A letter signed by 74 members of Congress last week urged the U.S. government to stop using tax dollars to fund research that uses aborted baby body parts.
Pro-life Congressman Chris Smith and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler initiated the letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar amid growing concerns about hundreds of millions of tax dollars being spent on the controversial research.
“Exploiting even one unborn child in this way is repulsive and should stop, regardless of the outcome hoped for by researchers,” they wrote.
They urged Azar to institute a department-wide moratorium on funding for research that uses the body parts of aborted babies, starting with a contract set for renewal Dec. 5.
The members wrote: “We urge HHS to end all complicity in research that uses aborted fetal tissue, beginning with this contract. We respectfully request that HHS immediately stops approving both intramural and extramural research applications that require aborted fetal tissue, and we ask the Department to create a timeline for reviewing all currently-funded research to ensure that it uses ethical research methods instead of aborted fetal tissue.”
National Institute of Health, which is under HHS, spent $98 million on research using fetal tissue in 2017 and an estimated $103 million more in 2018, according to government documents. These experiments treat human beings as “test subjects while promoting the sale of their body parts,” the representatives told Azar.
“Much of the available fetal tissue is obtained from children violently killed by abortion, and we are deeply concerned that the bodies of these babies are being used for experimentation at taxpayer expense,” they continued.
One such National Institute of Health contract is with University of California- San Francisco. The contract provides money for fetal body parts to conduct experiments involving “humanized mice,” according to CNS News. 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 CNSNews.com. “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 non-medical reasons.” Another article indicated aborted babies’ livers and thymuses also were used. They were between 20 weeks and 24 weeks gestation.
A 2017 journal article indicates researchers also used aborted babies’ intestines in their experiments.
Some scientists have complained about the potential cuts, claiming that fetal tissue, or aborted baby body parts, are 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.
But the congressional leaders said fetal tissue has been used in research since the 1920s, but it has not resulted in even one clinical treatment. They also asked the NIH to explore other ethical options for research.
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 mice. 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 also 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. Earlier, 48 national and state pro-life leaders urged HHS to end the practice.