Pepsi’s use of aborted fetal cells

I had assumed this was just a wild rumor, but Pepsi really is using the bodies of aborted children to make its products–not for cannibalism but in product testing.   And the Obama administration has given its approval.   From Lifesite:

PepsiCo has come under fire from pro-life advocates because it has been contracting with a research firm that uses fetal cells from babies victimized by abortions to test and produce artificial flavor enhancers.

Now, the Obama administration is set to face more criticism because an agency has declared that Pepsi’s use of the company and its controversial flavor testing process constitutes “ordinary business.”

In a decision delivered February 28, the Security and Exchange Commission ruled that PepsiCo’s use of aborted fetal remains in their research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under “ordinary business operations.”

Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director of Children of God for Life, the organization that exposed the PepsiCo- Senomyx collaboration last year, informed LifeNews today that a letter signed by Attorney Brian Pitko of the SEC Office of Chief Counsel was sent in response to a 36-page document submitted by PepsiCo attorneys in January 2012. In that filing, PepsiCo pleaded with the SEC to reject a Shareholder’s Resolution filed in October 2011 that the company “adopt a corporate policy that recognizes human rights and employs ethical standards which do not involve using the remains of aborted human beings in both private and collaborative research and development agreements.”

PepsiCo lead attorney George A. Schieren noted that the resolution should be excluded because it “deals with matters related to the company’s ordinary business operations” and that “certain tasks are so fundamental to run a company on a day-to-day basis that they could not be subject to stockholder oversight.”

Vinnedge said she is appalled by the apathy and insensitivity of both PepsiCo executives and the Obama administration.

“We’re not talking about what kind of pencils PepsiCo wants to use – we are talking about exploiting the remains of an aborted child for profit,” she said. “Using human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) to produce flavor enhancers for their beverages is a far cry from routine operations.” . . . .

“The company’s key flavor programs focus on the discovery and development of savory, sweet and salt flavor ingredients that are intended to allow for the reduction of MSG, sugar and salt in food and beverage products,” the Senomyx web site says. “Using isolated human taste receptors, we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor.”Vinnedge explained, “What they don’t tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors. They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors.”

via Obama Agency: Pepsi Using Aborted Fetal Cells is Ordinary Business | LifeNews.com.

Comments from a source that isn’t pro-life, as such, focused instead on environmental and food issues:

To be clear, the aborted fetal tissue used to make Pepsi’s flavor chemicals does not end up in the final product sold to customers, according to reports — it is used, instead, to evaluate how actual human taste receptors respond to these chemical flavorings. But the fact that Pepsi uses them at all when viable, non-human alternatives are available illustrates the company’s blatant disregard for ethical and moral concerns in the matter.

Pepsi is not the only corporation doing this sort of thing.  Senomyx’s other customers include the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Merck.

So it has come to this:  the commodification of aborted babies.

Will Republicans go along with this, since it’s a matter of corporate practice and they are committed to being pro-business?  Will Libertarians defend this practice, since it’s all free enterprise?  Will Democrats who are normally critical of big business support these corporations, with pro-choicers not seeing a problem since they think fetuses are not human beings and since using fetuses as commodities reinforces a woman’s right to choose?

UPDATE:  Read the comments for some facts that might put Pepsi and federal regulators (not the Obama administration as such) in a more positive light.  But they also might not.  You tell me.

HT:  Trey

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • James Sarver

    Yet Pepsico made the 2012 list of “World’s Most Ethical Companies”.

    No more Mt. Dew for me.

  • James Sarver

    Yet Pepsico made the 2012 list of “World’s Most Ethical Companies”.

    No more Mt. Dew for me.

  • Michael B.

    Here’s a list of many of Pepsi’s products, including Mountain Dew, Doritos, Lipton Iced Tea, Quaker foods and snacks, Cheetos, Aquafina, Ruffles, Gatorade, and many others:
    http://www.pepsico.com/Brands.html

    To think that many pro-lifers will respond to this by making the switch from Pepsi to Coke. What boldness! Pro-aborts, watch out.

  • Michael B.

    Here’s a list of many of Pepsi’s products, including Mountain Dew, Doritos, Lipton Iced Tea, Quaker foods and snacks, Cheetos, Aquafina, Ruffles, Gatorade, and many others:
    http://www.pepsico.com/Brands.html

    To think that many pro-lifers will respond to this by making the switch from Pepsi to Coke. What boldness! Pro-aborts, watch out.

  • http://1minutedailyword.com Steve Martin

    Stick with Coke.

  • http://1minutedailyword.com Steve Martin

    Stick with Coke.

  • reg

    But see what Snopes says about this:
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/pepsi.asp

  • reg

    But see what Snopes says about this:
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/pepsi.asp

  • Trey

    @reg

    Snopes basically says the same thing as the linked articles and fails to debunk that Senomyx does not use human fetal cells in there testing.

  • Trey

    @reg

    Snopes basically says the same thing as the linked articles and fails to debunk that Senomyx does not use human fetal cells in there testing.

  • larry

    I’m simply stunned, I had not heard this and I’m never short for words.

  • larry

    I’m simply stunned, I had not heard this and I’m never short for words.

  • SKPeterson

    RC Cola works for me.

  • SKPeterson

    RC Cola works for me.

  • Joe

    As a libertarian leaning guy – no this is not okay. Please keep in mind that around half of all self identified libertarians are pro-life. Libertarians do think it is okay for there to be laws against murder. I would suspect that most of us would also be okay with laws that prevent folks from profiting off of murder as well.

  • Joe

    As a libertarian leaning guy – no this is not okay. Please keep in mind that around half of all self identified libertarians are pro-life. Libertarians do think it is okay for there to be laws against murder. I would suspect that most of us would also be okay with laws that prevent folks from profiting off of murder as well.

  • #4 Kitty

    “And the Obama administration has given its approval.”

    Wait…what? Oh, that’s a distortion of :

    In a decision delivered February 28, the Security and Exchange Commission ruled that PepsiCo’s use of aborted fetal remains in their research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under “ordinary business operations.”

  • #4 Kitty

    “And the Obama administration has given its approval.”

    Wait…what? Oh, that’s a distortion of :

    In a decision delivered February 28, the Security and Exchange Commission ruled that PepsiCo’s use of aborted fetal remains in their research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under “ordinary business operations.”

  • Kirk

    I’ve seen this story floating around for a few months now and, basically, it’s bombastic at best and a fabrication at worst.

    The main concern, that Pepsi uses aborted fetus in its research, may or may not be true. It stems from a patent that Senomyx filed in 2003 for taste tester that mentions HEK 293. The patent states that HEK 293, among several other types of cells, can be used in the test. There’s no evidence that HEK 293 is actually used and there’s no evidence that this test was used to research sweeteners for Pepsi. So, at best, one of Pepsi’s contractors could maybe, possibly, be using HEK 293 in its research, but there’s no evidence that it actually does.

    The second claim, that the Obama administration condones the use of embryonic cells in Pepsi’s research is a bit of an extrapolation from a ruling that Kitty @9 mentions. The ruling the SEC handed down is basically that shareholders do not have the right to dictate Pepsi’s research practices because that falls outside of normal shareholder expertise. They would probably have issued the same ruling if some shareholders had objected to a particular type of corn syrup being used in Pepsi’s manufacture. The ruling did not say “research using fetuses is a-OK.”

    So, all that being said, I’m not sure that Pepsi isn’t using embryonic cells in its research. For me, though, that’s not good enough to conclude that Pepsi is using embryonic cells in its research.

  • Kirk

    I’ve seen this story floating around for a few months now and, basically, it’s bombastic at best and a fabrication at worst.

    The main concern, that Pepsi uses aborted fetus in its research, may or may not be true. It stems from a patent that Senomyx filed in 2003 for taste tester that mentions HEK 293. The patent states that HEK 293, among several other types of cells, can be used in the test. There’s no evidence that HEK 293 is actually used and there’s no evidence that this test was used to research sweeteners for Pepsi. So, at best, one of Pepsi’s contractors could maybe, possibly, be using HEK 293 in its research, but there’s no evidence that it actually does.

    The second claim, that the Obama administration condones the use of embryonic cells in Pepsi’s research is a bit of an extrapolation from a ruling that Kitty @9 mentions. The ruling the SEC handed down is basically that shareholders do not have the right to dictate Pepsi’s research practices because that falls outside of normal shareholder expertise. They would probably have issued the same ruling if some shareholders had objected to a particular type of corn syrup being used in Pepsi’s manufacture. The ruling did not say “research using fetuses is a-OK.”

    So, all that being said, I’m not sure that Pepsi isn’t using embryonic cells in its research. For me, though, that’s not good enough to conclude that Pepsi is using embryonic cells in its research.

  • Tom Hering

    “And the Obama administration has given its approval.”

    The majority of the current SEC Commissioners (three out of five) were appointed by President George W. Bush.

    http://www.sec.gov/about/commissioner.shtml

  • Tom Hering

    “And the Obama administration has given its approval.”

    The majority of the current SEC Commissioners (three out of five) were appointed by President George W. Bush.

    http://www.sec.gov/about/commissioner.shtml

  • Joe

    Kirk raises what is the most salient point on this from the political aspect – the SEC simply said, shareholders don’t get to micromanage the research sub-contracting decisions of Pepsi.

    I do wonder whether the FDA or some other agency had to give Senomyx clearance to use the fetal cell line. And, if so how often that happens. That would seem to be the real story that might come out of this.

  • Joe

    Kirk raises what is the most salient point on this from the political aspect – the SEC simply said, shareholders don’t get to micromanage the research sub-contracting decisions of Pepsi.

    I do wonder whether the FDA or some other agency had to give Senomyx clearance to use the fetal cell line. And, if so how often that happens. That would seem to be the real story that might come out of this.

  • Kirk

    @Joe

    Agreed. By all accounts, if Senomyx was bold enough to list HEK 293 in its patents, its usage must be fairly common. I think this is probably in line with standard research practices, so long as the cells don’t end up in products to be consumed by humans. I can’t excuse that and I hope people don’t hear me as condoning the use of embryonic cells in research. I’m not. I’m just saying I can’t logically conclude that Pepsi uses HEK293.

  • Kirk

    @Joe

    Agreed. By all accounts, if Senomyx was bold enough to list HEK 293 in its patents, its usage must be fairly common. I think this is probably in line with standard research practices, so long as the cells don’t end up in products to be consumed by humans. I can’t excuse that and I hope people don’t hear me as condoning the use of embryonic cells in research. I’m not. I’m just saying I can’t logically conclude that Pepsi uses HEK293.

  • #4 Kitty

    Gene Veith wrote:

    “Pepsi really is using the bodies of aborted children to make its products–not for cannibalism but in product testing.”

    That’s incorrect. Pepsi collaborates with
    Senomyx ; the company that actually does the research and development. “Using information from the human genome sequence, Senomyx has identified hundreds of taste receptors and currently owns 113 patents on their discoveries.” One such discovery for example amplifies the sweetness of sugar allowing manufacturers to reduce the amount needed in their products.
    Senomyx, allegedly uses Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells (HEK293) in their research as cited in a paper entitled “”Human receptors for sweet and umami taste”. I was surprised to learn that HEK 293 ( derived from human embryonic kidney cells ) were generated from the early 1970s and have since been widely used in cell biology research. However, Pepsi merely collaborates with Senomyx and is no more guilty than other companies which do the same such as “Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Kraft Foods, Cadbury Adams, Firmenich SA, Nestlé SA, and Solae.”
    Should we boycott those companies as well. And since HEK293 has been used in research and development since the early 1970′s should we put together a list of all the companies and products that benefited from this cell line?

  • #4 Kitty

    Gene Veith wrote:

    “Pepsi really is using the bodies of aborted children to make its products–not for cannibalism but in product testing.”

    That’s incorrect. Pepsi collaborates with
    Senomyx ; the company that actually does the research and development. “Using information from the human genome sequence, Senomyx has identified hundreds of taste receptors and currently owns 113 patents on their discoveries.” One such discovery for example amplifies the sweetness of sugar allowing manufacturers to reduce the amount needed in their products.
    Senomyx, allegedly uses Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells (HEK293) in their research as cited in a paper entitled “”Human receptors for sweet and umami taste”. I was surprised to learn that HEK 293 ( derived from human embryonic kidney cells ) were generated from the early 1970s and have since been widely used in cell biology research. However, Pepsi merely collaborates with Senomyx and is no more guilty than other companies which do the same such as “Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Kraft Foods, Cadbury Adams, Firmenich SA, Nestlé SA, and Solae.”
    Should we boycott those companies as well. And since HEK293 has been used in research and development since the early 1970′s should we put together a list of all the companies and products that benefited from this cell line?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I echo Joe@8′s sentiment. LIbertarian does not always mean ‘Pro-abortion.’

    As for Pepsi, I prefer Coke or Dr. Pepper anyway.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I echo Joe@8′s sentiment. LIbertarian does not always mean ‘Pro-abortion.’

    As for Pepsi, I prefer Coke or Dr. Pepper anyway.

  • Bob

    gotta love capitalism. It’s so, uh…moral.

  • Bob

    gotta love capitalism. It’s so, uh…moral.

  • Tom Hering

    HEK-293 was isolated in the 1970s by a researcher in the Netherlands. It is NOT known if the fetus was an elective abortion or spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). The cell line (derived from that single fetus) has been used tens of thousands of times since then, for all sorts of research. The ONLY indication that Senomyx MIGHT be using HEK-293 in its research for Pepsi is the fact that Senomyx reported experiments with the cell line in a research paper ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC123709/ ). Is this a smoking gun? “More than 11,000 publications used 293 cells and close to 1,000 papers mention the cell line specifically in the title of the papers” (Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog).

  • Tom Hering

    HEK-293 was isolated in the 1970s by a researcher in the Netherlands. It is NOT known if the fetus was an elective abortion or spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). The cell line (derived from that single fetus) has been used tens of thousands of times since then, for all sorts of research. The ONLY indication that Senomyx MIGHT be using HEK-293 in its research for Pepsi is the fact that Senomyx reported experiments with the cell line in a research paper ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC123709/ ). Is this a smoking gun? “More than 11,000 publications used 293 cells and close to 1,000 papers mention the cell line specifically in the title of the papers” (Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog).

  • formerly just steve

    Of course there’s always plausible deniability when dealing with contractors. And, sure, they may be “no more guilty” than other companies that contract with the same company. Does that get them off the hook? I find it telling that Campbell Soup saw fit to end it’s relationship with Semonyx after being confronted with the issue. Was it a case of Campbell hedging its bets? Maybe. But the point is that they at least saw enough validity in the claim to make a major business decision.

  • formerly just steve

    Of course there’s always plausible deniability when dealing with contractors. And, sure, they may be “no more guilty” than other companies that contract with the same company. Does that get them off the hook? I find it telling that Campbell Soup saw fit to end it’s relationship with Semonyx after being confronted with the issue. Was it a case of Campbell hedging its bets? Maybe. But the point is that they at least saw enough validity in the claim to make a major business decision.

  • Jon

    One more reason to stay away from junk food.

    Honestly, how does a company get a hold of abort human fetal tissue for research anyway?

    Do the mothers sign some sort of consent to use their discarded “tissue” when they go in to have an abortion?

