Fact Check: Left-Wing Media Claim Aborted Baby Parts Needed to Cure Coronavirus

An anti-abortion activists picks up plastic unborn fetuses during an event to "beat and hang" Senator Lindsey Graham's, R-SC, effigy for committing "ethical and political treachery against the babies of North Carolina, and the laws of God" on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, July, 29, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo …
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

CLAIM: Left-wing media are claiming a National Institutes of Health (NIH) immunologist cannot find cures for the infection caused by the coronavirus without the body parts of aborted babies.

VERDICT: FALSE

The Washington Post and Vox are two left-wing media outlets that published stories this week claiming that a Montana-based NIH scientist is appealing to the Trump administration to end its ban on federal funds for research that uses fetal tissue from the body parts of aborted babies so he can develop a treatment for the infection caused by the coronavirus.

According to the reports, NIH immunologist Dr. Kim Hasenkrug claims he has been unable to conduct experiments on possible cures for the infection because he cannot obtain aborted fetal tissue.

WaPo stated:

According to several researchers familiar with the situation, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity about the sensitive internal dispute, such experiments could be particularly fruitful. Just months ago, before the new coronavirus began to infect people around the world, other U.S. scientists made two highly relevant discoveries. They found that specialized mice could be transplanted with human fetal tissue that develops into lungs — the part of the body the new coronavirus invades. These “humanized mice,” they also found, could then be infected with coronaviruses — to which ordinary mice are not susceptible — closely related to the one that causes the new disease, covid-19.

However, the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the claim is coming from those who are “shamelessly exploiting the coronavirus pandemic, playing on people’s fears at a vulnerable time so that a select few can continue to use aborted fetal tissue in their research.”

CLI continued:

The fact is there are modern, successful alternatives available. Already, over 60 potential treatments are under investigation – none of which need aborted fetal tissue to fight coronavirus. Instead of wasting precious time listening to these dishonest claims, we should continue to focus our attention on successful, ethical alternatives that don’t require the exploitation of baby body parts, taxpayer dollars, and public sentiment that just wants a swift and compassionate end to this crisis.

In fact, on Thursday, President Donald Trump said his administration would make the malaria drug chloroquine available “almost immediately” to treat the infection caused by the coronavirus.

Studies are showing chloroquine can both prevent and treat coronavirus in the cells of primates, but it is not yet FDA-approved for COVID-19.

The FDA will make the drug available under the “compassionate use” program until it undergoes a clinical trial.

In December 2018 CLI’s vice president and research director, Dr. David Prentice, and senior fellow in life sciences, Dr. Tara Sander Lee, testified before Congress regarding the array of ethical alternatives to experiments using aborted baby parts.

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president, who supports the Trump administration’s ban on fetal tissue use, observed in June 2019, “The fact is aborted fetal tissue hasn’t been used to create the cure of a single disease.”

He added:

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.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) also praised the Trump administration for ending the practice of using aborted fetal tissue for research:

The Trump Administration has taken this important step toward stopping the barbaric practice of using the body parts of aborted babies for research. 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.

Several weeks ago, Judicial Watch announced it had obtained “676 pages of records from the NIH that showed the health agency “paid thousands of dollars to a California-based firm to purchase organs from aborted human fetuses to create ‘humanized mice’ for HIV research.”

The government watchdog organization continued:

The records show that NIH paid at least $18,100 between December 2016 and August 2018 to Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) for livers and thymuses from second trimester aborted fetuses. They include at least 26 such purchases from ABR by Dr. Kim Hasenkrug, senior investigator at the NIH lab in Hamilton, Montana.

Purchase orders associated with the transactions state: “These tissues, liver and thymus, are required [by] Ron Messer for ongoing studies of HIV in the Hasenkrug Lab. Our mice will be ready for reconstitution soon.”

Breitbart News reached out to Hasenkrug for comment but received no immediate response.

In fact, in September 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ended a contract between ABR and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after reports of the biomedical company providing the government with “fresh” aborted baby tissue to engineer humanized mice for drug experimentation.

The contract was ended following several years of congressional investigation into the abortion industry’s alleged complicit relationship with biomedical companies, including ABR, that purchased the body parts of aborted babies.

In December 2016, former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley wrote in a letter to Obama-era Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former FBI Director James Comey that he was referring “the paid fetal tissue practices of the following organizations … to the FBI and the Department of Justice for investigation and potential prosecution” and named ABR as one of the organizations.

“I don’t take lightly making a criminal referral,” Grassley said in a statement at the time:

But, the seeming disregard for the law by these entities has been fueled by decades of utter failure by the Justice Department to enforce it. And, unless there is a renewed commitment by everyone involved against commercializing the trade in aborted fetal body parts for profit, then the problem is likely to continue.

In a statement sent to Breitbart News on Thursday, Kristi Hamrick, spokesperson for Students for Life of America, said, “Scientists have testified that using the bodies of aborted babies for research is inhumane and not medically necessary.”

“And people understand that we can’t abuse the weak for research,” she explained. “It’s pathetic opportunism to try and use the broken bodies of the preborn for human experiments when there are other options.”

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