Monday, May 18, 2009

Life Links 5/18/09

Yahoo News has a Politico piece on the Obama/Notre Dame controversy which does a good job of allowing prolifers to respond to Obama’s speech.
One of the protesters at Notre Dame, Jill Stanek, an anti-abortion blogger who did not support Obama, said the president’s speech sounded eerily familiar.

“It was just a regurgitation of things he’s said for a long time,” Stanek said. “He’s so good at expressing your point of view, so people are lulled into thinking he agrees with them, and he doesn’t. It’s just so typical Barack Obama.”


Greg Mueller, a Republican consultant who works with anti-abortion groups, said Obama’s language Sunday doesn’t match a president that he sees as strongly pro-abortion rights.

“He might have called for toning down the rhetoric but his abortion policies are tuned up on steroids,” said Mueller. “Even considering the revocation of the conscience clause puts Catholic hospitals, Evangelical and Catholic pro-life doctors and nurses in a very tough spot career-wise – this is another example of President Obama’s rhetoric not matching his policies.”

USA Today has an article by Dan Vergano on stem cell research with this noteworthy quote (my emphasis):
"The link between stem and tumor cells in science is a very old one," says Paul Knoepfler of the University of California Davis School of Medicine in the current Stem Cell journal. But no one talks about it much, he adds, even though understanding the link remains "an essential bridge to cross along the way" in someday turning embryonic cells into organ transplants.

After all, the most basic test of whether stem cells are truly "pluripotent" or able to turn into any type of tissue in signature embryonic cell fashion, Knoepfler says, is to inject them into a mouse and see if they grow into tumors. "Why would (embryonic stem cells), supposedly normal counterparts to (cancer cells), also have the ability to cause tumors?" he asks. "The simplest but most troublesome answer is that (embryonic stem cells and cancer cells) are in fact, as was originally assumed, quite similar types of cells."

Time has a piece by Nancy Gibbs entitled, “Understanding America’s Shift on Abortion” discussing the recent polls showing an uptick in the percentage of Americans who call themselves “prolife.” The article is about as decent as any article you’d expect in Time (Michael New’s thoughts on the article here) though unfortunately the picture on the site prominently features two of the handful of pro-choicers who were amid a flood of prolifers at the March for Life.

Here’s Gibbs:
A new Pew poll finds that while a majority of independents said abortion should be legal in most cases as recently as October, just 44% do so now. This may inspire some introspection on the part of political operatives in both parties who attribute the Republicans' present frailty to its orthodoxy on social issues. The GOP may have fielded some hapless messengers, but their message, on abortion at least, may be closer to the mainstream than Democrats care to acknowledge.

I think the numbers, inadequate and simplified though they may be, reflect deeper changes — some generational, some legal, some technological. People under 30 are more opposed to abortion than those older, perhaps because their first baby pictures were often taken in utero. I also wonder if younger women are now sure enough of their sexual autonomy and their choices generally, that they don't view limits on abortion as attacks on their freedom overall. The calculation of rights subtly shifts, and the fetus, as it develops, asserts its claim on the conscience.

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