    Double macbre!

    Why would a commercial company want to step into something like that?

    Can’t they cultivate kidney cells from cadavers who consented?

  • Jon

    One more reason to stay away from junk food.

    Honestly, how does a company get a hold of abort human fetal tissue for research anyway?

    Do the mothers sign some sort of consent to use their discarded “tissue” when they go in to have an abortion?

    Double macbre!

    Why would a commercial company want to step into something like that?

    Can’t they cultivate kidney cells from cadavers who consented?

  • formerly just steve

    Bob, #16

    Capitalism is amoral. The morality of the system depends on the morality of the consumer. Unlike other systems that depend on the morality of the dictator, the party, the royals, etc. As bad as it can be, I’ll take my chances with capitalism.

  • formerly just steve

    Bob, #16

    Capitalism is amoral. The morality of the system depends on the morality of the consumer. Unlike other systems that depend on the morality of the dictator, the party, the royals, etc. As bad as it can be, I’ll take my chances with capitalism.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#19 You can order it from several biologic supply companies.

    Honestly, this is the vaccine issue all over again. And even if there was proof they used this particular cell line, I am not going to stop drinking Pepsi or going to their various restaurants. This fight isn’t worth the effort. There are more effective fights to fight.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#19 You can order it from several biologic supply companies.

    Honestly, this is the vaccine issue all over again. And even if there was proof they used this particular cell line, I am not going to stop drinking Pepsi or going to their various restaurants. This fight isn’t worth the effort. There are more effective fights to fight.

  • Cincinnatus

    Okay, maybe this particular story is a misleading. But why are we defending PepsiCo?

    “Relax, consumers: you can consume your sugary beverages with a clean conscience.”

  • Cincinnatus

    Okay, maybe this particular story is a misleading. But why are we defending PepsiCo?

    “Relax, consumers: you can consume your sugary beverages with a clean conscience.”

  • Tom Hering

    Defending PepsiCo? Not me. I just find the facts of a story – or the lack of facts in a story – very interesting. Worth finding out. And worth pointing out.

  • Tom Hering

    Defending PepsiCo? Not me. I just find the facts of a story – or the lack of facts in a story – very interesting. Worth finding out. And worth pointing out.

  • Kirk

    @22

    Frankly, I think Pepsi is disgusting. But I think witch trials are more disgusting.

  • Kirk

    @22

    Frankly, I think Pepsi is disgusting. But I think witch trials are more disgusting.

  • Tom Hering

    Conservative Christians aren’t the only ones freaking out over Pepsi: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=92446

  • Tom Hering

    Conservative Christians aren’t the only ones freaking out over Pepsi: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=92446

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    So….
    Now the anti-big-corporation zealots are digging up tenuous connections for the purpose of appealing to the emotions of the religious right to stir up trouble in commerce-space. I’m sure their operatives are also digging very hard to link this “HEK 293″ to other Big Evil corporations, too. Watch out, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Monsanto and Doofenshmitrtz Evil Incorporated.

    Cinci,
    I drink my Pepsi with aspartame, not sugar (which a different set of phood pharisees will decry, I’m sure).

    The other thing that bothers me a little (though I admit I haven’t really analyzed it very deeply) is the idea that the “Obama Administration” (the SEC, actually) has any business telling the owners of a corporation (“shareholders”) that they’re not allowed to micromanage the corporation they own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    So….
    Now the anti-big-corporation zealots are digging up tenuous connections for the purpose of appealing to the emotions of the religious right to stir up trouble in commerce-space. I’m sure their operatives are also digging very hard to link this “HEK 293″ to other Big Evil corporations, too. Watch out, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Monsanto and Doofenshmitrtz Evil Incorporated.

    Cinci,
    I drink my Pepsi with aspartame, not sugar (which a different set of phood pharisees will decry, I’m sure).

    The other thing that bothers me a little (though I admit I haven’t really analyzed it very deeply) is the idea that the “Obama Administration” (the SEC, actually) has any business telling the owners of a corporation (“shareholders”) that they’re not allowed to micromanage the corporation they own.

  • http://www.biteinteractive.com Brant

    I’m a bit confused by all of the differing claims being made. Can we just agree on a set of facts and then argue the ethics from there? I believe we seriously compromise the ethical discussions when we don’t have all the facts or are given to wide sweeping statements. I honestly am not sure of a few of these facts, so I’d prefer clarification. Anything that ends in * is a sentence I’m not 100% sure of.

    Pepsi uses a contractor (Senomyx) to research flavor enhancers. Senomyx has a published paper in which it uses HEK-293. Senomyx and Pepsi both hide behind a “Trade secrets” wall, so this paper is the only thing linking them to HEK-293*

    HEK-293 was derived in the early 70s from an aborted fetus. It is not clear whether this was a miscarriage or an elective abortion*. No other material from abortions has been obtained or used since then*.

    HEK-293 is a sort of cell building block. Scientists like it because they can modify it to act like all sorts of different things (and a lot of companies/scientists besides Senomyx use it). Senomyx has used this in its patent to make a bunch of mechanical taste testers so they can more quickly and objectively gauge flavors.

    The argument, as I understand it, from the pro-life group is that this type of use of cells from a fetal line would encourage other scientists to look for new lines in newly aborted children. In other words, by making HEK-293 a valuable piece of research, it indirectly would entice other companies to go into research that directly would commoditize aborted children.

  • http://www.biteinteractive.com Brant

    I’m a bit confused by all of the differing claims being made. Can we just agree on a set of facts and then argue the ethics from there? I believe we seriously compromise the ethical discussions when we don’t have all the facts or are given to wide sweeping statements. I honestly am not sure of a few of these facts, so I’d prefer clarification. Anything that ends in * is a sentence I’m not 100% sure of.

    Pepsi uses a contractor (Senomyx) to research flavor enhancers. Senomyx has a published paper in which it uses HEK-293. Senomyx and Pepsi both hide behind a “Trade secrets” wall, so this paper is the only thing linking them to HEK-293*

    HEK-293 was derived in the early 70s from an aborted fetus. It is not clear whether this was a miscarriage or an elective abortion*. No other material from abortions has been obtained or used since then*.

    HEK-293 is a sort of cell building block. Scientists like it because they can modify it to act like all sorts of different things (and a lot of companies/scientists besides Senomyx use it). Senomyx has used this in its patent to make a bunch of mechanical taste testers so they can more quickly and objectively gauge flavors.

    The argument, as I understand it, from the pro-life group is that this type of use of cells from a fetal line would encourage other scientists to look for new lines in newly aborted children. In other words, by making HEK-293 a valuable piece of research, it indirectly would entice other companies to go into research that directly would commoditize aborted children.

  • Tom Hering

    Dr. Alex van der Eb’s testimony to the FDA, May 16, 2001:

    So the kidney material, the fetal kidney material was as follows. The kidney of the fetus was, with an unknown family history, was obtained in 1972 probably. The precise date is not known anymore.

    The fetus, as far as I can remember was completely normal. Nothing was wrong. The reasons for the abortion wer unknown to me. I probably knew it at that time, but it got lost, all this information.

    http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/01/transcripts/3750t1_01.pdf (Dr. van der Eb’s testimony begins on page 77.)

  • Tom Hering

    Dr. Alex van der Eb’s testimony to the FDA, May 16, 2001:

    So the kidney material, the fetal kidney material was as follows. The kidney of the fetus was, with an unknown family history, was obtained in 1972 probably. The precise date is not known anymore.

    The fetus, as far as I can remember was completely normal. Nothing was wrong. The reasons for the abortion wer unknown to me. I probably knew it at that time, but it got lost, all this information.

    http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/01/transcripts/3750t1_01.pdf (Dr. van der Eb’s testimony begins on page 77.)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Disgusting.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Disgusting.

  • DonS

    Here is a quote from http://ussif.org/projects/advocacy/resolutions.cfm , the website for the Forum for Responsible and Sustainable Investment, concerning the issue of ordinary business practice:

    SEC Rules on Subject Matter of Resolutions

    When a shareholder or shareholder coalition introduces a resolution, company management will often bring the resolution to the SEC in an attempt to exclude the resolution from the proxy vote. This is because the SEC has rules against proposals on matters of personal grievance, operations constituting less than five percent of revenue, and matters pertaining to “ordinary business.” Many times, the company management will argue that a proposal fits into one of these categories for exclusion. However, proponents of a shareholder resolution are also able to make their case before the SEC, and may counter the arguments of company management. If the SEC agrees with the shareholders’ logic, the proposal is allowed to be included in the proxy vote.

    I guess I question the notion of having rules this vague. What is an ordinary business practice? How about animal testing for cosmetics? How about single-walled oil pipelines? How about a clothing company having its clothes made by 6 year old Chinese girls? Weren’t those “ordinary business practices”, and isn’t that why shareholders object? I don’t know enough about the issue of SEC regulation, but it seems to me that using fetal tissue to conduct research into flavor enhancers is not merely routine research, and is certainly no more ordinary than the former practice of cosmetic research, or KFC’s chicken management practices.

  • DonS

    Here is a quote from http://ussif.org/projects/advocacy/resolutions.cfm , the website for the Forum for Responsible and Sustainable Investment, concerning the issue of ordinary business practice:

    SEC Rules on Subject Matter of Resolutions

    When a shareholder or shareholder coalition introduces a resolution, company management will often bring the resolution to the SEC in an attempt to exclude the resolution from the proxy vote. This is because the SEC has rules against proposals on matters of personal grievance, operations constituting less than five percent of revenue, and matters pertaining to “ordinary business.” Many times, the company management will argue that a proposal fits into one of these categories for exclusion. However, proponents of a shareholder resolution are also able to make their case before the SEC, and may counter the arguments of company management. If the SEC agrees with the shareholders’ logic, the proposal is allowed to be included in the proxy vote.

    I guess I question the notion of having rules this vague. What is an ordinary business practice? How about animal testing for cosmetics? How about single-walled oil pipelines? How about a clothing company having its clothes made by 6 year old Chinese girls? Weren’t those “ordinary business practices”, and isn’t that why shareholders object? I don’t know enough about the issue of SEC regulation, but it seems to me that using fetal tissue to conduct research into flavor enhancers is not merely routine research, and is certainly no more ordinary than the former practice of cosmetic research, or KFC’s chicken management practices.

  • Tom Hering

    Bror @ 29, yes. But a whole lot of foods, medicines, procedures, and cosmetics – just about everything of benefit to our bodies – involved the death or suffering of both humans and animals at some point. (War, hospital research, clinical trials, etc.) We’d be disgusted a lot if we cared to know.

    It’s a deeply fallen world when much that is good is based on much that is evil.

  • Tom Hering

    Bror @ 29, yes. But a whole lot of foods, medicines, procedures, and cosmetics – just about everything of benefit to our bodies – involved the death or suffering of both humans and animals at some point. (War, hospital research, clinical trials, etc.) We’d be disgusted a lot if we cared to know.

    It’s a deeply fallen world when much that is good is based on much that is evil.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    one of Pepsi’s contractors could maybe, possibly, be using HEK 293 in its research, but there’s no evidence that it actually does.

    Lemme see if I got this straight. This contractor doesn’t know whether or not they are using the cells that they cited in their patent application. Therefore they don’t make any public statements to clarify.
    Hmm.

    This is what I call lacking the appearance of propriety.

    Reminds me of the stupid birth certificate controversy. Sure, it is easy to quell discord, division and derision, but it is just so dang fun to watch people who are incensed at the childish uncooperative action go at it with those who defend it. It is such great sport.

    I am not impressed.

    This is the kindergarten sandbox.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    one of Pepsi’s contractors could maybe, possibly, be using HEK 293 in its research, but there’s no evidence that it actually does.

    Lemme see if I got this straight. This contractor doesn’t know whether or not they are using the cells that they cited in their patent application. Therefore they don’t make any public statements to clarify.
    Hmm.

    This is what I call lacking the appearance of propriety.

    Reminds me of the stupid birth certificate controversy. Sure, it is easy to quell discord, division and derision, but it is just so dang fun to watch people who are incensed at the childish uncooperative action go at it with those who defend it. It is such great sport.

    I am not impressed.

    This is the kindergarten sandbox.

  • Jonathan

    Mad Men alert!
    Get a marketing campaign up for Soylent Green Lite, the sparkling beverage that makes you feel like a kid again.

    Put PT Barnum in charge.

  • Jonathan

    Mad Men alert!
    Get a marketing campaign up for Soylent Green Lite, the sparkling beverage that makes you feel like a kid again.

    Put PT Barnum in charge.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We’d be disgusted a lot if we cared to know.

    Amen, brother.

    We do not see because we do not wish to see.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We’d be disgusted a lot if we cared to know.

    Amen, brother.

    We do not see because we do not wish to see.

  • Cincinnatus

    In response to Kirk, Tom, and other defenders (sort of?) of Pepsi and its contractors, here’s how I read the statement offered on this issue:

    “We can neither confirm nor deny that we used aborted human fetuses in the creation of this product.”

    Right. Well, I guess that shipment of aborted fetuses–if there was one–just slipped through the warehouse and into the laboratory unnoticed, yeah?

  • Cincinnatus

    In response to Kirk, Tom, and other defenders (sort of?) of Pepsi and its contractors, here’s how I read the statement offered on this issue:

    “We can neither confirm nor deny that we used aborted human fetuses in the creation of this product.”

    Right. Well, I guess that shipment of aborted fetuses–if there was one–just slipped through the warehouse and into the laboratory unnoticed, yeah?

  • boaz

    It’s not my job as a consumer to research the practices of every company I buy products from. If Pepsi believed using fetuses in research was abominable as I do they would have swiftly responded by making such practices forbidden by all its contractors and publicizing its new terms. The fact they are fighting the shareholder action and leaving the issue ambiguous is enough for me to conclude this is a despicable company that I shouldn’t buy products from. I hope they lose massive sales and the issue becomes so toxic for any company that they go through thorough procedures to ensure they avoid any connection to aborted fetuses.

  • boaz

    It’s not my job as a consumer to research the practices of every company I buy products from. If Pepsi believed using fetuses in research was abominable as I do they would have swiftly responded by making such practices forbidden by all its contractors and publicizing its new terms. The fact they are fighting the shareholder action and leaving the issue ambiguous is enough for me to conclude this is a despicable company that I shouldn’t buy products from. I hope they lose massive sales and the issue becomes so toxic for any company that they go through thorough procedures to ensure they avoid any connection to aborted fetuses.

  • formerly just steve

    As funny as it sounds, I’m okay with being grossed out by what’s involved in food processing. I know there are bug parts, small traces of feces and urine, etc. It’s a fact of life.

    I draw the line at using the parts of non-consenting human beings at any point in the process.

  • formerly just steve

    As funny as it sounds, I’m okay with being grossed out by what’s involved in food processing. I know there are bug parts, small traces of feces and urine, etc. It’s a fact of life.

    I draw the line at using the parts of non-consenting human beings at any point in the process.

  • –helen

    Planned Parenthood doesn’t push abortion out of Christian charity.
    There has to be a profit in it somewhere.

  • –helen

    Planned Parenthood doesn’t push abortion out of Christian charity.
    There has to be a profit in it somewhere.

