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Dr. Ben Carson: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

August 18, AD2015

baby, prolife, pro-life, family, nfp

With the crowded Republican field, one would assume that someone will surely stand out as the pro-life candidate. After all, most if not all of them have spoken out against abortion. Yet, what appears to be pro-life on the surface doesn’t necessarily make the cut once the details come to light.

Dr. Ben Carson: The Good

One example of such a candidate is Dr. Ben Carson. I’ve had the deepest respect for Dr. Carson for many years. His life story, in movie form, was outstanding. Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story showed him to be a hardworking, virtuous man who was a pioneer in neurosurgery after overcoming enormous obstacles.

Later, I began to read his syndicated columns and was usually impressed by his ability to clearly express his morally sound principles. This soft-spoken man was both a genius and a spokesman of moral convictions.

Enter the 2016 Republican campaign. I was overjoyed to see Dr. Carson listed as a candidate. After all, what better protector of human dignity could there be – if not for the presidency, then certainly as vice-president. His respect for life and lack of racial prejudices made him an admirable prospect. Other views he holds, such as the support of marriage, as defined by God, also make him appealing to Christians.

When asked by an NPR reporter why he doesn’t talk about race that often, Dr. Carson responded, “Because I’m a neurosurgeon. I operate on the thing that makes them who they are – the skin doesn’t make them who they are, the hair doesn’t make them who they are. And it’s time that we move beyond that because our strength lies in unity. We’re not the divided States of America, we’re the United States of America.”

Dr. Ben Carson: The Bad

Unfortunately, there have been some troubling disclosures since the time that I was fully enamored with Dr. Carson. The good thing for those of us who thoroughly research our candidates before giving them support, can be a really bad thing for them. As heartened as I was by his performance in the first Republican debate, these weren’t his first words on some of the major topics.

The first glimmer of doubt came about when a research group found that Dr. Carson’s name had appeared on a medical research paper that used fetal tissue from aborted babies. There was a prompt reply on Dr. Carson’s Facebook page that quelled some of my unease:

I wanted to use our time tonight to directly deal with an attack launched on me today by the left and the media. A couple questions came in on this subject, so I want to address it head on.

Today I was accused by the press as having done research on fetal tissue. It simply is not true. The study they distributed by an anonymous source was done in 1992. The study was about tumors. I won’t bore you with the science. There were four doctors’ names on the study. One was mine. I spent my life studying brain tumors and removing them. My only involvement in this study was supplying tumors that I had removed from my patients. Those tissue samples were compared to other tissue samples under a microscope. Pathologists do this work to gain clues about tumors.

I, nor any of the doctors involved with this study, had anything to do with abortion or what Planned Parenthood has been doing. Research hospitals across the country have microscope slides of all kinds of tissue to compare and contrast. The fetal tissue that was viewed in this study by others was not collected for this study.

I am sickened by the attack that I, after having spent my entire life caring for children, had something to do with aborting a child and harvesting organs. My medical specialty is the human brain and even I am amazed at what it is capable of doing. Please know these attacks are pathetic attempts to blunt our progress.

 

This explanation eased my troubled mind – until the next shoe fell. There’s nothing like your own words to convict you.

In his defense of the use of aborted fetal tissue, Dr. Carson had this to say:

“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?”

and then this . . .

“If it were the only way to do something and there was no other way, there might be an argument. But under these circumstances, there isn’t a legitimate argument.”

Dr. Carson also shows a lack of regard for parental rights. His support of mandatory vaccines demonstrates this fact. The fact that many standard vaccines contain aborted baby cell lines, making them morally repugnant, also doesn’t appear to concern him. Below you have the opportunity to hear him discuss his views, beginning at around the 1:57 mark.

Dr. Ben Carson: The Ugly

As troubling as I find mandatory vaccines to be (perhaps a topic for another day) because they usurp the God-given authority parents have over their children, this last bit of information eliminated Dr. Carson from my list of fitting presidential candidates. In addition, many standard vaccines are derived from aborted fetal stem lines, making them all the more troubling.

In the video below, Dr. Carson shares his support for the abortion pill, RU486, as well as admitting rape and incest exceptions to his purported pro-life position. He further goes on to say something that sounds as if he’s okay with killing an unborn child ‘as long as their heart isn’t beating’ – which would make that child between 18 and 20 days old.

