Thursday, December 27, 2007

Life Links 12/27/07

In case you missed it, Robert George wrote a letter to Anne Rice regarding her endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
For now, what I hope you will consider is simply this: The child in the womb either is or is not a human being–a member of the human family. If he or she is, then he or she is entitled as a matter of basic justice to the protection of laws and, indeed, to the equal protection of the laws. For a voter or public official to seek to deny to the unborn elementary legal protections against killing that we favor for ourselves and others we regard as worthy is a gross and appalling injustice. There is no way around this. Once one concedes the humanity of the child–as one must in view of the plain facts of human embryogenesis and early-intrauterine development–the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family requires the legal protection of the unborn.

A letter to Chicago's Daily Herald notes that not all opposition to abortion is based in religious beliefs.
Defenders of abortion concentrate heavily on religious arguments against abortion and generally ignore the secular arguments because they have no real answers.

When human life begins is not a matter of dogma or religion; it is a scientific fact provable in any laboratory that life begins at conception.

Former employees of movie producer Jon Peters are suing him because they claim Peters threatened to fire the husband if his wife didn't have an abortion.

It looks like Andy Meisner's seat in the Michigan House could be filled by someone (Ellen Cogen Lipton) who promotes as much misinformation on stem cell research as he does.
She said that as one of only five states that prohibits stem cell research, "Michigan is missing out" on millions of dollars in valuable federal grant money.
Let's see - Michigan doesn't prohibit embryonic stem cell research much less "stem cell research" and the University of Michigan received a fairly large (over $2 million) federal grant for embryonic stem cell research in 2003.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Life Links 12/21/07

Serge’s thoughts on Yamanaka’s induced pluripotent stem cell work.

Wesley Smith on some new deception from the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures.

Jill Stanek relays a touching story from my hometown newspaper about a son finding out that he and his birthmother worked at the same Lowe’s.

It was good to see Mitt Romney call out Hillary Clinton on Meet the Press for her vote against finding alternative method of creating pluripotent stem cells. I would the mainstream media to pick up on this but I doubt it will happen unless someone like Romney continues to point it out.

Rev. Jim Luallen shows the distorted thinking of someone who’s a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. After noting that the unborn are living organisms with human DNA, Luallen notes he thinks abortion isn’t morally wrong and should be legal because life isn’t an “entitlement.”
As a Christian minister, I believe that no one has a God-given right to be born. Life is a gift - not an entitlement. This is the truth revealed in the Bible.
So the unborn are alive and life is a gift from God but it’s okay to intentionally kill that life (gift from God). How’s that for clear thinking?

Anna Clark at the RH Reality Check blog discusses her conversion from being prolife to pro-choice. Note this instance of pro-choice tolerance.
I argued for having both the pro-choice and the anti-abortion groups sponsor the forum. A more diverse audience! We won't preach to that interminable choir! Besides, not all inmates are pro-choice. No, of course, we don't want this to be a debate. Let's have a nuanced conversation.

In this leftist group, alluding to anti-abortion views was no less startling and shameful than if I'd proceeded to urinate on another PCAPer. The others made meaningful eye contact to each other and moved on. The event was sponsored by the pro-choice group.

Monday, December 17, 2007

For unto us a child is born

Over the weekend my wife gave birth to our daughter! ! My wife and baby girl are both home and doing well. Needless to say, blogging will probably be fairly sparse for the next little while.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas v. Ramadan: Where Congress stands

The U.S. House of Representatives recently had two votes on separate pieces of legislation acknowledging religious holidays.

One piece of legislation (H.R. 847) was with regards to Christians and Christmas, while another piece of legislation (H.R. 635) was with regards to Islam and Ramadan. The Ramadan legislation passed 376-0 with 42 (41 Republicans and 1 Democrat) voting "present" while the Christmas resolution passed 372-9 with 10 (9 Democrats and 1 Republican) voting "present."