  • Grace

    Brant @ 27

    “The argument, as I understand it, from the pro-life group is that this type of use of cells from a fetal line would encourage other scientists to look for new lines in newly aborted children. In other words, by making HEK-293 a valuable piece of research, it indirectly would entice other companies to go into research that directly would commoditize aborted children.

    Brant, why not, what is to stop them? What makes you think it hasn’t been done, or is being done RIGHT NOW? How many other ways are the “infants” slaughtered in abortion being used?

    The public has a right to KNOW about such damnable research practices.

    The taste in someones mouth dependent upon a helpless infant killed by the butcher?

  • Grace

    Brant @ 27

    “The argument, as I understand it, from the pro-life group is that this type of use of cells from a fetal line would encourage other scientists to look for new lines in newly aborted children. In other words, by making HEK-293 a valuable piece of research, it indirectly would entice other companies to go into research that directly would commoditize aborted children.

    Brant, why not, what is to stop them? What makes you think it hasn’t been done, or is being done RIGHT NOW? How many other ways are the “infants” slaughtered in abortion being used?

    The public has a right to KNOW about such damnable research practices.

    The taste in someones mouth dependent upon a helpless infant killed by the butcher?

  • Kirk

    @sg

    No, that’s not it at all. In the patent, they list cells that will indicate particular flavors, of which HK 293 is a possibility. So they basically say “to get indication A, we will use one of the following: HK 293, or cell X, or cell Y.” But the real point is, no one knows whether or no that test was even used in research for Pepsi. Pepsi says it wasn’t and the contractor has yet to make a public statement. So there is an explicit denial on the part of Pepsi that embryonic cells were used in its product development, if that makes you feel any better.

  • Kirk

    @sg

    No, that’s not it at all. In the patent, they list cells that will indicate particular flavors, of which HK 293 is a possibility. So they basically say “to get indication A, we will use one of the following: HK 293, or cell X, or cell Y.” But the real point is, no one knows whether or no that test was even used in research for Pepsi. Pepsi says it wasn’t and the contractor has yet to make a public statement. So there is an explicit denial on the part of Pepsi that embryonic cells were used in its product development, if that makes you feel any better.

  • Tom Hering

    Cincinnatus @ 35, in the case of HEK-293, only one fetus has ever been involved. The abortion may have been a miscarriage. It may not have been. The parents may have donated their child’s body to medical science (Dr. van der Eb’s research). They may not have. We just don’t know.

    But I agree with boaz @ 36 that PepsiCo’s response to concerns has been ambiguous. Look at this excerpt from an email to Children Of God For Life:

    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.

    ( http://www.cogforlife.org/senomyxpartnersrespond.htm )

    Saying “inaccurate” without explaining the exact nature of the inaccuracy leaves a big loophole. So let’s assume the worst. The wisest course for conscience to follow would be to take the advice given Muslims concerned about rumors that Pepsi contains pepsin:

    “Therefore, in principle the drink which you mentioned in the question is permissible but if one avoids it as a way of Allaah-fearing and piety and staying away from doubtful things, then it is expected that he will be rewarded for doing so.” (Link @ 25.)

    In other words, when in doubt, say no.

  • Tom Hering

    Cincinnatus @ 35, in the case of HEK-293, only one fetus has ever been involved. The abortion may have been a miscarriage. It may not have been. The parents may have donated their child’s body to medical science (Dr. van der Eb’s research). They may not have. We just don’t know.

    But I agree with boaz @ 36 that PepsiCo’s response to concerns has been ambiguous. Look at this excerpt from an email to Children Of God For Life:

    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.

    ( http://www.cogforlife.org/senomyxpartnersrespond.htm )

    Saying “inaccurate” without explaining the exact nature of the inaccuracy leaves a big loophole. So let’s assume the worst. The wisest course for conscience to follow would be to take the advice given Muslims concerned about rumors that Pepsi contains pepsin:

    “Therefore, in principle the drink which you mentioned in the question is permissible but if one avoids it as a way of Allaah-fearing and piety and staying away from doubtful things, then it is expected that he will be rewarded for doing so.” (Link @ 25.)

    In other words, when in doubt, say no.

  • formerly just steve

    The point is that Senomyx is a biotech company that produces flavor enhancers. It’s highly probable that their research is not based on a single factor for any of their products, but is built on a web of intersecting research. As such, it’s probably impossible to determine at what point Pepsi benefited directly from their use of HEK 293 but indirectly they benefited simply from contracting with Senomyx.

  • formerly just steve

    The point is that Senomyx is a biotech company that produces flavor enhancers. It’s highly probable that their research is not based on a single factor for any of their products, but is built on a web of intersecting research. As such, it’s probably impossible to determine at what point Pepsi benefited directly from their use of HEK 293 but indirectly they benefited simply from contracting with Senomyx.

  • Grace

    Steve @ 42

    “As such, it’s probably impossible to determine at what point Pepsi benefited directly from their use of HEK 293 but indirectly they benefited simply from contracting with Senomyx.”

    The point is not whether they benefited from such research, the fact is, that they would engage in such hideous endeavours for the sake of TASTE, using aborted infants for their research.

  • Grace

    Steve @ 42

    “As such, it’s probably impossible to determine at what point Pepsi benefited directly from their use of HEK 293 but indirectly they benefited simply from contracting with Senomyx.”

    The point is not whether they benefited from such research, the fact is, that they would engage in such hideous endeavours for the sake of TASTE, using aborted infants for their research.

  • Steve Billingsley

    From C.S. Lewis (New Learning and New Ignorance – the introduction to Poetry and Prose in the 16th Century)
    “There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the “wisdom” of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique; and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious.”

    I don’t know what PepsiCo is or isn’t guilty of (the facts seem deliberately obtuse) – but at the very least it is disgusting.

  • Steve Billingsley

    From C.S. Lewis (New Learning and New Ignorance – the introduction to Poetry and Prose in the 16th Century)
    “There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the “wisdom” of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique; and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious.”

    I don’t know what PepsiCo is or isn’t guilty of (the facts seem deliberately obtuse) – but at the very least it is disgusting.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    YUP- posted it at the beginning of March-
    http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/pepsi-uses-cells-from-aborted-humans.html
    called for a boycott of pepsi-
    Carol-CS-LA LFL

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    YUP- posted it at the beginning of March-
    http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/pepsi-uses-cells-from-aborted-humans.html
    called for a boycott of pepsi-
    Carol-CS-LA LFL

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” they basically say “to get indication A, we will use one of the following: HK 293, or cell X, or cell Y.” But the real point is, no one knows whether or no that test was even used in research for Pepsi.”

    Nonsense. Of course someone knows.

    Tests aren’t conducted magically. Real people put that stuff in tubes and dishes, and they document what is in those tubes and dishes. Everything that comes in the door is specifically ordered, labeled, and documented. There are definitely records and plenty of somebodies know about them.

    The contracting agency can issue a statement anytime clarifying.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” they basically say “to get indication A, we will use one of the following: HK 293, or cell X, or cell Y.” But the real point is, no one knows whether or no that test was even used in research for Pepsi.”

    Nonsense. Of course someone knows.

    Tests aren’t conducted magically. Real people put that stuff in tubes and dishes, and they document what is in those tubes and dishes. Everything that comes in the door is specifically ordered, labeled, and documented. There are definitely records and plenty of somebodies know about them.

    The contracting agency can issue a statement anytime clarifying.

  • Kirk

    @SG

    Oh sure, someone knows, just no one in the public and not you or I. The problem is that people are assuming the they are using HEK 293 just because no one at Senomyx has denied it (which, let’s be honest, probably wouldn’t be good enough for you anyways).

    For logical consistency’s sake, I hope you’re assuming that all other major food producers are using embyronic cells in their research, too. I mean, I haven’t heard anyone else denying that they have fetus in their products, have you?

  • Kirk

    @SG

    Oh sure, someone knows, just no one in the public and not you or I. The problem is that people are assuming the they are using HEK 293 just because no one at Senomyx has denied it (which, let’s be honest, probably wouldn’t be good enough for you anyways).

    For logical consistency’s sake, I hope you’re assuming that all other major food producers are using embyronic cells in their research, too. I mean, I haven’t heard anyone else denying that they have fetus in their products, have you?

  • Tom Hering

    “… people are assuming the they are using HEK 293 just because no one at Senomyx has denied it ..”

    No, it’s because HEK-293 is referenced in 70 of Senomyx’s 77 patents (according to CBS News as quoted at Snopes.com). Whether those patents reference their own work with HEK-293 or someone else’s, I don’t know.

  • Tom Hering

    “… people are assuming the they are using HEK 293 just because no one at Senomyx has denied it ..”

    No, it’s because HEK-293 is referenced in 70 of Senomyx’s 77 patents (according to CBS News as quoted at Snopes.com). Whether those patents reference their own work with HEK-293 or someone else’s, I don’t know.

  • Med Student

    It’s unclear to me what precisely people are objecting to here – is it the use of any fetal tissue for research purposes ever? Only aborted fetal tissue? Only fetal tissue that was taken without the knowledge or consent of the mother/father? If we were to find out that HEK 293 was from a miscarried fetus whose mother donated the body to researchers, would you still have an issue with it, or not? There’s a lot of controversy over the ethics of using research results that may have involved unethical means to obtain (i.e. the whole Henrietta Lacks cell line issue, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study). This seems to fit in somewhere as well, but is it because it’s unethical period to use aborted fetal tissue in research, or only that which is obtained without knowledge or consent?

  • Med Student

    It’s unclear to me what precisely people are objecting to here – is it the use of any fetal tissue for research purposes ever? Only aborted fetal tissue? Only fetal tissue that was taken without the knowledge or consent of the mother/father? If we were to find out that HEK 293 was from a miscarried fetus whose mother donated the body to researchers, would you still have an issue with it, or not? There’s a lot of controversy over the ethics of using research results that may have involved unethical means to obtain (i.e. the whole Henrietta Lacks cell line issue, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study). This seems to fit in somewhere as well, but is it because it’s unethical period to use aborted fetal tissue in research, or only that which is obtained without knowledge or consent?

  • formerly just steve

    Med Student,

    Personally, I have no problem with using products, grafts, etc. that contain human tissue as long as there is consent. My assumption is that aborted fetuses can’t give consent though I wouldn’t have a problem with using miscarried fetal tissue with parental consent. For me, and I suspect others here, the fact that it’s being used for such pedestrian purposes as testing flavor enhancers just adds insult to injury.

  • formerly just steve

    Med Student,

    Personally, I have no problem with using products, grafts, etc. that contain human tissue as long as there is consent. My assumption is that aborted fetuses can’t give consent though I wouldn’t have a problem with using miscarried fetal tissue with parental consent. For me, and I suspect others here, the fact that it’s being used for such pedestrian purposes as testing flavor enhancers just adds insult to injury.

  • Grace

    Student @ 49

    Everytime a situation such as this, which is highly questionable at best is brought up, the ” Tuskegee Syphilis Study” is brought in to somehow substantiate the current research which is in question.

    The ” Tuskegee Syphilis Study” study took place in 1932, many laws have been enacted since then, so that this would not occur again. I don’t believe, using the ” Tuskegee Syphilis Study” is of value. It’s like throwing a sledge hammer into a very ugly abominable legal act which is “ABORTION” – ie; taking the life of an unborn infant, and destroying it, OR using it for other means. If what Pepsi has done is true, …. as a means to enhance the taste of their soft drinks, or any other product, it’s disgraceful-

    This is no different then the holocaust, which used children and adults for their vile experiments. “The end justifies the means”- it’s nothing but a farce.

  • Grace

    Student @ 49

    Everytime a situation such as this, which is highly questionable at best is brought up, the ” Tuskegee Syphilis Study” is brought in to somehow substantiate the current research which is in question.

    The ” Tuskegee Syphilis Study” study took place in 1932, many laws have been enacted since then, so that this would not occur again. I don’t believe, using the ” Tuskegee Syphilis Study” is of value. It’s like throwing a sledge hammer into a very ugly abominable legal act which is “ABORTION” – ie; taking the life of an unborn infant, and destroying it, OR using it for other means. If what Pepsi has done is true, …. as a means to enhance the taste of their soft drinks, or any other product, it’s disgraceful-

    This is no different then the holocaust, which used children and adults for their vile experiments. “The end justifies the means”- it’s nothing but a farce.

  • Grace

    Is this what our country has come to? Using the aborted little bodies of infants in research to enhance their foods?

    1. Who knew about this?
    2. What laws where used to make this abomination possible?
    3. What other dispicable ways are the unborn, aborted infants used, that we as citizens of this country are unaware of?

  • Grace

    Is this what our country has come to? Using the aborted little bodies of infants in research to enhance their foods?

    1. Who knew about this?
    2. What laws where used to make this abomination possible?
    3. What other dispicable ways are the unborn, aborted infants used, that we as citizens of this country are unaware of?

  • Bob

    “a lot of controversy over the ethics of using research results that may have involved unethical means to obtain…”

    That’s all Med Student was saying. When you toss in the holocaust and other hyperbole, it makes it tougher to take your POV with much seriousness.

    ‘The Tuskegee Study started in 1932.’

    What you failed to mention was that it lasted for a complete generation — 40 YEARS.

    Why not admit abortion and conducting unethical experiments on poor African-Americans are BOTH abominable.

    Why is that so tough to admit, Grace?

  • Bob

    “a lot of controversy over the ethics of using research results that may have involved unethical means to obtain…”

    That’s all Med Student was saying. When you toss in the holocaust and other hyperbole, it makes it tougher to take your POV with much seriousness.

    ‘The Tuskegee Study started in 1932.’

    What you failed to mention was that it lasted for a complete generation — 40 YEARS.

    Why not admit abortion and conducting unethical experiments on poor African-Americans are BOTH abominable.

    Why is that so tough to admit, Grace?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The problem is that people are assuming the they are using HEK 293 just because no one at Senomyx has denied it

    That’s right. And they can easily do that, but they aren’t.

    (which, let’s be honest, probably wouldn’t be good enough for you anyways).

    I am being honest. It would be good enough. I don’t appreciate the implication that I am fanatically and irrationally determined to believe they are lying. To what end? When someone or in this case a company is thought to have done something, it is reasonable to ask what they have said about it themselves. If they said that yes they use the technology described in the patent but not the specific embryonic cell derivatives, that would be the end of it, for me anyway.

    I will go on to say that it’s pretty ridiculous for a company to not deny something that they aren’t even doing and take the attitude that there is no point in denying stuff because people won’t believe it anyway. That is goofy, and that is why companies do come out and clarify when stuff like this comes up.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The problem is that people are assuming the they are using HEK 293 just because no one at Senomyx has denied it

    That’s right. And they can easily do that, but they aren’t.

    (which, let’s be honest, probably wouldn’t be good enough for you anyways).

    I am being honest. It would be good enough. I don’t appreciate the implication that I am fanatically and irrationally determined to believe they are lying. To what end? When someone or in this case a company is thought to have done something, it is reasonable to ask what they have said about it themselves. If they said that yes they use the technology described in the patent but not the specific embryonic cell derivatives, that would be the end of it, for me anyway.

