Monday, July 31, 2006

Pro-choicer and JivinJ Agree - Pro-Choice Column was "Appalling"

Possibly the worst pro-choice column I've ever read is even taking some hits from the pro-choice camp. As much as I like a pro-choicer speaking out against Krouse's column I wish the letter writer would have written more about Krouse's lack of argument as opposed to his gender.

Another stem cell column by the factually challenged

This one by Jonathan Alter at Newsweek. He doesn't even seem to grasp that the veto was about increasing the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research not allowing federal funding ("Anti-cure" activists have been reduced to two arguments for why federal support of embryonic-stem-cell research is unnecessary" and "both parties need to acknowledge that federally funded embryonic research is dead for at least two and a half years and push much harder on the alternatives"). Later on he mentions Bush's policy but then again using terms like "allowed" instead of "funded."

Alter also seems to have been misled or doesn't understand the policy currently in place because he writes, "And even when more money is released, much of it will be wasted creating duplicative labs, because no lab that receives federal financing can take part in embryonic-stem-cell research." He also labels a human embryos as "a piece of protoplasm."

One would hope that journalists for a major publication would attempt to learn some basic facts on an issue before writing about it.

Alter has previously written unpersuasively about embryonic stem cell research. He called Leon Kass a "bioethical blowhard" and wanted the term "therapeutic cloning" done away with and just included as part of embryonic stem cell research, thought all of the 400,000 embryos were going to be thrown away, etc., etc.

HT: Wesley Smith

Another shady abortion clinic

Huff's Crime Blog has an extensive post with updates on this case of a dead baby being found in an abortion clinic. Huff provides some background on the owners of this clinic including that they allowed an abortionist named Robelto Osborne to operate at one of their facilities without a medical license and somehow a janitor got promoted to medical assistant.

According to the story, the child was 12 inches long and weighed 2-3 pounds.

Hat tip to Serge who notes,
The problem isn't necessarily the performance of this clinic in this atypical situation, the problem we should be having with this clinic is the way it is designed to function the rest of the time. They specialize in producing dead human fetuses via medical techniques every business day. These prenatal human beings are just as human as the one that is being reported on the news. And after this place performs their legal procedures, they are just as dead. The fact that we as a society fails to realize that is the root of the problem.

Friday, July 28, 2006

LifeLinks 7/28/06

Lady in the Pew: Marie Claire: Pro-abortion magazine inadvertently articulates pro-life message?

Nine women wearing "I had an abortion" shirts discuss their abortions in a Daily Mail article entitled Abortion: The Legacy.

Helsinki syndrome, toe jam, indigestion,.....

The satirical blog Blame Bush has a long list of diseases which embryonic stem cells will provide a miracle cure for once President Bush's "cruel ban on stem cell research" is removed.

Also don't miss What Ever Happened to a Teeny Bopper's Right to Choose?

Sidewalk Counselor Blog

Why Have You Forsaken Me is a blog by a sidewalk counselor named Patty who counsels outside an abortion clinic on Michigan's east side. She shares experiences and thoughts from time to time if you're interested.

When does an unborn child's brain start to develop?

If you've ever viewed any postings or comments by Amanda Marcotte from Pandagon, you'll likely recall someone who attempted to defend the legality of abortion with a strong amount of passion and whose posts were often filled with profanity. You might recall her accusing prolifers of wanting to punish women for having sex. She also comes off (at least to me) as being very confident in her knowledge regarding the abortion debate.

But in recent comments on her blog she shows she doesn't have a firm grasp of fetal development.

Amanda doesn't seem to know that an unborn child's brain starts developing long before the end of the first trimester.

Amanda uses the term "brainless fetus," says, "But there's not even an argument in early term pregnancy; it doesn't have a brain and it's not a person, period" and "My point was just that there is no argument whatsoever for the personhood of a fetus before it has developed a brain."

But by the time the unborn child is a fetus (the eight week) she already has a brain and has had one for quite some time.

According to this medical encyclopedia, the brain of an unborn child starts developing at week 3 and during weeks 4 and 5 "the brain develops into five areas and some cranial nerves are visible."

More information on when the brain begins developing with citations to embryology textbooks can be found here.

