Thursday, January 31, 2008

Life Links 1/31/08

I'm with Scott on this one. Steve was kind enough (thanks Steve!) to send me a copy of his book Common Ground Without Compromise to review (I'm hopefully post something here in the next couple of weeks). While Steve does believe prolifers can find common ground with pro-choice individuals (over things like late-term abortions, sex-selection abortions, etc.), he's not someone who puts compromise above the sharing the truth.

Not Dead Yet would like to introduce Peter Singer to Brad Hennefer.

National Right to Life PAC has issued a statement on the remaining presidential candidates in which they say nice things about the remaining Republican presidential candidates.

Abortionist George Tiller has been ordered to turn over records of his post-viability abortions.

The abortion pill RU-486 (aka Mifrepristone) is produced by the same Chinese company whose leukemia drugs have harmed patients in China. The leukemia drugs were produced at a different plant than the abortion drugs.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Life Links 1/30/08

Petition language has been submitted by those interested in killing human embryos for research in Michigan. I'll try to find the wording and let you know if the language actually does affirm "Michigan's law prohibiting human cloning." This would be interesting considering those in favor of killing embryos for research in Michigan have also typically wanted to push human cloning for research. Maybe the creation of induced pluripotent cells has slowed down that drive.

Giuliani is out of the presidential race.

So is the phoneyist man in America.

Monday, January 28, 2008

NOW New York goes beserk

Imagine there not being a single person at the New York State National Organization for Women who had the mind to prevent this type of insanity. How many people would that press release go through and not one person spoke up to say, "Isn't this a little crazy?"

"How late is too late?"

Jonathan Kay (who identifies himself as a pro-choicer in favor of gestational limits) reports on The University of Toronto Law School's "Symposium to Mark the 20th Anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler."
Osgoode Hall Law School professor Shelley Gavigan, the most militant and stereotypically feminist of the conference panelists, declared categorically that "The unborn child and the pregnant mother speak with one voice — and that voice is hers." The fact that some of her students didn't see things her way only meant that "I have some work to do on the pedagogical front...."

And yet, beneath the veneer of tribal sisterly celebration, I did manage to detect a strain of underlying tension. It came out on those few occasions when one of the speakers made oblique allusion to that taboo question in the pro-choice camp: How late is too late?...

Similarly, why did Gavigan take such pains to dismiss anecdotes of women having abortions for capricious reasons (e.g., looking good in a bikini on an upcoming vacation) as "preposterous misogynistic fables." If it is really true that "the unborn child and the pregnant mother speak with one voice," then presumably they have the right to assume a voice that is selfish and vain. If the "dominant ideology of the unborn child" is nothing but a misogynistic construct invented by patriarchal moralists, why does it matter if that so-called unborn child weighs one pound — or five? Why strike such defensive postures against a issue that no one in the room would even discuss?

The answer to this last question, I think, is that these women are not as doctrinaire as they pretend to be. Within their own minds, they do wrestle with these important moral questions. But when in public, none of them feel comfortable exploring them. Locked in what they feel to be a tribal culture war against pro-lifers, they allow themselves no nuance. That is why on Friday, by unspoken agreement, they eschewed the opportunity for real intellectual give and take on the one fundamental aspect of the abortion issue that has needed to be addressed since January 28, 1988, and instead focused on self-congratulation, paranoia and sisterly bonding.

When your movement's slogan are "Who decides?" and "Trust women" and you dismiss prolifers as misogynists who want to control women it becomes horribly difficult to oppose any abortion, regardless of the gestation or reason.

Talking about late term abortions puts these kinds of pro-choicers between a rock and a hard place. They must either affirm they think abortion should be legal through all nine months of pregnancy or admit that they don't trust certain women to decide what to do with their pregnancies (which in turns creates a huge hole in their argument).

Life Links 1/28/08

Jason Dulles expands on my thoughts regarding the bodily autonomy argument and late-term abortions.

Rita Marker and Wesley Smith are interviewed in separate segments by Focus on the Family.

Here's a story about another illegal abortion clinic in South Africa.
We met Maama Mindi, who offered us "quick-fix" tablets that should be vaginally inserted and would, she claimed, dissolve the contents of the uterus.

"Trust me, it is safe. At six weeks it's not a baby yet, just blood," she told the Dispatch's investigation team inside a cramped room in the house, the walls of which were plastered with posters promoting "Quality, Reliable Herbal Remedies" offered by Mindi and a Professor Kamu from Kilimanjaro.

Brigitte Pellerin and Andrea Mrozek, founding members of have an editorial in the Ottawa Citizen where they discuss abortion in Canada and Flipsyde's song Happy Birthday.

Two groups of researchers used stem cells derived from bone marrow to treat animals who suffered strokes.

Friday, January 25, 2008


That was one of the text messages wannabe casanova David Colby, former CFO of "health insurance giant WellPoint Inc. ," allegedly sent to one of his girlfriends after he impregnated her.
Another lawsuit was filed last month by Elizabeth Cook, a Los Angeles woman who met Colby in 2006 at a function for a California school their children attended.

A single mother with two children, she says in court papers that she dodged his initial advances but relented under a bombardment of calls, texts and e-mails, many of them containing sexually explicit propositions.

She says she soon broke her lease at his urging, with plans to move into his Lake Sherwood home. She says she stopped searching for ways to afford the brain surgery her severely epileptic 6-year-old son needed after Colby promised to pay. Then, she says, she got pregnant, and the text messages abruptly changed tone.

"ABORT!!" Colby allegedly told her in flurry of text messages included in the lawsuit. "Get rid of it. Have an abortion and we can be together."

(Her attorney would not comment on the case. According to court papers, Cook was still pregnant as of Dec. 31.)

Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey

Life Links 1/25/08

Proponents of legalizing the killing of human embryos for research in Michigan are planning on raising $10 million to $20 million for a constitutional ballot initiative. Their current fundraising will need a boost to get them to those numbers.

Scientists have located stem cells in the pancreases of mice.

In an interesting piece at the RH Reality Check Blog, Frances Kissling kindly corrects a previous deceptive post at the RH blog by Marcy Bloom about abortion in Spain. She also provides the definition of "health" in Doe v. Bolton and says the Supreme Court "defined the health exception quite broadly."

