You now live in a country…

You now live in a country… March 12, 2012

where Soylent Green Pepsi is made using cannibalized babies and Caesar says that’s ordinary business. (Note: “made using”, not “made with”). Pepsi doesn’t actually contain aborted fetal tissue. So that makes it all okay for the same reason that enriching German corporations who sold hypothermia treatments was totally ethical because they not actually made from the bodies of victims frozen to death at Dachau in developing them. The important thing is to support the economy of the Fatherland in this time of war and economic crisis.

I remember when I was a kid and wondered why patriotic Germans who loved their country didn’t do something as their nation slid into the abyss. 

I wonder how long till Caesar gets some Jolly-American whiner before Congress to demand the Church supply them with free Pepsi?

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  • As a Porcine American, I resent that comment.

  • But Mark, it’s not Pepsi, just one of their suppliers. And they’re only using ground-up baby parts to make a taste-testing machine. So, that should make everyone feel a lot better.

  • Received word from a friend just this morning saying she discovered her employer is using aborted fetal tissue for experimentation. She made a request for them to stop this practice. They dismissed her moral objections. She’s standing for life and most likely will be unemployed by day’s end. 

    This is the world we live in!

    • I offer my prayers for your friend through the intercession of the Holy Innocents.

  • Sherry Weddell

    i’m sick at my stomach.

  • If the “porcine whiner” crack is aimed at Sandra Fluke, I think it’s uncalled for, Mark. She is indeed a whiner, but her weight is irrelevant.

    • Mark Shea

      No. It’s aimed at a Jolly making analogous demands for their disordered appetites as Fluke made for hers. As far as I know, Fluke is not overweight. And I’d be a fine one to talk if she was.

  • B.E. Ward

    Is there a consolidated list somewhere of companies engaged in heinous activities like this? I know it’s got to be longer than a Tokyo phone book, but I’m curious.

    I know there’s a list you can pay for.. and Barbara McGuigan mentioned one on Open Line that she was willing to email to people, but she never responded to my request.

  • Ben Hammer

    So let me see if I have this right. Both Coke and Pepsi where forced to change their formula for the carmel, because it was determined that if you ingest fifty billion tons of it you’ll get cancer, but it is perfectly okay to use aborted baby parts!
    Lord, please help us.

  • Disgusted in DC

    Wasn’t it Stanley Hauerwas who asked an ethicist in favor of fetal tissue experiements whether, if fetal tissue were a delicacy, would he eat it? Scarily prophetic.

  • Jane Hartman

    Life Site News wasn’t getting much attention and of course, our regular media is not going to let folks know the truth. Thanks for bringing this to your blog. I have it on my facebook page, too. How can we know whether we are becoming a nation of cannibals? Even if it’s from a long ago embyonic stem cell line, it’s still people. I’m not sure I could even handle adult stem cell lines……Isn’t that people, too?

    • Mark Shea

      Adult stem cells do not involve killing anybody. It is perfectly ethical to use them.

      • I know adult stem cells are ok to be used with experimentation/research and in medicines. But if we’re eating them or using them to manufacture food, isn’t it still cannibalistic?

    • Ted Seeber

      In the case of adult stem cell lines- it’s not only people, it’s usually the current patient (less chance of rejection or out of control tumor growth that way).

  • Peggy R

    This is gruesome to think about.

    Oh, please dear Father in heaven, don’t let Coca-cola fall prey to this inhumane horrid research. Giving up Coke will be a sacrifice.

    • I gave up Coke around 9 years ago as a sacrifice for my son to have a vocation to the priesthood and even the Papacy. I used to down a whole 2 Liter bottle during a Ram’s game (when they were good). If I can do without Coke, you can too.

  • kenneth

    At the risk of maintaining my low status as the blog’s permanent fly in the ointment, I must tell you that any of you who have ever been vaccinated for any of the usual diseases has almost certainly taken part in technology which utilizes fetal cell lines. In my fairly limited experience in molecular biology, all of my personal work with transfection and transformation of genes has been with bacteria, but I know a bit in passing about the cell lines of the sort Pepsi is apparently employing.
    I’ve also had some small involvement in HIV vaccine research which I know uses fetal cell lines to express adenovirus vectors with specific deletions. In English, to get respiratory viruses which are too crippled to make you sick but functional enough to deliver HIV genes in a way that (hopefully) induces at least partial immunity to the AIDS virus. It may well be using the very same line as Pepsi. The average person, and even many scientists, don’t appreciate how hideously difficult it is to create some of the technologies we take for granted.
    I’m all in favor of looking at alternative platforms to fetal cell lines. There are Chinese Hamster Ovary lines, yeasts, animal cell cultures etc. Sometimes they work for a given application, sometimes not. They come with their own problems. Remember the polio vaccine? Before we used fetal cell lines, we used monkey kidney cells. In the 50s and 60s, millions of kids spared the misery of polio were also infected with SV-40, a monkey virus with definite, if uncertain cancer-causing ability.
    Given all that, Pepsi’s use of the cells is not uniquely monstrous. It’s just calling attention to a technology few people would otherwise pay thought to. Nor is it really creating a market for aborted fetuses. These cell lines were initially harvested from one fetus each, and so far as I know, they were aborted for other reasons, not for some profit scheme. The cell lines, some dating to the 1960s, have just been grown out and replicated in culture ever since. Does that make it all peachy from a Catholic doctrine standpoint? Of course not. But it’s worth noting that Pepsi is not going around creating a market for aborted fetuses and then trucking them off to a plant for processing someplace.
    It’s easy to paint one company as evil in all this, but if you’re to have a meaningful opposition, you need to get a deeper education on biotechnology. We’re all in deeper than we know.

