Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Sad Day for British Doctors

The British Medical Association has dropped their opposition to physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.

The BMA has also voted against a motion which supported reducing the upper limit of legal abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks.

Dean on Hardball

Here's the transcript of Howard Dean's interview last night on Hardball with Chris Matthews.

Here are a few assertions by Vermont's former governor:

Now Zarqawi is in Iraq. Now there are foreign terrorists in Iraq.

Yeah, because before the U.S. invaded Iraq, it was a kite-flying, terrorist free zone.

George Neumayer had a piece in the American Spectator before the election regarding this type of assertion.

The problem with the kind of name-calling that you see in the right wing is it's polarizing.

Now that's a howler coming from someone who's said the kind of things Dean has said about Republicans. Later in the interview Dean works to stop the polarization and bring the parties together.

The Republican leadership does not care about working people.....And I don't think the Republican Party does care about ordinary American working people.

True Deception

In what appears will be an ongoing series on how to misuse language in an attempt to show how prolifers "misuse" language, Planned Parenthood has posted Dictionary of Deceit: Part One on their web site. The fact that this crap gets past editors and is featured on the front page of their web site, almost makes me embarrassed for Planned Parenthood.

The reality is that pro-choice people promote a "culture of life" and a "hospitable society" in which women's lives are valued and every child is wanted and loved.

That's as long as you don't count the unborn as children.

microscopic Americans
The spin: Coined several years ago by a columnist in the National Review, the term implies that stem-cell research is "cruelly dismissive" of the potential "citizens" that "microsopic Americans" (a.k.a. discarded embryos) would become if adopted instead of used for scientific research.

The truth: According to a 2000 study, there are some 400,000 discarded pre-embryos in existence. The couples who produced these pre-embryos subsequently certified that they had made a decision to discard them.

The writer, Chris Hayhurst, is either completely ignorant regarding the future of the 400,000 embryos or a distinguished liar. Multiple new sources, including Salon's hit piece, even Ellen Goodman for goodness sakes, have informed the public that the large majority of these 400,000 embryos are being stored for families who are planning on bringing about another pregnancy. To term the 400,000 embryos as "discarded" is beyond pale.

Also, notice the use of the term "pre-embryo." Isn't it typical that Planned Parenthood is manipulating language in a piece determined to highlight how prolife people "manipulate language?"

Pro-choicer Lee Silver shed some light on the term "pre-embryo" in his book "Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World" when he wrote:

I'll let you in on a secret. The term pre-embryo has been embraced wholeheartedly by IVF practitioners for reasons that are political, not scientific. The new term is used to provide the illusion that there is something profoundly different between what we nonmedical biologists still call a six-day-old embryo and what we and everyone else call a sixteen-day-old embryo.

The term pre-embryo is useful in the political arena – where decisions are made about whether to allow early embryo (now called pre-embryo) experimentation – as well as in the confines of a doctor's office, where it can be used to allay moral concerns that might be expressed by IVF patients. "Don't worry," a doctor might say, "it's only pre-embryos that we're manipulating or freezing. They won't turn into real human embryos until after we've put them back into your body."

"partial-birth" abortion
The spin: The term is meant to call to mind an abhorrent image.

The truth: No such medical procedure exists.

I wonder if Hayhurst is talking about the abhorrent images below. In a way, Hayhurst is right. There is nothing "medical" about partially delivering a child, jamming scissors into their skull, and sucking their brains out. Either way, it's nice to know Planned Parenthood continues to file lawsuits and lobby against bills which hope to ban an abortion procedure that doesn't exist.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Who is "The Religious Right?"

"The Religious Right" is the constant punching bag of individuals who usually fall on the left side of the political spectrum but hardly do these individuals ever actually define which bag they are punching at. Sometimes "The Religious Right" seems to be anyone who is a Christian and has right-leaning views on politics. At other times "The Religious Right" is a small group of extremists who yield enormous power over the rest of America's backwood plebians.

Whoever "The Religious Right" are, they are usually the cause of almost all the world's problems. When abortions supposedly increase, it must be because of the economic downturn caused by "The Religious Right." When bloodthirsty terrorists fly planes into buildings, it must be because "The Religious Right" is a friend of Israel and stations troops in the Middle East. When an enormous tsunami kills hundreds of thousands of people, it's because "The Religious Right" has failed to be caretakers of God's creation. When sharks attack human beings, it's because "The Religious Right" has failed to teach its children to respect an animal's natural habitat. Just kidding about that last one.

The latest rant against "The Religious Right" is by Peter Ludlow, a philosophy and linguists professor at the University of Michigan.

Ludlow's treatsie is entitled "95 Theses of the Religious Right."

By reading his completely unsourced diatribe, I now understand that "The Religious Right" has a doctrine of institutionalized hatred and violence, shows no compassion to the poor, encourages violence against gay people, revels in anger, encourages the harassment of women and bombing of abortion clinics, fails miserably as parents, teaches their children to be hateful of gays and people of color, ignores the message of the cross, and is a "vile heretical movement, wholly outside the teachings of the Word of God."

I've now come to the conclusion that "The Religious Right" does not really exist since I doubt you could find a single person on the face of this earth that comes anywhere near meeting Ludlow's Theses. Rather "The Religious Right" is a much discussed bogeyman created out of irrational fears so left-leaning Christians and non-Christians can have some impotent bag to beat on during cocktail parties and faculty meetings.

Ludlow invites individuals to discuss his 95 Theses. He can be reached via e-mail at

So that's what qualifies her to be Planned Parenthood's Vice President

Have you ever wondered what Vanessa Cullins did before she become Planned Parenthood's Vice President of Medical Affairs and starting answering questions on Planned Parenthood's web site?

While looking up some information on partial-birth abortion for a friend I reacquainted myself with Dr. Martin Haskell's presentation to a National Abortion Federation conference on second trimester abortions via National Right to Life's web site. The PDF file also contains the Table of Contents for this prestigious killing strategy seminar and guess who was also there to help her fellow abortionists learn how to destroy human life more effectively?

None other than Vanessa Cullins. Cullins discussed the "Medical Induction" abortion technique. This abortion technique involves the induced early delivery of a child. Chemicals such as digoxin or saline may or may not be injected into the child or the amniotic sac before the induction of delivery.

According to the Clinical Policy Guidelines (pg. 21) of the National Abortion Federation, one of the main concerns with second trimester abortions performed by medical induction is the "possibility of a live birth." They advise that "the use of fetocidal agents may be beneficial" to avoid "potential medical and legal consequences."

I wonder if Cullins used "fetocidal agents" or if she risked having children being born alive.

United States Leads World in Funding for Embryo Destructive Research

From the latest "Culture and Cosmos" e-mail from the Culture of Life Foundation. They've yet to put it on-line but when they do it will be here.

One of the arguments used by American proponents of embryo-destructive research is that there is a great brain-finance drain from the US to other countries as a result of federal limits on the morally controversial theory. But a recent special report from Britain's Financial Times makes it clear that the US is far ahead of most of the world in the number of embryonic stem cell lines that are available for research and in the number of dollars dedicated to embryo destructive research.

