Thursday, July 31, 2008

How about less than thoughtful?

In a post entitled “Call me biased....” Feministe guest blogger and Planned Parenthood employee KaeLyn writes,
but I just can’t wrap my mind around anti-choice rhetoric. I am fairly skilled at seeing both sides of most complex social issues and I even try to give credit to those that oppose my view if their reasoning is sound, but anti-choice stuff…I just don’t get it. I completely understand why a person could be morally opposed to abortion and why someone might choose to call themselves “pro-life,” but how anyone can be politically opposed to safe, legal abortion and reproductive health services?
This isn’t a issue of being “biased” but an issue of not being able to actually understand and thoughtfully consider the prolife position.

How can someone claim they “completely understand” a prolifer would be opposed to abortion but not understand why they think abortion should be illegal?

Only if they really don’t understand (as opposed to understanding but not agreeing with) why someone is prolife and opposed to abortion.

If you “completely understand” the reason for being prolife and the thinking behind it, you should know prolifers morally oppose abortion for the same reason they think it should be illegal - because abortion is an act where an innocent human being is intentionally killed.

Life Links 7/31/08

Scientists in California are whining about not being able to buy human eggs for human cloning experiments.
But researchers argue that a shortage of eggs fueled by the payment ban is what's kept them from making the advances that prove their technique's real potential.

"You need to have enough eggs to make this thing work, and when you have enough eggs it does work," said Dr. Sam Wood, chief executive of La Jolla-based Stemagen Corp.

"If these guidelines weren't in place, we'd already have many (stem cell) lines and be much closer to a treatment for devastating illnesses for which these are so well suited," Wood said.
Yeah. Right. You just have to forget that the technique is highly inefficient (remember Hwang Woo-Suk got his hands on approximately 2,000 human eggs and produced no cloned human embryos) and a complete waste of time and resources and then realize that if scientists got whatever they wanted then these treatments from the cells of cloned human embryos would magically be within our reach.

Grace Hammond has a piece in the Jackson Hole Planet on the aging population of abortion providers in western states. She starts off by telling the story of a woman who drank massive amounts of alcohol to terminate her pregnancy.
“I drank [the pregnancy] to death under the basketball hoop,” she said. “I nearly drank me dead, too. I had to find that balance between it dying and me dying, you know?”
Why is “the pregnancy” in []? My guess is the woman in question used different words, like “the baby” or “my child” to describe what she was drinking to death.

The Washington Post has a question and answer article with prolife blogger Barbara Curtis.

Here’s another case of umbilical cord blood successfully treating cerebral palsy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life Links 7/29/08

Some terminally ill patients in Oregon looking for medical care have been denied care by the state's health care plan and told the plan could pay for assisted suicide.
Oregon doesn't cover life-prolonging treatment unless there is better than a 5 percent chance it will help the patients live for five more years — but it covers doctor-assisted suicide, defining it as a means of providing comfort, no different from hospice care or pain medication.

"It's chilling when you think about it," said Dr. William Toffler, a professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. "It absolutely conveys to the patient that continued living isn't worthwhile."

South Africa is still trying to deal with numerous illegal abortionists.
Dr Kato, who at first said he did not do abortions and referred The Herald to other “doctors”, later admitted to offering the service, saying it would cost R600 for someone who was five months pregnant.

He promised the procedure was safe and quick.

“They call it safe abortion. You won‘t feel any pain and you won‘t see any blood.”

Dr. Joshua Hare was recently interviewed about his work with adult stem cells by the Miami Herald.
Q: If embryonic stem cells do turn out to be best, will it be because they are the best at differentiating -- that is, turning into other kinds of cells?

A: Exactly right. That's the theoretical reason they should be best, and there are stats that back that up. An embryonic stem cell is at a state that it can make a whole organism. You can make a whole mouse out of an embryonic stem cell. There are 220 cells in the human body, and embryonic stem cells can make each and every one of them.

The issue I've always worried about is do you want to make every cell in the body. That could increase the risk of cancer. What I like about our approach is that it is targeted. We're trying to heal the heart.

According to a press release from VoteYesforLife, it appears abortions haven't been taking place in South Dakota for the last week.

Monday, July 28, 2008

“It’s been four years now...”

