I’ve already made fun of Mike Huckabee for his ingenious policy idea of fixing all our health care problems by just going ahead and curing cancer and diabetes and heart disease. But as Right Wing Watch points out, he specifically pointed to the polio vaccine as an example of what we need to do to eradicate these diseases, but that vaccine was developed with fetal tissue research — which Huckabee wants to ban.
Huckabee conveniently failed to mention that we wouldn’t have the polio vaccine — among others — without fetal tissue research, a practice he wants to ban and has roundly criticized in the wake of deceptive sting videos targeting Planned Parenthood.
“One of the earliest advances with fetal tissue was to use fetal kidney cells to create the first poliovirus vaccines, which are now estimated to save 550,000 lives worldwide every year,” CNN reported. “In the early days of making the vaccine, researchers infected fetal kidney cells in Petri dishes to produce a large amount of virus that they could then harvest, purify and use to vaccinate people. (The virus evolves to become less deadly when it infects cells out of the body, and thus could safely be given to people to prime their immune system for the real thing.) Today manufacturers of the polio vaccine use other types of human cells, which weren’t available in the mid-1900s. They also use monkey cells, which they originally avoided for fear that making the vaccine in animal cells could put people at risk of diseases from other species. Many of our other common vaccines, such as chicken pox, rubella and shingles, have been produced in tissue derived from fetuses, particularly two electively terminated pregnancies from the 1960s.”
So in reality, Huckabee would actually make it less likely that we cure or prevent those diseases, not more likely. This is what happens when religion and politics collides with science — science doesn’t budge.