"The Future of Stem Cells," a 35-page special report produced by the Financial Times and Scientific American magazine and inserted into copies of the June 20 edition of the Financial Times, contained an analysis of the status of embryo destructive research in nine countries and the European Union. According to the report the US far outpaces other countries in terms of funding for embryo destructive research. Private funding for such research is $200 million and the US federal government provides $24 million dollars for research on embryonic stem cell lines that were created before August 2001. California and New Jersey have already committed to providing more than $3 billion in funding and four states are considering an additional $1.775 billion. By comparison, in the United Kingdom both government and private funding comes in at $100 million; in Sweden government funding accounts for between $10 and $15 million; and in South Korea where scientist have recently created the first embryonic stem cell line from a human clone, private and government funding add up to $60 million. The European Union spends just $650,000 of $170 million stem cell budget on embryonic stem cells and the report claims that the "EU will not increase funding for [embryonic stem cell] projects despite a doubling of the total research budget."

America also stands out in the number of human embryonic stem lines, 46, that are available for research. The nearest competitor is South Korea with 29 such lines. Sweden has eight; the UK has three; and Brazil, Singapore, Israel and Australia have just one each. The report also highlights how little the whole science surrounding embryonic stem cells is regulated in America. Currently there are no federal law forbidding human cloning, prohibiting any kind of stem cell research, or restricting what can be done to "extra" embryos that come about from in vitro fertilization. Cloning for the purpose of research is illegal in Brazil and embryos from in vitro fertilization must be three years old before they can be destroyed for research. The EU parliament passed a ban on all cloning though the ban is non-binding on member states. Cloning for research purposes is also banned in Australia.

Despite America's overwhelming dominance of embryo destructive research and the lack of regulations, many have bemoaned President Bush's refusal to support legislation that would provide funding for the research. On, one of the most highly trafficked liberal blogs, Chris Bowers has written that South Korea's successful human cloning resulting in 11 lines of embryonic stem cells would result in worldwide "brain drain" and he warned in a separate entry the ban on federal funding will result in "huge damage . . . on our economy."

If you need a laugh

This voice mail was supposedly left by an operations manager for Jack in the Box who was late for a meeting. He called his boss to tell him he was running late. As he was leaving the voice mail message, he witnessed an accident and went on to provide a "play by play" of the incident.

Whether this is fake or real, I found it quite amusing.

"She's tomahawking him!"

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Poor Choice Strategy

Katha Politt has a piece in The Nation regarding the pro-choice movement's most recent attempt to redefine itself and abortion with the linguist techniques of George Lakoff.

Politt doesn't buy Lakoff's techniques or strategies. She feels "that reframing misses the point, which is to speak clearly from a moral center--precisely not to mince words and change the subject and turn the tables. I keep thinking that people are so disgusted by politics that the field is open for progressives who use plain language and stick to their guns and convey that they are real people, at home in their skin, and not a collection of blow-dried focus-grouped holograms."

She then puts forth a strategy by Lynn Paltrow of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women:

"More broadly, Paltrow argues that the right to abortion would have more support if it were presented as just one of the things women need to care for their families, along with paid maternity leave, childcare, quality healthcare for all, economic and social support for mothers and children, strong environmental policies that protect fetuses and children."

The problem with this strategy is that most people with prolife views or leanings can easily point out this position assumes that the unborn aren't part of "their families." Intentionally killing one member of your family in order to care for the others isn't a message that makes a great deal of sense. So then the real question isn't whether abortion helps families but whether the unborn are members of the human family.

Isn't also odd that Paltrow wants to protect fetuses with "strong environmental policies" yet favors the legality of intentionally destroying these same fetuses? How can we on one hand work to protect some of the unborn from a harmful environment yet at the same time have no qualms with the legal and intentional killing of others? How can exposing fetuses to some dangerous chemicals in the environment be bad while injecting salt poison into them with the aim of killing them is ok?

Also notice how Paltrow's strategy attempts to link different issues with abortion. Abortions by themselves, and especially abortions performed at later stages of pregnancy, do not stand up very well. In lieu of this, pro-choice strategists must couple abortion with other issues (birth control, healthcare, etc.) that larger percentages of people support.

Life Links 6/28

Will abortion be legal in your state if and when Roe v. Wade is overturned? The Life Legal Defense Fund has some answers based on state laws regarding abortion. According to the LLDF only 7 states (Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Wisconsin and probably Arkansas) would have "enforceable laws on the books that would prohibit most abortions in the event Roe, Doe and Casey are overruled. These seven States account for less than 10% of the total population in the United States. In the other forty-three States (and the District of Columbia), which account for more than 90% of the population, abortion would be legal for most or all reasons throughout pregnancy."

Annie Banno has posted her thoughts on Planned Parenthood's latest attempt to smear CPCs.

Are you a stem cell extremist?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Supreme Court on Ten Commandments Displays

Ed at In The Agorta has links to the opinions, concurrences, and dissents for the two cases regarding public displays of the Ten Commandments, McCreary v. ACLU (Kentucky case) and Van Orden v. Perry (Texas case).

The vote was 5-4 against the Kentucky display and 5-4 in favor of the Texas display. Justice Stephen Breyer was the vote that "switched sides" while Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist voted to allow the displays while O'Connor, Stevens, Ginsburg, and Souter voted to remove them.

Stem cell research news

Here's the MSNBC's long article and interview with James Thomson, the first person to isolate and culture embryonic stem cells.
Some excerpts:

Some of Thomson's other pronouncements might seem more surprising: that supporters of stem cell research are overestimating the prospects for transplantation cures, that the current stem cell lines aren't well-suited for such applications anyway, and that there's no need to resort to therapeutic cloning right now — or perhaps ever.....

MSNBC: Does it concern you that there are people who say, "We're this close to solving this sort of disease with stem cells, so let's pass this legislation"?

Thomson: Yeah, it's unfortunate. There are clearly exceptions on both sides, but most of the people who oppose this research, and most of the people who support this research, do it with a profound amount of misinformation. It'd be very nice to clear up that information as much as possible. You can still make an informed choice and be for it or against it, but at least it'd be based on the real facts.....

I guess the news media aren't really the media to educate. The news media failed in that role. … I don't know how to change it, because every time I have an interview with some guy and try to go through what the science is, they talk about curing Alzheimer's.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh have discovered that "adult, or post-natal, stem cells have the same ability as embryonic stem cells to multiply, a previously unknown characteristic...."

Researchers from Children's and the University of Pittsburgh in Dr. Huard's laboratory were able to expand post-natal stem cells to a population level comparable to that reached by researchers using embryonic stem cells.

HT: STR Blog

Thursday, June 23, 2005

"Can I Live" on MTV

One of the only remaining shows on MTV's that actually plays music videos, Total Request Live, "premiered" Nick Cannon's prolife music video, "Can I Live," today. I found out too late and was unable to see how the video was presented and how the audience reacted. Did anyone see it?

Related: Prolife Music Video from Rapper Nick Cannon


Maybe I'm lame, but I think this is a lot of fun, it just needs a few more pairs to make it really challenging.

Ramesh Ponnuru on Bill Kristol's speculation that Alberto Gonzales may be nominated to the Supreme Court.

Serge wonders how PETA would respond:

"if animals have intrinsic "rights", why do they not have the right to not have their reproductive system mangled for something that is not their fault? They claim spaying and neutering is a "simple surgery", so why not advocate it for human beings in overpopulated areas?"

