The Trump White House is clearly losing on both the Brett Kavanaugh and Rod Rosenstein fronts, because they're about to pick yet another culture war fight in order to "rally the base".
Federal health officials canceled an FDA contract for human fetal tissue research Monday night and announced a review of all such research projects.
The announcement, citing “serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations,” revives a political issue that last flared in 2015 and led to congressional hearings. That fight came over anti-abortion political activists who covertly videotaped Planned Parenthood doctors and employees of Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), a cell tissue firm based in Alameda, California, that provides such cells to researchers.
The canceled contract would have paid $15,900 to ABR for human tissue that would make a laboratory mouse’s immune system more similar to a human’s. (ABR did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
“Mice with human immune systems are incredibly valuable for research of terrible diseases, and there really is no alternative,” Lawrence Goldstein of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine told BuzzFeed News. Such cells have figured prominently in the development of vaccines against diseases such as rubella, rabies, polio, measles, chickenpox, and shingles.
The bottom line is that such cells would be otherwise discarded, he noted, and bioethics reviews going back to the Reagan administration have approved of their use to benefit human health.
The move to audit fetal tissue research was applauded, however, by David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion activist who ran the covert videotaping project.
“HHS’s newly-announced review of fetal tissue procurement and experimentation must be exacting, and it must terminate all other agreements for baby body parts,” he said in a statement.
That this is happening six week before midterm elections is not an accident in the least. Neither is the fact this is happening to distract from how badly the Kavanaugh nomination fight is going, or from the Rosenstein firing trial balloon.
Still the results will almost certainly be decades of research lost, because DEAD BABY PARTS FACTORIES or something stupid, because this is America now.