Friday, June 29, 2007

Planned Parenthood again fails to help a victim of statutory rape

In Connecticut, a 15-year-old girl named Danielle Cramer, who ran away from home around a year ago, was found this month hidden in a storage space in the home of a 41-year-old man. It was revealed that Cramer told detectives she recently had an abortion at Planned Parenthood.
Susan Lloyd Yolen, a vice president of Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, declines to comment on Cramer's case on grounds that the organization "is committed to patient privacy and safety."

Isn't that generous of Planned Parenthood to protect Cramer's privacy and safety?

Life Links 6/29/07

Researchers have presented findings at 13th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Cellular Therapy about how they used adult stem cells to treat spinal cord patients in Ecuador. I've yet to see any media outlets covering this announcement. HT: Wesley Smith
Fifteen patients (60 percent) could stand up, ten patients (40 percent) could walk on the parallels with braces, seven (28 percent) could walk without braces, and four (16 percent) could walk with crutches.

A school in the United Kingdom has banned a sixteen year-old mother from wearing a prolife t-shirt which said "Abortion is Murder" to school.

Michael New: Casey @ 15

Friday Cat Blogging

Thursday, June 28, 2007

George Tiller to be charged with 19 misdemeanors

According to the Associated Press:
Attorney General Paul Morrison said Tiller didn't rely on a financially and legally independent doctor in obtaining a second opinion required under Kansas law for some late-term abortions.

Liberally uniformed

LiberalLucy has a diary at the Michigan Liberal blog where she calls on her fellow Michigan liberals to promote embryonic stem cell research in Michigan. Unfortunately, Lucy has been misled by proponents of embryonic stem cell research into thinking:

1.) Embryonic stem cell research is banned in Michigan - it's isn't.

2.) Legislation sponsored by Mark Meadows would "provide criminal penalties to anyone who attempts to clone human embryos" when there are already criminal penalties for those who attempt to clone human embryos. Meadows legislation would only increase penalties for human cloning to bring a child to birth after legislation by Andy Meisner legalizes the cloning of human embryos.

It's also sad that Lucy doesn't appear to understand (or possibly she hasn't read) the legislation she's so keen on promoting. If she did, she'd know that Andy Meisner's legislation (H.B. 4616) legalizes using human cloning to create cloned human embryos which could then be destroyed for their stem cells.

While Lucy is busy promoting embryonic stem cell research, the disease she unfortunately suffers from has been successfully treated with adult stem cells and there are even a number of clinical trials recruiting patients with Crohn's disease to undergo adult stem cell transplants.

What Lucy also fails to recognize is that the argument she uses to avoid the ethical problems with killing human embryos for research (they're "medical waste" who are going to die anyway) could hypothetically be used by someone who's in favor of killing patients with severe Crohn's disease for medical research.

What ground will proponents of embryonic stem cell research have to stand on if they argue, "we should use human embryos is medical experiments because they're going to die anyway" when a proponent of killing those with severe medical conditions (for their organs) justifies his position by saying, "those with severe medical conditions are just going to die anyway so why not harvest their organs and save lives?"

As Scott Klusendorf points out,
"The fact is that we all die sometime. Do those of us who are going to die later have the right to kill (and exploit) those who will die sooner? Even if an individual's death is imminent, we still do not have a license to use him for lethal experiments. We cannot, for example, conduct experiments upon death-row prisoners or harvest their organs without their consent. Nor can we extract body parts from mortally wounded soldiers while they are dying on the battlefield."

Tip for pickpockets

Don't try to steal from a 72 year-old former Marine who was a Golden Gloves boxer.
Bill Barnes says he was scratching off a losing $2 lottery ticket around 9 a.m. June 22 at the Next Door Food Store at 4616 Alpine Avenue in Alpine Township. That is when he felt a hand slip into his front-left pants pocket, where he had $300 in cash.

He immediately grabbed the person's wrist with his left hand and started throwing punches with his right, landing six or seven blows before a store manager intervened.

Someone George Tiller could learn from...

A physician in India has filed a complaint of negligence against himself after botching an abortion on a woman who later died.

But that would require Tiller to feel something with regards to the death of young women like Christin Gilbert.

Embryonic stem cell derived from "parthenogenetic embryos"

Is this headline, Stem cells made from eggs, not embryos, appropriate when the experts who are quoted don't agree on whether a human embryo is created or not? Both George Daley (who is in favor of embryonic stem cell research) and Father Tad Pacholczyk (who is opposed to embryonic stem cell research) believe these are embryos while Ronald Green (in favor of ESCR) doesn't. So why does the headline read like there is some kind of consensus? Especially when the researchers in the title of their article say they derived the stem cells from "blastocysts" (a type of embryo) and later use the term "parthenogenetic embryos" to describe what they created.

Parthenogenesis is a term used to describe a type of asexual reproduction where the development of an organism occurs without a male contribution. It occurs naturally in some species and in 2004 scientists used an artificial parthenogenetic technique to create 2 newborn mice.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Life Links 6/27/07

Turn Around on Abortion. Christopher Blunt and Fred Steeper discuss the shift of public opinion on the abortion issue in the state of Missouri. One interesting note is the rise in prolife feelings among those who seldom or never attend church. Also of note, women aged 18-29 are more prolife than other age and gender groups.

I can't find mainstream news sites which verify this story but LifeSite News (Update: LifeSite has retracted the story) and a blog from Brussels are reporting that a pastor in Germany was sentenced to a year in jail after he compared abortion to the holocaust.

In the shadow of the increasing numbers of abortions in Britain, doctors at the British Medical Association voted in favor of removing the requirement that women obtain signatures from two doctors on abortions performed in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.

