Friday, February 27, 2009

Random thought about Obama

I think more than any other politician in this era of politics he understands how ignorant and lazy the average American is when it comes to politics.

I can think of no better reason for how he can make some of the claims he does on primetime television.

Friday Baby Blogging

More cat wrestling below. She's mastered the head-lock. I think the reason for the beat-down was that Belushi refused to play with the nearby My Little Pony.

Life Links 2/27/09

According to Noam Levey, reporting at the Swamp (the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau), Obama will get rid of the Bush administration's conscience rule sometime today.
Taking another step into the abortion debate, the Obama administration today will move to rescind a controversial rule that allows healthcare workers to deny abortion counseling or other family planning services if doing so would violate their moral beliefs, according to administration officials....

The officials said the administration will consider drafting a new rule to clarify what healthcare workers can reasonably refuse to do for their patients.


The New York Times is reporting that Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter have re-introduced their bill to expand the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.


Both the Daily Mail and the Telegraph have articles on the rise of teen pregnancies and abortions in Great Britian. The Telegraph article notes,
Meanwhile the overall rate for all girls under 18 rose for the first time since 2002.

It means that a Government target to halve the number of teenage pregnancies by next year now looks almost certain be missed despite intense efforts to promote contraception and more sex education in schools.
At least one leading abortion advocate in Great Britain doesn't feel the need to hide behind the rhetoric that abortion should be rare.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of the charity the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the UK's largest abortion provider, said: "The fact that half of the teenagers in this position felt able to end their pregnancy in abortion is actually a positive sign."

She described the fact that there is less social stigma among young people about having an abortion as "an entirely good thing".


Andrew McCarthy has a piece on Dawn Johnsen's (nominated by Obama to head the Office of Legal Counsel) inability to defend her past arguments comparing involuntary pregnancy with slavery.


In Michigan, officers from the Wayne County jail are invoking Roe v. Wade to defend their actions which resulted in a young girl having brain damage because of a lack of oxygen. The jail officers refused to take a pregnant inmate to hospital and are now arguing they're not liable because the child didn't have any rights because of Roe v. Wade
Chantrienes Barker, now in state prison, was an inmate at the jail on Dec. 2, 1998. The lawsuit says she went into labor and was taken to Hutzel Hospital, where she stayed for two hours before she was discharged shortly before midnight.

Back at the jail, Barker’s labor pains intensified but no one checked on her for more than two hours, according to the lawsuit. Other inmates screamed and banged on toilets and cell bars to alert the guards.

Officers eventually responded and summoned paramedics, who arrived to immediately find the baby’s head emerging around 2 a.m. on Dec. 3, the lawsuit says.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cracking down on Final Exit

Members of the assisted suicide group Final Exit have been charged in connection to the death of Georgia man named John Celmer.
The network is at the center of a wide-ranging investigation that led to raids in nine states this week.

It wasn't immediately clear how many other deaths are being investigated. Authorities in Arizona said they were looking into whether the group helped a Phoenix woman die in April 2007.

Authorities there and in Georgia said search warrants were executed at 14 sites in Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, and Montana.

Group members Thomas E. Goodwin, identified as the organization's president, and Claire Blehr were arrested Wednesday at a home in northern Georgia in connection with Celmer's death in Cumming, about 35 miles north of Atlanta, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. The arrests came after a sting operation in which an undercover agent posed as a member of the group.

The residence of Michigan man named Bernie Klein, was one of raided homes.
Bankhead said someone interested in suicide applies for membership in the network and pays a $50 fee, then an exit guide visits the person to explain what's needed — two helium tanks and a hood — and returns to lead the individual through inhaling a fatal amount of helium.....

“Our support consists only of pointing them toward information and being with them when they choose to die,” he said Wednesday, contrasting his group with Michigan's famous euthanasia advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian.....

Dincin didn't deny that exit guides clean up after the suicides: “Frequently, the person who dies doesn't want it known they've committed suicide, that they've taken their own lives. As a courtesy to them, we take way the material. It's only on their request that we do it.”
So they show people what they need to kill themselves and show them how to kill themselves (for a fee), and then try to cover up the suicide but they’re not like Kevorkian?

Yeah, because Kevorkian didn’t try to cover up his killings.

Life Links 2/26/09

Susan Wills, the assistant director for education and outreach of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, explains the importance of fighting FOCA now, even before it is introduced and points out a number of flaws in Amy Sullivan’s article in Time attacking the efforts of prolifers opposed to FOCA.


Abortionist George Tiller will go on trial for 19 misdemeanor charges of failing “to obtain a second opinion for some late-term abortions from an independent physician, as required by Kansas law.” The trial is set to start on March 16.


A couple of local papers have articles on the start of 40 Days for Life activities in Alabama and California.


California researchers reported that they were able to turn induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into motor neurons.


Pro-choice legislators in Arizona no longer have the solid veto of former Governor Janet Napolitano. Their new strategy to oppose prolife legislation involved walking out of the committee meeting and a holding press conference.
Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, one of the lawmakers who boycotted the debate and the vote, said the protest made a point.

"They've stacked the committee in such a way that Democrats are irrelevant," he said, with all six Republicans opposed to abortion.

House Speaker Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, acknowledged that all the Republicans he appointed to the panel are against abortion. But he said that's true of most of the 35 GOP representatives.

"It sounds like a temper tantrum occurring," he said of the walkout. "Clearly, they don't agree with the bill. The responsible thing is to stay and state your case and vote against the bill."


According to a recent poll, Californians favor parental notification legislation despite 3 parental involvement measures being voted down in recent years.
Interestingly, the latest PPIC poll found 68 percent of all adult Californians say they support parental notification, as do 61 percent of likely voters. The wide discrepancy with the most recent election results suggest that although Californians agree with the concept, when it comes to voting, they are influenced by political advertising, education campaigns and which groups are backing and opposing the measure.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Alternative Reality Check

Below are a few nonsensical posts I enjoyed at the RH Reality Check blog.

Erin Wethern writes that the case of a baby-faced 13-year-old British boy supposedly being a father should remind us that abstinence-only education doesn't work. No evidence is given that the boy or the young mother received abstinence-only education. In fact, Wethern notes that Britain is in the midst of introducing a new comprehensive sex and relationship curriculum.


