HHS will, the statement said, “ensure that efforts to develop such alternatives are funded and accelerated.”
In July, the Food and Drug Administration signed a $15,900 contract with Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR) to procure fetal tissues obtained from elective abortions. The tissue was to be used in the creation of “humanized mice.” The mice would be injected with the tissues, causing them to develop an immune system similar to that of a human for the purposes of clinical testing. This is called a “chimeric animal.”
After news of the deal was reported, several members of Congress spoke out in a letter requesting that the FDA terminate the contract. The letter raised concerns that ABR may have violated federal law concerning the sale of fetal remains.
In 2016, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Senate Judiciary Committee both investigated ABR as part of a larger inquiery into the fetal tissue industry.
ABR admitted to “upselling” certain fetal parts for a larger fee.
“In light of the serious unresolved questions uncovered by the investigative work of both the House and Senate panels, we are alarmed that the FDA has continued to award contracts to ABR for the procurement of human fetal tissue,” the legislators wrote.
The letter also called for an end to the use of fetal remains in scientific research.
"The practice of conducting research using the body parts of children whose lives have been violently ended by abortion is abhorrent.”
March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement Tuesday that, while she is thankful that HHS had ended the “horrific” contract with ABR, the move was “just a first step” and that the federal government continued to use fetal remains in experiments.
Speaking to CNA, Mancini said she was “grateful to Secretary Azar and HHS for terminating this unconscionable government contract," but stressed that there was more to be done.
"The majority of the controversy and taxpayer money is focused on National Institutes of Health, where the director, Frances Collins, has voiced support for this inhumane experimentation," she told CNA.
"Despite videos from Center for Medical Progress unmasking the illicit baby parts trade, this grisly industry continues to be propped up by massive amounts of federal money. All of it should be redirected toward successful and life-affirming alternatives.”
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Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser was grateful that this particular contract had been canceled, but said it was a “completely inadequate” response to the larger scandal of aborted remains being purchased with public money.
"Secretary Azar must put an immediate moratorium on funding for research using aborted baby organs and tissue purchased from the abortion industry,” said Dannenfelser, who called for tax dollars to be diverted to “ethical alternatives” that have produced successful results in patients.