Who's the cutest kitty in the whole wide world?

Planned Parenthood: "Damn Those Worthless CPCs!!"

Planned Parenthood despises places that offer women in unplanned pregnancies real help. They can't stand the thought that women in crisis might seek help from someone else besides them. They loathe places that offer women free medical and financial assistance. The front page of their web site bears this out as it features the story of a young woman, named Laura P., who is pregnant and accidentally went to a pregnancy center thinking it was Planned Parenthood.

The essay attempts to shine a poor light on a crisis pregnancy center but fails miserably to any reader not wrapped up in a movement to disparage CPCs. The essay describes a CPC that gives a young woman a free pregnancy test, a free ultrasound, and offer to help her during and after her pregnancy. After? That's funny because I'm often told that prolife people only care about life before birth, not after.

As we walked back down the hallway, she told me about how the center provides assistance for mothers. She said that I could give birth there, and that they would pay all of my medical bills — as well as my baby's bills for the first year or two.

She also told me that the center would provide food and all of my prenatal care, including delivery.

Can you believe those CPCs? How dare they offer women in crisis help? The nerve!

After administering the ultrasound, the nurse turned the screen to show me the sonogram results. She said, "This is the fetus." Below the photo of the fetus, someone had typed in the words "Hi Mommy!" I couldn't believe it.

After being given a free pregnancy test and a free ultrasound and an offer to provide free financial and medical assistance, Laura P. is "shaken" after viewing the words "Hi Mommy!" on the ultrasound image of her child. She then goes on to describe the staff as "downright creepy" and was "worried that they might do something to me."

It's awful that they set up centers adjacent to Planned Parenthood health centers and try to manipulate women into believing we're sinners. We're not.

Wrong. We're all sinners. We've all fallen short. We've all made mistakes.

Laura P. never mentions that anyone in the center called her a sinner or said to her that having an abortion would be killing her child. Yet she feels she has been manipulated because these are the thoughts that she is having about herself. She knows she has done something wrong but instead of facing that reality, she accuses the center of manipulating her and creating those feelings. The picture of her child shakes her. Not because she's being manipulated but because the picture is true, because she knows the fetus was a living human being. A baby. She's seen a picture of her aborted unborn child while he or she was alive and that's not something that is easy to shake.

I wish I hadn't filled out that form. I wish I'd realized sooner that I was in the wrong place. But I hope that at least other women will learn from my experience. I want them to know what their options are, and to know that places like this aren't any help at all.

This is where I started to wonder if this was some kind of parody site. A crisis pregnancy center that gives women a free pregnancy test, a free ultrasound, and offers to pay her medical bills and the baby's bills for a year or two isn't "any help at all?" Who's buying that hogwash?

I think to a certain extent, this young lady knows that she turned down the help she could of used. She turned down the help of people who actually cared about her and her child.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Life Links

Veith at World Mag is asking some good questions about all the recent charges of theocracy that certain liberal pundits been throwing around.

But what gains have Christians made that leads secularists to think a theocracy is imminent? That Christians are crusading against abortion and homosexuality, though with hardly any success? A few decades ago, when abortion was against the law and homosexuality was assumed by all sides to be immoral, was that a theocracy?

Why are embryonic stem cell researchers in need of public funds? Via Jill Stanek the Motley Fool tells us,

Sure, federal support may increase the chances that embryonic stem cells will yield novel treatments. But the path to success is still likely to be peppered with setbacks and failures over a period of years and at a cost of millions, if not billions, of dollars. Federal investment is not a magic wand that will produce cures overnight.....

Despite the promise suggested by early studies, embryonic stem cell research remains highly speculative. More concrete results, not the amount of cash being poured into research, are the best basis for investing decisions.

Meanwhile, some in Egypt are debating embryonic stem cell research.

"I guess I didn't want him to see me laying there on a table having a baby sucked out of my uterus"

Anotherlostgirl280 describes her abortion on audio files.

On this audio file she reads her journal entry about how she felt after her abortion (relief, closure, brighter outlook) but then wonders why she used a bunch of drugs the next day.

This young woman needs prayers. After listening to her audio files she seems like a normal young woman, almost like the girl next door, whose life has gotten way off track.

HT: After Abortion

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


FOXNews reported that Michael Schiavo buried Terri's cremated remains on Monday. On the grave marker lists ‘Feb. 25, 1990, as the date his wife "Departed this Earth"' and also includes the phrase "I kept my promise."

Which promise Michael? To love until death do us part? To forsake all others? (HT: World

Patrick Lee on embryonic stem cell research.

"What is at stake is nothing less than fundamental respect for human life. Human embryos are often called by proponents of embryo-killing for biomedical research "mere clumps of cells." But in fact, from day one on, human embryos are distinct, individual, complete (though immature) human beings, differing from you or me only in size, degree of development, and location. But such differences do not affect the basic kind of being a thing is; such differences are not morally significant." is a fairly new prolife web site which contains a large amount of information on abortion and presents prolife arguments against abortion. (HT: Naaman)

Planned Parenthood's Now What blogger for some reason thinks that enforcing child support laws is equivalent to the government playing matchmaker and that marrying someone is a way of escaping responsibility.

What Embryo?

I guess I can write these pictures off as fakes since "It might also help you to know that if you are in the early stages of pregnancy, there is no embryo. (emphasis added)

Those "Honest" Abortionists

From Early Options, which has abortion clinics in Brooklyn and Manhattan:

It might also help you to know that if you are in the early stages of pregnancy, there is no embryo. In fact, if it has been less than 7 weeks since your last period, your pregnancy consists of nothing visible to the eye except a tiny, empty sac in your uterus.

If you are early enough to take the pill, it is unlikely you would see an embryo – it is not yet formed.

And pro-choice people think informed consent laws aren't necessary? If there is no embryo then what is the abortionist removing? If the sac is empty then why have an abortion?

These blatant liars can't even get their lies straight. In one case, "there is no embryo" and then in the other case, it's unlikely the embryo would be seen because it isn't formed yet. So is the embryo there or not? Does this mean that the embryo is in the process of "forming?" If the embryo is forming it would have to exist, wouldn't it?

The aspiration procedure is a simple, natural procedure to end an early pregnancy.

There's nothing natural about induced abortion.

In the United States, it was practiced in the 1970's by the Women's Health movement. It was called "Menstrual Extraction." It is so simple that women used to do it on each other in their own homes!

Why is there an exclamation point there? Is Early Options excited about untrained women performing abortions on each other in a place where there are no medical resources in case of a complication? If it is "so simple" then why are you charging $500 for them?

Their information on RU-486 or "medical abortion" also shows the complete disregard that abortion clinics have for the FDA medication guide for RU-486.

They provide the pills to women up to 63 days into pregnancy not 49 days. They give the second round of pills for the woman to take at home instead of at the provider's office.

HT: S.I.C.L.E. Cell

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Pope is Against Abortion - Not a Huge Surprise

The Associated Press has a story on Pope Benedict XVI's where he discusses abortion among other things.

On abortion, he asked why societies oppose infanticide "while becoming virtually insensitive to abortion."

"Maybe because in abortion you don't see the face of who will be condemned and never see the light," he wrote.

By allowing parents to exercise their freedoms, he wrote, "you become blind to the right of life of another, the youngest and weakest who doesn't have a voice."

