Friday, January 30, 2009

Life Links 1/30/09

Moral Accountability has a piece by Micah Watson of Union University entitled, "Obama, Abortion and the Promise of Racial Equality." After comparing percentages of population to percentages of abortion by race in various states, Watson writes,
These statistics are a bit numbing, though they should provoke a momentous sense of loss and they do illustrate a glaring difference between black and white abortion rates. Another statistical measure that drives home this point is the number of abortions as compared to live births. Again, relying on the CDC’s MMWR, we can determine the ratios by state of the now three- and four-year old black children born in 2005 as compared to those who did not survive. In 2005, for every three black babies born in Alabama, one was aborted. In North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia, the ratio is two black babies born for each aborted. Tennessee, Michigan, Georgia, and Delaware come in at roughly 2.4. To put this another way, for every ten black boys and girls learning in a classroom in North Carolina, there are five who didn’t make it.

Gregory Kane on Obama's use of language regarding abortion.
What we have here, to paraphrase a quote from my favorite Paul Newman film, is not a failure to communicate; it's an attempt to hoodwink by smoothly communicating. By linking abortion rights to overall women's rights, Obama is attempting to elevate the pro-choice position to a moral high ground it in fact does not have. After all, no one — except maybe the most hardcore, diehard, sexist knucklehead — wants to be accused of being against equal rights for women. Obama slyly implies that if you're against abortion then that is precisely your position. And he does it in his nice, smarmy, bipartisan "we're all in this together" language.

The San Diego Union-Tribune has an article on the monetary problems at CIRM, California's embryonic stem cell funding agency.

Adult stem cells successfully treat MS

Here's another adult stem cell success from Richard Burt at Northwestern. He's now used adult stem cells to help patients with multiple sclerosis.
Of the 21 patients injected with their own stem cells, 17 found that their symptoms improved while the treatment stabilised the progression of the disease in the others.
In a Medical News Today article, Burt simplifies what occurred.
But amazingly, when the new immune system is created, the patient's new white blood cells are self-tolerant, as Burt explained:

"In MS the immune system is attacking your brain."

"After the procedure, it doesn't do that anymore," he said.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

West Coast March for Life 2009

There are pictures at the West Coast Walk for Life site as well as at the blogs Digital Hairshirt , the American Phoenix and the San Francisco Citizen. Some pictures feature pro-choicers with some rather crude signs but what would you expect from Socialist Workers.

Blogs4Life Conference Review

On the morning of the March for Life, I was lucky enough to attend the 4th Annual Blogs4Life Conference. I’ve been to a lot of prolife events in the last few years and I’m happy to say that this event was one of the better ones. The event, with the help of emcee Jill Stanek, moved very quickly and succinctly from speaker to speaker. I think having it just in the morning before the March worked better than when I attended the first event and their were morning and afternoon session. I thought the speakers each touched on a topic they were informed about and could educate the audience about.

LifeSiteNews has an article which briefly touches on what some of the speakers shared.

The LifeSite article doesn’t mention Michael Illions talking about how he and his wife were pushed to abort (“you’re running out of time to terminate”) after his son Cole was diagnosed with hydrocephaly. He also shared the stories of three other couples who had children with adverse prenatal diagnoses. It was very moving.

Michael New used his time to quickly illustrate how parental notification and parental consent laws have helped to reduce abortions and encouraged prolifers to push for getting laws that require the consent of two parents.

Senator Brownback brought special guest Nirj Deva, the head of the prolife caucus at the European Parliament, who briefly spoke about how our societies are putting the selfishness of present pleasures above sacrificing for future generations.

I don’t think I had ever heard of Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) before Blogs4Life but was very impressed with her and her story of giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome while in Congress.

During the event I was sitting next to a young woman who I believe was a reporter for Newsweek, I think, but I could be mistaken. It was a little odd because numerous speakers mentioned their dislike for mainstream media. I wonder what that’s like? Reporting on a conference where the speakers take aim at your profession.

Anyway, I hope this conference continues to take place on an annual basis and I would encourage anyone at the March who blogs or read blogs to attend if they get a chance. Plus, it’s free and food is provided.

Life LInks 1/29/09

Here’s the roll call on Senator Martinez’s attempt to re-instate the Mexico City Policy. His amendment failed 60-37. The only Democrat to vote for it was Nebraska’s Ben Nelson. Bob Casey, Jr. voted against the amendment along with various pro-choice Republicans.

A new bill has been introduced in South Dakota is aimed at Planned Parenthood’s practice of flying in abortionists. The bill would “require that a doctor performing an abortion in the state be available for a two-hour period on the day before the scheduled abortion for consultation with the patient in the same city where the abortion will be performed. Under the bill, failure to do so would be a Class 1 misdemeanor.”

Serge and Scott have Epdisode 1 of their podcast at the Life Training Institute Blog.

Crosswalk is posting parts of a sermon Albert Mohler preached on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday entitled “What’s Make Abortion Plausible? What Makes Abortion Unthinkable?”. Here’s parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Amy Sullivan in Time Magazine has a piece about the whole contraception/stimulus debate. I’ve yet to read anything resembling a sound argument about how this provision would have done anything to stimulate the economy or how saving states’ Medicaid money stimulates the economy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Life Links 1/28/09

The Austrian Times has an article on how police have been investigating the Swiss suicide group Dignitas using an undercover nurse. Apparently, Dignitas made money by selling the property of individuals they helped kill.

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint notes that Jim Steinberg, Obama's nominee to be Deputy Secretary of State, thinks that not funding organizations who perform or promote abortions is a violation of the Constitution.

Newsweek has a long online piece entitled, "Pro-Lifers Split over Abortion Reduction Tactics."

Is American Right to Life opposed to the Freedom of Choice Act?

From this press release, it doesn't seem so.

It almost sounds like they would welcome the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) because it would "reverse decades of legislation, regulations not built on the firm foundation of personhood, but misguided laws built on sand shifting in the political wind" and it would "reverse decades of misguided pro-life effort."

If you think prolife laws (like parental consent, informed consent, ultrasound legislation and partial-birth abortion ban) which limit (but don't eliminate) abortion are "misguided" then I guess it makes sense that you wouldn't have a problem with pro-choice legislation which eliminates these laws.

