Friday, September 29, 2006

Detroit Free Press shows bias on embryonic stem cell research

In a week where the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures have been made to look absolutely incompetent, the Detroit Free Press has an editorial saying this group is using "education" to stand up to "the vocal opposition that continues to stymie embryonic stem cell research." The editorial also claims this group "intend(s) to offer state residents the truth and the hope of this science to counter the noise from the religious right that has to date prevailed in setting Michigan public policy."

Bias? What bias? Try to imagine for one second how the Detroit Free Press would have responded if a large non-profit group against stem cell research (whose advisory committee included a prolife candidate for governor) was accused of plagiarism and then whose web site was taken down the day after the accusations. Can you imagine them running an editorial promoting this group a couple of days later and never mentioning the plagiarism charges/taken down web site?

Yeah, me neither.

Book review

Ramesh Ponnuru reviews John Danforth's latest book.

Here's an older Scott Klusendorf piece on some of Danforth's cloning lies.

Forced Abortions in North Korea

According to this article in the Korea Times, the Korean Bar Association released a report on human rights in North Korea after interviewing individuals who defected which found that "57.7 percent of the defectors said they saw or heard that pregnant women were forced to have abortions."

Other abuses include torture, sexual harrassment and beatings.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Spin Time for the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures

Recently, I've been watching the new Fox show Justice on Wednesday nights (which my wife informed will be cancelled soon). The show follows the cases of a fictional law firm TNT&G who take on a variety of high profile cases. Frequently when their case is in trouble, lawyer Ron Trott (played by Jennifer Garner's dad from Alias) has to "spin" his cases to the media before trial.

Caught completely red-handed after plagiarizing a variety of web sites, the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures (MCSCRC) took down their web site and their executive director Marcia Baum are now going into full spin mode. An article on the MIRS (subscription req. - you can get a free trial subscription here) has the excuse of Ms. Baumb:
"What's really important to remember is our mission," Baumb said. "We are the number one source for information about stem cell research in the state of Michigan. We had a technical glitch that's not uncommon for new Web sites. We're correcting the problem and we'll be back on line soon." When MCSCRC was updating its Web site, many of the edits that the team put into place were erased. This included technical and grammatical edits as well as attributions to some sources, Baumb said. "The information was accurate when the site was launched but this switched it back to its unedited form," Baumb said.

You can look at some of the plagiarized information by some using Google's cache feature which allows you to view the content of pages after they've been taken down.

For example, the text in these cached pages on blastocysts and somatic cell nuclear transfer looks familiar nearly identical to the text at this page from the University of Kansas Medical Center, doesn't it?

Another funny thing is that the MCSCRC hasn't taken down every page which contain plagiarized information. Their page on Michigan's current law and laws in other states is still up (Update -it's not up anymore - see update below). Now compare the first paragraph of the MCSCRC's page to the beginning of the second paragraph on the web page of the National Conference of State Legislatures. You could also compare the side bar on the MCSCRC's web site to the NCSL's web site starting at the second sentence of the third paragraph and going down for quite a time.

But just remember the MCSCRC is the "number one source for information about stem cell research in the state of Michigan."

UPDATE:Thanks to Macht for pointing out the MCSCRC took down their current law page - you can see a cached copy of it here.

Life Links 9/28/06

Ryan Anderson First Things at provides a "modern retelling of a familiar parable" to try to help Texas gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell understand how Jesus might look upon the human embryo.

A prolife blogger from Canada shares the story of her unborn child's death and delivery.
The nurses and doctor respectfully left us to bond, to grieve over the birth and death of our baby, assuring us that we could take however much time we wanted. She measured 8 inches, or 21cm from head to toe and weighed 120 grams. She was 14 ½ weeks of age when she died.

All the knowledge I had of fetal development and life in the womb could not prepare me for what now lay before my very eyes. Although her facial features were slack and not completely defined, we could still see a very distinct resemblance to our other children's features. Most amazing were her perfect little hands, one of which fit perfectly across the nail of my index finger. Closer inspection showed distinct fingernails at the end of each of her delicate fingers. We marvelled at the tiny little toes at the end of each foot. The muscles and tendons of her body were all in place; viewed easily just by moving her arms and bending her legs. She was so beautiful; so amazingly, perfectly formed, perfectly proportioned. It is so unfathomable that people refuse to acknowledge this as a human being; that babies this age and older are being killed every day through abortion.
HT: Big Blue Wave

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Covering up the Stem Cell Plagiarism

Serge on the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures Michigan Citizens for False, Plagiarized Information:
Lets get this straight. An group formed to educate the public, with our governor, senator, and other politicians and researchers on their advisory committee, resorted to false, old information cut and pasted from another site without acknowledgement. This is a group that is to inform the public on this issue? Right.