You can also view some Magnetic resonance (MR) images of the brains of unborn children at various stages of development (as early as 12 weeks) here.

Friday Toddler Blogging

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Life Links 7/27/06

Stem cells from fat can be transformed into smooth muscle tissue. These cells could possibly be used to repair damaged organs. The article also mentions another finding in adult stem cell research.
Fiona Watt of Cancer Research UK and colleagues studied stem cells from human skin and found a protein known as Lrig1 kept the skin cells from proliferating. When Lrig1 production was silenced, the stem cells began growing and dividing.

Michigan's Coercive Abortion Prevention Act package passed in the Michigan House yesterday. These bills are designed to make it illegal to coerce a woman into an abortion. The bills got between 66-68 votes in favor of this legislation and either 37 or 38 votes against. Summaries of the bills and which organizations support and oppose them can be found here.

The Associated Press did an article on Governor Granholm using a state web site for political posturing. The response from her spokesman is absurd. The article also misstates the legal situation regarding embryonic stem cell research in Michigan. It's amazing to claim that embryonic stem cell research in Michigan is banned in Michigan when the University of Michigan gets federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. What is illegal in Michigan is killing human embryos for research purposes. It is not illegal, however, to take part in embryonic stem cell research on stem cell lines which are created out of state.

A movie of fetal development pictures set to Pachelbel's Canon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"I still dream about it..."

Jackie, a 17-year-old discusses her abortion (language warning). Unfortunately, it appears someone has been sending her photos of aborted children in an attempt to harass her.
belive me,it ws the hardest thing that i had ever done and it hurt me more than you will EVER know. till this day i still dream about it and wish that i would have had a second chance to have have NO idea what it did to me remember that o.k.if it were know i would have it...and i with i did every day of my remember that as you send me those lhate letters .ok

Governor Granholm using a state web site to promote her political agenda

In a sad display of political posturing, Governor Jennifer Granholm is using the web site of Michigan's government to promote her political agenda, take a cheap shot at President Bush and Republicans in general, and encourage visitors to lobby government officials on behalf of intentionally deceptive bills which would legalize human cloning for research and killing human embryos for research.

Visitors to's homepage are greeted with a call to "Speak Out in Support of Stem Cell Research!" They are then told that President Bush "used his first-ever veto to stop the discovery of new treatments and cures for injuries and diseases including juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries."

Besides being misled down the path of false hope unencumbered by reality, uniformed readers would have no clue that Bush's veto stopped the expansion of federal funding on new embryonic stem cell lines. The term "embryonic" just doesn't appear. They would also be unaware that the legislation Granholm is lobbying on behalf of (visitors are encouraged to sign an online petition to the Republican leaders of the Michigan House and Senate) would make it legal to clone and kill human embryos for research purposes.

The online petition also leaves me wondering where the names and addresses end up. Granholm's political mailing list perhaps?

This type of political propaganda belongs on the governor's re-election campaign web site not on a web site owned by and designed for the people of Michigan. Using the state's web site for political gain and lobbying purposes is downright slimy.

Prenatal development video online

Childbirth From The Inside Out - From Embryo to Fetus

Why can't proponents of embryonic stem cell research funding be honest?

Macht points me to this article by Ronald Bailey on President Bush's veto of a bill to increase the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Macht addresses Bailey's old and tired fire in the IVF clinic argument but I'd like to again point out how proponents of increased funding for embryonic stem cell research seemingly can't write a column without being intentionally deceptive.

Bailey writes, "Bush used the first veto of his presidency to block a bill that would have permitted federal funding for embryonic stem cells."

Bailey is well aware that Bush has already allowed federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. This bill would have expanded the federal funding not permitted it since it already is "permitted" to the tune of millions a year as Bailey knows. In the column above (from August of 2005), Bailey even questions whether researchers need money from the federal government considering how much money has been invested by states and private institutions.

Bailey continues, "According to some estimates, there are as many as 400,000 excess embryos frozen in U.S. fertility clinics. The vast majority of these spare embryos will simply be tossed out unless they are used for stem cell research."

Except for the fact the vast majority won't be thrown out. The vast majority, close to 90%, are being reserved for future attempts at initiating a pregnancy. Only small fractions, 2.2% and 2.8%, of these human embryos are marked to be discarded or used in research, respectively.

