Monday, November 30, 2009

Life Links 12/1/09

The Los Angeles Times has an article about a former abortionist's efforts to restrict abortion in South Korea.
For nearly two decades, obstetrician Shim Sang-duk aborted as many babies as he delivered -- on average, one a day, month after month.

"Over time, I became emotionless," the physician said. "I came to see the results of my work as just a chunk of blood. During the operation, I felt the same as though I was treating scars or curing diseases...."

But Shim's campaign has triggered a rare public debate on abortion. Lawmakers now call for tougher enforcement of existing laws, and are asking parents to reassess the cultural value of childbirth.....

The country's birthrate is now among the lowest worldwide, with just 1.19 live births per woman.

Meanwhile, abortion rates have kept their pace, many say. Every year, 450,000 babies are born here; Health Ministry officials estimate that 350,000 abortions are performed each year. One politician says the number of abortions is actually four times higher -- nearly 1.5 million.

At the RH Reality Check blog, Elisabeth Garber-Paul is finally getting her own reality check and realizing that current pro-choice arguments are a little stale.
So what does this mean for Millennials? First, it means that we need our theory and rhetoric to catch up with the technology, and quick—otherwise, Roe v. Wade may soon be as obsolete as the tape deck. While we shouldn’t abandon other, more modern issues—such as GLBTQ rights, a distant dream in the 1970s—we should find ways to update our arguments.

Pro-chocers are still making incredibly silly comments about the Stupak amendment. In a letter to the Delaware County Daily Times, Ashley Baptiste thinks it should be illegal to even consider something like the Stupak amendment. Also, notice her idea that women who have children instead of abortions will be "stuck" in welfare programs. What a positive view of women, huh?

Congressman Patrick Kennedy has come out of hiding after going public with Bishop Toobin's 2007 request that he not present himself for commmunion and now he isn't going to comment on the controversy. Here's a quote from Kennedy in the Brown Daily Herald.
“In the final analysis, all of us are children of God,” he continued. “All of us have that spark of divinity. If any one of us is denied health care, it really is a threat to who we call ourselves as human beings.”
Kennedy, of course, didn't note if the unborn were "children of God." And I don't suppose liberal groups will be howling about "separation of church and state" after this comment.

Killed her child, gave her a stone

New York Times Magazine has a long piece on abortion by Jennifer Senior (an admitted pro-choicer) entitled,”The Abortion Distortion: Just how pro-choice is America, really?” It focuses on the recent shift in the debate over abortion and the inability of some pro-choicers to accept just how troubling abortion can be. It also includes snippets from abortionist Lisa Harris' paper regarding her difficulties with performing second trimester abortions. If I was pro-choice, I think I would find this to be a rather dispiriting piece. Some excerpts:
Generally, science is the friend of progressive political causes. Not this one. As fetal ultrasound technology improved during the nineties, abortion providers, conditioned to reassure patients that the fetus was merely tissue, found it much harder to do so once their patients were staring at images that looked so lifelike....

On partial-birth abortion:
The procedure was extremely upsetting to behold. In it, the fetus—or is it a baby?—is removed from the uterus and stabbed in the back of the head with surgical scissors. It’s a revolting image, one to which the public was ritualistically subjected on the evening news as the debate raged on the House and Senate floors. Defending it was a pro-choice person’s nightmare.

While visiting an abortion clinic in Pennsylvania and interacting with a counselor who consents to providing an abortion to a woman who is clearly having the abortion because her boyfriend wants her to.
Keyes knows that most women refer to the developing lives inside of them as “babies,” rather than fetuses, whether they’re conflicted about their abortions or not. She knows that occasionally women want to keep sonograms of the fetuses they’ve aborted and even ask to see their reassembled remains once the procedure’s through.....

A few minutes later, we leave the room. Keyes is shaking. I start to ask her a question, but she cuts me off. “Do I feel good about signing this? (Expletive), no.” She wipes her eyes. “And I could deny her. We do deny women abortions.”

Well, look, I say. You told her she has trouble acting for herself. That was valuable.

Keyes brushes it off. “She was here a year ago. She might have heard the same thing from the counselor then. In fact, let’s look.” She starts flipping the pages of her chart. “Oh my God.”


“I was her counselor.”

She covers the woman’s name, and together we peer at Keyes’s old notes: Certain of her decision … not prepared for a fourth child … may have a fourth later … gave her a stone.
She concludes with a rather negative assessment of the pro-choice movement's chances.
Given this demographic shift, plus the Stupak Amendment, plus the unavoidable fact that abortion’s essential nature is unchanging—it will always involve some brutal nexus of the heart and the mind—it’s hard for a pro-choice person like myself to see how the ball rolls forward.

Life Links 11/30/09

The CDC has released its 2006 abortion statistics compiled from state health department but missing a couple of states including California.
Results: For 2006, a total of 846,181 abortions were reported to CDC. Among the 46 areas that provided data consistently during 1996--2006, a total of 835,134 abortions (98.7% of the total) were reported; the abortion rate was 16.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15--44 years, and the abortion ratio was 236 abortions per 1,000 live births. During the previous decade (1997--2006), reported abortion numbers, rates, and ratios decreased 5.7%, 8.8%, and 14.8%, respectively; most of these declines occurred before 2001. During the previous year (2005--2006), the total number of abortions increased 3.1%, and the abortion rate increased 3.2%; the abortion ratio was stable.

LifeSite News has more information on the incident in which a woman entering an abortion clinic threatened a sidewalk counselor with a knife.
Duluth Police arrested the suspect, 25-year-old Mechelle Talluah Hall, inside the abortuary and found a knife in her purse matching Leah's description. She has been charged with second-degree assault. Hall told the judge considering the conditions of her release, "I know what I did was wrong."

Meghan McArdle on abortion in health care and the reactions of pro-choice group to the Stupak amendment.
But the number of people who are going to lose access that they currently have, and therefore be forced to carry a pregnancy to term, is not likely to be all that large. We're mostly talking about a modest number of women who will have to hand over several hundred dollars that they would really rather spend elsewhere. ....

So I don't get the outsized reaction to all this--I mean, outside the professional interest groups, who of course are contractually obligated to get outraged about everything. Fears that women will lose their current access to abortion often seem to be muddled together with frustration at not being able to expand access to abortion.

During Meet the Press, Pastor Rick Warren noted his disagreement with President Obama’s position on abortion.
He added, "Now, I don't understand the idea of it should be rare and, and less. Well, either you believe it's life or you don't. Why would you believe it should be rare? Because if it's not -- if a baby, a fetus is not a life, then why restrict it?"

