Scientists feel chill of crackdown on fetal tissue research

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists are feeling the chill of the Trump administration’s crackdown on fetal tissue research.

Tissue left over from abortions has long been used in lifesaving research. New restrictions are ending such work at the National Institutes of Health. University scientists worry their projects may ultimately be cut, too.

When they seek to renew government funding or propose new research, the scientists will face an extra ethics review from not just biomedical experts but also a theologian.

Abortion foes say there are alternatives to using fetal tissue. But science groups insist that for some health threats, such as the Zika virus that attacks fetuses, there aren’t good substitutes.

NIH is funding a $20 million program to research alternatives to fetal tissue and to prove whether they work as well.

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