It seems that the group's website is now "down for maintenance." Lets hope it stays that way.

Or when it comes back up (after those plagiarism "maintenance" problems get fixed) how about an admittance of wrongdoing and an apology? What kind of message does this send to college students when an organization whose board contains professors and researchers from various universities tries to cover up its web site plagiarizing?

Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures' web site is down

"for maintenance."

I wonder if this has anything to do with this press release.

Plagiarism just doesn't pay does it?

This group has provided me with a graduate level education in how deceptive proponents of human cloning for research will be and how dismally uninformed many of them are.

Life Links 9/27/06

Stem Cell 'Education' Group's Web Site Filled With Obvious Plagiarism and False Information

The deception problem in stem cell research

The couple financing efforts to put the right to create cloned human embryos in Missouri's state constitution want "science to progress without restriction to cure disease."

Legislation to prevent individuals from taking minors across state lines to procure an abortion without their parents' knowledge is still alive for this session of Congress. There's not much time left though, according to National Right to Life.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Life Links 9/26/06

A statement from Catholic and Evangelicals: That They May Have Life

Some excerpts:
We are sadly aware that many who identify themselves as Christians do not share our understanding of a culture of life. It is not the case that we wish to "impose" our moral convictions on our fellow citizens or, as some recklessly charge, to establish a "theocracy." Our intention is not to impose but to propose, educate, and persuade, in the hope that, through free deliberation and decision, our society will be turned toward a more consistent respect for the inestimable gift that is human life.....

The inescapable question is this: Why should we care about those who are weak, dependent, burdensome, unproductive, and undeveloped or gravely diminished in their capacity for the interactions we associate with being human? If we are unable to give a morally principled answer to that question, the very concept of human rights is emptied of obliging force and reduced to utilitarian calculation or arbitrary sentiment....

Finally, our society's drift toward a culture of death will not be arrested and reversed without a bolder and more persuasive witness to the gospel of life centered in Jesus Christ who is "the way, the truth, and the life." Whatever our cultural circumstance, whatever the ebb and flow of political and legal fortunes, our first duty is evangelization: to share "in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2) the good news of the unsurpassable gift of eternal life, beginning now, in knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

HT: Scott Klusendorf

Why are New York abortion providers advertising in the "abortion alternatives" section of the yellow pages?

A mother (and two other women) in Georgia has been charged with trying to force her 16-year-old daughter to drink turpentine in the hopes that it would cause her to have an abortion. The other women were the teen's cousins. They don't know yet if the turpentine had any toxic effects on the teen or her 3 month unborn child.

An abortion and a dispute about it leads to a female police officer killing her boyfriend and then committing suicide.

Crazy letter to the editor of the week

via William Stites of Rockford.
It is my opinion that the people who are now using Sept. 11, 2001 for political agenda in the United States were mostly responsible for the planning of the destruction and deaths in New York City on 9/11.

Cuckoo... Cuckoo... I think you have to be crazy to believe this but even more crazy to publicize your crazy views to your community.

Monday, September 25, 2006

More Lies (because of plagiarism) from the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures

And this one's so easy to spot. It's also rather blatant copy and paste plagiarism taken word for word (as are some of the other Q and A's on the blastocyst page and others pages) from an outdated (it claims somatic cell nuclear transfer worked in humans in 2004) web page from Kansas University Medical Center.

The webpage above the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures (MCSCRC) says,
"According to a survey conducted in 2003, there are approximately 400,000 unwanted pre-embryos in the United States. (Source: Hoffman, D.I., et al. 2003. Cryopreserved embryos in the United States and their availability for research. Fertility and Sterility 79: 1063-1069.) These pre-embryos are no longer needed for fertility purposes and remain frozen or will be destroyed."

400,000 unwanted pre-embryos? Really? Take some time and type their source ("Cryopreserved embryos in the United States and their availability for research. Fertility and Sterility") into Google and see if these 400,000 embryos are all "unwanted" and "no longer needed for fertility purposes." The first thing that pops up for me is this webpage from the RAND institute (the organization which commissioned the study) summarizing the research by Hoffman et. al by saying,
- Nearly 400,000 embryos (fertilized eggs that have developed for six or fewer days) have been frozen and stored since the late 1970s.