One of the members of Feministing’s community discusses her abortion (language warning) with a comment posted on July 28 at 2:03 p.m. (you'll have to scroll down - sorry there don’t appear to be permalinks for the comments):
I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood and scheduled it for Friday, December 17th; I will never forget that day. I looked more and more information up about the baby and that it had a heart beat and what it would look like and so forth and I shared this information with my boyfriend. I asked him what he thought about me keeping the baby and he said “I would resent you and I wouldn’t see us together in the future”.....

So from 8 AM until 7PM I had contractions. It felt like my insides were being torn out. I would fall asleep and be awaked by this horrible pain....

He decided to get a tattoo of a black rose on his arm and told me that it represented the abortion. I was infuriated. It’s much easier to scar your skin than to scar your soul and sadly my scar will never fade. I will always remember how alone I was, how he didn’t care how selfish he was and how he gave me a choice and I chose him.

It’s been four years now, and this august I would have had a 3 year old, so every time august rolls around or December I get very emotional about what happened.

Life Links 7/28/08

Denny Burke highlights a recent exchange on the Albert Mohler Radio Program between guest host Russell Moore and Tony Campolo on the issue of abortion reduction vs. abortion elimination. Robert George was also a guest on the program.

The Telegraph is reporting that US Weekly has claimed the twin children born to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were created by in-vitro fertilization. While I have no clue if this tabloid’s claim is true or not, if it is true, I wonder if there were any embryos who were not implanted and then frozen and if there are frozen embryos, what Pitt and Jolie plan on doing with those embryos.

Pitt has been on outspoken advocate of embryonic stem cell research, including working to help pass California’s Proposition 71 in 2004. He was even on the Today Show promoting it.

The Fresno Bee has a long article on Janet Rivera, a comatose woman whose feeding tube has been reinserted after a court appointed legal guardian had it removed.
While Hadden says financial considerations have played no role in whether to keep her on life support, her family contends Rivera might not be in this situation if she had more money or better health-care coverage. Rivera's medical bills are being paid by Medi-Cal, the state-federal insurance program for low-income families.

There’s a piece in the Toronto Star on Geeta Shroff and what she claims are human embryonic stem cell treatments.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Life Links 7/25/08

The Students for Life group at Wayne State University is suing their university, claiming their free speech rights were violated because of Wayne State's policy on how student fees are spent.

Rapin Osathanondh, abortionist responsible for the death of Lauren Smith has plead not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Wesley Smith on what could be the end of the road for biotech company Advanced Cell Technology:
I have been very critical of Advanced Cell Technology, believing it to be a publicity seeking enterprise that used press releases to raise venture capital for morally problematic research into human cloning, ESC, the like, while at the same time, it tried to manipulate the political system to create an environment that would be conducive to it receiving taxpayer dollars. But now, that strategy may have reached the point of exhaustion. The company is apparently on the verge of going out of business.
ACT price per share is down to 2.5 cents.

A Wisconsin television station has a report on the case of a woman charged with homicide after letting her newborn daughter die. I wonder how pro-choicers who use the bodily autonomy argument to defend abortion feel about this case. It seems Indra Book didn't do anything to actively kill her daughter, she just didn't use her body to properly care for the child.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Friday Baby Blogging

Tag reader

Sloppy eater

Life Links 7/24/08

Sherri Shepard talked briefly about her abortions on The View yesterday.
Shepherd, 41, told the Christian magazine Precious Times that she had undergone "more abortions than I can count" during her twenties. But the article, Shepherd said, did not tell the whole story.

"The full quote was I suffer from a lot of shame and guilt, and I didn't know how to forgive myself," said Shepherd, clarifying her comments in the current cover story.

A Canadian man has been given a two-year supervision order after assaulting his wife.
Ahmed had just found out she was pregnant and they had an argument about the unplanned pregnancy.

Mr Wills said: "He got very angry and demanded she had an abortion, which she refused point blank to do."

The row escalated and he pushed her, and smashed her mobile phone.

Here’s an article on spinal cord stem cells and a new study identifying their location in animals.
Researchers have identified stem cells within the spinal cord that, if persuaded to differentiate into more healing cells and fewer scarring cells following an injury, may lead to a new, non-surgical treatment for debilitating spinal-cord injuries....

