Thursday, March 31, 2005

Is Cloning the same as Cloning or is it just Cloning

With Terri Schiavo's death being the focus of the prolife community, the passage of a cloning bill in Massachusetts' Senate has gotten little attention. has a story that illuminates the kind of outlandish rhetoric and psuedo-science that is being used to help pass this bill.

Some excerpts of the article:

Researchers are already conducting stem cell work in Massachusetts, but they fear that an ambiguous state law could be used to block their plans to begin cloning human cells to make embryonic stem cells.

Are they hoping to clone human cells or human beings? Since when do embryonic stem cells come from human "cells?" Have we discovered a new way to get embryonic stem cells without killing an embryo? Nope. We're just so dishonest that we can't admit that we're actually in favor of cloning human beings for the sole purpose of experimenting on cloned human embryos.

Proponents of the bill say that Romney is muddying the issue when he says therapeutic cloning is the creation of human life. The process involves taking the nucleus of a cell such as a skin, heart, or nerve cell and implanting it in a human egg cell that has had its nucleus removed.......Because the egg is never fertilized, supporters argue, scientists are not creating a human life.

So Dolly the sheep wasn't a "sheep life" because the sheep egg was never fertilized? All those other cloned animals like cows and cats are "cow life" or "cat life" because the egg wasn't fertilized with sperm? The fact that people actually fall for this baloney astounds me.

Some lawmakers are opposed to any kind of embryonic stem cell research, believing as the Catholic Church and other antiabortion groups do that an embryo is a human being, whether it is left over from in vitro fertilization or produced by therapeutic cloning.

That's right Bostonians. Only Catholics and anti-abortion groups believe that an embryo is a human being. It's not like it is an established scientific fact.

More scientific disinformation from the Washington Post:

Embryonic stem cells are widely believed to be the most versatile and therefore valuable for research purposes, but they are also the most controversial because extracting them destroys the embryo. Opponents, including some social and religious conservatives, also say the research could lead to the cloning of humans.

Could lead to the cloning of humans? That's what this bill expressly allows!

Backers of the bill said it includes many safeguards against abuse. It establishes penalties of as many as 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for scientists engaging in human reproductive cloning -- the creation of babies through cloning.

"Reproductive" cloning doesn't create anything. It's merely implanting the already created cloned embryos.

Another quote from a Yahoo article:

"That Gov. Romney would actually lock up those scientists whose life's work is to cure diabetes or Parkinson's disease is amazing," said Sen. Cynthia Creem, a Democrat.

Romney is unfortunately in favor of killing embryos from fertility clinics for research but is trying to stop his state from legalizing human cloning. The biotech companies aren't buying though. They want the whole pie.

It's "amazing" that Governor Romney is against human cloning? He must be insane. That loon. How dare he stop someone life's work (cloning I presume) when that life's work hasn't even begun. What has our country come to if a state's governor can be derided for not wanting to legalize human cloning in his state?

How Will Terri Schiavo be Remembered?

How will the woman whose brain was severely damaged in 1990 be remembered in a year, 5 years, and 10 years from now? Will she be remembered as a woman who struggled to live for more than 300 hours without food and water? Or as an organism whose "real life" was already gone? Will she be remembered as the woman whose tragic death convinced large portions of America to get some form of advanced directive? Or as a blimp on the radar screen of those that think they could never end up in a condition similar to Terri's? Will she be remembered by those who took no time to learn the facts of the case as a brain dead vegetable who was thankfully allowed to die? Or will people investigate and learn how the mainstream media was hardly forthcoming with numerous findings and plainly dishonest with others? Will she be remembered as the woman whose case awakened America to the inordinate amount of power that is given to men and women in robes? Or will our country continue to allow the bad rulings to allow innocent women to starve for almost 2 weeks?

Will she be remembered as a living human being whose life was tragically taken from her by the faulty rulings of a judge based on the hearsay testimony of an unfaithful husband or as a thing, a broken music box as described by Anna Quindlen, that was no longer valuable because it lacked its former ability or dignity?

What will her autopsy reveal? Abuse? Neglect? Only the best medical care? That her brain was the consistency of "Jell-o" as columnist Ellen Goodman described it? Or just having severe atrophy similar to a "75 year old female who was somewhat senile but fully functional" asdescribed by the medical blog CodeBlueBlog?

And these are not all questions of the "we'll wait and see" variety. Many of them are questions of how well we can educate the public about Terri and her tragic death. The way in which many of these questions will be answered reflects on how persistent and strong our voices can be. Will we tell our friends and family the truth of Terri's death? Our co-workers and acquaintaces? Or will we let the Anna Quindlens and Ellen Goodmans of this world have the upper hand? We all play a role in deciding how Terri will be remembered and don't you forget it.

Terri has died

Kathyrn Jean Lopez of The Corner is reporting that Terri Schiavo has passed away this morning.

UPDATE: The brief Yahoo story is here.

UPDATE #2: From the Boston Herald/AP:

Brother Paul O'Donnell, an adviser to Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, said the parents and their two other children ``were denied access at the moment of her death. They've been requesting, as you know, for the last hour to try to be in there and they were denied access by Michael Schiavo. They are in there now, praying at her bedside.''

Krugman Taken Down

Numerous excellent bloggers have spoken their piece regarding this column by Paul Krugman of the New York Times where he says that danger religious extremists (Christians who vote for Republicans) wield great political influence and that liberal politicians live in a climate of fear because a former associate of Randall Terry (a clown pumped up by the media with no political power) killed an abortionist.

From what I've seen they best of the bunch include:

John Mark Reynolds
Kobayashi Maru
Right Wing Nut House

I find it disappointing that at least one liberal Christian blogger thinks this column was great.

Santorum Interview

Rick Santorum recently did an an interview for Christianity today where he discusses among other things same-sex marriage, abortion, poverty, and how he draws no line between his faith and his decisions as a public official.

My favorite parts below:

Q: How do you respond to those who might accuse you of attempting to legislate your morality on others?

A: I would say that everyone does. The idea that when you make decisions that have moral implications, you're not legislating morality! When you're going to allocate funds for contraceptive services, are you legislating morality? Of course you are. Now the question is, what moral code are you applying, or what values or virtues are you applying to the situation? What worldview do you see?

It's important to understand proper civil discourse, where people are invited to bring all their ideas, irrespective of their origin, to the public square to be debated and hashed out and for compromises and agreements to be made and the majority to proceed forward. That's how democracy and civil affairs are to work.

The idea that only ideas without religious overtones, or religious perceptions, are allowed in the public square—the founders would not only turn in their graves, they'd be spinning.

Q: The book by Thomas Frank, What's the Matter with Kansas?, says that many people vote against their own economic interests when they vote for Republicans on the basis of social issues.

A: That's just the kind derogatory, elitist pablum that you get when people don't realize that there's a lot of people who don't put their treasure in this world and look for something more than just "how much more money I can make." They understand that life is more than a bank account. That's the postmodern view of the world, which is it's all about me; it's all about how much I can get now for me. There are a lot of people who worry about, not just their economic well being, but they worry about their kids, they worry about the culture their children are going to be raised in, they worry about the pervasive incivility that we see in this country. They worry about national security issues. They worry about a lot more things than just me and how much money I'm making. It's certainly important, and I would say that's one of the factors people should consider. But there are a lot of folks who have not bought into the Greenwich Village view of the world.

Thank God for Kansas.

HT: Naaman

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Preserved Fetus Stolen

The Associated Press is reporting a story that a "preserved 13-week-old fetus" was stolen by two women from an exhibit at the California Science Center.

The fetus, infused with polymers in a process called plastination to prevent decay, was part of a traveling display entitled "Body Worlds 2: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies."

A surveillance video showed the suspects removing the fetus from an unlocked display case on the third floor between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Saturday during the round-the-clock closing weekend of the exhibit, police Detective Jimmy Render said Tuesday.

Angelina Whalley, director of the Institute for Plastination said, "How can somebody do this ... it's such a disrespect."

Our country is a funny place isn't it. Taking a dead yet preserved human fetus from an exhibit is a crime worthy of investigation but killing living human fetuses is not.

Revisiting Bush's abortion increase myth

Michelle Malkin has received a response from Nicolas Kristof of the NY Times regarding his column that falsely asserted (without a source) that abortions have increased significantly under George W. Bush.

His response:


thanks belatedly for your note about hillary and abortions. i was in zimbabwe, skulking around and pretending to be a tourist, and didn't have web access. but now i did have a chance to look at your web link, and i'm afraid i disagree.

you're right that it was stassen's work that originally pointed me to this issue and that the data cover only 16 states. but stassen has considerable credibility, since he is himself pro-life and trained in statistics, and others in the repro health field have found his work sensible. moreover, while the data are incomplete, the states represented include a range of different geographic areas and seem representative. and among those 16 states, the trend was very clear. Stassen calculates that there are 50,000 more abortions a year than if the previous trend had continued.

sorry for the delay....

allbest, nick kristof

This is atrocious. "I'll take the word of a guy who says he's prolife (even though it is doubtful that Kristof would trust people who work for prolife organizations and are actually trained in statistics) without actually looking to see if his statistics are accurate (even though typing "stassen" and "abortion" into any search engine will get you a bunch of blogs and organizations that disprove Stassen's faulty use of faulty statistics) and then I'll pass that work on as fact in my column without providing a source."

