Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Life Links 12/31/08

A couple in England have a healthy son after twice rejecting doctors suggestions that they abort the child.
Gaynor Purdy was warned her first child could have a fatal chromosome defect and a life threatening heart condition.

But she rejected two suggestions to terminate the pregnancy and she and her husband Lee are celebrating life with their "perfect" ten-month-old son.

Mrs Purdy, 28, a quality control inspector, said: "We refused to give up on him, and decided throughout the pregnancy that as long as he was fighting, we would continue fighting with him."


Melinda Penner discusses a dilemma which doesn't prove anything.


The Hill has an article on how Barack Obama will likely change Bush's embryonic stem cell policy and what effect that change will have on research. I enjoyed this quote from Sean Tipton.
“All we’ve been asking for is: ‘Treat embryonic stem cell research like everything else,’” Tipton said.
In other words, treat ethically problematic research as if it weren't ethically problematic.


The Prime Minister's Office in Canada has stated that "We will not introduce or support legislation on abortion" after the leader of the country's pro-life caucus said they would push for a debate.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mark Burton can’t stop lying about Proposal 2, even after it passes.

The Detroit Free Press featured this editorial by Mark Burton on December 18 and I’ve been meaning to respond for a while but have been slacking on blogging during the Christmas season.

Most of these editorial puff pieces describing all the awesome or horrible things ballot proposals will supposedly do usually occur before election but in this editorial Mark Burton describes what Proposal 2 will supposedly accomplish more than a month after Michigan voters voted in favor of it.

Burton unfortunately can’t get out of spin mode and makes a number of claims which are demonstratably false. It’s almost like proponents of killing human embryos for research in Michigan have been misleading the public for so long (with the help of papers like the Free Press) they don’t know how to be honest with them even after their proposal passed. Burton writes,
Proposal 2 was about restoring hope for millions of patients, their friends, and families facing debilitating disease. It unshackles Michigan’s talented researchers and physicians, and permits them to finally join the race for cures by utilizing the most promising medical advancement of the 21st Century: embryonic stem cell research.

Finally, Michigan researchers get to do something they’ve been doing since 2002.

Has the 21st century really produced so few medical advancement that cells which have yet to treat or cure anyone and haven’t been approved for a single clinical trials are the “most promising medical advancement?”
President-Elect Barack Obama, in a marked difference from President Bush, campaigned for, and strongly supports, freeing up hundreds of millions of federal dollars for embryonic stem cell research.
Umm.... except for the fact that the federal government's National Institutes of Health has spent about $40 million a year on human embryonic stem cell research for the last number of years. Obama will more than likely support allowing the NIH to fund human embryonic stem cell research on cell lines created after 2001 but I doubt they’ll be spending hundreds of millions on that small sliver of the pluripotent stem cell research pie.
Because of Proposal 2, Michigan’s great institutions can now compete for those funds, which will accelerate the pursuit for cures and treatments to afflictions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, juvenile diabetes, sickle cell anemia and spinal cord injuries.
Except that Michigan researchers have already been competing for federal human embryonic stem cell funding. They even received a sizeable, multi-year federal grant in 2003.

Planned Parenthood double charging for services?

Ahhh.... Planned Parenthood’s abortion work is so thorough they think they might as well charge twice. From the AbortionBlogger, who recently had an RU-486 abortion,
I just got a bill from my insurance company.

Planned Parenthood sent them a bill FOR OVER $1,000. They want me to pay $200.

Since I already payed for my abortion, I believe this means they charged me once and my insurance company TWICE.
When she goes in for her follow-up appointment here’s the response she gets when she brings the issue up.
Yea, you guys sent a $1,000+ bill to my insurance company even though I already payed for the abortion when I was here (and it was $525, not $1000+). Why? Can you un-do that?" but they pretty quickly let me know that this wasn't their problem, and gave me the number to the billing office. I'll tackle that problem later because I have a cold, and am just not feeling up for it.
She also writes,
I thought about my 2 minute doctor appointment that I had waited several hours for, and was generally dissatisfied. I had been given too much time to worry about my "not pregnancy" to just accept that all was fine. And I was still supremely cranky about the insurance mess up, and the combination made me feel generally distrustful of the clinic. So I asked for a copy of the ultrasound, filled out the necessary paperwork to get copies released to me, and left.