After taking a few cheap shots at National Right to Life and American United for Life's Clarke Forsythe, the press release ends by saying, "American RTL sees the FOCA fight as the opportunity for pro-lifers to unite in establishing personhood and the God-given right to life."

Does this mean they're going to fight against FOCA? I don't know. The press release makes more positive statements about FOCA than prolifers who disagree with American Right to Life's strategy.

Anyone who supports this group should take a look at this press release regarding legislation which would force taxpayers to fund abortions and eliminate every single prolife law and then think about whether the leaders of American Right to Life have their heads on straight.

You would think a prolife group would use a press release regarding the Freedom of Choice Act to educate its members and the public about the horrors of what FOCA would do and strongly voice their opposition to FOCA. Instead American Right to Life uses a press release about FOCA to make childish attacks on other prolifers and leaves me wondering if they're opposed to legislation on the wish list of every pro-choice organization.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Adult Stem Cell Success Stories

The Family Research Council has posted a listing of adult stem cell success stories during the last 6 months. Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with some of the stories but it's a good round-up and shows how far ahead adult stem cells are when compared to embryonic stem cells.

Reporters, eh?

The Washington Post article on the March for Life included this tidbit (my emphasis).
McQuade noted that the number of yearly abortions has been down since the 1990s and that a new movement is trying to further reduce abortions through education, better health care and counseling for pregnant women and new parents.

The movement is led by progressive abortion opponents, including the groups Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United, who handed out fliers at yesterday's march and hosted speakers. A sign posted near the Supreme Court building -- the final destination of the march -- read: "Reduce Abortions, Support Sex Education."

I took a picture of that sign. It wasn't a sign used by someone in the March. It was the lettering posted in the permanent sign in front of United Methodist headquarters. The United Methodist church can hardly be described as an "abortion opponent" considering its a member of the Religious Coalition of Reproductive Choice.

Life Links 1/27/09

I think we can officially say that Jim Wallis is drinking the Obama Kool-Aid. A progressive Beliefnet blog has a statement Wallis has issued regarding Obama's abortion policies. Apparently Obama's decision to delay the reversal of the Mexico City policy by one day and his statement in support of Roe v. Wade which includes the words "common ground" is enough to get Wallis enthused. Beliefnet blogger Paul Raushenbush is correct when he guesses Obama's symbolic actions will mean very little to prolife activists. We're not the type to fawn over empty gestures and the delaying of prolife policy reversals by a solitary day. That's the role of Democrats who put their adoration of Obama above the lives unborn children.

Peter Wehner writes,
For liberals like Wallis and Dionne, this kind of empty symbolism, combined with Obama invoking words like “a new conversation” and “common ground” (which for Wallis and Dionne are like petting the belly of a cat) constitutes bipartisanship and real outreach.

This is silliness of a high order. What matters is reality, not PR gimmicks. These are serious times requiring seriousness of mind and thought and analysis. One would hope that Wallis and Dionne and their fellow “progressives” would cast aside the spin and propaganda, to say nothing of evincing baldfaced intoxication when it comes to Obama.

Aspen Baker has a piece on her blog entitled "Pro-Voice Solution" which while contain a number of false assertions has a rather honest description of what prolife and pro-choice people believe.
Thus pro-life people believe that protecting the growing life within a woman is paramount, even if the woman herself does not want to carry the child. And pro-choice people believe that her right to do as she chooses with her own body is more important than the value of what’s growing inside of her.

AUL has their annual state rankings out and Michigan has slipped from the #1 state at defending life to #13 because of Proposal 2.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Life Links 1/26/09

President Barack Obama overturned the Mexico City policy on Friday and issued this statement on Saturday. I think I like this paragraph the best.
For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back and forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate.
Debating issues divides us so we’ll just do whatever I want. Talk about stale and fruitless.

Stephen Waldman notes a change in Barack Obama’s language regarding abortion. Gone is the rhetoric about helping women carry their children to term and instead we’re given language claiming that we all are “united” to support women in “the choices they make.” Ummm... not if they’re choosing abortion.

Obama’s rhetoric about helping women choose life is also absent from his “reproductive choice” agenda.

HT: LTI Blog

Robert George provides some encouragement to prolifers regarding the Supreme Court.
At best, the vote on the Supreme Court today is 5 to 4 in the wrong direction. Obviously, no Obama nominee will support overturning Roe, and this may be the greatest tragedy of the 2008 election. But let us not forget that three of the four constitutionalists on the Court—Justices Thomas, Roberts, and Alito—are its youngest members; and the fourth, Justice Scalia, at age seventy-two is far from elderly by Supreme Court standards and he remains, thank God, physically vigorous and mentally sharp. I have no doubt that Obama will have one or two vacancies to fill in the next four years, but there is a very good chance that the seats that will be vacated are seats already held by pro-abortion justices. What is likely to happen, then, is that the status quo will hold. So let us even now look forward to the 2012 election which will almost certainly be the decisive one when it comes to the Supreme Court and the future of Roe v. Wade.
Professor George (along with others) has also started a web site,, which will document attacks on human life and traditional marriage and asks prolife Catholics and Evangelicals, who supported Obama, to work to repel attacks on human life and traditional marriage.

Kathryn Jean-Lopez provides some thoughts on her March for Life experience.

Overheard: Misogyny edition

Amanda Marcotte:
Anti-choicers like to defend themselves against the charge of misogyny by saying they simply believe that life begins at conception. What they fail to understand is that “life begins at conception” is a misogynist statement. It’s the erasure of a woman’s role in making new people, and a claim that the only effort that counts is the effort a man put into ejaculating.
Her arguments have become so pathetic that recognizing a scientific fact is now considered misogyny. I wonder how embryologists would respond to being called misogynists because they recognize that science not pro-choice politics teaches when life begins.

Amanda seems to have this weird view that "women make people." It’s not that she thinks women’s bodies play a vital role in providing nutrition and a safe environment for nascent human beings who are guiding their own development. Instead she seems to think that pregnant women are in the midst of a 9-month process where they transform an entity which isn’t alive into a baby. It’s completely unscientific but it’s what she (and other abortion advocates) rely on since they can’t accept what the science of embryology has taught us about unborn human beings. When people say “life begins at conception,” they’re not claiming women don’t do anything to help in the development of the unborn, they just recognize that a woman’s body isn’t magically converting lifeless tissue into a human being.

