Monday, June 30, 2008

Different kinds of gross outs

Jill at Feministe posts a question from a reader who is upset her pro-choice mother, an OB/Gyn Nurse Practitioner, won’t take part in abortions. The mother won’t take part in abortions because “years ago, she had to help in a 3rd trimester abortion, and at the time, as the surgerical nurse, she had the job of taking the fetus parts and putting them together and making sure that none of them had been missed. she admits freely that this is her entire “problem” with abortion - it grossed her out.”

The reader goes on to wonder about why this “gross out” should be a problem since her mother doesn’t have a problem with other surgeries (which often involve “gross” things like blood and guts). This seems to be a fairly common objection among pro-choicers to individuals who claim they oppose/don't want to take part in abortion because it "grosses them out."

I think the reader here is confusing two different types of ways people can be grossed out. One way could be called the “sensual gross out” when you see, smell or taste something (like seeing large amounts of blood, eating rotten food, smelling feces, etc.) which disturbs your senses. Different people obviously have different levels of what their senses can take without being grossed out. People used to smelling and seeing different gross items are less susceptible to be gross out by them.

Another type of gross out is what I’ll call the “moral gross out.” This is the kind of gross out the reader's mother seems to have with abortion. Seeing and putting together the body parts of a 3rd trimester fetus is not only a sensual gross out (at least for most people) but it also would likely gross out your moral sense of what is right and what is wrong. You'd be face to face (literally) with the result of a heinous action. It’s more than just sensually disturbing to see the bloody and broken body of a late-term unborn child. Examining the legs, arms, hands, feet and head of what is essentially a torn apart infant likely reminded the reader’s mother that abortion kills human beings and she wasn’t morally comfortable being involved with the killing of human beings.

Like the sensual gross out, the moral gross out is also something which can be overcome, usually by multiple exposures and/or the loss of a moral sense of right and wrong.

Genetic Discrimination in Britain

A fertile woman in England has gone through IVF and put 11 of her embryonic children through pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to make sure she wasn’t caring a child which has a gene that can led to breast cancer. She is 14 weeks pregnant.
Using controversial screening techniques, doctors rejected six embryos which tested positive for the cancer gene in favour of "healthy" ones to ensure the child would not contract the disease.
Rejected? Do you mean destroyed?

Killing human embryos with a gene that can lead to breast cancer doesn’t mean the child is ensured of never contract breast cancer. BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 aren’t the only causes of breast cancer.
The couple's doctor, Paul Serhal, medical director of the Assisted Conception Unit at University College London Hospital, said: "Women now have the option of having this treatment to avoid the potentially guilty feeling of passing on this genetic abnormality to a child. This gives us the chance to eradicate this problem in families."
No. This gives people the chance to eradicate their children who have genetic abnormalities. The abnormalities have already been passed on to the embryos. The parent just decide who lives and dies.

One wonders if the parents have any guilty feelings over the six of their embryonic children they discriminated against.

Memo to Sharon Begley: Stem cells have already helped, just not the embryonic ones

In her recent Newsweek column entitled “What Condition Could Stem Cells Help First?,” Sharon Begley continues to pound the drums for embryonic stem research. Someone with no prior knowledge of stem cell research who read this column would have no clue there is a type of stem cell research (adult stem cell research) which is currently helping to treat patients. And we wonder why Americans are so ignorant about stem cell research. But hey, why pay attention to actual treatments when we can bash Bush and talk about “the promise” of embryonic stem cells?

Begley falls for all the old lines from embryonic stem cell proponents including (I’m paraphrasing) - “the stem cell lines Bush approved just won’t do,” “we don’t have enough money,” “billions of dollars from states and donors just isn’t enough” and “we would have started clinical trials if it weren’t for the mean FDA and their safety regulations.”

This line takes the cake:
“Despite claims (though not by scientists who know what they're talking about) that reprogrammed cells would obviate the need for embryos as a source of stem cells, the promise remains to be seen. The new cells seem to produce tumors, and might not be able to turn into any of the 200 kinds of human cells, as ESCs can.”
The promise of iPS cells remains to be seen? How about the promise of embryonic stem cells? Have we seen anything but promises?

The new iPS cells produce tumors? Uhhh....So do embryonic stem cells. That’s actually one of the ways the test whether they’re pluripotent.

Have embryonic stem cells actually been ever shown to turn into all 200 kinds of human cells? Can Begley point to the 200+ plus journal articles? I don’t think so.
Bush's ban has deterred so many scientists from studying stem cells that "very few U.S. labs have the experience to build on the reprogrammed cells," says Asa Abeliovich of Columbia University, crippling "the exact types of research the administration wanted to encourage."
Let’s see - according to Nature (my emphasis):
The fact that making iPS cells does not pose the technical and ethical challenges of working with eggs or embryos is drawing large numbers of researchers into the field and speeding up reprogramming research. "This is definitely the hot thing right now," says Melina Fan, executive director of Addgene, the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based nonprofit repository that distributes both Thomson's and Yamanaka's viral vectors for the cell-reprogramming genes. As of 17 April, she says, there have been 704 requests from 178 labs at 142 institutions for Thomson's vectors; 514 requests from 131 labs at 113 institutions for Yamanaka's human iPS cell vectors; and over 1,500 requests from 232 labs at 215 institutions for Yamanaka's murine iPS cell vectors. The statistics speak for themselves. Although the Thomson and Yamanaka stem cell plasmids make up only 0.2% of Addgene's total collection, they've accounted for over 10% of Addgene's total plasmid requests since the beginning of 2008, Fan says.

