Monday, October 31, 2005

Pro-choice take on Alito

Planned Parenthood already opposes him "because he would undermine basic reproductive rights." Remember that Planned Parenthood didn't formally come out against John Roberts until well into the confirmation hearings.

NARAL says, "In choosing Alito, President Bush gave into the demands of his far-right base and is attempting to replace the moderate O'Connor with someone who would move the court in a direction that threatens fundamental freedoms, including a woman's right to choose as guaranteed by Roe v. Wade."

Jim Geraghty at TKS nicely rounds up my thoughts:

I think that at this moment, many, many conservatives, confident that the American people want judges to be judges, and not legislators, are stretching, flexing their muscles, and pounding the chest, whispering menacingly, "Bring. It. On."

President Bush nominates Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court

Here's the story from the Associated Press.

Confirm Them has posted various information on how he has ruled on various abortion cases. Here's his opinion on Planned Parenthood v. Casey, his opinion on a case dealing with tax-funded abortions, his bio and a prolife on him from USNews.

Some excerpts from the US News story:

Nicknamed "Scalito" for views resembling those of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito Jr. is a favorite son of the political right. Appointed in 1990 by George H.W. Bush to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito has earned a reputation for intellectual rigor and polite but frequent dissent in a court that has been historically liberal.....

In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito was the sole dissenter on the Third Circuit, which struck a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking abortions to consult their husbands. He argued that many of the potential reasons for an abortion, such as "economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands' previously expressed opposition . . . may be obviated by discussion prior to abortion." The case went on to the Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court's decision 6 to 3.

Friday, October 28, 2005

More thoughts on abortion from a post-abortive woman

In her first book, "Inside of Me: Lessons of Love, Lust and Redemption," Shellie Warren shares her experiences with abortion, her relationships, depression and her relationship with God.

Warren who is a speaker, full-time writer and former spokesperson for Miss Black USA, Inc. writes about what she thought about what the clinic staff told her before her first abortion.

"It is no one's choice but the woman, and if she is not ready to become a mother, we are glad to be able to assist her in her decision."

C'mon. Even I knew that in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't my choice, and it definitely wasn't something I was proud of, but I guess after a while, that's what she had to tell herself to keep from going insane. I knew for the past week or os, I had been filling my mind up with ridiculous untruths for the exact same reason. Ones like, "It won't be so bad," "It will be over before you know it," "I can handle this on my own," and "I am through having sex... but if I do fall, I will always use protection."

After her third abortion, Warren writes:

I found myself continuously calling Reggie to see if he was going to keep his vow to always be there for me - that our relationship did not end once I got off the surgical table and his genes got out of my DNA. He always answered, he always listened, but I slowly found myself resenting him for not listening right, not talking right, not doing right. This was all wrong. The more he comforted me, the more I wanted our baby back, and the more I got up to change my pads due to the residual blood from the abortion, the more I realized I could never go back. I'd never know if our baby had my eyes or his nose. If it was a he, would he love to write like his mother? If it was a she, would she love playing ball like her dad?

She also shares that "(a)ll four fathers have told me they have grieved that loss in some form or fashion over the course of time, assuring me that the solution was not as cut and dried as they initially thought when I shared the news with them."

Life Links 10/28/05

Bill Whalen in the Weekly Standard on Proposition 73: Abortion Politics, California style

Nigel Cameron on The Great Stem Sell and Other Mistakes.

Charles Millard in the National Review online on the death of New York Giants' President Wellington Mara in Life Athlete

New Toy and Pumpkin Carving

Rascal enjoys her new toy from her aunt and uncle. I can even get old lady Johnny to take a couple of swings at it.

‘Tis the season for pumpkin carving. Here is a contribution from my wife and myself. If you can't tell, it's a headless horseman holding a pumpkin above his head shoulders.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Now is the time

For President Bush to unite his base and nominate someone who conservatives can stand behind. Someone with a clearly articulated judicial philosophy. Someone with the intellectual firepower to overwhelm the judiciary committee. Someone who the average citizen can recognize as being highly qualified. There are a bevy of candidates who fit these criteria (Alito, Brown, Owen, Luttig, McConnell, Corrigan, etc., etc.). Will Bush go with one of these nominees? He can't really be scared of the likes of NARAL, can he? We all remember how some pro-choice advocates felt compelled to embarrass themselves with misleading commercials about John Roberts, don't we?

Matthew Franck in Bench Memos points to something I've been thinking:

The Saddest Thing? Wasted time. Three and a half weeks since the Miers nomination. Nearly eight weeks since the death of William Rehnquist. And we still don't have a nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, who announced her intention to retire on July 1. Every stumble and delay along the way means O'Connor remains on the Court that much longer, and that's bad for the law, the Constitution, and the country.

Will this new nominee be on the court in time to be involved in important cases like Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood? Or will the Miers mess mean that O'Connor gets to have a say?

The SCOTUSblog notes that: "The President said on Thursday he would name a new nominee "in a timely manner." Even if that occurs promptly, there is no chance the Senate would be able to clear the nomination in time for a new Justice to join the Court for the early November sitting, and little chance for the late November-early December sitting. Thus, it is very likely that Justice O'Connor will be on the bench through at least the end of the year. And as a result, the desire of Bush followers to have O'Connor replaced before the Justices take up the new abortion cases on Nov. 30 appears to have been frustrated by Miers' withdrawal."

Harriet Withdraws

Fox News is reporting that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination and President Bush has reluctantly accepted this decision.

Here's the story from the Associated Press.

Bench Memos has posted her letter to President Bush requesting to be withdrawn.

Sex selection in the U.S. of A.

According to British newspaper, The Guardian, fertility specialists at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas have been given the "green light" for a "clinical trial into the effects of allowing couples to choose the sex of their babies."

Researchers will use PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) to determine whether the human embryos are male or female and then only implant children of the desired sex.

In a lame attempt to make child sex selection more ethical, researchers will only accept "couples who have already had one child and want another of the opposite sex."

Something more than hormones

I wonder if pregnancy hormones can make feelings of regret, sadness and guilt last for 18 years.

From a new blog by Completely Brunette:

It is only now, eighteen years later, that I see the contradiction. Women must have the right to "choose". Yet, I felt my only choice was to have an abortion. Where was my "choice"? I was a teenage girl from a middle class family. My parents were educated and well respected in the community. Girls in my situation, my social status, did not have babies.....

Abortion is a dirty word. The waiting room is grim. The operating room is an emotional nightmare. The recovery room is full of grief, numbness and despair. It is a funeral with no service. It took the courage of a close friend voicing her feelings to me, who had also had an abortion, for me to admit – to myself, even- that I believed what I had done was wrong. For eighteen years I silently damned myself.....

I was given the impression, as a young woman, that I could have an abortion and everything would go back to "normal". Now, I believe that for most women, once you have carried a child in your womb, there is no going backwards, no matter what the "choice". Once you conceive you give up control, you give up your "choice" and are suddenly a mother....

Abortion is wrong. It is not a political issue. Not an ideological value. Not a "choice". It is simply wrong. We are, literally, as women, as mothers, sacrificing our children for ourselves....

Abortion is the antitheses of "choice". It is an ending.

(Emphasis mine)

HT: After Abortion

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"That sadness and guilt after your abortion, it's just hormones"

That seems to be the norm on how pro-choice people respond to women (often pro-choice women) who've had an abortion and are feeling guilt or regret.

Example #1

I am having a difficult time dealing with the abortion. I feel irrationally guilty, blue and melancholy and havent been able to "snap out of it". I know I made the right decision, absolutely, which is why I cant explain these feelings. Before this whole thing, I was content being alone [I live alone], but now? I need to be around people 24/7.

Look at the responses from pro-choice people. According to them, her hormones seem to be main cause for her guilt.