UPI has a story about how U.S. scientists have used adult stem cell to treat patients with angina.
Within three to six weeks after the patients were injected with their own stem cells, many who used to experience pain just from walking to the refrigerator, reported only having pain when climbing two flights of stairs, researchers reported.
Don't worry this is another story of successful treatment with adult stem cells which won't get a lot of media attention.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"But I already knew what I had to do...."

Stand to Reason's Amy Hall has pointed me to this article on MSN web site by a woman who had an abortion after it was discovered the child had an open neural tube defect. Some quotes:
But I already knew what I had to do....

Walking around with a belly full of broken dreams, I felt like I was drowning. I couldn't shower, because I didn't want to touch my stomach and accept that there was life in there; yet I couldn't bring myself to have a glass of wine to calm my nerves, because, of course, I knew there was....

This was a 19-week-old baby, one that I desperately wanted, that would be pulled out of me bit by bit -- that's the way it works through the "dilation and evacuation" procedure.

I stared at the screen. The president was, in essence, calling me a baby killer.

I think Amy adds some valuable insights about how hard it would be to change this woman's mind about abortion after she's had one. This woman calls the child that was inside her a "baby," wouldn't have a drink of alcohol (seemingly because it would be wrong because alcohol could hurt the child), and defensively claims she "had" to have an abortion. She recognizes that she choose to have her child killed. I would guess she thinks President Bush is calling her a "baby killer" because that's how she views herself at certain times.

After reading Gretchen Voss' story, I had the feeling that I'd read this story before. I had. It was in the Boston Globe in 2004. She wrote a message to pro-choice activists for NARAL in April of 2007 after Nancy Keenan read her story in Marie Claire. In her message to NARAL supporters, Voss falsely asserted, "If President Bush's Federal Abortion Ban had been in force on that day, my husband and I wouldn't have had this option." The story of her abortion is always tied to her making inaccurate claims (parroted from pro-choice groups) about partial-birth abortion legislation.

I wonder how Voss would respond if someone asked her if it should be legal to kill infants born with open neural tube defects? After this story, it doesn't appear she could claim that would be different because the unborn aren't human beings since she seems to accept that her unborn children were living human beings.

Life Links 6/26/07

Another New Jersey abortion clinic gets closed for health violations.
State inspectors say they found problems with infection control, documentation and the facility itself at Alternatives.
Here's the abortion clinic's web site.

What kind of person kills a pregnant woman? Besides the case in Ohio where Bobby Cutts has been charged in the murders of both his girlfriend Jessie Davis and her unborn child Chloe, in North Carolina a trial is underway for the murders of Tara Chambers and her child T'Kaiya Chambers, who was born after her mother was shot. According to the district attorney, Tyrone Gladden hired a hit man to kill his former girlfriend after she refused to have an abortion.

A recent study whose findings were presented at the American Diabetes Association 2007 Scientific Sessions found infusions of umbilical cord blood "may ameliorate the serious complications of type 1 diabetes."
The authors hypothesized that because umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells and regulatory T cells, it might over time help to enhance or restore metabolic control in children in the early stages of type 1 diabetes.

The New York Times has published a variety of letters in response to Marie Henneberger's piece on why the Democratic party's position on abortion is bad for them.

Monday, June 25, 2007

$50,000 or an abortion

Help My Baby Live is the web site of an anonymous couple claiming they will have an abortion if their web site doesn't raise $50,000 in the next three months. Their web site claims to have raised $10,200 at the time of this posting.
Because of the state we're in, we have about three months to make a decision one way or the other. Right now, we're leaning toward abortion. We're simply not financially secure enough to ensure that we can bring up a kid in the environment it would deserve. It's not that we're poor, we just don't have the stability that we think having a baby necessitates....

It comes down to this. If we can't raise the $50,000 in the next 3 months, we'll have to choose abortion. We don't like it, and we don't like the nature of our appeal, but it is what it is.
Assuming this isn't a hoax (I'm nearly certain it is) I'm wondering if pro-choicers are disgusted by this. Is something like this worse than hoax, where the owners of a bunny rabbit promised to kill him and eat him if people didn't donate money or buy merchandise? If it is disgusting, why is it disgusting?

Some recent advancements in adult stem cell research

Adult stem cells are helping children with brain tumors. The July 1, 2007 issue of Cancer will feature a study by French researchers which "reported that a high-dose regimen of busulfan and thiotepa supported by autologous stem cells followed by local radiotherapy resulted in a 69% 5-year survival in children with medulloblastoma that had progressed after initial surgery or surgery plus chemotherapy....Medulloblastoma is a relatively rare brain tumor in children and has a grave prognosis."

Researchers from Japan have used bone marrow stem cells to help the hearing of rodents with acute hearing loss.
The study showed that stem cell migration into the damaged area of the inner ear improved hearing of high frequency sound by 23 per cent, as compared to natural recovery in untreated animals.

Life Links 6/25/07

Some Romanian gangs have been trying to sell infants at supermarket parking lots in some European countries.

One pro-choice woman's experience with RU-486 (mifepristone/misoprostol) as told in Marie Claire. HT: After Abortion
But you know what else would help? If doctors and clinic staff dispelled the misconception many women have that the "early option" is an easy option. In all fairness, my postabortion experience was, according to several gynecologists, more severe than most. It's entirely possible that the aftershocks I suffered were magnified by grief as well as guilt that I'd brought this on myself. But was it the abortion pill that magnified my grief and guilt over ending the pregnancy or the grief and guilt that magnified my reaction to the abortion pill? There's no way to really know.

