Thursday, August 31, 2006

Picketing pregnancy centers?

That's what one pro-choice group from Detroit is up to. On September 9, 2006, the Detroit Action Network for Reproductive Rights (a meetup group which appears to have 4 members) plans an "informational picket" of Pregnancy Aid, which they describe as a "Phoney Women's Clinic."

"I hope your wife gets raped......"

You've got to love the tolerance of those MTV employees.

During the 2004 election campaign, California College Republicans decided to protest MTV's Rock the Vote for it's faux non-partisanship and use of scare tactics. At about 2:30 into this video an MTV employee tells a leader of the California College Republicans, "I hope your wife gets raped and can't get an abortion." Earlier in the video, the same gracious MTV employee declared there was no way the California College Republicans could know they were MTV employees until the ID badge hanging from her pocket is pointed out to her.

HT: Michelle Malkin

Life Links 8/31/06

Ethicists for sale?

Wesley Smith is interviewed on embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

The Philadelphia Inquirer recognizes the media got duped by Advanced Cell Technology's press release and paper. Amazingly, bio-ethicist David Magnus turns ACT's deception into a reason why taxpayers should fund embryonic stem cell research.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Robert Bazell gets it

Thankfully, at least one member of the mainstream media is on to Advanced Cell Technology's strategy of raising money by hype.
In the world of biotechnology, hype and hyperbole are the norms. Most companies lack products so they are constantly scrounging for money to stay in business. There is a saying in biotech that before companies have something to sell "news flow drives valuations." So headlines, even if the claims prove groundless, can push up the stock price long enough — or nudge deals forward — to keep the company on life support.

But even in this smelly landscape Advanced Cell Technology stands out. Its president and chief scientific officer Dr. Michael West has repeatedly proven his ability to thrust himself and his company into the headlines sometimes with good science but often with dubious claims.

"Just as easily as life was created, we've destroyed it. I've destroyed it."

Thor's girlfriend had the abortion. He expresses his post-abortion thoughts here.
There won't be a single day that goes by where I won't dwell on this. It's simply not possible to ever just "get over" something like this. It's just not possible. I feel like a murderer. I feel like throwing up.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Life Links 8/29/06

A good post by Ross Douhat at First Things regarding sex-ed and "intellectually bankruptcy" of sex-ed, more money to Planned Parenthood and condoms will lower the abortion rate crowd.

Biblical mandate to heal the sick by killing human embryos? That's what Missouri's Bill Neaves thinks.

In other Missouri cloning/stem cell news, Donn Rubin, the chairman of the group behind the drive to put the right to clone and kill human embryos for research in Missouri's constitution claimed the proposal is really about "the right of Missourians to obtain the same medical treatments available in other states."

Monday, August 28, 2006

South Dakota Testimonies

Vote Yes for Life, an organization working to pass South Dakota's abortion ban has video and written testimonies of a number of women who faced unplanned pregnancies including the testimony of Kayla Brandt who was featured in this Washington Post article.

"Am I a murderer? That's the question in my head."

A young man named Thor who appears to be a Muslim discusses his girlfriend's upcoming abortion and his feelings about it.

Some excerpts:
"I don't even want to write about it really, because it just makes me think about it more and feel like crap. All I can think about is how much pain she's in and how much more she'll be in and how she'll remember this for the rest of her life, and I just feel terrible for knowing that. I can't believe out of all the people in the world, my girlfriend has to get an abortion....

But on the other hand, I just hate knowing I have to live with it the rest of my life. Am I a murderer? That's the question in my head. My instincts tell me the answer is yes, and that's where I start to fall into the pit of insanity. I never even saw it coming...."

LifeLinks 8/28/06

Serge is taking the time to post studies on emergency contraception/Plan B and explain what they found and explain why the manufacturer of the drug lists preventing implantation as a possible effect. Both are definitely worth the read.

Wesley Smith has an article at the Weekly Standard discussing Advanced Cell Technology's "Science by Press Release" and notes how ACT has previously used the media to promote its research.

Robert George on ACT's experiments:
"If nothing else, the work of the ACT scientists implicitly acknowledges the need to find sources of stem cells that do not require embryo destruction. This acknowledgement by stem cell scientists, met as it has been by support and encouragement from the president, Congress, and with last week's flurry of news also the general public, points the way out of a needless controversy over stem-cell research, and toward scientific promise all Americans can support."

