Biden administration reverses Trump restrictions on fetal tissue research

Medical groups urged Biden to reverse the ban shortly after he took office, saying that it left “highly worthy, scientifically meritorious research” unfunded and created a chilling effect on the broader scientific community. Fetal tissue research has been used in the development of numerous vaccines and treatments, including for Parkinson’s, HIV and Covid-19.

The new policy states that the ethics board will no longer be convened but stresses that researchers have to obtain consent from the donor of the fetal tissue, can’t pay for it and must follow any state laws governing the practice.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra during a House hearing on Thursday previewed and defended the reversal of the Trump policies.

“We believe that we have to do the research it takes to make sure that we are incorporating innovation and getting all of those types of treatments and therapies out there to the American people,” he said.

Anti-abortion groups decried the policy change and vowed to make it an issue in their campaign to flip control of the House of Representatives and Senate in the midterm elections.

“Pro-abortion Democrats push this deeply unpopular agenda at their own political peril,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

Adam Cancryn contributed to this report.