The Flint Journal is covering Caitlin Bruce’s lawsuit against abortion Alberto Hodari, whose first name is apparently Abraham. The Journal article claims Bruce was 6 weeks pregnant while a previous story by a local Flint television station previously said she was 6 months pregnant but has now been corrected.
Bruce claims in a civil lawsuit that Hodari and an assistant held her down and covered her mouth as she screamed for them to stop while Hodari aborted her fetus.

A written statement reportedly provided by another worker in Hodari’s office and contained in the lawsuit, claims that the doctor told an upset Bruce “I’m not going to do this. I’m going to send you home” before going through with the abortion.

The employee wrote that Hodari grinned as he completed the procedure, according to court documents.
For some reason, the Journal article claims Hodari is a “nationally respected doctor.” Then they even use a quote from the infamous YouTube video where Hodari says he has a “license to lie” to his patients without mentioning the “license to lie” statement or that the video was secretly shot by prolifers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Life Links 11/25/09

A sidewalk counselor at an abortion clinic in Minnesota apparently had a knife held to her throat by a woman going into the clinic.
The incident occurred at 7:47 a.m., according to demonstrators, who said the suspect was on her way into the building and exchanged words with them before pulling a knife. The suspect reportedly held the knife to the neck of one demonstrator and told her to stop speaking. When the second demonstrator reportedly went to help the first, the suspect allegedly threatened her with the knife as well.

Neither demonstrator was injured, and the suspect reportedly entered the building.

Duluth Police arrested the suspect inside and said they found a knife in her purse. She was taken into custody and sent to the St. Louis County Jail, where she is being held pending charges of second-degree assault.

Phillip Levine, a professor at Wellesley College points out in a New York Times editorial that the effects of the Stupak amendment have been exaggerated and thinks that health care reform could lower the number of unintended pregnancies because of contraceptive coverage.
The women whose abortion coverage would be at risk are those who are covered by private insurance — some 42 million women aged 15 to 44. Insurers could decide to drop all abortion coverage in order to ensure their eligibility to participate in public insurance exchanges, where many Americans are expected to purchase insurance if health reform legislation passes. But women who have private insurance are not as likely as women with no insurance or public insurance to have abortions. Privately insured women tend to be older, with higher family income, and women in these groups are much less prone to seek abortions.

A local ABC affiliate is covering Caitlin Bruce’s lawsuit against abortion Alberto Hodari.
Bruce was just 18 years old and 6 months (story corrected) weeks pregnant when she says walked into the Feminine Health Care Clinic in Flint last year.
"I was nervous and I really didn't have the moral support I needed. And I just didn't know what to do," Bruce said.

Bruce says she wrestled with her decision in the waiting room.

"They started the ultrasound. The lady turned the ultrasound toward me and said, 'This is your baby. This is the heart flicker,'" Bruce said.

Bruce says that's when she changed her mind. But she claims Dr. Abraham Hodari did the procedure anyway.

"He told his assistant, 'Hold her down.' They had my arm pinned," Bruce said….

"My client acted properly under the circumstance. This was an abortion that was consented to," said Steve Weiss, Hodari's attorney.
"When the patient first expressed misgivings about it, it was too far along for Dr. Hodari to stop."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Life Links 11/24/09

Time has an article on Senator Bob Casey’s concern about abortion in health care reform. It begins with this exchange that adds to the gathering mound of evidence that Senator Debbie Stabenow isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. It’s like she thinks she can convince people and Senator Casey that there is no problem by continually asserting, “There is no abortion funding.“
Across the room, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, a pro-life Catholic, listened in silence. But a few minutes later a reporter asked his opinion on abortion coverage in the Senate version of health reform. "We want to make sure that there is no federal funding of abortion," began Casey, but Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow quickly cut him off.

"We do not have funding for abortion services in these bills," she said. "Senator Casey doesn't need to worry about it. He can vote for health reform.”

Casey smiled patiently, but stood his ground. "We need more work done on this."

Shaking her head, Stabenow jumped in again. "This health care debate is not about changing current policy on abortion," she said. "There is no funding for abortion. So there should be no problem." Unfortunately for Stabenow and other Democrats, in the month since that meeting abortion has become very much a problem — if not the biggest hurdle — in passing health care reform.
The article also mentions that Senator Casey is working on an amendment help for pregnant women amendment which doesn’t really alleviate prolife concerns with the bill.

Father Roger Landry discusses Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s position on abortion and summarizing Kennedy‘s dispute with Bishop Tobin.
Congressman Kennedy’s position on abortion can be viewed as the confused fruit of the scandalous incoherence of his father’s generation with regard to the faith and the sanctity of human life. Since that scandal was inadequately addressed and corrected, the confusion in the second generation is much greater than in the first. That’s why the efforts of Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin to remedy that confusion are relevant not merely to Congressman Kennedy, but to the whole Church.

Richard Doerflinger, from the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ prolife office has a good quote in this Wall Street Journal article.
"We want everybody covered and nobody deliberately killed," said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the group's secretariat of pro-life activities. "It doesn't seem to us an unreasonable request for health care."

Jessica Arons at the liberal Center for American Progress somehow thinks this chart shows that the Capps amendment is closer to the status quo than the Stupak amendment. Pro-choicers don’t seem to understand that if tax dollars are used to make insurance cheaper and that insurance includes abortion, then tax-dollars are subsidizing abortion, regardless of whether the abortion is paid for with tax dollars or with premium money. This is a grand departure from the current policy in which no federal tax dollars are used to pay for or subsidize abortion. One positive thing about the chart is that it does make it fairly clear that the Capps amendment doesn’t keep the status quo.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sharon Lerner: Clueless as can be?

Sharon Lerner has a piece in the Nation on health care reform which attempts to create this storyline featuring pro-choice organizations as poor, little babies who got bullied by the big, mean prolifers.
Stupak is even more of an insult to pro-choice groups when you consider what they really wanted: to have abortion be treated as an integral part of health care. Rather than being paid for with dollars that are practically fingerprinted at every turn, abortion, in this view, would be more like a vasectomy--a routine, if personally delicate, outpatient procedure. But hoping not to muddy the overall health reform process, advocates tried, at first, to leave abortion politics out of the legislation. The tack was eminently reasonable; health reform, after all, was a much bigger issue. Why did abortion have to get mentioned at all?
Ummm.... because if abortion wasn’t explicitly excluded from health care reform then it would be included. That’s what happened with Medicaid until the Hyde amendment. Knowledgeable prolifers and pro-choicers are both aware of this. That’s why pro-choicers didn’t want it mentioned. That was their strategy. They thought by not mentioning it, they could make it “an integral part of health care.”
By the end of June, they had their answer. Nineteen Democrats, including Bart Stupak, sent a letter to Pelosi announcing they would not "we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan," making it clear that the high-minded effort to keep a fight over abortion out of healthcare reform hadn't worked.
Huh?? The high-minded effort to keep a fight about abortion out of health care didn’t work because prolife Democrats wanted an amendment to keep abortion out of health care??
Though pro-choice and women's groups didn't like the Capps amendment, they, once again chose to be cooperative and agreed to the compromise.
Lois Capps has a 100% pro-choice voting record. Many pro-choice groups support the Capps amendment. No prolife groups do. How is that a compromise?
"It would have been perfect if an anti-choice member had authored" Capps, notes Laura Hessburg, Senior Health Policy Advisor at the National Partnership for Women and Families. Then, perhaps, the public might have seen it as the compromise it was.
Well, why then didn’t any prolife member author it? That’s right - because it’s a pro-choice amendment and it’s not a compromise.

