Should Aborted Babies Be Used for Cosmetic Procedures?

stem cell research
A researcher works in his laboratory at an institute for stem cell therapy near Paris (Reuters/Gareth Watkins)

A hearing began Wednesday morning in a criminal case involving the harvesting of embryonic stem cells and tissue from aborted babies, and using them for profit in cosmetic procedures. Alliance Defending Freedom filed a friend-of-the-court brief opposing such use.

“A baby is precious, not a precious commodity,” said  Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Daniel Lipsic. “This horrific and inhuman use of a child’s cells and tissues has no place in a civilized society. No one should be allowed to line their wallets with profit gained from creating this kind of black market—one that generates a hideous demand for babies’ bodies for use in unapproved, elective cosmetic procedures.”

In July 2009, nine people were arrested for using embryonic stem cells and tissues from aborted children for commercial gain. At a Kaposvár clinic specializing in plastic surgery, hundreds of patients agreed to be injected with the cells and tissue for $25,000 per treatment. The procedure was not approved by medical authorities or the Ethics Committee of Hungary’s Scientific Advisory Board.

According to the Alliance Defending Freedom brief filed in the case, “the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice ruled that, in the context of European patent law, life begins from the moment of conception” and that human embryos cannot be used for “industrial or commercial purposes.”

The brief also explains that Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union “calls for the protection of human dignity and guarantees to everyone respect for their physical integrity within the context of biology and medicine.”

The brief concludes by affirming that “the use of embryonic stem cells and tissue in a way which violates the human dignity of the unborn child is criminally unacceptable.” Moreover, “the gross negligence involved in the treatments and utter disdain for both the human life of the aborted children or the clients, all for the sole purpose of financial profit, should be punished with the most serious sentences available to this court.”

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