Ramesh Ponnuru responds to a critique of his book.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Media Duped Again: Human Embryos Weren't "Spared"

Wesley Smith notes how the media were conned by Advanced Cell Technology's press release and didn't read their actual study before publishing the false news that embryonic stem cell lines were created without destroying human embryos. You can download what appears to be the study here. According to Wesley, all 16 human embryos were killed and 4-7 cells were taken from each 8-10 celled embryo.

I can't find the exact information Wesley is citing in what ACT's web site provides due either the information not being there or my inability to find it but if you read carefully you can see that the study says that 58% (or 53) of blastomeres (individual cells from the embryo) they used divided at least once and about half of the 58% (28 out of 53) formed vesicles. This means that there were around 90 individual cells (53 is 58.2% of 91) from 16 embryos which were taken out individually and experimented on and not as the media reported one cell from each embryo. So in other words, this experiment took out a bunch of cells (but it took them out individually) from 8-10 celled human embryos (which killed the human embryos) and then they were able to grow a couple of stem cell lines from those 90 or so cells.

Now how does this compare with the media headlines which say:

"Stem Cell Technique Spares Embryo"
"Embryos unharmed in medical breakthrough"
"New stem cell method keeps embryos and debate alive"
"Embryos spared in stem cell creation"

Not real well, eh?

In related information, after their news broke ACT's stock price rose 400% after being on a downward trend for the last year. I'm betting Michael West and Robert Lanza will make a bundle off one press release and the media hype.

UPDATE: Robert George sums up this research better than I in an e-mail to Mona Charen at the Corner.

A new New Atlantis

The new edition of The New Atlantis is online and contains a piece by Robert George and Patrick Lee on the First Fourteen Day of Human Life which focuses on the arguments of individuals like Orrin Hatch and Bill Neaves who claims implantation or gastrulation is when the life of a human being begins.

HT: Macht

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Scientific Evidence Please

I think I can echo Funky Dung in his frustrations over how many prolifers are handling the over-the-counter approval of Plan B, also known as emergency contraception.

Over and over and over again I see claims that this drug prevents the implantation of a human embryo yet over and over and over again I see no scientific studies provided to back up this assertion.

Before declaring that Plan B prevents human embryos from implanting, we need to look at studies which have been done on Plan B to see if it actually prevents implants. Funky Dung did this back in June.

There are a number of reasons to be opposed to selling a strong dose of a hormonal drug, whose long term side effects haven't been studied, over-the-counter and I think Janice Shaw Crouse does a good job of outlining some of them. But I've yet to see evidence from scientific studies which shows Plan B prevents the implantation of a human embryo. If you're going to assert Plan B prevents the implantation of a human embryo, make sure you have the scientific evidence to back it up. Provide some solid scientific evidence that Plan B prevents implantation and I'm with you but please don't assert something without the scientific evidence to back your claims up.

P.S. Just because Judie Brown or Fr. Thomas Euteneuer say something is an abortifacient doesn't make it so. Saying the makers say it might prevent implantation is not a scientific study. American Life League's attempt to prove that Plan B prevents a human embryo from implanting is question begging (assumes Plan B prevents implantation), overly simplistic (12 hours is equated to one day) and fails to recognize that Plan B often fails to prevent pregnancy and its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy drops the longer it takes a woman to take Plan B after intercourse.

Not a Resolution

Time has an article on the study published by Advanced Cell Technology in Nature and how it may not be a political breakthrough it's backers purport it to be. The article also includes this statement from the Bush Administration.
"Any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical concerns. This technique does not resolve all those concerns. The President is hopeful that with time scientists can find ways of deriving cells like those now derived from human embryos but without the need for using embryos."

Chinese "justice" =

Four years in jail for Chen Guangcheng for speaking out against forced abortions and sterilizations.

More background on Chen at the Weekly Standard.

Tragic accident in West Michigan

In attempting to do a quick u-turn on Tuesday night, 19-year-old Matthew Lindsey was killed, his fiancee was critically injured and their unborn son, due in a couple of weeks, was killed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another way to treat human embryos as commodities

Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology were able to create 2 embryonic stem cell lines from single cells harvested from 16 human embryos. According to the story, the embryos weren't killed in the process of removing one of their cells.

However, the Reuters' story notes that the embryos whose cells were taken weren't implanted into women. So one has to wonder if these embryos were created by couples looking to bring a child to birth (and if so then why weren't the embryos implanted?) Or were these embryos created for the sole purpose of seeing if ACT could create embryonic stem cell lines from a single cell without killing the embryos?

The varied response from a variety of proponents of embryonic stem cell research is quite interesting with some proponents being in favor, others thinking it's a waste of time and others thinking it's nothing new.