Lerner laments the unwillingness of pro-choice groups never vocally and publicly fought to make abortion an integral part of health care but never seems to grasp that pro-choice organization were trying to make abortion part of health care but were doing so in a quiet, sneaky manner.

We also learn the U.S. Catholic bishop played dirty by “urging parishioners to call Washington and distributed talking points to be thrown into Sunday sermons.” I know. Deplorable.

More research with amniotic stem cells

Science Daily has information on new research from Wake Forest's Anthony Atala on versatility of amniotic stem cells
Atala stopped short of calling the cells pluripotent, which means the ability to form many cell types. He said while the cells meet some of the characteristics of pluripotency, such as versatility, they do not form tumors when implanted in animals, which is also considered a characteristic. The fact that the amnion cells are less likely to form tumors may be one advantage that they have over embryonic stem cells in their potential for clinical use.

Life Links 11/23/09

Senator Ben Nelson says he’ll vote against health care reform if isn’t amended to his liking. One of his disputes with the bill is it’s language on abortion funding.

Numerous prolifers, evangelicals and Catholics, have signed on to the Manhattan Declaration which is a statement about the sanctity of life, marriage and conscience rights. The statement was drafted by Robert George, Timothy George and Chuck Colson.

In 2007, Bishop Thomas Tobin requested that Representative Patrick Kennedy not present himself for communion. Kennedy recently went public about his conversation and also claimed that Bishop Toobin told me that he had instructed all the priests in his diocese not to give Communion to Kennedy. Toobin is denying Kennedy’s additional claim.

Rebecca Taylor notes some peculiar new ways couples with frozen embryos are dealing with the children they don’t want to let another couple adopt and don’t want to donate for research.
What is most obvious is that infertile couples are not thinking about the consequences of producing extra embryos with IVF. They are then left with a moral dilemma no parent should have to face. It is critical that Catholics, religious and lay alike, remind infertile couples of this impending dilemma BEFORE they get swept up in the IVF machine. It is not politically correct, and they may never speak to you again, but it is so very necessary.

In Europe, doctors discovered that a man who was thought to be unconscious for 23 years was conscious the entire time.
Doctors in Zolder, Belgium, used the internationally accepted Glasgow Coma Scale to assess his eye, verbal and motor responses. But each time he was graded incorrectly.

Only a re-evaluation of his case at the University of Liege discovered that he had lost control of his body but was still fully aware of what was happening.

He is never likely to leave hospital, but as well as his computer he now has a special device above his bed which lets him read books while lying down.

Mr Houben said: 'I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me - it was my second birth.

'I want to read, talk with my friends via the computer and enjoy my life now that people know I am not dead.'

Dr Laureys's new study claims that patients classed as in a vegetative state are often misdiagnosed.

'Anyone who bears the stamp of "unconscious" just one time hardly ever gets rid of it again,' he said.

HT: The Corner

Friday, November 20, 2009

Life Links 11/20/09

Wesley Smith notes a changed clause in Senator Reid’s health care bill could force insurance providers in states where assisted suicide is legal to include assisted suicide in their plans.
If assisted suicide, or even euthanasia, are legally considered forms of “end of life care” in a particular state–as it is now in Oregon, Washington, and Montana–it seems to me that the area’s community health insurance option would be required to provide “access” to it under this clause. How else can the provision be read? And because it would have been passed later in time, this clause could be construed to subsume existing federal law that prevents federal funds from being used in assisted suicide.

According to The Hill, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) is opposed to the abortion language in Reid’s health care bill.
"We have looked at the language," Nelson told The Hill. "That language is not language that I would prefer."

"I think you need to have it eminently clear that no dollars that are federal tax dollars, directly or indirectly, are used to pay for abortions and it needs to be totally clear. [It’s] not clear enough, I don’t think," Nelson said.

Speaker Pelosi thinks the abortion issue won’t stop healthcare reform legislation and that she has a plan to bring prolife Democrats into the fold.
"I believe that there's plenty area for common ground," Pelosi told NPR's Renee Montagne. "We all agree that there will be no federal funding for abortion."….

When asked whether she had a specific plan to bring moderate Democrats around on the abortion issue, Pelosi said: "Yes ... but if I talk about it on the radio, then I won't be able to make it happen."

Rep. Lois Capps has a weak editorial in Politico attempting to argue that her abortion language is consistent with the federal government's current policy regarding the funding of abortion. She assumes that no insurance policy in the exchange would create a plan with abortion, thinks that not taxing income is equivalent to providing someone with a federal subsidy, and claims (without giving any names - is she refering to pro-choicers Bart Gordon and Zack Space?) that prolifers on the Energy and Commerce Committee rejected the Stupak amendment.

Regarding legislation to provide transparency to embryonic stem cell research in Michigan, the editorial board of the State News (Michigan State's newspaper) has a much wiser take than the Grand Rapids Press. The GR Press editorial is so bad and factually inaccurate that I considered dumping my subscription.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pro-Life Blog Awards

American Life League has opened nominations for the 2010 Pro-Life Blog Awards.

Nominations are due by December 7. You can nominate your favorite prolife blogger (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge) here.

Voters will then have between December 7 and December 20 to vote for their favorites.

Embryonic stem cell “desperately” need a success

So says Advanced Cell Technology scientific director Robert Lanza while promoting his company’s attempt to get the FDA to approve another clinical trial using cells created from embryonic stem cells. This clinical trial would attempt to treat blindness. ACT’s other embryonic stem cell clinical trial (which plans on testing the safety of cells in paralyzed patients) has been postponed another year because cysts were discovered at the injection sites during animal studies.
"It has been over a decade since human embryonic stem cells were first discovered. The field desperately needs a big clinical success," Lanza said.

Life Links 11/19/09

Americans United for Life has posted a summary of Senator Reid’s health care reform legislation (2.5 MB PDF) as it related to abortion. Their conclusion:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last night unveiled a health care bill which provides for an unprecedented expansion of federally-funded abortion. The bill includes pro-abortion language and mirrors the false compromise Capps Amendment from the House debate — it allows the public option to include abortion coverage and provides federal subsidies for private plans which cover abortion.