Life Links 12/29/08

The Telegraph has an article on Lexie Slater-Folksman, a child who survived after being born at 23 weeks. Abortion is legal in the UK through the 24th week. Sarah Slater, the baby’s mother, is quoted as saying,
“Some mothers-to-be would be able to legally terminate their pregnancy at 23 weeks - yet my Lexie is living proof babies can survive being born so prematurely.

"I never realised a baby would be so well developed at 23 weeks and they do have a chance life. My Lexie is living proof the abortion limit should be lowered.”


Canada’s National Post has a story on frozen embryos which has a number of quotes from fertility doctors regarding the feelings of parents who store their embryonic children.

Also from up north, Rod Bruinooge, the recently elected chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, writes, “Why I am pro-life.”
Most Canadians would agree that you should not be able to remove your kidney and sell it on eBay to the highest bidder. Although it's your body and your kidney, this would not only be a poor bioethical choice, but it is in fact illegal under our laws.

Most Canadians would also agree that an unborn child in the ninth month of gestation, moments away from delivery, should not be eligible for an elective abortion. However, regardless of the fact that this would be an extremely poor bioethical choice, it is in fact legal. As such, Canada has far greater protections for human kidneys than we do for human fetuses.


David Bass describes how the agenda of pro-choice organizations, entitled "Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration" and posted on President-elect Barack Obama’s transition web site, would provide some “hefty handouts” to pro-choice groups in this time of financial uncertainty.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Life Links 12/23/08

Another breakthrough using induced pluripotent stem cells.
A team led by neuroscientist Clive Svendsen used the new stem cells to create a model of spinal muscular atrophy, the most common genetic cause of infant mortality. Researchers at Harvard University and elsewhere have used the cells to simulate other diseases, but Svendsen is the first to do so and show how a disease process works, said a prominent scientist in the field.


In the Weekly Standard, Wesley Smith writes about a district court ruling to legalize assisted suicide in Montana.
Still, McCarter wasn't totally insensitive to the charge that she--like too many judges--would have courts settle all the controversial social questions rather than the people through the democratic process. She just saw no reason to wait for the political branches of government to recognize that the time had come to legalize assisted suicide. "Here, the Court is simply the first in line to deal with the issue," she wrote, "followed by the legislature to implement the right. Thus, both the courts and the legislature are involved."


In a post on the new HHS conscience rules, Jill at Feministe has this unintentionally hilarious quote,
Can you imagine if a pro-choice group decided it just wasn’t going to tell women about the options of birth and adoption? And if instead, it gave women scare-tactic, inaccurate propaganda about how adoption is exploitative and will leave you miserable, and how childbirth is directly linked to depression, and how there is clearly One Best Choice? People would (rightly) throw a fit.

Yes, just imagine if a pro-choice organization did everything it could to sell women on abortion and provided no real services to women who choose to raise the child or choose adoption. And then imagine this organization gets hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and is the largest abortion provider in America.

Too bad we don't have to imagine.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Life Links 12/18/08

Wesley Smith on “experts” calling for more genetic tests to cull unborn children with Down Syndrome.
This is rank eugenics. Germans in the 1930s called it racial hygiene. Not long ago, it was considered the worst sort of bigotry. Not today, apparently because "the experts" tell us so.

Babies with Down won't be the only casualties of this pogrom, either. Making these tests universal will also result in the unintended deaths of babies that would have been born without a disability.


JT at Between Two Worlds links and quotes from a few posts in “Abortion, the New Administration and Anarchy.”


Sarah Posner has a piece in the American Prospect which provides some insight into how pro-choicers like Posner see prolife individuals who are involved in trying to get Democrats to embrace their abortion reduction goals.
Calling abortion "morally repugnant" shows that even those claiming to stand on "common ground" can still deploy the incendiary language that the evangelical-Catholic coalition claims to eschew. Common ground is a worthy goal, but the abortion-reduction coalition's claim to define it is itself an impediment to cooperation with the dominant pro-choice elements of Obama's coalition.


