Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Stem Cell Confusion

The Detroit News recently had dueling opinion columns on embryonic stem cell research between Kristen Cella and Leonard Fleck, philosophy professor at Michigan State.

Fleck's editorial on embryonic stem cell research contained numerous falsities that proponents of embryonic stem cell research usually make so I'd thought I address a few of them.

Fleck does deserve credit for admitting that embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) requires the destruction of human embryos. Many proponents of ESCR deny this reality altogether so it is refreshing to see someone admit this. That is about where my agreement with Fleck ends.

My main argument with Fleck is his complete lack of argumentation regarding "personhood." Fleck honestly contends that "Philosophers and theologians argue about whether those embryos are persons with the same rights you and I have." Note that no arguments are given to which side is right or wrong and no evidence is presented as to what the difference is between human beings and persons. He then goes on to list "potential beneficiaries" of embryonic stem cell research (incorrectly including people with Alzheimer's) and states that no philosophers or theologians argue about their status as persons (which I actually doubt is true). Fleck then asserts that "Actual people should matter more than merely future possible persons." So what's the enormous unproven assumption here? That human embryos aren't "actual persons."

Instead of actually proving that human embryos aren't persons or telling us what the difference is between human beings and "persons," Fleck has backdoored his way into asserting that grown human beings are more valuable than embryonic human beings without ever making a real argument. He's saying that if philosophers argue about whether you are a person or not, then your life is less valuable than the life of someone whose "personhood" philosophers don't argue about.

For fun, let's see what kind of line of argument can I form from Fleck's assumptions? 1.) Someone's "personhood" and with it value are a certainty if all philosophers agree on it. 2.) If one or more philosophers disagree regarding someone's "personhood," then "personhood" is in question. 3.) If "personhood" is in question (which doesn't mean that the human being in question has been proven a non-person), then killing the questionable-person is ok if other non-questionable persons could be helped in the future. 4.) Some philosophers, most notably Peter Singer, have argued that newborn infants aren't "persons." 5.) The "personhood" of newborn infants is in question 6.) Therefore, it should be legal to kill newborn infants if killing them might be able to help human beings whose "personhood" isn't in question.

Other points of contention:

Further, the couples who own these embryos are not compensated for donating them. Hence, no one can claim they are pressured to make these donations.

Does it cost money to store human embryos? Couldn't years of storage be quite costly? Is it possible that couples could feel pressured to "donate" their embryos because they can no longer afford to store their unborn children?

Is it possible that they could be pressured in other ways that aren't financial? Such as researchers claiming that their embryos and the stem cells procured from them could possibly save lives? Isn't that pressure?

There are 400,000 such frozen embryos in the country. They are going to be discarded or destroyed no matter what.

I feel like displaying one of those big Xs they show on the Family Feud when someone's answer isn't on the board because this statement is simply not true. The myth of the 400,000 embryos about to be disposed is pure nonsense. Arlen Specter also deseminated this myth Sunday morning on This Week. The large majority of these embryos, about 90%, are being stored by their parents for possible future implantation. Over a year ago, Eric Cohen in the National Review wrote, "The same 2003 study that arrived at the 400,000 number made it clear that only about three percent of these frozen embryos are actually available for research — the others remain in the custody of the parents who created them, and are specifically designated for future use in initiating a pregnancy."

I tell my students that I was never an eight-cell embryo. Many are initially incredulous. Then I explain that my body is physically and causally continuous with what was once an eight-cell embryo. But "I," the very distinct person that I am, only came to be gradually in the months and years after birth. I was not there for my conception, and hence, "I" would not have been harmed if that embryo had been used for stem cell research.

Physically and causally continuous with what was once an eight-cell embryo? I think that's the fanciest way I've ever heard to say, "I was once an eight-cell embryo."

By this same skewed reasoning, "Leonard Fleck" wouldn't have been harmed if "his" mother dropped "him" on "his" head when "he" was 3 months old. "His" body would have been physically harmed and damaged but the "very distinct person" that "he" is would not have been harmed. "He" also wouldn't have been harmed if as an infant "he" was killed for medical research because "he" only came to be gradually months and years after birth.

I feel sorry for the philosophy students at MSU that have to endure this.

Can you imagine Fleck sitting with his children and saying, "I remember when that newborn body that was physically and causally continuous with Nathan looked up at me and smiled for the first time" or "I just felt the kick of that fetal body that will gradually become Nathan."

Fleck's essay also contains the mandatory "don't let religious beliefs effect public policy" section that I might feel like addressing at a later date.

Granholm not "personally prolife" enough to support ultrasound bill

The Detroit News has reported that Governor Jennifer Granholm is opposed to a prolife bill that recently passed the state house.

H.B. 4446 will require abortionists to present pregnant women with the opportunity to view the active ultrasound image of their growing child as well as have a picture of that ultrasound image.

According to Liz Boyd, Granholm's spokesperson, Michigan's governor opposes this bill because, "It places government in the middle of people's most personal and intimate medical decisions, a highly inappropriate place for politicians to be" and "It purports to be about informing women, yet House members chose not to include an amendment that would have given them information about avoiding unintended pregnancies."

It places government in the middle of a decision? And what decision is that? To have an ultrasound. Maybe I'm completely mistaken but shouldn't women who are considering an abortion have an ultrasound to make certain 1.) they are pregnant and 2.) they don't have an ectopic pregnancy? Don't most abortion providers use ultrasound machines before doing an abortion? Or do they just hope there isn't an ectopic pregnancy?

Isn't providing women with the choice of receiving more information about their pregnancy a good thing?

Don't abortion providers already give women information about avoiding unintended pregnancies? If the state required abortionists to give women information about avoiding unintended pregnancies, wouldn't that be "placing government in the middle of personal and intimate medical decisions?"

Erika chooses life

Praise the Lord! A child saved. Erika chose life.

Are finances a good enough reason not to give this baby a life?? Is my own fears a good enough reason to never see who this little boy or girl will become?? Omg. No, no, a thousand times no! And now that I've decided that I want to keep it, I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders. I feel happy! I feel excited! I feel scared to death, but this is another child, another brother or sister, another life.....

I went through abortion before because it was the right decision for me at the time. It isn't even close to feeling right now. It feels nothing but wrong. I think what I really want was being shadowed by my own fears. When I don't acknowledge those fears, when I don't let them have the hold on me that they did, I can see the possiblilties. There is nothing to stop me from doing anything but those fears. That's no way to live.

I'm scared, but I'm excited. I'm worried, but I'm happy. This is right. It's just right. I can't keep running away from everything just because I'm afraid. It's time for me to take a good look inside myself, in more ways than one, and make a change. This is life.

So........I'm having a baby.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Glenn Stassen "grateful" for AGI study that refutes his statistics

But my favorite "statistician" still can't let go. In his recent letter to Factcheck.org, whose web site discusses the continuing "abortions have increased under Bush" baloney, Stassen says that the AGI study "symbolizes what I have been saying: the decline of abortions is clearly stalling in 2001 and 2002 is clearly stalling in contrast with the 1990s."

Huh? I promote bad statistics saying that the number of abortions have gone up under Bush but now a study that shows abortions have decreased under Bush "symbolizes" what I said? According to Stassen, Bush is no longer responsible for the non-existent increase in abortion but now he's to blame for the stalling of the abortion decrease.

In his letter, Stassen says he affirms the AGI's "methods and their study." One of the AGI's methods was to remove the inconsistent abortion statistics from Colorado and Arizona which were the main fuel behind Stassen's "abortion increased" claim. Maybe Stassen should admit that using those statistics from Colorado and Arizona was wrong and not very statistician-like.

Michelle Malkin adds that Hillary is still holding on to this myth. Kind of like Charles Heston and that gun in his cold, dead hand.

Michelle enquires, "Neither Inside Politics host Judy Woodruff nor Meet the Press host Tim Russert challenged these unsubstantiated claims.

Nor did any other MSM reporter or news anchor. According to Nexis database, the only people to mention the Guttmacher study were the editorial writers at the New York Sun and columnist Rich Lowry.

Do you think the MSM would have ignored the study if it had shown an increase in the number of abortions rather than a decrease?"

Howard Dean on Abortion
AGI: U.S. Abortions have Decreased
Abortion Stats and Abortion Proponents
Glenn Stassen back at it
Prolifers should vote for someone who wholeheartedly supports abortion?