Or look in the comments section to see how pro-choice blogger Eyelid responds to this post:

I had been ok with the abortion since I talked to someone at my (now ex) boyfriend's church, but now it's eating at me again,,,

It's almost as if the pro-choicers can't accept that some women who have abortion realize that they did something wrong and are having trouble dealing with what they did. "Come on, we all know that there's nothing wrong with abortion. There must be some other cause for pro-choice women feeling guilty after an abortion. It's probably just hormones."

Imagine these same women attacking any male who questions their emotions based on the hormones of their monthly cycle.

Or read this - I don't even know how to start this. I had an abortion this past Tuesday, and have pretty much hated myself since... friends that know about it tell me i did the right thing and stuff....but it doesn't help. some even tell stories about how they were pregnant once and miscarried....and they just don't seem to understand that its not the same... they didn't CHOOSE to do that to themself. i cry a lot still. it seems with every cramp my subconscious screams at me reminding me of the mistake i've made. i want/need someone who knows how this feels.... who can tell me that eventually the hurt will go away. eventually i won't feel so bad...

Look at how Eyelid responds - "It will go away. You won't feel so bad :) Time heals all wounds. You only just had the abortion last week... give yourself some time! There are still lots of pregnancy hormones in your body, making you even more emotional than you would be normally. On top of that, your ex is there making everything worse. It'll probably take about a month for the hormones to settle down all the way so you can balance out emotionally again."

Another post-abortive young woman writes, "I feel crazy. I feel so empty. I got used to the idea of having a baby in me. Now it's gone and I feel empty and alone."

Eyelid's response? "Pregnancy hormones make you crazy. It'll go away, just give it some time."

Is it just me or does it seem like Eyelid's main objective is to convince these women that they didn't do anything wrong even though their emotions and feelings are telling them differently.

How many women have gone through these same emotions after an abortion and instead of having their friends recognize the possibility of truth behind these emotions, they're told, "It's ok, it's just hormones. You'll be better in a few days."

Maybe that's seems like the "nice" and "positive" thing to say at the time. You know they just had an abortion, let's "perk them up" and get them to focus the future and the happy times ahead. But is it healthy to bury emotions based on the assumption that they are caused by hormones without honestly asking what you're feeling and why you're feeling that way? Maybe, just maybe something else is involved.

Life Links 10/26/05

From the Washington Post, another clue to how Harriet Miers might rule on abortion from a speech in 1993.

"The ongoing debate continues surrounding the attempt to once again criminalize abortions or to once and for all guarantee the freedom of the individual women's [sic] right to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion," Miers said.

Those seeking to resolve such disputes would do well to remember that "we gave up" a long time ago on "legislating religion or morality," she said. And "when science cannot determine the facts and decisions vary based upon religious belief, then government should not act."

Not good. Not good at all. Especially since it seems to infer that one branch of government (the judiciary) can prevent other branches (the executive and legislative) from acting on moral matters. Like Tim at Prolife Blogs I'd like to see the entire speech in context to make sure this isn't the Post trying to get prolifers riled up even more.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has a link to the entire speech and to another speech.

Prolife teen blogger Katelyn Sills has an update on the firing of an abortion clinic escort from her school, Loretto Catholic High School, and a ton of comments, many from pro-choicers who are upset. Show her some support if you get a chance.

The littlest Naaman is already 12 weeks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Distant Thunder

I recently watched the movie A Distant Thunder.

Warning spoilers below

The 35-minute film follows pro-choice prosecutor Ann Brown in and out of the courtroom. The viewer quickly learns that Ann recently won a case that charged a famous football player with a double homicide for killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child.

She gets assigned a new case, the Lavin case, by her boss, Harold Shenson. The Lavin case involves Dr. Lavin and an intended partial-birth abortion. During the entire movie, Ann is hounded by nightmares and visions/delusions which usually feature sonograms or deal with pregnancy. We also are introduced to her mother who often appears in the visions, is continuously watching home videos of Ann's childhood and is unresponsive when Ann comes to visit.

During the Lavin case, Ann questions a nurse who assisted Dr. Lavin in a D & X or partial-birth abortion. The nurse describes partial-birth abortion and how it occurred except during this procedure something unintended happened. After Dr. Lavin had delivered the legs, torso and arms of the baby girl, the baby girl gently grabbed Dr. Lavin's thumb. Instead of removing the child's grip, he reaches to grab the scissors and as he reaches he accidentally pulls the child's head (who is still holding onto his thumb) completely out of the womb. The nurse then explains that Dr. Lavin puts the child's head back and then completes the abortion/alleged murder.

The defense attorney, Tom Condan (you'll recognize him if you watch the Fox series 24), then calls a surprise witness to the stand....Ann's mother. Ann is shocked and wants to know what's going on. It ends up that Ann's mother is the woman who had the intended partial-birth abortion. Ann's mother changes in appearance from a middle aged woman into a younger woman and begins pleading with Ann. The viewer and Ann eventually realize that Ann was the aborted child. I know I've seen too many "the main characters are really dead but they don't know it" movies (Sixth Sense and the Others) because I guessed Ann was aborted after her encounter with her unresponsive mother.

Ann is then taken into the operating room of her mother's abortion. This scene also appeared at the very beginning of the movie but the viewer doesn't know if the woman is undergoing an abortion procedure or giving birth. Ann eventually leaves the scene hand in hand with her boss who the viewer realizes is supposed to be God.

I think this video could be a great tool for classrooms. It's much higher quality than most prolife videos I've seen and could lead to a number of interesting discussions after the video because there are a number of things that are left unanswered. Is everything Ann sees not part of the "real world?" Is this like the Sixth Sense where Ann, the dead person, only sees the things she wants to see? Are the other characters really angels?

On a side note, congratulations to the formerly unborn actor Benjamin Flora for his role as the sonogram baby.

Two murder charges

Edwin Lario Munoz was charged yesterday in Grand Rapids with two murders: the killing of Silvia Sanchez-Parada and the killing of Silvia's unborn child.

The victim's family is Catholic and believes that the death of a fetus should be treated like murder, said family friend Maria Barriga.

"He killed a baby, whether it was inside the mother or outside the mother," Barriga said. "It's almost like aborting a baby without the mother's permission.

"They didn't lose one person; they lost two people."

The baby was due to be born in January.

The suspect in the slaying of pregnant woman from Grand Rapids testified before Congress when he was a teenager
Life Links 10/17/05

Abortion protester won't face charges for hitting abortion clinic manager with car

When you hear a headline like that what do you think? Do you think of some angry prolife protestor barreling down the road at high speeds and intentionally running over the abortion clinic manager? That's probably what the pro-choice movement would like you to think. This might even end up on Planned Parenthood's Eye on Extremism web site.

"I don't understand an anti-choice (person) demonstrating against women's reproductive freedom, then going out and hitting someone with their car," said Locke, the chief operating officer of American Women's Services. She said civil action against the driver is "probably something that we would want to pursue."

Here's the story.

It's not until the end of the article that we get the details.

A police investigation into the incident shows that the clinic manager was in the middle of an alley behind the clinic, Smith said. He said the driver approached the manager at "an extremely slow speed" and tried to steer around her.

Smith thinks that the driver's side mirror hit the manager, he said. Because she did not lose her balance or fall down, "I do not believe that (the driver) knew he struck her," Smith said.

California Voters Favor Parental Notification for Abortion

According to a recent poll by Survey USA, California voters favor Proposition 73 by a margin of 60% to 38%.

The language of the question seems fairly straight forward.

"First, Proposition 73. Proposition 73 requires that physicians notify the parent of a pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion. If the special election were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, would you vote Yes on Proposition 73? Or would you vote No?"

