The National Institutes of Health insisted Thursday that it will continue to provide taxpayer-funded grants for research using aborted baby body parts, despite pro-life advocates concerns about the commoditization of human life.
CNN reports the agency, which is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, issued a statement saying there will be “no pause in procurement of fetal tissue for extramural research.”
The Trump administration has been exploring options to end the taxpayer-funded practice and support research that uses ethical alternatives. In September, it halted a Food and Drug Administration contract to acquire body parts from aborted babies to be transplanted into mice. HHS also is conducting an audit of all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue to “ensure conformity with procurement and human fetal tissue research laws and regulations.”
However, the NIH said Thursday that funding for those grants will continue for the present at least.
“When HHS began its audit in September, NIH put a pause in place for procuring new human fetal tissue within its intramural program (research conducted by NIH investigators) until the conclusion of the audit,” the statement said. “Research with tissue already on hand could proceed, and NIH leaders asked to be notified by intramural investigators if new procurement would be necessary. The intent was never to cause research to stop.”
The NIH said it still is reviewing the situation overall involving research using aborted baby body parts.
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Here’s more from the report:
In September, the US Department of Health and Human Services canceled a contract with a fetal tissue procurement company due to concerns that the company was not meeting regulations. The agency initiated an audit of human fetal tissue acquisitions and a review to understand whether adequate alternatives exist to the use of human fetal tissue in Health and Human Services-funded research.
A report from The Washington Post stated that an unnamed senior government official had committed to continued funding for fetal tissue research in nongovernment labs. He did so at a workshop conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on Tuesday.
Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at HHS, is the official who made the verbal promise during the workshop to continue fetal research funding, according to the NIH statement. …
The Health and Human Services audit is still ongoing as of Thursday, and no decision has been made concerning continued support of any fetal tissue research, according to agency spokeswoman Caitlin B. Oakley.
NIH Director Francis Collins repeatedly has defended the research. However, scientists with the Charlotte Lozier Institute told a U.S. Congressional hearing that ethical alternatives are available to scientists, and research using aborted baby parts has not been successful.
Last week, the Trump administration announced new grants to develop alternatives to “human fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions.” And in November, a letter from HHS official Brett Giroir said they are “fully committed to prioritizing, expanding, and accelerating efforts to develop and implement the use of these alternatives.” He 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.”
Details uncovered by CNS News earlier this year shed light on an NIH contract with University of California San Francisco, which provides money for fetal body parts to conduct experiments involving “humanized mice.”
Aborted baby parts used in the experiments were taken from 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.