Trot Out the Fetus

On May 24, numerous usually prolife U.S. Representatives voted for H.R. 810, a bill to expand the number of embryonic stem cells line which can receive federal funding.

In his floor speech in favor of H.R. 810, anti-abortion Democrat Jim Langevin said,

"To me, being pro-life also means fighting for policies that will eliminate pain and suffering and help people enjoy longer, healthier lives. And to me, support for embryonic stem cell research is entirely consistent with that position. What could be more life-affirming than using what otherwise would be discarded to save, extend and improve countless lives?"

Another usually prolife Representative who voted for H.R. 810 is Jo Ann Emerson, who was supported by the Susan B. Anthony List. This article says,

"Who can say that prolonging a life is not pro-life?" said Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (news, bio, voting record), R-Mo., who said she had a "perfect" pro-life record and whose mother-in-law had died the night before of Alzheimer's disease.

"I must follow my heart on this and cast a vote in favor," she said.

Stand to Reason has a great technique to use when discussing abortion with pro-choicers called Trot out the Toddler. This technique allows you to get the discussion of abortion focused on the most important question of the debate: What is the Unborn?

With politicians who are usually prolife but in favor of embryonic stem cell research, I think we need to Trot Out the Fetus.

Imagine this hypothetical: Scientists discover that miniature organs from 12 week old fetuses can be grown in the lab to make organs that could replace the organs of adults who need transplants. This breakthrough could dramatically prolong the lives of people who are desperately waiting for hearts, kidneys, livers, etc. But to get these mini-organs and grow them we need to take them from fetuses who will die in the process. The organs have to be removed via surgery from a fetus who is living at the time of the removal so organs can't be taken from the remains of an already aborted child. The removal of the organs will unfortunately kill the child. But the child was going to die anyway because the mothers have already decided to have an abortion. Women would only be approached for their consent regarding the fetal organ removal after they decided to go thru with the abortion and their informed consent would be necessary. Should the research involving growing these mini-organs removed from living human fetuses receive federal funding?

How would Langevin or Emerson respond? Would they say that growing organs removed from living human fetuses is prolife? Maybe, but I doubt it.

If they wouldn't want tax dollars to pay for this research, I'd ask why? What could they possibly say about fetal organ removal and growth that would make them opposed to it yet be in favor of embryonic stem cell removal and embryonic stem cell research?

The real question in the debate over embryonic stem cell research isn't "Are they going to die anyway?" or "Can this research prolong life?" Those are mere shades of rhetoric to get around the reality that prolife people who are in favor of embryonic stem cell research are violating numerous prolife principles. The real question is "What are Human Embryos?" Are these human embryos valuable, distinct human beings like human fetuses? Or do they lose their value because they are smaller and less developed than human fetuses? People who claim to be prolife yet favor embryonic stem cell research and its federal funding discriminate against human embryos in the same way that pro-choice people discriminate against all unborn children.

For people who oppose abortion yet are in favor of embryonic stem cell research and the federal funding of it, what is the difference between killing embryos for their stem cells and killing fetuses for their organs?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Liberal Larry knocks it out of the park

If ESPN was a satire network, this would be an Instant Classic.

"Bush simply must not be allowed to place extremist judges on the bench, many of whom are grossly inexperienced and haven't written a single law in their entire careers...

Despite what Bush and the repugs want us all to believe, the Constitution is not a lifeless, inanimate object, but a great big living, breathing forest, with a little bubbling creek that trickles through a pretty meadow. Our Founding Fathers left all sorts of wonderful critters in our happy forest, and you can see them if you're a progressive judge, and you squint really hard."

Someone who needs help

If you have an AOL account, please leave comments of prayer and hope for this young mother named Erika who is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. She doesn't want to have an abortion but she feels that abortion is her only option. The man in her life sounds very emotionally abusive.

In her latest journal entry she writes,

"I want you guys to know that this isn't easy for me. This isn't an easy decision, regardless of how you look at it. I've keep wondering if I could still get a job and leave being pregnant. Keep it. Do it alone. That's the only way I could keep it, but anyway I look at it, there is no way I could do that alone....

I have no one else. There is no one else who would be able to come to whatever insanely cheap apartment I had to help me with 2 kids and a newborn everyday. It would be horribly stressful. I would lose my mind. I keep going over the whole scenario, wondering if there was something I missed, some way to do it. I just can't. There is really only one option here.

I don't want to do it. The thought causes knots in my stomach. I went through it before and it was horrible, horrible, horrible.....

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Priscilla Owen confirmed

Here's the vote on Priscilla Owen's confirmation. I'm wondering why prolife Democrat Ben Nelson voted against Judge Owen?

Here's the NARAL press release in response which calls Owen a "serial judicial activist" (they wish) and restates the Alberto Gonzales baloney.

What Kind of "Choice" is This?

As much as I despise the idea, I can't have another child. I went through an abortion as a teenager and I know what it's like. It's horrible and it's an experience that stays with you forever. It's something you never forget. It's something I never wanted to do again. I have 2 great kids who are learning the wrong things from their father and I love them enough to get them out of this unhealthy situation. I cannot bring another child into it. It will kill me. It will be horrible. I cry now thinking of doing it.....

This is not pleasant at all. I feel like hell. This will definitely be a scar on my psyche, but under these circumstances, I feel like I have no other choice.

But I thought they were going to thrown away?

Here's President Bush with some of those "spare embryos" that Dana Reeve told us, "that would not, once it was implanted, turn into a human being."

In a way, Dana is right. Implanting these children into their adoptive mother's womb didn't turn them into human beings. They were already human beings before they were implanted.

Here is the President's statement regarding embryo adoption. Here's an excerpt:

The children here today remind us that there is no such thing as a spare embryo. Every embryo is unique and genetically complete, like every other human being. And each of us started out our life this way. These lives are not raw material to be exploited, but gifts. And I commend each of the families here today for accepting the gift of these children and offering them the gift of your love.

Michigan House Passes Ultrasound Bill

On May 24, the Michigan House of Representatives passed H.B. 4446 by the wide margin of 69 to 37. H.B. 4446 would require abortionists to allow women the opportunity to view a live ultrasound image of their unborn child and also allow them to have a picture of their unborn child. Women can refuse to see this image if they would like.

This bill puts Michigan's pro-choice governor, Jennifer Granholm, in a tricky spot. After continually spouting during the 2002 election that she was "personally prolife" and against abortion but politically pro-choice, Granholm has vetoed a bill to define legal birth when any portion of a child is outside the mother and vetoed a bill that would have prevented judge shopping on parental consent bypasses. Will she be able to keep this line up if she continues to veto mainstream prolife bills which don't make abortion illegal?

During the debate (scroll 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down) over this bill, pro-choice representative Alma Smith had this to say:

Current law mandates that a health care provider show a woman seeking an abortion 'a medically accurate depiction, illustration or photograph and description' of an embryo at the same gestational age as her own. This bill's ultrasound requirement introduces a compulsory, potentially risky procedure that results in an image which will add no new information. It is even more unreasonable when we understand that 62% of women seeking abortions have already carried at least one pregnancy to full term: they know what a baby is.

So women who've already given birth know that they are choosing to end the life of a baby when they have an abortion?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bush promises veto on embryonic stem cell bill

The White House has released this statement on Mike Castle's embryonic stem cell bill.

It says that, "If H.R. 810 were presented to the President, he would veto the bill."

On a side note, I wonder how Christopher Reeve's widow, Dana Reeve, (pictured next to Mike Castle at this web site) can support Castle's bill. According to Reeve, "That's where you get stem cells from. This is not a baby. It's not an embryo. It is pre-embryonic. This is something that would not, once it was implanted, turn into a human being." (Emphasis mine)

But Castle's legislation, The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, states that embryonic stem cells would be eligible for funding if, "The stem cells were derived from human embryos that have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics....."


HT: The Corner

Terri Revisited

The New York Review has a long essay on Terri Schiavo by Joan Didion that summarizes what happened to her.

HT: Galley Slaves

The Deal

I guess I wouldn't be the blogger I pretend to be if I didn't comment on the compromise by 7 Republican Senators and 7 Democratic Senators regarding the filibustering of judicial nominations.