The cross tab of the poll shows that 83% of Republicans, 43% of Democrats, 44% of pro-choicers, 70% of Blacks and 71% of Hispanics approve this measure. Oddly, 10% of the individuals who called themselves "Pro-Life" aren't in favor of this bill.

You wonder how tough it will be for pro-choice organizations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood to claim that they represent the majority of Americans when the majority of Americans in one of America's most pro-choice states vote in favor of what they oppose.

HT: LifeNews

Friday, October 21, 2005

The suspect in the slaying of pregnant woman from Grand Rapids testified before Congress when he was a teenager

The Grand Rapids Press has the story on how Edwin Lario(s) Munoz strangled Silvia Sanches-Parada and then attempted to kill her husband, Leoncio Garcia-Lopez, with a knife.

Earlier in his life, Munoz testified before Congress and was featured on the cover of Parade magazine in 2002 after he alleged that he was abused in a jail after getting caught crossing the border.

Here are some background stories and his testimony.

The Grand Rapids story also discusses how the unborn child, named Luz Maria, was baptized and will be buried in her mother's casket.

It is possible that Munoz will be charged with two murders (mother and unborn daughter) along with attempted murder.

Boston Globe vs. the New York Times - Who makes less sense on stem cells?

Matthew Eppinette of World's 2BHuman blog points me in the direction of this error filled editorial by the Boston Globe in favor of the embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

A few highlights:

But by any reasonable definition, embryos at the earliest stage of development are not human beings,...

Hmmm.... They are organisms who have human parents and human DNA. Human beings sounds like a reasonable definition to me, experts in embryology and embryology textbooks. I guess the definition provided by science textbooks and experts in embryology isn't "reasonable" for the journalists of the Boston Globe.

Frist, a physician, knows that disease knows no delay, and stem cell treatment has the potential to alleviate much suffering.

I wonder if they would have pointed to Frist's medical expertise and opinion before he officially came out in favor of this bill. I also wonder why they didn't consult the expertise and opinion of Congressman Dave Weldon who also happens to be a medical doctor.

The bill focuses on the several hundred thousand embryos, byproducts of in vitro fertilization treatments, that are stored at fertility clinics. Each of these is an aggregation of several hundred cells at the most primitive stage of life.

These tiny entities will be destroyed eventually.

It's too bad the Boston Globe editorial staff can't do a brief amount of research before writing an editorial. Anyone who has done some basic research on embryonic stem cell research knows that the 400,000 embryos stored at in-vitro fertilization clinic will not all be "destroyed eventually." The vast majority of these embryos are being stored by their parents in the hopes of initiating a pregnancy in the future.

The saddest thing is that even Ellen Goodman, an editorial columnist for the Boston Globe, knows and has written about how most of the 400,00 embryos aren't slated to be destroyed. Did Ellen's memory fade from June of this year or did the editorial board not look for her opinion and expertise on this issue? Or did they mean to intentionally deceive?

South Korean researchers announced yesterday that they were prepared to provide American researchers with cloned stem cells. That generous offer should not be necessary in a nation with the intellectual resources of the United States.

So because we have intellectual resources that means we should be participating in the cloning of human beings for their stem cells? "Our guys are so smart they can clone and kill human beings faster than the Koreans. Who needs ethical limits? All nations with intellectual resources should be cloning and killing and have the taxpayers pay for it! Yee haw!!"

The federal government ought to provide the financial help to make the United States a leader in the field instead of allowing misguided objections to hold its scientists back

But the Globe makes no attempt in its editorial to argue why objections to killing and cloning human embryos are misguided. It's so much easier just to assert that the objections are misguided in conclusion, isn't it?

Emotionally attached to her unborn child

Here's an abortion story from LiveJournal:

Immediately I noticed the difference in how my body felt. I was fine for most of the day, and then took a long nap and didn't wake up until my boyfriend got home. It wasn't until after I woke up that I got really emotional and couldn't stop crying; my boyfriend bought me a bouquet of flowers, and for some reason that triggered a wave of emotions....

I was never fully convinced that it was the totally right thing to do, but I was scared and ashamed. I was also already emotionally attached to this unborn child, and even though I won't admit it to anyone else, I have always wanted to be a mother. I just never wanted to be a mother this young. In time I guess it will get easier, and maybe the regret will turn into acceptance. Even though I feel a lot of guilt, I am a firm believer in a woman's choice, and I am so happy that a woman has that alternative if she needs it.

What would you do if abortion was illegal?

Patricia Beninato of the I'm Not Sorry blog wants prolifers to answer this scenario for her:

Let's say you get your wish and abortion is abolished tomorrow. From now on, any woman who gets pregnant must carry the child to term regardless of circumstances. Not every pregnancy will go to term, of course, since a third of pregnancies end in miscarriage. But what will happen to the children born as a result? I'm not speaking of wanted pregnancies, but of the pregnancies that would have been aborted. If you were the Big Cheese In Charge, what would you do?

Abortion Denied, Woman Gives Birth and Leaves

A South African woman who was denied an abortion gave birth to the child and then left him at the hospital.

When home nurse Thelma Nzwane woke up the baby boy on Thursday, his eyes opened wide, he yawned and looked calmly at a Cape Argus news team.

'He needs comfort, care and feeding' Nzwane said: "He's a very sweet boy, never cries unnecessarily and gained weight fast and is growing nicely."

Back by popular demand

I missed Cat Blogging last Friday because I was in Pittsburgh.

The latest development with my cats is that they like to play fight again. In spite of my best efforts to start fights there have been months of peace until recently. But now it's like they don't want us to watch them fight. Everytime I catch them busting out the fisticuffs, they stop, look up, pause and then run in opposite direction as if they were two teenagers caught making out. Two such moments below.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Illusion of Pregnancy?

Talking to a German paper, illusionist David Copperfield says he plans to impregnate a woman on stage without even touching her.

Sound impossible? Well, he did make the Statue of Liberty disappear and walked through the Great Wall of China.

While we were growing up my brother was an enormous fan of Copperfield (he'd watch and record all the television specials) and our family even went to a David Copperfield show at the Power Center in Ann Arbor. His big trick back then (circa 1990) was to saw himself in half with an enormous motorized saw, move "his" separated feet and then put himself back together.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

If possibly harming an embryo could be bad, isn't intentionally killing an embryo worse?

Scott Klusendorf and Wesley Smith have discussed the recent editorial by the NY Times on two new possible methods of obtaining embryonic stem cells.

My take on the editorial was slightly different in that I didn't think the editorial writers were saying that embryonic stem cell research is "proven" even though I can see how people would take it that way especially with the snide remark of "foolish" and the complete downplaying of ethical concerns because they are held by a "minority."

I thought by "proven" the editorial was talking about how removing a bunch of pluripotent cells from living human embryos (which kills the human embryo) was a "proven" technique for acquiring human embryonic stem cells compared to the new methods which haven't proven to be reliable methods of obtaining human embryonic stem cells. That fits with the Times' basic message of "We don't care if human embryos die, so who cares if people have ethical concerns. Why waste time working to find more ethical routes to research when we have no ethical qualms with killing embryos in the first place."

What I found truly odd about the editorial is the Times' discussion of the problems with removing a single cell from a human embryo without harming the human embryo and then growing an embryonic stem cell line from that cell while the embryo continues to live. Ethical concerns suddenly become an issue.

Although some 2,000 babies have been born after a cell was extracted for genetic diagnosis, there is little data on the safety of the procedure or the long-term health of the children. Some ethicists deem it unethical to impose even a small risk on the embryo by extracting a cell just to create stem cells.

It is true that some ethicists deem it unethical to impose a risk on the embryo but wouldn't it be even more unethical to intentionally kill that human embryo to get stem cells? If the possibility of unintentionally harming a human embryo is an ethical concern, then shouldn't doing something that will intentionally kill a human embryo be a much greater ethical concern?

