Friday, December 29, 2006

Overheard

"I have had many abortions. I have have many close friends who have had many abortions. Working at a clinic we have a lot of women who have had 10+ abortions."
- Commenter at LiveJournal AbortionInfo to a woman concerned about having a third abortion


"He's a serial murderer."
- Cindy Sheehan referring to President Bush


"When you have a 14 or 15-year-old with three little girls... she is doomed to poverty."
- John Edwards at a campaign stop.


"Working together, the teams started devising projects to analyse the genetics of human embryonic stem cells, with Dr Eggan's team generating the cells on one side of the bridge and their DNA being analysed on the other side.

But on August 9 2001 a metaphorical shutter came down that closed the bridge as effectively as if it had been bricked up. George Bush issued a presidential decree banning the use of federal funds for research on new human embryonic stem cell lines."
- Ed Pilkington completely forgetting to note there was no federal funding for any kind of embryonic stem cell research before the August 9 decision.

Life Links 12/29/06

Serge on another study which shows that increased access to Plan B and taking it more often doesn't significantly lower the pregnancy rate of the participants with increased access compared to participants without standard access.


Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood of Connecticut is selling "I heart EC" t-shirts. HT: Dawn Eden


The Associated Press has an article on outgoing pro-choice Republican Congressman Joe Schwarz and his plans after the end of his term. There is a classic quote from Schwarz. Note to Joe: No one's preventing you from promoting embryonic stem cell research. As usual, the article also gets what Michigan law does (it doesn't prevent embryonic stem cell research, it prevents the killing of human embryos for research) wrong. The article also mentions the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures (Schwarz is on their advisory board) and notes the group "aims to persuade residents that the state is losing out on potential cures and economic benefits by restricting the practice."

The organization's web site takes a somewhat different approach, claiming their goal is "educating our state's residents about the stem cell research process and its potential for life-saving cures and treatments."

Friday Cat Blogging

The holidays (or a desire to sleep on top of a blanket) have brought Belushi and Johnny together.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

"The abortion to me was like death"

A young woman has started a blog to apparently talk about her abortion experience in February of 2006. She has two posts so far: I'm to blame and Part 1.
The difference is death you know is a part of life and has to be accepted because everyone dies but ABORTION... that's a different story. That blows up in your face, OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN and you don't just cry hysterically and weep for a little while I went into a zombie depression for 4 months straight. I'm sorry pulling out of it but as soon as I think I'm getting better it comes back. Kinda like now. I don't think I've ever cried so much before. It hurts, it hurts real deep because there's nobody to blame but yourself. And it never stops and I wonder if it will ever stop. I was 6 weeks and 6 days pregnant.

Life Links 12/28/06

A judge has ruled that Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline doesn't have the authority to charge abortionist George Tiller with performing illegal late-term abortions.


He's a story about an evangelical consultant for Democratic candidates named Mara VanderSlice. The story mentions how VanderSlice enlisted nuns to call Catholic and prolife voters and encourage them to vote for Democratic candidates in Michigan and Ohio. Some of the nuns making the case to vote for the Democratic candidate based their reasoning on religious arguments. It doesn't mention if the Democratic candidates were prolife or not.


There's a legal fight in Germany over patenting a method of turning embryonic stem cells into nerve cells.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Links

Criminal charges have been filed against infamous Kansas abortionists George Tiller. What he has been charged with isn't clear.


Ramesh Ponnuru discusses whether prolifers should care more about the sincerity or stability of a candidate's position on life issues. I would think that how sincerely one holds a position would influence the stability of that position.

I wonder if there was this much media noise back when Democrats like Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, Richard Gephardt and Dennis Kuchinich changed their positions on abortion.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Virgin Birth

Komodo style.

Life Links 12/21/06

A woman in Florida is upset that the Catholic school her daughter attends showed the class a video about abortion without her permission. The video, Eclipse of Reason, shows an abortion and the remains of aborted children.

I wonder what pro-choice people would say to this. Do mothers of minors have the right to have a say over whether their children see abortion videos but not the right to have say over whether their minor daughters have abortions?


Disturbing statistics from the UK about teens and repeat abortions. According to mythology, having contraception widely available should dramatically lower abortion rates, right? And certainly prevent young women from having three abortions by the time they're 24, right?


The CDC has released its 2003 abortion statistics.

For unto us a child is born

Isaiah 9:6:

For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

With accompanying YouTube video.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Denying the Holy Spirit for a DVD

The Blasphemy Challenge

And they'll get a DVD which Joe Carter describes as a "slightly amusing work of fantasy."

How sad.

Stem cell news

The FDA has approved a major clinical trial for a medical therapy developed by Australian researchers who use adult stem cells to "create a spinal fusion in 40 patients who suffer severely from degenerative disc disease." The Australian company uses "off the shelf" adult stem cells which don't come from the patients. These cells avoid the immune rejection because they are a rare form of cell that isn't recognized by the patient's immune system.


A girl from India was helped when doctors used stem cells from her father to help her heart ailment.

Rights for R2D2?

An article in the Financial Times discusses a paper which was sponsored by the UK's chief government scientist and written by "Outsights, the management consultancy, and Ipsos Mori, the opinion research organisation" which talks about the possibility of giving right to robots in the future.

According to the article, the paper argues that if humans are able to create conscious robots in the future then there may be push for those robots to receive human rights. I guess they couldn't be accurately called human rights if robots had them, could they?
The Horizon Scan report argues that if ‘correctly managed', this new world of robots' rights could lead to increased labour output and greater prosperity.

"If granted full rights, states will be obligated to provide full social benefits to them including income support, housing and possibly robo-healthcare to fix the machines over time," it says.
Welfare for robots?

The argument makes sense if you think that consciousness and/or other instrumental properties are what should gives us our rights. If those instrumental properties are what make humans valuable and worthy of rights then it seems to follow that other entities (animals, robots, etc.) which also have the same level of those instrumental properties should be just as valuable and just as worthy of receiving the rights humans have.

I wonder what Peter Singer (he calls people who think humans are special "speciesists") would call someone who doesn't think conscious robots should have rights? An organismist, maybe?

HT: World

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Life Links 12/19/06

The Detroit News has a story on the biological mothers of adopted children who gave birth during the 1960's. Many of them were sent away during their pregnancies and pressured or coerced into adoption since it wasn't the norm at the time for unwed middle-class mothers to keep their children.

In a lot of ways their stories remind me of the stories of women who had abortions and now regret them.


The body of a 14-week unborn child was found at sewage treatment facility in New York state.


The battle over human cloning in Missouri doesn't seem to over just yet. And don't miss the obvious bias of Kit Wagar in this story in the Kansas City Star.
The ball of cells becomes an embryo if it attaches to the wall of the uterus.
Unbelievable. Then why are they called "embryonic" stem cells if they didn't come from an embryo.


Researchers have used the stem cells in the brains of rats to try to study why the human brain ages.

We're still nowhere near a plethora of cures

Maureen Condic has a long and worthwhile article in First Things discussing where embryonic stem cell research is in solving the scientific problems (immune rejection, tumor formation and making the embryonic cells capable of repairing adult tissue) which have prevented these cells from coming anywhere close to being used in humans.
The mysteries of embryonic development have been plumbed for more than a hundred years by some of the most brilliant biologists of history, and yet, despite the clear progress we have made, we are nowhere near the point of having a "recipe book" for cooking up cellular repair kits to treat human disease and injury. Immune rejection, tumor formation, and embryonic development have proved themselves to be profoundly serious scientific challenges, and they are likely to remain so for decades into the future.....