Luxemborg is currently in the process of attempting to legalize euthanasia but they’ll have to remove powers from Grand Duke Henri first.

Bigot?

That’s what both Ann at Feministing and Jill at Feministe are calling Rick Warren after hearing the news that he will give the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration.

I’m having difficulty seeing anything that resembles an argument in either of these posts for why Rick Warren is supposedly a bigot besides noting that he was in favor of Proposition 8 and is opposed to same-sex marriage.

Have proponents of same-sex marriage reached such depths that anyone who is opposed to same-sex marriage and publicly voices that opposition can be termed a bigot?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"I don't care how old he is"

Another week and another video showing Planned Parenthood staff in Indiana failing to fufill their duty to report statutory rape.

Planned Parenthood has suspended the staffer and a member of Indiana's General Assembly has called on the Indiana attorney general to investigate Planned Parenthood.

One local television station is reporting that the attorney general's office is investigating Planned Parenthood based on the first video in which the now fired staffer told the undercover staffer to lie about her age.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bundle Up

Ross Douthat's post pointing out that Planned Parenthood unbundles its services and that abortion is a much larger part of what they do than they'd like to admit has drawn the ire of a few pro-choice bloggers.

In the later link, Lauren at Feministe seems to think she can dismiss Charlotte Allen's Planned Parenthood piece (which Douthat quotes) by simply claiming that Allen is calling women who go to Planned Parenthood "sluts." Unfortunately, Lauren is so blinded by her idea that people who are opposed to abortion think women who go to Planned Parenthood are "sluts" that she can't understand Allen's real argument. No one is arguing that Planned Parenthood separates it statistics based on whether women get abortions or not. We know they unbundle services regardless of whether a woman has an abortion or not. The point about the unbundling is that unbundling services allows Planned Parenthood to act like abortion is only a very small part (3%) of what they do when in fact it is a much larger part.

Amie Newman provides almost less insight by writing this,
Planned Parenthood isn’t “massaging” numbers by separating out numbers of reproductive and sexual health care services provided to women either before or after an abortion. When a woman comes to a health care provider with an unintended pregnancy and wishes to discuss her (legal!) options, she is first asked to take a pregnancy test. This is, of course, a separate service from an abortion procedure. The medical provider needs to know for sure that this woman is pregnant first. Then they can discuss options: continuing the pregnancy and parenting the child, continuing the pregnancy and working with adoption services, or having an abortion, thus terminating the pregnancy. That’s what health providers do - should they instead, in Allen and Douthat’s world – ask women to come in with a used pregnancy test? Secondly, Planned Parenthood does not provide prenatal or childbirth services. Women who visit Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test are more than likely already thinking about abortion as an option.
So Planned Parenthood discusses all the options but only can help with one option. Plus, most women who think they're pregnant and go PP are already looking for an abortion. Interestingly, most Planned Parenthood's only discuss other options with abortion-seeking clients if their state has an informed consent law (the same laws Planned Parenthood fights so vigorously against).

But back to the bundling services debate. This is kind of like a restaurant claiming that providing meals is only a small part of the services they offer. If customers eat the bread rolls, that's another service. If customers gets a drink, that's another service. If they have a dessert that's another service. If they take a mint or a toothpick on the way out, that's another service. By this standard providing meals only accounts for 20% of that restaurant's services or even less if you count the customers who just come in for a drink or a dessert.

Life Links 12/16/08

Renee A. Reijo Pera, director of Stanford’s Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education, provides a perfect example during her interview with the New York Times of why we shouldn't blindingly trust scientists regarding public policy question. Sometimes they don't have any clue what they're talking about.
Think about it: we study embryos donated by couples who finished their I.V.F. treatments. They would be destroyed anyway. Nationally, the clinics discard about 400,000 unused embryos every year — and yet few people consider I.V.F. clinics “immoral.” Stem cell researchers use about 10,000 of those about-to-be-discarded embryos. And in learning from them, we are getting information that we can get nowhere else, that will make mothers and babies healthier.
Except for the fact that the 400,000 statistic was the number of frozen human embryos stored at IVF clinics (not the number thrown away annually) and the 10,000 (actually 11,000) statistic was the number of embryos which were available to be used for research not the number actually used by researchers. The RAND study also notes that the 11,000 embryos available for research would result in approximately 275 stem cell lines.