    I will go on to say that it’s pretty ridiculous for a company to not deny something that they aren’t even doing and take the attitude that there is no point in denying stuff because people won’t believe it anyway. That is goofy, and that is why companies do come out and clarify when stuff like this comes up.

  • Med Student

    Grace @ 51
    I know of very few people who use the TSS to try to substantiate current questionable research; rather the opposite, in fact. The controversy over the study isn’t over whether or not it was unethical (pretty much everyone agrees it was), but whether or not people should still be using its results in publications. The truth is, most of what we know about the later stages of syphilis came from that study. Should we use that knowledge, even though it was unethically obtained? Same issue with all the research done using Henrietta Lacks’ tissue without her knowledge or consent – should we throw all that knowledge out?
    I don’t disagree that it’s unethical to use aborted fetal tissue in any kind of research, especially if researchers took the tissue without getting consent from anyone at all. I’m not really sure if you were somehow disagreeing with something in my post, and I have no idea what you mean about the TSS being like a sledgehammer (sorry, my brain feels a bit fried right now – test tomorrow).

  • Med Student

    Grace @ 51
    I know of very few people who use the TSS to try to substantiate current questionable research; rather the opposite, in fact. The controversy over the study isn’t over whether or not it was unethical (pretty much everyone agrees it was), but whether or not people should still be using its results in publications. The truth is, most of what we know about the later stages of syphilis came from that study. Should we use that knowledge, even though it was unethically obtained? Same issue with all the research done using Henrietta Lacks’ tissue without her knowledge or consent – should we throw all that knowledge out?
    I don’t disagree that it’s unethical to use aborted fetal tissue in any kind of research, especially if researchers took the tissue without getting consent from anyone at all. I’m not really sure if you were somehow disagreeing with something in my post, and I have no idea what you mean about the TSS being like a sledgehammer (sorry, my brain feels a bit fried right now – test tomorrow).

  • Grace

    Bob @ 53

    “That’s all Med Student was saying. When you toss in the holocaust and other hyperbole, it makes it tougher to take your POV with much seriousness. “

    Whether you take as serious, as to what I post, makes no difference. “Hyperbole” ? The definition doesn’t match.

    Hyperbole – definition

    A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.

    Using aborted infants to research “taste testing” of soft drinks, or any other sort of food, for taste is abominable – just as the experiments during the holocaust, against children and adults. No “exaggeration” whatsoever!

  • Grace

    Bob @ 53

    “That’s all Med Student was saying. When you toss in the holocaust and other hyperbole, it makes it tougher to take your POV with much seriousness. “

    Whether you take as serious, as to what I post, makes no difference. “Hyperbole” ? The definition doesn’t match.

    Hyperbole – definition

    A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.

    Using aborted infants to research “taste testing” of soft drinks, or any other sort of food, for taste is abominable – just as the experiments during the holocaust, against children and adults. No “exaggeration” whatsoever!

  • Grace

    Student,

    I don’t believe for a moment that the “end justifies the means” – That EXCUSE, can be used in any research, when a conclusion is reached which offers results, that could not have been obtained otherwise.

    The “abortion” issue, the laws that allow this to continue, are wrong. Using the aborted infants to research food stuff, is just about as low as it goes.

  • Grace

    Student,

    I don’t believe for a moment that the “end justifies the means” – That EXCUSE, can be used in any research, when a conclusion is reached which offers results, that could not have been obtained otherwise.

    The “abortion” issue, the laws that allow this to continue, are wrong. Using the aborted infants to research food stuff, is just about as low as it goes.

  • Bob

    It sure would be nice if more prolifers cared about what happens to
    peoples’ quality of life after birth, not just before.

    Hint: Starts with a T, ends with an E, 7 letters.

  • Bob

    It sure would be nice if more prolifers cared about what happens to
    peoples’ quality of life after birth, not just before.

    Hint: Starts with a T, ends with an E, 7 letters.

  • Grace

    Bob,

    You must not know many pro-Life individuals.

    The quality of ones life doesn’t depend upon the taste of any soft drink, nor food of any kind.

  • Grace

    Bob,

    You must not know many pro-Life individuals.

    The quality of ones life doesn’t depend upon the taste of any soft drink, nor food of any kind.

  • yet another Steve

    Many commenting here do not seem to be aware that there are numerous mammalian cell lines that can be propagated indefinitely, in the lab, much the way microbes replicate in nature, long after the original source of the tissue died (although some commenters have been trying to make this point). Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells are widely used around the world to produce therapeutic protein drugs, although the original hamster died in 1957. Similarly, there are many mammalian cell lines used to test cellular response to different chemicals to assess biological activity, most commonly in drug discovery R&D labs in industry and academia.

    I would be surprised to learn that there have been any medicines brought to the market in the last couple decades that have not been tested in such a manner (not necessarily using cell lines derived from fetal cells, unlikely any embryonic cell lines). Generally this is seen not only as a more efficient way of screening for biological activity, but also more humane in that the testing on animals and human subjects is greatly reduced as a result of these methodologies.

  • yet another Steve

    Many commenting here do not seem to be aware that there are numerous mammalian cell lines that can be propagated indefinitely, in the lab, much the way microbes replicate in nature, long after the original source of the tissue died (although some commenters have been trying to make this point). Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells are widely used around the world to produce therapeutic protein drugs, although the original hamster died in 1957. Similarly, there are many mammalian cell lines used to test cellular response to different chemicals to assess biological activity, most commonly in drug discovery R&D labs in industry and academia.

    I would be surprised to learn that there have been any medicines brought to the market in the last couple decades that have not been tested in such a manner (not necessarily using cell lines derived from fetal cells, unlikely any embryonic cell lines). Generally this is seen not only as a more efficient way of screening for biological activity, but also more humane in that the testing on animals and human subjects is greatly reduced as a result of these methodologies.

  • HC

    Coke is behind it, they found and leaked the information.
    ;-)

  • HC

    Coke is behind it, they found and leaked the information.
    ;-)

  • kerner

    I know I didn’t read this thread yesterday when it was posted, but I have a question similar to Med Student’s. As I understand it, the HEK 293 cells that exist today are NOT cells harvested from human fetuses. Rather, the cells that exist today are the result of the repeated propagation of the cells that were harvested about 40 years age by a guy who now claims to not remember whether the source was an abortion or a miscarriage. It is now suggested that the use of these cells is bad, not because they were harvested from fetal tissue, but because their ancestor cells were harvested from fetal tissue in what may have been, indeed probably was, an unethical way.

    An analogy:

    150 years ago most cotton raised in the United States was produced by slave labor.

    Slave labor is a disgusting and unethical practice.

    None of the slave produced cotton exists today, but the slave grown cotton plants have been replicated over and over (by planting their seeds and harvesting the descendants of those seeds) such that cotton we use today may be, indeed probably is, descended from the slave produced cotton of 150 years ago.

    Does that mean we should all boycott cotton forever?

    Good analogy? Bad analogy? Just asking.

  • kerner

    I know I didn’t read this thread yesterday when it was posted, but I have a question similar to Med Student’s. As I understand it, the HEK 293 cells that exist today are NOT cells harvested from human fetuses. Rather, the cells that exist today are the result of the repeated propagation of the cells that were harvested about 40 years age by a guy who now claims to not remember whether the source was an abortion or a miscarriage. It is now suggested that the use of these cells is bad, not because they were harvested from fetal tissue, but because their ancestor cells were harvested from fetal tissue in what may have been, indeed probably was, an unethical way.

    An analogy:

    150 years ago most cotton raised in the United States was produced by slave labor.

    Slave labor is a disgusting and unethical practice.

    None of the slave produced cotton exists today, but the slave grown cotton plants have been replicated over and over (by planting their seeds and harvesting the descendants of those seeds) such that cotton we use today may be, indeed probably is, descended from the slave produced cotton of 150 years ago.

    Does that mean we should all boycott cotton forever?

    Good analogy? Bad analogy? Just asking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    If I wanted to smear a Big Evil corporation, I would seek to somehow attach the word, “abortion” to the corporation’s business practices (no matter how tenuous the connection) , then to do my dirty work of manufacturing outrage , I would stir up some Useful Idiots in that segment of the population that go all reactionary whenever they hear the phrase, “aborted fetus” but don’t think too long about whether assertions involving that phrase are true or not, or what the connection is.

    Just sayin’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    If I wanted to smear a Big Evil corporation, I would seek to somehow attach the word, “abortion” to the corporation’s business practices (no matter how tenuous the connection) , then to do my dirty work of manufacturing outrage , I would stir up some Useful Idiots in that segment of the population that go all reactionary whenever they hear the phrase, “aborted fetus” but don’t think too long about whether assertions involving that phrase are true or not, or what the connection is.

    Just sayin’.

  • Pingback: A Severe Mercy | Caffeinated Thoughts

  • Pingback: A Severe Mercy | Caffeinated Thoughts

  • Huh?

    If this has been going on since the early 70′s, how are we blaming it on Obama? Pepsi isn’t very good. Whatever they are doing, they should stop it.
    Do yourselves a favor and don’t look any deeper into this. You will not like what you find. Very few of your everyday products have not been tested in this manner.

  • Huh?

    If this has been going on since the early 70′s, how are we blaming it on Obama? Pepsi isn’t very good. Whatever they are doing, they should stop it.
    Do yourselves a favor and don’t look any deeper into this. You will not like what you find. Very few of your everyday products have not been tested in this manner.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    kerner,

    I think your question is a good one. Your analogy sounds good when it comes to answering certain questions about Pepsi. I think one problem here is that this story doesn’t pose one ethical question, but several. I am with those who find the early steps in this whole process to be gruesome and evil. But the question does arise at what point we’ve stopped dealing in questions of guilt by association and just entered the sphere of everyday connections with the workings of the world. Some would blame only the abortionists (assuming this was not a miscarriage). Others would include the company that started the culture line saying they should not have been using the products of abortion in their work. (I tend to agree with this.) Others would include Semonyx saying that that line of cells is morally tainted forever. (Though I think many who blame Semonyx imagine they are using the original cells from the fetus.) I’m less sure on this point. This seems similar to what President Bush said about using fetal stem cells only from established lines and not using new ones. If the concern is to prevent a new market in such things, such a distinction could be valid. But I’m still a little unsure, as I was with Bush. I follow the logic. He seems sincere. He might be right. I’m not sure he is. Finally, some blame Pepsi itself. Here I think things are getting pretty distant. It isn’t that I think a case cannot be made for blame. It’s more that we had better be clear just how complicit we all are when we take this line with them. We don’t avoid such corruption merely by boycotting one drink. As you note, good products of initially evil actions are around for a long time.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    kerner,

    I think your question is a good one. Your analogy sounds good when it comes to answering certain questions about Pepsi. I think one problem here is that this story doesn’t pose one ethical question, but several. I am with those who find the early steps in this whole process to be gruesome and evil. But the question does arise at what point we’ve stopped dealing in questions of guilt by association and just entered the sphere of everyday connections with the workings of the world. Some would blame only the abortionists (assuming this was not a miscarriage). Others would include the company that started the culture line saying they should not have been using the products of abortion in their work. (I tend to agree with this.) Others would include Semonyx saying that that line of cells is morally tainted forever. (Though I think many who blame Semonyx imagine they are using the original cells from the fetus.) I’m less sure on this point. This seems similar to what President Bush said about using fetal stem cells only from established lines and not using new ones. If the concern is to prevent a new market in such things, such a distinction could be valid. But I’m still a little unsure, as I was with Bush. I follow the logic. He seems sincere. He might be right. I’m not sure he is. Finally, some blame Pepsi itself. Here I think things are getting pretty distant. It isn’t that I think a case cannot be made for blame. It’s more that we had better be clear just how complicit we all are when we take this line with them. We don’t avoid such corruption merely by boycotting one drink. As you note, good products of initially evil actions are around for a long time.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’ve been lurking on this, primarily because my understanding of the science isn’t as firm as I’d like it to be. But there does appear to be something in the comments here to the tune of the old saw, “A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

    Notably, it appears that only in later comments have people begun dealing with the actual scientific issue here, while earlier comments (predictably) were mainly just people expressing outrage because the subject was tied to abortion.

    Again, I’m happy if someone wants to correct me here — he said, knowing full well that the outrage-bots likely moved on long ago — but it is almost certainly incorrect to think of this in terms of Senomyx’s testing requiring a steady influx of aborted fetuses. That’s not how this works.

    As Kerner notes (@62), there almost certainly was an aborted fetus involved, but it was decades ago. Since then, cells from that one fetus have been replicating in laboratory conditions. As such, this isn’t about fetuses, but one fetus.

    Now, I’m not arguing that that should necessarily change anyone’s opinion. There’s still plenty to be disturbed by in all this, and people will draw their own conclusions.

    But I really do wish those conclusions were based on at least a vague understanding of what’s actually going on here, and not an unscientific, knee-jerk reaction.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’ve been lurking on this, primarily because my understanding of the science isn’t as firm as I’d like it to be. But there does appear to be something in the comments here to the tune of the old saw, “A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

    Notably, it appears that only in later comments have people begun dealing with the actual scientific issue here, while earlier comments (predictably) were mainly just people expressing outrage because the subject was tied to abortion.

    Again, I’m happy if someone wants to correct me here — he said, knowing full well that the outrage-bots likely moved on long ago — but it is almost certainly incorrect to think of this in terms of Senomyx’s testing requiring a steady influx of aborted fetuses. That’s not how this works.

    As Kerner notes (@62), there almost certainly was an aborted fetus involved, but it was decades ago. Since then, cells from that one fetus have been replicating in laboratory conditions. As such, this isn’t about fetuses, but one fetus.

    Now, I’m not arguing that that should necessarily change anyone’s opinion. There’s still plenty to be disturbed by in all this, and people will draw their own conclusions.

    But I really do wish those conclusions were based on at least a vague understanding of what’s actually going on here, and not an unscientific, knee-jerk reaction.

  • Med Student

    tODD,
    It’s a pretty safe bet that the fetal tissue involved is in fact from one fetus, obtained several dozens years ago, and turned into a cell line that can be replenished pretty much indefinitely, and not from the continual use of new fetal tissue. In my mind, therefore, the main issue is how was this tissue obtained (aborted or miscarried fetus? with or without knowledge/consent?) and somewhat less about whether or not we should ever be using fetal tissue in research, even mundane research like flavor development. That’s why I brought up the Henrietta Lacks example – tissue was taken from her without her knowledge or consent and turned into a cell line used in all kinds of research, from gene mapping to polio vaccine development, and generating billions of dollars that neither she nor her family ever saw a penny of. (Reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is on my to-do list.) Is the HeLa cell line immoral per se, or only because of the way it was obtained? Is the HEK 293 line immoral per se, or only because of the way in which it was obtained?

  • Med Student

    tODD,
    It’s a pretty safe bet that the fetal tissue involved is in fact from one fetus, obtained several dozens years ago, and turned into a cell line that can be replenished pretty much indefinitely, and not from the continual use of new fetal tissue. In my mind, therefore, the main issue is how was this tissue obtained (aborted or miscarried fetus? with or without knowledge/consent?) and somewhat less about whether or not we should ever be using fetal tissue in research, even mundane research like flavor development. That’s why I brought up the Henrietta Lacks example – tissue was taken from her without her knowledge or consent and turned into a cell line used in all kinds of research, from gene mapping to polio vaccine development, and generating billions of dollars that neither she nor her family ever saw a penny of. (Reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is on my to-do list.) Is the HeLa cell line immoral per se, or only because of the way it was obtained? Is the HEK 293 line immoral per se, or only because of the way in which it was obtained?

