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Pro-life Groups Call for Removal of NIH Chief Over Fetal Tissue Research

Director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins. (Wikimedia Commons)

Several national pro-life groups are calling for the removal of the National Institutes of Health director after he recently expressed support for fetal-tissue research.

Live Action, the March for Life, the Family Research Council, and other groups have called for NIH Director Francis Collins to be fired after he defended the government’s medical research using fetal matter donated by women who have had abortions, an issue that has saddened pro-life Americans and galvanized their opposition.

“There is strong evidence that scientific benefits can come from fetal tissue research, which can be done with an ethical framework,” Collins said last week at a meeting of NIH’s Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) in Bethesda, Maryland.

He added that an ongoing review of the research will hopefully “assure the skeptics” of its benefits.

“Collins’ actions are inconsistent with the pro-life policies of this administration. It is time for his departure,” said March for Life president Jeanne Mancini, a veteran of HHS during George W. Bush’s tenure.

Collins’ replacement should be “someone who recognizes that children who are killed by abortion should be mourned, not experimented on,” agreed Live Action President Lila Rose.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins called the NIH director’s comments “more reflective of the previous administration rather than the Trump administration, which has consistently advanced the sanctity of human life.”

“Tax dollars are contributing to an industry that fosters the trafficking of body parts from aborted children,” Perkins said.

The Department of Health and Human Services in September announced a “comprehensive review of all research involving fetal tissue to ensure consistency with statutes and regulations,” citing “serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations” and promised to look for alternatives.

The Trump administration halted fetal tissue purchases by researchers at the FDA and NIH and is reviewing agreements with outside contractors while the HHS review is in progress. HHS has allotted $20 million to search for alternative research methods.

Fetal-tissue research is used to search for cures for HIV and cancer, among other things.

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