Moreover, the technique has limited scientific value because it cannot produce a stem cell with the exact genetic makeup of a particular individual.

Ditto for any kind of embryonic stem cell research where the stem cells don't come from a human clone. Every stem cell harvested from a human embryo that was formerly stored at a fertility clinic will not match the exact genetic makeup of any patient but that hasn't stopped the NY Times from supporting the legality and federal funding of research with "limited scientific value."

The Pro-Choice Drum Begins to Beat

With the release of Harriet Miers' 1989 prolife questionnaire from Texans United for Life, pro-choice organizations have begun to speak out against the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court of the United States. The standard line all these organizations seem to take is that if Ms. Miers doesn't support Roe v. Wade in her judiciary committee hearings then they will oppose her.

From the Feminist Majority Foundation: "With the O'Connor seat as the decisive vote on numerous 5-4 decisions, the public, especially women, deserves to know much more about Harriet Miers," said Eleanor Smeal. "This time, the Senate must not only ask tough questions, but if there are no answers, Senators must not confirm her for a lifetime appointment."

Planned Parenthood: "The questionnaire raises serious doubts about Miers' commitment to upholding constitutional protections for women's health and safety. The U.S. public has been given a confusing picture of Miers' position on vital issues — even the right of married couples to use contraception.

This nominee must be questioned closely about a record that seems to clearly oppose basic American freedoms."

NARAL: "Harriet Miers' inconsistency and evasiveness continue to generate confusion and concern. Miers must give direct answers on these critical questions as she pursues a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court"

William Hurlbut and Altered Nuclear Transfer

William Hurlbut was in Grand Rapids on Monday to deliver the DeVos Medical Ethics lecture. He also discussed altered nuclear transfer.

The process described this week -- called altered nuclear transfer -- develops living tissue with the potential to create skin, bone, nerves and muscle. But from the start, it is unable to create a fetus, Hurlbut said. So no potential fetus is ever destroyed or altered.

From the moment of conception, an embryo begins organizing and repairing itself and is a living organism, Hurlbut said. But the tissue scientists say they can construct is not a living organism because, although it can do some dividing and organizing, it lacks the material required to develop into a fetus, he said.

That puts it in the same category as a benign ovarian tumor called a teratoma, he said. This type of tumor has cells that divide, and it can even grow hair, fingernails and teeth, Hurlbut said. But it is simply a mass of unorganized cells, and no one would argue that it shouldn't be removed because it's living tissue, he said.

Hurlbut hopes Americans will understand altered nuclear transfer is the development of living tissue, not the manipulation of a living organism.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This will irk some prolifers

The answers Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee (page 9) show that she was affiliated with Girls, Inc. in the late 1980's.

Under community groups section for Miers' memberships after law school included this:

1987: Chair, Advisory Committee, Girls, Inc. of Dallas, a national non-profit youth organization. Contact: Cecilia Boone, Dallas Chair, (214) 654-4530.

Does anyone know if the Girls, Inc.'s current position on abortion existed in 1987?

Embryonic Stem Cell Research in India

Here's another perfect example of how the "only the ‘leftover' frozen embryos destined to die" argument in favor of embryonic stem cell research was only a ploy for many researchers.

A dozen times over the past one year, fertility specialist Indira Hinduja has reached into a canister of liquid nitrogen and pulled out thin plastic straws that hold live human embryos frozen at minus 196 degrees Celsius....

Each time, Hinduja and her research collaborator Deepa Bhartiya have waited for the embryo to thaw, grow and yield stem cells — an extraordinary class of cells that medical researchers hope to use to treat cancer, diabetes, heart disease and brain damage, among other illnesses.

But after a year of trying, they don't have a single set of embryonic stem cells.

Now they want to try and harvest stem cells from fresh human embryos, not frozen ones. Bhartiya and Hinduja are among scientists in India who want national ethical guidelines revised to allow the creation of human embryos exclusively for research.

Not content to experiment on embryonic stem cells that have already been harvested from embryonic human beings, these researchers have killed numerous human embryos over a year in the hope of extracting stem cells on their own. They've failed over and over again and because of their failure they now want to revise ethical guidelines.

The "we just want the embryos that are already going to be destroyed" line goes right out the window when researchers hit the wall and those human embryos aren't enough. It's a classic example of foot-in-the-door technique where once the scientists can convince the public that they only want an ounce of flesh, they go about working to carve out a pound.

HT: Laura's Writings

Happy Blogiversary to me!

That's right. Today is one year anniversary of my efforts to litter the internet with the subjects that I feel like discussing. I'd like to especially thank Serge at Imago Dei for "discovering" me and linking to me with positive comments. Without that feedback and friendship, my blogging efforts would have more than likely never made it to a year. I'd also like to thank Tim at Prolifeblogs for organizing prolife bloggers with his aggregator and giving me posting privileges at his site. I'm nowhere near as busy so I won't pull a "Joe Carter" and recycle old posts for an entire week but I would like to link to a few of my favorite posts.

Strengthen cloning ban by legalizing cloning

"Parties," Pyramid Scams, and Peer Pressure

Pastor Boyd responds again

Abortion arguments and a response

Black History Month

Trot Out the Fetus

Stem Cell Confusion

Miers on Abortion in 1989: "Ban it." - Miers on Roe v. Wade in 2005: "I'm not saying."

The AP has a story on how Miers answered a prolife questionnaire in 1989 from Texans United for Life.

"Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers pledged support in 1989 for a constitutional amendment banning abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, according to material given to the Senate on Tuesday."

She also answered positively to other prolife questions.

Her views on Roe v. Wade in the present, however, have not been discussed.

'Senators say Miers has insisted that she has not given anyone any assurances that she would overturn Roe v. Wade if given the chance.

"She said nobody knows my views on Roe v. Wade. Nobody can speak for me on Roe v. Wade," said Sen. Charles Schumer'

Human drains? I think not

K-Lo in the Corner links to this powerful piece in the Washington Post by Patricia Bauer which discusses how the culture of prenatal testing has not only allowed parents to abort children based solely on disabilities but it has encouraged them to do so. Her daughter, Margaret, is person with Down syndrome.

Some highlights:

"To them, Margaret falls into the category of avoidable human suffering. At best, a tragic mistake. At worst, a living embodiment of the pro-life movement. Less than human. A drain on society. That someone I love is regarded this way is unspeakably painful to me....

In ancient Greece, babies with disabilities were left out in the elements to die. We in America rely on prenatal genetic testing to make our selections in private, but the effect on society is the same....

What I don't understand is how we as a society can tacitly write off a whole group of people as having no value. I'd like to think that it's time to put that particular piece of baggage on the table and talk about it, but I'm not optimistic. People want what they want: a perfect baby, a perfect life. To which I say: Good luck. Or maybe, dream on.....

I have to think that there are many pro-choicers who, while paying obeisance to the rights of people with disabilities, want at the same time to preserve their right to ensure that no one with disabilities will be born into their own families. The abortion debate is not just about a woman's right to choose whether to have a baby; it's also about a woman's right to choose which baby she wants to have."

When as a society we see human beings as being valuable not based on what they are intrinsically but based on their instrumental abilities (what they can do and how well they can do it), the obvious results are that human beings with less instrumental capacities, those who are disabled, elderly, etc., will be seen as not only less worthy of life but also as a "drain" on those of us who have greater instrumental abilities.

Women in unplanned pregnancies will often say that abortion is the best thing for the child they are carrying because at this point in their lives they cannot support a child in all the ways that they would prefer. Is this because they're heartless hags? No. Part of it seems to be an attempt to convince themselves that what they are about to do or did do is right. But how can they think that killing a child is better than letting the child live in less-than-optimal circumstances? This where the influence of "human beings are instrumentally valuable" thought might take effect.