Matthew O'Gorman, a spokesman for Life, a British prolife group, said, "While the embryo may not be destroyed during this procedure, the human being is still treated as a means to an end; a laboratory tool for us to use as we wish.

"Regardless of the speculated benefits, no human being, particularly the most vulnerable, should be treated as raw material which we can manipulate and manufacture."

Story on upcoming "30 Days"

The Los Angeles Daily News has a story on tonight's episode of "30 Days" on FX which will feature a woman who is pro-choice and post-abortive living at a prolife maternity home. I don't have cable so I've enlisted someone to tape the show so I can share what I think.

After Abortion had some posts about this program when it was being taped.

Australian Abortionist Guilty

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, abortionist Suman Sood was found guilty on two counts of performing an illegal abortion. She was found innocent of manslaughter because there was conflicting testimony regarding whether the child was born alive or not. Sood's sentence is pending. According to the Age, each illegal abortion charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

Sood gave abortion drugs to a woman who was 23 weeks pregnant. The woman later gave birth on a toilet.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Life Links 8/22/06

Mary Kenny: To be a burden is to be truly human
Dear me. How pitiful to have lived for over half a century on this planet and not to have observed that the very core of being human is admitting of dependence upon others. There is such a thing as society, and we are all part of it. Our interdependence is part of our humanity, and indeed, our civilisation...

And to care for the sick and old and dying through the last days of their journey through life is the very mark of civilisation itself.

In discussing the article above, Wilfred McClay writes at First Things writes at First Things
Abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, the cannibalization of embryos—all these things are linked, but they do not reflect a desire to promote death per se. Instead, they reflect a world in which the overwhelming desire of the sovereign individual will to have its way, and to order and manufacture a world it can live in without let or hindrance, is regarded as the chief source of value, or at any rate the value that trumps all others.

An article about a study which hopes to use adult stem cells to repair damaged knees.

Australian scientist Ian Frazier mentions how scientists have to "peddle hope" to get funding.

Adult stem cells are part of a treatment plan which "can provide long-term survival in approximately half of patients with high-risk neuroblastoma."

It appears the funding of embryonic stem cell research in Connecticut is facing ethical dilemmas similar to California with regards to who decides who gets the grant money.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Life Links 8/21/06

This article in Forbes discusses the money that certain billionaires are providing for embryonic stem cell research.

Long AP article about pregnancy centers at ABC News. The second page has a classic quote from Jatrice Gaiter, who is the President of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC. Last time I remember hearing from Gaiter was during the NOW rally before the March for Life where she asserted that prolifers were racist. (update) More an this from Dawn Eden and Serge.

Australia's Health Minister Tony Abbott discussing human cloning. Notice the obvious bias of the first question asked of him.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pendergraft shut down - for now

James Pendergraft is a rather infamous abortionist from Florida whose five statewide offices have been "ordered to stop providing abortions" and his medical license has been suspended because Pendergraft allegedly aborted a 28 week unborn child without obtaining the opinion of a second doctor (which is necessary in Florida if the third-trimester is not performed in a hospital. According to Pendergraft's spokesperson, the woman's life was in danger.

The article notes:
In addition to the 2005 incident, state documents also describe a 2004 abortion in which Pendergraft determined a pregnant woman to be at 22 weeks' gestation. She was given medication to take at home to initiate uterine contractions and begin the abortion process.

But state records indicate that the woman progressed more quickly than expected and aborted the fetus at home before she could return to the clinic. A hospital later evaluated the fetus and estimated its gestational age at 25 to 27 weeks -- putting it in the third trimester.

In both cases, the state claims "Dr. Pendergraft endangered two female patients by performing third-trimester abortions outside a hospital setting and without concurring certification from a second physician."

The article also contains this rather chilling passage from Pendergraft's spokesperson: "I strongly maintain that not only is [Pendergraft] not a danger to women, he is their only salvation in these cases."

Kind of echoes Arkansas abortionist William Harrison's claim that he makes women "born again."

"I wasn't aborted"

Julia Gorin writes in the Wall Street Journal: "I had an abortion," Ms. Magazine urges its readers to declare. How about "I wasn't aborted"?
Well, so much for the right to privacy. If Ms. readers hadn't had so many abortions, there might be more Ms. readers. As for the rest of us, here's a petition we could all sign: "I wasn't aborted."

Having narrowly escaped being aborted, I'd be the first in line.....

Rather than debate what it is we're killing, we should consider what we may be saving--for our sakes as much as for "its" own....

For all the reluctant mothers-to-be out there, you should know that when you're having even a momentary second thought, someone you can't see is whispering in your ear.