Wesley Smith: Blank Check Ethics: Here Come the "Manimals"

Ramesh Ponnuru reviews Lee Silver's recent book Challenging Nature.
Many of Silver's quarrels with evangelical and Catholic conservatives display a weak grasp of the material. is not part of the "evangelical press." The Catholic Church did not reach the conclusion that embryos should be protected from conception onward because of a belief that sperm were tiny human beings. The view that embryos have "a rational nature" is not "equivalent to saying that a single cell can think on its own and make sensible choices about its future life." The word "goods" is not "a term used uniquely by adherents of natural law." Pro-lifers have no ambition to deny other people's rights "not to hold a Christian belief in the ensoulment of an early embryo"; they merely deny that people have a right to kill embryos on the basis of their beliefs. The proposed ban on cloning would not make it a crime to go overseas to get medical treatments based on cloning and then return to the U.S. The congressman who introduced that bill is named David, not Joseph, Weldon. And so, alas, on.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Life Links 6/22/07

Melinda Henneberger in the New York Times: Why Pro-Choice is a Bad Choice for Democrats
Over 18 months, I traveled to 20 states listening to women of all ages, races, tax brackets and points of view speak at length on the issues they care about heading into '08. They convinced me that the conventional wisdom was wrong about the last presidential contest, that Democrats did not lose support among women because "security moms" saw President Bush as the better protector against terrorism. What first-time defectors mentioned most often was abortion.

Looks like President Bush will break out his veto pen after the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass an amendment which would have removed language allowed the funding of international groups which promote abortion overseas.

Another upcoming study from British researchers using adult stem cells to help heart patients. This timethey're using adult stem cells to help patients who are undergoing coronary by pass surgery.
Specifically, the researchers want to determine if the stem cells can prevent late scar formation and the impaired heart contraction that can result from that scarring.

BBC News has an article on the continued mistreatment of human rights Chen Guangcheng, who is an opponent of China's one-child policy.

Here's some fun highlighting a comment from a Conservative atheist. Don't you just love it when someone with an exceptionally small amount of knowledge on a subject comments in blanket generalizations (some of which are obviously false) and then is upset with others for making blanket statements.
I am a Conservative. Does that make me a bible-thumpin', anti-abortion, anti-science moron? No, of course not - no matter what some of the people here might have you believe. I am an Atheist. I know a fetus doesn't become a child until it can survive outside the womb without artificial means of support and, because of that, abortion is really nothing more than excising a piece of unwanted tissue in much the same way one would get rid of a cyst, tumor, or parasitic infestation. I believe my President was wrong to veto this very important bill.

I see people here making too many blanket statements and generalizations, each one taking up a position at one farthest end or the other of the political spectrum. I see a great deal of invective from both sides and the few who try to maintain intelligent discourse seem to be the targets of the most vehement attacks....

For my fellow Conservatives that argue this bill only prevents tax dollars from being spent but doesn't hinder private research, you need to understand that there are currently only a very limited number of "lines" of embryonic stemcells legalized for use in this country and no researcher may use any cells but those in their studies. This bill for Federal funding would've opened up the possibility of establishing new cell lines from the previously mentioned surplus embryos. With the bill vetoed, research is still limited to just those lines no matter how much private funding you might have.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Life Links 6/21/07

A mother in California is suing Planned Parenthood and a hospital over her daughter's death.
The lawsuit alleges that Edrica Goode, 21, went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Riverside for an abortion Jan. 31 and that a nurse inserted cervical dilators, used to gradually expand the cervix in preparation for second-trimester abortions, despite the fact that Goode had a vaginal infection.

Yuval Levin on Bush's veto and executive order
These opponents have tried to argue that time and advances in stem-cell science have undermined the principle of the Bush policy. But in reality, over the past two years a slow but steady wave of new research has begun to undermine not the Bush policy but rather the two original premises of the entire stem-cell debate. It seems that embryonic stem cells may not be unique in their so-called "pluripotency," and it therefore seems that cells with the potential scientists are after could be obtained without causing harm to human embryos.

Some Democrats are finally coming up with a plan which seems to undermine the reasoning behind Bush's stem cell policy by moving up the creation date of human embryonic stem cell lines eligible for federal funding from August 2001 to June 2007. The possibility of this kind of legislation worried me back when Bush first announced his stem cell policy because I have trouble seeing how the administration will be able to defend the arbitrariness of the date set in Bush's August 2001 decision.

Embryonic stem cell proponents have had what I would consider more of an absolutist approach to this issue (they want the federal government to fund human embryonic stem cell research regardless of when the human embryos were destroyed) while this other approach which is being advocated by Senator Tom Harkin simply moves the date, a more incremental approach. Harkin can argue (as Bush did back in August 2001) that those human embryos, whose cells have been used to create embryonic stem cell lines between August 2001 and June 2007, have already been destroyed and that providing tax funding for research on those stem cell lines doesn't "sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos." Maybe I'm missing it but I'm not seeing how the administration would respond to that argument.

Hillary Clinton falsely claims embryonic stem cell research is "ban(ned)"

What an irresponsible statement from a presidential candidate.
As President, I will lift the ban on ethical embryonic stem cell research and allow our scientists to pursue treatments that could help millions of Americans.
Why must proponents of embryonic stem cell research continually lie about whether human embryonic stem research is banned or not and whether it receives federal funds or not?

Read some of the comments below the post on Hillary's site and you'll begin to get an idea of how ignorant the average American is about stem cell research. It's embarrassing how misinformed these people are. This has been a fairly major political issue for more than five years and yet they know literally nothing. They know one make-believe story line which basically states, "Embryonic stem cell research is likely to cure numerous diseases in the near future. We can't cure these diseases because President Bush has banned this research." Some of them don't even seem to understand there is such a thing as adult stem cell research. None of them seem to understand the federal government has provided more than $100 million for human embryonic stem cell research in the past four years and plans to spend an additional $74 million in the next two.

Sadly, leading political proponents of embryonic stem cell research, instead of be honest with the American people, continue to intentionally propagate myths they know are false.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bush vetoes bill to expand the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research

Here's his message to the U.S. Senate along with an executive order expanding federal funding to pluripotent stem cell lines created without destroying human embryos and a fact sheet entitled "Advancing Stem Cell Research While Respecting Moral Boundaries."