Can you see the reporter's slant on this issue? I wonder what the Pope's wording of the above paragraph before the quoted section was because I doubt he would call legal abortion as "allowing parents to exercise their freedoms."

Exercising their freedoms to what? End the life of their unborn child?

Emergency Contraception?

The Chicago Tribune has an interesting article on emergency contraception, also known as Plan B or the morning after pill.

The article seems to chastise people who believe that emergency contraception may act to prevent the implantation of an embryo because there is no scientific evidence to back this up while at the same time the main proponent in the article for emergency contraception, Dr. David Archer, states that he can't prove that emergency contraception may prevent implantation. It seems no one is certain of exactly how this pill works or if it works when ovulation has already occurred.

Notably, there hasn't been a lot of research on Plan B. The article lists a review of literature at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and a study from Horacio Croxatto of the Chilean Institute for Reproductive Medicine that found emergency contraception "interfered with ovulation 82 percent of the time in women who took it."

That begs the question - what happens the 18% of the time that emergency contraception doesn't interfere with ovulation? Or what happens when ovulation has occurred before the woman takes the pill? Does the pill not work at all then?

The article also states, "But in their review of the studies on emergency contraception, the Karolinska researchers found that one-time treatment with levonorgestrel had no effect on the uterine lining." I'm guessing this means at the time when the pill is taken and not long term effects but the article doesn't elaborate. It seems that if researchers could prove that the pill doesn't effect the lining of a woman's uterus when the pill is taken, they could prove that the pill doesn't prevent a human embryo from implanting.

Belgian Waffles Cloning

The AP is reporting that scientists from Ghent University in Belgium "have cloned human embryos for the first time using unripe eggs matured in a dish."

The researchers hope to use unripe eggs that aren't used for in-vitro fertilization because of their condition to clone human embryos for research.

Reuters reports that the cloned humans from the unripe eggs died at the 8-16 cell stage.

In other biotech news, Reuters is reporting English scientists are working to create sperm cells from embryonic stem cells.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Terri Schiavo's Brain

Some on the left side of the political spectrum like E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press are requesting that some on the right apologize for some things that were said regarding Terri Schiavo's condition. But I'm wondering why they don't ask those on the left to do the same thing.

For example, Max Blumenthal in the Huffington Post who described Terri Schiavo as "a woman with the mental capacity of a celery stalk."

Or Ellen Goodman who said, "Her cerebral cortex, the part of our anatomy that controls our ability to think and feel, is the consistency of Jell-O."

Or Canadian bioethicist Arthur Schafer who said, "her cerebral cortex (the outer layer of the brain's neural core) has turned to mush."

Or Ampersand of Alas, a blog who said, "To quote myself: The conclusion the court came to is that, based on medical testimony and Terri's CAT scan, her cerebral cortex has basically turned to liquid."

Odd considering the autopsy report says, "In the thalmus, the most medial portions were relatively preserved (from the frontal cortex)", and "The frontal temporal and temporal poles and insular-cortex demonstrated relative preservation" and "The granular neurons of the cerebral cortex were relatively preserved, while the larger pyramidal neurons were globally absent", and "There was laminar necrosis involving the middle cortical lamina, in most cortical sections examined microscopically, but this finding was patchy".

Media priorities, stem cell research, and Dick Durbin

Why do celebrity break-ups, a single runaway bride, and the Downing Street memo receive more media attention than 1,000 deaths a day in the Congo? HT: Random Ravings

Jonah Goldberg's most recent column is on embryonic stem cell research.

Dick Durbin is getting blasted all over the blog arena for his recent comments comparing the techniques used at Guantanamo Bay to the techniques of the Nazis, Soviet gulags, and Pol Pot.

"'On one occasion the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. On another occasion the air conditioner had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor."

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

Only someone barely gripping reality or having no idea of what happened in Nazi concentration camps or Soviet gulags would compare playing loud rap music (I'm often submitted to this "torture" when I'm stopped a red light in my neighborhood) or dealing with cold temperature (I submit my wife and myself to this "torture" during the winter when we keep our house temperature at 60 degrees) and heat over 100 degrees (the residents of Arizona typically endure this "torture" every week when they step outside in the summer). Howard Dean may just have some competition when it comes to which Democrat can say the most ridiculous things.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Notable Quotes on Terri's Autopsy

The Anchoress: It is a "win" for…personal autonomy, supposedly. If, by personal autonomy, you mean being unable to speak for yourself and at the mercy of a husband who suddenly recalls what you supposedly wanted…maybe…and is more willing to see you die than err on the side of life and maybe let your family take care of you. If that's what you mean by personal autonomy and personal choice, well, then…yes, it's a win.

But it is a win by which we all lose.

There is little new in Terri Schiavo's autopsy report. But the salivating, overt, belly-shaking glee of the Deatheaters, that might be new.

Or…it might be old as hell.

Sue Bob's Diary: Remember all the talk that Terri's cerebral cortex was gone and replaced by a "bag of water" or "mush"? The report, though showing severe damage, does not seem to bear that out.....


Another point. To what extent did the prolonged dehydration contribute to the findings of brain atrophy and weight of the brain? Here is an abstract of a scholarly article on the effects of dehydration on brain volume:

The authors show that dehydration and rehydration can significantly change brain volume: lack of fluid intake for 16 hours decreased brain volume by 0.55% (SD, ±0.69), and after rehydration total cerebral volume increased by 0.72% (SD, ±0.21).

What will weeks of dehyrdation do?

Media Culpa: I hope you're not surprised that the news outlets are treating the recently released post mortem of Terri Schiavo like complete vindication for her husband. Here are some of the headlines Google News shows:

Schiavo autopsy report backs husband (MSNBC)
Terri Schiavo: 'No foul play' (News 24, South Africa)
Schiavo Autopsy Shows No Sign of Trauma (SF Examiner)

The MSM has its self-protective filters up, and not one headline focuses on the findings that contradict Michael Schiavo's story: that Terri did not, as far as science can tell, have an eating disorder and that she did not suffer a heart attack.

I'm all out of outrage, but if I could summon up any, I would wonder about the contradiction between the news reports' categorical declaration that Terri was blind and the fact that her eyes could track a balloon. Perhaps the autopsy means to say that her higher brain could no longer register or process the images that her eyes could deliver, but that level of respectful detail is -- not surprisingly -- missing from MSNBC.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Terri Schiavo's Autopsy is in

I haven't found a link to the actually autopsy but the Associated Press is reporting that there were no signs of abuse and "her brain was about half of normal size when she died."

UPDATE: Terri Schiavo's autopsy report is available here via Blogs For Terri.

UPDATE #2: Regarding the diagnosis of persistent vegetative state, Terri's brain, and who she died, the report says,

5. Was Mrs. Schiavo in a persistent vegetative state (PVS)? (See attached neuropathology report)

PVS is a clinical diagnoses arrived at through physical examination of living patients. Postmortem correlations to PVS with reported pathologic findings have been reported in the literature, but the findings vary with the etiology of the adverse neurological event.

