April 21, 2021

Catholic Medical Association Dismayed After Ban on Federally Funded Fetal Tissue Research is Reversed

Philadelphia, PA- April 21, 2021- The Catholic Medical Association is dismayed after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reversed restrictions which banned NIH research and limited federally funded research using the tissues of aborted babies.

“This move by HHS completely undermines life-affirming science and disregards the need for ethical perspective on the way we conduct research,” said Dr. Michael Parker, CMA President.

CMA announced last year that several of its members were federally appointed to The Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board of the National Institutes of Health, which has been disbanded as a result of this HHS action.

The board’s objective, in part, was to advise on the ethics of federally funded research which includes tissue from the bodies of babies who were aborted.

Dr. Greg Burke, Co-Chair of CMA’s Ethics Committee, was appointed to the advisory board. In response to this HHS action, Dr. Burke said “It is ethically incoherent that the same person who gives consent for research on an aborted fetus is the same person who consented to the abortion.  How can one reconcile such contradictory aims?”

“The unborn child does not have the capacity to consent to research on their deceased bodies and the research itself promises no benefit to them. Such an approach violates all the norms of morally sound scientific inquiry,” added Dr. Burke.

“It is discouraging, to say the least, that this administration is reversing course after so much progress was made to uphold the dignity and beauty of the human person,” added Dr. Parker.

“The use of human fetal tissue for scientific research remains deeply divisive and controversial, and a reminder that however noble the aim is of eliminating disease and improving quality of life, science must always be conducted with a deep, profound, and unwavering respect for the dignity of persons,” said CMA member, Dr. Ashley Fernandes (who was also on the advisory board) in August of 2020.

CMA believes ethical research should aim to advance the cause of human life and reduce suffering; thus should not be contaminated with acts that are in contrast to its purpose.

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