Bailey also goes after the Fetus Farming bill.

"That act outlaws using tissues from human fetuses that were "deliberately initiated to provide such tissue(s)" or from human fetuses that were "gestated in the uterus of a nonhuman animal."

Sounds yucky, right? Of course, that's the point. They hope to make voters queasy about embryonic stem cell research by falsely linking it to an idea many people find repugnant. In reality, no researchers have proposed going forward with deriving tissues in this way. Outlawing fetal farming is purely about political science, not real science."

Except that a number of researchers have already worked on creating artificial wombs and implanting human embryos in them and New Jersey passed a law which made implanting a cloned human embryo legal. William Saletan, a writer for Slate, also discussed the possibility of this type of research here and here.

Over and over again, proponents of increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell research have difficulty being straightforward about the facts at hand. If their position on this issue is correct, then why do they continually try to deceive the American public?

Possibly the worst pro-choice column I've ever read

That's saying a lot but the column is here. It's by a sophomore at Michigan State University by the name of Shane Krouse. I have trouble believing that Krouse actually believes some of things he says. For example:
During the first trimester of the pregnancy, the fetus is merely a wad of cells.....

The point I am trying to make here is that a fetus is not a living human, and therefore, an abortion is not responsible for annihilating a human's life.....

Are pets not considered the property of a human? Humans provide pets with food, water and a habitat, just as a mother provides a fetus a habitat inside of the womb, along with food and oxygen....

And because mom houses the fetus — that not only required her X sex chromosome, but also gained half its chromosome pairs from her ovum — the fetus should be considered property of its mother.....

If anything, a fetus is merely a parasitical creature that uses the mother as its host......

Comparatively, a fetus is little more than a tapeworm. It is quite common for humans to annihilate parasites with medications or toxins, so why not allow for fetuses to suffer the same fate?....

Life begins when the baby is passed through the birth canal and exits the womb. At this point, the baby is no longer physically connected to the mother and no longer freeloading its nutrients and oxygen from mommy.

I always find it amazing when someone who is pro-choice asserts that the unborn aren't alive and then compare them to parasites which they recognize as being alive. Does Krouse actually believe the entity kicking the inside of a woman's womb at 5 months isn't alive? Does he actually believe a fetus at 6 months is "little more than a tapeworm?" Will Krouse feel the same way if and when he sees an ultrasound of his own child or feels his own child kick his hand from inside the womb? Will he see his infant child as a "pet" because he provides that child with "food, water and a habitat?"

Also note the use of the word "mom." If the unborn aren't alive then how can the women housing them be "moms?" Can one be the mother of something which isn't yet alive?

Besides showing complete ignorance regarding fetal development and what embryology says about when life begins (you can also check the side bar), Krouse also shows that he has no idea what the U.S. Supreme Court did in Roe v. Wade. He says, "Roe v. Wade concluded that human life does not begin until life can be sustained outside of the womb." Too bad the author of Roe v. Wade, Harry Blackmun, said in his decision that "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Need abortions?

Ann at Feministing opposes the Child Custody Protection Act.

An excerpt:
Instead the law is designed to punish teenagers who need abortions and the people who are there to help them in a time of crisis.
Need abortions? I thought abortion was a choice?

Ann also seems to have been misled or is intent on misleading others about what the legislation does.
It requires abortion providers to contact a minor's parent or guardian if she lives in a state with a parental consent or notification law......It would force largely pro-choice states (like California, which recently rejected a parental notification ballot initiative) to abide by the restrictive laws passed by states with anti-choice legislatures.

Huh? Could you please explain how that works? The law says, "..whoever knowingly transports a minor across a State line, with the intent that such minor obtain an abortion, and thereby in fact abridges the right of a parent under a law requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion decision, in force in the State where the minor resides, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

California doesn't have currently have a parental involvement law so I don't understand how the legal rights of parents in California would be abridged. If the Child Custody Protection Act passes, California doesn't have to abide by the parental consent laws of other states. It just means a person who brings a minor into California from a state with a parental consent law has broken the law. I see nothing in this law (have I missed something?) which prevents abortion clinics in California from performing abortion on minors from other states without parental consent or performing abortions on minors from California without parental consent.