American Right to Life is attacking Ann Coulter for endorsing Mitt Romney. They make a variety of claims about Mitt Romney in a press release which claims that corroborating links are at this web page but when you go to the web page there aren't any corroborating links to prove their charges. Apparently, American Right to Life believes the road to ending legal abortion in 12 years is paved by paying for television attack ads on Fox News aimed at Mitt Romney.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Do women have supreme ownership of their bodies or not?

Christianity Today recently interviewed Barack Obama, focusing mainly on his faith but the second page of the three page interview starts with a question regarding abortion and Obama's votes against prolife legislation. Obama responded by saying,
Ultimately, women are in the best position to make a decision at the end of the day about these issues. With significant constraints. For example, I think we can legitimately say — the state can legitimately say — that we are prohibiting late-term abortions as long as there's an exception for the mother's health. Those provisions that I voted against typically didn't have those exceptions, which raises profound questions where you might have a mother at great risk. Those are issues that I don't think the government can unilaterally make a decision about. I think they need to be made in consultation with doctors, they have to be prayed upon, or people have to be consulting their conscience on it. I think we have to keep that decision-making with the person themselves.
Obama is well-aware that "health" with regards to abortion has been expansively defined by the Supreme Court to mean whatever a woman can think of and an abortionist will agree to.

But reading Obama's statement here and numerous posts by pro-choice bloggers this week, I'm continually left scratching my head at how they don't see how their opposition to (at least for those who do oppose) late-term abortions completely undercuts their reasoning (women should be allowed to make these decisions because of bodily autonomy) for why certain abortions should be legal.

If women should have the right to have abortions because, as pro-choice blogger Amanda Marcotte believes the Supreme Court opined, "Your body belongs to you," then why on should any kind of abortion be restricted? Do the bodies of women who are 8-months-pregnant no longer belong to them? Does a woman lose her rights and her ability to make decisions the moment she enters the third trimester? If not, then why should this kind of abortion be restricted in any way? Why should pro-choicers like Obama need to hide behind this qualifying language of "health?" If pro-choicers believe that a woman owns her own body and can do with it whatever she desires and we should trust her to make the decision, then how can pro-choicers want any kind of restrictions on late-term abortions?

Now, maybe a pro-choicer would argue that late-term abortions are rare and only occur for serious reasons. But this dodges the question. It shouldn't matter if they are rare or not and if they only occur for certain reasons or not. If the reason some pro-choicers believe abortion should be legal is because a woman owns her own body then it follows that those pro-choicers should believe abortion should be unrestricted throughout all of pregnancy.

Others pro-choicers might feel/argue that abortion should be restricted after a certain time period because at that time (be it viability, six months, etc.) the unborn becomes what they consider a person. Notice how this adds a rather large exception to the "Women own their bodies" argument. Now it's "Women own their bodies but can't kill persons even if that person is in their body." Then the question quickly becomes "Who is a person?" and "What's the difference between human beings and persons?"

Life Links 1/24/08

Barbara has a continuous photo journal of her March for Life 2008 photos at ProlifeBlogs.

Scott Klusendorf has an interview with Focus on Family about reaching hearts on abortion.

David Frum discusses R v. Morgentaler, the ruling which legalized abortion in Canada.

According to the Catholic News Agency, McCain hasn't changed his position on embryonic stem cell research. In a recent piece explaining his McCain endorsement, Gerard Bradley hinted that McCain's position may have changed in lieu of the news that scientists can created induced pluripotent stem cells without killing embryos.

Yale Daily News - a tool for future abortionists?

Yesterday, the Yale Daily News published an online article (linked to in this post) in which Rasha Khoury, a member of Yale's Medical Students for Choice, was quoted as saying,
It's not as scary as it seems. It's just blood and mucus," Khoury said, referring to the fetus remains in the device. She added, "You'll be able to see arms and stuff, but still just minuscule."
The article was focused on a presentation in which some of the Yale Medical Students for Choice explained abortion procedures and used papaya to demonstrate how an unborn child is sucked out of a uterus. After a couple of hours, the article was scrubbed from their web site.

Today, the Yale Daily News is featuring a long op-ed from Khoury explaining her presentation. I don't know what happened at the presentation (or the Yale student body's reaction to the original story) but it appears that this op-ed is all about Khoury defending herself.

Khoury now writes,
When I was asked what the contents removed from the uterus with the aspirator looked like, I said “blood and mucus,” referring to products of conception, which are then carefully studied in a separate room to ensure the gestational sac and fetal parts (if old enough), are present, ensuring that the procedure was carried out successfully.
Notice how she's very careful to use the term "fetal parts" this time instead of mentioning specific body parts like "arms and stuff" because she wouldn't want to repeat the mistake of humanizing the fetus in the minds of some.

Why the original article was scrubbed hasn't been explained as far as I can tell.

If you're wondering why the Yale Daily News gets rid of articles which provide evidence to the heartlessness of future abortion providers and then provides one future abortion provider with a large number of words to defend herself, you can type a message to Andrew Mangino who is the editor-in-chief and to Kanya Balakrishna and Cullen Macbeth who are managing editors of the Yale Daily News here. I'm also wondering if online editor Steven Siegel played any role in the removal of the original article.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Every year they march"

Mark Hemingway writes on and provides some picture of the March for Life. More pictures are available here.

Is the only reason to be opposed to human cloning the fear of "cloned armies of human killing machines?"

After reading this piece by Ellis Henican, one might get that impression. I've never read anything from anybody talking about how they're opposed to human cloning experiments because those experiments might lead to "cloned armies of human killing machines." It's like Henican just finished watching one of the recent Star Wars movies and came up with this.

Fred's out

I guess one of the lessons learned from Fred Thompson's rather quick departure from the presidential race is that organizations shouldn't base their endorsements on the results of national polls taken in October. Will National Right to Life PAC issue another primary endorsement?

Giuliani's numbers in recent polls are fairly clear evidence that national polls taken months before any primary or caucus takes place aren't the best predictors of who the nominee will most likely be.

"You'll be able to see arms and stuff...."

UPDATE: For some reason or another the following article is no longer on the Yale Daily News web site.

