The Bloody History of Fetal Cell Research

What is fetal tissue used for? Is fetal cell research unavoidable? What can you do about it? Jose Trasancos from Children of God for Life joins us to discuss the deadly history of aborted fetal cell research in the medical, cosmetic, and food industries.




Introducing Jose Trasancos and Children of God for Life

0:00:31.5 Colleen: Hello and welcome to Living a Culture of Life Podcast by Human Life International. I’m your host, Colleen, and I’m joined today by Jose Trasancos. Welcome. And you are the Director of Children of God for Life. Is that what your official position is?

0:00:49.7 Jose Trasancos: That’s correct. I guess I’m, the title on the paperwork is CEO and Chairman of the Board. We’re a small shop.

0:01:00.0 Colleen: Can you then just explain to your listeners how, ’cause I know that Debbie founded that organization, so can you explain how you got involved and what your organization actually does?

0:01:08.4 Jose Trasancos: I yeah, yeah. It’s an interesting story. Our connection with Debbie Vinnedge goes back to about 2006, 2007. My wife actually reached out to her because we had we were in the middle of growing our family. We have seven children, and the issue of vaccinations came up and my wife is one to research everything. She’s very thorough and she’s very concerned about anything that has to do with the safety and wellbeing of her children. And she came across Debbie Vinnedge’s name in an online search. So she reached out, made contact, got the information that she was looking for. We discussed it, we made our decisions, and we moved on.

But she kept in touch with Debbie over the years. And three years ago Debbie was thinking about retiring, and Debbie wanted to make sure that the organization went to folks of like mind, similar inclination and would take it seriously. So she contacted my wife and originally what she wanted to do was to move it to the Diocese of Tyler. My wife was working for the Diocese of Tyler at that point in time. And…

0:02:33.1 Colleen: Tyler, Texas?

0:02:35.5 Jose Trasancos: Tyler, Texas. Yeah, we’re located in Tyler, Texas or in the Tyler area. But we discussed that a little bit and having it be a formal part of the diocese seemed like it had more problems than problems solved. It would become then a part of a larger organization that would make it more difficult for them to plan. What Children of God for Life does is very different than what a Church organization would do. So we decided that we would take it on individually, and so we did the paperwork. We re-domesticated Children of God for Life from Florida, where Debbie lives, to Texas, where we live. And the rest is history.

At that point in time, I was semi-retired, kind of sort of retired, now, not in the least.

0:03:33.3 Colleen: Yeah, it’s hard to retire when you work for organizations like that. So, can you explain for our listeners what Children of God for Life actually does?

0:03:42.2 Jose Trasancos: Children of God for Life is, we changed the mission a little bit because Children of God for Life prior to us becoming formally involved, was focused on principally vaccines. And we wanted to broaden the scope a little bit and deal with elements of aborted fetal tissue in, broadly speaking, science and commerce. So that’s… our approach is a fairly wide one at this point in time. We look at vaccines certainly, and we can talk about why vaccines become such an important issue in a moment. But we’re also looking at other aspects of fetal tissue research.

A lot of it is understanding human development. There’s always this promise that further research along these lines is going to cure just about everything that happens all the way from pediatric diseases to end of life issues. So the use of aborted fetal tissue is actually much, much broader than vaccines.

0:04:52.8 Colleen: Well, like I was saying at the beginning of this, we even have the e-book on the cosmetic side of it. So yeah. I’ve done, I’ve delved a little bit into it and done a little bit of research about the different aspects that goes into which we’ll definitely get into in the podcast.

0:05:05.6 Jose Trasancos: So we do a lot of research individually and collectively, my wife and I work together on this. And whatever time we have leftover, we focus on advocacy.

So we sponsor a team leadership camp that’s an annual event. And we’re trying to attract younger people into kind of the pro-life issue. And the theme this year was to know your human dignity, because a lot of the issues that we deal with are either directly or indirectly related to human dignity. So we do the team leadership camp. There’s legislative outreach. We had a bill introduced this year in the Texas State Senate that unfortunately never made it to the floor. There were all sorts of issues in front of it, but we’re gonna try again in the next session. And if we could possibly get a similar bill like that in another state legislature, we certainly will.

0:06:20.3 Colleen: That’s really important.

0:06:23.8 Jose Trasancos: Oh, absolutely. Knowledge without application really isn’t much use.

And we do a lot of the research bit. And we focus on high-quality research. My wife and I are both academics. She’s an academic. I have a PhD. There’s a difference. But we both know our way around scientific literature and academic literature. And that’s where we take everything that we present as authoritative, has peer-reviewed references associated with it. Anything else that might be considered speculation, we brand it as such. And if it’s opinion, we brand it as such. But our research is done in compliance with academic standards and therefore reliable. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s right 100% of the time because sometimes as we learned during COVID, the scientific literature is not always reliable.

0:07:27.6 Colleen: Yeah. So, do you have a PhD in the science field then? Or do you have a scientific background?

0:07:34.4 Jose Trasancos: I’m a mathematician. My academic background is in applied mathematics. I also have advanced degrees in applied analytical methods and political science.

0:07:45.6 Colleen: Okay. So, you understand how the numbers work. So, do you have any kind of scientific background for going into this then or are you just really good at being able to logically look at the like research and figure it out that way?

0:07:56.0 Jose Trasancos: Well, the logic piece is very important. But in my postgraduate studies, I worked with my share of physicists. Much of what’s happening in the medical field is biochemical. And thankfully, my wife happens to be a PhD in chemistry. So, if I run across something that I really need some help on, help is only a ‘hey, Honey’ away.

0:08:23.0 Colleen: That’s awesome. So, what is the history then of the fetal cell tissue research? Can you give a little background for listeners? So, I know some people might have heard about it in vaccines before, but just, I know it’s a topic that is getting to be more common, but most people don’t really understand that much about it. So, can you just give a little background for our listeners?


What Is Fetal Tissue Used For?


0:08:44.4 Jose Trasancos: Yeah. For all practical purposes, vaccines and fetal tissue have been kind of joined at the hip from the very beginning. And this dates back to the 1930s in the development of the polio vaccine.

