Planned Parenthood argues that the lives, health, and rights of women are at the forefront of all they do. However, this rhetoric becomes weak considering their disturbing, multi-million-dollar efforts to profit from the sale of aborted babies for research, manufacturing, and product development. 

Whether for research or as a product ingredient, the procurement of aborted fetus cells is a complex, ethical topic. Even people with a devoted pro-life stance unknowingly support companies using fetal tissue in the research and development of their products. 

In this article, we will delve into the facts and myths regarding the use of aborted fetal cells. We will begin by outlining why fetal tissues are used and we will reveal the industries and products facing scrutiny for their use of aborted babies. Then, we will discuss the different perspectives and the most common questions regarding the commercial use of aborted fetal cells. 

The Reality Behind the Rumors 

It doesn’t take long to find a full range of rumors about the sale of aborted fetuses. Some people deny any recycling of aborted babies, while others would have the public believe fetal tissue is in every household item available. The truth is that aborted fetal cells have been used in a variety of ways for nearly 100 years. 

In an interview with WGN9, Dr. Thomas Hope revealed that fetal-derived cells are used by scientists throughout the world. 

“The [fetal cells] that most everyone uses in their lab, I have it in my lab, that goes back to the 70s in the Netherlands. These things were done decades ago, and they are now common materials.” 

The “common materials” Dr. Hope referred to are the remains of babies lost through either elective abortion or spontaneous miscarriage. After harvesting the tissues from their dismembered bodies, the materials are used throughout the medical world, and within the cosmetology and food industries. 

Why Aborted Fetal Cells are Used 

Scientists use aborted fetal cells because they duplicate rapidly.  

This rapid reproduction presents a valuable resource for researchers from which to create an immortal tissue line that replaces itself. Fetal tissues are also valuable for cosmetics manufacturers who market their products’ regenerative and healing properties. 

The Medical Industry 

Fetal cells have been used in the research and development of treatments for degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, for vaccines for illnesses such as chickenpox, rubella, and shingles, and for prescription medications, such as Enbrel and Pulmozyme.  

The Food and Beverage Industry 

False claims of fetal cells used in food originate in the lab. For example, the biotech company Senomyx uses fetal kidney cells known as HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) during the research and development of new flavor additives.  

When scientists add flavor additives to fetal kidney cells in a petri dish, the cells function as “artificial taste buds” to show customers may enjoy the flavor. While fetal cells are not added to the flavor enhancer, a positive lab result means research moves forward to live taste-testing. 

The Cosmetology Industry 

Rumors of fetal cell use in cosmetics are difficult to prove because manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients. However, Neocutis Inc., a cosmetics company based in San Francisco, uses fetal cells in a cream created for severe skin injuries. 

Products and Industries Under the Lens 

While researchers have harvested fetal cells for decades, the public has learned about it only recently. As the news spreads, the public has placed many well-known manufacturers under an ethical microscope.  


Perhaps the most common issues raised was the use of aborted fetal cells in COVID-19 vaccines. In a YouTube video made in 2022, Dr. Ollie Burton explained, “Material from aborted fetuses is sometimes used in development of the vaccines… The vaccines themselves contain no fetal material, but were perhaps researched, developed, and tested on fetal material…. Maderna and Pfizer mRNA COVID vaccines, for example, were developed and tested on the HEK-293 cell test line.”  

According to Burton, the HEK-293 fetal tissue line was harvested from an aborted female fetus in 1973 in the Netherlands. Evidence does not clarify whether the baby was harvested from a miscarriage or an elective abortion.  

Burton went on to say that the “slightly newer Johnson and Johnson Vaccine, just for purposes of reference, was tested in a similar cell line called PER-C6. All of the same principles apply, but these cells, instead of coming from the embryonic kidney are from the retina, one of the cell layers that exists at the back of the eye.”  

In an interview with KHOU 11, Dr. Amesh Adaija, explained that the aborted fetal cells are used in the testing and production of the vaccines, but are not used in the ingredients that go directly into individuals receiving the vaccine.  

“Once the virus particles are made from those cells there are processes of filtration to try and purify what’s going to be in the vial. So, it’s not likely there are going to be any cell remnants that pass through that filtering process.” 

Research and testing 

The biotechnology company Senomyx faced backlash when the public learned aborted fetal cells were used in product research and testing for some of their clients. For example,  Ajinomoto, Nestle, and Firmenich currently use the HEK-239 tissue line in the testing of new formulations of flavor and scent additives.  

However, companies like Solae, Campbell Soup, Pepsi, and Kraft either canceled or altered their contracts with Senomyx to ensure their product testing does not involve aborted baby tissue.  

