Forbes v. Napolitano (2000) was a US court case that established that Arizona researchers could use fetal tissues from induced abortions for basic scientific research, for instance, as a source of stem cells. The case challenged the constitutionality of the Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 36-2303 in the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals, a law that banned researchers from using fetal tissues from abortions for any type of medical experimentation or investigation. The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals decision in Forbes v. Napolitano set a precedent in Arizona that allowed researchers and physicians to use tissues from aborted fetuses for medical research and treatments. Arizona later passed a state law in 2016 that sought to make obsolete the decision reached in Forbes v. Napolitano by revising ARS 36-2303 to avoid the problems the court had found with it.
From 1958 to 1961, Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead in the US developed a way in the laboratory to cultivate strains of human cells with complete sets of chromosomes. Previously, scientists could not sustain cell cultures with cells that had two complete sets of chromosomes like normal human cells (diploid). As a result, scientists struggled to study human cell biology because there was not a reliable source of cells that represented diploid human cells. In their experiments, Hayflick and Moorhead created lasting strains of human cells that retained both complete sets of chromosomes. They then froze samples from the cultures so that the cells remained viable for future research. They also noted that cells could divide only a certain number of times before they degraded and died, a phenomenon later called the Hayflick limit. Hayflick and Moorhead’s experiment enabled research on developmental biology and vaccines that relied on human cell strains.