The polio vaccine development happened in the mid to late 1930s. The Sabin vaccine was one of the first broad application vaccines that were developed. And polio was a particularly concerning disease. It was communicable. It also had impacts that were moderate to severe. And the severity of it was actually significant. So, there was a great deal of interest on developing something that could be a prophylactic to poliomyelitis.

And the first step in that was the isolation of the polio virus. And babies were butchered. I’m sorry if I pause on occasion, because this is kind of difficult to talk about. But in their search for the virus, they were aborting fetuses and butchering them, looking to isolate the virus. The reason they were using fetuses was the infection would pass from the mother to the child in the womb. And in the womb, that infection would be relatively unmolested from other confounding elements.

And some of this had to do with women’s hospitals that catered to the indigent and to the “feeble-minded.” There are documents out there and presentations that we have on our website that give the details on this. But also descriptions on how the aborted fetuses were obtained.

0:11:01.8 Colleen: I’m guessing this was mostly illegal abortions, ’cause obviously abortion wasn’t legal at that point. So, they were illegally, basically, aborting children and then using their bodies?

0:11:11.6 Jose Trasancos: Correct. These were, in the terms of the day, medically indicated for a variety of reasons. So, the connection between these abortions and “feeble-minded” patients–and I find it distasteful to even use that language. But that’s what’s in the literature. There was an official capacity associated with the ordering of those abortions.

And most of the abortions were hysterectomies, a cesarean section. And the language describing the obtaining of these specimens was really kind of disturbing. Where they would, I’ll paraphrase, but they would say that the fetus was obtained through surgical hysterectomy and whenever possible, the fetus would be kept inside the amniotic sac, placed on a sterile towel, and dissected as quickly as possible. So, what they did was, they delivered a baby by cesarean section and the baby died during the dissection. Because they weren’t… And that’s why I say babies were butchered during this process. And that was how they isolated the virus. And…

0:12:44.6 Colleen: Did they “have” to? Like, were they choosing to do this on unborn children because they wouldn’t be affected by any other viruses? Was that their logical reasoning for using unborn children?

0:12:56.3 Jose Trasancos: Yes. And they didn’t have the benefit of what we know today. Were there alternatives? Knowing then what we know now, absolutely there would have been alternatives. But medical science ethically and unethically has developed quite a bit in the last ninety years. And the fact remains is that babies were butchered in the process of developing the poliomyelitis vaccine.

0:13:33.0 Colleen: Wow.

0:13:33.1 Jose Trasancos: The Sabin vaccine.

0:13:33.5 Colleen: I never knew that. I’ve read more about this stuff later on. People talk about how… I forget which cell line it is that started in, like, the ’60s, ’70s. People talk a lot more about that. I didn’t realize it went all the way back to polio. That’s pretty harsh.

0:13:45.8 Jose Trasancos: Yes. And it went back to the ’30s, and that was kind of the origin of it. And the development of the rubella vaccine was generally similar, but the rubella vaccine came two decades later. And there were a number of infants, fetuses, babies that were aborted in the same manner for the same purposes in looking to isolate the rubella virus.

And that virus passed very… And what made that virus particularly important, at least in the eyes of the researchers to get their hands around, was its ability to result in severe birth defects to born children. So this is kind of the emergence of a remarkable irony, where we exploit and kill the unwanted for the benefit of the wanted. And the use of aborted fetal tissue in biomedical endeavors really just does come down to that.

0:15:01.4 Colleen: What is it used for in today’s day and age? ‘Cause I know that it’s used for more than just vaccines now. So how is the tissue of children used in modern science?

0:15:14.7 Jose Trasancos: Well, I guess before we go there, I think we should talk a little bit about what cell strains and cell lines are and why they’re valuable. And valuable from a scientific standpoint, not valuable from a moral and ethical standpoint.

But a cell strain is a group of cells that continues to divide naturally. Now, a lot of the biologics that are used today in biomedical research are in fact cell strains. And what distinguishes a cell strain, a primary culture, from a cell line is that a cell strain has a lifespan.

And one of the first cell strains developed was Wistar-38. And the Wistar Institute is located in Philadelphia, and it was developed by a doctor by the name of Leonard Hayflick. Leonard Hayflick did a great deal of research in this area, whether it’s cell lines or cell strains. He also authored what is known today as the Hayflick Limit. He examined how cell strains, primary cultures, divided over the years and when that division rate started to decline. And it actually makes perfect sense when you say it this way, but the Hayflick Limit says that a cell strain will live about as long as the average lifespan of the donor organism.

So if you have a cell strain that’s human in origin, you figure those cells are going to replicate in a fairly healthy and normal fashion for about 70 years. And then it starts to fall off. Ultimately, the cell strains, the telomeres, every single cell division, the telomeres get a little shorter and a little shorter. And that’s our genetic time clock. So cell strains aren’t indefinite. There’s always a need for more. And Wistar-38 was established back in the early 1960s. So it’s reaching the end of its life. So some research is going into how they’re going to replace it. And that’s what a cell strain is. It’s a primary culture. It’s human cells that are placed in a nutrient-rich solution. They continue to divide on their own. And at some point, they expire just like we do.

A cell line continues to replicate indefinitely. And a cell line can be taken from HeLa cells. The HeLa cell line has been replicating for decades and decades and decades with no signs of slowing down or anything like that. Because the source of those cells was a cancerous tumor from a woman named Henrietta Lacks. HeLa, HE stands for Henrietta, LA stands for Lacks. That was the origin of those cells. And the cells that were taken from a biopsy from her tumor were without her consent, cultured and established the HeLa cell line.

Shortly after the biopsy, she succumbed to the disease. But her family has come back and said, you’ve appropriated something from Henrietta Lacks. We are her next of kin, her surviving family. You owe the family some compensation. So you know it’s kind of interesting that those cells from a biopsy established a cell line that turned out to have a significant amount of commercial value. And it’s recognized that without recognizing that value, that there is exploitation.

0:19:47.7 Colleen: If it was from a cancerous tumor, wouldn’t the cells be cancerous then?

