As a pro-choice activist I’m always a little flabbergasted by the things anti-choice folks say and do. I mean, I grew up Catholic, so I get where they are coming from- most of them really do believe that a fetus is a baby and that it deserves to be born. What I don’t get are the beliefs that people who have abortions don’t understand what they are doing or that birth control is the same as an abortion and all the various other beliefs that seem to go along with the anti-choice/anti-contraception view point. The logic they use to get to these ideas is always so flawed that I’m amazed people go along with it.
This week I heard about a new anti-choice belief that put the rest to shame. Granted it seems to be just a small group of the super extreme anti-choice activists who are spreading it, but it exists nonetheless and has even gotten enough attention to cause an Oklahoma legislator to introduce a bill to keep it from happening. Apparently, some people think that food and cosmetic manufacturers are using cells from aborted fetuses in their products….
The ridiculousness of that is so absurd that I’m not even sure how to respond to it, other than to call it absurd. This idea came to my attention through an article on the Huffington Post detailing a new bill introduced to the Oklahoma State Senate by Senator Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City). The bill states that “No person or entity shall manufacture or knowingly sell food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients.”
While Shortey acknowledges that, as written, the bill seems absurd he says it’s not really about finished food products; “People are thinking that this has to do with fetuses being chopped up and put in our burritos…That’s not the case. It’s beyond that… There are companies that are using embryonic stem cells to research and basically cause a chemical reaction to determine whether or not something tastes good or not… As a pro-life advocate, it kind of disturbed me that we would use aborted embryos or aborted human fetuses to extract stem cells and use them for research to basically make things taste better.”
An anti-choice group Children of God for Life have put out information claiming that Semonyx (a company that produces artificial flavor enhancers) uses fetal cells in their research. Semonyx partners with numerous food manufacturers including PepsiCo who responded to these claims. The Huffington Post has a spokesperson quoted as saying “Unfortunately, there is some misinformation being circulated related to research techniques that have been used for decades by universities, hospitals, government agencies, and private companies around the world. These claims are meant to suggest that human fetal tissue is somehow used in our research…That is both inaccurate and something we would never do or even consider. It also is inaccurate to suggest that tissue or cells somehow are being used as product ingredients. That’s dangerous, unethical and against the law. Every ingredient in every one of our products is reviewed and approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”
So basically it isn’t happening but I guess some people feel the need to proactively ensure that it never happens.