Law Banning Aborted Fetuses in Food Is Bizarre But Sensible

test tubesLast night as I was toggling between the State of the Union address and Twitter commentary, I kept seeing something along the lines of "bill would ban human fetuses from use in food." At first I thought I must have read the tweet wrong, but sure enough, more tweets about human fetuses and food. What the hell?!?

Oh it's for real. And it's wacky. What happens when you take the abortion debate and mash it between two thick, juicy slabs of food safety paranoia? This law: The Oklahoma Legislature has introduced a bill banning "the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses." Which begs the question -- someone was doing that?


So the answer to that question is a little complicated. State Senator Ralph Shortey told Tulsa radio station KRMG that he has discovered food industry companies that are using human stem cells to develop food products like artificial flavorings. Can you imagine? "Mmm, why does this candy taste like regret?" Sorry, that's horrible.

Let me say first of all that I think this is a long shot. I fully support stem cell research and I sincerely hope this isn't some lame-ass, fear-mongering, circuitous way of blocking stem cell research. On the other hand, the food industry does not have the most innocent track record. And apparently there's a big lawsuit out there about a certain company experimenting with kidney stem cells as sweeteners. What the hell, scientists are already working on growing meat in a laboratory. I wouldn't put it past the food industry to at least experiment with the idea.

So even though I only half believe this is actually going on, if it IS going on, I'm glad someone out there has said it's not okay. Using fetuses for stem cell research, to cure and treat diseases? Wonderful, make it happen. Using fetuses in food? No thank you!

Do you think this law was necessary or a waste of lawmakers' time?


Image via Horia Varlan/Flickr

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