NIH to Spend $20M for Alternatives to Aborted Fetal Tissue for Research

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — announced Monday it would be seeking to find and develop human tissue models that do not rely on the use of aborted fetal tissue.

In its announcement, NIH said in the near future it would be seeking grant applications for the development of “models that closely mimic and can be used to faithfully model human embryonic development or other aspects of human biology, for example, the human immune system, that do not rely on the use of human fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions.”

NIH states that while human fetal tissue and embryonic stem cell-derived systems have been used for researching human development and diseases, “new technologies raise the potential of reconstituting these model systems without fetal tissue yielding more replicable and reproducible system for broader uses.”

Republican Reps. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri and Chris Smith of New Jersey praised the Trump administration’s move toward the use of ethical methods for conducting research.

“I’m pleased that the government is moving in the right direction when it comes to ethical research,” Hartzler said. “Using the remains of aborted babies for science experiments is abhorrent. Every human life has intrinsic value and should be treated with dignity, not as a means to an end.”

“NIH has taken an important step by encouraging the development of ethical alternatives to fetal tissue research,” Smith added. “Research that exploits even one unborn child is barbaric and unconscionable. I continue to urge HHS to stop funding research that uses fetal tissue from elective abortions.”

In September, 85 members of Congress sent a letter to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — also an agency of HHS — protesting a $15,900 contract FDA had awarded to Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc., the objective of which was to acquire “fresh human fetal tissue” for the FDA’s ongoing research.

While HHS ultimately terminated the contract with ABR, pro-life leaders said that “small first step” was nevertheless “completely inadequate” to achieve the goal of severing American taxpayers’ ties to the abortion industry.

“So long as HHS trades taxpayer dollars for freshly-aborted baby body parts, the U.S. government is setting its own abortion quotas and sending the message that these children are worth more dead than alive,” said the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) — the group of undercover journalists that exposed Planned Parenthood’s alleged involvement in the trafficking of aborted baby parts for profit in a series of videos.

In November, Hartzler and Smith spearheaded another letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, asking him to immediately stop approving research applications that required aborted fetal tissue.

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