US Halts Funding for Research Using Aborted Babies


The Trump administration has announced that medical research using human foetal tissue will no longer be carried out by government scientists.


The Health and Human Services Department said in a statement that government-funded research by universities that involves foetal tissue can continue for now, subject to additional scrutiny — although it also ended one major university project that used the tissue to test HIV treatments. 


Administration officials said the federal policy changes will not affect privately funded research.


Scientists around the US criticised the decision, saying that research using foetal tissue is needed for research on HIV vaccines and other health threats.


Last year, the administration announced a review of whether taxpayer monies were being properly spent on foetal tissue research. As a result, the National Institutes of Health froze procurement of new tissue. 


The Susan B. Anthony List, a group that works to elect pro-life lawmakers, said in a statement that taxpayer funding ought to go to promoting alternatives to using foetal tissue in medical research. The NIH is funding a $20 million programme to “develop, demonstrate, and validate experimental models that do not rely on human foetal tissue from elective abortions.”


That idea got strong support from a Republican senator who oversees NIH funding.


“Today’s action is a significant pro-life victory,” Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said in a statement. NIH “has directed funding toward the development of alternative research methods that do not rely on human foetal tissue from elective abortions and I remain supportive of that effort.”


Officials said there are currently at least three active federal research projects that involve human foetal tissue, and possibly as many as 12. Among university research projects funded by the government, officials said, fewer than 200 of 50,000 rely on human foetal tissue.


AP. June 6.

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