I've found that those in favor of legal abortion often dismiss the "I'm an abortion survivor" type argument without much of a second thought. Some assert that every unfertilized egg could have a "potential child" and therefore aborting "potential children" is no different than failing to fertilize every egg. One ardent supporter of legal abortion I've encountered has even described herself as a survivor of oral sex - stating that she wouldn't have existed if her parents engaged in another form of sex (besides intercourse) before she was conceived. Her argument is partially true in that she wouldn't have existed but what she failed to realize was that if she wouldn't have existed then she couldn't have been a survivor. To survive something, one must first exist. You can't survive something if you don't exist.

What I think pro-choicers often miss when prolifers say, "I could have been aborted," and what many prolifers miss when making this argument, is that many pro-choicers don't recognize conception as when their life began and they don't see themselves as being "themselves" while in the womb (or at least the majority of time in the womb). If you don't think the unborn are living human beings or "persons" then you can't think of yourself as being an "abortion survivor" since you don't believe you were "you" when you were in the womb.

When a prolifer says, "I could have been aborted" or "I'm an abortion survivor," they're making an ontological claim that they existed while in the womb and they would have been killed (and not just have ceased to have ever existed) if their mother decided to have an abortion.

Now I'm certain some pro-choicers understand the claim prolifers are making, yet they find this claim so ludicrous that they consider it not worthy of an in-depth response. I rarely (though I'm certain it has happened) see a pro-choicer respond to "I could have been aborted" by saying "No, you couldn't have since you didn't actually exist before X (viability, consciousness, etc.)."

If prolifers make the argument that they could have been aborted, I think they should make sure the pro-choice individuals they're arguing with understand the ontological claim they are making. They need to make sure the pro-choicer understands they're not just saying, "I wouldn't be here today" but rather "I would have been killed."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How Pathetic is NARAL?

Tired of seeing polls which show the large majority of American's want more restrictions on abortion, NARAL created their own poll and are now claiming that 77% of voters agree that politicians should stay out of the "personal decision" to have an abortion. While NARAL only provides a brief summary of the poll conducted by Lake Research Partners, anyone with a whiff of intellectual honesty would admit that the phrasing of the questions provided is unabashedly biased. Lake Research Partners is headed by Celinda Lake, an abortion advocate, who seems to specialize in telling pro-choice organizations/politicians how to frame issues including partial-birth abortion.

NARAL really doesn't care what voters and the public think about abortion and this poll is evidence of that. They care about persuading the public that abortion should continue to be legal and as unrestricted as possible, and one of the ways they attempt to do that is by creating biased polls so they can say, "Look the majority agrees with us." All of NARAL's polls and previous attempts at how to best communicate the pro-choice message are largely focused on fooling the public with the smoke and mirrors of words like "personal" and "private" which they hope the public will find acceptable and trying to steer clear of talking about what abortion actually is.

Ramesh Ponnuru on the Colbert Report

Here's the YouTube video of Ramesh Ponnuru discussing his book, the Party of Death, on the Colbert Report.


The NY Times discusses Michael Schiavo's election activities.

Using baby bottles as bombs.

On November 8, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the federal ban of partial-birth abortion.

Here's blog post from the Columbia Daily Tribune on John Danforth and his efforts to enshrine embryonic stem cell research and human cloning as constitutional rights in Missouri. One of his reasons for thinking its okay to kill human embryos follows:
"But we don't agree that they're people," he said. "We think that they're cells in a dish. And there's (never) been a person who's walked the Earth that's not been implanted in a mother. Never, in history. So cells in a dish aren't people."

Hmmm...... While Danforth claims to be "prolife" or at least against abortion, this type of argument could also be used to claim that unborn children who are implanted aren't "people." Couldn't a pro-choicer just as easily argue that, "We think they're fetuses in a womb. And there's never been a person who's walked the Earth that's not been in a woman's womb for at least 5 months. Never, in history. So fetuses in a womb less than 5 months aren't people." Or maybe even infanticide, "We think they're infants on the ground. And there's never been a person who's walked the Earth that lived less than 3 months after birth. Never, in history. So newborn infants aren't people." The fact that human embryos can be killed before they're allowed to continue developing isn't an argument which proves it's ok to kill them anymore than an argument that human infants can be killed before they can continue developing proves it's ok to kill human infants.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cloned cells or cloned human embryos?

The Kansas City Star has an article today about a rally held by the deceptive groups who want to enshrine human cloning as a right in Missouri's constitution. In the article, writer Tim Hoover describes somatic cell nuclear transfer (aka the cloning of organisms) as "cloning cells" and cloned human embryos are described as "cloned cells." Rebecca Taylor has previously noted on a number of occasions how the Kansas City Star's usage of language is often misleading and slanted in favor of the proponents of human cloning for research.

