plantation research. The author is most appreciative for helpful comments from the following: Jay Moskovitz, Charles McCarthy, Miriam Davis, Barbara Harrison, Judy Lewis, and LeRoy Walters. Of course, they are not responsible for errors of fact or interpretation in the case study.


By the mid-1980s, promising animal research on fetal tissue transplantation that had been under way for some time both in the United States and abroad had led several researchers in other countries to experimentally transplant human fetal tissue, following elective or spontaneous abortions, into human patients with Parkinson's disease. In addition, in the United States, NIH had awarded an extramural grant to Hans Sollinger of the University of Wisconsin to study transplantation of human fetal pancreatic cells into patients with diabetes. In late 1987 NIH received a request from intramural investigators at the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke for permission to undertake research transplanting human fetal neural tissue, following elective abortions, into patients with Parkinson 's disease. Even though he had the legal authority to approve this research—and some members of his staff urged him to do so—James B. Wyngaarden, the director of NIH, sought approval from the Office of the secretary of DHHS to “permit maximum review of this sensitive area of research” (Office of Science Policy and Legislation, 1988). Wyngaarden's memorandum of October 23, 1987, to Robert Windom, then assistant secretary for health, noted that the proposed research had “the potential for publicity and controversy ” and “may be characterized in the press as an indication that the Department is encouraging abortions,” even though the “research will in no way be a factor in a woman's decision to have an abortion and no Federal funds will directly or indirectly support abortion.” The memorandum also stressed NIH's conviction that “on balance the importance of this research outweighs any potential for adverse publicity.”

In a March 22, 1988, memorandum to the director of NIH, the assistant secretary for health declared a moratorium on the use of federal funds to support human fetal tissue transplantation research (hereafter, HFTTR) that used tissue from induced abortions until NIH could convene “special outside advisory committees” to hear testimony, deliberate, and offer their recommendations. His memorandum identified 10 questions that such committees should address (see Appendix A), which focused mainly on the connection or linkage between abortion and the use of human fetal tissue in research. The assistant secretary 's staff

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