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An open letter to Stephen Sharpe, CEO at LIFE


Following attempts by US anti-abortion organisations  to discredit Planned Parenthood Ferderatiion of America's involvement in research using donated fetal tissue, UK opponents of choice may be preparing to use similar tactics in the UK.

In a letter to bpas, the CEO of Life asked for confirmation about bpas policy regarding fetal tissue donation.

bpas Chief Executive Ann Furedi has replied by issuing the following open letter:


Dear Mr Sharpe,

On behalf of bpas, I am pleased to confirm that we support the work of the national  Human Developmental Biology Resource (HDBR) and  to confirm also that  some women undergoing termination of pregnancy at  bpas clinics have donated fetal material to its centre. We hope, and anticipate, that our involvement with this important work will continue.

As you will be aware, the HDBR is funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, and is hosted by the Institute of Child Health in London and the Institute of Genetic Medicine at the University of Newcastle. The donated tissue they receive from us is used in the study of diseases, with current projects including investigations into cancer, congenital heart disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Donations of tissue are made voluntarily by women undergoing termination of pregnancy who provide their explicit written consent for the fetal material to be collected and used for research that is for the benefit of humanity . There is no commercial or financial gain from the collection for either donor or bpas.

Since you refer in your letter to ‘recent events with Planned Parenthood’, I would like to express just how much I deplore the misrepresentation of Planned Parenthood’s work in the USA by those who are opposed to abortion. I trust that you and your colleagues will feel able to report the information I have provided without recourse to similar dishonesty. We  are extremely proud of our collaboration with HDBR and our involvement in this crucial area of research.


Yours sincerely

Ann Furedi