Monday, April 30, 2007

A Prolife American Idol?

Here's a picture of Jordin Sparks singing at Arizona Right to Life's 2005 Conference and another picture of her and Dr. Alveda King (who was the keynote speaker at the event).

Other information which may or may not be relevant: Jordin is the daughter of Phillipi Sparks who played professional football for the New York Giants. The New York Giants were formerly owned by the late Wellington Mara who founded Life Athletes and was known for his strong prolife beliefs.

Katha Pollitt on "abortion doctors"

April 2007:
When Kennedy refers to the gynecologists and obstetricians who perform abortions as "abortion doctors," he's repeating anti-choice language intended to impugn the professionalism of these physicians and make it easier to disregard their judgment about how best to care for their patients. Abortion doctors! What do they know?

January 2006:
In the New York Times Magazine Eyal Press, a contributing writer to this magazine, writes of his father, a heroically brave and dedicated abortion doctor....

That Justice Kennedy!! How dare he use a term I used a little over a year ago!!

Note to Katha: Before you claim someone is "impugn(ing)" another by using a certain term, check to make sure you haven't used that term in a positive manner.

Life Links 4/30/07

Authorities have captured and arrested Paul Ross Evans, the man they believe is responsible for leaving a bomb in the parking lot of an abortion clinic in Texas. Apparently, the authorities are trying to determine a motive since Evans has no known ties to groups which encourage violence against abortion providers. Evans does have a history of breaking the law
"Evans was paroled in 2005 after serving three years of a 15-year service for a crime spree that included breaking into cars and using a pellet gun to rob a convenience store and a fast-food restaurant."

A movie documentary about stem cell research?

According to Life Decisions International, the number of annual abortions performed at Planned Parenthood went up again in 2005 to 264,943 abortions. Unfortunately, their LDI's press release also has this absurd and completely unsupported statement: "In the vast majority of cases, "emergency" birth control causes an abortion."

Friday, April 27, 2007


Leaving a bomb at an abortion clinic parking lot is not prolife.

HT: STR blog

The Democratic candidates for president talk about abortion during their debate in South Carolina. I think best part is when Edwards (former boss of Amanda Marcotte) says we need to respect other peoples' opinion on this issue. I'll also note that Senator Biden voted for the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Life Links 4/26/07

Michigan legislator Mark Meadows shows he doesn't seem to understand what he is talking about with regards to embryonic stem cell research in Michigan and human cloning.

Meanwhile, Wesley Smith writes about a poll commissioned by the Michigan Catholic Conference on human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

The poll's results (besides showing the public isn't gung-ho on killing human embryos) indicate to me that some of the general public really doesn't understand these issues at all. For example, the responses to questions 2 and 3 would indicate the public is more opposed to killing embryos for stem cells than cloning embryos for stem cells. Which seems peculiar because from my memory of polls, people are typically more opposed to creating and destroying embryos as opposed to just killing them. You'd, of course, need to kill the cloned embryos for their stem cells but the question doesn't say that. I'm guessing a fair number of the respondents didn't understand the cloned human embryos would have to be killed for their stem cells.

Ramesh Ponnuru on the Freedom of Choice Act.
As in past Congresses, the act includes the ludicrous "finding" that "Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions. . ." This claim, a favorite of Boxer, is based on dubious studies and makes no sense. There were 900,000 abortions in 1974 and 1 million in 1975. Are we really supposed to believe that the nationwide legalization of abortion caused the number of abortions to drop?

Another attempted baby killing in Michigan.

Thankfully, the newborn baby boy (who was left in a trash bag in the garage) was found by his grandfather and is healthy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Plan B May Not Be Effective at a Population Level"

That's the title of a recent article in the OB/GYN News. The article notes how researcher James Trussell has reported at contraceptive technology meeting that a review of 11 studies found there is "no evidence that this increased access (to EC) reduces the number of pregnancies or the number of abortions at a population level."
In an often-cited 1992 paper, Dr. Trussell of Family Health International, Research Triangle Park, N.C., used modeling to suggest that access to emergency contraception could prevent half of all unintended pregnancies and abortions in the United States (Fam. Plann. Perspect. 1992;24:269–73).

But in nine randomized trials and one cohort study in which a total of 11,830 women were enrolled, and in one demonstration project in which 17,831 women were given emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs), not one of the studies found clinically or statistically significant differences between intervention and control groups in pregnancy or abortion......

A third hypothesis is that emergency contraceptive pills have intrinsically low efficacy. The labeling on Plan B (two doses of levonorgestrel) quotes an 89% reduction in pregnancy risk after a single act of coitus, and estimates of risk reduction in the published literature range from 60% to 94%. But Dr. Trussell called all these estimates into question because it's difficult to accurately estimate the expected number of pregnancies that would have occurred without emergency contraception......

Dr. Trussell concluded that the numbers of expected pregnancies reported by studies are probably too high and that most published efficacy figures are probably overestimates. Nevertheless, it's clear that emergency contraceptives produce physiologic effects that are incompatible with pregnancy and that at the very least they are more effective than nothing......

As for how physicians should respond to this new information, Dr. Trussell urged honesty. Physicians should not oversell emergency contraception by implying that Plan B will reduce unintended pregnancy at a population level, he said.

Honesty? Let's hope Trussell hand-delivers that message to Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood starts being honest about the effectiveness of emergency contraception. The emergency contraception section of their web site still outlandishly states "EC was responsible for approximately 43 percent of the decrease in the number of abortions from 1994 to 2000" without providing a source.

