babies unable to walk. Many couples choose to abort these babies once they are informed of the diagnosis. The hope is that this surgery will give babies a better chance at a normal life and decrease the desire for abortion.