What kind of person can say something like this:
"It's not as scary as it seems. It's just blood and mucus," Khoury said, referring to the fetus remains in the device. She added, "You'll be able to see arms and stuff, but still just minuscule."
The speaker is Rasha Khoury, a member of the Yale Medical Students for Choice and someone who wants to be an abortionist.

Later on in the article, Khoury notes that not all women feel relief after an abortion.
"Often times, women are crying and cursing and saying they're going to hell," Khoury said. "It may be a quick and easy medical procedure, but it definitely is a very involved social-medical procedure."

HT: The Corner

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ethics? We don't need no stinkin' ethics.

So much for that stem cell ethics committee in New York, eh? From this editorial by Daniel Sulmasy it sounds like Governor Spitzer created the ethics committee just to appear as if he actually cared.
Ethics-committee members hold diverse views on the controversial kinds of stem-cell research. Nonetheless, the committee unanimously recommended that the board hold off on funding these practices for six months so that the committee could examine these thorny ethical issues carefully and recommend guidelines.

The ethics committee thought that ethics mattered.

But perhaps ethics doesn't matter much in New York. The board's funding committee, composed almost exclusively of scientists and advocates for embryonic-stem-cell research, agreed on ambiguous guidelines that permit all the controversial practices noted above: cloning, chimeras, parthenogenesis and creating human embryos solely for research.
Full-speed ahead. Ethics (or even any discussion of them) be damned.
The ethics committee's sensible plan of ethical due diligence proved intolerable to the funding committee. It argued that even temporary limits would "send the wrong message to scientists."
And we wouldn't want those poor, little scientists to worry about what's ethical or not. They might leave for another state if they don't what they want when they want it.
This precipitous funding decision sends the wrong message - namely, that the discussion of research ethics should never encumber scientists' work. That's a dangerous premise for any society to hold. Was a six-month delay to allow ethical review really too much to ask? It's preposterous to propose that this would've had a "chilling effect" on science.

Note to Spitzer: Just because New York is known as the Empire State, that doesn't make you the Emperor.

Sanctity of Human Life Day 2008 Life Links

Family Research Council has a live feed of the Blogs for Life conference, though it is currently not working for me.

Justin Taylor interviews Robert George about Roe v. Wade and abortion.
Let's give up on no one. Let us treat everyone, even our opponents in this profound moral struggle, with respect, civility, and ungrudging love. Loving witness is something all of us can give. And lovingly witnessing in our churches and communities to the sanctity of human life is something all of us are called to do.

Scott Klusendorf summarizes Robert George's and Christopher Tollefsen new book - Embryo: A Defense of Human Life. Meanwhile, Marvin Olasky interviews George and Tollefsen about the book.

Nancy Gibb has a piece in Time discussing the various probable reasons why abortion rates have fallen.

Kate Michelman and Frances Kissling have an editorial in the LA Times where they admit, "Advocates of choice have had a hard time dealing with the increased visibility of the fetus. The preferred strategy is still to ignore it and try to shift the conversation back to women. At times, this makes us appear insensitive, a bit too pragmatic in a world where the desire to live more communitarian and "life-affirming" lives is palpable." They close by writing,
If pro-choice values are to regain the moral high ground, genuine discussion about these challenges needs to take place within the movement. It is inadequate to try to message our way out of this problem. Our vigorous defense of the right to choose needs to be accompanied by greater openness regarding the real conflict between life and choice, between rights and responsibility. It is time for a serious reassessment of how to think about abortion in a world that is radically changed from 1973.
I know Kissling has said this type of thing before but it seems to be a rather stunning admission (that there's actually a real conflict between life and choice and the pro-choice movement needs a serious reassessment regarding how they think about abortion) from the former head of NARAL.

Planned Parenthood plans on getting more involved in the 2008 elections.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"This decision defied everything I believed in.."

Kate shares her experience with abortion and how her parents' reaction to the unplanned pregnancy of her brother's girlfriend played a role in her decision making process.

Deciding that I could not endure my parents incessant and demeaning lecturing, nagging and manipulating, I opted for an abortion. This decision defied everything I believed in, but as I could not figure out how to conceal a pregnancy from my parents, I chose the "easy way out". If I'd had the baby, I would have wanted to give her/him up for adoption.....

When I was 30, I had a quasi-nervous breakdown about the abortion. I had no idea that it bothered me so much. I uncontrollably heaved waves of tears, and in between sobs blabbered about having an abortion, and how I murdered my unborn child. I went on to say that I felt guilty that I'd had such a good life and that after the abortion, I went on to have fun and finish college and do all of the things I'd always hoped to do and that I didn't deserve my life.


Dawn Eden links to the blog of someone claiming to be a Planned Parenthood employee. The blogger shares the story of how she didn't report her suspicions that her 12-year-old patient looking for birth control might be in a situation where she's being taken advantage of by an older man. The blogger is too concerned about being "patronizing" to the 12-year-old girl.

Life Links 1/21/08

Nicole Russell has some thoughts about the March for Life which strongly mirrored some thoughts I had last year when I attended the March. I thought I wrote some of those thoughts down but I can't seem to find them.
Still: What if every person who wanted to attend a rally this year spent those hours instead volunteering at a local crisis-pregnancy center? Or, what if they took the money that they would have spent traveling to a rally — and the money that they could have earned had they worked for those hours instead — and purchased baby diapers, formula, and clothes to donate to mothers who have chosen life in spite of being in difficult circumstances? Many community groups already sponsor such efforts — often coinciding with "Sanctity of Human Life Sunday" that many churches observe at the end of January — volunteering at or providing material support for local crisis-pregnancy centers. But it's still hard not to see the wasted opportunity cost of 200,000 people getting themselves to Washington to be seen marching on the Mall — when those resources could be used to reach out in far more personal and effective ways.
The March for Life is great time for prolifers to come together and make a public stand. There will most likely be at least a couple of articles in large newspapers. It probably goes down as a really fond memory for the multitude of young people there. But sometimes I wonder if all the resources spent on bringing the thousands of people to Washington and back would be better spent elsewhere.

Michael New discusses abortion statistics and the good news for prolifers about prolife legislation even if the media would prefer to tell another story.