Candace Chellew-Hodge:
The scientific battle over whether life begins at conception or at birth continues unabated, but the viability of the fetus outside of the womb seems to win when all is said and done.

With such weak arguments against abortion, though loudly and constantly made by the religious right, there must certainly be a deeper reason for the veracity of the passion on the anti-abortion side. I believe the answer lies in misogyny.
The scientific battle? Do you mean those who favor legal abortion desperately trying to avoid the scientific facts? The viability of the fetus “seems to win” according to whom?

Since Chellew-Hodge never takes the time to actually look into the “scientific battle,” she can quickly assume prolifers hate women.

What’s truly odd is earlier Chellew-Hodge writes,
I am pro-life, however, in the fact that if it ever came down to brass tacks and I had to make a choice, I don't believe I could choose to abort. Even if I became pregnant because of a rape? I'm really not sure. It's certainly not the child's fault that they came into being through an act of violence.....

My only true conundrum would come if my life were in danger. I think, in that instance, I would terminate the pregnancy - but only after much anguish over the choice.
Why not have an abortion? And why such anguish if your life was in danger? If the unborn aren’t alive until viability then why couldn’t you have an abortion? If the unborn aren’t alive is “child” really the best term for them?

She ends by writing,
Let us continue to struggle together to meet both the needs and desires of the mother, as well as keep in mind what will be best for the new life that hangs in the balance.
New life? What I thought the "scientific battle" was still raging unabated

It must be so hard to be in favor of legal abortion and attempt to deny that the unborn are alive. Individuals like Chellew-Hodge can’t write a simple pro-Roe piece with contradicting themselves.

FDA approves first clinical trial using cells derived from embryonic stem cells

Lots of events transpired while I was in Washington, D.C. including the FDA’s decision to approve Geron’s clinical trial to test the safety of cells created from embryonic stem cells in patients with spinal cord injuries. According to the Reuters article, the first treatment will start sometime in the summer.

Like Rebecca Taylor, I’m concerned about the safety of these patients. I’ve read way too many of Thomas Okarma deceptions to trust the safety of Geron’s products.

This part (from the LA Times article linked above) is also very interesting:
The cell therapy is made from one of the first batches of human embryonic stem cells ever created. Researchers had feared those cells could never be used to treat people because they were derived using molecules from mice and cows and thus might be rejected by the human immune system. Newer stem cell lines that are animal-free have not been eligible for federal research funding under the policy set by President Bush in 2001. As a result, many people had expected FDA approval for any embryonic stem cell therapy to be years away.

Now, however, the FDA appears satisfied that the stem cells are safe for human use, and more clinical trials are sure to follow, said Amy Comstock Rick, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, a patient advocacy group that supports stem cell research. "It shows that things are starting to move through the pipeline," she said.

How many times were we told that Bush’s stem cell policy needed to be reversed because the old embryonic cell lines were grown on mouse feeder cells? How many times were we told the U.S. was falling behind other nations because of Bush’s funding restrictions? Now the FDA has approved the first clinical trial in the world with cells derived from embryonic stem cell created by private funding on one of the very early cell lines.

Also note the timing of when the injuries have to take place.
The first patients to get the treatment will be injected with 2 million of the cells seven to 14 days after a spinal cord injury. If they are administered sooner, the cells could be damaged by inflammation from the injury. If doctors wait too long, there might be too much scar tissue for the cells to find room to grow, Okarma said.
So people paralyzed for years aren’t going to be magically stand up and walk? Someone tell John Edwards.

From the AP article, it seems like cost could also be an issue.
Okarma said he can't estimate how much such a therapy would cost if it proves effective, but that "this is not going to be a $500,000 price tag. It will be remarkably affordable ... in the context of the value it provides."
So it won’t be $500,000, it will just be $400,000 per patient if it actually works.

March for Life 2009 pictures

I've posted some of my pictures at Flickr.

Barbara Curtis at Mommy Life has 477 pictures if you're interested more.

A few things that I found interesting were:

1. The large number of cops standing around. They were lined all the way up the March and then there were 18 cops (when I counted) standing on the steps to the Supreme Court. Is that number really necessary? Were they scared someone was going to storm the building?

2. As I noted in the last post, the minuscule number of pro-choicers. I think there are 5 somewhere in the picture below.

I think almost all of their pictures made it into large media publications. The third photo in the AP's story on the March has two pro-choicers who weren't in the LA Times photo.

The Washington Post article on the March ends with this:
Abortion-rights supporters traditionally haven't come out in force at the March for Life, but there were a few at the Supreme Court yesterday.

Alden Woodhull, 16, of the District organized a group of friends from her Catholic high school to stand outside the court with signs supporting the right to have an abortion.

"I just want people to know there's another side," she said. "Personally, I would choose to not have an abortion if I was pregnant. The point is, it would be my choice."

3. I know there are hundreds of thousands of people there but the March takes a long time to complete. I went up to the Supreme Court, took some pictures, listened to prolifers talk to the pro-choicers, listened to the testimony of a few women from Silent No More and then went back down Constitution Ave. I must have been at the Supreme Court building for at least 30 minutes but when I made my way back down, there was still no end of Marchers in sight.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

March for Life - What Media Bias?

While I hope to post my thoughts and pictures of the 2009 March for Life soon, I thought I'd note something which always bugs me about the media coverage of the March. It never ceases to amaze me which photos some media outlets use to provide their readers a visual feel for the March for Life. Case in point: The LA Times.

The top of the LA Times story on the March for Life doesn't show a picture of the hundreds of thousands of prolifers who crammed on buses and came from all across America to protest abortion and affirm life but instead the photo a close-up shot of two pro-choicers who stood in front of the Supreme Court building with pro-choice signs.

In the past I've always been amazed at how so many pictures of pro-choicers at the March wind up in media publications since the presence of pro-choicers at the March is exceptionally minimal. In fact, you really have to search them out to find them. Which is something I did this year.