Debate on Child Custody Protection Act

I'm watching the debate on the Child Custody Protection Act and some of the debate has been a sad lesson at how poor the reasoning of some of our senators is. Senator Lautenberg made an assertion like "I can't believe our federal government only allows abstinence-only education."

Senator Clinton used an example of a daughter being raped by her father and how the girl's sister wouldn't be allowed to take her across state lines to help her have an abortion. The raped girl would then have to go to the authorities to get a judicial bypass.

Senator Ensign points out that getting a judicial bypass would then get the authorities involved so the girl could be removed from the abusive situation. If the girl crossed state lines for an abortion then the authorities wouldn't have gotten involved.

Senator Boxer argued that the bill allows fathers who commit incest to take their daughters across state lines for abortion.

Senator Ensign points out how the bill has nothing to do with that situation because a father wouldn't have to cross state lines to avoid parental consent law because he is one of the parents.

Senator Boxer argues that the bill protects those who commit incest. "Period. End of sentence." No argument is provided. No reasoning. She also mentioned that grandparents could be arrested.

Senator Ensign argues that if a grandparent really cares about the child, they should be contacting the authorities regarding the incest not taking the daughter across state lines for an abortion.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Protects incest predators?

According to this AP article the U.S. Senate has re-opened debate on a bill to make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines to avoid a state's parental involvement law.

Barbara Boxer is leading the opposition to this bill and doing her best to make me believe she got her last name from her former profession and during her past career took too many punches to the head. Boxer opposes the bill because "(i)nstead of doing something to improve the health of women and girls, the Republican leadership is spending precious time on a bill that protects incest predators, throws grandmothers in jail and violates our Constitution."

How on earth does a bill which prevents people from taking minors across state lines for abortions protect incest predators? I'm trying to come up with scenarios and it's just not working.

If a father rapes his daughter, how does this legislation protect him? Is taking a minor across state lines for an abortion something that harms a father who commits incest? It seems that action would help keep the incestous relationship secret.

It seems obvious the legislation would actually help young women who might be transported across state lines by an incestous brother, uncle, grandfather or other relative for an abortion. The last thing an incestous brother, uncle, or grandfather wants the parents of his victim to know is that his victim is pregnant. Forcing their victim to have an abortion without the knowledge of the parents would be a sure-fire way for them to continue their heinous actions.

I'm also wondering how Boxer thinks this bill is unconstitutional considering the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that parental involvement laws are constitutional.

Stem Cell Veto: A Cause for Hope

So says James Kelly.

Compare this and other columns on stem cell research by prolifers to Art Caplan's hysterical column. Caplan writes that President Bush is lying now and lied when he originally stated his stem cell policy, President Bush is telling patients to "drop dead" and echoes Michael Kinsley's attacks on prolifers opposed to the increased federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What will the media do with this?

Wesley Smith writes that Carlos Lima has published his research on helping paralyzed patients in the peer-reviewed Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. Though his treatment is no cure to paralysis, improving the "motor scores" and lives of paralyzed individuals is an important accomplishment. Unfortunately, I think someone would be foolish to take Wesley's bet.
"I hope I am wrong, but I will bet that the mainstream media ignores the story. They will be too busy reporting on rats with improved mobility from embryonic stem cells."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

President Bush vetoes increased embryonic stem cell funding bill

Here's the AP story. Bush was surround by families with children who were adopted when they were embryos.
"Each of these children was still adopted while still an embryo and has been blessed with a chance to grow, to grow up in a loving family. These boys and girls are not spare parts," he said.

If President Bush Needs a Reason to Veto Rep. Castle's Increased Embryonic Stem Cell Funding Bill

Some reasons have been provided by Rep. Castle himself as he attacked a bill to increase the funding for research which explores how to obtain pluripotent stem cells without killing human embryos. Richard Doerflinger also points out Castle's confusion.

In other stem cells news, this morning I saw an approximately 3 minute segment on Good Morning America where Michael J. Fox laid out his reasons for supporting embryonic stem cell research even though the words "embryo" or "embryonic" weren't in either the intro or anything Fox said. Fox also acted like we lost 5 years of research, without mentioning the research is legal and already receives federal funding.

