Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Abortion Gang: "It doesn't matter ellaOne kills unborn or not"

At the AbortionGang, NYCprochoiceMD shares his/her thoughts on the possibility that the emergency contraception ellaOne does more than prevent contraception.
We want to ensure that women who have personal views that would lead them not to choose abortion know that the use of post-coital contraceptives is consistent with their beliefs. We want everyone to know as much as possible about all their options. So to counter the myth that emergency contraception is equivalent to an abortion, we scream as loud as we can that it isn’t.

But we have to remember that in the end it doesn’t matter how it works or why. All that matters is what’s in the heart of the woman and if she wants to lend her body to a zygote for the 38 weeks required to gestate a full-term fetus. The rest is just semantics.
So on one hand NYCprochoiceMD can understand that some women may not want to take a pill which would possibly kill their developing child but he/she doesn't really care because whether a human being is killed or not is "just semantics."

Planned Parenthood Rep: Viewing an ultrasound can change a woman's mind on abortion

The State-Journal Register has an article about RU-486 abortions provided at a Planned Parenthood in Springfield, Illinois. The article contains a number of quotes from "nurse practitioner Stephani Cox, Planned Parenthood’s downstate lead clinician."

In some cases, it seems that Ms. Cox goes off Planned Parenthood's usual script.

With regards to abortion protesters:
“They don’t cause any trouble,” Cox said. “We haven’t had a problem, really.”
On contraceptives:
“They’ve never been through this, for the most part,” Cox said. “They feel many things, among them embarrassed for getting in this situation.

“We try to have them not beat themselves up, because it happens, and there’s no method of contraception that’s 100 percent other than abstinence.”
On how viewing an ultrasound can affect a woman's decision:
During a visit that takes several hours, a client undergoes a blood test and a sonogram, Cox said.

The client always is offered a chance to view the sonogram, she said. After looking at the sonogram or going through Planned Parenthood’s required counseling, she said, some women have decided not to proceed with their planned abortions.

Kagan revised ACOG's statement on partial-birth abortion

In the National Review, Shannen Coffin describes how Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was the author of an often used clause in an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists statement on partial-birth abortion which was supposed to be from a select group of medical experts.
There is no better example of this distortion of science than the language the United States Supreme Court cited in striking down Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion in 2000. This language purported to come from a “select panel” of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a supposedly nonpartisan physicians’ group. ACOG declared that the partial-birth-abortion procedure “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.” The Court relied on the ACOG statement as a key example of medical opinion supporting the abortion method.

Years later, when President Bush signed a federal partial-birth-abortion ban (something President Clinton had vetoed), the ACOG official policy statement was front and center in the attack on the legislation. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf, one of the three federal judges that issued orders enjoining the federal ban (later overturned by theSupreme Court), devoted more than 15 pages of his lengthy opinion to ACOG’s policy statement and the integrity of the process that led to it.

Like the Supreme Court majority in the prior dispute over the Nebraska ban, Judge Kopf asserted that the ACOG policy statement was entitled to judicial deference because it was the result of an inscrutable collaborative process among expert medical professionals. “Before and during the task force meeting,” he concluded, “neither ACOG nor the task force members conversed with other individuals or organizations, including congressmen and doctors who provided congressional testimony, concerning the topics addressed” in the ACOG statement.

In other words, what medical science has pronounced, let no court dare question. The problem is that the critical language of the ACOG statement was not drafted by scientists and doctors. Rather, it was inserted into ACOG’spolicy statement at the suggestion of then–Clinton White House policy adviser Elena Kagan.
Instead of believing that parital-birth abortion "may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance" the panel's original statement said they, "could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman."

That language by itself (which would have basically destroyed the pro-choice case for partial-birth abortion) didn't sit well with Kagan who thought such a statement "would be a disaster." So she suggested the ACOG add the "may be the best" clause and they did, word for word.

Yuval Levin writes,
What’s described in these memos is easily the most serious and flagrant violation of the boundary between scientific expertise and politics I have ever encountered. A White House official formulating a substantive policy position for a supposedly impartial physicians’ group, and a position at odds with what that group’s own policy committee had actually concluded? You have to wonder where all the defenders of science—those intrepid guardians of the freedom of inquiry who throughout the Bush years wailed about the supposed politicization of scientific research and expertise—are now. If the Bush White House (in which I served as adomestic policy staffer) had ever done anything even close to this it would have been declared a monumental scandal, and rightly so.
This is why I don't trust unverified information from abortion promoting groups like the ACOG. If you don't have a problem with the killing of a human child who is more born than unborn then why would you have a problem with lying?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life Links 6/29/10

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is suing to prevent new Nebraska abortion restrictions from taking effect.
The new law would require women wanting abortions to be screened by doctors or other health professionals to determine whether they were pressured into having the procedure. Those women also would have to be screened for risk factors indicating they could have mental or physical problems after an abortion.
Planned Parenthood hasn't disclosed whether they are planning to challenge Nebraska's new fetal pain law which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks.

I didn't think I've ever read something like this in the New York Times Magazine.
At week 24, the fetus is a fully formed baby, weighing over a pound and measuring nearly a foot long. The mother has felt it kicking and seen it in lifelike detail on a screen; were she to go into labor, it would perhaps survive. The procedure to end her pregnancy at that stage takes days, not minutes, and its risks are much higher. Abortion providers who are willing to do it — indeed, who have the stomach for it — are quite rare.

A Milwaukee firefighter named Robert Johnson has been caught preying on a child after the girl became pregnant and he encouraged her to have an abortion to cover his tracks. He has been suspended with pay. I can't find any story which indicates whether the girl had an abortion or not.

Monday, June 28, 2010

British government: Killing babies unborn babies is okay, hurting them is bad

This is one of those stories that boggles my mind.

In Britain, the NHS will use tax dollars to pay for abortions. Close to 90% of Britain's abortions are funded by the NHS. So they clearly have no problem killing unborn children.

Yet NICE, another government funded health entity in Britain, has issued guidelines which call for every pregnant woman to receive a carbon monoxide test to see if she's been smoking.
"During pregnancy, smoking puts the health of the women and her unborn baby at great risk both in the short and long-term, and small children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from respiratory problems," Professor Mike Kelly, Nice director of the centre of public health excellence, said.
The Telegraph has this quote from the Department of Health:
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "We welcome the publication of these new guidelines. Smoking in pregnancy is a major public health concern posing risks to both mother and baby. We want the NHS to use this guidance to develop the best possible services for pregnant women."

So they have no problem with funding the intentional killing of more than a hundred thousand unborn children every year but are quite concerned about how smoking affects the health of unborn children.

Another IVF clinic blunder

This time a fertility clinic in Connecticut implanted one woman's embryonic children into another woman with the same last name. The clinic then quickly informed the woman who underwent the transfer and she took the morning after pill. The clinic has been fined $3,000.
State records say the lab technician only checked the last name on the container with the embryos, not the medical record number and last four digits of the Social Security number as required.