6. What diagnoses can be made in regards to the brain of Mrs. Schiavo? (See attached neuropathology report)

Mrs. Schiavo's brain showed marked global anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy resulting in massive cerebral atrophy. Her brain weight was approximately half of the expected weight. Of particular importance was the hypoxic damage and neuronal loss in her occipital lobes, which indicates cortical blindness. Her remaining brain regions also show sever hypoxic injury and neuronal atrophy/loss. No areas of recent or remote traumatic injury were found.

7. By what mechanism did Theresa Schiavo die?

Postmortem findings, including the state of the body and laboratory testing, show that she died of marked dehydration (a direct complication of the electrolyte disturbance brought about by the lack of hydration). The state of her fatty tissue and laboratory findings indicate that she did not starve to death.

Stephen Nelson, the Chief Medical Examiner of the 10th Judicial Circuit of Florida, who participated with Dr. Jon Thogmartin in Terri's autospy ends his letter to Dr. Thogmartin by stating, "Neuropathologic examiniation alone of the decedent's brain - or any brain, for that matter - cannot prove or disprove a diagnosis of persistent vegetative state or minimally conscious state."

Did Terri feel pain?

According to the report, Terri Schiavo was given morphine on March 19 and March 26. No morphine was found in her body by the toxicology report. The report also notes that "Acetaminophen was detected in her postmortem blood samples at what would be considered therapeutic levels."

Ellen Goodman's Hack Attack

If you've ever wondered how some columnists continue to make a living by spewing forth lies and ignorance, read this column by Ellen Goodman and you'll be wondering even more.

Only 4 percent of the frozen embryos are available for donation -- half designated for research and half for infertile couples. No way will they all be ''adopted."

No way? 4% of 400,000 is 16,000. It is quite possible that 16,000 embryonic children could be adopted considering how many couples in the United States are looking to adopt. If embryo adoption received more publicity, there is certainly a possibility that thousands of couples would consider this option.

Embryos are not human beings.

Really? Do you have any evidence for that assertion? Do you have any embryologists to back you up? If they aren't human beings, what are they?

They carry the potential for human life that deserves moral attention and respect. It's not disrespectful to donate embryos to the search for a cure for diseases. Nor is it respectful to keep embryos in a freezer until they're eligible for Social Security.

Ok. What's the logic here? Embryos deserve respect but it's not disrespectful to kill them for their stem cells but it is disrespectful to keep them frozen for a long period of time.

I wonder if Goodman would have the same kind of respect for death row inmates. "The lives of these killers deserve our respect. It's not disrespectful to kill them and donate their organs to save lives. Nor is it respectful to keep them locked up forever or and waste those precious organs by lethal injection."

Why not Quadmesters?

When I discuss abortion with people one of the things that I find most interesting in many pro-choicers is the reliance on trimester framework created by Harry Blackmun in Roe v. Wade. Many people who are pro-choice say that abortion should be legal in the first two trimesters but illegal in the third or legal in the first but then illegal in the second and third.

One way of dealing with this that I've been thinking up is asking them something like, "Why not legal in the first three quadmesters but illegal in the fourth quadmester?" or "Why not legal in the first semester but illegal in the last semester?" or "What would you say to someone who thinks abortion should be legal in the first two pentamesters but illegal in the last three pentamesters?" and so on.

These questions might force individuals who are pro-choice to think about why pregnancy and the legality of abortion should be divided by 3 trimesters and not 2 semesters or 4 quadmesters or 5 pentamesters, and so on. How is the trimester framework any more objective than my quadmester framework?

It's quite obvious to most prolifers that the grounding for the trimester framework is completely arbitrary. There is nothing that magically changes in the unborn child from the last day of the first or second trimester to the first day of the second or third trimester that makes the unborn child more worthy of legal protection. The child is merely one day older. Yet the trimester framework has been used for so long that it is almost seen as set in stone that pregnancy and the legality of abortion should be divided by the number three.

Asking "Why not Quadmesters?" might get some pro-choice people with trimester beliefs to start wondering what their stance on abortion is actually based on. They might eventually discover that instead of objective facts their position is based arbitrary time frames, what they believe is popular opinion, and nothing but "penumbras, formed by emanations."

Monday, June 13, 2005

What's the Embryo's Name?

"Those foolish prolife feminists!"

Patricia Beninato's recent rant regarding feminism is worth commenting on.

I have always wondered why the antis seem to have this idea that abortion is compulsory, or that women are forced to make that decision. There have ALWAYS been options.

I wonder what Beninato thinks when she reads stories on her web site where the woman claims that abortion was her only choice or option like Ali's:

I agonized over the decision and spent many hours crying, alone, waiting for him to come home. I decided that I really had no choice but to have an abortion and the father agreed to come with me, to make the process as easy as possible.

or Zelda's: There was no way I could support three children on my own. I informed the doctor of my decision and she was very supportive.

There may be options but many women feel that they don't have an option. Abortion is the only choice they feel they have. But to answer Beninato's question, prolifers have the idea that abortion can be seen as compulsory to women because they read testimonies of post-abortive women on prolife and pro-choice web sites.

Then again, if you read the anti story sites, no woman ever states that it was solely her decision. The abortion was done to please the husband/boyfriend (who usually ended up leaving anyway) or the parents who wouldn't pay for school or didn't want a grandchild ... "someone ELSE wanted it, not MEEE! I'm a GOOD girl! I WANT to have babies!"

Interestingly, the pro-choice women on Beninato's site often do the same thing. Sometimes the decision for abortion is made because the woman already has born children like Zelda or Cindy and doesn't want to endanger their livelihood. Sometimes it's because of finances like Cheryl (warning expletive language) and Amy. Stories often end with the woman saying that she eventually wants to have children, just not now. Why do pro-choice women on a pro-choice web site feel the need to say that they want to have children eventually?

"Pro-life feminists" are a particularly virulent strain. In their reasoning, every woman wants nothing more than to bring forth children, and damn the man who makes her choose otherwise.

Unfortunately, Beninato provides no evidence for this assertion. The prolife feminist whom signed her guest book says nothing of the sort. I've visited Feminists for Life web site on numerous occasions and I've never seen anything like that. This seems to be kind of a reverse "barefoot and pregnant" argument where if a feminist is against abortion, then she must think that women aren't fully women until they have children.

Here are a few more quotes from the women at her site that say they aren't sorry about their abortion.

Bloss: "Having an abortion hasn't really emotionally damaged me, that I can tell. I'm still really lazy and find it hard to get motivated to do work, and spend an unhealthy amount of time on abortion sites and communities, but perhaps that's part of the healing process. As before the abortion, I sometimes see infants and have a desire for a child, but that doesn't make me grieve for the possibility I just lost. When I am in a situation to be a better mother, I will be overjoyed to get the same news. But now was not the time, and I'm not sorry."

Brooke: Its something you'll ALWAYS deal with. You don't just have an abortion (nor a child) and then mystically FORGET about it.. For the rest of your life you'll remember it. And whether it was the RIGHT option for YOU. I would NEVER say that it is something to be taken easily, but A lot of the pro-life party will tell you that all women who have abortions live with a tumultuous guilt complex afterwards... Not always true. I don't. I feel that my decision in ALL respects was RIGHT.

Shannon: I remember what it was like vividly, the sounds, the discomfort during the dialation and the evacuation. It was eerie. I had a lot of emotional ups and downs in the following months. Some years around the time of the abortion I get a little emotional. I know that we did not want that baby. I know I wouldn't have been a good mother. I wasn't ready. He wasn't ready to be a dad either. It was not always easy, but I do not regret my decision.

