WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that it has decided to allow its contract with the University of California San Francisco to expire, a project that utilized the remains of aborted babies to make “humanized mice” in order to study potential HIV cures. The government entity has also discontinued the use of aborted babies for research within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The department explained on Wednesday that it similarly ended a contract between Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last September, and in doing so, it decided to also review all HHS-related research involving the use of aborted babies “in light of the serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations involved.”
“When the audit and review began, HHS had an existing contract with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) regarding research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions,” it outlined. “HHS has been extending the UCSF contract by means of 90-day extensions while conducting its audit and review. The current extension expires on June 5, 2019, and there will be no further extensions.”
The USCF contract, according to a description on the HHS website, involved “NIAID DAIDS drug discovery and evaluation programs by providing a contract to evaluate potential HIV therapeutics in small animal models.”
“The proposed mouse models provide a bridge from in vitro studies to more costly non-human primate studies and early-phase clinical studies,” it outlines.
HHS said that because the Trump administration believes in the dignity of human life, it decided to allow the contract to expire.
“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” it remarked in its statement.
“The audit and review helped inform the policy process that led to the administration’s decision 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.”
HHS said that current extramural projects at other universities will not be affected by the decision, but should a university seek a renewal once its contract nears expiration, “an ethics advisory board will be convened to review the research proposal and recommend whether, in light of the ethical considerations, NIH should fund the research project — pursuant to a law passed by Congress.”
It could be several years that contracted universities continue the funded research before their NIH contract expires.
The department outlined that the government is exploring “adequate alternatives” to using the remains of aborted babies for research, and “will ensure that efforts to develop such alternatives are funded and accelerated.”
UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood expressed disappointment with the decision, remarking in a statement, “We believe this decision to be politically motivated, shortsighted and not based on sound science.”
Similarly, Larry Goldstein, a professor in the University of California at San Diego’s Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, opined to the Washington Post, “Valuable research that is directed at helping to develop therapies for terrible diseases will be stopped. And tissue that would be used will be thrown out instead.”
However, as previously reported, last September, 85 members of Congress urged the FDA to discontinue its contract to obtain fetal remains from Advanced Bioscience Resources Inc. (ABR).
They noted that 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 allegedly 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.
“Unborn children are not commodities to be bought and sold,” the letter from members of Congress read. “The practice of conducting research using the body parts of children whose lives have been violently ended by abortion is abhorrent.”
“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.”