On Friday, the Biden administration announced the removal of a previous barrier that restricted certain kinds of research conducted on fetal tissue from elective abortions.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a statement on Friday saying that it was undoing some of the previous administration’s policies regarding research conducted on fetal tissue gathered from abortions.
The statement said that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is “reversing its 2019 decision 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.” It added that another Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board will not be created.
The statement noted: “NIH reminds the community of expectations to obtain informed consent from the donor for any NIH-funded research using human fetal tissue … and of continued obligations to conduct such research only in accord with any applicable federal, state, or local laws and regulations, including prohibitions on the payment of valuable consideration for such tissue.”
During a hearing at the House of Representatives on Thursday, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra discussed the changes prior to the official announcement, as reported by Politico.
“We believe that we have to do the research it takes to make sure that we are incorporating innovation and getting all of those types of treatments and therapies out there to the American people,” he said.
Pro-life groups have spoken out against the measure, saying that the topic would be a main issue in the midterm elections next year, the outlet reported.
Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action released the following statement to The Daily Wire:
It is very disappointing that the Biden administration has chosen to reverse current policy and fund research that requires aborted fetal tissue and organs. This type of experimental research is a gross violation of human dignity and is not where the majority of Americans want their tax dollars being spent. The government has no business creating a marketplace for aborted baby body parts.
McClusky told The Daily Wire that the “ethics advisory board requirements for proposals has just been eliminated and they’re also eliminating the ethics review, which is basically a tacit admission of wrongdoing, in our opinion.”
He said, “None of this should come as a surprise to anybody when you have both the vice president and the HHS secretary [being] complicit in the wrongdoing in California, going so far as to target the investigator, the Center for Medical Progress.”
In 2017, The Daily Wire reported on the collaboration between officials from then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office and Planned Parenthood in order to go after David Daleiden, the journalist who filmed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal body parts. Daleiden has since been tied up in legal battles with Planned Parenthood over the past several years.
In 2019, the Trump administration stopped fetal tissue research and created the ethics board to look at any requests for funding that involved the specific type of research. According to Politico, the board met once and only approved one of the fourteen projects that NIH scientists put forward.
McClusky said that most Americans do not want research on aborted fetal tissue to be done. “The Trump administration really didn’t get a lot of credit for it. They didn’t make many friends within the research community when they did it. However, it was the right thing to do and the majority of Americans agree,” McClusky told The Daily Wire. “When it comes to science like this, scientists should just not have free rein. People have a role in this and deciding what the ethics are and what’s acceptable or not.”
McClusky said that the Biden administration’s move is a sign of how fragile the issue is on a federal level. He added that March for Life Action is working to push back on many of the policies coming out of the federal government regarding abortion, but “our main job, I think, is going to be exposing and making sure that Americans remember this,” he said.