Bravo!! What journalistic integrity!

The standards Kristoff uses for purporting something as fact are lower than most of blogs I've ever read. Most blogs at least usually try to provide some source/link or reasoning and check to see if that source is credible. Kristoff just takes one guy's faulty research and displays it as fact without even mentioning Stassen's name or how he came up with these statistics.

This complete lack of analysis and sourcing doesn't belong in a middle school term paper much less the "paper of record."

C and Eers

Every year on Easter Sunday and around Christmas time churches see a significant increase in attendance. Instead of being sparsely attended they become half-full, instead of being half-full they become mostly full, instead of being full they become packed to point of ushers bringing out additional seats. Many churches even have additional services just to account for the annual increase in attendance. Churches reach their full capacity with people who seem to attend church only around Christmas and on Easter Sunday or what my wife's 85 year-old grandfather calls C & Eers.

The church we attend has three services, two of which are contemporary and one which is traditional. We usually attend the middle service which is contemporary. This is a new service that the church recently started and so it probably has the least attendance (maybe 150-200 people or about ½ full). Yet on Easter Sunday, it was packed. Ushers brought out extra chairs to accommodate the people waiting in the hall looking for seats and people were asked to move to the middle of their rows to make room. The usually late arriving crowd was seated before the music started.

To me it seems peculiar to come to church just two weeks a year. As I looked around the sanctuary I couldn't spot a single C & Eer. No one stuck out like a sore thumb. They were singing, praying, and worshiping like everyone else. They were dressed in their Sunday best and so were their children. And maybe that makes it easier to come to church only two weeks a year. If you attend and seem to still have the praying, singing, and worshiping down and the sermon doesn't cover anything you haven't heard before then why should you attend regularly? You know you're saved or at least fairly certain of it anyway. You say grace at the dinner table and teach your children good moral values. You give money to charity. You have a Bible on the bookshelf and read it occasionally. You don't need to go to church every Sunday to know what's right and wrong. You're busy and have better things to do. You'd like to come more often but your spouse is never in the mood or dealing with the kids is too much trouble. You feel like you don't really fit in even though you're good at faking it. No one seems interested in getting to know you when you do attend.

I wondered about a few things after this service. Why do these people only come to church on Christmas and Easter? I'm sure there is a plethora of reasons but what are the biggest reasons? Do they attend the same church every Christmas and Easter or pick one out a week before? How much more could churches do if these people were all regular attenders? Do they ever feel like attending church more regularly? What stops them? What encourages them? Are their spiritual needs being met by coming to church twice a year? Are the spiritual needs of their children being met by attending church twice a year? Were their parents C and Eers? Or did their parents force them to come to church every Sunday against their will? Do C and Eers come to church on those dates because they know the birth and resurrection of Christ are important dates or because it's tradition or customary? How do churches best reach out to people who only attend church on Easter and Christmas?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Links and more on Terri

Terri Schiavo has now been without food for more than 10 days. When I think about this I wonder if I'd be able to survive that long with no nutrition or hydration. I have not felt the pains of hunger or thirst very often and when I have it was over a very small period of time.

Some people say that we humans are frail and in a way we are. Our skin can be broken fairly easily. We are often physically harmed by something as innocent as a piece of paper. We don't have a hard shell or dense fur to protect us from the outside world. Our bones can be fractured without too much effort or force.

Yet in another way the life of a human being is far from frail or fragile. The life of a human being who isn't dying is difficult to take without the use of force. The body of a human being who isn't dying naturally works to sustain itself for long periods of time when no sustenance has been provided. Terri Schiavo could be killed in a second with a gun or with a knife but killing her by removing food and water is a long journey. She has resolutely held onto life for a week and a half without food or water. How can anyone say that we are "letting her die" when she is alive more than 10 days after being denied food and water?

Myopic Zeal has a listing of the cast of characters involved in Terri Schiavo's case and treatment.

Here's an interesting article in Touchstone Mag by William Luse that compares Terri Schiavo's condition with the condition of Christopher Reeve before his death.

Some excerpts:

And so I'd like to return to the case of Christopher Reeve, which I find instructive, for I never saw any pained editorials in the press or heard any incredulous chorus of experts bemoaning the fact that he preferred living to dying.

In short, is Terri's inability to swallow the same thing as Reeve's inability to breathe? How does each situation differ from, or resemble, the other? The most obvious difference is that one is conscious, the other barely so (or so we are told). The most obvious similarity? One is kept alive by a tube that forced air into his lungs, the other by a tube that forces food into her digestive system. Are they in fact the same?

On the assumption that we already know the other side's answer, let me give mine: No, they are not. One is the loss of an involuntary function, the other of a voluntary function. One is thus a fatal condition, the other is not. Under normal circumstances, I cannot breathe for you, but I can feed you. Some will not admit this difference, but I don't see how it can be other than of the essence. If it is not, the argument on Terri's behalf is lost, and we must delay Michael's request no longer. Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube is no different from a spoon held to her lips, as to a baby's, and that's why I believe that the possibility that she might be taught to take food from a spoon is a matter of no relevance.


But I maintain that the better parallel is not between the two forms of technology, but between Reeve's nervous system and Terri's digestive system, the latter of which works while the former does not. By a fatal condition I mean one that will not suffer amelioration by treatment. Such a circumstance does not describe Terri's case. The tube indeed treats her condition quite well. Allowed food and hydration, she lives.

But, goes the counter-argument, allowed air, so does Reeve. The ventilator treats his condition quite well. Allowed air, he lives. His tube and hers both force an element necessary to survival into the patient's system. The accurate parallel is not that between his nervous system and her digestive system, but between the nervous systems of both, for it was damage to her nervous system that caused the inability to swallow.

And so far, I would say, so good, with one crucial difference: Take away Reeve's tube and he will at once stop breathing; take away Terri's, and her digestive system will not at once shut down. It will continue working until all the food is gone. In fact, it will begin to digest her own tissues until starvation is complete. Reeve's lungs would have no such residual activity.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Beckwith on Boonin

Francis Beckwith of Right Reason has linked to a paper he wrote for the American Philosophical Association Pacific Division discussing one part of David Boonin's "In Defense of Abortion.

Worth the read.

Also, check out his baby on the porch example.

Wesley Smith debating for Terri

Wesley Smith has posted an excerpt of a debate he had with bioethicist Bill Allen on Court TV.

The entire debate is here.

Wesley posts a section about "personhood" but I found this interesting:

Question from rusty: Who is currently paying for Terri's care?

Bill Allen: The Woodside Hospice is using their indigent funds for the hospice costs, and her medications and physician bills are paid by Medicaid.

Wesley Smith: What I find terribly ironic, is that in 1998, Terri had more than $700K in her trust account to pay for her care. The bulk of this money instead went to lawyer George Felos and other attorneys, to help end her life.

Bill Allen: Well, if she did not want to have the care, why should her trust fund pay it, and if she did not, it is appropriate for the fund to pay the legal costs of fighting for her rights.

Wesley Smith: Well, her parents had to take their legal fees out their own pocket, and indeed have spent most of their assets trying to save Terri's life.

Bill Allen: Well, use of the trust fund by Terri's husband is using her own funds, too.

Wesley Smith: Yea, but not his funds.

Bill Allen: But if she didn't want the care, then using her funds is OK.

Does Bill Allen not understand that Michael won that money by claiming that it would be used to care for and rehabiliate Terri? If she didn't want the care (which he would have known back then), why did Michael say the funds would be used for her care? If she didn't want the care, why did Michael sue for money to care for her?

Hat Tip: Between Two Worlds

Associated Press - Clueless as can be

The Public Theologian, a blogger named Tim Simpson who left comments here on a post of mine about Glen Stassen's faulty use of statistics was featured in an article by the Associated Press. Or at least his comments on Jollyblogger were. David Wayne who runs Jollyblogger is against the actions that are starving and dehydrating Terri Schiavo while Tim Simpson, the Public Theologian, is not.

From the AP article:

On JollyBlogger, maintained by Maryland minister David Wayne, a correspondent who calls himself ``Public Theologian'' presents a strictly pragmatic view:

``The overwhelming evidence is that she is not going to get any better. This business about her communicating verbally is bunk _ her physicians have testified repeatedly that this is not the case. If she could do this there would be no question in the matter _ the courts would simply ask her what she wanted. Her husband has the right, as next of kin, to make her health care decisions for her. Tampering with this right by conservatives will undo centuries of legal precedent by taking that out of the hands of families ...''

