WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday will hold the first in a series of “listening sessions” on the topic of human fetal tissue research, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting.

Friday’s gathering will include “experts from diverse backgrounds,” the agency said in an email obtained by STAT, and will include testimony from multiple researchers. The scientists will be asked to state their rationale for using fetal tissue in their work, as well as to discuss potential research alternatives “that do not utilize fetal tissues obtained through elective abortion” or that avoid the use of such tissue entirely.

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