I'm trying to understand why 9 Democrats (Gary Ackerman, Yvette Clarke, Diana DeGette, Alcee Hastings (FL), Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Bobby Scott (VA), Pete Stark, and Lynn Woolsey) voted against the Christian/Christmas resolution. Of the nine that voted against the Christmas/Christian resolution, 8 (with the exception of Lee who didn't vote) voted yes on the Islam/Ramadan resolution.

As you can read, the resolutions have fairly similar wording. Both note the religion in question is one of the great religions of the world, the Ramadan resolution expresses friendship and support for Muslims while the Christmas resolution expresses support for Christians, both reject hatred and bigotry towards the religious groups, and both acknowledge the religious holidays, the Ramadan resolution commends Muslims who reject using Islam to justify terror while the Christmas resolution expresses its respect for Christians. The only significant differences I see is that the Christmas resolution acknowledges Christianity's role in the founding of Western civilization and America and acknowledges the importance of the Christian faith.

Life Links 12/14/07

A man in Oklahoma named Eric Phan is being charged with two counts of first degree murder after killing Lauren Barnes (who was 22 to 26 weeks pregnant) and their unborn child.
Barnes said she had told Phan's current girlfriend that he was the father of her unborn child and was afraid he would "blow up" when they met, the affidavit says....

Phan told Huynh "that he choked her and that the last thing she said to him was that she would get an abortion," Sgt. Cadle wrote in her affidavit.

Here are more details about the woman from the Netherlands who was jailed after allegedly obtaining an illegal abortion in Spain. Her lawyer claims she felt pressure to abort the child, she was living a double life, and she's Moroccan. The woman also contends she wasn't over the legal limit but the justice department claims they have evidence she was at least 27 weeks pregnant.

Matthew Baremore, a fourteen-year-old boy from Arizona was treated with stem cells from his bone marrow to help his severe scoliosis.
Flood straightened and bolstered Matthew's spine with a series of rods and pins _ a typical surgical treatment for severe scoliosis. Then the surgeon combined Matthew's own stem cells, which had been concentrated to pack about 10 times more cells than the traditional method, with crushed bone from the hospital bone bank.

I enjoyed this letter to editor in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel where the writer William Huber asserts, "I have been told that embryonic stem cells still hold the most promise for good, even though other cell types may prove helpful in the future, a truth that Goldberg ignores" in response to a recent Jonah Goldberg column about the recent advance with induced pluripotent stem cells.

Told by whom??? Sources matter. I've been told my niece is going to have her 5th birthday in a couple of weeks. However, the source for this information was my 2 year-old niece who will soon be turning 3.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Life Links 12/13/07

A woman in the Netherlands has been released from a four-week stay in prison after allegedly procuring an illegal abortion in Spain. The prosecutor's office is still investigating.

A doctor in Australia tries to justify killing an unborn child at 32 weeks.

The reason the mother wanted the abortion?

Her child was diagnosed with dwarfism. According to Dr. Lachlan de Crespigny, this made her suicidal. So instead of getting her some counseling or mental health help, he injected potassium chloride into the child's heart because the pregnant woman requested an abortion.

Anyone who wants an abortion at 32 weeks because their child has dwarfism has serious mental or moral issues. Anyone who would agree to perform such an abortion is mentally or morally deranged.

The web site of the Washington Times is linking to the video of Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari telling medical students at Wayne State University about how he lies to clients and their significant others. The clip also includes the part where he claims that doctors have a "license to lie."

Glow-in-the-dark cloned cats

Have been created in South Korea.
The cloned kittens look red fluorescent under ultraviolet light because of the red fluorescence protein in their skin cells while an ordinary one appears to be green.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What do you think about when you think abortion?

How about an Easter bunny?

One individual at LiveJournal's abortion info community created a pixel with what appears to be an Easter bunny hugging a basket of easter eggs next to blocks that spell "abortion." She encourages other members to "(f)eel free to use it to take away the stigma and show celebration and support. I want women to see it as a bright thing that have support for!"

