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7 J.L. & Pol. 379 (1990-1991)
The Fetal Tissue Transplant Debate in the United States: Where is King Solomon When You Need Him

handle is hein.journals/jlp7 and id is 389 raw text is: The Fetal Tissue Transplant Debate in the United
States: Where Is King Solomon When You Need
Few can forget the Old Testament story of Solomon, the king who
was forced to choose between two women, each claiming to be the
mother of a baby and to have the child's best interests at heart. Today,
the American government is being forced to choose between two con-
stituency groups, each representing a sympathetic cause, and each
claiming to have society's best interests at heart. The government's
dilemma arises out of a debate about the appropriateness of using tis-
sue from an aborted fetus to treat patients with Parkinson's disease,
diabetes, and a host of other illnesses.'
For officials, the question is whether to prohibit such research in the
United States and thus win the approval of those who argue that such
research will lead to an increase in the incidence of abortion each year.
Alternatively, they might support the research, thus siding with those
afflicted with diseases which are treatable with this technology. At pres-
ent, the government has neither explicitly outlawed nor encouraged
fetal tissue research. Instead, on March 22, 1988 the Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS)2 placed a moratorium on all federal
funding through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for projects
involving fetal tissue transplantation research.'
Given the prestige of NIH and the need for government funding,
most scientists exploring this medical breakthrough have either ceased
such research or moved to countries where abortion is less controver-
I Colburn, The Fetus: Medicine, Law, and Morality, Wash. Post, Oct. 18, 1988, (Health), at
17, col. 2. See also, infra notes 116-120 and accompanying text.
2 Formerly the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).
3 Memorandum from Dr. Robert Windom, Assistant Secretary for Health, to Dr. James
Wyngaarden, Director of NIH, (Mar. 22, 1988) (discussing the ethical questions raised by fetal
tissue transplants) reprinted in 2 Consultants to the Advisory Committee to the Director,
NIH, Report of the Human Fetal Tissue Transplantation Research Panel, app. B. at BI
[hereinafter Fetal Tissue Report].

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