I'm not especially happy but I'm not especially outraged. I think a lot of the outrage is based on what people think will happen, basically that the Democratic Senators will use a broad brush when it comes to the term "extraordinary circumstances." And maybe that will happen. Maybe the "good faith" deal is a sham. Maybe they'll continue to use the filibuster regularly.

But maybe they won't. Maybe those 7 Democrats won't filibuster a nominee to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe. If they're open to giving up or down votes to Bill Pryor, Janice Rogers Brown, and Priscilla Owen (nominees whom pro-choice organizations despised) it seems to me that it would be extremely difficult for them to filibuster nominees with similar ideologies and judicial views.

I always try to find the silver lining and the main one for me besides the future confirmation of qualified prolife judges is: How embarrassing is this for Planned Parenthood, NARAL and all the other organizations that continuously called Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and Bill Pryor "extreme?" NARAL even continues to call them the President's "absolute worst nominees." Those three seemed to be the main focus of the filibusters and now they're going to get up or down votes and be confirmed for lifetime appointments on the appeals court level. That's gotta burn.

NARAL's statement from Nancy Keenan thinly hides the angst she must be feeling knowing that in the near future that Bush's "absolute worst nominees" will be confirmed.

Even though they try to add a positive spin, Planned Parenthood is mostly negative in their assessment of the compromise. There are no party cakes at Planned Parenthood since "U.S. senators agreed to allow extremist judges one step closer to the federal courts."

They must feel that all those pro-choice Senators have turned their backs on them, allowing the most "extreme" nominees to receive votes.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Sunday Morning Heartburn

Watching the Sunday morning political television shows can be difficult for me. I love discussion of political issues but I can get way too annoyed watching Sunday morning TV. Mainly because politicians and journalists can make numerous claims and provide no evidence for these claims and the hosts never ask for their source. I also am annoyed by the formatting of these programs which usually doesn't help provide any actual dialogue or rational argumentation just quick sound bits. My wife and I usually leave for church around 9:20 (9:25 if she hits the snooze button more than once) but we went to the later service this Sunday so I was able to watch my "favorite" programs.

By switching back and forth and at commercials I was able to watch parts of Meet the Press, the Fox News Sunday and This Week (ABC's show).

First and foremost, I hate it, absolutely hate it when hosts, commentators, politicians, etc. equate embryonic stem cell research with stem cell research as if the only kind of stem cell research involves experimenting on the remains of destroyed embryos. It happened on Fox News and This Week, over and over again. Chris Wallace, the host of Fox News Sunday, kept saying "stem cell research," never informing viewers that it is only embryonic stem cell research that people are concerned with.

This seems to be a trend in the media, where seemingly few if any people are aware that research with adult stem cells and stem cells from umbilical cord blood is helping people all over the globe.

Anne Graham Lotz briefly hinted that there are different types of stem cell research but I saw nothing else that would help an Average Joe or Jane who doesn't know much about stem cell research.

Second, Republicans who are in favor of embryonic stem cell research and using federal funds to pay for this research have no principled ground to stand on when they try to oppose human cloning. Both Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Senator George Allen from Virginia are in favor of embryonic stem cell research but opposed to human cloning, including human cloning for biomedical research.

Instead of being able to say, "we shouldn't be killing some human beings in the hopes of curing others," "every human being regardless of size or development is precious and irreplacable," or "intentionally killing innocent human beings for their body parts is wrong" they are left saying fuzzy statements like, "I think this is just going to far," or "this is a line we shouldn't cross" and have real difficulty explaining why we shouldn't cross this line when they are in favor of crossing the other line. It is unfortunate that many individuals who oppose legal abortion have allowed pseudo-science and the extravagant claims of big biotech to shade their thinking.

Fareed Zakaria is Ignorant about Embryonic Stem Cell Laws Around World

Throughout the round table discussion on embryonic stem cell research and cloning on This Week, Fareed Zakaria continously asserted that no other country was having this debate over embryonic stem cell research. Note that the debate in the United States is over when and how many federal funds should be used for this unethical research not whether it should be legal or not.

Fareed had absolutely no clue what he was talking about. Some countries even ban embryonic stem cell research. I found this paper which describes many countries and their positions on embryonic stem cell research and cloning. It says that embryonic stem cell research is banned in Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Ecuador, Austria, Ireland, Italy, and Norway. In some of these countries the law forbids research on embryos but doesn't specifically mention if it is allowable to experiment on embryonic stem cells if the cells were removed from an embryo in another country. It also doesn't mention many Islamic countries in the Middle East, many of whom I would guess would also be against this type of research.

Besides the facts not being on Fareed's side, he didn't have much of an argument either. It basically boiled down to "Look the rest of the world is doing it, why shouldn't we?"

Dana Reeve - Spewing Lies Left and Right

Here's what Dana Reeve, widow of Christopher Reeve, had to say on where embryonic stem cells come from during This Week:

"A lot of people will say, 'Well, you have no right to tamper with human life.' By 'tampering with human life,' I believe that they're talking about using an early cell that even if it were implanted, that it would not become a human being. That's where you get stem cells from. This is not a baby. It's not an embryo. It is pre-embryonic. This is something that would not, once it was implanted, turn into a human being."

So you get stem cells (plural) from an early cell (singular) that wouldn't become a human being even if that early cell was implanted and embryonic stem cells don't come from embryos? Thanks for the science lesson, Dana.

UPDATE: It appears I'm not the only victim of Sunday morning heartburn. Melinda Penner from STR takes on Boomer Esiason and Howard Dean.

President Bush's Speech at Calvin College

The text is here.

I watched it on television and there was nothing controversial as far as I could tell. Even a little bit of self-deprecating humor.

Thanks for having me. I was excited to come back to Calvin, and I was just telling Laura the other night about what fun it would be to come to Calvin College. I said, you know, Laura, I love being around so many young folks. You know, it gives me a chance to re-live my glory days in academia. (Laughter.) She said, George, that's not exactly how I would describe your college experience.....

And if any of you wonder how far a mastery of the English language can take you, just look what it did for me.

Howard Dean on Abortion

Here are some snippets from Howard Dean during Sunday's appearance on Meet the Press:

We have been forced into the idea of "We're going to defend abortion." I don't know anybody who thinks abortion is a good thing. I don't know anybody in either party who is pro-abortion. The issue is not whether we think abortion is a good thing. The issue is whether a woman has a right to make up her own mind about her health care, or a family has a right to make up their own mind about how their loved ones leave this world.

Too bad Tim Russert never asked Dean why nobody thinks that abortion is a good thing. Many pro-choice commentators will say over and over again that abortion isn't a good thing and that they aren't in favor of abortion, they're just in favor of "choice" but nobody asks them why abortion isn't a good thing or why they want to decrease abortions.

We'd like to make abortion rare. You know that abortions have gone up 25 percent since George Bush was president?

Why should abortion be more rare? Is it because abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being? Why should intentionally killing an innocent human be legal?

25 percent? Dean is the head of the DNC and he goes on national television with this bogus claim. This is beyond embarrassing. Is he that ignorant or was he just hoping no one would check his claim? My guess is Dean is lying and hoping his cheap shot on national television will be heard by more people than the refutations to this obvious untruth. Dean probably has no source for his statistic because I haven't seen anyone else claim that abortions have gone up 25%. Even Glenn Stassen's bogus statistics didn't come close to saying abortions have gone up 25%. The Alan Guttmacher Institute even released a report last week which said abortions have gone down in 2001 and 2002. I've seen no estimates on abortion numbers from the CDC or the AGI for 2003 or 2004.

But let's ferret out what reality would be if Dean's absurd, unsourced claim was true. On the AGI's latest report they mention that according to their survey and research 1,313,000 abortions were performed in 2000. If abortions went up 25% since Bush took office in early 2001 that means that according to Dr. Dean there were 1,641,250 abortions in 2004.

Or we can look at the statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In their 2000 report, the CDC states "(a) total of 857,475 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC for 2000 from 49 reporting areas" (which doesn't include California, Alaska, and New Hampshire). If Dean's "25%" statistic is correct, then in 2004 there were 1,071,844 abortions performed in the same 49 reporting areas.

We need to reduce the number of abortions in this country. There is common ground between us and pro-life Democrats, and we ought to find that common ground.

Dean claims he wants to reduce the number of abortions in this country and maybe he's being truthful. However, you have to wonder why someone who wants to reduce abortions would be in favor of abortions that cost only $5. For more information, here's a good American Spectator article that discusses Dean's record on abortion in Vermont.