Millions of dollars have been consumed, and hundreds of scientific papers published, and yet the problems still remain. The promised miraculous cures have not materialized even for mice, much less for men.
HT: Wesley Smith

Monday, December 18, 2006

Butchering babies for stem cells?

The UK's Daily Mail has a follow-up report on the BBC story about the harvesting of stem cells from children in the Ukraine.
Officially, the cells are taken from aborted foetuses with the mothers' consent, but according to Tatyana, there could also be hundreds of babies stolen to order, to feed demand for stem cells from around the world.

Can she be right? Alarmed by her claims, I decided to launch my own investigations for a special BBC report, to be broadcast tomorrow.

My inquiries took me around the world, from a private clinic in the Caribbean to the desolate back streets of the Ukraine. What I uncovered is a disturbing tale involving claims of murder, conspiracy . . . and a sickening new beauty treatment.

Scary stuff.

Let the medical research go forward.....

Unless it doesn't require the killing of human embryos, that is. Governor Jennifer Granholm is opposed to a bill which would provide tax incentives to individuals who donate to an umbilical cord blood bank. The bill mentioned is one of 4 bills (H.B. 6291-6294) which would create a statewide network of cord blood stem cell banks. H.B. 6294, the bill which would have provided $5 million in funding, wasn't taken up by the Senate because of the state's budget problems.

The comments by Granholm's spokesperson Liz Boyd seem to indicate Governor Granholm's office doesn't have the slightest clue what they're talking about when it comes to stem cell research.
"Cord blood cells are helpful, but nowhere to the extent of stem cell research. In these tough budget times, we have to get the most bang for our buck, and this doesn't meet that test"

Guess what Liz? There are stem cells in umbilical cord blood and those stem cells have done much more for human beings than stem cells from embryos.

Life Links 12/18/06

A stem cell quiz - it'd be nice if we could have some reporters take this quiz. Maybe we need a Michigan-specific quiz for the editorial board at the Detroit News which still claims Michigan has a ban on stem cell research even though they ran a story in November discussing how embryonic stem cell research was occurring at the University of Michigan.


Here's probably one of the saddest editorials I've seen all year. Here's a hint for Elisa Gonzales Clark: Your friends don't think you're immature because you don't have kids. Your friends probably think you're immature because you still put flirting with Johnny Depp and getting Kiefer Sutherland to ask for your friend's digits on some kind of best-experience-of-my-life-pedestal.


South Koreans researchers are still cloning dogs and it appears they're getting more efficient.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Life Links 12/15/06

Someone should mail or e-mail the students on the board of the Carleton University Students' Association the following editorial by Greg Koukl: The Intolerance of Tolerance.


Wesley Smith shares how one individual helped to change some misleading language in reports about Jack Kevorkian. The question remains: why did the national AP office insert the language of "terminally ill" into the story about Jack Kevorkian?


Malachy DeHenre, an abortionist who formerly worked in Alabama, (before his license was suspended) has again been arrested for the murder of his wife. He was previously tried for the same crime but the last trial ended with a hung jury. He's also been indicted for the rape of one of his patients.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"I have to get rid of the blood inside me...."

A woman named Angela has decided to have an abortion.

"Yes I do feel a little guilt but I won't be changing my mind. I have to get rid of the blood inside me now and live with this guilt."

If you choose to leave a comment at Angela's blog please be caring and respectful.

Life Links 12/14/06

The Center for Bioethical and Culture has YouTube videos of Peter Singer on the Colbert Report. You have to wonder about a man who thinks it's immoral to kill a shrimp but not immoral to kill an infant with a disability.


Kevorkian's lawyer is hoping Governor Granholm will grant Kevorkian early release before his scheduled release in June. Kevorkian says he's looking forward to doing some writing and possibly speeches when he's released. The Detroit Free Press has a timeline of events surrounding Kevorkian which chronicles how the majority of the individuals he assisted in killing weren't terminally ill and how some didn't even have diagnosed health issues.


The National Review has an interview up with Governor Mitt Romney where he discusses among other things his change of heart/mind on the abortion issue.


Here's the story of a brave Vietnamese woman who left here abusive Taiwanese husband after her husband and mother-in-law tried to get her to have an abortion.


Support for embryonic stem cell research has declined according to a survey from Virginia Commonwealth University.


In completely unrelated news, Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joel Zumaya's injury during the baseball playoffs this year was reportedly caused by him playing a guitar video game.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian to be paroled in June

He's promised he won't assist in any suicides if released.

Life Links 12/13/06

A way to stop brain cancer in mice - force certain stem cells to lose their stemcelliness.


Bill O'Reilly interviewed a young woman who discusses her late-term abortion at George Tiller's abortion clinic. She claims she was told to push her baby out into a toilet after Tiller injected her with a saline solution. It's under "other features."


A researcher at Indiana University has been treating peripheral artery disease ("a painful circulatory problem in the legs") with adult stem cells.


An abortion clinic is Seattle will close down next month.


An article about how adult stem cells have successfully treated patients with the "bubble-boy" disease.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Harvesting stem cells from newborns?

The BBC claims to have video evidence which suggests that killing infants for their organs and stem cells may be occurring in the Ukraine.

Links

Eric Cohen: The Human Difference


A boy with Batten's disease has received a transplant of stem cells from aborted children. This story appears to be getting a large amount of news coverage for a treatment which hasn't proven effective.


The Charlatan has a lot of coverage (including student response) of Carleton University Students' Association (CUSA) vote to prevent prolife groups from receiving funding.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Life Links 12/7/06

Human cloning for research will now be legal is Australia, not to mention using eggs extracted from aborted female fetuses in the cloning experiments. Can't find enough eggs? "No problem. We'll just get some the remains of aborted children." Ughh.....


Looks like New Jersey is about to go the way of using $500 million in state tax dollars on embryonic stem cell research and probably human cloning for research.


The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act didn't get the 2/3 required votes to pass in the House . Is anyone else wondering why the Republicans didn't bring this issue up for a vote before the elections when a mere majority of votes (instead of 2/3) would have worked?


It looks like some pro-choicers aren't too happy with NARAL's decision not to oppose the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act. Some prolifers are calling this legislation "inherently evil," while some pro-choicers are disappointed with NARAL for not condemning and lobbying against it. It's a crazy world we're living in.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Life Links 12/6/06

Fool's gold rush in California HT: Wesley Smith


Here's a debate between Colorado Right to Life's Brian Rohrbough and Wyoming Right to Life's Steve Ertelt on the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2006. During the interview, the radio host and Rohrbough interrupt the debate to say Ertelt was wrong to say that Planned Parenthood is opposing legislation and use a story on Ertelt's web site against him. It appears that Steve's story is wrong and what he says on the radio interview is correct. Planned Parenthood's web site SaveRoe.com has a take action update which encourages individuals to oppose this legislation. Planned Parenthood is opposed to the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2006.