Sounds crippling, huh?

But maybe all those requests came foreign labs. Earlier Begley noted another reason she doesn’t seem too high on iPS cells.
Using a virus to slip four genes (including, problematically, one that can cause cancer) into adult skin cells, they "reprogrammed" them to cells indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells.
Except that a team of German researchers have apparently created iPS cells without using c-Myc, the gene that can cause cancer. If U.S. scientists were crippled by the Bush administration’s stem cell rules, why aren’t German scientists crippled by Germany’s laws which are even stricter than the Bush rules.

Begley concludes with:
If the next president lifts the ban, it would free up federal money to move the research out of the lab and into suffering patients.
Federal money or the supposed lack of it isn’t what is keeping embryonic stem cells from treating patients. The numerous scientific problems like tumor formation, immune system rejection, being able to efficiently change pluripotent cells into the specific cell type a patient needs, etc. are what's preventing embryonic stem cells from treating patients. This is the reason why patients aren’t being treated in other countries where the federal government is completely gun-ho for embryonic stem cells.

But don’t tell that to Sharon Begley. She’s too to focused on attacking Bush to let reality get in the way.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Lazy Syndicated Columnist of the Week Award

This week's award goes to Leonard Pitts, Jr. for his column on the high school students who are pregnant in Glouchester, Massachusetts.

Pitts believes there actually was a pact where the girls tried to get pregnant and "the mayor and the schools chief, faced with embarrassing international attention, are trying to cover their municipal backside by silencing and undermining the principal and the child-care provider."

He goes to say that the alleged pact isn't important but what's important is who he wants to blame for various problems in teen sexuality (like Gloucester's pregnancies, high STD rates and a recent rise in the teen birth rate).

So who is to blame?

You might have guessed it. President Bush and his administration's abstinence education policy.

After attacking abstinence-only education, Pitts concludes by writing:
Gloucester, Mass., is an aberration, but it might be an omen, too. And if it is, if these troubling numbers prove the leading edge of a new teen baby boom, we will have to answer many tough questions, but one won't be tough at all.

We already know where it started. We already know who the father is.

One slight problem, though. Massachusetts' Governor Deval Patrick decided the state would stop receiving funding for abstinence education in 2007.

Not to mention that "Gloucester public school students receive sex education during middle school and are required to take one health class during their freshman year of high school."

It's amazing how abstinence-only education is to blame for multiple and supposedly intentional pregnancies in a school district where it isn't even taught.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


James Trussell (if you recognize the name it's because I believe I've quoted him regarding emergency contraception in the past) on women and birth control pills:
"The Pill is an outdated method because it does not work well enough. It is very difficult for ordinary women to take a pill every single day. The beauty of the implant or the IUD is that you can forget about them."
Huh??? It is very difficult for ordinary women to take a pill every single day? Really? And what makes it so very difficult?

Are Trussell's standards for women so low he imagines this "ordinary woman" who actually struggles to remember to take a single pill every day? Because it's just so hard to keep the packet of pills on the bathroom counter and take one when you wake up.

Trussell goes on to admit something about emergency contraceptive Planned Parenthood will probably never concede because they make a sizeable sum from every unit sold.
"It is not reduced unintended pregnancies in America or anywhere else that has introduced it. There is so much unprotected sex you would have to use so much emergency contraception to make a dent," he said.
At least it appears the EC section of Planned Parenthood's web site has removed the ridiculous claim that "EC was responsible for approximately 43 percent of the decrease in the number of abortions from 1994 to 2000." That claim was on their site at least as late as January of 2007.

Life Links 6/26/08

If you’re going to hammer Obama on his position against giving basic rights to children who survive abortions (and this is something he should be hit hard on), I think you need to word your question/statement better than Bill Bennett did in this CNN segment.

I think Bennett is trying to say Obama’s position allows for the killing of born children who have been in the womb for eight months but he comes off as asserting Obama thinks killing children eight months after they’ve been born should be legal.

Despite Jim Wallis’ efforts, I sincerely doubt Democrats are going to come anywhere near accepting an abortion reduction plank in their platform anytime soon. If they did then some reporter might actually have the gall to ask a question like, “Why should abortions be reduced?” or “How will using tax dollars to pay for abortion help reduce the number of abortions?”

A government committee in Romania will decide if an 11-year-old girl who was impregnated after being raped by her 19-year-old uncle will be allowed to travel to Britain for an abortion. She is 20 weeks pregnant and Romanian law only allows abortions until 14 weeks. UPDATE:The girl has been flown to Britain for an abortion.

Another embryonic stem cell company, California Stem Cell Inc., is hoping to start clinical trials on human patients using embryonic stem cells next year. I love this quote from Hans Keirstead:
”Stem cells have the potential to treat every single human disease, but there's a lot that's over-pitched out there.”
Talk about over-pitching! Every single human disease?!?!?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life Links 6/25/08

National Review has posted an excerpt from Jonah Goldberg's book Liberal Fascism on the connection between abortion, the eugenics movement and Margaret Sanger.
Sanger’s genius was to advance Ross’s campaign for social control by hitching the racist-eugenic campaign to sexual pleasure and female liberation. In her “Code to Stop Overproduction of Children,” published in 1934, she decreed that “no woman shall have a legal right to bear a child without a permit shall be valid for more than one child.”47 But Sanger couched this fascistic agenda in the argument that “liberated” women wouldn’t mind such measures because they don’t really want large families in the first place. In a trope that would be echoed by later feminists such as Betty Friedan, she argued that motherhood itself was a socially imposed constraint on the liberty of women. It was a form of what Marxists called false consciousness to want a large family.

