Apr 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration reverses Trump-era restrictions on using fetal tissue in research

The Biden administration on Friday reversed Trump-era restrictions on federal funding for fetal tissue medical research by government scientists.

Background: The Trump administration in 2019 announced it would no longer fund research that used fetal tissue from elective abortions. Outside research proposals were also subject to ethics reviews. Scientists at the time condemned the move and argued it could hinder lifesaving medical research.

  • Applications for fetal tissue include treatments for COVID-19, HIV and other medical conditions.
  • "This notice informs the extramural research community that [Health and Human Services] is reversing its 2019 decision that all research applications for [National Institutes of Health] grants and contracts proposing the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions will be reviewed by an Ethics Advisory Board," the NIH said in an announcement on Friday.

What they're saying: "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 before a House hearing, the Washington Post notes.

Yes, but: Anti-abortion activists applauded the move by former President Trump — and are sure to have qualms with Biden's reversal.

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