As I lay out my priorities, when it comes to putting support behind a candidate for any political office, abortion and aborted fetal tissue use rises to the top. Other major issues would certainly include parental rights – especially at a time when they are being threatened from many directions. The fact that Dr. Carson agrees with other important, albeit lesser moral issues, falls to the wayside in light of these revelations. My conscience simply doesn’t allow such tradeoff.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  A recent news story brought to light that Dr. Carson has referred women for abortion. Furthermore, his pro-life stance is shown to be a bit muddled when it goes beyond his personal stance.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Birgit is a 50-something cradle Catholic who is passionate about the pro-life movement. She has been married to her Catholic convert husband, Rick, for 40 years. They have four children and nine living grandchildren (all age twelve and under). Their frequent visits eliminate any fear of an empty nest! Birgit can also be found on her personal blog Designs By Birgit and Facebook fan page Designs By Birgit, where she shares the pro-life memes she creates.

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  • Enteajay

    Yes, I’ve also been very disappointed with Dr. Carson the more I’ve read and heard about his positions regarding Life issues. His comments regarding the tragic Terri Schiavo case were also chilling. Now we’ve also learned that contrary to claiming to be a Christian (Seventh Day Adventist) Carson says he doesn’t believe in hell.
    Seems like he’s another cafeteria Christian!

  • Gabriel

    He also said the Terri Schiavo case was “much ado about nothing”. On top of it all, 7th-Day Adventists embrace the cooky notion that the pope is the Anti-Christ

  • Steven Barrett

    Carson and his like-minded stingy Republicans are what Barney Frank had in mind decades ago when said a lot of so-called “prolife pols” are “prolife from the moment of conception until birth.” After that, you and your momma n’ poppa are alone, kiddo. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2015/09/08/ben-carsons-claim-that-we-have-10-times-people-more-people-on-welfare/ When the Ben Carsons start taking on the real welfare queens like Stephen Fincher (R-Frog Jump, TN) a Tea Party Congressman who, while on the House AgCmte voted to keep receiving food subsidy payments at the same time he was voting to cut SNAP and other safety net programs. But he’s a good Christian ol’ boy as his participation in a family traveling gospel troupe would suggest.

  • Stilbelieve

    I found your describing the issues discussed such as vaccines and parental rights to be bit distorted. As Ben said, there are all kinds of peoples rights but when it comes to public safety such as automobile security belts he supports public safety. As for vaccines, there are various reasons for them, some are for minor concerns, others major diseases. He supports the protection of others from the major diseases as they have proven to do. As a parent of 5 children, I support his position.

    Ben’s position on using existing tissues for experiments is what George
    W. Bush’s position was on stem cell experimentation; existing stem
    cells only; no other gathering of new stem cells.

    As for the “ugly,” he is recognizing in those tragic situations of rape and incest there is a brief period of time to try to do something that takes into consideration the various moral issues. He is open to hashing it all out, looking at all sides instead of refusing to consider all the possibilities. You know what his answer is similar to – the U.S. Catholic Church’s “consistent ethic of life” teaching in considering which political party or candidate to endorse with your name and support.

    Ben is still on my top 5 list.

  • “The fact that many standard vaccines contain aborted baby cell lines, making them morally repugnant, also doesn’t appear to concern him. ” I also do not like Carson, but for different reasons. But, let’s tell it straight and clearly and not in a way that a way that allows people not to draw false conclusions about vaccines. Vaccines DO NOT contain fetal tissue. Thoughts from a Scientist who is a Christian.

    http://www.drwile.com/lnkpages/render.asp?vac_abortion

    http://www.drwalt.com/blog/2008/07/09/vaccine-myth-13-vaccinations-are-made-from-aborted-babies/

    Vaccines from descendent fetal cell lines? The Catholic Church’s position? It’s OK to vaccinate and one should for the greater good!.

    From the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

    http://www.ncbcenter.org/page.aspx?pid=128
    It’s always important to tell the whole truth … not just sensationalize bits of memes!

    Me? I’m with Bernie Sanders….

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Phil, I didn’t state that the vaccines in question contain fetal tissue. I said that they contain fetal cell lines. A quick review of their package insert will show that to anyone who looks.

      Description Section 11. “The product also contains residual components of MRC-5 cells including DNA and protein”https://www.merck.com/…/pi…/v/varivax/varivax_pi.pdf

      As far as the position of the Church, theologists have come down both in favor of abstaining from the vaccines and administering them. This falls under freedom of each Catholic using discernment and a fully formed conscience. Since the article is mine, I made the decision of abstaining for religious grounds – which was accepted by my son’s school.

    • And then, you choose to put the lives of others at risk. I as a former high school principal of 30 years have never supported religious exemptions from vaccinations. I am happy the loopholes are beginning to be closed. That is only MY opinion. ….for the greater good!

