A Trump-appointed bioethics advisory board issued a report on Tuesday that U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar II calls a “de facto government ban” on funding research using aborted fetal cells.
The group, officially called the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board, recommended the American government reject funding for 13 of 14 research projects planning to use aborted baby body parts.
The applications, which were sent to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), had already been recommended for funding.
However, under President Trump’s new process, scientists funded by the NIH to work on human fetal tissue projects have to go through a second layer of ethics screening before being approved.
LifeNews.com reports, “The board examined 14 research grant proposals based on ‘the scientific justification for the use and quantity of HFT [human fetal tissue] proposed and the use of alternate models’ as well as whether there was adequate informed consent for the mothers donating it, according to the report.”
One study the group rejected was allegedly “too interwoven with the practice of abortion,” and they argued other studies could use miscarried babies instead of aborted ones.
The board noted they wouldn’t have issues with most of the projects if they could find more ethical materials to work with.
In 2018, Trump’s HHS put $20 million into a project searching for ethical alternatives to aborted fetal tissue in scientific research.
Predictably, many on the left have attacked the advisory board and accused it of being biased.
For example, a virologist at the University of Pittsburgh named Carolyn Coyne said, “This is a ban disguised as an ethics committee. So, the ‘ethics’ of research was decided by a largely Christian/Catholic, white panel.”
However, other scientists disagree and understand there are ethical alternatives available for research that do not involve ripping fetuses from the womb.
HHS Secretary Azar will ultimately make the final decision on whether or not to fund each of the 14 proposals.