No one opposed to increasing the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research was given a word on why they are opposed to the increased federal funding of this research.

Stem Cell Resources and More Lies from the Wannabe Missouri Cloners

Do No Harm has posted some new resources dealing with embryonic stem cell research and adult stem cell research including their response to this strawman attack which tried attack Do No Harm's claims that adult stem cell research has shown benefits to humans with 72 different conditions by using "Is an FDA-approved adult stem cell research treatment generally available to treat this disease or injury?" as their standard. The attack paper also often points out the research with adult stem cells isn't curative. From what I've seen Do No Harm has been careful to avoid terms like "cures" unlike numerous proponents of embryonic stem cell research including the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures and one of the attack paper's authors.

That author being William Neaves, who is the CEO of the Stowers Institute. The Stowers Institute provides a lot of the money behind the wholly deceptive push (fronted by the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures) to put the legalization of human cloning for research into Missouri's Constitution while saying they are trying to ban human cloning. Neaves has also written in favor of human cloning for research. Not surprisingly, the article is intentionally deceptive (he never mentions that somatic cell nuclear transfer is cloning or that somatic cell nuclear transfer would produce a human embryo and that an embryo would have to die to get the stem cells), uses terms like "early stem cells," attempts to equate the cloning and killing of another human being for their stem cells with the "natural process of self-healing" and claims that "no new life is created by SCNT."

Other classic lies by Neaves include this: "The proposed legislation is a misguided attempt to ban SCNT by defining it as 'human cloning. In fact, SCNT makes stem cells – not babies. SCNT provides an opportunity to use a patient's own cells to develop cures for currently incurable diseases and injuries that affect over 500,000 Missouri children and adults and millions of other Americans, such as diabetes, Parkinson's, ALS, MS, Alzheimer's, myocardial damage from heart attacks, and spinal cord injuries. We can all agree that human cloning to create babies should be banned – but not lifesaving SCNT research and cures."

And this: "You are working entirely with the genes of a person conceived years earlier," Neaves said. "You are not creating new life. You are not causing conception to occur. You are just reawakening the developmental potential that already resides in that individual's [donor's] genes."

Neaves creating a strawman to knock down should come as no surprise. This man will lie through his teeth at every turn to get more funding for embryonic stem cell research and to legalize human cloning for research. That Science would publish this attack piece without providing the forewarning and space for Dr. Prentice and Do No Harm to respond is also sadly the type of action that is becoming less and less of a surprise. Science has previously published a number of articles (one co-written by Neaves) which persuade scientists against using the word "cloning" to describe human cloning for research.

Other materials available from Do No Harm include Where's the beef? which rounds up a variety of quotes regarding the effectiveness of adult and embryonic stem cells and It Can Happen Here which discusses fetal farming.

Robert George and Patrick Lee discuss Science's publishing of Neaves' letter. HT: Serge

"These men are scientists, not logicians or philosophers. And perhaps they simply got caught up in the political heat of the moment. However, it is the duty of the editors of a scientific journal to have cooler heads and to hold their contributors to some level of respect for the elementary rules of logic and argumentative integrity, or at least, to insist that they remove rhetorical abuses made for political effect."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Overheard: What's in their water addition

All from this story.

"I'm not grandiose about this, and it concerns me a lot that I could be portrayed that way. I don't want it to appear that I'm standing up and saying I'm the expected one. That's a dangerous, ego-driven kind of thing." –Kathleen McGowan, who claims she is descended from Jesus and Mary Magadelene

"Yes, I believe her. Her passion and her mission are so strong, how can she not be?" -Touchstone Editor-in-Chief Trish Todd after being asked if she believes McGowan's claims.

"She spent 20 years of her life researching this subject. You have to give her any benefit of the doubt because she's totally rational. I believe her absolutely. She had total credibility with me from the very beginning." -Larry Kirshbaum, literary agent and former CEO of Time Warner Books, regarding McGowan's claims even though McGowan has no hard evidence and only her word to back her up.

Can you find the terrorists pictured below?

Is it this presumably innocent cave dweller?

Or is it these two dangerous looking fellows (one of whom seems to be pointing out a potential target)?

