Wednesday, August 31, 2005

300 Unborn Children Found in a Garage

Here's the story.

The fetuses were found last week in cardboard boxes, plastic bags and Tupperware-like containers inside the padlocked garage of the home of Robert B. Winston Jr.'s ex-wife.

Winston and his former funeral home, Newman-Winston Memorial Chapel, had a contract with Magee-Womens Hospital from 1999 to 2002 to dispose of fetuses by having them cremated, authorities said.

The fetuses — which range in gestational age from 16 weeks to full-term — were marked with labels identifying them variously as "medical waste," "fetuses" and "autopsy cases for Winston Funeral Home."

Things I don't get

1. The popularity of rims that keep spinning after a car is stopped. They were kind of neat when they first came out but by now everybody understands that the wheels aren't still spinning.

2. News coverage of Cindy Sheehan. How is one woman whose son died in Iraq worthy of so much news coverage. There are hardly any updates to her situation (with the exception of which liberal politician or actor is visiting her), the story goes nowhere and she's hardly well-spoken.

3. People who think Hurricane Katrina is God's way of punishing the city of New Orleans because of a homosexual celebration called "Southern Decadence." Do the people at Repent America realize that Hurricane Katrina damaged more than just New Orleans?

4. How John Derbyshire is an editor for National Review.

5. People who try to lose weight by running. If you run a mile you lose approximately 100 calories. A pound of fat is equivalent to around 3500 calories. Running 5 miles a day for a week to lose one measly pound just doesn't seem worth it to me. There are a lot of good reasons to start running, losing weight isn't one of them.

Life Links 8/31

Scientists predict artificial wombs in 20 years HT: Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith discusses bestiality in Washington state and how the idea that humans having sex with animals is just two animals rubbing together violates human exceptionalism at the Weekly Standard.

At least 648 people have died in Iraq after a stampede on a bridge. It seems that a rumor of a suicide bomber on the bridge triggered the stampede.

The Pro-Woman Pro-lifer discusses how prolife feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton would be turning in her grave.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Baby Torres Recap

Justin Torres recaps the experience of his sister-in-law's pregnancy and his thoughts on Susan Torres, his brother Jason, and their child at The Fact Is:

Of course, this story isn't finally about lessons or testimony to abstract truths. It's about a mother who gave everything for her baby. That baby, my niece Susan, lies right now in an incubator, gaining strength and weight and taking in the world around her. What will her life be like? Will she fall victim to the melanoma that took her mother? Will she live a full and happy and innocent life, or will it be overshadowed by the amazing circumstances of her birth?

I don't know the answers to these questions, any more than I knew on May 7th that my family would be famous around the world. And there is a sense in which I do not care, though I of course wish the best for her. I'm just glad she is here. Because, you see, in the end, it really was all about a baby. As it always should be.

Worthy of Pravda

I know I shouldn't link to this but I recently came across an essay by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, called The Right to Abortion and the Whole Direction of Society. Mr. Avakian is one of those guys who Joe Carter would give a megaphone to.

Some excerpts:

And this is especially outrageous when they hurl this accusation of "baby-killers" at women (and doctors and others who assist them) who in fact are not "killing babies" but are carrying out a medical procedure which aborts a fetus, not a separate, developed human being (I will come back to this in a minute)....

These are ways that we can hit back hard at them, politically and ideologically, getting to what is the essence here: It is not the supposed "killing of babies," it is that they want women to be in essence the property of men, to be controlled by their husbands and to be breeders of children, breeders of property, for their husbands.....

It is also very important to be bringing things back to the reality of what 90 plus percent of abortions actually consist of--the fact that they are performed in the first trimester, the first three months of pregnancy, when the fetus is anywhere from the size of the period at the end of this sentence to about an inch in length.....

That's what we're talking about here. Physiologically and socially, that's essentially what we're talking about here--the fate of women vs. a clump of cells, which at that point (during the first three months in particular) are by no means even completely differentiated (into different organs and parts of the body with different specific functions) and certainly are not anything like a developed human being--and are, in fact, a tiny clump of cells.

The logic here is what? That the unborn aren't separate developed human beings because they are smaller than born children? That the unborn aren't developed human beings because they "are not anything like a developed human being?"

Back in the good ole' days of the USSR, Avakian's ignorant claims regarding fetal development might fly but we have a window to the womb.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Being Careful with Fetal Pain

Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds has some noteworthy thoughts about fetal pain and the possible dangers of reinforcing a functional view of personhood at the Reformation 21 blog.

"Nonetheless, I wonder if some of our language as Christians can unwittingly reflect or reinforce a functional view of personhood. For example, once, when a friend held our infant daughter in his lap and observed her facial expressions, he exclaimed, "She almost looks like a little person!" (Er, she already is a person, and has been so since conception.) Or consider the ad campaigns by Pro-Life Across America ("The Billboard People"). They seek to dissuade people from abortion due to the functions of the fetus. ("Guess what? Our hearts were beating 24 days from conception!" "What! I could smile before I was born…12 weeks from conception.") We may succeed at convincing people not to have abortions on this basis, but we shouldn't be surprised if they then yawn at the idea of destroying embryos for research. Embryos simply don't play very well on billboards."

The prolife presentation of fetal development facts should also make sure to note that certain landmarks such as a beating heart or brain waves don't suddenly create living human beings. The beating of my heart at 22 days didn't give me a life or make my life worthy of protection, my life was started and was worthy of protection before my heart was created or started beating.

Fetal Pain Debate continued

National Right to Life Committe responds to the article in the Journal of the American Medical Association regarding fetal pain here.

Media bias on abortion?

Tim Graham at the Corner describes a Washington Post story by Ceci Connolly which calls funding of organizations that provide abortion alternatives, unborn victims of violence laws (like Laci and Connor's law) and informed consent laws as "restrictions" on access to abortion.

Try to imagine an article where a state government action of funding alternatives to gun ownership was called a "restricition" on gun access.

Check out these three paragraphs and tell me if you're scratching your head too.

"Those opposed to abortion are finding new and different ways to increase the roadblocks and the hoops [that] providers and patients have to jump through," Emmert said.

Missouri, for example, has set aside $1 million to encourage low-income pregnant women to carry a pregnancy to full term and potentially give the infant up for adoption.

"A theme we're seeing this session is for legislatures to go back and put on more restrictions," said Katherine Grainger, legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. "They passed all these laws, and now they're saying, 'Let's see what else we can get.' "

How is spending a million dollars to encourage bringing children to term and adoption an example of a roadblock or a hoop to jump through or a restriction?

If Missouri spent a million dollars on encouraging hunters to use compound bows instead of guns when they hunt for deer, would that be a roadblock/hoop/restriction to buying a gun?

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Dawn Eden is posting the story of a blogger who is having trouble getting an appointment at Planned Parenthood to remove an intrauterine device. Planned Parenthood is telling her that it could be five weeks until they get her in and they may have to reschedule.

I wonder if the woman would have as much trouble getting an appointment at Planned Parenthood if she was looking to have an abortion.

Look at what I've started

Scott Klusendorf has been gracious enough to provide an in-depth response to Dadahead's argument regarding prolife metaphysics. Dadahead in turn has been gracious enough to give a long response to Scott's response.

I think it is interesting that Dadahead feels that his view of personhood has nothing to do with metaphysics.

He says, "What I'm arguing is that 'person' is just a word, defined conventionally, as opposed to deriving its meaning by somehow rigidly designating some ontological type/natural kind of 'personhood.' The word 'person' is like the word 'tall'; convention, guided, as always, but the objective facts of the matter, determines when its use is appropriate."

Does anyone else find the second sentence to be an odd sentence? Maybe I'm completely missing what Dadahead is trying to say but I was unaware that there were "objective facts" regarding whether one human being is or isn't a "person."