0:19:55.8 Jose Trasancos: They certainly have a predisposition to mutation. And that’s what happens with cancer. But that’s what makes cancer so dangerous. It replicates at a remarkable rate all on its own, and it’s very, very difficult to stop. So cell lines that have been established from cancerous tumors or pre-tumor masses, they require no further work other than to say, there they go.

Now the most commonly-used cell line that’s fetal in origin is called HEK-293. Human embryonic kidney is what HEK stands for; 293 is the 293rd iteration of the experiment that ultimately established the cell line.

0:20:56.4 Colleen: So the 293rd child, basically.

0:21:00.7 Jose Trasancos: It’s unclear how many children were involved in taking the samples, but absolutely almost certain there were multiples. So it’s not correct to say that there were 293 children. It’s also not correct to say that there was one.

0:21:17.6 Colleen: Okay.

0:21:19.0 Jose Trasancos: But you have people on both sides that are just kind of arguing. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. And the number of children that were involved in establishing HEK-293 probably wasn’t close to 293, but it was certainly into the dozens, because a child can produce organ samples, more than one organ sample per child.

0:21:51.1 Colleen: Okay. So it just so happened to be a kidney. It wasn’t that they were taking kidneys from multiple… were they looking for it from any organ, and it happened to be a kidney?

0:22:03.6 Jose Trasancos: It just happened to be kidney. And the organ source is important because organ cells are very dynamic little factories. They’re very busy from a biological standpoint. They actively metabolize our food at a high rate. They produce our own energy. They are enormous protein factories.

You know, the human cell is really a remarkable piece of divine engineering. I mean, everything that goes on inside the human cell is just spectacular. And cells in organ tissues like kidneys, the liver, heart–less so heart muscle–but certainly the kidneys, liver and lungs are high on everybody’s priority list. Because the cells in those tissues are very, very busy. They have high-end geomatics content, they produce a wide variety of proteins. They can be modified to enhance certain expressions as we can talk about in the context of HEK-293. Because what made HEK-293 “immortal” (they call it immortal, which is another just remarkable irony)–by modifying the genetics of that cell line with DNA from an adenovirus, they genetically modified the cells, the kidney cells, from cells from an adenovirus, the adenovirus 5, I believe. And that modification resulted in perpetual, or at least it’s thought to be perpetual, replication.

0:24:07.3 Colleen: Okay. Interesting. So that’s why it’s called an immortal virus, because it doesn’t have the time limit that a cell strain would have. It will just keep producing.

0:24:21.0 Jose Trasancos: Correct. It’s thought that these cell lines will replicate indefinitely. You and I will only know.

0:24:32.5 Colleen: Yeah. How are they used in modern science now? ‘Cause I know it’s, like I said, I know that it’s broadened out beyond vaccines. So how are they used in today’s day and age?

0:24:43.3 Jose Trasancos: Well, it goes beyond vaccines and into a variety of other medications. And what makes them useful is the cells have expression characteristics. There are bodies within the cell whose job it is to produce proteins. And those proteins are a response to something. And among those proteins are things like antibodies. And our immune system produces antibodies in response to a great many things. So the connection with vaccines is clear.

But a lot of the other proteins that a cell can express don’t have to do with the immune system. They have to do with the body’s own physiochemistry. So if we’re talking about a disease or a condition that is the result of some dysregulation in the body, because you have too much of this and not enough of that… That can be controlled through expression of proteins at the cellular level. So the utility of fetal cell lines is actually much broader than vaccines and anything that’s related to the immune system itself. Anything that’s regulated by the production of proteins at the cellular level has a potential application with cell lines.

0:26:20.1 Colleen: Interesting.

0:26:21.0 Jose Trasancos: And that’s a lot.

0:26:22.6 Colleen: So it probably… Does that mean that this now affects a lot of the medications that are available out there in the market today? And is there a good way to figure out which ones those are?

0:26:33.6 Jose Trasancos: A good way? A good way, no. A way, yes. It really is pick and shovel work. And I’m not sure how one could do that without the internet. Because the answers lie in the scientific literature and sometimes it’s not straightforward, where you can read the materials and methods section in a peer-reviewed paper and not find anything remarkable, but you can find a reference to another paper that has a reference to another paper that has a reference to perhaps yet another paper where you find the specific method that was applied in the original paper and that specific method made use of aborted fetal cell lines.

So yeah, it is knowable, but not easily knowable. It is not easily discoverable. If you don’t know how to navigate the scientific literature and if you’re at all intimidated with certain types of terminology, it’s very easy to throw up your hands and say, I’m done. I can’t figure this out. But the information is out there.

0:27:51.9 Colleen: How do people navigate that when it comes to picking medicines and stuff like that? I know that you do, you’ve done some research and you have lists of the vaccines on your website that are ethical versus ones that aren’t ethical. What do you suggest for people who want to navigate this and want to avoid medicines that are connected to these cell lines?

0:28:13.5 Jose Trasancos: Well, yeah, there are some rules of thumb that I let some people know because some of the vaccines that are in common use today aren’t really concerned with viral pathogens. A virus cannot replicate on its own. A virus needs a host cell. And if you’re talking about a viral vaccine or a viral medication, something having to do with a viral infection, the chances of that involving fetal cell lines are very much higher than something like diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis like the those are bacterial pathogens and bacterial, bacteria don’t have a problem at all replicating on their own. All they need is food.

So as a general rule of thumb, I let people know that if you’re dealing with a vaccine that’s dealing with a bacterial pathogen, chances are very, very good that there is no ethical compromise in its history. Now, I still look into those and occasionally you do find one that involves the use of fetal cell lines. But not nearly as many, not nearly at the rate that you do find in the development of viral pathogens for vaccine use.


Other Medications?

0:29:47.6 Colleen: And then I saw an article on your website at one point where you were applying to the whole list of products. I believe it went kind of viral on the internet a few years ago saying things like Advil, Tums, Sour Patch Kids, all sorts of different foods and medications were connected to fetal cell lines. And you had a great reply to that. Can you give that to our listeners? Because I know that that was something that… I think I avoided candy corn for about two years because it was on some list somewhere, things that were connected. And I’m very glad to be able to have it again. So can you just kind of give that answer, so that answer to our listeners to kind of clear up those misconceptions that are out there?

