Former pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson claims to be pro-life. He says he believes live begins at conception and yet troubling information keeps coming to light.
First I want to let Carson off the hook for the fetal tissue controversy brought up last week. Mary Powers at ThePulse2016.com was able to confirm Carson’s statement about the 1992 study that was said to have involved fetal tissue.
Upon investigating the situation and speaking with another doctor, Carson is correct: he had been provided the needed tissue (brain tumors) from his patients for the study, and it seems as though his co-author was the one who wanted to test the results on other types of tissue including fetal tissue that the pathologist would have kept. That tissue, according to my source, would have been from a child who was either miscarried or aborted many years before (possibly as far back as the 1960s) who had been frozen for future medical research.
This would explain Dr. Carson’s comments on why there is a difference between killing a baby for tissue—which is what Planned Parenthood is doing—and using tissue from a child who was already donated many years before for medical research. Since there is fetal tissue currently available for research, there is no need to harvest more tissue—which puts additional scrutiny on Planned Parenthood and Stem Express. This also explains Dr. Carson’s comments on “killing a baby” for research vs. using fetal tissue from a “dead specimen” (though he could have used better terminology).
This is a reasonable explanation. I published his statement in my original piece, but I’m glad this was confirmed through another source for Carson’s sake.
His campaign addressed his unexpected vocal support of RU-486 being given to female victims of rape and incest while speaking with Neil Cavuto. His campaign has said that he meant emergency contraception. Emergency contraception can still be in some cases an abortifacient. I’ve not seen an explanation of why he said life “surely begins” when the heart begins to beat during his interview with Cavuto all the while proclaiming he believes life begins at conception.
Also more information about his past has come to light that is troubling and his campaign will have to explain.
Carson said to the Baltimore Sun in 1992, “As a physician who does not believe in abortion, when faced with a patient who has severe medical problems, I would refer someone for an abortion. I believe that person needs to hear both sides. I would never advocate it’s illegal for a person to get an abortion. I think in the long run we do a lot of harm when we bludgeon people.”
Carson’s communications director, Doug Watts, defended his record with Katie Glueck of Politico using language that sounds more like it is coming from a pro-abortion advocate. “He believes in quality medical care, No. 1, and secondly, he believes in people making their own decisions based on facts and information.” Watts said. “He believes people ought to have all the facts available to them, but he is steadfastly opposed to abortion. Referring it on does not mean he is advocating it, he’s advocating they are getting qualified medical supervision. He has always believed that the battle over abortion had to be waged in the hearts and minds of Americans, that you cannot legislate morality. But he also believes we’re winning the debate.”
Actually we can legislate morality, we do it all of the time pretty much with every bill that is passed. The question really is whose morality? I don’t disagree that we need win over hearts and minds, but it is a “both and” strategy not an “either or” one.
Watts also reaffirmed Carson’s belief that life begins as conception, “Restrictions are not necessarily in his mind determined by laws. He believes that life begins at conception and that he is opposed to abortion after that.” Watts then told Politico that Carson’s focus is winning hearts and minds, not legislation.
Carson is running for President of the United States and he has to know that pro-life voters will need to know what he will and won’t support. Surely he also understands that without a voting record or governance record our only way to vet him are his interviews and his history as a physician.
That said Carson has supported a 20-week abortion ban. “A touchstone throughout my life has been the value and sanctity of life. Over the course of my career as a father, husband, physician, author and now someone who is exploring the possibility of running for President, I have spent countless hours in efforts consistent with, and in support of, the pro-life movement and as such my perspective on this issue is unique. Extending, preserving and maintaining the quality of life of all individuals has never been more important than it is now,” Carson said on Facebook.
“Children are our most precious resource and our efforts to protect them should know no bounds. I urge our legislators in Congress to swiftly vote on the legislation known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. It is legislation that values life which in the end is what we are here for,” Carson added.
Since I have brought this type of history up with Jeb Bush it’s important to note Carson has also served on a board of a foundation that donated to Planned Parenthood. New information surfaced that while Carson sat on the board of the Baltimore Community Foundation from 2002-2014, Planned Parenthood received more $200,000. Watts responded to Politico:
“I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter,” Watts said Monday, when asked whether Carson was aware that Planned Parenthood was a recipient of grant money. “He also wasn’t aware until recently that they had a program of aborting fetuses to harvest and sell body parts. Dr. Carson is a leader in the defunding of Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollars because of their abhorrent practices.”
(Two days after being asked for comment, Watts emailed to note, “The foundation is an umbrella of over 70 different funds controlled by individual boards and guidelines. The Planned Parenthood donations came from one of these single funds NOT the Baltimore Foundation. Dr. Carson and the entire Board for that matter could have neither approved or stopped the donation. There are no votes on these grants.”)
Carson has been vocal in his opposition to Planned Parenthood and calling for their defunding and has called on Congress to investigate the abortion industry giant in light of recent videos from the Center for Medical Progress.
A CNN/ORC poll was taken of Iowa Republicans that has Carson tied with former Governor Mike Huckabee as the person they most trusted on the abortion issue at 17%. This poll was taken on August 7 – 11 so it is uncertain how the results might change with these new revelations.