UPDATE:Harry Reid's response to the veto speaks for itself. It's a prime example of the completely overstated hype and ignorant emotional appeals which embryonic stem cell proponents continue to retch around. It's like the staffer that wrote this doesn't know the first thing about the legislation, the current policy, or the science around stem cell research.

Who has human dignity?

The blog of British magazine The Difference has some interesting points regarding human dignity after reading the Academy of Medical Sciences' report on inter-species embryos.
Somewhat ironically, though, in making their case for proceeding with research on other kinds of hybrid and chimeric embryos, they use an argument that could equally undermine respect afforded to people who are disabled or elderly. For they argue that human "dignity arises from the qualities possessed by a creature, rather than species membership per se."

However, they do not define what these mystic "factors of form, function or behaviour" are. If we can justify excluding human rights from individuals who because of their immaturity lack certain undefined "factors of form, function or behaviour," then what is to prevent us from excluding those same rights from individuals who because of physical or mental impairment also lack those same factors?....

Or, to encroach on the abortion debate, at what point of maturity do embryos acquire the necessary "factors of form, function or behaviour" to merit their protection from needless destruction? At present, the creation and use of human embryos for research is not permitted beyond 14 days in vitro. In order to be consistent, should the time frame allowed for human embryo research be extended to 24 weeks to match that for abortions, should the time frame for abortions be reduced to 14 days to match that for in vitro experiments, or should some other compromise be reached?

Life Links 6/20/07

Jill Stanek has provided some notes on a recent speech by Clarke Forsythe regarding what he calls the prudential approach vs. the absolute approach.

Wesley Smith on another supposed achievement by Advanced Cell Technology. This time they supposedly did what they claimed they did before.

A police officer named Dick Lalowskihas been found guilty of verbally and physically assaulting an abortion protester while he was off-duty according to a ruling by police and fire commissioners. They have yet to decide what his punishment will be. The police chief wants him fired.

Does anybody else wish this ABC News story actually explained what the limits on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research are? And you've got to love the quote from Nancy Reagan they drudged up from 2004.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Higher rates of illegitimacy because of legal abortion?

That's what John Lott Jr. opines in the Wall Street Journal.
From the beginning of the abortion debate, those favoring abortion have pointed to the social costs of "unwanted" children who simply won't get the attention of "wanted" ones. But there is a trade-off that has long been neglected. Abortion may eliminate "unwanted" children, but it increases out-of-wedlock births and single parenthood.
This reminds me of something Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his book Party of Death (pages 69, 71):
Freakonomics got this much right: The legalization of abortion caused the number of conceptions to go up 30 percent, while causing the number of birth to go down by only 6 percent.

Many of the unborn children who have been aborted since Roe, in other words, would never have been conceived in the first place without it.....

(Legalized) Abortion may not lead to fewer unwanted children; it may lead to the birth of more children who aren't wanted by their fathers. While this result may sound counterintuitive - and some research supports the opposite view - it is worth noting that abortion and illegitimacy rate rose in tandem during the 1970s and have fallen in tandem since the 1990s.

Life Links 6/19/07

Abortions are up around 4% in the UK and there's not one quote from a prolife organization in the article from the Telegraph. The answer to the problem given by abortion advocates is, of course, more access to contraceptives (as if British youth have no way of getting condoms and birth control pills). Not a single thought about how not using tax dollars to pay for abortions would affect the abortion rate.

A researcher in Oregon named Shoukhrat Mitalipov has claimed to have created monkey embryos via cloning and grown them to a point where he extracted their embryonic stem cells. He presented his findings in Australia at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. His research has yet to be published.

I'm sure this book will be classic for the ages. Not! "Blastocystic stem cell research" - that's a new one, isn't?

UPDATE: It appears the author of the above book, Yvonne Perry, has a blog entitled Right2Recover. For just a taste of the author's delusions, she claims, "Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) is the single most important advance for all who suffer chronic illness and injury."

Also don't miss her Did you know tip sheet post where she asserts the blastocysts killed for their stem cells aren't really embryos. Her (lack of) reasoning is based on her misunderstanding of what conception is - she seems to think conception is the same thing as implantation - and that embryos only become embryos after they've been implanted in the womb. Sadly, her book which is likely filled with this kind of ignorance includes a foreword by "Dr. Evan Snyder of Burnham Institute and endorsements from Cure Paralysis Now, Don C. Reed of California’s Prop 71, Christopher Reeve Foundation, and many others" according to this post.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Trying to make the incompatible compatible

This is a sure sign of how much trouble the American Episcopal Church is in. One of their pastors, Ann Holmes Redding, believes she is both Muslim and Christian. The worst part might be how her bishop responded to this,
Redding's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, says he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting.
What other "exciting" things can we do if we ignore each religion's truth claims? Maybe Redding will next believe that Jerusalem and Mecca are the same place. Or that Jesus and Mohammad were the same person. What exciting interfaith possibilities those are! Just make up whatever you want!

Later on we get a taste of Redding's beliefs and start to see why she thinks Islam and Christianity are compatible.
She believes Jesus is the son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.
So then Jesus is just like other humans but cooler?

As Melinda Penner at the STR blog says, "One can only confess both Christianity and Islam if she misunderstands them both and treats religion like she chooses ice (cream). She can have both strawberry and butter pecan, but she can't have both Christianity and Islam."

LifeLinks 6/18/07

Here's a sad story. A man from Missouri was sentenced to life in prison after killing his girlfriend's son. He was apparently upset with her after she aborted his child.

It's amazing how Planned Parenthood's tune changes after legislation passes, isn't it? Then...we won't be able to provide'll stay open it will just cost us some money.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh "have engineered artificial blood vessels from muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs) and a biodegradable polymer that exhibit extensive remodeling and remain free of blockages when grafted into rats."

