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When Donald Trump received an experimental treatment for his COVID — a “cure” (it’s not) that he says made him feel “unbelievable” — he gave credit to the company that created it, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

He should have also thanked the aborted fetuses that gave the company the cells from which that drug cocktail was derived.

For decades now, Republicans have been opposed to any kind of medical research that relies on the (otherwise discarded) cells of aborted fetuses, even though those stems cells are incredibly useful in medicine. They’ve blocked federal funding for that kind of research and spread wild conspiracy theories about Planned Parenthood in order to scare people into thinking there’s something evil or immoral about using such cells in research. Last year, when the Trump administration blocked scientists at the National Institutes of Health from conducting studies that relied on fetal tissue, it was deemed a “major pro-life victory.”

And yet when Trump was in the hospital, no “pro-life” groups or elected Republicans said a damn thing about him taking medicine that wouldn’t have been possible without fetal tissue research.

According to the MIT Technology Review, while the drugs Trump took didn’t come directly from fetal cells, the research that developed those drugs required them.

… According to Regeneron, laboratory tests used to assess the potency of its antibodies employed a standardized supply of cells called HEK 293T, whose origin was kidney tissue from an abortion in the Netherlands in the 1970s.

So did Trump take drugs that required fetal tissue cells? I suppose it ultimately depends on how you want to parse this. No fetuses were harmed for Trump’s direct benefit, but the drugs he took would likely not exist if not for cells taken from an aborted fetus.

I would put it this way: If you told a vegetarian to eat a burger because “the cow is already dead,” I doubt you’d find any takers. At its core, the burger wouldn’t exist if the cow wasn’t slaughtered. And as with meat, if acceptable substitutes exist in the lab, great, but scientists will tell you those alternatives to stem cells aren’t viable just yet. There’s value in fetal tissue that can’t be found anywhere else just yet.

The point here isn’t merely to point out the hypocrisy of the anti-abortion crowd. That’s easy. It’s to say that such research has potentially life-saving consequences and we ought to encourage it. It’s not like anyone’s having an abortion for the purpose of research; rather, stem cells that would otherwise be tossed aside after an abortion procedure could be preserved and used in research… if we allow it.

It’s like organ donation; you have to be selfish or ignorant to be against it. If the options are keeping the organs in a dead body that no longer needs them, or using those organs to potentially save lives, you’d have to be a moral monster to not even consider the latter possibility.

But Republicans and their base refuse to allow that research to occur unabated because of their ignorance, coupled with their fetal worshipping ways. It’s utter insanity. And with Trump recovering in large part due to that research, it’s long past time for the anti-science crowd to admit they’ve been wrong about this issue.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to everyone for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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