Celebrate that bright thing that is abortion!

This could have been good satire if it weren't so unbelievably sad.

Life Links 12/11/07

Robert George in First Things: Law and Moral Purpose. Read it.

Chelsea Zimmerman has posted video of a post-award interview of Tim Tebow. Towards the end of the interview, Tebow mentions how his mother decided not to abort him.

Ryan Anderson points to a New York Times article in which Shinya Yamanaka notes how there is only a "small difference" between human embryos and his daughters.

Researchers in Australia have developed a drug to kill cancer stem cells.
Scientists believe that some cancers arise from a small number of aberrant cells that, like adult stem cells, have the ability to self-renew and differentiate into multiple cell types. These cells often persist in cancer patients in low numbers even following therapy, and can cause cancer relapse. Therapies that effectively kill cancer stem cells may thus hold promise for improving the treatment of cancer and increasing survival from the disease.

A teenager from the Traverse City area traveled to Grand Rapids to receive chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant to help treat his testicular cancer.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"We're behind!" - "No, were losing ground" - "No, our country is the least hospitable"

I thought the U.S. was falling behind in stem cell research or at least that's what the media and embryonic stem cell proponents always seem to be telling me. I've read about the "brain drain" so much I get worried I won't be able to fly internationally because every researcher in the U.S. is moving overseas because of America's supposedly harsh restrictions. But wait! Here's an article from a Japanese paper which includes complaints from Shinya Yamanaka about how Japan could fall behind the United States in research on induced pluripotent stem cells.
Hochedlinger said Yamanaka would lead the competition in the short term. But he said many U.S. researchers would catch up with Yamanaka within a few years because U.S. research institutes have more abundant financial resources than their Japanese counterparts and many talented scientists from around the world conduct their work in the United States.

Doctors advised Tim Tebow's mom to have an abortion

This is a rather amazing story. Doctors claimed he was an irreversibly damaged fetus. Now he's an absolutely ridiculous athlete.

I fear the defense of my Michigan Wolverines is going to get ripped apart by Heisman winner "Timmy" and the Gators on New Year's Day.

HT: S.I.C.L.E. Cell

UPDATE: Chelsea at Reflections of a Paralytic has posted a video where Tim mentions his mother's decision not to have an abortion towards the end of his post-award interview with Chris Fowler on ESPN.

Life Links 12/10/07

On Sunday, the Topeka Capitol Journal printed a story about the scandal involving Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison. Morrison had an affair with a subordinate and the woman, Linda Carter, has claimed sexual harassment. Carter is also alleging Morrison pressured her to obtain information about Phill Kline's investigations into abortion providers. Morrison has admitted to the affair but is denying the other charges.
Morrison and Carter had an argument in March about Morrison's investigation of Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller. Kline had attempted to charge Tiller with violating the state's abortion statutes, but he was never was able to bring Tiller to trial.

When Morrison became attorney general, he promised to conduct a complete, independent review of the Tiller case. Carter said in her statement that she urged Morrison to charge Tiller.

She also said Morrison alleged Kline's approach to the abortion investigation was "unethical." The argument ended with Morrison storming out of Carter's apartment.

I'm having trouble understanding why anyone would pay $7,500 for retrieval and a $63 monthly storage fee to store your own adult stem cells. Doesn't your body already store them for you?

Edward Emig has a letter to the editor responding to Ellen Goodman's latest column.
The truth is that all human life, at whatever stage of development, has the same inherent moral value. Based on this truth, one's aunt with diabetes has no moral right to expect that human embryos should be destroyed as a means of helping to prolong her life simply because she has reached a more advanced stage of development.