"If I'm not able to raise my child in optimal circumstances, then she won't develop the skills she needs to survive and excel in the world. She'll eek by and therefore suffer through life because I got pregnant before I was in a place where I could raise her in a way that she could succeed and go places."

In other words, she might never be valuable in the eyes of a society that places high levels of value on individuals with larger instrumental abilities and openly views some human beings with less instrumental abilities as "less than human."

Monday, October 17, 2005


A picture of an 18 week old child in-utero is still moving after more than four decades and was recently ranked #11 of top magazine covers over the last 40 years.

Abortion on demand? How about every abortion for free?

That's what the abortion advocates in Canada want. In a press release from a coalition of pro-choice groups, abortion activist Joyce Arthur proclaims, "No woman should have to pay for an abortion, but every year, about 9,000 women pay out-of-pocket for their abortions, in violation of the Canada Health Act..."

That's same Joyce Arthur who won't debate the issue of abortion because "(t)he right to abortion is not debatable, because access to legal, safe abortion is a fundamental human right, one that is protected by law and supported by the majority of citizens. The provision of basic human rights is not open to debate" and thinks lamentations by Jeremiah, David, and Job prove the Bible is pro-choice and has a quality of life ethic.

Even though Joyce's arguments in favor of abortion are poor and usually just assertions with nothing behind them, her position for abortion is consistent. Unlike her Americans comrades, I couldn't find any instance of Arthur calling for abortion to be rare. She's in favor of legal abortion and tax dollars going to pay for abortion because to her abortion isn't a tragedy, it's a good thing. She thinks abortion is a "necessary medical procedure" and that "abortion often has positive benefits for women's lives and health."

Life Links 10/17/05

Getting mouse embryonic stem cells without killing mice embryos? Maybe or maybe we're just creating and killing mutated mice embryos.

A pregnant woman named Syvlia Sanchez was strangled in Grand Rapids over the weekend. The suspected killer will probably be charged with two murders.

Valerie Oskin is recovering an emergency c-section after Peggy Jo Conner tried to steal Oskin's "unborn baby" from her womb. Here's an long, older story on why pregnant women are often the targets of violence.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Not so petty

The Detroit Free Press has recently obtained records of how soon-to-be-former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick spent his office's petty cash and the amounts spent weren't so petty.

Kwame offices violated the rules for petty cash by "spending at least $144,000 over three years for things like expensive catered meals for regular cabinet meetings, concert and football tickets and a tuxedo rental for the mayor's cousin."

These revelations are on top of the mayor's frequently flagrant use of his city-issued credit card where he spent more than $210,000 in three years.

All told that's at least $350,000 that Mayor Kilpatrick's office spent on, among other things, meals, bathing suits, Lions tickets, porcelain figurines, health club memberships and Rolling Stones tickets. Not to mention the expensive lease on the $57,000 SUV to chauffeur his family and the $122,000 office upgrade including $1,600 for plants.

It was a nice run, wasn't it Kwame? Four years of livin' it up on Detroit's dime. Too bad it won't last another four.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Kumquat-sized human beings

Steve Wagner at the STR Blog links to an editorial by a pro-choice college student which is filled with a number of bad arguments, ignorance of fetal development and complete contradictions.

Zoe Williams tells us that, "Honestly, I do not care what a woman's reason is for having an abortion, as I am not in a place to judge." Yet her entire editorial is filled with instances of judging people who are prolife and calling them names.

She also says, "Regardless of whether I think their judgment leading up to such a choice was the best or if I myself would make the same choice, it is a person's right to do so." Yet she's mad that Justice for Life chose to display pictures of unborn children (some aborted) on her campus. Isn't it their right to display pictures and isn't it your right to look away if you so choose? Pro-choice people are often extremely tolerant of a woman's "right" to abort yet have absolutely no tolerance for a prolife person's right to peacefully protest abortion.

"I do not care how many abortions a woman has or for what reason; it is her body and her choice, bottom line.

Of course, I will discourage one from undergoing numerous abortions as a casual affair. I would also encourage an individual from casually having root canals and open-heart surgery."

If you don't care then why is it that you actually do care? What's wrong with women having numerous abortions for casual reasons? It's her body, her choice, bottom line, right?

After Zoe spends the majority of her essay assuming that the unborn don't exist or are part of a woman's body, she eventually saves a paragraph to discuss what the unborn are.

"One may ask about the self-determination and autonomy of a child. Once a child is born, I wish it nothing but the best. I would love to see every child have an education, food, shelter and medicine. However, I fail to see how a mass of cells the size of a kumquat, with no nerve endings, or a potentially viable fetus that is so deformed it has no chance of surviving (plus, it may kill the woman carrying it) can qualify as self-determined individuals. I fail to see how one can even consider the aforementioned cellular growths to be humans.

Hmmm.... Let's see, they are humans because they are scientifically speaking....human organisms. I wonder if one of Zoe's science teachers could inform her that we're all "cellular growths." I wish Zoe would let us in on when science started determining that the size of an organism or her ability to survive determines whether the organism is human or not?

Zoe is also mistaken regarding fetal development. The unborn child reaches the size of a kumquat (3-5 cm long or 1-2 inches long) at around 9 to 11 weeks. According to fetal pain expert K.S. Anand, "fully-functioning sensory receptors appear in the skin around the mouth of the fetus at 7 weeks and spread to all skin and mucous surfaces before 20 weeks of gestation." So those kumquat-sized cellular growths do have nerve endings.

Also, notice how Zoe makes no effort to actually argue that they unborn aren't human beings. She describes them in unflattering terms and then determines they aren't humans based on nothing more than her feelings.

Late-term abortion in Australia

After a dramatic increase in the number of late-term abortions for "psychological" reasons, Australia's government has planned to implement a law requiring a "cooling off period" before the abortion.

In an article in The Age that discusses the debate over late-term abortions, Australian abortionist David Grundmann describes why he performs late-term abortions,

"It's not because we want to do abortions late. We do them late because patients find themselves in that situation."

Not very much of a defense is it? Imagine a doctor who killed toddlers saying, "It's not because we want to do post-birth abortions. We do them post-birth because patients find themselves in that situation."

Life Links 10/13/05

Planned Parenthood of Minnesota may have to pay a pretty penny ($50,000) after performing an abortion on a 17-year-old girl without notifying her parents. Planned Parenthood didn't abide by the state law because "Staff members considered the teenager legally "emancipated" from her parents and able to consent to the abortion because she had previously had a baby."

Jill Stanek's recent appearance at a Right to Life dinner in Lenawee County, Michigan received some local media attention.

How important are good judges to the prolife cause? When prolife legislation is passed in Michigan, pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights take their issue straight to the federal courts. Why? Because as the Opinion Journal notes, we've got The Finest Court in the Nation.

The Vetting of Miers

John Fund has a long piece in the Opinion Journal on the vetting process or lack thereof for the nomination of Harriet Miers. It kind of reminds me how the Bay of Pigs is used as the classic example of group think mentality.

Regardless of whether or not the vetting process was complete, it presented impossible conflicts of interest. Consider the position that Mr. Bush and Mr. Card put Mr. Kelley in. He would be a leading candidate to become White House counsel if Ms. Miers was promoted. He had an interest in not going against his earlier recommendation of her for the Supreme Court, or in angering President Bush, Ms. Miers's close friend. As journalist Jonathan Larsen has pointed out he also might not have wanted to "bring to light negative information that could torpedo her nomination, keeping her in the very job where she would be best positioned to punish Kelley were she to discover his role in vetting her."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Life Links 10/12/05

A story about strangling baby girls in India.

"I will kill other children if they are born girls," Ranu said, explaining that she is too poor to pay for their weddings.

Wesley Smith links to an article on how stem cells from amniotic fluid have healed fetal lambs.

