Trump administration commits to funding Pro-Life research that does not rely on tissue from aborted babies

In September, the Trump Administration Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the cancellation of a contract for “fresh” body parts harvested from babies killed in abortion after a call to action from many Pro-Life groups.  As part of the announcement, the administration instituted a Pro-Life policy to respect innocent human Life and not use taxpayer dollars to fund unethical, anti-Life research.

Now, the administration has announced a commitment to invest $20 million over the next two years in research seeking ethical alternatives to the use of tissue harvested from aborted babies.  Specifically, the funding is intended for research that looks for another means of mimicking the human immune system without relying on human tissue derived from elective abortion.  A notice from the National Institutes of Health states:

The National Institutes of Health intends to publish new Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) to invite applications to develop and/or further refine human tissue models that closely mimic and can be used to faithfully model human embryonic development or other aspects of human biology, for example, the human immune system, that do not rely on the use of human fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions.

Caitlin Oakley, spokesperson for HHS, said about the announcement, “We are a pro-life, pro-science administration.  This means that we understand and appreciate that medical research and the testing of new medical treatments using fetal tissue raises inherent moral and ethical issues.”

Oakley added, “After a recent review of a contract between Advanced Bioscience Resources Inc. and the Food and Drug Administration to provide human fetal tissue to develop testing protocols, HHS was not sufficiently assured that the contract included the appropriate protections applicable to fetal tissue research or met all other procurement requirements.”  She explained that the deficiencies prompted HHS to open an audit of all research involving body parts from preborn babies “to ensure conformity with procurement and human fetal tissue research laws and regulations.”

Advanced Bioscience Resources Inc. (ABR) is a notorious “procurement” agency alleged to have lucrative contracts with “high volume” abortion businesses, including Planned Parenthood, for the purchase and sale of body parts from aborted babies.  ABR is currently under investigation for crimes related to these sales.

Predictably, the abortion lobby condemns the advancement of Pro-Life, ethical research as “anti-science,” but this is demonstrably untrue.  As Melanie Israel, research associate for the Heritage Foundation explained to the Daily Signal, “The federal government should promote good science and respect innocent human life—these two principles are not mutually exclusive, and HHS must proceed accordingly.”  Israel called the announced funding of research into alternatives a positive step.

Additionally, a congressional hearing this week revealed that research using unethical and inhumane methods have not borne the results that pro-abortion groups suggest they have.  Not only does harvesting body parts from babies killed in elective abortion pose a grave ethical problem, but the research has not actually advanced scientific understanding significantly, and, where the research is most useful, ethical alternatives exist.  Testifying before Congress, Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D., an associate scholar for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, explained, “Very little research is actually being done that currently relies on abortion-derived fetal tissues.  NIH estimates it provided $103 million for research using human fetal tissue in 2018 of the total NIH budget of nearly $30 billion or 0.36% of the total NIH budget.”

Sander Lee testified that “several alternatives exist that are abundant, successful, and not tainted by abortion.”  She added, “In addition, science speaks for itself.  After over 100 years of research, no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissue.  History has shown us that we never needed fetal tissue.”

The recent announcement from the Trump administration marks a Pro-Life, pro-science advancement in the use of taxpayer dollars to fund truly life-saving research that does not require the sacrifice of the preborn.