Beauty care 

Fetal tissue is also used in the testing and production of various cosmetics. For example, Neocutis Inc. received condemning comments from the executive director of Children of God for Life, Debi Vinnedge, “There’s just no excuse for using aborted babies in skin-care products.” 

Neocutis’s trademarked ingredient, Processed Skin Cell Proteins (PSP), was developed using fetal cells harvested from the body of a 14-week-old male baby who was electively aborted at the University of Lausanne’s hospital. PSP in the company’s cream, which markets for $120 per ounce.  

“This is pure vanity,” Vinnedge said. “I think that many companies just say, ‘Is there good to be achieved,’ and don’t care how.”  

Human Life International put together a list of cosmetic companies that use aborted fetal cells in the development of their products, as well as in the products themselves. You can find this list in their e-book Which Cosmetics Use Fetal Cells

Pro-Life Perspectives on These Products 

Stock prices depend on consumers’ desires for clearer, smoother skin, tastier treats, and life-saving vaccines and medical treatments. To leave no penny unearned, manufacturers employ vernacular crafted to objectify the public’s view of fetal cell tissue and, forget that an innocent child lost their life.  

Aborted Baby Parts 

People like Congresswoman Vicki Hartzler (R-Missouri) refuse to allow the practice to be objectified. In fact, she gave a passionate speech to the House of Representatives, calling out the “buying and selling” of aborted baby parts that takes place in order for companies to acquire fetal cell tissue.  

“First, and possibly the most shocking is a website where one ‘procurement business,’ whose name has been redacted, has set up an online order form. 

From this website, a user can select what type of parts they want—baby brains, baby tongue, scalp, reproductive organs… 

Then a quantity can be selected, in case one baby brain isn’t enough. 

A start and end range of the gestational period can be chosen. The user even has shipping options! 

This is truly appalling! This is online shopping for baby body parts… and this procurement business has made it as easy as possible. 

But these procurement businesses are not doing this by themselves—they are only the middlemen in a transaction between the supplier, or abortion clinic, and the end user.” 

Money Made from Aborted Babies 

The Center for Medical Progress released a video of undercover clips that speak to Planned Parenthood’s stance on aborted fetal tissue sale and distribution.  

David Daleiden, the former director of research for Live Action, said “Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization. “

It’s not okay to just cut off a contract with one bad offender. The whole policy of using baby body parts as a method of experimentation, as a method of therapy, is just wrong and it has to end. What we’ve been hoping for, asking for, lobbying for is a moratorium on all that experimentation. Nothing could be more obvious to make the point than David Daleiden’s videos.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America   

What Are the Alternatives? 

Fortunately, scientists and manufacturers have alternatives for research and production without slaughtering a child in the womb. 

Eggs and other animal bi-products have been used in the production of vaccines since vaccine farms were established in the late 1800s. Today, the polio vaccine is made using other types of human and monkey cells.  


Question: Why would companies use aborted fetal cells?  

Answer: Aborted fetal cells reproduce rapidly. Researchers refer to aborted fetal cells as “immortal,” because they can duplicate the cells in an ongoing manner. The mass number of fetal tissue cells produced allows companies to research numerous and varied products at a time. 

Question: Are there any ethical alternatives to these products?  

Answer: Ethical alternatives exist for most products and new developments are being made daily. For example, animal bi-products have been used to manufacture vaccines since the 1850s. 

Question: How do I know if a product has used aborted fetal tissue in its research or production?  

Answer: Sadly, you can’t always know if fetal tissue was used in the research or development, or in the product itself. Cosmetics manufacturers are not required to list all their ingredients, so it is easier to find the details regarding fetal tissue use in the medical industry. 

Question: What is the pro-life community’s stance on using such products?  

Answer: The pro-life community has a varied stance on this topic. For example, in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some pro-life organizations believed that using vaccines made using fetal tissue research was okay, due to the fact that no tissue remained in the actual product. Other pro-life individuals and organizations strive to boycott all products with any relation to the use of aborted fetal tissue.  

Question: Is HEK-293 related to aborted fetuses?  

Answer: Yes, HEK-293 was derived from an aborted fetus in 1973 in the Netherlands. It has since been replicated thousands of times over for use in research labs across the country.  

Question: How can consumers influence companies to avoid such practices?  

Answer: First and foremost, research the products you use and the processes in which the products were developed and produced. If you discover fetal cells were used at any stage, you can boycott the company, share your information across your social media platforms, and write letters to the product manufacturers.  


Hopefully, you are now informed about the use of fetal cells in the cosmetics, food, and medical industries. It is important to understand what we are putting in our bodies and who we are giving our money to. It is imperative for all of us to remain vigilant to find alternate research methods that do not harm the most vulnerable among us, preborn babies.