Life Links 4/24/07

Hadley Arkes on the Carhart v. Gonzales and what the future may hold with regards to prolife legislation:
But if legislators could take that modest move of banning abortions on the basis of sex, the public mind could be prepared for reasoning about the next step: barring abortions based on the disability of the child. In surveys in the past, more than half of the public were opposed to aborting a child if the child was likely to be born deaf. The opposition seemed to be invariant by the period of gestation. My own reading was that, if people thought it was wrong to kill someone because of his deafness, they did not think that the wrong varied with the age of the victim.

ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg on how legal views most likely played a greater role in the justices' majority decision than their denomination. I wonder if Geoffrey Stone thinks less of his infantile theory now that Rosie O'Donnell has espoused it.

Legislation has been introduced in Michigan to allow citizens to report abortion complications because abortion providers aren't following the law when it comes to reporting abortion complications. Compare those numbers to abortion complications numbers in Minnesota (pg. 20-21) where about half as many abortions occur.

Granholm continues to push embryonic stem cell research

Governor Granholm continues to attempt to deceive the people of Michigan about embryonic stem cell research in Michigan. Repeating over and over again that embryonic stem cell research isn't permitted in Michigan won't make it true.

Also, notice not one mention of the C-word (cloning). I guess Governor Granholm believes the creation and destruction of human clones for their stem cells is "sensible, safe embryonic stem cell research."

Pro-choice hate

One pro-choice father shares the tragic story (language warning) of his wife's pregnancy and his decision to have doctors end the pregnancy which was threatening his wife's life. He seems to not understand the vast majority of prolifers aren't opposed medical treatment to save a woman's life as long as efforts are made to save the life of the child if possible. In this case, it wouldn't have been possible because to save the life of the child because the pregnancy was only 9 weeks along. He shares some rather harsh feelings of anger he had towards prolifers while waiting to know if his wife was alright. I've edited the language
Mainly, then, I start to think about the abortion debate. About pro-lifers, in particular. I think about all those meddling politicians that would want to interject themselves into everything that just happened to me, interject themselves between me, my wife, and her doctors. And then I had a strong, visceral reaction. I wanted the m*f* to die. I wanted to rip off their heads and tear out their hearts, because how DARE they play politics with my wife's life? The baby was fine until the end. I wondered if that would have meant they'd force us to let my wife bleed until almost death before they'd let us abort, because well, if she's not near death, then it is just a 'health' exception, and we can't have that! F* them. F* them all. They can f* die, as far as I'm concerned.
Such anger and hate for a group of people he apparently knows so little about. The prolifers I know would have been the first to tell him and his wife how sorry they were for their loss and situation.

Harvard's Abortion-Breast Cancer Link Study

Here's a Reuters article in the Boston Globe.

I could only get the abstract of the study since the full thing costs money.

The thing that stood out to me in the abstract was the percentage of women whom reported having had abortions (15%) vs. having had miscarriages (21%). To me the percentage having abortions seems low. From all the statistics I've seen, the number of abortions performed nationally in a certain year is usually higher than the estimated number of miscarriages. In Michigan, our abortion rate is 11.6 (the national rate is probably in the high teens) and yet Michigan's estimated number of miscarriages is only slightly higher than abortions. If Michigan's abortion rate was higher (as it was in the 80's) and close to where the national average is now, then there would be around 20% more abortions than miscarriages. The percentages in the study show the exact opposite with there being 26% more women reporting miscarriages (21,753) than abortions (16,118). Oddly, reporting bias is typically how pro-choice groups try to discount studies which show a link between abortion and breast cancer though I don't know if they've done this by comparing reported miscarriages vs. reported abortions. The lead author even notes in the Reuters article her way of starting with women who didn't have breast cancer was supposed to help prevent reporting bias (though it also would exclude women who already had breast cancer and previously had abortions).

With regards to reporting bias, the authors of older abortion-breast cancer study, which found "among parous women (women who've given birth) a history of induced abortion was associated with a 90% increased risk of breast cancer," suggest the stronger association between breast cancer and abortion in certain regions of Netherlands could be because of reporting bias.

The AP article on the Harvard study includes this paragraph:
What evidence shows is that childbearing before the age of 35 reduces a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, and breast-feeding also helps, said the new study's lead author, Karin Michels of Harvard Medical School. Scientists believe breast cells that have gone through a full-term pregnancy gain protection against cancer, she said.

The article asserts childbearing before 35 and breastfeeding help protect against breast cancer and that breast cells which have gone thru a full term pregnancy gain protection against cancer. Wouldn't the average person after reading that think: Doesn't having an abortion prevent breast cells from going thru at least one full-term pregnancy? Often times before a woman has given birth? If going through full-term birth protects against cancer then wouldn't, at the bare minimum, having an abortion prevent this protection at least until a woman gives birth?

Monday, April 23, 2007

More on the use of the term "abortion doctors"

Stuart Buck points out that Gloria Feldt used the terminology "abortion doctor" herself at least once when she was President of Planned Parenthood and Ed Whelan points out where NARAL uses the same terminology on their web page.

Meanwhile, the liberal Think Progress cites Ginsberg's dissent for how putting the word "abortion" before "doctor" is "based on a deep hostility to women's rights."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Gloria, Gloria, Gloria

In some ways, I miss Gloria Feldt being the president of Planned Parenthood because I miss reading and just laughing out loud and how ridiculous what some of what she writes is.

Case in point - this post at the RH Reality Check blog about the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Gonzales v. Carhart.

She scolds Justice Anthony Kennedy for using the terminology "abortion doctor" in his majority opinion. She writes, "Why did he not simply refer to doctors as "doctors", or if ob/gyns call them "ob/gyns"? If another surgical procedure were under scrutiny, would he have he referred to "tonsillectomy doctor" or "hysterectomy doctor"?"