To the AP, someone who comments on a blog is a "correspondent." Do their editors not understand that anyone can leave a comment on most blogs? Or that commenters for the most part have no association (except possibly friendship) with the blogs they comment on?

I wonder if his mention in the AP story has boosted Tim's hits.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Schiavo family feud

USA Today has a story on the feud between Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers.

Some intersting quotes:

Some of the protesters gathered outside Woodside Hospice here have demonized Michael Schiavo, accusing him of everything from murder to adultery because he lives with a woman and has two toddlers, a daughter and a son, by her.

At least USA mentions that Michael lives with another woman and has children with her. Many stories point out that Michael is Terri's husband but forget to mention his current family situation (which I think is something that most people would deem important). But "accusing him" of adultery? That's like saying Osama Bin Laden is "accused of" planning the 9/11 terrorists attacks or that Michael Moore has "been accused" of being against the War in Iraq. How about "pointing out" instead of "accusing."

The article then goes on to discuss the differing accounts of the rift between Michael and the Schindlers. Michael says that the Schindlers wanted some of the $300,000 Michael was awarded for the "loss" of Terri. The Schindlers claim that Michael refused to use the money ($700,000) he won to rehabiliate and care Terri to rehabiliate and care for her.

The article continues with what seems to be a quote from a ruling by Judge Greer in 2000.

"On Feb. 14, 1993, this amicable relationship between the parties was severed," Greer wrote. "While the testimony differs on what may or may not have been promised to whom and by whom, it is clear to this court that such severance was predicated upon money and the fact that Mr. Schiavo was unwilling to equally divide his loss of consortium award with Mr. and Mrs. Schindler."

It is clear? Two opposing testimonies and it is clear that one is true and the other is false? This strikes as odd considering that Michael never used the money he won to rehabiliate Terri. Something that should have been evident 7 years after the incident. After the money was awarded to Michael for Terri's care she was denied rehabiliative treatment, Michael put a DNR order on her chart, and didn't want her treated for an infection. It seems quite unusual when that 7 years after the disagreement that Greer could be clear that Michael was telling the truth while the Schindlers were lying, espcailly when the money Michael promised to rehabiliate Terri was never used for that and that Terri's parents were spending their own money fighting to keep Terri alive.

The more I read about Judge Greer's rulings, the more I realize how flimsy the evidence was. Read later on in the article how Greer ruled that Terri would have wished to have her feeding tube removed based on the hearsay testimony of Michael, Michael's brother, and Michael's sister-in-law vs. the hearsay testimony of Terri's mother and one of Terri's childhood friends. Terri is dying of dehydration and lack of nutrition because Judge Greer believed one story over another even though there is absolutely no conclusive evidence either way.

Another interesting quote:

Today, the money from the lawsuit settlement is almost gone, Grieco, the attorney, says. Just $40,000 to $50,000 remained as of mid-March. The $700,000 in Terri's trust has paid for her care, lawyers, expert medical witnesses. Michael Schiavo's $300,000 share evaporated years ago, he says.

Maybe the story should mention that most of the money has gone to lawyers, specifically George Felos, who aren't Terri's lawyers but are Michael's lawyers working for Michael and on his behalf. Putting care first could lead readers to think that the largest portion has gone to caring for Terri when that is not the case.

Ralph Nader on Terri Schiavo

Looks like Wesley Smith has talked his friend Ralph Nader into speaking up for Terri.

HT: The Corner

Thursday, March 24, 2005

In Sickness and in Health Unless.....

Klusendorf at Grand Valley

Last night I went with my wife to Grand Valley State University for a presentation by Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute.

The Grand Rapids Press write-up is here.

It strike me as odd that the article is titled, "Campus hosts abortion showdown." I know this is a headline hoping to catch a reader's eye but there was no showdown. One of the best prolife debaters in the country gave a prolife presentation for about 40 minutes and then took questions from the audience. One young woman who was pro-choice asked 2 questions both of which Scott answered quite nicely - he even made sure that she was allowed to ask the last question after time was up. The girls that were with her (who I'm guessing were also pro-choice) didn't have any questions.

Even though the woman couldn't challenge Scott's presentation of the prolife position (she asked one question about life of the mother scenarios and another on Terri Schiavo in which she falsely asserted that Terri Schiavo only had a brain stem left) by proving that the unborn aren't human beings, she still wasn't buying.

Shipman said afterward that argument did not wash with her. "You're talking about whether it's a zygote in my fallopian tube or a toddler, walking and talking. It's not a valid comparison."

I wonder if she ever said why it's not a valid comparison (maybe because to her walking and talking makes us valuable) or if she knows that zygotes aren't aborted.

Next week Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued Roe vs. Wade, will be coming to town. It's starts at 9:15 p.m. which means I probably won't get to bed in time but I don't think I'll be able to pass up an opportunity to ask questions to Sarah Weddington.

Columnists for Starvation

Richard Cohen's latest column is the kind of writing/thinking that makes you sit back and realize how just how depraved people can be. Terri Schiavo who is a living human being has not had nutrition or hydration for almost six days yet to Cohen the Democrats are the real losers.

In his column, Cohen bashes the Democrats for a lack of leadership regarding Terri Schiavo. And not the lack of leadership working to save the life of a starving woman (who has no written directives and may or may not be in a PVS) but the lack of leadership working to make sure that Terri continues to starve.

"But for me the real loser was the Democratic Party."

A woman is starving to death and the real loser is the Democratic Party because they didn't stand up and back this forced starvation?

Two parents are watching their daughter die and can do nothing but appeal case after case and the real loser is the Democratic Party?

Large portions of our country look the other way as a woman who isn't in a coma, who isn't brain dead and isn't on life support is denied food and the real loser is the Democratic Party?

"Still, it seemed that the party's highest principle was to have almost none at all."

What would Mr. Cohen have their highest principle be? Starvation for all? Death is best? No MRIs or PETs for those supposedly in a PVS state? The adulterous husband is always right?

Ellen Goodman's recent column also leaves me scratching my head.

THIS IS the phrase running through my head whenever I think of Terri Schiavo: May she rest in peace. When will this become a benediction rather than a question?

Kind of reminds me of Michael's quote, "When is that ***** gonna die?"

My guess is that Terri was resting, probably fairly peacefully, until her only feeding tube was removed 6 days ago.

And don't forget the infamous ''talking points" memo ABC News found reminding Republican senators that ''the prolife base will be excited" and it's a ''great political issue."

Are columnists really this slow? Numerous bloggers, especially Powerline were all over these fishy memos yesterday.

Her cerebral cortex, the part of our anatomy that controls our ability to think and feel, is the consistency of Jell-O.

And you know this how? Did Goodman pick up a medical degree recently? Has she examined Terri's brain?

More to the point, bioethicists will also tell you that this case is about the right to refuse medical treatment -- chemotherapy, blood transfusions, or, yes, food and water. Can we make that decision, and if not, who can? Decades of hard cases have established our right to say no, and state legislation has determined that our spouses, adult children, parents -- in that order -- can act for us. In Florida, the courts determined that Michael Schiavo knew what his wife wanted and spoke for her.

Should depressed teenagers be allowed to starve themselves to death because food and water have unfortunately been defined as "medical treatment?" If they can't make that decision, then who can? Please not Big Brother.

Did Terri ever get the right to say no? Has Goodman discovered Terri's written directives? "The courts determined?" And we all know that the courts can't be wrong. Why can't I say, "Congress determined that Terri's life should receive another hearing" or "Members of Congress determined that we should err on the side of life." Are the courts some kind of omniscient power that is infallible and whose judgements can't be challenged?

Also notice how Cohen and Goodman both cite an ABC poll which falsely claimed that Terri was on "life support."

HT: The Corner

Supremes won't hear the Schindler's appeal

Here's the Yahoo story. It seems that at least Kennedy referred the case to the rest of the court.

The way these appeals have been handled by the federal courts make me more aware of how sad our federal courts have become.

Another doctor weighs in on Terri Schiavo's condition

Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt posted this affidavit from Dr. William Cheshire regarding Terri's condition. Dr. Cheshire has met Terri and reviewed the medical evidence in the case. He describes Terri's diagnosis of being in a persistent vegetative state as being "faulty."

Today the New York Times has interviewed Dr. Ronald Cranford who said, '"I have no idea who this Cheshire is," and added: "He has to be bogus, a pro-life fanatic. You'll not find any credible neurologist or neurosurgeon to get involved at this point and say she's not vegetative."'

Seems like Dr. Cranford is a bit defensive, throwing out insults instead of dealing with Cheshire's claims. Maybe he's scared that the medical community will realize his quick methods of diagnosis and lack of ordering basic tests aren't up to snuff.

From Rev. Robert Johansen piece in the National Review (Rev. Johansen has a blog by the way called Thrown Back):

The doctors brought in by the Schindlers spent approximately 14 hours examining Terri over more than two weeks; their conclusion was that Terri is not PVS, and that she may benefit from therapy.