Another obvious point of contention I have with Dadahead is when he says, "It's not so much that the anti-abortion view is suspect because it is endorsed by religions - it's that the view itself seems to be based solely, or at least heavily, on religion. I wouldn't hold it against the anti-choicers just because the Catholic Church agrees with them. That would be absurd, and self-defeating, seeing as how the Church agrees with me on other issues (e.g. the war). What I'm skeptical of is that there exists a totally non-religious argument against abortion."

I find this paragraph truly bizarre since Scott just made a prolife argument that wasn't based on religion at all. If Dadahead is looking for another prolife argument not based on religion he could also read Don Marquis' piece Why Abortion is Immoral.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Fetal Pain - Quite Abstracting

After reading the abstract on the fetal pain study of other fetal pain studies in the Journal of the American Medical Associations, I noticed a few things that were interesting.

The first thing I noticed was how the researchers obtained studies and what limitations they put on them specifically, "The search was performed without date limitations and was current as of June 6, 2005."

I find this interesting because without date limitations means that many studies from the 1960's and 1970's might be included in this review of studies. Why is this interesting? Because the realization that newborn infants feel pain is a fairly new rediscovery in the scientific community. In a newsletter for the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Dr. Doris Cope notes,

Such entrenched theory dies hard, so that as late as 1968, surgeons L.I. Swafford, M.D., and D. Allen, M.D., contended, "Pediatric patients seldom need medication for the relief of pain after general surgery. They tolerate discomfort well."

The idea of infants not experiencing pain after noxious stimuli was still prevalent in conventional wisdom as seen in the popular press. There was no clearer demonstration of this than in the advice given to parents circumcising their male newborns. In 1982, Proctor and Gamble promoted Pampers to parents by providing Expectant Parents' Information Kits, which included the statement: "You may be surprised to learn that circumcision will not be painful to your baby because, at this early stage of development, the penis does not yet have functioning pain nerve endings." Mother's Manual, published the same year, argues against local anesthesia for circumcision: "It swells the area to the extent of making an unsatisfactory circumcision too likely."

Medical opinion began to change in the 1980s. Studies in neonatal pain measured behavioral, physiologic and biochemical responses to pain. While the behavioral changes had been explained as simple learned reflexes, the changes in physiological parameters and O2 saturation after endotracheal intubation were more difficult to explain. Perhaps the most convincing studies demonstrating the real phenomenon of neonatal pain were a series of papers, published in the late 1980s, showing the hormonal and metabolic responses in infants undergoing surgery that were attenuated by general anesthesia. Since that time, numerous pain scales have been proposed to assess pediatric pain.

Today, the concept of neonatal and pediatric pain is well-established, and the lesson to be learned by the medical community is the need for caution in applying experimental findings in isolated animal proposals and philosophical theorems to clinical practice. It is ironic to note that at one time in our medical history, a simple unlettered parent could more accurately diagnose pain in their infant child than the most advanced experimental scientist or state-of-the-art philosopher.
(emphasis mine)

I would also point out that it seems the researchers limited their meta-analysis to studies with unborn children and didn't include pain studies on children who were born before 30 weeks. Wouldn't it be much easier to study the possibility of pain in a born child who is premature than it would in an unborn child?

Also of note is how the researchers define pain: "Pain perception requires conscious recognition or awareness of a noxious stimulus. Neither withdrawal reflexes nor hormonal stress responses to invasive procedures prove the existence of fetal pain, because they can be elicited by nonpainful stimuli and occur without conscious cortical processing. Fetal awareness of noxious stimuli requires functional thalamocortical connections."

They define pain and the perception of pain to their own desires and simply brush aside the behavioral evidence.

This meta-analysis seems less like a scientific study and more like a hit piece designed to get headlines and provide cheapshot commentary on prolife legislation.

Update on Fetal Pain Study

Prolfe Blogs has covered the story regarding a new study on fetal pain which says an unborn child was unlikely to feel pain before 28 weeks.

A new story out today reveals something that I could have only guessed at: One of the authors in this case heads an abortion clinic. Why am I not surprised?

It does not mention that one author is an abortion clinic director, while the lead author - Susan J. Lee, a medical student - once worked for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

JAMA editor-in-chief Catherine D. DeAngelis said she was unaware of this, and acknowledged it might create an appearance of bias that could hurt the journal's credibility. "This is the first I've heard about it," she said. "We ask them to reveal any conflict of interest. I would have published" the disclosure if it had been made.

I wonder why a former NARAL employee and an abortion clinic director didn't want the JAMA to know that they were involved in the abortion industry?

Worst column ever?

I'm not sure but this column by Carol Towarnicky of the Philadelphia Daily News has to be close to top.

"Tell me again, what's wrong with "judicial activism"?"

1. It destroys the balance of powers in our government when judges take it upon themselves to create laws from penumbras of emanations.
2. It completely destroy the democratic process.
3. Federal judges, who are completely unaccountable to people, become lawmakers.
4. The founding documents of our country become meaningless if judges are allowed and even encouraged to create new rights and laws out of nothing.
5. The "constitutionality" of our country's laws are based solely on the personal/political opinions of nine rotating lawyers.
6. Judges swear to uphold the Constitution, not their personal opinions.

Towarnicky goes on to list various cases where the right to privacy was created and then later expanded upon including Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas and then asks, "What would this country look like without it? Many extreme conservatives can't wait to find out."

Our country would look like a democracy where people thru their elected lawmakers made decisions on issues like contraception, abortion, and sodomy instead of a liberal oligarchy.

"The Constitution, after all, doesn't mention privacy. It doesn't expressly forbid states to mandate bedroom behavior. Their reasoning sounds an awful lot like the speeches of today's conservatives.

If that side had won, would the state Legislature have pushed through a law allowing couples to decide on their own whether to use birth control? I don't think so, either."

Do you catch the strong scent of what I would call "uppityism?" Towarnicky feels that the people and their elected lawmakers were too stupid or slow to change a law so therefore it is up to the wise sages of the Supreme Court to change it for them. If the law against contraception was silly back in 1965 (as Towarnicky states earlier) then why wouldn't the state legislature pass a law to allow the use of contraceptives? If the law was so silly, why couldn't the people merely elect lawmakers willing to change it?

"Without a right to privacy, the government again would have the keys to your doors, at least figuratively.

Without it, the courts would be paralyzed, unable to stop the state from stepping across your threshold and into your personal decisions."

Because we all know that before 1965 when the Supreme Court created the right of married couples to use contraceptives, the government was knocking down doors on a whim and the state controlled the population's personal decisions.

With the "right to privacy" and its ever-changing meaning, our democratic process has been paralyzed, unable to pass and sustain laws that reflect the will of the people. if those laws disagree with the personal opinions of various judges.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Stifle debate? No, not NARAL

Over at Dawn Eden's blog, Raving Atheist discusses how he was banned from NARAL's Bush v. Choice blog after leaving prolife comments that refuted was NARAL's blogger Jessica Valenti was posting.

As a former prolife commenter at Bush v. Choice, I've been banned since the implementation of the new comments policy even though my posts discussed assertions made by Jessica or one of the pro-choice commenters and were not personal attacks. It is also might be notable that the comments in all of the posts before the comment policy implementation have been deleted (but then this might be because they're using TypeKey). In the many months that I posted there, I don't remember a single instance of Jessica taking the time to respond to a single prolife comment or apologize for many of her mistaken posts (like when she said O'Connor was the 5th vote upholding Roe

Even without the participation of its webmistress, it was an interesting comments section because you could interact with numerous pro-choicers who seemed to only have NARAL-fed knowledge regarding the abortion debate.

Some of the commenters at Dawn Eden are theorizing on why Jessica and/or NARAL created the comments policy and is enforcing a policy that doesn't match her description of it here and here.