National Right to Life’s press release calls Reid’s abortion funding language “completely unacceptable.”

Operation Rescue has posted Caitlin Bruce’s lawsuit against Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari. Bruce claims Hodari and an assistant performed an abortion on her after she told them to stop.

The RH Reality Check blog has posted an article originally published in Ms. Magazine about how one federal employee named D.J. Feldman couldn’t get her health insurance to cover her aborting her child with anencephaly.
Feldman is speaking out now because of her outrage that the notorious Stupak-Pitts amendment to the House health reform measure would extend such federal bans on abortion coverage to the millions of women who are enrolled in the private insurance market.
But wait....if the Stupak amendment extends the federal ban on abortion coverage to federally-subsidized plans then isn’t it keeping the status quo on federal government’s policy towards funding or subsidizing abortion?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life Links 11/18/09

No surprise here. According to a CNN poll, the majority of Americans don’t want abortion funding included in health care reform.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning indicates that 61 percent of the public opposes using public money for abortions for women who can not afford the procedure, with 37 percent in favor of allowing the use of federal funds.

And by a 51 percent to 45 percent margin, those questioned in the survey think that women who get abortions should pay the full costs out of their own pocket, even if they have private health insurance and no federal funds are involved. The 6-point difference is within the poll's sampling error.

Bart Stupak has an editorial responding to a misleading Detroit Free Press editorial about his amendment.
The Free Press argues this amendment makes it harder for poor women to obtain abortion procedures. But under current policy, the poor receive their health care through Medicaid and cannot have taxpayer-funded abortions. Our amendment simply keeps this policy consistent.

Segregating funds has never been allowed under Hyde language. For example, federal employee health plans offer private health insurance policies to federal employees. Federal employees pay a portion of their health premiums with the government paying the balance. Yet federal employees cannot put the funds they contribute in a separate account to be used to cover abortion services. The Hyde precedent is very clear.

Umbilical cord stem cells have been used to reverse cerebral palsy in a Colorado girl.

Prolifers in Chicago are protesting Chicago’s new 8 foot bubble ordinance.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life Links 11/17/09

Stephanie Simon has an article in the Wall Street Journal which is sure to get more than a few pro-choicers fuming. Simon notes the Stupak amendment is unlikely to change how abortion is paid for by the vast majority of women.
Although the bill has stirred passions on both sides of the abortion-rights debate -- which are likely to be echoed when the Senate takes up its version -- the practical effect of the restrictions will be limited, statistics suggest and some experts in family-planning issues say....

Analysts don't expect the loss of insurance coverage to affect the number of clinics providing abortions. Perhaps the biggest impact of the House bill is that it would bar millions of low-income women who are currently uninsured from obtaining abortion coverage in the future.

Still, under the House bill, these women wouldn't be any worse off financially than they are now, since they are already paying for abortion out-of-pocket. Indeed, subsidies in the bill could help low-income women obtain insurance that covers other reproductive care, including contraception, which can cost hundreds of dollars a year.

Richard Epstein on the Stupak amendment:
Like it or not, the Stupak-Pitts amendment makes no effort to upset the status quo under Harris. It blocks embedding the abortion subsidy in the "affordability credit" for health benefit plans sold on the public exchange. And it takes the same position with respect to nonfederal contributions to such programs as Medicaid that also spark federal subsidies.

This limitation, however, allows participants on the public exchange to get supplemental abortion coverage at their own expense outside the exchange. There is nothing that prevents pro-choice groups from paying those services out of their own pockets. Ironically, even this formal segregation of funds does not stop the indirect subsidy of abortions: Any participant on the public exchange could use her savings to purchase that additional coverage.

On Friday, National Right to Life's Douglas Johnson was on C-SPAN discussing the Stupak amendment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Voting and Abortion Rates

Michael Barone has an interesting post comparing the percentage of a state's vote for Barack Obama and the state's abortion rate. Not surprisingly states with high abortion rates tended to vote in higher percentages for Obama while states with lower abortion rates tended to have lower percentages of voters who voted for Obama.

It would interesting to see these numbers on a county by county basis for various states.

What? Embryonic stem cells aren’t going to cure Parkinson’s?

The blog of the Center for Genetics and Society shares a bit of a piece by Constance Holden in Science entitled, “Fetal Cells Again?” which discusses the rise and fall of the hopes that cell-based therapies could cure Parkinson’s.
A half-dozen years ago, in the heat of political and scientific excitement over hES [human embryonic stem] cells, Parkinson's disease was regarded as one of the prime candidates for stem cell therapy. But even as iPS [induced pluripotent stem] cells have opened new vistas, the prospect of cell therapy trials has been steadily receding as scientists have gained new appreciation of both the difficulties of cell culture and the complexity of the disease itself....

Stem cell treatment "looked most hopeful when people were treating [Parkinson's] just as a dopamine disease," says [neurologist C. Warren] Olanow. Degeneration of dopamine-producing cells is not the first or the only symptom of Parkinson's, however. It's become increasingly clear that, as neurologist J. William Langston of the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, California, has put it, "Parkinsonism (that is, dopamine-related movement problems) is just the tip of the iceberg."...

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has also become much more cautious about the promise of cell therapy. The foundation is now placing its bets on new drug development and supports very little stem cell research. "I was totally naïve when I came to the foundation" in 2002, says CEO Katie Hood. "All my exposure was pop media; I thought it was all about stem cells." Now, she says, "I have not totally lost hope on cell replacement," but "I just don't think it's a near-term hope."

Life Links 11/16/09

President Obama is such a shameless liar.

In a nationally televised address to Congress he claimed “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” when the legislation at that time included abortion funding. Now that the legislation has been amended to remove abortion funding via the Stupak amendment and prevents abortion coverage from being federally subsidized, Obama is sending out David Axelrod to act like the Stupak amendment changes the “status quo” and that Obama’s original promise was that he wouldn’t change the status quo.
"The president has said repeatedly, and he said in his speech to Congress, that he doesn't believe that this bill should change the status quo as it relates to the issue of abortion," Axelrod told CNN. "He's going to work with the Senate and the House to try to ensure that at the end of the day the status quo is not changed."

Excuse me, but how on earth is a government run health care insurance program in which the federal government subsidizes health care plans which include abortion the status quo to what we have now?

Second, when did Obama ever promise to keep the status quo? He even attacked the status quo in his health care speech to Congress.
And I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now.