Kaye McSpadden should take the time to read Michael New's piece before writing editorials like this .
However, despite imposing more restrictions than many countries, the U.S. continues to have one of the highest abortion rates in the industrialized world. Clearly, increasing restrictions does not work to reduce abortions.
The old two-prong attack: bad facts and a logical fallacy. McSpadden heads the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice but apparently isn't a member of the clergy herself but does appear to be active with the Unitarian Universalists.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Life Links 1/18/08

Is it me or does Gerard Bradley's endorsement article in the National Review today certainly makes it sound like Senator John McCain has changed his position on expanding the funding of embryonic stem cell research. This would be good news if it is accurate.
McCain has said — it is true — that he approved embryo-destructive research in the limited case of so-called "spares"— those embryos "left-over" after couples have exhausted their interest in IVF. I disagree with him.In face-to-face conversation with McCain I said not only that such research was wrong, but that it would never be limited to "spares." I said that big biotech needed a far larger supply of research subjects than "spares" could provide. McCain asked to continue that conversation, to hear more. Now he realizes that there is no need to exploit "spare" embryos, in light of recent successes with adult cells. And so he has been telling South Carolinians over the last few days.

Britain's fertility non-regulator Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority says, Yes! Yes! Yes! to allowing scientists to attempt to create cloned human-animal hybrid embryos.

Dawn Eden defends Wendy Wright and points to a gaping flaw in the "abstinence-education-is-to-blame" meme.
To hear Planned Parenthood's spokespeople tell it, the increased incidence of STDs can be blamed on one thing: government-funded abstinence-education programs that fail to promote condom use.

There's just one problem with that argument: According to the state's Department of Education website, a 2003 statewide survey found that 96 percent of California school districts provided comprehensive sexual health education (read: condom instruction) and all its schools have been required to teach HIV/AIDS prevention education (read: more condom instruction) since 1992. Planned Parenthood's educators have long been welcome in school districts across California, and in 1996 the state became the first to reject federal funding for abstinence programs.

In other words, in the state that best models Planned Parenthood's brand of "comprehensive sexual education," the approach has failed to do one of the main things it is supposed to do: prevent disease.
I've never seen a pro-choice advocate ever try to honestly defend how in some states (such as California and New York) where their prescribed policies (no prolife laws, tax-funded abortions, comprehensive sex education, great contraception rankings from NARAL) are put in place, the effects they claim to desire (fewer STDs, abortions, and unplanned pregnancies) don't occur.

A patient in StemCells, Inc.'s clinical trial using a type of neural stem cells (labeled HuCNS-SC by the company) from the brains of human fetuses to treat Batten disease has died.
The nine-year-old patient was transplanted with the cells in January 2007 and was due to return to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), the trial site, for a 12-month follow-up.

However, she was hospitalized with a viral infection, seizures and respiratory distress two weeks ago and died earlier this week.

The principal investigators at OHSU, the company's medical experts and the independent Data Safety Monitoring Committee agree the death was most likely the result of the disease's natural progression, and not because of the implanted stem cells.

Friday Baby Blogging

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Life Links 1/17/08

Jack Kevorkian is clearly a crazy, angry old man. Here's a video of what appears to be an interview done by someone (possibly a student) at the University of Florida with Kevorkian before Kevorkian's recent speech. What an odd society we live in that someone like this gets paid more than many people make in a year to give a speech for an hour. If I was an assisted suicide advocate, I'd be doing whatever I could to make sure this guy stays out of the spotlight.

UPDATE:Here's an article that has a large number of quotes from Kevorkian's speech. I feel immense pity for anyone who listened to Kevorkian's speech and thought like one quoted student that Kevorkian is "very knowledgeable about everything."

HT: Wesley Smith

Justin Taylor has posted an interview with Scott Klusendorf about Scott's upcoming book, the rational basis for the prolife position and his favorite prolife books.

A Michigan Senate committee has approved a legislation which would become a state ban on partial-birth abortion. The legislation now will come before the full Michigan Senate. The legislation definition of partial-birth abortion mirrors the federal ban's definition.

Researchers have been able to stop the growth of human melanoma in mice by attacking cancer stem cells.

Human Cloning in California

Researchers from Stemagen, a San Diego-based biotechnology company, claim to have documented the creation of a cloned human embryos. Their research was published online today by the journal Stem Cells (here's the PDF) according to this article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. They apparently accomplished this in May of 2007 but "did not want to reveal its success until the work could be verified through genetic testing and then published in a peer-reviewed journal."
Also significant in Stemagen's work, scientists said, is that it used 25 donated human eggs to create five human blastocysts, of which three were confirmed genetic clones.

Abortions down in 2005

The Alan Guttmacher Institute has a new study claiming there were an estimated 1.2 million abortions performed in the U.S. in 2005. This is a rather dramatic drop from a Guttmacher report in 2006 which estimated there were 1.287 million abortions performed in 2003. There's coverage in the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, among others.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kevorkian's speech in Florida

Here's a couple of news stories about Kevorkian's speech at the University of Florida. They paid $50,000 for the rantings of a crazy old man. Besides speaking out against voting, noting his oppositions to prisons and comparing himself to Thomas Jefferson, Kevorkian claimed "he helped kill about one out of every five patients who asked to die. The ones he turned away didn't show enough medical evidence to justify ending their lives."

If this is true (it's obviously not), one is left to wonder what medical evidence Kevorkian needed to justify assisting in suicides. The majority of the people he killed weren't terminally ill. Some, like Marjorie Wantz and Rebecca Badger, didn't even have the medical conditions they claimed to have had. I guess when reality isn't on your side, you just make something up for sympathy and hope no one checks the record.

Too bad nobody asked him any of Wesley Smith's suggested questions.

When the desire for ideal conditions gets in the way of life

The Alan Guttmacher Institute web site's is promoting a recent study based on "in-depth interviews with 38 women who obtained abortions in the United States in 2004." Their summary of the research notes:
In addition, many of the women surveyed made direct and indirect references to the "ideal" conditions of motherhood, expressing the view that children are entitled to stable and loving families, financial security, and a high level of care and attention.

The title of the article (abstract here) appears to be a quote from one of the one of women interviewed:
"I Would Want to Give My Child, Like, Everything in the World"

Does the prolife message reach women like this? How can we better share that mothers don't need to give their child everything but they should at least give them a chance at life?

