Rick Santorum: I wouldn’t participate in ‘morally suspect’ fetal organ research (video)

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August 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Most of the 2016 Republican hopefuls have been silent – at least publicly – about Dr. Ben Carson's participation in a 1992 study that used fetal tissue taken from aborted babies. But when asked, Rick Santorum said publicly that he would not take part in any research that is "morally suspect."

Dr. Carson published a paper in the November 1992 Human Pathology Journal detailing his use of cells "obtained from two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation."

Carson clarified that he did not handle the cells himself, but strongly defended medical experimentation using aborted fetal tissue.

"Just because they get the fetal tissue [by abortion], does it mean they should throw it out? Of course they don’t." he said. "To not use the tissue that is in a tissue bank, regardless of where it comes from, would be foolish. Why would anybody not do that?"

"That’s how science is advanced," Dr. Carson said.

Santorum, who is staunchly pro-life, told Chris Cuomo of CNN's New Day program that embryonic stem cell research had failed to live up to its potential.

"Most of that research has gone to dead-ends," he said – an assessment he shares with Dr. Carson.

“Even before that," Santorum said, "the morally suspect nature of how that tissue is gathered to me would say that you simply shouldn’t participate in that kind of research.”

His words align with the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which wrote that medical professionals have the "duty to refuse to use such 'biological material' even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed…the abortion."

"This duty springs from the necessity to remove oneself, within the area of one’s own research, from a gravely unjust legal situation and to affirm with clarity the value of human life." (Emphases in original.)

Cuomo cited a poll showing that, despite sometimes conflicting statements from the candidate and his campaign about when life begins, Dr. Ben Carson is the most trusted candidate on abortion.

Sen. Santorum said that when Republican primary voters "start to see some of these cracks" in Carson's abortion position, "I think it may show whether the person is really someone who’s going to take on an issue and be strong on it when they get into the very difficult position of being president of the United States."

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Carson currently ranks in second place in the latest poll of Republican presidential hopefuls, behind Donald Trump and well ahead of Jeb Bush.

Santorum, on the other hand, polls near the bottom of the 17-candidate field, despite the steadfast support of social conservative champion Foster Friess.

Friess was the former Pennsylvania senator's chief backer during the 2012 Republican primaries, when Santorum won in 11 states.

"A leader is a person who can take people where they need to be, but don't want to be. I believe Rick has demonstrated that," Friess explained on Fox Business Network. "He sticks to his principles…He loves America and he wants the best for America."

When asked whom he would support for president if Santorum left the race, Friess responded, "My wife."