On Thursday, the House subcommittee that supervises the funding of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) considered a 2018 funding bill that would bar the use of federal funds “to conduct or support research using human fetal tissue if such tissue is obtained pursuant to an induced abortion.”
Earlier this year, the Select Investigative Committee on Infant Lives, now disbanded, recommended such a step.
Andy Harris (R–MD), a member of the House subcommittee, referred to the Center for Medical Progress’ release in 2015 of videos in which senior Planned Parenthood physicians spoke of providing fetal tissue from abortions for medical research. He said the House special panel had found “that there is an industry, selling fetal tissue for research, which operates outside the current laws governing ethical research… Until these matters are addressed, we must pause the expenditure of federal funds to obtain fetal tissue from … induced abortions.”
David Prentice, vice president and research director of the nonprofit Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C., which opposes abortion, ebulliently said to Science Insider, “I hope that it will focus efforts on alternatives to fetal tissue, of which there are a great number: induced pluripotent stem cells and their organoids, adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood stem cells. There are ample alternatives to what really are now antiquated research techniques using aborted fetal tissue.”
Estimates of how much NIH expects to spend on projects using fetal tissue in the 2017 fiscal year range up to $107 million; the 2016 fiscal year saw an expenditure of $103 million.
If the bill is passed, it would apply only to the 2018 fiscal year.