WASHINGTON — 85 members of Congress have signed a joint letter urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cancel its contract with a biomedical procurement company to purchase “fetal tissue” that will be used to create mice with a human immune system in order to test drug safety and efficacy.
“Unborn children are not commodities to be bought and sold,” the letter reads. “The practice of conducting research using the body parts of children whose lives have been violently ended by abortion is abhorrent.”
As previously reported, the FDA had posted a pre-solicitation notice in June outlining its intentions to contract with Advanced Bioscience Resources to obtain what it called “fetal tissue” for research.
“The government intends to solicit and negotiate directly with Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) Inc. and no solicitation will be issued. The objective is to acquire tissue for humanized mice. ABR is the only company that can provide the human fetal tissue needed to continue the ongoing research being led by the FDA,” it read.
“Fresh human tissues are required for implantation into severely immune-compromised mice to create chimeric animals that have a human immune system,” the document explained. “This human immune system allows us to test biological drug products for safety and efficacy. This is necessary because these drug products do not bind non-human species drug targets.”
The FDA’s contract with ABR went into effect on July 25, according to information on the General Services Administration website, and will run for one year. The FDA is paying ABR $15,900 for the remains of unborn babies, referred to as “human fetal tissue,” for the research endeavor. ABR says that it obtains its “tissue” from first and second trimester abortions, as well as full-term deliveries.
“At the FDA, research involving human fetal tissue accounts for a very small fraction of the FDA’s total research and has been used in situations where it is critical to understanding how the human immune system responds to certain drugs and biologics. This work has led to a better understanding of a number of conditions and diseases that affect millions of Americans,” the government organization said in a statement, as reported by CNS News.
“The FDA’s researchers obtain fetal tissue from a non-profit Tissue Procurement Organization (TPO) that have provided assurances that they are in compliance with all applicable legal requirements, including relevant provisions relating to research involving human fetal tissue. FDA is not involved in the TPO’s sourcing of the tissue,” it added.
However, as Congress noted in its letter to the FDA on Sept. 17, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley had referred ABR to the FBI and the Department of Justice in 2016 for “investigation and potential prosecution” following the committee’s own investigation, which found that the company had been buying the remains of unborn children and reselling their parts at substantially higher prices.
“[I]n June of 2014, an ABR technician obtained a 20-week-old fetus at a Planned Parenthood clinic, for which it paid $60,” the Committee outlined in a report. “From that one fetus, ABR sold its brain to one customer for $325, both of its eyes for $325 each ($650 total) to a second customer, a portion of its liver for $325 to a third customer, its thymus for $325 and another portion of its liver for $325 to a fourth customer, and its lung for $325 to a fifth customer.”
In addition to making over $2,200 from just one baby, ABR also charged shipping and disease screening fees, making over $6,000 from a single child. A technician from ABR would go to Planned Parenthood and personally collect the aborted baby body parts on site the day of the procedures.
In light of this concern, as well as the overall disgust at the government’s plan to use the remains of aborted babies for research, members of Congress have asked the FDA to cancel its contract with ABR.
“We urge you to cancel this contract immediately and utilize alternative, modern scientific techniques that do not contribute to the trafficking in baby body parts,” the letter read.
Signers of the correspondence include Reps. Chris Smith, R-NJ; Dr. Ralph Abraham, R-LA; Dr. Roger Marshall, R-KS; Tim Walberg, R-MI; Kristi Noem, R-SD; Sean Duffy, R-WI; Pete Olson, R-TX; Daniel Webster, R-FL; Dr. Andy Harris, R-MD; Dr. Larry Bucshon, R-IN; Claudia Tenney, R-NY; and Bob Goodlatte, R-VA.