I wonder if Gloria would also like to attack pro-choice writer Katha Politt who used the terminology "abortion doctor" in a 2006 article entitled Pro-choice Puritans. Or maybe Gloria should scold abortionist Suzanne Poppema who has written a book entitled "Why I am an Abortion Doctor"

Or maybe she should chastise her former organization which has used the terminology "abortion doctor" on their web site and gave a Maggie award (named after Margaret Sanger) to a Glamour magazine article entitled "An Abortion Doctor's Diary of Terror."

Friday Cat Blogging

Somebody needs to spend more time exercising and less time at the food bowl.


"Roe nevertheless survives as symbol, and a very powerful symbol it is. A confused and confusing pro-choice majority on the Court clings to it like a drowning man clutching at a life preserver. Aging feminists rally 'round it as the sine qua non of their liberation from antediluvian religious authority and male bondage. Postmodernists of various stripes, who look to the Court as the font of endlessly evolving constitutional aspiration, continue to hail it as the moral equivalent of Brown v. Board of Education. Roe also hovers like a malign shadow, omnipresent even if not always explicitly acknowledged, over increasingly nasty judicial confirmations; and in the larger political realm, the case remains the supreme iconic representation of the differences that divide "red" and "blue" America. No Democrat can hope to be nominated without performing obsequies before Roe's altar, and the current boomlet for Rudy Giuliani notwithstanding, it seems unlikely that a Republican can be nominated who fails to distance himself from the decision's moral and legal implications."
- Michael Uhlmann:

"That's just a lay term made up to incite the public.... What they describe could be actually almost any abortion procedure."
- Dr. Amy Meg Autry, a clinical professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California at San Francisco, regarding the language of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 used to describe partial-birth abortion which says, " the term 'partial-birth abortion' means an abortion in which --

(A) the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother for the purpose of performing an overt act that theperson knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and

(B) performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus;"

"If any doctors are still confused maybe I can put it in even simpler terms: If the baby's whole head is sticking out, don't kill her; if the baby's bottom half is sticking out and you can see where the umbilical cord attaches, don't kill him. If you're still confused then you need to put down the head-crushing forceps. For while you might be evil enough to be an abortionist, you're too dumb to be a doctor."
- Joe Carter

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"It was the best decision I have ever made"

Almost a year after originally posting (this was the post where an abortion clinic worker commented "Your pregnancy now is a tiny sac, the size of a peanut, with some liquid on the inside") her thoughts about the possibility of having an abortion to LiveJournal's Abortion Info page, a young woman came back to say she decided to have the baby and it was the best decision she ever made.

Who wants partial-birth abortions?

Don't you love the start of this AP article?
Women who want a controversial abortion procedure for health reasons have few options beyond going to court and trying to prove that a Supreme Court decision banning the practice should not apply.

Because you know all those women looking for late term abortions enter an abortion clinic, look over the menu which describes different abortion procedures and then decide they want the procedure where the abortion provider will dilate their cervix for 2 days, fully deliver the unborn child except the head, use an object (be it scissors, a finger or something else) to puncture the child's skull so the contents of the child's brain contents will come out and the head can be removed.

The most hilarious part of all the wailing pro-choice organizations are doing is when they act like pregnant women are the ones who choose this procedure and will be greatly hurt because one of their options is no longer legal.

Partial-birth abortion is a method some abortionist prefer. It's not a procedure method pregnant women are clamoring to choose over other abortion procedures.

The Push for Human Cloning in Michigan Continues

Andy Meisner has reintroduced legislation to legalize human cloning for research and the killing of human embryos for research in Michigan. This legislation, H.B. 4616, no longer merely crosses the term embryo out and deceptively changes the definition of human cloning. Instead it provides an add-on saying killing human embryos is permitted as long as they're being killed for their stem cells and they meet certain criteria. There's also an add-on allowing human cloning which says,
"the utilization of a somatic cell nuclear transplantation procedure which was for the sole purpose of creating nuclear transfer blastocysts for the extraction of embryonic stem cells. As used in this subdivision, "blastocyst" means an embryo that has developed to a stage where it consists of a sphere made up of an outer layer of cells, a fluid-filled cavity, and an inner cell mass."

Notably, this legislation actually admits that a embryo is created via somatic cell nuclear transfer. Meisner's past pro-cloning legislation labeled human embryos created by cloning as "resulting product(s)."

But why is this specific change in wording being enacted? Were opponents of Meisner's original legislation correct when they labeled it deceptive? And if so, then should the Michigan Senate pass legislation introduced this year by Gretchen Whitmer (S.B. 52) which uses the same language as Meisner's former legislation?

Proponents of human cloning for research will also continue to claim they're trying to "strengthen Michigan's cloning ban" with H.B. 4617 which adds 5 years onto the punishment for human cloning (except of course human cloning to create "nuclear transfer blastocysts for the extraction of embryonic stem cells").

Ginsberg's dissent

While reading Justice Ginsberg's dissent one thing that stood out to me was how she seems to believe the testimony of abortionists (who perform partial-birth abortions) are significantly more authoritative than the testimony of physicians who deal with maternal health problems during pregnancies but who don't perform partial-birth abortions. Starting on page 12 of her dissent, Ginsberg writes,
In this insistence, the Court brushes under the rug the District Courts' wellsupported findings that the physicians who testified that intact D&E is never necessary to preserve the health of a woman had slim authority for their opinions. They had no training for, or personal experience with, the intact D&E procedure, and many performed abortions only on rare occasions.

In other words, the government witnesses had slim authority that partial-birth abortion was never necessary to preserve a woman's health simply because they hadn't performed one. What kind of horrible logic is that?

