Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Life Links 7/31/07

Ross Douhat on What is Eugenics?

The Los Angeles Times has an article on abortion in Portugal.

UK scientists are hoping their finding using stem cells from fish eyes will help them use stem cells to repair the eyes of humans who have or are losing their sight.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Life Links 7/30/07

A woman has been arrested in Maryland after authorities found four children (possibly born prematurely, possibly aborted) at her residence.
Police found the most newly delivered child, a baby boy, in the vanity below a bathroom sink at Christy Freeman's home, according to charging documents. A further search found the corpses of two other babies in a trunk in her bedroom and another in a small recreational vehicle parked in her driveway.
The remains of the children have been sent to the chief medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death.

Britain's National Health Service has paid 27,500 pounds to a woman who claimed one of her children was aborted against her will.
In papers filed with the court, the Princess Alexandra hospital trust admitted that staff failed to counsel Ms Cooper about her pregnancy, failed to refer her to someone who could counsel her appropriately, and went ahead with the abortion without getting confirmation that she consented. The trust, which agreed to the settlement last week, conceded that she had not been seen by the surgeon before the operation despite her obvious concern.

The Detroit News has a story on how some abortion clinics in Michigan are using digoxin to cause "fetal death" and to make sure they aren't breaking the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Some of the quotes from abortion clinic director Renee Chelian are classic. She somehow thinks because a living unborn child can't be partially-delivered before being killed that means "(t)he fetus is given an equal status as the woman."

Could Hans Keirstead be more of a snake-oil salesman?

This is sickening - getting a paralyzed 19-year-old to donate a trust fund of $200,000 (planned for a house) for Keirstead's embryonic stem cell research. This is so unethical. By promising to cure someone and then accepting their donation, Keirstead is the stem cell research community's version of Benny Hinn.

Keirstead also repeats the claim (next year we'll be treating spinal cord patients with embryonic stem cells) he and his corporate partner Geron have been making for years.

Scientists at UC-Irvine received $7.9 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in March of 2007 for embryonic stem cell research. So even with corporate backing and access to loads of tax dollars, Keirstead is still trying to sucker people into believing he needs private citizens to donate or else he won't be able to get people out of wheelchairs.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Life Links 7/27/07 part 2

Authorities in Cincinnati have arrested the two teens who are allegedly responsible for the beating of Kerria Anderson and the killing of her unborn child after she refused to get an abortion.

The University of Missouri has accused one of its former researchers of putting faked photos into a paper which was published in science regarding mouse embryonic stem cells.

A pair of students at Northwestern Technical College won top prize at the national Phi Beta Lambda (a student business organization) competition for their topic in business ethics, "Placental Cord Blood Banks as an Ethical Alternative to Embryonic Stem Cell Research."

An abortion facility in Maryland has supposedly closed because the abortionist is retiring.

Life Links 7/27/07

Here's a story on a review of patients from the Indiana University School of Medicine on how chemotherapy and an adult stem cell transplant can successfully treat testicular cancer.
It is rare for the NEJM to carry a retrospective study from a single institution that is not a randomized study. This review looks at the outcome of 184 patients with metastatic testicular cancer. Dr. Einhorn and colleagues demonstrated that the disease is potentially curable with a high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant using cells harvested from the patient before the initial chemotherapy infusion.

These robocalls by Sam Brownback seem to me to be an exceptionally bad strategy. First, doesn't every single person in America hate robo-calls. I know I do - I ‘ve been getting robocalls for more than 3 years because one of my old roommates supposedly owed some money to some company. I delete the message or hang up after three words. Second, I don't think prolife Republicans are chomping at the bit to support a candidate who is smearing other Republicans who have taken prolife positions.

Steve Wagner discusses how some college students "claim that showing a picture of a mutilated fetus violates the rights and dignity of that fetus."

Wesley Smith asks, "Can a Human Non-Person be Molested"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Life Links 7/25/07

Ryan Anderson in First Things on Amnesty International's continuing bumbles on abortion.
Cox himself wrote that Amnesty International "opposes the specific provisions of the federal law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart that criminalize doctors who perform particular types of abortions." In other words, according to Amnesty International, when the government of the United States attempts to protect partially born Americans from death at the hands of abortionists, it is violating human rights.....

Amnesty International frequently claims to take "no position as to when life begins." But what reason can they give for taking no position on a question settled long ago by science? Does Amnesty International deny that the entity being "aborted" in partial-birth abortion is a human being? Are those feet the abortionist is holding when he jams a pair of scissors into the base of child's skull anything other than human feet? Is the blood that streams out something other than human blood? That a child in the womb is a living human being is a matter of scientific fact. Does Amnesty International deny it?

The problem with copying and pasting a bunch of pro-choice talking points instead of trying to make an actual argument is sometimes you copy and paste something using a pseudonym and other times you do it when you're using your real name. I wonder if West doesn't use his real name at Daily Kos because of his past comments comparing Planned Parenthood to Wal-Mart.

Here's a Los Angeles Times article entitled, "Democrats shift approach on abortion." On the second page the article even notes:
From a practical standpoint, increasing access to contraception will not eliminate abortion. Roughly half of all women who seek abortion said they were using some form of birth control, albeit inconsistently, the month they conceived. Some of the states, such as California, that have spent the most to improve access to family planning still have among the nation's highest abortion rates.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Wrongful" birth lawsuit

CBS News has a story on a couple who recently won a lawsuit against a doctor who failed to probably diagnose their son with a disease.
The couple claimed that Dr. Boris Kousseff failed to diagnose their first son's genetic disorder, called Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, which is the inability to correctly produce or synthesize cholesterol, after his 2002 birth.