By my count, there were a whopping 10 pro-choicers standing in front of the Supreme Court this year. 10! The majority of them (8 by my count) were standing together. Of the eight standing together, there were 3 ladies holding a "My body, my choice" sign who didn't stay long, there were the two individuals in the LA Times photo, two white women who also had "Keep Abortion Legal" NOW signs, and an older white male with a hat that said, "Liberal." In addition to those eight individuals, there was a rather eccentric white male with a variety of homemade signs, one of which read something along the lines of "Pro-choice because of genetic defects and abnormalities" and another woman on the other side of the crowd with a "Keep Abortion Legal" sign.

So the point of the story is this - if you want your picture plastered across newspapers around the country - all you have to do is show up to the March for Life with a pro-choice sign. The photo editor will be too busy ignoring the photos of hundreds of thousands of prolifers to miss you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life Links 1/20/09

Russell Moore has a post entitled, "Why I Hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday."
I hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because I’m reminded that we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn’t have to say. Mothers shouldn’t kill their children. Fathers shouldn’t abandon their babies. No human life is worthless, regardless of skin color, age, disability, economic status. The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness.

Pastor Ron Jones is wondering about Obama's moral incongruence on the abortion issue.
I give Mr. Obama credit for loving his family the way he does. He appears to be a faithful husband and a good father to his two daughters. In the letter he speaks of his girls with great pride and tells them how much he loves them. His inspiration for running for President, he says, came from them. But again I find his words disturbing if not incongruent.

“I realized that my own life would not count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours,” writes Obama. “In the end, girls, that’s why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.”

Every child? Does Obama’s dream for his children and “every child” include unborn children?

CNN is reporting that, according to sources, Obama may pick the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to overturn the Mexico City Policy.
The sources said Obama may use the occasion to reverse the "Mexico City policy" reinstated in 2001 by Bush that prohibits U.S. money from funding international family planning groups that promote abortion or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion services.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Abortion advocate Marcy Bloom cheers convicted felon

While Marcy Bloom celebrates abortionist Bruce Steir and his book, I thought I’d link to some background information on how Steir plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter after perforating the uterus of Sharon Hamptlon during a 20-week abortion and then sent her home to die while he flew home. Before Hamptlon’s death, Steir had a history of botched abortions. I struggle to understand how any sane person (regardless of whether they think abortion should be legal or not) would celebrate this individual.

Altered adult stem cells used to help treat AIDS

From the Guardian:
Results of a preliminary trial have raised hopes of a new form of therapy for people suffering from Aids, which occurs in the latter stages of infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The scientists are planning further research to establish whether the treatment could even rid patients of HIV infection altogether.

The technique involves isolating genes which curb the spread of HIV inside the body, introducing the genes into human stem cells in a laboratory, then transplanting the stem cells into a patient's bone marrow.

In the first human trial, anti-HIV stem cells were transplanted into five Aids patients undergoing bone marrow replacement as part of treatment for a form of cancer known as lymphoma.

Small quantities of the transplanted stem cells were able to grow and produce new white blood cells resistant to HIV, resulting in an improvement in the patients' conditions......

The doctors behind the research are currently reluctant to expose Aids patients who do not have lymphoma to the risky bone transplant operation, but they are refining the technique in the hope of providing anti-HIV stem cell transplants to all Aids sufferers.
So far this story has yet to make a lot of traction in the U.S. media outlets. We'll see if that trend continues.

Saturday Baby Blogging

On a recent trip to the zoo.

Exhausted after a car ride.

Life Links 1/19/09

NARAL has published this year’s addition of Who Decides?, a report which summarizes prolife and pro-choice laws in all 50 states and ranks the states accordingly. Congratulations to Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia for receiving F’s. I always enjoy NARAL’s avoidance of the using the phrase "partial-birth abortion" so here’s what they’re calling partial-birth abortion bans now:
“Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano each vetoed a measure banning a safe second-trimester abortion method that is similar to the federal ban the Supreme Court upheld in 2007.”

Local prolife events around the country have received some media attention including rallies at state capitols of Maine and Vermont, bus trips going to the March for Life from Ann Arbor and local right to life groups’ event in Illinois, Tennessee, Cleveland , Florida Iowa. The participants carried signs saying "Let My People Grow,"

Abortionist and author Susan Wicklund is planning on opening an abortion clinic in Livingston, Montana.

A woman in China has been sentenced to death after hiring someone to strangle her 9-year-old son. She wanted her son strangled so she could have another child with her husband without violating China’s one-child policy.
The report said Li first paid about $10,000 to have a man named Wang Ruijie kill her second husband's daughter, but the girl resisted and escaped. Li then took her son to a meeting with Wang, who strangled the boy and left him by a rural road.

Li initially received a death sentence suspended for two years because she had suffered from depression after having two abortions due to the rules against her bearing another child, the reports said.
HT: Mark Steyn

Here’s the abstract of a recent study by Priscilla Coleman in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction which worked to “identify predictors of the choice to abort or deliver a child within 18 months of a previous birth and to compare mothers who chose to abort or deliver relative to substance use and adverse partner behavior.” The study found that “several variables pertaining to the father's commitment to raising a previously born child and to his relationship with the mother predicted the choice to abort.”

In the UK, researchers are hoping to start clinical trials in June using stem cells from aborted children to treat stroke victims while another group of researchers will use stem cells from deceased adult to try to treat corneal blindness.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Life Links 1/16/09

Yesterday, President Bush declared January 18, 2009, to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2009. Here's the official proclamation.
The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women. On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in which every child is welcome in life and protected in law. We also encourage more of our fellow Americans to join our just and noble cause. History tells us that with a cause rooted in our deepest principles and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens, we will prevail.

Planned Parenthood along with the attorney generals of seven states are suing the federal government to stop the application of the Bush administration's conscience rules.

The Dallas Morning News has an article on Catholic teens who are working to start prolife groups at their public high schools.

David Jones has a great opinion piece in UK's The Guardian which is entitled: "Nothing but a sideshow: The prospect of cures from animal-human hybrids is not based on credible predictions but on spin and empty promises."He concludes by saying,
The HFEA which issued these licences has the extraordinary record of never having ultimately refused a research licence in all its 20 years. Is there any bank that has never refused a loan? or any examination board that has never failed a student? If an institution never says "no" then one suspects that it not exercising adequate critical judgement.