0:30:24.2 Jose Trasancos: There’s a lot there. And I’ll start by letting what, what started this whole thing. And this was during COVID because we were one of the organizations that got underneath the scientific literature and said, “Hey, wait a minute, all of these COVID vaccinations, all of the ones that are being evaluated by the FDA for use in the United States, all of them are ethically compromised.”

Now there was some argument as to whether or not that was true. And interestingly, some of those arguments persist to this day. Like if you were to call Novavax and ask them if aborted fetal cells or aborted fetal tissue was used in any way, shape or form in the development of their vaccine, with a straight face they will say “no.” And I can point to a paper where half of the authors listed on the masthead were employees of Novavax, and Novavax in part funded the experiment in question, where the use of HEK-293 to evaluate a variety of different… they used it to express a variety of different versions of the virus. So they could test their vaccine across across a spectrum of different spike proteins. And it said, so right there in black and white in a peer-reviewed paper, I believe it was published in Cell, which is a highly thought of peer-reviewed publication. So it’s really not arguable. They wrote it down.

So… You have situations here where, the Greek dramatist Aeschylus in the 5th century BC was the first one to say that in war, truth is the first casualty. And truth was definitely a casualty during COVID, because everybody had a point to make, everybody had an axe to grind, everybody wanted to make sure that they felt better about themselves than somebody else felt about them. The whole thing from a high view of human behavior was really kind of disgraceful.

And of all people, a Catholic priest wrote an article on his blog, and blogs being what they are, they’re not immediately notorious, but at some point people started to notice. He wrote a piece on his blog and it was titled to the effect of, if you’re having a problem with the vaccines or if HEK-293 is no longer ethical to use in modern medicine, then you need to kiss modern medicine goodbye. His point was that it’s everywhere and it’s everything and we need to get over it and we need to move on. But… and then he started throwing some examples out and he partnered with a medical doctor that helped him with the research, and he put a list of medications at the end of that blog post, that got a lot of attention. And he put things on there like aspirin and Tums and Preparation H. He put a couple of vaccines on there that actually were developed using aborted fetal cell lines, but a broken clock is right twice a day. And Tylenol and Ibuprofen, a lot of things that are very commonly used. Claritin was another one.

And that was brought to my attention. A number of people that are regular readers of our website came across that and they were very, very concerned. So, emails started coming in going, can this be right? And it’s like, no, I don’t think so. But let me look into it and I’ll get back to you.

And I started going through the list item by item. And he had originally put together a list of fourteen medications. And out of the fourteen, I think there were two vaccines on there that actually had an association to abortion. The rest of them were a swing and a miss. I’ll give you a really good example.

Aspirin, he said aspirin was developed with HEK-293, just like the, the COVID vaccines were. Aspirin was discovered, it was first produced in 1877 by a French chemist named Friedrich Gerhard. 1877 was exactly one hundred years before HEK-293 was available to the research community. So aspirin being developed in aborted fetal cell lines, or tested in aborted fetal cell lines, or even sharing the same time and space with aborted fetal cell lines is an impossibility. So that was one.

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, was only ten years younger than aspirin. It was first synthesized in 1887. So, another one, impossible, absolutely impossible that you can make the equivalence–COVID vaccines, aspirin, or Tylenol. Can’t happen that way.

The most preposterous of the bunch, though, was Tums. Tums is nothing more than calcium carbonate and sugar. And it was invented by a fellow by the last name of Howe, and he invented it in the basement of his Chicago home in 1930. And he invented it to relieve his wife’s indigestion. So, it’s all calcium carbonate and sugar. And it still is almost all calcium carbonate and sugar, but they put other things in there like colorants and flavorings and those sorts of things. But it’s still no different than a piece of chalk, chemically speaking, or an eggshell, or anything made out of limestone, because limestone is calcium carbonate, or the White Cliffs of Dover.

So, I started thinking about that a little bit, and I go, that has to be the most… You’ve got to have a lot of sand to put that one out there, or you don’t know a darn thing about chemistry. And it’s just like, well, they were developed with aborted fetal cell line, so therefore, anything made with calcium carbonate is ethically compromised. The State Capitol Building in Indianapolis, Indiana is made out of limestone. I don’t have a problem with that building.

0:37:48.2 Colleen: Is it possible that some of these medicines, maybe not Tums, but things like Advil or other ones could have been tested on the cell lines after they were developed for certain reasons? Because it seems like there could be a confusion if you take something that was developed ethically, and you could do almost anything bad with it later on, and it’s not going to change the ethical nature of that item. You’re going to just do something bad with it.

0:38:16.0 Jose Trasancos: That’s exactly correct, and that’s an excellent point, because a lot of people started making that argument. And part of my research, when I was going through that list, I went to the sources cited by the medical doctor that was helping this priest put that in his staff. And, we found some interesting things, like the reference that supposedly proved that Tums were ethically compromised mentioned calcium carbonate, but it had nothing to do with Tums. It wasn’t funded by a GlaxoSmithKline who now owns the brand for Tums. It was using microstructured or nanostructured calcium carbonate as a gene insertion tool for genetic applications, for genetic research applications. So it had nothing to do with Tums. It just had a chemical similarity to something, like, so if the argument were to hold water, then in fact the State Capitol Building in Indianapolis, Indiana would be ethically compromised.

But it’s a fair point. You have something that’s developed ethically, and at some point in the future, some researcher in a completely unrelated way to the manufacturer of that particular preparation does something that involves aborted fetal tissue. The question becomes, does that subsequent act then taint the origin of the drug? And the way I look at things, that’s not a–I’m a mathematician, that’s not commutative. Henry Ford there cannot be held responsible for drunk driving nor John Moses Browning be held responsible for armed robbery. It doesn’t make any sense.

0:40:06.0 Colleen: Not that this would scientifically happen, but if you took chocolate and then you tested it on a cell line for some reason, that doesn’t make chocolate bad. It just means that that action over there that someone did is bad.

0:40:16.0 Jose Trasancos: Exactly. The action, the subsequent action has no effect on the origins of the drug. But that was argued for quite some time, and I still think some people wanna go back to that.