The study uncovers the molecular mechanism underlying the tantalizing results of the rodent and primate and goes one step further: By identifying for the first time where this subpopulation of cells is found, they pave a path toward manipulating them with drugs to boost their inborn ability to repair damaged nerve cells.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Drunk Lawnmower Driving

From the Grand Rapids Press:
Police: Man operating riding lawnmower had blood alcohol level more than 5 times the legal limit

The driver of riding lawnmower was so drunk -- more than five times the legal limit -- that he slumped over the wheel as it circled in an intersection before he fell to the ground and passed out, police said today.

Jerold Earhart, 29, of the Bay Shore area, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.441 percent. A driver is presumed intoxicated at 0.08 percent.

Sheriff's deputies were called around 11:30 p.m. Saturday to a report of a crash involving a riding lawnmower at Townline and Charlevoix roads.

Witnesses told police that Earhart earlier appeared to be slumped over the wheel of the mower as it went in circles in the intersection. He appeared to regain control at one point, but passed out again and was thrown to the ground. The mower continued until it struck a tree and lawn ornament. A witness shut off the engine.

William Saletan and Separation Anxiety

In a recent column in Salon, William Saletan goes after a South Dakota law which requires abortion providers to inform women that abortion “will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

He writes,
Until now, I wasn't aware that the fetus—a term that, according to the South Dakota law, includes "the implanted embryo"—was a whole, separate, living human being. I thought it was ... you know ... implanted. I mean, I'm just a guy, not really an expert or anything. But, um, placenta? Umbilical cord? Do those terms ring a bell? And that's not even getting to the tricky stuff, like the role of maternal RNA in directing embryonic growth or all the work done by the womb to facilitate the embryo's attachment and nourishment.
At first, I wasn’t sure if Saletan was being tongue-in-cheek or if he can’t understand that “separate” in the legislation doesn’t mean physically separated (as in “not touching”) but rather that the unborn is a different or distinct or individual human being and is not a part of his or her mother even though they are connected. But the whole column rails on this point, so I’m left to conclude that Saletan opposes this legislation because he can’t understand the word separate can have different meanings.
I have to say, it's a relief to learn that the embryo is so complete and independent. I mean, it solves the whole problem. Here's this woman who just wants to be separated from her embryo. And lo and behold, it's already separate! No need to agonize. Just detach it and let it grow. It's separate, it's whole, it's living. Cancel the abortion. Perform a separation instead.
I guess sometimes it’s easier to use sarcasm when you can’t validly dismiss scientific facts about embryology. No one (including this legislation) is claiming human embryos are “independent.” The prolifer commentators I read are typically quite up front regarding the reality that the unborn depend on their mothers.

The legislation just requires abortion providers to inform women regarding the status of the human being which is about to be killed as opposed to letting abortion providers spout the usual “clump of cells” line used in abortion clinics without informed consent laws.

The rest of his column continues to act like the word separation has a singular meaning and ends with this silly tirade:
So, here's a word of advice to legislators like those in South Dakota: Stop withholding birth control and stop lying to women about their bodies. You can't even keep your lies straight. That's how you ended up telling doctors to tell women that separation will kill a separate human being. See you in court.
Sometimes Saletan’s column are thoughtful and worth reading. This isn’t one of ‘em. Just imagine if the legislators had chosen to use the word “distinct” instead of “separate.” They are synonyms after all.

What would Saletan have written then?

Life Links 7/21/08

In October of 2006, a nurse in Britain gave the chemical abortion drug misoprostol to a pregnant woman who was only in for an initial appointment. The woman later underwent a surgical abortion after experiencing pain and filed an official complaint, according to the Guardian.

A woman from the Pittsburgh area has been arrested for killing a pregnant woman and removing her child.
Authorities say a slain pregnant woman may have been alive and was possibly drugged when a baby was ripped from her womb, allegedly by a woman who tried to pass the infant off as her own.

The eviscerated body of 18-year-old Kia Johnson of McKeesport was found bound at the wrists and ankles with duct tape, and wrapped in a comforter and garbage bags.