I actually think the comments policy was changed in part because an older pro-choice blogger named Warsprite was giving disapproving comments regarding NARAL's strategy and tactics. I pointed out how Jessica was posting faulty information for months but it wasn't until some pro-choice commenters began to turn on Jessica that a new, restrictive comments policy was implemented. Another thing I've noticed since the "re-launch" of the blog is that Jessica has toned down her foul language a bit. Since the re-launch at the beginning of August I haven't see a single s-word or f-bomb. I did noticed one d-word and one a-word. Compare this to July, where Jessica dropped an f-bomb, 5 calls of bs, 2 s-words, and 2 d-words. Maybe a coincidence, maybe not.

We'll see if Jessica holds herself up to her own standards: "As such, we will require respectful language and behavior for all. This blog is a place for open discussion, not personal attacks."

Islamic leader misses reality of human development

In a recent editorial for the Detroit News, Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi argues in favor of embryonic stem cell since Islamic tradition teaches that "life starts when the fetus is fourth months old and the heart starts beating."

Does Islam really teach that the heart of an unborn child starts beating at four months? Research in embryology clearly shows that the heart of an unborn child starts to beat long before fourth months, usually around 22 days after conception. Embryology textbooks also clearly state that life begins long before fourth months. In the 6th edition of his textbook, Patten's Foundations in Embryology, Bruce Carlson notes, "Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote). ... The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual."

Elahi also claims that "Until then (fourth months), the life is more potential and vegetative than real." Many unborn children who've yet to reach their fourth month of age are far from vegetative. Before they reach their fourth month of life, unborn children have already spent their time yawning, making breathing movements, moving their arms, stretching, touching their faces, and moving their heads. Sounds more like a human being with lots of potential instead of a "potential" human being to me.

Even though Elahi is in favor of embryonic stem cell research he opposes abortion saying, "However, abortion is not permitted even during this period except for necessities." Although I appreciate Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi's statement against abortion, I'm wondering why abortion would not be permitted before fourth months by Islam if abortion doesn't take a human life at that point? If abortion doesn't take a life until four months, what's the problem with abortion before four months?

Elahi falls into the same trap as many involved in the abortion or embryonic stem cell debate. He claims that something which is aging, growing, and developing isn't alive until it reaches a certain stage of age/size/development when the fact that the entity is aging, growing, and developing proves it is alive.

Monday, August 22, 2005

"A Passion for Life"

The Grand Rapids Press devotes a long article to former Grand Rapids Right to Life President Larry Burns.

It concludes:

"Outside the door is a piece of framed artwork given to him by Right to Life of Michigan. It includes text from the Book of Psalms, Chapter 139; Verses 13-14: "For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

It is impossible to remember every birth. Sometimes, a card or letter jogs his memory.

"About 18 to 19 years ago, I had one of the smallest babies ever to be delivered in Grand Rapids, one of those that were touch and go," Burns said.

At about one pound, the odds of survival were not good, and abortion was a viable medical option.

"I received an invitation to his graduation about a year ago," Burns said. "He got through, graduated from high school and was getting on with his life.

"It's those chancy ones you look back on, the ones that make it against incredible odds. They always make you feel good."

Adult skin cells turned into embryonic stem cells

From the Washington Post:

Scientists for the first time have turned ordinary skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells -- without having to use human eggs or make new human embryos in the process, as has always been required in the past, a Harvard research team announced yesterday.

The technique uses laboratory-grown human embryonic stem cells -- such as the ones that President Bush has already approved for use by federally funded researchers -- to "reprogram" the genes in a person's skin cell, turning that skin cell into an embryonic stem cell itself.

The approach -- details of which are to be published this week in the journal Science but were made public on the journal's Web site yesterday -- is still in an early stage of development. But if further studies confirm its usefulness, it could offer an end run around the heated social and religious debate that has for years overshadowed the field of human embryonic stem cell research."

Where Art Thou?

In an encore presentation (from earlier this summer) of Larry King Live that aired Aug. 20, 2005, Art Linkletter (who is opposed to abortion and conservative for the most part) said that he was in favor of embryonic stem cell research and made some incorrect claims about whether a human embryo is alive or not. Linkletter, who is 93 years old, is famous for his long career in television including hosting the show "Kids Who Say the Darndest Things."

Here's the transcript:

KING: The controversy over stem-cells. Now, Nancy has come out strongly in favor of embryonic stem-cell research, and most of the country, 60, 65 percent, is in favor of it. I know you're conservative.

LINKLETTER: I'm for it.

KING: As is Orrin Hatch and many others.

LINKLETTER: I think anybody who looks at it -- well, it finally comes down partly to whether you think that the female egg, once meeting the male sperm, is a live creature. I don't think so. And they're taking stem-cells from so early in the embryo that it's not taking a life. It's not living yet.

KING: You think it's going to lead to a lot of cures? LINKLETTER: A lot of them. I doubt if it'll lead to Alzheimer's. They talk about it.

I find it so strange that people can actually believe (or maybe it's just a bad attempt at rationalization) that a young human embryo is not alive when they think that an older human embryo is alive. It's the same thing, for goodness sake. It's still a human embryo. Do people actually believe that something which grows and is developing isn't actually alive until it reaches a certain stage of development or a certain age? Wouldn't the reality that something is developing and aging indicate that the something is alive? How does something which isn't alive grow and develop until it reaches the stage when it becomes alive? Doesn't growth and aging in an organism seem to indicate that the organism is alive?

The claim that something isn't alive until it reaches a certain age has to be one of the most befuddled claims in the history of mankind. To say that something is created at one point and then becomes "alive" at another point makes no sense. To say that something is aging, growing and developing assumes that it is alive and retains the elements of life.

Friday, August 19, 2005

What about the injured women?

One thing I've noticed regarding the debate regarding the safety of RU-486 (aka medical abortion, Mifeprex, etc.) that started at Michelle Malkin went to INDC Journal and has been mentioned at Imago Dei, Hyscience and Outside the Beltway is that something is missing. What's missing? The fact that numerous women have also been injured (many of them seriously) from this drug cocktail. We've focused on the 5 deaths that we know about while ignoring the numerous women who've reported adverse effects/complications after taking these drugs.

In January of this year, Concerned Women for America posted the Adverse Events Reports from RU-486. The list is not by any means complete but it still has more than 600 women who've experienced adverse effects from RU-486. The safety of a drug can not be solely determined by how many people die after taking it. We also should factor in complications and how serious these complications have been before declaring something "safe and effective."

The Adverse Events Reports also show how some abortion providers are blatantly ignoring the FDA guidelines for medical abortion.

Related: RU-486: I'm Hating It

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Life Links 8/18

In a post about 2 weeks old, pro-choice blogger Dadahead goes after Scott Klusendorf and prolife arguments in general by creating a strawman ("Killing people is always wrong (and should be illegal)") and doing the exact thing he accuses Scott of ("So what the anti-choice movement is trying to do is to impose the normative implications of their pet metaphysical theory (highly influenced by their pet religious ideology) on the rest of society, without giving us any reason to believe that their theory is, you know, true."). I've jotted off a quick response to Dadahead in the comments section, maybe Scott will do the same.

Another boost for stem cells from umbilical cords.

"The newly discovered human cells, named "cord-blood-derived embryonic-like stem cells" or CBEs, are not quite as primitive as embryonic stem cells, which can give rise to any tissue type of the body. But they appear to be much more versatile than "adult stem cells" such as those found in bone marrow which repair damaged tissue during life." HT: Wesley Smith

The Raving Atheist goes to town on Planned Parenthood's commercial which features cartoonish violence against prolife protestors.

"The cartoon cannot be dismissed as an mere aberration or accident. It plainly represents the official policy of PPGG, and was funded out of its $20 million budget. The protagonist "Dian" is deliberately modeled after the organization's president, Dian Harrison. To date, Planned Parenthood's national organization has not renounced it or even commented on it.