  • yet another Steve

    tODD, you are correct that this testing does not require a “steady influx of aborted fetuses.” Dr. Veith’s headline for this post and his first sentence are needlessly provocative. Rick Ritchie’s comparison of this controversy to the Bush decision about embryonic cell lines is the correct one to make. The bioethical question lies in the provenance of the cell lines – if they were developed under morally questionable circumstances are all subsequent uses of the cell lines equally questionable morally?

    Is there a moral difference between cell lines developed as a byproduct of a morally objectionable decision (mother’s decision to abort) and a scientist’s use of the results of that decision (there is no reason to suspect that the scientist knew the mother or had any input into her decision). Is anything be different if the fetal tissue was the result of a spontaneous abortion instead of a surgical abortion? Is it morally superior to die rather than to take life-saving medicines developed using this cell line? The cell line in question here was developed in Europe prior to Roe v Wade and was likely developed for basic research purposes having nothing to do with subsequent technological uses. It is quite likely that the scientists involved were ignorant of the moral questions at the time. Does this change anything?

    There are many important bioethical questions that swirl around this issue that are little different from the entire biomedical enterprise in contemporary society. The question of whether it is ethical to use aborted babies to make tastier beverages tastier is not one of them.

  • yet another Steve

    tODD, you are correct that this testing does not require a “steady influx of aborted fetuses.” Dr. Veith’s headline for this post and his first sentence are needlessly provocative. Rick Ritchie’s comparison of this controversy to the Bush decision about embryonic cell lines is the correct one to make. The bioethical question lies in the provenance of the cell lines – if they were developed under morally questionable circumstances are all subsequent uses of the cell lines equally questionable morally?

    Is there a moral difference between cell lines developed as a byproduct of a morally objectionable decision (mother’s decision to abort) and a scientist’s use of the results of that decision (there is no reason to suspect that the scientist knew the mother or had any input into her decision). Is anything be different if the fetal tissue was the result of a spontaneous abortion instead of a surgical abortion? Is it morally superior to die rather than to take life-saving medicines developed using this cell line? The cell line in question here was developed in Europe prior to Roe v Wade and was likely developed for basic research purposes having nothing to do with subsequent technological uses. It is quite likely that the scientists involved were ignorant of the moral questions at the time. Does this change anything?

    There are many important bioethical questions that swirl around this issue that are little different from the entire biomedical enterprise in contemporary society. The question of whether it is ethical to use aborted babies to make tastier beverages tastier is not one of them.

  • Grace

    The New American Magazine

    SEC Rules for PepsiCo’s Use of Aborted Fetal Cells

    Written by Dave Bohon
    Thursday, 08 March 2012

    “The federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided against a group of PepsiCo shareholders in their efforts to stop the company from contracting with a firm that uses cells from aborted babies in producing artificial flavor enhancers.

    As reported last year in The New American, the shareholders had filed a resolution with the SEC after Pepsi ignored tens of thousands of concerned pro-life individuals who had expressed their disgust and opposition to its contracting with Senomyx, a biotech company that tests its food additive products using a process that includes fetal cells from aborted babies.
    In a decision delivered by letter February 28, the SEC said that Pepsi’s research and development agreement with Senomyx, which includes the use of aborted fetal remains in flavor enhancement research, falls under “ordinary business operations” for the soft drink company. According to LifeSiteNews.com, the SEC decision came in response to a 36-page document submitted by Pepsi through its attorneys in January 2012. “In that filing, PepsiCo pleaded with the SEC to reject the shareholders’ resolution filed in October 2011 that the company ‘adopt a corporate policy that recognizes human rights and employs ethical standards which do not involve using the remains of aborted human beings in both private and collaborative research and development agreements,’” reported the pro-life news site.”

    ANOTHER EXCERPT_______

    “In related news, Rebecca Taylor of the National Catholic Register reported that in Oklahoma, State Senator Ralph Shortey introduced a bill that would ban any product meant for human consumption that either contains tissue from aborted babies, or which in its research or development included the use of cells from aborted babies.”

    ANOTHER EXCERPT_______

    “Neuralstem is not the only company using such cells. Taylor’s research actually came up with a list of a half dozen companies, including Senomyx, that use cells and tissues from aborted babies in their products and research. (View the list, along with company contact information, here.)

    Taylor reflected that without the “loud and continuous pressure” from individuals around the world who value and respect life, “the use of aborted fetal tissue to bring products to market will not only continue, it will expand. We live in a culture of death — a reality that means we truly do need labels that warn consumers: ‘This product was made possible by the killing of innocent human life.’”

    READ THE REST http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/family/11116-sec-rules-for-pepsicos-use-of-aborted-fetal-cells

  • Grace

    The New American Magazine

    SEC Rules for PepsiCo’s Use of Aborted Fetal Cells

    Written by Dave Bohon
    Thursday, 08 March 2012

    “The federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided against a group of PepsiCo shareholders in their efforts to stop the company from contracting with a firm that uses cells from aborted babies in producing artificial flavor enhancers.

    As reported last year in The New American, the shareholders had filed a resolution with the SEC after Pepsi ignored tens of thousands of concerned pro-life individuals who had expressed their disgust and opposition to its contracting with Senomyx, a biotech company that tests its food additive products using a process that includes fetal cells from aborted babies.
    In a decision delivered by letter February 28, the SEC said that Pepsi’s research and development agreement with Senomyx, which includes the use of aborted fetal remains in flavor enhancement research, falls under “ordinary business operations” for the soft drink company. According to LifeSiteNews.com, the SEC decision came in response to a 36-page document submitted by Pepsi through its attorneys in January 2012. “In that filing, PepsiCo pleaded with the SEC to reject the shareholders’ resolution filed in October 2011 that the company ‘adopt a corporate policy that recognizes human rights and employs ethical standards which do not involve using the remains of aborted human beings in both private and collaborative research and development agreements,’” reported the pro-life news site.”

    ANOTHER EXCERPT_______

    “In related news, Rebecca Taylor of the National Catholic Register reported that in Oklahoma, State Senator Ralph Shortey introduced a bill that would ban any product meant for human consumption that either contains tissue from aborted babies, or which in its research or development included the use of cells from aborted babies.”

    ANOTHER EXCERPT_______

    “Neuralstem is not the only company using such cells. Taylor’s research actually came up with a list of a half dozen companies, including Senomyx, that use cells and tissues from aborted babies in their products and research. (View the list, along with company contact information, here.)

    Taylor reflected that without the “loud and continuous pressure” from individuals around the world who value and respect life, “the use of aborted fetal tissue to bring products to market will not only continue, it will expand. We live in a culture of death — a reality that means we truly do need labels that warn consumers: ‘This product was made possible by the killing of innocent human life.’”

    READ THE REST http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/family/11116-sec-rules-for-pepsicos-use-of-aborted-fetal-cells

  • Bob

    I’m supposed to take seriously an article published by the JOHN BIRTH SOCIETY!?

    OMG!

    This place is nuttier than I thought!

  • Bob

    I’m supposed to take seriously an article published by the JOHN BIRTH SOCIETY!?

    OMG!

    This place is nuttier than I thought!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bob (@70), please. “This place” is frequented by people with a wide range of ideas and ideologies. And if you’ve stuck around long enough, you’ve probably figured out to what degree Grace, in particular, could be said to be typical of whatever passes for consensus around here.

    But honestly, tossing off ad hominems doesn’t really contribute much to the conversation, does it?

    So, to do my part, I will simply note that Grace’s comment appears to be made with complete disregard for the previous 10 comments or so.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bob (@70), please. “This place” is frequented by people with a wide range of ideas and ideologies. And if you’ve stuck around long enough, you’ve probably figured out to what degree Grace, in particular, could be said to be typical of whatever passes for consensus around here.

    But honestly, tossing off ad hominems doesn’t really contribute much to the conversation, does it?

    So, to do my part, I will simply note that Grace’s comment appears to be made with complete disregard for the previous 10 comments or so.

  • Bob

    Yes.

    I apologize to the nonnutty folks here.

  • Bob

    Yes.

    I apologize to the nonnutty folks here.

  • Michael B.

    @Grace

    “The quality of ones life doesn’t depend upon the taste of any soft drink, nor food of any kind.”

    So you’re saying we should have let the babies live, but live in a world of bland soft drinks? I don’t think so. Go drink RC Cola if you feel that way.

  • Michael B.

    @Grace

    “The quality of ones life doesn’t depend upon the taste of any soft drink, nor food of any kind.”

    So you’re saying we should have let the babies live, but live in a world of bland soft drinks? I don’t think so. Go drink RC Cola if you feel that way.

  • Grace

    tODD, the ever present nitpicker in the blogosphere world, anxious to find any flaw that might exist, or INVENT one when all else fails. LOL, never disappoints the audience, with Bob tagging along!

  • Grace

    tODD, the ever present nitpicker in the blogosphere world, anxious to find any flaw that might exist, or INVENT one when all else fails. LOL, never disappoints the audience, with Bob tagging along!

  • Cincinnatus

    Michael B. @ 73:

    Wow. That’s a pretty atrocious, self-serving comment, even for you. Did you read that out loud before submitting it? Did you think about how it sounds? Or am I missing something?

    “Kills the babies. As long as we can have tasty Pepsi.” Uh, really?

  • Cincinnatus

    Michael B. @ 73:

    Wow. That’s a pretty atrocious, self-serving comment, even for you. Did you read that out loud before submitting it? Did you think about how it sounds? Or am I missing something?

    “Kills the babies. As long as we can have tasty Pepsi.” Uh, really?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@74), the sad thing is that, as you have often reminded us, you have a background in medicine. You should be able to understand — and even reply to — the actual scientific elements going on here.

    But no. You seem quite content to retain a simple reactionary stance that is ignorant of the facts, like when you mentioned (@43):

    using aborted infants for their research

    Or (@52):

    Using the aborted little bodies of infants in research to enhance their foods

    Of course, any criticism of this ignorance is brushed off as “nitpicking”. Yes, please don’t bother Grace with facts; she’s too busy acting outraged.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@74), the sad thing is that, as you have often reminded us, you have a background in medicine. You should be able to understand — and even reply to — the actual scientific elements going on here.

    But no. You seem quite content to retain a simple reactionary stance that is ignorant of the facts, like when you mentioned (@43):

    using aborted infants for their research

    Or (@52):

    Using the aborted little bodies of infants in research to enhance their foods

    Of course, any criticism of this ignorance is brushed off as “nitpicking”. Yes, please don’t bother Grace with facts; she’s too busy acting outraged.

  • kerner

    Med Student @67: You said,
    “That’s why I brought up the Henrietta Lacks example – tissue was taken from her without her knowledge or consent and turned into a cell line used in all kinds of research, from gene mapping to polio vaccine development, and generating billions of dollars that neither she nor her family ever saw a penny of. ”

    Is that why researchers seek out fetal cells for this kind of research? Because they are cheaper? An aborted or miscarried fetus has no agent? Would a cell line derived from an adult or an infant (or even a fetus that wasn’t dead) have done just as well? There is so much about this that I don’t know.

  • kerner

    Med Student @67: You said,
    “That’s why I brought up the Henrietta Lacks example – tissue was taken from her without her knowledge or consent and turned into a cell line used in all kinds of research, from gene mapping to polio vaccine development, and generating billions of dollars that neither she nor her family ever saw a penny of. ”

    Is that why researchers seek out fetal cells for this kind of research? Because they are cheaper? An aborted or miscarried fetus has no agent? Would a cell line derived from an adult or an infant (or even a fetus that wasn’t dead) have done just as well? There is so much about this that I don’t know.

  • Med Student

    Kerner,
    I honestly have no idea. I don’t know what costs are involved in starting a tissue line; I’ve never done biomedical research personally. Perhaps it was just a convenience issue when the HEK line was getting started to use fetal tissue where there wasn’t anyone to object. Of course, many laws governing consent didn’t really come into effect until the early 70′s when the fallout from the Tuskegee study hit (and of course if this line was started in Europe then US laws wouldn’t apply anyway).
    I should also clarify that a lot of the money made off the HeLa line wasn’t from selling the cells directly, but profits made off research that did use that cell line somewhere in the process.

  • Med Student

    Kerner,
    I honestly have no idea. I don’t know what costs are involved in starting a tissue line; I’ve never done biomedical research personally. Perhaps it was just a convenience issue when the HEK line was getting started to use fetal tissue where there wasn’t anyone to object. Of course, many laws governing consent didn’t really come into effect until the early 70′s when the fallout from the Tuskegee study hit (and of course if this line was started in Europe then US laws wouldn’t apply anyway).
    I should also clarify that a lot of the money made off the HeLa line wasn’t from selling the cells directly, but profits made off research that did use that cell line somewhere in the process.

  • yet another Steve

    I teach and do research in this general area so I took a little time to look up a bit more information on the HEK-293 cell line with which I was not familiar. This line of cells arose from the basic research question of whether human cells could be transformed (DNA modified) by adenoviruses which was considered a possible cause of cancer. The 293 refers to the successful trial number. The cells were obtained in 1972 from an aborted fetus’ kidney, but information about the source was not recorded.

    About 10 years later the potential use of adenoviruses for genetic engineering was considered, and this cell line was found to be a good route for culturing genetically modified viruses. However, because it was developed under relatively uncontrolled circumstances and little was known about the original source cells, the use of this cell line in biomedical research and pharmaceutical production is not FDA acceptable in medical products and has been supplanted by other cell lines deliberately developed for such applications. HEK-293 is not a proprietary strain, and this may be a reason that it is used in such ‘low value-added’ applications like food additives. Nonetheless the cells are widely used in research cell biology labs for many purposes.

    There is nothing unusual about what Pepsico or its subcontractor is doing with such cells. However, it is worth noting that there are a number of fetal-cell derived cell lines like HEK-293 used in pharmaceutical development and biomedical research. The ethics of the use of such cells in life-saving research are important bioethical questions. The sensationalism that suggests that babies are being aborted to produce flavor-enhancing food additives inhibits meaningful discussion and possible ethical resolution of such conflicts.

  • yet another Steve

    I teach and do research in this general area so I took a little time to look up a bit more information on the HEK-293 cell line with which I was not familiar. This line of cells arose from the basic research question of whether human cells could be transformed (DNA modified) by adenoviruses which was considered a possible cause of cancer. The 293 refers to the successful trial number. The cells were obtained in 1972 from an aborted fetus’ kidney, but information about the source was not recorded.

    About 10 years later the potential use of adenoviruses for genetic engineering was considered, and this cell line was found to be a good route for culturing genetically modified viruses. However, because it was developed under relatively uncontrolled circumstances and little was known about the original source cells, the use of this cell line in biomedical research and pharmaceutical production is not FDA acceptable in medical products and has been supplanted by other cell lines deliberately developed for such applications. HEK-293 is not a proprietary strain, and this may be a reason that it is used in such ‘low value-added’ applications like food additives. Nonetheless the cells are widely used in research cell biology labs for many purposes.