Her partially decomposed remains were in the master bedroom of Andrea Curry-Demus, 38, who was charged Sunday with homicide, unlawful restraint and kidnapping, officials said.
The suspect was previously involved in attempts to steal newborns.

Police in the Chicago area are investigating an apparent self-abortion.
Baby boy Johnson was found unresponsive in the back seat of a vehicle at 708 W. 103rd St., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:20 a.m.

An autopsy Sunday revealed the boy died from asphyxia, the medical examiner's office said. His death has been ruled a homicide.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Life Links 7/17/08

The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and the Cape Cod Times all have articles on abortionist Rapin Osathanondh being indicted for manslaughter of Lauren Smith after botching her abortion in September of 2007. According to the Globe article, which has a PDF of the Board of Registration in Medicine’s allegations against Osathanondh,
The board alleged that Osathanondh had placed the patient under sedation without any means to monitor her heart rate, blood pressure, or the oxygen level of her blood. The board said the doctor had no qualified person assisting him while Smith was under anesthesia. The only other person in the room was an office worker who had no CPR or other training in lifesaving procedures.

The board added that Osathanondh "failed to timely initiate a call to 911," "failed to maintain an adequate airway," and "failed to adhere to basic cardiac life support protocol."

Osathanondh also allegedly made a variety of false statements to board investigators, telling them that he had administered Smith oxygen and monitored her oxygen levels and that his office worker was certified in lifesaving procedures. He allegedly tried to deceive investigators by expanding the size of his treatment room and bringing in new equipment, which he maintained was there at the time of the abortion.

The board said he also "fraudulently obtained renewal of his medical license by providing false information."

Researchers at the University of Michigan are selling photos of human embryonic stem cells as art at the Ann Arbor Art Fair.

Wesley Smith on the Great Ape Project in Spain.
Specifically, by including animals in the "community of equals" and in effect declaring apes to be persons, the Great Ape Project would break the spine of Judeo-Christian moral philosophy, which holds that humans enjoy equal and incalculable moral worth, regardless of our respective capacities, age, and state of health. Once man is demoted to merely another animal in the forest, universal human rights will have to be tossed out and new criteria devised to determine which human/animal lives matter and which individuals can be treated like, well, animals.

Stephen Waldman has a piece on “Obama, Abortion & Conspicuous Respectfulness.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Woman charged for killing her unborn child

A woman in Alabama has been charged with manslaughter because authorities believe she severed the umbilical cord of her 26 to 30-week-old unborn child.
The fetus was dead when it was delivered at the hospital, Tyler said, adding hospital personnel de­termined the umbilical cord had been separated while the fetus was still in Johnson's uterus....

A condition sometimes occurs called umbilical cord prolapse, when at least part of the cord emerges from the birth canal while the fetus remains in the womb. Medical literature states the condition can occur during a premature birth after the amniotic fluid is released....

"Though under normal circum­stances the members of our police department would be sensitive to the needs of a mother who recently lost her baby, our investigators simply could not ignore or over­look the evidence in this case," Tyler said in an earlier statement.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Life Links 7/15/08

William McGurn's column in the Wall Street Journal focuses on the NAACP and black abortions.
Just imagine if this institution used its voice and resources to ensure that, beside all those Planned Parenthood clinics located in our minority neighborhoods, African-American women could find another kind of place. A place not unlike Good Counsel – where a scared young pregnant woman could carry her baby to term, complete her education, train for a new job, and be treated with the love and respect that a mother needs and deserves.

The UK's Daily Mail has an article on a British woman who has had seven abortions.

A woman in New Zealand had an abortion after being falsely diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Kudos to Alex Philippidis of the BioRegion News for this article on the ballot initiative in Michigan to overturn a law preventing research on human embryos. Rarely do I see an article on issues surrounding stem cell research which allow both sides to state their case in this kind of fair manner.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Life Links 7/11/08

Authorities in Texas have searched the backyard of a teenager who claims her mother forced her to take abortion pills and then buried the girl's child in their backyard. THe mother has pointed to spot where she buried the child.
The girl said after her mother discovered she was pregnant, they visited a woman and bought pills, rather than visit a clinic. The girl said her mother made her take them which brought on contractions the next day. The girl said she gave birth inside their home, then her mother took the baby. She added that she didn't know if the baby was dead or alive.