In marked contrast, Dr. Cranford examined Terri on one occasion, for approximately 45 minutes. Another doctor for Michael Schiavo, Dr. Peter Bambikidis of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, examined Terri for about half an hour. When Dr. Bell learned of the cursory nature of these exams, he said: “You can’t do this. To make a diagnosis of PVS based on one examination is fallacious.” In Cranford’s examination, described by one witness as “brutal,” he discounted evidence under his own eyes of Terri’s responsiveness. At one point, Dr. Cranford struck Terri very hard on the forehead between her eyes. Terri recoiled and moaned, seemingly in pain. In his court testimony, Cranford dismissed the reaction and moan as a “reflex.”

"I asked Dr. Bell if he thought a moan uttered after a painful blow could be a reflex. "It's highly unlikely," he replied. He qualified his answer by noting that he had not actually seen the video of the exam, but he believes that the description of Terri's reaction is not consistent with a reflex. "A moan is not a reflex," Bell said. "A wince or grimace is not a reflex."

The article in the Times attempts to discredit Cheshire by proving that he's a Christian, he's done medical missionary work (the horror), is against embryonic stem cell research, has written poetry about the dangers of assisted suicide, and Art Caplan has never heard of him (God forbid).

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Is Terri Being "Allowed to Die?"

From Yahoo:

A few yards away, Pat Ellis, a retired nursing home aide from St. Petersburg, and Tim Harmon, 44, a Tampa hair-stylist, say they're speaking for Michael Schiavo and his effort to allow his wife to die. Ellis, who won't disclose her age, holds a sign that says: "Bravo! Courageous Judge Whittemore!" (emphasis mine)

Is Terri being allowed to die or is she being starved to death?

Why has Michael Swails been arrested in Florida? He was only allowing his cows to die.

Art Caplan further perpetuated this ridiculous position with this piece entitled, "The time has come to let Terri Schiavo die."

Here's a small community poll that clearly shows that poller doesn't get it while some people being polled clearly understand the bias in the "allowed to die" question?

National Review's John Derbyshire has also postulated this absurd notion.

The life Terri Schiavo has is not worth living. I wouldn't want to live it, and I wouldn't want anyone I care about to live it. For once, I believe, the courts have got it right. For pity's sake, let this poor woman die.

Scroll up to see Ramesh destroy Derbyshire's "let her die" baloney.

People who favor starving Terri to death can't seem to come around and say "Terri should be starved." They have to cloak it in false nuances like "let her die," "let her go" or "she shouldn't be forced to live any longer."

How long before someone charged with animal or child cruelty via malnourishment will play the "I was just letting them die" card.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

No love for the Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny at Bay City Mall was attacked and given a bloody nose by a 13-year-old.

A 13-year-old attacked an 18-year-old portraying an Easter bunny in the center of a shopping mall, where the costume-clad man was waiting to pose for photos with children, authorities said.

The man was struck with a number of punches Friday night at the Bay City Mall, leaving him with a bloody nose, The Bay City Times reported. The attacker fled on foot, but was later identified.

You've got to watch out for Michigan's east-siders. Come on, who beats up the Easter Bunny? Who's next target for these teenage mall thugs? Mickey Mouse? Bugs Bunny? Santa?

Michael Schiavo on Larry King - his pants are on fire

CNN has posted the transcript of Michael Schiavo and George Felos on Larry King last night.

Lance Salyers at Ragged Edge watched the interview and coherently describes why he doesn't believe Michael.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

KING: In all this time, you have -- you're involved with someone else, you have children. Do you have any emotional tie left to Terri? In other words, this is just keeping a promise? Did you tell her when she said, I want to be removed, you will see that it would be? Did you make a promise to her?

SCHIAVO: Yes. I made a promise to her, like she did with me. I loved my wife. She will always be a part of my life. She will always be in my heart. Terri and I weren't against each other when this happened. We were very much in love, and she will always be a part of my heart, Larry. She will never leave it.

KING: How does it affect your feelings for your new family?

SCHIAVO: I can love more than one person. Everybody can do that.


KING: Michael, why didn't you get divorced, marry the new woman in your life and let the decisions regarding Terri be up to the parents? I mean, there's no reason to stay married.

SCHIAVO: Larry, we've discussed this. I made a promise to Terri. I'm going to stick by her side, and I'm going to do this for her. Terri is not a piece of property you pass back and forth. She didn't say, when I become sick, give me back to my parents. I will stick by Terri.

Michael really avoids the topic of his family (fiancee and two kids) as much as he can, doesn't he? I can love more than one person too but I usually love people in different ways. My wife would probably try to dissolve our marriage if I was engaged to another woman and had 2 children with her.

I also find it ironic that he attempts to act like Terri's parents view her as a piece of property because they want to take care of her. Anyone who has heard or seen how the Schindlers interact with their daughter knows that they don't think she's a piece of property.

Michael's attorney George Felos allows moral relativism to rear its ugly head.

I think the problem comes when you have one side of this debate say, well, the other side's wrong. Our beliefs are right, our beliefs are superior. It's that type of intolerance and confrontation, I think, which was stirred up in this case and evident in the Congress, that's wrong and it's counterproductive.

Huh? Isn't it funny that a lawyer who is constantly arguing that the other side is wrong is now saying that the problem comes when one side of the debate says the other side is wrong? That's what a debate is. Both sides try to prove the other side wrong.

KING: By the way, we should stress that the video that they show a lot is not current video. These are edited home videos from August of 2001. The other videos date from 2002.

Why, Michael, are there no current videos?

SCHIAVO: There are six and a half hours of video in the court's record.

KING: Current?

SCHIAVO: Judge has signed it. They're from the 2003 evidentiary trial. Was it 2003?

FELOS: 2002. SCHIAVO: 2002 evidentiary trial. The judge also signed an order there are to be no videos or audio taken of Terri without the consent of the court.

Why? Why aren't video or audio recordings allowed without the consent of the court? What's wrong with showing the public images or sounds from Terri? Why can't the Schindlers tape their daughter? Is it because these videos are false or because you don't want people to know what you're doing?

KING: I see. So that feeding tube isn't in, she is dying by what, starvation?

SCHIAVO: Larry, she's not dying by starvation. This is a natural, painless death. What happens is when you stop eating, your electrolytes will slowly diminish. You'll slowly go into a nice, deep sleep and then pass away. This happens to people all the time. People with cancer in their last two to three weeks of living, they stop eating. This is how they die.

Who buys this? How can there be someone out there that actually thinks that if Terri isn't being fed that she isn't starving? I guess all those starving children in Africa are just going into nice, deep sleeps after their electrolytes diminish. They aren't starving - they're dying naturally.

CALLER: Quick comment. I'm not understanding why a blood relative wouldn't make this decision and not a non-blood relative. My question is, if this happened 15 years ago, and this gentleman and his wife decided between them that they would pull the tube and let each other die if they were in this kind of a situation, what took him eight years to make that decision and why didn't he make it in those first eight years and has now had another seven years tacked on?

KING: Michael doesn't want to respond (UNINTELLIGIBLE). George, you want to respond?

FELOS: Sure. For those years, Michael was trying desperately to -- as, I guess, he had a desperate hope that Terri would get better, despite the doctors telling him that, you know, Mike, there's nothing there, there is no hope. He refused to believe it. It took many, many years for Michael to finally, I guess, come to reality and believe that Terri was not coming back.

So then his reason for removing Terri's feeding tube is not that he wanted to keep a promise because if he wanted to keep a promise he would have tried to have Terri's tube removed right after her collapse not after he was in another relationship and won a court settlement. His real reason for removing her feeding tube is that he's given up.

If he was so desperate in trying to get Terri to recover, why did he deny recommended rehabiliative treatment 3 years after her collapse? Why was Terri placed in a nursing home 18 months after the collapse? What happened in the 5 years after you denied rehabiliative treatment and 6+ years after you placed Terri in a nursing home that made you give up? Because it seems you gave up a lot earlier than that.

Whittemore refuses to have Terri's feeding tube reinserted

The Yahoo story is here.

U.S. District Judge James Whittemore said the 41-year-old woman's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, had not established a "substantial likelihood of success" at trial on the merits of their arguments.

Whittemore wrote that Schiavo's "life and liberty interests" had been protected by Florida courts. Despite "these difficult and time strained circumstances," he wrote, "this court is constrained to apply the law to the issues before it."

They are appealling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Keep checking Blogs for Terri for updates.

The text of Whittemore's decision can be found here.

Federal Hearing on Terri Schiavo

Ed at Media Culpa went to the 3:00 p.m. hearing before Judge Whittemore yesterday in Tampa. Here's his description of it. It doesn't look good for Terri Schiavo at this point (3 days without food and water).

Ed also thinks that the law Congress passed is faulty since it doesn't contain this section:


Upon the filing of a suit or claim under this Act, the District Court may issue a stay of any State court order authorizing or directing the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain the life of Theresa Marie Schiavo pending the determination of the suit.