Had the disorder been correctly diagnosed, a test would have indicated whether the couple's second child also was afflicted and they would have terminated the pregnancy, according to the lawsuit.
The couple's lawyer has a rather disturbing quote:
"I believe that this case is so powerful and this tragedy was so preventable and is so poignant, that it is the kind of case that should rise above the fray and rise above party politics," Searcy said.
That "poignant" "tragedy" being the birth of a child who is disabled.

The true tragedy here is parents who wish one of their children was dead.

The Patent Plot Thickens

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has been fighting to keep their patents on the isolation of human embryonic stem cells after their patents were challenged by various scientists and organization and preliminarily rejected. Today, WARF has this press release noting an Information Disclosure Statement they've submitted to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office about how two of the researchers (Alan Trounson and Jeanne Loring) who challenged the validity of WARF's embryonic stem cell research patents (with the argument that the research was obvious at the time based on research with mice cells) also applied for patents after they isolated embryonic stem cells.

Using adult stem cells to treat cardiomyopathy

Theravitae has a press release discussing their success treating a man from Michigan, who suffered from cardiomyopathy, with his own stem cells.
Jason Ludwick aged 34 from West Bloomfield, Michigan, counts himself a lucky man. Born with an atrial septal defect, by the time he was 15 he had a pacemaker; by 21 he was diagnosed as having cardiomyopathy and by 25 he had a defibrillator in place and an ejection fraction of just 8-10 percent. Heart failure dominated and restricted his life until he received adult stem cell therapy. Now he says that with training he could do a triathlon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shoddy conditions at New Jersey abortion clinic revealed

The Atlantic City Press lists the reasons why the Alternatives abortion clinic was shut down. Violations included "blood-stained operating tables," "expired drugs" and the absence of a scrub sink. The state health department found these violations after inspecting the clinic for the first time in six years.
The report also cited several sanitary issues, including "what appeared to be dried blood under the leg pads" on the procedure tables. Dust, rust, dirt and debris also were found on some equipment, and floors in the operating room, laboratory and recovery room were "soiled and stained."

Some of the sterilization problems may have stemmed from the clinic's lack of hot water. State standards require a licensed clinic to have hot water between 105 and 120 degrees. Based on routine water temperature checks during the past four years, the clinic failed to meet that standard 89 percent of the time, failing every check in 2004, 2005 and 2007.

Will pro-choice groups speak out against the conditions at this abortion clinic, the clinic's owner or operator? I won't be holding my breath.

Alternatives is the second abortion clinic which has been temporarily shut down by the New Jersey Health Department in the last year.

Monday, July 23, 2007

PBS's "Post Abortion Politics"

While watching a DVD on Friday night, my cheap $20 DVD player started acting up so I vainly tried to fix it by shutting it off and turning it back several times on before eventually taking it upstairs to our more reliable DVD/VCR combo. Anyway, while turning it off and waiting, I flipped through some stations and found a program on PBS focusing on abortion. It's entitled "Post Abortion Politics" and you can watch it online. After watching a couple of minutes of it, I was left wondering if anyone at PBS realizes how biased they are and how obvious those biases are to their audience.

The program portrays work by prolife organizations focused on how abortion affects women as "a seismic shift in strategy." A seismic shift in strategy? Prolifers have been noting how abortion hurts women for decades. PBS also seems to think prolifers think abortion should be illegal because it hurts women. This shows a very weak understanding of how prolifers view this issue. I don't know if I ever recall a prolifer or a prolife organization saying abortion should be illegal because it hurts women.

PBS gives a lot of time to Nada Stotland and never mentions her ties to a pro-choice group (the Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (she used to be on their board of directors - as did George Tiller), her pro-choice testimony in front of Congress, her books entitled "Abortion: Facts and Feelings" and "Psychiatric Aspects of Abortion" from 1998 and 1991, respectively, or her article against post-abortion trauma in the Journal of the American Medical Association from 15 years ago.

Did you say 15 years? Wait I thought this was a "new" strategy? How can it be a new strategy if Stotland has been the pro-choice movement's go-to person to try to refute emotional affects of abortion for 15 years?

While Nada Stotland is presented as the unbiased president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association, David Reardon's research and his credentials are reviewed and attacked. Priscilla Coleman gets grilled about her association with David Reardon instead of asked about what her research shows. No one reviews Nada Stotland's writings on this topic (I guess they were too busy filming her shopping with her pregnant daughter). David Reardon has a piece discussing the rather broad generalizations in Stotland's 1992 article here and had has past interactions with her.

During the program, research by Dr. David Fergusson, a pro-choicer, is never mentioned. I guess that didn't fit with the story line of religious prolifers making up lies about abortion.

LifeLinks 7/23/07

Colleen Carroll Campbell: Challenging Feminist Orthodoxy
The feminist establishment has tended to dismiss these (prolife) women as faux feminists or victims of patriarchal brain-washing. That explanation may comfort pro-choice feminists who see their ranks dwindling. But for a movement that styles itself as the mouthpiece of American women, establishment feminism's refusal to heed the growing chorus of women questioning abortion may prove a fatal mistake.

Authorities in India have found an additional 30 polythene bags filled with the remains of female unborn children in a dry well.
Police suspect the body parts -- mainly skulls and bones -- were dumped in the well shortly after birth or abortion at the clinic in Nayagarh district, 90 km (55 miles) southwest of the state capital, Bhubaneshwar.