A pro-choice blogger at Mermaid's Musings recently attended the "Annual Organizing Conference of the National Network of Abortion Funds" and lists 11 reasons given at a workshop for why the language of choice isn't adequate for the pro-choice movement "the Movement for Reproductive Justice." Some points I thought noteworthy:
5. Choice is a conservatizing notion. The women (and men) who struggled to make abortion legal in the United States saw it as a beginning, a first step in giving women the right to be full participants in our society. Instead, the tremendous backlash has made Roe v. Wade the pinnacle of our achievement; we have been fighting for almost four decades now just to hold on to legality - instead of pushing for access. The rallying cry in the late 1960s was "Free Abortion On Demand." Today, it’s "Safe, Legal and Rare." blah....

11.Choice is a sanitization that obliderates women’s sexual rights. Women need abortions because they have sex. It is consistently amazing to me how much our society denigrates women who enjoy sex (for sex’s sake, not for procreative purposes).
She closes by saying,
We need to assert Free Abortion On Demand, along with Universal Health Care, Free Childcare, and Human Rights for EVERYONE.

It's almost like some individuals in the pro-choice movement are so fervently "pro-choice" they can't remember that the language of "choice" was adopted because slogans like "Free Abortion on Demand" aren't really something even most people in favor of legal abortion believe in.

James Dobson may not like all of John McCain's positions but he really doesn't like Barack Obama's.

Police in Indiana have arrested two men for actions related to the shooting of Katherin Shuffield, a bank teller who was 5-months pregnant with twins. The shooting killed her unborn children.
Shuffield and her husband, Jason, issued a statement Tuesday through their attorney that said in part:

"We are deeply grateful to all of those at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for the hard work required to find and arrest the two suspects.

"We continue to seek justice for the tragic loss of our two daughters. We will fight to change Indiana law to recognize both their lives and to punish those responsible."

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi also plans to lobby the General Assembly to allow murder charges for unborn fetuses before they reach viability. Shuffield was five months pregnant.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

McGurn: NARAL Catholics Line Up for Obama

In a column in the Wall Street Journal, William McGurn notes how the majority of Catholics on Barack Obama's National Catholic Advisory Council have 90-100% ratings from NARAL.
Mr. Obama is for using tax dollars to fund abortions, and against restrictions on partial-birth abortion. In the Illinois Senate, he voted against legislation protecting a child who was born alive despite an abortion. In sum, if you want to know what Mr. Obama's policies mean, it's this: taxpayer-funded abortion on demand.

Not fair, complains the Obama camp. They point to statements supporting adoption. They cite the story about how he removed language about "right-wing ideologues" from one of his Web sites after a pro-life doctor complained. Above all, they say he has acknowledged a moral dimension to abortion, that he's willing to listen, and that he wants to work for fewer abortions.

All very true. Yet this defense reflects a common complaint about the Obama campaign in general: When you look past the soothing language about "change" and the willingness to "listen," the actual policies and voting record are to the left of Ted Kennedy's and Bernie Sanders'.

Monday, June 23, 2008

When Abortion isn't a Choice

Antigone is a blogger who chronicles her struggles and efforts to remain pregnant after three miscarriages (her last child, Henry, at 22 weeks). Her husband (who wants a divorce) recently gave her an abortion ultimatum.
He says I must have an abortion, that he would force me to have one if he legally could. If I don't, he says he'll do everything in his power to take the child away from me as soon as it is born, including lies to support the idea that I was an unfit mother. He also says he'll make my moving out has difficult as possible unless I abort and that he'll use every dollar of his to do it.

Why citing public opinion polls on stem cell research isn’t helpful

Because as Yuval Levin documents and explains in the New Atlantis: the public doesn’t know very much about stem cell research.
Easily the most unusual and outstanding characteristic of public views on the stem cell and embryo research issues is a self-reported lack of familiarity with the facts. In other arenas of policy and politics, even when people don’t know much about a prominent public subject they tend not to perceive or report their own ignorance. But asked, for instance, whether they were familiar with stem cell research, only 17% of the respondents said they were very familiar....

This relative absence of knowledge about even the most prominent of the embryo-research issues is made emphatically clearer in the responses to particular questions of fact. Asked, for instance, whether adult or embryonic stem cell research had yielded any therapeutic results, only 23% of respondents answered correctly that, to date, only adult stem cells have resulted in treatments for disease. More respondents wrongly believed that embryonic stem cells had already yielded therapies, and many wrongly believed that neither adult nor embryonic stem cells had done so.
32% of respondents thought that embryonic stem cells had treated patients and 17% thought that neither embryonic or adult stem cell were used for treatments while 32% weren’t sure.

In fact, professed familiarity with stem cell research in the prior question turned out to be a leading indicator of actual ignorance with respect to this question of therapeutic uses. Almost 40% of those who claimed some knowledge about the research in the earlier question believed, incorrectly, that embryonic stem cells had yielded therapeutic results, compared to only 23% of those who said they were unfamiliar with the research.

So while only 59% of respondents claimed to be either somewhat or very familiar with stem cell research, close to half of the 59% aren’t really that familiar.