It is an incredibly difficult area. It is an area which is conflicted. I don't know anybody who ever had an abortion who feels, "Oh, boy, this is just great. I can't wait to have another one." That's not what this is about. This is a very difficult, horrible choice.

What's so horrible about abortion? Why don't women think abortion is great? Dean is right about one thing. The "choice" to have an abortion is difficult and horrible.

Friday, May 20, 2005

With Rhetoric Like That

The news grabbing open letter to President Bush from some Calvin College alumni, students, faculty, and friends has these two paragraphs in the middle:

By their deeds ye shall know them, says the Bible. Your deeds, Mr. President–neglecting the needy to coddle the right, desecrating the environment, and misleading the country into war–do not exemplify the faith we live by.

Moreover, many of your supporters are using religion as a weapon to divide our nation and advance a narrow partisan agenda. We are deeply disappointed in your failure to renounce their inflammatory rhetoric.

Kind of like the inflammatory rhetoric used in your above paragraph?

These have to be two of the most interesting paragraphs I've ever seen next to each other. In the first paragraph, the signers use the Bible and inflammatory rhetoric to criticize Bush, seemingly saying that his stances on economics, the environment, and the Iraq are unbiblical.

The next paragraph bemoans conservative Christians for using religion to divide (no instances given) even though in the previous paragraph they use religion to divide. They call on Bush to renounce the rhetoric of the right when they used the rhetoric of the left two sentences earlier. So mature.

I find it sad that all the graduates and teachers who signed on for this ad weren't able to see the blatant hypocrisy in this letter.

Choice or Coercion

How many women who have abortions are in situations similar to this?

On Monday Joe quit his job, and for two days he sat around the house in dirty pajamas playing video games. Tuesday night (wee hours of the morning) he told me it was over. He was leaving me (or rather, making me leave, because I was at his place) and he doesn't want anything to do with me or his child....

I have no support in continuing this pregnancy. My mother is pushing really hard for an abortion. I haven't told my father yet, but my mom swears he is going to disown me for bringing this shame upon our family. My friends all think I'm nuts. Even my best friend, who is the most pro-life radical I have ever met, told me that I should have an abortion...

But... this time it just doesn't feel right. I didn't mean to, but from the moment I saw two lines this has been my "baby" to me, not just a teeny-tiny mass of cells.

I know I'm not completely ready to be a mother. But who ever is? I don't have a lot of money, I work two jobs and still live paycheck to paycheck. I am a full-time college student and I live alone, which makes it harder to pay all of my bills. I bought a new car last year that I can afford just fine now, but not with a baby. I am paying for college myself, no grants or finaid, no scholarships, and I know that if I have this child I can kiss my degree goodbye- at least for the next several years...

I am so torn, so brokenhearted. I already love this child that is growing inside me so much- I love her even though my breasts are about to fall off they hurt so bad, even though I had to give up my beloved cigarettes, even though I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open as I type this. I am already so protective of her, already planning how I am going to protect her from all the bad things and people in this world. I have no idea where I will ever find the strength to have an abortion. Not this time. But, I honestly don't know if I am strong enough to bring a child into this world that no one loves but me. It just seems such a horrible fate.

Cloning and Judges

Wesley Smith reacts to the South Korean cloners.

The latest to change his tune is Woo Suk Hwang. When he manufactured the first human cloned embryos, he admitted that the "products" of cloning were embryos and indeed, that "this technique [therapeutic cloning] can not be separated from reproductive people cloning..."

That was then. Now, having manufactured more human cloned embryos, he apparently has received his talking points: "I can say this result is not an embryo but a 'nuclear transfer construct'."

Last night I saw on NBC News I saw Hwang try to say with a straight face that he was convinced he wasn't creating human beings. Nice try. I was, however, somewhat impressed by how NBC Nightly News covered this story. They didn't try to hide the truth like some news stories and even provided time for two people on opposing sides of this issue to discuss their views.

Blogicus informs me that the British scientists aren't too far behind in the dash to create cloned human beings.

Rich Lowry on the glass ceiling imposed on conservative female judges by liberal groups.

The logic of the Democratic position entails a kind of inverse Leninism — better is worse. The more attractive a nominee's personal story, the more imperative it is to oppose him or (especially) her. Democrats might have filibustered California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown anyway, but her fate was surely and truly sealed by the fact that she is black, was raised by sharecroppers in segregationist Alabama, and worked her way through law school as a single mother after her first husband died. This background screams "attractive U.S. Supreme Court nominee." So for the left, Brown is "a dangerous black woman."

Here's an actual extreme nominee.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Customized or Cloned?

The AP story on the newest batch of cloned embryos created by South Korean scientists is the newest in a never ending batch of stories on cloning and embryonic stem cell research that hides what is actually happening until the middle or end of the story.

Notice the headline: "Scientists Create Customized Stem Cells"

Why isn't the headline "Scientists Create Cloned Human Beings and Killed Them by Removing Their Stem Cells" or merely "Scientists Create Cloned Embryos?"

Now the Seoul scientists have cloned patient-specific stem cells, important if doctors are to develop cell-based therapies that won't be rejected by the body's immune system.

You do not clone stem cells. You clone embryos which are then killed for their stem cells.

Not until more than half way thru the article do we learn that, "Culling stem cells destroys the days-old embryo harboring them, regardless of whether that embryo was cloned or left over in a fertility clinic."

AGI: U.S. Abortions have Decreased

I wonder what Glenn Stassen will have to say about this release from the Alan Guttmacher Institute which claims that abortions in the United States decreased in 2001 and 2002?

The Institute estimates that 1,303,000 abortions took place in the United States in 2001—0.8% fewer than the 1,313,000 in 2000. In 2002, the number of abortions declined again, to 1,293,000, or another 0.8%. The rate of abortion also declined, from 21.3 procedures per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2000 to 21.1 in 2001 and 20.9 in 2002.

Will Hillary Clinton and Nicholas Kristof correct their faulty claims based on Stassen's faulty analysis?

Jay Leno's Wife Takes Cheap Shot at the Unborn

During a recent fundraising luncheon for Planned Parenthood of Southeast Michigan, Mavis Leno, whose talk was focused on the women of Afghanistan, threw in this cheap shot:

"Our current conservative, religious government is obsessed with women on life support and with fetuses because they are imaginary people," as opposed to acknowledging the rights of everyday women, she said. "The way things are going in this country, there may come a day when we need the women of Afghanistan to speak for us."

Imaginary people? That's right, Mavis. Terri Schiavo and other people on life support don't really exist. They're figments of prolife imaginations. Those fetuses, well, they don't exist either. That movement women feel in their tummies, that must be an error of their sense of feeling. Who needs ultrasounds when we can just take the word of a famous comedian's wife?

But that's the method of many pro-choice people's madness. Just act like the unborn don't exist. It's much easier pretending the unborn are imaginary people than actually dealing with prolife arguments.

I also love how Mavis takes shots at the Bush administration when it was the Bush administration that removed the Taliban from power.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Can we please end the lie about what Alberto Gonzales supposedly said about Priscilla Owen? Please?

Last night while watching NBC News I heard, I believe it was Brian Williams, repeat the Planned Parenthood talking point that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said one of Priscilla Owen's opinions was an "unconscionable act of judicial activism."

Here's what Gonzales had to say about the quote in question:

My comment about an act of judicial activism was not focused at Judge Owen or Judge Hecht; it was actually focused at me. What I was saying in that opinion was that, given my interpretation of what the legislature intended, by the way the words that they used in terms of having a minor not totally informed or well informed but sufficiently well informed and the structure of the act, it was in my judgment that the legislature did intend the judicial bypasses to be real. And given my conclusion about what the legislature intended, it would have been an act of judicial activism not to have granted the bypass in that particular case. If someone like Judge Owen in that case reached a different conclusion about what the legislature intended, it would have been perfectly reasonable for her to reach a different outcome. But as to the words that have been used as a sword against Judge Owen, let me just say that those words were related to me in terms of my interpretation of what the legislature intended, again, through the words of the statute and the way that the judicial bypass procedure would actually operate in practice.”

And here's what he says about Owen's nomination:

"I served with Judge Owen on the Texas Supreme Court. And I think she did a splendid job, a superb job as a judge. I think she would make a superb job on the Fifth Circuit, and that's why her name was recommended to the president."

