With support from such stout opponents of abortions as Strom Thurmond and Jake Garn, the Senate has voted 87-10 to lift a four-year ban on federal funding for fetal tissue research that could help combat diabetes, Parkinson's, Huntington's, Alzheimer's and other currently incurable diseases. Significantly, it added a "research freedom" provision to stop the government from inhibiting the march of science for political, ideological or "moral" reasons.
This puts President Bush on the spot, which is precisely where he deserves to be. If it appears that a veto-proof majority is emerging in the House, he has the choice of being overridden for the first time in his presidency or adopting the more reasonable position that this whole issue is a matter of health, not abortion.
Unfortunately, it is also a matter of politics. The president can placate the doctrinaire right, which denounces fetal tissue research with the same kind of inflammatory language it uses against abortion, saying the very success of such research would encourage society to "cannibalize" fetuses resulting from