Also, note Pera's incredibly shallow answer to whether she has any moral qualms about killing human embryos.


Another example of pro-choice intolerance.
The sign's pro-life messages were covered with smudged blue and red spray-paint and accompanied by the phrases "woman's choice" and "free choice."


A Swedish doctor who failed to spot a woman's unborn child and accidentally removed the child has been reprimanded for his actions.
The 28-year-old woman had sought treatment at the Stockholm South General Hospital (Sƶdersjukhuset) in May 2007 because she was having trouble getting pregnant.

An ultrasound performed in September showed that the woman’s fallopian tubes were free from obstruction, but also revealed suspected polyps along the uterine wall.

Doctors scheduled an operative hysteroscopy for December, during which the suspect tissue was scraped away.

A subsequent examination of the discarded material revealed that it contained a fetal tissue.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Potentially life-threatening condition? "No worries," says abortionist

The Raving Atheist has a post about a new blogger (AbortionBlogger) who started a blog to chronicle her experience with abortion. She had an RU-486 abortion last week.

In her post Clinic Day: Part 2 she discusses her experience inside the abortion clinic. During a vaginal ultrasound, the clinic worker is unable to find the embryo.
She asked if I wanted to see, and I said yes.

But she couldn't find anything. She looked at my chart and saw that my last period was only 5 weeks ago. "Hmm.. " she said. "The doctor will have to make a decision, but you may have to come back later, or this could be an ectopic pregnancy."

.....

So.... then more waiting in the waiting room, then I talked to the doc for a short while (a dude, surprisingly enough). He told me there was a small chance I had an ectopic pregnancy, but he wasnt too worried about it because I was probably just too early for anything to show up on the ultrasound. So he wasnt making me come back in 2 weeks (SWEET!!!).

So she could have had a dangerous medical condition but the abortionist wasn’t too worried about since she was so early in her pregnancy. Since she was so early, wouldn’t it make sense for a responsible doctor to wait a couple weeks before giving her the abortion pills?

Life Links 12/15/08

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s what what Planned Parenthood wants out of Obama’s presidency and Dave Andrusko’s summary of it.


Ross Douthat responds to pro-choice bloggers who have difficulty understanding why prolifers don’t want their tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood.
But telling people who are against abortion that they're "pro-herpes" because they don't support channeling three hundred million public dollars a year to America's largest abortion provider is the equivalent of me accusing a fierce and moralizing anti-theist like Sam Harris of being "anti-education" because he doesn't want his tax dollars being used to, say, fund the Catholic school system. The phenomenon of an institution that does good with one hand and evil with another is a familiar one in human history - even Hezbollah does a lot of impressive humanitarian work, I believe - and it does not by any means follow that those who oppose the evil are morally obligated to support the institution anyway just because it does other, less morally problematic things besides.


The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has an online article about a recent study of Australian women who either had abortions or miscarriages.
The study, which appears in the British Journal of Psychiatry, also showed that having an abortion before 21 years of age doubled the risk of alcohol abuse or of developing depression; and more than tripled the risk of illicit drug use.

The study took into account existing risk factors such as child sexual abuse, teenage alcohol and illicit drug use and mental health disorders.


It looks like the UK’s Telegraph and Sun are running a story about 10,000 women (that number seems awfully round, doesn’t it?) from Poland coming to Great Britain for abortions based solely on an estimate from a Polish pro-choice organization. Solid journalism, huh?


A couple of Russian news sources have noted that the bodies 5 unborn children who were apparently aborted were found in garbage bin in Moscow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Life Links 12/12/08

The Washington Post links to and writes about a new statement from the Vactian entitled Dignitas Personae which focuses on various bio-ethical issues including embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Glenn McGee has a truly odd quote on the second page of the article wondering where all the Catholics who comment on bio-ethics have gone.