The fact that Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Teddy Kennedy, and the other usual suspects are still using something that was denied more than a month ago shows how little they truly have on Owen. They never link to the actual opinion of Gonzales or provide context in which he wrote what he did. I wonder why? Well, here's Gonzales' concurring opinion.

In the opinion Gonzales writes, "Only in this, an appeal after remand of the first of four Jane Doe cases, has the Court granted a minor's application to bypass notifying her parents before she consents to an abortion. (1) Yet in each case, the Court has struggled to render the correct decision, and some members of the Court have strongly disagreed. The tenor of the opinions have been unmistakably contentious. It has been suggested that the Court's decisions are motivated by personal ideology. See ___ S.W.3d ___ (Hecht, J., dissenting). To the contrary, every member of this Court agrees that the duty of a judge is to follow the law as written by the Legislature. (2) This case is no different. The Court's decision is based on the language of the Parental Notification Act as written by the Legislature and on established rules of construction. Any suggestion that something else is going on is simply wrong."

Judge Hecht, another dissenter, basically claimed the Court's opinion was an act of activism and Gonzales is replying to that accusation by writing that his opinion was based on his intrepretation of the law not on his personal opinions.

Here's the sentence of the quote in question:

"Thus, to construe the Parental Notification Act so narrowly as to eliminate bypasses, or to create hurdles that simply are not to be found in the words of the statute, would be an unconscionable act of judicial activism."

Did Owen want to eliminate bypasses or create hurdles that weren't there? Absolutlely not. Priscilla Owen's opinion says nothing of the sort. She dissented "from the methods employed by the Court in rendering that judgment. The Court summarily reversed the lower courts, without an opinion and without the opportunity for considered, substantive deliberations."

Owen goes on to explain how this case was the girl's second trip to the Texas Supreme Court in order to get an abortion without notifying her parents. Owen explains, "On the first appeal, the Court did not find any error in the trial court's judgment denying her application or in the court of appeals' judgment affirming that denial. However, the Court remanded this matter to the trial court for further consideration in the interest of justice."

She continues, "After the case was remanded, the trial court held a second hearing and again denied the application. The court of appeals again affirmed. The transcript of the trial court's second hearing was received by this Court during the evening on Wednesday, March 8, and other parts of the record were received on Thursday, March 9. The Court, by a vote of five to four, saw fit to render judgment in this case on Friday, March 10, summarily reversing the decisions of the two lower courts."

She points out the Texas Supreme Court ruled very quickly to overturn the rulings of the lower courts without an opinion and without "considered, substantive deliberations."

I really can't see how anyone who has read Owen's dissent and Gonzales' concurring opinion could honestly think that his words were meant for her.

You can also read the dissenting opinions and the opinion of the court under June 22.

Even though I know how bad mainstream media is, I am still at times completely dumbfounded by how either lazy and/or unethical they are. It seems that it is just so much easier for them to repeat liberal talking points instead of actually do 15 minutes worth of research.

HT: The Corner

Sometimes Apples Fall Really Far from Trees

If you want another reason to dislike Newsweek or wonder at how some of Reagan's children could have turned out how they did, read Patti Davis' attempt at a column on embryonic stem cell research.

She is either amazingly ignorant of something she attempts to write about or is so obsessed with the supposed "potential" of embryonic stem cell research that she is forced to lie in order to make her position seem morally superior.

Patti with her plethora of scientific knowledge informs us that in-vitro fertilization creates "clusters of cells" not embryos and that President Bush is wrong to call these human embryos clusters of cells "human" because they will never "actually grow into little boys and girls." I wish I could be in where Patti tells that to women like Suzanne Murray, Sharon Tesdall, Kate Johnson, and Cara Vest.

"President Bush’s “compromise” in August 2001 has yielded nothing. He agreed to let the already existing stem cell lines be used for research--about 60 lines. But out of those only 15 turned out to be available and they are reportedly contaminated with non-human molecules, potentially rendering them useless."

He let? That implies that Bush allowed the legalization of this type of research when he actually allowed taxdollars to pay for this research which was already legal. 15 stem cell lines? You'd think someone would actually do some basic research before writing a column. Actually Patti, according to the National Institutes of Health there are 22 embryonic stem cell lines scientists can perform federally funded research on.

Here's another whopper.

"So, we are losing some of the best minds we have because they aren't able to do their work here."

They are able to do there work. Embryonic stem cell research isn't illegal in this country. Some embryonic stem cell research even receives federal funds. You have to wonder why, if this research is as promising as Patti claims, haven't private companies in the US stepped up to hire the best minds and pay them to find the cures?

HT: Dawn Eden

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

More Abortions are a Reason for Concern?

Yesterday, the Detroit Free Press issued an editorial on Democrats for Life's. Though the editorial is fairly positive towards the proposal, considering the Free Press' editorial board's wholehearted allegiance to abortion, there are a few things that deserve comments.

Michigan's abortion rate has crept up gradually since its low point in 1999. It's a trend that should concern everyone, pro-life and pro-choice, and it should boost some of the new coalitions working to ensure fewer women consider this difficult choice.

Why should it concern pro-choice people? If abortion doesn't intentionally end the life of an innocent human being, why should a larger number of abortions concern pro-choice individuals? If the unborn are only part of the woman or parasitic cells why should we be concerned about their demise?

Not every recommendation from Democrats for Life will pass pro-choice muster. They support a prohibition, which recently passed the U.S. House, against helping a minor cross state lines for an abortion without parental notification. This bad bill would make criminals out of friends, siblings, even grandparents, who may only be trying to help in a troubled situation.

Do you mean, "who may only be trying to usurp parental rights?"

Some women will choose abortion no matter what, and it will do this country no credit to force them once again into back-alley procedures. Safe, legal abortion must remain an option.

Imagine someone arguing like this for other issues.

"Some husbands will choose spousal abuse no matter what, and it will do this country no credit to force them into dangerous back-alley beatings. Safe, legal spousal abuse must remain an option."

"Some men will choose rape no matter what, and it will do this country no credit to force rapists into dangerous back-alley rapes. Safe, legal rape must remain an option."

"Some people will choose drugs no matter what, and it will do this country no credit to force them into dangerous back-alley drug use. Safe, legal drug use must remain an option."

All these arguments assume what they are trying to prove. They assume that abortion, rape, spousal abuse, and drug use are things that shouldn't be illegal in an argument that is trying to prove that they should be legal. It is horrible public policy to keep an act legal because people will commit the act even if it is illegal.

Kwame's Hand Caught in the Cookie Jar

The Detroit Free Press has unveiled some more of Kwame Kilpatrick's frivolous spending habits with the City of Detroit's credit card.

The $850 steakhouse dinner.

The $836 charged to the city's credit card for his sister's stay in New Orleans.

The $3,837 he spent on chauffeured sedans over four days.

The $11,644 he dropped on Super Bowl hotel rooms.

It seems that the Mayor and his office withheld information on these charges in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. The files given to the Free Press were edited with a black marker and pages were missing. The Free Press obtained the complete information from Detroit Auditor General Joseph Harris. The complete information shows, even more than the exorbitant meals in the first report, Kilpatrick's tendency to live it up while the city he "serves" eeks by.

Other charges on the Detroit city-issued credit card included charges of $474 and $472 at "Dream, a chic, multilevel nightclub in Washington, D.C." and "$52.55 for Pearl Moon swimwear and $265 at the Four Seasons Spa for him and bodyguard Mike Martin,"

The mayor, who said he will write the check today, already has reimbursed the city for some of the charges -- nearly three years after they were made and on the same day city lawyers agreed to provide financial records to the Free Press.

It's nice to know the Mayor is so willing to repay the city now after the public is aware of his lavish lifestyle.

Kwame Kilpatrick's Konundrum
How will Kwame dig his way out?

Monday, May 16, 2005


Robert Novak discusses NARAL's "fishing expeditions" for judges.

He and Craig Varoga, a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, are partners in a California political consulting firm. Their May 5 petition requested financial information on 30 appellate judges in all but one of the country's judicial circuits, including nine widely mentioned Supreme Court possibilities. Varoga & Rice's client: NARAL Pro-Choice America.

I'm all with Hadley Arkes on this.

Catez Stevens has compiled a collection of posts on the tragedy occurring in Darfur.