My thoughts on the Republican Michigan Primary

At National Review, Byron York tries to get to the bottom of why Romney won Michigan Republican primary. I think it has less to do with Romney's promises regarding the auto industry which I didn't hear about (or maybe didn't remember) until this morning and more about the number of and frequency of his TV commercials.

I think I've seen about 5 different Romney spots in the past month. The first commercial attacked Hillary Clinton as not having the experience to run government and noted Romney's experience as businessman, at the Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts. Another commercials touted his prolife/pro-family positions, another notes his endorsements from some Michigan newspapers, one featured a man sharing how Romney helped find his daughter in New York and another hit on Romney's Michigan roots and talked about our one-state recession.

I saw only two McCain commercials - one discussing his status as a troublemaker for Washington (noting campaign finance reform, pork-barrel spending, and his disagreement with Rumsfield's strategy) and another which shared quotes from various Michigan newspaper endorsements. McCain's commercials aired fairly frequently but not as often as Romney's.

Huckabee had a single commercial which I saw around 5 times which discussed his prolife/pro-family beliefs. I probably saw a commercial from the Club for Growth which attacked Huckabee's record on taxes as many times (if not more) as I saw Huckabee's ad.

Romney appealed to differing segments of Michigan's population, McCain appealed to individuals with independent streaks and Huckabee appealed to socially conservatives voters.

With those kind of appeals, these kinds of results aren't that surprising. Romney's support was broad-based, McCain won among individuals who are independents and Democrats, don't attend church, have no religion, are dissatisfied with Bush and Huckabee did well with individuals who attend church often and think the religious beliefs of a candidate matter a great deal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What motivates the prolife movement?

Well, according to ex-John Edwards' blogger Amanda Marcotte, it appears a variety of nefarious motives, none of which is actually extending basic human rights to unborn human beings, spur us on. (Some of the posts below might contain language which could be considered offensive by some.)

According to a post today, Marcotte claims,
"It's well understood that one of the primary motivations of the anti-abortion movement is generating a steady supply of white babies into the adoption market."

Last week, Marcotte believed prolifers were "primarily motivated" by a "desire to control sexual expression, especially female sexual expression."

Two weeks ago, it was all about virginity. Prolife men don't care about unborn children, they want to make sure women are virgins on their wedding nights. This, of course, is part of the "larger social agenda, which is controlling women." I'm not sure if this extends to the numerous women who lead prolife organizations.

Seven months ago, Marcotte revealed the "true intentions" of prolifers were "to punish and control women, and it has nothing to do with babies" because authorities in Pennslyvania arrested a woman for the abuse of a corpse after she stored her apparently miscarried child inside her freezer.

With our "true intentions" being to "punish and control women," our "primary motivations" being to generate a "steady supply of white babies" for adoption and to "control sexual expression" and our "larger social agenda" being focused on "controlling women," I wonder why we spend so much time on things like embryonic stem cell research and end-of-life issues?

Life Links 1/15/08

Michigan tops American United for Life's list of the most prolife states for the third year in a row. AUL's web site has updated information about each state's legislation on life issues.

British scientists claim creating and killing human-animal hybrid clones for their stem cell has (my emphasis) "massive potential to provide treatments for serious debilitating disorders ranging from developmental abnormalities in young children, to stroke, cancer, HIV/Aids, diabetes and Parkinson's disease, as well as better and safer treatment for infertile couples."

What a massive amount of cow manure! The sad thing is that in 10 years I doubt British citizens will remember how much they were lied to by scientists.

MIRS News (a political news service out of Lansing which requires a subscription to get online articles) claims today the petition drive to legalize the killing of human embryos in Michigan is "A Go." Apparently, they're still drafting language and they're going to go for a constitutional amendment. Going for a constitutional amendment (as opposed to merely just passing legislation) is typically seen as harder because a segment of the population doesn't like messing with the Michigan constitution because it's harder to change.

The article lays out two options for the Stem Cell Research Ballot Question Committee. They can go for regular legislation where they'd need to "collect 304,101 signatures by May 28 to put the question before the Legislature. If lawmakers reject or take no action on the question, it goes before the voters in November for adoption" or the constitutional amendment where they'd need "to get 380,126 signatures" by July 7.

Either way they seem to be cutting it close on time especially since they don't have their language drafted or approved (the approval process can take a little time) and they don't have any type of grassroots network. I think they're going to need a bunch of cash to pay professional petition circulators to collect signatures.

Exceptionally dumb pro-choice quote of the day

From Melody Rose at the RH Reality Check blog:
Through funding bans, waiting periods, limitations on teens, declining numbers of providers, and myriad other barriers to access, there is no longer a legal right to abortion.
So unless the poor teenagers can get their abortions paid for with tax dollars throughout the country, without having to wait, without any parental involvement, and there are a plethora of abortion providers, the legal right to abortion doesn't exist.

That's like saying we don't have the right to bear arms unless the government pays for poor teenagers to get automatic weapons without a background check, waiting period or any parental involvement and there are a multitude of guns stores.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Shooting down Lee Silver's embryo beliefs

I don't think I'll ever get tried of prolifers pointing out the huge flaws in Lee Silver's "human embryos are pretty much the same as skin cells" baloney.
The view—held by almost everyone irrespective of their moral opinions—that embryos are fundamentally different from other cells, has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the scientific evidence. To draw any moral conclusions on how embryos should be treated—be it from a religious or a secular ethical standpoint—one first has to answer the question What is an embryo? Only by settling what an embryo is—a question of biological fact, not theological speculation—can one determine an embryo's moral status and what interest God and society might (or might not) have in protecting it or permitting it to be killed to benefit others. Our disagreement with Silver is over the scientific evidence. It has nothing to do with religion.....

If the capacity for organization is not a "fundamental" difference between cells and embryos, what basis is there for distinguishing highly organized molecular biologists from mere human cells? One could, in theory, manipulate the organization of Silver's body by dissociating it into a cellular suspension, without destroying cells or altering their epigenetic state. How could Silver possibly object to this transformation of his body into a cellular soup, since, in his view, there is no fundamental difference between human living cells and living human organisms?


Silver confuses what something can be converted into with what it actually is. He assumes that, because a woodpile can be made into a chair, it actually is a chair, right now. Because a piece of lumber and a chair have the same DNA and (by the action of external forces) can be changed into one another, Silver concludes, they are the same thing, or at least not "fundamentally" different. It seems to elude Silver that a piece of wood cannot become a chair on its own, any more so than an embryonic stem cell can become an embryo on its own.

