Front of Federal-style civic building.

Enlarge / A seal that reads “US Public Health Service” adorns a building on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. (credit: Getty | Mark Wilson)

President Trump personally made the call to impose new restrictions on the use of fetal tissue in medical research, according to reporting by The Washington Post. The decision, announced Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, pleased anti-abortion advocates while horrifying medical researchers, who say the move will cripple lifesaving research that helps millions of patients.

In a statement made Wednesday, June 5, the HHS explained the new restrictions, which primarily include discontinuing research projects conducted within the National Institutes of Health by government scientists that involves the use of tissue collected from aborted fetuses. According to HHS, that applies to only three active research projects out of more than 3,000 in progress by NIH researchers.

HHS also said it would not continue a multi-year NIH contract with a laboratory at University of California, San Francisco, which was using fetal tissue to study HIV treatments. The contract had been limping along on 90-day extensions while HHS conducted an audit of NIH-funded research involving fetal tissue. The latest extension expired on Wednesday, June 5. HHS did not specify the reasons for letting the funding expire or reveal the results of the audit.

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