Eagle Forum

Eagle Forum Capitol Alert
July 14, 2003

House Votes to Continue NIH Funding of Pornographic Experiments
On July 10, the House of Representatives debated and voted on the FY 2004 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill (H.R 2660), which included funding for the National Institutes of Health. The budget for the NIH has dramatically increased over the last 5 years, and while rejecting nearly 70 percent of applications, taxpayer dollars are ending up funding pornographic and Chinese panda experiments. While not cutting NIH funding, Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA) offered an amendment to prevent further funding for 5 NIH grants currently receiving federal tax-dollars.

Rep. Pat Toomey's amendment (R-PA) would have prevented NIH from funding five objectionable and wasteful projects.  The grants were:

1) Mood Arousal and Sexual Risk Taking: The grant abstract states, "In a series of laboratory studies, mood and sexual arousal will be induced and their individual and combined effects on sexual risk taking will be examined."

2) Study on Sexual Habits of Older Men: This study seeks to determine whether older men experience a decline in sexual behavior and if that decline is associated with sexual dissatisfaction, "especially with behaviors (such as masturbation) that may be substituted for more rigorous activities."

3) Study on San Francisco's Asian Prostitutes/Masseuses:  The grant abstract states, "The proposed study will describe drug use and HIV-related behaviors among Asian female commercial sex workers at massage parlors."

4) Study on American Indian Transgender Research: This study aims to get a general understanding of the "American Indian and Alaskan Native lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and two-spirited individuals... who are a drastically understudied and underserved group."

5) National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Study on Pandas in China: An excerpt from the grant abstract:  "In this study, we view population-environment interactions as the interrelationships among five major components: human population, forests, giant panda habitats, socioeconomic and institutional factors, and government policies."

The combined value of these grants is roughly $1.73 million for FY 2004. 

The Toomey amendment was expected to be approved by voice vote. However, an hour before the debate on the amendment, Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Regula (R-OH) notified Rep. Toomey that he would oppose the amendment, which resulted in a roll call vote. The Toomey Amendment was narrowly defeated 210 to 212 with 1 voting present and 11 not voting (Roll Call Vote 352).

ACTION ITEM: Thank the Members who voted to hold the NIH accountable. Demand an explanation from the Members who voted to continue wasting your tax-dollars. Note that the vote will appear on the Eagle Forum Scoreboard.

Statement by Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) correcting the record after voting No on the Toomey Amendment:

"I regret that my vote on the Toomey Amendment was cast in error, as I fully support the efforts to stop the National Institutes of Health from funding these highly inappropriate programs."

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