Life Links 1/14/08

Researchers hope to use adult stem cells to create functioning organs for human beings in 10 years. They've already created beating rat heart in the lab removing "all the cells from a dead rat heart, leaving the valves and outer structure as scaffolding for new heart cells injected from newborn rats. Within two weeks, the cells formed a new beating heart that conducted electrical impulses and pumped a small amount of blood."

The pro-choice group the Republican Majority for Choice is going after Mitt Romney in Michigan for changing his position on abortion. The ads seem to be targeted at prolife Republicans.

Authorities in South Africa have discovered the horrible conditions some illegal abortion providers operate in. Abortion is legal in South Africa but some individuals (in this case immigrants from Uganda and Mozambique who aren't doctors will perform illegal, cheap abortions.
Conditions were extremely unhygienic.

"Everything that had been used was still on the floor."

Modingoane said boxes with tablets to induce labour, a number of used condoms, and gloves - some with blood still on them were some of the articles found.

Blood stains could be seen on the floors.

"In one room were panties with blood stains all over."

Modingoane said police were investigating what happened to the foetuses.

He said people using the building had spoken of finding a foetus next to a dustbin.

Prolifers are trying to disrupt Giuliani's events in Florida.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Life Links 1/11/08

Here's Rick Weiss' article in the Washington Post on ACT's re-announcement announcement. It doesn't appear the technique of creating the stem cell lines will get federal backing but research on some of the cell lines which were created might.
The embryos Lanza used, which were donated for research, appear not to have been damaged, Landis acknowledged. However, she said, "it is impossible to know definitively" that the embryos were not in some subtle way harmed by the experiment. And "no harm" is the basis of the Bush policy, she said.

Landis said the only way to prove that the technique does not harm embryos would be to transfer many of them to women's wombs and see whether the resulting babies were normal. But it would be unethical to do that experiment, she said, so the question cannot be answered.

That standard has Lanza fuming. By all scientifically recognized measures, he said, the embryos -- currently frozen in suspended animation because they were donated for research and not to make babies -- are normal, he said.....

As long as that risk is there, funding under Bush's policy will not be available, with one possible exception, Landis said.

Although the NIH will not fund Lanza's method of making stem cells, she said, the agency might fund studies on the cells themselves once they are isolated from the embryos with private money and the embryos are shown to be healthy.

Asked who would make that funding decision, Landis said it would be up to NIH officials.

Yuval Levin provides his thoughts on ACT's latest.

The Associated Press has a couple more details (some which differ from the original story) regarding Daniel Jarrett II's assault on his pregnant girlfriend.
A 24-year-old college student faces life in prison on charges of killing his girlfriend's unborn child by beating her.

Westland police allege Daniel Jarrett II of Wayne threw the 19-year-old to the ground several times and kicked her in the abdomen after she told him she didn't get an abortion.

Editorialize much?

New Scientist writer Andy Coghlan can't help but add some editorial flavor to his story on Advanced Cell Technology's announcement they created embryonic stem cell lines by removing single cells from embryo without destroying the embryo. ACT made similar claims in August of 2006 ago but couldn't hide the fact they killed all the embryos their lines came from. ACT also supposedly did this 6 months ago but I don't believe their work was published until now.

According to Coghlan, the restrictions President Bush put on the federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research were a "heavy" "clapdown," most of the federal-approved embryonic stem cell lines "are of such poor quality they are useless" so new lines are "desperately needed."

I guess there's no need for editorials with articles like this.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Life Links 1/10/08

A man in Michigan named Daniel Jarrett II kill his unborn child after he punched and kicked the abdomen of his 6-month-pregnant girlfriend after they had an argument about getting an abortion. He wanted her to have an abortion, she didn't.
"She got into an argument with the boyfriend about getting an abortion," said Karrick.

As the discussion became increasingly heated, Karrick said that the suspect grabbed the pregnant woman by the throat, threw her to the ground, and punched and kicked her repeatedly in the abdomen. She subsequently lost the baby, which was delivered dead on Saturday.
A television station in Detroit has an article which claims the man has been charged but it isn't specific about if he has been charged for the assault on his girlfriend or the killing of his child or both.

ABC News' Jake Tapper is reporting on how the GOP is planning on using Obama's votes on Illinois' Born-Alive Infant Protection law against him. He includes links to the text of the legislation and Obama's horrible defense of his reprehensible votes.

Huffington Post writer Susan Smalley tries to address her inconsistency about being against eating chicken eggs because they have the "potential to become an embryo" but being in favor of killing human embryos and fetuses.

John Miller interviews Robert George about his book - Embryo: A Defense of Human Life.

Television investigation into an abortion clinic in Spain

A video which I believed aired sometime in 2007 on television station in Spain has been partially translated into English. The video is by a doctor working for the television station using a hidden camera as he gets a job at an abortion clinic. The abortion clinic uses the salt poisoning method to abort late term unborn children.

You can certainly file this under - "Why prolifers don't trust abortion providers." One of the abortionists admits their psychiatrists will sign off on any late term abortion and that many of the girls there for late term abortion are there for purely elective reasons. The New York Timessummarizes Spain's abortion law by saying,
Spain decriminalized abortion in 1985, and under current law women can have an abortion during the first 22 weeks of pregnancy if there is a risk of fetal malformation and the first 12 weeks in cases of rape. However, they are allowed to abort at any point if they can demonstrate that their mental or physical health is at risk.

The video is on YouTube here. There are some graphic images of aborted children being delivered towards the end of the video and the undercover doctor examines an aborted child of about 20 weeks gestation.

The conversation at the end of video where the undercover doctor examines an unborn child and talks with the abortionist isn't translated but I believe it goes something like this:

Undercover Doctor:And they are exactly 23 weeks?
Abortionist: This is 20, 21
A: But I never watch/look at them
UD: Never, never?
A: Never ever
UD: Why?
A: Because I don't like to
UD: It's clear you're a mother

HT: Jill Stanek and RealChoice

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Another infanticide in Michigan

If Christopher Ryan Richardson is guilty of what he is accused of, he deserves his life behind bars.
Richardson, 21, is charged with felony murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and child abuse in connection with the Nov. 24 death of Nevaeh, who died from sepsis following an assault.