  • Sherrill

    I am very confused. Pepsi is a soft drink! What do stem cells have to do with a soft drink? I don’t get it!

    • kenneth

      They’re not stem cells as such. They’re cells originally harvested from a fetal kidney, transformed with some DNA from an adenovirus, and cultured ever since the early 70s. You use this type of cell line to create and study complex proteins. These things are too large and much too structurally complex to make in a test tube sort of method. So you find the stretch of DNA which codes for that protein, splice it into the HEK (fetal) cells, and the cells translate that DNA into RNA and then proteins. Cells also have the machinery to fold that protein into the right shape after manufacture. HEK cells are popular for some things because they reproduce very well, accept foreign DNA without much hassle, and produce these proteins very accurately and very efficiently. In the case of Pepsi, it’s my understanding that the system is used to express taste receptor proteins so that they can test the interaction of lots of potential flavoring agents to see if they bind and activate the kids of taste receptors we have in our mouths. It’s what they biotech companies call a “high throughput” method. Lots of testing in minimal time and a (semi) reasonable price. Could cells of non-fetal origin be used for the same thing? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not familiar with the particulars of the kind of work they’re doing.
      Is there an ethical dimension to all this? Yes. But Pepsi is not bottling aborted fetuses or anything of the kind. It is using a widely available commercial technology which is used in a million different ways and which every person reading this has probably benefitted from in one way or another.

  • Michael in ArchDen

    I’m not one for boycotts generally, but when I first saw this my first reaction was that we can’t buy these products anymore. Frito-Lay is also part of the Pepsi empire, so I’ve given up my beloved Doritos.

    Sometimes you have to draw a line.

  • brian_in_brooklyn

    Kenneth makes an excellent point. This Forbes article outlines the questions we all have to face.

    HEK 293 cells were harvested in the 60s from fetus cells and a chimera was created. The chimera has been used in the testing of vaccines and other products (including Coke, Peggy) for decades.

    I wonder, what relation does a chimera have to its original components? I inject a chimera four times daily (humulin) that is derived from E-coli, but I am clearly not injecting E-coli into my body. And what is the moral relationship? If I am participating in an abortion by using Pepsi products, am I a participant in theft if I buy land in Georgia that was confiscated under the Indian Removal Act?

    I don’t think any of it is a clear-cut as the Lifesite article indicates.

    • kenneth

      Nothing about biotech, or about ethical consumer choices is clear-cut. Just the simple act of participation in the everyday economy means that you’re underwriting something horrible at some level, even indirectly. Anyone who has ever put gas in a vehicle has, at some point, helped buy an IED, or one of the missiles that fall on Israel, an enrichment centrifuge for Iran, or perhaps even part of the flight school tuition of the 9/11 terrorists. That’s a fact whether we like it or not.
      Anyone who has purchased almost anything at a big-box retailer or anywhere else in recent decades is underwriting child slavery in some measure. The jewelry industry, and the industry for rare minerals in your computer or fancy smart phone? Those industries are awash in blood.
      So what to do? I try to determine whether my choices are directly underwriting a problem or tangential to it, and if any realistic alternatives are available. The only way to avoid all ethical conflict is really to become utterly self-sufficient, going back to the land and eating strictly what you grow or hunt and buying a handful of fair-trade goods for bare necessities. Some folk do that, and I admire them, but I’m not prepared to go that route.

  • Patient AllTo Patient

    So,when are the Marines going to return freedom in America instead of Iraq or Afghanistan? Hitler made soap out of dead jews,also,lampshades and pillowstuffing.We fought him.I guess i now understand how evil took over in nazi Germany.Moral or immoral did not matter,if it was legal and promoted by government,that was the new morality.Legal and the Nazi Party replaced good and evil.We Americans are the new Nazis.