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On Fronteras: Fetal Tissue Research For Premies Ignites Debate

Fetal tissue research at University of New Mexico Hospital is focused on new treatments for premature babies.

  This week on Fronteras:   

·        A look at the moral issues raised when women donate tissue for medical research after having abortions.

·        How fetal tissue research is used in the care of premature babies.

·        A Texas tornado survivor’s home is torn down by mistake.

·        Telling the story of people on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in the new film, Transpecos.

·        3-D printers are transforming border libraries.

Congress Investigates Abortion Providers and Fetal Tissue Research

A U.S. House committee is gathering information on the medical practices of abortion service providers and the business practices of procurement organizations that sell fetal tissue.

Bioethical questions around the use of fetal tissue in research have been central to an investigation by the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. Opponents say it’s all political theater aimed at adopting abortion restrictions like those already in place in Texas.

Now the debate is unfolding in New Mexico, as an Albuquerque abortion clinic and researchers respond to the panel’s queries. Here’s the first of a two-part report by KUNM’s Marisa Demarco.

Here's the story

Fetal Tissue Research and The Care of Premature Infants

Some scientists believe that in order to help babies that are born too early, you have to do research that relies on fetal tissue.  Many abortion opponents are opposed to that.   KUNM’s Marisa Demarco visited the University of New Mexico Hospital to find out how fetal tissue is used there.  Here’s the second part of her report.

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Texas Tornado Survivor’s Home Demolished By Mistake

You might remember Lindsay Diaz of Rowlett, a young mother whose home was nearly destroyed by Christmas weekend tornadoes.  She had just applied for a builders permit to repair her duplex when later that same day, her house was demolished-by mistake.

KERA’s Courtney Collins updates Diaz’ struggle to recover.

Here’s the story

Film Tells Stories of Border Agents and Immigrants

Credit Nathan Cone / TPR
Greg Kwedar and Clint Bentley, director and producer of "Transpecos."

The isolation, loneliness, and danger of working for the U.S. Border Patrol are explored in the tense drama, Transpecos.  It premiered—and won an Audience Award—last month at Austin’s South-By-Southwest Film Festival.  

In the thriller, three agents at a remote station in the Chihuahuan desert find themselves in hot water when a traffic stop goes bad and one of the agents turns out to be someone unexpected.

The producer and director of Transpecos, Clint Bentley and Greg Kwedar, spent time understanding the lives of people crossing the border and the agents who work there.  They spoke with Texas Public Radio’s Nathan Cone about what they learned. 

Transpecos screens this month at the Dallas International Film Festival and the Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Extended interview with Greg Kwedar and Clint Bentley.

Border Libraries Get Hi-Tech 3D Printers

In rural areas near the border, funding to buy computers and software for schools is often scarce.  But here’s something that’s transforming a lot of public libraries in Texas and Arizona—3D printers.   Marfa Public Radio’s Lorne Matalon reports the 3D printers come courtesy of new federal and state grants specifically targeting border libraries.

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Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.