For nearly a year I have volunteered for a Crisis Pregnancy Clinic. It provides medical assistance, shelter, diapers, toys and other supplies for new and expectant mothers. Some of its clients are recruited from in front of abortion clinics by the "ghouls" so ignorantly portrayed in Superhero. But as demonstrated by the baby pictures lining the CPC's walls, their "victims" join the ranks of the living rather than the dead."

His post has sparked a lively discussion in the comments section.

Late term abortion study

International abortion provider Marie Stopes has released a study on late term abortions (19-24 weeks) in the United Kingdom and the women who have them.

Their findings indicate that the majority of women they surveyed had abortions later in pregnancy because they didn't recognize the signs and symptoms of pregnancy. A small minority of women were aware of their pregnancy early on but they didn't have an abortion earlier on because of either denial or a change in their circumstances.

The study also includes the testimonials of post-abortive women.

Another Pro-Choicer Against NARAL

Pro-choice advocate Wendy McElroy, editor of and a research fellow for The Independent Institute, has an article in Fox News where she takes NARAL to task for their false ad and even predicts "the defeat and decline of the pro-choice movement."

Some excerpts:

On the surface, this incident is remarkable enough but its underlying message is even more significant. I think it signals the defeat and decline of the pro-choice movement in the foreseeable future.

Senators will continue to debate; legislative battles will be waged on the state level; protesters will still scream at each other in the streets. But the very fact that NARAL -- America's leading advocate for abortion rights -- thought blatant dishonesty was the strongest card to play reveals a shocking depth of intellectual bankruptcy that is too common in the overall movement.....

NARAL's response to 'friendly' critics also reveals moral bankruptcy. The President Nancy Keenan responded to Specter by regretting that "many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement."

Without backing down one whit, Keenan informed Specter that the ads would be pulled because "the debate over the advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public." Lies do tend to distract from the truth....

As a pro-choice advocate, I am ashamed of NARAL, an organization with which I never associated. I am ashamed of the anti-Roberts ad that typifies much of pro-choice rhetoric: a scorched-earth policy in which goodwill and truth are the first two items incinerated.
(emphasis mine)

This is probably one of the most devastating pieces I've seen on NARAL's ad because the author is an avowed pro-choicer who isn't afraid to admit how ashamed she is by the current pro-choice movement and leaders. She's open about how misleading and morally bankrupt NARAL is and how this makes her feel. Ms. McElroy also has a website/blog.

I do have to disagree with McElroy when she states, "So far, however, there has been a paucity of apology from the pro-life movement and not much commentary condemning Rudolph."

For one, should prolife organizations have to apologize for the violent and bizarre actions of someone who isn't part of their organization and movement? Should those who are against the war in Iraq have to apologize for everything that some crazy individual against the war does? I agree that prolife people should condemn violence against abortion clinics but I don't think we have to apologize for the actions of someone who isn't associated with the prolife movement.

Second, there in fact there were numerous commentaries by prolife organizations condemning Rudolph for his actions. They haven't been in the news of late because Rudolph committed his violent acts in 1998. Here are just a few examples of prolife organizations and people who've spoken out against violence, many focusing specifically on the Rudolph bombing. Right to Life of Michigan has even created and paid to air television ads that specifically address the problem of violence against abortion providers.

HT: Between Two Worlds

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Repeat abortion rate in Wayne County

I've spent a little more time combing through the abortion statistics for Michigan and have found something quite disturbing about abortion on women from Wayne County. Women who live in Wayne County, which is the home of Detroit, had 8,486 abortions in 2004. In Michigan, there were 25,512 abortions performed on women who live in Michigan. This means that a third (33.26%) of abortions performed on women from Michigan are performed on women who live in just one of Michigan's 83 counties. Of the Wayne County's 8,486 abortions, 5,032 are performed on women who live in Detroit.

Almost 60% (5,000 abortions) of the abortions performed on residents of Wayne County are performed on woman who've already had at least one abortion and nearly 33% (2,780 abortions) of Wayne County residents receiving an abortion had 2 or more previous abortions. So one out of every three women from Wayne County walking into an abortion clinic to get an abortion is getting at least their 3rd abortion.

Repeat abortions statistics for the entire state are fairly high, 48% of women have already had at least one previous abortion and 22.3% have had two or more previous abortions, but are significantly smaller than the 58.9% and 32.8% respective percentages from Wayne County.

The only other county (though Oakland County came close) in the state that had higher repeat abortion percentages for both categories than the entire state is Genesee County (home of Flint) with 53.0% of women from Genesee County having at least one previous abortion and 25.7% of women having had 2 or more previous abortions. Genesee County and Wayne County are also the counties with the highest percentages of African-American residents in the state of Michigan with 20.4% and 42.2%, respectively.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Faith of the Faithless

In a great post, Serge has tipped me off to the recent appearance of Bill Maher on the Larry King show. I've never understood how people can stomach Maher and I even feel somewhat guilty linking to anything that comes out of his mouth but I think Maher provides a fine example of how those who seem so opposed to faith, continually rely on their own version of faith in their arguments.

CALLER: Yes. What convinces Bill that God exists?

MAHER: I'm not convinced that God exists. But I do allow the possibility. I'm not an atheist. I'm open.

KING: You're an agnostic.

MAHER: My view on spirituality is I don't know. I never will as long as I'm alive. So why waste time dwelling on something I can never know? Just be a good person. It should be enough to want to be a good person for the sake of being a good person. I don't need the approval of Jesus or a God. If a God exists, or something that is a realm in another world, great. I'm happy about that.

On one hand, Maher claims that his view is "open." But then on the other hand he says, "I never will (know about the existence of God) as long as I'm alive." How "open" is that? "God might exist but I'll never know (not just I don't know now)." It seems to be a very closed off agnostic view. He goes on later to insult Christians for having faith but instead of having faith in God, Maher has faith in his own never ending doubt and uncertainty. Isn't it a bit of a "faith" statement to claim that you will never know about the existence of God as long as you're alive? What is that based on? Can Maher predict the future? Or is he basing his certainty of his future beliefs on blind faith?

He continues,

What I'm most against is the certitude that people have about faith. You know, human beings are very ill-equipped for certitude, and that's what faith is. It is saying, I know more -- I just know it. When Bush was -- came back from the funeral of the pope, the press asked him what he thought about it. And he said, no doubt in my mind the Lord Christ was sent by the Almighty. Way to keep it neutral, huh? That's the first thing. I mean, what about the people who aren't Christian, what do they think when the leader of their country says a thing like that? But no doubt in my mind? Doubt is very fitting for the human mind, because we don't know. We're not that good. So you know, to answer that question, I would say, no, I don't...

So it's ok for Maher to be certain that he will never know but it's not ok for Bush to be certain about Christ? Talk about double standards.

"Way to keep it neutral?" Since when did "keeping it neutral" and becoming a pluralist guru become a priority for the President of the United States who is Christian? Why is it wrong for President Bush to share his faith? Would it also be wrong for agnostic or atheists leaders to share their lack of faith? Would Maher be worried about what Christians think if an atheist or agnostic president shared his views?

Doubting is very fitting for the human mind? What about searching? What about investigating? What about looking for answers? These things seem much more fitting to the human mind than doubt. Ask any parent of a young child. Yet Maher seems to have given up his search (if he ever had one) and has concluded that he will never know so why take the time to look.

KING: What do you say to those intelligent -- the Billy Grahams, who say they have no doubt? They have no doubt. They're going somewhere. They believe it.

MAHER: Well, they've brain-washed themselves. That's what religion is. It's brain-washing people to believe what you can never believe. And it's childish. It's childish. Instead of just saying, I don't know. That's what the adult thing is to do. To say, I don't know, and I'm going to be a good person for the sake of being a good person.