Aspen Baker had some suggestions for what Obama should have said regarding abortion at last night's address. The suggestions really show the flimsiness of Baker's position. Basically, her thinking boils down to the idea that any choice a woman makes regarding a pregnancy is the right choice because they made it. Making a choice makes it the right one. One suggested quote is,
I believe that you were thoughtful and compassionate as you considered the heart-wrenching, life-altering and soul-splintering place that you were in regarding the potential for life within you. I respect your choice and the strength required to choose, and the courage to live, truly live alongside your choice each day."
Compassion doesn't seem like quite the right word here, does it? Especially when you know that close to half of all abortions are a woman's second abortion or more and around 20% of women entering an abortion clinic are getting their third or more abortion.


Kathleen Reeves writes,
For conservatives, it may be hard to imagine how people who have sex – and who don’t want to be parents – feel.
and
I agree that we need to teach responsibility. And there are times when even the best-educated, best-resourced person who, say, didn’t expect to have sex that night, makes an irresponsible decision about sex. But we will never be able to get into the bedroom. And this is something the conservatives have failed to realize.

So conservatives have difficulty understanding the feelings of people who want to have sex and not kids and they haven't realized that they can't prevent irresponsible people from having sex without contraceptives?

I wonder if Reeves has ever had a good, long discussion with a conservative.

Life Links 2/25/09

Ross Douhat comments on William Saletan's New York Times op-ed.
That sounds enormously impressive - until you consider that as of 2004, there were 2.8 million pregnancies among unmarried women in the United States, and roughly 1 million abortions. Which means that the universalization of this program, according to its supporters, might reduce the national abortion rate by somewhere between 1 and 2 percent. That's not nothing, obviously, but it's not a whole lot either - and in a country of millions upon millions, where countless trends shift the number of pregnancies and abortions around from year to year, it's perilously close to statistical noise. When you consider that there's good reason to think that Roe v. Wade raised the abortion rate by well over 50 percent, I think you can see why most opponents of abortion look at a "more birth control" strategy as a cop-out, rather than a cure.
It always riles me when pro-choicers act like more public funding of birth control will dramatically lower the abortion rate and blame the high abortion rate on prolifers not promoting birth control like Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood gets hundreds of millions of dollars from our government every year to promote and distribute birth control. Saletan wrote,
By comparison, 28 percent said they had thought they wouldn't get pregnant, 26 percent said they hadn't expected to have sex and 23 percent said they had never thought about using birth control, had never gotten around to it or had stopped using it.
Whose failure is this (besides the individual's)? Is it the prolife movement's (which receives no federal money to promote birth control) failure? Or is it Planned Parenthood's ($300 million from the government) failure?

Maybe that $300 million would be better spent if not given to America's #1 abortion provider.


The Telegraph has an article on a paralyzed British man who was treated with his own adult stem cells in Ecuador.
Michael Flounders, 53, broke his neck after attempting a handstand and feared he would be forced to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

But Mr Flounders is getting the feeling back in his legs for the first time following pioneering surgery in South America.



Politico covers the Sam Brownback/Catholic Advocate letter controversy.
A mystery is brewing over the appearance of Sen. Sam Brownback’s John Hancock on an inflammatory letter questioning the religious bona fides of prominent pro-abortion-rights Catholic Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Overheard

William Saletan, a pro-choice writer, has a Op-Ed in the New York Times entitled, “This Is the Way the Culture Wars End” which discusses birth control and abortion. He writes,
Eight years ago, the Alan Guttmacher Institute surveyed over 10,000 American women who had abortions. Nearly half said they hadn’t used birth control in the month they conceived. When asked why not, 8 percent cited financial problems, and 2 percent said they didn’t know where to get it. By comparison, 28 percent said they had thought they wouldn’t get pregnant, 26 percent said they hadn’t expected to have sex and 23 percent said they had never thought about using birth control, had never gotten around to it or had stopped using it. Ten percent said their partners had objected to it. Three percent said they had thought it would make sex less fun.

This isn’t a shortage of pills or condoms. It’s a shortage of cultural and personal responsibility. It’s a failure to teach, understand, admit or care that unprotected sex can lead to the creation — and the subsequent killing, through abortion — of a developing human being.


Jay Nordlinger comments on the case of Baby Shanice and how he became prolife in his Impromptu column.
The gruesome cases make you think a little harder. But, of course, they’re all gruesome—some are just less seen than others. Sycloria Williams was shaken up on seeing her baby. The baby’s death was very messy—visible to those who were around. But the baby’s death was going to be pretty bad, anyway—just behind the curtain, so to speak. All nice ’n’ clinical.


David Gushee has some thoughts on the out of control IVF industry.
The reproductive-technology industry is almost entirely unregulated. Professional standards for the industry are primarily framed as guidelines and not enforced by law. For example, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine established a guideline, not a rule, that doctors should transfer no more than two embryos for women under 35, and no more than five (!) for women over that age. But this is just a guideline, and even statistical reporting of what fertility clinics are doing is voluntary.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Life Links 2/20/09

Reverend Walter Hoye has been sentenced to 3 years probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for holding a sign (which read "Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help you!") in front of an abortion clinic in Oakland and saying to women, "May I talk to you about alternatives to the clinic?"

Hoye actions violated a recent ordinance imposed by the city of Oakland which bars from coming within 8 feet of women entering an abortion clinic.
In a statement, Katrina Cantrell, associate executive director of Women's Health Specialists, said, "When anyone restricts access to reproductive health services, every woman affected is a living example of a colonized body."

Defense attorney Mike Millen said there had been a "conspicuous absence" of patients at the trial who said they felt threatened by Hoye.


Wesley Smith comments on the recent case of a woman in Japan being implanted with the wrong embryo, having an abortion and then suing the government-run hospital.
As for me, I think it is all upsetting, and--yes I will say it--the field increasingly epitomizes a society that thinks we are all entitled to everything we want, regardless of the moral costs in the lives harmed or sacrificed in the obtaining. But wisdom tells us that sometimes we have to live within limits and make do as best we can. That hurts individuals, and we should all be there to empathize and help ease the pain. But it also helps build a healthier society. It is a forgotten lesson that is costing us dearly.


At First Things, Yuval Levin has a long piece in which he attempts to estimate what will happen in during the Obama administration with regards to biotechnology, stem cell research and cloning. With regards to the Dickey Amendment, he writes,
At this point, such support could fund only the use of cells from embryos but not the actual process of destroying the embryos. The Dickey Amendment, attached to the federal budget since 1995, prohibits funding for work in which embryos are actually destroyed. The new Congress may choose to remove the Dickey Amendment in next year’s budget, allowing for essentially no restriction on federal funding for the destruction of human embryos.