Go Pundit Go has alerted myself and others to a section of Planned Parenthood's web site which profiles "Terrorists and Extremist Organizations." Listed under the "Terrorists and Extremist Organizations" header is a biographies section of what one presumes to be terrorists (since the individuals aren't extremist organizations, right?) are none other than are the two most recent appointees to the Supreme Court of the United States. Also included in this dangerous list are Harriet Miers, Nathan Hecht, John Bolton and James Dobson.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cell Editorials

The National Review and Joe Carter have some thoughts on the issue which will be in front of the U.S. Senate for the next couple of days.

OK to Kill, But Not to Harm?

There's a very interesting discussion at a variety of pro-choice blogs (Sufficient Scruples, Unified View Philosophy, Etc. ) regarding whether it is morally permissible to take drugs (such as thalidomide) during a pregnancy (which will end in birth) knowing those drugs will have an exceptionally negative effect of the child.

All three blogs hold the position that a human fetus in first-trimester isn't a person (and therefore killing them is morally permissible) yet come to different conclusions about whether it's morally permissible to harm a child intended for birth. Serge takes the time to comment on some of the arguments made.

Friday, July 14, 2006

What's 1001 times 1001?

Quick - what's the answer? Don't know?

It's 1,002,001

Here's a quick trick on how to figure out what different numbers are squared so you can fool people at parties into thinking you're a math genius with a calculator in your head or a nerd who has memorized what a bunch of numbers are squared.

If you know what one number is squared all it takes is a little addition or subtraction to figure out what the numbers around that number are when squared.

For example, let's start with an easy number like 20. 20 times 20 is 400. That's pretty simple because you only need to multiple 2 times 2 and add some zeros at the end. Same thing with 30 squared, 40 squared, etc. But what's 21 times 21? Instead of trying to multiple 21 times 21 in your head all you need to do is take 400 (20 squared) and then add 20 (the square root of 400) and 21 (the square root of 21 squared) and you get the answer: 441.

To find out what 19 squared is you just need to subtract 20 (the square root of 400) and 19 (the square root of 19 squared) from 400 to get 19 squared: 361.

Life Links 7/14/06

Tgirsch, a pro-choice blogger, chides fellow pro-choice blogger Kevin Keith for his insult-filled rant against prolifers. It's interesting how Kevin chooses to attack prolife slogans as if those slogans were somehow the foundation of the prolife movement's arguments against abortion.

Hadley Arkes discusses how prolife legislation in seemingly small steps can have a bigger impact than originally planned.

StonesCryOut has a stem cell round-up.

John at Verum Serum takes some quotes in a satirical Onion article about abortion and compares them to what some (a small minority from what I've seen) pro-choice individuals have said. He could have probably also included some quotes from this "Abortion is Wonderful" post.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Detroit News and Dr. Death

The Detroit News has a number of things on Jack Kevorkian this morning including a long article about him and his current health, a question and answer and an editorial which discusses how previous claims of to not assist in any more suicide weren't actually put into action.

The story and interview paint the picture of lonely, old man who wasted the last 15 years of his life either assisting in suicides and rotting in jail. Maybe Kevorkian thought his actions would spur on the movement to legalize assisted suicide and he would become a martyr for his cause or be released shortly after conviction. Instead, he's been mostly forgotten except for an article here and there every time he gets denied early release. The wasting away of his outside appearance while in jail seems to match the wasting away of his character which occurred years ago.

A computer chip in his brain allows a man to operate a computer

This story is promising and even has a blurb about an experimental stem cell research in China.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Life Links 7/12/06

Interesting discussion on abortion, Democrats for Life and the difference between killing and death at Mirror of Justice blog between Richard Stith, Thomas Berg and Stith again.

The natives are again restless with NARAL and Planned Parenthood over their endorsements of Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamott. The key issues seem to be Lieberman voting for cloture on Alito's nomination (even though he voted against his nomination) and not wanting to force certain hospitals (probably Catholic hospitals) to give emergency contraception to rape victims.

Jessica Valenti of Feministing and the Bush v. Choice blog interviews Katha Pollitt on feminism. At the top of the third page of the interview Jessica asks a rather keen question regarding abortion and how Katha treats abortion as opposed to other decisions/actions by women and I don't think Katha provides a very good answer (but she does scorch a strawman prolife argument).