    There is nothing unusual about what Pepsico or its subcontractor is doing with such cells. However, it is worth noting that there are a number of fetal-cell derived cell lines like HEK-293 used in pharmaceutical development and biomedical research. The ethics of the use of such cells in life-saving research are important bioethical questions. The sensationalism that suggests that babies are being aborted to produce flavor-enhancing food additives inhibits meaningful discussion and possible ethical resolution of such conflicts.

  • Med Student

    yet another steve,
    Do you know, generally speaking, how expensive/difficult it is to start a new cell line? If it’s not too difficult I don’t see why we (as a society) can’t start some new lines from cells obtained in an ethical manner. I suspect there are some significant financial barriers to that, but I don’t really know. Any thoughts?

  • Med Student

    yet another steve,
    Do you know, generally speaking, how expensive/difficult it is to start a new cell line? If it’s not too difficult I don’t see why we (as a society) can’t start some new lines from cells obtained in an ethical manner. I suspect there are some significant financial barriers to that, but I don’t really know. Any thoughts?

  • yet another Steve

    Kerner and Med student,
    We use human cells in my research lab obtained from hospital patients. An informed consent form is required, it is not unlike an organ or body donation process. We use essentially ‘waste’ tissues (e.g biopsies as was the case of the HeLa cells) so there is no financial exchange.

    Fetal tissues are often used because they are immunologically naive and may be easier to propagate. Cost has nothing to do with it. However, as we learn more about adult stem cells (which we use) the value of these cell sources is diminishing. Part of our research is to identify chemicals that might be useful in the control the propagation of adult cells in regenerative medicine (i.e. “artificial organs”).

    The value of HeLa and HEK-293 cell lines is that they are stable and well-characterized, and thus provide a basis for others to replicate the science. They’re essentially the cellular equivalent of standard white lab rats and mice (but much cheaper and their use is generally considered more humane than testing on whole animals).

  • yet another Steve

    Kerner and Med student,
    We use human cells in my research lab obtained from hospital patients. An informed consent form is required, it is not unlike an organ or body donation process. We use essentially ‘waste’ tissues (e.g biopsies as was the case of the HeLa cells) so there is no financial exchange.

    Fetal tissues are often used because they are immunologically naive and may be easier to propagate. Cost has nothing to do with it. However, as we learn more about adult stem cells (which we use) the value of these cell sources is diminishing. Part of our research is to identify chemicals that might be useful in the control the propagation of adult cells in regenerative medicine (i.e. “artificial organs”).

    The value of HeLa and HEK-293 cell lines is that they are stable and well-characterized, and thus provide a basis for others to replicate the science. They’re essentially the cellular equivalent of standard white lab rats and mice (but much cheaper and their use is generally considered more humane than testing on whole animals).

  • yet another Steve

    Med student,

    Our messages are crossing in time, I’m reading yours after I’ve just posted something.

    It is not particularly expensive to start a new cell line as far as biomedical research projects go; PhD students and post docs do it in the labs all the time. The expense is in fully characterizing a new line to the extent that other scientists would be comfortable adopting it as a new standard.

    But your basic point is excellent. As a society we COULD develop alternative cell lines to those morally questionable. If NIH funding was made available to do so, labs around the US would be on it tomorrow. That’s the problem with all this nonsense about aborting babies to make Pepsi, it obscures the real issues and makes those who might be persuaded to put such funding into NIH think that the objections are coming from ‘right wing nut jobs’ whose concerns are not worth considering.

    I’m not sure if Gilbert Meilaender has written on this particular subject or not, but he’s certainly written on closely related issues – I’ve learned a lot from his books and articles in journals like First Things.

  • yet another Steve

    Med student,

    Our messages are crossing in time, I’m reading yours after I’ve just posted something.

    It is not particularly expensive to start a new cell line as far as biomedical research projects go; PhD students and post docs do it in the labs all the time. The expense is in fully characterizing a new line to the extent that other scientists would be comfortable adopting it as a new standard.

    But your basic point is excellent. As a society we COULD develop alternative cell lines to those morally questionable. If NIH funding was made available to do so, labs around the US would be on it tomorrow. That’s the problem with all this nonsense about aborting babies to make Pepsi, it obscures the real issues and makes those who might be persuaded to put such funding into NIH think that the objections are coming from ‘right wing nut jobs’ whose concerns are not worth considering.

    I’m not sure if Gilbert Meilaender has written on this particular subject or not, but he’s certainly written on closely related issues – I’ve learned a lot from his books and articles in journals like First Things.

  • yet another Steve

    I note that in #81 I used the phrase “fetal tissues are often used because…” I want to be clear that the ‘often’ refers to the reasons they may be considered preferable to adult cells, not the frequency of their use. Maybe it is just my particular research area, but I’ve never attended a research presentation where fetal tissue was used, and I can’t recall reading a research paper where fetal tissue was the source of the cells used in the project. The potential of fetal tissue in research was a big issue in the 90′s but I don’t hear much about it anymore, though obviously there are still legacy cell lines like HEK-239 still in widespread use.

  • yet another Steve

    I note that in #81 I used the phrase “fetal tissues are often used because…” I want to be clear that the ‘often’ refers to the reasons they may be considered preferable to adult cells, not the frequency of their use. Maybe it is just my particular research area, but I’ve never attended a research presentation where fetal tissue was used, and I can’t recall reading a research paper where fetal tissue was the source of the cells used in the project. The potential of fetal tissue in research was a big issue in the 90′s but I don’t hear much about it anymore, though obviously there are still legacy cell lines like HEK-239 still in widespread use.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Hmm, based on what Tom found and explanation that Med student and y o Steve have made, it doesn’t seem like HEK is a (mole) hill worth taking. Assuming the worst case, that the cells came from an electively aborted fetus a dozen years ago, it seems Pepsi is pretty far removed from any ethical dilemma. Still, there is a sort of callous sound to the business practice language that was used by the government agency. That was kinda creepy.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Hmm, based on what Tom found and explanation that Med student and y o Steve have made, it doesn’t seem like HEK is a (mole) hill worth taking. Assuming the worst case, that the cells came from an electively aborted fetus a dozen years ago, it seems Pepsi is pretty far removed from any ethical dilemma. Still, there is a sort of callous sound to the business practice language that was used by the government agency. That was kinda creepy.

  • formerly just steve

    sg, I’m curious what difference the time since the abortion of the fetus makes in the ethical dilemma. Likewise, I would ask the same of yet another Steve what difference it makes whether the practice was usual or unusual. It seems to me there is an ethical dilemma here and, though the details of the case may have been obscured in deference to the salacious, if we don’t deal with it then what was simply novel yesterday is “not unusual” today and commonplace and accepted tomorrow.

  • formerly just steve

    sg, I’m curious what difference the time since the abortion of the fetus makes in the ethical dilemma. Likewise, I would ask the same of yet another Steve what difference it makes whether the practice was usual or unusual. It seems to me there is an ethical dilemma here and, though the details of the case may have been obscured in deference to the salacious, if we don’t deal with it then what was simply novel yesterday is “not unusual” today and commonplace and accepted tomorrow.

  • http://www.biteinteractive.com Brant

    Thanks to those who posted more clarifications after my comment above. I really do think its important to determine the facts first. I also should clarify that I was not defending Pepsi or Senomyx – I was just trying to make sure we didn’t make inaccurate statements and then base the ethical discussion off of those.

    The ethical question of whether or not its ok for a company to do testing that depends on the continued input of the remains of aborted babies is a rather simple one – its a horrifying and obvious no.

    The question at hand appears to be much more nuanced, as kerner and Rick Ritchie have stated. I think the analogy to cotton and the Bush decision on no new lines are pretty good analogies. There appears to be two ethical questions: Is it unethical to use any fetal tissue in research, because doing so may encourage commoditizing aborted babies (e.g. in order to look for new profitable lines)? If the cells were originally obtained from an electively aborted baby (i.e. not a miscarriage), does that mean that any use of the cells or knowledge derived from them is ethically tainted? I’d really like to hear discussion on those two questions.

    Also, to answer, as best I can, kerner’s questions (@ 77): fetal stem cells are used because they are able to rapidly reproduce and have other properties that normal cells don’t. However, a few years ago, scientists found a way to make normal cells behave the same, thus removing the need for fetal stem cell lines. From what I understand, however, there may still be benefits in using a previously developed line that wouldn’t be present in using the newly developed cells because of previous research based on those specific cells.

  • http://www.biteinteractive.com Brant

    Thanks to those who posted more clarifications after my comment above. I really do think its important to determine the facts first. I also should clarify that I was not defending Pepsi or Senomyx – I was just trying to make sure we didn’t make inaccurate statements and then base the ethical discussion off of those.

    The ethical question of whether or not its ok for a company to do testing that depends on the continued input of the remains of aborted babies is a rather simple one – its a horrifying and obvious no.

    The question at hand appears to be much more nuanced, as kerner and Rick Ritchie have stated. I think the analogy to cotton and the Bush decision on no new lines are pretty good analogies. There appears to be two ethical questions: Is it unethical to use any fetal tissue in research, because doing so may encourage commoditizing aborted babies (e.g. in order to look for new profitable lines)? If the cells were originally obtained from an electively aborted baby (i.e. not a miscarriage), does that mean that any use of the cells or knowledge derived from them is ethically tainted? I’d really like to hear discussion on those two questions.

    Also, to answer, as best I can, kerner’s questions (@ 77): fetal stem cells are used because they are able to rapidly reproduce and have other properties that normal cells don’t. However, a few years ago, scientists found a way to make normal cells behave the same, thus removing the need for fetal stem cell lines. From what I understand, however, there may still be benefits in using a previously developed line that wouldn’t be present in using the newly developed cells because of previous research based on those specific cells.

  • yet another Steve

    My thinking on this issue has been essentially shaped by Gilbert Meilaender, LCMS pastor and Valparaiso professor, and former member of GWBush’s bioethics commission. Here is an excerpt of an article of his regarding embryonic stem cell research, which I think fits this discussion, as well, in terms of the bioethical considerations:

    “The policy for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research adopted by President Bush attempted both to recognize necessary moral limits and acknowledge complexities. That policy–which permitted funding of research only on stem cell lines derived from embryos destroyed prior to the president’s decision–aimed at acknowledging the good of research, but in a way that would not encourage further destruction of embryos. From the standpoint of opponents of the research, it ran the moral risk of complicity in an evil deed. From the standpoint of proponents of the research, it incurred considerable moral cost, because of the limits it put in place. At least in my mind, there was considerable wisdom in the policy. We should acknowledge independent moral limits on how we pursue the goals we desire, and, therefore, we need not hesitate to argue that research in regenerative medicine ought to proceed by means that do not destroy the tiny human beings we all once were: embryos. But there will be costs–moral costs–to such a choice, for medical progress in regenerative medicine may be slower than it could be. What we accomplish, or decline to try to accomplish, does matter morally.”
    from: “Stem Cells and Torture: What a society can and cannot afford to do when its survival is at stake.” The Weekly Standard, 14 (36), JUN 8, 2009.
    A listing of his writings available online can be found at:
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/authors/gilbert-meilaender

  • yet another Steve

    My thinking on this issue has been essentially shaped by Gilbert Meilaender, LCMS pastor and Valparaiso professor, and former member of GWBush’s bioethics commission. Here is an excerpt of an article of his regarding embryonic stem cell research, which I think fits this discussion, as well, in terms of the bioethical considerations:

    “The policy for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research adopted by President Bush attempted both to recognize necessary moral limits and acknowledge complexities. That policy–which permitted funding of research only on stem cell lines derived from embryos destroyed prior to the president’s decision–aimed at acknowledging the good of research, but in a way that would not encourage further destruction of embryos. From the standpoint of opponents of the research, it ran the moral risk of complicity in an evil deed. From the standpoint of proponents of the research, it incurred considerable moral cost, because of the limits it put in place. At least in my mind, there was considerable wisdom in the policy. We should acknowledge independent moral limits on how we pursue the goals we desire, and, therefore, we need not hesitate to argue that research in regenerative medicine ought to proceed by means that do not destroy the tiny human beings we all once were: embryos. But there will be costs–moral costs–to such a choice, for medical progress in regenerative medicine may be slower than it could be. What we accomplish, or decline to try to accomplish, does matter morally.”
    from: “Stem Cells and Torture: What a society can and cannot afford to do when its survival is at stake.” The Weekly Standard, 14 (36), JUN 8, 2009.
    A listing of his writings available online can be found at:
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/authors/gilbert-meilaender

  • yet another Steve

    One last comment this evening: The use of these human cell lines in health care is quite similar ethically to organ donation: cells derived from one human who has died are used to keep others alive: Meilaender (quoting another bioethicist, I think either Leon Kass or Paul Ramsey) has called organ donation “noble cannibalism.” The essential difference between using adult tissues in medical therapies and fetal or embryonic tissues is basically the issue of informed consent. However, even adult organ donors may be declared dead by medical professionals before their family members might consider them dead, so even adult organ donation also creeps up to the same bioethical line as that of involuntary tissue donation by a fetus.

    Meilander’s arguments have persuaded me to avoid getting involved with embryonic stem cell research, as nearly all pro-life Christians scientists would. His arguments have also persuaded me to declare myself as unwilling to be an organ donor upon death, which I’m guessing may leave me in the minority of pro-life Christians.

    I’m not sure if I have the strength of my convictions on this point to die rather than to accept an organ donation, were I to need one. Similarly, I don’t think I would refuse a medicine that had been tested using HEK-239. It would be easier to refuse a Pepsi on these grounds, but I think it would be hard to identify all the consumer products (foods, cosmetics, etc.) out there that were similarly tested.

  • yet another Steve

    One last comment this evening: The use of these human cell lines in health care is quite similar ethically to organ donation: cells derived from one human who has died are used to keep others alive: Meilaender (quoting another bioethicist, I think either Leon Kass or Paul Ramsey) has called organ donation “noble cannibalism.” The essential difference between using adult tissues in medical therapies and fetal or embryonic tissues is basically the issue of informed consent. However, even adult organ donors may be declared dead by medical professionals before their family members might consider them dead, so even adult organ donation also creeps up to the same bioethical line as that of involuntary tissue donation by a fetus.

    Meilander’s arguments have persuaded me to avoid getting involved with embryonic stem cell research, as nearly all pro-life Christians scientists would. His arguments have also persuaded me to declare myself as unwilling to be an organ donor upon death, which I’m guessing may leave me in the minority of pro-life Christians.

    I’m not sure if I have the strength of my convictions on this point to die rather than to accept an organ donation, were I to need one. Similarly, I don’t think I would refuse a medicine that had been tested using HEK-239. It would be easier to refuse a Pepsi on these grounds, but I think it would be hard to identify all the consumer products (foods, cosmetics, etc.) out there that were similarly tested.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You know, I remember when George W. Bush announced his policy on stem-cell research (which was, basically, “no new lines”), and not being terribly impressed by it at the time — it seemed wishy-washy to me. Looking back, I don’t think I really understood the science behind it all (I still don’t claim to understand it very well, but I think I know more than I used to).