Opponents of the amendment certainly have the votes to remove it, but they will need to judge whether there is sufficient demand in the scientific community to merit the political cost, which means that the pro-life movement needs to prepare its case on the Dickey amendment, to make plain that there would be a cost.


The BBC News has a story of a young couple in the UK who decided to give birth to conjoined twins after doctors strongly pushed for abortion. The twins were born alive and then later died after being separated.
Mr Williams, 28, from Anglesey, said: "It was the best decision we made."

He added: "Now we have memories and pictures and we can always remember these two beautiful girls, which they were......"

"They didn't really tell us much else about it apart from abortion. I didn't know what to say, it was just like someone smacking you in the face."


An Oklahoma man who had a homemade sign that read, "Abort Obama Not The Unborn" in the back of his car was pulled over, had the sign confiscated and was interviewed by the Secret Service.
While stopping Harrison was up to the officer's discretion, Oklahoma City Capt. Steve McCool said the officer should not have confiscated the sign.

"We feel it was a bad decision to confiscate the sign. It's kind of a First Amendment issue -- freedom of speech -- and that probably shouldn't have been confiscated," McCool said.

He said the decision to contact the Secret Service is also up to the officer.

However, Harrison said his sign was in no way meant to be a threat against President Barack Obama.

"My sign is about anti-abortion. It's not about killing the president," Harrison said.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Raving Theist vs. Amy Sullivan

I was going to write something about Amy Sullivan’s hit piece (entitled “The Catholic Crusade Against a Mythical Abortion Bill”) in Time disparaging the opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act but the Raving Theist has done a much better job than I would have done.

Getting rid of the Dickey Amendment?

Maybe Diane DeGette is just talking but the end of Washington Post article on Obama’s lack of action on embryonic stem cell funding says this (my emphasis):
Whatever Obama does, Congress is also likely to get involved by considering legislation designed to prevent any future presidents from reinstating restrictions.

"We need to codify the opening up of the research so it doesn't turn into a Ping-Pong ball of administrations," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who noted that the legislation could address another potential roadblock: the perennial Dickey-Wicker amendment that prohibits federal funding of research involving human embryos. She has been consulting with the White House on both issues.

The Dickey Amendment prevents federal tax dollars from going to research on human embryos or the creation of human embryos for research purposes. If the Dickey Amendment is overridden or dumped, this would open the door for the NIH to fund research into the creation of (including presumably via cloning) and destruction of human embryos. If this happens, our tax dollars could not only be used to pay for research on embryonic stem cells but to pay for the actual killing of human embryos.

Life Links 2/19/09

George Wiegel comments on Nancy Pelosi meeting with the Pope.
As her performance on Meet the Press prior to last year’s Democratic national convention made painfully clear, Pelosi is deeply confused about what her church teaches on the morality of abortion, and why. She may have come to her bizarre views on her own; it’s far more likely that she has been un-catechized, so to speak, by Catholic intellectuals and clerics who find Catholic teaching on life issues an embarrassment among their high-minded friends and colleagues of the progressive persuasion. Whatever the source of her confusion, Pelosi has now been informed, and by a world-class intellectual who happens to be the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, that she is, in fact, confused, and that both her spiritual life and her public service are in jeopardy because of that.


The New York Times has a profile article on musician Neko Case in which Case makes a couple of very convoluted statements about abortion.
“I should have been an abortion,” Case says, with her customary frankness. “The only reason I wasn’t was that my father was a Christian.” Air quotes didn’t quite land on that proper noun, but they hovered close by. He was also a heavy drinker, she says, and used drugs, and “he hated his life. And he reminded us of that every day.” Abortion rights is an important issue for Case — she emphasizes that she has seen and lived the misery of unwanted children. (Another cause of hers is humane treatment for animals that suffer cruelty and neglect at people’s hands.)
So the answer to animals who are treated cruelly is humane treatment but the answer to the misery of unwanted children is to kill them before they’re born?
IN HER RATTLY BROWN CHEVY VAN, Case returned to the issue of abortion. She deplored some recent movies that raise the matter as one of its crucial plot points — “Knocked Up” and “Juno,” for example — and then “solve” it with a sweetly positive ending or a miscarriage or some other sidestep. “Just have the abortion,” she said of “Juno.” “Just have it and get on with your life.” She continued: “Years ago, I went to Planned Parenthood in New York — for another reason — and I saw these girls waiting there, and it was just awful. It was cold, they were in gowns that didn’t really close, and their boyfriends and parents weren’t with them, and they were sitting under these bright lights, and the people were mean.”


The Washington Post has an article on Obama’s lack of action on the funding of embryonic stem cell research. The second page has something which I consider noteworthy.
"We are assuming that what we will be asked to do is develop guidelines for stem cell lines derived from embryos produced for reproductive purposes in excess of need," Landis said.

Proponents of the research hope the executive order and resulting NIH guidelines would be more open-ended than that, allowing research on stem cells derived in other ways. But that would make the move even more controversial.
You get that? Proponents of killing human embryos for research have been claiming for years that they just wanted funding for research on the stem cells of those embryos who will “die anyway.” A new administration blows into town and it becomes obvious that they’d prefer quite a bit more.

Pro-choicers suddenly recognize that the unborn are human organisms

In an amazing turn of events, Cara at Feministe, Ann at Feministing, along with both Kay Steiger and Emily Douglas at the RH Reality Check blog and various other pro-choice bloggers now recognize that the unborn are human organisms.

Well, maybe not. It appears only Steiger and Douglas actually know what the bill they're all commenting on says.

It doesn’t say that “personhood begins at conception” or that “fertilized eggs are persons.” It says, that in North Dakota law the terms “person” and “human being” include “any organism with the genome of homo sapiens.”

So the only way to claim this bill would give rights to the unborn is if the unborn are human organisms.

I'm glad Steiger and Douglas have decided to recognize the fact that the unborn are human organisms.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

North Dakota House Passes Personhood BIll

The North Dakota House has passed HB 1572, which reads,
SECTION 1. References to individual, person, or human being - Legislative intent. For purposes of interpretation of the constitution and laws of North Dakota, it is the intent of the legislative assembly that an individual, a person, when the context indicates that a reference to an individual is intended, or a human being includes any organism with the genome of homo sapiens.

SECTION 2. STATE TO DEFEND CHALLENGE. The legislative assembly, by concurrent resolution, may appoint one or more of its members, as a matter of right and in the legislative member's official capacity, to intervene to defend this Act in any case in which this Act's constitutionality is challenged.


The headline of the AP article of the story reads, "ND measure says fertilized egg has human rights." Later the article actually reports on the language of the bill by saying,
The bill declares that "any organism with the genome of homo sapiens" is a person protected by rights granted by the North Dakota Constitution and state laws.