Life Links 1/9/07

Jeremy Lott in the American Spectator with The Planned Parenthood Primary.
Most political observers learn to take what goes on in presidential primaries in stride, but one thing I still find immensely depressing. Every four years, like gruesome clockwork, Democratic hopefuls of course try to nail down liberal votes by promising to keep abortions safe, legal, and rarely challenged.

Shinya Yamanaka is predicting it will take around ten years for induced pluripotent stem cells to be used to treat human patients with some conditions. I doubt it.

New research into cancer stem cells shows that they are "abnormally trapped at an early stage of development."
The researchers found that the TICs (Tumor-initiating cells or cancer stem cells) isolated from an adult patient are more similar to early embryonic stem cells than to later embryonic or adult-derived stem cells.
Hmmm.....It will be either a very brave or very ignorant individual who allows themselves to be one of the first test subjects injected with cells created from embryonic stem cells.

I don't think the people at American Right to Life are big Romney fans. It appears they've created a video posted on YouTube regarding Romney's change of positions on the abortion issue. Both Huckabee and Romney are courting prolife voters in Michigan with ads discussing their beliefs.

I just can't understand people like Lauren Bull

At the RH Reality Check Blog she writes,
That's not okay with me. I consider myself a sex-positive person and I truly do not care whether someone is sexually active or not. But I do care when it involves children and young people who are not equipped with the knowledge to protect themselves.

I hate the idea that middle school students are having sex. But what I hate even more is that we aren't helping them be safe about it because we think they're too young.

If our fourth graders are participating in oral sex, we have no choice but to teach them how to be safe.
No choice? Really? We can't take any steps to prevent fourth graders from having oral sex? We can't tell them oral sex is completely inappropriate behavior for children of that age? We can't separate children who are participating in oral sex from each other and make sure they aren't together without supervision? We can't contact the parents to try to figure out where a child of this age is learning this kind of behavior?

For the life of me, I can't understand adults who think like this. It's like they've been clubbed to death with a stupid stick.

Bull continues,
But we also need to figure out what is driving this trend and how to stop it. Our children deserve better. We need to fix this issue before we're forced to teach every eight-year old how to put on a condom.
We also need? How about we make that the priority? How about we stop this kind of behavior instead of teaching children how to "safely" act inappropriately? Can eight-year-olds even understand how to correctly use condoms? Also notice the "before we're forced" line. It's as if she thinks that if a large portion of eight-year-olds begin to have sex then society will have no other options and we will be forced to teach little kids who should be playing on a jungle-gym how to use condoms.

Bull also can't help from contradicting herself. She says she doesn't care whether someone is sexually active or not (as long as the are equipped to protect themselves) but then says she hates the idea of middle schoolers having sex. It's like they can on one level recognize how wrong it is for little kids to be having sex but then on another level their "sex-positive"-we-can't-judge-or-stop-them-so-focus-on-safety ideology takes over.

One reason why you shouldn't shoplift knifes

You might fall on them and stab yourself.
A shoplifting suspect who was stabbed in the stomach by knives he is accused of trying to steal was expected to have a brief stay in the hospital, police said.

The 26-year-old Comstock Park man hid $300 worth of hunting knives in his waistband at the Knapp's Corner Meijer store, police said. He suffered puncture wounds to his abdomen about 5:40 p.m. Monday when he tried to flee and scuffled with security workers. During the struggle, the suspect fell on the knives, authorities said.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Talking about abortion on NPR

Abortionist Susan Wicklund is interviewed by Diane Rehm on National Public Radio about her newly released book entitled "This Common Secret." Wicklund does abortions up to 14 weeks.

After the first segment with Wicklund, Rehm interviews Lori Campbell. Campbell has an article in the January 2008 issue of Vogue magazine where she discusses her partial-birth abortion. She supposedly obtained a partial-birth abortion in 1998 after her water broke at 22 weeks because of an incompetent cervix and doctors told her and her husband the child had little to no chance of surviving. So instead of waiting for the child to die, Lori decided to have a partial-birth abortion. Her stated reasoning for why she got a PBA was because she didn't want to have a baby that would suffer and die and that it would be more like a miscarriage instead of the death of a child.

Campbell goes on to claim the term "partial-birth abortion" didn't exist in 1998. This is an incredibly ignorant claim considering Charles Canady introduced the original partial-birth abortion ban act in 1995 and Congress passed it that same year. Congress also passed another partial-birth abortion ban in 1997 and there was a segment on 60 Minutes in 1996 on partial-birth abortion.

After the interview with Campbell, there's a question and answer segment with Wicklund from listeners.

When asked about people who think all life is precious starting at conception, Wicklund says she believes there is "not a human being existing in that embryo." When a caller challenges her on this later and Wicklund says you have to define life. She then says, "everyone's entitled to their own beliefs but after seeing what I've seen in the clinics and with the women that the embryo isn't an independent life."

Wicklund is later asked about what the difference between a 14-week-old child and a 21-week-old fetus is and why she wouldn't do abortions at 21 weeks. Her response starts with her saying, "A 14 week-old embryo, fetus, whatever you want to call it...." as if both terms could be correct.

Her reasons are that there is a different kind of procedure, a size difference, there is a potential the 21 week fetus could feel pain and doctors don't know when viability is.

Towards the end of the interview, Wicklund is also asked about how her work played a part in the break up of her marriage and how she was fired from another abortion clinic because she didn't want to be solely a technician (meaning having minimal interactions with the patients) while the clinic apparently did.

Life Links 1/8/08

Abortion clinics in Spain are striking because the country is cracking down on illegal abortions which are occurring in Spain. I'm not sure how the strike is going to help their cause. "Let us perform illegal abortion or we won't perform legal ones" doesn't seem that persuasive to me. How does that influence prosecutors? I only wish the strike would last longer than 5 days.

"The Association of Clinics Accredited for the Interruption of Pregnancies" is the name of the organization organizing the strike. I think abortion providers do a little more than interrupt a pregnancy. It's not like they interrupt a pregnancy and then that pregnancy continues at a later date.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of the Sixth Circuit Court's ruling which struck down Michigan's Legal Birth Definition Act.