She discovered the error the next day, but the embryos already had been transferred to the wrong patient. The woman who owned the embryos also was informed of the error. She had not been in treatment since 2006, but had continued to store embryos at the center.

Life Links 6/28/10

National Right to Life has responded to the paper by the UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists which claimed unborn children can’t feel pain before 24 weeks.
Ironically, the article concedes the evidence that by 20 weeks pain receptors are present throughout the unborn child’s skin, that these are linked by nerves to the thalamus and the subcortal plate, and that these children have coordinated aversive reactions to painful stimuli, and experience increased stress hormones from it.

This article is an effort by acknowledged abortion promoters to mislead the public at-large – and most tragically women considering abortion – about the increasing evidence demonstrating the unborn child’s sensitivity to pain.

The Boston Globe has an editorial criticizing the NIH and NIH director Francis Collins for not allowing federal funds to be used researching human embryonic stem cell lines created by an IVF clinic which used objectionable language on their informed consent papers. It’s a great example of the desire of some to dismiss any regulation which prevents something scientists want.
Collins’ refusal wasn’t without regret. He said it was “frankly rather painful” for his advisory committee to recommend against approval of the cell lines, but that “rigorous guidelines are only meaningful if they are rigorously applied.”

That sentiment is admirable, but in this case a “rigorous’’ application of the consent rules worked against the greater good.

In a new book, University of Illinois historian Leslie Reagan argues that German measles played a large role in the shift of public attitude on abortion.
Where abortion had been illegal and shameful, it became a subject of open public discussion and debate, Reagan said. In the midst of a German measles epidemic, the most "respectable" women - married, middle-class, white mothers - began to openly speak of their pregnancies, their concern about having a child with severe malformations, and their need for abortions, she said.

Joining them with vocal support for reforming the abortion laws was a diverse coalition difficult to imagine today - including, for instance, the PTA, Republicans, unions, medical associations and a long list of Protestant churches.

But that history, like German measles (also known as rubella), has largely been forgotten, according to Reagan, a professor of history, of law and of women's studies.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Life Links 6/25/10

In the National Post, Andrea Mzorek and Rebecca Walberg take apart the World Health Organization's estimates on maternal deaths because of abortion.
It's a tragedy whether 700 or 70,000 women die from abortions. However, the issue is much bigger than the number. The assumptions used to calculate the 70,000 are debatable and the methodology isn't up to scientific standards. In the end, 70,000 is nothing more than a stab in the dark by the World Health Organization's own admission.

The source for the 70,000 lies in a series of reports published by WHO called Unsafe Abortion. There, researchers repeatedly clarify how hard it is to study the issue due to the lack of data. One citation (of many) reads: "As there are no feasible data collection methods that can reliably reflect the overall burden of unsafe abortion, one is left to work with incomplete information on incidence and mortality from community studies or hospitals ... This is then adjusted to correct for misreporting and under-reporting." It's no big surprise that some of the world's poorest or war-torn nations don't keep impeccable abortion statistics. So researchers rely on assumption after assumption.

In the UK, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have issued a report saying the unborn can't feel pain before 24 weeks because their nerve endings aren't sufficiently formed. The report also claims that past 24 weeks, the unborn are sedated and possibly might not feel pain and anaesthetics shouldn't be required for fetal surgery. In another report they refused to list fetal conditions which would justify an abortion after 24 weeks. In this Telegraph article, it appears the committee didn't pay any attention to the evidence that premature infants feel pain.
Professor Allan Templeton, president of the Royal College, who chaired the review, told The Times that research put forward by anti-abortion campaigners that the human foetus did feel pain at or before 24 weeks was based on evidence from premature babies. This did not apply to the foetus in the womb, he said.
Huh? Well, what if the premature babies were younger than 24 weeks? Wouldn't that kind of destroy the presumption that before 24 weeks the nerve endings aren't sufficiently formed?

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is planning on opening an abortion clinic in Omaha late this year.

In Iowa, a man who protests at Planned Parenthood had his house vandalized with pro-abortion graffiti.

One wonders if Planned Parenthood would treat a prolife protester like National Right to Life treats Bill Baird?
Mr. Baird, 78, who once ran the nation's first abortion clinic, was among those attending the National Right to Life Convention at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport on Thursday. A regular attendee, his routine for decades has been to picket from 11:30 to noon on behalf of abortion rights, then join his rivals for lunch inside.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"My unborn daughter will only be recognized as a full human being if she can have an abortion"

Below is an interesting quote from someone who thinks it should be legal to kill unborn human beings at virtually any stage of development and has no problem de-humanizing them when they aren’t her own child.

Jessica Valenti (who is apparently pregnant - congratulations) writes,
Putting aside for a moment the fact that this line of reasoning is completely desperate, I have to say that part of the reason Palin and other “feminists” scare me so much is because I’m a happy woman with a family of my own, including a baby on the way. I want my daughter to grow up in a country that sees her as a full human being and has laws and policies that reflect as much – not one where politicians take her rights away and call it feminism.
And seemingly in Jessica’s mind, the central way for her unborn daughter to be seen as full human being in our society is to make sure that the intentional killing of unborn human beings (like her daughter) is legal for mothers who don’t want them.

Would you like a side of french fries with that cognitive dissonance?

Life Links 6/24/10

Researchers in Italy have published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine detailing the long term success of their work in using stem cells to treat patients who were blinded in one eye by chemical burns. From the AP:
In the Italian study, the doctors removed scar tissue over the cornea and glued the laboratory-grown stem cells over the injured eye. In cases where both eyes were damaged by burns, cells were taken from an unaffected part of the limbus.

Researchers followed the patients for an average of three years and some as long as a decade. More than three-quarters regained sight after the transplant. An additional 13 percent were considered a partial success. Though their vision improved, they still had some cloudiness in the cornea.

Patients with superficial damage were able to see within one to two months. Those with more extensive injuries took several months longer.

The Times of India has a piece on a study by Sri Lankan researchers which found abortions tripled the risk of women getting breast cancer later in life. It was a smaller study with 300 women.

A psychiatrist in Oregon is planning on opening a “Death with Dignity house” where individuals can kill themselves.
Weisberg told KGW-TV he felt compelled to act after watching a TV interview with Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who pioneered assisted suicide.

A 14-year-old girl in Texas has been arrested after giving birth at home and then getting an adult neighbor to throw the infant boy’s body in the trash.
Houston police said no adults were present — only another 14-year-old and two 11-year-olds — when the girl gave birth April 16, and the group learned about child birth from the Internet. The newborn was placed on a mattress and was "alive for some time," but died after his head was covered with the amniotic sac, Senior Officer C.P. Abbey said.

The UK’s Telegraph has an article on a woman who had an abortion after suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Prolife advocate Ashli Foshee McCall wrote a book entitled, Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum, to help women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quote of the week

"I’m a Unitarian Universalist with atheistic tendencies."