"Biased," "unqualified," "most extreme," "the worst" "controversial," "extreme by just about any standard," "too radical," "not moderate or mainstream" and "unfit". All these words to describe two judges who don't believe that the Constitution grants the right to abortion. Planned Parenthood sure does love their adjectives especially since they have absolutely no argument. You'd think with their budget they could hire a public relations director that could come up with something more than adjective-filled rant.

Abortion and Premature Birth

Prolife Blogs is covering the study from France that finds "an induced abortion can increase the risk by premature birth in subsequent pregnancies by as much as 70 percent."

From The Daily Telegraph:

"Her study compared the medical histories of 2,219 women with babies born at less than 34 weeks with another 618 who had given birth at full term. Overall, women who had had an abortion were 40 per cent more likely to have a very pre-term delivery (less than 33 weeks) than those without such a history. The risk of an extremely premature baby - one born at less than 28 weeks - was raised even more sharply, by 70 per cent. Abortion appeared to increase the risk of most major causes of premature birth, including premature rupture of membranes, incorrect position of the foetus on the placenta and spontaneous early labour. The only common cause of premature birth not linked to abortion was high blood pressure.

But this study isn't really news. There have been numerous studies (more than 40) which link abortion and premature birth. From the National Right to Life News in 2003:

"‘Induced Abortion and Risk of Later Premature Births' appears in the Summer 2003 edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. The study, authored by Brent Rooney and Byron Calhoun, M.D., points out that at least 49 studies conducted between 1966 and March 2003 have shown a statistically significant increase in premature births or "surrogates" such as low birth weights in women who have had prior induced abortions.

In 36 years of studies tracked by Rooney and Calhoun, only eight studies failed to show a statistically significant increase, and in many cases this was simply because the sample sizes were too small. There were no studies found in recognized medical journals during this period showing a decreased risk of subsequent prematurity following an abortion.

The report offered some astounding results. A 1993 Australian study of 121,305 total births found the risk of an extremely premature birth (20-27 weeks gegestational age) to be 60% higher for women with one previous abortion, 150% higher for those with two abortions, and 460% higher for women having three or more previous induced abortions - - compared to women with no previous pregnancies."

Dr. Barbara Luke, a professor at the University of Michigan and an expert in obstetrics and gynecology wrote, "(i)f you have had one or more induced abortions, your risk of prematurity with this pregnancy increases by about 30 percent" in her 1995 book, "Every Pregnant Woman's Guide to Preventing Premature Birth."

Too bad the March of Dimes, which started a multi-million dollar campaign to reduce premature births, doesn't acknowledge abortion as something that would put women at an increased risk.

Pro-choice Ads Removed from Nickelodeon

The pro-choice ads that had been running on Nickelodeon and other networks in Grand Rapids area have been removed from stations aimed at children.

My contact, who sent a letter to Nickelodeon, received a phone call from Nickelodeon's main office in New York apologizing for the mishap. It seems that the fault lies with the cable provider, Comcast, who allowed the ads to be played locally on cable networks aimed at children.

Right now it isn't certain if the pro-choice group intentionally bought ads on Nickelodeon or if they purchased an ad buy that plays commercials on a wide variety of cable channels. From my limited knowledge of television ad buys, I am fairly certain that when you purchase an ad buy you receive a listing of which channels the ads will be on, how many times they will play over the course of your buy and approximately when they will play.

Friday, May 13, 2005


A former justice on the Texas Supreme Court debunks the "activist" charge continously made against filibustered judge Priscilla Owen.

Christianity Today tries to get to the bottom of the story that church members got kicked out for voting for Kerry (HT: Between Two Worlds)

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review calls Detroit's mayor Kwame Kilpatrick "the Motown version of McDonald's Hamburgler" for proposing to the city to adopt a 2 percent tax on fast food.

A slight resemblance? The smile is at least somewhat similar and both have good fashion sense.

Consent is not a defense for baseball bat abortion

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that a Macomb County judge has ruled that the teenage boy who beat his pregnant girlfriend with a souvenir baseball bat over the span of weeks to kill their unborn child will stand trial even though his girlfriend consented to the beatings.

Circuit Judge Matthew Switalski said Thursday that in light of a state law requiring minors to get approval from a parent or judge before having an abortion, the girl -- then 16 years old -- could not legally consent to the blows to her stomach that the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office says ended her pregnancy....

The girl, now 17, is not charged with a crime, but her boyfriend, a 17-year-old Richmond Township resident, was charged with intentional conduct against a pregnant individual resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth, a 15-year felony. If convicted, he could end up under the jurisdiction of the Macomb County Juvenile Court until he turns 21.

In October, police recovered a 26-week-old fetus from a field near the boy's home. The teens admitted that he struck her in hopes of ending the pregnancy.

Though I believe the boy should be charged, I'm not thrilled at this time with the reasoning behind the judge's decision. By his reasoning it seems that women who are 18 or older could have their boyfriends, husbands or whoever beat their unborn child to death and as long as the non-minor woman consented to the beating, then the beater would be exempt from punishment.

Related posts
Terminating pregnancy with a baseball bat
Souvenir bat wielding boyfriend is charged

Fromaing for Facts

Froma Harrop's most recent column shows how those in favor of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research will use myths, lies and strawmen to discard the arguments of those of us who are against human cloning and human embryonic stem cell research.

Everything's up to date in Kansas City -- except for some of the people. Each year, a suburban state senator presents a bill that would make creating cells for embryonic stem-cell research a felony in Missouri.

Those backwards Missourian luddites! They have a state senator who wants to ban human cloning! The audacity! The caveman that is sponsoring this legislation has 5 well-thought out and researched columns on cloning which shows that he has probably forgotten more about the subject of human cloning than Harrop has ever learned.

By "creating cells for embryonic stem-cell research," Harrop really means creating cloned human embryos and then killing those cloned human embryos for their stem cells.

Some "pro-life" activists oppose this work because it destroys embryos. We're talking about a few cells in a lab dish.

Actually, we're talking about a small living human being. Most proponents of embryonic stem cell research or research cloning can't even try to take the claims of those against these things seriously. It's much easier for them to say that human embryos are just cells or blobs of tissue than actually make a case for why it should be legal to intentionally kill some human beings with the vague hope of curing another.

Stowers President Bill Neaves vows not to put a spade in the ground until he gets a commitment: The state legislature must end the annual ritual of demonizing the research.

That means no more bills criminalizing therapeutic cloning, which provides the needed cells. Stowers prefers the term "somatic cell nuclear transfer." (Say "cloning," and some people think it's about reproducing human beings.)

Of course he prefers that term. Only a small percentage of people actually knows what it means. It's much easier to get people to go along with a certain kind of unethical research if they don't know what's actually going on.

As a matter of fact "therapeutic cloning" (I've still yet to hear about one human being who's received therapy from human cloning) is about reproducing human beings. A tiny cloned human being must be created for researchers to obtain their stem cells.

An extreme brand of abortion politics threatens to empty the heartland of advanced biotech research. And it's not just radical proposals, like making therapeutic cloning a felony. It's also the attitude -- laws singling out embryonic-stem-cell research as somehow morally suspect.

To Harrop, advanced biotech research = cloning for research and embryonic stem cell research. She is probably completely unaware of all the other advanced biotech research that doesn't necessitate the death of embryonic human beings or all the great scientists who are actually curing people with adult stem cells. I'm getting so tired of this absurd "brain drain" myth where all the top scientists in the U.S. will leave if our government doesn't provide billions of dollars to embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Harrop later on says "several" scientists have left and then names only one.

Notice the catch words "extreme" and "radical." Harrop makes no attempt to actually show how banning human cloning (something that the UN passed a non-binding resolution on and has been banned in those conservative countries of Germany, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and France) is "radical." It's much easier for her to use insulting words than to actually prove her case. Her only attempt to let her readers see the position of prolifers was in the brief two sentences where she admits this research destroys embryos but then undermines that view completely by call them a "few cells."

Also, notice how Harrop condemns prolifers for their attitude and how they try to influence government because they believe embryonic stem cell research is morally wrong while never noticing her attitude and how she and other proponents of embryonic stem cell research try to influence government because she has no moral qualms with killing human embryos for research. She's concluded that prolifers are morally wrong because they've made the conclusion that cloning and killing human embryos for research is morally wrong.