I think the language of this bill is interesting and rather clever because any time an abortion advocate claims that the bill would give a "fertilized egg" rights or ban abortion they are essentially admitting that a "fertilized egg" is a human organism and that abortion kills a human organism.

Another story (from the Associated Press) on the web site a CBS television affiliate, makes this false claim about the legislation
The measure says North Dakota law and the state constitution should consider anything with a single human cell as a human being with all of the rights a human being has.
As you can read above, the legislation makes no claim like "anything with a single human cell" is a human being. That would mean a skin cell would have rights.

Another Reason to Think Twice Before Getting an Injection of Fetal Stem Cells

Israeli researchers have discovered that fetal stem cells injected into a boy with Ataxia Telangiectasia caused tumors to grow in his head and spinal cord. There are more details in this Medical News Today article.
The boy underwent stem cell therapy at a Moscow clinic, starting in 2001 when he received several injections of fetal neural stem cells into his brain and surrounding fluid. But after having an MRI scan at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel in 2005 because of recurrent headaches, the boy was found to have abnormal growths in his brain and spinal cord.

Surgeons removed the growth on the boy's spinal cord in September 2006, when he was 14 years old. The growth on the spine has not reappeared but the mass in the brain has continued to grow slowly....

The authors concluded that the findings:

"Do not imply that the research in stem cell therapeutics should be abandoned. They do, however, suggest that extensive research into the biology of stem cells and in-depth preclinical studies, especially of safety, should be pursued in order to maximize the potential benefits of regenerative medicine while minimizing the risks."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Life Links 2/17/09

Bonnie Erbe is a constitutional scholar. Not!!
The ├╝berright has already succeeded in throwing so many obstacles in the path of women trying to end unwanted pregnancies: 24-hour waiting periods, parental consent laws, and so on. Required ultrasounds are a step too far. "Offered" ultrasounds are insulting, too. In my humble opinion, both are completely unconstitutional.
First off, I don't think Erbe has an opinion which is humble. Secondly, imagine the thought process (or lack thereof) of someone who thinks it is unconstitutional to make abortion providers offer to turn the ultrasound screen towards a woman if she wants to see it. How could that be unconstitutional? Does a woman have a constitutional right to an abortion but no right to see an ultrasound? Do abortionists suddenly have the constitutional right to do whatever they want inside their clinic doors? Erbe continues:
Read my lips: Elections have consequences. You lost. Go away.
It's true that Republicans lost elections on the national level but they keep majorities in a number of state legislatures. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to tell state representatives and state senator they lost and to go away when they won their elections, now does it?


In another state legislature where prolifers didn't lose, the North Dakota House has passed a bill (by a vote of 61-31) which would require abortion providers to tell women considering an abortion that, "The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being."

The Sowetan, a South African newspaper has a three part story on illegal abortions in South Africa. The third part notes that illegal abortion occur in South Africa despite it being legal and funded with tax dollars.
Abortion was legalised in 1997.

Abortions are free at clinics and hospitals around the country.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A difference in tactics

Someone has posted what appears to be the entirety of JoJo Ruba’s prolife presentation at St. Mary’s University which was continuously interrupted by pro-choice students. Here are parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and8.

As I’d watched this, I thought back to how prolife students in my state responded when a rather infamous abortionist, Alberto Hodari, was asked to speak on their campus at Wayne State University.

Did they continuously interrupt him by shouting prolife slogans and attempt to interrupt his speech?

No. They taped his speech which included Hodari telling the audience how he lies to patients and their boyfriends.

Life Links 2/16/09

According to David Axelrod, President Obama is considering overturning Bush’s restrictions on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
"We're going to be doing something on that soon, I think. The president is considering that right now," Obama adviser David Axelrod said on "Fox News Sunday."


The Weston & Somerset Mercury (a UK paper) has a story of a woman who had an abortion at 17 weeks because she was taking drugs which may have harmed her child. The woman is blaming her doctors for not discovering her pregnancy.
The 24-year-old says she would have stopped taking the tablets immediately and dealt with any pain cause by her illness another way if she had known she was carrying her 'beautiful' son.

Instead she had to give birth to her him on a commode and he died in her arms just four minutes later.

About a week ago the Worle mum had been told it was too late for a straight-forward termination. So, on Friday she took a tablet to stop her baby's heartbeat so she could deliver her dead child on Monday.

But the tablet did not work and Katie then had no choice but to deliver the 17-week-old foetus alive.


Michael New has responded to Joseph Wright’s response to Michael New’s criticism of his study on abortion reduction.


Gerald McDermott and Carol Swain note the problem with a local Planned Parenthood president claiming there are “too many abortions.”
This is odd, when you think about it. If the fetus is simply a blob of tissue, what would be wrong with a lot of abortions? Of course, if these fetuses are really little human beings, then we could understand their worry.


Prolifers in the UK are hoping to get more information about unborn children being killed for minor defects like club foot, cleft palates, or webbed fingers.
In 2005, after a public outcry over the termination of a foetus with a cleft palate at 28 weeks, the Department of Health (DoH) stopped publishing abortion statistics if fewer than 10 cases were carried out. Details of abortions on foetus with club feet, cleft lips and palates and webbed fingers and toes were no longer published.

The Information Commissioner has ordered the release of the figures, requested by the Pro-Life Alliance campaign group, but the DoH is resisting, claiming that the data could lead to women who have late abortions being identified.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Life Links 2/13/09

Francis Beckwith argues that being in favor of reducing abortion doesn't necessarily mean someone is prolife.
I and other pro-life activists have worked tirelessly over the years to reduce the number of abortions, but a numerical reduction is not our only goal. The prolife position is that all members of the human community, including the unborn, have inestimable and equal worth and dignity and thus are entitled to the fundamental protection of the laws. “Reducing the number of abortions” could occur in a regime of law in which this principle of justice is denied, and that is the regime that President Obama wants to preserve and extend. It is a regime in which the continued existence of the unborn is always at the absolute discretion of others who happen to possess the power to decide to kill them or let them live. Reducing the number of these discretionary acts of killing simply by trying to pacify and/or accommodate the needs of those who want to procure or encourage abortions only reinforces the idea that the unborn are subhuman creatures whose value depends exclusively on someone else’s wanting them or deciding that they are worthy of being permitted to live. So, in theory at least, there could be fewer abortions while the culture drifts further away from the prolife perspective and the law becomes increasingly unjust.