Bertha Bugarin has pleaded not guilty to the charges of practicting medicine (read - performing abortions) without a license which she faces in San Diego. She faces similar charges in the Los Angeles area. I love the quote from her attorney.
Bugarin's attorney told NBC 7/39 that everything isn't what it seems to be and the truth will come out in due time.
I just can't wait to hear how they'd spin this.

Here's a long article on how a man from Canada with Crohn's disease has improved with the help of adult stem cells.
Since his treatment this February, the 25-year-old has significantly fewer symptoms. Some days, signs of the disease, which range from abdominal cramping to diarrhea, are almost non-existent. An estimated 200,000 Canadians suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, of which Crohn's is a major form.

"I am 100-per-cent better than I was before," said Mr. Tytaneck.

But the success of the treatment, which took place over a few months and involved multiple bouts of chemotherapy, will take more than a year to determine.

Jack Lessenberry is probably the most intentionally deceptive journalist (if you can call him that) in Michigan. He knows that embryonic stem cell research is legal and occurring in Michigan yet he still chooses to deceive his readers. I'm continually amazed by how proponents of killing human embryos for research in Michigan can never provide a reason for why they need to kill human embryos in Michigan instead of just importing embryonic stem cells from other states like they've been doing for the last 6 years. I guess it's just easier to lie and claim embryonic stem cell research is banned and call the law against killing tiny human beings for research "medieval."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Life Links 7/10/08

A committee in Brazil’s lower house voted against a bill to legalize abortion by a vote of 57-4.

James Thunder on the latest developments in the case of the 16-year-old girl who obtained an abortion while she was under the care of a Cathlic charity in Virginia.
The girl is vulnerable. Presumably she speaks Spanish, perhaps only Spanish. She is without her parents. She's in a foreign country. Her guardian is a bureaucracy. So, did she consent to the abortion?

Did she seek out an abortion? Did anyone pressure her to do so? What motives did those counseling her about the abortion have? Who arranged the appointment? Who arranged the transportation? Did she speak with a Spanish-speaking doctor in order to give consent?

Enter the Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney for Richmond, Democrat Michael N. Herring, who made an announcement Monday. He is not interested in any of the questions just raised.

Wesley Smith on the dehydration death of a conscious patient in Florida.
Once we decided that people who are diagnosed as persistently unconscious could have sustenance denied based on quality of life, then we stripped all profoundly cognitively disabled people from moral equality. The wall was breached allowing utilitarian bioethical values to come pouring in. Now, virtually anyone who needs a feeding tube and can't make their own decisions--conscious or not--can and are being denied food and water. What a testimony about the state of the times in which we live.

Politico has a long article on Obama’s attempts to clarify his position on abortion. Also, note this piece from former Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt on how she’s holding back on donating to Obama.

This article about a mother being arrested after her children (ages 2 and 4) were found wandering the street after she went to see “a doctor” appears to have been changed. I came across the article by the way of Google and the headline was “Police: Mom left kids alone to see about abortion.”

A local television station web site also has a video report on the story.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Life Links 7/9/08

Serge has some additional fisking of that really bad "stem cell ban" editorial in the Detroit Free Press.

Wesley Smith on the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine's latest sob story.
Oh, this is rich! During the campaign for Proposition 71, proponents promised that Californians would reap a cornucopia of benefits from borrowing $3 billion over 10 years to pay researchers in private companies and their business partners in universities to conduct human cloning and ESCR. And, they said, the poor of California would benefit from cheap medical treatments.

Well the California Legislature is holding them to that, and now the CIRM is wailing and gnashing its teeth that the very existence of the CIRM is threatened! Sounds serious: Is Bush sending in the storm troopers at last?

From a press release, it appears European scientists have created a single embryonic stem cell line after separating three 4-celled human embryos into 12 cells (thus killing the embryos). The embryos weren't "leftover" IVF embryos but were created solely for this research.

Jenice Armstrong of the Philadelphia Daily News describes a new book.
Written by a friend of mine, Mister Mann Frisby, a former Daily News reporter, "Holla Back But Listen First: A Life Guide for Young Adults" is essentially a collection of life lessons gleaned from celebrities and everyday folks alike on their way to success. In it, Cheryl "Salt" Wray, of the iconic hip-hop group Salt-n-Pepa, tells of getting pregnant at 14 and having a late-term abortion.

