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Just imagine it's a pith helmet or whatever


So you know how Ben Carson was a co-author of a paper involving fetal tissue research, even though he thinks fetal tissue research is really gross and squicky, and Planned Parenthood should stop selling Buicks that are made out of babies? Dr. Carson would like to clear up a few things about that. Even though his name is on the paper, he did not personally do any research on fetal tissue himself. And he's got a very compelling explanation for why he is free of the taint of "fetal tissue research" in the study: As a surgeon, he's only the guy whose study used fetal tissue, is all. [See update below.]

Can't see why anyone would have a problem with that.

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Carson explained on the "Heidi Harris Show," some rightwing radio thing or podcast, that his participation in the study was absolutely nothing like what Planned Parenthood does:

Well first of all they claim that I’m doing fetal research, which is absolutely absurd. I’m the surgeon, I obtained the tissue, I turn it over to the pathologist, and then they examine it, compare it with other specimens and try to get more information of where it came from.

Strangely, Harris didn't have any questions about that "obtaining the tissue" thing and its use in Carson's study. Maybe we're badly misreading this, but since he mentioned that his role in the study was as a surgeon, he was not walking down to a freezer in the hospital and taking out some Fetus Samples, right? Why, if you were to get all literal about it, it sounds one hell of a lot like Ben Carson's saying that he performed surgery, of some unnamed kind, from which his study obtained tissue to be used in a study alongside fetal tissue.

Carson then explained that, comes right down to it, he's a heck of a lot like Indiana Jones:

It’s sort of like if you’re doing an archeological dig and you found a tablet with some strange writing on it. I’m sort of the archaeologist who found it. I turn it over and say "you guys, see if you can figure out where this came from." And they go back to all their archives, and all the things that they’ve had before, and they compare it and say, "oh you know, it’s sort of like it came from this are over here or Mesopotamia or something."

Yes, yes, you're an archaeologist. Now, where exactly was that dig? Queen Nefertari's Womb?

But you liberals better not go and accuse Ben Carson of doing research with fetal tissue. He's merely a humble archaeologist, who participated in a study using fetal tissue.

We suppose someone might argue that maybe Carson's study "obtained" that fetal tissue in some surgical procedure other than an abortion, like perhaps through treating a woman who'd had a miscarriage, but that seems at odds with the 1992 paper itself, which, we'll remind you, includes this pretty specific (albeit passive voice) explanation of the provenance of the fetal tissue in the study:

Maybe it came from Mesopotamia. Someone should check that out.

This is also where we need to nitpick another big steaming pile of lies in the interview. Heidi Harris says, "I don't think most of the women who go in there to have these abortions have any clue. If they were told that, 'This is what's gonna happen, we're gonna put your baby on a little petri dish and...' a lot of them would change their mind!" Excuse us, Heidi, but the whole point here is that the fetal tissue is being donated with the permission of the women who are having abortions, and usually at their request, as Planned Parenthood pointed out when the first of the videos was released. Let's play the Flashback Harp sound effect here:

At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards.

Yes, if only those women knew what was going to happen to their "babies." Maybe they don't even know that it's really a baby inside them!

Anyway, what really matters is that while he did participate in a study using fetal tissue, Ben Carson is totally different from those monsters at Planned Parenthood:

You know, basically what they want do is say since some research that you were involved with somehow used fetal tissue as a comparison, that this justifies all the things that we’re doing. Which is a crazy statement. But you know, then again I question the ability of people who actually think that it’s okay to take baby organs and to sell them for profit no matter what they are saying because you can tell that from listening to these videos.

Except, no, nobody was selling baby organs for a profit, you lying hack. But there is clearly a world of difference in the good doctor's mind, and that is a very important difference, since the aborted baby parts in his study were obtained by some Esteemed Colleagues, not Planned Parenthood. This distinction is what makes Ben Carson Indiana Jones and Planned Parenthood the Nazi whose face melted at the end of Raiders.

We appreciate knowing the difference.

Update/correction: Thanks to commenters "Theodore Rigley" and "H0mer0" for pointing out that when Ben Carson said, in the audio excerpt posted by Buzzfeed, "I’m the surgeon, I obtained the tissue," he appears to be referring to brain tissue he obtained from adult patients, which he clarified in a Facebook post. Dr. Jen Gunter, who originally wrote about Carson's involvement in the 1992 study, clarifies further:

I didn’t say he did the abortion, I said he put his name on a paper that compared normal fetal brain tissue with tissue from colloid cysts and opined that was rather odd considering his views on how fetal tissue research is underwhelming.

He’s a neurosurgeon, of course he didn’t collect the fetal tissue. He says he supplied the colloid cysts. I’m totally fine with that part of his response, but it is still hypocritical to talk about fetal research being underwhelming when you yourself have your name on a paper that used “two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week.”

This post has been updated to reflect that Carson did not personally perform abortions and personally retrieve fetal tissue for his study. He merely co-authored a research paper that used aborted fetal tissue, and yet insists he was uninvolved in fetal tissue research. He's still no archaeologist.

[Buzzfeed]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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