-Patients have designated only 2.8 percent (about 11,000 embryos) for research. The vast majority of frozen embryos are designated for future attempts at pregnancy.

They then have a graph which shows that 88.2% of these 400,000 embryos are "being held for family building." 400,000 unwanted embryos? Not quite.

Now maybe I shouldn't say that the MCSCRC is lying here because it's fairly obvious they didn't create this false information and even though their home page claims they are dedicated to "educating our state’s residents about the stem cell research process" they may need to take some time to educate themselves besides just copying and pasting information.

Notice also the different definition of the term "pre-embryo" and embryo on this webpage. According to MCSCRC's glossary page (which is also taken word for word from the KU Medical Center's glossary page) embryos are really only embryos after they've been implanted into a uterus while before they get implanted they are "pre-embryos." I wonder why the research isn't called "pre-embryonic stem cell research" then?

Robert George recently described how the scientific community rejected this term which is used to try to create a political smokescreen.

It's also interesting how this language from the MCSCRC (taken from the KUMC) differs from the language of Andy Meisner's legislation. Meisner's legislation, which is being promoted by the MCSCRC, also uses definitions which aren't scientific as in this case where Meisner defines a "fetus" as "the product of conception from implantation until delivery." But isn't that what MCSCRC (or KUMC) calls an embryo? This is another problem for the proponents of embryonic stem cell research who deal in deception and word smithing. They use completely made-up definitions which have no standing or backing in the scientific community and these definitions which have no standing or grounding (besides how they can be used to deceive) often collide.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Dog Blogging

Probably one of the deepest conversations a pair of dogs have ever had. I think they're discussing whether the vestiges of modernity will be able to survive this postmodern epoch.

Can the Michigan media get a clue on stem cell research?

Ugh... This crap is just so frustrating. The reporters and editorial boards for Michigan's newspapers either just don't have a clue about Michigan's law or they are intentionally deceiving their readers.

The Detroit News editorial above claims that Michigan law "makes it a felony to conduct embryonic stem cell research." This editorial mirrors a previous Detroit News editorial from March of 2006 which also included the same ignorant claims. Here is the law they are referring to. I'm sure not one of them has actually read it. The law makes it illegal to use live human embryos, fetuses or neonates in non-therapeutic research which can jeopardize the life of the unborn child. The law does nothing to prevent researchers from getting embryonic stem cells from individuals out of state and then experimenting on them in Michigan.

This reality is made abundantly clear by the fact that the University of Michigan is performing experiment on embryonic stem cells in Michigan. The question the Detroit News editorial board needs to answer is how can embryonic stem cell research be banned in Michigan when the University of Michigan has received a federal grant to do embryonic stem cell research? Or why the University of Michigan's web site says,
This means that U-M researchers can use human ES cell lines created by others – either the federally approved lines or new lines created elsewhere in accord with U-M policy. U-M scientists cannot create new human embryonic stem cell lines in the state of Michigan, if doing so would substantially jeopardize a live embryo.

The Detroit News editorial also says, "Any new legislation should continue to ban the creation of embryos solely for research purposes..." and "new legislation should ban all forms of human cloning." They seem to not understand that Michigan already has a ban on "all forms" of human cloning. They also don't mention that the new legislation sponsored by Andy Meisner and supported by the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures (the group they mention in the editorial) doesn't ban all forms of human cloning. It redefines cloning to allow human cloning for research as long as the cloned human embryo isn't implanted into a woman's womb. This is the creation of embryos solely for research purposes - something which they claim to be against.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Life Links 9/21/06

Choose life plates have been given the go ahead in Ohio after the ACLU dropped it lawsuit.

Serge: What are they afraid of? "Educational forum," my rear.

Look at the differing takes on the same adult stem cell experiments from Forbes, The Los Angeles Times and then the Associated Press (via the Washington Post).

Those who read the first two stories will probably come away with the belief that these stem cell treatments resulted in significant improvement in two of the three experiments and that patients could "continue to improve with repeated stem-cell treatments" while readers of the AP story will probably come away with the conclusion that adult stem cell research doesn't work well and we need embryonic stem cell research.

I wonder how the AP and writer Mike Stobbe would have written about these experiments if the researchers had used embryonic stem cells. Maybe a headline something like this?