Here's a paragraph of note in the Star article:
The initiative, labeled Amendment 2, would protect all stem-cell research in Missouri that is now allowed under federal law, and it would prohibit any attempts to implant cloned cells into a woman's uterus in an attempt to give birth to a baby. It was certified for the Nov. 7 ballot last week.

How do "cloned cells" implant in a woman's uterus and develop into baby? I didn't know that any random cloned cells could just be implanted and then develop into a baby? It seems rather obvious that the "cloned cells" in question would actually have to be a cloned human embryo.

While the Kansas City Star is refusing to use honest language, the St. Louis Dispatch's article on this event cites the arguments of those opposed to this amendment and why they recognize that somatic cell nuclear transfer is cloning.

Here's the press release about the rally from those in favor of human cloning for research. It includes this breathtakingly dishonest quote from Bill Neaves:
"We recognize the overwhelming evidence that early stem cells offer the best prospect of finding cures for hundreds of thousands of Missourians who suffer from a broad range of degenerative diseases and debilitating injuries," Dr. Neaves said.

The overwhelmingly evidence? The best prospect?

I think I feel the worst for that poor ten-year-old boy with juvenile diabetes who has probably been told something like, "Austin, if we can pass this amendment then we'll be able to cure your diabetes and cure the diabetes of other children who suffer like you."

Monday, August 14, 2006

So cures to every disease in the book aren't really just around the corner?

The New York Times has an article today on stem cell research and quotes a number of scientists regarding the problems they're having with embryonic stem cells.

Instead of curing diseases with embryonic stem cells, some researchers are focusing on trying to use embryonic stem cells to study how diseases begin. These studies would then supposedly lead to drugs which could help prevent the basic cause of some diseases.

Here's an interesting paragraph:
Many researchers have come to see the primary benefit of human embryonic stem cells as models for human disease. The idea is to take a cell from a patient, convert it to embryonic form, and then make the embryonic cell mature into the type that goes awry in the patient's disease, whether it be a dopamine-producing cell for Parkinson's disease or an insulin-making cell for diabetes.

Now is the author talking about human cloning for research or research similar to that of Kevin Eggan or Rudolph Janesich's research where they're working on being able to switch adult cells into embryonic stem cells?

What I find strange about this new goal for embryonic stem cells is how long will these cells have to live and mature until researchers can examine the basic cause of different diseases? Now I'm obviously not an experienced stem cell scientist and maybe I'm way off base here but it seems like it would take a long time for adult cells which are switched back into embryonic stem cells (or cells from cloned human embryos) to begin to show how diseases start, especially diseases which often begin later in life.

The article also contains the usual "would allow" and "restricted research" language regarding the limited federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"i'll leave what we'll do up to you"

In her journal, An E-mail to God, a woman named Kevilyn discusses her recent abortion (this appears to be her second abortion), her recent marriage (Warning - and sex life - somewhat graphically) and how she and her husband interact with God.

When she initially found out she was pregnant (around July 25), she seemed excited, describes her child as a "baby," told her soon-to-be husband he'd be a daddy again (they have young son named Benjamin) and then told him she'd leave the decision up to him.

The next day (on July 26) she writes, "and he responded on weather we'd keep this baby... i honestly thought he would want it, to y surprise he initialled an abortion....ooooohhh

really i think its not only the right thiing to do but the best thing to do... i hadnt told anybody but toya,.....

At first I thought he was playin about the abortion but I learned later, no he wasnt... "

She describes her abortion on August 5 and says, "by the time we got there we had quite a wait and thouh they told me it was alright to Bring Ben, when the people complained he was asked to leave, that agitated me.. the wait was long, and there were sooo many people there ironically Ive never been to an abortion clinic that wasnt packed..not one day of the week........this doctor went right in, took the baby right out..."

Two days after the abortion she writes, "I noticeed when Aaron prayed he asked God's forgiveness, it was as if he thought what we had done was wrong.. I had hardly had time to give thought to that baby at all...or atleast I didnt allow myself to.....

Then it happened after we had come from the mall and chillin all day at 2:30 a I thought of the baby and I cried there in Aaron's arm, he said it will be ok... and he was silent... weather good or bad the decision is made and it is done, I know it would have been way too hard for us, I know we probably would have had it real bad if we tried to have both kids on our income and so much more.. we would have had to go down to poverty and my school prolonged kmore.. thats common sense.. in the end it was the right thing to do it just hurts we had to do it."

