Health Care

Trump to End Research Using Fetal Tissue From Aborted Babies

Trump to End Research Using Fetal Tissue From Aborted Babies”

On Wednesday (5 June), the Trump Administration implemented a new policy ending research done by government scientists using fetal tissue.

Dozens of pro-life leaders and House members successfully pressured the FDA and HHS to terminate the contract, but concerns remained over almost $100 million in tax dollars that continued to pay for other research using tissue and organs from aborted babies.

Using this tissue has been instrumental to scientists' understanding and treatment of conditions including cancer and HIV, according to those who conduct such research.

'Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump's administration, ' the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement. Its taxpayer-funded research included a $13 million contract to supply 90 mice injected with aborted baby cells each month.

"The Trump Administration once again has done the right thing in restoring a Culture of Life to our government and responded to requests from Students for Life of America and other pro-life organizations for ethical alternatives in research", she said in a statement.

"The efforts by the administration to impede this work will undermine scientific discovery and the ability to find effective treatments for serious and life-threatening disease", UCSF said.

The ban affects only research being done at labs sponsored by the National Institute of Health and doesn't affect private funding. Going forward, however, the HHS said applications for federal funding will face an ethics review.

In December 2018, the NIH said it was considering allocating $20 million to research possible alternatives to fetal tissue that would be more palatable to anti-abortionists.

"It fits inside the wider context of the president's pro-life agenda since he was sworn into office, So you've seen a consistent pattern of pro-life-focused decisions and policy decisions from the president over the last two and a half years", an official said.

The announcement was applauded by anti-abortion advocates, including Susan B. Anthony's List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who called it a "major pro-life victory". "It is outrageous and disgusting that we have been complicit, through our taxpayer dollars, in the experimentation using baby body parts".

But ongoing research at the National Institutes of Health involving fetal tissue from elective abortion would not be allowed to proceed.

Wednesday's announcement turns on its head an assurance to scientists late a year ago at an invitation-only NIH workshop on fetal tissue research.

While fetal tissue samples used in research can not be from babies specifically aborted for the purposes of providing those samples, undercover videos taken at Planned Parenthood in 2015 that showed Planned Parenthood workers planning to sell aborted babies for profit caused outcry from the pro-life community. "Ending this practice is ethically, scientifically, and morally right, especially as we've learned that fetal remains are not needed for research". "Fetal tissue research is subject to stringent laws and regulations and has been for decades". Giroir told scientists that, at least for grants and contracts for researchers employed by academic and other nongovernmental labs, there would be no interruption in funding, as long as experiments comply with the ethical guidelines of their universities and the federal government, according to a participant.

Critics argue that modern science has alternatives to replace fetal tissue in the laboratory, such as using tissue from infants who undergo heart surgery or stem cells that grow into organ-like clumps in lab dishes.

"Fetal tissue taken from elective abortions has been used in research over many years", NPR's Richard Harris reports.



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