Life Links 6/23/08

Stephanie Simon, usually of the LA Times, has an article in the Wall Street Journal today on Planned Parenthood’s move into more affluent communities. The article also has quotes noting how some other abortion providers aren’t big Planned Parenthood fans.

Bertha Bugarin, a woman who at one time ran 6 abortion clinics in southern California,has been charged with “10 felony counts of practicing medicine without a license and grand theft.”
Bertha Pinedo Bugarin, who faces similar charges in Los Angeles, is accused of telling women that she was a doctor, performing abortions on them and prescribing drugs. One woman had to be rushed to a hospital with life-threatening complications, prosecutors said.

"This defendant preyed on women in the Hispanic community," said San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis. "By passing herself off as a doctor, she put these women's lives in serious danger."

Authorities in South Africa are closing down the home abortion clinic of abortionist Nomgcobo Sangoni. The Sunday Time previously chronicled how Sangoni was willing to perform illegal abortions up to 33 weeks of gestation.

Scientists have found a new kind of adult stem cell on the heart.
Pu and colleagues showed that the cells from the heart's outer lining, called the epicardium, can not only metamorphose into cardiomyocytes but also into smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells, which line the interior of blood vessels, and fibroblasts, found in connective tissue.

Pfizer is investing $3 million in a company hoping to use adult stem cells to treat individuals who go blind because of diabetes. They hope to have a treatment ready for clinical trials in 3 years.
In the future, patients with early signs of blood-vessel damage in the eye might go to the doctor in the morning and leave a blood sample. Adult stem cells would be isolated in the lab over the next few hours, and then the patient would come back in the afternoon and get an injection of his own purified stem cells into the eye. That single injection could stave off further blood-vessel damage for years, preserving eyesight that would otherwise be lost.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Friday Baby Blogging

Baby Jive attended her first Tigers game a week ago as the Tigers beat the Dodgers. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera but here's a picture of her in the Tigers' cap we had her in.

She's also recently added successfully eating rice cereal to her list of accomplishments.

Booing Granholm

As much as I dislike Governor Granholm, I think making a couple of nice comments about Hillary Clinton for a couple of seconds at an Obama rally shouldn't be boo-worthy for rationale Obama supporters. Apparently, a decent number of Obama supporters aren't all that rationale.

I couldn’t find the clip which I saw on TV but on the camera angle facing Granholm there’s this red-haired lady behind Granholm who starts shaking her head and booing like a mad woman the second Granholm mentions Clinton’s name.

Life Links 6/19/08

Another abortionist is in trouble. This time it’s Hamid Sheikh in Kentucky. Ahhh... those caring, brave abortion providers:
Doctor Hamid Sheikh has already been indicted for allegedly billing Medicaid for abortions he performed, allegations he categorically denies. And now Dr. Sheikh is denying a slew of new allegations from the Kentucky medical licensure board, allegations which paint a picture of a hellish abortion operation.....

According to what seven of Sheikh’s unhappy former patients told the Kentucky medical licensure board, some of those abortions were excruciatingly painful, unsanitary and illegal.....

A 17-year-old reported unbearable pain while another woman claims Dr. Sheikh told her to “shut up” so women in the waiting room wouldn’t hear her screaming.

The state investigator looked at records of 22 patients, finding 8 apparently weren’t required to wait the required 24 hours for an abortion.

There were outdated medications and bio-hazardous materials removed during abortions that hadn’t been picked up in 12 weeks.
Sheikh denies the charge and told the television station reporter he retired earlier this month.

The number of abortions performed on girls under 16 in the United Kingdom is on the rise.
Official figures released today showed that 4,376 girls under the age of 16 terminated a pregnancy in England and Wales in 2007 — a rise of 10 per cent on the 3,990 abortions the previous year.

Among the very young, girls aged under 14, numbers have increased from 135 to 163, a jump of 21 per cent.

Marcia Baum’s Michigan tour of stem cell misinformation continues in the Upper Peninsula. Unfortunately, WLUC-TV 6 was to lazy to actually check to see if anything Ms. Baum was saying was actually true.

The crazy pro-choice pro-abortion comment of the week goes to Candian myspace user “Misha.”
In fact, if someone is even WONDERING if they should have an abortion, they most certainly Should have one.

You must think human life is precious? The same human life that is overrunning our beautiful planet until it is nothing more than a shattered mass of pollution and corruption?

I don't think people should even be allowed to have children at all, to give the earth a chance to heal. I know I'm being radical here but I don't care, it's out of love for life, not only human life but all life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Obama the Amazing

Overhead - Barack Obama at a recent speech in Michigan:
And that’s why the American people will have a clear choice in November – because when I’m President, I will make college affordable for every American.

And then he'll cure cancer. And then he'll bring about world peace. And then he'll saw a woman in half and put her back together.

It's magic you see. He can do it all once elected president. Yes, he can!!!

Life Links 6/18/08

A recent study from researchers at the University of Michigan published in the Journal of Immunology has found that taking misoprostol vaginally (Planned Parenthood's previously preferred way) as a way of completing an RU-486 abortion "may undermine the body's immune response" and "can allow a normally non-threatening bacterium, Clostridium sordellii, to cause deadly infection."

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm in California, is planning to invest in iZumi Bio Inc, a company which will focus on induced pluripotent stem cells.

It appears Commonwealth Catholic Charities in Virginia hired a few individuals they shouldn't have.
Federal authorities are investigating the actions of a Catholic charity in Richmond which helped a 16-year-old Guatemalan girl to receive an abortion in January, in possible violation of Virginia law....