-by bagpiper2005 in an evidence-free Opposing Views diatribe against prolifers

North Carolina clinic will stop performing abortions

An abortion clinic in North Carolina will stop performing abortions after this Saturday. National Women's Health Organization was owned by Susan Hill, an abortion advocate who died earlier this year.
National Women's Health Organization of Raleigh, which was founded in 1976 by the late women's rights activist Susan Hill, is "in transition," said Ann Rose, a longtime friend of Hill's who has been affiliated with the business.

Rose said the last day of procedures would be Saturday but would not elaborate on that or on what "in transition" means for the clinic's staff and potential patients.

The clinic was widely believed to be for sale after Hill died of breast cancer in February.

In addition to the Raleigh facility on Haworth Drive, Hill owned abortion centers in Columbus, Ga., and Jackson, Miss.

Her brother, Dan Hill of Durham, said he is uncertain about the status of the clinics but said Susan Hill had no children and no heirs to leave the businesses to.

Life Links 6/23/10

A study by University of Iowa researchers has found that women seeking elective abortion experience high rates of partner violence. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland participated in the study and Penny Dickey, their chief operating officer, was a study co-author.
"Women seeking termination of pregnancy comprise a particularly high-risk group for physical or sexual assault," said Audrey Saftlas, UI professor of epidemiology and lead author of the study. "In our study, almost 14 percent of women receiving an abortion reported at least one incident of physical or sexual abuse in the past year....

The study was the first to comprehensively evaluate battering among abortion clients, with 8.4 percent of those in a current relationship screening positive for battering.

Wesley Smith reports that Jack Kevorkian admitted on Larry King that he killed his first victim, Janet Adkins. Smith writes,
So, Kevorkian has admitted he’s a repeat murderer. Technically, since there is no statute of limitations for murder, he could be prosecuted for Atkins’ homicide. Instead, he’ll keep getting high level interviews, movies made about him starring Al Pacino, and $50,000 speaking fees at state funded universities. We sure do have a twisted love for outlaws in this country.

A teenager in Malaysia has died after having an abortion.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life Links 6/22/10

A Florida man has been found guilty of killing his girlfriend after she had an abortion against his wishes.
Danielle DeAnn Stubbs, 26, was shot twice -once in the head - in her Pineverde Lane home in January 2009.

McMillian testified in the death-penalty case that he fired two shots in a dark bedroom after Stubbs told him she killed his unborn child.

A New York Times blog discusses how NARAL New York is itching for a vote on a bill to codify Roe v. Wade. Leading Democrats are concerned they don't have the votes.

The NIH has denied a request to allow 42 embryonic stem cell lines from an IVF clinic to be placed on the federal stem cell registry. These cells can't be used in research that receives federal funds.
The availability of the lines, which were created by the private infertility clinic Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago, had been eagerly awaited because they carry mutations for a wide variety of diseases, including cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease and muscular dystrophy. Scientists hope studying them will yield a wealth of information about those and other diseases, leading to new treatments.

The lines had been obtained from embryos donated by couples who were undergoing treatment for infertility and had decided not to use them because tests showed the embryos carried genetic defects.

But the advisory panel found that consent forms permitting use of the embryos contained unusually broad language and those who signed the forms gave up all rights to sue the clinic for any reason.

Eleanor Clift writes in Politics Daily about EMILY's List and how the change in leadership also has supposedly changed their endorsement criteria.
Younger women have a more complex view of abortion, and they don't view the issue as passionately as their mothers. "If you ask them if they support abortion rights, they say they don't know or they don't want to answer that question," says Jen Bluestein, Emily's List communications director. For an organization created around the core mission of promoting reproductive choice, that could be a problem, and that's why its new president, 36-year old Stephanie Schriock, a native of Montana with a strong libertarian streak, is forging a new way forward.....

It's the definition of pro-choice that is evolving under Schriock's leadership, and it apparently will be a lot more flexible than was the case when Malcolm was at the helm, reflecting the changing times and the scientific advances that have clouded the issue. The Emily's List candidate questionnaire is not a lengthy document that asks a candidate to pledge support to very precise and extreme positions. It's about commitment to Roe v. Wade, and for most Democrats, men and women, that's an easy threshold to meet.
In the past, to be endorsed by EMILY's List female candidates had to favor tax-funded abortions. I wonder if that's still the case.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pro-choice group says Supreme Court nominee Kagan believes "the Constitution affords a right to abortion"

The Center for Reproductive Rights posted a press release today in which they point to their legal analysis of Kagan's memos and conclude that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's record suggest that she believes "the Constitution affords a right to abortion." They aren't completely sold on her yet.
In short, Kagan's record suggests that she agrees with the general proposition that the Constitution affords a right to abortion. But her positions on the specific contours of that substantive right are less discernable. In fact, some of her writings raise questions about the depth of her consideration of the significance of reproductive rights to women's health, lives, and equality.

They're troubled by one memo where Kagan notes it "ludicrous" to consider elective abortions part of "needed medical care." According to the CRR, "once a woman decides to terminate her pregnancy, the medical need for an abortion is immediate."


The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine’s (created by California’s embryonic stem cell initiative Prop. 71) appetite for wasting spending state money continues to grow. From the California Stem Cell Report:
The California stem cell agency plans to spend $15.7 million next year for its day-to-day operations, up 28 percent from this year's estimated spending of $12.3 million.

The $3.4 million increase is for the fiscal year that begins in 10 days. The hefty hike in spending comes at a time when the rest of state government is mired in a financial crisis that shows no signs of ending. CIRM's funds are provided, however, from state bonds – money borrowed by the state – and cannot be touched by the governor or the legislature under the terms of Prop. 71, which created the agency.

Because CIRM's budget consists of borrowed cash, the ultimate cost of its operations will be substantially higher than the nominal figures provided by the agency. CIRM has access to $3 billion in bonds. With interest, that translates to roughly a $6 billion bill for the state of California. In other words, the agency's operations will really cost nearly $32 million – not $15.7 million. And the $490,008 salary of CIRM President Alan Trounson will actually cost the people of California something a hair shy of $1 million.....

The biggest increase in the budget is for salaries and benefits – a 22 percent ($1.5 million) increase from about $7 million to $8.5 million. The agency, which now has 45 employees, plans to hire five more persons in the coming year. The budget documents do not discuss hiring scenarios if legislation passes that would remove the 50 person cap at CIRM. Increases in state-mandated benefits amount to $400,000. Assuming an average of 47.5 employees for the year, salaries and benefits will consume $178,589 for each staffer.

Life Links 6/21/10

The apparent ignorance of the regular writers at the RH Reality Check never ceases to amaze me. This time, Robin Marty chastises Cardinal Daniel DiNardo because he calls an embryo an embryo in a letter to the commissioner of the FDA. Marty writes,
Also, the Cardinal seems to have forgotten developmental biology -- an embryo is at least 21 days post-fertilization. Before that, you have a blastocyst or a zygote.
Robin, ....Ummm.... a blastocyst is a name for an embryo at a certain stage of development and your link to a Mayo clinic web page does nothing to prove a pre-implantation embryo isn’t an embryo. Only ignorant people or people attempting to dehumanize human embryos try to act like blastocysts aren’t embryos. Even the National Institutes of Health defines blastocyst as “a preimplantation embryo of about 150 cells produced by cell division following fertilization.”

