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CWA Engaged to End Unethical Fetal Tissue Research

By December 7, 2018Blog, News and Events
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Concerned Women for America is actively engaged in the effort to end unethical fetal tissue research. We are working with Congress to stop funding of this gruesome practice and are asking the Trump Administration to change policy. Some fetal tissue contracts were made by the Obama Administration and cannot be rescinded, but the Trump Administration can decline to renew them.

In September the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a contract with Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) for fetal tissue use in select research. Aside from the unethical nature of this research, taxpayer dollars should not be funding any sort of contract between the U.S. Government and ABR because ABR is still under federal investigation for illegal profiting from the sale of aborted fetal tissue.  After backlash from the pro-life community, the FDA announced a termination of the ABR contract, and Health and Human Services (HHS) promised an internal review of fetal tissue research policies.

Last week stemming from a report that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding fetal tissue research to the tune of $103 million annually, 74 Members of Congress, led by pro-life champions Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) and Vicki Hartzler (R-Missouri), sent a letter to HHS Secretary Azar asking for a moratorium on fetal tissue research in exchange for ethical research alternatives that, unlike fetal tissue research, are showing promise and producing results.  It is unconscionable that NIH research uses the organs of unborn children from elective abortions at 17-24 weeks gestation.

This week a seven-year fetal tissue contract between HHS and the University of California at San Francisco expired.  Instead of the expected long-term renewal, the contract was only renewed for 90 days. While this is a big step in the right direction, a pro-life administration should not be funding unethical, anti-life research. Fetal tissue research is the scientific version of the famed Alaska “bridge to nowhere[1]” and is a waste of taxpayer money.

Fetal tissue research is not groundbreaking or cutting edge; it began in the 1920s and has yet to produce positive results. In 2001 the first NIH-funded clinical trial using fetal tissue to treat patients with Parkinson’s was described as “absolutely devastating,” “tragic, catastrophic” and “a real nightmare” as the experimental introduction of fetal tissue worsenedthe patients’ symptoms.[2]This is just one example of several clinical trials, completed in the U.S. and abroad, where fetal tissue did not produce promising results. Instead, fetal tissue intervention often proved detrimental.

These catastrophic and devastating results are not exclusive to fetal tissue, but also to the use of fetal stem cells[3]. In 2009 a young boy developed spinal tumors after being injected with fetal stem cells[4]. There are promising research avenues, such as adult stem cell therapies, the use of cord blood, and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Science is moving away from fetal tissue experimentation because it has failed to produce any significant scientific gains. The U.S. government should be funding promising research not dead-end projects that are outmoded and unethical.