President Donald Trump has canceled a contract providing federal funding to research involving fetal tissue provided by elective abortions.
Administration officials informed The Daily Caller that the contract is to be terminated on Wednesday. The cancellation follows a nine-month investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) into research that involves fetal tissue provided by abortions.
The Health and Human Services Department announced the pulling of federal funds in a public statement.
“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the statement said about the decision.
Fetal tissue is used in research and testing to help find cures and treatments to diseases like cancer and HIV.
A White House official described the new move by the Trump administration to The Daily Caller as part of “a consistent charge to take a pro-life perspective on all policies.”
The same official said that an altogether ban on research using fetal tissue from abortions may be in the future. A federal ban on such research was passed in 1988, but that ban was thrown away by the Clinton administration in 1993.
On a possible future federal ban from the Trump administration, the official said, “You can’t rule anything out.”
As for fetal tissue research at the current moment, the pulling of federal funding will not completely stop fetal tissue research. The Health and Human Services Department said in their public statement that federal funding can still be granted to fetal tissue research, but there will be a more strict screening process and more scrutiny on the projects going forward.
University-led programs that are already funded can currently still keep their ships running as planned. One contract that will be expiring is with the University of California, San Francisco.
Federal scientists are unable to take part in the fetal research and projects that are eligible for funding will need to be university-led.
Privately funded research is also still legal.
While many argue that fetal tissue research is extremely beneficial to finding treatments and cures to diseases, many pro-life activists have argued that the act is unethical and should at least not be federally funded. Some have argued federal funds should go to projects seeking to use alternatives to fetal tissue in their research and testing.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, released a public statement praising the Trump administration for the new move to cut federal funds. She said the administration has “once again done the right thing in restoring a culture of life to our government.”
Neuroscientist Sally Temple testified before Congress in December on the issue of using fetal tissue in medical research and she argued that there currently is no alternative to fetal tissue that provides the same benefits.
“It is not the same material,” she said of tissue samples from other points in a human’s life. “It is a different developmental stage. It has unique properties.” She was testifying on behalf of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.
The pulling of federal funds into these projects is yet again an undeniable victory for the pro-life movement, which has picked up steam in recent months after states like Alabama and Georgia have moved to outlaw or at least limit abortions.
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