University of Pittsburgh researchers also announced they have "isolated and cultured human hematopoietic stem cells from fat, or adipose, tissue, suggesting a new source of cells for reconstituting the bone marrow of patients undergoing intensive radiation therapy for blood cancers."

Friday, June 15, 2007

"Not really a moral choice at all"

UK Times Online Gerard Baker on why abortion isn't often featured in movies:
The big difference, of course, is that abortion is worse than slavery. Not just in the obvious sense that it involves the taking of life rather than liberty. But because our current debate suggests that deep down most of us really know there’s something quite wrong with abortion.

Say what you will about the slaveowners, I doubt many of them sat around agonising about their decision to keep Uncle Tom and his family chained to the shack at the end of the drive. I doubt they justified it, after much soul-searching, by saying they were only painfully exercising their “choice” to own slaves so they wouldn’t have to sacrifice their standard of living.

When even Hollywood declines to celebrate the moral courage involved in choosing an abortion, it might be time we all woke up to what abortion really is.

Life Links 6/15/07 - Republican Presidential Candidates Edition

Fred Thompson sent a video in for National Right to Life's Convention.
HT: The Corner

Mitt Romney on stem cell research.

I'm not sure McCain making the right move attacking Romney's prolife credentials. Remember this is the same McCain who's in favor of expanding the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

LifeLinks 6/14/07

An investigative panel has found that errors in Catherine Verfaillie's work don't undermine the main findings in her paper.
The original research is significant because it suggests adult stem cells can develop into other cells, which is a trait previously ascribed only to the more politically touchy embryonic stem cells.

Police in India have arrested Dr. AK Singh on suspicion of illegally aborting female unborn children.

Philadelphia's city council has rescinded it's pro-choice declaration.

LifeLinks Colorado Right to Life addition

Colorado Right to Life is no longer a National Right to Life Committee affiliate. Jill Stanek has the details. Jill also received an e-mail from a lawyer from the Thomas More Society noting how Colorado Right to Life's Bob Enyart took one of his quotes out of context. From the bottom of this post by Leslie Hanks it appears Colorado Right to Life will soon be affiliating themselves with American Life League. I hope they spend their resources on working to save lives and not on filing lawsuits against other prolife organizations.

Meanwhile, Colorado RTL's Ed Hanks is upset about Stanek's recent column on his organization's strategies. His post fails to provide evidence or good reasoning as to why his group's strategy will work and makes a number of assertions which don't make any sense to me. He constantly uses the term "evil" to describe prolife laws such as parental consent and informed consent laws which have saved thousands of lives. (Ed, try to imagine for one second how you'd feel if someone called your strategy "evil" - not "mistaken," not "bad," but "evil.") He also claims the prolife laws he opposes make a 40% reduction in abortion impossible.

Really? Cough(Michigan )Cough, Cough(Mississippi)Cough.

Abortion: The Magical Problem Solver (well, not really)

The Nation's Katha Pollitt (of how-dare-the-Supreme-Court-use-a-term-I-used-a-year-ago fame) has a new blog and in the first entry she discusses an e-mail she received from the Equal Access Fund of Tennessee, an organization which raises money for women in Tennessee to get abortions. Katha forwards the information about one woman who wants money to help pay for an $850 second-trimester abortion
"She's a single mom with a 19 month old; co-conceiver skipped town; no child support because that dude skipped town; she is clinically very depressed and extremely desperate. She makes less than $800 a month working fulltime. She makes too much to get any state aid and definitely not covered by TNCare. She becamse pregnant after her birth control failed to prevent her pregnancy.
After reading this - my first thought is what are the real problems in this woman's life? Is it that she's pregnant? Or is it that she's in a difficult spot financially, she's clinically depressed, and the man in her life has abandoned her?

The second thing I thought was - does getting a second-trimester abortion do anything to solve her financial, emotional, and relational problems?

Notice the ridiculous assertion that the woman can't get child support because the father skipped town. Does Tennessee have some kind of "skipped-town" clause which frees men who father children from providing child support if they move 30 miles away? Doubtful. The real problem is she probably doesn't have a lawyer or someone to help her use the legal system to force the father to pay child support.

It seems that the real way to help this woman would be to put her in contact with an attorney who does pro-bono work and who could help garnish part of the father's wages. Or maybe find an organization which would be willing to help provide her and her child with health care.

What I find truly amazing is how Katha ends the post without any thought to how this woman will live after her abortion. No thought to the fact this woman will go back home to same difficult situation (single mom with a low wage job, no health care, and absent father). Who cares about those huge financial, emotional, and relational hurdles? She just had an abortion so the real problems in this woman's life mystically disappear because she's no longer pregnant. It's so convenient how abortion solves the big problems of life, isn't it? It must be so nice for people like Katha to give a little to the Equal Access Fund of Tennessee (and similar organizations), pat themselves on the back for not spending that money on a Starbucks latte and muffin and go on their merry way without any thought as to how desperate women with enormous problems will cope with life after an abortion.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Legal abortion up to birth - why not beyond?

That's what some pro-choice commentators at Echidne of the Snakes believe is alright.

I wonder if they have a problem with a full-term fully-delivered child being killed if the child is still attached to the mother via umbilical cord. That child is still "forcefully" using the mother's body, right?

Or if killing a full-term child who is 90% delivered?

What kind of argument can these people can make against women who abandon their newborns in garbage cans? Isn't it a "violation of human rights" to force a woman to use her body in a way which prevents her from abandoning the child?

HT: Gold Plated Witch on Wheels

How sad

Jill Stanek reports that Colorado Right to Life is planning on filing a lawsuit against National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) if National Right to Life votes to disenfranchise them. An e-mail from Bob Enyart sent to other prolife organizations promises to make "every effort" not to include other prolife organizations in the lawsuit if those organizations include a quote from Dobson (or a similar quote from others) regarding partial-birth abortion in their fundraising letters that mention partial-birth abortion. What a great way to make alliances - "Do this and you won't get sued."