    I wasn’t (and still am not) the biggest fan of the Bush administration for a vast number of reasons (almost all occurring after his stem-cell policy), but now that this topic has come up, I see the wisdom in his decision on stem-cell research.

    Just felt like saying that, I guess.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You know, I remember when George W. Bush announced his policy on stem-cell research (which was, basically, “no new lines”), and not being terribly impressed by it at the time — it seemed wishy-washy to me. Looking back, I don’t think I really understood the science behind it all (I still don’t claim to understand it very well, but I think I know more than I used to).

    I wasn’t (and still am not) the biggest fan of the Bush administration for a vast number of reasons (almost all occurring after his stem-cell policy), but now that this topic has come up, I see the wisdom in his decision on stem-cell research.

    Just felt like saying that, I guess.

  • kerner

    Brant, Med Student and the steves:

    Thank you for taking the time to explain to laypeople a complex scientic subject. I am sure it will help us approach things like this less simplistically.

    tODD @89: “Just felt like saying that, I guess”.

    Well I, for one, appreciate hearing it.

  • kerner

    Brant, Med Student and the steves:

    Thank you for taking the time to explain to laypeople a complex scientic subject. I am sure it will help us approach things like this less simplistically.

    tODD @89: “Just felt like saying that, I guess”.

    Well I, for one, appreciate hearing it.

  • Michael B.

    @Cincinnatus

    It was a joke. I guess you’re unfamiliar with sarcasm. Although, if you believe a fetus is a baby, then Grace is right. Once that fact is acknowledged, it kind of forces your hand in this Pepsi scandal. You have to be outraged, and you’d have to do something. At a minimum, you’d have to stop drinking Pepsi products. I suppose this is why the skeptics seem to be prevailing in this thread. You either believe it and have to do something, or disbelieve it and carry on with business as usual.

  • Michael B.

    @Cincinnatus

    It was a joke. I guess you’re unfamiliar with sarcasm. Although, if you believe a fetus is a baby, then Grace is right. Once that fact is acknowledged, it kind of forces your hand in this Pepsi scandal. You have to be outraged, and you’d have to do something. At a minimum, you’d have to stop drinking Pepsi products. I suppose this is why the skeptics seem to be prevailing in this thread. You either believe it and have to do something, or disbelieve it and carry on with business as usual.

  • Tom Hering

    Michael B, who here doesn’t believe a fetus is a baby? The disbelief has to do with the lack of clear evidence that Senomyx has used HEK-293, directly, in the research they’ve done for PepsiCo, specifically.

  • Tom Hering

    Michael B, who here doesn’t believe a fetus is a baby? The disbelief has to do with the lack of clear evidence that Senomyx has used HEK-293, directly, in the research they’ve done for PepsiCo, specifically.

  • yet another Steve

    Tom H-
    It does not seem unreasonable to believe that Senomyx could be using HEK-293 as it is a standard cell line for this type of research (screening chemicals for biological activity). I read the minutes of testimony to the FDA from the scientist who developed the cell line and aborted fetal tissue was in fact used to develop it in 1972 in a cancer research project. However, there are no atoms from the fetus in any HEK-293 cell lines around today, and the DNA in these cell lines is not even the same as that of the dead baby, though derived from it. So there are bioethical issues to consider here, but Senomyx had nothing to do with the 1972 abortion, is not using fetal tissue in their research and is not doing anything outside the bounds of normal scientific standards.

    The reason I’ve been posting on this (I normally just lurk unless I think I have something to add on an important issue that is not being considered), is that there are important bioethical issues to consider, but manufactured outrage against Pepsi is misplaced and counterproductive if one thinks there are moral reasons not to be using such cell lines in this research.

    Thanks kerner, for seeing my point in this regard.

  • yet another Steve

    Tom H-
    It does not seem unreasonable to believe that Senomyx could be using HEK-293 as it is a standard cell line for this type of research (screening chemicals for biological activity). I read the minutes of testimony to the FDA from the scientist who developed the cell line and aborted fetal tissue was in fact used to develop it in 1972 in a cancer research project. However, there are no atoms from the fetus in any HEK-293 cell lines around today, and the DNA in these cell lines is not even the same as that of the dead baby, though derived from it. So there are bioethical issues to consider here, but Senomyx had nothing to do with the 1972 abortion, is not using fetal tissue in their research and is not doing anything outside the bounds of normal scientific standards.

    The reason I’ve been posting on this (I normally just lurk unless I think I have something to add on an important issue that is not being considered), is that there are important bioethical issues to consider, but manufactured outrage against Pepsi is misplaced and counterproductive if one thinks there are moral reasons not to be using such cell lines in this research.

    Thanks kerner, for seeing my point in this regard.

  • Tom Hering

    yet another steve @ 93, no, it’s not unreasonable, because HEK-293 is referenced in 70 of Senomyx’s 77 patents, and they talk about their own experiments with it in their 2002 NAS paper. But this isn’t solid evidence they’re using it in their research for PepsiCo. Only cause for strong suspicion.

  • Tom Hering

    yet another steve @ 93, no, it’s not unreasonable, because HEK-293 is referenced in 70 of Senomyx’s 77 patents, and they talk about their own experiments with it in their 2002 NAS paper. But this isn’t solid evidence they’re using it in their research for PepsiCo. Only cause for strong suspicion.

  • yet another Steve

    Tom H-
    I have not been following the Pepsi case beyond what has been posted here. It appears you know more about the specific case than I and did not intend to come across as doubting you. I am very interested in the general question regarding the use of cell lines in research of ethically questionable provenance, both personally and professionally, as I have been involved with stem cell research for regenerative medicine since the mid 90′s. Therefore I have wanted to understand these bioethical questions from a confessional Lutheran standpoint. Whether Semonyx does or doesn’t use HEK-293 is not a very important issue – there are undoubtedly other companies which do. But you are most correct that in any patent, all possibly relevant materials will be listed in the claims, and that is far from evidence that those materials are actually being used, or in fact have ever been used.

  • yet another Steve

    Tom H-
    I have not been following the Pepsi case beyond what has been posted here. It appears you know more about the specific case than I and did not intend to come across as doubting you. I am very interested in the general question regarding the use of cell lines in research of ethically questionable provenance, both personally and professionally, as I have been involved with stem cell research for regenerative medicine since the mid 90′s. Therefore I have wanted to understand these bioethical questions from a confessional Lutheran standpoint. Whether Semonyx does or doesn’t use HEK-293 is not a very important issue – there are undoubtedly other companies which do. But you are most correct that in any patent, all possibly relevant materials will be listed in the claims, and that is far from evidence that those materials are actually being used, or in fact have ever been used.

  • Tom Hering

    God forbid anyone shouldn’t doubt me! Oy! :-D I only know what I’ve learned since I first heard about all this, two days ago.

    … in any patent, all possibly relevant materials will be listed in the claims, and that is far from evidence that those materials are actually being used, or in fact have ever been used.

    An important point, Steve. The ethical question that concerns me here is the one of bearing false witness – intentionally or not. Doesn’t matter how good the motive is. And the pro-life motive is a good one.

  • Tom Hering

    God forbid anyone shouldn’t doubt me! Oy! :-D I only know what I’ve learned since I first heard about all this, two days ago.

    … in any patent, all possibly relevant materials will be listed in the claims, and that is far from evidence that those materials are actually being used, or in fact have ever been used.

    An important point, Steve. The ethical question that concerns me here is the one of bearing false witness – intentionally or not. Doesn’t matter how good the motive is. And the pro-life motive is a good one.

  • yet another Steve

    Tom H-
    Yes the false witness aspect is also important, besmirching the reputation of companies with no evidence that deserve it only discredits the pro-life movement. As I commented to Med Student in #82, whipping up boycotts without evidence could actually be counterproductive to finding alternatives to cell lines developed from aborted babies,

  • yet another Steve

    Tom H-
    Yes the false witness aspect is also important, besmirching the reputation of companies with no evidence that deserve it only discredits the pro-life movement. As I commented to Med Student in #82, whipping up boycotts without evidence could actually be counterproductive to finding alternatives to cell lines developed from aborted babies,

  • yet another Steve

    Didn’t look at this before but the Snopes summary (link at #4) has a pretty fair summary of the science involved.

  • yet another Steve

    Didn’t look at this before but the Snopes summary (link at #4) has a pretty fair summary of the science involved.

  • Grace

    yet Steve @ 98

    I had looked at SNOPES several days ago, it’s interesting, but I doubt it comes close to giving the entire story. How would any of us know ALL that is being researched in labs, even those which are specialized, and teaching institutions, and by what means?

    You commented @88 “His arguments have also persuaded me to declare myself as unwilling to be an organ donor upon death, which I’m guessing may leave me in the minority of pro-life Christians.” – - I too decided some time ago not to donate my organs upon death.

    I cannot reconcile using aborted infants for any sort of medical research, even with the mothers consent. First of all, the choice was made by the mother to kill the child while in the womb, which is a sinful practice, no matter what the laws of the land state. Then to take the lifeless body of that infant, and use it for purposes of research to enhance the life of others for any reason, no matter what the disease, is a dichotomy. The excuse for research use, the selfish reasons of the mother to end the life of a living human being is, just another step science is determined to take.

    If it’s within the power of the mother to donate her aborted infant to scientific research, does this justify her action?

  • Grace

    yet Steve @ 98

    I had looked at SNOPES several days ago, it’s interesting, but I doubt it comes close to giving the entire story. How would any of us know ALL that is being researched in labs, even those which are specialized, and teaching institutions, and by what means?

    You commented @88 “His arguments have also persuaded me to declare myself as unwilling to be an organ donor upon death, which I’m guessing may leave me in the minority of pro-life Christians.” – - I too decided some time ago not to donate my organs upon death.

    I cannot reconcile using aborted infants for any sort of medical research, even with the mothers consent. First of all, the choice was made by the mother to kill the child while in the womb, which is a sinful practice, no matter what the laws of the land state. Then to take the lifeless body of that infant, and use it for purposes of research to enhance the life of others for any reason, no matter what the disease, is a dichotomy. The excuse for research use, the selfish reasons of the mother to end the life of a living human being is, just another step science is determined to take.

    If it’s within the power of the mother to donate her aborted infant to scientific research, does this justify her action?

  • Jack Westfall

    …..this sounds like a bunch of internet Bull Shit to me. I will keep drinking my Pepsi……

  • Jack Westfall

    …..this sounds like a bunch of internet Bull Shit to me. I will keep drinking my Pepsi……

  • Tom Hering

    Jack Westfall @ 100, that might very well be what it all amounts to. There’s no doubt that Senomyx has used HEK-293, both directly and indirectly, and that PepsiCo has benefited by contracting with Senomyx. But as we learn what the HEK-293 cell line really is at this point (and has been for a long time), the ethical problems with it largely – not entirely, but largely – go away. What remains?

    The fear it all began with – the fear expressed by Children Of God For Life (the organization that discovered and broke the PepsiCo story): scientists encouraged by the success of Senomyx will develop new cell lines from aborted children. Is this fear justified?

    From what I can tell, most scientists these days are trying to stay away from anything abortion-derived. As far away as possible. Not just (or even primarily) because of pressure from outside groups like Children Of God For Life, but because scientists themselves (both Christian and non-Christian) have real ethical problems with abortion-derived materials.

    Pro-life groups ought to keep the pressure up. But they also ought to be careful to present the whole truth. Not just those parts of the truth that serve the cause.

  • Tom Hering

    Jack Westfall @ 100, that might very well be what it all amounts to. There’s no doubt that Senomyx has used HEK-293, both directly and indirectly, and that PepsiCo has benefited by contracting with Senomyx. But as we learn what the HEK-293 cell line really is at this point (and has been for a long time), the ethical problems with it largely – not entirely, but largely – go away. What remains?

    The fear it all began with – the fear expressed by Children Of God For Life (the organization that discovered and broke the PepsiCo story): scientists encouraged by the success of Senomyx will develop new cell lines from aborted children. Is this fear justified?

    From what I can tell, most scientists these days are trying to stay away from anything abortion-derived. As far away as possible. Not just (or even primarily) because of pressure from outside groups like Children Of God For Life, but because scientists themselves (both Christian and non-Christian) have real ethical problems with abortion-derived materials.

    Pro-life groups ought to keep the pressure up. But they also ought to be careful to present the whole truth. Not just those parts of the truth that serve the cause.

  • Pho

    Pepsi has been killing it lately with the flavors, though…

  • Pho

    Pepsi has been killing it lately with the flavors, though…

  • Honey Pauley

    I will never drink Pepsi products again…Coca Cola here I come!!!!!

  • Honey Pauley

    I will never drink Pepsi products again…Coca Cola here I come!!!!!

  • me

    It makes me wonder about coke to because aren’t pepsi and coke owned by the same people!

  • me

    It makes me wonder about coke to because aren’t pepsi and coke owned by the same people!

  • David C Busby
  • David C Busby
  • Eric Zacharias

    That’s good news, David, thanks for announcing the end of this practice by Pepsico.

    The point is one of ethics. It is prudent to keep track of the marketing and merchandising of aborted children for use in anything; better that the off-cast infants were buried or burned than that they be parceled and milled like slaughtered animals.

    Even the animal rights people put up a fuss about flavorants or colors that have anything to do with animals, calling it exploitation. How much more insidious, then, when one exploits the remains of slaughtered infants for commercial gain.

  • Eric Zacharias

    That’s good news, David, thanks for announcing the end of this practice by Pepsico.

    The point is one of ethics. It is prudent to keep track of the marketing and merchandising of aborted children for use in anything; better that the off-cast infants were buried or burned than that they be parceled and milled like slaughtered animals.

    Even the animal rights people put up a fuss about flavorants or colors that have anything to do with animals, calling it exploitation. How much more insidious, then, when one exploits the remains of slaughtered infants for commercial gain.

  • Jessica

    I think this company so be put out of business. I have a six month old baby and another one on the way. If I would of known about this I would of never drank a single drop of pepsi product… I think that if you are going to let this madness be apart of your life you are just as sick as they are…. I hope you people get people get put out of business….. You are SICK>>>>

  • Jessica

    I think this company so be put out of business. I have a six month old baby and another one on the way. If I would of known about this I would of never drank a single drop of pepsi product… I think that if you are going to let this madness be apart of your life you are just as sick as they are…. I hope you people get people get put out of business….. You are SICK>>>>

  • Emma
  • Emma
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  • Isobele

    This was sooooo painful to read. The author is clearly not a scientist. HEK 293 cells are ROUTINELY used to express proteins. THIS IS SCIENCE. 293 cells tend to give higher expression than other mammalian cells. No a baby is not killed for every 293 expression. The cells are propagated. In any case, science has never been pretty. Millions of living things are killed each year in order to develop new drugs and vaccines. Geez….

  • Isobele

    This was sooooo painful to read. The author is clearly not a scientist. HEK 293 cells are ROUTINELY used to express proteins. THIS IS SCIENCE. 293 cells tend to give higher expression than other mammalian cells. No a baby is not killed for every 293 expression. The cells are propagated. In any case, science has never been pretty. Millions of living things are killed each year in order to develop new drugs and vaccines. Geez….