The manager of the clinic has been arrested.

Serge unwraps some logical fallacies in a post by Mark Hoofnagle regarding when life begins.

No choice for doctors

RH Reality Check's Andrea Lynch is upset that Portugal doesn't force doctors to perform abortions when they don't want to. Making abortion legal isn't enough for Lynch because it seems the only way to ensure Portuguese women have the ability to "freely and fully enjoy" their right to abortion is if their country forces doctors to perform abortions. A chicken in every pot and a suction aspirator in every physician's office.

Plus, don't you love all those rounded statistics about illegal abortions and complications in Portugal without a hint of a source?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Abortionist compares having an abortion to an angel getting its wings

A Daily Kos diarist with the handle Beket, who also claims to be an abortionist in Texas, provides a script of a conference call he uses to deal with the informed consent law in Texas.
If you hear the same beeps I hear, they are kind of like in that old movie "It's a Wonderful Life," in which every time a bell rang an angel got his or her wings. Every time you hear a beep another woman joins the call – in a way gets her wings. Really. It might seem far-fetched to some of you, but for many a woman the experience of having an abortion is much more than just a medical procedure. It's often one way of claiming her wings – her wings of independence – taking charge of her own life – summoning up from inside herself the courage to claim her freedom from the old oppression of the past. It is about nearly every thing in our culture that has to do with anything. It is about life – death – sex - power – religion – God – right and wrong – family. An unplanned pregnancy challenges a woman to look at everything – her hopes and her dreams, her relationship choices, her ideas about family and career, her plans for the future. For many women abortion can be a transformational experience – one where she actively chooses what she wants for her life - one where she is in charge. One in which she is "born again."
The empowering experience of having an abortion, eh? So empowering patients can't ask questions of the physician (instead you get a session with an abortion clinic counselor) because he doesn't have the time. Paying $400 to have someone (who you've probably never met before) forcibly dilate your cervix and vacuum out your unborn child doesn't sound that empowering to me.


Life Links 7/20/07

Seven dead unborn females were found in polythene packets by a 12-year-old boy in India.
The foetuses appeared to be six to eight months old and all were female. Three of them even had hair on the head, a resident of the nearby Gambhari village told us,' Mohanty said.

Genzyme Corporation has a press release noting the results of a study using a drug called Mozobil to increase the number of hematopoietic stem cells collected from patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In the primary efficacy endpoint, 59 percent of patients treated with a combination of Mozobil and G-CSF achieved the target threshold for collection of at least 5 million CD34+cells/kg from the peripheral blood with four or fewer days of apheresis sessions, compared with 20 percent of patients in the G-CSF/placebo group.

Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico believe someone flushed a child estimated at 22 weeks gestation down the toilet after workers at a water treatment plant found the child's remains. More details in this story which notes the autopsy didn't find air in the child's lungs and the mother could have miscarried or induced an abortion on herself.
"It's already an unpleasant job and to find something like that of course is pretty shocking. Everyone was pretty disturbed by it," said David Morris with the Bernalillo County Water Authority.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Voting and Photo ID Ruling in Michigan

Governor Granholm is upset the Michigan Supreme Court upheld a 1996 Michigan law which will require voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Other Democrats are mad as well.
"I think there is an effort to make it harder for people to vote, particularly for people who traditionally vote Democratic" Granholm said.
Which people is Granholm referring to? African-Americans? Union workers? Pro-choicers? The deceased? Which group of people has such a hard time getting and showing a photo ID?
"I'm in favor of making it easy to vote," she said. "Let's get every body the ease in ability to vote."
Because showing a photo ID at the polls is such an onerous task and we wouldn't want to make sure that someone is actually the person they're claiming they are before they vote. If making it easy to vote is the goal why should people even have to take the time to go the right precinct? Or wait to make sure their name is on the list of those qualified to vote? Why force people to register to vote? That's a longer process than showing someone an ID, isn't?

The law even allows voters without ID to vote as long as they sign an affidavit.
If the elector does not have an official state identification card, operator's or chauffeur's license as required in this subsection, or other generally recognized picture identification card, the individual shall sign an affidavit to that effect before an election inspector and be allowed to vote as otherwise provided in this act. However, an elector being allowed to vote without the identification required under this subsection is subject to challenge as provided in section 727.
Here is section 727.

Life Links 7/19/07

Joe Carter: Breaking the 12th Commandment: Fred Thompson and the "Abortion Lobbyist" Story and here's an article in the New York Times about the billing records.

The 2006 Michigan abortion statistics have been released.
A total of 25,636 induced abortions were reported in Michigan in 2006, which was an 1.7 percent increase from the total of 25,209 reported in 2005 and a 47.8 percent decrease since 1987 (the year with the largest number of induced abortions).
Statistics also show the Black women received 39.9% of the state's abortions, 2 children showed evidence of life after being aborted, and 86.8% of women having abortion weren't married.

Canadian researchers have been awarded a $2.4 million dollar grant from The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada to continue their work using stem cells from bone marrow to treat multiple sclerosis.
"First, we purify and freeze the patient's stem cells, then we use strong chemotherapy to destroy their existing immune system," he said. "We then transplant the purified stem cells back into the patient.

The Most Ridiculously Broad Statement of the Week Award goes to abortionist and Daily Kos diarist William Harrison for this gem:
Abortion had always been the major method of controlling childbirth in every society (he's seems to be speaking about pre-Industrial Revolution societies) ever known.
Yeah, because we know of no cultures who used abstinence (or other methods) as the major way to control birth.