Colorado Right to Life has been virtually begging to get disenfranchised with some of their recent actions. I would think they'd be much more comfortable being an affiliate of American Life League considering their non-incrementalist strategy (or whatever they call it) so I don't understand what their goal would be in suing NRLC.

Life Links 6/13/07

A man in Sweden has been sentenced to one year in jail after mixing abortion pills into his girlfriend's food.
Having completed her meal, the woman became nauseous, began bleeding and was close to having a miscarriage.

A 19-year-old writes into the Mirror's (a UK online newspaper) Dr. Miriam about her feelings after an abortion.

I wonder how much of the $450 million New Jersey lawmakers want to spend on stem cell research will be spent on adult stem cell research.

Michigan State professor Leonard Fleck appears open to sharing his ignorance regarding stem cell research and the State News reporter Pete Nicols could use some help as well. Man, if only the federal government provided funding for stem cell research. Oh wait, they do.

Meanwhile, scientists in Spain are using lasers (pretend I'm using the word "lasers" like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers) to implant adult stem cells into the hearts of patients.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another fun chronicle in the history of the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures

According to the home page of their website, Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures is "501(c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization" and as such "MCSCRC does not and cannot express support for any piece of legislation or political petition related to stem cell research."

Yet it seems that many of the people they come in contact with believe they are leading the charge (they are) to overturn Michigan's laws which ban human cloning and prevent the killing of human embryos for research. MCSCRC has even posted an article from the Great Lakes IT Report which says, "There's a Web site behind the effort to repeal the ban, at"

Some background posts on MCSCRC here.

Please bring the abortion issue to the legislatures

Hadley Arkes in First Things discussing the recent partial-birth abortion decision and the push of pro-choice politicians to codify abortion rights at the legislative level.
But behold: With this panicky recoil from the holding in Carhart, the liberals are now behind the push to have the states start legislating again on abortion. With each move, they affirm the premise that the legislatures may indeed legislate on this subject. Their aim, of course, is to vindicate the right to abortion, but they will find that, as they try to shape that right, they will also be marking, unavoidably, the limits of abortion. And those limits, they will discover, will be drawn in far less broadly than any "limits" that can be found in the law of abortion as it has been shaped by the federal courts. The champions of abortion rights fancy they are taking the initiative, resisting the Court that has been altered now by the presence of John Roberts and Samuel Alito. But in the face of these initiatives, the pro-life side might well bring back that old line from Br'er Rabbit in the Uncle Remus stories: "Please don't throw me in that briar patch." But, of course, Br'er Rabbit, in the briar patch, was in his element. For the liberals to bring the issue of abortion into the arena of politics, in the legislatures, is to bring us into the briar patch, where they are likely to suffer some disagreeable surprises....

For the pro-lifers, the quibbling over trimesters touches no issue of principle, for the child does not undergo any change in species, or any morally relevant change, in the shift from the first trimester to a later one. Still, a deliberation in a legislature, even in New York or New Jersey, may find legislators trying to confine, or pretend to confine, abortions to the first trimester. But once that move is made, they would be open to the move to forbid abortion after the first evidence of a beating heart. In one recent survey, 62 percent of the respondents professed to be opposed to abortion after the evidence of a beating heart.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Darned if you do, darned if you don't

Option #1 - You don't have an exception for rape and incest.

For example, current U.S. Senator Sam Brownback doesn't have an exception for rape and incest. Here's how Jessica Valenti (from Feministing and NARAL's blog) feels about that.
Lovely. Compassionate conservatives, huh?
From that sarcastic post you might be thinking Jessica thinks conservatives who have rape/incest exceptions can be compassionate conservatives while conservatives without those exceptions aren't really compassionate. The problem is Jessica heaps more insults on the motives of people with exceptions.

Option #2 - You have an exception for rape and incest.

According to Jessica, if you have an exception for rape and incest, it's seemingly because you want to punish women for having consensual sex.
This logic goes to show that this isn't about making sure women are informed—it's about punishing them. So women who were raped shouldn't have to have their noses rubbed in their pregnancies and be punished any further--that's just for the "bad" women who wanted to have sex. Ugh.

What's common to both of these posts is a complete lack of any kind of argument from Jessica. She would much rather insult prolifers than actually make solid arguments as to why having a rape/incest exception is so bad and why not having one is also horrible.

Sadly, this kind of response is fairly typical of the pro-choice feminist bloggers I read. If someone doesn't have exceptions, then they're a nutjob. If they do, then their real motive is to punish women for having sex.

Life Links 6/11/07

I think the New York Times should write an editorial calling Mike Wallace "deluded" after his letter to editor. What a clown. What does Kevorkian speaking Japanese (or any of Wallace's other points) have to do with whether or not Kevorkian is "deluded and unrepentant?"

In a recent sit down interview with Mitch Albom, Kevorkian even declared, "If I were sorry, I'd be a hypocrite" and "I wanted the imprisonment."

Deluded and unrepentant sound just about right.

Deluded might also be an appropriate term for Nancy Pelosi who according to a story in the New York Times thinks,
"Science is a gift of God to all of us and science has taken us to a place that is biblical in its power to cure," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. "And that is the embryonic stem cell research."
Biblical in its power to cure whom? All those imaginary patients?

Dennis Byrne: No place for politics in stem cell science
Significant numbers of scientists believe that the less controversial route to creating stem cells is possible, but their voices have been drowned out by politicians who would have it that if you're opposed to embryonic stem cell research, you're a "right-wing nut" who opposes all stem cell research.
Or being drowned out by ignorant Hollywood-types. For example, this ridiculous YouTube video by director Jerry Zucker.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Life Links 6/8/07

A mother and daughter share their abortion experiences in the UK's Daily Mail.

Wesley Smith on the death of an assisted suicide bill in California.