"I was awake for the entire experience," she says. "It was excruciatingly painful. I was crying and screaming through the whole thing. My mother had to wait outside because she could not be in the room with me. I had to deal with that horrible experience because it was the consequence of a choice I made."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Life Links 7/8/08

The Detroit Free Press has an embarassing editorial on Michigan's law against performing research on human embryos entitled "End the stem cell ban." There is no "stem cell ban" in Michigan and the Free Press editorial board knows this. Instead of taking the time to come up with reasoned arguments they decided to misrepresent the law, crib the bottom half of the editorial from a previous guest editorial and write silly sentences like this:
The ban is about allowing moral and religious objections to restrict public and scientific policy about an area of exciting and promising discovery, rather than letting science take the lead in figuring out what works, and why.
Yes, because we can't have silly things like moral objections getting in the way of science. The above statement is so stupid, the editorial later says that "No one's saying morality ought not guide scientific exploration" (umm... you just did) but the ban on killing human embryos for "stem cell research" is really bad because it's supposedly based on a minority view. I'll have to remember this editorial the next time the Free Press editorial board campaigns in favor of same-sex marriage.

Warren Throckmorton shares an e-mail conversation he had with abortionist William Harrison regarding South Dakota's informed consent law.

Father Raymond de Souza on abortionist Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada.
"For his commitment to increased health care options for women, his determined efforts to influence Canadian public policy and his leadership in humanist and civil liberties organizations."

That's the brief citation explaining what Morgentaler's qualifications are. Notice anything missing? The man's name is synonymous with abortion; one doesn't drop into a Morgentaler clinic for a bad back. He does one thing, and one thing only, and yet Rideau Hall could not bring itself to even mention it....

Why not tell us what Morgentaler did? Even in his moment of triumph, the eyes need to be averted. That's the instructive lesson of the episode, not so much that Morgentaler was finally dragged across the threshold of Rideau Hall, but that it was so distasteful for all concerned. Canada, due to the lawlessness of Morgentaler, the connivance of the courts and the pusillanimity of federal parliamentarians, has the most libertine abortion regime on the planet — anytime, any reason, with the taxpayer writing the cheque. Canadians don't like to be reminded that we are extremists on abortion, and giving Morgentaler the snowflake is a reminder that we are seriously adrift when it comes to common sense on abortion policy.

A man in Cleveland named Moses Cade has been arrested for beating his 16-year-old daughter after he found out she was pregnant.
After Cade was arrested, he said he beat his daughter when he found out she was pregnant and he intended to keep her in the house until Monday so he could take her to get an abortion.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Life Links 7/7/08

John McCormack on Barack Obama’s shifting abortion position.
In a speech before Planned Parenthood last year, Barack Obama said that he was well-equipped to defend a right to abortion because "I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught Constitutional law." But during the past week, Obama has proven to be woefully ignorant of abortion law, or he has been deceiving voters about the legality of abortion, as well as his own position on the issue.

Jake Tapper asks a good question on the same subject
But if Obama is saying that "mental distress" is already not a legal exception for abortion bans, then what was the point of what he told Relevant?
If Obama’s position is that late-term abortion shouldn’t be allowed for women who are “feeling blue” and he believes that late-term abortions currently aren’t legal for women who are “feeling blue,” then why did he say it was appropriate for states to prohibit late-term abortion as long as there is a well-defined health of the mother exception which shouldn’t include “mental distress?”

FOX News has posted the second part of a two-part series by John Lott on abortion and crime.

Tammie Downes, a prolife doctor in the UK has been cleared of accusations she broke ethical guidelines. She was being investigated because she encourages women considering abortion to consider other options and a pro-choice doctor involved in the pro-choice movement filed a complaint against her.

Obama, Abortion and Mental Health Revisited

Obama and his campaign are “clarifying” (or as Ramesh Ponnuru says “revising”) his position on abortion and mental health after his interview with Relevant magazine in which he came across as being against allowing late-term abortion for mental health.

