Fetal Tissue, Medical Use

Resolution Adopted by the


Medical Use of Fetal


Adopted by the 104th Annual

Convention of

the Central Conference of American Rabbis

Montreal, Quebec, June 1993



Fetal tissue is a unique substance that has been constructively used

in medical

research for at least

sixty years. Cultures of fetal kidney cells were used in the

1950s to develop the polio vaccine.

Today, critical studies which help unlock the

structure of HIV utilize human fetal tissue. Highly

promising transplant therapies using human

fetal tissue hold out the possibility of cure or amelioration

of conditions including


disease, type I diabetes mellitus, DeGeorge syndrome, Alzheimers

disease, spinal cord injuries and Huntington’s chorea.

It is increasingly apparent for a variety of

scientific and technical reasons that

this tissue, to be truly efficacious, must be obtained from

therapeutic rather than



There is an emerging

consensus of Reform Jewish authorities that tissue obtained from

either therapeutic or spontaneous

abortions may be used for purposes of life saving

or life enhancing research. In 1985, the CCAR

published a responsum in the Yearbook

. (See appendix B). Therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED that, the CCAR supports fetal tissue

research, provided that relevant

legislation and regulations protect women and fetuses from

exploitation, and


RESOLVED that, the CCAR adopts the principles contained in the 1985

responsum, “Fetus Used For