Congress and President Bush have done the right thing, lifting a disastrous nine-year ban that prevented Washington from using locally raised tax dollars on needle-exchange programs that help fight the spread of AIDS. Unfortunately, that still leaves in force an even broader and more damaging law that prohibits the use of federal funds for needle-exchange programs in the United States or abroad.
That ban must also be rescinded.
First enacted by Congress 20 years ago, the prohibition against using federal dollars for these crucial needle-exchange programs has hobbled AIDS prevention efforts both in this country and abroad. Health organizations using American tax dollars should be encouraged rather than blocked from developing these programs.
Eliminating the federal ban would save many thousands of lives every year.
And that’s the truth, Ruth.