Rebecca: Sometimes I think about what it would have been like to have the baby, and every time I do I am thankful for the choice I was able to make. I do want children someday, when I am financially and emotionally prepared to care for them. And I know the soul of the child I didn't have found its way to another family who loves him. It wasn't an easy choice to make but I will always be grateful that I was able to make it, and I know I made the right decision for me.

"And you want to be my latex salesman"

Every time Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean makes a brash, mean-spirited comment or appears on a national television show, I'm reminded of a certain Seinfeld episode. It's the one where George is hoping to get an extension on his unemployment benefits but needs to prove that he has been looking for work. He hasn't had any recent prospects so he makes up Vandelay Industries and claims that he interviewed for the job of latex salesman. Since this company doesn't exist he gives Jerry's number as the contact number and begs Jerry to answer his phone by saying, "Vandelay Industries" and say that George was interviewed for the job of latex salesman. This scheme fails at the end of the episode when Kramer answers the phone and denies any knowledge of Vandelay Industries while George is in the bathroom. At the end of the phone conversation George stampedes out of the bathroom desperately trying to get Kramer to say "Vandelay Industries." When Kramer hangs up, George has fallen on the floor with his pants around his ankles.

The scene ends with Jerry saying, "And you want to be my latex salesman."

There have got to be tons of Democrats around the country thinking to themselves, "And you want to be my Democratic National Committee Chairman."

If you can't remember this Seinfeld episode, it also featured former professional baseball player and current men's hair care product spokesman Keith Hernandez and the story of the infamous "magic loogie."

The Blind Faith of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Michael Fumento has a great article which discusses the media's role in the myths of embryonic stem cell research, the less-than-honest embryonic stem cell proponents, how money-making plays a role, some advances in adult stem cell research and the faith that people have mistakenly placed in embryonic stem cell research and its proponents.

Some excerpts:

Perhaps more important, the media aren't telling people how much more advanced ASC research is, or how rapidly it's making breakthroughs. Certainly they're not telling people about it nearly as often as they're hailing the promise of ESCs – and when they do, they tend to undermine the news with pooh-poohing, often-groundless quotes from ESC advocates. (More on that later.) .....

There's a great irony here, however. As these reporters picture themselves standing for the cause of reason against the forces of dogma, they also don't realize that the ESC research vocabulary-so filled with "mays" and "coulds" and "one days," promising a miraculous future somewhere down the road-reflects a dogma all its own.....

But what, precisely, has Melton accomplished toward curing diabetes with ESCs? When interviewed by The Wall Street Journal last year, the most he could say was "We are convinced we can do it. We just don't know how."

That's not science; that's faith. But it's not a religious faith, and so reporters don't see it for what it is.

HT: Second Hand Smoke

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Jill Stanek has a blog

Jill Stanek, the nurse who called out her former employer, Christ Hospital, for delivering unborn children alive and leaving them to die in a utility room, has started a blog. I'll add her to my blogroll as it seems she already caught a hang of blogging after a couple of days.

In one of her posts she links to a Washington Times article that quotes Congressman Dave Weldon on why some researchers might be pushing embryonic stem cells over stem cells from umbilical cord blood or adult stem cells.

"If you developed a highly successful intervention for treating sickle cell anemia with cord blood, that is not really a patentable intervention under our current laws," Mr. Weldon explained. But, he noted, someone who developed the same treatment with embryonic stem cells would become a millionaire.

Prolife Music Video from Rapper Nick Cannon

According to Nick Cannon's official fan club site his prolife music video "Can I Live" will appear on MTV's Total Request Live today. It's a true story about how his mother wanted to abort him, but ended up choosing life.

The video shows his mother lying in the abortion clinic, next to all the instruments, and Nick pleading for her not to kill him.

For those who aren't familiar with Nick Cannon, here's his bio. His talent is seemingly limitless. At 24, he's already been a successful comedian, actor, and rapper.

You can hear the song and watch the music video by visiting his web site. You can see him perform "Can I Live" at the Soul Train Music Awards at his fan club site. At the end of the song about 20 kids wearing t-shirts that say, "Can I Live" come out on stage and sing the chorus.

The lyrics are below. Talk about a great opportunity to get the prolife message to young people who might usually never hear it. If you get the opportunity, please vote for this video on MTV's TRL.

Talking Ma
I know the Situation is Personal
But it something that has to be told
As I was making this beat
You was all I could think about you heard my voice

[Verse 1]
Yeah Just think Just Think
What if you could Just
Just blink your self away..
Just Just wait just pause for a second
Let me plead my case
It's the late 70's Huh
You Seventeen huh
And having me that will ruin everything huh
It's alot of angels waiting for their wings
You see me in your sleep so you cant kill your dreams
300 Dollars thats the price of living what?
Mommy I dont like this clinic
Hopefully you'll make the right decision
And dont go through with the Knife Decision
But it's hard to make the right move
When you in high school
How you have to work all day and take night school
Hopping off da bus when the rain is pouring
What you want morning sickness or the sickness of mourning

I Will Always Be apart of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I Would Say To You
I Will Always Be apart of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I Would Say To You

[Verse 2]
I am a child of the king
Ain't no need to go fear me
And I see the flowing tears so know that you hear me
When I move in your womb that's me being scared
Cause who knows what my future holds
Yo the truth be told you ain't told a soul
Yo you ain't even showing I'm just 2 months old
Through your clothes try to hide me deny me
Went up 3 sizes
Your pride got you lying saying ain't nothing but a migraine
It ain't surprising you not trying to be in Wic food lines
Your friends will look at you funny but look at you mommy
That's a life inside you look at your tummy
What is becoming ma I am Oprah bound
You can tell he's a star from the Ultrasound
Our Sprits Connected Doors Open Now
Nothing But Love And Respect Thanks For Holding Me Down She Let Me Live...

I Will Always Be apart of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I Would Say To You
I Will Always Be apart of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I Would Say To You
[Repeat 2]

[Nick Talking]

It's uplifting foreal yall
I ain't passing no judgement
Ain't making no decisions
I am just telling ya'll my story
My love life
I love my mother for giving me life
We all need to appreciate life
A strong woman that had to make a sacrifice
Thanks for listening
Thanks for listening
Mama thanks for listening

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Still asking why?

Jeffrey King at Three Bad Fingers links to a perfect example of how pro-choicers deal (or can't) when asked why abortion should be rare during this interview with Dennis Kucinich by Beliefnet.

BELIEFNET: Why do you think it's an important goal to make abortion more rare?

KUCINICH: I think it's self-explanatory. I don't think there needs to be any elaboration on that.

Actually, Dennis it's self-explanatory why prolifers, who recognize that abortion intentionally ends the life of human being, would want abortion to be more rare but it's not self-explanatory at all for those that deny this reality.

I'd love it if prolife politicians actually asked their pro-choice counterparts in a debate why they want abortion to be rare.

A response to Keenan

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Scare Tactic? What Scare Tactic?