Nigel Cameron on Bill First's position on embryonic stem cell research.

Two years

Very rarely in life are there days where our lives are irrevocably changed. Most days can blend together like a strawberry smoothie as the routine of waking, working, eating and sleeping remains relatively the same. But every once in a while there is day when your life takes a dramatic turn. Today is the 2nd anniversary of one of those days for me. Two years ago today, on Sunday, October 12, 2003, I met my wife, Kelly.

We were set up on a blind date by her sister-in-law and her sister-in-law's mother. After being given the number and receiving confirmation that Kelly was ok with the set up, I gave the number a ring on the Thursday before to set up a date and was faced with a roadblock as I encountered the answering machine. All my planning of how to start the rather awkward conversation of scheduling a date with someone who you've never seen or talked to before was thrown for a loop as I was left talking to an unresponsive machine. I kept it short and sweet, not wanting to be one of those people who leaves a two minute message (you know the kind - they'll also say the number to call them back at extremely quickly and unclearly at the very end of the message so you have to listen to the long message three times to decipher the number).

Kelly called back later that night and we had a quick conversation and scheduled a date for Sunday lunch since she had plans Friday and Saturday night. Since Kelly lived with 4 other girls, I walked up to the door of her apartment on Sunday wondering, "How will I know if Kelly is one who answers the door?" Not being completely in the know about feminine cleverness, I didn't realize that Kelly roommates were watching my approach from a window and would never answer the door for a friend's blind date.

I was met at the door by a cute young woman wearing khakis, a white shirt and a denim jacket. We went to lunch at Olive Garden where it was almost like they were trying to get us out of there as soon as possible (the soup came before I'd finished one breadstick, the main meal came before I'd put a dent in my soup and the check was there soon after the meal was finished). Trying to buy a little more time to talk to my lovely new acquaintance, I suggested we stroll thru the nearby PetSmart before taking her back to her place. After fraternizing with birds, cats, and fish I took her home, met some of her roommates and returned home, unaware that my life would never again be the same. Within three or four weeks, I realized that I would eventually marry Kelly and ten months and one day after meeting her, I did.

Love ya, honey.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Teen Safety? Really??

Campaign for Teen Safety. That's the ironic name of Planned Parenthood of California's organization to stop the passage of a parental consent law, Prop. 73. Too bad Planned Parenthood just started to want to keep teens safe after 18-year-old Holly Patterson died in 2003 when she received a RU-486 abortion at Planned Parenthood Golden Gate.

Some excerpts from their arguments against Prop. 73:

And sadly, some teens live in troubled homes. The family might be having serious problems, or parents might be abusive, or a relative may even have caused the pregnancy.

THIS LAW PUTS THOSE VULNERABLE TEENAGERS – THOSE WHO MOST NEED PROTECTION – IN HARM'S WAY, OR FORCES THEM TO GO TO COURT. Think about it: the girl is already terrified, she's pregnant, her family is abusive or worse. She's not going to be marching up to a judge in a crowded courthouse. She doesn't need a judge, she needs a counselor.

Yes, that's right. Teenagers who live in troubled homes with abusive parents don't need a judge, they need an abortion counselor. They need someone whose main objective is to make sure they have an abortion, not an objective judge who hopefully has their best interests at heart and might have the ability to help them with their living situation. Because we all know that abortion solves problems like abusive parents, incest and troubled homes.

Mandatory notification laws make scared, pregnant teens who can't go to their parents do scary things, instead of going to the doctor to get the medical help they need. In other states, when parental notification laws make teenagers choose between talking with parents or having illegal or unsafe abortions, some teens choose the illegal abortion – even though it is dangerous.

And their evidence for these assertions?..... Cue the chirping crickets. Michigan has had a parental consent law for years and I've never heard of any teenager dying from an illegal, back-alley abortion. The only teenager to die from abortion in recent years was 15-year-old Tamia Russell who died after a "safe and legal" abortion performed at an abortion clinic in Southfield. She got around the parental consent law by showing a relative's ID to the abortion clinic staff.

Besides not having a bunch of dead teenagers, Michigan has also seen a large decrease in teen pregnancy and teen abortions since the passage of our parental consent law in the early 90's in spite of the testimony from the usual suspects that our parental consent law would lead to an increase in out-of-wedlock births, etc.


That's odd. How can we (I'm assuming they mean parents) make sure our children get such great "medical" attention if we have no clue they're getting "medical" attention in the first place?
As parents, we want to know when our daughters face a decision like this so we can be helpful and supportive. But also, as parents, our daughters' safety is more important than our desire to be informed.

This attempt at an argument falls flat on its face the second any parent realizes that the safety of their daughter is strongly related to how informed they are to what is going on in their daughter's life. Planned Parenthood would have parents believe that a teenager's safety is what they're looking after. Hopefully, parents in California, will ask Monty Patterson want he thinks about that.

I am scientist, hear me roar

The NY Times has a long article (registration required) on embryonic stem cell research and altered nuclear transfer. It talks about things that prolife bloggers have discussed before but it includes a quote that enlightens me to the enormous ego of Harvard stem cell researcher Doug Melton:

In the meantime, Dr. Melton says he takes umbrage at ethicists and lawmakers telling scientists what to do. "I liken it to people saying, 'Why don't you generate limbs?' " he said. "It's a bit odd for bioethicists to dictate the progress of science by saying, 'Why don't you do this?' Why don't they come to the lab and work for several years and try to do it?"

In others words, "Science shouldn't be constrained by the bounds of morals or laws. If you can't do breakthrough work in stem cell research, you can't have a valid opinion or thought on whether or not the research should be taking place."

After reading the article I also get the impression that Melton and other researchers see human eggs as more valuable than human embryos.

Objective statements vs. racist statements

I'm wondering if some of my blogging amigos and brothers in Christ think the following is a racist statement:

"But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce abortion, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could kill every black woman aged 15 years of age thru 45 years of age in this country, and your abortion rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your abortion rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, you know, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."

Black women comprise around 12-13% of the female population aged 15-45 in the United States yet receive approximately 36% of U.S. abortions. If you killed every Black woman between the ages of 15-45 your abortion rate would go down, wouldn't it? That's an objective, fact-based verifiable statement, isn't it?

That doesn't mean that Black women are more likely to get abortion solely because of their skin color. It points out that in our current economic and familial climate, Black women are more likely to get abortion than white or Hispanic women.

Now let's say that Black women comprised the same percentage of the female population yet received only 5% of U.S. abortions. Would the above statement then be racist or would it be factually incorrect?

I'm truly interested in your thoughts.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Intolerant of .....intolerance?

Since tolerance seems to be an issue that has sprung up lately here and at the LTI blog, I'd thought I'd link to this story about a group of high school and college students from Kansas protesting at a church because the church supported an abortion protest at the school which included someone carrying the picture of an aborted child.

Here's the money quote from the those protesting the protest.

"We will not tolerate their intolerance," Goseland said. "Those pictures were disruptive for our schools."

It's all in the name

Satirist Liberal Larry is having a "contest" to help the pro-assisted suicide group Compassion and Choices come up with a "more effective euphemism" for doctor assisted suicide that "doesn't carry any negative baggage."

Here are some of my favorites from the commenters:

Achieving Carbon Neutrality
Facilitated Elective Permanent Metabolic Retrogression
Shutting Down Safely
Voluntary Food Chain Demotion.

I'd like to propose my own "contest" to help those in favor of embryonic stem cell research and human cloning come up with new term/names for human embryos (regular or cloned) since Serge has ruthlessly destroyed pseudointellectual Irving Weissman's contributions of "pseudozygote" and "embryoid blastocysts."