Also, as an employee of a pro-abortion web site, you might also want to avoid linking to a page whose subheader reads (my emphasis), “Fetal development begins soon after conception. Find out how your baby grows and develops during the first trimester.

In 2009, the number of reported euthanasia cases rose in the Netherlands by 13%.
Last year a total of 2,636 Dutch people were killed by euthanasia, with 80 per cent of cases involving people dying at home after their doctors administered a lethal dose of drugs.

This compares to 2,331 reported deaths by euthanasia in 2008, which saw a 10 per cent rise on 2007.

The New York Times has a piece on a pro-choice adoption agency which is attempting to encourage abortion providers to be more open to talking to women about adoption.
Now Ms. Lohser, 33, works for Spence-Chapin Adoption Services, a New York adoption agency that supports abortion rights, and has come to regret the lack of information she had been able to provide women in Cleveland. If a client said she didn’t think she could carry a pregnancy to term, then never see the child again, Ms. Lohser’s response was, she recalled, “Yup, check, me either.” She did not realize how much more common open adoptions had become; she knew of no adoption agency that would speak to women with an open mind about abortion.

At ProWomanProLife, Andrea Mzorek posts a Canadian study’s findings on abortion and preterm delivery.
After adjusting for baseline characteristics, women with one previous abortion were 45% more likely to have a premature child at under 32 weeks; 71% more likely at less than 28 weeks; and more than twice as likely at less than 26 weeks. This association was even stronger for those with two or more abortions.

The San Franscisco Chronicle has an article on Shinya Yamanka winning the Kyoto Prize for creating induced pluripotent stem cells. The writer, Chronicle’s Science Editor David Perlman, can’t help himself from deceiving his readers in describing President Bush’s embryonic stem cell funding policy.
Before his discovery, those pluripotent human stem cells could only be harvested from human embryos, a source posing such powerful ethical issues that former President George W. Bush banned virtually all embryonic stem cell research eight years ago. The ban remained in force until President Obama reversed it last year.
Even after the reversal of the policy, reporters across America still have so much trouble honestly describing the policy which limited federal funding on embryonic stem cell research. I understand the goal of lying about the policy while it was still in place but why now? In at least one previous article Perlman shows he can accurately describe the Bush policy so why is he intentionally describing it inaccurately now?

Friday, June 18, 2010


Jonah Goldberg on the role of science in policy making:
The most important point isn’t about cheap politics and hypocrisy. It’s about the fundamental misunderstanding of the role of science in policymaking.

Obama once told reporters that “the promise that stem cells hold does not come from any particular ideology; it is the judgment of science, and we deserve a president who will put that judgment first.”

Putting aside the fact that it now appears many scientists were wrong about the promise of stem cells (at least so far), this is morally deranged. If scientists discovered that experimentation on five-year-old children showed huge promise to cure diseases or solve the energy crisis, we wouldn’t say, “Oh, well, scientists say it’s okay.”


Scientists are technicians, not moral philosophers. While they can provide facts that inform good decision-making, they can’t distill morality in a test tube. Politicians shouldn’t abdicate to the guys in white coats their responsibilities to answer moral questions the white-coats can’t answer.

Life Links 6/18/10

Looks like Alaska Governor Sean Parnell was right.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said today that 664 abortions were funded last year through Denali KidCare.

Gov. Sean Parnell recently vetoed money to expand Denali KidCare, the health care program for low income kids and pregnant women, because some of the money funds abortions. Parnell said at the time that the program funded “hundreds” of abortions. Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bettye Davis had disputed that, saying a “very small number” of abortions are funded.

Women on Denali KidCare can have an abortion funded if a physician decides it's "medically necessary." The state doesn't define what is "medically necessary," leaving that to be determined by the treating physician.....

There were 55,754 Alaskans enrolled in Denali KidCare last year, including 7,947 pregnant women.
There were 1,875 abortions performed in Alaska in 2009. It's quite obvious that Alaska abortionists are using their own definition "medically necessary" when around 8% of the pregnant women enrolled in Denali KidCare get "medically necessary" abortions and taxpayer-funded "medically necessary" abortions make up more than a third of the state's abortions.

Alaskans have their Supreme Court to thank for this ridiculous scenario where a fund designed to help children and give prenatal care to pregnant women turns into an abortion fund which funds more than a third of the state's abortions.

World Magazine has a piece on 5 women who chose life after receiving troubling prenatal diagnoses and being advised to have abortions.

Susanne Schultz writes about companies attempting to clone human embryos are weaseling their way around a California law which prevents paying women for eggs destined for research purposes.
The oocytes used by Stemagen for cloning research come from women who are paid $5,000 to $10,000 per egg extraction. These women are recruited by Select Surrogate to sell their eggs to clients waiting in the adjacent IVF units that belong to Reproductive Sciences Center. Payment for eggs for reproductive purposes is legal in the United States.

But the La Jolla group of companies adds a twist. Wood told me that they ask women to agree that if more than 12 eggs are extracted, they will donate some of them, without additional payment, to research. As the Center for Genetics and Society has suggested, this arrangement poses a possible conflict of interest, a concern strengthened by our investigation.

The Food and Drug Administration's panel of reproductive health experts has voted unanimously to endorse ellaOne, a pill taken up to 5 days after intercourse which may have post-fertilization effects.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"The fact is..."

Overheard at Mo Rage in a post entitled, "The fact is, anti-abortion people really don't want abortions to go away."
First there was RU486, the "day after" contraceptive pill and now there is a new one that is reputedly effective up to 120 hours after conception. So, the fact is, we have two different ways to make sure that a true abortion procedure never has to happen again. That's a fact. But the other fact is, the anti-abortion side, the anti-abortion people don't want this issue to go away. They want to keep their "good fight". And it's stupid.

Isn't it great when someone who doesn't know the difference between RU-486 and Plan B, has no clue about the effectiveness rates of emergency contraception, and apparently can't understand why prolifers would be concerned about an emergency contraceptive which might have post-contraceptive effects starts claiming that prolifers don't want abortions to go away.

But prolifers are stupid ones, eh?

Obese women more likely to have abortions, unplanned pregnancies

At least in France they are.

A study of French men and women found that obese women are 4 times more likely to experience unplanned pregnancies and have abortions.
Among women under age 30, researchers noted that obese respondents were four times as likely to report having had an unplanned pregnancy or abortion compared with normal BMI-range peers. They also found that, compared to normal range BMI women, obese women were less likely to have spoken with a doctor in the previous year about options for contraception, were less likely to use the birth control pill or condoms, and were significantly more likely — 8 times more likely, specifically — to report using less effective contraception methods (such as "pulling out").
I'm guessing it's likely that income levels could be an overlying factor.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Life Links 6/15/10

Adam Freedman has a piece in the National Review discussing how Roe v. Wade could be an obstacle to Obamacare.
Because the right to privacy is deemed fundamental, any statute that threatens that right is subject to “strict scrutiny” by the courts. It is difficult to see how the individual mandate would survive such scrutiny. After all, if the right to privacy guarantees our liberty to make “intimate,” “personal” decisions relating to “health,” “dignity,” and “autonomy,” does it not also protect our right not to buy health insurance? If the Constitution prohibits government from dictating decisions that “full adult humans” can otherwise make for themselves, how can the same Constitution authorizeCongress to force adult citizens to enter into particular private contracts?

