MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul today joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general led by California in sending a letter to President Trump and the Department of Health and Human Services calling on the Administration to end its research ban on fetal tissue to aid the nation’s medical response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Attorneys General argue that this exemption could help scientists develop vaccines and study the virus’ impacts on pregnant women and children.
“We can’t let a bad policy stand in way of medical advancements,” said AG Kaul. “Medical researchers should be able to use every available tool as they work to save lives and fight a global health crisis.”
Scientists at the National Institute of Health who are working on potential therapies for COVID-19 have been appealing the administration for permission to work on fetal tissue, arguing that the current ban hampers our nation’s ability to address COVID-19. Research using fetal tissue has led to the development of other vaccines such as those for polio, rubella, and measles.
According to the American Medical Association, “fetal tissue has also been used to study the mechanism of viral infections and to diagnose viral infections and inherited diseases, as well as to develop transplant therapies,” – work that is pertinent to the current COVID-19 health crisis. Recognizing the importance of these scientific contributions, in 1993 members of Congress on both sides of the aisle voted to legalize fetal tissue research. The attorneys general argue that the June 2019 ban impedes necessary research efforts during this unprecedented public health crisis, and urge the administration to lift the ban.
In sending the letter, Wisconsin Attorney General Kaul joins the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Vermont.
A copy of the letter is available here.