Hadley Arkes discusses abortion and Giuliani in a reply to David Frum.
In reporting to us that Rudy Giuliani shares an aversion to abortion, he tells us that Giuliani has declared "his personal revulsion at abortion." Does David not recognize this as the old line of "personally opposed, but …"? That is, the line that treats an issue as a matter of personal feeling or personal taste and conspicuously not as a matter of moral judgment of right or wrong. Giuliani does not say, "I am personally opposed to racial discrimination, or the use of drugs, but who am I impose my personal revulsions on anyone else?" He treats those issues with the logic of a moral judgment, the judgment he conspicuously avoids here. This late in the seasons of our experience, why would David offer this argument with a straight face as though we were witless enough to be taken in by it?

Cristina Page is back with more delusions in the Huffington Post. This time she posits that numerous Republican candidates for president are against contraceptives because they believe that life begins at fertilization. Does this mean the authors of embryology textbooks oppose contraception as well?

Ridiculously broad statements include, "And pro-lifers insist the pill (prevents implantation)" and "Study after study proves that contraceptive use is the only way to prevent abortion" (the only "study" she then links to back up this assertion is the recent WHO/Alan Guttmacher "study").

Friday, December 07, 2007

Life Links 12/7/07

Researchers have used reprogrammed mice iPS cells to cure mice with sickle cell anemia

More conflicts of interest at the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine which seem to be based on contradicting rules in Prop. 71 grant application process.

Patrick Deenan has an interesting post on abortion, presidential candidates, what happens when Roe is overturned, etc.

Mark Stricherz discusses how and why the Democratic Party changed with regards to abortion.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Rest of the Story

Or the rest of the quote.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has released the transcript of the press interviews with James Thomson and Junying Yu. A quote I've seen over and over again from the media is Thomson claiming "the political controversy set the field back about 4-5 years." This quote is on page 15 of 24 in the transcript. From the interview context and the question that was asked, it's obvious that Thomson is referring to the embryonic stem cell research field, not work on reprogramming adult cells into pluripotent stem cells as some individuals (like Jonathan Moreno and Ellen Goodman) have unfortunately attempted to claim. But what's really interesting is the rest of the quote which I haven't seen anywhere (and you'll know why when you read it). Here's the entire answer to a question about whether the U.S. policy on embryonic stem cells forces researchers out of the country:
My feeling is that the political controversy set the field back about 4 – 5 years. And if you look at funding, from 1998 – 2001, there is no federal funding for this work in the United States. So there were 3 lost years where essentially nobody could do this work. And then the stigma associated with it, I really do think young investigators avoided getting into this field, and so talent just did not join the field. So from one positive point of view from the Bush decision, federal funding was allowed for this work starting in late 2001. It still represented very bad public policy as the primary concern, it did get the ball rolling. But I do believe because of the restrictions, and I do believe because of the political controversy the field is much slower taking off than it would have been otherwise.
Question: Why do all the individuals citing this 4-5 year claim say Bush is responsible for the 4-5 years when Thomson indicates directly that a couple of those years were before Bush ever took office? Why is no one saying Bill Clinton slowed down embryonic stem cell research?

Answer:Because they're biased individuals who feel the need to stick to the Bush-is-to-blame storyline regardless of how true it is.

The New York Times also joins the blame Bush crew with this op-ed quote,
Dr. Thomson estimated that the political controversy and the President’s restrictions on federal funding have actually set the field back four to five years, mostly because the stigma discouraged scientists from working on embryonic stem cells.
Note how they fail to mention the political controversy started long before Bush became president.

Life Links 12/6/07

Francis Beckwith is interviewed about his book, Defending Life, by Ignatius Press.
Last year at UCLA Law School when I debated the issue of embryonic stem-cell research, I answered the "religious argument" charge this way: "Wow, I thought you were going to claim my argument was bad."
HT: Scott Klusendorf

Meanwhile, Scott Klusendorf summarizes chapter six of Defending Life.

Ramesh Ponnuru discussed his book and life issues on BloggingHeads.

