The Trump administration has recently decided to terminate the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) experiments with aborted human fetal tissue, a choice that will also cancel a controversial $2 million contract between the NIH and the University of California, San Francisco. According to the contract, two healthy human fetuses were required per month from elective abortions in order to be used for taxpayer-funded medical experiments. Considering that most Americans oppose their tax dollars being used for research on aborted human fetal tissue, these recent actions may finally end these disturbing experiments.
A Fox News Poll found that 49% of Americans would prefer to see an end to the use of aborted fetal tissue in medical research, and a Pew Research Center study concluded that 52% of Americans oppose experimentation on animals. Much of the taxpayer-funded fetal tissue research also involves wasteful testing on animals, and this is something pro-lifers and animal rights activists should be able to agree on.
Some of the experiments with fetal tissue involve the creation of human-animal chimeras, a process that involves forcefully injecting human gametes (eggs or sperm) and human brain cells into an animal. The human cells have the potential to then end up anywhere inside of the animal, and, in the worst possible scenario, they may grow inside the animal’s gonadal tissue. This would ultimately lead to human gametes forming inside of the animal’s body.
Analyses conducted by the White Coat Waste Project and the Pro-Life San Francisco groups that examined the spending data and scientific publications of the NIH discovered the existence of more fetal tissue projects. While the actions of the current administration ended NIH’s fetal tissue experiments, as well as their contract with UCSF, there are 200 projects that utilize aborted fetal tissue for medical research outside of NIH. Combined, these other groups received $115 million in taxpayer funds from NIH in 2018.
As the March for Life’s President Jeanne Mancini stated, there is “a marketplace for aborted baby parts,” and it is important to understand just how deep the business behind aborted fetal tissue runs.
The remains of aborted babies are harvested after they have been terminated at a university-affiliated clinic, and college professors receive lucrative federal grants by soliciting NIH funds for human fetal tissue and animal research. UCSF has been resistant to any restrictions being imposed on fetal tissue research, but with the funding they receive, it’s easy to understand why. In the past, UCSF has received $2 million in slush funds for an experiment that involved transplanting the intestines of 18-24 week old aborted babies into the backs of 6 to 8-week old mice. Another study involved implanting the reproductive tracts from 9.5 to 22-week- old aborted children and a pair of aborted twins into mice dosed with synthetic estrogen.
Other universities, such as the University of California-San Diego, received nearly $400,000 in taxpayer funds for experiments that involved mice being injected with the thymus glands of aborted human babies. Another study at Harvard University was funded (in part) by a $1.5 million grant from NIH. The experiment involved harvesting intestines from 12-18-week-old human fetuses that were then implanted into the intestines of live mice. After several weeks, the mice were then killed and dissected.
The plan proposed by the Trump administration will tighten restrictions on taxpayer-funded fetal tissue research and experiments on animals, as well offer $20 million in research to fund more effective experiments using adult stem cells and other methods where human tissue has been ethically obtained.
Despite claims that research involving human fetal tissue is necessary for developing cures for diseases, two controlled trials that were funded for the purpose of transplanting aborted fetal brain tissue to treat Parkinson’s patients ended in disaster. The results of the study were released in 2001 and 2003, and they revealed that the fetal tissue transplants did not help the patients as expected, but, instead, made the patients worse.
However, transplanting adult stem cells has been quite successful. Roughly 2 million people with various diseases and conditions have already been helped by transplanted adult stem cells.
In 2017, molecular biologist Tara Sander Lee also testified before the Texas Committee of Health and Human Services that no cures for diseases have been derived from aborted fetal tissue, and there have been over 5,800 successful clinical trials that used non-fetal stem cells. Lee also testified that human tissue samples can be obtained from umbilical cords, placenta, and leftover tissue from surgeries. Scientists can also reprogram adult somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells.
Lee concluded,“We must stop harvesting baby body parts in this country and invest in the discovery of treatments that have real promise of healing patients now and in the future.”
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.