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Francis Collins to NIH: Trump’s First Pro-Life Stumble

President Trump laid out a solid record of pro-life accomplishments in his first months in office.  He issued executive orders to cut off funding for foreign abortion providers, for United Nations family planning operations, and for Planned Parenthood services offered under Title X.  He pushed a healthcare bill through the House of Representatives that cuts off tens of billions in annual subsidies for healthcare plans that cover abortion, and cuts off the main bulk of federal funding to Planned Parenthood.  His crowning achievement was the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, an action that will benefit this country for the next 30 years.

However, this stellar record has been tarnished by its first major mistake.  Yesterday, President Trump re-appointed Dr. Francis Collins as Director of the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Collins has held this position since President Obama appointed him in 2009.  The NIH has a major influence on the direction of federal funds towards various kinds of medical research, and has come under scrutiny during Collins’ tenure for its funding of morally questionable practices.

One of the leading problems with Dr. Collins’ continued leadership of the NIH is his advocacy for embryo-destructive stem cell research.  In an interview given to the journal Nature on his first day as NIH Director, Dr. Collins stated that increased funding for embryo-destructive research was one of his top priorities.  His views resulted in a swift reversal of the George W. Bush-era restrictions on federal funding for research using stem cells from aborted fetuses.  He has continued to advance these pro-death policies during the first months of the Trump administration, and now that he has been reappointed, there appears to be no end in sight.

His advocacy for human cloning is perhaps even more disturbing.  Dr. Collins is an open and forceful proponent of cloning human embryos in order to obtain their stem cells.  This is colloquially referred to as “clone and kill.” Dr. Collins advocates (and uses your taxpayer dollars to fund) the artificial creation and destruction of new human beings in order to harvest their stem cells for research purposes.  In fact, he has explicitly argued that cloned embryos do not deserve the same fundamental moral status protections as naturally-conceived embryos.  This mindset belongs in a work of dystopian fiction, and has no business directing our taxpayer dollars, particularly when a pro-life presidential administration is in power.

In May, some 40 pro-life Members of Congress wrote to the president, asking him to replace Dr. Collins with someone more aligned to the administration’s pro-life positions.  President Trump has explicitly ignored this request.  We hope the president will take immediate steps to mitigate or neutralize the damage that Dr. Collins is continuing to do, that he will reverse his decision to retain him as the NIH director, and that American taxpayers will not have their money wasted on research that is designed to create and destroy innocent lives.