The adult thing to do is give up? Throw your hands up in the air and say, "I don't know." That sounds more like the kind of thing frustrated adolescents do when they've grown tired of looking.

Only in Bill Maher's faithful world of the faithless is examining the evidence and coming to a rationale conclusion considered childish thinking while simply saying, "I don't know. I'll be a good person for the sake of being a good person" considered adult thinking.

More reaction to NARAL's misleading ad on John Roberts

From some more newspapers including the Chicago Sun-Times:

Whether or not one agrees with Roberts' brief -- the government won the case -- the NARAL ad was wrong, offensive and extreme in its suggestion that Roberts supported the reckless and criminal actions of abortion protesters.

and the Kalamazoo Gazette:

We agree with that the ad is misleading and unfair.

We just don't know enough about John Roberts yet to know whether to be alarmed or relieved at his nomination. We wish the hyperventilation would cease at least until his confirmation hearings next month.

HT: Jill Stanek

From pro-choice blogger Patricia Beninato of I'm Not Sorry: "All NARAL has succeeded in doing is damaging their credibility. When even Arlen Spector, a long time pro-choice friend, says that you screwed up, that's not good."

From pro-choice columnist John Tierney: "My position on abortion has been, as politicians put it, evolving. I was once pro-choice and a contributor to Naral. Now I'm pro-choice but anti-Naral."

More on Roberts' possible position on abortion

Via Ed Whelan and Bench Memos:

1. In October 1985 Roberts was asked to review a proposed telegram to be sent from President Reagan to a memorial service to be held in Los Angeles for some 16,500 aborted fetuses that had been discovered at a medical laboratory in 1982. The draft telegram, quoting Lincoln's words at Gettysburg, stated that "just as the terrible toll of Gettysburg can be traced to a tragic decision of a divided Supreme Court, so also can the deaths we mourn." It stated that Roe "made void all our laws protecting the lives of infants developing in their mothers' wombs" and noted that "[o]nce again [as in Dred Scott] a whole category of human beings had been ruled outside the protection of the law by a court ruling which clashed with our deepest moral convictions." The draft prayed that God would "speed the day when the right to life of every human being . . . is honored and protected by our laws and our public policy."

Roberts wrote that he had "only one small objection" to the text of the draft telegram — namely, that it would be more accurate to say that Roe voided "many of our laws" rather than "all our laws." He added that, in accord with Reagan's position on abortion, a "memorial service would seem an entirely appropriate means of calling attention to the abortion tragedy."

2. In June 1985 Roberts was asked to review talking points that had been drafted for President Reagan for a telephone call to an anti-abortion rally in Los Angeles. Approving the talking points, Roberts noted that they "call for reversing ‘the tragedy of Roe v. Wade,' " "not[e] advances in medical technology that permit increased care for the unborn, and applaud[] those who are providing compassionate alternatives to abortion."

For some reason I doubt that Reagan would have a pro-choice/pro-Roe attorney review his prolife statements on abortion.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Movie Review: The Island

On Saturday night, my wife and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary by going out to a nice dinner at the location we were married and then seeing the movie "The Island" after dinner.

I find it unfortunate that "The Island" is doing so poor at the box office. Although the movie does have some over-the-top chase scenes and some of the usual plot items that go almost completely unexplained in sci-fic movies, it is enjoyable and what I would consider a must see for individuals interesting in bio-ethical issues.

The plot revolves around Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) who are two clones who discover that they are clones after they escape from an underground utopia-like facility where they are kept. The hundreds of clones (including a clone of the President) kept at this facility are told that they have survived a type of world contamination and live hoping to win the lottery and a trip to the mythological Island (the only place in the world that supposedly hasn't been contaminated). Those who win a trip to the "Island" are actually killed after their organs have been removed or they've given birth to a child (seemingly for women who don't want to or can't give birth).

The clones or "products" are kept as an "insurance policy" for the world's richest people in case of an accident or disease. The clones, at a cost of $5 million, are seen as a warehouse of organs and tissue so the world's elite can prolong their lives.

Sean Bean, who plays the director of the cloning facility, hides the truth of his work from the eyes of his customers and the government because under the bio-ethical laws of the day, the clones must be kept in a persistent vegetative state but when testing his "product" Bean's company quickly discovered that the clones couldn't survive (their organs began to whither) in that state for a prolong period of time. Hence, the clones must be born (at adulthood), educated to the level of a 15 year-old, given simpleton jobs, and entertainment.

Some of the ways that Bean's character and his company chillingly refer to the adult clones mimics the way that advocates of human cloning for medical research refer to embryonic cloned human beings. The clones are referred to as "products" so when Bean has to convince his board of directors to approve the killing of numerous cloned human beings he refers to them as "200 million dollars worth of product." We see this same word - "product" - from today's cloning advocates. Cloned human embryos aren't human beings, they're "products of nuclear transplantation."

Bean's character also uses quasi-religious arguments ("They don't have souls") and promises of medical treatment ("I'll cure (insert disease) in two years") to escape the reality of being in the killing business.

Steve Buscemi's character has a great line referring to how Bean's customers might not want to know the reality of what is happening when he tells Lincoln (McGregor), "Just because you want to eat a steak doesn't mean you want to look the cow in the face."

I think the exact same thought process is what is at work for people who are in favor of embryonic stem cell research and human cloning for medical research. They want the cures and the scientific breakthroughs but they don't want to acknowledge that human beings have to be killed for these types of experiment to take place.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

And yes. That is a pool table in my dining room.

Should intentionally leaving a child in a hot car be a crime?

It could be in Michigan in the near future as this Detroit Free Press article discusses a new bill which would punish people who leave children in a hot car regardless of whether or not that child is injured and provide greater penalties if a child is injured.

The bill changes the definition of fourth degree child abuse to include, "(b) The person knowingly or intentionally commits an act likely to cause physical harm to a child, regardless of whether physical harm results."

NARAL pulls ad, remains unapologetic

NARAL has pulled it's ad which unfairly misrepresents Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

Prolife Blogs is covering the story here.

Here's the AP story. NARAL's president Nancy Keenan said, "We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record."

Don't you mean, "We regret our recent advertisement misconstrued Mr. Roberts' record."

Some pro-choice bloggers respond:

Pseudo-Adrienne at Alas, a Blog:

NARAL Pro-Choice America has decided to pull its anti-Roberts ad due to all of the "controversy" (oh spare me–rolls eyes), which unfortunately with all of the reactionary shrilling over the ad, even by pro-choicers and liberals, has distracted just about everyone (including us pro-choicers and lefties) from the reality and the focus of this campaign.Which is, duh, exposing the threat Roberts' poses to women's reproductive rights.

Bitch PhD. breaks with the party line and admits,"while factual in a strict sense, it was somewhat misleading,"

Media Girl (warning profanity)

Bondad (warning lots and lots of profanity)


Scott Leigh in The Boston Globe:

"But it is fundamentally wrong to portray Roberts as man who has excused violence against other Americans or who somehow offered legal support in a clinic bombing case. And that's the impression this ad obviously tries to create. calls it guilt by association. Character assassination might be more apt."


The Washington Post on the ad: "But the impression it creates with this ad is not an argument but a smear-- a smear that will do less to discredit Judge Roberts than it will the organization that created it."

Double Ouch.

Here's NARAL's etter to Arlen Specterl which says that they'll pull the commercial.

It includes this statement: "Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public."

Funny, I can't remember the last time I tried to have a serious discussion by saying, "America can't afford a Justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans." That just has 'serious' discussion written all over it, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

R.I.P. Ali John

Nina, who had an abortion around a week ago, has come to regret her decision. Her boyfriend, who wanted the child but wouldn't marry Nina unless she converted to Christianity, also regrets his actions. Nina has named her child Ali John and she and her boyfriend performed a burial ceremony and wrote letters to their unborn child.