The radio host, Bob Enyart, is also quite ignorant about how abortion laws work and what would happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned. He thinks this law would legitimize and authorize abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

Goodness. Not only do prolifers have to deal with pro-choice arguments. We have to deal with prolifers who think laws which restrict abortion are bad.

A sad day for intellectual honesty at one Canadian university

The Carleton University Student's Association has voted overwhelmingly to not fund groups who think that abortion shouldn't be legal and advocate making abortion illegal. It seems that Canadian students now have the right not to be offended. There's also this article from the CBC. Note the utterly ridiculous quote from graduate student John Baglow. So is there "mutual respect" when the prolife views of Carleton students are compared to the views of the KKK and the student's association bars them from receiving funding? Sounds like complete disrespect to me.

Mr. Baglow doesn't seem to understand that "mutual respect" doesn't mean prolifers have to agree with his view. It means prolifers and pro-choicers must both treat each other's views with respect and treat the individuals expousing those differing views as you would like to be treated.

Both Suzanne and Deborah Gyapong attended the meeting.

Isn't it great to know that some pro-choicers are so tolerant that they'll let prolifers receive funding for a prolife group as long as the prolife group is pro-choice? Gee, thanks.

Remember this whole motion seems to have been started after some pro-choicers got creamed in a debate.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pregnancy as a punishment for sex?

One argument against prolifers which always seems to mystify me is the assertion that prolifers think women should be punished for having out-of-wedlock sex and that this punishment is staying pregnant and/or rearing children. Examples here, here, here and here.

While I'm guessing there are some individuals who think women should be punished for having out-of-wedlock intercourse and that pregnancy and childrearing should be the "punishment" for this action, I can't imagine a sizeable percentage of prolife people feel this way. Yet I see this charge leveled time and again, usually by pro-choicers who are very adamant about their position and who like to take digs at prolifers.

But I think this assertion shows how badly informed some pro-choicers are about prolifers and their motives. Here's why:

Prolife people, at least for the most part, don't view pregnancy/childrearing as a punishment. Quite the contrary, they often view pregnancy/childrearing as a blessing. While prolifers understand that experiencing an unplanned pregnancy isn't a walk in the park, they'd probably point to the joys of raising children before telling a woman "this is what she deserves" as if bearing children was God's judgement upon here.

So why does it seem like I hear this argument over and over again? Do some pro-choicers really see all or at least the majority or a high percentage of prolifers as people who want to punish women for having sex?

Is it easier to see prolifers as evil sadists who want to punish sexually active women as opposed to seeing prolifers as people who are truly concerned about both the woman and the child?

If we want to punish women for having sex then why is it that prolifers are the ones who work to provide free services and assistance to women in unplanned pregnancies who don't have abortions? Is giving women baby clothes, car seats, strollers, etc., etc., and helping them find medical care another way to punish them?

Life Links 12/5/06

An article on stem cell research in National Geographic.


Life Ethics compares coverage of two recent studies using stem cells to treat Parkinson's-like symptoms in rodents. One used embryonic stem cells, the other adult neural stem cells. The study using embryonic stem cells also caused tumors. Surprise, surprise. When I checked the stories had evened out to 10 and 10.


Tim Carney: Election Aborted Careers of Many Pro-Choice Republicans

I wonder though if this has more to do with what kind of congressional districts those Republicans were in. Were they purple districts where a pro-choice Republican could win in years where the GOP didn't perform so badly in general?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Quote of the week

Father Tad Pacholczyk:
"What is so special about that bald eagle’s egg? What is inside that egg? The answer is very simple. It is an embryonic eagle. It is the very same creature that flies gloriously in the sky. Even an atheist can appreciate the cogency of such a law. We are eager to protect all sorts of animal life.

Yet when it comes to our own humble embryonic origins as humans, we go through sophisticated mental gymnastics to tell ourselves that we were never embryos. We are all too willing to sacrifice young humans on the altar of stem-cell research. There is a profound double standard here that people really need to assess and confront."

Florida? Are you kidding me?

How can a team that beat South Carolina by one point at home, beat Vanderbilt by only 6 points, squeeked out game after game and lost to Auburn by 10 (the same Auburn team that lost to Georgia by 22 points and lost to Arkansas by 17) be considered better than a team who dominated every team they played with the exception of the #1 ranked team in country whom they lost to on the road by 3 points?

Shame on every single voter (coach or sportswriter) who voted to leapfrog Florida above Michigan because they "didn't want to see a re-match" or thought "Michigan already had their shot." You've used a broken system to engineer a national championship game you personally prefer instead of doing your job. You've embarrassed yourselves and your votes should be taken away.

The two best college football teams in the country are Ohio State and Michigan. Every person with an IQ that isn't more than two standard deviations below the norm and a decent knowledge of college football knows this.

The two best teams in college football should play for the national championship. That's who should be playing in the national championship game regardless of whether they've played before. The real national championship game was played on November 18 in Columbus, Ohio. This event on January 8th is a farce.

For more commentary on how you can read Pat Forde's take or the opinion of Gene Wojciechowski.

The call for a playoff will only get louder and louder.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Life Links 12/1/06

Adult stem cells are treating type 2 diabetes but I doubt you'll read that in your local paper. HT:Mary Meets Dolly


You might also miss that British researchers are hoping adult stem cells will be used to treat chronic back pain in 3 years.


The Michigan State Senate unanimously passed a bill to encourage the creation of umbilical cord blood banks in Michigan.


The new issue of the New Atlantis is out including this review of Ian Wilmut's new book by Caitrin Nicol.


Kathleen Parker: "The Elephant and the Embryo."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another Alabama abortion clinic cited for violations

An abortion clinic in Huntsville was "cited by state inspectors last month for violating 10 state laws governing abortion providers."

Violations included not documenting the age of the aborted children, sending women home before a 20 minute recovery period and connecting women who had complications to an administrator instead of a physician.

Does a bill to prevent women from being coerced into abortion trample rights?

Dueling editorials are in the Detroit News, one answering yes, another answering no.

I wonder if it's uncomfortable for Michigan Planned Parenthood and Michigan NOW to be on the same side of this debate as Glenn Sacks. It's tough to stand next to someone who thinks men have a constitutional right to threaten and coerce women into having abortions. I don't know what Constitution Mr. Sacks is reading but I can't find the right to coerce women into abortion in this one. What other types of things do men have the constitutional right to coerce women into?

Links to the text of the package of bills can be found here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Life Links 11/29/06

Britain's biggest abortion provider: Abortion should be a decision between a woman and
her doctor
someone she's never met before but has a license to practice medicine
a nurse she's never met before.


Nat Hentoff: When do we become human beings?


Was Carmen Climaco sentenced to 30 years for an illegal abortion in El Salvador or was she sentenced to 30 years for strangling her newborn child? Here's the editorial in Spanish by Julia Regina de Cardenal. Babelfish is a web page that translates various languages in case you (like me) can't translate Spanish.

Do women make children? Or do unborn human beings develop inside of women?

About a month ago, Richard Stith had an interesting post in First Things where he discussed why many pro-choicers find prolife arguments absurd. He noted:
I submit that pro-life arguments seem absurd to any listener who has in the back of the mind a sense that the embryo or fetus is being constructed in the womb.....To someone who conceives of gestation as intrauterine construction, pro-life people sound just this ridiculous. For a thing being constructed is truly not there until it is nearly complete.....

