Funding Cut for Baby Tissue Research

Jun 5, 2019

President Donald Trump’s administration announced today that it will no longer allow federal funding for medical research conducted within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which involves the use of human fetal tissue of aborted babies. The NIH is an organization within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The NIH estimates it spent $103 million taxpayer dollars purchasing and experimenting on human fetal tissue in fiscal year 2018.

The administration also cancelled a multi-million-dollar contract with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) that uses fetal tissue to test new HIV treatments. The UCSF contract, which was due to expire today after the Trump administration granted a 90-day extension, cancels more than $100 million in federal funding for research projects that use fetal tissue. 

As part of the new restrictions, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it is conducting a comprehensive review of all research involving fetal tissue. HHS also said it will impose ethics reviews on government-funded research at universities and other scientific centers that propose to use fetal tissue.

“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the HHS said in a statement.

In September 2018, the HHS terminated a contract between Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. and the Food and Drug Administration that provided human fetal tissue from elective abortions to develop testing protocols. The Department was not sufficiently assured that contract included the appropriate protections applicable to fetal tissue research or met all other procurement requirements. As a result, HHS also initiated a comprehensive review of all HHS research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions to ensure consistency with statutes and regulations governing such research, and to ensure the adequacy of procedures and oversight of this research in light of the serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations involved.

When the audit and review began, HHS had an existing contract with the UCSF regarding research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions. HHS has been extending the UCSF contract by means of 90-day extensions while conducting its audit and review.

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