Politics & Policy

Pro-life Lawmakers Urge Trump Admin. to Reject Potential Fetal Tissue Coronavirus Research

President Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 29, 2020. (Al Drago/Reuters)

Pro-life members of Congress are urging the Trump administration to keep measures in place intended to protect unborn life and the dignity of fetal remains as abortion advocates push for them to be loosened during the coronavirus health crisis.

Representative Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Republican, and Senator Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, led two letters from members to President Trump urging him not to acquiesce to criticism of his ban on taxpayer funding of aborted fetal tissue research. Critics of the administration’s decision have argued that such research could assist in finding a cure for the coronavirus, which continues to spread rapidly across the country.

“These critical litanies, however, repeat false claims and narratives which for many years have touted the utility of aborted fetal tissues in research, including the claim that aborted fetal tissue has been used to create many vaccines,” the letter from House members said.

A similar letter from senators accused advocates of fetal tissue research of attempting to “exploit” the coronavirus crisis, adding “such unethical practices are unnecessary.”

A scientist at the government’s National Institutes of Health, Kim Hasenkrug, was prevented by Department of Health and Human Services officials last month from conducting coronavirus research involving fetal tissue donated by women who had abortions. HHS detailed its funding restrictions on fetal tissue research last year, stating at the time that, “promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration.”

In a separate joint letter to the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi and Representative Bob Latta of Ohio led a group of lawmakers in asking the FDA chief not to temporarily relax restrictions surrounding medication abortion drugs, as some abortion advocates have recommended.

“These demands are both reckless and dangerous,” the members wrote to FDA head Stephen Hahn.

Meanwhile, a group of more than 50 pro-life leaders across the country wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar asking him to be vigilant about preventing a pro-abortion agenda from coloring the national response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“At a time when hospitals are overloaded, the abortion industry is putting women at risk of incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, and infection,” the groups wrote about the proposal to relax restrictions on medication abortion, which is used in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony list, praised the efforts by members of Congress and accused the abortion industry of exploiting “fears surrounding the pandemic to promote an extreme abortion agenda.”

“Their calls for the rollback of protective FDA regulations on dangerous chemical abortion drugs, which carry serious risks for women, potentially requiring hospitalization, prove they are willing to endanger not only the health and safety of vulnerable women but that of front-line medical personnel and all of society,” Dannenfelser said. “Additionally, they insist that unethical experiments involving aborted baby body parts are necessary to find a cure for the coronavirus, ignoring the wide variety of ethical options already available and under development.”

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