The grandiose claims for cures from animal-human hybrids were never credible and now they can be seen to be empty promises. It can no longer be pretended that this avenue of research is "necessary". The international scientific community clearly do not think so. In light of this, the regulator must learn to say "no" to further animal-human experiments. These experiments do not deserve taxpayers' money or statutory licences. There is widespread agreement that the future of stem cell research lies elsewhere – with reprogrammed adult cells and with adult stem cells. The world is moving on to science that is both more exciting and more ethical. It is time to pack up this bizarre little sideshow and rejoin the rest of the world.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Detroit Lions have a new coach

Former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz must be a glutton for punishment.

Now all the Lions need to do is replace their entire defense (which currently consists entirely of below average players) with above average players.

Please, please, please do not use your first overall draft pick on a quarterback.

Life Links 1/15/09

The BBC has an article and video regarding Obama’s likely move to change the current human embryonic stem cell funding policy. There are some howlers from Geron chief Thomas Okarma including in the video where he claims that a single embryonic stem cell line could treat every spinal cord patient in North America for 22 years.

Serge at the LTI blog has linked to a paper he wrote for the Christian Research Institute in 2007 focusing on some of the problems in bodily autonomy arguments in favor of legal abortion. The synopsis states in part,
The bodily autonomy argument and their defenses of it fail for at least four reasons. First, the argument fails to account for situations in which a mother harms but does not kill her child; given its logic, it would affirm a mother’s decision to intentionally take a medication that will cause birth defects in her child, for example. Second, the argument assumes that prenatal parental responsibilities are largely voluntary. Third, the analogies used to support the argument fail to take into account the difference between diseased and healthy physiological states. Fourth, the argument results in absurdities if taken to its logical conclusion. Taken as a whole, then, the bodily autonomy argument does not give us justification to jettison our deepest moral intuitions that mothers should not intentionally kill their offspring, whom proponents of this argument concede are rights-bearing individuals. Intentionally killing human fetuses in the act of elective abortion thus remains a great moral wrong.

Color me unimpressed with Third Way latest release entitled, “Come Let Us Reason Together: A Governing Agenda to End the Culture Wars.” I really doubt our government is going to end the culture wars on abortion by doing basically the same thing they’ve been doing to prevent unintended pregnancies, doing slightly more to help poor pregnant women and expanding the adoption tax credit. According to the press release, this short document is “the culmination of two years of work led by the progressive think tank Third Way, Evangelical religious leaders like the Reverend Joel C. Hunter and Dr. David Gushee, religion scholar Dr. Robert P. Jones and the religious group Faith in Public Life.” Is it me or does this seem more like 2 hours worth of work?

The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network has posted Wesley Smith’s predictions for 2009.

They like me, they really like me

Yours truly was recently announced as the 2009 winner of the “Best News and Reporting” by the Pro-Life Blog Awards. The other winners are as follows:

Best Overall Pro-Life Blog - Mommy Life
Pro-Life Unity Award -Causa Nostrae Laetitiae
Pro-Life Whistleblower Award -Catholic Fire
Best Pro-Life Apologetics -Mark's Blog
Pro-Life Instigator Award for Activism -American Papist

When I read the e-mail telling me of this, it was a complete surprise because I was unaware that I was even nominated (I’m not listed as a nominated blog on the side bar). It’s a honor to be given this award and I like to thank Tim at ProlifeBlogs for nominating me, any individuals involved in the judging process and especially my daughter whose ability to play for minutes at a time with a deck of playing cards and window blinds has allowed me the time to post LifeLinks on a regular basis.

Anyway, the prize for this award is two nights at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, D.C. during the March for Life along with being a guest at American Life League’s conference. I wasn’t planning on going to the March this year so I’ve been doing some scrambling over the last 24 hours and have transportation to D.C., time off work and child care taken care.

If you read this blog and will be at the March or at Blogs4Life, I would like to meet you. Let me know and I’ll try to keep an eye out for you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

LifeLinks 1/14/09

Licia Corbella takes down assisted suicide advocate Lady Warnock in the Calgary Herald.
"If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives--your family's lives--and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service," she said a few months ago.

There was a time when such statements would be described as wicked and the orator as well.

But in Warnock's twisted world of "ethics," doctors who kill are righteous and doctors who refuse to kill are villainous.

Black is white, white is black and wrong is right. Murder is merciful and compassionate care, cruel. Somewhere out there, George Orwell is saying, "I told you so."
Corbella later notes this disturbing trend in Oregon's assisted suicides:
In 1998, 12 per cent of PAS patients in Oregon said they chose this irreversible course of action because they didn't want to burden their family. That rose to 26 per cent in 1999, 42 per cent in 2005 and 45 per cent in 2007, the last year figures are available....

In other words, for the infirm and disabled, the right to die quickly becomes the duty to die. Wanting to live despite being frail or ill increasingly is viewed as selfish in places where euthanasia is the law.

That's not empowerment, it's coercion, guilt for living, pressure to die.

Wesley Smith notes how the whining of cloning scientists (they were denied government funding) in Britain quickly leads to action by members of Parliament. Maybe Britain's science funding organization understands that with iPS cells, there is no good reason to fund human cloning experiments, unfortunately politicians bent on scoring political points don't seem to get this.

Rebecca Taylor comments on the BBC's lame attempt to redefine conception.
So the nearly half a million human embryos that are sitting in the deep freeze have yet to be conceived? What utter rubbish! Conception is when sperm penetrates egg, implantation is when the resulting embryos implants in the womb.

Once again society is being mislead and numbed by language that has no meaning. If the BBC were to acknowledge that PGD occurs after conception then maybe some of us would actually put 2 and 2 together to make 4 and decide that they are very uncomfortable with this technology. Especially when we realize that all of the post conception embryos that failed the genetic test got tossed in the biohazard waste.

A team at Stanford has discovered that stem cells taken from human testes can develop into a wide range of tissues.
Samples from two of the men yielded stem cells, but one of the men dropped out before the experiments could continue. The tissue from the remaining man yielded abundant stem cells that proved able to transform themselves into a variety of other tissue cells when they were injected into mice bred with impaired immune systems, Reijo-Pera said Monday.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why crisis pregnancy centers shouldn’t have pro-choice counselors?