I conclude that pro-choice folks think pro-life claims regarding embryos to be not only wrong but also absurd whenever they think (even unconsciously) that embryos are under construction in the womb. And pro-life folks find pro-choice denials of prized human dignity in embryos to be equally absurd whenever they think that the unborn child develops (indeed, develops itself, unlike the Polaroid photo) from the moment of fertilization.

The two sides are not quite parallel in this, however: Human beings do develop. To think they are constructed is flatly erroneous. This error remains intuitively plausible and has a decent cultural pedigree, so therefore those who make it should not be dismissed as utterly irrational or evil, even though they may seem so from the viewpoint of one who bears in mind the facts of human development. But they are absolutely wrong.

I remembered this post by Stith after reading this comment by Amanda from Pandagon on this post by a blogger named Sharon.

Amanda writes (among other things), "There's a nearly 10 month period between the sexual intercourse and the baby, which is a not-inconsiderable amount of time. Men don't make babies. Women do."

Do women make babies? Or do unborn human beings develop inside the wombs of women? Women certainly play a pivotal and important role in helping unborn human beings develop in-utero (and ex-utero for that matter) but ninth months of gestation doesn't "make" a baby. Providing nutrients and a safe environment for a developing fetus doesn't "make" a newborn anymore than providing nutrients and a safe environment for a newborn "makes" a toddler. The child (and adults for that matter) needs certain things to continue developing but these needs don't mean the child is being made. Nor does it mean that the individual who provides those needs is making the individual who receives those needs.

Now I must assume Amanda has some knowledge of fetal development and that she must understand that over time the unborn child becomes larger and more developed. Yet she still is claiming that women "make babies." Is it because this idea is "intuitively plausible and has a decent cultural pedigree" or could there be other reasons?

Jesurgislac, a blogger who comments on Amanda's blog, leaves me further scratching my head when she writes, "Once a child actually exists - after the baby is born - it is of course illegal to kill it, and your suggestion that anyone wants this to be legal is false."

So the child doesn't "actually exist" until he or she is born? Is the womb some form of alternative reality where things exist but don't "actually exist?" Why would anyone write that the child doesn't "actually exist" (which is more than saying the unborn are "not alive" or "not a person") until birth? If the unborn didn't "actually exist" then why do women have abortions to get rid of something which doesn't "actually exist?" Someone can't actually believe that, can they?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Can't beat golden retriever choreography


Can you imagine how much time this would have taken?

Robert Lanza still can't be honest about ACT's experiments

Even though his paper to Nature had to be changed, Robert Lanza is still being dishonest about the controversy surrounding ACT's experiment. He sits in "disbelief" that a controversy arose over him and his company claiming they'd created embryonic stem cell lines without killing human embryos when they killed every one of the embryos they used. Of course, those aren't the words he'd use to describe what happened.

The article gets the whole controversy wrong and the reasons behind it wrong, most likely because Lanza misled the reporter.

Life Links 11/28/06

Alabama is discussing new regulations for its abortion providers.


A priest from Miami may tried to convince a woman to abort his child. The woman refused to have an abortion and has a child whose DNA could certainly prove if a certain priest is the father.


In another chapter of the intolerant pro-choicer theater, the CBC has picked up on a motion by the vice-president of services for the Carleton University Students' Association (CUSA) to basically not allow any prolife college groups on Carleton's campus. As Serge documented, this motion seems to be have set forth after and because of an abortion debate in which the advocates of legal abortion faired poorly.

There has also been some discussion on a blog run by students at Carelton regarding this issue. What I find funny is that the text of the motion doesn't include the word "abortion."

CUSA "respect(s) and affirm(s) a woman's right to choose" what?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Life Links 11/27/06

James Kelly on why opposition to embryo-killing research shouldn't be a losing issue
When ESCs and human cloning are hyped with lies and frauds, call the lies and frauds by their name. When the motive for the deceptions is money, expose it. The public might be confused by scientific double talk, but it understands lies, frauds, and self-serving financial interests.....

If Americans can be shown that their health is being sacrificed, that their hopes are being exploited, and their trust has been betrayed to promote biotech financial goals, stem cell issues will become conservative and pro-life political strengths, rather than weaknesses.

The UK's Lord Winston explains why he thinks every parents should be able to choose the sex of their child. He doesn't see how this treats children as commodities and never really talks about the embryos who don't have the right combination of chromosomes which determine someone's sex.


Here's a pro-choice student at the University of Maryland's take on displays using pictures of aborted children. The student believes the pictures are most likely real yet opposes such displays because they can evoke feelings of shame. But if the unborn aren't valuable human beings worthy of protection then why should anyone be ashamed for killing them or playing a role in killing them?

Quote of the week

Frederick Buechner: "Vocation is where the world's greatest need and a person's greatest joy meet."

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Alliance for Medical Research - another pro-ESCR group, the same basic story

Wesley Smith has a new article in the Weekly Standard discussing the deceptive video (mentioned earlier) from the Alliance for Medical Research. I wonder if the bioethicists at the American Journal of Bioethics will protest this complete fabrication of research by the Alliance for Medical Research?

Probably not seeing as they believe, "the abuses of science by proponents of stem cell research pale by comparison to the abuses of the right wing..."

But back to the Alliance for Medical Research. Here's their web site. You might find some interesting things if you take a look. For example, their FAQ section was copied and pasted from the International Society for Stem Cell Research's FAQ web site without citation. AMR's Fact vs. Myths is copied and pasted with citation from the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research. You'd also find a "stem cell primer" by Scott Gilbert, an embryologist who has let his "scientific" views become so politicized that he actually writes that the view that the life of a human being begins "when it can be metabolically independent from the mother" is "scientifically defensible." One new thing I also learned was that according to AMR's ethics section "After the male sperm has penetrated the membrane of the female ovum, the process called 'fertilization' is then begun. Fertilization normally occurs in the uterus." Hmmm... Odd, I always thought fertilization typically took place in one of the fallopian tubes. The ethics section also contains some really horrendous attempts at logic regarding whether cloned human embryos are human beings or not. Really, really horrendous.

Also of note, the Ethics Advisory Board for the Alliance for Medical Research has one member - Louis Guenin - whom I heard speak not too long ago and whom I'm guessing is the author of the ethics section of the AMR's web site.

I wonder if Mr. Guenin gets paid to look the other way as this organization creates a video filled with lies and distortions? Or maybe the question isn't if but how much?

I'm starting to realize it's fairly easy to start a pro-embryonic stem cell research/human cloning for research group. Have a press conference bashing those anti-science luddites who want Michael J. Fox to suffer, create a web site with information taken from other pro-embryonic stem cell research web sites, pay some pro-ESCR bioethicist to be on your ethics board, distort what somatic cell nuclear transfer is, etc., etc.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Repeat abortion study

The Alan Guttmacher Institute has released a new study regarding repeat abortions in the United States. They also have a press release about the report.

They conclude "the reproductive health care system in general is failing to provide women with the services and counseling they need" even though they later say "the majority of women having abortions were using contraceptives when they became pregnant" and "women obtaining second and higher-order abortions were slightly more likely to have been using a highly effective hormonal method (such as the pill, the patch or the ring) when they became pregnant."