In his words, "Congress blew it."

Monday, March 21, 2005

Wrong Questions

"Would you want to live like Terri?" and "Who would want to live like that?"

Dory at Wittenberg Gate and Melinda Penner at the STR blog both point out that these questions are the wrong questions to ask when a person who is disabled is being starved to death.

Melinda says:

Would you want to live that way?


But what follows from that?

I suppose the “argument” is supposed to go this way: Would you want to live that way? “No.” Then you shouldn’t live that way and neither should Terri Schiavo. But that’s a non sequitur – it doesn’t follow. Just because I don’t want to live that way, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t or wouldn’t live that way if that’s the condition I found myself in. The challenge doesn’t provide any justification. It certainly doesn't provide any justification for imposing the conclusion on someone who can't speak for herself. And, in fact, it's a dangerous premise to accept.


Would you want to live crippled, unable to walk? No? Then kill Franklin Roosevelt the summer he contracted polio. Would you want to live as a quadriplegic? No? Then kill Joni Erickson Tada as she lay in her hospital bed after her diving accident. But, you say, they've lived productive lives, accomplished great things. True, they have, but that's treating their value as mere instruments. Would it be okay to kill them if they hadn't accomplished good things? I suspect that many of us would not want to live that way despite what they've accomplished, but that doesn't mean it would be okay to kill them.

Dory adds:

No one has suggested that Terri should be "allowed to die" because she is dying anyway. What is being suggested is that she should be caused to die because her life is not worth living. "I wouldn't want to live that way," people are fond of saying. Well, thanks for sharing, but that's not really the point, is it? What if I decided that I wouldn't want to live as a diabetic with all the challenges that disease presents. Does that then justify me killing a diabetic child or spouse? Dare I argue that to suggest otherwise is to interfere with "a personal family decision?"

Michael Schiavo contradicts himself on Larry King

This transcript of the Larry King show for Friday night shows that Michael has a hard time keeping his story straight.

M. SCHIAVO: Because this is what Terri wanted. This is her wish.

M. SCHIAVO: I won't give it up. Terri is my life. I'm going to carry out her wishes to the very end. This is what she wanted. It's not about the Schindlers, it's not about me, not about Congress, it's about Terri."

but then Larry asks Michael if he can understand how Terri's parents feel.

"M. SCHIAVO: Yes, I do. But this is not about them, it's about Terri. And I've also said that in court. We didn't know what Terri wanted, but this is what we want..."(emphasis mine)

Another gem from Michael:

"You know, I should be sitting with my wife right now. You know, her tube was removed and I should be with her. But you know, I felt the need to speak out, because it is just horrible the way that this government is acting with this case."

HT: Imago Dei

Also, check out Steve's (of Imago Dei) takedown of infamous bio-"ethicist" Arthur Caplan.

President Signs Bill to Hopefully Save Terri

Via Blogs for Terri the AP story is here.

The President's statement is below:

"Today, I signed into law a bill that will allow Federal courts to hear a claim by or on behalf of Terri Schiavo for violation of her rights relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life. In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. This presumption is especially critical for those like Terri Schiavo who live at the mercy of others. I appreciate the bipartisan action by the Members of Congress to pass this bill. I will continue to stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities."

UPDATE: Text of the law at the Corner

Friday, March 18, 2005

Abortion Stats and Abortion Proponents

Michelle Malkin has weighed in on the liberal urban legend created by Glen Stassen (among others) that abortions have increased during George W. Bush's presidency. Michelle directs readers to National Right to Life's sturdy analysis. I examined Glen's editorial before the election here and his after election attempt at statistically analysis here.

This claim seems all the rage nowadays in the pro-choice circles. It seems the strategy is that if you can't over 30+ years convince people to think that abortion is a reproductive right enshrined in some mysterious corner of the Constitution with disappearing ink then combine simplistic economic philosophies and the use faulty statistics in a faulty way to make it seem like the prolife President is responsible for an increase in abortions. That'll fool them backwoods prolifers.

The oddest thing is that after these "abortions have gone up" claims have been proven false by numerous bloggers and organizations, those in favor of legal abortion continue to espouse them. And instead of being a mere theory, they became fact. And so obvious is it that they are a fact that New York Times columnists don't even need to cite a source.

Hillary claimed this during the 32nd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade along with call for fewer abortions.

In a recent column in the NY Times, Nicholas Kristof writes, "Abortions fell steadily under Bill Clinton, who espoused that position, and have increased significantly during President Bush's presidency."

In usually Times columnist style there's no source for this information. It's merely purported as fact. It's almost like their strategy is "we can't prove that abortions have gone up so we'll just act as if it has already been proven."

Terri's situation

From what I've heard and read it seems that no one is clear on whether the tube providing Terri Schiavo with nutrition and hydration has been removed. Yahoo has this story which says that Judge Greer has ordered the removal of the feeding tube after another temporarily blocked the removal of the tube.

Pinellas Circuit Court Chief Judge David Demers ordered that the feeding tube remain in place past a 1 p.m. deadline while fellow Judge George Greer, who is presiding over the Schiavo case, deals with conflicting legal issues.

The delay came after U.S. Senate and House committees in the Republican-controlled Congress issued subpoenas for Schiavo, her husband, Michael Schiavo, and her caregivers to appear at hearings on March 25 and March 28 which would in effect keep her alive for the time being.

K-Lo at the Corner is reporting that Jim Sensenbrenner is the reason that the House hasn't passed the Senate's version of a bill to help Terri.

UPDATE: Terri's feeding tube is out.

Jodie Centonze, according to Bay News 9, informed the media that Terri's tube has been removed. Centonze is Michael Schiavo's fiancé. The Schindler family was forced to leave when this took place.

According to Michael's fiancé, he is very distraught.

Oh, come on. The only thing Michael is distraught about is whether the attempts to save Terri will be successful or not. Her feeding tube has been removed twice before and then reinserted. My guess is that Michael is hoping that the third time's a charm.

A paragraph snippet from Yahoo.

HT: Michelle Malkin

UPDATE #2: K-Lo has more on the House vs. Senate bills to save Terri.

Cranford Responds Regarding his Testimony on Terri Schiavo

Pekin Prattles has posted Dr. Ronald Cranford's response to a recent article in the National Review by Rev. Robert Johansen.

Pekin is also posting Cranford's more lengthy report on Terri Schiavo.

In the more lengthy report, Cranford describes some reasons why the fight to save Terri is so heated. I noticed this:

2: the extensive and heated debate over the neurological condition of the patient, including flagrantly unbelievable testimony by two physicians at the evidentiary hearing (as well as numerous sets of affidavits submitted to the Florida courts) on the neurological condition and the proposed use of controversial medical treatments of no proven value;

Couldn't the heated debate over her condition be less heated or be resolved if the tests (MRI, PET) that have been denied Terri were actually performed? If so, why haven't these tests been administered? Even if they are, as Dr. Cranford claims, unnecessary why not just perform them to end the debate over Terri's condition?

This is also good:

4: the extensive use of videotapes by the Schindler family to falsely demonstrate to the media and the public the patient’s “cognitive” functions

"Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

HT: Captain's Quarters

A Reminder of One Reason Why Prolifers Should have Blogs

An older story by Rick Santorum via Kathyrn Jean Lopez.

In 1998, I was on the floor of the United States Senate debating the override of the president's veto of the partial-birth-abortion bill. The next morning was to be the vote. We did not have the votes to override the president's veto. The debate had ended that night, it was eight o'clock. The Senate was wrapping up, but there was something inside me that felt that I had to say more, even though there was no one left in the chamber besides the presiding officers. I went back in the cloakroom and called my wife. She picked up the phone and we have six little children and they are all seemingly at once crying in the background, and I said, "Karen, the vote's tomorrow. We are not going to win and everybody's gone. But something tells me I need to say more." And through the din of the children crying, she said, "well, of course, if that's what you need to do, do it."

So I went to the presiding officer and said, "I'll only be a few minutes, I don't want to keep you late." Over an hour and a half later, I finished my talk.

….And we finished up the Senate and closed it down, and the next day the vote came, [and] not one vote changed. But five days later, I got an e-mail from a young man at Michigan State University. And this is what the e-mail said: "Senator, on Thursday night I was watching television with my girlfriend. We were flipping through the channels and we saw you standing there on the floor of the United States Senate with a picture of a baby next to you. And so we listened for a while and the more we listened the more we got interested in what you were saying. After a while I looked down at my girlfriend, and she had tears running down her face. And I asked her what was wrong, and she looked up at me and said, 'I'm pregnant, and tomorrow I was going to have an abortion, and I wasn't going to tell you, but I'm not going to have an abortion now.' "

In April of that year, a little girl was born and given up for adoption. She is four years old today. Now according to the world, when I spoke on the floor of the Senate that night, I had failed. I did not succeed. But God gave me a gift that many of you as you stand and fight the causes that you believe in may never get, He gave me the gift of knowing that faithfulness to what you believe in can lead to wonderful acts and wonderful miracles.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Great piece on Terri Schiavo

The National Review has an excellent article by Rev. Robert Johansen on Terri Schiavo. It contain facts about the Schiavo case that I'd never heard. Johansen has spent the last ten days talking to neurologists about Terri's condition and more than 30 that he has spoken are willing to testify that Terri needs to be re-evaluated.