The unnamed girl, who already had one child, had been fitted with a contraceptive device provided by CCR two months earlier, the letter said. CCR members signed the consent form necessary for a minor to have an abortion and had someone drive her to and from the abortion clinic.

It is illegal in Virginia for a social worker to sign a parental consent form for an abortion. The state's notification law stipulates that at least one parent, grandparent or adult sibling must give consent.

The Washington Post has an article on the success of using adult stem cells to treat fractures which have a tough time healing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"It is illegal, to a certain extent."

That's what one abortion provider in South Africa said after being questioned about performing abortions past South Africa's 20 week limit, according to The Sunday Times, a South African newspaper.
Registered medical doctors are performing illegal abortions in exchange for hard cash.

The Sunday Times uncovered two cases in one city this week.

Dr Nomgcobo Sangoni — a Shoprite/Checkers Woman of the year finalist — runs a clinic from her Sunnyridge home in East London that offers to assist women as heavily pregnant as 33 weeks.....

The Sunday Times spoke to a midwife at her house, who explained the procedure.

“You will have to sign this consent form. I will then give you four tablets every four hours, until the baby comes out,” she said.

The midwife admitted that some foetuses were alive. “Two months ago, a seven-months pregnant girl gave birth to a healthy baby ... The baby died within a few hours.”

Sangoni denied all the claims made by her assistant. But when Sunday Times conacted her by phome and visited her rooms, Sangoni and her midwife offered to terminate pregnancies up to 33 weeks.....

Foetuses aborted by Kyagulanyi are taken to a waste management factory near East London. A former employee this week spoke of his personal trauma escorting midwives carrying buckets filled with foetuses.

“I hated going to work on a Friday because I knew I would have to listen to those screams the whole night. Everybody there (at the centre) knows that this was illegal, but no one wants to talk about it,” he claimed.

Life Links 6/16/08

It looks like National Petition Management has hired some real classy individuals to circulate petitions to legalize research on human embryos in Michigan.

The U.S. Bishops have issued a statement on embryonic stem cell research.
Second, some claim that the embryo in his or her first week of development is too small, immature, or undeveloped to be considered a “human life.” Yet the human embryo, from conception onward, is as much a living member of the human species as any of us. As a matter of biological fact, this new living organism has the full complement of human genes and is actively expressing those genes to live and develop in a way that is unique to human beings, setting the essential foundation for further development. Though dependent in many ways, the embryo is a complete and distinct member of the species Homo sapiens, who develops toward maturity by directing his or her own integrated organic functioning. All later stages of life are steps in the history of a human being already in existence. Just as each of us was once an adolescent, a child, a newborn infant, and a child in the womb, each of us was once an embryo.

Others, while acknowledging the scientific fact that the embryo is a living member of the human species, claim that life at this earliest stage is too weak or undeveloped, too lacking in mental or physical abilities, to have full human worth or human rights. But to claim that our rights depend on such factors is to deny that human beings have human dignity, that we have inherent value simply by being members of the human family. If fundamental rights such as the right to life are based on abilities or qualities that can appear or disappear, grow or diminish, and be greater or lesser in different human beings, then there are no inherent human rights, no true human equality, only privileges for the strong.

Governor Granholm vetoed Michigan’s most recent partial-birth abortion ban on Friday.

Wesley Smith highlights a Nature article on cloning researchers’ desire for human eggs.
In other words, all of those assurances about protecting women are nothing more than temporary expedients that will be swept away as soon as it is deemed politically feasible. And if the assurances made in this area are nothing but cow manure, so too are the equally oleaginous promises to limit the lives of cloned embryos to 14 days, and to never engage in fetal farming, and to never want reproductive cloning.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Baby Blogging

Big smile

Legs of steel

Life Links 6/13/08

Wesley Smith has a post on the audacity of the Orlando Sentinel to continue publishing false description of Terri Schiavo's condition because they've always been publishing false description.

The Telegraph has the story of a British teen who died three years ago after her RU-486 abortion failed to remove all of her unborn child. One of the reasons the girl had the abortion was because her boyfriend was Muslim and she didn't want to bring shame on his family.
Eventually Miss Jones accepted she would have a termination and went into hospital on June 11 to take medication, returning the following day to complete the abortion.

However, within 48 hours she began bleeding, feeling light headed and ill.

After a scan failed to spot a problem, she continued with her plans to go on holiday with her friends, but returned home early to Bristol, where she was studying, and took a taxi to the city's Southmead Hospital on June 24th, where she suffered seizures and cardiac arrest.

She never regained consciousness and doctors turned off her life support machine three days later.

The ProWoman ProLife blog notes how some pro-choice opposition to the Canadian version of the Unborn Victims of Violence legislation has nothing to do with the substance of the bill.

The Boston Globe has an article on experimental stem cell treatments and the new guideleines issued by the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

Steve Strang details his thoughts on attending the recent meeting between Barack Obama and various church leaders and Obama's answer to his question regarding abortion. For some reason, RH Reality Check's Scott Swenson cuts off the following last sentence in one of Strang's paragraph when discussing Strang's post.
In other words, other than his demeanor and obvious attempt to win over the Christian leaders in the room, he didn’t say anything new.
The only reason I can see why Swenson would cut that sentence off is he wants his readers to falsely believe that Strang believes Obama's position (and not merely just Obama's rhetoric) is more centrist when if you read the entire post, it is clear Strang doesn't believe Obama to be anything close to a centrist when it comes to abortion policies.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Granholm set to veto partial-birth abortion ban

The Associated Press is reporting the Governor Jennifer Granholm will veto Michigan’s latest attempt to ban partial-birth abortion. Here's the legislation, its history, etc.

