Trump admin halts funding for research using bodies of aborted children

6 June 2019

Human Embryo Approximately 8 weeks estimated gestational age lunar causticHuman Embryo Approximately 8 weeks estimated gestational age lunar caustic
The US has cancelled a contract with a company with provided bodies from elective abortions.

"This decision is one based upon the desire of this administration to use taxpayer dollars in the pursuit of science that is both ethical and effective.”

The US Government announced yesterday that it was cancelling a contract with a company that provided human fetal tissue from elective abortions for research.

Reviewing embryo research

The Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) said in a statement yesterday that it had  initiated a comprehensive review of all HHS research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions  following the cancellation of a contract with one provider of fetal tissue. When the audit began, the HSS had an existing contract with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) regarding embryo research. The Department says that the last extension to the contract ended yesterday, 5 June, and there will be no more extensions.

Promoting the dignity of human life

“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the statement said.

As well as letting the contract with UCSF expire, the audit led to the decision to “discontinue intramural research – research conducted within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – involving the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortion. Intramural research that requires new acquisition of fetal tissue from elective abortions will not be conducted.” Any research done outside the NIH will be subject to an ethics board.

Significantly, the statement also committed the Government to funding ethical alternatives to embryo research. “Finally, 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.”

The decision follows undercover investigations by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) exposing how Planned Parenthood did business with fetal tissue procurement agencies.

Is such research medically necessary

The move has been criticised by scientists who say fetal tissue is essential in researching diseases like HIV and cancer. The BBC repeats claims that “Cell lines created from human foetal tissue have been instrumental in developing treatments for diseases from arthritis to cystic fibrosis and vaccines for rubella, adenovirus, rabies, chickenpox and polio. Scientists say it is also the only way to develop a cure for HIV, the Zika virus and childhood cancers.”

However, despite decades of embryo research being touted as medically essential, no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissue. Dr Tara Sander Lee of the Charlotte Lozier Institute told Congress last December that in the case of vaccines, “cells derived from aborted fetal tissue have been used in the development process, but fetal tissues have NEVER been the exclusive means necessary for these breakthroughs.” Ethical alternatives using monkey cells, chicken eggs, and non-fetal human cells are available for all bar three of the 75 vaccines currently used in the US, and there is no scientific reason that those three should have required use of fetal cells.

Furthermore, she said, “Fetal tissue is not critical to the development of NEW vaccines to fight Zika and Ebola. Greater than 98% of research articles published on Zika do not use fetal tissue. Rather, adult blood cells recently led to a breakthrough in vaccine development for Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a virus affecting brain development in a way similar to Zika…”

As regards stem cell research, in stark contrast to the unimpressive results from research on embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells have become the gold standard for stem cell treatment, producing hundreds of documented benefits, and have been used to treat nearly 2 million patients. There have recently been moves in using transplanted induced pluripotent stem cells to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Step in restoring sanctity of human life

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told LifeNews: “This is yet another step by the Trump administration in the march to restore the sanctity of all human life in America. This decision is one based upon the desire of this administration to use taxpayer dollars in the pursuit of science that is both ethical and effective.”

“The fact is aborted fetal tissue hasn’t been used to create the cure of a single disease. 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,” he said.