0:40:30.1 Colleen: And I think that’s a really important thing for people to be aware of, that there’s a difference between how something was actually developed, like what went into the actual putting it together, and then what people do with it subsequently. ‘Cause that’s a really important distinction to be able to make, is recognize that people can do bad things with a good object. But what you need to look up in this is how is that object made?

0:40:51.7 Jose Trasancos: That’s very well said. I think that that is a very, very important distinction. And it also brings into the conversation the difference between research and clinical testing and preclinical testing. If you’re a drug manufacturer and you get the FDA’s thumbs up that says, okay, you can sell this now, the last thing you’re going to do is to do anything that’s gonna put you back into that approval cycle, because it’s long, it’s expensive, and you’re never really sure you’re going to recover your investments from a business perspective. So it makes no sense for a manufacturer that’s been manufacturing ibuprofen (and ibuprofen was also on that list, and ibuprofen was ethically developed), there’s no question about it–it would make no sense for a manufacturer who’s selling ibuprofen, either on a prescription basis or over the counter or both to “reformulate” that medicine and use aborted fetal cell lines and throw it back into the approval process. It makes no sense from a business perspective whatsoever.

So, understanding the difference between your research, which is what the calcium carbonate argument was for Tums, it was a gene insertion technique using nanostructured calcium carbonate. Had nothing to do with Tums, had nothing to do with anything other than what the paper was about. That’s pure research. Clinical testing and preclinical testing are what we’re concerned about and the development process. So in my mind, it is perfectly reasonable, if not obvious, that those two bodies need to remain separate. As you put it very well, people can do bad and evil things with something that was properly and ethically produced.

0:43:05.2 Colleen: When you talk about research in that context, you’re talking about something that already exists and using it for further research, right? Not the research that goes into developing it?

0:43:13.3 Jose Trasancos: Exactly. Yeah, it becomes an ingredient as part of an experimental design for something else.

0:43:23.9 Colleen: But obviously if you’re developing a new product and the research at the top is flawed, then that’s going to affect the subsequent production of a new drug? Correct? So if the research is flawed when you’re developing a new drug, the drug wouldn’t exist except for unethical research. So that would be, the research in that sense would be a different side of things? Am I right? Or am I just missing what you’re saying?

0:43:47.1 Jose Trasancos: Yeah. That’s correct. And that’s a test. My wife and I discussed this a lot, and there were people that wanted to make a distinction between a dependency on aborted fetal tissue, versus an immaterial use of it. And I’m not sure what that immaterial use of fetal tissue or fetal cell lines would be. But let’s just say, let’s just accept the distinction for a moment. If a drug were to be developed, researched, tested, and brought to market, if that process right there depended on the use of fetal cell lines or fetal tissue in any way, shape, or form, then I think that’s what creates an undeniable ethical fault. The ethical compromise is associated with a dependency, with a critical dependency, on the use of aborted fetal tissue or fetal cell lines. And that seems to satisfy just about everybody.

And that “but for” test, if you look at, say, for example, the COVID vaccines, “but for” the use of aborted fetal cell lines they would never, ever have been able to synthesize the spike protein. So that settles that argument.


Artificial Food Flavorings and Infant Formula

0:45:16.1 Colleen: Okay. And then where does the food industry fit into this? ‘Cause I know that there’s, I think, artificial flavoring in certain products that doesn’t have, obviously, the fetal cells in it, but the science going into that artificial flavoring was developed using fetal cell lines. Can you talk a little bit to that as well?

0:45:36.9 Jose Trasancos: Yeah, and that’s, if I were to look at the number of emails that I get over the course of a month and separate them into piles, that might be the biggest pile… And it’s just kind of understandable. I mean, vaccines are a big deal because they affect just about everybody. And from a parent’s perspective, they affect our kids. So we tend to have a great deal of interest and a visceral response to yet another vaccine.

Oh, by the way, were you aware that if from birth to the age of eighteen, if you followed the CDC recommendations for vaccines, you would get stuck ninety-eight times?

0:46:26.5 Colleen: Wow.

0:46:28.4 Jose Trasancos: Yeah. I’m glad I was born in 1959 because if I were born today, I wouldn’t make it because I don’t like needles. And it’s really remarkable how, let’s just use the word “reliant” we’ve become, as a society, on these sorts of things, and it continues to grow because now we need to add the RSV vaccine and a couple of other things. But anyway, sorry for the hijack. But let’s get back to the question.

The use of aborted fetal cells in flavor enhancers and that sort of thing might very well be the biggest pile. Because people come across that and say, my goodness, I just ate a bag of M&M’s. What have I done? And there are websites and organizations out there that are, in my view, irresponsibly telling everybody that it’s in everything.

0:47:29.7 Colleen: Okay. For clarification, do M&M’s have this? Are they tainted?

0:47:34.4 Jose Trasancos: No. Maybe not.

0:47:36.8 Colleen: I figured that was an example, but I just wanted to clarify for myself and for our listeners.

0:47:43.0 Jose Trasancos: And I literally have gotten those questions. Are my M&M’s okay? How about my Skittles? I love Jelly Bellies, and yeah, yeah, yeah, I get all that. I mean, it would be horrifying to think that the foods we enjoy are connected to abortion. So I understand why people get so exercised over it.

But this goes back to about 2010. 2009, 2010, there was a company in California, I believe they were based in San Diego. The company’s name was Senomyx. And they came up with a method that could fool the tongue into thinking it was tasting something that wasn’t really there. And the flavor enhancers that they developed, they tested them in aborted fetal cell lines. And what they were looking for was the cell’s response producing specific proteins that our taste receptors on our tongues would produce for salty flavors, bitter, sweet, anything like that. So you could create the illusion that a food has high salt content, when in fact it doesn’t.

And they were looking for the cells to express certain proteins, and then they would use human testing to confirm it. And then they would bring it to market. But the front end of that testing cycle had to do with aborted fetal cell lines. And it’s just the testing. It’s not part of the production of the flavor enhancers, which is really important. There are people out there that say, well, it’s in our food. It’s not.

0:49:40.5 Colleen: But that’s where it goes back to, because the research that led to these flavor enhancers was unethical. It makes kind of the whole lying down after that unethical.

0:49:49.1 Jose Trasancos: Yes.