Planned Parenthood of Indiana has fired the nurse who was caught on video encouraging an undercover prolifer posing as a teenager looking for an abortion to lie about the age of her boyfriend.


It's amazing the things some pro-choice representatives will say. Here's Nita Lowey claiming the Mexico City policy (aka the Global Gag Rule) would be "patently unconstitutional" if it was applied in the U.S. Lowey's knowledge of the Constitution is apparently so scarce she thinks it would be an unconstitutional violation of free speech for the U.S. government to make decisions on which organizations it provides taxpayer funding based on whether they perform or promote abortion. What she doesn't seem to understand is that if the Mexico City policy was applied for domestic funding, it wouldn't prevent organizations like Planned Parenthood from talking about and promoting abortion, it would merely prevent them from receiving government funds. There's a big difference between the right to free speech and the privilege to receive government funding.


Catholic Online has reprinted a Public Discourse essay by Robert George regarding the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists paper on the conscience rights of physician who are opposed to performing abortions.
Those responsible for the report purport to be speaking as physicians and medical professionals. The special authority the report is supposed to have derives from their standing and expertise as physicians and medical professionals, yet at every point that matters, the judgments offered reflect their philosophical, ethical, and political judgments, not any expertise they have by virtue of their training and experience in science and medicine.


The Belfast Telegraph has an op-ed by Laurence White entitled "Why assisted suicide should not be an option in our society."
Remember that when the Abortion Act was introduced it was for well-defined exceptional cases, but over the years has become so debased that terminations are now often contraception for the forgetful.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friday Baby/Cat Blogging

Life Links 12/11/08

With the recent news of Rod Blagojevich’s rub-my-back-and-I’ll-rub-yours style of politics and his belief that he was owed something (campaign contributions, etc.) by organizations and companies whom the government did business with, I’m wondering if something more than politics (i.e. $$$) was the reason for his executive order to spend $10 million of Illinois’ money on embryonic stem cell research.


Related - David Prentice lists some other actions Blagojevich has taken to promote embryonic stem cell research while in office.


Princeton Professor and prolife advocate Robert Geroge was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal yesterday.


Robert Klein’s salary for being head of CIRM (California embryonic stem cell agency) will be $150,000 for working half-time.


Researchers at Harvard have discovered that some stem cells in bone marrow divide at a much slower rate than other cells.
While researchers said they are uncertain about the significance of this new finding, Hock suggested the slower stem cell division could be a biological mechanism to preserve the integrity of the cells. Since genetic mutations accumulate as cells divide, slower division could reduce the rate of mutation, he said.

Change, huh?

Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds submitted the following question to Obama’s change.gov web site regarding Obama’s promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act.
"Would you consider rescinding your promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, given your desire to reduce abortions and to seek common ground, and in light of the fact that it would invalidate every measure and law intended to reduce abortions?"
It has been removed “because people believe it is inappropriate.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Life Links 12/10/08

The Wall Street Journal has an article from Stephanie Simon on prolifers attempting to remove Planned Parenthood funding on the state and local level.
But the new lobbying effort, backed by conservative Christian groups such as the Family Research Council, focuses more on economic than moral concerns. The campaign paints Planned Parenthood as a wealthy organization that doesn't need taxpayer help. Planned Parenthood reported record revenue and a $115 million budget surplus last year, and it is building a network of elegant health centers to attract middle-class clients.


The New York Times has published letters to the editor responding to Ross Douthat's recent op-ed on abortion.


Wesley Smith points out a moment of honesty from assisted suicide proponent Kathryn Tucker in one of her recent op-eds.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Why have any restrictions in the first place?

Last Thursday, Amie Newman at the RH Reality Check blog outlined and commented on Rick Weiss’ piece at the Center for American Progress web site which calls for a new federal policy on the funding of human embryonic stem cell research.