By that logic, an abortionist could know very little about maternal health issues during pregnancy but be an expert at performing partial-birth abortions and they would have more authority about whether this procedure is necessary to preserve a woman's health simply because they've performed the procedure.

In what other areas of medicine would this argument hold up? Would the testimony of heart experts about the necessity/safety of certain heart procedures or drugs be dismissed simply because they hadn't performed the procedure or prescribed the drugs? Of course not.

This judgement of authority as applied by Ginsberg and also applied in the District Court partial-birth abortion case Planned Parenthood v. Ashcroft would allow anyone who performs any kind of procedure to have their testimony held in higher esteem than anyone else who hasn't performed the procedure regardless of other pertinent qualifications. This contrived judgement of authority is inherently and intentionally biased towards the performer of the procedure. If this judgement of authority stood, how could one then prove a procedure isn't necessary to save the health of the mother? Would doctors have to perform a procedure they think isn't necessary and may feel is even more dangerous than more commonly used procedures to become "experts" on whether a certain procedure secures a woman's health?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"They lack only the nerve to take their reasoning to its logical conclusion."

Ten bucks says Ramesh Ponnuru wrote at least this section of the National Review's editorial on the partial-birth abortion decision:
The liberal dissenters have not merely made a minor logical error here. Take their argument seriously for a moment. They claim that it is conceivable that in some cases, partial-birth abortion is the safest method of abortion, and therefore it has to be allowed. (And it has to be allowed whether or not the pregnancy itself threatens the mother's health.) They further claim that it should make no difference to anyone where the child's feet are positioned when he is aborted.

Let's apply this argument to infanticide. It is conceivable that in some cases removing the child from the womb completely before killing it is the safest option. And surely it should make no difference to any rational person whether the infant was fully within the womb, partly inside it, or all the way out when his skull is crushed? Four justices on the Supreme Court have accepted all the premises for a constitutional right to infanticide. They lack only the nerve to take their reasoning to its logical conclusion.

Adult stem cells restoring vision

Another breakthrough:
A man's vision has been restored by a corneal patch grown from adult stem cells by a team at the University of Melbourne's Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and the Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery (BOBIM).

The patch, which replicates the cornea, was cultivated from a single stem cell from a donor eye and was transplanted to the surface of the man's eyes.

Breaking: Supreme Court upholds the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

Here's a link to the AP story.

It was a 5-4 vote with Justice Kennedy writing the majority decision.

National Review has posted the text of the decision.

Planned Parenthood can't even bring themselves to say "so-called partial-birth abortion ban" in the brief comments on their web site about the ruling. They call it the "Federal Abortion Ban."

Bench Memos has some opinions on the opinion.

From the decision:
It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast developing brain of her unborn child, a child assuming the human form.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why I don't read the Huffington Post

Because when I do, I consistently read things like this post by Robert Elisberg which would be lucky to garner a passing grade in a high school persuasive writing class.

Elisberg seems unaware that
1.) there is a difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells
2.) adult stem cells were the kind of cells which were used to help treat Type 1 diabetes patients in Brazil
3.) President Bush is a big supporter of adult stem cell research
4.) President Bush didn't "veto stem cell research" - he vetoed a bill to expand the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research
5.) The United States government currently provides millions of dollars in funding for both embryonic and adult stem cell research

When you wonder why some people just don't seem to have a clue what's going on with this issue, it's because they're reading the writings of ginormous ignoramuses like Robert Elisberg.

Life Links 4/17/07

Wesley Smith in First Things on the Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.
Gorsuch also digs deeply into the philosophical issues raised in the debate. He points out that the provision in law that a patient be "terminally ill" in order to qualify for assisted suicide has little rational basis in a policy that places such tremendous emphasis on personal autonomy. After all, if "choice" is the issue, and killing is determined to be an acceptable response to the problem of human suffering, what does dying have to do with it? Many people who are not terminally ill suffer more intensely—and for a far longer period—than do the terminally ill. This being so, why should they be refused access to "aid in dying"?

Rich Lowry has posted Rudy Guiliani's comments at a recent event in Iowa about the abortion issue . Will someone please ask Rudy why he supposedly hates abortion?

A spoof - Opossum Stage May End Abortion Debate

Monday, April 16, 2007

Life Links 4/16/07

A crime prevention officer in South Carolina has been charged with assault with intent to kill after pointing a gun at a woman he impregnanted and demanding that she have an abortion.

In the UK, it is supposedly becoming increasingly harder to get doctors to perform abortions. While I don't doubt a fair portion of doctors don't want to perform abortions, I'm suspicious this might be part of a ploy to allow nurses to perform abortions as is suggested by a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.

Wesley Smith on a horrible case where a 17-year-old mother is charged with stabbing her newborn girl 135 times. If newborns aren't "persons," then would this be a crime?

Friday, April 13, 2007

How should pro-choicers deal with prolife signs?

Take ‘em down and throw 'em away. Or at least that's what Eyelid (who heads the abortion information community at myspace) suggests.

Class act, huh?

Imagine the indignant cries (That's a violation of free speech! Fanatical, violent anti-choicers!) if any pro-choice sign of theirs was ever tampered with.

Oh, and when pro-choicers act like women won't reconsider their choice to have an abortion if they see an ultrasound of their child (supposedly because they've already weighed everything and completely understand what they're doing)- read this from someone who seems to still be leaning to having an abortion.
When I saw the ultrasound, I realized that I could not do this - I saw a little clump of life inside of me, and became instantly protective of it. I kept going with the rest of my appointment and scheduled my procedure regardless, because I knew that a crowded abortion clinic would not be the place to discuss this with my boyfriend.

