Rounds, Senators Urge Trump to Keep Pro-Life Protections for Coronavirus Research

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joined 34 of his Senate colleagues in a letter to President Donald Trump to ask the administration to maintain pro-life protections during the search for treatments and cures for COVID-19. The letter refutes a request by 15 pro-abortion state attorneys general requesting waivers to prohibitions on the use of fetal tissue for coronavirus research.

“These attempts to exploit the current crisis faced by our nation undermine your leadership and the promising research that is already underway,” the senators wrote. “In reality, holding the line ethically gives us the ability to put resources toward better science that is already showing promise against the coronavirus. Therefore, we urge you to stand strong in rejecting these appeals for taxpayer dollars to be used for the practice of using aborted babies in experiments.”

In addition to Rounds, the letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Barasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Kennedy (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

The full text of the letter is available below:

Dear Mr. President:

We thank you for your bold and consistent efforts to defend the sanctity of all human life, including our youngest and most vulnerable. Your Administration’s decisive actions to protect human life and human dignity on every front have brought great hope to our nation. In particular, we thank you for last year’s decision to stop taxpayer funding in federal laboratories of the horrific practice of using aborted baby body parts for experiments.  

As you know, there are critics who have complained against your decision to ban funding of aborted fetal tissue research. Some of these same critics are now attempting to exploit the current COVID-19 crisis, claiming that the ban on aborted fetal tissue is limiting research for cures to the virus. These claims are not true. The facts show that aborted fetal tissue from ongoing abortions has never been used in the production of a single vaccine, and most vaccines today use more efficient, modern cell lines and production techniques. Notably, the few attempted transplants of aborted fetal tissue have made most patients worse, not better. Moreover, it is unknown whether mice with a human immune system and lungs made from aborted fetal tissue can even be used successfully to test treatments against the coronavirus.  Such unethical practices are unnecessary, especially given that a number of proven, ethically produced mouse experimental models already exist. Indeed, many experts agree that this antiquated practice of using aborted baby organs and tissue in experiments has been surpassed by modern, ethical technologies.

These attempts to exploit the current crisis faced by our nation undermine your leadership and the promising research that is already underway. In reality, holding the line ethically gives us the ability to put resources toward better science that is already showing promise against the coronavirus. 

Therefore, we urge you to stand strong in rejecting these appeals for taxpayer dollars to be used for the practice of using aborted babies in experiments. Your decision to stop funding for this research and to redirect funds toward ethical, successful alternatives should be maintained.

Press release from Senator Rounds office.

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