More on Cindi Cook

ABC News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are covering the story of Cindi Cook, the woman who pretended to be the mother of her son's girlfriend so the teenager would have an abortion without notifying her parents. From the AJC article:
Displeased that the baby would ruin her son's chance of going to college, Cook, 44, pressured the 16-year-old girl to have the abortion in the spring of 2007, found a clinic that would do it without her present, and paid for the procedure, DeKalb Solicitor General Robert James said Wednesday....

James said his office is now investigating whether the facility — Northside Women's Clinic in Chamblee— broke a state law that required parental notification when a girl under the age of 18 has an abortion....

More than a year after the abortion, "she's still struggling with the loss of the baby," said Fenn Little, her family's attorney. "She's getting better, but there's going to be a lot of counseling and issues that have to be addressed."

Through their attorney, the girl's parents issued this statement: "The actions of both Cindi Cook and the Northside Women's Clinic have affected our daughter's life with much pain this past year because of the loss of her baby. It was a sense of helplessness. As for us, they took away our right to be there and help our daughter during a time when she needed us most. The outcome of the trial is a positive step forward in the long healing process that we must go through as individuals and as a family."
The ABC News story notes,
The lawyer representing the teenage girl said today that he's considering a civil suit against the Atlanta clinic that performed the abortion, suggesting the clinic might be soliciting abortions from underage girls.

Here's the Northside Women's Clinic's friendly looking web page.

Life Links 6/12/08

Howard Dean needs an abortion reality check. He thinks (or at least thought) “it’s total nonsense” that public funding of abortion increases the abortion rate.

Rick Garnett parses Doug Kmiec’s most recent piece trying to explain his Obama backing.

Ryan Anderson and Christopher Tollefsen discuss Enhancement Biotechnology and Natural Law.

John Lott takes a look at the Big Picture Behind Abortion.
From the beginning of the abortion debate, those favoring abortion have pointed to the social costs of "unwanted" children who simply won't get the attention of "wanted" ones. But there is a trade-off that has long been neglected. Abortion may eliminate "unwanted" children, but it increases out-of-wedlock births and single parenthood. Unfortunately, the social consequences of illegitimacy dominated.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

LifeLinks 6/11/08

A Georgia woman named Cindi Cook has received a year in jail after pleading guilty to signing the parental notification forms of her son's girlfriend. The story also notes that Cook pressured the girl into having the abortion.

The Girl Who Was Born Twice -
The tumor was stealing blood from Macie, weakening her heart. So, at 25 weeks, surgeons cut into Keri's abdomen, pulled out the entire uterus -- and then half of Macie. The tumor was the size of a grapefruit.

Gary Bauer provides some tips for John McCain to help sew up with prolife voters.

It looks like there's another study which intends to promote the idea that the United States is falling behind in embryonic stem cell research. The only problem is the U.S. does more embryonic stem cell research than any other nation so the author Aaron Levine had to come up with another comparison.
He found that while the United States produces far more research in the field than any other single country, when one compares the amount of human embryonic stem cell research to other forms of research in molecular biology and genetics, the U.S. falls behind.
So while the U.S. leads other nations in embryonic stem cell research, embryonic stem cell research has a smaller share of the American research pie than molecular biology and genetics compared to other nations who are producing less embryonic stem cell research. And this is a problem for embryonic stem cell research proponents because???? Will they not be happy until research which hasn't helped a single patient is the most prevalent research in the U.S.?

Serge notes the dangers of overstating the case with regards to birth control and chemical abortions.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Life Links 6/9/08

For the ridiculously dishonest cloning scientist file - here’s an article on how researchers in Australia are hoping to get permission to attempt to create cloned human embryos. To a certain extent, I feel sorry for the reporter whom Professor Richard Boyd seemed intent on misleading. The article claims they want to clone “human embryo cells” and not the reality that they’re trying to clone human embryos. Boyd calls human embryos created via cloning “so-called embryos” and “embryonic form(s)” and also claims allowing cloning will bring Australia in line with “the rest of the world.”

From the University of Wisconsin-Madison News:
"Highly religious audiences are different from less religious audiences. They are looking for different things, bringing different things to the table," explains Scheufele. "It is not about providing religious audiences with more scientific information. In fact, many of them are already highly informed about stem cell research, so more information makes little difference in terms of influencing public support. And that's not good or bad. That's just what the data show."

So everyone opposed to killing human embryos for research isn’t ignorant about the research. Who knew? Here’s the study’s abstract.

The intestine (and likely some other organs) have different types of adult stem cells. University of Utah researchers think this finding will make treating patients with certain conditions more complicated but allow researchers to fine-tune treatments.

Nat Hentoff thinks Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would make an ideal running mate for Senator McCain.
However, as a longtime reporter on disability rights, I have discovered that many fetuses so diagnosed have been aborted by parents who have been advised by their doctors to end the pregnancies because of the future “imperfect quality of life” of such children.

Palin’s first reaction to the diagnosis (her youngest child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome while in the womb) was to research the facts about the condition, since “I’ve never had problems with my other pregnancies.” As a result, she and her husband, Todd, never had any doubt they would have the child.....

And her presence could highlight Barack Obama’s extremist abortion views on whether certain lives are worth living, even a child born after a botched abortion.