Life Links 4/13/07

Caitlan Moran, a columnist for the London Times, argues that abortion is the ultimate motherly act.

Seriously. It's sickening. Here's just a taste:
By whatever rationale you use, ending a pregnancy 12 weeks into gestation is incalculably more moral than bringing an unwanted child into this world. Or a child that, through no fault of its own, would be the destructor of a marriage, a family, a parent. It's fairly inarguable to say that unhappy children, who then grew into very angry adults, have caused the great majority of mankind's miseries.
"By whatever rationale you use, killing a born child at 12 weeks is incalculably more moral than allowing an unwanted child to stay in this world." Using Moran's thinking shouldn't we then be allowed to kill "unwanted" children at 12 weeks of age simply because they could possibly cause various miseries to mankind. Also, Moran provides no argument to how unwanted children have caused "the great majority of mankind's miseries" because it is somehow "fairly inarguable." I guess that's what happens when you don't have an argument.

In the meantime, in Belgium, half of the children who die before the age of one are euthanized . Around 30% are done because the child will have "an acceptable quality of life" and 16% are done without consulting the parents.

HT: Wesley Smith

Researchers from Germany have transformed stem cells found in bone marrow into premature sperm cells. Some papers have decided to run this story leading with how this research could possibly create sperms cells from women so lesbians could have biological children.

Clinging to your beliefs

I'm always amazed at how some people can cling to what they think is true (seemingly based solely on how they feel/what they think is commonsense) when there's a mountain of evidence which shows what they think isn't true. This letter to the editor in the Portsmouth Herald/Seacoastonline is a perfect example of that. The writers writes,
I don't agree with partial-birth abortion, I consider it brutal and believe it should not be legal.

However, I don't believe for an instant that the fetus is cut open at the neck so that the brain can be sucked out. What would be the point? Those are "facts" that are presented for the sole purpose of sensationalism, not truth. And gullible, idealistic young people (and older people) are the pawns in this plan. The procedure destroys the fetus; there is no life left. The brain, whatever there is there, is not active.
Imagine the mental gymnastics it takes to hold this kind of position. The writer believes partial-birth abortion exists and thinks it is a brutal procedure which shouldn't be legal yet doesn't believe the procedure involves puncturing the child's skull and removing her brains.

The writer also doesn't understand what the point of removing the brains out would be. Let's try to think about this for a second. The writer believes that partially-born children are killed through partial-birth abortion. How do you think he or she thinks the children get killed? I'm having a hard time coming up with how this individual thinks the child dies. Does she think the child dies while the abortionist is pulling most of the child out? How does he or she imagine the head is delivered? How does the procedure "destroy the fetus" in his or her mind?

This situation reminds me of an earlier situation awhile ago when a friend of mine told me he had a co-worker who didn't believe partial-birth abortion existed. I guess he thought it was all completely made up. If I recall correctly, I e-mailed my friend some of the court transcripts of abortionists describing how they perform partial-birth abortion and Martin Haskell's instructional paper describing how he performs partial-birth abortions which my friend then passed on to his co-worker. The response from his co-worker was something like this, "Thanks, but I'm doing my own research and that's not what I'm looking for."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Self-abortion charge update

According to this news story, the woman in New York who tried to abort her pregnancy by combining over-the-counter and prescription drugs is still pregnant. The story also notes she has 3 children and there is a history of domestic violence between her and her husband. A hospital representative sums up the situation by saying,
"She obviously has some problems that led her to a desperate act, and I hope she gets the help that she needs," Greenwood said. "She's obviously feeling very desperate."
I think this is definitely one of those situations where abortion is not going to solve this woman's problems.

Stem cell votes and President's statement

Here's the roll call votes on S. 5 (the legislation to expand the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research) and S. 30 (the bill to promote research on means of obtaining pluripotent stem cells without the destruction of living human embryos).

The President has issued a statement saying he will veto S. 5.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More pro-choice tolerance

It looks like some pro-choicers at the University of New Hampshire aren't that tolerant of right to free speech if prolifers are doing the speaking. This article in the Union Leader has another classic quote from a pro-choicer opposed to the display of graphic pictures of aborted children.
"They're using the death of all those people to shove their point down our throats," said freshman Cass Mercer, 19, of Auburn, who did argue with organizers. "It's horrendous, and it's abuse of life."

The problem with treating human embryos as property

A woman in the UK has lost her final appeal to be given the chance to implant embryos which were created by her and her ex-fiancee. Her ex-fiancee wants the embryos destroyed.
After the decision, Ms Evans said: "I am distraught at the court's decision. It is very hard for me to accept the embryos will be destroyed."
The UK's law treats IVF embryos as the shared property of both individuals up until the point of implantation. But what if (and why doesn't) UK law treated human embryos created by sexual intercourse the same way? Would a man, who had unprotected sex with a woman, be able to demand every measure be taken to prevent the woman's uterus from accepting the implantation of a human embryo which could have resulted from the couple's sexual intercourse?

How can a change in location ( in a lab vs. traveling down a woman's fallopian tube) change what a human embryo is or isn't?

Ironic, don't you think?

On the day U.S. Senator Tom Harkin proclaims adult stem cells "haven't provided the answer for juvenile diabetes" (third to last paragraph) and "the presentations about adult stem cells having as much or more potential than embryonic stem cells, in my view, do not hold scientific water. I think they are overstated," the Journal of the American Medical Association publishes a study out of Brazil where patients with juvenile diabetes were successfully treated with their own adult stem cells.

Or is that karma?

Here's the abstract of the JAMA study.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Self-abortion charge

A woman in New York has reportedly been charged with second-degree self-abortion (a misdemeanor) after attempting to abort her 13 week pregnancy with a cocktail of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. I'm not seeing exact details anywhere at the link above or at this story in the Post-Standard which say if the unborn child is still alive or not.

