President Joe Biden overturns Trump-era ban on aborted fetal tissue research

The Biden Administration reversed a 2019 ban on aborted fetal tissue research by government scientists.

The ban was set in place by former President Donald Trump, and also placed restrictions on researchers seeking grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for studies involving fetal tissue. Every proposal for federally-funded research involving aborted fetal tissue was assessed by the Ethics Advisory Board. In 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated, “Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration.” 

The scientific community was outspoken in its opposition to the ban, believing that the use of fetal tissue is imperative to the advancement of science. Nature, an international science journal, reported, “‘Fetal-tissue research is scientifically important and it should continue to be pursued,’ says Larry Goldstein, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego. ‘This report is wrong and wrongheaded. It’s driven by ideology, not science.’” Biden’s overturn of the ban allows aborted fetal tissue to be used by government researchers, and grant proposals will not face an Ethics Advisory Board. 

The NIH reports on the reversal, “This notice informs the extramural research community that HHS is reversing its 2019 decision that all research applications for NIH grants and contracts proposing the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions will be reviewed by an Ethics Advisory Board. Accordingly, HHS/NIH will not convene another NIH Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board.” Still, ethical limitations for obtaining fetal tissue remain. For instance, patients must be aware of their contributions and abortionists must receive consent after the mother has decided to abort her child. 

Aborted fetal tissue has been used in research for decades, for instance in the development of vaccines. Pro-life organizations and scientists have opposed the use of fetal tissue for years and now protest the overturn of the ban. Susan B. Anthony List President, Majorie Dannenfelser stated, “From day one they [Biden and Harris] have sought to expand abortion on demand, funded by taxpayers, against the will of the strong majority of Americans. Now they would force Americans to be complicit in barbaric experiments using body parts harvested from innocent children killed in abortions, with no limits of any kind.”

Dr. Tara Sander Lee, senior fellow, and director of life sciences at Charlotte Lozier Institute stated, “Exploiting the bodies of these young human beings is unnecessary and grotesque. Fetal tissue was not, and has never been, used for polio or any other vaccine, nor to produce or manufacture any pharmaceutical. There are superior and ethical alternatives available such as adult stem cell models being used by countless scientists worldwide to develop and produce advanced medicines treating patients now, without exploitation of any innocent life.” 




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