Froma concludes her ignorant rant with this:

The heartland majority needs to confront its anti-science militants. In this world, scientists can write their own tickets. If they write one for the coasts, leaders who indulged the radicals will have only themselves to blame.

That's right. Everybody against cloning human beings and then killing human beings for research is a radical anti-science militant. Wow! It seems that facts and logical arguments are burnt toast for those in favor of cloning human beings for research while name calling and pseudo-science is the soup du jour.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Planned Parenthood's Blogger is Having a Boy!

A guest blogger at Planned Parenthood's "Now What?" blog has announced that the regular blogger is going to have a baby boy.

It's not quite clear to me if the blogger herself is pregnant or if her partner (the not-so specific gender language makes me wonder if the the partner is a woman) is pregnant.

Remember the old days when you had to wait until a baby was born to know its sex? Those days are gone. Our regular blogger is off doing her job, so my guest blogger self gets to break the big news around the office: Now What?! is having a boy!!

Yes, our resident blogger and her partner will be the proud parents of a baby boy come ... let's see here...October? November? Something like that. And yes, they already have a name picked out.

What's the name? No, it's not Cletus the Fetus or Joe the Embryo. It's William. They can already tell that their child is a boy even though they're not likely to admit that it is a child. How surreal would it be to see the Planned Parenthood staff all surrounding the Now What? blogger, looking at her ultrasounds, and feeling her stomach?

You wonder if someone who over the next months will be seeing ultrasounds and feeling the kicks of her child will be as open to promoting abortion as she usually is.

Here's an old Dawn Eden post that thoroughly fisks the Now What! bloggers take on Focus on the Family helping CPCs get ultrasound machines.

Mind Your Business Prolifers!

I try to spend some time each day debating the abortion issue over the internet with individuals who are pro-choice. Some can argue the issue in a respectable manner. Some aren't nice and prefer to get snippy when their arguments don't work or they're faced with questions that they can't answer. In general, I'm surprised by the lack of factual evidence to back up what they say. When asked for evidence to back up an objective statement pro-choicers will often end the discussion or provide some general web site that doesn't specifically say what they say it says.

A tactic that I also see quite often is the "mind your own business" line which is often used to pro-choicers who are unable to logically argue their position.

Here's an example of what someone wrote to me a couple of days ago:

Your comments tell me that you are just simply obsessed with the unborn thing and being a prolifer, like those extremists that we dread. All you do is simply run around in circles, talking about the unborn and so on. It never ends. It's like an annoying broken record that just never stops, so repetitive, same (expletive), different smell. You go on and on about it, like some obsessed person who cannot let go. Abortion is legal, accept it and deal with it. Babies are being aborted by choice, by the woman who chose to do so for whatever reasons.

Later on she continues:

If a woman wants to have an abortion, let her have one, it's none of your damn business what she does or wants with her body and the "unborn". Why can't prolifers mind their own damn business instead of sticking their noses and beliefs into the lives of just about every person that is prochoice.

It's interesting how some pro-choicers seem to be wholly unable to see the abortion issue from the prolife perspective. They can't fathom why prolifers who believe the unborn are living human beings would want to protect these living human beings.

I asked this commenter to look at her comments if another issue was put in the place of abortion such as slavery or infanticide. Just imagine someone saying this:

Your comments tell me that you are just simply obsessed with the slavery thing and being an abolitionist, like those extremists that we dread. All you do is simply run around in circles, talking about the slaves and so on. It never ends. It's like an annoying broken record that just never stops, so repetitive, same (expletive), different smell. You go on and on about it, like some obsessed person who cannot let go. Slavery is legal, accept it and deal with it. Slaves are being owned by choice, by the slaveowner who chose to do so for whatever reasons.

If a woman wants to own a slave, let her have one, it's none of your damn business what she does or wants with her property and the "black human beings." Why can't abolitionists mind their own damn business instead of sticking their noses and beliefs into the lives of just about every person that is pro-slavery.

or this

Your comments tell me that you are just simply obsessed with the infant thing and being a against infanticide, like those extremists that we dread. All you do is simply run around in circles, talking about infants and so on. It never ends. It's like an annoying broken record that just never stops, so repetitive, same (expletive), different smell. You go on and on about it, like some obsessed person who cannot let go. Infanticide is legal, accept it and deal with it. Babies are being killed by choice, by the woman who chose to do so for whatever reasons.

If a woman wants to kill her infant, let her do it, it's none of your damn business what she does or wants with her body and the "born." Why can't prolifers mind their own damn business instead of sticking their noses and beliefs into the lives of just about every person that is prochoice.

The most interesting thing I think is that she uses the word "babies" to describe the unborn children who are aborted. They aren't clump of cells or bits of protoplasm but "babies." Like many pro-choicers she hasn't completely dehumanized them in her mind. They are still "babies." Yet she still thinks it should be legal to kill these "babies" for "whatever reasons." How scary and sad is that?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Adult Stem Cells and Spinal Cord Injury

The Detroit Free Press continues their series of stories on a young woman from Michigan named Cortney Hoffman who received a transplant of adult stem cells to help with her spinal cord injury.

CBS Evening News is scheduled to do a story on Cortney tonight at 7 p.m.

Some excerpts from the Free Press story:

Cortney has surpassed her first goal -- standing unassisted -- since she went to Portugal in January for adult stem-cell surgery to repair her injured spinal cord.

Dr. Owen Perlman, a Superior Township rehabilitation medicine specialist and Cortney's primary physician, concluded on Cortney's last appointment April 21 that she has made gains he would not have expected if she had not had the surgery. He hadn't seen those gains in the aggressive rehabilitation she underwent for several months before the surgery.

Cortney's new goal is to walk in her braces. She's also learning to drive again, in a car operated by hand controls. Taking just a few steps with help last week thrilled her.

Hopefully CBS won't turn this story of the success of adult stem cells and hard work into a embryonic stem cell research support piece.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Could this lie be anymore obvious?

Joe Carter and Dawn Eden recently blogged about this absurd statement from Planned Parenthood's vice-president, Dr. Vanessa Cullins:

The really hot question is, "When does being a person begin?" Most medical authorities and Planned Parenthood agree that it starts when a baby takes its first breath.

In honor of this amazing absurdity getting some coverage I thought I'd link to this old post of mine which discusses Dr. Cullins' statement.

Stray dog saves abandoned child

Isn't it sad that a stray dog has more respect for human life than many humans do?

Friday, May 06, 2005

Pro-Choice Ads on Nickelodeon

In the culturally-conservative town of Grand Rapids pro-choice groups don't make the largest impression. West Michiganders aren't prone to buy the "no one knows when life begins" line or fall in love with the vague assertion "women have the right to choose." We're more likely to point to the scientific evidence regarding the beginning of human life and ask what exactly do woman have a right to "choose."

Much to my chagrin, I have been informed that Grand Rapids' patchwork pro-choice group has been reaching out to a new group of possible pro-choice advocates. They've been airing ads in the Grand Rapids television market for a couple of years - mostly on pro-choice friendly cable stations like Oxygen, E!, MTV, and VH1 - but now they've moved into marketing their message towards different viewers. Kids!! Friends of mine have seen their ads on Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network. I guess if you can't convince adults, start the mythmaking with the young.

Their ads feature a wall being broken down and a coathanger behind the wall. They also advertise their currently nonfunctioning web site, www.prochoiceadvocates.org.

But thanks to the magic of the Way Back Machine we can view portions of their web site here.

So if you live in Grand Rapids and your 5-year-old wants to know why she is shown a coathanger after watching SpongeBob you'll have some clue what she's referring to. Efforts are currently under way to encourage Comcast to remove the commercials from the networks aimed at children.

This is a local advertisement buy by a local pro-choice organization. If you live outside of the Grand Rapids, Michigan area you won't see these commercials even if you watch Nickelodeon 24/7. Also, since it is a local ad, I sincerely doubt that the higher-ups at Nickelodeon have any idea that there are pro-choice ads on their station.