Newman writes (my emphasis), “President-Elect Obama has an opportunity to cleanse the federal government of far too many ideological, non-scientifically based restrictions placed upon science by President Bush over the last eight years.”

She then lays out Weiss’ suggestions for restrictions and says, “All of these restrictions ensure that all ethical considerations are taken into account, in particular that embryos are not created solely for research purposes nor harmed or destroyed in the research process beyond what is allowed, under law, on fetuses in utero.”

Below are Weiss’ suggested “minimum” restrictions.
* The cells must have been derived from embryos produced for reproductive purposes.

* Those embryos must have been deemed in excess of medical need, were no longer being considered for transfer to a womb ,and were slated for destruction.

* The embryos were freely donated by both of the adults who contributed genetic material to create them, as evidenced by proper written informed consent.

* No financial inducements were offered to donors, and the donors expressed through an informed consent process their understanding that any resulting cell lines will be used for research and not for the development of therapeutic benefits for the donors.

* All federally funded research on human embryonic stem cells must be conducted under the review of a Stem Cell Research Oversight committee that adheres to the standards put forth in the guidelines of either the National Academies or the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

Now are any of these restrictions “scientifically based?” Or do they all, as Newman later remarks, ensure that “ethical considerations are taken into account?”

It seems ethical considerations that Newman agrees with are “scientifically based” while ethical considerations which she disagrees with, such as not funding research on human embryonic stem cell lines created after 2001, are “non-scientifically based.”

While Newman struggles to understand the difference between science and ethics, Weiss fails to provide reasons for why his suggested restrictions should be in place in the first place. Why only provide funding for research on cell lines from human embryos created for reproductive purposes? Why do the embryos have to be in excess of medical need and slated for destruction? Why shouldn’t the federal government provide funding for research on cell lines created from human embryos who were created with the intention of killing them for their cells?

His piece doesn’t even attempt to answer these questions. There seems to be no ethical anchor for his position. If killing human embryos for research isn’t ethically wrong, then why are stem cells derived from human embryos created solely for research not “ethically derived human embryonic stem cells?”

Further evidence of a lack of ethical anchor arises later in the piece when Weiss calls on Congress to pass legislation codifying the stem cell funding policy,
“The legislation should provide broad, principled, ethical standards so that the science can evolve in the direction that experimentation and evidence takes it—subject always to policy details promulgated by HHS/NIH.

The legislation should charge HHS with the duty to update at regular intervals, such as every two years, its regulations for embryonic stem cell research in light of new science.”
So ethical regulations should be updated based not on ethics but on science. In other words, Weiss wants the door left open for HHS to change his minimum requirements in case cell lines which don’t meet his requirements become scientifically useful or necessary.

Knowledgeable proponents of embryonic stem cell research know that freely donated “leftover” frozen human embryos from IVF treatments won’t create genetically diverse treatments for every American suffering from even one of the diseases they’ve promised a cure for. They know they’ll need “personalized” stem cell lines created from cloned human embryos created for non-reproductive purposes to avoid the problems with Graft vs. Host Disease.

So Weiss’ suggestions amount to this: Ethical restrictions with no ethical anchor which can be quickly removed if they get in the way of what scientists want.

Gee, thanks.

Related: Wesley Smith notes Weiss’ former job as a Washington Post reporter who often focused on stem cells and how seamless a transition it is for a reporter who shills for embryonic stem cell research to become a leftist think-tank employee who shills for embryonic stem cell research.

Life Links 12/8/08

Ross Douthat has an editorial in the New York Times entitled, “Abortion Politics Didn’t Doom the G.O.P.”
Overturning Roe and Casey has never been an easy task, and the election of Barack Obama will make it that much more difficult. Facing a hostile governing majority, pro-lifers can and should talk more about the possibility of compromise: They should explain, more often and more cogently, that if Americans want laws that better reflect their muddled sentiments on abortion, it is pro-choice maximalism, not the pro-life movement, that’s really standing in the way.

But so long as the Supreme Court remains closely divided, and a post-Roe world remains in reach, the movement’s basic political task must remain the same. Not because pro-lifers are absolutists who reject compromise, but because any real compromise will always depend on overturning Roe. Giving up on this goal would mean giving up the movement’s very purpose, while gaining nothing in return.


