Pro-life groups are hailing the Trump administration’s decision to end the federal government’s practice of using tissue from aborted babies for medical research. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will not renew a contract with the University of California, San Francisco, for foetal tissue. The contract effectively ended following an audit and review of all HHS research involving human foetal tissue from abortions. Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins, thanked the president on Twitter, calling the move “the only humane response possible to the abortion industry’s trafficking in infant remains.”
Hawkins said Students for Life and other pro-life groups have been urging the federal government to find ethical alternatives when doing medical research. The administration’s decision means there will be no new acquisitions of foetal tissue from aborted babies for research at the HHS and NIH. However, pre-approved government-sponsored research projects at universities will be allowed to continue through their approved project period. An ethics advisory board will also be set up to review new research grant applications and current research projects in the renewal process that propose using foetal tissue from abortions, to determine whether they should be funded.
The policy change will not affect privately funded research that uses the tissue, organs and limbs of aborted babies. Maureen L. Condic, an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, who conducts research on human stem cells, previously wrote in National Review that a search of the NIH-administered database of clinical trials for the terms “foetal stem cell” returned “only 21 currently funded human trials (only two of which actually involve transplantation of foetal stem cells), compared with 5,072 trials using non-foetal cells. Science has indeed spoken, but not in support of foetal-stem cell research,” Condic asserted.
“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the HHS added in a statement. In March, a student at a Catholic school in Kentucky refused to be vaccinated for chickenpox because it contains “aborted foetal cells.” Because of that decision, the Northern Kentucky Health Department barred him from playing basketball, so he sued the department for violating his right to freedom of religion. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins lauded the administration’s decision, saying, “Aborted foetal tissue hasn’t been used to create the cure of a single disease.”
“There is absolutely no reason to use these grisly remains when ethical and effective alternatives exist including human umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult peripheral blood stem cells,” Perkins added. Amid pressure from pro-life groups, the HHS terminated the FDA’s contract with Advanced Bioscience Resources. The contract with the California-based foetal supply organization, was worth nearly $16,000. The contract was agreed upon on July 25, 2018, for the FDA to acquire “fresh” foetal tissue to transplant into “humanized mice” in order to “create chimeric animals that have a human immune system.”
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