At New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, we are heartened by the pro-life advances made under the Trump administration. Those advances include the re-implementation of the Mexico City Policy, which bars recipients of foreign aid from the United States from performing abortions or advocating pro-abortion policies; the legislative reversal of an Obama executive action relating to Medicaid coverage for abortion; and the recent proposal of regulations placing stricter limits on the use of federal family planning funds by abortion providers.
We are also heartened by the fact that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently terminated a contract with a fetal tissue supplier and is, according to the Christian Post, “now conducting an audit of all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue to ensure conformity with procurement and human fetal tissue research laws and regulations.” Unfortunately, not everyone in the Trump administration is equally supportive of this move.
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, recently spoke in support of continued federal research on fetal tissue. According to Science Magazine, Dr. Collins stated at a recent meeting that there is “’strong evidence that scientific benefits come from fetal tissue research, [which] can be done with [an] ethical framework.’” Dr. Collins’s remarks met with opposition from an array of pro-life organizations, and HHS distanced itself from them. According to the Washington Examiner, Dr. Collins also said that “’for people who are pro-life, who are troubled by abortion, the use of fetal tissue for research, since they are being derived anyway, if that is going to save a life someday, seems like a credible stance.’”
What does Dr. Collins mean? Apparently, he means that so long as babies are being aborted anyway, the federal government may as well use their bodies for research. This argument is deeply flawed. As a professing evangelical Christian, Dr. Collins should know better than to embrace this line of thinking; he also should have known better than to express past support for embryonic stem cell research. First, spending tax dollars to obtain the bodies of aborted babies enriches the abortion industry and the contractors who are in the grisly business of selling aborted baby parts; it also implies that the federal government finds these practices acceptable. (Would Dr. Collins support research upon black-market human organs and tissues surgically removed from adult persons without their consent? Would he support the use of federal funds to obtain such organs and tissues, reasoning that we may as well make use of them because people are stealing them anyway? If not, what makes this situation different?) Second, while we would abhor research on aborted babies’ bodies even if that research were effective, there is little evidence that such research has yielded useful results.
NYCF calls upon HHS to ensure that no federal government research is performed upon the bodies of aborted babies, and that no federal funds are used in procuring the bodies of aborted babies. Furthermore, we call upon Dr. Collins—as a professing brother in Christ—to reconsider his views.