At the Corner, Mike Potemra has some thoughts on Axelrod’s interview.
They could barely get this thing through the House, even when the pro-life Democrats had the Stupak Amendment to sweeten the deal. Now they appear to be willing to lose the health-care bill — and it’s not even in defense of their underlying principle of abortion rights. They are willing to risk losing the bill simply because the bill does not expand access to abortion as much as they would like it to.

That’s a devotion that borders on religious fervor. There are many things that have been called make-or-break for the Obama presidency: winning Afghanistan, preventing another 9/11, turning the economy around. Here’s another thing that could break his presidency: torpedoing his No. 1 agenda item, in obeisance to a single-issue special-interest lobby that is losing support from the American people.

Abortionist Willie Parker makes the mistake of admitting the Stupak amendment “mirrors” current abortion-funding regulations. I guess he didn’t get the “status quo” memo.
I practice in Washington, D.C., where women on Medicaid, the public health-insurance plan for the very poor, don’t have abortion coverage except in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to their life. The Stupak amendment mirrors these Medicaid restrictions, which also currently apply to women in the military and female federal employees, no matter where they live. These patients—as well as the women who can’t afford any insurance or have insurance that doesn’t cover abortion—give my colleagues and me a preview of what women’s health care would look like in Rep. Bart Stupak’s America.

The Choose Life club at McGill University has had their status as a club suspended. A vote to completely revoke their status almost passed.
During council, Rebecca Dooley, VP (University Affairs), indicated that four complaints against Choose Life have been brought to the attention of the Student Equity Committee since it was granted club status last year. The motion to suspend incorporated a clause which would send the club for evaluation by the Equity Committee.

An amendment was added and stipulated that the club would meet with the Committee to develop a document that would allow for the expression of a pro-life viewpoint while remaining in line with the SSMU constitution and equity policy.

American Right to Life is certainly coming up with worse and worse ways of attempting to eliminate abortion in the next decade. Here’s another web site devoted to attacking prolifers who aren’t on their personhood bandwagon. The site claims Sarah Palin is “officially pro-choice and stands against the God-given right to life of the unborn.” We also learn that President George W. Bush had “an enormous pro-abortion influence.”

Friday, November 13, 2009

Life Links 11/13/09

The Republican National Committee Chariman Michael Steele has called for the removal of abortion coverage from their health insurance plan after Politico discovered that abortion was covered.

The silliness of pro-choice arguments regarding the Stupak amendment continues.

Wendy Norris is now claiming money was another probable reason for the Catholic bishops support of the Stupak amendment. Despite the vast majority of abortions being performed in abortion clinics and not hospitals, Norris thinks the bishops wanted to exclude federal subsidies for abortion so they could “omit a competitive advantage secular hospitals …..can use to simultaneously market their services to the expected influx of newly insured patients…”

Jill from Feministe apparently has no clue what a moral objection is. I think she really has no idea that there is a difference between preference claims and moral claims.

Law professor Marci Hamilton thinks the Stupak amendment “violates the Constitution’s separation of church and state” because profilers are religious and the U.S. bishops pushed for it. At the Corner, John Pitney points out a rather large problem with this argument.

The Chicago Tribune has an article on IVF parents struggling to decide what to do with embryos they don’t want to implant. It has this quote from IVF mother Adriana Potter who favors donating her embryonic children for medical research.
"Think about it. The only way we got this far with IVF is because there was research in the past," she said. "There were sacrifices to help families like us have kids…..
And which sacrifices were those? That’s right. Human embryos. So it’s okay to sacrifice some children so you can have kids? And then because others sacrificed their children, it’s your duty to sacrifice children you don’t want back to research.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Michelman and Kissling whine about Stupak amendment

Former NARAL president Kate Michelman and former Catholics for Choice leader Frances Kissling have an editorial today in the New York Times where they bitterly complain about how women won’t be able to get federally-subsidized abortions and how the Democratic party isn’t completely beholden to abortion activists. It’s almost a lament for the power they thought the 2008 election would bring them. They’re downtrodden.
Many House members who support abortion rights decided reluctantly to accept this ban, which is embodied in the Stupak-Pitts amendment. They say the tradeoff was necessary to advance the right to guaranteed health care. They say they will fight another day for a woman’s right to choose.

Perhaps. But they can’t ignore the underlying shift that has taken place in recent years. The Democratic majority has abandoned its platform and subordinated women’s health to short-term political success. In doing so, these so-called friends of women’s rights have arguably done more to undermine reproductive rights than some of abortion’s staunchest foes. That Senate Democrats are poised to allow similar anti-abortion language in their bill simply underscores the degree of the damage that has been done.
They also throw down the gauntlet on Democrats who won’t work to scrub out the Stupak amendment.
If Democrats do not commit themselves to defeating the amendment, then they will face an uncompromising effort by Democratic women to defeat them, regardless of the cost to the party’s precious majority.
It’s almost like Michelman and Kissling somehow still don’t understand that the Democrats will never in the foreseeable future have a majority in the House unless their majority includes a fair number of prolife Dems. It’s like they’ve read to many of their own biased polls to abandon the insane idea that their positions (favoring abortion on demand and tax-funded abortions) are positions held by the majority of Americans.

Life Links 11/12/09

Is infamous Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari closing up (at least some of) his abortion mills? LifeSite and LifeNews both have the account of Flint Right to Life’s Judy Climer who claims his Flint clinic has a for sale sign.

Hodari’s Womancare clinic in Southgate is also for sale.

Maybe he needs some cash to pay for all his legal troubles.

In Japan, a group of scientists implanted the nucleus of an older woman’s egg into the cytoplasm of a younger woman’s egg and then fertilized those eggs in a test tube.

Americans United for Life’s blog has a good post noting how the current status quo for abortion in health care consists of not only federal dollars not going to pay for abortion but also that federal dollars aren’t used to subsidize abortion in the insurance plans of federal employees.
Also, federal dollars are prohibited from subsidizing private plans that cover abortion. Private plans participating in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) cannot offer coverage of abortion because the plans are subsidized by the government (and, thus, by taxpayer funds). In other words, federal employees cannot purchase an insurance plan that includes abortion coverage.

FOX News interviews Professor Daniel Offen, BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc, chief scientist Prof. Daniel Offen regarding their research into the possibility of ALS treatments using adult stem cells.

Kathleen Parker’s most recent column is about forced abortion in China.
Late-term abortions are problematic, but the Chinese are nothing if not efficient. On one Web site for Chinese obstetricians and gynecologists, doctors recently traded tips in a dispassionate discussion titled: "What if the infant is still alive after induced labor?" ChinaAid provided a translation of a thread regarding an eight-month-old fetus that survived the procedure.

"Xuexia" wrote: "Actually, you should have punctured the fetus' skull." Another poster, "Damohuyang," wrote that most late-term infants died during induced labor, some lived and "would be left in trash cans. Some of them could still live for one to two days."


