Nevada is among 14 states that have sent a letter to President Trump and the Department of Health and Human Services urging the administration to end its research ban on fetal tissue in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As our state and country faces an unprecedented crisis, now is not the time for politics,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a release. “If we’re going to overcome this pandemic as a nation, then we need to utilize all the tools in our toolbox, including allowing our scientists develop a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19.”
Ford and the other state attorneys general argue the pandemic warrants an exemption to a ban imposed last year prohibiting government researchers from using tissue from abortions in their work to develop vaccines and therapies for the virus.
No therapies or vaccines for the new coronavirus exist yet.
Scientists at the National Institute of Health who are working on potential therapies for COVID-19 said the use of fetal tissue could help accelerate vaccine development to combat COVID-19 and help scientists study the impact to pregnant women and children, adding that research using fetal tissue has led to the development of other major vaccines, such as those for polio, rubella and measles.
“We need to permit research on all fronts. Science-based decision making should be at the forefront when addressing this issue and the scientists’ position on this issue has been clear: currently, there are no alternatives to human fetal tissue that have been shown to be as powerful in conducting these important studies across a broad range of research topics,” reads the letter.
In addition to Nevada, other states that signed on to the letter include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.