    • BiologyBrain

      Some parents suffered severe consequences from our vaccines while we were children. Some of the reasons for our negative reaction to the vaccines are known, but others are only speculated. Are we not allowed to prevent those same drastic and quite possibly fatal consequences from befalling our own children? In your high school, we would have to play Russian Roulette with our children because you don’t allow exemptions… Many of the diseases that we vaccinate against are either not present (or only very rarely) in our population or not serious if contracted. However, I have individuals like you and the government trying to force me to potentially harm my children just in case someone else *may* one day eventually pass on a rare non-serious disease through my child.

      I have a degree in molecular biology with an emphasis in virology and microbiology. I’m not just some nut-job afraid her precious is going to be injured by the big bad needle. I know based on medical facts of my own childhood, my known genetic mutations, the likelihood of passing those mutations to my children, and the odds of them contracting the various non-serious diseases with vaccines. The chances of them suffering serious consequences from the vaccines are higher than the chances of them contracting the diseases. Yet, people like you, the government, doctors who are pressured by the government (and refuse to listen or care about parental rights), would rather risk my children’s lives to theoretically protect hypothetical unvaccinated children. I’m the bad parent of or protecting my children from what I know can harm them because I won’t bow down to your theoretical and hypothetical vaccination wonderland. I also steadfastly refuse to have knowingly inject random human DNA into my children – especially if it was harvested from a murdered unborn child! Yet, somehow, once again, I’m the scary bad parent while you’re just trying to protect hypothetical Johnny and Jenny…

      My doctor won’t listen to my medical or religious reasons to not vaccinate my children due too pressure from control freaks like you. The government keeps coming up with more ‘fatal’ diseases to vaccinate against, except they’re not fatal in most people… Like chicken pox. Heck, some of them aren’t even contagious unless you have sexual contact – HPV. So tell me why my 7 year old boy needs to be vaccinated against chicken pox and the so-called ‘cervical cancer’ viruses? Tell me why him not getting those vaccines somehow makes him more dangerous for his playmates?

    • I am unimpressed with degrees and equally unimpressed with your rant about “murdered unborn children.” I less listen to people who call me a “control freak.”

      http://www.sdiz.org/documents/not-vacc-risks-color-office.pdfhttp://www.sdiz.org/documents/not-vacc-risks-color-office.pdf

    • Robert

      Phil, you are a typical hard-headed Know- I- all who really knows nothing! Also, if you’re “with Bernie sanders,” you are out of the Catholic church-if you claim to be Catholic! Bernie loves to abort babies along with the current “dear leader” and the murderous Hillary. Your ignorance and lack of knowledge (to hell with your teacher’s certificate) on theological matters is disgusting! Vaccines cause autism and the govt is in bed with big pharma for billions! Get off this website!

    • I am sorry that you do not accept civil dialogue. This site, sir, is a public forum and most people (excepting yourself) are quite welcoming and polite. Your dislike of Bernie Sanders is a single issue dislike….most candidates have numerous issues which we reject.
      Autism and vaccines has long been debunked starting with faked research of Andrew Wakefield. Common sense and science lead us to two facts: the surge in autism is quite recent and vaccines predate that surge by many years, autism is a function of hormonal, genetic and environmental factors, coincidence is not causation. Secondly, in locations when anti-vaxxers refused to vaccinate their kids, there were outbreaks and serious illness and death..
      It will take more than a nasty, grouchy, anonymous man to have me leave a website that allows a challenge of conservative ideology in a polite manner (excepting yourself). So angry…

    • Howard

      Yes, that is only your opinion. Why you choose to state it in such an egocentric manner is puzzling. Do you expect anyone reading this to say, “Well, I used to have qualms about mandatory vaccinations, but then I read that the great Phil Dzialo thinks there should be no exceptions, and that convinced me, even though I didn’t know he even existed and still no essentially nothing about him.” Or perhaps you think that as “a former high school principal of 30 years” you are some sort of natural leader to whom the bewildered masses will look for leadership? Sorry, but being a high school principal does not automatically mean you are either a saint or a scholar.

      Stick to your arguments. This is a controversy like that about using Nazi research into hypothermia.

    • “ad hominen” again?

      My argument was quite clear … as a member of the primate species we must act for the greater good of the herd…vaccines are the way we eliminated many diseases…anti-vaxxers are responsible for a resurgence which is not for the greater good.

      https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2015/02/case-mandatory-vaccinations

    • Howard

      No, this is not an ad hominem argument against your position; it is quite the opposite. You are the one who decided to make it about yourself, in the apparent belief that this adds credibility to your position. If you believe your arguments are strong enough to stand on their own, leave off the biographical trivia.