But Littlejohn hopes Obama will "truly represent American values, including our strong commitment to human rights." She is also calling on Planned Parenthood and NARAL to speak up for reproductive choice in China.

On this much, both sides of the abortion issue can agree: Forced abortion is not a choice. Averting our gaze from China's horrific abuse of women is.

Bishop Thomas Toobin shreds Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s excuses for voting in favor of abortion.
Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an “imperfect humanity.” Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Life Links 11/11/09

Liberals are making a lot of inaccurate and incredibly stupid claims about the Stupak amendment.

Carlton Veazey from the Religious Coaltion for Reproductive Choice claims the Stupak amendment is "an encroachment on the separation of religion and state and an affront to a basic constitutional principle."

Senator Tom Harkin thinks it’s a slippery slope which could lead to the federal government not allowing people with federal housing loans to have abortions.

In a guest post at the RH Reality Check, Robin Marty thinks the Stupak amendment will prevent women who’ve experienced miscarriages from having their dead children removed.

Apparently, the signers of Diane DeGette’s letter promising to oppose health care reform if it includes the Stupak amendment don't want their names to become public. Bawk...bawk....

Politico is featuring an arena on the question of abortion funding in health care reform legislation. Bradley Smith makes a good point when he writes,
Ultimately, the biggest problem with nationalizing health care (let's not kid ourselves, that's what these bills do, and that's the objective) is that it pits Americans against one another. The pro-choicers have just learned a bitter lesson (well, actually, they received a lesson, but I don't think they learned it), which is that they may not get to control the benefit packages. This will be true everywhere, though. Under nationalized care, you want my grandmother to die (or at least we can say that you will benefit if my grandmother dies, and desires tend to follow incentives), because your costs go up if she's kept alive with expensive care. That other guy wants your baby to die (or be aborted - will Catholic Bishops learn the true lesson of their triumph this week when they have to decide on the final bill?) rather than live with birth abnormalities that require expensive health care. The reality of human nature, noted by Adam Smith more than 200 years ago, is that we take a prick on our own finger much more seriously than the deaths of thousands halfway across the world. The reality of government health care is that people will want theirs from the common pot, and they will vote to get it, whatever it does to their neighbors.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Life Links 11/10/09

In the Wall Street Journal, William McGurn has a piece on Bart Stupak appropriately entitled, "The man who made Pelosi cry uncle." It sounds like the prolife Democrats aren't going to accept the Stupak amendment being stripped from health care reform.
As it is, Democrats now have to make some decisions that may anger their Planned Parenthood wing. The fight itself will be interesting, judging from a claim by Diana DeGette (D., Col.) in yesterday's Washington Post that 40 Democrats will vote against a final bill unless the Stupak amendment is stripped out. Of course, if it is stripped out, that will put even more pressure on those 64 Democrats who voted for the amendment.

"We won because [the Democrats] need us," says Mr. Stupak. "If they are going to summarily dismiss us by taking the pen to that language, there will be hell to pay. I don't say it as a threat, but if they double-cross us, there will be 40 people who won't vote with them the next time they need us—and that could be the final version of this bill."
Wouldn't be amazing if pro-choice desire for federal subsidized abortion sunk health care reform?

Surprise. Surprise. The New York Times opposes the Stupak amendment. I do like this paragraph though:
The highly restrictive language was easily approved by a 240-to-194 vote and incorporated into the overall bill, which squeaked through by a tally of 220 to 215. It was depressing evidence of the power of anti-abortion forces to override a reasonable compromise.
The Times also praises pro-choice Democrats for "sensibly cho(osing) to keep the reform process moving ahead." Except that more than 40 of them have already promised to prevent the final passage if the Stupak amendment isn't removed. Why are prolife representatives somehow less than sensible because they had they had the majority of votes?

Natalie Fohl, president of the prolife students club at McGill University, has an editorial detailing attempts to revoke her club's status.

Obama Opposes the Stupak Amendment

In an interview with ABC News, President Obama says more work needs to be done on how abortion is handled in health care because pro-choicers are mad.
Saying the bill cannot change the status quo regarding the ban on federally funded abortions, the president said, "There are strong feelings on both sides" about an amendment passed Saturday and added to the legislation, "and what that tells me is that there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we're not changing the status quo."
Obama is also under the delusion that a health care bill can be crafted which will please both prolifers and pro-choicers.
In an exclusive television interview in the Map Room of the White House, Obama told ABC News' Jake Tapper that he was confident that the final legislation will ensure that "neither side feels that it's being betrayed."

"I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test -- that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, that we're not restricting women's insurance choices," he said.
I don't see how it's possible to placate both side when one side believes abortion is a crucial part of health care and thinks it should be treated no different than any other service.

If you create a public plan which pays for or subsidizes the health care of millions of Americans, abortion is going to be paid for either wholly or partially (through subsidies) with public funds or it's not. The Stupak amendment makes sure it's not.

Monday, November 09, 2009

DeGette Letter Vows to Oppose Health Unless Stupak Amendment Removed

The office of Diane DeGette (D-Colorado) has post this letter which has apparently been signed by more than 40 Democrats who claim they will oppose the final passage of health care reform legislation if it contains the Stupak amendment.


One of the Abortioneers discusses why she "loves abortion."
What do I mean when I say I love abortion? To me, there is absolutely nothing wrong or surprising with the supposed "controversial" statement. I love women, therefore I love abortion. Abortion is a part of women's lives.

Life Links 11/9/09

I share Ramesh Ponnuru’s thoughts about the possibility of Republicans voting “present” on the Stupak amendment to prevent it’s passage. Bad idea.

Democrat Diane DeGette claims she has more than 40 House Democrats who will vote against the final version health care reform legislation if it includes the Stupak amendment.

At the Huffington Post, Jessica Arons doesn’t seem to understand what insurance is for in the first place.
Stupak and his allies claim his Amendment doesn't ban abortion from the Exchange because it allows plans to offer and women to purchase extra, stand-alone insurance known as a rider to cover abortion services. Hopefully the irony of this is immediately apparent: Stupak wants women to plan for a completely unexpected event.
Ummmm..... Isn’t that what all types of insurance are for? Finding ways of planning ahead for unexpected events like car crashes, house fires, and unplanned physical conditions.

Sarah Palin rallied prolifers in Wisconsin on Friday night.
Palin didn’t mention President Obama by name, but did take a shot at him for opposing an abortion-related measure as an Illinois state senator and more than once mocked his catch phrase.
Politco reporter Jonathon Martin apparently doesn’t want to get into the details about President Obama’s opposition to legislation which provided protection to infants who survived abortions.