I wonder how pro-choice individuals who favor the bodily autonomy argument feel about this.

Life Links 4/10/07

Here's another story about some of those individuals whom the National Abortion Federation thinks we should celebrate.

Rebecca Taylor on the "only glimmer of hope" (according to some newspapers) which has never come anywhere near working.
I have to ask the Joplin Globe how can some procedure that to date has never worked in humans be anyone's "only" or even best hope? Ethics aside, shouldn't we be a tad skeptical and see if anyone can actually clone a human embryo and extract stem cells from it before we decide it is the "only" hope?

The Portsmouth Herald has an article about the Genocide Awareness Project's recent trip to the University of New Hampshire. Here's a quote from a pro-choice student about why she's pro-choice:
"I have seen firsthand what happens to these children that don't get adopted," she said, sobbing. "So many little girls are forced into (slavery); to me it would be better off if they had been aborted. Abortion is choosing a better life even if it's not living."
Abortion is choosing a better life for the child?? How is not living a "better life?" If killing unborn children makes them better off because they wouldn't have the chance of being forced into slavery, then wouldn't it follow that killing those poor little girls who are forced into slavery would make them better off as well?

Scientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine are hoping they'll be able to use cochlear stem cells to treat hearing loss in mice and eventually humans.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I knew it

The Cadbury Eggs shrunk this year. My wife didn't believe me. Thankfully, the Office's B.J. Novak stashes Easter candy and has a helpful comparison.

Females have better stem cells

At least when it comes to mice.

Life Links 4/9/07

Wesley Smith in the San Francisco Chronicle on a bill in California to legalize assisted suicide.

Yuval Levin on the contradiction in the U.S. Senate's stem cell bill.
All of this has caused senators to revise the House bill and include support for ethical alternatives. But given that revision, the Senate bill now contains a contradiction that its sponsors will need to learn from for next time. It acknowledges the value of exploring means of deriving pluripotent stem cells without destroying embryos, and so acknowledges also the problem inherent in such destruction. But if they now recognize that problem, and the value of advancing scientific techniques that allow us to avert it, the sponsors of the Senate bill need to rethink the rest of their measure.

Miranda Sawyer, a broadcaster in the UK, examines her pro-choice beliefs after a trip to America for a television program about the abortion debate in America. The most poignant moment comes early in the article when Miranda writes,
My mind kept returning to the pregnancy test. If my reaction to those fateful double lines that said 'baby ahead' had been horror instead of hurrah - and, to be honest, it wasn't unalloyed joy that I felt when I saw them; I was scared, too - then I would have had little hesitation in having an abortion. But it was that very fact that was confusing me. I was calling the life inside me a baby because I wanted it. Yet if I hadn't, I would think of it just as a group of cells that it was OK to kill. It was the same entity. It was merely my response to it that determined whether it would live or die. That seemed irrational to me. Maybe even immoral.
Miranda, however, concludes that early term abortion should be legal on demand because while the unborn are alive they don't have "human characteristics"/aren't persons but then notes for late-term abortions, "Who are we to say whether the life inside is a person, or not?"

So, in other words, abortion should be legal early on because the unborn at that stage aren't persons but we have no objective way of proving unborn children later in development are persons. It seems like Miranda realized her original pro-choice position (killing unborn children should be legal because they're unwanted) was illogical so she accepted another pro-choice position regardless of how logical it was.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Life Links 4/5/07

Indian scientists have apparently used adult stem cells to successfully treat a man with Parkinson's.

HT: Mary Meets Dolly

Is the U.S. experiencing a "brain-drain" of stem cell researchers because of our federal policy on embryonic stem cell funding? If yes, then why is a leading British scientist moving to Minnesota to head their Stem Cell Institute.

Former Republican Congressman Joe Schwarz continues to show that either 1.) his knowledge of stem cell research and the issues surrounding it are rather poor or 2.) he's a liar. False claims in the article include Schwarz's claim that "hundreds of thousands of unwanted blastocysts are discarded as medical waste each year" and Michigan laws against killing embryos for research would somehow put Michigan researchers to the "bottom of the list" when it comes to federal grants for embryonic stem cell research. Schwarz also claims researchers will leave Michigan for other places where the "foundation has been laid for them to do the research" and then he lists other countries including France and Germany. According to the International Society for Stem Cell Research's (a pro-embryonic stem cell research organization) web site, France and Germany both prohibit "the procurement of embryonic stem cells from human embryos" just like Michigan does. So what's going on Joe? How can this great foundation get laid in countries which have similar laws to Michigan?

The article also claims the bill to expand the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research "passed the House and Senate twice, both times vetoed by President George W. Bush." Twice? Really? I thought we were still waiting for the Senate to vote on this bill before the President can veto it. Where is the author getting his or her information? Schwarz couldn't be that ignorant? Or could he?

Abortion Debate at Grand Valley between Scott Klusendorf and Nadine Strossen

Last night I attend an abortion debate on the campus of Grand Valley State University between Scott Klusendorf, the president of the Life Training Institute, and Nadine Strossen, the president of the ACLU. The debate was put on as part of the campus' fire and ice week where both the Students for Life and the Voices for Healthy Choices put on a variety of events to share their views. The debate was the easily the largest event. The room with about 300-400 seats was packed and people had to be turned away.

The debate format was set up so each speaker was given 15 minutes to make their presentation and then 5 minutes for rebuttals. Participants from the opposing students groups then asked 4 questions each and Klusendorf and Strossen were each given a chance to rebut what the other said in their answers. The general audience was then allowed to ask questions. I'd estimate the audience asked somewhere between 10 and 15 questions (including one by yours truly) and each speaker was given the opportunity if they desired to address the question. The debate concluded with each presenter giving a 3 minute closing statement.