The above could have been an alternative title to the post “Why I stopped by being a pro-life counselor” at a blog entitled Keep Calm and Carry On.

When I first started reading the post, I had assumed the writer (a woman named Allison) was a prolife individual who volunteered at a CPC and was turned off by some of the CPC’s practices. I quickly wondered what was going on as all of her complaints sounded very familiar to the type of complaints pro-choice individuals typically make about CPCs. Then there were quotes like the following which made me wonder if Allison had done any research at all into the abortion issue.
If an abortion is performed in the second trimester, it is almost always because the woman is pretty darn close to death.

The complaints about the CPC seemed to morph into complaints about people who are prolife (voting decisions are too based on abortion, pictures of aborted fetuses are bad, prolifers are obsessed with fetuses, etc.). Towards the end of the post, we’re let in on why Allison probably shouldn’t have been allowed to be a counselor at a CPC in the first place.
I'm personally pro-life. I am politically and legally pro-choice. I'm not going to discuss this position at length right now, but I will at some point. In a nutshell: government does not belong in my bedroom or doctor's office.
I take this to mean something like “I wouldn’t have an abortion if I became pregnant but I think abortion should be legal.” When someone holds this position, they are not “personally prolife.”

They are pro-choice. That’s the pro-choice position. If you think abortion should be generally legal then you’re pro-choice regardless of what you would do if you became pregnant and regardless of whether you think abortion is right or wrong (I’m still waiting for a response to why Allison believes “abortion is wrong”).

Now why would someone who’s pro-choice and who pretty much disagrees with the basic tenets of the prolife movement volunteer at a CPC?

When I asked her in the comments why she (someone who’s pro-choice) volunteered at a CPC (since her explanation in the post was vague), she responded by saying,
I volunteered precisely because I am pro-choice. I did not feel the other choices - raising a child, adoption - were emphasized enough.

She says this even though in her post she was very positive about counseling at abortion clinics. She wrote (my emphasis),
I've sat in on pregnancy crisis counseling sessions at Planned Parenthood and private clinics. These places did a phenomenal job of providing a balanced and objective overview of abortion. They discussed all choices: abortion, raising a child, open adoption, closed adoption. They discussed regret.....

I've witnessed the abortion process more than once. I never saw or heard anything other than kindness from the staff. Before the procedure starts, the woman sits down with a counselor who takes the time to explain all choices in plain English. And if she changes her mind last minute, she hops down from the table and is sent away with stacks of adoption, healthy pregnancy, and WIC pamphlets.
What’s truly odd is Allison says the CPC she volunteered knew her pro-choice views! I don’t think Allison is lying (I don’t know why she would) but I struggle to imagine why a CPC would allow someone who is pro-choice to counsel women in crisis pregnancies. That’s a little like Planned Parenthood hiring a prolifer. It’s a union where more than a few feathers are going to be ruffled and which is unlikely to end as cordially as Allison’s stint as a counselor.

Life Links 1/12/09

Scott Klusendorf has a long but worthwhile defense of his both/and position on Christians sharing the gospel as well as being involved in prolife politics.

A woman in England has decided to continue her pregnancy after she was urged to have an abortion because she is pregnant with dicephalous twins (twins with two heads and one body).
"Some might think my twins are strange, but to me they're just special," she said. "Everything happens for a reason. Mike and I have spent over seven years trying to have children and we might not get another go."

There’s some silver lining in the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Planned Parenthood has laid off staff because large amounts of their funding comes from the Picower Foundation, whose assets were managed by Madoff.

Wesley Smith notes the latest attempt by Geron to boost their stock prices and how easily the Chicago Tribune fell for it.

Rebecca Taylor asks a good question: Why will more tax payer money be wasted on ESC research in 2009?
So it may be impossible to ensure that ESC cultures have only healthy cells? This means that treating patients with ESC cultures is also "difficult or impossible." As a taxpayer, I do not want my money going to fund research that is "difficult or impossible." You would think our elected officials would feel the same.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Baby Blogging - Birthday Party

My daughter was completely opposed to wearing her birthday tiara

but she certainly didn't mind shoving a fistful of birthday cake into her mouth

LIfe Links 1/9/09

The prolife movement lost an important voice yesterday with the death of Father John Neuhaus. Here's a piece he wrote for the January 2009 issue of First Things entitled, "The Pro-Life Movement as Politics of the 1960s."
In short, pro-life intellectuals, like pro-life activists, insist on talking about the science and moral reasoning pertinent to the moral status of the unborn. So do the more honest of pro-choice intellectuals, which is why they are more hindrance than help to the pro-choice movement....

Again, the pro-choice proponents are the defenders of the status quo. They routinely cite data indicating that a majority of Americans do not want to see Roe overturned. As has often been pointed out, these same Americans believe that Roe created a restrictive abortion policy....It is understandable, however, that pro-choice advocates trumpet popular support for Roe, dependent as they are on the ignorance of “the silent majority.”

In Afghanistan, a mother and brother of a 14-year-old girl are facing prison time after they allegedly cut the girl's unborn child out of her. The girl was 5 months pregnant and had been allegedly raped. She is in critical condition.
The abortion was performed about nine days ago, using no anesthesia. The incisions were then stitched up with a thick string usually used to sew up potato sacks, said Gulam Mohammad Nader, one of the doctors who subsequently treated the girl in the provincial capital. He said the wound became dangerously infected.....

Nader said the girl told him that she had not known her mother and brother's plan when they took her into the cattle shed. She said they wrestled her to the ground and held her down while they cut her stomach open. She blacked out for much of the ordeal, but she said she remembered seeing her brother hold up the fetus.

Police have recovered the body of the fetus, and both the brother and the man accused of raping the girl have been arrested, Khan said. Police also plan to arrest the mother, he said, but are waiting to take her into custody because she is an 11-hour trip away and recovering from recently giving birth herself.

