Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are carrying out ethically questionable research at taxpayer expense on the effects of marijuana on preborn babies. Even worse, we, the taxpayers, paid for this questionable research, to the tune of $642, 018, according to public records at the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
The study is labeled, “Prenatal cannabis use (PCU) and development of offspring brain and behavior during early life (0-18 months)” and is being led by Cynthia Rogers, a professor of psychiatry at the university’s medical school.
The ethical problems are clear, though. The study is going to take pregnant women who are using cannabis during pregnancy and compare them to pregnant women who are not using cannabis. “Pregnant women with a recent history of cannabis use will be selected; women reporting prenatal cannabis use only (PCU, n=200) will be compared with women reporting no prenatal substance use (NPCU, n=200), to evaluate the role of PCU in (Aim 1) birth characteristics (e.g., birthweight) and neonatal neurobehavior (e.g., excitability); (Aim 2) neonatal subcortical morphology and structural and functional connectivity in 150 PCU and 100 sociodemographically matched NPCU infants; (Aim 3) infant social-emotional behavior and temperament at 6, 12 and 18 months of age, as well as mother-infant interactions; and (Aim 4) the extent to which brain structure and connectivity is related to infant behavior during early life.”
So in other words, even though we know that cannabis use can be harmful to babies in utero, we are going to take pregnant women who are using drugs, and see what happens to their babies. Allegedly, this research is needed because of the legalization of marijuana and cannabis and a supposed lack of research into the effects of drugs on babies and women during pregnancy. Yet, the CDC on just one easily accessible page, lists dozens of studies on this topic already, and there is volumes of other research covering this subject.
And let’s not forget that you don’t need to use preborn babies and human subjects in this testing; there are already models of testing that use rats and other animals to study this issue, in an ethical manner. Ongoing research conducted by Students for Life of America has already found several studies, published in 2018, that used rats to test the effects of drugs in utero. For example, a study at Indiana University-Bloomington was able to use rats.
Another study at Washington State University also used rats, to name just two examples.
Students for Life of America is continuing to research this very issue. Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, recently wrote in Fox News about the problems with this type of research.
“The fact that taxpayers are supporting this study should be offensive to all Americans who support the dignity of human life and understand the dangerous road that testing drugs on volunteers without their consent poses.”