Once again, the Trump administration is ready to sacrifice human health at the altar of anti-science extremism.
The Trump administration is considering cutting $100 million worth of crucial medical research into developing new vaccines and treating diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
"It will slow some projects down that are vital for sick Americans," Larry Goldstein, the director of UC San Diego’s stem cell program, told Politico, blasting the proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to discontinue National Institutes of Health (NIH) research that uses fetal tissue.
Research on stem cells derived from fetal tissue is absolutely essential to medical progress. It brought us the vaccines for polio and measles, and it's currently being used to develop potential vaccines for HIV/AIDS and influenza, as well as treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS, and more.
There are strict ethical guidelines on how to obtain the fetal tissue, which comes from miscarriages and legal abortions, and which has unique properties that give researchers insights they often can't find elsewhere.
This fetal tissue would just get thrown away if it weren't being donated to research — and that research could save future babies by finding treatments for the Zika virus and other prenatal problems.
But Trump is willing to throw all of that progress out the window just to pander to the same religious extremists who want to ban birth control and fertility treatments.
An HHS spokesperson told Politico that the department is "holding multiple listening sessions with various stakeholders [like] scientists, pro-life groups, ethicists" on whether to ban this medical research.
Among those "pro-life groups" is the Susan B. Anthony List, an extremist lobbying group that's basically like the NRA of the movement against reproductive health and rights.
But groups like SBA List do even worse things to science and medicine than the NRA, which has blocked government research on gun violence.
The anti-choice extremist movement in America operates a lot like the climate change denial movement: Making up garbage lies and peddling garbage "experts" in order to confuse people about the validity of well-established science.
Thanks to the lobbying of these extremists, doctors are often forced to lie to women about basic health issues or use outdated medical practices. They risk losing their license or even jail time if they can't figure out how to follow badly written laws that make no medical sense. And women are even arrested for miscarriage when prosecutors abuse laws that were intended to protect pregnant women.
So when the Trump administration says it's consulting scientists, ethicists, and "pro-life groups" about medical research, it's a lot like saying NASA is consulting engineers, astrophysicists, and used car salesmen before launching the next space probe.
The real scientists aren't happy about this at all — and some worry that they're being "listened" to just so that the Trump administration can cover its ass and do what it's been planning to all along.
“I don’t know how much time anyone has to give a compelling case,” one anonymous representative of a scientific organization on the listening tour told Politico. “Is this just a fait accompli and window dressing to say that you listened to people?”
Trump, probably taking the advice of the virulently anti-choice Vice President Mike Pence, has already stuffed HHS full of anti-science hacks who push abstinence-only sex "education" for teenagers and who want to defund basic family planning and health programs.
When Pence was governor of Indiana, he signed a law that would have forced women who had miscarriages to seek funerary services for their fetuses.
And of course, the Trump administration and the GOP have tried to ruin health care across the board by systematically sabotaging Obamacare.
Once again, Trump and his lackeys are working hard to sacrifice human health at the altar of right-wing extremism.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.