Inside FDA's research with aborted baby body parts
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) -- Taxpayers have been funding government research using tissue from aborted babies for years, according to a new report, and pro-life groups are calling for the practice to halt.
"It's horrifying news because we hope that our FDA and our federal government are going to be doing ethical research and not contributing to the trafficking of baby body parts and abortions," David Prentice, vice president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a pro-life research group, said. "There are actually ethical alternatives to make these humanized mice. You don't have to use aborted fetal tissue to do this anymore."
The FDA reportedly uses humanized mice to test the safety of medications. Giving mice a human immune system is fine, Prentice said, but he emphasized how easy it is to get the necessary human tissue without aborting a baby.
Adult stem cells from bone marrow or cells from umbilical cord blood, along with thymus tissue routinely taken during cardiac surgery on newborns, are reportedly just as effective.
The FDA denied any wrongdoing and in a statement claimed that ABR assured the agency "they are in compliance with all applicable legal requirements." But videos released in 2015 by undercover journalist David Daleiden appeared to show a Planned Parenthood executive and an ABR procurement manager discussing the profits they made from aborted babies' tissue. See related report.
"By custom-ordering late-term aborted baby body parts for sale from Planned Parenthood partners like ABR, the FDA is directly complicit in these abortions and implies that these kids are worth more to the U.S. government dead than alive," Daleidan reportedly said in a statement.
So long as it is not for "valuable consideration," using taxpayer funds to buy human fetal tissue for research is legal under a 1993 statute.
"It was at a time even before embryonic stem cells where they thought fetal tissue would be the big answer for treating a lot of diseases," Prentice said. "It didn't turn out to be the case at all, but that statute is still on the books.... We would hope that Congress would correct that and make it illegal to use aborted fetal tissue and to use taxpayer funds."
He and other pro-life advocates are not only condemning FDA use of aborted baby parts for research but also starting to work toward new rules that ban the practice.
Cathy Ruse, the Family Research Council's senior fellow for legal studies, pointed to the labor bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would bar the Department of Health and Human Services from using tax dollars on fetal tissue obtained from aborted babies.
"We agree with that restriction and do not believe that HHS and the FDA should approve research of this kind," Ruse said in a statement. "Americans demand to have a more ethical government -- one that does not traffic in the remains of human beings."
Should the bill pass but have some funding loophole that still allows the FDA to continue this research, pro-lifers could target the agency's own rules governing its contracts.