“Utter disregard for the value and dignity of human life”

Rep. Smith and Sen. Braun slam decision allowing experiments involving babies grown in test tubes, human-animal chimeras

WASHINGTON, DC—Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) today responded to updated guidance from the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) that removed the longstanding prohibition against experimenting on human embryos more than two weeks past their creation and allowed the creation of chimeras that blur the line between human and animal.

“The ISSCR has shown an utter disregard for the value and dignity of human life,” said Rep. Smith. “Its previous rule allowing scientists to create and experiment on human embryos up to 14 days was already unethical and morally repugnant, but the ISSCR has now removed all restraint, allowing unborn humans at any stage of development to be experimented on, manipulated, and destroyed.”

The ISSCR has also removed restrictions against creating and experimenting on human-animal chimeras, organisms that possess both human and animal cells, characteristics, or tissues. The ISSCR failed to provide meaningful safeguards against unethical chimera research, including the creation of animals with human brains, human faces, human hands, or the ability to produce human gametes.

On Tuesday, Smith and Braun introduced the “Human-Animal Chimera Prohibition Act” (HR 3542/S.1800), which would prohibit research involving human-animal chimeras that blur human-animal species distinctions. 

Smith said, “The United States now has the responsibility to decide how it will respond to this updated guidance.  HR 3542, which would create a permanent, statutory ban on certain types of human-animal chimeras, is an important step.  We also call on the Biden Administration to preserve the scientific integrity of our nation and ensure that the United States does not further weaken requirements protecting human embryos and requiring a strict code of ethical conduct from our scientists and researchers.”

“The National Institutes of Health should not lift their moratorium on funding animal-human hybrid experiments, and further I believe such research is an affront to the sanctity of human life that should be outlawed,” said Sen. Braun. “That’s why I’m proud to stand with Representative Chris Smith against unethical animal-human hybrid research and will continue to fight for bioethics restrictions that protect human and animal life from unethical experimentation.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) currently has a moratorium on funding experiments involving human-animal chimeras.  On May 24, Smith and Braun led a letter with 32 Member of Congress urging the Administration not to weaken its stance on this important issue.