Put the money where the prospects are

CNN: Adult stem cell biotechs: better prospects, less controversy
"So while embryonic stem cell researchers are experimenting with rats, adult stem cell researchers have moved on to more advanced tests with humans."

Science Can't Prove the Unborn aren't Human Beings so I'll Turn to the Bible

State News columnist Shane Krouse, whose previous column on abortion displayed such incredible ignorance of fetal development it was possibly the worst pro-choice column I've ever read, is back in the saddle today claiming that the "Bible Supports Abortion Rights."

It's hard to say but I think this column might be even worse than the previous one. His attempts at logic are so poor, I'm requesting the State News force its columnists to take basic junior high logic courses before allowing them to have something printed.

Krouse starts by writing,
As some Christians deny scientific evidence, which can be proven, I will fight them with their own book of knowledge.

This from someone who claimed "During the first trimester of the pregnancy, the fetus is merely a wad of cells." So basically, Shane knows his ignorance of fetal development and biology was displayed in full force and now he has gone to some pro-choice web sites in an attempt to back his laughable arguments with the text of the Bible. He knows he has no scientific evidence to prove the unborn aren't living human beings so he's forced to attempt to misconstrue the meaning of scripture to arrive at the conclusion (the unborn aren't living human beings) he's already preordained.

Krouse argues human fetuses are property (another argument he made in his previous column) because there were slaves in the Bible and he thinks the Bible can be interpreted to say wives are the property of their husbands. Krouse then concludes that therefore human fetuses can be property. Yeah, I'm shaking my head in bewilderment as well.

Krouse then lists the usually verses pro-choice people list when trying to argue the Bible condones abortion with the usual out-of-context pro-choice theology. Scott Klusendorf has previously taken the time to examine some of the verses Krouse attempts to manipulate.

Krouse also lists Luke 1:35 as being a pro-choice verse. It's tough for me to even fathom how a verse which describes the unborn child Jesus as holy could be construed as pro-choice but Krouse is using the King James version which describe the unborn Jesus as a "holy thing." Krouse then reasons Jesus was a thing and therefore not a human (even though the verse never says Jesus isn't a human) and since Christ was only a thing (somehow "thing" and "human" are mutually exclusive terms in the Bible) until birth therefore all human fetuses aren't human until birth.

Krouse's columns come off as the writings of one fervently enthralled in the pro-choice mindset yet in the comments of my post on Krouse's first column, Krouse said he "only supports abortions during the first trimester." No reason was given to how that first trimester "wad of cells" which the "Bible supports" the killing of somehow becomes an entity which he doesn't support killing the day it enters the second trimester.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Life Links 8/9/06

Robert George and Eric Cohen: A Clarifying Five Years
But the notion that President Bush's stem-cell opponents are motivated simply by the desire to advance science on all possible fronts has been exposed as a lie by the House minority's shameful ploy. What they want, it appears, is to use stem-cell research for their political ends. And what they believe, rather perversely, is that support for embryo destruction is the new litmus test for being pro-science.

Pro-choice Michigan Republican Congressman Joe Schwarz lost his primary battle to Tim Walberg, a prolifer.

According to relief agencies, last month was the worst month for violence in Darfur "in terms of attacks on aid workers and operations."

Primary voting

Gosh - it's pathetic. I voted after work yesterday at 5:15 p.m. I was only the 129th to vote in my precinct at that point.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Announcing Your Abortion - For Thee But Not For Me

Michael Medved has a blog post discussing an interview he recently had with Ms. Magazine's Katherine Spillar. Ms. Spillar is "currently leading an effort to persuade millions of American women, including prominent celebrities, to sign a petition that proudly announces their past abortions."

After she compares abortion to a tonsillectomy, Medved asks Ms. Spillar if she, as someone who's leading an effort to get women to announce they've had abortions, has had an abortion.

Her response: She refused to answer the question.

Medved writes,
"Under the circumstances, I think her refusal to answer counts as more shameful than either a "yes" or a "no." If she's right that abortion is no more significant than tonsilectomy, why shouldn't she talk about her own experience with this procedure? If she had asked me about my tonsils, I would have admitted with no hestitation at all that I had them removed (and consumed prodigious quantities of ice cream during my recovery) as a little boy.

Either Ms. Spillar is embarrassed because she had an abortion (in which case she's ashamed of the same experience she wants less prominent women to admit), or else she's embarrassed to say that she DIDN'T have an abortion --- an indication of even more depraved and twisted thinking. If she had never participated in ending life in her own womb, it's bizarre to think that she'd feel reluctant to admit her own lack of guilt."