He talks about the neglect of Terri, how's she's never been properly diagnosed, how she's never given a MRI, and how claims that a CT scan could show that Terri's cerebral cortex has been "liquified" are poppycock.

Johansen also explains how the main expert witness for Michael Schiavo's side, Ronald Cranford, is a leading proponent of physician-assisted suicide and has a "knack" for finding that people are in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) when others doctors cannot come to same conclusion.

There are so many good parts, take the time to read it all, but here was a part I found especially notable.

A 1996 British Medical Journal study, conducted at England's Royal Hospital for Neurodisability, concluded that there was a 43-percent error rate in the diagnosis of PVS. Inadequate time spent by specialists evaluating patients was listed as a contributing factor for the high incidence of errors.

So, did Dr. Cranford, or any of the doctors testifying for Michael Schiavo, spend months evaluating Terri? No. To be fair, none of the doctors appearing for the Schindlers spent months with Terri either. But it is hardly coincidental that the doctors who spent the most time with Terri came to the conclusion that she is not PVS. The doctors brought in by the Schindlers spent approximately 14 hours examining Terri over more than two weeks; their conclusion was that Terri is not PVS, and that she may benefit from therapy.

In marked contrast, Dr. Cranford examined Terri on one occasion, for approximately 45 minutes. Another doctor for Michael Schiavo, Dr. Peter Bambikidis of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, examined Terri for about half an hour. When Dr. Bell learned of the cursory nature of these exams, he said: "You can't do this. To make a diagnosis of PVS based on one examination is fallacious." In Cranford's examination, described by one witness as "brutal," he discounted evidence under his own eyes of Terri's responsiveness. At one point, Dr. Cranford struck Terri very hard on the forehead between her eyes. Terri recoiled and moaned, seemingly in pain. In his court testimony, Cranford dismissed the reaction and moan as a "reflex."

Transcript of Michael Schiavo interview on Nightline

The transcript is available online here.

Just some tidbits from Michael:

The reason why I've been keeping private for the longest time ever here, I've always wanted to protect my wife's privacy. I don't like — I didn't want to put her picture all over the news. I just wanted to keep her private.

Uh-huh. It's not because I'm trying to have my wife starved to death. It's not because I can't handle tough questions. It's not because the more attention this case gets, the worse I look. No, no, no. It's because I want to protect the privacy of a woman I want to die.

Isn't it odd that Michael cares more about his wife's privacy than her life?

The bill to require patients to leave written directives about their wishes before having a feeding tube removed "may very well delay implementation of Terri's rights. We certainly hope that it will not. But it is beyond any doubt that the Florida Supreme Court will once again declare such a law unconstitutional.

Implentation of Terri's rights to what? To starve to death because her adulterous husband claims (after he won more than a million dollars to rehabiliate her) that's what she would have wanted?

From euthanasia advocate/Michael's attorney George Felos: Well, those funds (funds to rehabiliate Terri) have been used for Terri's medical care and guardianship expenses and costs and fees over many, many years.

By "guardianship expenses" does George mean the $400,000 that has gone to him to help Michael starve Terri to death.

More from Michael.

Actually, right now, she's listed on the indigent list for hospice. They were taking care of her. They take very good care of her.

That's why Terri had teeth pulled as the result of dental neglect.

Terry will not be starved to death. Her nutrition and hydration will be taken away. This happens across this country every day.

Death through removing somebody's nutrition is very painless. That has been brought to the courts many of times. Doctors have come in and testified. It is a very painless procedure.

Terri won't be starved to death - she just won't be given any food or water which will painlessly lead to her death. Is this guy for real?

Read the whole the whole thing. There is so much more.

Infant taken off Life Support

Captain's Quarters is reporting that Sun Hudson, a disabled infant in Texas, died Tuesday after being taken off life support against his mother's wishes.

I discussed this story earlier with this post.

I find this statement in the CNN article to be truly odd: "'Texas Children's Hospital is deeply saddened to report that Sun Hudson has died,' the hospital said in a statement issued Tuesday."

It just seems odd to be sad about the death of an infant that you knew was going to die if taken off life support when you're the ones who took the infant off life support. Wasn't Sun's death the goal of taking him off life support?

Captain Ed summarizes the issues well with this:

Understandably, this case has its share of difficult decisions, but it's hard to understand how the court can overrule the wishes of the next of kin in making a determination to kill a child, simply because the doctors didn't want to go on treating him. Something tells me that we've stumbled over a line here, and what's on the other side has little purchase and a long fall.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

More Lies about the Legal Birth Definition Act

In a never ending barrage of baloney against Michigan's Legal Birth Definition Act, the Detroit Free Press features this editorial by Desiree Cooper, who is married to the scandalized former head of Michigan's Democratic Party. It makes me wonder 1. If Ms. Cooper has taken the 2 minutes necessary to read the law (if she has - she is an unabashed liar, if she hasn't - then she has no business writing a column about a one-page law she's never read) 2. If Ms. Cooper has been brainwashed by Planned Parenthood 3. If the Detroit Free Press has editors who monitor the truthfulness of their columnists.

The editorial is filled with so much ignorance and/or lies it is hard to find a place to start so I thought I'd start with the first sentence. Ms. Cooper's writing will get the honor of being in red.

Michigan was scheduled to become one of the most regressive states in the union when the Legal Birth Definition Act became law March 30.

How is defining birth and protecting a child who is partially outside her mom "regressive?" Is infanticide progressive? Since when is outlawing the killing of children who are born regressive?

Motivated by the opponents of a rare procedure called late-term abortion....

Called "late-term abortion?" Do you mean partial-birth abortion? It's a procedure usually performed midway/late in pregnancy and it is known by most everyone as partial-birth abortion. No one calls it "late-term abortion." This statement makes me think that Ms. Cooper is more on the ignorant side then deceptive side.

....the new law says that life begins when any part of the fetus is delivered past the vaginal opening, and that fetus has a heartbeat, is breathing or shows spontaneous movement.

The law defines the beginning of birth not life. Hence the name Legal Birth Definition Act instead of Legal Life Definition Act.

If a medical procedure injures or kills a perinate -- even if the procedure is to benefit the health of the mother -- a doctor may be subject to criminal charges.

Anyone who has read the LBDA will know that it provides immunity to doctors whose actions attempt "to save the life of the mother and every reasonable effort was made to preserve the life of both the mother and the perinate" and "to avert an imminent threat to the physical health of the mother, and any harm to the perinate was incidental to treating the mother and not a known or intended result of the procedure performed."

Later Cooper and a doctor she interviewed discuss some things (cancer, severe toxemia) that could endanger a woman's life or health. They, however, can't explain how those ailments would cause a doctor to partially deliver a child and then kill that child.

That's why a group of doctors are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Detroit.

The suit, which seeks to stop the law from going into effect, is being pressed by obstetricians and gynecologists from Beaumont Hospital, the University of Michigan Medical School, Sinai-Grace Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital. That's not a rabid bunch of radicals, but a group of respected physicians who want to be able to exercise their expertise to protect the health of Michigan's women.

"Desiree, thanks for not mentioning us. It's better that the Free Press readers just think that it's a bunch of Michigan doctors taking the law to court - not pro-choice organizations (some of whom aren't even located in Michigan). Make sure you don't let your readers know about that 'physician's reasonable medical judgment and in compliance with the applicable standard of practice and care' phrase. Thanks again. " - the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights

California Judge Rules California Law that Keeps Marriage Between Men and Women to be Unconstitutional and Lacks Rationale

CNN's reporting of the ruling is here.

California Superior Court Richard Kramer's decision can be found in PDF format here

Kramer writes, "It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners." He claims that those in favor of same-sex marriage have demonstrated that California's law keeping marriage between a man and a woman has no rational connection to a legitimate state interest and therefore fails the "rational basis test."

Kramer also quotes the Supreme Court ruling Lawrence v. Texas on sodomy:

(T)he fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice; neither history nor tradition could save a law prohibiting miscegenation (marriage between men and women of different races) from constitutional attack.

Would Kramer also rule that laws against polygamy have no rational state interest? What about consensual bestiality? Or killing disabled infants that only have a few days to live? The main reasons for these laws isn't necessarily "rational" - they're more emotive and tradition-based.

Kramer also says that California's laws which provide "marriage-like rights" to same-sex couples "actually cuts against the existence of a rational government interest in for denying marriage to same-sex couples" and "points to the conclusion that there is no rational state interest in denying them the rites of marriage as well." Think about that the next time same-sex "unions" are given as a "middle ground" or "compromise."