Second place goes to Cristina Page at the RH Reality Check blog for this:
This is the unacknowledged fact that should be acknowledged before the election: its pro-choice policies that result in dramatic declines in the need for abortion.
Cristina fails to provide any evidence for this "factual" statement and can never seem to explain why states with the highest abortion rates (New York and California) are states rated very highly by NARAL while states with lower abortion rates (Kentucky, South Dakota, etc.) are often rated very poorly by NARAL. She also never talks about how providing tax dollars for abortions (a key pro-choice goal) will lower the "need" (I thought abortion was a "choice") for abortion. But remember according to Cristina,
"Pro-choice candidates should hold pro-life groups and leaders accountable for their failure to find solutions to the high rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion."
Because, of course, failing to cure these problems (why is a high abortion rate a problem for pro-choice organizations, again?) is the fault of prolifers. Prolifers are the ones who have kept the abortion rate in New York at around 30 while wholly pro-choice policies have put South Dakota's abortion rate for residents at 6. And we all know that prolifers are the ones whose policies have been implemented in New York City where the abortion ratio for NYC residents is more than 700 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Oh wait - that's not right.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Life Links 7/18/07

Allison Stevens is the Washington Bureau Chief for Women eNews. She has an article about her experience as a pregnant woman covering the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The last paragraph is another solid example that some people just don't get it regarding what the Supreme Court justices should base their rulings on. I'm also consistently amazed at how an abortion procedure (partial-birth abortion) which abortion advocates at first tried to claim was hardly ever performed and only done in really rare circumstances is now this great procedure which is the safest procedure for some women at certain stages of pregnancy and is less gruesome than a D & E.

Stevens also brings up Tammy Watts and claims the fact that Tammy's unborn child had Trisomy-13 endangered Tammy's life. Except it didn't. Same with Vicki Wilson and Vicki Stella. Plus, if they needed the procedure to save their lives today then they could still abort their children in that manner since the partial-birth abortion ban has a life exception.

A couple in Britain is hoping the blood from their unborn child's umbilical cord will match and be able to help treat the unborn child's half-brother who is suffering from motor neurone disease. The child was not conceived with this purpose in mind.

Father Frank Pavone has a story of a doctor who treated a woman who took the first drug in the RU-486 cocktail but then decided she didn't want to have an abortion.

In the Nation, Samuel Berger tries to make a progressive case of carefully contemplating regulating future reproductive choices including human cloning, PGD, sperm sorting, etc. Not to save unborn human beings, mind you, but because "(t)he choices they make will thus significantly affect the structure of society." Berger advises regulation and suggests the creation of a governmental agency to regulate reproductive technologies but isn't sure which principle reasons should be used to regulate various reproductive choices.

What will it take to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States if Barack Obama wins the presidency?

A good judicial temperament? Respect for the Constitution? A thorough knowledge of the law and a stellar resume?

How about empathy to recognize what it's like to be a young teen-aged mom?

If knowing what it's like to be a teenage mom is such an important qualification for being on the highest court in the land then why not just appoint a teenage mom while we're at it?

Obama's memory of the debate around Chief Justice Roberts qualifications for the Supreme Court also differs from mine. I never recall Roberts' love for his wife or his behavior towards his dog as being an important part of the debate over his ability to be a good justice. I actually don't recall that all - though it's possible it was mentioned. What I remember is Roberts being grilled for days about numerous legal issues and being highly impressive. I also recall Roberts being confirmed by a vote of 78-22.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Life Links 7/17/07

Ryan Anderson in the Weekly Standard on Amnesty International's position on abortion.
Pro-life reasoning requires no invocation of God, no specific theology, and no imposition of beliefs. Nor does articulating a coherent rational argument fail to show tolerance or respect for competing positions--even intellectually incoherent positions like Amnesty International's. And one has to wonder if Amnesty International can really think petitions for abortion rights amount to authentic care for women, while nuns like the Sisters of Life who take in and house pregnant women are merely turning a blind eye.

The pro-life community in the United States has always had genuine admiration for Amnesty International, particularly as the organization kept itself neutral in the abortion debates. But if it now insists on holding what pro-lifers see as a fundamentally flawed view of human rights, pro-lifers' trust in its other work will decline--indeed, it already has. Amnesty International is deluding itself if it thinks that this new support for an unlimited abortion license does not undermine the foundations of human rights and the broad coalition of support the organization once enjoyed.

Here are links to the transcripts and the video of a panel discussion regarding Gonzales v. Carhart, the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and the future of abortion jurisprudence. The panel included Eve Gartner, Senior Staff Attorney, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Marcia Greenberger, Founder and Co-President, National Women's Law Center, Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Senior Fellow for Legal Studies, Family Research Council and M. Edward Whelan III, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center.

I think my favorite part is when Ed Whelan discusses how not a single as-applied challenge to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act has been filed since the decision.
The court has said, bring your as-applied challenges. It's been two months; it's remarkable that not a single as-applied challenge has been filed by the abortion litigation juggernaut that manages to get into courts throughout the country to prevent laws from ever taking place, a juggernaut funded by the wealthiest foundations in the country with access to the top legal talent, pro bono, from major law firms throughout the country.