MSNBC's Aswini Anburajan didn't think EMILY's List president Ellen Malcolm performed too well when trying to claim Hillary Clinton was the only candidates who stood up for abortion when it was tough to do so.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dawkins says down with monogamous fidelity and yes to politicians lying about their private lives

I can't fathom how anyone in their right mind would find Richard Dawkins' arguments regarding marital fidelity to be at all persuasive.

I believe Macht makes a good point about Dawkins' talk about "rising above nature. "
There is something odd, I think, about a staunch naturalist thinking we can "rise above nature." Odd, not only in the fact that he seems to think that there is something wrong with nature that needs to be overcome, but also in the fact that he thinks there is something above nature to which we can rise.

Life Links 12/5/07

A study by Australian researchers has found that "young women who have abortions are more likely to drink heavily and abuse hard drugs."
The study tracked 1,122 young women who were born at the Mater hospital in the early 1980s, finding that 21 years on, about one-third had an abortion.

Those who had an abortion were three times more likely to also abuse hard drugs, like heroin, methamphetamines and glue, than the women who had either had no pregnancy or those who had a child....

The findings were adjusted for age, family socio-demographic factors and previous mental health problems.
The researchers (or at least the lead researcher) appear to be pro-choice and the article doesn't mention where, if anywhere the results have been published. The results were presented recently at the World Psychiatric Association conference.

Illinois NOW (whose political action committee has endorsed Clinton) is taking shots at Obama for his "present" votes on prolife legislation. We're getting messages about his votes from NOW and Planned Parenthood. Interesting.

The New York Times reviews Juno, a movie whose title character is a pregnant teenager.

For some reason, the NY Times prints this incredibly ignorant letter to the editor from James Chenitz on stem cell research which claims "President Bush has provided nothing to stem cell research but impediments." You just can't win with some people. If you're the first president to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research but want some kind of moral line, somehow all your actions impede stem cell research.

Researchers at Kyoto University have discovered a way to help adult stem cell from bone marrow regenerate damaged nerves.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ron Paul on the View

They get into an abortion discussion and Ron Paul makes some good points. He asks Joy Behar if it's "her body, her choice" why shouldn't he be allowed to perform abortions in the 8th month of pregnancy. Behar responds that there must be something wrong ("either her mental state or health") with a woman who wants an abortion at 8 months. Wait - what happened to it's her body, her choice?

Whoopi tries to act like she knows there is "a limit" to when someone can have an abortion. Towards the end of the segment, Joy Behar says "it's murder" when Paul says she's not in favor of abortion a minute before birth.

I would bet $100 that not a single woman hosting the View today could give an accurate description of what Roe v. Wade did. They all seem to be very in favor of Roe yet seem to have a very limited idea of what it wrought.

Cristina Page needs a history lesson

There are quite a few problems with this recent Cristina Page post at the RH Reality Check blog. Apparently, it's "stunning" that Fred Thompson isn't in favor of locking up women for having abortions. If Page finds this position (which Thompson has been repeating for more than a month) to be "stunning" that means she either doesn't follow abortion politics too closely or has a delusional belief prolifers want to lock women up.

Page then claims (without an citation), "The last time the United States banned abortion -- pre-Roe -- doctors faced only minimal penalties for providing safe care."

When did the United States ban abortion? I guess Cristina must be referring to various states within the U.S. who passed various laws banning abortion.

"Minimal penalties" is also an extremely odd claim. Performing an abortion was felony in numerous states. For example, here's a Planned Parenthood fact sheet claiming that without Roe v. Wade, physicians performing abortions in Wisconsin could face penalties (up to 15 years in prison) which I certainly wouldn't deem as "minimal." Here's a link to Wisconsin's abortion law (940.04). Michigan's abortion law also lists abortion as a felony. In Georgia, the penalty for performing an abortion was imprisonment for "not less than one nor more than ten years." I could go on and on. Needless to say, when Page claims that individuals performing abortions prior to Roe faced only "minimal penalties" in states where abortion was illegal, she's not telling the truth.