Denis Boyles has the details of the latest ruling in the Kline/Planned Parenthood records case.


Embryonic stem cell will lead to miraculous cell-based therapies for every disease imaginable? Not likely. Instead their most likely use will be to test the toxicity of drugs.


Robert Klein, the head of CIRM, California’s embryonic stem cell agency, says, “Show me the money!”
Klein informed the board in September that he wanted a salary. He said that in consideration of the current economic climate, he would continue to provide at least 15 percent of his time to the institute for free.
What a nice guy! Who else wouldn't mind providing 15% of their work time for free if 85% of their work time resulted in a salary which will likely be around $500,000?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Life Links 12/5/08

Former California abortion clinic operator Bertha Bugarin has pleaded guilty to nine counts of practicing medicine without a license.


Kate Looby, the director of Planned Parenthood's South Dakota clinics has been laid off.
Looby, the group's South Dakota state director, was one of nine full-time employees and one part-timer cut from Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said director of media relations Kathi Di Nicola. The rest of the cuts occurred in Minnesota....

Her departure was "a result of some tough decisions we had to make in light of the economy," Di Nicola said.


The American media's selective printing of stories about abortion and mental health never ceases to amaze me. Using google news I couldn't find a single mainstream U.S. news outlet which covered Dr. David Fergusson's published results about abortion and mental health in the British Journal of Psychiatry. I found an article in the Irish Times, some New Zealand newspapers, and the UK's Daily Telegraph.

Meanwhile, a couple of days later, researchers at John Hopkins release a study of abortion and mental health studies where they selected which studies would be studied and found no study they deemed quality to show a link between abortion and depression and there's suddenly an influx of U.S. media attention from the UPI, ABC News, MSNBC, and Reuters.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Life Links 12/4/08

I don’t to see how a jury is going to buy Emran Hussan’s defense for killing his wife. He was supposedly scared his wife was going to have an abortion, so he strangled her, killing her and their unborn child.


The Mississippi Baptist Convention has collected 50 million pennies and erected a memorial to the approximately 50 million children aborted in the United States since Roe v. Wade. A plaque at the memorial reads
Before you is a collection of 50 million pennies! Each penny represents one child who has been aborted since the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade in 1973. A penny like a baby seems to be so small and sometimes of very little worth, but when seen in a collection of 50 million it becomes enormous. Each coin is a person, but in many cases it also represents the difficult process of decision-making, fear, and loneliness. While some speak of pro-choice, these babies had no choice. While some speak of a mother's right to control her own body, 50 million babies were not given their right to live. Fifty million missing children represented by these pennies must be cause for us to stop, pray, consider what we are doing as a nation, ask God to forgive us, seek ways to help those who are struggling with the decision, and look to the Lord to restore each of us.


Dutch authorities have dropped charges against a woman accused of traveling to Spain to have an abortion in the 28th week of her pregnancy.
The public prosecutor's office in the central city of Den Bosch says in a statement Thursday that the case has been closed because the woman suffers psychological problems and is considered unlikely to repeat the offense.


MIT’s Technology Review has a piece on the stem cell snake oil sales companies.

"Ok, so that's that problem solved."

A Planned Parenthood nurse named Diana has been suspended after the release of this video of her coaching undercover prolife investigator Lila Rose (posing as a 13-year-old) to lie about her relationship with a 31-year-old.

What I found interesting about the video is the Planned Parenthood employee seems visible shaken when Rose says her boyfriend is 31. We can’t see hear facial expressions because the her face is blurred but she leans forward and appears to put her head in her hands for about 15 seconds and becomes very quiet. Yet she then composes herself and goes on to tell Rose about Indiana’s statutory rape law and says, “I don’t want to know the age” and “That’s child abuse” before coaching Rose and how to lie about her boyfriend’s age.

