It is shameful for an institution like Washington University, which is so highly regarded for its academics, to be up to its eyeballs in our nation’s abortion industry. Washington University medical faculty have been doing abortions for Planned Parenthood in St. Louis for years. If that were not bad enough, they also train physicians on abortions before they disperse across the nation.
It is abhorrent that an academic jewel like Washington University trains future physicians to destroy the lives of unborn children. The purpose of a medical school should be to train medical personnel on how to save and preserve lives, not end them. Abortion is not health care. No self-respecting health care institution should engage in the detestable practice of abortion.
The answer to this travesty is good law. That is why Missourians should be proud of State Rep. Jeff Shawan, R-Poplar Bluff, and State Sen. Bill Eigel, R-St. Charles, for introducing bills that will pop Washington University’s $8 billion endowment with a 1.9 percent tax if it continues supporting the abortion industry. The revenue generated by the tax will be used to cut taxes for Missouri families, making it revenue neutral.
Now that would be good law. Government would be doing as God commands in His Word, punishing the evildoer and rewarding the good. Anytime government cuts taxes it strengthens the family unit because they can keep more of their income, helping improve their quality of life.
Sadly, for Washington University, abortion may only be part of its sordid side. The school’s leadership led the effort in 2006 to get cloning written into the Missouri Constitution. Deceptively using terms for cloning like “somatic cell nuclear transfer,” they led the effort in raising $30 million for an advertising campaign that many believe deceived Missouri voters. The evil ballot initiative barely passed, 51%-49% in November 2006. Long-time Washington University trustees William Danforth and St. Louis billionaire businessman Sam Fox joined the Stowers Institute in Kansas City in spearheading the effort to get cloning into Missouri’s Constitution. During the heated campaign Fox once referred to Missouri Southern Baptists as “zealots” for staunchly opposing the measure.
Now 14 years later, questions concerning Washington University’s relationship with a company called Senomyx are surfacing. Senomyx develops patented flavor enhancers by using “proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems.” These receptors are made from HEK293. HEK stands for Human Embryonic Kidney cells. These cells were cloned, originally from healthy aborted human embryos.
Bottom line: Senomyx’s cell line, HEK293, is derived from the kidney cells of an aborted baby. PepsiCo signed a four-year, $30 million agreement in 2010 for research and development on the flavor enhancer. Other companies with reported deals with Senomyx include Nestle and Kraft.
The research was so controversial that PepsiCo shareholders introduced a resolution 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.” President Barack Obama’s Security and Exchange Commission ruled against the resolution, saying PepsiCo’s use of cells derived from aborted fetal remains in their research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under “ordinary business operations.”
Lawmakers may be interested in any relationship between Senomyx and Washington University medical research, particularly in the area of pediatrics where researchers work to develop, produce and distribute ready-to-use therapeutic foods to treat acute malnutrition in low and middle income countries. Washington University lobbyists always show up when a bio-technology/economic development bill related to such subjects surfaces. They will never publicly speak for taxpayer-funded cloning because they pledged that they would not back in 2006. But Washington University lobbyists are frequently seen lurking around House and Senate leadership offices. In recent weeks one Republican is known to have received at least $250,000 from a cloning political action committee.
Taxpayer-funded cloning is a battle that will surely come unless it is stopped. Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, has introduced legislation (Senate Bill 917) that would prevent it. Shawan has introduced a House version. Both need to pass now.
If Washington University’s past is any indication, it will be a major player when the taxpayer-funded-cloning issue emerges from the murky lobbying waters. The question will then become: Will lawmakers resist or cave? Then, what will Missourians do? Will we become cannibals or will common decency prevail?