Ms. Magazine has difficultly coming up with a good reason for why abortion should stay legal so they've resorted to disdainful scare tactics in this "Urgent Report":

If Roe v. Wade — last affirmed by a narrow 5-4 Supreme Court ruling — is reversed, legal dominion over abortion reverts to the states. Many of today's state legislatures would ban abortion or even make it a criminal act.

Next, the radical right would probably push for limiting availability of contraceptives — first for teenagers, then for single women. Finally, they might try to withhold certain types of contraception from married women.

In this article I'm informed that, "The Griswold v. Connecticut decision protects the right of married women to practice contraception and to secure access to legal and reliable reproductive-health services. It later provided the foundation for expanding privacy protections to encompass abortion. And those are two of the critical protections now endangered by the potential change of just one justice in the U.S. Supreme Court." (emphasis mine)

You heard it at Ms. Magazine first, if one justice is changed you can say good-bye to your condoms and birth control pills. If Justice Stevens dies and is replaced by a right-winger then our society will be turned upset down. Women will average 12 to 15 kids, the police will have cameras in your bedroom, and society as we know it will be destroyed. One justice. That's all it takes.

More propaganda from the article:

Roe v. Wade, adopted by a comfortable 7-2 majority of the Court, extended privacy protections to early terminations of unwanted pregnancy.

Early terminations? Just early? What's your definition of "early?" Or by "early" does the author mean earlier than when a pregnancy would naturally terminate at birth.

Considering the close call in Casey, the appointment of just one new conservative justice to the Court could threaten all constitutional protections for abortion — and perhaps for contraception, as well — thereby reversing history and sending the responsibility for regulating these practices back to politicians in state legislatures. And that's where the Comstock laws were first created so many years ago.

Oh no! All those scary state legislatures with their elected representatives might reinstate the Comstock laws and ban contraception. We can't have politicians making political decisions. Working to elect representatives and have them pass laws is too hard when we're used to judges implementing our views.

Do people like Ellen Chelser (the author) really believe this? Are the people working at Ms. Magazine really so off their rockers that they think birth control could become illegal if one justice is changed on the court?

Maybe, but I doubt it. They've realized that to drum up opposition to a Supreme Court nominee they need to portray nominees and what they might do in such a light that virtually anyone would be opposed to them. They're trying to solidify their position on abortion because it is crumbling before their eyes. The support for abortion on demand has waned to such an extent that pro-choice organizations are forced into blending abortion and birth control into a single reproductive rights smoothie which they say is impossible to separate.

"You don't favor abortion through all nine months of pregnancy? Well, what about birth control? If you lose abortion then you lose your access to the pill."

They have also backed themselves into the corner by acting like only 5 justices ("a razor thin majority") support Roe when they are well aware that 6 justices support upholding Roe.

And all this rests on the shoulders of just one new justice.

The thinking of the abortion crowd regarding Justice Anthony Kennedy (one of the imaginary "4") is so insane. He votes to uphold Nebraska's ban on partial-birth abortion and now he's going to vote in favor of not only overturning Roe v. Wade and but vote to overturn Griswold? Simply laughable.

American Church Attendance

What percentage of American's attend church each week? 50%? 33%?

JT at Between Two Worlds is linking to estimates that American church attendance is only around 20% even though about 40% of the public will claim they went to church on the previous weekend.

He also posts some information from Dave Olson which includes this rather frightening statistic:

If the present trends continue, the percentage of the population that attends church in 2050 will be almost half of what it is today.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Steve Chapman on the myths of embryonic stem cell research.

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas recently signed a parental consent law for abortion and a ceremonial resolution to amend the Texas Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. He did the signings inside a church school. Those in favor of legal abortion aren't very happy.

Here's a link to the recent decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Virginia's latest attempt to ban partial-birth abortion. Read the dissent if you get the chance.

LaShawn Barber attended a Black Americans for Life luncheon and has a summary and pictures.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Jonathan Alter Helping Newsweek's Credibility - Not!

If you want to read a column that gets my blood pumping - try this one by Jonathan Alter in Newsweek. It truly makes me sick to my stomach.

Some choice quotes (and there are a lot of them) include :

As a cancer survivor with an adult-stem-cell transplant under my belt, I'm not exactly neutral on the issue of embryonic-stem-cell research. It may end up being the best chance to save my life.

Huh? He was cured by adult stem cells but thinks that embryonic stem cell will save his life.

Note to Jonathan: Can you find an honest researcher that actually thinks they'll be coming up with cures via embryonic stem cells anytime soon? Shouldn't you be pumping up the non-controversial research that helped you not propagating false hope.

After all, every American who has a relative with one of these diseases—which means nearly every American—is beginning to understand the issue in a new way: it's "pro-cure" versus "anti-cure," with the anti-stem-cell folks in danger of being swept into the medical wastebin of history.

In other words, "those in the anti-cure movement just want Grandma and little Betsy to die. Those heartless fools. "

Besides never explaining the difference between adult and embryonic stem cell research, Alter's article is basically one continuous run of strawmen. Here's one of the biggest in my estimation. No mention that prolife people are large supporters of research involving stem cells that is actually saving lives or that they are only opposed to research that necessitates the intentional destruction of a human embryo. Oh no, then Alter would actually have to try to make an argument.

Now the brilliant scientific breakthrough in South Korea is further ripening the debate.

Alter never mentions what the "breakthrough" was. The reader is just supposed to know that cloning human beings with more success than last time is a "brilliant scientific breakthrough."

With global competitors poised to eat our lunch, a few private and state-funded efforts won't be enough. "You can't do research with your feet bound and one hand tied behind your back," says Jerome Groopman, a professor at Harvard Medical School.

That's right the Koreans will discover all those cures and keep them for themselves.

I love how researchers can claim that they've been restricted from doing embryonic stem cell research when it is completely legal, our federal government pays for research with certain stem cell lines, California will be throwing $300 million dollars a year at it for the next 10 years, and other states are following suit.

Bioethical blowhard Leon Kass of the University of Chicago conned Bush into seeing the issue as morally complex, but the rest of the world understands that it's simple enough—reproductive cloning (to create Frankensteins), no; embryonic-stem-cell research (to cure diseases), yes. (The phrase "therapeutic cloning" should be retired.)

Ha! Leon Kass and Bush there the only ones in the world who think that creating human embryos through cloning and then killing them for their stem cells might be moral problematic. Oh yes, and let's stop using the term "therapeutic cloning" because people might get the idea that human cloning is taking place.

This whole essay is childish. It's how I wrote when I was in junior high. Simplify everything, personally attack individuals you disagree with (Kass that blowhard) and use positive adjectives to describe actions you like (brilliant breakthroughs), and pepper your writing with a strong dose of straw that you can blow over.

Most nations understand this. Only Bush bitter-enders and the pope are in the perverse position of valuing the life of an ailing human being less than that of a tiny clump of cells no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.

Clump of cells? Will those without an argument ever tire of using that term?

Most Americans still don't know all these details, but they're beginning to understand that religious extremists are hijacking the political system and robbing us of our essential national character—faith in the future.

You can't have a good pro-embryonic stem cell research column with the standard "religious extremists hijacking our government" line.

I wonder if Alter could possible recognize that those against killing human embryos for research put some "faith in the future" of human embryos.

Look for smart Democrats to run ads with relatives of the afflicted ("My sister has Parkinson's," "My father has Alzheimer's") pointing out that Congressman X is so extreme, he voted against a bill supported by many Republicans to begin curing these diseases.

