President Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has reversed a Trump-era rule banning the use of federal funds for research that involves human fetal tissue.
The move prompted outrage from pro-life activists who say it’s unethical to use tissue from aborted fetuses in medical research.
Biden walks back Trump-era ban
Under President Donald Trump, HHS had conducted a nine-month review of government-funded research involving tissue from aborted fetuses, and in July 2019, the department issued a ban on its use by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) internal research team, as the Daily Caller reported. Ethics boards were subsequently set up to oversee future federal research proposals.
On Friday, the NIH announced that the ban had been reversed.
“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,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said the day before, according to The Washington Post.
Fetal tissue research is used to look for treatments and cures to Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries, eye disease, and HIV, according to the Daily Caller. But advocates of pro-life policies say the ends don’t justify the means.
“Such use tends to legitimize abortion as a source of ‘life-affirming’ treatments, and requires collaboration with the abortion industry, which should be avoided,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement published in the early 2000s, according to the Daily Caller.
Notably, fetal tissue experimentation that uses aborted tissue in treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s disease has failed to show any success, and has not really been done for a decade or more. But basic research into the way tissues function in different organs is still being funded and was exempt from the previous ban, anyway.
The sad truth
The American Medical Association (AMA) suggests that if fetal tissue is not bought and sold, it will do much to remove any incentive on the part of abortion providers to abort certain fetuses to obtain it.
Videos by the Center for American Progress that were made public in 2015 suggested that selling fetal body parts did seem to incentivize abortion providers to perform more late-term procedures — an abhorrent practice, if true.
But to those on the left, legalized abortion is a symbol that the patriarchy is toppling, and they almost seem to revere it.
Someone like Becerra wouldn’t see any harm in using fetal tissue, even if it did encourage or increase abortions, because they have divorced themselves from the idea that a fetus is a child. Its destruction means nothing to them.