Not a single action has been filed. I don't know why that is. Perhaps it's because this concern over women's health was just an excuse to try to get the entire ban invalidated, and when that failed, no concern remains for these hypothetical situations. Perhaps they know they can't prove it. Perhaps they see some political advantage in pretending that Gonzales v. Carhart puts a woman in the situation of filing for a TRO [temporary restraining order] while she's suffering a hemorrhage. Whatever it is, it's remarkable that those cases haven't been brought, and some attention really needs to be focused on that.

Deepali Gaur Singh discusses some of the consequences sex selection abortion and infanticide has had on India at the Reproductive Health Reality Check blog including the buying and leasing of wives and brothers sharing wives. Creepy stuff.

Monday, July 16, 2007

"Would this brief experiment have been worth not keeping our baby?"

The New York Times' Fashion ans Style section featured an article yesterday by Ronda Kaysen about her unplanned pregnancy and her decision to keep the child.

Note the word Kaysen uses to describe the child throughout the piece even when she was planning on having an abortion.

After reading this I'm left to wonder if Kaysen's child will ever read this piece and what his reaction to it would be. I'm left wondering what Kaysen would have done if her husband hadn't finally said, "Let's keep it." I'm left wondering how Kaysen would have handled the decision if her mother hadn't been so overjoyed at the prospects of a first grandchild.

HT: Life Ethics

Life Links 7/16/07

Police in Ohio are still searching for 15-year-old Alfonzo Price after he and friends allegedly assaulted Kerria Anderson (who was carrying Price's unborn child). Kerria is in critical condition and her child is dead as a result of the assault which included attacks directed at Kerria's stomach. At the time of the attack Kerria was walking her one-year-old child in a stroller. According to a Kerria's mother, Price wanted Kerria to have an abortion. Price has been charged with aggravated murder and felonious assault.

A woman in Wisconsin wants murder charges dropped against the man responsible for her daughter's death. Mark Friesema was intoxicated when he crashed into a tree killing Courtney Hamilton and Courtney's unborn child.
Courtney Hamilton had been planning an abortion, according to her mother. Michelle Hamilton also suspects her daughter had been drinking before the crash.

Part of Francis Beckwith's new book, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice, is available online.

A panel of German ethicists recently debated Germany's laws on embryo research. Some the arguments in changing Germany's law sound familiar ("German science will be hopelessly sidelined") and some of the reporting seems to be less than stellar.
After a heated debate in 2002, parliament decided to ban the production of embryonic cells from pre-existing stem cell lines.

To ensure foreign laboratories did not produce stem cell lines for the German market, it barred German scientists from working on any lines created after January 1, 2002.
Do they mean "After a heated debate in 2002, parliament decided to ban the killing of human embryos to create more cell lines?"

Friday, July 13, 2007

"It's not what you see, it's what you get"

The Detroit television station mentioned below has another video about an abortionist named "Dr. P" (short for Pornpichit Sethavarangura) in Detroit. He offers "bargain abortions" for $150. The station takes a hidden camera into his office and asks him (among other things) if he'd perform an abortion on a 14-year-old girl without parental consent.

It's just a choice between a woman and her doctor, right?

It appears "Dr. P" has had previous run-ins with unsatisfied patients. He was sued in 2006 for medical malpractice after one of his clients lost one of her twins in-utero. That case was dismissed because the plaintiff failed to file a valid affidavit.

There are records of another case from the Michigan Court of Appeals where he was sued but the records don't give details of what he was sued for.

Life Links 7/13/07

It appears scientists have developed another test which is seemingly designed to be used to discriminate against a group of human beings conceived via in-vitro ferilization. This time it's identical twins.

According to this BBC article, India's Women and Child Development Minister, Renuka Chowdhury, has proposed that her country should have pregnant women register with the government in order to prevent sex selection abortions and infanticide.

Jay at the LTI Blog outlines some of Planned Parenthood's recent problems.

Making abortion legal doesn't make it safe

Detroit's NBC television station reports on a rundown abortion facility in Detroit run by a physician who appears to be operating his clinic out of what looks like an abandoned building.

They interviewed a woman whose cousin had an abortion and bled for 4 weeks after the abortion and was informed by the abortionist that she shouldn't go to a hospital because they wouldn't know how to help her. The woman visited the clinic herself and describes some of the filthy conditions inside the clinic. She claims the bathroom didn't have running water, there was blood on the suction machine, the physician didn't require her to fill out any paper work and was willing to perform an abortion without getting the woman's informed consent and waiting 24 hours.

Will pro-choice organizations in Michigan speak out against this abortion provider?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Prolifers try to help pregnant women choose life, Planned Parenthood perturbed

Dawn Eden highlights Planned Parenthood's latest ludicrous attack on pregnancy centers. If Robbinsdale Women's Center (the pregnancy center) was really trying to fool women then why is it fairly obvious that they don't provide abortions on their web site? How are the women who come to Robbinsdale Clinic for abortions fooled when it seems clear that the abortion clinic would tell anyone who scheduled an appointment about how they shouldn't go to the pregnancy center across the street. The main page of their web site even says,
" We are NOT AFFILIATED WITH Robbinsdale Women's Center which is an organization not supportive of a woman's right to choose abortion. This organization's close location and use of a similar name to ours, sometimes causes confusion for our patients and referral sources."

Stem cell links

The Seattle Times has an article on how researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Center are using a technique to expand the number of stem cell taken from cord blood in order to help treat leukemia patients who can't find a bone marrow match.

Some scientists believe cord blood and mesenchymal stem cells could possibly be used to treat autism.