Redefining pro-choice - Jen from Feministing writes, "By the way, I said "leadership" in the pro-life community because I do realize there are people who consider themselves to be pro-life but are not out to control women. However, in my experience, most of those people do support sex ed and birth control, so I consider them pro-choice."

Huh? So people who oppose the legality of abortion but are in favor of sex ed and birth control are pro-choice??

Mona Charen on Dianne DeGette and stem cell "extremists."

Friday Puppy Blogging

Below are a couple of pictures of a black lab puppy who was seemingly abandoned and left to run loose on a very busy street in my neighborhood. My county's animal control is in the process of finding her a better home.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pelosi's Cloning Stumble

Yuval Levin on the failed phony human cloning ban.
Quite apart from any message this sends on human cloning (and the message it sends is roughly the opposite of the one Pelosi was trying to send) this is an extraordinarily embarrassing failure of basic management by the Speaker. Did she not count votes before bringing a bill up under suspension of the rules? All she has managed to do is put her members in an even more uncomfortable position. Meanwhile she's sending them into a vote on stem cell funding tomorrow just as front page stories appear about techniques that could one day make embryo-destructive research obsolete. The bill will still pass, to be sure, but by doing so it will raise the issue to prominence in almost the least advantageous imaginable circumstances for the Democrats.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Life Links 6/6/07 (part 2)

A Chinese blogger discusses how he's sick of hearing advertisement for abortion on the radio in China.
You know, it gives you the creeps when some urging, exuberant voice jumps in, telling you where to go for good abortions. This is just so crazy! The horrifying sale pitch just sounds like telling people the killing can be safe, painless and efficient.

A commenter at BreakPoint's blog provides a comparison with regards to the partial-birth abortion ruling.
Yes, the battle isn't over. Yes, there's still major territory we have yet to assault. Yes, there are ways for abortionists to get around the lines drawn in this bill. But the fact that there are now lines they have to work around is a significant victory that people like Dobson (and their donors and supporters) have invested enormous amounts of time, energy, and money to win. Don't go tearing them down for celebrating it. Ripping into one another will only make it that much harder for us to get off the strip of beach we have taken and start taking some real territory.

Yuval Levin on how a new study published in Nature is again showing that adult cells in mice can be turned into cells which feature the same flexibility as embryonic stem cells.
The team states its startling conclusion in the usual mild-mannered scientific deadpan: "Our results show that the biological potency and epigenetic state of in-vitro-reprogrammed induced pluripotent cells are indistinguishable from those of embryonic stem cells." They assert with confidence that their findings "establish that somatic cells can be reprogrammed to a pluripotent state that is similar, if not identical, to that of normal embryonic stem cells." In other words a regular adult cell, like one of your skin cells, can be turned into the equivalent or near-equivalent of an embryonic stem cell, and without the need for any embryos. These are truly astonishing findings, unimaginable just a few years ago.

Life Links 6/6/07

Adult stem cell research for visual disorders gets a grant - but will they get a long article in the Washington Post?

Yesterday, California's embryonic stem cell program announced it is giving grants totalling $50 million to various universities in California. $42.6 million is for the construction of labs and equipment while another $7.8 million is for training programs. None of the money appears to be slated for any actually research on embryonic stem cells.

James Sherley talks about embryonic stem cell research with the Wall Street Journal.
He thinks embryonic stem cells, to be useful, would have to be turned into adult stem cells first. In that case, he asserts, there is no need to rush into research with the embryonic cells.....

The transformation of an embryonic stem cell, he says, is a one-way street: Once one of the cells turns, say, into a pancreatic cell, it can't go back. That's different from adult stem cells, which typically divide into two -- one "differentiated" cell with a specific function and another stem cell. In this way, adult stem cells keep their own numbers steady, even as they regenerate the organ they belong to.

By contrast, tissue derived from embryonic stem cells would quickly wither away, contends Dr. Sherley, unless some of the embryonic stem cells first produced into a self-sustaining colony of adult stem cells. Or, he cautions, if the tissue stayed in a more primitive form, it would keep dividing uncontrollably and cause cancer. His conclusion: It's easiest and safest to start with adult stem cells.

Stupid celebrity quote of the week

This from supermodel Gisele Buendchen:
'I am in favour of women doing whatever they want with their bodies,' she said. 'I went to an exhibition in New York which showed the inside of the human body and also the phases of pregnancy. Until four months into the pregnancy there is almost nothing, it's like a small grain.'
At then at fourth months the child instantly develops from a "small grain" into something which looks like this. Maybe Gisele should return to that exhibit but this time bring her glasses.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Natural Right to Life Die How You Wish?

You can watch the Today Show interview with Jack Kevorkian where he asserts that "the right to control the circumstances of one's own death" is a natural right "we are born with" here. Kevorkian and his attorney also have some interesting numbers from polls which are conveniently not cited.

Life Links 6/5/07

Scott Klusendorf on Dr. Dobson's critics:
Their position amounts to this: Until we can legally protect all unborn humans we shouldn't protect any of them. Absurd.

Joe Carter on the movie Knocked Up.
One of the most striking aspects of the film is the use of language. Throughout the film, the obscenities flow freely, yet there is one word too obscene even for these foul-mouthed characters: abortion. When Ben tells his roommates about the pregnancy his buddy Jonah suggests that Alison get a procedure that, he says, "rhymes with 'shmashmortion'." He's quickly condemned as a "monster" by another roommate for even suggesting such an inhuman action. The only other person to hint that Alison should kill the child is her horrible mother who tells her to wait till she's ready to have a "real baby."

