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Abortion is a wonderful thing. It's a safe and simple medical procedure that allows women to control whether and when to have babies, and, in certain cases when a pregnancy becomes life-threatening, it saves women's lives. That's why a third of American women have abortions, and almost every single one of them (95 percent) are glad they did.

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But wait, there's more! You don't have to be a woman with an unwanted or life-threatening pregnancy to benefit from abortion. In fact, you don't have to be a woman at all. Everyone benefits from abortion. Thanks to women who choose to have abortions and then generously donate their aborted fetuses to medical research, scientists have been able to use fetal tissue to develop all kinds of treatments and cures for diseases. Isn't science a wonderful thing? Check it:

Fetal cells are considered ideal because they divide rapidly, adapt to new environments easily and are less susceptible to rejection than adult cells when transplanted. [...]

Researchers use fetal tissue to understand cell biology and human development. Others use it to look for treatments for AIDS. Research on spinal cord injuries and eyesight-robbing macular degeneration involves transplanting fetal cells into patients. [...]

Vaccines have been one of the chief public benefits of fetal tissue research. Vaccines for hepatitis A, German measles, chickenpox and rabies, for example, were developed using cell lines grown from tissue from two elective abortions, one in England and one in Sweden, that were performed in the 1960s.

German measles, also known as rubella, “caused 5,000 spontaneous abortions a year prior to the vaccine,” said Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious-disease specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “We wouldn’t have saved all those lives had it not been for those cells.”

Isn't that marvelous, boys and girls? Abortion helped researchers develop a vaccine to reduce miscarriages, so women who want to have babies can do that. Talk about a win-win! Fetal tissue also led to the development of the polio vaccine, and nobody wants to go back to the old-timey days of polio. Not even Ted Cruz! Why, just look at his new ad showing what a terrible thing polio used to be:

For a century, Americans have helped heal and care for millions in need. Our values propelled extraordinary innovation. America made the world better.

That's right, Ted Cruz's voice-over guy! That's exactly right. And how did did Americans do that? With science. And research. And fetal tissue from abortions (but don't worry, your vaccines do not actually include dead baby parts from the 1960s, unless you have really weird ideas about how cells work). Which is why it's sort of strange that the ad then goes on to say "Ted Cruz will prosecute and defund Planned Parenthood" to "restore American values." Planned Parenthood is a legal and vital organization that provides healthcare to millions of women (and men) every year, which is why most Americans think it's great and do not want it to be defunded. And they also like Planned Parenthood a lot more than they like Ted Cruz.

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Also, as a fancy-pants Ivy League-educated attorney, Cruz should know that he can't prosecute Planned Parenthood for facilitating women's donations of fetal tissue to medical research because that is legal. He could ask his Republican colleagues who were in Congress in 1993 about it, because a whole bunch of them, including those now criticizing Planned Parenthood for the practice, WEIRD, voted for the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act to allow exactly that. Maybe Ted Cruz isn't as smart as Ted Cruz thinks he is. Because if he wants to restore the American values that have led to life-saving innovations like vaccines, and maybe one day even a cure for cancer and AIDs, he should be promising to direct even more money to the science that makes it possible. It's the obviously pro-life thing to do.

[PBS / US News]

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