Canadian researchers have some interesting research into how embryonic stem cells regulate themselves with and feed off their own daughter cells.

Lazy pro-choice bloggers continued

Jill of Feministe is at it again. She lazily claims legislation (H.B. 284) introduced in the Ohio House would ban abortion and has no exceptions for the life of mother. She makes the following assertions based on a single article (which never says the law has no exception for the mother's life).
Except this one is an abortion ban with no exceptions – any abortion, for any reason (including to save the life of the pregnant woman) is a felony.....

How sad that the legislature isn't pro-life enough to push through a bill that will kill women.
I doubt Jill has read the bill in question (it's extremely long) and probably didn't even look it up but if she had taken the time to peruse it (as I did) she might have noticed this section which is a little more than half way down.
(D) Division (A) of this section does not apply to a person who provides medical treatment to a pregnant woman to prevent the death of the pregnant woman and who, as a proximate result of the provision of that medical treatment but without intent to do so, causes the termination of the pregnant woman's pregnancy.
It remains to be seen how many other pro-choice bloggers will follow her lead. I'm guessing someone from Feministing will post something and possibly someone from Pandagon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More on Steven Brigham

The Atlantic City Press had another piece over the weekend on abortionist Steven Brigham and the possibility of him buying the currently closed Alternatives abortion clinic. The story notes Brigham's problems with the medical boards in various states and describes some of injuries he has inflicted on women. They even link to documents from state health departments - one of which describes Brigham's performance of an abortion on a woman who was 26 weeks pregnant and how he lacerated her cervix and didn't notice it until more than an hour after he completed the abortion.

Other links

Sherry Colb discusses the logical problems with having a rape exception for abortion. She claims the "most coherent account of the rape exception - as a defense for the sin of intercourse - relies heavily on a punitive and religiously-tinged view of sex" yet at least notes that she doesn't intend to suggest that "pro-life individuals who support a rape exception necessarily view pregnancy as a punishment for consensual intercourse. Those who believe in a rape exception likely feel an admirable sense of compassion for rape victims. . . "

I think the problem here is assuming that people with a rape exception have thought long and hard about why they have that exception. From my interactions with people who are generally prolife but have exceptions, their positions on exceptions are typically based on their feelings as opposed to deep thinking on the issue.

I recently came upon this audio file of the PBS show "To the Contrary" on President Bush's veto of expanded funding of embryonic stem cell research. Though the commentators aren't identified (which makes me guess it was originally broadcast on TV), I believe it is former NIH chief and current columnist for U.S. News and World Reports Bernadine Healey who tries to make the discussion of the issue honest. Some of the other commentators (including D.C.'s delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton) and the host seem to have a very limited knowledge about what they are talking about. The host, Bonnie Erbe, even seems to believe her father would have been saved by embryonic stem cells.

Yvonne Perry is continuing to show she has no clue what she's talking about regarding embryonic stem cell research. According to Yvonne, embryonic stem cells shouldn't include the moniker "embryonic" because that somehow "suggests that a tiny baby has been formed in the lab." In her world, all the embryonic stem cell researchers and experts have got it wrong and are "mislabeling" what they're working on.

Life Links 7/11/07

Reflections of Paralytic on a woman in Canada who froze some of her eggs for her daughter.

More disconcerting news about teen sex and abortion in China.

Researchers from the University of South Florida have found that human stem cells (I'm not seeing what was the source of this cells though Sandberg's web page notes research using stem cell from umbilical cord blood and blood stem cells) were used to treat primates with Parkinson's.
That NIH-funded study showed that only a small number of stem cells turned into dopamine-producing cells - not enough to improve the primates' function by replacing missing neurons. Instead, some stem cells turned into astrocytes, a supportive brain cell that produces neuron-nourishing chemicals. The researchers also identified in the brains of the primate recipients a significant amount of dopamine-producing neurons that were not derived from stem cells. The results suggest that stem cells may actually trigger the brain's own self-repair mechanisms by pumping out molecules that boost nerve survival and blood vessel development and decrease neural degeneration.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some abortion supporters truly dislike any mention of any possibility of post-abortion syndrome

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an editorial on how "post-abortion syndrome doesn't exist" by Sarah Prager. What are Prager's qualifications for writing this editorial?

Prager isn't a psychologist. She isn't someone who has actually done research on abortion and mental health. She's an ob/gyn. She's an ob/gyn who is a member of National Abortion Federation, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Medical Students for Choice. I'm assuming this means she provides abortions or at least has at some point in the past. Those associations are for some reason not noted in the editorial.

Prager's evidence that post-abortion syndrome doesn't exist is noting a single review article which reviewed various papers dealing with abortion and emotional health. She notes that according to her source, "76 percent of women report feeling relief after abortion while only 17 percent report feelings of guilt."

I believe the article Prager is referring to one review study from 1990 entitled "Psychological responses after abortion" from Science whose lead author was Nancy Adler. I'm not certain because Prager doesn't say - I'm also wondering if she's ever read the article. I haven't read the full article either so I'm not sure how long on average after the abortion these women were interviewed about their feelings but according to this NY Times article from 1990 about the Adler paper:
"One study (in Adler's review of studies) showed that 76 percent of women reported feeling relief two weeks after an abortion, and only 17 percent reported feeling guilt."
Notice any resemblance to Prager's quote from above? Minus the "two weeks," of course.

UPDATE: I should have linked to this older post from Annie at After Abortion where she links to and summarizes a variety of studies dealing with both physical and emotional effects of abortion.