NARAL hearts Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
A Democratic source sent HuffPost the talking points being distributed by NARAL Pro-Choice America and used in turn by progressive groups tasked with defending Kagan's record. The bullets cast Obama's choice for the court as decidedly within the mainstream of public opinion on abortion -- which, for NARAL, is a positive. Notably, they cast Kagan as heir to the views held by Republican nominee and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor....

Ted Miller, a spokesman for NARAL, confirmed the authenticity of the talking points, though he said they should not be interpreted as an endorsement. That would, ostensibly, come after Kagan goes through her hearings. Still, Miller seemed generally pleased with the written record so far, and said eight staff members for the group looked through more than 40,000 documents released last week.

"The writings are consistent with the pro-choice position of the Clinton White House and even Sandra Day O'Connor," Miller said.

The St. Petersburg Times has a long piece on the experiences of some young women who were part of Scientology's Sea Org and claim they were pushed into having abortions.

Linda Hirschman is so enraptured with abortion she apparently can't see how female prolife candidates may think working to limit a procedure which kills more than half a million females annually is making "it easier for the young ones coming along next."
Fiorina and Palin's pitches reveal graphically how selfish their brand of feminism is. With the addition of a hefty dose of good luck, and, in Fiorina's case, the value of a privileged family background, they made it. So their public policy is not to make it any easier for any woman who comes after them with, say, control of her reproduction or health care separate from her husband's job. Somehow the brilliant light of their narcissism is supposed to blind voters to the fact that there's another response to making it. Here's what real—not grizzly—mothers do: Make it easier for the young ones coming along next.

A legislator in Michigan has introduced a bill to modify Michigan's ultrasound law to force abortionists to use the most advanced equipment in their abortion clinic when giving women the option of viewing their ultrasound.
Republican Sen. Wayne Kuipers of Holland says he introduced the new legislation because some facilities have used outdated equipment that intentionally produced grainy images instead of using their newest technology.

Monday, June 14, 2010

“We are all terminal”

According to Jack Kevorkian, that is. CNN has Sanjay Gupta’s report on a recent interview he did with Dr. Death. It has some of the usual crazy Kevorkian ramblings (he is now calling his assisted suicide work “patholysis”) but it also clearly illustrates that Kevorkian didn’t give a hoot if the people he helped kill had any kind of physical ailment.
It was about an hour into the interview when I realized Kevorkian was trying to make a broader point. It started when I cited a study about the people he had "patholysed."

"It says here that in at least five of the people, there was no evidence of any disease on autopsy."

I let that hang in the air for a second. He seemed a little stunned that I had found this study. He shook his head slightly, and looked again at his lawyer, with no intention of addressing the point I had just made.

"Recently, I had three former CEOs of companies -- perfectly healthy -- who called me up and told me they wish to die." He let that sink in.

It was my turn to be stunned. "So... what did you do? What did you tell them?" I asked gently.

"No, nothing," he said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "I didn't do anything, but people have their rights."


His second mission is to educate people about patholysis. "They just don't get it in Oregon, " he said. "Or in Washington state or Montana, the other states," where assisted suicide has been legalized. In those states, a person has to be considered terminal in order to qualify for assisted suicide.

"What difference does it make if someone is terminal?" he said. "We are all terminal."

Alabama abortion clinic shuts down after numerous violations

A local NBC affiliate has posted a PDF of a Alabama Department of Public Health report on an abortion clinic which the ADPH is forcing to close. An article sums up the Beacon Women’s Center’s various violations:
The 68 page ADPH includes detailed information on violations such as failure to inspect medical equipment, the inability to conduct a controlled drug count during procedures and failure to follow administrative guidelines informing patients of their rights.

During one visit by surveyors, the report indicates that the Registered Nurse on duty was unable to get into the controlled medical cabinet because the Medical Director left the only key in his Selma office. Seventeen patients who were scheduled to have procedures that day were given the option of rescheduling their appointment or going ahead without the use of sedation. All of the patients chose to go ahead with their procedures without sedation.

Expired drugs, lack of emergency medical equipment such as oxygen tanks and failure to document testing of key equipment such as defibrillators were also cited on one visit.

The report indicated that surveyors requested several times to see the clinic's written policy on parental consent for minors and suspected abuse or neglect of a child in accordance with law. The investigation found no written policies. In an interview, the Medical Director was asked if he reported minors who sought an abortion. His response: "Oh yeah. I ask them, but they (the minor patients) lie to you..." He questioned officials on whether he had to report minors even if "nothing comes up", to which the reply was "yes."

In another violation, documents showed that many patients filled out forms indicating they'd been offered an ultrasound or the chance to watch a video called 'Did You Know'. Some employees admitted they never offered patients the opportunity, while one said the video was offered on the first counseling session. Further inspection showed the room where the video was to be watched had no video player.

They are no longer allowed to perform abortions and are open until the 18th just to see women for follow-up exams.

Apparently, the abortionist wasn't very familiar with Alabama's reporting law. From the report,
EI # 7 asked the surveyor if minors had to be reported even if the father of the child was a minor. EI # 7 asked the surveyor, "So if mom is 12 and father is 15 then it will still have to be reported?" The surveyor responded that
this was correct.

UPDATED: Beacon Women's Center is affiliated with the National Abortion Federation and is listed as on their web site.

Life Links 6/14/10

Ramesh Ponnuru has an editorial in the New York Times on prolife women running for office.
The number of pro-life women running for office has increased, perhaps paradoxically, because of the social changes of the last few decades. The first generation of women to become active in politics strongly identified as feminist and considered abortion rights central to their feminism. Pro-life women were more likely to be full-time homemakers. Their invisibility on the public stage contributed to an impression that the vast majority of women were pro-choice.

These days socially conservative women are likely to have careers, too. The growing number of Americans who consider themselves pro-life suggests that fewer people, of either sex, consider access to abortion to be crucial to women’s economic success. The pro-life stance generally wins Republicans votes in general elections, because pro-lifers are more likely to vote on the issue than pro-choicers are.

That advantage is likely to be more pronounced for pro-life women running for office. Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, says that her surveys have found that voters respond more positively to the pro-life message when it comes from women. Pro-life women won’t be suspected, or credibly accused, of opposing abortion because they want to keep women in their place; they can therefore talk about the issue less defensively than male pro-lifers sometimes do.

