Two influential anti-abortion groups called Tuesday for the ouster of NIH Director Francis Collins over his support for fetal tissue research for medical science.
Live Action, March for Life and other conservative groups have been frustrated that the Trump administration has not banned research using fetal tissue donated by women who have had abortions.
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They targeted Collins over his assertion at a meeting last week that “there is strong evidence that scientific benefits can come from fetal tissue research, which can be done with an ethical framework.”
Collins also told reporters that an ongoing Trump administration review of fetal tissue research is intended to “assure the skeptics” of its benefits — an assertion that anti-abortion groups argue has undermined the review.
The tissues are used in NIH-funded research on HIV, cancer and other diseases.
But HHS has ordered grantees to pause acquisitions of fetal tissue, and NIH earlier this month said it would spend $20 million to find alternative tissues for research.
March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said “Collins’ actions are inconsistent with the pro-life policies of this administration. It is time for his departure.”
Mancini, who worked at HHS under President George W. Bush, characterized Collins’ remarks as a “defense of harvesting aborted baby body parts.”
Live Action President Lila Rose said Collins should be replaced with “someone who recognizes that children who are killed by abortion should be mourned, not experimented on.”
Congress is unlikely to back the ouster of Collins, who has served in the role since 2009 and enjoys bipartisan support.