I should have also linked to research by New Zealand's David Fergusson who found that for women in New Zealand:
By the age of 25, the study found, 42 per cent of those who had had an abortion had also experienced major depression during the previous four years.

This was nearly double the rate of those who had never been pregnant and 35 per cent higher than those who had chosen to continue a pregnancy.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Lead exposure, not abortion, might explain changes in level of crime

Seriously. The Washington Post reports on research by economist Rich Nevin.
Many other theories have emerged to try to explain the crime decline. In the 2005 book "Freakonomics," Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner said the legalization of abortion in 1973 had eliminated "unwanted babies" who would have become violent criminals. Other experts credited lengthy prison terms for violent offenders, or demographic changes, socioeconomic factors, and the fall of drug epidemics. New theories have emerged as crime rates have inched up in recent years.

Most of the theories have been long on intuition and short on evidence. Nevin says his data not only explain the decline in crime in the 1990s, but the rise in crime in the 1980s and other fluctuations going back a century. His data from multiple countries, which have different abortion rates, police strategies, demographics and economic conditions, indicate that lead is the only explanation that can account for international trends.

Because the countries phased out lead at different points, they provide a rigorous test: In each instance, the violent crime rate tracks lead poisoning levels two decades earlier.

"It is startling how much mileage has been given to the theory that abortion in the early 1970s was responsible for the decline in crime" in the 1990s, Nevin said. "But they legalized abortion in Britain, and the violent crime in Britain soared in the 1990s. The difference is our gasoline lead levels peaked in the early '70s and started falling in the late '70s, and fell very sharply through the early 1980s and was virtually eliminated by 1986 or '87.

Another reason to not have an abortion in New Jersey

Alternatives, the second New Jersey abortion clinic which has been shut down this year for health violations, was being "essentially run" by Steven Brigham. Brigham is also looking to buy the abortion clinic.
"I came in right at the tail end of it," Brigham said. "All of these violations that the department found have been there for a long time."

However, Brigham's 20 years as a doctor have been marked by troubles, including the near-death of a 20-year-old New Jersey resident whom Brigham left hemorrhaging and bleeding internally for four hours in a recovery room before realizing he could not treat her and transferring her to a hospital.

That incident, and several others, led to the termination of his medical license in New York and Florida and to probation in California.
Here's a New York Times article which discusses Brigham and his various run-in with state medical boards and another which discusses various complaints brought against him. The second notes how Brigham "has had no formal training in obstetrics and gynecology."

German IVF Industry: Less regulations will protect human embryos

Proponents of fewer restrictions on in-vitro fertilization in Germany have a press release where they claim Germany's law which regulates the number of human embryos (a maximum of 3) created and implanted per IVF cycle and prevents the freezing or discarding of human embryos is "killing embryos rather than protecting them."

Their evidence? Out of 8,500 deliveries from IVF in 2004, there were 222 cases where the parents aborted at least one of their children using "fetal reduction."

Now imagine for a second, how many human embryos would have been created, frozen, and discarded if Germany didn't have the laws it does? A heck of a lot more than 222. It probably would have been in the tens of thousands.

Here's how Professor Ricardo Felberbaum defends his group's thinking.
"It is far worse to kill embryos after they have implanted in a woman's womb, than it is to take embryos before implantation, when they are no more than a collection of cells, freeze any surplus embryos and transfer no more than one or two embryos at one time. It is best that only those with the highest implantation potential are used, leading to healthy singleton pregnancies.

"As the law currently stands it is killing embryos rather than protecting them," he concluded.
Somehow Felberbaum thinks that killing embryos earlier in life or freezing them (which ends up killing about half of them) is protecting them.

For some reason Felberbaum makes no argument for my it is "far worse" to kill embryos thru abortion than by freezing them and discarding them. He notes the embryos are smaller and not implanted but I don't see a reason for why these criteria make killing some human beings "far worse" than killing others. Also notice, how the answer to the 222 fetal reduction abortions in 2004 isn't preventing or regulating those abortions, it's creating and freezing more human embryos. I also can't see how scrapping the IVF regulations will lower the number of fetal reduction abortions. Less regulations seem to open the door for German IVF practitioners to implant more than 3 human embryos per cycle, which would likely lead to more multiple pregnancies and more fetal reduction abortions.

I think its obvious that Felberbaum's real reason for being opposed to Germany's IVF laws isn't protecting those human embryos created by IVF but being allowed to practice his trade without the government regulating him and his colleagues.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Infant girl found alive after being buried in India

She was allegedly buried by her grandparents.
A two-day-old baby girl was reportedly buried alive allegedly by her grandparents in Andhra Pradesh because there were too many girl children to be taken care of.

A case of attempt to murder has been registered against the grandparents....

Fortunately, some locals noticed a hand jutting out of a sandpit a few minutes later and she was saved by emergency medical care.
If "too many girls to take care of" isn't a valid reason to kill children after birth, should it be a valid reason to kill them before birth?

Wannabe Muslim/Christian temporarily loses collar

From the Seattle Times:
The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, a local Episcopal priest who announced she is both Muslim and Christian, will not be able to serve as a priest for a year, according to her bishop.

During that year, Redding is expected to "reflect on the doctrines of the Christian faith, her vocation as a priest, and what I see as the conflicts inherent in professing both Christianity and Islam," the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, bishop of the Diocese of Rhode Island, wrote in an e-mail to Episcopal Church leaders.

Redding was ordained more than 20 years ago by the then-bishop of Rhode Island, and it is that diocese that has disciplinary authority over her.

