Scientists Vote to Allow Growing Babies in the Womb for 40 Days to Kill Them for Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 27, 2021   |   6:15PM   |   Washington, DC

An international group of scientists has ditched ethical guidelines in or to allow them to pursue grisly experiments that would grow unborn babies in the womb for 40 days for the sole purpose of killing them for dubious research.

Yesterday, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), an international non-profit and professional organization of stem cell scientists, issued new guidelines governing research with ethical implications. The guidelines lift restrictions on certain types of unethical research that manipulate, alter, or destroy human embryos. Some examples include:

  • Removing the “14-Day Rule” for research on human embryos— In 1979, the Ethics Advisory Board of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare established the concept of the “14-day rule,” which stated that scientists may only conduct experiments on human embryos up until 14 days after fertilization and the embryos must then be destroyed.  This “14-day-rule” has been the current policy in the United States and generally a scientific standard throughout the world. While this “14-day rule” was deeply unethical, the new ISSCR guidelines have removed all restraint. The guidelines abolish the 14-day rule, allowing human embryos to be experimented upon beyond this two week period and creating the potential for “baby in a bottle” experiments.
  • Allowing research creating or using 3-parent human embryos— The guidelines allow for mitochondrial-replacement therapy to be used in medical research. This type of research involves creating a human embryo which contains DNA from 3 separate individuals.  Since 2015, it has been annually prohibited in the United States by the Aderholt Amendment in the Agriculture Appropriations bill.
  • Allowing human-animal chimera research— A human-animal chimera is an organism that may possess both human and animal cells, characteristics, or tissues. The new guidelines allow for unethical forms of human-animal chimera research, including research that may substantially destroy or alter human life, or that blurs human-animal species distinctions.

On May 25, 2021, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the Human-Animal Chimera Prohibition Act of 2021 (HR 3542/S.1800), which would prohibit research involving human-animal chimeras that blur human-animal species distinctions.

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They both complained about the  International Society for Stem Cell Research removing the longstanding prohibition against experimenting on human embryos more than two weeks past their creation and allowed the creation of chimeras that blur the line between human and animal.

“The ISSCR has shown an utter disregard for the value and dignity of human life,” said Rep. Smith. “Its previous rule allowing scientists to create and experiment on human embryos up to 14 days was already unethical and morally repugnant, but the ISSCR has now removed all restraint, allowing unborn humans at any stage of development to be experimented on, manipulated, and destroyed.”

The ISSCR has also removed restrictions against creating and experimenting on human-animal chimeras, organisms that possess both human and animal cells, characteristics, or tissues. The ISSCR failed to provide meaningful safeguards against unethical chimera research, including the creation of animals with human brains, human faces, human hands, or the ability to produce human gametes.

On Tuesday, Smith and Braun introduced the “Human-Animal Chimera Prohibition Act” (HR 3542/S.1800), which would prohibit research involving human-animal chimeras that blur human-animal species distinctions. 

Smith said, “The United States now has the responsibility to decide how it will respond to this updated guidance.  HR 3542, which would create a permanent, statutory ban on certain types of human-animal chimeras, is an important step.  We also call on the Biden Administration to preserve the scientific integrity of our nation and ensure that the United States does not further weaken requirements protecting human embryos and requiring a strict code of ethical conduct from our scientists and researchers.”

“The National Institutes of Health should not lift their moratorium on funding animal-human hybrid experiments, and further I believe such research is an affront to the sanctity of human life that should be outlawed,” said Sen. Braun. “That’s why I’m proud to stand with Representative Chris Smith against unethical animal-human hybrid research and will continue to fight for bioethics restrictions that protect human and animal life from unethical experimentation.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) currently has a moratorium on funding experiments involving human-animal chimeras.  On May 24, Smith and Braun led a letter with 32 Member of Congress urging the Administration not to weaken its stance on this important issue.