The Trump administration took another step to defend unborn babies Wednesday when it announced the formation of a new ethics board to look into the use of aborted baby body parts in government-funded research.
The new National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board is one of several ways the Trump administration has been working to end the unethical practice of using aborted baby body parts in taxpayer-funded scientific research.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar is overseeing the creation of the board, which will be made up of 15 non-government employees, including doctors, scientists, ethicists, attorneys and theologians.
The ethics board is tasked with researching the use of aborted baby body parts in scientific research and determining whether it is ethical. The board will create a final report to recommend whether HHS should stop funding such research.
“In providing advice and recommendations on these matters, the Ethics Board will consider, among other things, the use of alternative models, and review and verify the core ethical principles and procedures used in the process to obtain written voluntary informed consent for the donation of tissue,” the HHS announcement states.
Over the past several years, the Trump administration has been listening to pro-life leaders’ pleas to stop using taxpayer funding for research using aborted baby body parts through the NIH.
In December, it ended a contract between the NIH and the University of California San Francisco that was using aborted baby body parts to create “humanized mice” for medical experimentation. A few months earlier, the NIH introduced new rules restricting taxpayer-funded research that uses aborted babies’ body parts.
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In 2018, HHS also created a new $20 million grant to invest in ethical research alternatives to aborted baby parts.
In the past, the federal government has given hundreds of millions of dollars to fund research using aborted baby parts.
Pro-life groups and conservative news outlets have been uncovering new details about government spending on this unethical research. Some of the government 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.
Some scientists have complained about the Trump administration’s changes. But others say research using human fetal tissue has not been successful. Researchers at the Charlotte Lozier Institute said there also are ethical alternatives available to scientists that do not involve the destruction of a human life.
A 2018 letter from HHS assistant secretary of health Brett Giroir said the Trump administration 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.”
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.”
In 2018, a CNS News report shed light on how taxpayers’ money is being spent on these ethically troubling experiments. It exposed the NIH contract with University of California San Francisco for aborted 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.
Several years ago, the Center for Medical Progress undercover investigation raise concerns about potentially illegal sales of human body parts by Planned Parenthood. It also uncovered evidence of abortionists allegedly putting women’s lives at risk by altering abortion procedures to better harvest aborted baby parts. The investigators also found evidence of possible patient privacy violations.