Many Americans do not realize it, but Congress allocates millions of dollars each year to fund research on “human fetal tissue” including research on tissue obtained from aborted babies.

The National Institute of Health (NIH), with its Intramural Research Program, is part of the largest medical research institution on the planet. The NIH is an agent of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, and its budget is provided by Congress each year. It conducts its own medical research with that public funding, and it provides grants for other researchers as well.

So how are the NIH and other government agencies supporting research on aborted fetal remains with public dollars? Well, for a little history let’s jump back to 1993.

A Look Back to 1993

In 1993 the NIH released the following guidelines for grant applicants:

“This Request for Applications (RFA) has been developed to encourage research on the standards and methods for identifying and characterizing optimal human fetal tissue for use in transplantation therapy. Joint funding by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) reflects the extent of interest in evaluating human fetal tissues and their biological potentials. Attention should be given to proper collection, processing, culturing and preserving these tissues to ensure highest quality control. This research should consider addressing methods for acquisition, handling, and processing, establishing morphologic status, determining developmental age and viability, assessing sterility and genetic normality, preserving by cryopreservation, storing and establishing cell lines. President Clinton’s directive of January 22 [of 1993] ended the moratorium on Federal funding for use of fetal tissue from induced abortions in human transplantation research. Therefore, human fetal tissues studied under this solicitation may be derived from spontaneous abortion, ectopic pregnancy, or induced abortion.” (Emphasis Added)

President Clinton’s 1993 executive order lifted a 1988 moratorium that prevented federal funds from going to research that involved tissue and organs taken from aborted babies.

Later in the summer of 1993 Congress passed a law which states, “Human fetal tissue may be used in [publicly funded] research…regardless of whether the tissue is obtained pursuant to a spontaneous or induced abortion or pursuant to a stillbirth.”

That law still stands today. Aborted fetal remains can be used for medical research, provided certain guidelines are met–including obtaining consent from the mother of the aborted baby. And, as revealed by recently-disclosed, undercover videos, abortion clinics can be compensated for “donating” aborted fetal remains to researchers.

How Much is the Government Spending on Research that Utilizes Aborted Babies?

As the law notes, the federal government is free to fund research on babies that are aborted, miscarried, or stillborn. Government agencies generally do not distinguish among the three when describing research grants. What’s more, not every grant the NIH awards is reflected in the NIH’s general financial reports. As a result, it’s practically  impossible to know just how much money the NIH is spending specifically on research that uses aborted fetal remains.

While it may not be possible at this time to determine exactly how many millions of public dollars have been spent on research that utilizes aborted fetal remains, we can find specific research studies that received government funds.

For example a 2009 study on multiple sclerosis funded in part by U.S. Public Health Service grants noted that it utilized cells “isolated from spinal cords of electively-aborted fetuses” that were 18-22 weeks gestation.

In 2013 researchers used funds from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, two divisions of the NIH, to conduct experiments in which aborted fetal brain cells were transplanted into lab mice.

We do know the NIH spent $76 million last year on research that utilized “human fetal tissue” presumably from aborted, miscarried, and stillborn children.

Since July of 2010 the NIH has spent at least $280 million on such research, and it plans to spend another $77 million on it between now and June of 2016.

It is important for people to be aware that public funds may be used for research involving aborted fetal remains. Recent videos have revealed medical researchers give Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers money in exchange for tissue and organs from aborted babies. Given what we know about NIH grants, it is entirely possible some of the money Planned Parenthood received from researchers originally came from the public coffer.