Trump Administration Ends Funding for Research Using Body Parts of Aborted Babies

Trump-and-Ultrasound
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The Trump administration announced Wednesday the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will no longer provide taxpayer funding for research in its programs that uses human fetal tissue derived from the body parts of aborted babies.

In addition to ending research at National Institutes of Health (NIH) with fetal tissue from elective abortions, HHS said the agency will be applying a rigorous review protocol as well as it considers funding for research outside of its department.

“The Trump Administration has taken this important step toward stopping the barbaric practice of using the body parts of aborted babies for research,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said. “Not only is the practice unethical, it is ineffective: fetal tissue, including fetal organs like liver and thymus, have not produced a single clinical treatment.”

In keeping with its policy, the Trump administration said it would not renew an existing $13 million contract with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) that allowed for the transfer of bone marrow, livers, and thymuses of aborted babies in order to create mice with humanized immune systems for research.

HHS noted it has been extending the UCSF contract in 90-day increments while conducting an audit and review of all HHS research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions. The current extension expires Wednesday, and no further extensions will be implemented, the department said.

In December, the administration announced it would be spending $20 million on research opportunities that will help create and develop human tissue models that do not rely on the use of aborted fetal tissue.

“The fact is aborted fetal tissue hasn’t been used to create the cure of a single disease,” said Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president, adding:

However, tax dollars have been contributing to an industry that fosters the trafficking of body parts from aborted babies. 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.

Dr. David Prentice, vice president and research director at Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the Trump administration’s announcement shows NIH is invested in research methods that have already been proven:

Adult stem cells, iPS cells, organoids, humanized mice constructed using postnatally sourced cells and improved non-human cell lines—just to name a few. All of these have been used in the production of treatments, vaccines and medicines currently on the market; the key is that our government will now invest in effective research methods that do not rely on the destruction of human life.

Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-life Ob-Gyns, said her organization applauds cutting off taxpayer funds to the abortion industry.

The protection and care of human life by physicians and researchers must exist at all stages of life from conception to natural death,” she said in a statement. “Today’s decision by the Trump administration is another clear example of the administration’s consistent protection of human life, regardless of location or age. The scientific reality is that a new human being is present in the womb of a pregnant mother.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said the announcement is another demonstration of the Trump administration’s vision of “restoring a Culture of Life to our government.”

“We’ve known for quite a while that Planned Parenthood in particular had created a macabre subculture, trafficking in infant body parts,” she said. “Ending this practice is ethically, scientifically, and morally right, especially as we’ve learned that fetal remains are not needed for research.”

In September 2018, HHS ended a contract between Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after concerns the biomedical company was providing the government with “fresh” aborted baby tissue to engineer humanized mice for drug experimentation.

Pro-life leaders in both government and non-profit organizations, however, asserted that HHS’s termination of the ABR contract was only a “small first step” and “completely inadequate” to achieve a goal of severing American taxpayers’ ties to the abortion industry.

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, observed in a statement that, up until now, American tax dollars have been “creating a marketplace for aborted baby body parts which are then implanted into mice and used for experimentation.”

“This type of research involves the gross violation of basic human rights and certainly the government has no business funding it,” she said.

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