Jan Crawford Greenburg isn’t really buying Obama’s newest position err..... most recent convoluted explanation of the position he’s supposedly always had but which seems to differ rather dramatically based on which audience he’s talking to.
Here's the problem with that, and why Obama's remarks are so startling. Obama is trying to restrict abortions after 22 weeks to those women who have a serious disease or illness. But the law today also covers some women who are in "mental distress," those women who would suffer emotional and psychological harm without an abortion.

This standard has long been understood to require less than "serious clinical mental health disease." Women today don't have to show they are suffering from a "serious clinical mental health disease" or "mental illness" before getting an abortion post-viability, as Obama now says is appropriate.

And for 35 years—since Roe v. Wade—they've never had to show that.

So Obama, it seems to me, still is backing away from what the law says—and backing away from a proposed federal law (of which he is a co-sponsor) that envisions a much broader definition of mental health than the one he laid out this week.
Yuval Levin thinks Obama's updated position would be a good thing....if we could believe a word of it.
As with his other recent “refinements,” his substantive move here would certainly be a welcome one, even an important one from such a prominent Democrat, if there were any reason at all to believe him. But given how quickly and seamlessly he has appeared to switch positions on so many prominent issues in the last few weeks, and how he has tried to present each new position as what he has always believed (rather than, in this case for instance, make a point of having come to disagree with at least the most extreme views of the abortion lobby) it is hard to imagine that either side on any of these issues finds much comfort in these increasingly peculiar neck-snapping reversals.

As for my wondering about the response of pro-choice organizations and pro-choice bloggers regarding Obama’s original statement in his interview with Relevant, NARAL Pro-Choice America claims they don’t have a problem with Obama’s statement because of his previous votes. NARAL’s defense is something Huffington Post blogger Earl Ofari Hutchinson isn’t pleased with.

Jill at Feministe was upset:
Either Obama caved to anti-choicers on this one, or he really believes it and isn’t as strongly pro-choice as many of us thought. I’m not sure which is worse.

Zuzu at Shakesville has the feeling (language warning) that Obama doesn’t knows what he’s talking about when it comes to abortion:
So either he's making a disingenuous pitch to evangelical voters, or he hasn't taken the trouble to study the issue and the actual cases (kind of a big failing in a Constitutional Law prof, no?).
Zippy at the Lurking Canary says Obama’s comments to Revelant were “idiot statements on abortion” and isn’t happy with NARAL’s response.

You can also note some responses in the comments section of the pro-choice blogs as well as Greenburg post.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Life Links 7/3/08

The Detroit Free Press has an article on the current attempt to overturn Michigan's law which prohibits research on human embryos. Besides the headline, the article is surprisingly fair considering how some Michigan reporters have handled this issue in the past. The backers must have shelled out a lot of cash to come up with more than 500,000 signatures.

Politico is covering National Right to Life's convention and Fred Thompson's speech there.

Abortionist Deborah Lyn Levich has surrended her Alabama medical license. Summit Medical Center, the abortion clinic where she was employed, was "shut down for serious violations." Here's some background information.

Barack Obama talks abortion with Relevant Magazine

Here's an interview with Barack Obama by Relevant Magazine's Cameron Strang which featured a question on Obama's position on late-term abortion and his opposition to Illinois' Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
Strang: Based on emails we received, another issue of deep importance to our readers is a candidate’s stance on abortion. We largely know your platform, but there seems to be some real confusion about your position on third-trimester and partial-birth abortions. Can you clarify your stance for us?

Obama: I absolutely can, so please don’t believe the emails. I have repeatedly said that I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don’t think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.

The other email rumor that’s been floating around is that somehow I’m unwilling to see doctors offer life-saving care to children who were born as a result of an induced abortion. That’s just false. There was a bill that came up in Illinois that was called the “Born Alive” bill that purported to require life-saving treatment to such infants. And I did vote against that bill. The reason was that there was already a law in place in Illinois that said that you always have to supply life-saving treatment to any infant under any circumstances, and this bill actually was designed to overturn Roe v. Wade, so I didn’t think it was going to pass constitutional muster.