One day after her abortion she writes,

All day long, I've hated myself. Of course, my wound is so open and new. Ive regretted. I got angry with my mother because she didn't encourage me to keep him; I got angry with my bf because he didn't stand up and left me so alone and forced to convert me; I hate myself because i laid down there with my own free will eventually, I could have got up and left, but I didn't. I even got angry with God because He didn't intervene somehow. I though there might have been a car accident or anything that might have kept me from going there. I was looking for someone to blame. I thought about not talking to my BF ever. However, I couldn't do it either because when I came home, I found a message in my voicemail from him. I called him back. He was so upset, just like me. He was regretful. We both agreed that it was a wrong decision, poor judgment. He told me that he is not angry at me, and I told him that I forgive him also. I cried, he cried. At the end, he asked me if I would like to hold a funeral for him.

NARAL's defense or lack thereof

A pro-choice blogger has posted NARAL's email to supporters which attempts to refute's analysis of their commercial on Judge John Roberts.

I think this is my favorite part: Is Profoundly Misguided To State That Operation Rescue's Behavior Is Akin to the Civil Rights Movement: Mr. Barge states that Operation Rescue's actions "in some ways mirrored the non-violent tactics used earlier by civil-rights activists." This restatement of anti-choice extremists' talking points is clearly untrue. As Justice Stevens wrote in Bray, "the demonstrations in the 1960's were motivated by a desire to extend the equal protection of the laws to all classes – not to impose burdens on any disadvantaged class... The suggestion that there is an analogy between their struggle to achieve equality and these petitioners' concerted efforts to deny women equal access to a constitutionally protected privilege may have rhetorical appeal, but it is insupportable on the record before us...(10)" Justice Stevens also noted that Bray "presents a striking contemporary example of the kind of zealous, politically motivated, lawless conduct that led to the enactment of the Ku Klux Act in 1871 and gave it its name(11)." Similarly, Justice O'Connor likened Operation Rescue's behavior to the Ku Klux Klan, noting that "[l]ike the Klan conspiracies Congress tried to reach in enacting §1985(3), ‘[p]etitioners intended to hinder a particular group in the exercise of their legal rights because of their membership in a specific class(12).'"

In other words - is clearly wrong because Justice Stevens and Justice O'Connor say so.

I also like this:

There was no attempt by NARAL Pro-Choice America to misstate the timeline of events or to infer that Ms. Lyons' injuries occurred as the result of the actions at issue in the Bray case.

Then why on earth is Ms. Lyons in the commercial??? Why is a victim of an abortion clinic bombing prominently featured in a commercial discussing a case has nothing to do with that clinic bombing??? If Lyons injuries have nothing to do with Bray, then why show her injures and have her saying things like, " I'm determined to stop this violence so I'm speaking out."

Keep digging NARAL.

Links 8/1/05

How can God be both loving and vengeful? The A-Team's Murdock helps us find a good answer.

Christianity Today has a new blog, featuring Nigel Cameron, on life issues called Life Matters HT: Christian Mind

I like what Joe Carter has brought to the World Magazine especially Blogwatch.

Frances Kissling, longtime president of Catholics for a Free Choice, isn't happy about NARAL's deceptive ad. She tells the NY Times she was she was:

"deeply upset and offended" by the advertisement, which she called "far too intemperate and far too personal."

Ms. Kissling, who initiated the conversation with a reporter, said the ad "does step over the line into the kind of personal character attack we shouldn't be engaging in."

She added: "As a pro-choice person, I don't like being placed on the defensive by my leaders. Naral should pull it and move on."

In other words: "It's impossible to defend NARAL's lies. I'm sick of trying."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

NARAL defends their refuted commercial

NARAL has posted this "spin/truth" comparison sheet in an effort to defend their commercial. As usual with NARAL "fact" sheets, it is long on fluff and dubious assertions and short on any kind of logical fact-based argument. From their skewed perspective only the 'right' and 'conservatives' think their ad is misleading.

Radical groups appealed these cases and found an ally in John Roberts. This wasn't an arcane legal dispute, but a fight over whether or not law enforcement could use their most effective weapon against extremists who use violence.....

Roberts' sided with a convicted bomber and other activists who preach violence.....

Far-Right Spin #4: Papers released last week show Roberts opposed clinic violence.

FACT: The legal strategy Roberts crafted speaks much louder than a draft of a letter written for a superior......

Another odd group of accusations considering that NARAL President Nancy Keenan said, "I want to be very clear that we are not suggesting Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence."

So what's the true verdict? Does Roberts oppose violence or not? What are you suggesting then? That he likes violent people?

Life Links 8/10/05

Liberal Larry you've outdone yourself again.

The Roberts kids are no strangers to controversy. Jack Roberts, a confirmed bachelor who enjoys dancing and thinks girls are "yucky", has the I.Q. of a four year-old boy and a rap sheet a mile long. In 2003, Jack was reprimanded by a superior court judge for vandalizing the walls of a private residence with Crayola crayons. Last summer, he stole several indigenous amphibians from a natural wetland, a crime against nature for which he has yet to be held accountable. His childlike demeanor and bizarre behavior have frustrated reporters for weeks. When pressed for details on his father's opinions concerning Roe V. Wade, it's not unusual for Jack to burst into giggles and spin around in circles until he falls down.

Read the whole thing. I'm still laughing.

Serge at Imago Dei discusses the concept of brain death and what it means.

Is anyone else getting the sick feeling that the recent NARAL commercial is a publicity stunt/fundraising gimmick? They've gained more attention to the ad via the NY Times , USA Today and blogs than the "national" ad (I'm sorry but airing a commercial in Maine and Rhode Island isn't national) would have received even if it had a much larger ad buy.

Honestly, how many people in Maine and Rhode Island will actually see this commercial on TV? NARAL doesn't have the power/money to pay for a real national ad campaign against Roberts. So instead they create a ridiculous commercial knowing that the blatant deception will receive a ton of media publicity where a normal "Roberts may not be pro-choice" ad probably wouldn't cause a ripple. They've even gotten Progress for America Voter Fund to pay for an ad campaign that rebukes NARAL's commercial. While NARAL may be getting a lot of publicity for this ad, this can't be good for their already diminishing credibility and influence.

How Planned Parenthood "Persuades"

Besides the violence against prolife protestors, the thing that stood out to me about Planned Parenthood Golden Gate cartoon, that Dawn Eden has been covering so well, is how Dianysis, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate's choice superhero, can't argue. She can only use force to get her way.

When faced with the individual promoting abstinence (who looks kind of like a magician) who points out to a young lady that no one plans on getting on a sexual transmitted disease so "but I don't plan on getting an STD" isn't a very good way of preventing STDs, Dianysis merely insults him ("The only truth here is that you're ugly and your momma dresses you funny") before throwing him into a trash can filled water and holding the lid shut.

When faced with "the Senator" who is seemingly against abortion, Dianysis throws him into a pot and stirs him around. When she pulls him out naked and with an apple in his mouth, he says he "no longer has the stench of misinformed conservatism" and "wants all women everywhere to have the ability to choose what they do with their bodies." If only it were that easy. Is that how Planned Parenthood got Democrats like Richard Gephardt who formerly opposed abortion to wholeheartedly embrace PP's agenda?

Like the prolife demonstrators, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate wishes that prolife arguments would disappear. Instead of using facts and logic to win arguments, this cartoon glorifies the use of violent cartoonish force to get your way.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

How sad is it for NARAL

When even DailyKos can't embrace their devious commercial. Frequent commenter Armando says, " Second, while the ad is, how should I say this, inflammatory, it is not untruthful. While I am not that comfortable with it, I do think Keenan gets at an essential truth, Roberts has not been forthcoming on these key issues, and we are left to scrounge around for clues in his sparse public record."

