The Senate by veto-proof majority passed a bill Thursday to lift the ban on federally funded fetal tissue research despite opposition led by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who said it will encourage abortions.
The bill passed 85-12, with much more than the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto promised by President Bush. However, the House passed the bill 260-148 last week - 12 short of a veto proof majority there.Although Hatch supports fetal tissue research, he said the bill would encourage more abortions by making undecided women - especially teenagers - feel something good will come of them.
"This would allow abortion mills to encourage abortion on an ethical basis," Hatch said.
Hatch believes, as does Bush, that sufficient fetal tissue is already available from natural miscarriages and tubal pregnancies.
"The tissue bank established by the president (in May) is a viable alternative to tissue from induced abortions," Hatch said.
Critics doubt the bank will provide sufficient tissue. Sen. Brock Adams, D-Wash., said, "The question is quite simple: Do we allow scientists to use this tissue for lifesaving research or do we just throw it away?"
Although Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, staunchly opposes abortion, he was among those who pushed hardest for approval of fetal tissue research because of its promise to help treat illnesses such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease.
Garn, who donated a kidney to his diabetic daughter, said, "I have a strong interest in any medical advances which could allow my daughter to lead a normal life. I am hopeful and confident that this research will enable medical experts to find a key."