    • “There would seem to be no proper grounds for refusing immunization against dangerous contagious disease, for example, rubella, especially in light of the concern that we should all have for the health of our children, public health, and the common good.” National Catholic Bioethics Center
      http://www.ncbcenter.org/page….

      Clear enough, Howard…

    • Howard

      Yes, and this time free of irrelevant details about your personal life.

      Understand, though, that the position of the National Catholic Bioethics Center is not “the Church’s position” in a definitive sense — unlike, for example, an ecumenical council or a papal encyclical or even a ruling from the CDF. That much is clear from the fact that they are only the National Catholic Bioethics Center. So if you are merely saying that they state your case at greater length than you care to do now, that’s fine, but if you are making an appeal to authority, you are guilty of a fallacy.

    • My personal experience, my research, my knowledge IS as valuable as your sources. You will disagree and I accept that….Your rely on what others tell you, I come to my own conclusions using my intellect. That my position and I would hope for once that you could avoid a snarky response.
      BTW is there a definitive position by the RCC through councils, encyclicals, etc. on the issue of vaccines? So let’s have a reference to what your authority says specifically!

    • Howard

      Your experience as a high school principal may be valuable to you, but it has precisely no relevance to the question about immunizations.

      As for the rest of your comment, you have clearly not been reading what I have written. Instead, you are responding to what you imagine I have written.

    • As we former high school administrators say to those who dismiss our experience so blithely, ….. whatever!

    • Howard

      Suppose I were asked to prove that there is no end to the list of prime numbers. The classic proof is as follows.
      Assume all the prime numbers form a finite set. (For example: {2, 3, 5, 7}.)
      Multiply all the members of that set together and add 1. (Continuing the example, 2x3x5x7+1 = 211.)
      If my set of prime numbers were complete, any counting number whatsoever should be divisible (with no remainder) by at least one number in the set of primes. However, the number just constructed has a remainder of 1 when divided by any of the numbers in the set. This contradiction means that one of my assumptions must be wrong, and my only assumption was that my set of primes was complete.
      Since this works for any finite set, the set of primes cannot be finite.

      Notice that nothing in the proof has anything to do with my background or how “valuable” my experiences may be. My background and experiences are entirely irrelevant to this question.

      Your background as a principal is just as irrelevant to the question of whether or not it is morally imperative that children should be vaccinated. (It might also be worth specifying what exactly they are being injected with, rather than imagining that there is a general answer that does not depend on the details!) It is unfortunate that you do not understand this.

  • were4life

    Rick Santorum is a champion defender of the unborn and authored the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. He will make an excellent president!

    • Oh, is this the same Rick Santorum that said the Pope should butt out of issues on climate control and environmental stewardship?

      http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/dear-rick-santorum-pope-actually-did-study-science

    • Stilbelieve

      Yeah, and he should. The pope is saying, whether he knows it or not, that God didn’t know what he was doing when he created the world and life. Plants depend on the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which we produce when we exhale, to grow. In return, humans and animals need the oxygen the plants release as their by-product. The so-called “greenhouse gases” that they claim are polluting the atmosphere, is carbon dioxide, CO2, not carbon, C. Nursery growers inject CO2 into the air in their greenhouses to make the plants and flowers grow.healthy, in amounts that are 4 to 5 times what is currently found in our atmosphere .

      “All the carbon in fossil fuels we are burning for energy today was once in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide before it was consumed by plankton and plants that have been transformed by heat and pressure deep in the earths’ crust. In other words, fossil fuels are 100 percent organic and were produced with solar energy. Satellite measurements have noticed the ‘greening of the earth’ as crops and forest grow due to our higher levels of CO2. It turns out…we should celebrate CO2 as the giver of life that it is.” (quotes from Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace at Prager University)

    • A very silly response…the Pope’s training was as a scientist…a chemist. You state the obvious when you claim plants need CO2 ….I know this well as I infuse C02 into the medical marijuana I grow for my spastic quad son as it is a life saving plant.
      Fossil fuels emit more than co2….stay in China and you can see nothing but smog, ice caps melt and islands disappear, tropical forests are continuing to be deforested which once we able to concert co2…non-recyclable plastics, disposable diapers, junk heaved into the sea…flouride in water as well as all sorts of benzos, pesticides, herbicides, monsanto….what is it that you fail to see. We are destroying the planet and the Pope is right. I could give you thousands of examples. We are custodians of GAIA and we are altering the climate of the world. You focus on co2…there are thousands of other life destroying pollutants….People say Francis is wrong because of their desire to maintain unbridled capitalism. Produce, dispose, produce, dispose…that has nothing to do with co2.

