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  • Washington Highlights

    Sensenbrenner Bill Would Limit Fetal Tissue Research

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Oct. 8 introduced legislation to limit the types of human fetal tissue that can used for medical research.

    The Safe Responsible Ethical Scientific Endeavors Assuring Research for Compassionate Healthcare Act (Safe RESEARCH Act, H.R. 3729) would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct or support research with human fetal tissue. However, the tissue may only be obtained pursuant to a still birth.

    Current federal law was enacted in 1991 in response to the then Bush Administration ban on the use of human fetal tissue for transplantation research. That law, which is the basis for federal research guidelines currently in place, permits the use of tissue from spontaneous or induced abortions.

    Scientists that conduct fetal tissue research are concerned that genetic or other abnormalities that lead to a stillbirth may limit the use of such tissue for certain types of studies.

    Reps. Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) are original cosponsors of H.R.3729, which has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.