Various pro-life groups have called for the resignation of a leading Christian geneticist after he appeared to come out in support fetal tissue research which can be used to better understand certain diseases. Francis Collins is an esteemed scientist who currently serves as the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.
In a recent interview, Collins noted his belief that there is “strong evidence that scientific benefits can come from fetal tissue research, which can be done with an ethical framework.”
That comment alone drew ire from many within the pro-life community, who believe that the direction of fetal tissue is morally corrupt and that the dignity of a human child should be upheld at all costs. LiveAction president Lila Rose noted that it is imperative that the NIH is led by “someone who recognizes that children who are killed by abortion should be mourned, not experimented on.”
— Live Action (@LiveAction) December 20, 2018
March for Life president Jeanne Mancini added her voice to the dissenters, declaring that “Collins’ actions are inconsistent with the pro-life policies of this administration.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is in the process of auditing federal purchases of fetal tissue. Collins, however, insisted that the Trump administration review has been commissioned solely to “assure the skeptics” of its many benefits, which include the determining of how the Zika virus invades brain cells.
“Even for somebody who is very supportive of the pro-life position, you can make a strong case for this being an ethical stance,” Collins told reporters, according to Science Mag. “That if something can be done with these tissues that might save somebody’s life downstream, perhaps that’s a better choice than discarding them.”
Again, Collins’ comments did not go down well with those in opposition to the tampering of human remains.
“It is time for his departure,” she said, noting that Collins’ remarks should be viewed as a “defense of harvesting aborted baby body parts.”
The firing of Collins is extremely unlikely, however. A Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and former director of the highly Human Genome Project, Collins enjoys wide bipartisan support and is extremely popular in scientific circles. The Huma
Collins has also spoken openly of his conversion to Christianity, which came about partly due to his reading of C.S. Lewis’ apologetics classic, “Mere Christianity.” Despite being an atheist the whole way through college, he ended up giving his life to Christ aged 27.
“I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views,” he wrote in a 2007 op-ed at CNN. “As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God’s language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God’s plan.”