President Trump Reappoints NIH Director Francis Collins Who Supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 7, 2017   |   11:03AM   |  

President Donald Trump has decided to appoint the director of the National Institutes of Health even though pro-life advocates called on Francis Collins to be replaced because of his support for embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life.

Last month, 40 Republicans in the House of Representatives wrote president Trump urging him to get rid of NIH director Francis Collins because of his support for the practice, which is opposed by pro-life organizations.

“While we deeply respect Dr. Collins’ Christian faith and commitment to public service, the stances that Dr. Collins has taken in the past regarding embryonic stem cell research and human cloning are not life-affirming and directly conflict with the pro-life direction of your new presidency,” the GOP lawmakers wrote. “It is because of this troubling paradox that we ask you to re-consider his leadership role at NIH.”

While pro-life advocates strongly support scientific research, they oppose embryonic stem cell research because the only way to obtain embryonic stem cells is to destroy unique human beings just days after conception. On the other hand, ethical adult stem cell research has produced cures or treatments for well over 100 diseases or medical conditions and involves no destruction of human life. Embryonic stem cell research has still yet to treat a single human being successfully.

But Trump has decided to keep Collins in place:

Collins is a pioneer in the field of genetics who has directed the NIH since August 2009, after successfully leading the nation’s effort to map the human genome. He was among several dozen Obama administration officials who Trump aides had asked to stay in their jobs — at least temporarily — for the purpose of continuity.

Trump made the announcement about Collins on Tuesday.

The NIH is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services and is made up of 27 different institutes and centers. It’s also known as the nation’s medical research agency.

Trump has proposed cutting the overall NIH budget from $31.8 billion to $26 billion.

Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana told LifeNews he’s not happy about the decision.

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“I am disappointed in the Trump Administration’s decision to keep Dr. Francis Collins as head of the NIH. Dr. Collins’ support of embryonic stem cell research, along with his comments that cloned embryos do not deserve the same moral protections as ‘naturally generated embryos,’ make him a less than an ideal fit for a pro-life administration. I am hopeful that Dr. Collins will turn away from embryo-killing research as he continues his tenure as NIH Director.”

Collins has led the NIH since 2009, when he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

The Obama administration forced Americans to pay for embryonic stem cell research involving the destruction of human life. National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins approved taxpayer funding of dozens of lines of embryonic stem cells. The cells can only be obtained by destroying unborn children days after conception — at which point human embryos are unique human beings.

Obama issued an executive order overturning the limits President Bush put in place on any new embryonic stem cell research funding. Bush directed federal dollars mostly to adult stem cells that are already helping patients now.

The Family Research Council responded to the Obama administration’s move by saying that adult stem cells are already helping diabetes patients.

“Of course, when it comes to juvenile (type I) diabetes, adult stem cells have already shown success at treating diabetes patients,” the pro-life group noted.

It added, “Interestingly, none of the human embryonic stem cell lines approved thus far are from the original group of 21 lines that had been receiving NIH funding, only one (H1–one of the original five Thomson lines) has been submitted for approval, with only two other lines from Cellartis supposedly to be submitted for review.”

“This is surprising given that the vast majority of human embryonic stem cell research has been done with those previous lines, thus forcing most embryonic stem cell researchers to start over on experiments with new lines” the group continued.

“It also shows that this gold rush is just that, an attempt to grab more money built on embryo destruction, not built on science,” FRC concluded.