WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced Wednesday that the federal government would sharply curtail federal spending on medical research that uses tissue from aborted fetuses. The move fulfills a top goal of anti-abortion groups that have lobbied hard for it, but scientists say the tissue is crucial for studies that benefit millions of patients.
The Department of Health and Human Services said it would immediately end a $2 million-a-year contract with the University of California, San Francisco, for research involving fetal tissue from elective abortions; the contract started in 2013. The department also said that based on a review it began last fall, it would discontinue all research within the National Institutes of Health involving fetal tissue from elective abortions.
“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the department said in a statement. It added that about 200 research projects involving fetal tissue and conducted at universities with N.I.H. grants would be allowed to continue, but that a new ethics advisory board would review each application for grant renewal and recommend whether to continue the funding.
Anti-abortion groups were quick to applaud the decision.
“Most Americans do not want their tax dollars creating a marketplace for aborted baby body parts which are then implanted into mice and used for experimentation,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life. “This type of research involves the gross violation of basic human rights and certainly the government has no business funding it.”
Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, declared, “The government has no business subsidizing researchers that traffic the body parts of aborted babies.”