Catholic leaders praised President Donald Trump late last week for his administration’s work to stop funding unethical scientific research that uses aborted baby body parts.
Breitbart reports Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said they are glad to see progress in promoting “greater respect for innocent human life.”
“We applaud the Administration for moving [the National Institutes of Health] in a direction that shows greater consideration for medical ethics in research, and greater respect for innocent human life,” Naumann said.
His statement came after news broke about a new bioethics advisory board recommending that the government reject funding for 13 of 14 research projects that plan to use aborted baby body parts. Trump appointed a number of leading pro-life researchers and bioethicists to the board earlier this year.
The Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board recommendations will go to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar, who is expected to approve them.
Naumann, who also serves the archdiocese in Kansas City, Kansas, said Catholics are grateful that the Trump administration is following through on its pro-life commitments.
“It is neither ethical nor necessary to further violate the bodies of aborted babies by commodifying them for use in medical research,” Naumann said. “The victims of abortion deserve the same respect as every other human person.”
Pro-life leaders have been urging the Trump administration to stop using tax dollars to fund unethical research for years. Under the Obama administration, millions of tax dollars were used to fund disturbing research studies, including one to create “humanized mice” with tissue from potentially viable aborted babies.
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The Trump administration canceled that contract, and it has been taking other steps to stop funding unethical research, including through the formation of the new advisory board.
The board examined 14 research grant proposals based on “the scientific justification for the use and quantity of HFT [human fetal tissue] proposed and the use of alternate models” as well as whether there was adequate informed consent for the mothers donating it, according to the report.
By a majority vote, it rejected recommending all but one of the requests for funding. Among their concerns were a study that was “too interwoven with the practice of abortion” and others that could have used tissue from miscarried babies instead.
The board report noted that many members expressed support for the research projects if they would use ethically derived materials instead.
Notably, in 2018, HHS created a new $20 million grant to invest in ethical alternatives to aborted baby parts in scientific research. It was part of the Trump administration’s plan to support scientific advances and encourage ethical research.
Abortion activists and liberal news outlets have accused the advisory board of being biased, but even some critics admitted that the board members include real scientists and bioethicists who understand the importance of research.
The Trump administration has been listening to pro-life advocates’ pleas to stop using taxpayer funding for research using aborted baby body parts through the NIH.
In December, Trump officials 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.
In 2018, a CNS News report shed light on how taxpayers’ money was being spent on these ethically troubling experiments. It exposed the NIH contract with University of California San Francisco for 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.
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 are ethical alternatives available to scientists that do not involve the destruction of a human life.