Trump Admin Halts Another Contract to Purchase Body Parts of Aborted Babies for Tax-Funded Research

National   Micaiah Bilger   Dec 6, 2018   |   4:03PM    Washington, DC

The Trump administration recently halted another research contract that used taxpayer dollars to purchase aborted baby body parts.

Pro-life advocates have been putting pressure on the Trump administration to stop funding research projects that use aborted baby parts, and it appears the administration is listening. It canceled a Food and Drug Administration contract in September. Then last week, the administration sent word that it would not renew another.

The National Institutes of Health recently told the University of California San Francisco that it will not renew its $2 million-a-year research contract, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The Orlando Sentinel reports UCSF researchers used aborted baby parts to conduct research on treatments for HIV using “humanized mice.”

According to the report:

Last week, an NIH contracting official told the principal investigator at UCSF that the government was ending the seven-year contract midstream, and that the decision was coming from the “highest levels,” according to a virologist familiar with the events. Five days later, the university received a letter from the AIDS division of NIH’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases saying the government would continue the contract for 90 days rather than the expected year-long renewal, with no word of its prospects after that, according to an individual with knowledge of the letter.

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department said no final decisions have been made. But, as the Orlando newspaper reports:

Even so, the principal investigator is preparing to shut down the lab, according to the individual familiar with Monday’s letter from NIH to the university’s business office. The Washington Post is not identifying the investigator, who has been involved with HIV research since the mid-1990s.

Though it promises federal money through March 5, sections of the letter sound like instructions for an orderly closing of a research enterprise. The letter instructs the investigator to “finish ongoing studies as planned,” not to produce new animals for studies and to be ready, if requested later, to return to the government lab animals and equipment.

The contract, which began in 2013 originally was slated to continue through 2020, according to NIH.

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“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.”

Last week, 74 members of Congress urged the U.S. government to end the contract.

“Exploiting even one unborn child in this way is repulsive and should stop, regardless of the outcome hoped for by researchers,” they wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

Details uncovered by CNS News earlier this year shed light on the UCSF contract, which provides money for fetal body parts to conduct experiments involving “humanized mice.”

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.

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. Some of these contracts have used tax dollars to pay for body parts of healthy, late-term aborted babies – including potentially viable unborn babies up to 24 weeks.

In September, the Trump administration canceled a FDA 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 NIH, an agency under HHS, has given about $100 million in research contracts to scientists who use aborted baby parts in their research. Pro-life groups have been urging the federal government to end the taxpayer-funded commoditization of human lives, but some scientists are pushing back with claims that fetal tissue from healthy aborted babies is the best material for their research.

Nonetheless, Trump administration leaders have been exploring options to end the contracts and support research that uses ethical alternatives.

A November letter from HHS assistant secretary of health Brett Giroir said HHS is “fully committed to prioritizing, expanding, and accelerating efforts to develop and implement the use of these alternatives.” He also said the department is “pro-life and pro-science.”

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. Earlier, 48 national and state pro-life leaders urged HHS to end the practice.