The oddest part of Kramer's ruling in my opinion comes when he discusses whether the law limiting marriage to people of different sexes discriminates based on gender. Kramer writes, "To say that all men and all women are treated the same in that each may not marry someone of the same gender misses the point. The marriage laws establish gender classifications (same gender vs. opposite gender) and discriminate based on those gender-based classifications. As such, for the purpose of an equal protection analysis, the legislation creates a gender-based classification."

If that is true then don't laws against incest create "relational-based" classifications (related vs. not related)? Or do laws against bestiality created "species-based" classifications (human vs. non-human)? Do laws against polygamy create "numbers-based" classifications (two vs. three or more)? Do laws against necrophilia create "living-based" classifications (living vs. dead)? If so, then aren't these laws unconstitutional as well? Don't these laws discriminate based on a variety of classificationss?

Later on, Kramer asserts that it is reasonable for states to outlaw incest and put age limitations on those that marry "because such limitations on the fundamental right to marry would further an important social objective by reasonable means and do not discriminate based on arbitrary classifications."

Huh? Age and familial relationships aren't arbitrary classifications but gender is?

Kramer also goes on to again compares laws against same sex marriage with previous laws against interracial marriage.

He fails, however, to recognize that the actual rights for two groups (white men and black men) are the different same while the rights for the other two groups (heterosexual men and homosexual men) are the same.

For example, under laws that barred interracial marriage black men were allowed to marry black women and white men were allowed to marry white women. These are different rights - the ability to marry black women is not the same as the ability to marry white women. These are clearly different rights. While heterosexual men are allowed to marry women and homosexual men are allowed to marry women. These are the exact same rights. Homosexual men understandably don't enjoy or like these rights as much as heterosexual men but that doesn't mean that the rights are unequal or different.

Stand to Reason's blog has more.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Review of Roe and pre-Roe rulings

I enjoyed reading Mark Levin's recent piece in the National Review. It discusses how "judges make laws," how the Beltway can effect the reasonings/rulings of Supreme Court judges, and a comparison between Justices Blackmun and Kennedy.

Money quote: "So the right to privacy means everything and nothing. It has no constitutional basis and no tangible form. But what is clear is that the Supreme Court, by usurping the legislature’s authority to set social policy, has seized from the people the power to make such determinations. A mere five justices are now able to substitute their personal judgments for those of Congress and every state government in the name of privacy rights."

Warrant out for Michigan Abortionist

The Oakland Press is reporting that abortionist Rodolfo Finkelstein missed the preliminary exam of his trial (for sexually assaulting his patients) on March 9. His lawyers gave no reason for his absence. Finkelstein had previously posted bond but now "District Judge Kimberly Small forfeited Finkelstein's bond and ordered a bench warrant at the request of Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Barbara Morrison."

Some background information here.

It also seems that Finkelstein's civil lawyer offered the women $200,000 to drop the criminal charges.

Hat tip: LifeNews

UPDATE: According to LifeNews and the Oakland Press, an Oakland County prosecutor believes that Finkelstein has left the country, possibly fleeing to his native Argentina.

Friday, March 11, 2005

So Much For Heroes

If abortion providers were really the heroes that Planned Parenthood and NARAL make them out to be why didn't the celebrate yesterday as National Appreciation Day for Abortion Providers? The only thing I've seen mentioning from pro-choice organizations this day or yesterday is the Refuse and Resist web site linked to above. There is nothing on NARAL's or Planned Parenthood's main pages. Not even NARAL's foulmouthed blog BushvChoice mentions the holiday.

A Technocrati search reveals only a few small pro-choice bloggers have spoken on this subject.

Why isn't Planned Parenthood, America's largest abortion provider celebrating itself? Today is their day - aren't they proud of what they do? Come on - it's time to celebrate all the great abortion providers like Rodolfo Finkelstein, George Tiller, and Brian Finkel.

In my random web surfing I also came upon this site which claims that having a legal abortion is safer than using a tampon.

Evangelical Community

In my weak weekly effort to get to know other Christians in the evangelical ghetto I've come across Freedom Of presented by the Truthpeddler.

I enjoyed his post on AIDS and abstinence and his prolife issues section.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Sheryl McCarthy and the UN

Sheryl McCarthy has a new column out regarding the United States and the Beijing Platform.

In her column, McCarthy makes a few interesting claims.

"But the U.S. delegation held up the statement's approval by trying to insert language saying that nothing in the platform supports abortion or creates any new rights for women.

The platform doesn't even claim that there's an international right to abortion. So this bit of grandstanding was nothing more than a sop to the administration's conservative supporters here at home."

If you examine the Beijing Declaration you notice a couple of points that many people could claim mean a right to abortion. Such as:

We are convinced that:

17. The explicit recognition and reaffirmation of the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is basic to their empowerment;

We are determined to:

30. Ensure equal access to and equal treatment of women and men in education and health care and enhance women's sexual and reproductive health as well as education;

Don't pro-choice organizations use the term reproductive rights and health as a synonym for abortion? Is it really that outlandish to make sure that "the right of all women to control all of their health, in particular their own fertility" doesn't mean the right to control their fertility even if they are already pregnant? Is it really preposterous that this could include abortion?

McCarthy continues, "Meanwhile, since 2002 the Bush administration has been withholding financial support for the United Nations Population Fund - $34 million allocated by Congress that first year - on the humbug that some of the money might go to support China's coercive birth control measures."

McCarthy dismisses the reality that the UNFPA works hand in hand with China's policy of coercive abortion and forced sterilization as "humbug" (nonsense or drivel). So somehow the Bush administration is bad because they don't want tax dollars to go to an organization that supports a country's (China's) measures which openly violate the tenets of a conference named after a city (Beijing) in that country?

So it's ok for the United States to support China's coercive birth control policy (which violates the Beijing Declaration) but it's not ok for the United States to make sure that abortion isn't declared an international right in the Beijing Declaration?

Makes a whole lot of sense to me.

UPDATE: Pia de Solenni has more on Beijing and the UN's lack of advances for women.

Christian Carnival

The latest Christian Carnival is up at Belief Seeking Understanding. Lots of good posts by Christian bloggers are there to be read.

I used the Conservative Cat's carnival submission form to submit an entry and it worked like a charm.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

5 Pro-choice Groups Only 24 Attendees

The University of Minnesota's paper has a story on an abortion rally at the University. It was co-sponsored by 5 pro-choice groups - Law Students for Choice, Socialist Alternative Club, Women's Forum, Women's Student Activist Collective and University Choice Coalition.

How many people came?

24. It also seems that some of the 24 people were prolife.

Their moderator chanted, "Hey, Bush, what d'ya say? How many women did you kill today?"

I no longer wonder why only 24 people showed up.

Hat tip: Bush v. Choice

Keith Butler

He's the guy with Prez. Ever heard of him?

If you're not involved in Michigan politics the answer is probably no. He's a pastor from the Detroit area. His congregation is around 20,000 strong. He's a former Detroit councilman who's been a Republican for 20 years and he has formed an exploratory committee for a run at the U.S. Senate in 2006 against Debbie Stabenow.

He's already making the rounds. He recently spoke to the Republican women of Kalamazoo and will be speaking at a Michigan State Students for Life conference on March 19. I think he has the Michigan Democrats shaking in their boots. An African-American pastor from the Detroit area puts a large portion of the Michigan Democratic base up in air. Hopefully, we'll be hearing more from Pastor Butler in the months to come.

Here's an old article from the Detroit News that has some background information.

More background at Faith News

Around the Sphere

John Mark Reynolds on abortion and bankruptcy legislation.

Naaman on a story from Britain about a father who killed his terminally ill son and recently testified about how seeing another one of his children aborted affected him.

I just discovered another prolife Michigander who seems to also be from Grand Rapids at Victory Welfare.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Turn the Screen

Prolife legislators in Michigan have introduced a bill that will make abortion providers give women the opportunity to see the ultrasound image of their unborn child and provide women with a picture of their unborn child. House Bill 4446 amends Michigan's informed consent act so that an abortion provider will have to:

"Perform an ultrasound on the patient, provide the patient with an opportunity to view the active ultrasound image of the fetus, and provide the patient with a physical picture of the ultrasound image of the fetus."

An unpublished study by a CPC in Boston found that viewing an image of their unborn child helped many women choose life.

"Evidence that ultrasound helps to persuade women not to abort came in an unpublished study by Eric Keroack, medical director of A Woman's Concern, a CPC in Boston. Keroack compared two 18-month periods in the crisis pregnancy center's history and kept data only on women who expressed interest in abortion. Without a sonogram, about 60 percent of 366 tracked women had abortions. But with a sonogram, 25 percent of 434 tracked women aborted. He estimated that 125 babies were born who would otherwise have been aborted."

Top ten reasons to starve Terri Schiavo

Via Michael Gaynor and the MichNews but I'll put them in descending order like Letterman.