At the Abortion Gang blog, Shayna attempts to argue that prolifers know fetuses aren’t the same as children because they haven’t (to the best of her knowledge) pushed for tax exemptions for unborn children and stillborns. The argument is obviously logically flawed for a number of reasons but Shayna is also unaware that prolifers in at least one state have successfully passed legislation to give families who experience a stillbirth after 20 weeks a one-time tax exemption. The legislation passed unanimously.

Open mouth, insert foot.

A man in Connecticut named Arturo Rojas has been arrested for repeatedly hitting his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach because she wouldn’t get an abortion.
According to police, Rojas came back to the woman’s apartment while they were investigating and told them: “Yeah, I (messed) that (woman) up. She is stupid and won’t get an abortion.”

Governor Charlie Crist vetoed Florida’s ultrasound legislation on Friday.
"Such measures do not change hearts, which is the only true and effective way to ensure that a new life coming into the world is loved, cherished and receives the care that is deserved," Crist wrote.....

GOP reaction was so swift that the House Republican office issued a news release decrying the veto seven minutes before the governor's office announced it.

"This is just another example of Charlie Crist saying something publicly one day and then doing the opposite the next," said House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach. "Charlie Crist is becoming easy to predict: disregarding principle, previous statements or public assurances, he will switch his positions to whatever he thinks will get him the most votes.'

The Washington Post has an article on ella, a new emergency “contraceptive” which may act to prevent implantation.
Ella works as a contraceptive by blocking progesterone's activity, which delays the ovaries from producing an egg. RU-486, too, blocks the action of progesterone, which is also needed to prepare the womb to accept a fertilized egg and to nurture a developing embryo. That's how RU-486 can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting and dislodge growing embryos. Ella's chemical similarity raises the possibility that it might do the same thing, perhaps if taken at elevated doses. But no one knows for sure because the drug has never been tested that way. Opponents of the drug are convinced it will. "It kills embryos, just like the abortion pill," said Donna Harrison, president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists....

They also fear some women will try to use ella to abort a fetus, putting themselves at risk for potentially life-threatening complications that have been reported among a small number of women using RU-486, and possibly damage their developing child if it doesn't work.

Proponents dismiss those concerns, saying that ella has been tested only within five days of unprotected sex and there is no evidence that it works as anything other than a contraceptive. Ella appears to be about twice as effective as Plan B in preventing pregnancy, and its effectiveness remains constant for at least 120 hours. Plan B begins to lose its effectiveness almost immediately and becomes ineffective after 72 hours.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Kagan to Clinton: Don't ban the cloning of human embryos for research

Americans United for Life has a press release which unearths how Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan encouraged President Clinton to keep human cloning for research legal when she was his domestic policy advisor.
In a May 29, 1997 memo to the President, Kagan and Jack Gibbons (Assistant to the President for Science and Technology) recommended: “(1) that [the President] support domestic legislation banning human cloning, and . . . announce specific legislation at the top of your June 10th press conference; and (2) that the U.S. support the gist of France’s proposed cloning paragraph [in the G-8 Communiqué] while insisting on critical modifications.”[1] However, as the memo explains, Kagan’s “ban” on cloning only banned the use of cloning aimed at the live-birth of a baby, not at cloning that takes human life.

A June 3, 1997 memo to the President from Todd Stern (Staff Secretary) and Phil Caplan (Assistant to the President), which was submitted along with Kagan’s memo, clarified that the proposed ban should allow the cloning of human embryos for experimentation. With a check mark, President Clinton indicated his approval of the recommendation by “Jack/Elena . . . that you announce your support for NBAC-type[2] legislation and that you propose specific legislative language”.[3]

In a follow-up June 8, 1997 memo to the President, Kagan and Gibbons further clarified that “NBAC’s proposed legislation –and, as currently drafted, your bill –would not ban the creation of cloned embryos for research purposes.”[4] On the same day, Stern drove that home once again in bold-face type, writing: “[t]he attached Kagan/Gibbons memo recommends that you follow NBAC in not banning the cloning of embryos for research.”[5]

Life Links 6/11/10

I think Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels might regret saying this when being asked follow-up questions regarding his "truce on social issues" idea.
To clarify whether Daniels simply wants to de-emphasize these issues or actually not act on them, I asked if, as president, he would issue an executive order to reinstate Reagan's "Mexico City Policy" his first week in office. (Obama revoked the policy during his first week in office.) Daniels replied, "I don't know."

Not cool.
The revelations centre on t-shirt designs made for soldiers that make light of shooting pregnant Palestinian mothers and children and include images of dead babies and destroyed mosques.

The t-shirts were printed for Israeli soldiers at the end of periods of deployment or training courses and were discovered by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

One, printed for a platoon of Israeli snipers depicts an armed Palestinian pregnant women caught in the crosshairs of a rifle, with the disturbing caption in English: "1 shot 2 kills".

The Center for Women's Health abortion clinic in Overland, Kansas shut down for more than an hour after employees were suspicious of a package without a return address. The package contained a bonsai tree which was sued as an event invitation.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicago mother turns down abortion, stands by her conjoined twins

The Chicago Breaking News Center has a story about conjoined twins Kameron and Kaydon Manns at a University of Illinois Medical Center.
Lying face to face, with one arm draped around the other, Kaydon and Kameron appear to be locked in a loving embrace.

But the boys, not yet 3 months old, have no choice but to hug each other every minute of every day. They are conjoined twins who share a liver and a single malformed heart.

Doctors discussed terminating the pregnancy with the mother, Brianna Manns, 21, after they determined the twins were not likely to survive. But Manns said abortion was never an option.

"I am a strong believer in not having abortions -- very, very strong," said Manns, taking a break from the neonatal intensive care unit at University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, where her sons are hospitalized. "And they are my babies."
The family has been unable to find a hospital willing to attempt to separate the twins.

(Photo via Chicago Tribune / E. Jason Wambsgans)

Life Links 6/10/10

Joe Carter responds to journalist Sally Lehrman’s belief that the blame for the over-hyping of embryonic stem cell lies solely at the feet of the media.
The public is aware that science is a “long and arduous process.” But ESCR was not sold as basic, speculative science but as an alchemical process that, with sufficient funding, could turn “discarded” embroyos into a cure for grandmother’s Alzheimer’s within a few years. The idea that therapeutic treatments were not imminent would have come as a surprise to the average Prop. 71 voter. Had they been told they were giving more money to their bankrupt state to buy petri dishes today for “basic research” they would have balked. Had they been told the truth—that such research will never, ever produce such cures—they would have been outraged at having been defrauded.

Instead of exposing this massive fraud—as a responsible journalist would do—Lehrman turns into a propagandist for the people who perpetuated this multi-billion dollar boondoggle

Speaking of selling embryonic stem cell research, here’s a novel way of trying to do just that: A video with a professor attempting to rap about stem cells.

The video features Jonathan Garlick, who grew three dimensional tissues from human embryonic stem cells last year. It unfortunately includes the ridiculous promise that stem cells will cure basically everything. His lab is also working with iPS cells.