"Embryonic stem cells show the amazing ability to partially repair the human heart!"

What Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer is and what it isn't

From my experience, proponents of human cloning for research (also referred to as "therapeutic cloning") are often not 100% accurate in describing what somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is. SCNT is, as the President's Council on Bioethics says, "the technique by which cloning is accomplished."

Many groups, such as the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures (MCSCRC), try to assert that somatic cell nuclear transfer (which they often falsely equate with therapeutic cloning) does something like: "creates a line of stem cells genetically identical to the originating cell for use in research" or something similar.

But somatic cell nuclear transfer does no such thing. Somatic cell nuclear transfer is the technical name for a cloning procedure used to created a cloned embryo. It's true that stem cells would be inside the embryo but somatic cell nuclear transfer doesn't create a stem cell line anymore than shooting a deer creates a venison steak. Instead of just admitting that SCNT is cloning (regardless of the intent of the researchers), proponents of human cloning for research try to put the intent of the researchers on a procedure which has no such intent.

Yet look at this definition at MCSCRC's web page which describes SCNT:
"Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a laboratory procedure that creates embryos for use in stem cell research; sometimes referred to as "therapeutic cloning." In SCNT, nuclear transfer is used for medical treatment or research. For example, nuclear transfer could be used to create a line of embryonic stem cells genetically identical to the donor."

Now look at how they put a goal on SCNT that doesn't really exist. The goal of SCNT isn't to create embryos for use in stem cell research. The goal is to create embryos. Period. The goal of the scientist doing SCNT might be to eventually create stem cell lines from the cloned embryo but after the embryo is cloned, there is no more SCNT. SCNT doesn't create stem cell lines and isn't necessarily designed for stem cell research. This becomes evident if you ask a proponent of human cloning for research which technique rogue scientists would use to create cloned human embryos to implant in the womb of a woman or if you ask what technique cloned Dolly the sheep.

Further deception can be seen when the MCSCRC tries to answer:Can SCNT be used to clones humans?

They answer:
No. The purpose of SCNT is to find cures and therapies to treat human disease. SCNT awakens the natural capacity for self-repair that resides in a person's genes. While SCNT has been the technique used to clone animals like "Dolly" the sheep, there is no evidence that it could also successfully clone a human due to the increased complexity of the human organism.

I need a shovel to remove all this horse manure. Again the purpose of SCNT isn't to treat disease, it's to create cloned embryos and proponents of human cloning for research hope to create cloned humans at the embryonic stage of development. SCNT doesn't "awaken the natural capacity for self-repair" (kind of reminds me of the disingenuous talking points of William Neaves), it creates a cloned human embryo. Scientists might hope to create a stem cell from this cloned human embryo by removing the stem cells and killing the embryo but there is nothing "natural" about this procedure.

The last sentence is probably one of the most hilarious sentences I've ever read. They admit that SCNT can be used to create animals which eventually get born (odd considering the "purpose of SCNT is to find cures," huh?) yet say it couldn't create a human organism even though that is the exact thing they're hoping to do (even though they probably wouldn't admit that a cloned human embryo is an organism). It's true there is no evidence SCNT will be able to create a human embryo (Woo-suk Hwang failed with more 2,000 human eggs from 129 women ) but then that also proves there is no evidence that SCNT could be used with the hope of finding cures. That sword cuts both ways.

Somatic cell nuclear transfer is a technique to clone organisms. It is not a technique to create stem cells and it's purpose isn't to cure people.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'm prolife and proud of it

but this candidate for governor of Idaho formerly from the Constitution Party of Idaho is taking it a little too far.

Life Links 9/20/06

A woman and her son received a combined $4.1 million after doctors in New York state botched her abortion and her son survived. The case was settled during jury selection.

A forum on stem cell research with three proponents of embryonic stem cell research (apparently no opponents) will be taking place in Flint from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, September 25. Maybe a certain blogger from Midland will be able to make it and dialogue with his good friend Andy Meisner. Notice how the article says Michigan has a "ban on stem cell research." I wonder where the article writer got that incorrect idea?

Michigan State's newspaper has an article on a recent visit to a local parish by Father Tad Pacholczyk who works at the National Catholic Bioethics Center. A professor at MSU is quoted as saying this, "There is some evidence, in some reports, that adult stem cells could be used."

Some evidence, in some reports? Go to the clinical trials web site of the NIH and type "stem cell" in the search engine. More than 500 studies indicate to me there is more than "some evidence, in some reports."

