I read the article on fetal tissue research in your October 4 issue [M.E. Watanabe, page 1] with interest. However, it is not a balanced picture of this topic. Reputable medical researchers have expressed doubts about the potential utility of fetal-tissue transplants. The article should have included these viewpoints.

The more serious flaw in the presentation was its lack of consideration of ethical issues. The moratorium referred to in the article was on research with tissue from induced abortions, not on all research in this field. There are legitimate concerns that clinical use of fetal tissue for transplants will in many cases require scheduled (not elective) abortions. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a brain surgery team waiting for an abortion to just happen so that the tissue is available for their use. The scheduling problem will lead to women being recruited and paid to have abortions. What controls could...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?