0:49:52.5 Colleen: When it comes to efficacy. But then the actual products in the food themselves are not the fetal cell lines.

0:49:57.4 Jose Trasancos: That’s correct. Those flavor enhancers failed the “but for” test. But for the use of fetal cell lines, they would not have brought it to market. I mean it was essential. It was on the critical path to them developing what they developed.

And PepsiCo was one of the first companies to say, “This is kind of interesting.” Now, I don’t think PepsiCo walked in and said, “Hey, you’re using aborted fetal cell lines. We wanna try your stuff.” Objectively speaking, let’s forget the ethical compromise for a moment. But objectively speaking, that technology is really, really attractive. The artificial sweetener thing goes right out the window. We don’t have to worry about aspartame or any of the other artificial sweeteners being carcinogens. The illusion of sweetness can be created by these enhancers in very, very, very small amounts. Salt intake could be cut down. All sorts of benefits could come from something like this.

So Pepsi was initially interested. Debbie Vinnedge, our founder, learned of this. Somebody had alerted her to Senomyx in one of the patents that they filed, and also the language on their website. They were very open about the fact that they used fetal cell lines. Didn’t hide it from anybody; it was there for anybody to read on their website in unambiguous terms; they were completely unconcerned; they didn’t think that would create a problem from a marketing standpoint–they were wrong.

When Debbie got people involved and started circling the wagons and started talking about a boycott, people started acting on that sort of thing. PepsiCo started paying attention very quickly because it infected their market share very, very quickly. And you can imagine a lot of the things that were said: “How dare you put dead babies in my soda pop?” That wasn’t the way it was, but I think we have to understand kind of the visceral reaction, our gut-level reaction to something like this. I’m not sure I would’ve said anything different.

So, PepsiCo, even though they were under contract, they continued to pay Senomyx, but they said we’re not going to use any of your stuff. They went out and hired real people to do their taste testing.

Campbell’s Soup was also part of the front end that expressed interest in this technology. And when they learned of it, when it was brought to their attention, they were very quick… Nobody had to talk about boycotting Campbell’s or anything like that. They were very apologetic. I think, in my opinion, Campbell’s did a terrific job of crisis management on the front end: own up to it, say, “We’re sorry, we’re never going to do this again, that’s not in keeping with how we view our products and our customers, and we’re terribly sorry, it’ll never happen again.”

Kraft Foods was much more quiet about it, but they also decided not to proceed. Because of the visibility that Debbie Vinnedge created in 2011, 2012. That’s chronicled in a very detailed way on our website. If anybody is curious about the history associated with that, it’s actually a pretty good read.

0:53:40.3 Colleen: Yeah. No, I read a little bit about that one. But like I said, when I was doing research for the e-book we wrote, and actually that’s a good jump… Okay, let me finish up this topic first before I ask another question. So are there any food products whatsoever that are in… that people would buy at stores that are connected with this at all? Did any companies go through with it?

0:54:02.0 Jose Trasancos: There are some, and some, they sell their products here, but they’re manufactured elsewhere. Ajinomoto uses these flavor enhancers in a number of their products. And I think in part because it allows them to enhance the saltiness of a lot of their products without high sodium content.

0:54:22.1 Colleen: And you have a list of that on your website, I believe. Some of the foods…

0:54:25.5 Jose Trasancos: Yes.

0:54:28.8 Colleen: Okay. I can always link that in the description for our viewers as well, so they can go and look at individual products.

0:54:33.0 Jose Trasancos: Right. And Cadbury Adams, Nestle’s refrigerated coffee creamers are also on that list. But if you approach Nestle with it, they say we’ve never done anything like that. It’s like, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t match up what’s been written down in the past.

And Nestle has kind of a checkered history associated with the exploitation of the killed unborn. And time permitting, we can probably touch on that in the development of infant formula for neonates. Neonatal infant formula. What they did to develop that was horrifying. With aborted children, these children were delivered live. And what they were measuring was the transfer of amino acids through the umbilical cord to develop, ultimately, neonatal infant formula. And the nature of the testing resulted in the death of every single one of the children that were involved. And this is infant formula that was developed on the backs of murdered and exploited children.

0:55:57.2 Colleen: Wow.

0:56:00.0 Jose Trasancos: Yeah. And Nestle funded a lot of that. So I can understand them being a little hand shy because, I mean, it’s not widely known that they did this, but the people that know won’t let them forget.

0:56:12.7 Colleen: I think most of these topics are kind of generally known, but not widely known among most groups. And when they are known, there’s misinformation going on. Like with the article from the priest that was listing things that weren’t connected with it at all. There’s so much misinformation floating around.

0:56:27.7 Jose Trasancos: Yeah, and at some point you have to wonder about what motivates that sort of thing. Because while some of this information is not easily discoverable, you can look at a source like Wikipedia and look at a date and say 1877 is way before 1977 and be done with it.

But you’re right. I think the common person today has a very limited, if any, idea that aborted fetal tissue is used in producing medications or is used in this kind of human developmental research.

There’s a project right now called the Human Cell Atlas, and they’re trying to understand, among other things, when human cells start to differentiate. That’s one of the things that makes stem cells, on one hand, so interesting and potentially dangerous because stem cells, they start out life not being much of anything other than a human cell. And something happens, and this stem cell over here says, I’m gonna be a brain cell or I’m gonna be a neuron. And they develop along those paths, and that happens in generally the same way for every single human being that’s ever been born or ever will be born. So, this project gets at trying to understand human development from that point of differentiation and the growth of the organism to birth. And if you think about what happens in nine relatively short months (I know an expectant mother isn’t going to agree with that!) but what happens in nine months is nothing short of miraculous. Where you go from zygote to a fully formed human being with all of the parts that are working in concert and everything, and it’s really, it’s an extraordinary thing! And the rate of development is rapid. And they’re trying to understand that.

Among the benefits that they say associated with this fetal cell atlas is that they’ll be able to identify and cure virtually all pediatric diseases. Which sounds more than a little too ambitious, but yeah. But how are they going to do that? They need fetal tissue at every point along that developmental line. And some of it undoubtedly will be, the source will be aborted fetal tissue.