I'll start with the positives for Strossen. Thankfully, she wasn't one of those pro-choicers who argue men can't have a say in the abortion debate and when one of the prepared questions by the Voices for Healthy Choices group asked a question which bordered on making the "you're a man, so your opinion doesn't count" assertion, Strossen said something along the lines of "a presenter's gender shouldn't play a role in this debate." Klusendorf showed a video which showed graphic images of unborn children and Strossen never tried to argue the images were false (I don't believe she ever mentioned the video at all). She also, as far as I can remember, avoided any kind of personal attack on Scott.

Besides that, I was really disappointed in how poor Strossen's presentation and arguments were. I guess I was expecting something more from the president of the ACLU. She noted she had visited Scott's web site and read some of his material yet she didn't seem prepared to deal with his arguments and presentation which are pretty much summed up here.

First off, she used a lot of really bad and/or old pro-choice myths. The 1.2 million abortion per year before Roe myth, the thousands of women died from illegal abortions before Roe myth, and emergency contraception could prevent most or almost all unplanned pregnancies fairy tale. There was also the "safe, legal and rare" comment, numerous quotes from U.S. Supreme Court decisions (including ending her opening presentation with the much ridiculed "mystery of life" quote from Planned Parenthood v. Casey), and noting desire to reduce unplanned pregnancies.

Strossen's true downfall, however, was her decision to completely avoid making an kind of argument regarding what the unborn are. Klusendorf begins the debate by framing it around what the unborn are and stating he will concede the debate if Strossen can prove the unborn aren't human beings. Strossen didn't even try. She couldn't even muster a "alright they may be human beings but they aren't persons" kind of argument. All she could do was continually assert the unborn were "potential life" without ever once making an argument trying to differentiate between "potential life" (which she also said included sperm and egg cells) and actual life. She also asserted that when life begins is a moral question and was unable to come up with a single scientific source to back up her opinion that "there is no scientific consensus" on whether the unborn are alive or not when asked by Klusendorf.

Strossen also tried to play a couple of real obvious rhetorical ploys. At one point, she asserted the prolife movement made no exceptions for the life of the mother. Klusendorf replied by asking her to cite legislation in the U.S. which didn't provide an exception for the life of the mother. Strossen then cited how the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act didn't have an exception for the health of the mother.

Strossen also claims she and the ACLU were fine with parental consent/notifications laws as long as they have a bypass waiver. The ACLU's web page on parental consent/notification legislation says different. She claimed she knew no one who supports infanticide. (Cough)Peter Singer(cough)

Strossen got her best response from the pro-choice members of the audience when she appealed to a woman's bodily autonomy and how women shouldn't be forced to have their bodies controlled. Yet she never really made a strong argument for it. She didn't invest the time needed to make a Judith Jarvis Thomson-like Violinist Argument. It was this "you're not forced to give your kidney up to someone who needs one, so women shouldn't be forced to carrying a potential life" type of assertion. Klusendorf discussed the problem with absolute bodily autonomy in his concluding comments using thalidomide and other examples to show that pregnant women shouldn't have absolute physical autonomy. Strossen's response was that she never argued for absolute bodily autonomy for pregnant women and noted she wasn't opposed to abortion restrictions after viability as long as their were exception for the life and the health of the mother.

Her worst point came, I felt, when she said that she respects the lives of cockroaches and something like she wouldn't necessarily "privilege the lives of humans over animals" in response to Klusendorf's use of Greg Koukl's "Daddy, can I kill this?" argument. I was stunned.

During the question and answer period with the audience, Strossen again and again decided not to make a comment or rebut what Klusendorf argued which seemed real odd to me. It was like she ran out of steam. The question I asked to Strossen was, "If abortion is basic human right and a foundation freedom (which is how she had described abortion) then why should this basic human right be exercised rarely? And are there other foundation freedoms and basic human rights which should be exercised rarely?"

Her response started by listing a couple of other basic rights she thought should be exercised rarely including assisted suicide and killing someone in self-defense. Her reasoning for why was because she has respect for the "potential life" of the fetus. This is utter nonsense considering she also considers sperm and egg to be "potential life." Does Strossen also think men should lose their sperm rarely and women's eggs should only be released rarely? Of course not.

If I had another question or more time, I would have asked how viability changes Strossen's view on abortion. If women have the right not to be encumbered by a pregnancy they don't want then how does viability change that? Even if the child reaches the stage of bare viability, the pregnant woman will still have to carry the child for a couple more months. Why should women be forced to carry a viable pregnancy to term if they don't want to? Why should pregnant women with viable fetuses be forced to use their bodies against their will when no one else in society is forced to do that?

At the beginning of the debate, Strossen noted she was proud to be willing to debate Scott (since Scott's web site notes how some pro-choicers won't debate him). I sincerely doubt that will be case ever again.

Thursday Cat Blogging

A special double edition of Rascal.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rudy Giuliani still favors tax dollars being used to fund abortions

In a recent CNN interview with Dana Bash, Rudy Giuliani stands by his 1989 speech where he advocated in favor of the public funding of abortion

But I thought he hated abortion?

At first he tries to dodge the public funding of abortion question but then Bash asks the question again directly. His reasoning is exceptionally lame. He says if abortion is a constitutional right then we have to pay for the abortions of poor women because if we didn't that would deprive them of a constitutional right.

I wonder if he feels that way about the right to bear arms. Free rifles for the poor?

