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Fetal tissues--Transplantation; Science--Moral and ethical aspects; Parkinson's disease


Human fetal tissue has been used in research for decades, but recent attempts to implant fetal neural tissue as therapy for Parkinson's disease have stimulated discussion of ethical and policy issues. In late 1989 a moratorium on federal support of fetal tissue transplantation research was indefinitely extended, based on the connection between this research and elective abortion. Four abortion-related objections to the use of fetal tissue can be identified: 1. The procedures of abortion and tissue procurement are linked in practice; 2. One who uses fetal tissue is complicit with the abortions which provided the tissue; 3. The prospect of therapeutic use of tissue could influence some women to choose abortion; 4. The therapeutic success of fetal tissue transplants could lead to greater public acceptance of elective abortion. The moral significance of these objections is currently being debated.

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