HomeWashington Letter2019 ▶ ATS Supports Successful Congressional Effort to Prevent New Ethics Reviews of Extramural Fetal Tissue Research
ATS Supports Successful Congressional Effort to Prevent New Ethics Reviews of Extramural Fetal Tissue Research

The ATS is supporting congressional efforts to reverse the Trump Administration’s recent restrictions on intramural NIH fetal tissue research. Last week, the Administration announced that intramural NIH researchers will not be permitted to acquire additional fetal tissue, effectively ceasing these and any future intramural studies. In addition, one large extramural study on HIV therapies at the University of California, San Francisco is being ended. The administration’s policy also seeks to impose new ethics reviews on all federally-funded extramural fetal tissue research, although details have not yet been released.  Current extramural studies using fetal tissue research will not be immediately impacted or undergo additional review under renewal.

This week, Rep. Pocan (D-WI) introduced an amendment to the fiscal year (FY) 2020 House Health Research and Services spending bill that would prevent the administration from imposing new ethics reviews on all federally funded extramural research, including NIH studies using fetal tissue research. Votes on the bill are being held this week with final votes expected next week. The amendment, which passed the House by a vote of 225 – 193, was also co-sponsored by Reps. DelBene (D-WA), Speier (D-CA), Nadler (D-NY) and Raskin (D-MD). The amendment must now be passed by the Senate when that chamber considers its version of the FY2020 health spending bill.

The ATS joined a letter led by the International Society for Stem Cell Research endorsing the Pocan amendment. The letter states, “Fetal tissue remains critical for ongoing clinical research on potential treatments for ALS, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease and human development. The existing legal and ethical frameworks for fetal tissue research provide rigorous and appropriate oversight, ensuring that the tissue is obtained legally and with donor consent.” The letter continues, “We are concerned about the potential chilling effect of this policy on biomedical research.”

The ATS released this statement on the Administration’s new policies on fetal tissue research.

Last Reviewed: June 2019