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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A coalition of nearly fifty pro-life groups, including LifeSiteNews, is calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to stop financing medical research using aborted babies’ remains.

Last month, a notice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was revealed, announcing a $15,900 contract to the fetal tissue procurement firm Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR) to acquire “Tissue for Humanized Mice.” The tissue was meant to give mice a “humanized” immune system for the purpose of drug testing.

Between the use of tissue from aborted babies and ABR’s past work with Planned Parenthood in the abortion giant’s 2015 scandal over selling aborted baby parts, pro-life leaders denounced the revelations and called on the Trump administration to cancel the contract.

Now, in a letter dated September 11 to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, 48 pro-life leaders are putting those calls directly to the administration. Signatories include the leaders of LifeSiteNews, the Center for Medical Progress, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, Priests for Life, Heritage Action, Operation Rescue, Eagle Forum, and more.

“We expect far better of our federal agencies – especially under the leadership of a courageous pro-life president – entrusted with the health of American citizens,” the letter reads. “It is completely unacceptable to discover that the FDA is using federal tax dollars and fomenting demand for human body parts taken from babies who are aborted.”

Noting that the contract raises legal as well as ethical questions, the letter highlights the fact that the Center for Medical Progress documented abortion industry officials suggesting that their abortionists illegally alter abortion procedures for the purpose of obtaining fetal organs in usable condition. ABR is “among the entities referred for criminal investigation by both houses of Congress for potential collusion with abortion facilities as well as possibly profiting from the sale of fetal organs from aborted babies,” it recalls.

The letter next asked several questions about the logistics of the contract, including the quantity, types, and gestational age of the organs the FDA seeks. “It’s likely that there must be some coordination in timing to obtain 'fresh' aborted organs for the experiments,” it notes. The pro-life leaders also request a “full accounting” of any other federal agencies that may currently be involved in research using aborted babies’ remains.

“Contrary to claims, there is no scientific requirement of aborted fetal tissue to construct humanized mice,” the statement declares. “Good scientific alternatives exist to this grisly sourcing, including use of human umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult peripheral blood stem cells. There are abundant modern scientific alternatives, making aborted fetal tissue unnecessary.” It then asks whether the FDA made any effort to identify ethical alternatives to using tissue from aborted children.

“The federal government must find ethical alternatives as soon as possible, and should end all association with those who participate in any trafficking or procurement of aborted baby organs,” the letter concludes. “No taxpayer dollars should continue to go to this gruesome practice. It is our hope that these reforms would start with you and HHS – and start today.”

This FDA contract is a striking exception to a pro-life record that has won high praise from the pro-life movement. President Donald Trump has actively pursued numerous pro-life policies, including moves to defund as much of Planned Parenthood as he can through executive action and multiple reforms to protect religious liberty.