University of Wisconsin researchers have turned iPS cells into heart cells.
Kamp found that iPS cells can become heart cells as well as embryonic stem cells can, morphing into the three main types of heart muscle cells and beating in a dish after growing together for about eight days. Their electrical signals also are similar, he said.

But heart cells made from both kinds of stem cells have limitations. Only a fraction of the stem cells become heart cells, Kamp said. The heart cells could cause heart rhythm problems or cancer if transplanted into patients, he said, but researchers are working to address those issues.


Amazon.com has pulled a Japanese video game in which players attempt to rape women and then force them to have abortions.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Anne Quindlen’s Love Affair with the Abortion Pill

That’s how I’d describe this gushing, pointless editorial. It’s like Quindlen has some quota of editorials which need to focus on abortion and so in the most recent edition of Newsweek she churns one out, treating a nearly-decade old abortion method approved by the FDA in 2000 as if were some newfangled sports car.

The editorial basically reads like the Planned Parenthood web site on RU-486. Quidlen could have basically just written, “I’m phoning my column in this week. Please read this web site.”

There’s no mention of the deaths or the numerous serious injuries to women caused by this abortion method. No mention of how Planned Parenthood prescribed the abortion pill in a different way than the FDA protocol and then quietly changed its protocol after a few women died getting chemical abortions at their facilities.

By Quindlen’s description, an RU-486 chemical abortion sounds like an average period. It’s just some “cramping, bleeding, (and) pain” afterall. Plus, you get “the end of a pregnancy.” Hurray!!!

Probably the worst part of the editorial is when Quindlen tries to make an argument.
RU-486 flies in the face of anti-abortion orthodoxies, and not simply because some physicians who have never dreamed of performing a surgical abortion have no qualms about making the medication available. It counters the irresponsibility myth, which suggests that women who end pregnancies are thoughtless, feckless, and have not bothered with birth control or matrimony, despite the fact that many women who have abortions are married and were using contraception that failed. RU-486, which now accounts for 14 percent of all abortions nationwide, demands a high degree of responsibility. A woman has to ascertain early that she is pregnant and then take charge of the process herself, choosing to deal at home with the results.
Okay... so because women can quickly get an abortion after getting pregnant they are therefore responsible? Isn’t this a little like claiming someone who gets in a car accident is responsible because they left the scene quickly?

Friday Baby Blogging

The reason my daughter is so happy in the following pictures is that she has an item which my wife and I like to call her "Precious" because she treats this item (a finger nail clipper attached to a non-working laser pointer) like Gollum treated his precious ring.





Life Links 2/12/09

Glamour has a long piece on abortion entitled, “Abortion: The Secret Health Decision Women Aren’t Talking About Until Now” and another piece where 8 women share their abortion stories (the beginning lists resources for women who’ve had or are considering abortion - all of which are from pro-choice groups). The first story is just an attack on crisis pregnancy centers and rest are from women who seem to have no regrets about their abortions. Here’s an example from the last story,
My abortion was not painful, but I am wistful about losing the physical sensation of being pregnant. I never realized how a baby could get into a woman’s blood—I still feel a connection to that little lima bean.


CNN has an article on the experiment using the stem cells of man resistant to HIV to treat an HIV-positive patient with leukemia. The patient has no signs of HIV two years after the treatment. Unfortunately, this treatment isn’t likely going to be for everyone.
While promising, the treatment is unlikely to help the vast majority of people infected with HIV, said Dr. Jay Levy, a professor at the University of California San Francisco, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. A stem cell transplant is too extreme and too dangerous to be used as a routine treatment, he said.

"About a third of the people die [during such transplants], so it's just too much of a risk," Levy said. To perform a stem cell transplant, doctors intentionally destroy a patient's immune system, leaving the patient vulnerable to infection, and then reintroduce a donor's stem cells (which are from either bone marrow or blood) in an effort to establish a new, healthy immune system.

Levy also said it's unlikely that the transplant truly cured the patient in this study. HIV can infect many other types of cells and may be hiding out in the patient's body to resurface at a later time, he said.


A woman in Louisiana named Ciara Craig is in the process of being charged with first degree murder after admitting to throwing her newborn daughter into a lake,
Craig, accompanied by relatives, surrendered to police Tuesday night, saying she threw her daughter into the lake that afternoon because she didn't want to raise a child and she didn't want her parents to know she had been pregnant, police said....

Craig told investigators the pregnancy resulted from a single incident with a man she doesn't know. At some point recently, she decided to abort her pregnancy but was told it was too advanced. She then investigated putting the baby up for adoption....

After delivering the child at home, Craig gathered two plastic garbage bags and two bath towels and drove with the infant to Kenner's Laketown park, police said. Witnesses there saw a woman walk to the water's edge, throw something into the water, return to the car and drive away. A bag and a bloodied towel were found nearby.


Officials at the St. Mary’s University are working on their excuses for shutting down a prolife presentation by JoJo Ruba. They apparently allowed the event to continue at a nearby church.
Chuck Bridges, vice-president of external affairs at Saint Mary’s, said the university did let the presentation continue, it just took place at the nearby church instead.

"It’s important to clarify . . . that the lecture was not shut down," he said Wednesday.

"When we saw the level of emotional engagement from those on both sides of the discussion, we felt it better that rather than having people face disciplinary action, that we would defuse the situation by allowing a bit of a cooling off and moving it to another location a building away," he said.

"So those who were keenly interested in hearing that side of the discussion, they had that opportunity."
So the answer to incredibly childish, unruly protestors is to give into the handful protesters and move the event off campus instead of removing the protesters or disciplining them?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Overheard

Kathleen Reeves on abortion-ultrasound legislation:
There’s no doubt that, as a woman, it’s hard to predict how you’ll feel after an abortion. But an image of the fetus sheds no light on the decision and adds nothing to the emotional process.
It's amazing how some abortion advocates can make such sweeping statements about women considering abortion.

Who is Kathleen Reeves to say that seeing an image of your own unborn child on an ultrasound won't change the mind of one woman and "adds nothing" to every woman's emotional process?

Sycloria Williams tells the story of her botched abortion

The web site of the Florida Catholic has the story of Sycloria Williams' botched abortion in her own words.
What happened next haunts her to this day, Williams said. “It was like everything inside was coming out at once.”

Williams recalls grabbing the armrests of her chair and elevating herself to a squatting position, heels at the edges of her seat. The receptionist and staff kept telling her to sit down and close her legs, but she couldn’t comply. “There was just no stopping it,” she said.