The reason? The truth doesn't fit into the point Page is hoping to make. She continues,
This time around the crime of abortion, if (and apparently only if) performed by a doctor, will be murder and extreme penalties will apply. It seems clear that the environment post-Roe will be harsher than pre-Roe.

Last time around, a clandestine network of safe abortion services sprung up. This time, if the anti-abortion candidates have their way, the risk for physicians would be too great. And so women who can't reach safe care will be much more likely to take matters into their own hands, which the Republicans apparently don't mind.

Ha!!! By ignoring history, Page can now claim this year's crop of fiendish Republican presidential candidates want to pass abortion laws which have harsher penalties than old laws and these laws (which somehow have harsher penalties than the old felony laws) will supposedly prevent abortionists from risking participating in safe, underground abortions. Page shows how disingenuous this line of reasoning is later on when she mentions how states (not the federal government) would regulate abortion if Roe were to be overturned.

Then, instead of actually addressing the numerous points and positions taken by contributors to National Review's symposium on the question of how much time women having abortion should do, Page claims, the symposium's answer was: "Treat the women having the abortion as, essentially, a child." That summation of NR's symposium is more evidence that some pro-choicers couldn't give a lick to how prolifers respond to the question of "How much time?" The question is all about trying to frame prolifers as either A.) heartless goons who want to throw women behind bars or B.) inconsistent advocates who don't really believe the unborn should be legally protected.

Page then, after hammering away with some other pro-choice talking points, goes on to claim the "whole of the right to life movement" believes emergency contraception is an "abortive drug."

Her evidence for this blanket statement? Nothing.

Past post on Page's pieces here.

Life Links 12/4/07

Hillary is going after Obama for his votes on prolife legislation (he often voted "present" inside of "no") when he was a state senator in Illinois. The problem, however, is this is apparently how Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations told him how to vote. So what's worse for Obama - voting "present" on abortion restrictions or being instructed how to vote by others?

A cop in Illinois named Dick Lalowski got canned because he harassed individuals protesting at an abortion clinic. Here's a story with some information on how Lalowski treated the protesters.

In China, a man has been sentenced to death after severely burning his pregnant girlfriend. The attack burned 30% of her body and killed their unborn child. A possible reason for the attack could be that an ultrasound at 6 months indicated the child was a girl. It seems that this is what have might have prompted the boyfriend to request she have an abortion.

Michael J. Fox says he'll back the "most pro-science candidate is that comes out of either primary."

Hmmm.... Obama and Clinton both voted against funding alternatives methods of creating pluripotent stem cells. Does that mean they're "anti-science?" Fox is really saying he'll back the candidate most in favor of killing human embryos for research.

Just what the prolife movement needs

More infighting.

Prediction: Five years from now American Right to Life won't exist.

Some one might also want to tell them the whole "Who they are" section of their web site (which I'm guessing will eventually be all about attacking National Right to Life) appears to something written in Latin.

Am I the only one who thinks it makes no sense for a "national" organization to be the subsidiary of a state organization?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Life Links 12/3/07

The BBC will broadcast a report tonight about women of Indian who live in Britain traveling to India to abort their unborn daughters.

Abortion provider George Kabacy has plead guilty to possession of child pornography. He had more than 8,000 images on his computer. He pled guilty so prosecutors wouldn't charge him with advertising the images he had.

Ellen Goodman joins Jonathan Moreno in claiming that Bush's stem cell funding policy somehow slowed research into creating pluripotent cells without killing human embryos.

Goodman also claims Bush (the first president to provide federal funds for research on human embryonic stem cells) slowed research "by starving funding and scaring off researchers." Her editorial also has this bizarre sentence that makes one wonder if she has any clue what she's talking about:
But the embryo could do what they were still unable to do: Cause ordinary body cells to act like stem cells.

The New York Times profiles Booth Gardner, the man behind a movement to legalize assisted suicide in Washington state and also discusses the viewpoints of those opposed to assisted suicide.