HT: Hot Air

Life Links 4/4/07

Props to Steve Wagner of Stand to Reason for spending an evening presenting the prolife view and then discussing and debating the issue with college students for several hours.

One pro-choicer writes how she fantasizes about "burying a machete" (language warning) in the heads of prolifers who use photos of aborted children. Pro-choice tolerance - gotta love it.

"I think for the pro choice folks out there we do have to realize that it is a life and we are killing our babies."

The above quote is from a woman who says in the same blog entry, "Now I am a pro choice type of person for many many reasons because I truly believe a woman can do whatever she likes with her body."

House deals with Abortion

Did anyone see the television show House last night? If not, you missed what was probably one of the most prolife scenes on a major network television show in the last number of years.

Annie at AfterAbortion recaps some of what happened. also has a review of the episode. What I noticed was that Dr. Cuddy was only doctor who treated the pregnant mother and her unborn child as two patients. The other doctors saw the pregnant woman (who didn't want an abortion) as the only patient.

The show previously dealt with abortion in another episode earlier this year.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Life Links 4/3/07

An Australian study has linked abortion with partner violence.
The study of 9,683 young Australian women aged 22 to 27 found that those reporting either teenage abortions or abortions later in their 20s, were more than three times as likely to have been abused by a partner as those who didn't terminate.

Serge shares how Germany's public policy regarding reproductive issues is fairly close to what many pro-choice advocates would like the U.S. to look like, with the exception of abortions being banned after the first trimester and a parental consent law. Yet every child isn't a wanted child.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation's patents on embryonic stem cell research don't cover what they wanted them to cover according the U.S. Patent Office.

Debating God

The MSNBC web site has a 10 page conversation/debate between Rick Warren and Sam Harris on various religious moderated by Jon Meacham.

At one point Harris condemns treating humans as farm equipment:
We got rid of slavery because we realized it was manifestly evil to treat human beings as farm equipment. As it is.
At another point, he claims that Christians not funding embryonic stem cell research for religious reasons is terrible.

Putting aside Harris' apparent ignorance about the millions of federal tax dollars which are provided to human embryonic stem cell research, isn't there a large disconnect here? Harris thinks it is wrong to treat human beings like farm equipment (presumably because human beings have some moral worth) yet he thinks it is terrible for Christians to oppose the intentional killing of human beings for the purpose of using their parts in research and he claims this is an explicitly religious reason.

On page 3, Meacham asks Harris a question which I don't think he answers.
Sam, what are the secular sources of an acceptable moral code?

HARRIS: Well, I don't think that the religious books are the source. We go to the Bible and we are the judge of what is good. We see the golden rule as the great distillation of ethical impulses, but the golden rule is not unique to the Bible or to Jesus; you see it in many, many cultures—and you see some form of it among nonhuman primates. I'm not at all a moral relativist. I think it's quite common among religious people to believe that atheism entails moral relativism. I think there is an absolute right and wrong. I think honor killing, for example, is unambiguously wrong—you can use the word evil. A society that kills women and girls for sexual indiscretion, even the indiscretion of being raped, is a society that has killed compassion, that has failed to teach men to value women and has eradicated empathy. Empathy and compassion are our most basic moral impulses, and we can even teach the golden rule without lying to ourselves or our children about the origin of certain books or the virgin birth of certain people.

I'm not seeing a source. He says religious books aren't his source, he's not a moral relativist, some things are bad and we can teach morals to children without relying on religious books.

So why are compassion and empathy are objectively moral? Why aren't enmity and hostility morally correct impulses? What is Harris' source for his view? Does he have a source or are these claims merely based on his feelings? And if so, then why are his feelings any better than the feelings of someone else who believes malice and hate are more moral than kindness and love?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Online Federalist Debate on Abortion

It's between Wendy Long and Jennifer Brown . There's nothing exceptionally new here. Pro-choicer tries to link abortion and contraception, wonders if prolifers would provide legal punishments for women who have abortions, says acorns aren't oak trees, and hails abortionists (be they doctors or not) as "heroes." Prolifer discusses how the "health" exception is meaningless, abortion policy should be decided by the people, Roe v. Wade is an absolute joke, and how the unborn are living human beings.

In her closing, Jennifer Brown did come up with a new term I've never seen before to dehumanize the human zygote: "Post-conception germ of life."

If embryonic research is so promising, why do its backers need to lie?

David Freddoso asks a question I've been wondering about for a while though I'm guessing some of the factual errors on the part of some of politicians are based largely on ignorance and not necessarily intentional deception.

Life Links 4/2/07

If the unborn aren't living human beings, then why do some people think requiring women to view them before having an abortion is "emotional manipulation?" If the unborn, as we've been told by the pro-choice movement for decades, are merely "clumps of cells" or "products of conception" then what's the big deal about showing an ultrasound to pregnant women who are considering an abortion? Would it be "emotional blackmail" if the law required me to view a picture of my ____ (wisdom tooth, appendix, tonsils, etc.) before removing it?

Rebecca Taylor points to an article in which leaders of various religious groups lend their opinions on interspecies cloning. Pastor Ric Olsen has a great concluding paragraph:
Though curing disease is a noble cause, it can never take precedence over who the cause is attempting to cure. The end-game is not to merely cure diseases, but to improve human life. We cannot improve our lives if in the prevention of disease we have destroyed human dignity.

Amber Abreu, the teenager in the Boston area who used misoprostol to self-induce an abortion at 25 weeks, was interviewed by the Eagle Tribune.
"I felt bad because I knew she was suffering," Abreu said. "I felt guilty for what I had done. At that moment, I'd have done anything to let her live.

"I was hysterical when she died. I hugged her and kissed her," said Abreu, her eyes filled with tears.