The Remains of the FDA
The abortion industry doesn’t respect life before death, so it’s no surprise that they don’t respect it after. Still, most Americans had higher hopes for the U.S. government, especially after Planned Parenthood’s ghoulish market of baby body parts. The Trump administration has always treated human life with dignity, which is why pro-lifers were surprised to hear about a new FDA contract that sounds like something straight off the sci-fi network.
Regardless of which side you’re on, the idea of experimenting on aborted babies is gruesome to most people. Americans were already unwilling funders of Planned Parenthood’s ring of baby organ sales. They shuddered when David Daleiden caught buyers asking for another “50 livers a week” or staffers remembering how the babies’ hearts kept beating before they packed them to sell. They got chills reading how abortionists like Kermit Gosnell treated his “debris,” filling “filled bags, milk jugs, orange-juice cartons, and even cat-food containers” with “fetal remains.”
There’s just something profoundly barbaric about defiling tiny human corpses. So pro-lifers were understandably disturbed to hear about a new project of the FDA that uses the tissue of “fresh” aborted babies in a study on humanized mice. Scientists will argue that $15,000 is a drop in the taxpayer bucket, but to Americans, even a single penny spent experimenting on human life is too much. And a coalition of pro-life leaders is making sure that HHS gets that message this week.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, I joined with other conservative leaders in asking the administration to put the brakes on any medical research on aborted babies’ remains. Of course, it’s entirely probable that Secretary Azar was completely unaware of the project. HHS is, after all, a massive government agency — with almost 80,000 employees and one of the largest budgets in the federal government. But now that he’s aware of the project, conservatives are hopeful he’ll stop it.
Expressing our “shock and dismay,” we explained in the letter that it’s “completely unacceptable” for the FDA to use federal tax dollars to help create demand for human body parts from aborted babies. When a reporter uncovered the contract, the FDA explained that it’s “committed to ensuring that its research is conducted responsibly, conforms with all legal requirements, and meets the highest ethical standards.” As almost 50 pro-life leaders stated in the letter:
“These experiments using aborted fetal organs are neither responsible nor do they meet even modest ethical standards, and there are serious questions about the legality of methods used to procure the aborted baby organs and tissue… Advanced Bioscience Resources, the company with which the FDA has its contract for procurement of aborted fetal organs, is among the entities referred for criminal investigation by both houses of Congress for potential collusion with abortion facilities as well as possibly profiting from the sale of fetal organs from aborted babies.”
What makes the discovery even more frustrating is that there’s absolutely no reason to use human remains. As we explain to Secretary Azar, “good scientific alternatives exist to this grisly sourcing, including use of human umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult peripheral blood stem cells. There are abundant modern scientific alternatives, making aborted fetal tissue unnecessary.” We expect better from HHS — and as taxpayers, we deserve better.
Originally published here.
Texas Holds ‘Em on P.C. History Books
(Don’t) remember the Alamo! At least, that’s what a handful of Texans were urging. As part of a routine curriculum review, the State Board of Education had nominated dozens of teachers, parents, and businessmen to look through K-12 textbooks and make recommendations. It’s usually a touchy debate, and this year was no different!
The volunteers who tackled social studies came back to the 15 members of the state board, suggesting that the word “heroic” be stripped out of the story of the Alamo’s defenders. Not surprisingly, the idea triggered a massive uproar from state leaders, who couldn’t believe the board would even consider such a thing. From Land Commissioner George P. Bush all the way up to Governor Greg Abbott (R), people fired back at the absurdity of the recommendation. Phones rang off the hook in the board office, and emails came pouring in from hundreds of indignant Texans. After all, that wasn’t the only change the working group proposed. They’d also lobbied for the full removal of Moses, America’s religious heritage, and Judeo-Christian values.
“Eliminating Moses as one of our law-givers is contrary to factual history and to #SCOTUS precedent. I successfully defended the Ten Commandments on the Capitol Grounds arguing that they were formative to our laws. Moses & the Commandments are in the #SCOTUS Building,” Governor Abbott insisted. “Stop political correctness in our schools!” Of course Texas schoolchildren should be taught that Alamo defenders were 'Heroic!’ I fully expect the State Board of Education to agree. Contact your SBOE Member to complain.“
The board met this week, and, in the first of several votes on the issue, they decided to keep the references to Moses, the Alamo, and other key historic references. Unfortunately for Texans, though, the relief is only temporary. Members of the state board meet again on Friday to debate the issue again — and trust me, they’re under significant pressure from the far-Left, who would like nothing better than to scrub truth from every textbook on the planet.
Our friends at Texas Values, who’ve sounded the alarm on these revisions, have been encouraged by the number of locals speaking out. "In Texas, you don’t mess with the Alamo and you don’t mess with our Christian heritage,” responded Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz. “We applaud the majority of the State Board of Education for doing the right thing by restoring our foundational rights and history. We are very thankful for the support of Gov. Greg Abbott. We look forward to these crucial teaching standards being included in the final version of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Standards and we are prepared to fight to protect these standards all the way to the end.”
Originally published here.
Christians under Fire in India
Last week, the United States Secretaries of State and Defense traveled to India to meet with their counterparts to continue developing the U.S./India relationship. As this relationship proceeds to develop, religious freedom must be on the agenda. There will be pressure to sideline this topic, but our fellow Christians, along with others persecuted for their beliefs in India, can’t afford our complacency.
This past August marked the 10-year anniversary of the mob slaughter of Christians by Hindu radicals whipped up by the murder of Hindu leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati a decade ago. Despite the fact that Maoists took responsibility for the leader’s death, over the course of the ensuing months, Christians were blamed, and around 56,000 of them fled into forests and the homes of friends and relatives. Approximately 5,600 houses and 415 villages were raided and set on fire. The government reported that 38 people were killed and two women raped, though others have reported higher numbers. The events that unfolded following this killing constituted India’s worst Christian persecution in 300 years, and even Hindu leaders have recognized the scheme perpetrated against Christians. In the aftermath, seven Christians (six of them illiterate) were tried and convicted of Saraswati’s murder in sham proceedings. Their case has been stagnating, with the appeals court long overdue to hear the case. One journalist has set up a petition calling for their release.
Those inflamed by Hindu nationalist sentiment fanned by the governing Bharatiya Janata Party and allies have for years targeted Christians and others. Recently, U.S.-based charities like Compassion International have been restricted, shut down, or forced out of India. The idea that someone might choose a religion other than Hinduism has Hindu radicals up in arms, and this has led to support for “anti-conversion laws” in several areas of India which do in fact make it illegal to convert to other religions — including Christianity. Made-up claims of “fraudulent” conversions, prohibited under the law, are often used as a way to stop any change of religion — including the free acceptance of the gospel message.
False allegations seem to be a theme in India. Just yesterday, it was reported that police in India’s Uttar Pradesh charged over 270 Christians with “spreading lies about Hinduism and drugging people to try and convert them to Christianity.”
For the U.S. and India to build a lasting international partnership, the recognition and respect for religious freedom is essential. Prime Minister Modi must acknowledge that these serious religious freedom violations happening on his watch betray India’s rule of law heritage as a Commonwealth country. The degradation of rule of law compounds the economic and security problems which will develop as religious freedom suffers, and corporations will begin to think twice before investing in India.
One way that concerns can immediately be addressed is by giving the Christians convicted for Saraswati’s death a hearing date for their appeal, and a fair and speedy trial. This will only begin remedying the religious freedom and rule of law issues which have developed in recent years, but it is a start.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.