In Britain, the first child who was screened as an embryo for the gene BRCA-1 (which is linked to breast and ovarian cancer) has been born. This, of course, means any of the child's siblings who had the gene were disposed of. The article also contain this pathetic attempt to justify this kind of genetic discrimination from Peter Braude.
In fact, he argues that the procedure actually prevents abortions because it takes place on a three-day old embryo in a lab. Only embryos that lack the defective gene are implanted.

"I don't think you can equate eight cells in a dish to an embryo or a child," said Braude, head of the department of women's health at the King's College London School of Medicine.
So an eight-celled embryo isn't an embryo?

A 16-year-old girl in Washington has been charged with murder after allegedly drowning an infant, whom is believed to be her newborn son, in a toilet.
The baby's body was found Monday by authorities combing 60 tons of trash at a dump site near Tacoma.

An affidavit filed that day said Last "put her baby face down into a toilet and allowed it to drown for several minutes until it died. Then she threw her son into the trash can outside in a plastic garbage bag."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pro-Choice is the “Compromise” Position?

Or at least that’s what Sam Sedaei claims in an op-ed for the Huffington Post which was also posted at the RH Reality Check Blog. What’s truly interesting about this piece is that Sedaei recognizes (unlike many pro-choicers) what the pivotal question in the abortion debate is. He writes (my emphasis),
But at the heart of these questions and the Supreme Court's decision on Roe v. Wade that started this 3-decade long debate on abortion is a central question: Is a fetus a human being?

We’re off to a good start here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long as Sedaei fails to use any kind of relevant biological evidence to determine whether the unborn are human beings. He continues,
If it is, it must possess all the characteristics of a human being, not the least of which is independent biological viability.
Huh? Since when does an organism have to possess “all the characteristics of a human being” to be a human being? Human beings have innumerable characteristics (such as two legs, two arms, 10 fingers, 10 toes, two eyes, two ears, etc., etc.) which some human beings don’t possess. One is left to wonder if Sedaei believes that war veterans who’ve lost limbs to IEDs are human beings.

It should also be noted that many other human beings whom I’d guess Sedaei wouldn’t characterize as non-humans don’t have “independent biological viability” - infants, the severely disabled, individuals on life support, for example.
While there may be other elements on which one can rely to determine the viability of a fetus, the concept of independent viability remains the central characteristic of any living organism, including human beings.
And the evidence for this statement would be????? It remains a “central characteristic” because Sam Sedaei says it does?
Science clearly establishes that an unborn or unhatched vertebrate cannot be considered to be a human even after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind - hence the term "fetus" to refer to all vertebrates at this stage.

Instead of looking to an embryology textbook to figure out if the developing unborn child is a human being, Sedaei claims they are not because scientists use a term to describe unborn organisms at a certain stage of development. This is like someone saying teenagers aren’t human beings because science clearly calls some vertebrates who aren’t yet adults “adolescents.”

Plus, while Sedaei used the Merriam-Webster dictionary to find the definition of viable, he curiously didn’t use that same dictionary to find the definition of fetus, which reads, in part, “a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth.”
However, there continue to be millions of American who -- because of their church's teachings, genuine belief or as an excuse to control women's health decisions - matter-of-factly claim that a fetus is a human being while relying on no scientific or empirical arguments.
This is rich coming from a guy who just defined the unborn as non-human while not relying on scientific or empirical arguments but instead on matter-of-fact assertions.

Here’s how Sedaei tries to argue the pro-choice position in the compromise position:
What's important to note about the ruling is that while it did not declare abortion unconstitutional or force the viewpoint of the anti-choice camp over the pro-choice camp, it also did not force anti-choice Americans to accept the biological and scientific definition of what constitutes a human being. The ruling rather allowed those who believe a fetus is a human being to keep their fetuses and carry their offspring and those who believe a fetus is not a human being to choose whether they are socially, economically and emotionally ready to have a child.
So a ruling which took away every state’s ability to regulate abortion is a compromise position because it didn’t force prolife people to have abortions and believe the unborn aren’t humans? Yeah... Okay... This is kind of like saying Dred Scott v. Sandford was a compromise position because it didn’t force non-slave owners to own slaves and think of slaves as mere property.
But that was not good enough for most ardent anti-choice advocates. Since 1973, they have organized themselves around the ultimate goal of overturning Roe v. Wade and force their nonscientific and subjective definition of human being on everyone else.
Can you imagine the gall of those prolifers? They just can’t accept only being allowed to keep their own unborn children, they want to prevent others from killing unborn children.

There’s so much more to comment on but this post is long enough as it is. The moral of the story is that when pro-choicers recognize the central question in the abortion debate and attempt to argue unborn children aren't human beings, they don't come off looking very competent.

Life Links 1/8/09

First Things has posted a long but well-worth-your-time essay online by Joseph Bottum and Ryan Anderson entitled, “Stem Cells: A Political History.”
President Bush’s mildly complicated policy, how-ever, didn’t fit the narrative that the media wanted to tell. And the question, of course, is why? What was it about stem cells that so agitated the nation for six years?


For six years, from 2001 through 2007, embryonic stem cells were a weapon in a political battle. And, as in all political battles, usefulness trumps truth, even for the scientists who willingly made themselves into partisans during the debate.

The history of the stem-cell debate is a study of what happens when politics and science reach out to each other. The politicians were guilty, but the scientists were more guilty, for they allowed—no, they encouraged—politicians to make stem-cell research a tool in the public fights over abortion, public religion, and high finance.
I disagree with the assertions that the political stem cell wars came to an end in November of 2007 (with the creation of human iPS cells) since the voters in my state just got fooled into allowing researchers a free pass to do whatever they want with IVF embryos donated by their parents. However, this is surely the best compilation of the political history of stem cells I’ve read and really shows how corrupt scientists and politicians became.

HT: Between Two Worlds

Clarke Forsythe has a piece entitled “Prudence in Policymaking: Is incrementalism ethical and effective?”

HT: LTI Blog

Two men who set an abortion clinic in New Mexico on fire have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson.
Prosecutors allege Baca torched the clinic in an effort to prevent his girlfriend from getting an abortion and Altman aided him in the crimes....

Baca's attorney said the deal is fair.

"This was never a political crime," Hanisee said. "It was an emotional crime, he was upset about the planned termination of a pregnancy it was something that happened that he regrets and you'll hear more from him at sentencing."