Wesley Smith comments on a report that human nasal stem cells have been used to create dopamin producing cells in the brains of rats.

Here’s a video of Calla Papademas sharing her egg-donation story, noting the side effects she had after injecting herself with Lupron (a drug used to hyperstimulate the ovaries into releasing more eggs).

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Life Links 6/5/08

Until Obama can provide a decent defense (or admit they were mistakes) of his inexcusable votes on Illinois’ attempt to protect children who survive abortions, posts like this and editorials like this are going to continue to present themselves. From the editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Daniel Allott:
Then there's Mr. Obama's aforementioned opposition to laws that protect babies born-alive during botched abortions. If partial-birth abortion is, as Democratic icon Daniel Patrick Moynihan labeled it, "too close to infanticide," then what is killing fully-birthed babies?
In "The Audacity of Hope," Mr. Obama denounces abortion absolutism on both ends of the ideological spectrum. That is audacious indeed considering Obama's record, which epitomizes the very radicalism and extremism he denounces.

The UK’s Telegraph has a story about a woman who tried to abort at 8 weeks only to find herself 19 weeks pregnant months later.
Miss Percival said: "Deciding to terminate at eight weeks was just utterly horrible but I couldn't cope with the anguish of losing another baby.

"I couldn’t believe it when the doctor said I was still pregnant, this was the baby I thought I'd terminated.....

"He may need an operation but as only one of his kidneys is affected he can survive. I still struggle to believe just what he has fought through. Now he’s here I wouldn’t change it for the world."

Michelle Malkin’s most recent column is on Planned Parenthood’s obscene profits.

Is it me or does Australian MP Ken Smith sound absolutely foolish for his comments about getting an e-mail with this picture of fetal surgery?

Physicians in Colorado have used adult stem cells during disc surgery on a man’s lower back.
Adult stem cells have been injected into patients' backs and joints to promote tissue growth, but it's the first time stem cells have been injected during a spinal surgery, he said.

The bone marrow cells used in Tuesday's procedure were harvested from the middle-aged male patient then brought to the laboratory where millions more were grown over three weeks using the patient's blood, Centeno said.

Tens of millions of the cells were then injected into the man's back during a discectomy, a surgery to remove a herniated or bulging intervertebral disk.
Unfortunately, the reporter (Julie Poppen) erroneously claims towards the end of the article that “President George W. Bush banned the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research in 2001 due to moral concerns.”

Researchers appear to have made more improvements in the technique of creating induced pluripotent stem cells.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's time again for New York Times to defend Roe v. Wade

The New York Times has what seems like their annual essay from someone describing how women were injured from illegal abortions in the years before Roe v. Wade. This year's essayist is Waldo L. Fielding, who is described as "an obstetrician and gynecologist in Boston for 38 years."

What's not mentioned (by either the Times or Fielding) is that Fielding is a former abortionist who co-authored a 1984 article in Obstetrics & Gynecology which found that looking for the body parts of unborn children after an abortion helped reduce the number of failed abortions to 1/3 it's usual number. I also found this blurb online from "Caught in the Crossfire: A Year on Abortion's Front Line" by Sue Hertz:
"It was easy to shrug off an aborted pregnancy as nothing more than a sack of blood and globs of tissue - as many pro-choice activists did- if one never saw fetal remains, or products of conception (POC) as they were known in medical circles."

"The counselor/medical assistants (CMAs) met regularly to discuss their feelings about their work...Inside a procedure room, facing the contents of the uterus, there was no denying what abortion was."

"During the procedure, Doris [Merrill] would offer her hand for the patient to squeeze, or if the abortion were particularly painful, a notepad for the patient to bite...Doris knew what [Dr. Waldo Fielding] was doing at the end of the examination table as he pored over the legs and ribs and hands, but she chose not to look. It wasn't that Doris ignored the truth, but rather that her commitment was to the woman, not the fetus..."

"...Waldo removed from the glass jar cheesecloth sack which caught the fetal parts, dumping the parts into a basin at the end of the table, between [the patient's]feet. Two legs, two arms, two fists, a skull, a backbone, a placenta. "We've got it" he announced."

As usual, the essay describes some horrible methods used to self-induce abortions (including the infamous coathanger) or used by abortionists whom Fielding describes as "often unknowing, unskilled and probably uncaring" and the injuries women suffered.

I guess not a lot has changed except that abortion is legal instead of illegal and the techniques for killing children in the womb have gotten a technological upgrade. We still have abortionists (like Alberto Hodari) who are unskilled and uncaring. We still have women who are horribly injured or killed by abortion. The stories of those deaths and injuries just never seem to make it to the New York Times.

The essayist also seems to believe that because women will have abortions even if they are illegal and some women will be injured is a valid reason for making abortions legal. No argument is made regarding what the unborn are and whether it should legal to kill them or not.

So we have a man who likely spent countless hours combing his hands over and examining tiny human hands, feet, arms, legs, rib cages, etc. after he removed from a woman. I guess it's not that big of a surprise that the only defense he can muster for legal abortion is claiming women will just have them anyways.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Life Links 6/3/08

It appears an experimental adult stem cell transplant to treat a boy suffering from a painful genetic skin disease called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa was successful.
The boy's doctors said Monday they think they have found a cure for the painful disease that, though rare, causes the skin to fall off at the slightest touch and inevitably leads to cancer. Most children who have it do not survive to adulthood.

