Leading pro-life groups are strongly criticizing Joe Biden for reversing a Trump-era decision to have all extramural research involving fetal tissue undergo review by an independent advisory board, a decision that will ultimately have American taxpayer dollars fund research using body parts from babies killed in abortions.

As LifeNews.com reported, the Biden administration announced it is overturning a pro-life rule President Donald Trump put in place barring taxpayer funding for federally-funded studies involving the use of fetal tissue taken from babies killed in abortions.

The National Right to Life Committee criticized the actions by the Biden administration to exploit the deaths of unborn babies who are killed by abortion by allowing research using fetal tissue to move forward.

“We condemn this sickening decision by the Biden administration,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Tiny human babies are aborted by abortionists and then exploited to be farmed for their organs and tissue for use in experiments.”

Tobias continued, “The Biden administration and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra have dismantled the process of making researchers meet any ethical standards when it comes to harvesting the body parts of aborted children for research.”

In 2019, HHS had announced that it would no longer use fetal tissue in internal research and would promote alternatives to such research. In 2020, under the Trump administration, any proposed fetal tissue research was reviewed by an independent NIH Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board. Biden’s announcement Friday indicates both policies will be reversed.

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Biden’s NIH released a notice saying that the agency was overturning the Trump administration’s policy that required all applicants for NIH grants involving fetal tissue from elective abortions to be reviewed by an ethics board. The notice indicated Biden was cancelling the ethics advisory board.

The nation’s Catholic bishops have issued a strongly-worded statement opposing the use of body parts from aborted children for experimentation:

Should a government agency or private company use tissue from induced abortions for vaccine development or other research? The Catholic bishops have answered in the negative. Such use tends to legitimize abortion as a source of “life-affirming” treatments, and requires collaboration with the abortion industry, which should be avoided. This judgment is reflected in policies governing Catholic health care. See Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (4th edition, 2001): “Catholic health care institutions need to be concerned about the danger of scandal in any association with abortion providers” (Directive 45), and “Catholic health care institutions should not make use of human tissue obtained by direct abortions even for research and therapeutic purposes” (Directive 66).

If such collaboration with abortion has already taken place, and the only vaccine made available for serious diseases contains material that was cultured in fetal tissue from an abortion, may Catholics — out of concern for their own health or that of their children or the community – submit to this vaccine without committing serious sin? Most Catholic moralists have replied in the affirmative. The recipient of the vaccine took no part in decisions to base the vaccine on this morally unacceptable source, but is coping with the results of immoral decisions made by others.

It is invalid to cite moral opinions about question (2) to avoid the moral problem posed by question (1). The federal government is choosing here and now to cooperate with researchers who have destroyed human embryos, and even in some cases to reward them with research grants (since these researchers have the most immediate access to the cell lines thereby created).

Moreover, the link between the government’s actions and the destruction of human embryos is even closer here than in the case of vaccine companies using fetal tissue from abortions, because in the present case the taking of human life was done precisely in order to provide cells for research (and in some cases precisely to qualify for federal research grants).

If treatments ultimately result from this decision, Catholics will face a new form of question (2): Whether in conscience they can accept such treatments that rely on the destruction of human life. Here the moral dilemma will be even more difficult, because in this case human life was destroyed specifically to obtain these cells for research and treatment. Use of embryonic stem cells in successful treatments will increase the demand for future destruction of embryos to provide an adequate supply of tissue for thousands or millions of patients. That will pose a new and serious moral dilemma for pro-life Americans who suffer from serious diseases.

During his administration President Trump put in place a new bioethics advisory board recommending that the government reject funding for 13 of 14 research projects that plan to use aborted baby body parts. Trump appointed a number of leading pro-life researchers and bioethicists to the board.

A leading pro-life group immediately condemned the Biden admin decision.

“Biden and Harris, working hand-in-glove with radical appointees like Xavier Becerra, are moving rapidly to pay back their abortion industry allies and wipe out pro-life progress made under the Trump-Pence administration,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “From day one they have sought to expand abortion on demand, funded by taxpayers, against the will of the strong majority of Americans. Now they would force Americans to be complicit in barbaric experiments using body parts harvested from innocent children killed in abortions, with no limits of any kind. Pro-abortion Democrats push this deeply unpopular agenda at their own political peril.”

And a pro-life scientists indicated research with aborted baby parts is unnecessary.

Dr. Tara Sander Lee, senior fellow and director of life sciences at Charlotte Lozier Institute, added: “The HHS decision to resume experiments using the body parts of aborted children defies both the best ethics and most promising science. Exploiting the bodies of these young human beings is unnecessary and grotesque. Fetal tissue was not, and has never been, used for polio or any other vaccine, nor to produce or manufacture any pharmaceutical. There are superior and ethical alternatives available such as adult stem cell models being used by countless scientists worldwide to develop and produce advanced medicines treating patients now, without exploitation of any innocent life. All scientists should reject the administration’s attempts to prey on fears related to the pandemic to advance the practice of harvesting fetal tissue.”

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