Even though this statement makes no sense (what does Nancy Keenan's statement have to do with whether the commercial is truthful or not?), it's interesting to see how NARAL's insane attack on Roberts doesn't completely fly with the liberalist of liberals. Even though, Armando won't come out and say it, he's well aware of how misleading this commercial is.

Kos even takes a swipe at NARAL's politics.

"Until NARAL (and the rest of the single-issue groups) understand that building a movement is more beneficial to their causes than singular devotion to their pet causes, I can't take them seriously."

Bloggers Take Down NARAL's Deceptive Commercial

Carol Platt Liebau: How Low Can NARAL Go?

Imago Dei: Desperation: the Attempt to Smear Roberts

Ed Whelan at Bench Memos: NARAL's Lies

Elephant on the Edge: NARAL: Slipping into Irrelevancy

Confirm Them: NARAL: Weak, Worthless and Desperate

Powerline: Let's Go Crazy

Jack Lewis: NARAL makes ad accusing Roberts of supporting violence

Monday, August 08, 2005

JPod - Backing himself into a Corner

John Podhoretz has backed himself into a highly illogical corner with these posts #1, #2 #3 and #4 in response to this post by Robert George.

What does "fully human" mean in the scientific sense, John? How does a ‘part human' become "fully human?" Can something be half human?

Nature is brutal so we can be brutal too? Says who? What kind of logic is that? Since a tsunami kills 200,000 people in southeast Asia, how does it follow that there is no reason why we shouldn't be killing people who reside in southeast Asia? No one is arguing that strawman.

Let's give Jpod his assumption that there is a moral force in the universe and that his plan in the end isn't brutal. How does that prove that brutal things often times via nature don't happen along the way?

John says:

If "life begins at conception" believers whWhich is why in the universe I think we live in, the moral force would not create massive numbers of living human beings in embryonic form only to snuff them out.

His argument is difficult to decipher because of the typos but his point seems to come through at the end. Basically, the moral force (John is trying to avoid saying God) wouldn't create millions of embryos merely to destroy them. As his readers pointed out earlier, the same argument could be made for newborns in developing countries due to high infant morality rate. By that logic, a newborn can't be ‘fully human' since millions of newborn lives have been snuffed out soon after birth.

Through none of his post does Podhoretz try to argue that life doesn't begin from a scientific perspective. He provides no scientific evidence just bad philosophical reasoning in an effort to justify his belief that embryos aren't ‘fully human.'

During his last post he claims those that believe life begins at conception do it based on belief not logic or science. He also calls unborn children "seedlings of human beings." Now that's true science. He then tries to claim that gender isn't decided until 6 weeks. I don't know what his sources are but an embryo has either a XX or XY chromosome pair long before 6 weeks. Maybe he's ignoring ‘sex' and talking solely about ‘gender' but then his argument wouldn't work because many transgendered individuals don't decide what their ‘gender identity' is until long after birth. Maybe he's confusing when our technology can tell what the sex is with when the sex is decided.

Note to John: just because your view on life's beginning is based on belief (it clearly is not based on logic or science) doesn't mean mine is.

The best part about this interchange is that Prof. George doesn't need to respond. The Corner readers take JPod to task for him.

Robert George does reply and clearly demonstrates why he's on the President's Council for Bioethics here and here.

NARAL is bluffing with Jack high

The Bush v. Choice Blog has alerted me that NARAL is now wasting their money on an ad which calls on viewers to call their senators to oppose Roberts because he filed a brief in the Supreme Court case Bray v. Alexandria, which his side won 6-3 in 1993.

At the end it calls on viewers to call their Senators to because "America can't afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans."

It features Emily Lyons, who was injured in Eric Rudolph's 1998 bombing, who says she's "determined to end this violence, so I'm speaking out." Yes, because stopping the nomination of John Roberts is going to stop nuts like Eric Rudolph from bombing abortion clinics?

The ad is so unbelievably crass and deceptive that I almost have trouble believing that even NARAL could stoop so low. This is truly bottom of the barrel. The average person watching the ad would think that Roberts was defending the bombing of Emily Lyons' clinic in 1998. The viewer is left with no clue as to what Bray v. Alexandria was really about nor what Roberts' brief argued.

It has nothing to do with whether bombing abortion clinics is bad or not. It has nothing to do with whether John Roberts supports violence. The issue is whether abortion clinic demonstrations violate "any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the law" and if pro-choice groups can sue them in federal court. You can listen to part of the oral argument here.

I wonder if NARAL with Emily Lyons in tow are going to start campaigns to remove other justices who voted in favor of Roberts' arguments because their ideologies "led them to excuse violence against other Americans."

If NARAL continues to spew forth garbage like this, their the speed at which they are no longer listened to by politicians will speed up.

NARAL's President, Nancy Keenan, is already trying to defend the commercial:

"I want to be very clear that we are not suggesting Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence. I'm sure he finds bombings and murder abhorrent. But still his ideological view of the law compelled him to go out of his way to argue on behalf of someone like Michael Bray, who had already been convicted of a string of bombings."

Uh-huh. Too bad the commercial is far from clear on that point and even insinuates the exact opposite. "He doesn't condone violence but his ideology (which supposedly finds violence abhorrent) compels him to argue on behalf of violent people?" Come on, Nancy. We all know what you're trying to sell and it would take the entire NARAL staff a year to dig Nancy out of this much cow dung.

Ed Whelan at Bench Memos has more - here, here and here.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Human Cloning Ban that Wasn't a Human Cloning Ban

A new "ban" on human cloning has been introduced in the United States Senate. From what I've seen it hasn't gotten much press but maybe it will in the future. It's co-sponsored by Dianne Feinstein and Orrin Hatch.

S. 1520, whose text is here, is entitled The Human Cloning Ban Act of 2005. Sounds good, huh? It's not.

By reading the language of the "cloning ban" you can easily see that it doesn't ban human cloning at all. It merely bans and provides penalties for the implantation of a human clone in a uterus or a uterus like device.

How do they get around calling a piece of legislation a "human cloning ban" when it doesn't ban human cloning? That's easy. Just create a new and completely inaccurate definition for the term "human cloning."

The term `human cloning' means implanting or attempting to implant the product of nuclear transplantation into a uterus or the functional equivalent of a uterus.

Isn't it interesting how that language is eerily familiar to the language that Illinois governor Rod Blagoveich used in his executive order to allow tax dollars to pay for human cloning research. More on that here.

As used in this Executive Order, "cloning of a human being" means asexual human reproduction by implanting or attempting to implant the product of nuclear transplantation into a woman's uterus to initiate a human pregnancy.

What's next? Why not define "human cloning" as the "human gestation of a product of nuclear transplantation past 6 months" or the "live birth of an unfertilized fetus via a human uterus."

S. 1520 bill is also nearly identical to another bill, S. 876, that is also co-sponsored by Feinstein and Hatch and was introduced in April. The old bill S. 876 contained "ethical requirements" for "nuclear transplantation" (human cloning) research including rules against maintaining embryos more than 14 days after their first cell division. This new bill does not. This bill would claim to ban human cloning while allowing human cloning to take place without any kind of guidelines except that a human clone can't be implanted.

Pluripotent Stem Cells in Placentas? Maybe

From Reuters:

They described primitive cells found in a part of the placenta called the amnion, which they coaxed into forming a variety of cell types and which look very similar to sought-after embryonic stem cells....

It is not yet certain that the cells they found are true stem cells, said Stephen Strom, who worked on the study. But they carry two important genes, called Oct 4 and nanog, which so far have only been seen on embryonic stem cells.

