A simple, yet profound, moral rule is German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) Categorical Imperative.

A categorical imperative denotes an absolute, unconditional requirement that must be obeyed in all circumstances. According to Kant, human beings occupy a special place in creation, and morality can be summed up in an imperative, or ultimate commandment of reason, from which all duties and obligations derive.

In Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant wrote:

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Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.

In other words, “Treat others as ends, not means.”

By that categorical moral yardstick, what biotech company Ganogen Inc. is doing is deeply morally offensive, on a par with the medical experiments of Nazi Germany’s Dr. Mengele.


Sarah Zagorski reports for Life News, March 5, 2015, that a Californian biotech company called Ganogen Inc. is bragging about their new research breakthrough — a procedure called Xenotransplantation wherein the organs of aborted human babies are harvested, then transplanted into animals where they can grow and then be made available (i.e., sold) to patients needing organ transplants.

Eugene Gu
Eugene Gu

Ganaogen’s co-founder and CEO Eugene Gu said, “Our long-term goal is to grow human organs in animals, to end the human donor shortage” because, as Ganogen’s website asks, “Would you accept an organ from a pig, cow, baboon or a chimpanzee to save your child’s life, or your own?”

Note: Gu received his B.S. in Biology with Honors from Stanford University in 2008 and is currently a 4th year medical student at Duke University School of Medicine.

The xenotransplantation procedure is described by a CBS news report:

The researchers transplanted the fetal kidneys into adult rats that lacked an immune system (so as to avoid tissue rejection), and connected the animals’ blood vessels to the organs using a challenging procedure that involved tiny stitches, about three to four times smaller than the width of a human hair.

One of the main reasons that previous attempts to transplant fetal organs into animals have failed is due to a difference in the blood pressure between human fetuses and adult animals. In most adult animals, including rats, the average blood pressure is about three times higher than it is in human fetuses. If a fetal organ is transplanted without adjusting the pressure, “the organ basically hemorrhages everywhere,” Gu said.

To get around that problem, Gu’s team developed a device, called an arterial flow regulator, which they fitted around the rats’ blood vessels to decrease the pressure of the blood flowing into the fetal kidneys.

About a month after the researchers transplanted the fetal kidneys into the rats, the scientists surgically removed the animals’ own kidneys. The rats that received the transplanted kidneys survived an average of four months after transplant, and one even survived for 10 months, Gu said. By comparison, a control group of rats that did not receive a transplanted kidney lived for only three to four days after having their kidneys removed, the researchers said.

Not only is what Ganogen doing disrespectful to aborted human life, treating the aborted babies as means, the procedure is also Animal Cruelty in the name of science.

Natural News warns that if the process proves to be successful on a larger scale, “it forebodes a future in which aborted human babies become a commercial commodity for companies to capitalize on artificial organ development.”

But Gu insists he doesn’t encourage abortions, but if the organs “are available, it is better to use them to save somebody’s life rather than throw them into the trash bin.” However, in a new video about the procedure, Ganogen Inc.promotes their findings and glosses over the fact that the organs come from aborted babies. 

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan from Langone Medical Center in New York also aired his concerns about the procedure. He said, “American society is morally uncomfortable enough about abortion that growing organs from fetal remains will never be accepted, and will be banned in state after state.”

Jim Sedlak, spokesman for the American Life League, called the transplant program “totally immoral” and “another outlandish use of aborted babies to produce results that humans think are good. We are totally opposed to any use of aborted cells from human beings to grow organs or for any other purpose. Someone died in order for these organs to be grown.”

We cringe when we read about the Chinese making “medicinal” pills from aborted babies. But how is what Ganogen doing any better?

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Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.