- The Washington Times - Friday, July 11, 2003

An effort to block funding for four sex-research projects was narrowly defeated in the House yesterday.

The House voted 212-210 against adding to the Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill an amendment offered by Rep. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican.

Voting in favor of Mr. Toomey’s amendment were 33 Democrats and 177 Republicans, but they were outvoted by 165 Democrats, 46 Republicans and one independent.

The amendment would have stopped funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for four research grants:

cA study on “sexual risk-taking,” which proposes “a series of laboratory studies” in which “mood and sexual arousal will be induced and their individual and combined effects on sexual risk-taking will be examined.”

cA study on the sexual habits of older men, which proposes to determine whether older men experience a decline in sexual behavior and if that decline is associated with sexual dissatisfaction.

• A study of Asian prostitutes and masseuses in San Francisco. “The proposed study will describe drug use and HIV-related behaviors among Asian female commercial sex workers at massage parlors,” according to a grant description.

cA study of homosexuality among American Indians. The research proposed to seek an understanding of the “American Indian and Alaskan Native lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and two-spirited individuals … who are a drastically understudied and underserved group.”

The combined value of the grants for the four studies, according to Republican congressional staff, is roughly $1.5 million for fiscal year 2004.

In recent months, House Republicans have sharply criticized NIH funding of sex-research projects such as a Northwestern University psychology professor’s study that paid women to watch pornography while using instruments to measure their sexual arousal.

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