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APLU Strongly Opposes Congressional Panel’s Efforts to Subpoena Names & Other Identifiable Information of Researchers, Students, & Others Even Remotely Connected with Research that Utilizes Fetal Tissue

Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement condemning the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives on its efforts to subpoena organizations to release names, institutional connection, and the nature of involvement of those connected with research that utilizes fetal tissue. APLU joined the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of American Universities (AAU) today in sending a letter to the panel that expressed strong concerns about the subpoenas.

View the letter from APLU, AAMC, and AAU.

“Whatever the intention of the panel, these subpoenas are seen by many as an attempt to intimidate people involved with fetal tissue research. The release of names with their institutional connections could well lead to individuals being targeted for harassment or worse. The rhetoric around fetal tissue research already inflames an issue that generates both passionate support and opposition. Of course, Congress has an important oversight role, but we see no legitimate public purpose for collecting vast lists of individuals involved with this research. We urge the panel to act prudently and fairly in undertaking these investigations.

“The facts are clear: fetal tissue research is both legal in the United States and holds tremendous promise in unlocking cures to multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and other debilitating and life-threatening diseases. Fetal tissue research has been used in important breakthroughs such as vaccines and models for studying many diseases and disabilities.

“Our nation’s universities and their partners play a central role in scientific and medical discovery and have a long track record of producing life-saving cures and treatments. It is critical that – within the law — researchers, including students, and their support teams have the freedom to let the science lead them to our next great medical advances.”

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