WASHINGTON, D.C., November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Trump administration health officials are meeting with national pro-life leaders in hopes of resolving concerns over the pro-life administration’s continued funding of medical research using tissue obtained from aborted babies.
In August, a notice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) surfaced detailing a 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.
Forty-eight pro-life leaders representing LifeSiteNews, the Center for Medical Progress, Susan B. Anthony List, Priests for Life, Operation Rescue, and other groups sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar on September 11 demanding the contract’s cancellation. Eighty-five U.S. House members sent a letter to FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, as well.
The administration terminated the contract in September and promised to review all remaining research involving fetal tissue, but concerns remained over nearly $100 million in tax dollars that continued to pay for other research using tissue and organs from aborted babies.
Last week, the administration began to arrange meetings to discuss cancelling the remaining projects, Politico reported Tuesday. Both sides of the issue will be represented, with scientists who use fetal tissue invited to defend their work and pro-life groups such as Susan B. Anthony List invited to critique it.
“HHS is holding multiple listening sessions with various stakeholders [like] scientists, pro-life groups, ethicists, on this topic,” an HHS spokesperson confirmed to to Politico. One such session has been scheduled for this Friday, and is slated to last an hour. Among the groups attending are the American Society for Cell Biology, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, International Society for Stem Cell Research, and the Society for Neuroscience.
“HHS leadership is inviting a select group of experts from diverse backgrounds to obtain their individual views on the use of fetal tissue in biomedical research and development,” an invitation obtained by Politico states. It reportedly tells attendees to prepare not only a defense of fetal tissue, but suggestions for alternatives.
Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir will be leading the review and has been tasked with issuing final recommendations afterward. He is reportedly “enthusiastic” about finding ethical alternatives to fetal tissue.
The FDA’s continued funding of aborted tissue research stands in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s robust pro-life record, which has included various pro-life appointees, defunding Planned Parenthood abroad and partially defunding it at home, and working to protect conscience rights and religious objections against participating in abortion or contraception.