During the next year, Redding "is not to exercise any of the responsibilities and privileges of an Episcopal priest or deacon," Wolf wrote in her e-mail. Wolf could not be reached for immediate comment.
Related: Trying to make the incompatible compatible

Life Links 7/6/07

Wesley Smith on human exceptionalism.
Demolishing our self-perception as a uniquely valuable species would have very grave consequences, given that human exceptionalism is both the philosophical underpinning for human rights and the basis of our unique self-imposed duties to each other, posterity, and the natural world.

An Australian researcher named Catherine Waldby is concerned about how the desire for human eggs used in human cloning experiments might effect women in poor, less developed nations.
One Romanian clinic has bought eggs from really poor women, she says.

"The clinic was paying them about US$200 a procedure, which is about two months' salary for these women."

One study found some women were repeatedly selling their eggs to pay for rent, clothes and even cigarettes, says Waldby.

The patent rubble around embryonic stem cells and their procurement is now involving more stem cell researchers.

Friday Cat Blogging

The Fourth of July is Rascal's least favorite holiday. For about two weeks surrounding the 4th, the evenings in my neighborhood are filled with the sounds of exploding fireworks. Rascal protects herself by staying real low and hiding in the basement or under blankets.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Life Links 7/5/07

Wesley Smith on how pre-implantation genetic diagnosis reduces the rates of live births.

Can pro-choice people who are against parental consent laws (for girls under 16) with regards to abortion be logically in favor of statutory rape laws? Mike Adams has some thoughts.

Researchers at Boston University Medical Center have found:
that tandem cycles of high-dose chemotherapy and blood stem cell transplantation can help treat patients with immunoglobulin-light chain (AL) Amyloidosis who did not respond to initial treatment with this method....

AL amyloidosis occurs when clonal plasma cells in bone marrow produce proteins that misfold and deposit in tissues, leading to organ failure and death.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Life Links 7/3/07

Abortionist George Tiller is challenging the constitutionality of the law he's been charged with breaking. Apparently, he feels getting the approving signature of doctor who doesn't have financials ties to him before perform late-term abortion is "an undue burden on a physician's right to practice medicine."

The editorial board of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a not so intelligent editorial regarded the recent article their paper ran on emotional health after abortion and Rachel's Vineyard.

Slovakian researchers have used stem cells taken from fat to attack cancer in mice.
In nude mice – animals with an inhibited immune system – engrafted with human colon cancer, the researchers first injected the engineered mesenchymal stem cells, then 5-FC. They found tumor growth was inhibited by up to 68.5 percent in the animals, and none of the mice exhibited any signs of toxic side effects.

However, none of the animals remained tumor-free. "The procedure was quite effective even though we applied the stem cells just once. Obviously, repeated treatment will increase the efficacy, as would using this strategy in combination with other treatments," Altaner said.

Pro-choice blogger smears imaginary prolife organization

Either because of laziness or dishonesty, Jill of Feministe has a post which falsely claims the head of "Virginia Right to Life" supports the actions of people who sent letters containing white powder and threatening notes to Planned Parenthood.
All from extremists, right?
Jill is trying to argue that not all organizations which support violence and threats of violence are shunned by the mainstream prolife movement. Unfortunately for Jill, the article she links to as evidence says,
On the same radio station, Donald Spitz, head of Pro-Life Virginia said he supported the action of the person who had sent the letters.
If Jill had read the article carefully and done 10 seconds of research she could have easily discovered that "Pro-Life Virginia" isn't "Virginia Right to Life" but seemingly just another name for the Army of God, a radical, violence-promoting organization.

If Jill had taken the time to even look up "Virginia Right to Life" she would have discovered that "Virginia Right to Life" isn't even the name of National Right to Life Committee's affiliate for Virginia. NRLC's affiliate is the Virginia Society for Human Life and their president is a woman named Brenda Fastabend. Jill would have also discovered that the Virginia Society for Human Life has a statement against violence.

I've posted a comment on her blog so hopefully she will correct her error and apologize.

UPDATE: Jill has updated her post to correct her errors but I see nothing noting the update or apologizing for her frivolous attack in either the post or in the comments.

Monday, July 02, 2007

How do pro-choicers deal with sex selection abortions?

Very carefully. It's a tight line to walk as Deepali Gaur Singh shows at the RH Reality Check blog:
A complicated issue nonetheless, it needs to be seen exactly like that—without simplistic answers. While the agency of the woman in choosing to keep or terminate a pregnancy is unquestioned, how does one deal with this if it means termination of a pregnancy because of sex? And this is truly the irony of the situation: an argument meant to empower women and their bodily sovereignty can so easily be used to hijack the idea of agency for the woman while also wiping out a fifth of the female population of the country.
How do you show your abhorrence with killing female fetuses simply because they are female without undermining the idea that women should be allowed to have abortions for whatever reason they choose?

Life Links 7/2/07

Wesley Smith posts some of Maureen Condic's response to those who attacked her in the pages of Nature Neuroscience regarding her essay discussing the scientific problems facing embryonic stem cells.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a long story about Rachel's Vineyard and the debate over post-abortion syndrome. It would have been nice if the story mentioned some actual studies relating to abortion and emotional health.

Police in the Phillipines arrested 5 people who worked at an abortion clinic which was set up in a two-bedroom apartment.

A woman named Paula Robinson shares her story of deciding not to have an abortion after two attempts with the UK's Daily Mail.