0:59:20.8 Colleen: Can I go back for a moment to what you were saying about Nestle’s formula? Is any of that on the market today?

0:59:26.3 Jose Trasancos: The neonatal formula?

0:59:29.7 Colleen: Yeah.

0:59:30.5 Jose Trasancos: Yes, it is.

0:59:31.9 Colleen: I just was curious. It was something that occurred to me as you were talking that I didn’t, I wouldn’t ask about that, so that’s good to be aware of. So anyway, sorry!

0:59:40.3 Jose Trasancos: Yes. Yeah. And when people start to learn about that, I think they get angry and I think that anger is justifiable.

0:59:52.1 Colleen: Yeah. ‘Cause you’re killing children to help other children. And that is just so… like you said, it’s the irony. It’s not like killing children to help other people is ever good either. But there’s just something really that jumps out to you with that…

1:00:12.2 Jose Trasancos: That is the murder and the exploitation of the unwanted children for the benefit of the other ones, the ones that are wanted.



1:00:20.3 Colleen: Can we go into the last… so we talked about vaccines, we talked about the food element of it. Can you talk a little bit about cosmetics? Like I said, we did an e-book on the whole subject, which I’ll link for our viewers if they’re interested in learning more about it. But can you talk a little bit about the use of aborted fetal tissue in cosmetics and what’s going on there?

1:00:47.0 Jose Trasancos: It’s very difficult to know for sure.

1:00:49.1 Colleen: Okay. Why?

1:00:50.2 Jose Trasancos: Because that’s relatively unregulated. So to the extent that we know anything it’s because the manufacturers themselves tell us.

And there’s a company in particular called Neocutis that is kind of the Senomyx of the cosmetics world. Where they make no bones about it. They openly disclose it on one hand. It’s kinda sad that people think that’s no big deal. On the other hand, I appreciate their honesty because are there other people that are using fetal tissue in ways that we don’t know about? Yes, absolutely. Because you’re not compelled to tell us and they’re not gonna tell us because they expect it to be bad for business.

1:01:36.2 Colleen: Is it unregulated? Like, I’m guessing that what happens with drugs and medication that you said you can find it, and with food, is that’s all regulated because of like the Food and Drug Administration or the science along those lines, but then cosmetics aren’t regulated. Is that why they aren’t obliged to tell us?

1:01:52.1 Jose Trasancos: That’s essentially correct. It’s to the degree that they’re regulated. And the FDA does keep tabs on, generally speaking, cosmetics and personal healthcare products. But not to the degree that they look at medications. Those are two entirely different things. So what they’re interested in is content of prohibited materials, safety, is the labeling correct, those sorts of things. In terms of how you made this hand cream, exactly: “Please, we’re busy enough. Don’t bother us with that.” So it’s not quite the wild wild West, but it’s much more the wild, wild West than medicines certainly are.

And Neocutis uses proteins that were ultimately sourced from an aborted fetus in a number of their, what do they call them? Age-defying creams and that sort of thing, wrinkle creams, and for skin repair and to improve somebody’s youth or to create a youthful appearance. Because human cells taught them something, I guess.

That’s what makes these aborted and exploited children valuable to medical science and commerce. It’s their very humanity. Now, for all of the people that say, what are you worried about? It’s just a clump of cells. No, you can’t own both sides of the argument. The only reason they’re used is because they’re human. So that argument is over. And if you ask a microbiologist that question, why are fetal cell lines so important? That is the answer that he will give you. It may not be quite that clear, but it all comes down to they’re human; their very humanity is why they’re important to their work.

1:04:20.7 Colleen: Such a big issue that there’s so much to unpack in it. I might actually split this episode into two because there’s so much here, but it’s so… there’s so much to unpack.

1:04:32.0 Jose Trasancos: You know, if the answer’s like, “Well, if we exploited aborted child to give you this medicine that’ll make you feel better or live longer, I would say I don’t need that. I don’t wanna live longer if that’s what it takes. So “can you do it” should not be the question. It’s, “should you do it.”


Fetal Cell Line Alternatives

1:04:51.2 Colleen: Are there ethical alternatives to this in general in the medical field, or are we kind of reaching a point where this is so ingrained in this “science,” that it’s gonna be hard to… Is there a way to develop these types of like the viral vaccines or other types of medicines that don’t involve using aborted fetal cells?

1:05:14.3 Jose Trasancos: Absolutely. All of the COVID vaccines that are approved for use are ethically tainted. But if you look at vaccines that are available elsewhere in the world, there are a great many of them that did not use aborted fetal cell lines.

Yeah, and there are other cell lines that have generally the same expression characteristics. Now remember, that’s what cells do. And some of the proteins that are produced within the cell are called antibodies. They’re proteins. And non-human primate cells like Vero, the Vero cell line is African green monkey. The expression characteristics of those cells have been modified to a point where they very, very closely mimic the behavior of human cells. There are insect cell lines. There are caterpillar cell lines that have very, very similar expression characteristics. They are often used.

There are adult cell lines, or adult cell strains that have the same, almost the same level of utility, but they’re argued against because they say, “Oh, oftentimes they’re infected by, they have these legacy infection fingerprints.” It’s like, “A person’s been sick, there’s something in the cell chemistry that reflects that sickness and that could mask its reactivity to what we’re doing.” But fact of the matter is, is there are many, many alternatives to aborted fetal cell lines in developing virtually everything.

Now, the exception to that is things like the Human Cell Atlas, where if you’re going to study how organs differentiate, you’re going to need those cells. And they’re gonna have to come from a human being. So that’s one of those, do we really wanna answer that question or not?

1:07:18.5 Colleen: Not.

1:07:20.0 Jose Trasancos: Yeah, to me it’s clear. It’s like, I’m okay never knowing that if what it takes to know that is that horrid.

1:07:27.4 Colleen: Yeah, so true.

1:07:29.6 Jose Trasancos: I’m okay with never knowing that.


How Do We Effect Change?

1:07:31.1 Colleen: So what should our listeners do from here going forward? Do you have any suggestions for them about how… like I know that they can petition vaccine companies to try to make ethical versions of vaccines. What suggestions do you have for listeners after learning all of this?

