June 17, 2019

Trump Administration Restricts Federal Research Involving Human Fetal Tissue

07 June 2019, 11:23 | Silvia Roy

Trump administration imposes new restrictions on fetal tissue research

WASHINGTON DC- MAY 22 U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Susan B. Anthony List's 11th annual Campaign for Life Gala at the National Building Museum

US President Donald Trump's administration said Wednesday it was discontinuing a multi-million-dollar research contract with a university involving the use of fetal tissue to test new HIV treatments.

Along with blocking National Institutes of Health (NIH) research that uses fetal tissue, HHS also stated that it is notifying the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), that it will not renew an existing contract with the university involving such research.

This move follows a review conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services which looked at "all HHS research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions", according to the announcement.

Under new regulations, the government will prohibit federal scientists from obtaining fetal tissue from abortions to use in medical research.

Scientists were incensed."I think it's ultimately a awful, nonsensical policy", said Larry Goldstein, distinguished professor in the University of California San Diego's department of cellular and molecular medicine, who has advised scientific groups that use fetal tissue.

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Wednesday's announcement triggered an outpouring of praise by leading antiabortion leaders.

NIH "has directed funding toward the development of alternative research methods that do not rely on human fetal tissue from elective abortions and I remain supportive of that effort".

"It fits inside the wider context of the president's pro-life agenda since he was sworn into office, So you've seen a consistent pattern of pro-life-focused decisions and policy decisions from the president over the last two and a half years", an official said.

In December 2018, the NIH said it was considering allocating $20 million to research possible alternatives to fetal tissue that would be more palatable to anti-abortionists.

"This was the president's decision", said White House spokesman Judd Deere, adding that it was "another important protect the dignity of human life". An ethics panel will review outstanding bids from grant applicants in light of the new policy. "NIH has spent $120 million a year on grisly, unethical experiments involving the hearts, livers, bones, and brains harvested from babies too young and vulnerable to speak for themselves", SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser told the Daily Wire in a statement. "It is outrageous and disgusting that we have been complicit, through our taxpayer dollars, in the experimentation using baby body parts". This severely limits research done on HIV.

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At a House hearing on the issue last December, neuroscientist Sally Temple told lawmakers the consensus opinion in the scientific community is that there is now no adequate substitute for fetal tissue in some research areas.

Advanced Bioscience Resources's contract, which was worth almost $16,000, was used to "develop testing protocols", by injecting the tissue into lab mice, according to HHS.

For grants and contracts in nongovernmental research laboratories, no other funding of fetal tissue research will be interrupted.

Aside from the canceled UCSF contract, no university-led programs will be affected for the time being, the administration said.

While fetal tissue samples used in research can not be from babies specifically aborted for the purposes of providing those samples, undercover videos taken at Planned Parenthood in 2015 that showed Planned Parenthood workers planning to sell aborted babies for profit caused outcry from the pro-life community. The contract previously had been renewed annually and later in 90-day increments.

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