The Soup Du Jour is Stem Cell/Human Cloning Misinformation

I'm convinced that stem cell research is probably one of the most misunderstood issues in today's political marketplace. Ordinary people, individuals in the media and politicians continuously say things which leave me scratching my head. I think the main reason for this is that certain politicians have seen this issue as a way to score points/get votes.

A recent press conference by a new organization called the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures and the media reports of this conference highlight that point.

For example, in this Grand Rapids Press article a woman named Cathy Coury whose sons have juvenile diabetes and who is the legislative chairwoman of the West Michigan Juvenile Diabetes Foundation "believes, if Michigan law were changed, allowing researchers to use embryonic stem cells in their search for a cure" her children "could be freed from the insulin pumps that keep them alive."

For one, Michigan law doesn't disallow researchers from using embryonic stem cells. In fact, the University of Michigan has received federal funding to experiment on embryonic stem cells. Michigan law disallows researchers from killing human embryos for research.

Second, who has been telling this woman that embryonic stem cells will cure her sons of juvenile diabetes? To fill children and their parents with false hope to promote political causes or to try to obtain more funding is sick and wrong.

What's best is the group's web site claims to be "dedicated to ....educating our state's residents about the stem cell research process and its potential for life-saving cures" when their own spokespeople can't accurately articulate about Michigan's laws and have been filled with a delusional hope of immediate cures if researchers in Michigan could just be allowed to kill human embryos in Michigan.

Also note how their web site attacks Michigan's ban on human cloning and how that compares to the side bar on the same page. Their facts and myth page and information about somatic cell nuclear transfer are also great examples of laughable word smithing. The later being self-refuting in its description of what somatic cell nuclear transfer does.

A column in the Detroit Free Press by Brian Dickerson contains more evidence of the utter ignorance of some people. Dickerson claims "more and more voters recognize adult stem-cell research as a red herring that offers far less therapeutic promise than its embryonic counterpart." Does he provide any reasoning to why adult stem cell research which has been used to treat individuals with more than 70 different disease has "far less therapeutic promise" than embryonic stem cell research, which is years, decades even, from being tested on humans? Nope.

Dickerson also mentions how the Jewish Community Council filled with "hisses and snickers of derision" when adult stem cell research was mentioned. He also mentions the sons of Andy Levin, a candidate for the Michigan Senate and a proponent of embryonic stem cell research, have Crohn's disease. What Dickerson is most likely unaware of is that Crohn's disease has been successfully treated by adult stem cells. He might also like to know that Northwestern University is recruiting patients with Crohn's disease for clinical trials with adult stem cells.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Life Links 9/19/06 (cont.)

Adult stem cells treating human heart failure in Australia.

Ryan Anderson: Scanning for Life
Those who hold that the life of a human being does not possess full moral worth in virtue of what he is, but instead, in virtue of the development of natural capacities, pull the rug out from under the principled argument for human equality. For the proposition that all humans are equal wasn't the result of a misguided survey of the developed abilities of humanity in general. Those who defend the principle of equality are fully aware of the inequality of human talents, abilities, and developed capacities. This is not the equality of which they speak. Rather, they point to an underlying moral equality--an equality of status that arises from the fact that all human beings are equally human, and fully human, regardless of the degree to which they have developed their basic, natural capacities. That is, they are valuable as subjects of rights and they have full moral worth simply in virtue of what they are--beings that have a rational nature, even if they have not yet developed their rationality, or its functioning has waned. They are intrinsically valuable, regardless of their immediately exercisable capabilities.

The defense of Korean wannabe cloner Hwang Woo-Suk began today.

Life Links 9/19/06

The Story of Emmie-Rose is a blog created by the parents of a little girl born at 23 weeks who is currently alive even though doctors said she had only two days to leave two weeks ago. The family has taken the hospital to court to force the hospital to provide Emmie-Rose with blood transfusions and a "nutritional formula that includes fat and protein instead of just sugar and salt."

HT: Wesley Smith

William Saletan discusses how pre-implantation genetic diagnoses continues to be used to screen for more and more genetic "flaws" including sex and an arthritis gene.