Australian Abortionist Trial Underway

Australian abortionist Suman Sood has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of a fetus and unlawfully administering abortion drugs after she allegedly provided a woman who was 23 weeks pregnant with "two prostaglandin tablets to take orally."

"The drugs allegedly caused her to go into labour that night, and at 3am she gave birth to a baby at her home." The baby boy survived for five hours before his lungs failed. It is also alleged that Sood tried to cover up her actions after the death of the child.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"I know I murdered the life within me."

Yesterday, Mere Comments described an article in the liberal Jewish Monthly Tikkun written by Donna Schaper. Donna Schaper is a 58-year-old senior minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City who also speaks and writes on the side. In her article she writes about her abortion 19 years ago. Mere Comments only posts a portion of her article but another version of the article (probably a very close version) was printed in the Hartford Courant in February of this year and is available online at the blog of A Classical Presbyterian. Her article is quite disturbing, to say the least.

Schaper outrightly admits that she believes "abortion is a form of murder," named her unborn child "Alma" and was "terribly troubled." Yet claims she was "behaving as an adult" because she made a choice. She also claims that women who make the choice to have an abortion are "positive moral forces in history." While recommending abstinence to unmarried people in countries struggling with AIDS is "immoral to its core."

Her article is difficult to comment on because its almost entirely nonsensical. Donna Schaper describes her actions as "murder" yet provides virtually no defense for them except to compare her actions to just war theory without providing any reasoning behind that comparison.

I also took the time to review some of Schaper's sermons and other writings available online. What I found was a deep contrast in how she views the violence of her abortion compared to the violence in other circumstances.

In her essay on her abortion Schaper writes, "I did what I think men do all the time when they take us to war: They choose violence because, although they believe it is bad, it is still better than the alternatives."

Yet during after the Columbine shootings she wrote, "Violence wins battles it should never even be allowed to have. We let it. And we cannot let it. We can withdraw permission from the myth that violence solves things. It doesn't. It only destroys things."

In a sermon on June 25 of this year, she writes, "Violence doesn't solve things. Violence comes from excessive absurdist masculinity. That is the horse and the carriage in this race. Some men, and many women too, are protecting the old way of being a guy. It's over, but they don't know it yet."

I'm left to wonder how the violence of abortion which "doesn't solve things" and is from "excessive absurdist masculinity" makes women who choose abortions a "positive moral force in history" simply because they made a choice. Believing that you murdered your child yet defending your actions (and not apologizing for them) with such poor reasons must be most difficult indeed.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Life Links 7/10/06

Expose the Left has a video clip of Kevin McCullough summarizing this abortion story at the Hope Clinic in Granite City, Illinois.

It appears umbilical blood stem cells can be turned into insulin producing cells.

Ian Wilmut says the "full maturity" of cloning is 50 years away.

One of those studies whose results (depressed teens are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior) seem to be common sense.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Honesty - What Michael Kinsley is missing in the stem cell debate.

In today's Slate, Michael Kinsley has a long article on embryonic stem cell research, in-vitro fertilization and prolifers. His basic thought is this: Prolifers don't oppose the deaths of human embryos at in vitro fertilization clinics as strongly as they oppose killing human embryos for research. Therefore, the majority of prolifers opposed to killing human embryos for their stem cells are "willfull(y) ignoran(t) and indifferen(t) to logic."

Some excerpts:
As one of those people myself (I have Parkinson's), I am not an objective analyst of what the U.S. government's continuing near-ban on stem-cell research is costing our society and the world.
It's amazing that in a piece where he accuses prolifers of willful ignorance, Kinsley can't come anywhere close to being honest about the political controversy regarding embryonic stem cells. To say the United States has a "near-ban on stem cell research" is laughably absurd. Neither adult stem cell research nor embryonic stem cell research is anywhere near banned in the United States. In fact, both types of research (though I'm assuming Kinsey is specifically referring to embryonic) receive millions of dollars in federal support. A number of states have also committed millions (billions in California) to embryonic stem cell research. To assert there is a "near-ban" on research which is completely legal in the United States and funded by the federal government and state governments is something only a less-than-serious commentator would write. Kinsley has written previously about President Bush's policy on stem cell research so he is well aware that it is nothing like a "near-ban."

