The US Department of Health and Human Services is to hold a series of "listening sessions" on human fetal tissue research beginning this week, Stat News reports.
The agency announced in September that it would be conducting a review of human fetal tissue research to evaluate whether it was in compliance with applicable statutes and regulations and whether it was subject to adequate oversight. At the time, ScienceInsider noted that the agency's decision to conduct the review came after a number of antiabortion groups wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar with concerns about a contract between the Food and Drug Administration and Advanced Bioscience Resource, a company that supplies fetal tissue to the agency.
Stat News reports that various stakeholders, including researchers, pro-life groups, and ethicists will be participating in the meetings. It adds that insiders are viewing these meetings more as an audit to ascertain whether the department could use less fetal tissue in research than a political move.