10. That stuff in America's Declaration of Independence about an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as an endowment from the Creator was a political promise to be broken after the American Revolution succeeded, not a restriction on the almighty judiciary in an increasingly secular society.

9. President Bush won re-election, and the pro-death forces need a human sacrifice to feel better.

8. If Terri receives physical therapy and eventually communicates about her medically confirmed history of physical trauma, Florida's crime and spousal abuse statistics might go up.

7. Others would make better use of the food and water Terri would consume and the bed in which she lies.

6. George Felos is an agent of "God" demanding the starving of Terri.

5. The United States Supreme Court refused to take the Schiavo case.

4. Judge Greer's aura of infallibility would disappear if he admitted a huge mistake and reversed himself.

3. The mother of Michael Schiavo's children wants to marry him.

2. Michael Schiavo wants to marry the mother of his two children.

1. The devil will be delighted.

Maybe I can add some more.

11. So that money Michael won to rehabilitate Terri could stopped being used to pay for attorneys trying to end her life and can instead be spent on new cars and spring fashion for Michael's mistress/fiancee.

12. So we wouldn't have to hear from a Nobel Prize nominated doctor who say Terri could be rehabilitated.

13. To save the prison umm.. hospice where Terri is kept some money and open up a bed for the next Florida resident they feel like not taking care of.

14. Because there is no reason not to believe that Michael is being completely honest about Terri's wishes.

15. Because feeding someone is an artificial way of keeping them alive and we can't have that.

16. We all love a good week long starvation. It's fun for everyone.

17. It might help Terri's figure.

18. The Pinellas County Starvation Diet is the next big diet trend after the Atkins diet.

19. Judge Greer used to be a housemate of Jim Morrison (you know - that guy from the Doors) so he's got to know what he's talking about.

20. So Pinellas County won't be overrun with prolifers trying to save Terri anymore.

Hat tip: Hyscience

Are Minnesota's abortionists really bad or are Michigan's abortionists really good?

A look at abortion complications

Many prolife groups state that abortionists don't always report complications resulting from their abortions very accurately. For example, in Michigan there were 29,540 abortions in 2003 but only 10 reports of immediate complications(8 of them being shock) and only 14 reports of subsequent complications (6 of them being "retained products" aka body parts.

Now lets look at Minnesota's abortion statistics for 2003. In Minnesota there were 14,024 abortions performed in 2003, less than half compared to Michigan. On page 23 of Minnesota's abortion report it lists 40 "intraoperative complications" (meaning they occurred at the time of the abortion) and page 24 lists 124 "postoperative complications" (65 being "retained products).

Isn't it odd that Minnesota which less than half as many abortions as Michigan has 4 times as many immediate complications and almost 9 times as many subsequent or postoperative complications? Are the abortionists in Michigan that good? Are the abortionists in Minnesota that much worse? Or maybe, just maybe is there a slight or miniscule possibility that abortionists in Michigan don't always report complications from their abortions?

Also, a quick note for Prof. Glen Stassen - you say that 66% of women abort because of economic reasons (you used an old Alan Guttmacher survey that allowed women to make multiple responses). It is interesting to note that Minnesota (your state of origin) lists reasons why women obtain abortions on page 21 of their 2003 report. According to the report, 2,493 of the 12,680 responses (some women didn't respond and women were allowed to give more than one response) said that economic reasons were why they were having an abortion. That's less than 20%. A much larger response (5,621 or 44.3%) was garnered by the "does not want to have children at this time" option. Are you sure that 66% of women abort because of economic reasons? What about the possibility that large portions of women abort because they might not understand the reality that they already have a child which happens to be growing inside them at the current time or that they might understand that they have a child growing inside them currently but think that because abortion is legal that it is ok to have someone end that child's life?

Glen Stassen back at it

Professor Glen Stassen has weighed in again with his most recent attempt to support his notion that abortions have increased under President Bush. Thanks to Dave at Big Lowitzki for pointing me to the article.

Back in October of 2004, Glen Stassen wrote an article that was featured at Sojourners and in some daily newspapers. I critiqued that piece here.

If you want more background go to posts at Between Two Worlds here, here, and here.

I don't have big problems with some of Stassen's article. I agree that our country should help women in unplanned pregnancies and also work to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions by reaching out to women in need. I know not everyone agrees on the best way to go about doing these things but a large number of people on both the prolife and pro-choice sides agree this should be accomplished. I do have problems with his faulty use of faulty statistics, his political theories (the President is in direct control of the economy), his reasoning and some of his theology. I'll mostly focus on the abortion statistics because that is more my area of expertise and what I find truly horrible from someone who is a professor in Christian ethics.

For some reason (probably because he signed a document more than a decade ago that supported the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions and tax dollars being used to pay for abortions) Stassen feels that it is necessary to share his son's story and how his wife works as a nurse at a high school for pregnant teens. He does this to show that his prolife commitments are "deep." I find this interesting because if Stassen is really prolife in the sense that most of the think when we say "prolife" (being in favor of making all or a significant numbers of abortions illegal) then he wouldn't have to do this. He could merely come out and say that he thinks that abortion should be illegal. Of all the pieces I've seen by him - he's never done this. Not once. The fact is that there are numerous people who knew about their child's handicap before birth and still choose life but they are still pro-choice in the traditional meaning of the word (they think that abortion should stay legal). Most people use the term "prolife" to describe how they feel about the legality of abortion not to describe that they want less abortions. If the latter approach is correct then even NARAL could be considered "prolife."

Stassen continues to throw around flawed statistics long after those statistics have been shown to him to be flawed. He says, "But in 2002, the first full year of the Bush presidency, abortions increased in the 16 states for which I could find data by a total of 5,855. If the data from the rest of the nation fit that pattern, abortions increased nationwide in 2002 by about 24,000 a year, reversing the dramatic decreases of the 1990s."

Stassen then uses these statistics through his entire piece as a fact that abortions have increased in the last 4 years when no one is really sure if they've increased or not. For one, sixteen states aren't necessarily representatives of all 50 states, especially if they aren't randomly selected. This has been pointed out to Stassen and he again has chosen to ignore it. He has also chosen to ignore that the large increases for two states (Arizona and Colorado) that he uses are most likely because abortionists weren't reporting the number of abortions performed in previous years. As National Right to Life points out in their long rebuttal of Stassen:

"Look at Arizona, where Stassen reports a 26.4% increase occurring in a single year between 2001 and 2002. While admitting that its figures did show abortions increasing from 8,226 in 2001 to 10,397 in 2002, yielding the enormous 26.4% increase Stassen cites, Arizona's Department of Health Services cautioned in its report that ‘It is unclear whether this increase in the number of reported abortions represents a true increase in the actual number of abortions performed, or, perhaps, a better response rate of providers of non-surgical (so called medical) terminations of pregnancy.'"


"State officials in Colorado, where Stassen reported an astronomical 67.4% one year increase, recently revamped their reporting regimen to address underreporting, and sent a note to abortion providers reminding them that reporting was required in Colorado. The state said they expected an increase in reports, and declared, ‘No one could or should conclude that this anticipated increase in the rate of reported terminations reflects an increase in the true rate.'"

Colorado reported 4,633 abortion in 2001 according to the CDC - 67.4% of 4,633 is 3,122. Stassen's number of 5,855 more abortions from 2001 to 2002 is mostly (over 90%) made up of the faulty statistics from Arizona (an increase of 2,171) and Colorado (an increase of 3,122) which combine for 5,293 of Stassen's 5,855 abortions. The fact that Stassen is still using these statistics and passing them off as fact after the errors in them have been pointed out to him is reprehensible and intellectually dishonest.

Stassen has unveiled a new faulty statistic - abortion rates from the CDC. He says, " The abortion rate reported by the Centers for Disease Control stayed steady at 24 or 23 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age from 1978 through 1992 (the last year of Bush the elder's administration), but then dropped dramatically to 17 per 1,000 by 1998 (the fifth year of the Clinton administration), as the unemployment rate also dropped dramatically."

This is another example of how Stassen manipulates statistics to attempt to prove his point. He uses the abortion rate from 1998 because 1998 was the first year that California stopped reporting their abortions to the CDC. In 1997, California reported 275,739 abortions to the CDC with an abortion rate of 38 (almost double the national average), in that same year the abortion rate for the entire country was 20 according to the CDC. Anyone with the slightest background in statistics can tell how eliminating the most populous state in the America with an enormous abortion rate from the abortion statistics is going to drop the abortion rate. Magically, the abortion rate for the entire nation dropped from 20 in 1997 to 17 in 1998. Largely not because of unemployment drops - but because California's statistics were not included.

Glen Stassen might get more people from the prolife camp to listen to him and his views if he stopped being dishonest with statistics. The way he pushes faulty statistics as facts to back up his view makes him seem more like a Democratic party hack than a Christian man who is truly concerned about women in unplanned pregnancies and their unborn children.