Williams said she delivered her baby, Shanice, onto the recliner almost immediately after squatting. First amniotic fluid spilled out, then the baby dropped onto the cushion.

“When I saw that happen, I jumped off the chair and turned away, facing the wall,” Williams said.

Shanice’s body slid on the blood and amniotic fluids into the rear corner of the recliner because she was still attached to Williams by the umbilical cord. “When I jumped off I pulled her like into the back of the chair because she was still attached,” she said.....

Williams said in the immediate aftermath of the abortion, she did not have much time to digest what had happened. “I was very busy with everything.”

She does recall the most startling part: Her 23-week-old pregnancy looked like an actual baby.

“They never said anything to me that would make me think it was a baby. They never said anything like baby, fetus. Nothing. They only said things like ‘termination’ and ‘pregnancy’ and ‘termination of pregnancy,’” she said. “They cheated me because they didn’t tell me everything and the doctor wasn’t there.”

She said the staff’s reaction to the live birth made her feel disrespected. “They tried to make it look like this was my fault. Like I asked for this. … They wouldn’t admit to me the whole time something went wrong,” she said. “I feel like they treated me like nothing, like a nobody.”


Life Links 2/11/09

The University of Calgary Student Union has voted to revoke the club status of Campus Pro-Life. Members of the group were charged with trepassing on their campus after they refused to turn a display of graphic abortion images inward. All of Canada should be ashamed at the University of Calgary's actions.
During Tuesday's hearing, pro-life club secretary Asia Strezynski repeatedly asked the committee chairwoman Alex Judd what policy had been violated but the committee only referred to a bylaw that gives the Students' Union the right to punish a club for violating policies or bylaws.



A proposal to force abortionists in South Dakota to meet with women a day before their abortion has been temporarily stalled in the South Dakota senate after a 3-3 vote. Senate Bill 92 is set for another vote on today.
"It clearly would have a huge impact on us," said Kathi Di Nicola, media relations director for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Three doctors who perform abortions for Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls are from Minnesota and generally leave the Twin Cities the day of the procedure.


Kudos to CBS News for covering the story of how Northwestern's Richard Burt has treated patients with multiple sclerosis using chemotherapy and their own stem cells.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Life Links 2/10/09

In the Calgary Herald, Nigel Hannaford writes about another case of pro-choice intolerance in Canada. This time an event featured JoJo Ruba was shut down by officials at St. Marys University after pro-choice protesters wouldn't stop shouting.
You might get an intelligent rehearsal of both sides of an argument in a bar, but if it touches on feminism, Israel or the environment, the last place you'd look for it is on campus. As if to make the point, the Halifax Chronicle Herald records the reactions of Lesley-Anne Steeleworthy, chairwoman of the board at SMU's women's centre. The lecture topic, she declared, was "anti-choice" and offensive on "a number of levels."Not just Ruba's thoughts you notice, the topic itself. How dare he bring it up?


Another day, another incredibly misleading headline. This time in U.S. News and World Report - "Scientists Heartened at Prospect of End to Stem Cell Ban." The story is even worse. Imagine being reporter Amanda Gardner and putting these two sentences in the same story.
Researchers are rejoicing over President Barack Obama's anticipated lifting of the eight-year ban on embryonic stem cell research imposed by his predecessor, President George W. Bush.....

Stem cell research received a big boost in January, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever human trial using embryonic stem cells as a medical treatment.
Isn't it amazing how a government agency approved a clinical trial using embryonic stem cells before Barack Obama lifted the ban on embryonic stem cell research. Oh wait, embryonic stem cell research isn't banned at all.


Michael New notes that some changes have been made to the study on abortion reduction by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
At last, there was a methodologically sophisticated study which allegedly demonstrated that the welfare policies favored by Democrats were more effective in preventing abortion than the pro-life laws supported by Republicans. It seemed too good to be true.

It was. In November, with no public announcement, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good removed this study from their website. A replacement version was uploaded shortly thereafter. The replacement version differs from its predecessor in a number of interesting ways. First and foremost, one of the authors of the August study, Professor Michael Bailey of Georgetown University, removed his name from the November version. Joseph Wright, a Visiting Fellow at Notre Dame, is the sole author of the current study.

More importantly, the results of the new version fall well short of the original press release....

The new version provides evidence that welfare policy has no more than a marginal effect on the incidence of abortion. In fact, the new regression results indicate that none of the three welfare policies which the authors previously argued were effective tools for reducing the incidence of abortion have a substantial abortion reducing effect.


Mary Kate Cary attempts to argue that killing "leftover" human embryos for their stem cells is a prolife position.
I'm often asked as a mother of a child with type 1 diabetes who would benefit from a cure found though stem cell research—but also as a pro-life conservative—what my position is on stem cell research.

I think there's a good case for pro-life conservatives to support embryonic stem cell research.....

As long as there are excess embryos as a result of IVF—ones that otherwise will be discarded—let's have something good come of them. Let's see if they hold the key to curing the suffering of others, rather than just throwing them away. Let's make a positive statement about the worth of each embryo, even the discarded ones.
This obviously isn't the thought process of someone who clearly recognizes human embryos as valuable living human beings. Would she make the same argument for individuals who are on death row or in hospice? They're just going to die anyway - let's have something good come of them.

Further evidence of Cary's less than prolife thought process is evident in her attempt to make an argument by comparison.
If you ask me, one of the most pro-life things you can do (other than adopting a child) is to donate blood and sign up to be an organ donor. So if you're opposed to embryonic stem cell research, think of it this way: If my friend gets killed in a car crash, one of the best outcomes from that tragedy would be if he or she had signed up to be an organ donor.

It doesn't mean I'm glad my friend died. It doesn't mean I'm in favor of car crashes.
Do you see how her comparision assumes the embryos are already dead? Her comparison might work if her friend was intentionally killed in a car accident and the individual who killed him wants permission to experiment on his organs.

HT: Mary Meets Dolly

The Washington Post might want to think about getting a new White House correspondent

Last night during President Obama's first televised prime time press conference, the Washington Post press correspondent Michael Fletcher asked Obama the following question,
What is your reaction to Alex Rodriguez's admission that he used steroids as a member of the Texas Rangers?

I've found a list a alternative questions Michael Flectcher considered asking. Here they are:
Kobe Bryant recently scored 61 points against the New York Knicks, breaking Michael Jordan's single-game scoring record at Madison Square Gardens, your thoughts?

Who do you think the Detroit Lions should take with their #1 overall draft pick?

What was your reaction to the recently surfaced photograph of Michael Phelps using a bong?

