Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz released a letter Friday pushing the National Institute of Environmental Health Studies to end taxpayer-funded animal testing geared towards understanding the effects of so-called "natural abortifacients."
Back in June, the taxpayer watchdog group, the White Coat Waste Project, revealed that the National Toxicology Program, or NTP, was using taxpayer funds to test the effects of dong quai, an herbal treatment that is frequently marketed as a treatment for menstrual cramps and erectile dysfunction, but is "best known as a way to induce 'herbal abortions,'" the Weekly Standard reported.
When consumed as part of an herbal cocktail, according to WS, dong quai can have the effect of a “coat hanger abortion done in an alley.”
Although these effects are known — the Weekly Standard pointed out at the time that everyone from WebMD to Livestrong.com listed "miscarriage" as a potential effect of consuming the herb — the NTP is insisting on conducting animal testing, some of which involve forcing animals to undergo abortions. White Coat Waste reports that the taxpayer funds will be used to "force-feed pregnant rats massive doses of the compound and then kill the animals, cutting out their fetuses and dissecting them."
To top it off, the experiments are expensive and aren't likely to help physicians predict how the drug will affect humans — but the NTP plans on conducting them anyway. Their core motivation isn't clear based on documentation — so it's not immediately evident whether NTP has planned the experiments to study whether dong quai could be used as a "natural" abortion drug, something many taxpayers would likely have a problem with.
Anthony Bellotti, president and founder of the White Coat Waste Project, previously worked on “Defund Planned Parenthood” and said: “This is just another example of big government gone wild. Force-feeding pregnant animals abortion herbs and dissecting their fetuses in cruel, unreliable and expensive tests isn’t something that taxpayers should be forced to pay for.”
That's where Rep. Matt Gaetz comes in. On Friday, the Congressman issued a statement to the NTP demanding to know why they were conducting the animal testing and what the organization hoped to learn from providing animals with abortifacients. Rep. Gaetz's office has provided the letter exclusively to The Daily Wire.
"Nearly a decade has passed since these inhumane tests were first planned," Gaetz writes. "I am skeptical of their necessity, their scientific value, and whether they would provide useful information about dong quai's safety in pregnant women."
In addition, there is a bipartisan oversight measure working its way through Congress, the Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act (HR 816), which would demand more transparency on how federal agencies use taxpayer funds.