Abortion clinics have been supplying researchers in the United States with terminated fetuses, parts of which are then fused with rodents as part of a bid to stamp out diseases and save millions of people
The use of aborted baby body parts and stems cells has sparked anger among anti-abortion groups in the United States and it has been dubbed “Frankenstein” science.
And shocking undercover footage has led to the Donald Trump administration to reassess if the practice should be continued at all.
Clinics are supposed to ask if they would like to donate tissue but it is unclear whether the parents are aware their dead children's bodies are being used in this way.
But what is known is that abortion clinics are supplying the fetal body parts, although they are not allowed to sell them.
Phelim McAleer, who has produced the film Gosnell, about a rogue abortionist, told Fox News: “Aborted babies bodies are a very valuable commodity in today’s America.
“Research institutions, elite universities, medical centers pay a lot of money for baby parts."
Aborted babies bodies are a very valuable commodity in today’s America — research institutions, elite universities, medical centres pay a lot of money for baby parts
How and why are the mice 'humanised' with body parts?
The aim is to try to force the rodents to develop immune systems which are like humans so they can develop treatments for diseases such as AIDS and cancer.
A so-called “humanised mouse” is created by first destroying a rodents immune system by subjecting it to radiation.
Livers or the thymus glands are then fused with them.
In about 10 weeks the mice develop human-like immunity and are ready to be experimented on.
This means the mutant rodents are very useful in tests with treatments for chronic immune system problems in conditions such as HIV/AIDS.
Undercover footage in an abortion clinic run by Planned Parenthood shows dismembered aborted babies, with arms, legs and other parts.
They were being shown to pro-life activists from the Centre for Medical Progress who were posing as buyers.
The Sun Online has chosen not to show the graphic footage because it is too distressing.
Planned Parenthood has denied profiteering from the sale of body parts but it did say mums can give permission to donate their unborn fetus, which it said was common practice in such clinics.
Spokesperson Eric Ferrero said in a statement: "At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does.”
US GOVERNMENT BACKED RESEARCH
The controversial use of body parts is being spearheaded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the American government which is ploughing $98million (£75m) of taxpayers’ money into using aborted babies in the name of science.
But addressing Congress in December, NIH director Francis Collins defended the practice.
He said: “There is strong evidence that scientific benefits come from fetal tissue research, [which] can be done with an ethical framework.”
There is strong evidence that scientific benefits come from fetal tissue research, [which] can be done with an ethical framework
National Institutes Of Health Director Francis Collin
Ross McKinney, chief scientific officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C., insisted fetal tissue “an important resource for biomedical research”.
In Science magazine , he said: “Fetal tissue research is already subject to a robust ethical and legal framework and research that continues to meet those standards should be continued.”
But in December the Trump administration halted buying any more fetal material and is currently reviewing the practise.
Government backed research projects are now having to rely on frozen stocks.
The Department of Health and Human Services cites "serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations" for the move.
The Trump administration has launched a review into using fetal tissue but scientists insist it is vital in a bid to stamp out diseases afflicting the living