Action: Contact Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and ask him to maintain his restrictions on human fetal tissue research  

U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and 10 other lawmakers sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar today urging him to immediately lift restrictions on human fetal tissue research, so that it can be used in research aimed at preventing, treating and curing the novel coronavirus. 

 The Colorado Catholic Conference urges Coloradoans to write to Secretary Azar in support of the federal restrictions, which honor the dignity of the deceased victims of abortion, rather than exploiting their remains as material for scientific research. 

 In June 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) banned all research using human fetal tissue within the National Institutes of Health and placed new restrictions on such research at independent labs.  The administration said it did so because “Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death” is one of its “very top priorities.”   

In addition to her letter to Secretary Azar, DeGette, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations panel, also sponsored legislation last week – called the Protecting Cures Act of 2020 – to remove barriers to fetal tissue research. 

The Catholic Church “appreciates and encourages the progress of the biomedical sciences which open up unprecedented therapeutic prospects” (Pope Benedict XVI, Address of January 31, 2008). At the same time, it affirms that true service to humanity begins with respect for each and every human life. Because life is our first and most basic gift from an infinitely loving God, it deserves our utmost respect and protection. Direct attacks on innocent human life are always gravely wrong. Yet some researchers, ethicists, and policy makers claim that we may directly kill innocent embryonic or more developed unborn children as if they were mere objects of research—and even that we should make taxpayers complicit in such killing through use of public funds. (USCCB On-Embryonic-Stem-Cell-Research.)  

To read Rep. DeGette’s letter to Secretary Azar, click here.  

 To read the June 2019 HHS statement on the termination of fetal tissue research, click here. 

Contact information for Secretary Alex Azar:  

Human Services Secretary Alex Azar  

HHS Office of the Secretary  

E-mail Address: 

Phone Number: 202-690-7000  

Background on the Church’s Teaching about using Fetal Tissue Embryonic Stem Cell 

 Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Vaccines Using Fetal Tissue 

Scientific Experts Agree Embryonic Stem Cells Are Unnecessary For Medical  Progress