Legal abortion in the United States is a billion-dollar industry, and one new study says that the tentacles of legal abortion have already reached deep into the commerce and culture of American life, and that motives for profit may be keeping it alive.
Vicki Evans, Respect Life coordinator for the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns, is the author of the study, “Commercial Markets Created by Abortion: Profiting From the Fetal Distribution Chain.” The study doubled as her thesis for the licentiate in bio-ethics she received from the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Evans told Catholic San Francisco, the newspaper for the Archdiocese of San Francisco that she wanted to use her training as a certified public accountant to “follow the money” between the abortion industry and commercial enterprise.
“I wanted to come up with a body of knowledge that nobody else had thought of before,” she told Catholic San Francisco. “In following the money and seeing who gets paid for what and how much they get paid, and how unregulated these areas are, I found a lot of facts that a lot of people wouldn’t have noticed or wouldn’t have thought to look for.”
In her 72-page study, Evans wanted to find out how “special interests” or “commercial cause” was now driving the abortion industry and keeping it free from transparency or regulation.
“Putting aside the ideological question for the moment, it appears that abortion-related businesses, silently springing up and maturing over the past forty years, could now be influencing the abortion debate,” she wrote.
Evans’ findings note that between the fiscal years 2003 and 2008, the abortion industry – 1,787 abortion providers in the United States in 2005 – grew from an 810 million dollar business to 1.038 billion dollar industry.
Over this time period, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s abortion market share dramatically increased from 245,092 abortions ($88.2 million in 2003) to 305,310 abortions ($122.1 million in 2007). By 2008, PPFA had taken 25 percent of the abortion market, more than doubling its market share since 1997 (then 12 percent).
Evans also noted how PPFA is involved with many clinical trials conducted by pharmaceutical companies, and said “thirty percent of its clinical trials included teens, age thirteen to eighteen.”
“Attracting teenagers to contraceptive use is a component of the abortion industry’s business plan, as is offering abortion as a remedy for failed birth control.”
Evans also noted in her thesis that, “When abortion became legal in the United States, no one anticipated that it would give rise to a tremendous market in fetal parts, tissues and cells.”
Evans’ study revealed that the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and biologics sectors are the main industries engaged in fetal tissue research. The commercial use of fetal tissue is evolving from the mere production of childhood vaccines into the productions of vaccines that treat influenza, HIV, and others.
The cosmetics industry also has an “enormous and increasing demand” for “fetal cell technologies.” This began first with treating burn victims, said Evans, and has now made its way into the anti-aging market, a $30 billion industry: this includes miracle creams developed using fetal-cell technologies, to face lifts and cosmetic procedures derived from injecting aborted fetal tissue. The only limit to the demand for the “fetal anti-aging market” is “the amount of money available to be spent for products and procedures promising youth, beauty and vitality.”
But ultimately the demand for fetal parts and organs for scientific and commercial purposes could not have happened without the legal and cultural protections that surround abortion. Despite the fact that the aborted bodies of “millions of fetuses” cannot technically be bought or sold, a clandestine market for them exists, she said.
“It is important to shine a light on these practices that take place behind closed doors,” wrote Evans. “There are powerful forces conspiring to keep this information from the public and the media with the ostensible conviction that they are protecting a woman’s right to choose. However, it is becoming obvious that many ideological groups are being used as pawns by powerful financial interests.”
Society has to address the problem of the commercialization of abortion, Evans warned, because it had perilous implications for human identity and relations.
“Habitual participation in immoral acts inevitably leads to personal desensitization, self-deception and rationalization about what it means to be human,” Evans stated.
“When morality is excluded from a civil society, the weak and vulnerable are easily exploited for the benefit of the strong and powerful. This is the worst brand of injustice. It deserves to be brought to light.”
The complete study can be found here.