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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new restrictions on federal research involving fetal tissue. Actually on Wednesday, HHS imposed new restrictions on federal use of fetal tissue obtained from abortions, barring government scientists at National Institutes of Health (NIH) from doing such research and canceling an existing HIV research contract with the University of California, San Francisco.
“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” HHS said in a statement. “[NIH internal] research that requires new acquisition of fetal tissue from elective abortions will not be conducted.”
The tissue is used to test drugs, develop vaccines and study cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, blindness and other disorders. For much of that work, scientists say there is no substitute for fetal tissue. Research groups like the International Society for Stem Cell Research warned that the decision puts medical research at risk, saying that scientists rely on fetal tissue to develop vaccines and develop cures for degenerative diseases.
"There is no evidence that the use of donated tissue from fetal remains has any effect on whether women choose abortions, and no evidence that decades of research using donated tissue has ever led to an increase in the number of abortions," said Alta Charo of the University of Wisconsin.
Obviously, the administration’s move is completely unnecessary because these fetal tissues would have been discarded after the procedure anyway, but the women involved said it could be used for research purposes. On the other side, these researches could potentially save the lives of future kids. They do not in any way affect the increase in the number of abortions. Interesting thing is that most abortion patients who reported a religious affiliation were Catholic, according to the research from the Guttmacher Institute.
Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor specializing in public health law at Georgetown University, said the new restrictions would “devastate” crucial medical research.
“It will affect everything from cures for cancer and H.I.V. through to Parkinson’s and dementia,” Mr. Gostin said. “The ban on fetal tissue research is akin to a ban on hope for millions of Americans suffering from life threatening and debilitating diseases. It will also severely impact the National Institutes of Health, universities, and other researchers who will lose key funding for their laboratories and their vital work.”
Incidentally, 66% of Americans say it’s “morally acceptable” to conduct medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos.