As a presidential candidate, Ben Carson has derided Planned Parenthood for providing tissue from aborted fetuses to researchers. At last week's debate, he said there is no scientific research "that can't be done without fetal tissue."
But as a neurosurgeon, Carson did fetal tissue research. In 1992, he was a co-author of a paper that used tissue from "two fetuses aborted at the ninth and 17th week." Blogger Jen Gunter surfaced a copy of that paper Wednesday.
This led to questions for Carson: How could he oppose fetal tissue research while having used fetal tissue in his own work? Dave Weigel at the Washington Post pressed him on the issue Thursday.
"You have to look at the intent," Carson told Weigel. "To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it."
The full exchange between Weigel and Carson is worth reading here, although it doesn't really clarify much about how what Carson did is different from the work Planned Parenthood does procuring fetal tissue for research.
Carson seems to indicate that his research was "keeping a record" of fetal tissue, although that doesn't make much sense: His work used fetal tissue in service of a research goal.