"We were just blown away when we found those two genes expressed in those cells," Strom said in a telephone interview.

"The presence of these two genes suggests these cells are pluripotent, which means they should be able to form any cell type in the body."

Life Links 8/5/05

William Saletan discusses Senator Bill Frist's history with prolife issues.

Douglas Scott, the president of Life Decisions International goes over the edge with his critique of National Right to Life's statement regarding Bill Frist's statement on embryonic stem cell research.

I find it unfortunate when prolife leaders feel the need to demean another prolife organization because they disagree with how they handle a situation. Maybe National Right to Life too often takes the diplomatic approach when dealing with politicians who don't completely measure up but that's probably because they're working with these legislators on a daily basis.

Jill Stanek covers another case of successful treatment with stem cells. Too bad the reporter never mentions that they came from adult stem cells which I keep getting told are "less promising" than embryonic stem cells.

Pro-choice groups continue to tell us that RU-486 aka Mifepristone aka medical abortion is safe and effective. I wonder if they've read this article by Dr. Ralph Miech.

His data synthesis states, "Mifepristone, by blocking both progesterone and glucocorticoid receptors, interferes with the controlled release and functioning of cortisol and cytokines. Failure of physiologically controlled cortisol and cytokine responses results in an impaired innate immune system that results in disintregration of the body's defense system necessary to prevent the endometrial spread of C. sordellii infection. The abnormal cortisol and cytokine responses due to mifepristone coupled to the release of potent exotoxins and an endotoxin from C. sordellii are the major contributors to the rapid development of lethal septic shock."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"But it was just too late"

This is the incredibly sad story of the abortion experience of a young woman from another country who has been separated from her husband for seven months. She was impregnated by her boyfriend who wanted to keep the child and would marry her if she converted to Christianity.

After he left, I had a dream last night. In my dream, we (I and my BF) were preparing to go to the clinic. All of a sudden, I heard a noise from my bedroom. Somehow, I had given birth, our baby was there. He had such beautiful, blue eyes. I told my BF:"Look, we can't go to to abortion. I already gave a birth." Everything was so real.

This dream really hit me when I woke up. I felt like that I wanted to keep my baby, but on the other hand the clock was ticking, and we had an appointment to go. I called my best friend in TX and told her my dream. I was crying my eyes out. Literally...

Then, my BF came to take me. On the way, we kept talking about it. All he was concerned about what his people in his church would think about him, his image...I know that he also felt bad too. When we went there, I was still trying to convince him that I want to keep the baby, but I wouldn't want to be a single mother and was asking for his help. At this point he said that "Nina, don't think it's be so difficult to convert." I just told him he didn't know what he was talking about, this is not even his territory that he was trying to enter. I told him that "I am not saying that I am not going to convert, but I just don't know when and how. I need time. I can't commit because I simply don't know. I don't wanna tell you sweet lies just to get what I want. I am already under pressure with this issue, why to put more pressure on me?" At some point, he told me "you don't wanna do this. I don't wanna do this. We don't belong to this place." I said "no we don't. I wanna keep the baby. However, I am an honorable woman who deserves marriage, and I don't want a mistress life." He said "Nina, I can't promise you either. I can't marry you unless you convert." Then, they called my name. We just looked at each others' face in fear and doubt. I had to go, and I did. He could have stopped me, but he didn't. I went to upstairs, changed my clothes. When I went to restroom, I looked at the mirror in doubt. What am I doing here?" I even thought to dress up and go back and leave the place, but it was just too late.

"Destroy Judge Roberts"

This is Henry Payne's take on NARAL and Judge Roberts.

HT: The Corner

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Cloning dogs

Korean cloner Hwang Woo-Suk has cloned an Afghan hound to create Snubby, the first cloned puppy.

In the pictures above, Snubby is next to the dog who he was cloned from and his mother (the yellow lab).

Guess how many cloned dog embryos it took to get one to successful puppyhood.

50? 100? 500?

How about 1,095.

Baptizing aborted children

Interesting pieces by Dawn Eden, After Abortion, and Naaman, regarding this this post by an abortion provider.

our clinic is the kind of place where women can ask, as one did today, if we would bless and baptise her baby. i was able to do that for her. honoring her pregnancy as she herself chooses is part of what we hope to do for each woman. using water (she had planned to bring holy water with her but had at the last minute forgotten it) and saying the words i know from my catholic upbringing, i did as she asked. she had a name in mind for the baby, one that could work for either gender and i gave it that name.

we want to be a clinic that respects life, that honors women's choices. the two are compatible. believe me!

Isn't it odd for an abortion provider to call the unborn child she just aborted, "a baby?" If she was having an argument with a prolifer, I doubt she would use that word to describe the child.

I'm also wondering how far along this child was and what type of abortion procedure Lou performed so that she could "baptize" the child. I'm guessing some type of induction procedure. But then again maybe she "baptized" the child by sprinkling water on the mother's stomach before the abortion.

Also note how the concept that some choices (i.e. abortion- which takes the child's life) by women don't respect the life of the child seems to be a concept that, though clear as day to most prolifers, Lou doesn't grasp.

Monday, August 01, 2005

More on Bill Frist's illogical position on embryonic stem cell research

From the Weekly Standard: The incoherence of Frist's position is staggering. In his Senate speech, he explained that the "embryo is a human life at its earliest stage of development." He said that he believes, as a person of faith and a man of science, that "human life begins at conception." He reminded us that "we were all once embryos." He called on all citizens, including scientists, to treat human embryos with the "utmost dignity and respect." It was a clear and elegant statement on the dignity of early human life, backed up by a doctor's understanding of elementary embryology.

But then, as if giving a different speech, Frist called on the federal government to promote, with taxpayer dollars, the ongoing destruction of human embryos. In a television interview that day, he said that research using and destroying the "spares" can be done ethically so long as there is a "moral framework around informed consent." But if embryos deserve respect as nascent human lives, as Frist says he believes, it should not matter whether researchers have permission from their parents to destroy them. If embryos are "human life at its earliest stage," as Frist says he believes, then none of us possesses the authority to consent to their destruction. To promote embryo destruction and still claim to be "pro-life," as Frist did throughout his speech, is absurd.

From National Review: "Pity Bill Frist's speechwriter. In preparing the Senate Majority Leader's speech on stem-cell research, this hapless scribe had to figure out a way to make all his boss's contradictory assertions appear as a coherent whole. The speech would have to announce Frist's support for federal funding for research that destroys human embryos taken from fertility clinics. But Frist also wanted to say that he remained pro-life. Frist wanted to talk about all of the conditions that he wanted to place on the funding. But he also wanted to endorse a bill that does not meet those conditions......

If a human embryo is a living human being to be treated with "the same dignity and respect" as those children and adults, then it's hard to see how one can subsidize its killing. Frist's conditions — conditions even he does not take seriously enough to insist on — cannot get him out of this dilemma."

Michigan's 2004 Abortion Statistics

The Michigan Department of Community Health recently released abortion statistics for the year 2004 in Michigan (you'll have to scroll down a bit). In 2004, there were 26,269 abortion performed in Michigan. This is an 11.1% decrease from 2003 when 29,540 abortion were performed in Michigan.

One of the most notable things about these statistics is the absence of something. Under immediate and subsequent complications, there are no deaths listed. This is incorrect because a 15-year-old girl named Tamia Russell died from an abortion in January of 2004. Tamia's name has also been spelled "Tamiah."

Tamia's death and abortion (which occurred without her parents' consent) were widely publicized and received a good deal of media attention in the Detroit area. Geoffrey Feiger was even going to take the family's case against the abortion clinic. LifeNews discussed it here, here, and here.

Other statistics of note:

37.5% of abortions were performed on Black women.

Four children showed evidence of life after being aborted.

Twenty-two children were aborted after 24 weeks of pregnancy.