  • http://att Jenny Ford

    Well, no more pepsi products for this family, Is there anything obama won’t do, except speak in a catholic collage, with a picture of Jesus, or the ten commandments hanging on the wall. Please dear Jesus deliver this untoward nation.

  • http://att Jenny Ford

    Well, no more pepsi products for this family, Is there anything obama won’t do, except speak in a catholic collage, with a picture of Jesus, or the ten commandments hanging on the wall. Please dear Jesus deliver this untoward nation.

  • Diablo9333

    Okay let’s clear up a few things. You cannot disregard this information but you also cannot believe it without researching first. If you read similar articles they will reveal to you that this so called “testing” is for Pepsi Next. In other words the research isn’t going towards the regular Pepsi you get, just the newer Pepsi Next. As for the research itself, as people have mentioned the company Senomyx also collaborates with many other companies. So if it turns out that Pepsi actually is using this for flavouring then just by boycotting them won’t do any good. At this point we cannot assume they are. As mentioned the Obama administration has not said that they condone it, only that according to business practices they are not allowed to get involved. That I disagree with, they should at least investigate to find out if it is true. If it appears to be true it should also be labelled on the bottles.

    People who claim it is basic science, shouldn’t be so quick to stop searching. Science now n days is a bunch of sh*t. Look into how other chemicals are causing issues. The ones we consume and is in every food and medical product. Those even cause issues and no one is looking to investigate. If something is wrong and scientists don’t want to investigate, we have a problem. What makes you think they are right about using this cell to create proteins? Or is it that we are so quick to call it a protein that we forget that they are wrong about so many other things?

    According to the laws, actual human remains are not allowed in any consumer product. What interests me in this is that why is Pepsi even experimenting if they can’t use it in the end? They would just be wasting so much money and in the process the people who actually do consume it(the testers) are being cannibals.

    In Grade 8 I remember my teacher teaching us about how everything in ads and media are there for a reason. In the ad for this product which you can find on Youtube(if you are outside of the regions they are selling it), a mother is video taping her baby, then the father walks in with a case of Pepsi Next. The father looks like he has already been drinking it on the way into the house. The mother then drinks it and she says it is amazing. If you notice through the whole thing her baby is doing crazy things(playing guitar, flipping etc.) to get attention but they just keep their focus on the Pepsi. Some people believe this to be a subliminal message in which the “baby” cell in the Pepsi is not gaining any attention when stacked up to taste.

    I believe that they probably used the cell in the Pepsi Next product as the sugar remover instead of aspartame since the research for this cell was directed at Pepsi Next. As Snopes said when this story first hit, no product has been released with ingredients from Senomyx when these claims were coming around. Now that Pepsi Next is out maybe that is different? Pepsi did respond and say they are not using it so does that confirm my claims that it would be a waste of time to research it in the first place without using it?

  • Diablo9333

    Okay let’s clear up a few things. You cannot disregard this information but you also cannot believe it without researching first. If you read similar articles they will reveal to you that this so called “testing” is for Pepsi Next. In other words the research isn’t going towards the regular Pepsi you get, just the newer Pepsi Next. As for the research itself, as people have mentioned the company Senomyx also collaborates with many other companies. So if it turns out that Pepsi actually is using this for flavouring then just by boycotting them won’t do any good. At this point we cannot assume they are. As mentioned the Obama administration has not said that they condone it, only that according to business practices they are not allowed to get involved. That I disagree with, they should at least investigate to find out if it is true. If it appears to be true it should also be labelled on the bottles.

    People who claim it is basic science, shouldn’t be so quick to stop searching. Science now n days is a bunch of sh*t. Look into how other chemicals are causing issues. The ones we consume and is in every food and medical product. Those even cause issues and no one is looking to investigate. If something is wrong and scientists don’t want to investigate, we have a problem. What makes you think they are right about using this cell to create proteins? Or is it that we are so quick to call it a protein that we forget that they are wrong about so many other things?

    According to the laws, actual human remains are not allowed in any consumer product. What interests me in this is that why is Pepsi even experimenting if they can’t use it in the end? They would just be wasting so much money and in the process the people who actually do consume it(the testers) are being cannibals.

    In Grade 8 I remember my teacher teaching us about how everything in ads and media are there for a reason. In the ad for this product which you can find on Youtube(if you are outside of the regions they are selling it), a mother is video taping her baby, then the father walks in with a case of Pepsi Next. The father looks like he has already been drinking it on the way into the house. The mother then drinks it and she says it is amazing. If you notice through the whole thing her baby is doing crazy things(playing guitar, flipping etc.) to get attention but they just keep their focus on the Pepsi. Some people believe this to be a subliminal message in which the “baby” cell in the Pepsi is not gaining any attention when stacked up to taste.

    I believe that they probably used the cell in the Pepsi Next product as the sugar remover instead of aspartame since the research for this cell was directed at Pepsi Next. As Snopes said when this story first hit, no product has been released with ingredients from Senomyx when these claims were coming around. Now that Pepsi Next is out maybe that is different? Pepsi did respond and say they are not using it so does that confirm my claims that it would be a waste of time to research it in the first place without using it?

  • Argyle Socks Are Criminal

    I do not know whether to laugh or cry when reading the level of ignorance that the majority of posts about the topic regarding Pepsi’s relationship to aborted fetus cells displays. Wow. A people untouched by education and reality; this is an anthropologic goldmine.

  • Argyle Socks Are Criminal

    I do not know whether to laugh or cry when reading the level of ignorance that the majority of posts about the topic regarding Pepsi’s relationship to aborted fetus cells displays. Wow. A people untouched by education and reality; this is an anthropologic goldmine.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Argyle Socks (@112), thanks for doing your part to contribute to the level of ignorance here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Argyle Socks (@112), thanks for doing your part to contribute to the level of ignorance here.

  • Jayellevee

    I do not support abortion or Pepsi, but I do support the truth! In the Netherlands in 1972 a SINGLE aborted fetus was used to obtain human kidney embryonic cells (HEK 293) for research purposes, by scientist Dr Alex Van Der Eb. The resulting cultured cell lines have been used in cellular biology research for over 35 years. No new fetuses or fetal tissue have been used. Although Senomyx has been engaged by Pepsi to research taste receptors and create a “better” taste for their foods, there is no evidence that any Pepsi products currently contain any ingredients from Senomyx. Senomyx only researches ways to provide better taste its clients. Even if Senomyx DID provide ingredients to Pepsi, they would NOT contain aborted fetuses … they would contain a product based on research which used ONE fetus as a base, forty years ago. That’s not great, but it’s also not the conspiracy that is being touted on this website.

  • Jayellevee

    I do not support abortion or Pepsi, but I do support the truth! In the Netherlands in 1972 a SINGLE aborted fetus was used to obtain human kidney embryonic cells (HEK 293) for research purposes, by scientist Dr Alex Van Der Eb. The resulting cultured cell lines have been used in cellular biology research for over 35 years. No new fetuses or fetal tissue have been used. Although Senomyx has been engaged by Pepsi to research taste receptors and create a “better” taste for their foods, there is no evidence that any Pepsi products currently contain any ingredients from Senomyx. Senomyx only researches ways to provide better taste its clients. Even if Senomyx DID provide ingredients to Pepsi, they would NOT contain aborted fetuses … they would contain a product based on research which used ONE fetus as a base, forty years ago. That’s not great, but it’s also not the conspiracy that is being touted on this website.

  • Monica

    Something I haven’t seen anyone mention here is the notion of moral cooperation with evil. Ignoring an evil act is no better than condoning it. If you believe that any use of fetal tissue is wrong (which I do), then it makes no difference how far down “the line” it occurs. No matter how you dilute it, wrong is wrong.

    Furthermore, consider the following statement from a research study on oncogenicity (ability to produce tumors):
    “All vaccines and biologic products contain contaminating residual DNA derived from the production cell substrate. Whether this residual cell-substrate DNA can induce tumors in vaccine recipients and thus represent a risk factor has been debated for over 50 years without resolution.” (Biologicals 2008 vol 36 pages 184-197).”
    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=20299343

    I am not a scientist, but what this tells me is that identifiable pieces of genetic material from the original cells are being found in vaccines. Then how do we know that pieces of genetic material are not winding up in the flavor enhancers??

    For me, the question is moot. I refuse to use anything that results from the destruction of a human fetus. I have a personal stake in the issue, as I have a chronic illness that responds well to biologics. However, unless and until they can prove to me that no fetal tissue was used in the manufacture or testing of these drugs, I will not use them. It boggles my mind that people would use this tissue at all, much less for something so trivial as testing flavor enhancers. How low can our society go? God help us.

  • Monica

    Something I haven’t seen anyone mention here is the notion of moral cooperation with evil. Ignoring an evil act is no better than condoning it. If you believe that any use of fetal tissue is wrong (which I do), then it makes no difference how far down “the line” it occurs. No matter how you dilute it, wrong is wrong.

    Furthermore, consider the following statement from a research study on oncogenicity (ability to produce tumors):
    “All vaccines and biologic products contain contaminating residual DNA derived from the production cell substrate. Whether this residual cell-substrate DNA can induce tumors in vaccine recipients and thus represent a risk factor has been debated for over 50 years without resolution.” (Biologicals 2008 vol 36 pages 184-197).”
    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=20299343

    I am not a scientist, but what this tells me is that identifiable pieces of genetic material from the original cells are being found in vaccines. Then how do we know that pieces of genetic material are not winding up in the flavor enhancers??

    For me, the question is moot. I refuse to use anything that results from the destruction of a human fetus. I have a personal stake in the issue, as I have a chronic illness that responds well to biologics. However, unless and until they can prove to me that no fetal tissue was used in the manufacture or testing of these drugs, I will not use them. It boggles my mind that people would use this tissue at all, much less for something so trivial as testing flavor enhancers. How low can our society go? God help us.

  • Lynn

    Snopes says Senomyx is collaborating with PEPSI, COCA COLA and NESTLE is using the cells from aborted babies to create food additives: http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/pepsi.asp

  • Lynn

    Snopes says Senomyx is collaborating with PEPSI, COCA COLA and NESTLE is using the cells from aborted babies to create food additives: http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/pepsi.asp

  • Jayellevee

    @Lynn: that is absolutely NOT what the Snopes article says. You need to read it again.

  • Jayellevee

    @Lynn: that is absolutely NOT what the Snopes article says. You need to read it again.

  • Chase

    I am not taking sides since this is nothing to argue about, however as stated, the fetuses are from women who opted to have an abortion, and if not used it is a waste of leftover product that would have to go through biohazard treatment to be disposed of. So if they didn’t use them for this,mthey would essentially end up in a landfill…

  • Chase

    I am not taking sides since this is nothing to argue about, however as stated, the fetuses are from women who opted to have an abortion, and if not used it is a waste of leftover product that would have to go through biohazard treatment to be disposed of. So if they didn’t use them for this,mthey would essentially end up in a landfill…

  • Kristy

    this is wrong no matter what they are useing the research for! is this why they try to get so many women to have abortions? i dont believe stupid websites like snopes because the people that are ok with things like this write that its ok so people will turn a blind eye…oh its not true a website told me…..ur idiots do more research that just listening to peoples blogs an opinions. This is wrong an as for me an mine we will never drink or eat these products again! this is not ok but it will be as long as people dont stand up an say no we dont want HUMAN babys being used for NO KIND OF RESEARCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT HAS HAPPINED TO HUMANITY, CARING, COMPASSION, LOVE? THE LORD SAID THIS WOULD HAPPEN WAKE UP PEOPLE PLEASE FOR OUR CHILDRENS SAKE!

  • Kristy

    this is wrong no matter what they are useing the research for! is this why they try to get so many women to have abortions? i dont believe stupid websites like snopes because the people that are ok with things like this write that its ok so people will turn a blind eye…oh its not true a website told me…..ur idiots do more research that just listening to peoples blogs an opinions. This is wrong an as for me an mine we will never drink or eat these products again! this is not ok but it will be as long as people dont stand up an say no we dont want HUMAN babys being used for NO KIND OF RESEARCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT HAS HAPPINED TO HUMANITY, CARING, COMPASSION, LOVE? THE LORD SAID THIS WOULD HAPPEN WAKE UP PEOPLE PLEASE FOR OUR CHILDRENS SAKE!

  • Kristy

    AND AGAIN JUST BECAUSE A WOMAN HAD AN ABORTION DOES NOT MEAN ITS OK TO USE THAT BABY FOR SCIENCE!

  • Kristy

    AND AGAIN JUST BECAUSE A WOMAN HAD AN ABORTION DOES NOT MEAN ITS OK TO USE THAT BABY FOR SCIENCE!

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I have to say that I don’t trust snopes.com when it comes to controversial issues. I consider whatever Snopes may have to say about this irrelevant to the truth of the matter.

    However, this story does seem to be a bit heavy on drama and hyperbole. Somebody makes a claim that Pepsico is using “aborted fetal tissue” in its products , and were all supposed to have the automatically conditioned response of being outraged?

    Given the research into this matter that has been reported in the comments above, I give this issue a big ho-hum.

    Next outrage, please.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I have to say that I don’t trust snopes.com when it comes to controversial issues. I consider whatever Snopes may have to say about this irrelevant to the truth of the matter.

    However, this story does seem to be a bit heavy on drama and hyperbole. Somebody makes a claim that Pepsico is using “aborted fetal tissue” in its products , and were all supposed to have the automatically conditioned response of being outraged?

    Given the research into this matter that has been reported in the comments above, I give this issue a big ho-hum.

    Next outrage, please.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Mike (@121), what do you find lacking in Snopes’ coverage of this issue?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Mike (@121), what do you find lacking in Snopes’ coverage of this issue?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I don’t know that anything is lacking in Snopes’ coverage of this issue. I haven’t read what Snopes says.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I don’t know that anything is lacking in Snopes’ coverage of this issue. I haven’t read what Snopes says.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Mike (@123), then why did you bother to tell us that you don’t trust Snopes on this matter? You’re not making a very compelling case.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Mike (@123), then why did you bother to tell us that you don’t trust Snopes on this matter? You’re not making a very compelling case.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    It was somebody else who brought up Snopes. I was just interjecting my opinion on using it as a source of serious information. Which it’s not.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    It was somebody else who brought up Snopes. I was just interjecting my opinion on using it as a source of serious information. Which it’s not.

  • christine

    lol wow i just had to laugh at the distinction that these fetuses were “victims” of abortion. who knew you could be victimized before you are even a person? it’s a dumb argument to say this is an immoral practice, looks to me like they didn’t track down a pregnant lady and barter with her for her fetus. so instead of throwing it in the bin (after the abortion that was going to happen regardlessly), they do something with it. strangely that seems to step the line of being more moral. how sensational this all is though. i was giving the impression (evidentially from someone with mental illness) that pepsi products actually CONTAIN fetal cells. turns out they like to test their products with fetuses that would have been chucked in the garbage anyhow. the people who act like this is a travesty are the same people who would never let us get on with medical testing and save millions of lives because it involves the usage use of fetal cells. i can’t say for sure how moral or immoral testing sodas on fetal cells is but not allowing scientists to conduct medical research that could save countless people because of your irrational sympathy for a lump of cells is at the height of immorality.


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