Genocide in Sudan

How sad is it that this kind of thing is happening and that children witnessed it or were taken to to be wives?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Not so equal branches

Here's a cartoon by Jim Morin which shows the President along with two individuals (who appear to be Bill Frist and Tom Delay) cutting down a tree. Notice the level of the different governmental branches. Instead of the branches being the same height, the judicial branch is much higher. There is almost double the distance between the executive and judicial branches when compared to the distance between the executive and legislative branchs (though this doubling of distance could be for artistic reasons). This cartoon openly shows the bias that many people in our society have for the judicial branch of government. Instead of seeing 3 equal branches, many people think that somehow the judicial branch is deserving of greater respect and power, that somehow judges are endowed with some special knowledge not held by the "lower" branches. Judges are seen as higher in the food chain or higher up on the tree of knowledge or power.

I say cut away George. Bring the judicial branch back to its rightful position on a equal level with the other branches.

How will Kwame dig his way out?

To escape the poor light that he has been shown in, Detroit's mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is now trying to divert that light to Detroit's former mayor Dennis Archer.

After credit cards records showed that Kwame was "living la vida loca" at big city hotspots and drinking alcohol on Detroit taxpayers' tab, Kwame is having Detroit officials look for Archer's credit card records. Kind of the "look he did it too" approach.

I love this.

Kilpatrick has said he may reimburse the city for a bottle of Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial champagne that was purchased at Justin's.

He may? How generous of him to consider repaying the city of Detroit for a bottle of champagne when his actions were a violation of city policy.

This is good too.

He has also said his use of the credit card was proper and helped bring billions of dollars in development and tens of millions in federal dollars to Detroit. Records obtained by the Free Press under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act contain many deletions and few details about what the mayor ate and with whom.

I wonder who Kwame was eating and drinking with at P. Diddy's place to help bring billions of dollars in development to Detroit. Why won't Kwame disclose the business purpose of these "meetings" or who he was chowing down with?

Will they find the father?

Naaman is linking to this story in South Florida Sun-Sentinel about the possibility of polic filing charges against the father of the formerly pregnant 13-year-old girl in Florida who is a ward of the state. L.G. (the initials given to the girl to give her anonymity) testified that she had sex with a "boy" but it now appears she may have not been completely honest.

L.G.'s mother, whose parental rights were terminated for abuse and neglect, said the girl told her she got pregnant by a man who was between 28 and 30 years old.

L.G. appeared to be living with the man in the Clearwater area after she ran away from her group home Jan. 29 for about a month, said her mother, who has a contentious history with the DCF and threatened to blow up their offices, according to a police report.

"I think they should put him in jail," said the mother, whose name is not being used to protect L.G.'s identity. "He's a child molester, simple as that."

I don't know if the mother is the best source for information but if she was living with a male I doubt that he would be considered a "boy."

Naaman points this out, "The cruel irony of this case is that Florida law recognizes that a 13-year-old girl is not sufficiently mature to decide whether or not to have sex. Yet Florida courts have somehow decided that she is sufficiently mature to kill any children that may result from the sex that Florida law says she shouldn't be having."

I'm wondering if the courts had the foresight to save any of the aborted child's remains so that a DNA test could prove who the father was. Probably not. If they were looking out for the best interests of the child wouldn't they want to at least have solid evidence to put the person who's having sex with a runaway 13-year-old girl behind bars?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Third-Trimester Abortions

If a pro-choicer ever asks you to provide an example of an elective third-trimester abortion just remember the name Jose Higuera.

Jose Higuera was a Michigan abortionist who was charged with performing an illegal abortion at 28 weeks of gestation. He performed this abortion in 1994.

Higuera's crime, according to state prosecutor Mark Blumer, is that he did not have a clear medical or health reason to perform the late abortion.

"Had the mother's health been jeopardized by the pregnancy, there would not be a criminal prosecution. There's no doubt about that," Blumer said.

"What we've got is the classic gray area. A woman went in to the doctor's office and wanted an abortion for no good reason. And we have a doctor who was willing to give it. That's why this case is so different."

Higuera eventually avoided a trial by accepting a plea bargain where he would accept the charges of meddling the medical records (which forced him to give up his license even though he retired years earlier) as long as prosecutors didn't charge him with performing an illegal third-trimester abortion.

Higuera's avoidance of being charged also shows how abortionists really can't be punished for performing abortions in the third trimester. Doe v. Bolton's all-encompassing definition of "health" prevents prosecutors from prosecuting abortionists who perform third-trimester abortions.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Democrats for Life's Plan

In late April, Democrats for Life released its plan to reduce abortions by 95% in the next 10 years.

The plan is broken into two parts: Empower Women and Protect Our Children.

Empower Women

* Federal Funding for Toll-Free Number Pregnancy Support/National Public Awareness Program
* Conduct a National Study on Why Women Choose Abortions & Update Abortion Data
* Federal Funding for Pregnancy Prevention Education
* Federal Funding for Abortion Counseling and Daycare on University Campuses
* Provide Accurate Information to Patients Receiving a Positive Result from an Alpha-Fetoprotein Test tests.
* Make Adoption Tax Credits Permanent
* Ban Pregnancy as a "Pre-Existing Condition" in the Health Care Industry
* Require Adoption Referral Information
* Women's Right to Know
* Provide Ultrasound Equipment
* Increase Funding for Domestic Violence Programs
* Contraception Equity

Protect our Children

* Fully Fund Federal WIC Program
* Require Parental Notification for Abortions
* Provide Grants to States to Help in the Promotion and Implementation of Safe Haven Laws
* Require Counseling in Maternity Group Homes
* Require SCHIP to cover pregnant women

No legislation has been introduced as far as I can tell so many of the policy initiatives are a little vague but they should be mostly agreeable to those in the prolife community especially those initiatives that are already on the books in numerous states (parental consent and informed consent) and the initiatives that help crisis pregnancy centers and adoption. Requiring "insurance coverage of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration" would not be a favorite among some and the language of "provide grants to school districts that are in need of funds to administer effective, age-appropriate pregnancy prevention education" could invoke the suspicions of others but for the most part they are good initiatives designed to help women and protect children.

I don't think that if all enacted they would reduce abortion by 95% but they would definitely be helpful in limiting the demand for abortion and helping women who are in an unplanned pregnancy find the resources they need to choose life.

Kwame Kilpatrick's Konundrum

Michelle Malkin is discussing the resigning of big cities mayors including the hopeful, though doubtful resignation of Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick. The Detroit Free Press is reporting this morning that Kilpatrick "charged more that $210,000 to his city-issued credit card in less than three years on the job."

Many of the charges where at fancy eateries like "$319 at Ozio Restaurant & Lounge, a chic Art Deco cigar and martini bar that caters to celebrities" and "$292 at the Capital Grille, a swanky restaurant that boasts that it ‘isn't just the place to be seen, it's the place to be seen having a fabulous time.'"

The article also discusses instances where Kwame boozed it up on the city's dime.

"Two instances in which Kilpatrick provided such receipts for meals showed that alcohol had been charged to the city's credit card in an apparent violation of city policy."

"On March 31, 2002, records show a bottle of Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial champagne, four Malibu Rum drinks and three shots of Chambord liqueur were charged to Kilpatrick's city credit card at Justin's Restaurant & Bar in Atlanta."

You'd think if someone made $176,176 a year, they'd be able to buy their own drinks. We'll see if this latest story along with the $57,000 Lincoln Navigator fiasco and the $230-million shortfall in Detroit's budget will hurt Kilpatrick come election time.

How will Kwame Dig His Way Out
Kwame's Hand Caught in the Cookie Jar

USA Today needs some fact checkers

USA Today has a story on "The Changing Politics of Abortion."

This paragraph struck me:

And both parties are poised to battle over a Supreme Court appointment. The court is split 5-4 in favor of Roe v. Wade. The 1973 decision recognized abortion rights and launched a fierce debate that has threaded through American politics for a generation since then.

5-4? Really. Name the four. Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist and mysterious fourth is who? Anthony Kennedy? Author of the "sweet mystery of life passage" ("At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life") in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey is now against Roe and legal abortion? Since when? Since he dissented in Stenberg vs. Carhart? How does being against overturning Nebraska's law against partial-birth abortion mean that Kennedy is in favor of overturning Roe. I love how pro-choice organizations assert the court is 5-4 in favor of Roe and then journalists follow their lead with absolutely nothing to back them up.

"Recognized" also seems to be an interesting word when describing how the Supreme Court ruled in Roe as if the right to abortion was in the Constitution all along and was just not recognized by other courts. "Created," "imposed," or "magically discovered" might better fit how the court actually came up with it's decision.