What they don't mention in the press release is that even though around 54% of women having abortions are using some form of contraceptive, a large percentage of them are using them irregularly or inconsistently. For example, on page 30, the study finds that the major reason (around 75%) for failure among pill users was "irregular use." Individuals who used barrier methods cited "used method inconsistently" as the reason for failure about 50% of the time. It should also be noted that more than 45% of the women having abortions used no form of contraception.

AGI also thinks there shouldn't be any barriers which impede abortion providers from getting Title X family planning money and that keeping family planning services "separate and distinguishable" from abortion services has led to more abortions. According to the web page of Planned Parenthood of California, Planned Parenthood gets 14% of Title X money.

Isn't it amazing how every AGI study always concludes that Planned Parenthood needs more money or some commonsense obstacle needs to be removed? It's almost as if the conclusion was foregone regardless of what the study finds.

Serge also has some thoughts

"My child....I tried every way possible not to think of it that way."

A blogger from the United Kingdom discusses her experience with abortion.
My whole world fell in around me as I tried to make the hardest decision I have ever faced. I had always said I didn't want children. But there was a child growing inside me. My child....I tried every way possible not to think of it that way. I told myself it was nothing but a bunch of cells. It was just an accident I had to deal with.

If you choose to post a comment, please show love and respect to this individual.

Life Links 11/21/06

A long trailer and a film clip from the video A Distant Thunder are available on YouTube. I reviewed the video about a year ago.


More embryonic stem cell misinformation, this time from the Alliance for Medical Cures, according to Wesley Smith. From my research it appears as though the Alliance for Medical Cures is trying to equate the relieving of some Parkinson's-like symptoms in macaques (a type of monkey) by using cells from monkey embryos with curing Parkinson's Disease in chimpanzee with human embryonic stem cells.


Not to mention how Governor Granholm is peddling pure grade A cow manure regarding how many jobs would be created in Michigan if killing human embryos for research became legal.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Life Links 11/20/06

Patrick McIlheran: The hot button's hot since it's about who's human
We face the same questions as Aristotle, says Furton: "There's still good and evil, right and wrong conduct." You tell them apart, out on the edge of science, by sticking with what's worked. Don't kill humans. Don't maim them. Don't treat them as materials.
HT: Rebecca


Abortion clinics in Alabama will now be inspected at least once a year. This is after a woman who was full-term was given RU-486 after being told she was six weeks pregnant at an abortion clinic which is now shut down and more recently an abortion clinic administrator at a different abortion clinic was caught ordering drugs and then taking them for her own use.


Women who illegally import RU-486 in Australia could face time in jail or a large fine if caught.


Julian Sanchez (a pro-choicer) argues it is against the interests of those in favor of legal abortion to take a more "moderate" stand (the "abortion is bad but should be legal" position) on abortion. Also, notice how Julian defines the differences "between humans and other animals." I wonder if he thinks infanticide is no "more regrettable than a root canal."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Life Links 11/17/06

An Arkansas man reportedly raped a 15-year-old girl and then when she became pregnant he took her to the Hope Clinic in Granite City, Illinois and forced her to have an abortion.


A professor at the University of Pennsylvania has discovered a stem cell in the follicle of human hair which has "so far differentiated into six different cells, including neurons, adipose, and muscle tissue, among others."


I think we're going to being hearing about this appointment for a while. I can almost guarantee the phrase "Bush's war on women" will be mentioned by some group if it hasn't already.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More stem cell breakthroughs without killing embryos

Scientists from Switzerland have grown heart valves from stem cells found in amniotic fluid.
The goal is to grow the valves in the lab during a pregnancy and then implant them into a baby with heart defects after it is born.

Italian researchers found that injections of stem cells into golden retrievers suffering from muscular dystrophy helped with their symptoms.
"Even though by itself it may not lead to a complete cure, it would ameliorate the condition and then step by step we could work on this to the point of getting a real cure," he told Reuters.

After more tests on dogs, Cossu and his team hope to begin trials of the stem cell treatment in humans in a few years' time.

A biotechnology company is expanding its clinical trials using adult stem cells to treat heart attack patients and patients with heart failure.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An Irish judge has ruled that frozen embryos aren't "unborn"

This is an interesting story and ruling. Ireland's Constitution has an amendment which says,
"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

Yet Justice Brian McGovern ruled that the law didn't include frozen embryos because the individuals who wrote and voted for the amendment would have only meant children in the womb when thinking about the term "unborn." The term "unborn" is not defined by Ireland's Constitution according to the article.

This ruling will keep a mother from implanting embryos which were leftover from her and her now separated husband's attempt at IVF.

While it is probable the individuals who passed the prolife amendment to Ireland's Constitution weren't thinking of frozen embryos, the language doesn't seem to exclude them either and it is quite clear that frozen embryos are in reality "unborn" since they haven't been born.

The judge also seems to have some trouble distinguishing between scientific reality and moral beliefs. According to the article he said, "Even within different religions, there can be disagreements as to when genetic material becomes a `human being'. But it is not the function of the courts to choose between competing religious and moral beliefs."

So then I guess if one religion says "genetic material" doesn't become a human being until 60 days after birth then the courts would be unable to choose between "competing religious and moral beliefs."

Why will we keep hearing about embryonic stem cell research?

Here's a good article by Yuval Levin on stem cell research focusing on how embryonic stem cell research hasn't become the wedge issue many Democrats hoped it would and why some Democrats will continue to use this issue.
But if most voters seem relatively indifferent to the issue, why have stem cells taken such a prominent place in the liberal political imagination? Some on the Left have surely bought the hype and think the future of medicine is on the line — and that, as Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado preposterously claims at every opportunity, embryonic stem cells will "cure diseases that affect 110 million Americans and their families." But for many on the Left who realize that not every third American is dying of a degenerative illness and that the therapeutic potential of embryonic stem cells remains for now thoroughly speculative, the issue nonetheless resonates, and for reasons that run deep.

The issue offers, for one thing, a foil for the abortion debate. On abortion, the Left finds itself defending an increasingly abstract notion of freedom against (thanks to improving imaging technology) an increasingly concrete case that a human life is at stake. When it comes to stem-cell research, it is pro-lifers who find themselves making an abstract case for the humanity of a ball of cells, while their opponents can point to very concrete sick children and adults whom they claim could be helped by the destruction of embryos. It offers the Left a compassionate "health care" dimension to the case against the humanity of the unborn.

What is more, it allows the Left to claim the authority of science in its fight against conservatives. By depicting opposition to the destruction of nascent life for the sake of medical research as opposition to the progress of science, liberal embryonic-stem-cell advocates can position themselves where they most like to imagine themselves: as partisans of progress, struggling against reactionary and religious zealots who champion only ignorance and pain. Never mind that pro-lifers are defending the liberal ideal of equality by making a case grounded thoroughly in embryology, and never mind that the supposedly scientific case to the contrary amounts to "embryos are awfully small and don't look like anyone I know." For many on the Left, this is a fight between science and religion, and therefore the epitome of a progressive struggle.

Let them play twice

Mitch Albom makes the case for why Michigan and Ohio State should play twice.

If the Michigan-Ohio State football game this Saturday is a close contest then every unbiased college football fan knows these teams should play again in the national championship game. These two teams are the two best teams in college football and if they aren't allowed to play again then November 18 (not January 8th) is when the real national championship game will be played.