Rick Snyder, a Republican candidate for governor of Michigan is still trying to sell himself as a prolife candidate to primary voters despite his support for killing human embryos for research. In a recent online op-ed for the Grand Rapids Press, Snyder says he opposes tax-funded abortions and Obama’s health care plan because “it fails to protect the sanctity of life.”

Question for Rick: Is the sanctity of human life protected by legalizing the killing of human embryos for research?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Life Links 6/9/10

Never one to have a position for principled reasons, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has scrubbed his U.S. Senate campaign web site of its page proclaiming him to be "pro life." I don't think this bodes well for Florida's ultrasound legislation which Crist indicated he is likely to veto.

The New York Times has an article on Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's abortion drugs prescription by video conference scheme.

The Pocono Record has the reaction of Michael Lisk's father to his sons' actions with the 13-year-old girl who self-aborted after being impregnated by the 30-year-old Lisk.
"How could any rational human being walk down the street with a baby in a grocery bag?" he asked. "Everybody is safer because he is in prison. This is where I feel he belongs."

Police in Pennsylvania are investigating the circumstances behind the shooting of a woman who was seven-months pregnant. Apparently, the woman shot herself in the stomach during an argument with her boyfriend/fiancee. The bullet missed the child.
Police say Lashuk, who is seven months pregnant, had been arguing with her boyfriend, Sean Liddle.

Liddle says Lashuk loaded a handgun and pointed it at her head before pointing it at her abdomen. He says he was trying to take the gun from her when it fired.

Authorities say Lashuk could face charges if they determine she tried to harm the fetus.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Singer Smackdown

Joe Carter tells us what he really thinks about Princeton professor Peter Singer and Singer's views on "personhood."
If you found it difficult to follow the internal logic of the argument it is because there is none to be found. Singer tends to make it up as he goes along, tossing out a controversial premise but then refusing to follow it to the rational conclusion. Singer claims that babies aren’t “persons” and therefore are of less worth than other humans. But then he claims that this doesn’t mean that it’s all right to kill such a child. Why not? He doesn’t give any reason. This lack of internal logic or consistency is a common weakness of Singer’s ethical views. Even though he espouses a form of utilitarianism he often backs away from the utilitarian justifications when he finds they offend his sensibilities.

Take, for example, his criterion for personhood. According to Singer’s definition, a “person” refers to a being that is capable of anticipating the future, of having wants and desires for the future. The problem with this definition is that a human being ceases to be a Singerian person when they are unconscious, temporarily comatose, or even just asleep. This leads to the absurd conclusion that a human stops being a person when they go to bed at night and yet wake in the morning with their status as a person fully renewed.

Instead of explaining why anyone should accept such a silly notion, Singer simply skips ahead to explain the practical application. But this leads to another absurd conclusion. What if Singer were in a funk over losing his girlfriend and lay on his couch to take a nap. While drifting off to sleep he whines that he “wished he’d never been born” and “wishes he could just die.” Imagine also that one of his grad students walks by and overhears these mutterings.

Pennsylvania teenager self-aborts

A 13-year-old girl has been hospitalized after performing a self-abortion on herself with a lead pencil. She was impregnated by her 30-year-old "boyfriend."
The Polk Township girl, whose name was not released, told police she performed the abortion on herself Wednesday. Over the next three days, she became violently ill, started having contractions and delivered the baby at her home, according to a police news release.

During labor, police say, the girl had been in contact with Michael James Lisk, of Kunkletown, who she believes was the father of the baby. Lisk came to her home, placed the baby in a plastic shopping bag and buried the baby in a wooded area along Middle Creek Road, between their two homes.
An autopsy on the child is scheduled for today.

Jill at Feministe responds to the problem in her typical fashion by attacking prolifers and asserting that greater access to abortion would have been a help.
And yes, this girl obviously needed access to safe abortion care; if she had such access, she wouldn’t have had to self-induce abortion with a lead pencil. Abortion access would have lessened this tragedy by a significant degree. It’s shameful that, under the guise of caring about children and babies, anti-choice groups seek to limit abortion access for women and girls.
What's really shameful is that under the guise of helping girls, Jill's preferred lack of abortion regulations (no parental consent, tax-dollars funding abortion, etc.) would have keep this girl in this "relationship" until who knows when. And she doesn't even seem to be able to fathom that abortion is often used by predators like Michael Lisk as a method of covering their tracks.

Before blaming prolifers for this unfortunate event, shouldn't Jill know additional facts about the case. Like, how many weeks pregnant was this girl? Or, whose idea was it to self-induce? Did they try to go to the abortion mill in Allentown which was only about 40 minutes away? Or did they try to take a 90 minute drive to New Jersey where parental consent isn't a factor?

Life Links 6/8/10

The Florida legislature has sent Governor Charlie Crist their ultrasound bill. He has 15 days to sign or veto it.

Just when you thought Amanda Marcotte couldn't get more ridiculous. Here's her explanation for why abstinence-only education is to blame for an increase (from 11% to 17%) in teenage girls who use the rhythm method as their method of birth control
Why blame abstinence-only proponents for this? Don’t they just blithely tell young women to “just say no” and leave it at that? Well, yes and no. No one is under the impression that abstinence-only texts or speakers generally push the rhythm method, so much as they push the wedding ring as the cure for all your ills. How you’re expected to control your fertility within marriage is rarely discussed at all in these programs. Still, the rhythm method is associated with the prudish strand of Christian moralizing that also drives the abstinence-only movement, and so the more popular that kind of thinking, the more likely the rhythm method will be seen as a legitimate practice by teenagers.
She doesn't take any time to see if the increase is concentrated in areas where abstinence-only education is taught. Nope, that'd be too much work. Just throw a couple of faulty generalizations out there and you're set.

A Michigan man and his son in Colorado have been arrested for making threats against Congressman Bart Stupak.
On Monday, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in Detroit announced a criminal complaint against Hesch, 73, of West Branch, and his son, David Hesch, 50, of Loveland, Colo., on charges of conspiring to send a gruesome, violent letter to U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, threatening to murder the Menominee Democrat and his family for Stupak's vote for health care reform.

Signed "The Devil Within Us," the letter mentioned the congressman's family by first names and went on to threaten that he would "paint the Mackinaw (sic) Bridge with the blood of you and your family members."

The Belfast Telegraph has the story of a woman who saved her child's life by getting a second opinion after old equipment lead hospital staff to believe her child was already dead.
An Irish hospital wrongly told a pregnant woman her unborn baby was dead — just hours before an operation to remove the foetus.

The woman, who was supplied with abortion-inducing medicine by the hospital, saved her baby's life after she sought a second opinion from her local GP. The shocking incident at the scandal-plagued Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda was caused by out-of-date and unsuitable equipment and shoddy work practices.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Ridiculousness Overheard

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards on a proposed parental notification law in Alaska:

"I think it's an example of a really misguided effort that will only lead to government intrusion in the lives of families, and try to really legislate relationships in families -- that you can't simply do by getting the government involved," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.

