February 2007
PRO-LIFE ISSUES

Partial-birth abortion revisited

INFANTS LIKELY KILLED TO HARVEST STEM CELLS

In the Ukraine, investigators are exploring the possibility that healthy infants and preborns were killed for stem-cell experimentation. It is speculated that the babies’ organs were extracted after allegedly being stolen from mothers by staff at Maternity Hospital Number Six in the eastern city of Kharkov.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) claims to have a video showing the autopsy examination of 30 infants and fetuses that were exhumed from a cemetery used by the Ukrainian maternity hospital. The video was also turned over to the Council of Europe who is now carrying out its own investigation as a response to about 300 families who are coming forward with charges against the hospital for allegedly taking and killing their newborns.

Pictures from the autopsies reveal tiny dismembered bodies with missing organs and brains. Since dismemberment of bodies is not a standard post-mortem practice, it is likely the babies were harvested for the high amounts of stem cells in their brains and bone marrow.

It is a recognized practice in the Ukraine, the stem-cell capital of the world, to take stem cells from aborted fetuses with the mothers’ consent. Due to the increasing worldwide demand for stem cells, it is possible healthy newborns are now being used to feed this demand. These healthy babies mysteriously “die” following a successful birth.

Such is likely the case for Ukrainian couple Dimitry and Olena Stulnev who had their baby at Maternity Hospital Number Six.

“I gave birth to a healthy girl,” Olena said. “She was crying and moving her hands and legs. I was shown the baby. After that the girl was taken away. They told me everything was OK, and I could see her the next day.”

Olena never saw her baby again. She was told the next day that her baby was dead and given conflicting stories as to the reason for the child’s death. The couple began investigating the death of their child but got nowhere. The more they pried, the less information they got.

Even today, Ukrainian authorities and hospital staff remain tight-lipped about the suspected use of newborns for stem-cell research.

According to investigative reporter Matthew Hill, “The Ukrainian authorities deny any conspiracy and refute claims that there is a trade in stem cells taken from stolen babies.”

“No work in this hospital is connected with the use of cells,” Dr. Larysa Nazarenko told Hill. Nazarenko is the chief doctor at Maternity Hospital Number Six.

Although speculations are being disputed by those accused of committing these atrocities, Hill thinks the silence will be broken in February when the Council of Europe returns to Kharkov to continue its investigation of what has already become a horrifying insight into the stem-cell controversy.

 “One of the things that we have been concerned about for years is the fact that, by pushing embryonic stem-cell research, we’re looking at a situation that is bound to use human beings as fodder for the experiments,” said Dr. Janice Crouse, director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America (CWA).

Bioethicist Wesley Smith believes the demand for hundreds of millions of eggs and stem cells will lead to fetal farming.

“In order to get the millions and millions of eggs that would be required, poor women in Bangladesh, in Congo, in other destitute nations would be seen by biotechnologists as so many egg farms ripe for the harvest,” Smith explained. “This commoditization of human life is pernicious. …”

Sadly, it appears to be motivated by big business and financial gain.

For example, the allegations of the stolen Ukrainian babies come only months after Family News in Focus reported women in the Ukraine were being paid $200 to abort their babies for the acquisition of stem cells. More specifically, according to Smith, the women were paid to get pregnant for the sole purpose of aborting the babies at eight weeks gestation so the stem cells could be used for an anti-aging beauty treatment.

The Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IRM) in Barbados uses such a treatment that supposedly improves one’s fitness, sex life, mental capacity and sleeping patterns. IRM buys its stem cells used in the treatment from the Ukraine.

The treatment involves injecting clients with stem cells from seven- to ten-week-old aborted babies. But now there is reason to question a possible link between this or other treatments and the missing Ukrainian babies.

Whether the stem cells are taken from aborted or birthed babies, “Destroying innocent life to meet a business demand for stem cells is an unconscionable bioethical breach,” said Wendy Wright, CWA president.

 “The entire concept of the human being as a product is coming into vogue,” Smith added, “and it should be a great concern to everyone.”

BBC News, 12/12/06; www.wesleyjsmith.com, 12/12/06; www.dailymail.co.uk, 12/15/06;
www.citizenlink.org, 12/18/06; www.cwfa.org, 12/20/06