Florida might be able to make an interesting game with either of these teams but they lost to Auburn (who got whipped by Georgia) and barely beat Vanderbilt and South Carolina. USC doesn't deserve to be ranked in the top 10. Notre Dame seems only not to struggle when they're planning the armed forces schools. Rutgers? Yeah, right. I'm sorry but anyone who takes a team that beat a 1-9 North Carolina by 5 points and South Florida by 2 points as a serious national championship contender doesn't deserve to have a vote.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The tale of two Andys

Good news is in for Michigan prolifers. Andy Dillon, a prolife Democrat, has been chosen by his fellow Democrats to be the next Michigan House Speaker. The candidate who thankfully didn't get the position, Andy Meisner, is pro-choice and a leading proponents of killing human embryos for research and human cloning for research.

This should also be a wake-up call to prolifers who think prolife organizations should only support prolife Republicans.

Life Links 11/14/06

Lauren discusses the bodily integrity argument for legal abortion .


Is abortion one of the causes of illegal immigration? That's what a panel of Missouri legislators is attempting to argue.


A woman chronicles her abortion experience (among other things) on her blog during the month of October (starting October 13).

Monday, November 13, 2006

Life Links 11/13/06

Stem cells from human bone marrow have been used by researchers from Tulane University to fix cells which are responsible for diabetes in mice. The researchers are planning on having trials with human patients in the future.


Cassing Hammond has an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times on his opposition to the partial-birth abortion ban case. Notice that the procedure in question is never once described or identified. I wonder why? This is the same Dr. Hammond who testified that he sometimes uses his finger to puncture the head of a partially-born child. (Page 6)


Steve Wagner at the Stand to Reason Blog is providing the results to various questions asked to college students at California State University - Northridge. Questions include: how many abortions take place in California every day, up until what point can a woman obtain a legal abortion in the U.S. and up until what point do you think abortions should be legal. You might find the answers surprising.


Jordan Lorence on the prolife protestor who shouted during the oral arguments in Gonzales v. Carhart.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Life Links 11/10/06

"Happy Birthday" video by the hip-hop group Flipsyde. The lyrics include:
Please accept my apologies, wonder what would have been
Would you've been a little angel or an angel of sin?
Tom-boy running around, hanging with all the guys.
Or a little tough boy with beautiful brown eyes?
I payed for the murder before they determined the sex
Choosing our life over your life meant your death
And you never got a chance to even open your eyes
Sometimes I wonder as a fetus if you fought for your life?
More and more it seems like the most powerful testimonies against abortion come from individuals whom you might not expect.

HT:After Abortion


Rebecca has a challenge for those in favor of embryo destructive research.


"We do not want embryonic stem cells because they are too undifferentiated." So says a researcher that restored vision in mice.

Friday Cat Blogging

Busted!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Life Links 11/9/06

Greg Koukl on partial-birth abortion and moral velocity


After the election, American Life League's Judie Brown spends time self-righteously attacking other prolifers (including Rick Santorum) and other prolife organizations because they pay attention to politics where Judie "only pay(s) attention to the babies." Gee, thanks. She also seems unable to comprehend that the citizens of South Dakota don't necessarily want "abortion on demand" when they voted down a ban on abortion. What I read about South Dakota's ban, it seems likely that the law would have passed by a large margin if it had exceptions for rape and incest. Judy's problem is her complete inability to understand that if you have a complete all-or-nothing-this-exact-instant approach to abortion then almost all of the time you're going to end up with absolutely nothing. If it's all about the babies (as Judie says), then shouldn't we work on things that actually get us closer to our goal of protecting unborn children as opposed to measures which consistently fail and don't save any babies?


Wesley Smith on the continued hype of the Missouri cloning initiative.


Ed Whelan thinks there is still room for strong judicial nominees.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Some more adult stem cell news

British researchers plan on using adult stem cell from bone marrow to treat patients after they have heart attacks. They hope these injections will help repair damage done by the heart attack and "delay or prevent the onset of heart failure.


According to this press release, scientists at Theravitae have found stem cells in blood have "the capacity to assist in the regeneration and repair of a multitude of damaged tissues." Their research has been published in the British Journal of Haematology.
A novel stem cell population, called Synergetic Cell Population has been discovered and cultured under conditions that mimic the natural body environment where they develop into different cell types, such as blood vessel cells, heart muscle cells and even nerves.

Oral Arguments in Gonzales v. Carhart (the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Case)

The AP story about the arguments and the actual arguments if you want to read them.

Life Links 11/8/06

National Right to Life's Douglas Johnson echoes some of my thoughts and adds some more regarding Linda Greenhouse's latest attempt to make sure no one confuses her with an actual journalist.


Oral arguments on the federal ban on partial-birth abortions are today.


It appears the Missouri cloning amendment has barely passed.


California voters have again turned down a parental notification proposal and voters in Oregon also voted against a similar measure.

Not a good night for Michigan prolifers

Four more years of governor who "personally opposes abortion" yet vetoes a ban on partial-birth abortion. Not to mention the scary possibility of Carl Levin retiring at the end of his term and Granholm running for his seat in 2008.

At least six more years (and probably more) of radical pro-abortion U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The Michigan House is now in the hands of Democrats while the Michigan Senate looks to stay in Republican hands. Both houses will have fairly strong prolife majorities because of a good number of prolife Democrats but the questions of will these prolife Democrats get positions on committees which vote on prolife bills and if any prolife Democrats will have leadership roles is up in the air. I've also heard that there might be a possibility that Andy Meisner, a big advocate of human cloning for research, could attempt to take on a leadership role in the house. Ughh....

If the Democrats end up having a majority in the U.S. Senate, the prospects of a Supreme Court judicial nominee like Alito or even Roberts passing through committee becomes more difficult. I would really not be comfortable with another "stealth" candidate like Souter.

I feel like independent voters of this election had a throw-the-bums out mentality for legislative offices except for when it came to Democrats holding statewide offices. Despite outspending Granholm, DeVos received a smaller percentage of votes than Dick Posthumus did in 2002 and seems like Granholm got the vast majority of people who were undecided heading into election day and didn't get a ton more votes than Republican senatorial candidate Michael Bouchard.

The Democrats will have a chance to put forth and get votes on their legislative agenda. We'll have to see how the American people respond to it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Human Cloning for Research Passes Senate in Australia

It appears as if human cloning for research could soon become legal is Australia. Another article includes some usual anti-science accusations from Senator Kay Patterson. At least they passed an amendment to prevent attempts to create human-animal hybrid clones . Trying to clone human embryo using cow eggs is something that could be going ahead in Britain.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bias or Ignorance

My vote is for bias. Linda Greenhouse can't be that ignorant, can she?

From what I've read, Warren Hern doesn't even perform partial-birth abortions. He prefers D and E abortions or induction abortions and even admitted in 1995 to the American Medical News that he had "very serious reservations" about partial-birth abortion. He also said, "I'm not going to tell somebody else they should not do this procedure. But I'm not going to do it."

How can someone write an article about a certain procedure (partial-birth abortion) and then try to say the descriptions of the procedure are "well off the mark" and then cite an abortionist describing another type of abortion procedure as evidence? It's simply ridiculous that this garbage is somehow considered journalism.

