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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Expresses Concerns about Potential Subpoenas from House Panel on Infant Lives

    Heather Pierce, Senior Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel

    The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives March 30 issued subpoenas to various organizations with connections to human fetal research, including individuals with relationships to the University of New Mexico.

    In a March 31 statement, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., said, “The AAMC is deeply troubled by reports that the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives will subpoena organizations to compel them to release the identities and other personal information of researchers, graduate students and trainees, health care providers, and staff who have had any involvement—significant or not—with research that utilizes human fetal tissue.”

    Dr. Kirch said, “We believe that the panel has provided neither compelling reasons for the need to collect this information, nor any assurances that it would be adequately safeguarded. AAMC-member medical schools and teaching hospitals remain very concerned for the safety of their scientists, physicians, staff, students, and patients, particularly in light of the heated debate surrounding the issue of fetal tissue research.”

    The AAMC, along with the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), sent a March 31 letter to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) as chair and ranking member of the panel.

    The letter asks the panel to work toward a bipartisan solution to promote the security of these individuals and their institutions, adding, “Without such protections in place, we urge the panel not to force organizations to release individually identifiable information.”