President Joe Biden’s administration overturned restrictions on Friday relating to federal funding of the use of fetal tissue – body parts of aborted babies – for experimental purposes. The policy reverses a ban put in place by former President Donald Trump limiting federal funding for such research.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which superintends the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced Friday that it would be revoking the Trump-era requirement 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,” the statement continues, “HHS/NIH will not convene another NIH Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board,” opening a much more liberal space for fetal tissue research by scientific organizations and universities.
HHS had previously enacted a policy at the behest of the Trump administration in 2019 that stopped all fetal tissue research at NIH facilities and required non-NIH facilities receiving federal funding – “extramural research communities” – to submit proposals for approval by an ethics advisory board, for research using tissue derived from aborted fetuses.
At the time, HHS accompanied the partial ban on fetal tissue research with a statement which said “promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration.”
The ethics advisory board, which boasted a number of Catholic bioethicists, rejected federal funding for 13 of 14 research proposals submitted for review involving fetal tissue research. The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute noted that there were “serious ethical and consent problems discovered during proposal review” for the 13 rejected applications. Read more…