1:07:47.7 Jose Trasancos: I’ve been giving this some thought for a while because this is one of these “knowledge without application, really is it worth a whole lot?” kind of questions.

And I think the pro-life community in general, I think we can have the most significant impact in the shortest amount of time by ignoring what’s in our medicine cabinets for the moment and thinking about what can increase awareness in a broad way. And the piece of legislation that we were working with Senator Bob Hall on in Texas last year, I think is a really, really good way to do that. Now, we worked with our state legislators for a reason. And I’m sure your listeners, and I’m sure you as well, you’ve seen California Proposition 65 warnings on things in your house? Yeah? Because it’s on everything, it’s on everything.

1:08:53.3 Colleen: “In California, this causes cancer.”

1:08:57.1 Jose Trasancos: Yeah. And they’re on pillow cases and it’s like, really? But that was a state law that affected everybody. And if we take the same approach, and we get this passed, we get a law that requires the labeling of products that anywhere along the value chain used aborted fetal tissue or fetal cell lines or fetal material in any way, shape or form, anywhere along the value chain, from just kind of proof of concept to stuff on the loading dock. If that has to be disclosed at the point of sale, then I think we can change things.

1:09:47.5 Colleen: Yeah. ‘Cause then people won’t buy it and then it’s automatically boycotted.

1:09:51.9 Jose Trasancos: Right. And there have been other approaches that have been suggested like this. It’s called the Human Cell Product Labeling Act. And that’s been introduced and actually hasn’t made it to the floor in most cases, but sometimes it’s been voted down. And there’s model language for that legislation.

And it would be better than nothing, but maybe not much better than nothing because it’s human cells. There are lots of cell lines that originated from adult donors that gave consent. And there’s nothing wrong with that. So, I really don’t need to know if whatever medicine I’m about to take, there was an adult human cell line involved, I don’t care. There’s no ethical problem with that.

And it wouldn’t be point of sale. I think if you’re looking at a product in the store and you’re looking at the label and this is like, “You know what, now I’m gonna put this one back and this one right next to it is different. I’m gonna buy that one.” You change consumer behavior based on that knowledge.

And Pepsi succumbed to the threat of a boycott in a relatively short period of time with the Senomyx situation. That happened very, very quickly. And it was all grassroots and it was a mom from Florida that said, “I’m gonna make your life miserable until you change.” It worked. So if we focus on dealing with our state level representatives, saying, “Look, we really need something that discloses this sort of thing at the point of sale.”

Because we have cosmetics out there that say, “No animals were harmed by this product.” Okay, why can’t we have “No human beings were harmed”? “No unborn children were harmed”? That seems comparatively like a bunny shot. It should be relatively simple to do. And if we focus on something like that generates a great deal of awareness in a relatively short period of time, people standing in the pharmacy or standing in the grocery store or standing wherever, they will have that information available before they make a purchase decision. We can make a difference very, very quickly.

1:12:23.4 Colleen: And not only will the companies that are using these products lose sales, the products that are doing things well will have a boost in sales. So it’ll be like a plus to them for doing things right. And then you’ll be able to hopefully stop the use of it in products for the other companies.

1:12:37.9 Jose Trasancos: Exactly. It’ll change behavior and those alternatives that we talked about just a few minutes ago, they’ll start using them.

1:12:44.5 Colleen: Well, this has been such an interesting conversation. It’s something that I’ve been coming to learn more about over the past five years or so, and it’s really good to have a source to go to that I know, that you guys are doing the research well and having a very logical approach to it. Not just saying, “Oh, this good product was tested on it by some person and some bad things, so the whole product’s tainted.” You have a very practical and ethical approach from what I can tell to looking at this issue. So thank you for that.

1:13:14.1 Jose Trasancos: As we like to say, it’s the practice, not the product. So it’s the human behavior around the product. And a lot of times we just… I mean, we end up focusing on the wrong things. And, that’s just a part of human nature, I guess, because we want to be able to vent our anger at something. Like that evil corporation. I mean, I’ve worked for corporations. I’m here to tell you, corporations have no feelings. They just don’t. Corporation’s job is to grow and make money. And hopefully… and business ethics has an awful lot to do with that. But we need to focus on the behaviors as opposed to the things.

1:14:11.0 Colleen: And stopping the behavior of using this research in developing products is the first way to start. So, yeah.

1:14:17.7 Jose Trasancos: Yes. And with sufficient awareness, I think that could be largely organic.

1:14:24.9 Colleen: Yeah. Like you said, we have the products that say no animals were harmed. We need to be able to, as pro-lifers, ask for those kinds of products to be labeled as well.

1:14:35.1 Jose Trasancos: Yes. “No aborted children were exploited” or something along those lines. I really think that we should put our efforts into something like that. Because the focus… and again, it’s perfectly understandable. I’m not trying to be critical of anybody and how they approach this sort of thing, because I’ve asked those questions of myself. I just go get the answers myself.

But we tend to be focused on what’s in our medicine cabinet. What do I throw away and what do I keep? Okay, when you’re done with that, your medicine cabinet is half empty, but the problem is still there. And the problem…

There are alternatives. There are alternatives. There are people working on alternatives every single day. Interestingly, we talked to… my wife and I had a conference call with a pharmacologist, PhD in pharmacology. And we asked her that question. Well, it seems unnecessary. Why is it so prevalent? And she said, your average researcher is lazy. They do it because it’s an accepted standard. If you do it that way, no one’s going to question it. So it’s the easy button. It’s the easy way out. That’s the way we’ve always done it. All those things that are just kind of excuses.

1:16:07.8 Colleen: Well, thank you so much for this conversation today. I’m really, really glad that we got to have an episode or possibly two episodes on this topic.

1:16:16.5 Jose Trasancos: There’s a lot of meat on that bone, unfortunately. But, let’s get our heads around it the right way and let’s make a difference.

1:16:26.5 Colleen: Thank you. And to all of our listeners, please like, follow, subscribe. I’ll link the e-book too, if you’re interested in that, for learning more about this topic on the cosmetics angle, and keep on living the culture of life. God bless.

1:16:39.7 Jose Trasancos: Bye, bye. Thank you very much.

1:16:41.0 Colleen: Thank you.


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