"I'm all for abortion."

A woman who appears to have had an abortion writes,

"I'm very open minded and aware of many things, and cracking a small joke about abortions seems to brighten my day.

Should I feel bad about making jokes about killing a fetus? I'm all for abortion. I mean, in all honesty, jokes aside, I dont think its right for 16 year old CHILDREN, to be conceiving CHILDREN. How can a child raise a child?"

Life Links 8/8/06

Pew poll on abortion and other issues. Of note, Black Protestants were the second most prolife religious group (#1 was white evangelicals) with 19% saying abortion should never be permitted and 40% saying it should be illegal with a few exceptions.

Debra Saunders: Embryos Made to Order

Cara from the Reproductive Rights Blog describes abortion by saying, "It's just surgery. Like breast implants, or mole removals, they may not be for you, but they're safe, and they can contribute to a person's well-being."

Monday, August 07, 2006

LifeLinks 8/7/06

The UK's Daily Mail has a long article on women traveling to various beauty clinics to get injections of stem cells from aborted children. The clinics claim the injections help the body fight the aging process. The article notes that in Russia, "poverty-stricken young women are paid 200 U.S. dollars to carry babies up to the optimum eight to 12-week period - thought to be best for harvesting stem cells. They are then sold on to cosmetic clinics."

HT:Scott Klusendorf

The Observer, a smaller newspaper from SE Michigan, covers a recent presentation by proponents of embryonic stem cell research and human cloning for research including Representative Andy Meisner, Congressman Sander Levin and Sue O'Shea, the director of Michigan Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research . Of note, "O'Shea said the law against somatic cell nuclear transfer is in place out of fear of human cloning. But researchers believe that process would benefit organ transplant recipients.

O'Shea said researchers only want to be able to clone organs to replace malfunctioning ones, which would reduce or abolish the need for transplants."

A law banning human cloning is in place out of fear of human cloning? How silly is that?

I wonder if O'Shea explained where these cloned organs were going to come from. Cloned human embryos or fetuses, perhaps?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Toddler Blogging

I don't think anyone can pull off a leopard print bathing suit. My niece is giving it a try, though. Kind of reminds me of a young, female Tarzan.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research: What Would Jesus Do?

According to Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell, Jesus would have supported embryonic stem cell research.
"What would Jesus do? He would not let political objections stand in the way of healing the sick," Bell said. "Stem cell research isn't just a good idea, it's a moral imperative."
Bell is in favor of spending $30 million of Texas tax dollars on stem cell research (assumably embryonic).

One wonders if Jesus would have recognized there are more than just "political objections" to embryonic stem cell research and its public funding. One also wonders what the "don't let faith affect politics" wing of the Democratic party will say in response to Bell's pronouncement.

Another article on Bell's prediction on how Jesus would feel has this quote about stem cells.
"This work has got to be allowed," said Dr. Ralph Dittman of Houston, an obstetrician and gynecologist. "This is absolutely imperative research. These cells are magical cells."
Reminds me the McDonald's commercial: "If you believe in magic, and I hope you do, you'll always have a friend wearing big red shoes." Except the embryonic stem cell version goes something like, "If you believe in hype, and I hope you do, scientists will be ready take your tax dollars."

By the way, Dittman is a big proponent of human cloning for research and has written a couple of blog posts at the Huffington post. One of which describes stem cells from cloned human embryos by saying, "These specialized cells can be used to cure, not just treat, but cure, major diseases such as Parkinson's, spinal cord injury, diabetes, heart damage, and much more."

That's right - these cells which no scientist has been able to yet create in humans, much less study, (even though millions of dollars have been spent) will cure all those disease and many more. Makes you wonder if Dittman has some kind of crystal ball to go along with his "magical cells."

Dog guard destroys bears he was supposed to be protecting

Does anyone else find this hilarious?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Not so Indefinite

Melinda Penner at STR's blog points me to an article in Time on stem cell research which more balanced than most articles on stem cell research but left me scratching my head at an apparent inconsistency. (emphasis mine)
Adult-stem-cell research is morally fine but clinically limiting, since only embryonic cells possess the power to replicate indefinitely and grow into any of more than 200 types of tissue.
and then
Today there are only 21 viable lines, which limits genetic diversity. They are old, so they don't grow very well, and were cultured using methods that are outdated. What's more, the chromosomes undergo subtle changes over time, compromising the cells' ability to remain "normal."

On one hand we're told embryonic stem cell have this power to "replicate indefinitely" and then a couple of paragraphs later we're informed that old cell lines don't grow well and the cells change over time. If we're having troubling using stem cell lines which are less than 10 years old, should we really be claiming they can "replicate indefinitely"?