Apparently, newborn babies cry in their native tongue because of prenatal exposure to language.
French newborns tend to cry with rising melody patterns, slowly increasing in pitch from the beginning to the end, whereas German newborns seem to prefer falling melody patterns, findings that are both consistent with differences between the languages.

This suggests infants begin picking up elements of language in the womb, long before their first babble or coo.

What is Vice President Joe Biden spending his money on?

How can a guy who gives next to nothing to charity and has made in the six figures for 3+ decades have a net worth of $27,000? Does he have all his money in his houses since “federal financial disclosure laws don’t require members to list the value of their personal residences” or is he just one of the most incompetent managers of money in world?

HT: Joe Carter

Health Care Reform Passes with the Stupak Amendment

By now you’ve probably heard that the House’s health care reform bill passed but only after the House was allowed to vote on and pass the Stupak Amendment to remove abortion funding. The New York Times has an article on what happened behind the scenes. Basically, if the Stupak amendment didn’t get a vote, then the Nancy Pelosi didn’t have the votes to pass health care reform.
Her attempts at winning them over had failed, and Ms. Pelosi, the first woman speaker and an ardent defender of abortion rights, had no choice but to do the unthinkable. To save the health care bill she had to give in to abortion opponents in her party and allow them to propose tight restrictions barring any insurance plan that is purchased with government subsidies from covering abortions.

Here’s the roll call vote on the Stupak Amendment. The text provides that “No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion or to Cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an' act of rape or incest.”

What’s interesting in many reactions from abortion advocates is that they act like the Stupak Amendment makes it illegal to purchase insurance which covers abortion. In the New York Times article, Congresswoman Rose DeLauro even claims the Stupak Amendment prohibits women “from access to an abortion even if they pay for it with their own money.”

NARAL’s press release claims the Stupak Amendment “would have the effect of denying women the right to use their own personal private funds to purchase an insurance plan with abortion coverage in the new health system — a radical departure from the status quo.”

Planned Parenthood’s press release seems to also criticize a woman’s decision making when it attempts to explain why having women buy abortion riders is such a bad idea:
“But such abortion riders do not exist because women do not plan to have unintended pregnancies or medically complicated pregnancies that require ending the pregnancy. These so-called ‘abortion riders,’ which would be the only insurance policy through which abortion care could be covered in the ‘exchange,’ are discriminatory and illogical.”

So the Stupak Amendment is “discriminatory and illogical” because women choose not to purchase abortion riders?

A major battle has been won but the fight to make certain that health care reform doesn’t include abortion funding is far from over as abortion advocates are sure to push for it to be included in the Senate version of the bill and in the conference committee.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Pensacola Abortion Clinic Closes

One of Pensacola's two abortion clinics has closed after being unable to pay a $413,000 fine for having an expired lab license for 413 days.
In January, a survey by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration determined that the center's lab license had been expired for 413 days. A fine of $1,000 per day was imposed.

AHCA is responsible for the licensing and regulation of health facilities and for administration of Medicaid.

Since January, the abortion clinic has remained in operation while the lab has been shut down.

But on Oct. 30, still unable to pay the fine, the clinic voluntarily shut down, said Tiffany Vause, AHCA press secretary.

AHCA lawyers have offered a settlement agreement, which has not been accepted or rejected, she said. She would not reveal the amount.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Is child-killing pro-family?

John Derbyshire is wondering what prolifers think about one blogger’s contention that abortion is “pro-family” because he believes abortions reduce the number of single-mother families (he likely hasn’t looked for any historical proof of this).

Let’s consider another way we could reduce the number of single-mother families: killing the born children of single mothers.

Would that be pro-family?

Of course not because killing off some family members is not a proper means of strengthening families.

What is it with some pro-choicers like Derbyshire and their complete inability to think for a minute about how prolife people view unborn children? It baffles me.

Life Links 11/5/09

National Right to Life’s Douglas Johnson has issued a statement on Congressman Ellsworth’s “compromise” language in health care reform.
"Any House member who votes for the Pelosi rule is voting to establish a federal government insurance plan, the public option, that the bill explicitly authorizes to pay for all elective abortions. When a federal agency pays for abortions, that is federal funding of abortion in reality, whatever contrived labels Speaker Pelosi or her acolytes slap over it. The Ellsworth language is a political fig leaf made out of cellophane -- it directs the federal Secretary of Health to hire a contractor to deliver to abortion providers the payments for elective abortions, payments that are explicitly authorized by the bill [on page 110]. This is a money-laundering scheme -- a federally funded 'bag man' will deliver government funds to abortionists. This is federal funding of elective abortion."
The New York Times also has an article on this issue. I’m struggling to understand why paying a private contractor to handle public funds to pay for abortions would alleviate prolife concerns.

Cook County Judge Daniel Riley has put another hold on Illinois’ parental notification law which was originally passed in 1995 and has yet to go into effect. The AP article also notes that Planned Parenthood claims to have been providing notification since August for teens who were comfortable telling their parents. If they weren’t, then PP referred them to another clinic. PP will now stop providing notifications.

Texas abortionist Curtis Boyd admits to knowing that he’s killing.
"Am I killing?" Boyd said. "Yes, I am. I know that."

Boyd said he is an ordained Baptist minister who has now turned Unitarian. He said he prays often.

"I'll ask that the spirit of this pregnancy be returned to God with love and understanding," he said.
If the name sounds familiar it’s because Boyd is a long time abortionist who even admits to performing illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade. He had a clinic in New Mexico which was damaged in 2007 after a disgruntled father, upset about his girlfriend’s planned abortion, set fire to it.

New Zealand researcher David Fergusson has another study out which concludes that abortion “"leads to significant distress in some" women. The study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry and the New Zealand Herald has an article on it.
The study found that women who reported at least one negative reaction had rates of mental health problems "approximately 1.4 to 1.8 times higher than women not exposed to abortion".

The report concluded: "This evidence raises important questions about the practice of justifying termination of pregnancy on the grounds that this procedure will reduce risks of mental health problems in women having unwanted pregnancy.....

It said the findings did not support the extremes of either the pro-abortion, or pro-life camps. They were "not consistent with strong pro-life positions that depict unwanted pregnancy terminated by abortion as having devastating consequences for women's mental health".

Nor did they "support strong pro-choice positions that claim unwanted pregnancy terminated by abortion is without mental health risks".

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Life Links 11/4/09

Amie Newman at RH Reality Check and Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon are questioning former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson's prolife conversion by pointing to recent radio interviews (Newman has partially transcribed one interview) Johnson did on behalf of Planned Parenthood. The complete turnabout is very interesting. Newman and Clark-Flory both seem to hint at the possibility that Johnson was harrassed into conversion.