"Maybe we can take one more disorder off the incurable list," said Dr. John Wagner, a bone marrow specialist and stem cell researcher at the university. He agreed to treat Nate Liao after his mother begged Wagner to try using stem cells as therapy.

"It's not often that it feels like you hit a home run in medical research, but this one feels like it," Wagner said.

Dennis Boyles explains the problems Phill Kline has had in enforcing Kansas' prolife laws.
The former state attorney general and current district attorney of Johnson County, in suburban Kansas City, Kline is that most unfortunate of political creatures — the inspired reformer. The object of his quixotic campaign is to reform the abortion laws of Kansas — not by changing them, but by simply enforcing them.

In a place like Kansas, you might think, that’s T-ball politics — but that would only be in the Kansas of popular (and Thomas Frank’s) imagination, where wily conservatives are winning the culture wars. They’re definitely not, as Kline now knows well. He started his mission after being elected attorney general in 2002. After six years, he has been so badly mangled by Kansas’s political machinery that he’s the one under siege.

That’s his punishment for conducting a string of long and fruitful investigations that appear to show that the state’s largest abortion providers — including Johnson County’s Planned Parenthood clinic and George Tiller’s infamous late-term-abortion clinic in Wichita — have not only performed illegal abortions, they’ve also falsified documents as part of a cover-up.
In other Kansas abortion news, it took more than a year for Governor Kathleen Sebelius' office to seek reimbursement from the pro-choice organization who auctioned off the party at the governor's mansion won by abortionist George Tiller.

Parents in England who naturally conceived quadruplets have chosen against selective reduction.
The couple, who met when they were teenagers and have been married for four years, were offered a selective reduction, which would mean removing one or more of the foetuses to increase the chances of the others surviving - but are determined to let nature take its course.

They been told the pregnancy carries a high risk of complications, but so far all four babies are developing well.

'Both of us are against abortion,' said Mr Wing. 'We decided to take the risk.

'We wanted a girl so how would we feel if we had selective reduction and found out that the ones we selected were girls?

'Anyway, we didn't want to say, "Right, you can live and you can die". It was horrible even when the consultant was talking to us about it.'

Monday, June 02, 2008

Life Links 6/2/08

Hah... "Welcome to the York Federation of Students: Where everything we know about freedom of speech, we learned from the KGB." By the way here’s another quote from Gilary Massa on the vote to ban funding for prolife groups.
This policy does not apply to religious organizations,” said Massa. “It only applies to groups whose sole purpose is to spew anti-choice rhetoric on our campus.”
But what about religious organization whose sole purpose is to spew anti-choice rhetoric?

Mark Steyn’s most recent column discusses sex-selection abortion, demographics and the attempts to silence university prolife groups in Canada.

At the RH Reality Check blog Wendy Norris has posted some statements from various clergy (6 against and one in favor) regarding the personhood at fertilization initiative in Colorado.

Dr. Phil Campbell’s statement would be laughable if his ignorance weren’t so sad but I think the statement that takes the cake for stupidity is Jann Halloran’s statement,“Until a baby is born, you don't know what you have.”

Yeah, because sometimes a submarine sandwich or a goldfish is growing in a woman’s womb and you don’t know what you have until it comes out.

Fact Checking and Justin Bank

Justin Bank has a piece at which claims the Susan B. Anthony List is inaccurately portraying Congresswoman Heather Wilson’s votes on various issues. Unfortunately, Bank doesn’t really check the facts. He takes issue with claims made Susan B. Anthony. He claims they “run afoul with facts” by claiming:
That she "voted for cloning that would create human embryos specifically to be destroyed for scientific research." Actually, she voted to make it illegal to clone humans; the bill did not address embryos.
Actually she didn’t and either Bank doesn’t understand what cloning proponents want to do or is a cloning proponent who is willing to go along with their intentional deception (my guess is the former).

The vote at issue is Heather Wilson’s “yea” vote on the deceptively named “Human Cloning Prohibition Act”.

Bank defends Wilson by noting the description of the “Human Cloning Prohibition Act” which says:
It shall be unlawful for any person to perform or attempt to perform human cloning; or to ship, mail, transport, or receive the product of human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology knowing that such product is for the purpose of human cloning.

What Bank doesn’t do is provide the deceptive definition of human cloning in the “Human Cloning Prohibition Act.” That act defines cloning by saying:
The term ‘human cloning’ means the implantation of the product of human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology into a uterus or the functional equivalent of a uterus.
By “product of human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology,” the legislation means “cloned human embryo” since that’s what would be created by human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology since somatic cell nuclear transfer is a method of cloning. So the bill does “address embryos” by continuing to allow them to be created via human cloning but not allowing them to be implanted. So the claim that Wilson “voted for cloning that would create human embryos specifically to be destroyed for scientific research” seems to be entirely accurate. Bank seems to have fallen for the pro-cloning deception.

The other big supposed “afoul(ing) of the facts” comes when Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List claims Wilson “voted to fund abortion providers” when she voted against defunding Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider. The SBA List claim is apparently not true because Planned Parenthood does other things besides providing abortions. Bank then attacks a strawman by claiming the tax money Planned Parenthood receives doesn’t fund abortions. SBA List never claimed it did. Just because someone votes to provide an abortion provider with tax dollars for services besides abortion doesn’t mean they haven’t voted to fund an abortion provider.

If wants to have any recognition as a halfway decent claim checker, they should have claim checkers and editors who have a halfway decent understanding of the issues they're supposed to be fact checking.

HT: Scott Swenson who agreed with Bank’s report