    • Stilbelieve

      “Silly?”

      “People say Francis is wrong because of their desire to maintain
      unbridled capitalism. Produce, dispose, produce, dispose…that has
      nothing to do with co2.”

      Worst than ignorant. Stupid! Another anti-nuclear energy “degrowther.” I quoted you a leading founder of the environmental movement and you just ignore him. You’re as closed minded as Pope Francis who wouldn’t let any scientist challenging the “climate change” robots in his conference who came up with this encyclical that makes our Church look like fools.

    • Yes silly and at least I am in good company. CO2 is not the single climate change variable.. The encyclical on stewardship of the environment is one of the ONLY thing lately that makes the RCC looks good, along with Evangelli Gaudium…read it. What did I say about anti-nuclear? Nothing! Oh, I forgot did I mention Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant .

  • Dr. Carson was one of my favorites until I learned more about him. He says it is, but there is a lack of actual understanding that the unborn baby is a human life. This weakness leads many to deny that the law should be used to protect them (his view stated in the Politico article Debi linked) as it does routinely with all other human life. This is a confused mind in need of clarification on this issue.

  • Thank you for laying out this information. If I may suggest an addition to your article: Carson endorses torture, a grave intrinsic evil that is always and everywhere evil. And when he endorsed torture, he specifically said that “there should be no rules in war.”

  • Debi Vinnedge
    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Thank you for sharing this link. I have added it as an editor’s note.

  • Mary B

    This is a shameful hit piece. What are you afraid of?

    • Marion (Mael Muire)

      No, it’s not. It’s relentlessly factual. I don’t have to ask what you’re afraid of; I already know.

      The Truth, that’s what. As are all cowards.

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Since this piece uses Dr. Carson’s own words, mostly in video of him speaking from current news shows, I’d be interested to know how you came to that conclusion.

    • What is untrue in the article? Can you explain?

  • Kathy Jones

    Today he said he believes that human life begins at conception, and should be protected. He did however explain his remarks on the abortion pill by saying that “after a rape the use of things like progesterone which prevents ovulation ..and therefore conception could be considered.” I love this man, but do see some areas for concern. We must all pray for God’s candidate to be picked this time….America is in trouble.

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      I’ve heard the argument about progesterone preventing ovulation many times. Since medical science can’t specifically determine the exact time of fertilization – the phase of a woman’s cycle will be unique at each occurrence for each individual, plus the timing of the rape – there’s not enough assurance that the hormone won’t cause a hostile environment for the newly conceived child in her mother’s womb. This would be an abortifacient effect. Add to that, the fact that not every woman will report rape in a timely manner and you have a rather haphazard situation for the baby. RU486 is not a good, pro-life medication.

      I was also troubled by his comment (on a news program, linked in the article) about when the heart starts beating. It sounded an awful lot like he wasn’t truly on board until the baby was 2 or 3 weeks old.

      When I add in his stance on mandatory vaccinations, which supplants the rights of parents, I’m troubled indeed. Like you, I’ve admired this man for many years but I find his own words on these issues to be a huge moral dilemma.

    • Well, progesterone is designed to sustain pregnancy, so if it was taken before ovulation to delay it, it’s doubtful that it would be detrimental to the child if s/he was already conceived by that point.

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      The morning after pill does, indeed, delay ovulation but it can also make the lining of the womb inhospitable to a newly conceived child.

      http://www.whyprolife.com/the-morning-after-pill-can-be-classified-as-an-abortifacient/

    • right, but you just said “progesterone,” not the MAP, so I just wanted to clarify.

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Thanks, for the correction and the link!

  • Debi Vinnedge

    Excellent article and I whole-heartedly agree! I too thought Carson was the best choice at first and like Birgitt, I learned with great sorrow he is far from prolife. Cruzin’ down the road….

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Thank you, Debi. I was blessed to have come across your research on tainted vaccines, derived from aborted fetal cell lines many years ago. Linking to your findings, as I did in this piece, is always a solidly trustuworthy source.

    • Dave

      I supported Carson at first too, and now have turned to Cruz. My main problem with him is that he is all over the map, and that makes it hard to figure out where he will stand. It seems that he knows what his personal beliefs are, but trying to translate that into political positions is leading to some bouncing back and forth. This means that he’s not ready to be President at this time.

    • John Germain

      I feel as you do but I look at Cruz to be a very good VP behind Rubio, a much more stable “common person” candidate. He did save tax payers billions of dollars by putting restraints on Obama Care that would have allowed bailouts of insurance companies failing do to the health care plan.