Here are some of my ideas:
Unfertilized oocytic organisms
Brain-free stem cell vessels
Somatic cell nuclear transfer by-products

Life Links 10/10/05

Adult stem cells are now successfully treating patients with liver disease. HT: Wesley Smith

Columnist Paul Greenberg discusses the deceptiveness of H.B. 1520 and human cloning proponents. I discussed this bill in August.

Steve Wagner at the STR blog has a great reply for when we're faced with those who want to "agree to disagree" on abortion.

"No, I don't agree to disagree. After all, you might be right about this. If you are, I have a false belief. Don't leave me here stewing in my false beliefs when you could help me correct them with your good reasons for your view."

Friday, October 07, 2005

Abortion stories

Some sad stories on why some women had abortions Abortion Info - Live Journal. Including these two where the women think their abortion was the best thing for the child. Another young woman "choose abortion because it was my only option."

Also, make sure to read this story which makes me wonder if the young woman was totally misled by the abortionist.

She says, "the ultrasound didn't show the "egg") and the doc thought it could be an ectopic." The abortion ends up costing less than $300. Let's say the pregnancy was an ectopic pregnancy. How did it cost less than $300 to remove an ectopic pregnancy? Can you remove an ectopic pregnancy with your regular early term abortion techniques? I'm almost wondering if the young woman might not have been pregnant?

Bill Bennett redux

I think Jonah Goldberg nails it.

My first objection is more of a delicious irony. Notice how so many righteously offended liberals keep referring to fetuses as people. In the New York Times, Bob Herbert proclaims that Bennett considers "exterminating blacks would be a most effective crime-fighting tool." Schultz and McAuliffe say Bennett wants to exterminate "babies."

Funny, I thought the bedrock faith of pro-abortion liberals is that fetuses aren't babies. Isn't it interesting how this lynchpin of liberal morality evaporates the moment an opportunity to call Bennett a racist presents itself? Talk about utilitarianism.....

Which raises the point missed by so many Bennett detractors, often deliberately. His argument wasn't about race at all. His point was to discourage even pro-lifers from demeaning the cause by making abortion into an acceptable governmental tool for social policy......

The former philosophy professor picked a hypothetical that he thought would make the horror of such utilitarianism obvious to everybody. Murder a whole generation just to lower the crime rate? Disgusting!

Bennett's real mistake was in thinking people would be mature enough to get it.

"Just what we need, more hicks with kids I'll have to pay to feed/clothe/insure."

That's the reaction of one pro-choice blogger after Missouri Governor Matt Blunt signed a prolife law which requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

Eugenics anyone? Margaret Sanger's legacy is alive and well within some of our communities.

Friday Cat Blogging

Rascal is a very happy kitten of late. I recently found her "gray toy," which was MIA for the last couple of months, under the couch.

She loves this blob of grey hair so much that she plays with it constantly until she loses it underneath a couch, which usually takes less than a day (sometimes less than 10 minutes).

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Life Links 10/6/05

Wesley Smith points out how the media can't seem to understand what Gonzales vs. Oregon is about. Slate has a summary of the arguments.

Nigel Cameron on what's up with snakeoil Proposition 71.

The Toledo Blade has a long but worthwhile article on how technology is putting Roe v. Wade on a collision course with itself and the moral implications of being able to save children who wouldn't have been able to survive 30 years ago. HT: 2BHuman

The End of Beginnings

Over the weekend I heard a great young Christian band with probably one of the best prolife rock songs I've ever heard. It's called End of the Beginnings and I thought I'd share the lyrics. I'm not sure if all the lyrics are 100% correct but they're as accurate as I could get from listening to a cd.

End of Beginnings
Why do you just believe what you're told?
Inside, your heart whispers, "Not right"
And in your eyes I see the fear
Don't you know that God still loves you
And then you try to hide the sin
Keep the child that Jesus died for

I say: I will stand,
I will fight,
for their lives.
It's not their time to die.
They need love
and tears of life
and I know that my God hears their cry
We will stand,
We will fight,
for their lives.
It's not their time to die.

You've been entrusted with new life
How could you even think to end it
They say you have the right to choose
Still the pulse of one who's not you (not sure about this)
Don't let the fear ....(muddled)
Under voices too familiar


If you've fallen once before and you've thought (pause) "oh"
A little child could be standing by your side (pause) now
The God of love, in his arms, holds that one
Find forgiveness in the blood of God's Son.


Pro-choice tolerance? It's not so tolerant

In a recent post, Media Girl tries to persuade readers that the pro-choice position is the "big tent" position and provides some stunning contradictions.

She claims in one sentence that, "Pro-choice means tolerance for all views."

Except, of course, for the prolife view.

Throughout the post, she goes on to describe prolife people as "radicals pushing their dominionist agenda," "people who don't believe in fundamental human rights for all Americans," "intolerant," and "people who want to kick (pro-choicers) out....of the very fabric of our society."

But it is nice to know that she tolerates my view.

Buyer's Remorse?

I often read the interesting pro-choice blog of Patricia Beninato who runs the I'm Not Sorry web site. Even though Patricia has had at least one abortion, has connections with various individuals in the pro-choice community, and collects the stories of women who've had abortions, I'm often amazed at some of the things she says.

In a recent post Beninato tries to persuade us that no one is getting rich off of performing abortions. Her reasoning? Birth is more expensive than abortion, abortionists have a variety of costs, and your average ob/gyn lives well. How any of these factors prove that abortionists don't make a good deal of money is never explained.

Birth may cost much more than abortion but it also takes a much longer time on average. Anyone who runs a business has a variety of costs but I still know that the local movie theater is making a ton of money off me even though they have to pay someone to rip a ticket. Maybe your average ob/gyn makes more money than an abortionist but how does that prove the abortionist doesn't make good money.

After pointing out that an abortionist who performs 10 abortions a day at an average cost of $500 an abortion would make more than $1 million dollars a year (staff salaries and other costs would of course be subtracted) she writes to me in the comments section, "Jive, I can assure you that no clinic ONLY does abortions." She then refers to places where abortion was performed before Roe as "mills."

It seems especially odd that Mrs. Beninato wouldn't know that there are places that just perform abortions and other procedures related to abortion like pregnancy testing and ultrasound. One such place is the Heritage Clinic for Women in my hometown of Grand Rapids. They perform abortions - that's what they do. That's their business.

I'm wondering why Patricia doesn't want to believe that abortionists make good money. Is it because she doesn't want to believe that an abortionist made good money off her? Is it because she doesn't want to feel like she was an abortion consumer? That she was sold something and the people that sold it to her made money off her?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Life Links 10/5/05

Human cloning proponent Irving Weissman is up to some new versions of old tricks like inventing new words (pseudozygote and embryoid blastocyst) to dehumanize cloned human beings and trying to reason that cloning isn’t really cloning in a new article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Serge is all over him like hair on a monkey.

Weissman has made laughable claims before. Like when he said there was no evidence that non-embryonic stem cells could turn into another type of tissue after co-authoring a study that did just that.

Both Priests for Life and Focus on the Family have endorsed/support the Harriet Miers pick.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

But everybody else is doing it

The Pennsylvania Democratic Policy Committee recently held a hearing on stem cell research and invited Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics, to testify. MSNBC has an article which includes some quotes from Caplan. Some Pennsylvania legislators are hoping that Pennsylvania will be the next state to hop unto the embryonic stem cell train that's going nowhere by taxing "medical-device and diagnostic-equipment sales" and possibly snagging some the state's tobacco settlement money.

To the article and Caplan's arguments:

Caplan believes the question is not whether to conduct embryonic stem-cell research, but where that research will be done -- given that nearly 40 countries around the world have already embarked on such programs.

If Pennsylvania fails to support such research, as it has so far, the state runs the risk of losing researchers to other states -- and telling residents they will need to go elsewhere to participate in clinical trials of promising experimental therapies, he said.

Anyone find this convincing. No? Yeah, me neither.