Robert Hayes: Being Prolife and Meaning It

The Illinois Supreme Court is finally going to put Illinois' decade old parental consent law into effect by "issu(ing) rules to govern how minors could seek waivers in special circumstances."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wolverines get no respect

While Michigan's economy may be the "Sick Man of the Midwest" and our governor might have troubles understanding how companies operate in a global economy, our college football time knows how to kick some Irish tush. Yet somehow after using the #2 team as a floor mat, making a leading Heisman candidate look like a Scott Mitchell impersonator, moving the ball at will and completely shutting down what was supposedly a potent offense, Michigan is only ranked #6 while another team (Auburn) had only 182 yards of total offense and barely got by LSU (previously ranked #6) is ranked #2.

What gives?

Trying to Prevent Teen Abortions Leads to Allowing Parents to Force Teens into Abortions. Huh?

One of Jill of Feministe's talents is her ability to take almost anything and turn it into a reason not to support either prolife legislation or attack the prolife movement. The case of two parents trying to force their daughter into an abortion is a perfect example.
And it would do them well to consider the fact that a government which can take away your right to prevent pregnancy can also take away your right to carry pregnancies to term. Laws which require parental consent for abortion or birth control can easily be taken a step further and require parental consent for childbirth.

I don't where to begin here. Let's start with misleading generalizations. Your right to prevent pregnancy taken away? I was unaware the United States banned the right for teens to abstain from sex. Did Congress pass some compulsory-sex-before-18 legislation over the weekend? Or have teens be banned from obtaining condoms? If so, Planned Parenthood would probably be in a lot of trouble for giving them away to teens for free. I'm guessing Jill is referring to some attempts to have parental consent for contraceptives but according to The Center for Reproductive Rights: "No Law Currently Requires Parental Consent for Contraception."

This is also an example of the slippery slope fallacy but strange since the goals of one type of legislation (parental consent laws for abortion) would be the exact opposite of forcing teens to have abortions. There is absolutely no reason to think that a government which understands that minors shouldn't have abortions without some kind of parental involvement will then move to allow parents to force their teens to have abortions.

That is unless you're the delusional type who thinks the prolife movement doesn't care about saving unborn children but is really led by crazy, patriarchal men whose sole goal is to control women.

In her post, Jill also fails to substantiate her claim that parental consent laws don't lower abortion rates among minors. She simply asserts it, doesn't link to anything or provide reasoning and leaves it at that. Kind of reminds of me of most NARAL "fact sheets."

What's also strange here is that the woman in question is 19 years old. She's not a minor. So she wouldn't even be effected by parental consent legislation if she wanted to have an abortion.

Instead of seeing this case for what it is - two sick individuals trying to force their daughter to kill her own child because they dislike the father of child - Jill turns this situation into a way to attack prolifers.

I will continue to hope that some pro-choice bloggers will attempt to veer away from trying to take illogical cheap shots at the prolifers.

Life Links 9/18/2006

A couple from Portland, Maine, have been arrested after kidnaping their 19-year-old daughter and planning to force her to have an abortion. Apparently, the parents disapproved of the unborn child's father.

There's a long story in the Washington Post from Reuters on sex-selection abortions in India including descriptions of a incident where officials discovered the remains of a number of aborted children in pits and the story of the poor man who had the unenviable task of removing them.
Over the next few hours, he removed the remains of scores of unborn babies from two deep pits, an experience he says he will never forget and one which leaves him struggling for breath at night and unable to enjoy the company of friends.

Dr. Diane Blaine describes her role in taking a relative to Planned Parenthood for an abortion. Even though she's a Ph D philosopher, Blaine can't understand why prolifers would be opposed to her relative having an abortion.
That child is not ready to have a child. Maybe she'll never be. So how can anyone who cares about the wellness of women insist that she bear one at this time?

Of course, this assumes Blaine's relative didn't already have a child (regardless of whether she was ready or not) growing in her womb.

Blaine also mentions that her mother had an abortion and that "abortion has been crucial in (her) own journey"

Friday, September 15, 2006

How not to ask poll questions

To support new legislation by Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Rosa DeLaura (D-Conn) which is purportedly designed to help reduced the number of abortions, Third Way commissioned a poll to find how registered voters would respond to their efforts.

The problem is that the poll makes compound statements which appear to have confused some individuals. For example, the statement: "With one out of every five pregnancies ending in abortion, we should try to reduce the number of abortions in America while still preserving the basic right to have one" is answered "strongly agree" by 15% and "somewhat agree" by 22.1% of the people who thought abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.

Most people looking at those number would wonder if the respondents were confused by the compound statement and try to use another statement.