The article also mentions something which is often glossed over by embryonic stem cell proponents.
Extracting knowledge from embryos that would otherwise be wasted is one thing, but scientists admit that moving forward would require a much larger supply of fresh, healthy embryos than fertility clinics could ever provide.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


A young woman named Hazel who back in December said she "need(ed) to have this abortion" recently gave birth to her daughter.

Andrew Meisner Lying Through his Teeth on WJR

I just overheard a radio interview regarding embryonic stem cell research and human cloning on WJR (hopefully they post a recording of the interview later) with Dr. Rich Poupard. Dr. Poupard was discussing his article in the Midland Daily News on how Governor Jennifer Granholm is using the official web site of Michigan to lobby on behalf of legislation which would legalize human cloning for research and killing human embryos for research.

About halfway through the program, Representative Andrew Meisner called in to challenge Dr. Poupard's claims regarding Meisner's legislation. Meisner attempted to act like his legislation wouldn't legalize human cloning and that somatic cell nuclear transfer isn't cloning.

Now, one may possibly assume that Rep. Meisner is ignorant about this issue or has been misled except Andrew Meisner's past press releases show that he knows perfectly well that somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is cloning.

For example, on a press release for May 23, 2005, says: "Michigan has statutory limits on stem cell research, as well as SCNT, (also known as therapeutic cloning) that is far more restrictive than current federal policy." (my emphasis)

On a press release for January 26, 2006, Meisner is quoted as saying, "The high degree of support for stem cell research proves that voters can make a distinction between reproductive and therapeutic cloning."

It would be nice if advocates of human cloning for research purposes, like Meisner and Granholm, could at least be honest about what they want and publicly make their case for it. Unfortunately, when the public wasn't comfortable even with the term "therapeutic cloning," advocates of human cloning for research have departed from using that term and have attempted to deceive the public about their goals.

It's very disappointing when politicians have so little faith in what laws they want to pass that they can't present what they want in a truthful manner. In January, Meisner thought voters would be able to make a distinction between cloning to bring a human child to birth and human cloning for research purposes. It seems that either he no longer believes this or he's discovered that the Michigan public isn't comfortable with human cloning regardless of its purpose.

Related: Strengthen cloning ban by legalizing cloning

"That's bad news for shorties."

Dennis Byrne on stem cell research:
"From this we should conclude that the comparative worth of human life is determined by size. The smaller you are, the fewer human rights you get; when you're the size of a dot and you have none. That's bad news for shorties. Stone, writing in an op-ed column for the Chicago Tribune, never gets around to saying how big a person must get before being endowed with the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness....

These guardians of compassion and sensitivity couldn't be more stone cold. They are wild-eyed with conviction that Bush's veto was nothing more than a cynical political ploy to placate right-wing religious nuts. They are unwilling to even consider that the veto reflects longstanding and sound philosophical and metaphysical thought about the most fundamental of human questions."

South Dakota Abortion Poll

Here's an AP story on how 800 of South Dakota's registered voters feel about the upcoming vote on the state's abortion ban.
47% currently oppose the ban, 39% are in favor of it and 14% are undecided. The poll then asks how those opposed to the ban and those undecided would vote if the ban included exceptions for rape and incest.
59 percent said they would support it, 29 percent said they would still reject a ban, and 12 percent were undecided.

This means that roughly 2/5 voters from South Dakota favor the ban as is, 1/3 would favor a ban with a rape/incest exception and 1/5 are totally against an abortion ban with or without the exceptions.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Life Links 8/1/06

Buffalo News columnist Douglas Turner addresses some of the claims made by proponents of increased federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Joe Schwarz, a pro-choice Michigan Republican Congressman gets caught in a lie by the Jackson Citizen-Patriot regarding his abortion position over the years.

Here's a short video from Team Hoyt.

Greg Boyd and Abortion Update

Yesterday, the New York Times had an article on Pastor Greg Boyd of Woodland Hills Church and how sermons he gave calling the church to "steer clear of politics" caused a fairly dramatic drop in his church's attendance.

The New York Times describes Boyd's political leanings by saying, "Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God's ideal."

Early in my blogging career (January of 2005), I had a three part discussion with Pastor Boyd regarding his view on abortion. His view at the time was that though he thought abortion (throughout pregnancy) was abhorrent, first trimester abortions should remain legal. He thought this would be an acceptable compromise.

UPDATE: Greg Gilbert, guestblogging at Between Two Worlds, has some thoughts on the article.