Ever since that time, emails have been sent out suggesting that, somehow, I would be in favor of letting an infant die in a hospital because of this particular vote. That’s not a fair characterization, and that’s not an honest characterization. It defies common sense to think that a hospital wouldn't provide life-saving treatment to an infant that was alive and had a chance of survival.

This law was designed to overturn Roe v. Wade? Please. If Obama truly believes that then maybe someone should take his law degree away.

I wish Obama would share the real reason he voted against this legislation - because that's what Planned Parenthood told him to do. Which is the same reason he is a co-sponor of and promised to sign the insidious Freedom of Choice Act (whose definition for health isn't "well-defined," it's non-existent) if he got a chance.

Maybe someone should ask Obama to explain how a law that states "a live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law" could overturn Roe v. Wade. Does Roe v. Wade protect the right to kill children who survive abortion? Have other states with Born Alive legislation used that legislation to challenge Roe? His defense of himself doesn't make a shred of sense to anyone who has actually read the law. But that's Obama's hope - that people will be too lazy to take the time to read the legislation to see if his defense is valid or not.

I also like the "defies common sense" assertion. Why does it defy common sense that a hospital providing abortions would want to save children who survive abortions? Just imagine those headlines!

Child survives after hospital tried to kill her!

Hospital's botched abortion leads to effort to save baby girl

Baby survives late-term abortion at local hospital

How many women about to give birth want to have their child born at a place where they're aborting children who are old enough to survive abortions?

I guess Obama knows his crowds. In front of an audience of pro-choicers, defend partial-birth abortion. In front of evangelicals, act like you're personally opposed to abortion. I do wonder what NARAL and pro-choice bloggers think about Obama saying he doesn't "think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Life Links 7/2/08

Barack Obama's campaign weakly tries to defend Obama's votes against legislation to protect infants who survive abortions. I guess we're supposed to ignore the fact that Obama is against giving basic rights to abortion survivors because Bill Bennett said the Illinois Born Alive legislation was "exactly the same" as the federal legislation. Who cares that it wasn't exactly the same because Obama prevented it from being exactly the same.

Michael Cook, editor of MercatorNet, shreds an editorial in Nature which attacks the concept of human dignity.
Since human dignity leads inescapably to the conclusion that embryo experimentation is inadmissable, it has ditched human dignity. "Dignity as a concept cannot be a director of moral judgement," it insists.
What is cringingly embarrassing about this argument is that it was cribbed from a controversial article by the Harvard neuroscientist Stephen Pinker in The New Republic....

But has the editor of Nature never considered the consequences which accompany Pinker’s theory? Persons in permanent vegetative states are not autonomous; the unconscious elderly are not autonomous. What will be their fate if scientists, doctors and hospitals reject human dignity?...

It’s hard to understand how the world’s leading science journal could ever have taken Pinker’s hissy-fit seriously. The consequences of rejecting centuries of human dignity and replacing it with a self-serving, gimcrack theory are momentous. Embryos may be small but upon them rests our dignity, too.
HT: Mary Meets Dolly

Mark Stricherz has some questions regarding the controversy over a Catholic charity in Virginia helping a teenage girl obtain an abortion.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Life Links 7/1/08

The crazy pro-choice letter of the week award goes to Jovan Byars of Williston, S.C. In the Augusta Chronicle, Byars makes a number of claims against National Right to Life Committee including claiming they "constantly opposed expanding state CHIP programs," failed "to condemn terrorist attacks on women's health clinics," "sat idly by as groups allied with the NRLC commit acts of terrorism again and again," "they have only condoned those attacks again and again," and "this past June 7, they were terrorizing women again, by lying about the birth control pills and their functions."

Before printing a letter like this, one would hope the editors of the Augusta Chronicle would ask Byars for some evidence to back up her statements, especially considering a minute on Google would have led them to discover the American Life League (not National Right to Life Committee) was the group behind the June 7 birth control pill protests, NRLC has clearly spoken out against violence and NRLC has opposed amendments to SCHIP programs which might have led to rationing Medicare.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (California's taxpayer supported embryonic stem cell agency) is already trying to figure out how they continuing running after their $3 billion in funding runs out in 2017. One of their options is trying to get more public support.

Brave New Britain strikes again. First, human-cow hybrid embryos and now researchers have been given the go ahead to try to create human-pig hybrid embryos.