Monday, June 07, 2010

Life Links 6/7/10

In the LA Times, Sally Lehrman blames the media (and not the scientists) for people in California wondering where all the embryonic stem cell cures they were promised are.
It's no surprise that the initiative's proponents made big promises: They had something to sell. But instant miracles are uncommon in science, and journalists should do a better job making that clear. We need to highlight the uncertainties in science and, in medical quests such as stem cell therapies, emphasize the baby steps involved that in fact are big leaps: reproducing and growing these flexible cells, understanding how they work, using them to learn about disease, designing treatments and then testing the safety of any resulting therapy.

In the aftermath of the stem cell initiative, William H. Fisher, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Assn. of Northern California and Northern Nevada, found himself repeatedly having to explain such matters to hopeful families. "I don't blame the Prop. 71 people, I blame the media," he says. Alzheimer's regularly led the list of potential stem cell cures in news reports, he says, but there's no reason right now to believe that embryonic stem cells will solve the disease.
I think Mr. Fisher should be blaming them both. The Proposition 71 proponents (including researchers) oversold embryonic stem cell research so they could get their $3 billion and the media (ever eager to stick one to prolifers) were their faithful sidekicks.

The BBC is reporting that approximately 80 unborn children a year conceived via in-vitro fertilization are aborted in Great Britain. The number includes “selective reduction” abortions.
The exact reasons for the terminations - which amount to an average of about 80 a year - are unclear, but will include medical problems with the foetus as well as social grounds, such as a relationship breakdown.

A couple more memos from Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan regarding life issues have surfaced.
Kagan's memos and notes — part of a 46,500-page batch of records released by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library — reveal her role as the administration was playing defense against a Republican Congress that was trying to impose new limits on abortion rights.

On the late-term abortion bill, "I support an exception that takes effect only when a woman faces real, serious health consequences," Kagan handwrote on the draft of a letter Clinton was penning to a Catholic bishop dismayed by the veto....

She wrote in 1998 that encouraging a new federal law banning assisted suicide would be "a fairly terrible idea."

A young man named Adonai Lira in Texas has been arrested after kidnaping and beating his girlfriend.
Investigators said the victim, who is in her first trimester, woke up in the driveway of the suspect's brother's house, where she was still being attacked. According to the warrant, Lira carried her inside, where the abuse continued.....

According to the arrest document, he told the victim if she was not going to be with him, her pregnancy would end. Deputies said he caused her to have an abortion. Investigators said she complied with his demands to calm him down.

1 comment:

  1. Scientists should *not* oversell the case for stem cells. That said, in reality it will take several years if not decades to achieve these cures. If scientist haven't been honest with that shame on them.