When adult stem cells treat human beings, it's often tough to find a story in a popular U.S. newspaper but what happens when embryonic stem cell researchers in England announce they're going to be working on finding a cure for a common form of blindness and hope they'll be able to treat a small group of patient in 5 years ? The Washington Post has a nice long article. Interestingly, the 10th paragraph of the story notes,
Surgeons at Moorfields have already restored the vision of a few patients using cells harvested from their own eyes, which were moved to a new site. But this process is complicated and only a small number of cells can be moved, limiting its use.

Lisa Birnbach displays how ignorant she is regarding Terri Schiavo (there was no cord) and Kevorkian (he didn't "assist" in Thomas Youk's death - he killed him) at the Huffington Post. She also compares whether it should be legal to kill the unborn with whether it should be legal to get the haircut of your choice.

Judie Brown is delusional

In a recent editorial, which was unfortunately posted by Leslie Hanks at ProlifeBlogs, Judie Brown again attacks Dr. James Dobson for being in favor of a ban on partial-birth abortion because the ban won't prevent any abortions and defends her organization's public attack on him. Yet her organizations and others are and will continue spending boatloads of their donors' money on advertisements which don't do a thing to prevent abortions and arguably hurt the prolife movement and its goals. Here's a thought: If your problem with the PBA ban is that it doesn't prevent abortions, then maybe you should be spending your donors' dollars on something which prevents abortions instead of on newspaper ads attacking other prolifers.

Probably the worst part is Brown's phony defense of her call for Dobson to repent.
Dr. Dobson and those who agree with his position to repent of their support for this sad, cruel Supreme Court ruling is in fact a sincere plea based on our respect for them and, more importantly, our respect for the truth.
Yep, that call to repent in a newspaper advertisements was done out of respect. You're not fooling anybody.

She cites prolifers being in favor of a ruling that allows legislation to ban a certain type of abortion procedure as evidence that "moral relativism has crept into pro-life politics and blinded many from seeing the difference between fact and fiction." Which leaves me wondering if she has any clue what moral relativism is especially since she seems to think political correctness and moral relativism are the same thing.

Remember this is the same woman who attacked legislators in Colorado for introducing an abortion ban with a life of the mother exception without ever taking the time to read the ban and realize it had the exact same life of the mother exception as the South Dakota ban she supported. And then when I pointed out her error she acted like she made no mention of the Colorado bill.

I think it's time for some people at American Life League to seriously consider if Judie Brown should continue in a leadership role.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sad day

Today, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by a lower court which ruled that Michigan's Legal Birth Definition Act was unconstitutional.

After reading the opinion, written by Judge Boyce Martin, I'm disgusted by how a judge can basically ignore a very relevant section of a law in their opinion. Throughout his opinion, Martin continually acts like the Legal Birth Definition would prohibit D & E abortions along with suction curettage abortions. He does this mainly by ignoring the Legal Birth Definition Act's definition of "anatomical part."

The LBDA defines "anatomical part" by saying, ""Anatomical part" means any portion of the anatomy of a human being that has not been severed from the body, but not including the umbilical cord or placenta."

But you'd never know that from reading Martin's opinion. You'd think the law banned any type of abortion where any part (whether attached or not) of the unborn child's body was outside the woman's body.

Here's the text from the decision (page10):
Because an anatomical part must be removed to conduct a D&E abortion, it is apparent that the Michigan statute would prohibit D&E, and under the framework of Stenberg and Gonzales, impose an unconstitutional undue burden.

Additionally, as the plaintiffs point out and the district court found, the statute's plain language would also apply to some suction curretage abortions, medical abortions and induction abortions, because the signs of life identified in the statute, such as a heartbeat, are often present after the fetus or embryo passes beyond the vaginal introitus in such procedures.

It is also disappointing that the court's decision immediately starts discussing the constitutionality of banning of abortion procedures and never addresses whether a state can define and decide when legal rights begin.

Here I am, send me to kill the unborn

Abortionist William Harrison has a diary at DailyKos discussing why he performs abortions. He mentions this piece was written a while ago. I'm guessing sometime in the early 90's since he uses abortion statistics from 1990. I found this part especially sickening.
Here is the short answer.

Like multitudes before me and, I trust, multitudes to come, I eventually heard (Try as I might to avoid hearing it!) in that mother's grief-filled declaration, "Oh God, Doctor, I was hoping it was cancer", a still, small voice asking, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" to which I was at last compelled to reply, "here am I, send me."
This is the same crackpot who has compared aborting children to making women "born again."

Harrison does again admit he's ending a life.
No one, neither the patient receiving an abortion, nor the person doing the abortion, is ever, at anytime, unaware that they are ending a life. We just don't believe that a developing embryo or fetus, whose mother cannot or will not accept it, has the same moral claims on us, claims to autonomy and justice, that an adolescent or adult woman has.
Harrison fails to provide any reasons for why he doesn't believe the unborn have the same moral claims as older, more developed human beings.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Kevorkian released

Into the open and loving arms of 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace who says, "What do you say young man?" Here's the AP Video.

Life Links 6/1/07

Here are the stories of two Scottish women (one 15 and one 29) who had abortions when they were 15.

Dawn Eden: Wise up, poor folks, say pro-choicers

It's interesting how pro-choicers can claim on one hand that abortion isn't harmful to a woman's mental health and then on the other hand discuss the shame and stigma some of these women have regarding their own abortions and the sadness they express when they talk about their decisions.

Disability rights group Not Dead Yet has a press release on how the AP's survey questions on Kevorkian were "badly botched."

Kevorkian's real desire

Compassionately helping terminally ill patients end their lives?

Nope. His real desire has been to perform experiments on living human beings as he kills them.

Wesley Smith goes over the history, starting with his first targets, prisoners and then moving on to those with illnesses, those in comas and "live fetuses in or out of the womb."
But the truly interesting story that will go mostly unwritten is how a clearly twisted personality — driven to his assisted suicide campaign by an obsession with human vivisection and a desire to exploit the weak and desperate for crass utilitarian purposes — became, for a time, the most famous and popular doctor in the world.