A half-century ago, United States Gen. George V. Strong wrote a letter denying Albert Einstein a security clearance to work on the Manhattan Project. The general apparently based his decision on allegations that the physicist was an "extreme radical" and would be a security risk. He was neither of these. Nevertheless, he was at the center of the most striking effort to smuggle ideology into science in U.S. history. Unfortunately, the practice seems to persist.

The Bush administration last year indefinitely extended a ban on federal financial support for experiments using fetal tissue. Use of the tissue, obtained from elective abortions, was strongly opposed by antiabortion groups. Those who support the research suggest that the investigations could advance the treatment of diabetes and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

The decision by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been criticized as ideologically motivated, and it is. What is common...

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