It's also important to point out that the current political controversy over embryonic stem cells being fought in Congress isn't over whether embryonic stem cell research should be legal or not and not over if embryonic stem cell research should receive funding but over whether embryonic stem cell lines created after August of 2001 should receive federal funding. Kinsley doesn't mention any of these details - I guess simply stating "near-ban" must have been so much easier.
Naturally, I think it's (the U.S.'s mythological "near-ban"- JJ) costing too much. No other potential therapy—including adult stem cells—is nearly as promising for my ailment and others. Evaluate that as you wish.
Kinsley's evidence for this assertion...... crickets chripping......I feel sorry that Kinsley has been so misled or so misled himself to the point where he thinks embryonic stem cells are more promising for his ailment (Parkinson's) than adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are nowhere near treating people with Parkinson's while adult stem cells have already treated a man named Dennis Turner with rather amazing results.

After misleading his readers regarding basic stem cell research facts, Kinsley proceeds to explain how more human embryos are created than IVF clinics plan to implant, how human embryos are often discarded by in vitro fertilization clinics and how many human embryos fail to implant (in both IVF and natural reproduction).

Kinsley then attempts to make the argument that prolifers who don't publicly oppose certain IVF clinic practices as much as they oppose embryonic stem cell research shouldn't be taken seriously. Now this type of argument does nothing to prove the moral claims of prolifers opposed to embryonic stem cell research and its federally-funding wrong. It's merely a semi-sophisticated ad hominem attack which attempts to discredit prolife arguments by attacking those who make these arguments instead of working to actually prove the arguments wrong.

It also seems that Kinsley is relatively ignorant about how a number of prolifers feel about in-vitro fertilization and how it is often practiced (Serge summed up his feelings on IVF here ). Now Kinsley is probably correct in assuming that a large percentage of prolife people are ignorant about how human embryos are often treated in IVF clinics. But are prolifers who are ignorant about how IVF is often practiced "willfull(y) ignoran(t)" or are they just not informed.

I could go on and on with more of Kinsley's assertions and positions but I'll leave it at this, for now at least.


Thomas Berg discusses human embryo name games in the National Review. It appears that the term pre-embryo is dying out.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Robert George explains his views on the clash of worldviews in our culture to Christianity Today.

Will Obama be able to woo evangelicals?

Revisiting the Supposedly Deceptive CPC Story

An Indiana television station did a piece on the alleged incident where a girl was supposedly misled by a pregnancy center posing as an abortion clinic. They also have a video of it (which wouldn't work with my media player).

It seems the 17-year-old girl's story has changed or Planned Parenthood was lying in their original e-mail. The article says,
I could die, I was going to ruin my life, " the 17-year-old said the center told her after she had already made the decision to get an abortion.

Telling a girl she could die and that abortion could ruin her life doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that a pregnancy center trying to pass itself off as an abortion clinic would say, now does it? According to the original Planned Parenthood e-mail:
"The group took down the girl's confidential personal information and told her to come back for her appointment, which they said would be in their "other office" (the real Planned Parenthood office nearby). When she arrived for her appointment, not only did the Planned Parenthood staff have no record of her, but the police were there — the "crisis pregnancy center" had called them, claiming that a minor was being forced to have an abortion against her will."
Now the girl is telling us the pregnancy center told her that she could possibly die and her life would be ruined? If I was trying to pass myself off as an abortion clinic, the last thing I would say is "abortion could kill you." Does anyone else see the inconsistency in these stories?

In related news, Jennifer Roback Morse reviews the National Abortion Federation's pregnancy center report.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Life Links 7/5/06

An interview with MIT stem cell researcher James Sherley (HT: Macht)

British doctors have changed their position on assisting in suicides. Of the doctors present at a British Medical Association meeting, 65% voted to overturn the BMA's previously neutral position on assisted suicide in favor of a position against such practices.

The amazing human brain:
Doctors have their first proof that a man who was barely conscious for nearly 20 years regained speech and movement because his brain spontaneously rewired itself by growing tiny new nerve connections to replace the ones sheared apart in a car crash.