By Tim Nerozzi
The U.S, Department of Health and Human Services has officially ended its relationship with medical research labs at the University of California, San Francisco, due to their use of fetal tissue in medical experiments.
The Trump administration has announced that the federal government will no longer be continuing relationships with any research facilities using fetal tissue.
The announcement comes as a surprise to UC San Francisco has been funded by the United States government for more than thirty years, and currently uses fetal tissue in experiments related to HIV and cancer research.
“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” said the Depart of Health and Human Services.
The HHS has decided “to let the contract with UCSF expire and to discontinue intramural research – research conducted within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – involving the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortion.”
UC San Francisco may continue their current research practices with full legality, but the lack of federal funding may make it difficult to finance.
“HHS is continuing to review whether adequate alternatives exist to the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions in HHS-funded research and will ensure that efforts to develop such alternatives are funded and accelerated,” the department said in their official statement’s conclusion.
The HHS’ decision is directly linked to the National Institute of Health, which has begun to similarly curtail the use of fetal tissue from aborted fetuses.
“Human fetal tissue and embryonic stem cell-derived systems” have been singled out as undesirable methods of medical research by the NIH.
Until now, cells of this type have been used for “understanding and modeling human developmental and disease processes.”
The NIH has begun encouraging the research and development of artificial fetal tissue models as a replacement.
NIH said “[the] research using these tissues has been important in shedding light on scientific questions fundamental to biomedical research,” but clarified that “new technologies raise the potential of reconstituting these model systems without fetal tissue yielding more replicable and reproducible system for broader uses.”
This is the latest in a blitz of abortion bills and regulations passed by federal and state-level Republicans just this year, including restrictions on abortion to the first few weeks of pregnancy as well as outright bans.
Meanwhile, the Hyde Amendment, a federal policy that forbids the government from directly funding the vast majority of medical abortions, has been a central point of debate amongst Democratic candidates.
2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden made headlines last week after reaffirming his belief in the Hyde amendment. Rival candidates seized the opportunity to flex their pro-choice bona fides, stressing that they would seek to overturn the law.
Americans remain as divided as ever on the abortion issue and, by extension, the use of abortion-adjacent medical research such as fetal tissue and stem cells.
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