Let's "widen the management options" to include killing children with disabilities

The UK Times has an article on how the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology is "calling on the health profession to consider permitting the euthanasia of seriously disabled newborn babies."

In response to the Times' story, the RCOG's web site links the to paper their ethics committee wrote in 2005, but has only been noticed recently, here.

The paper states,
We would particularly like the Working Party to consider the wider issues of support and information for parents, and to think more radically about non-resuscitation, withdrawal of treatment decisions, the best-interests test and active euthanasia as they are means of widening the management options available to the sickest of newborns.

Widen the management options by including active euthanasia? Killing children with disabilities should now be a "management option" for British doctors? How's that for language?

Note the logic from the Times article:
The college's submission was also welcomed by John Harris, a member of the government's Human Genetics Commission and professor of bioethics at Manchester University. "We can terminate for serious foetal abnormality up to term but cannot kill a newborn. What do people think has happened in the passage down the birth canal to make it okay to kill the foetus at one end of the birth canal but not at the other?" he said.

Prolifers see the fact that a mere change of location doesn't change the moral status of the child as a reason to protect the unborn child. Those in favor of infanticide see it as a reason to allow the killing of infants with severe disabilities.

Friday, November 03, 2006

24 Season Six Preview

In case any of the other 24 fans out there haven't seen it, here's the preview for season six. The clip seems to show and his Wikipedia biography says that Wayne Palmer is the new President. Though I can tolerate a certain degree of ridiculousness - I'm struggling with how they'll make the former president's brother into the President of the United States.

From my memory of past seasons, Wayne was his brother's chief of staff which is an important position but not one that alone qualifies an individual for the White House. I can't remember a ton of other biographical/background details besides the service in the Marines that Wikipedia mentions but it seems the 24 writers are stretching our limits of imagination more than a little too far if they think they can make Wayne become president without adding some more political accomplishments (which would be difficult considering the next season of 24 usually occurs just a couple of years after the last one).

Not to mention the whole affair with Milliken's wife and him being at the crime scene when Milliken's wife shot Sherry before turning the gun on herself.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Another example of why the pro-choice movement is losing

This time via Ann at Feministing.

Ann links to a web game from Planned Parenthood of Illinois where people looking to get prescription for emergency contraception are confronted by protestors with various signs including "I miss the 50's!," "Keep women BAREFOOT & PREGNANT," "Conditions for sex: married, procreating, missionary position," and "Birth Control is for LOOSE WOMEN." I wonder how often individuals protest Wal-greens (or other pharmacies) over carrying EC. If you've ever been to Chicago (where I swear there's a Wal-Greens on every corner) you know that task would be impossible.

Ann writes, "If I'm not mistaken, these are all things the anti-choice crowd believes."

You are mistaken and the fact that you think these are all things prolifers believe shows you haven't really tried to understand the positions and beliefs of individuals who are prolife. You'd rather just presume their beliefs are foolish or old-fashioned.

Ann is so incredibly ignorant about what prolife people believe she thinks prolife people want to keep women "barefoot and pregnant." She then argues that prolife views are "incredibly outdated."

What I find incredibly outdated is the lame "they want to keep women barefoot and pregnant" assertion. I mean, come on - how old and stale is that.

As long as the mainstream pro-choice movement continues to utterly fail in addressing prolife arguments and continues to raise up laughable strawmen as representative of the prolife movement, they will continue to lose in the battle for the hearts and minds of America's young people.

Forced Guilt?

The Nation has a long article on Planned Parenthood's new president Cecile Richards written by Jennifer Baumgardner of "I had an abortion" t-shirt fame. (HT: Real Choice)

The third page of the article contains these comments addressing South Dakota task force's abortion report on how abortion hurts women.
The report states, "Abortion hurts women physically, emotionally, and psychologically." In response, prochoicers must clearly demonstrate, with words and deeds, that they are the real advocates for women. "It's been really hard for the prochoice movement as a whole to deal with feelings about abortion, because back in the early days women didn't have forces making them feel guilty," Byllye Avery, the founder of the Black Women's Health Imperative, told me. "But it's been thirty years of people beating on us, and women now do feel guilty. If women need more [emotional resources], then the movement has to provide them."

What message does that send? To me, it says that some people in the pro-choice movement see the feelings of guilt and other emotions like sadness and loss that some women feel after abortion as not being their "real" or "true" feelings. But rather the emotions of these hurting women are merely constructs of feelings created because society makes these women feel that way. It's almost like they think no woman could actually feel guilty about having an abortion unless society forced her to feel that way.

How good of a counselor/emotional supporter is someone going to be if they think every bad feeling a post-abortive women has regarding her abortion is because of some outside force "making them feel guilty?"

Are these real advocates for women (regardless of how the woman feels about her abortion) or are they advocates of abortion who don't want to deal with and have large degrees of difficulty handling how some women feel after their abortions?

In somewhat related news, a large number of letters to a church in New Jersey were found in the Atlantic Ocean. One letter read, "Lord, I know that I have had an abortion and I killed one of your angels," she wrote. "There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about the mistake I made."

How's this for a shocking Halloween costume?

It sounds like one student in Austin, Texas, dressed up as an abortionist "complete with blood-stained labcoat and fetus in pocket."

What do you think his position on abortion was?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More from the MCSCRC

When the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures aren't copying and pasting text from other web sites to fill their own web site they put on some events with the stated goal of educating the public about stem cell research. The most recent event occurred yesterday at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and was covered by the student newspaper.

What still amazes me about this organization is their attempt to act (because of their tax status) like they don't favor a certain legislative agenda. For example, the article states,
The MCSCRC helped organize the event so that after the presentation of the facts about the issue each person would be able to "form their own opinion about stem cell research."

If the goal of the event is for attendees to "form their own opinion about stem cell research" then why were all the speakers strong proponents of embryonic stem cell research?

Also notice how the writer of this article was intentionally misled by the speakers into thinking that Michigan has a "ban against stem cell research" and that legislation to lift this mythical ban would also "strengthen the ban on human cloning." Strengthen the cloning ban? For some reason that sounds familiar.

Cord blood stem cells can become lung cells

Another stem cell breakthrough using non-controversial kinds of stem cells, this time from researchers at the University of Minnesota, which probably won't be covered by American newspapers.
"In the future, we may be able to examine cord blood from babies who have lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, to do more research to understand how these diseases evolve as well as to develop better medical treatments," said David McKenna, M.D., assistant professor of lab medicine and pathology and medical director of the Clinical Cell Therapy Lab at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.

Life Links 11/1/06

Dawn Eden has a YouTube video of a woman shares her story before the Waco City Council about how sidewalk counselors helped her not have an abortion. She's holding her son (whom she describes as "her life") as she testifies.


A story on one British egg "donor" who wanted to "donate" her eggs to pay off credit card debt. HT: K-Lo


Deroy Murdock shows that some people in the debate over embryonic stem cell research really want to decide who lives and who dies including photographs of ex-embryos who were adopted instead of destroyed.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Spinmeister Art Caplan

Bioethicist Art Caplan has a new column out about the whole Michael J. Fox/Rush Limbaugh/embryonic stem cell controversy.

