Testing AIDS Drugs on Unwitting Foster Children

On May 4 AP reporter John Solomon reported the unthinkable.AIDS drugs
had been tested on foster care children in Illinois, NewYork, Maryland,
and Texas during the 1990’s.The National Institutes of Health, which is a federal agency under the jurisdiction of the Health and Human services department, allowed states to decide if they wanted to take foster children who were H.I.V. positive and perform an experiment with them. The way the experiment worked was as follows, drugs that weren’t yet considered safe enough for the general H.I.V. positive population were used on these kids. If the kids H.I.V. levels went down after taking the drugs, then they could then sell the drugs to the general population and take credit for healing sick kids. If the children died during the experiments, since they were H.I.V. positive before the experiments were performed, the deaths could either be written off as the H.I.V.naturally progressing to A.I.D.S., “Blood poisoning”, “Pneumonia”, or numerous other explanations, which won’t legally hold the Doctors accountable. While poor kids of all races were used in the
experiments, a disproportionate number of the kids were either African-American or Latino.

After this story was reported on May 4 by John Solomon my hometown paper “The Chicago Sun Times”, also picked up the story. The Sun Times however omitted a very important fact that Ap reported.The name of the Doctor here in Chicago who performed these experiments was Ram Yogev.Ap also put a picture of Yogev’s face on the front page of article.Ap also reported it was Children’s memorial hospital in Chicago that performed the experiments or in politically correct jargon the studies.The fact that the Suntimes omitted Yogev’s name and picture from their reprint of the Ap story, to me is another example of journalists repressing important facts.

While I was angry that Texas, while George W.Bush was Governor, along with my home state of Illinois participated in these atrocities against children, I was even more disappointed to discover that the state of Maryland, also participated, under the supervision of Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Bobby Kennedy’s daughter. As someone who admires Bobby Kennedy, that cut like a knife. I also, was enraged to discover that the National Institutes of Health is under the jurisdiction of the Health and Human Services department. Meaning the federal government officials who gave the states permission to do this were Clinton administration apointees. So I wrote the following letter to the editor to the Chicago Sun Times.The Sun Times won’t run it, but here’s what I said.

I am responding to your May 5 article, “U.S. tested AIDS drugs on 200 ILL foster children.” What makes these facts so disturbing, is that by picking the most vulnerable members of society to use in tests, the Doctors, the National Institutes of Health, and everyone else involved in these tests decided the lives of poor foster kids were worth risking-if it could lead to medical advances for the general population. Since an untested drug can be a miracle cure or can have unthinkable side effects, medical researchers, in sane societies, don’t use human subjects. I think it’s important to remember that it is normally Guinea Pigs and rats not human children who have drugs tested on them. If an untested drug after being tried on a Guinea Pig or laboratory rat has a positive outcome, then the rat or Guinea Pig becomes healthier and the drug is then sold to humans for profit.

If the drug has a negative side effect, animal researchers comfort themselves with the fact that only an animal was harmed in the experiment. Which of course means that the elites of the medical profession, DCFS caseworkers, and the National Institutes of health, are so elitist that they see no difference between the life of a foster child and that of an animal.Also as someone who feels racism is wrong, I find it disturbing that a large number of the kids used in these tests were minority children. While I do not believe our free and Democratic society is the same as a Nazi Germany. It is a fact that in Nazi Germany Jewish children and Gentile children, who happened to have Physical and mental disabilities, were subjected to medical experiments by the infamous Dr.Mengle.

Here in the U.S. H.I.V. positive foster children who are African-American, Latino, or white but poor, are also used in experiments. Any similarity between our free and democratic society and Nazi Germany should frighten all decent people. Apologists for these experiments will of course point to the cases where children got better after being given the drugs. Illinois officials are already exercising spin control by pointing out that their decision to enroll foster kids has brought about a decline in deaths in some cases.However despite those positive instances in other cases testing drugs on foster kids led to an increase in deaths. In some studies there was a decline of infection fighting blood cells and a higher death rate among kids who had the drugs given to them. Since most A.I.D.S.’s deaths are classified as “Pneumonia”, ” Blood Infection”, e.t.c. It may not be possible to legally prove that some of these studies killed children. But nonetheless it’s commonsense that if an H.I.V. positive child after being given an experimental drug sees a drop in infection fighting cells, develops A.I.D.S, and dies, the drug helped kill the kid.

Despite his talk about “A culture of life”, Texas while George W.Bush was Governor was one of the states, besides Illinois, that willingly participated in this horrific conduct. I think President Bush should explain why he allowed this to occur in Texas back when he was Governor, since he has made it clear he wants to be a leader in the area of respect for human life.I also found it to be disappointing that the National Institutes of Health, is under the jurisdiction of the Health and Human services department. Health and Human services is of course a federal agency. Since the studies occurred back in the 1990’s, it was Clinton administration officials, not Republicans, who allowed the states to do this to foster children. I am a loyal Democrat who feels betrayed. I always supported the Democrats, because I believed they had the best interest of poor people, minorities, and children at heart. And then they along with Republican officials participate in something like this. I would expect more from an administration who’s leader claimed to be “America’s first black

Also besides being First lady, Hillary Clinton also played a role in shaping administration policy, especially policies pertaining to children. She had made it clear she wanted to be an advocate for children like Eleanor Roosevelt and use her position as First lady to implement more child friendly policies. So how did this happen under her nose then? I would love an explanation. I also am very upset and disappointed that the state of Maryland, while the late Robert Kennedy’s daughter was Lieutenant Governor, participated in the studies as well. Bobby Kennedy, despite the fact I wasn’t born yet when he ran for President, has always been one of my political heroes. As someone who sees Bobby Kennedy as a last great champion of poor people, minorities, outsiders, and children I am saddened that his daughter would participate in something like this.

In cases where children’s infection fighting blood cells went down after the studies, the Doctors and DCFS officials should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law if the obvious can be legally proven. And even in cases where children got better, the fact the children’s condition improved doesn’t change the fact that these children were treated like laboratory rats by the elites of the medical and social service professions.

ANDREW FREEDMAN can be reached at: andrewfreedman@SBCGlobal.net