I would note that much of what Johnson says in the transcribed interview is basically the exact same thing you hear every Planned Parenthood director say: Abortion is only 3% of services. I'm pro-choice because I heard stories about back-alley abortions. Prolife protesters harass our patients. Yada yada yada....

It's almost like they've been given a script.

The Hill has an update on abortion and health care.

Abortion escorting nun Sister Donna Quinn has decided to suspend her abortion activism after receiving a reprimand from her Dominican order. The article highlights how far some other nuns have strayed.

The primary example was in 1984 when the Vatican instructed religious orders to dismiss nuns who refused to retract their claim that Catholics held a range of opinions on abortion rights. Instead, the leaders talked to Vatican officials and resolved the issue with no ousters of nuns.

But that was a different era, said Sister Beth Rindler, co-coordinator of the National Coalition of American Nuns, a group of nuns who push for women's ordination, gay rights, abortion rights and an end to war.

"We're standing with her very much. We consider her one of our prophets," said Rindler, a Franciscan Sister of the Poor. "She's standing with women who she believes can make good moral decisions."

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Life Links 11/3/09

Trespassing charges have been stayed against prolife University of Calgary students who displayed pictures of aborted children on campus after prosecutors finally realized how stupid it would be to try to charge students with trespassing on their own campus.
No reason was given for staying the charges, but club treasurer Alanna Campbell said the charges -- laid about a year ago -- were ridiculous.

"They recognized it was kind of silly to try their own students with trespassing on their campus," said Campbell.

She also said the university was never able to tell them which bylaws or regulations CPL violated in refusing to turn inwards large photos graphically depicting abortion, while also comparing it to atrocities like the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust.

Here's another sign that Jim Wallis should no longer be labeled prolife. He now rejects the a prolife declaration he signed in 1996 and says he can't remember signing it.

This past summer my father gave me an old (like early 1980's old) issue of Sojourners which included a variety of articles by prolifers. It's so sad that Wallis seems to have abandoned his prolife beliefs for a seat at President Obama's table.

I don't think I've ever read an article where I thought so little of a writer's personality than I do after reading this Alternet piece by Ann Neumann who went "undercover" to the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation's annual conference. It's amazing how her snideness drips out of this. After having to endure the presence of prolifers whose fashion sense wasn't up to her New York standards, she cowardly exits after briefly asserting her belief in cultural relativism with a retired woman.

The Catholic bishops are serious about getting abortion funding out of health care reform.
In an extraordinary call to
Catholics to prevent health care reform from being derailed by the abortion
lobby, the United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent bulletin
inserts to almost 19,000 parishes across the country.

"Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them," the
insert states. It urges readers to contact Senate leaders so they support
efforts to "incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in
favor of conscience rights" in health reform legislation.

"If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be
opposed," it adds.

Where does the Detroit News find these people? They're allowing some random freelance writer named John O'Neill to accuse both prolife and pro-choice organization in Michigan of being racist in 1988 without a hint of evidence. It's the kind of self-righteous, argument-free editorial where the writer chastises both sides for thinking they have a monopoly on truth which apparently only he has.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Pumpkin Carving and Costume Pictures

Our daughter went as a bumblebee but was completely opposed to wearing the hood.

Here's my pumpkin - it's supposed to the Joker from the Batman movies.

My wife went with Elmo.

Life Links 11/2/09

A television station in Texas has the story about how local Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson resigned.
Johnson said she realized she wanted to leave, after watching an ultrasound of an abortion procedure.

"I just thought I can't do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that's it," said Jonhson.

She handed in her resignation October 6. Johnson worked as the Bryan Planned Parenthood Director for two years.

According to Johnson, the non-profit was struggling under the weight of a tough economy, and changing it's business model from one that pushed prevention, to one that focused on abortion.

"It seemed like maybe that's not what a lot of people were believing any more because that's not where the money was. The money wasn't in family planning, the money wasn't in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that," said Johnson.

Geron is hoping to restart it’s delayed clinical trial using cells from human embryonic stem cells in the third quarter of 2010.
In August, the company delayed human clinical trials of the drug candidate because some of the animals treated with the injection developed microscopic spinal cysts. The company has been testing the product on rats and mice.

The Derry Journal has the story of a premature infant who survived after being born at 24 weeks, weighing slightly more than a pound.
"Eva Marie is a wee miracle," says Donna. "I want people to look at Eva Marie's story and see how she survived at 24 weeks. If there's anyone out there considering abortion, Eva Marie's story may make them think again. Doctors say she is a true warrior. Now she's just like a newborn baby weighing six pounds. Eva Marie is absolutely amazing - she is one of Derry's real life miracles."

Sarah Kliff has an article in Newsweek on the Personhood movement.

A man in North Carolina was arrested outside an abortion clinic after he was found carrying a gun.

Pro-choicers still whining about Law & Order

The pro-choice flip out over the recent Law and Order episode “Dignity” continues. Amanda Marcotte and Kathleen Reeves both weigh in at the RH Reality Check blog with assertions galore.

Reeves even claims the reality that some children survive abortions and are born alive is a “myth.”

Ever hear of Baby Shanice? RH Reality Check’s Emily Douglas even included the story about how abortion provider Pierre Jean-Jacques Renelique lost his license because of this horrible case in one of her posts. But little things like evidence and facts don’t get in Reeves’ way. She can just assert broad statements like this:
“You see, for OB/GYNs, the boundaries are clear. A baby is a baby, and a fetus is a fetus.”
What’s the boundary? And how is it clear for all OB/GYNs? Is it the complete expulsion of a living child or is it when the head of the child is out? Is she still a “fetus” if her entire body is out except for her foot? What should they do if a child is born alive?

Please tell us Kathleen because you seem to understand how every abortion provider in the world operates.

Marcotte’s piece in no better. She thinks that it’s often the case that TV shows like Law & Order “pander so much to conservatives.” Maybe she's watching a different kind of TV? I can't ever remember a TV show in which prolife views were given much more than a glossing over.

She thinks it’s an “implausible” story that a mother would try to self-abort later in pregnancy because she claims most women who self-abort attempt to do so early in pregnancy. Maybe she doesn’t understand what implausible means but just because the majority people do something at one time doesn’t mean it’s not believable that someone would do the same thing at a different time. That’s a little like saying it’s implausible for someone to brush their teeth at noon because most people brush their teeth in the morning and/or before bed. But who needs logic?

She also claims Jill Stanek’s testimony about children being born alive after abortion is “obviously false.” No evidence or explanation is provided.

Does Marcotte not realize how completely unpersuasive she is? Or maybe she doesn’t care? I guess if your audience is made up entirely of people who are so locked in their mentality that they think every claim prolifers make is false then you don’t need to bring any evidence to bear.