Press Releases

Dems Call on Biden Administration to Reverse Trump Fetal Tissue Ban

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Washington, D.C., April 13, 2021 | comments

Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), and Mark Pocan (WI-02) called on the Biden administration to immediately revoke Trump-era bureaucratic hurdles that effectively prohibit the use of fetal tissue in biomedical research. In a letter to U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, 26 House Democratic lawmakers underscored the immense value that fetal tissue research adds to advancing scientific and medical knowledge.

“The previous administration’s restrictions on fetal tissue research continue to threaten scientific and medical advances by blocking intramural researchers from using the material and discouraging extramural researchers from pursuing research with it,” lawmakers said. “The Trump administration’s policy was politically motivated and unnecessary.”

The use of fetal tissue in biomedical research has helped develop new therapies to treat debilitating conditions like cystic fibrosis and hemophilia and has been crucial in studying infectious diseases like Zika, HIV, and COVID-19. It also remains crucial for ongoing clinical research for ALS, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s disease.

Despite longstanding legal and ethical frameworks that guide the use of fetal tissue in biomedical research, an ethics review board convened by the Trump administration in August 2020 called for restrictions on its use, stalling more than a dozen research projects at the National Institutes of Health.

You can read the full text of the letter here.

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