Have you seen Slum Dog Millionaire, and if so, did you like it?

Do you have any reaction to the birth of Nadya Suleman's octuplets?

If Kris Brown actually attacked Rihanna, what do you think his punishment should be?


Seriously, is the Washington Post becoming the Access Hollywood of newspapers?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Life Links 2/9/09

Abortionist Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique has lost his license to practice medicine in Floria after the Florida Board of Medicine reviewed his actions in the live birth and subsequent killing of a child at an abortion clinic.
Renelique described saving a woman's life during the second year of his medical residency in Haiti. He later left his home country to work and train in the United States. It was never his intention to do abortions, he said.

"That was not part of my goals when I came to Florida," he said. "But I had to do it to survive."


The Catholic News Agency has some text from a speech Archbishop Charles Chaput gave to prolifers in Ireland. It includes points about prolifers bickering among themselves, the false dilemma between working to end legalized abortion and helping women in unplanned pregnancies and dangers of hating our adversaries.


In the American Conservative, Michael Dougherty has a piece entitled, Life for March: In the age of Obama, the anti-abortion movement has nowhere left to go, which discusses some of the divisions in the prolife movement and which starts by saying,
A month before his death, Fr. Richard Neuhaus said, “Whatever else it is, the pro-life movement of the last thirty-plus years is one of the most massive and sustained expressions of citizen participation in the history of the United States.” Neuhaus neglected to mention that the pro-life movement has endured for so long precisely because it has failed.


A 72-year-old physician in Poland has been arrested in the midst of a consultation for an abortion.


The bishop of Scranton is speaking out against Senator Bob Casey Jr.'s vote against restoring the Mexico City Policy.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Life Links 2/6/09

The Tuscon Citizen has an article on how Planned Parenthood will be investigating the actions of one of their employees who failed to report the relationship of a girl claiming to be 15 and her 27-year-old boyfriend. The actions of the employee were taped by Lila Rose and Live Action Films using an undercover camera.
Spokeswoman Joline Nestor said Planned Parenthood is investigating and hopes to look at the whole video.

"We're not taking it lightly," Nestor said. "It's concerning to see something like this."

According to the Washington Times, President Obama will sign an executive order expanding the funding of human embryonic stem cell research but it sounds like it might coincide with Congress passing a law.
"I guarantee you that we will sign an executive order for stem cells," Mr. Obama said, according to the sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the closed-door portion of the meeting.

Mr. Obama said the executive order would be coordinated with Congress on timing, and said it was important that Congress also pass a law codifying his order so that a future president couldn't simply reverse the policy back.


Meanwhile, in mice experiments, German scientists have turned neural stem cells into iPS cells by using a single gene.
The German team took neural stem cells from the brains of mice and used a virus to introduce a gene called Oct4. The gene is one of the four used by groups at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Kyoto University in Japan when they reprogrammed human skin cells. The German experiment found that in mice, a single gene was all it took to transform the neural stem cells into the equivalent of embryonic stem cells.

Friday Baby Blogging

My daughter battles my cat for pizza crust scraps

Overheard

And I won't even get into the fact that he's equating the rights of a full-grown adult female with the rights of a small bundle of unborn cells....
Small bundle of unborn cells? That's how RH Reality Check blogger Elisabeth Garber-Paul describes the unborn.

At least it's somewhat original. Just replace "clump" with "small bundle" and add "unborn" and you've got a new label which dehumanizes unborn children.

I guess that would make me a large bundle of born cells, eh?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Life Links 2/5/09

The Washington Post has a long article entitled, “Obama Tries to Appease Both Sides of the Abortion Debate.”


Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer has an article which wonders when Barack Obama will overturn Bush’s restrictions on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research which includes staff writer Marie McCullough calling Bush’s policy a “quasi-ban on funding.”


The AP has a story on the case of the child in Florida who was born alive at an abortion clinic and was then placed in a biohazard bag and left to die. Both abortionist Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique and clinic owner Belkis Gonzalez will hopefully be punished in some way.
The state Board of Medicine is to hear Renelique's case in Tampa on Friday and determine whether to strip his license. The state attorney's homicide division is investigating, though no charges have been filed. Terry Chavez, a spokeswoman with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office, said this week that prosecutors were nearing a decision.....

The complaint says one of the clinic owners, Belkis Gonzalez came in and cut the umbilical cord with scissors, then placed the baby in a plastic bag, and the bag in a trash can.

Williams' lawsuit offers a cruder account: She says Gonzalez knocked the baby off the recliner chair where she had given birth, onto the floor. The baby's umbilical cord was not clamped, allowing her to bleed out. Gonzalez scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.



Charges of improperly disposing of medical records leveled against Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari will be dropped if his abortion clinic “remains free of convictions for six months” according to the Detroit Free Press.

The board of the University of Wisconsin hospital has voted to allow the late term abortions to be performed there.
Doctors would do about 125 abortions a year at the clinic on women 19 to 22 weeks pregnant, Rice said. The service would replace the practice of Dr. Dennis Christensen, who did the procedures at a Planned Parenthood facility in Madison until he retired in December.


In what I find to be a truly odd newsletter, the most recent Our Voices’/Nuestras Verdades is focused on abortion and humor. Here’s how Aspen Baker, the newsletter’s editor, explains the newsletter’s take.
In this issue of Our Truths, we aim to find out. We witness funny women who use humor to get through tough times, truth-tellers who bust ridiculous myths about women who have abortions, and discover laughter that heals the soul. We also question humor that hides what’s real, judges or hurts others.

Humor, like abortion, is a part of all our lives and yet can be experienced completely differently by every person. How humor and abortion come together and how they repel each other is fascinating (and often funny), and gives us a whole new way to explore our truths with abortion in the United States.

And the problem is?

Jessica at Feministing has a post decrying an e-mail from an LA Times writer and blogger named Andrew Malcolm. The e-mail (which Jessica says was a mass e-mail) has information about Nadya Suleman and her octuplets which has appeared in most news accounts. Jessica appears to have highlighted one line which is supposedly controversial. The line reads, “When the woman discovered she was expecting multiple babies, doctors gave her the option of selectively reducing the number of embryos, but she declined.”

I’m not sure what’s controversial here since most people (even abortion advocates) don’t have a problem with saying that a “woman is expecting a baby,” or in this case “babies.” Jessica’s real problem with the e-mail seems to be with the subject line, which reads,
"fyi octuplet mom alrdy had 6 kids so docs offered to kill off some of the 8 for her."