Caplan, a bio-ethicist, would prefer to ignore the question of whether this research is ethically or not and just do ahead with it because others are. He points out that the research is taking place in different places around the world but provides no reasoning as to if the research should be taking place.

So in other words, "Everybody's doing it therefore so should we." I used to try to use that one on my parents when I was in high school. It didn't work then for a high school student and it doesn't work now for a college professor.

Caplan said his view is that the embryo contains the blueprint for a potential person. He used an acorn as an analogy. "When an acorn is eaten by a squirrel that's a sad thing, but it's not the same as an oak tree being destroyed by lightning," he said.

Caplan's comparison is so erroneous I don't really know where to start. First, I don't know about you but I'm not sad when a squirrel eats an acorn. I'd actually be more sad if a squirrel couldn't find an acorn and starved to death. Why is this?

Because oaks are instrumentally valuable, not intrinsically valuable. We don't value oaks because they are oaks (or else we wouldn't so carelessly step on acorns), we value them because they provide us with various things like shade, something to climb, landscaping, etc. We cross a line when we start viewing human beings as only being instrumentally valuable. If it is okay to experiment on and kill human beings who aren't instrumentally valuable, scientists could find innumerable "resources" at nursing homes and hospitals.

Second, Caplan's argument proves too much. If destroying acorns (aka human embryos) isn't as sad as destroying oak trees (adult humans) and therefore it should be legal and supported by tax dollars, doesn't it follow that destroying oak saplings (aka human infants, toddlers, etc.) is also not as sad as destroying an oak tree (adult human) and should also be legal and supported by tax dollars? What about a withering old oak tree (an elderly human being) that has passed it's prime? We wouldn't be as sad to destroy that eyesore, maybe that should be legal too?

Third, using cloning, every cell in my body contains "the blueprint" (aka DNA) for a "potential person" in Caplan's view. Yet Caplan wouldn't have a single worry or concern about someone waxing his back and destroying numerous cells that contain "the blueprint" for a "potential person." Why?

Because the hair and skin cells on Caplan's back aren't whole human beings. They are part of a larger human being: Art Caplan. The human embryos that Caplan thinks should be destroyed for research are whole human beings. Of course, they are smaller, less developed, more dependent and in a different environment but I see no reason why some human beings should be killed in the vague hope of curing others. The fact that a cell has the "blueprint" of a "potential person" doesn't make that cell valuable or else we'd be sad every time we got a haircut.

Fourth, I also doubt that Caplan made any kind of case or provided any reasoning for anyone to 1.) accept the category of "human non-person" and 2.) accept his specific criteria of what makes human beings into "persons" over the criteria of anyone else.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Want to reduce abortion? Fund your local abortionist

The Palm Beach Post has an editorial that blows my mind. The Florida Legislature and Governor Jeb Bush have set aside $2 million for organizations that support women in unplanned pregnancies and who don't perform abortions or refer women to abortion providers. It seems, according to the editorial, that unfortunately no organizations have stepped up yet to take the money.

So guess who the Palm Beach Post wants the money to go to so Florida can reduce the number of abortions performed in Florida?

America's #1 abortion provider.

Yeah, because it's not as if Planned Parenthood already gets a quarter of a billion dollars each year. And it's not as if millions of dollars already go towards the goal of reducing unplanned pregnancies.

When we talk about reducing abortions (a goal everyone supposedly supports), why is it that pro-choice people hardly offer anything more than, "Let's reduce unplanned pregnancies." Reducing unplanned pregnancies is a laudable goal. A goal we've been working on and spending millions of dollars on for years. But can't we do something for the women that are already pregnant? Can't we reach out to them and help them?

I think it will be a great day when pro-choice people and organizations do more than offer birth control and condoms as a way to reduce abortion. Why can't pro-"choicers" reach out and help these women so they have more "choices?"

Good news?

From Bench Memos:

According to Kyleen Wright at Texans for Life, Harriet Miers gave $150 to the organization — then known as Texans United for Life — in 1989. Miers was a bronze patron for their annual dinner in which Henry Hyde was the keynote speaker. She was listed in the program as a bronze sponsor.

One donation 16 years ago isn't the greatest but it's something, right?

Marvin Olasky has also been posting some promising information at World's blog.

Reality or Racism?

I'm late to the game on this one but I've totally amazed at the noise those in the "progressive community" have made over comments that Bill Bennett made recently on his radio show.

His caller said: "Abortion is bad because it has worsened the financing of Social Security." Bennett says: "Stay focused. We're anti-abortion not because we think that abortion is a means that leads to bad ends like a higher Social Security deficit; we're anti-abortion because abortion is bad; make arguments like 'abortion is bad because it increases the Social Security deficit' and other people will make arguments like 'abortion is good because it lowers the crime rate' and we'll lose sight of the main point....."

"But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, you know, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."

To say that these comments are "racist" is truly stupid. I've yet to see a proper explanation of why these comments are racist. They are just labeled racist and no kind of reasoning is provided. Are they racist because he recognizes that some Black babies will grow up and commit crimes? Is that statement not true? Bennett might have been able to be more careful with his comments by also mentioning that if you "aborted every white male baby the crime rate would also eventually go down" but calling these comments racist is obvious race-baiting.

For example, take a look at Howard Dean's remarks. This is playground name-calling at its worst. How are Bennett's statements "hateful" or "ignorant?"

Where was Howard Dean and the rest of Bennett's detractors when Stephen Leavitt made similar claims about abortion and crime?

LaShawn Barber breaks it down well when she says,

Bennett's hypothetical is based on fact. Blacks are 12.3 percent of the population, and about half are black men, which means black men are approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population. Yet, they commit over half of all violent crimes (see Bureau of Justice statistics). Why aren't you outraged over those shameful statistics?

Hypothetical speaking, if fewer black boys were born, there'd be fewer around to commit crimes. Bennett didn't (and couldn't if he wanted to!) say that all blacks commit crimes. In the aggregate, however, blacks commit a disproportionate number of crimes relative to their numbers in the general population. It follows, statistically speaking, that the fewer blacks there are, the fewer crimes will be committed. This is not a racist statement, people. It is a statistical reality. Blame black criminal thugs for preying on their own people, not Bill Bennett for pointing it out.

Is it racist to say that if you killed every Black male between the ages of 18-35 the crime rate would go down? Or is it a reality?

Is it racist to say that if you killed every Hispanic male between the ages of 18-35 the crime rate would go down? Or is it a reality?

Is it racist to say that if you killed every white male between the ages of 18-35, the crime rate would go down? Or is it a reality?

Besides grasping at any opportunity to call a white conservative a "racist," I think many pro-choice liberals want to make sure that nobody is talking about abortion in the African-American community. They've got to shift the topic because talking about how abortion has decimated the African-American community is not a winning topic for them.

What would happen in politics if a large majority of African-Americans knew that while Black people are around 12% of America's population, they get around 36% of America's abortions. What would happen in politics if a large majority of African-Americans knew that they were no longer the largest minority group in the United States because of abortion?

Harriet Who?

That's what millions of people will be asking today after President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

Red State has some information up including that Miers has given money to both Democrat and Republican politicians and a link to Tim Carney who has information from an old AP article on how she along with the Texas bar fought to allow the full ABA membership to be allowed to vote on the ABA's position on abortion.

Here's a profile of Miers by the Washington Post.

Myopic Zeal links to various reactions from various blogs.

To a certain extent I believe Bush deserves a fair amount of trust from the prolife community and we shouldn't jump to criticize his pick just because she doesn't seem to have numerous prolife credentials. On the other hand, we shouldn't automatically take it for granted that Miers will be a vote against Roe or even a vote against Stenberg.

I guess I'll be waiting to see what someone like Hadley Arkes or Robert George has to say before making any kind of judgement.