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.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday Baby Blogging

At a relative's wedding

Sleeping on the way home

Life Links 6/4/10

CBS News has a report on documents they've obtained from the Library of Congress which give a greater insight into the positions of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on hot-button issues. The document are legal memos from Kagan while she was a law clerk for former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
The documents, buried in Marshall's papers in the Library of Congress, show Kagan standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the liberal left, at a time when the Rehnquist Supreme Court was moving to the conservative right.....

On abortion, Kagan wrote a memo in a case involving a prisoner who wanted the state to pay for her to have the procedure. Kagan expressed concern to Marshall that the conservative-leaning Court would use the case to rule against the woman--and possibly undo precedents protecting a woman's right to abortion.

"This case is likely to become the vehicle that this court uses to create some very bad law on abortion and/or prisoners' rights," she wrote in the 1988 memo.

The New York Times has an article on "an unusually high number of victories" for prolifers in state legislatures.

State Justice Department officials in Wisconsin are recommending that auditors look into the University of Wisconsin's health system because of concerns that the health system may be using tax dollars to fund abortion training.
Wisconsin law prohibits state agencies from paying doctors or medical facilities for performing abortions. The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority pays medical residents specializing in gynecology to train at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, where they can choose to undertake abortion training.

The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based group of Christian lawyers, sent a letter in April on behalf of Pro-Life Wisconsin to Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen alleging UWHCA has paid nearly $60,000 over the last three years to cover residents' training at Planned Parenthood. The group claims the payments violate the law and asked Van Hollen for a formal opinion.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Why can't I call the fetus "a baby?

A member of the Abortion Gang wonders out loud why she shouldn't describe an unborn children as a "baby":
So what if a woman calls a fetus a baby? So what if I follow her lead and say the word baby too? I shouldn’t refrain from using words that the woman is most comfortable with. If after her abortion she feels that her baby died and became an angel, then why can’t I agree with her on that?

Life Links 6/3/10

Researchers from Finland have found that Finnish women who have second trimester abortions are more likely to have repeat abortions.
To better understand factors associated with repeat abortion, as well as risk factors for having an abortion after the first trimester, Heikinheimo and colleagues looked at 41,750 Finnish women who had an abortion between 2000 and 2005 -- 1,900 of whom terminated their pregnancies in the second trimester.

Compared with women who had first trimester abortions, those who had second-trimester abortions were 40 percent more likely to have had a second abortion by the end of 2006, the researchers found, while they were nearly four times as likely to have a second late abortion, and five times as likely to have an abortion after 16 weeks' gestation.

And women younger than 20 years old were seven times as likely as older women to have repeat abortions, and more than 12 times as likely to have a second abortion during their second trimester of pregnancy.

Lack of access to abortions was unlikely to be a factor in whether or not women had late abortions, the researchers note, given that by Finnish law there must be "no unnecessary delays" in performing abortion once a woman decides to apply for one; also, almost all of the abortions in the study were done in public hospitals.
Something to remember when pro-choicers claim that abortion restrictions only lead to women getting later term abortions.

The health ministry of Costa Rica has shut down the country’s largest stem cell clinic because there is no evidence their adult stem cell treatments work.

An abortionist in India has been arrested after a woman bled to death after she performed on abortion on her.

Dorothy Warren writes in a solid letter to the editor of the Washington Post in response to Jessica Valenti’s editorial on Sarah Palin and feminism.
Jessica Valenti may be a passionate feminist, but she's clearly no logician. While claiming "there's no grand arbiter of the [feminist] label," she nevertheless said that it is "absolutely" possible to exclude women such as Sarah Palin from the feminist camp -- in other words, that there is a grand arbiter, and her name is Ms. Valenti.

The touchstone of this grand arbiter is no mystery. While Ms. Valenti mentioned other feminist issues -- universal suffrage, pay equity, the persistence of patriarchy -- the one measure she invoked no less than seven times was: abortion.
I’d also note that Valenti’s editorial includes the years-old media created myth that Sarah Palin slashed funding for a shelter for teenage moms.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Life Links 6/2/10

William McGurn on Gallup's abortion poll results and pro-choice responses to it.
Now, let's concede the critics their strongest point: It's true that most Americans want abortion to remain legal. Not only that, the numbers suggest that at least some of those who describe themselves as pro-life nonetheless do not support making abortion completely illegal.

Seldom, however, do the same critics delve much further than this. Possibly that's because they would find that while most Americans may not want abortion illegal, the majority in every age group want it legal, as Gallup phrased it, "only under certain circumstances."
Some object to the term pro-life on the grounds that it gives the anti-abortion movement an unfair advantage. Accordingly, a number of news organizations no longer use pro-life or pro-choice, the latest being National Public Radio. The thought here is that the word pro-life is fooling people.

Now, if this were 1973, that might be an argument. But isn't it just a wee condescending to suggest, after more than a generation of contentious moral and political debate, that the American people really haven't figured out what pro-life and pro-choice mean?

In northern Italy, women who feel they can't afford to have a child are being offered 4,500 euros by the government to keep their children.
Mr Formigoni said that, despite cuts in the budget, $5 million had been set aside to allow women in economic difficulty to be given €250 a month for 18 months.

If a woman told doctors she wanted an abortion for economic reasons she would be referred to a new centre for helping life for evaluation.

Wesley Smith has a column in Legatus Magazine discussing why assisted suicide is being promoted now.
In fighting assisted suicide since 1993, I have often pondered the “why now” question. I’ve found two answers: First, the perceived overriding purpose of society has shifted to the benefit of assisted suicide advocacy, and second, our public policies are driven and defined by a media increasingly addicted to slinging emotional narratives rather than reporting about rational discourse and engaging in principled analysis. Add in a popular culture enamored with social outlaws, and the potential exists for a perfect euthanasia storm.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Life Links 6/1/10

At This is What a Feminist Blog Looks Like, Arielle Cohen shares that at a fundraiser honoring murdered abortionist George Tiller, abortionist LeRoy Carhart told attendees that before he was murdered, Tiller was planning on retiring to travel with his wife.

At Salon, Lynn Harris writes about trying to replace "pro-choice" with "pro-freedom."

Canadian researchers have released a study which found that taking anti-depressants during pregnancy was associated with a higher risk of miscarriage.
The link was most pronounced for women taking a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), particularly the drug paroxetine, which is sold in generic form or under the brand name Paxil.

Another type of antidepressant, venlafaxine (Effexor), also was more strongly associated with miscarriage under 20 weeks gestation, as was taking higher doses of the drugs or a combination of the medications, the researchers found.

"The major finding is that antidepressant use during pregnancy increases the risk of spontaneous abortion by 68 per cent," said epidemiologist Anick Berard, principal investigator of the study published this week by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

A veterinary doctor in Australia believe older couples looking to have children will turn to IVF first as opposed to the old fashioned way.
Dr Yovich, co-author of a new report in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine, said: 'Natural human reproduction is at best a fairly inefficient process.

'Within the next five to ten years, couples approaching 40 will assess the IVF industry first when they want to have a baby.' He based his hunch on the fact that in cattle, IVF works almost every time. He said there was no reason that success rate could not be replicated in humans.