Here’s another one for the “Mainstream media and leftwing bloggers are too lazy to read the study before commenting on it” file.

This time William McGurn digs a little deeper into that recent “Virginity Pledges Don’t Work” study.
What Dr. Healy was getting at is that the pledge itself is not what distinguishes these kids from most other teenagers. The real difference is their more conservative and religious home and social environment. As she notes, when you compare both groups in this study with teens at large, the behavioral differences are striking. Here are just a few:

- These teens generally have less risky sex, i.e., fewer sexual partners.

- These teens are less likely to have a teenage pregnancy, or to have friends who use drugs.

- These teens have less premarital vaginal sex.

- When these teens lose their virginity they tend to do so at age 21 -- compared to 17 for the typical American teen.

- And very much overlooked, one out of four of these teens do in fact keep the pledge to remain chaste -- amid much cheap ridicule and just about zero support outside their homes or churches.

Let's put this another way. The real headline from this study is this: "Religious Teens Differ Little in Sexual Behavior Whether or Not They Take a Pledge."
What really gets me in the whole abstinence vs. comprehensive sex education debate is how both sides seem to overlook the importance parents and background play in a young person’s decision-making about sex. It's like they both think a week long (or less) course is going to dramatically alter how teens think about sex when that course's influence is incredibly small in comparison to years and years of parental and peer influence.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Life Links 1/7/09

David Freddoso on the bailout the abortion industry desires.
Among the many left-wing interests that have submitted wish lists to the Obama transition team is a conglomeration of 50 abortion-advocacy groups, all of whom want the U.S. taxpayer to stand and deliver. When their 55-page report to Obama calls for an end to “ideologically driven government restrictions,” it really means that the government should be paying more of the bills for groups that advocate and perform abortions.

The University of Wisconsin is planning to provide late second trimester abortions after the area's only second trimester abortion clinic has been taken over by Planned Parenthood, which will only provide abortions up to 18 weeks.

Wesley Smith notes that scientists are still struggling with the problem of embryonic stem cells being pre-cancerous.
The problem, apparently, is that abnormalities are submicroscopic and can't be determined before they transform into specific body tissues (differentiation).

Bonnie Erbe is putting the blame of some Latina women in New York City and elsewhere using off-label prescription drugs and home remedies to induce abortions at the feet of the right wing. Unfortunately, no argument is provided to how the right wing is at fault.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Life Links 1/6/09

The New York Times had an article on how women from the Dominican community in New York use Cytotec (the first drug in the RU-486 cocktail) and various homemade methods to have abortions.

Andrea Mrozek at ProWomanProLife points to a recent comment by Joyce Arthur, one of Canada's prominent pro-choicers.

Steven Clark has a piece in the Wisconsin Technology Network News on iPS cells and some of the advantages they have over embryonic stem cells. I think the last paragraph is a tad bit assumptive and I'm not sure that either iPS cells or embryonic stem cells will ever make it to clinical trials.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Dr. Nancy Snyderman is a coward

During the holidays, I’ve watched portions of the Today Show in the morning and on two separate occasions, Dr. Nancy Snyderman (the Today Show’s chief medical editor) has been brought in to talk about 2009 health trends. On both occasions Snyderman brought up stem cells and intentionally misled viewers regarding the Bush administration’s current policy.

I don’t like to call people cowards but I had trouble coming up with a better term for someone who instead of making an argument in favor of the position which favors allowing federal funds to be spent on research using human embryonic stem cell lines created after 2001, lies about the current policy (“this ridiculous ban on stem cell research”) and then acts like she’s opposed to the current policy because she’s a physician. Snyderman knows that there is no stem cell ban as evidenced by this older Today Show clip regarding stem cells from amniotic fluid in which she notes the 21 human embryonic stem cell lines which can be experimented on with federal funds.

Snyderman goes to say in the recent clip,

“And I say ridiculous as the point of a physician. We have set back research in this country ridiculously because we have tied religion to science. Let’s have the moral and ethical decisions around stem cell research and then let’s move forward. We’ve had a phenomenal brain-drain of great scientists to other countries.”

Talk about incoherent. I’m not sure what being a physician has to do with whether it’s morally proper for our nation to fund research which requires the destruction of human embryos. There is not a hint of evidence that only funding research on embryonic stem cell lines created before August of 2001 has set any kind of research back in this country, especially since the $3 billion Californians are in the midst of paying for embryonic stem cell research has yet to move it forward in any noticeable way. The reality is that Snyderman seems to have no moral qualms with killing human embryos for research and doesn’t think people who have moral qualms should be making the decisions.

The line that really takes the cake is, “Let’s have the moral and ethical decisions around stem cell research and then let’s move forward.” I’m guessing she meant “moral and ethical discussions” but I’m not sure. Either way, what kind of statement is this? Let’s have the decision (or discussion) and then let the scientists do what ever they want with federal tax dollars. My, how generous of you.

The Today Show might consider hiring a chief medical editor who understands the difference between medical and political opinions instead of someone intent on foisting their thoughtless political sentiments on viewers at home and then acting like she does so as a caring physician. I’d prefer not to wake up in the morning to someone who falsely describes a political policy, calls it ridiculous, make a number of other false assertions (brain-drain, set research back ridiculously) and claims to do so as some kind of enlightened physician.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Life Links 1/2/09

Joseph Bottum has a piece in First Things entitled, "Abortion After Obama."

The Wall Street Journal Online has an article by Anne Hendershott in which she describes a 1964 meeting between the Kennedys and some liberal Catholic theologians.
At a meeting at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., on a hot summer day in 1964, the Kennedy family and its advisers and allies were coached by leading theologians and Catholic college professors on how to accept and promote abortion with a "clear conscience."
Father Milhaven later recalled the Hyannisport meeting during a 1984 breakfast briefing of Catholics for a Free Choice: "The theologians worked for a day and a half among ourselves at a nearby hotel. In the evening we answered questions from the Kennedys and the Shrivers. Though the theologians disagreed on many a point, they all concurred on certain basics . . . and that was that a Catholic politician could in good conscience vote in favor of abortion."

World Magazine is featuring two articles on abortion by Martin Olasky. One on abortion's past and another on our present circumstances.