Fetal Tissue

Lankford, Hawley, Daines, McClain, Luetkemeyer Demand DOJ Investigation on Illegal Fetal Tissue Research

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT) along with Reps. Lisa McClain (R-MI) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), led a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and NIH Director Francis Collins asking for a complete investigation into the University of Pittsburgh’s abortion procedures and research. Recent reports from the NIH show the university may have violated federal law by altering abortion procedures solely for the purpose of obtaining fetal tissue. Even worse, the reports show that university researchers may have harvested organs from babies who were old enough to live outside the womb.

“Exploiting the body parts of aborted children for research purposes is repulsive and should stop, regardless of the  outcome hoped for by researchers. Research using abortive fetal tissue is unethical, wrong, and has also been proven ineffective. Despite being used in clinical research since the 1920s, fetal tissue has not produced a single clinical treatment,” said the letter.

“We are alarmed by public records obtained from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which show that the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) may have violated federal law by altering abortion procedures to harvest organs from babies who were old enough to live outside the womb,” the letter began. 

“The NIH documents detailing Pitt’s grant request were obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Center for Medical Progress. Between fiscal years 2016 and 2020, NIH awarded approximately $1.5 million to Pitt for a project related to the GenitoUrinary Developmental Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP)       program. The GUDMAP program was intended to provide the scientific and medical community tools to study “congenital diseases of the genitourinary tract (kidneys, bladder, ureter, uretha)” by obtaining such organs from aborted babies for research. In its application for funding to be a GUDMAP “tissue hub and collection site” Pitt states that its Health Science Tissue Bank (HSTB) has been involved in procuring and disbursing the body parts of aborted babies for years, noting that “the fetal tissue IRB [Institutional Review Board] has been in place since 2005.” The application contains references in several places regarding the HSTB to the Pitt Institutional Review Board (IRB) but also states that the IRB forms are in the process of being altered and the IRB review is pending.”

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Thune (R-SD), Jim Risch (R-ID), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Rick Scott (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Rand Paul (R-KY), and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Jim Banks (R-IN), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Michael Cloud (R-TX), Randy Feenstra (R-IA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Brian Babin (R-TX), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), William Timmons (R-SC), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Steve Womack (R-AR), Matthew Rosendale (R-MT), Ben Cline (R-VA), Roger Williams (R-TX), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Jody Hice (R-GA), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), David McKinley (R-WV), Bob Good (R-VA), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Tom Tiffany (R-WI), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), David Kustoff (R-TN), Andy Harris (R-MD), John Rose (R-TN), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Mike Bost (R-IL), Michelle Fischbach (R-MN), and Michael Burgess (R-TX) cosigned the letter.

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