The University of California, San Francisco is required to use aborted baby body parts for research, according to a contract they have signed with the National Institutes of Health.
The body parts are used to make at least two types of "humanized" mice to research HIV treatment.
"The actual total amount of this contract, including all options, is $13,799,501 for a full performance period through December 5, 2020," the NIH told CNSNews.com. "We have obligated $9,554,796 to date."
The contract between the university and the NIH originally began on December 6, 2013 with the option to renew the contract for six one-year periods until December 5, 2020. The next renewal deadline is in a few weeks, on Dec. 5 of this year.
The contract requires the university to "obtain the necessary human fetal tissues for use under the contract, consistently and reliably, and in accordance with all applicable federal, state, and local guidelines and regulations regarding the use of human fetal tissue."
The human tissues or cells are from a "dead human fetus." The fetus' body is what is left over after a voluntary abortion by its mother.
The baby's thymus and liver tissue are engrafted into a mouse and infected with "well-characterized isolate of HIV-1."
The second mouse model consists of mice "engrafted with human fetal thymus and liver tissue and other cells and/or other tissues." The mice will then be infected with specific agents and studied.
The College Fix contacted UCSF for more information on the university's research practices.
"The University of California conducts research using fetal tissue that is vital to finding treatments and cures for a wide variety of adult and childhood diseases and medical conditions. This research is conducted in full compliance with federal and state law and is in keeping with the university's education, research and public service missions," UCSF spokeswoman Laura Kurtzman said in a statement.
"Since the 1930s, fetal tissue has been a critical component of biomedical science and breakthroughs that fundamentally changed the practice of medicine. Its importance to researchers today has not diminished, and it is still essential to ensuring that cells and tissues created from stem cells are correct," she explained.
The use of aborted baby body parts for research sparked controversy several years ago when the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials allegedly violating federal law by selling aborted fetal tissue.
When the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigated fetal-tissue procurement in 2016, Harvard University responded by explaining why mice with human immune systems could only be created with tissue taken from aborted babies.
"Mice that have human immune systems are an invaluable scientific resource, but these mice are engineered to this condition only by means of the use of human fetal material," Harvard University wrote in a paper to the committee.
The university explained why it used aborted babies instead of children who died from miscarriages.
"Here, timing is very important," it said. "Almost all miscarriages happen at home or in locations in which fetal material is not recovered and, importantly, preserved in a usable state."
After the Center for Medical progress released its controversial videos, at least one university, Colorado State, "stopped purchasing fetal tissue" for research.