Published On: Sun, Jun 9th, 2019

Trump cuts medical funding for research on fetal tissue from abortions

President Donald Trump’s administration announced today that it will no longer allow federal funding for medical research conducted within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which involves the use of human fetal tissue of aborted babies. The NIH is an organization within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The NIH estimates it spent $103 million taxpayer dollars purchasing and experimenting on human fetal tissue in fiscal year 2018.
The administration also cancelled a multi-million-dollar contract with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) that uses fetal tissue to test new HIV treatments. The UCSF contract, which was due to expire today after the Trump administration granted a 90-day extension, cancels more than $100 million in federal funding for research projects that use fetal tissue.
As part of the new restrictions, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it is conducting a comprehensive review of all research involving fetal tissue. HHS also said it will impose ethics reviews on government-funded research at universities and other scientific centers that propose to use fetal tissue.
“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 said in a statement.
In September 2018, the HHS terminated a contract between Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. and the Food and Drug Administration that provided human fetal tissue from elective abortions to develop testing protocols. The Department was not sufficiently assured that contract included the appropriate protections applicable to fetal tissue research or met all other procurement requirements. As a result, HHS also initiated a comprehensive review of all HHS research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions to ensure consistency with statutes and regulations governing such research, and to ensure the adequacy of procedures and oversight of this research in light of the serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations involved.
When the audit and review began, HHS had an existing contract with the UCSF regarding research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions. HHS has been extending the UCSF contract by means of 90-day extensions while conducting its audit and review.
No current extramural research projects (research conducted outside NIH, e.g., at universities, that are funded by NIH grants) will be affected during their currently approved project period. For new extramural research grant applications or current research projects in the competitive renewal process (generally every five years) that propose to use fetal tissue from elective abortions and that are recommended for potential funding through NIH’s two-level external scientific review process, an ethics advisory board will be convened to review the research proposal and recommend whether, in light of the ethical considerations, NIH should fund the research project—pursuant to a law passed by Congress.
HHS will also undertake changes to its regulations and NIH grants policy to adopt or strengthen safeguards and program integrity requirements applicable to extramural research involving human fetal tissue. HHS is continuing to review whether adequate alternatives exist to the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions in HHS-funded research and will ensure that efforts to develop such alternatives are funded and accelerated. In December 2018, NIH announced a $20 million funding opportunity for research to develop, demonstrate, and validate experimental models that do not rely on human fetal tissue from elective abortions. HHS is committed to providing additional funding to support the development and validation of alternative models.
“It is very encouraging that the Trump administration continues to unveil the unethical and immoral profit that is being made from aborted baby parts,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Every human life is precious and should not be sacrificed as an experiment. These despicable acts by organizations and companies underscore why our client Sandra Merritt should be applauded for revealing the seedy underbelly of Planned Parenthood,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is defending Sandra Merritt against 15 felony charges, brought by the Attorney General in California, to punish her for undercover work as one of the journalists who produced the videos that exposed Planned Parenthood’s unethical and potentially illegal profiteering from the sale of aborted baby body parts.
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