It seems the idea of “choice” and that a women (or girl, in this case) has the right to do whatever she wants to do with her body has so infected these employees that they’re willing to 1.) Break the law and 2.) Cover up actions they recognize as child abuse in order to protect a girl’s right to have sex with whoever she wants.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Life Links 12/3/08

Researchers in Germany have used adult stem cells to help treat a stroke patient.
The trial, led by Professor Thomas Brinker, of the International Neuroscience Institute in Hanover, is designed only to assess the safety of the new technique, and not to monitor its effectiveness. It will eventually involve 20 patients.

Even so, Professor Brinker said yesterday that the early indications looked good. “We see a path of recovery as good as this only in the minority of patients, so it is an encouraging start,” he said. “It is most important that we found [that there were] definitively no side-effects from the treatment.”


CBS News has reprinted a New Republic article by Denise Ross entitled, "Why Won't South Dakota Ban Abortion?"


In a recent sermon, Franklin Graham spoke out strongly against abortion.
"You say, ‘Well come on, Franklin. This is California. We’re kind of a liberal state, but they’ll still put you in jail for murder around here.’ No, they don’t,” Graham said before pointing to abortion as a form of murder.

“There’s some of you here tonight who are guilty, guilty of murder. And there are some of you men ... you’re guilty because you’ve approved of what your girlfriend has done or what your wife has done or your sister has done,” he said. “You’ve approved it, and you’re guilty too.”


The New York Times Magazine had a feature story by Alex Kuczynski on her experience with having a surrogate mother carry her biological child. The story also chronicles Kuczynski's failed IVF cycles.


Jill at Feministe has corrected her post about Planned Parenthood gift certificates after erronously claiming something like, "What they neglect to mention is Planned Parenthood provides an abortion for every 92,000 women it sees." Her post now reads, "What they neglect to mention that while Planned Parenthood of Indiana provided 5,000 abortions last year, that was out of 92,000 total patients." 92,000 divided by 5,000 means Planned Parenthood of Indiana provides an abortion for approximately every 18 patients it sees (though I'm wondering if the 92,000 stat is patients or services).

What amazes me about this is that Jill actually thought (after misreading a LA Times blog) Planned Parenthood only performs 1 abortion for every 92,000 patients. You have to be almost complete ignorant about Planned Parenthood's operations to believe something like that. After reading her blog, I immediately knew this had to be wrong considering that Planned Parenthood affiliates provide more than 250,000 abortions annually and I know they come nowhere near seeing 23 billion women.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Life Links 12/1/08

Naomi Lakritz and political science professors at the University of Calgary take college students and the University of Calgary to task, respectively, for attempting to prevent the display of images of aborted children and their unwillingness to defend the freedom of speech. From the professors’ editorial:
The university would never order an activist animal rights group that might display pictures of animals bleeding, suffering or dead to turn its pictures inward. Nor would the university censor or threaten antiwar activists for posting pictures of those burnt alive in Hiroshima or Dresden by Allied bombs.

The more likely response would be that such images show the end results of past personal and political decisions. The university would likely argue such depictions might make some uncomfortable, but that's the point of a university: to question, analyze and debate about one's own assumptions and morality, as well as that of others.


Gift certificates which can be redeemed for, among other things, abortion? What will Planned Parenthood think of next?


David Fergusson has a new study out on abortion and mental health published in the British Journal of Psychiatry (abstract here). The study’s results were mentioned in the both the New Zealand Herald and the UK’s Telegraph. From the abstract:
After adjustment for confounding, abortion was associated with a small increase in the risk of mental disorders; women who had had abortions had rates of mental disorder that were about 30% higher. There were no consistent associations between other pregnancy outcomes and mental health. Estimates of attributable risk indicated that exposure to abortion accounted for 1.5% to 5.5% of the overall rate of mental disorders.


Lisa Miller has an article in Newsweek on prolife atheists though I strongly disagree with Christopher Hitchens saying that he's "prolife." It also seems that Hitchens thinks RU-486 is the same thing as emergency contraception.


There is at least one silver lining to the Obama presidency. Janet Napolitano will no longer be able to veto prolife legislation as homeland security secretary.


British scientists have used adult stem cells to help heal torn knee cartilage.