In response, Jessica writes,
I want to know why someone from the Los Angeles Times sent out an email (above) calling selective reduction "killing off" babies.
Is it me or does Jessica seems to be swinging at windmills here? Malcolm never writes “killing off babies.” He writes “killing off” in the subject line and writes “expecting multiple babies” in the e-mail. Selective reduction like other abortion procedures is “killing off” unborn children so I have a little trouble seeing Jessica’s grounds for complaint. In the comments section, Jessica writes,
I don't think sending out an email is journalism, but I do think it goes against journalistic ethics to send out (this was part of a mass email, a publicity email) something like this with a subject line that is clearly not just subjective - but offensive and false.
But what’s false about labeling selective reduction as "killing off" something (the subject line doesn't specify what)? That’s what it is. This would be like Sarah Palin responding to Ashley Judd's commercial about aerial wolf shooting by claiming the wolves aren't really being shot.

Jessica may find the truth offensive but that doesn’t mean it’s false.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Life Links 2/4/09

This is not good. It appears Judd Gregg's replacement in the U.S. Senate is pro-choice.


Rebecca Taylor on Advanced Cell Technology's attempts to create hybrid cloned embryos using animal eggs.
Read that again. Thousands of attempts to grow cow-human or rabbit-human or mouse-human embryos. Excuse me while I lose my breakfast. Small consolation that Lanza reports that these hybrids are not good for any medical reason. So can we stop making them now?


BBC News has what I would consider a very convoluted piece by a Kenyan woman who had an illegal abortion in a Kenyan hospital at 15 weeks when she was a teenager. After describing how horrible and painful her abortion experience was and how she "would have kept the baby" if she knew how traumatic abortion would be, she says,
"The best thing would be if abortion were made legal in this country.
Abortion should be the last option, but if it were legal at least it would be done properly."
This mindset is always so strange to me. Abortions in developing countries aren't magically going to be "done properly" if they become legal. South Africa (which is more developed than Kenya) is a perfect example of this. They legalized abortion yet there are still individuals who perform abortions in unsanitary conditions and women who suffer because of it.


Michael Stokes Paulsen has a very, very, very long piece about the ramifactions of the Freedom of Choice Act, if passed. I didn't read the whole thing but somebody might want to.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Another Planned Parenthood gets caught not reporting statutory rape

Lila Rose and her crew at Live Action films have posted another video of a Planned Parenthood employee (this time in Tuscon, Arizona) failing to do her legal duty and report statutory rape. Here's their press release.
In the video, UCLA student Lila Rose and her friend Jackie Stollar enter a Tucson Planned Parenthood clinic where Rose tells the nurse that Stollar, posing as a 15-year-old, is pregnant by her 27-year-old boyfriend. The nurse disregards the age difference and even cautions Stollar not to bring her "boyfriend" before the judicial hearing required in Arizona to waive parental consent for an abortion. This negligence is punishable under Arizona law.

“Is he not a minor?” the Planned Parenthood nurse, who identifies herself as Araceli, asks. When Rose says, “He’s 27,” the nurse urges the girls not to bring him to the hearing: “I wouldn’t take him with me, no. I mean: don’t take him.”

Life Links 2/3/09

Abortion clinic manager Bertha Bugarin has been sentenced to 3 years in jail for performing abortions without a license by a Los Angeles County judge. She still faces sentencing for similar charges which were filed against her in San Diego. Her sister Raquel, who was also involved in the abortions, was sentenced in December to probation and community service.


Overturning the Mexico City Policy appears to be the least popular action taken by the Obama administration to date. Only 35% of Americans approve of it according to this Gallup Poll while 58% of Americans disapprove.


Advanced Cell Technology and Robert Lanza have published work in the journal Cloning and Stem Cells which claims attempts to create human-animal hybrid embryo clones using human DNA and animal eggs and then extract stem cells from them won't work because the animal eggs (at least cow and rabbit eggs) can't properly reprogram the human DNA.

With the current attitude of scientists bent on creating stem cell lines from human clones, I wonder if this will lead some cloning researchers to call for new ways to get human eggs.

Lanza also suggests this work proves that creating human clones using SCNT and human eggs and then extracting a stem cell line from them is possible.
Notwithstanding this debate, Lanza takes encouragement from his team's results with human eggs. "For the first time, this paper shows that SCNT activates all the core genes necessary for cellular reprogramming," he says. That suggests scientists should eventually be able to produce patient-matched stem cells from a cloned human embryo. And, Lanza acknowledges, the work also indicates that cloning an actual person is indeed possible.


The prolife students at the University of Calgary who refused to turn their display (which included pictures of aborted children) inward have been charged with trepassing. They had their display out back in November. The final paragraph of the article provides some clue as to why they're being charged now.
Hallman said campus security took down their contact information in November and told them they could be charged with trespassing, but nothing happened until recently, after the group advised the school that they were planning to set up the display again this spring.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Life Links 2/2/09

I was going to write something on the inaccurate reporting by Alice Park in this Time article regarding stem cell research but Yuval Levin has saved me the time.
The facts Park is working with suggest that we need not ignore the humanity of human embryos for the sake of science—though she does her best to rearrange these facts to argue otherwise.


Wesley Smith comments on the recent birth of octuplets to Nadya Suleman.
A lot of people will be angry about this. Her mother even defended the woman as not being "evil." But I don't see how she or her doctors can be condemned when the watchword of the era is terminal nonjudgmentalism with the only gauge of morality being "choice."
I’m glad this woman chose not to selectively abort one or more of her children but my hope is this event opens the eyes of the public to just how unregulated the IVF industry is. Maybe this eye-opening could lead to ideas about how it might be prudent to at least pass some basic regulations like limiting the number of embryos being created based on how many will be implanted.

Also, the snippet below from this Telegraph article makes me wonder if Ms. Suleman was an egg “donor” who financed her various IVF cycles with money she received by selling her eggs.
She once told another neighbour that she wanted 12 children. "She told me that all of her kids were through in vitro, and I said 'Gosh, how can you afford that and go to school [college] at the same time?'" Yolanda Garcia told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. "And she said it's because she got paid for it."


Kathyrn Jean Lopez has a piece on the Mexico City Policy and some misinformation which often surrounds it.
The policy presented overseas health organizations with a choice: They could accept federal American cash and discourage abortion or they could refuse the cash and do as they wished. That’s far from draconian; NGOs that opted out of the Yankee dollar were free to solicit donations from sympathetic private citizens and institutions.
NGOs like the International Planned Parenthood Federation who chose to close up shop in certain places because of lack of U.S. government funding were choosing abortion over providing family planning with U.S. government funds.