The column contains a number of obvious mistakes that are usually standard in the columns of newspapers writers who are largely uninformed about stem cell research and shouldn't be found in the column of someone who is supposedly an expert on this issue. For example, Caplan writes:
A constitutional amendment on the Missouri ballot would legalize embryonic stem cell research.
Hmmm.... since when did Missouri ban embryonic stem cell research? Caplan is well aware that embryonic stem cell research is already legal in Missouri and he knows that this amendment does much more than simply legalizing embryonic stem cell research. Caplan also references this despicable and dishonest commercial and labels it as "tough."

More bad "facts" from Caplan:
Just a few months ago a Republican Congress came very close to overriding the only veto that President Bush ever made — to block public funding of embryonic stem cell research. How did it happen that Congress, which was strongly opposed to such funding back in 2002, and being lobbied hard by the influential pro-life lobby, shifted with a majority supporting public funding in both the House and the Senate by 2006?
Congress strongly opposed public funding for embryonic stem cell research in 2002? What vote was that Art?

According to National Right to Life's 2002 scorecard there was no vote about the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. There was, however, a vote on legislation to ban human cloning. Is that the vote you're talking about Art? Aren't those quite different things?

He uses this phony apples-and-oranges comparison to attempt to argue that Congress was strongly influenced by the lobbying efforts of disease advocacy organizations. I'm sure those disease advocacy organizations had some impact on some legislators in Congress but not the impact Caplan is delusionally imagining.
For the first time ever, these groups pulled together and made their lobbying presence felt to the point where a Republican Congress came close to abandoning a president from their own party.
I'm not sure about Caplan but I don't see Republicans voting 180 to 50 (in the original legislation) and 179 to 51 (in the attempt to override Bush's veto - 51 votes short of overriding the veto) against the legislation to increase the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research as coming close to "abandoning a president from their own party."

Caplan's article almost seems like an attempt to convince himself that large portions of voters are going to cast their vote based on the issue of funding embryonic stem cell research. Maybe he should read this poll (question #5) from Newsweek which finds that only 3% of those polled (1% of Republicans, 4% of Democrats and 6% of independents) think the stem cell issue is the most important issue to them. To 4% of those polled, abortion was the most important issue. Both of these issues are dwarfed by the situation in Iraq (29%), the economy (21%), healthcare(14%), terrorism(14%), and immigration(11%).

Life Links 10/31/06

James Kelly on Michael J. Fox's advocacy for embryonic stem cells and some of the problems with embryonic stem cells.


British scientists have grown a miniature liver from umbilical cord blood stem cells. Looking through Google's news story, no American media outlets have picked up this story, as of yet. Surprise, surprise.


Abortionist and activist Jane Hodgson has died.

Pumpkin carving this Halloween

My pumpkin this year



I don't think it was as good as last year's.

The Big House

That's where my wife and I were on Saturday freezing our tails off. We stayed the whole game while half of the students never showed up or left at halftime. The picture is of the touchdown celebration after a Mike Hart run.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Life Links 10/27/06

Long article in USA Today about partial-birth abortion.


Richard Stith in First Things discussing why some pro-choicers view prolife arguments as absurd.


A man with multiple sclerosis is confident a transplant of stem cells from umbilical cord blood he received in Mexico have helped.

More language smithing from Michael J. Fox and company

Some excerpts from the Michael J. Fox interview on This Week with George Stephanopoulos regarding embryonic stem cell research and my thoughts below.
Stephanopoulos: In the ad now running in Missouri, Jim Caviezel speaks in Aramaic. It means, "You betray me with a kiss." And his position, his point, is that actually even though down in Missouri they say the initiative is against cloning, it's actually going to allow human cloning.

Fox: Well, I don't think that's true. You know, I campaigned for Claire McCaskill. And so I have to qualify it by saying I'm not qualified to speak on the page-to-page content of the initiative. Although, I am quite sure that I'll agree with it in spirit, I don't know, I— On full disclosure, I haven't read it, and that's why I didn't put myself up for it distinctly.

I think this shows how little Fox actually knows about what's going on. He made his bed with these pro-embryonic stem cell groups and organizations a long time ago and I'm guessing they are the ones who provide him with all the information he gets on this issue. How can you say you support something in spirit without even reading it? Only if you trust the people and the groups behind it unconditionally.
In fact, they just did some work where they found that it actually relieved the symptoms of Parkinson's in one test, but there some residue, some tissue residue that built up, which is not ideal.
"Some tissue residue?" Is that what proponents of embryonic stem cell research are calling "multiple tumors" nowadays? Also no mention of what kind of animals these experiments were performed on. I'm guessing some people who aren't up on this issue would think Fox is describing research on human beings and not research on rats.
Stephanopoulos: What's the best evidence that you've seen recently of the promise of stem cell research?

Fox: Well, like I said, the fact that they can, that they can halt the symptoms of Parkinson's relative to us, again, with, you know, again, with, with flaws and with things that don't make it translatable at this point.
Again, no mention that Fox is probably talking about experiments on rats. Or if he's talking about humans, he's not mentioning that it was adult stem cell research which halted the symptoms.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Life Links 10/26/06

Arguments were heard today in front of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals for the Legal Birth Definition Act. The LBDA was a law designed to ban partial-birth abortion in Michigan by defining when legal birth occurs. The article has an absolutely ridiculous quote from an ACLU lawyer.

UPDATE: The ACLU has a press release about this hearing including the claim from attorney Brigitte Amiri saying the LBDA would stop doctors from treating miscarriages. Has she even read the legislation? The law specifically makes physician's immune if the child is being expelled by a spontaneous abortion (aka miscarriage).

Laura Ingraham takes on Missouri's Amendment 2 on the Today show (starting at about 4 minutes in).


There's some trouble between Northern Kentucky Right to Life and a Catholic diocese in the northern part of Kentucky. The article doesn't elaborate on what Northern Kentucky did.

Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures still plagiarizing

Here's the site. They've recently put their question and answer section back online after nearly of month of "technical" problems. This was the section whose plagiarism was formerly the most egregious. They haven't really changed a ton but at least this time they cite sources for a good portion of the information taken word for word from other groups. A lot of times they forget to cite anything, though.

For example, the whole Q and A on blastocysts contains no cited sources yet it seems fairly obvious to me that the majority of this information was taken from this page from the Kansas University Medical Center. The Q and A on somatic cell nuclear transfer (aka cloning) also has some "similarities" to the KUMC web page linked to above yet no citations from the MCSCRC.

Whoever was adding citations forgot to add one for question 4 of the cell therapy page - it, like the rest of the answers on the page is taken word for word from the FAQ web page of the Stem Cell Research Foundation. They also forgot to cite the SCRF on question 3 of the adult stem cell page, question 5 of the embryonic stem cell question page and question 3 of the research page. I guess when you're busy copying and pasting the writings of multiple sources it can be confusing which stuff you took and where you took it from.

These people are supposed to educate the people of Michigan on stem cell research yet it takes them a month to add citations to their web page and change or delete a few sentences and paragraphs here and there after they got caught plagiarizing and then after a month they still haven't completely cited their sources. This group is pathetic.

Did I mention their advisory board includes big name politicians like Governor Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Senator Carl Levin, soon-to-be-former Congressman Joe Schwarz and state representative Andy Meisner?