Ohio Right to Life Board Member Appointed to NIH Fetal Tissue Ethics Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE               CONTACT: Mike Gonidakis

DATE: Friday, August 7, 2020     PHONE: 614-547-0099 ext. 301

COLUMBUS, Ohio–Today, Ohio Right to Life announced current board member Dr. Ashley Fernandes was appointed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board. This Board, which was assembled to make ethics recommendations on the usage of aborted fetal tissue in taxpayer-funded research, was announced by the Trump administration in February and held its first meeting last Friday.

“Ohio Right to Life is proud to have a national pro-life leader like Dr. Fernandes,” said Mike Gonidakis, President of Ohio Right to Life. “Dr. Fernandes’ impressive credentials and strong pro-life ethic will be a valuable asset to the Advisory Board. The dignity of the human person must be upheld throughout government including taxpayer-funded research. The addition of Dr. Fernandes to this Board will go a long way towards making that a reality.” 

The Board, which is comprised of a diverse group including lawyers, doctors, and ethicists, also contains an array of experts from top pro-life organizations such as the Charlotte Lozier Institute and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

“I am honored to have been appointed to the NIH’s Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board,” said Dr. Ashley Fernandes, a physician and bioethicist, Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics at The Ohio State University, and Ohio Right to Life board member. “Science has the power to create and the power to destroy. Good science seeks to ensure that power is tempered by moral elements. This historic board, which marks the first time the NIH has looked into fetal tissue research from a moral perspective, is vitally important to ensuring that tax-payer funded research is conducted is an ethical, life-affirming way that speaks of the importance of the human person.”

The usage of human fetal tissue from aborted babies in taxpayer-funded scientific research has raised significant ethical concerns. In recent years it was discovered that body parts from aborted babies were being used to create humanized mice for experimental purposes. The resulting specimens were often used for research on human diseases. 

“In the quest to conduct good scientific research, we can’t simply ignore weighing the dignity of human beings, no matter how noble the enterprise,” said Dr. Fernandes.  “I am proud to be a part of this critical conversation on a national level.”

For a complete list of the Advisory Board members, click here. 

Founded in 1967, Ohio Right to Life, with more than 40 chapters and local affiliates, is Ohio’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement in Ohio, ORTL works through legislation and education to promote and defend innocent human life from conception to natural death.



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