This is classic GOP hypocrisy at its finest. A blog post by OB/GYN Jen Gunter has recently called Republican presidential candidate and neurosurgeon Ben Carson out as a faker and brought to light that he was involved in fetal tissue research in the past – a practice that he has since decided to oppose.
According to the renowned science journalist, Carson had participated in a 1992 study involving “two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation.” In her post, she provided photographic proof that Carson had been involved in the very studies that he now condemns:
Carson has previously said that nothing can be learned from studying fetal tissue that cannot be learned by other means. Throughout his campaign, Carson has continued to speak out against fetal tissue research, conveniently leaving out any mention about his own involvement or his research paper.
In her post, Gunter dispelled Carson’s charges against fetal tissue research:
“Dr. Carson, like everyone, is entitled to an opinion no matter how wrong. What he says doesn’t change the fact that fetal tissue plays a vital role in medical research. For example, it is being used to develop a vaccine against Ebola. 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.”
Carson doubled down against fetal tissue research after an anti-abortion group created and released misleading “sting” videos to make Planned Parenthood look the organization was making a profit selling fetal tissue to researchers. Carson bad-mouthed the research on Fox News, hoping to pull on gullible conservative heart strings:
“At 17 weeks, you’ve got a nice little nose and little fingers and hands and the heart’s beating It can respond to environmental stimulus. How can you believe that that’s just an irrelevant mass of cells? That’s what they want you to believe, when in fact it is a human being.”
Carson probably hoped no one would find out about his past, but since the evidence has been publicized, the GOP presidential candidate has had no choice but to own up to it. Carson referred to the uncovering of the study as “desperate” and acknowledged that although he has done fetal tissue research in the past, he hasn’t since.
Carson hasn’t exactly been able to explain why his particular fetal tissue research was okay and moral but the practices implied in the videos attacking Planned Parenthood are wrong. He is also strategically choosing to ignore the fact that many times tissue samples for research are provided by abortion clinics. To top it off, Carson clarified that he still believes Planned Parenthood should lose funding. He said, “This has everything to do with how it’s required. 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 has added, “There is absolutely no contradiction between the research I worked on in 1992 and my pro-life views.” Carson might as well excuse himself from the GOP rat race now, because it’s hard to see how he’s going to recover from this.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.