Former Hopkins neurosurgeon and Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson is in a difficult position. A video surfaced of Planned Parenthood officials’ crass discussion of using tissue from aborted fetuses for medical experiments. Carson joined the chorus of conservatives who denounced not only the officials’ casual tone and implied financial gain, but the entire practice of using fetal tissue in medical research. Now, Carson has to find a way to defend his own use of human fetal tissue in a 1992 medical study. And he’s not making it look easy.
Here are the shifting stances on the issue to come from his campaign so far:
+ In an interview on Fox News last month, Carson called the benefits of fetal research “over-promised” and “very much under-delivered.” “And if you go back over the years,” Carson said, “and look at the research that has been done and all the things that it was supposed to deliver, very little of that has been done, and there’s nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue. So, it’s a spurious argument…”
+ Carson campaign aide Armstrong Williams initially told the Washington Post that “obviously” Carson has “evolved” since he experimented on fetal tissue in 1992.
+ In an interview with the Washington Post yesterday, Carson stood by his own work with fetal tissue, saying it would have been “wrong” for him to “[t]o willfully ignore evidence… for some ideological reason.” He went on to credit that type of research with increasing human life expectancy from 47 years to 80. He said the practice is not immoral and should not be banned.
It should only take a few more statements to tie this into a pretzel.