Pro-life groups are urging the Trump administration to end about $100 million in research contracts that involve the purchasing of aborted baby body parts.
Over the past few months, pro-life groups and conservative news outlets have been uncovering new details about government spending on aborted baby parts for research. Several government contracts with scientific researchers have used tax dollars to pay for body parts of healthy, late-term aborted babies – including potentially viable unborn babies as late as 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The Trump administration canceled one contract already, but the practice continues.
Politico reports the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the contracts, has been meeting with scientists, pro-life leaders and others to discuss the future of the taxpayer-funded research projects.
Here’s more from the report:
The White House last week convened a meeting to consider canceling the projects, according to two individuals with knowledge, and anti-abortion groups like Susan B. Anthony List have been invited to give input. Scientists who use fetal tissue in their research also have been invited to defend their work.
“HHS is holding multiple listening sessions with various stakeholders [like] scientists, pro-life groups, ethicists, on this topic,” a spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO. …
Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, the politically appointed official leading the review, is expected to issue recommendations on whether or not to continue funding the research. Giroir has been enthusiastic about the possibility of replacing fetal tissue with alternatives, said two people who have spoken to him.
One such National Institute of Health contract is with the University of California- San Francisco. The contract provides money for fetal body parts to conduct experiments involving “humanized mice,” according to CNS News. NIH is an agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The contract, which began in December 2013, continues through December 2020, according to NIH.
“The actual total amount of this contract, including all options, is $13,799,501 for a full performance period through December 5, 2020,” the NIH told CNS News. “We have obligated $9,554,796 to date.”
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Aborted baby body parts used in the experiments were taken from healthy, later-term unborn babies. According to the report, the aborted babies were 18 to 24 weeks gestation from “women with normal pregnancies before elective termination for nonmedical reasons.” Another article indicated aborted babies’ livers and thymuses also were used; they were between 20 weeks and 24 weeks gestation.
Researchers also used aborted babies’ intestines in their experiments, according to a 2017 journal article about the experiments.
Some scientists have complained about the potential cuts, claiming that fetal tissue, or aborted baby body parts, is important to scientific advances.
“It will slow some projects down that are vital for sick Americans,” Larry Goldstein, the director of the University of California – San Diego’s stem cell program, told Politico.
President Donald Trump’s administration has been taking steps to stop the purchasing of aborted baby parts with tax dollars.
In September, it canceled a Food and Drug Administration contract to acquire body parts from aborted babies to be transplanted into so-called humanized mice. The grisly experiments allow mice to have a functioning human immune system for research purposes.
The now-canceled contract was with Advanced Bioscience Resources, a company that obtains aborted baby parts from Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses.
The Trump administration also said HHS is conducting an audit of all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue to “ensure conformity with procurement and human fetal tissue research laws and regulations.”
The agency said it would continue reviewing alternatives to human fetal tissue in HHS funded research “and will ensure that efforts to develop such alternatives are funded and accelerated.”
Pro-life groups have said more protections are needed to ensure the FDA and HHS do not sign other agreements to purchase aborted baby parts in the future.
“Canceling a single contract and conducting a review is a small step forward, but overall is completely inadequate,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement earlier this fall.
Earlier in September, 48 national and state pro-life leaders urged HHS to end the government’s use of aborted fetal tissue for research and turn to ethical alternatives.