Scientists have begun applying for federal grants to do research on induced pluripotent stem cells. Geron's Thomas Okarma lays down a whopper in the article.
Chief Executive Officer Thomas Okarma said Geron, one of the largest embryonic stem cell companies in the U.S. by market size, won't invest in the non-embryonic method because it's ``too complicated and too expensive.''
Yeah, because the embryonic method is so much easier and cheaper.

Women in the UK have been selected to get half-priced IVF treatments for donating half of their eggs for human cloning experiments. The researchers seem to have selected women based on which women were likely to produce more eggs.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Life Links 1/7/08

The Los Angeles Times has a Stephanie Simon article about how abortion can effect men.

High courts in China have agreed to hear the case of a woman who was forcibly aborted at 9 months.
Jin Yani's waters had already broken when China's abortion police came for her. They took her to a nearby abortion centre, injected her unborn baby girl and removed the body two days later.

Mrs Jin's crime was to have become pregnant by her fiance five months before she married him at the age of 20, the legal minimum.

Doctors in Dallas have used umbilical cord stem cells taken after a child's birth to help treat the child's neuroblastoma
Doctors are hoping the healthy stem cells will replace the ones that have been damaged by the cancer, which has spread to his bones, liver and bone marrow.

Treatment with stem cells is still experimental and has been rarely used on someone suffering from neuroblastoma. "It's either the second or third time it's ever been done in the world," said Joel Weinthal, Caden's doctor.

The New Scientist has a preview of an article about how some researchers are using adult stem cells from healthy donors to treat graft v. host disease in children who received bone marrow transplants.

Prolife answers

Serge has posted some responses to questions posed by Jill from Feministe regarding abortion and whether unborn children are persons. Jill does posts like this with some regularity and yet when someone like Serge links to his prolife answers to her pro-choice questions, she pays no attention. Which makes me wonder if she actually cares how prolifers would answer her questions.

In the comments section of Jill's post, I found this response by Jill to a question from a prolifer named Jessica about when personhood begins to be worth noting (my emphasis).
"Jessica, I hear ya, it is a hard line to draw. I guess what these questions eventually lead me to is, It doesn't really matter. I know that sounds cold, but the way I see it, even if a fetus is a person it doesn't have the right to use another person's body for its survival. It's a balancing act, and for me, the woman's right to her own body comes out on top."

Has Jill really thought through comments like this and the implication of them?

My daughter uses my wife's body everyday for her survival. If my wife decided that she no longer wanted to use her body to help my daughter survive, would it be alright for my wife to kill our child?

In a response to another comment about the consensus Jill writes,
"I am saying that if we accept the pro-life premise that embryos are people, then we have to re-calculate a lot of these things. I am saying that doing so will be a logistical nightmare, and will illustrate just how silly it is to argue that embryos are people in the first place."

How poor is this argument? The unborn aren't people because counting them in a census would be a logistical nightmare? That's probably one of the least sound reasons for determining whether someone is a person that I've ever heard.

I also enjoyed this comment from Zuzu (another pro-choice writer at the Feministe blog) responding to someone claiming "we obviously don't assign soc sec numbers based on when we think personhood starts."
Actually, we do. Try to get a social security number for a fetus sometime.
Our 3-week-old daughter doesn't have a social security number yet. It takes around a month or so (I believe that's what we were told) for the government to assign a social security number. Does that mean my daughter isn't a person until the government gets around to assigning her a social security number?

Monday Baby Blogging

A little over three weeks after birth and mom and baby are doing well. Mrs. Jivin and I could probably both use a little more sleep and there was a slight issue with the baby losing more weight after birth than normal but that problem has cleared up as she gained 22 ounces in 15 days. I believe the vest in the picture is one my wife wore when she was a baby.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Life Links 1/3/08

Scott Swenson at the RH Reality Check Blog believes Mike Huckabee doesn't think all people have intrinsic value because Huckabee is opposed to abortion, is opposed to same sex marriage and favors abstinence education. One would hope Swenson would actually learn the meaning of intrinsic before making such a silly claim.

Note to Scott, believing all human beings have intrinsic value doesn't mean one has to believe it should be legal to kill unborn human beings, favor allowing individuals of the same sex to marry or teaching sex-ed in public schools.

Just Another Alias discusses her thoughts a year after her abortion.

Jill at Feministe tries to defend her reasoning that if abortion is made illegal then there will be no legal argument to prevent laws against forced abortions. The problems with her argument are many. First, it fails to note that if the unborn are granted the right to life (which is what prolifers want in the long run) then that would be a strong legal argument against forced abortions since killing them by forced abortion would violate their right to life. Second, it assumes the entire right to privacy would be overturned if the courts overturn the right to legal abortion. Jill assumes the entire right to privacy would be "destroy(ed)" instead of the justices merely ruling that killing your unborn child isn't part of the right to privacy. Jill also seems unaware that in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court changed their reasoning for the justification of legal abortion by using arguments for "liberty" and discarding Blackmun's "privacy" reasoning and trimester framework. Another problem I see with her reasoning is: Is there any legal argument to stop forced abortions after viability? If abortions are illegal after viability (as pro-choicers claim) then wouldn't Jill's position entail there aren't any legal arguments against forced abortion after viability?

Two men have been arrested for setting an abortion clinic in New Mexico on fire. The article notes the possible motive:
According to a criminal complaint, Baca's roommate told authorities that Baca allegedly confessed to setting the fire because his former girlfriend was scheduled to have an abortion at the clinic.
If this is the case and the suspects aren't involved in the prolife movement but merely a young man who didn't want his former girlfriend to have an abortion and his friend, will pro-choice bloggers still act like this violence is because of the prolife movement?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Life Links 1/2/08

Jay Lefkowitz provides an inside account of President Bush's decision making process for stem cell funding in the summer of 2001.

HT: Scott Klusendorf, Wesley Smith

A man who caused his girlfriend to miscarry after crushing abortion pills into a beverage is still at large after jumping bail last week.

Here's the latest from the pro-killing human embryos for research forces in Michigan. They really have nothing new to say, do they? Why doesn't Robert Kelch mention the numerous problems embryonic stem cells need to overcome before they can "become useful for new disease treatments?"