One of the worst aspects of the Trump Administration, and for that matter, many of the Republican candidates who ran for president in 2016, has been the outright disdain for scientific research. Trump called human-caused climate change a hoax, claimed his failure to meet with any researchers during the campaign was because he really didn’t expect to win, and went nearly a year without appointing a science advisor to the White House. As president, he upped his attacks on climate researchers, gutting their funding and even going so far as to form a sham committee to discredit their findings.
While politicizing and stifling climate research is hardly new territory for Republicans, it’s hardly the only field the Trump Administration is targeting. On Wednesday, the Health and Human Services Department announced it would cut federal funding for all medical research involving fetal tissue – stifling potential cures for diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Because the tissue is acquired with the consent of women who have abortions, right-wing anti-choice groups have been calling for a ban on such research for some time, and now they’re finally getting their wish, as Donald Trump makes the decision against the advice of HHS scientists and even the department’s secretary, Alex Azar.
One of the projects eliminated by the ban was a research effort using fetal tissue in HIV treatment therapy, taking away hope from millions of people who live with the disease. A favorite argument of anti-choice Republicans is to argue about some hypothetical, unborn child aborted before they grew up to cure cancer.
Trump’s stance proves that this talking point, like nearly all right-wing talking points, rings hollow. Trump doesn’t care about medical breakthroughs or innovation, nor does he care about human life, as this decision underscores yet again. His hostility to climate science shows he has no regard for the economy or national security on the world stage, and his horror house of an administration shows the true price of anti-intellectualism.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making