If only those pesky prolifers wouldn't vote against more federal funding of embryonic stem cell research then we could begin curing these horrific diseases. I mean, the cures they're right around the corner, just like they were 4 years ago when Bush was deciding what his policy would be.

Alter's column reads like a persuasive speech written by an 11-year-old not a column in a magazine that is circulated nationally.

Detroit says "Anybody but Kwame"

The Detroit Free Press has just released this poll regarding the upcoming Detroit mayoral election and things don't look good for current mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Over the last couples of months Kwame's re-elections hopes have faded to the point where more people (44%) would vote for the mostly unknown state Senator Hansen Clarke than Kilpatrick (36%).

Kwame's position worsens (losing 56% to 29%) when he's faced off with Freeman Hendrix who has been endorsed by ex-mayor Dennis Archer.

The Free Press also discusses Kilpatrick's current lack of popularity.

The poll also shows the mayor's popularity continuing to erode.

More than half of respondents -- 57% -- gave Kilpatrick an unfavorable rating. That's an increase of 4 percentage points from less than two months ago and a 44-percentage-point increase from February 2003, when EPIC/MRA conducted a similar poll.

The mayor rated favorably with 32% of respondents, a drop of 8 percentage points from nearly two months ago and 44 percentage points from February 2003.

Who knew running up the city's credit cards with lavish dinners, nightclub expenses, and limo service would turn the people against you?

Kwame Kilpatrick's Konundrum
How will Kwame dig his way out?
Kwame's Hand Caught in the Cookie Jar

How long can Trista Rehn Sutter stretch her 15 minutes?

Will there be a time in the near future where this woman isn't on some kind of reality show?

The former physical therapist and Miami Heat dancer now seems to be full-time reality TV show persona jumping to any show that will take her and throw a little cash her way. First she was the runner-up on the Bachelor, then she was the first Bachelorette, next there was Trista and Ryan Get Married, at some point Ryan appeared on Fear Factor and she was there to cheer him on. Now she's on Dancing with the "Stars."

What's next for Trista and possibly Ryan? The Amazing Race? Survivor? Trista and Ryan Have a Baby Special?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Life begins where?

From a San Diego Tribune article on embryonic stem cell research:

"I was equating it with killing a child," said Willocks, 54, who now gives talks in support of such research. "I thought of it as grinding up fetuses and all of that, so I didn't want any part of it."

What changed Willocks was a personal experience.

She watched a friend and a fellow Parkinson's sufferer get to where she could move only her eyes for two months before dying. Willocks then went back to her Bible, recalled God's compassion for the living and determined that cells in a petri dish aren't sacred because Scripture informs her that "life begins in the womb," she said.

Notice how Willocks first changed her mind based on a personal experience and then went to the Bible in an effort to affirm what her changed mind already felt. There's nothing quite like ignoring reality and hoping that you'll be able to find a scripture to bend to your will.

I'm really wondering what verse of Scripture informs her that "life begins in the womb?"

I'm guessing there are 2 possibilities.

There's Jeremiah 1:5 which says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." It would be hard to rationalize Willocks' belief with this verse because the verse indicates that God knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb. One could even argue that "before I formed you in the womb" could mean the time between conception and implantation. But then again it's entirely possible that Willocks has decided that "formed" equates with "life begins" so that Scripture can conform to her personal views.

Then there's Pslams 139:13 which says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Here the psalmist says that God knit him together in the womb or that God aided in his growth. I wonder why Willocks didn't continue reading Psalm 139 and then decide that according to Psalm 139:15 that life begins "in the depths of the earth." Why isn't she claiming that our lives began in liquid hot magma?

For Willocks to claim that either of these verses (or any other verse) shows that "life begins in the womb" is absurd.

I wonder what will happen to the opinions of people like Willocks, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (quoted in the article) and Orrin Hatch if or when our technology takes us to the place where artificial wombs are able to nurture a human child until birth. Will they then claim that a born child who was never implanted in a woman's womb isn't alive because "life begins in the womb."

Here's another quote that informs us how the reporter feels about unborn children:

As with the abortion issue, much hinges on the moral status of biological material that could one day become a full-fledged human being.

Biological material? Could become a full-fledged human being? Grrr......

HT: World Mag Blog

Arlen Specter, Intrinsic Rights, Gloria Feldt, and Ultrasounds

Bryan at Freedom of.. takes on Arlen Specter on embryonic stem cell research.

Too bad Arlen Specter is able to appear on national television and spout ignorant rhetoric and assertions while most people will never hear of a blogger named David Wharton whose eloquent defense of intrinsic rights is well worth the read.

Mary at After Abortion is taking the time to read Gloria Feldt's book, "The War on Choice" and is trying to understand Gloria's tortured thinking or lack there of regarding whether embryos are human beings. When the book first came out, Planned Parenthood would allow you to read chapters of it for free on their web site and I was continually amazed that this woman ran a billion dollar organization.

The Detroit News weighs in on why they think women who are considering an abortion shouldn't be given the opportunity to see an ultrasound image of their child. They opine that "it seeks to add the maximum anguish to women dealing with a difficult choice."

Daniel's Killer "Savior"

The LA Times featured this story on the abortions of viable children yesterday. It lets you into the thought process of women who have had third-trimester abortions and it isn't pretty.

Since her abortion, Plazio has suffered such severe panic attacks that she can't drive even as far as the high school to watch her daughter cheerlead. She has gained 60 pounds as she battles depression. The abortion she sought to preserve her mental health has left her deeply shaken; doctors say she suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Her mental health, she is convinced, would be even worse had she tried to raise a profoundly disabled son — or had she given him up for adoption.

Plazio aborted her son, whom she named Matthew, in the third trimester because he was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome. Her mental health is so profoundly disturbed by the reality that she is responsible for the death of her son that she believes it would have been worse if he was born or had she placed him in the arms of a loving family.

One patient who had an abortion at 25 weeks in November said she could not bear to imagine surgeons cutting open her daughter's tiny chest to rebuild her heart. The thought of her Emma spending months of her childhood in the hospital overwhelmed the woman, a 30-year-old technology educator from Virginia who asked to be identified by her middle name, Paige.

"Part of me just wanted to let her die," Paige said. "Is that horrible?"

You can't imagine your infant child receiving life-saving surgery but you allow the unborn child that you've named to killed while in your womb?? Did you imagine what George Tiller was doing to Emma's body? Did you imagine that she could have possibly endured pain when Tiller injected digoxin into her heart?

Another woman, Marie Becker, who aborted third-trimester unborn child, Daniel, because a doctor informed her that he would die shortly after birth. She believes abortion is wrong in most cases and "finds it reprehensible that Tiller aborts healthy fetuses in the first and second trimester (and even, sometimes, in the third trimester when the mother is very young, or a victim of rape)" yet then goes on to describe the man that killed her Daniel as Daniel's "savior."

Living everyday knowing that you decided to end the life of a viable child who you held after they were killed would be impossible for a rational person to live with. The worst is when they try to rationalize it by claiming that having their child killed is what their child would have wanted or needed or that it was done out of love. Tiller's clinic helps these women avoid reality by describing abortions as the "premature delivery of a stillborn."

HT: STR blog