The other question, "There are far too many abortions in America and we need to make most abortions illegal, even if that means putting people who have abortions or doctors who perform abortions in jail" is answered "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree" by 5% of the individuals who said that they thought abortion should be legal in all circumstances. How good is a poll if 5% of people who think abortion should be legal in all circumstances answer that they want to put abortionists or women who have abortions in jail?

The Family Research Council blog also points out that representatives from Democrats for Life weren't present at this press conference and also notes that this press conference took place a week before Democrats for Life planned to introduce their legislation on September 20.

Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, withdrew its support over the bills emphasis on preventing pregnancy.
"Our goal is to help pregnant women," she said, adding that she thinks Ryan's goal "is more prevention and contraception."

Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., the Democratic co-chairman of the Pro Life Caucus, also is not supporting the bill.

Life Links 9/15/06

Professor Anna Glasier, who is the Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, busts up a common myth regarding emergency contraception effectiveness in lowering the number of abortion.
"Yet, despite the clear increase in the use of emergency contraception, abortion rates have not fallen in the UK."

Various individuals from the UK try to answer why the UK's abortion rate is so high. Some individuals blame the lack of access to condoms but no one points out that 82% of abortions were funded by Britain's National Health Service (NHS).

The Michigan House has passed to create "a network of stem cell banks for umbilical cords and adult stem cells."

Friday Cat Blogging

A solid cat fight on YouTube.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"The End of an Unused Embryo"

Here's a video by proponents of embryonic stem cell research showing what the makers of the video claim to be the throwing away of an unused embryo.

The very pro-embryonic stem cell research American Journal of Bioethics blog calls it ""The Dumbest Stem-Cell Propaganda Ever." It's hard to disagree.

One reason it's stupid is the organization that produced it, the Ninth Floor Project, has no clue how many embryos get thrown out every year.

One less Pennsylvania abortionist

Abortionist Harvey Brookman has had his medical license revoked by the Pennsylvania Department of Health after finding him "guilty of failing to maintain medical malpractice insurance, unprofessional conduct and continued practice of medicine beyond the scope of his license."

He wasn't board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and had previously had his license revoked in New York and voluntarily surrendered his New Jersey license.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Protesting those "deceptive" clinics

In the Worker's World, there's an article by members of a pro-choice group DANFORR (Detroit Action Network For Reproductive Rights) about DANFORR's recent protest at a pregnancy care center in Detroit named Pregnancy Aid.

They describe Pregnancy Aid as "grossly misnamed" because they aren't a medical facility. I was unaware that every aid given during pregnancy had to be medical. What's also interesting here is that pro-choice organizations often attack pregnancy care centers by claiming they try to pass themselves off as abortion clinics yet Pregnancy Aid doesn't seem to be the name any abortion clinic would ever use.
The oppressed communities of Detroit have been particularly hard hit by unemployment, budget cutbacks and racist attacks, making the presence of the “Pregnancy Aid” center especially insulting.

Those evil prolifers!!! How dare they insult us by trying to provide free services to pregnant women in communities hit hard by unemployment and budget cuts. The unimaginableness of it all. Helping pregnant women who want to carry their pregnancies to term by providing them with free maternity clothes, baby clothes and other baby supplies. The nerve!!
Many U.S. states, including Michigan, are now closer to banning abortions altogether—a trend supported by both Democrats and Republicans, with few exceptions.
Just in case you didn't think these people were crazy enough. Anyone who thinks Democrats support banning abortion altogether "with few exceptions" can hardly be described as being a rationale, much less intelligent, human being.

I also think the caption under the picture is telling: "Women say they need a real health clinic." If they're referring to more abortion clinics, Detroit already has plenty of those and women in Detroit unfortunately have large numbers of abortions. In 2005, Detroit's abortion rate was 22.4 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 compared to the state's rate of 11.6.

Peter Singer: "no sharp distinction between the foetus and the newborn baby"

Princeton professor Peter Singer answers a variety of questions from readers of the Independent including this -
Would you kill a disabled baby? KAREN MEADE, Dublin

Yes, if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole. Many people find this shocking, yet they support a woman's right to have an abortion. One point on which I agree with opponents of abortion is that, from the point of view of ethics rather than the law, there is no sharp distinction between the foetus and the newborn baby.

You might also like to know that Singer views most zoos as being immoral, thinks that we shouldn't protect animals from other animals even though he thinks human shouldn't kill those animals, and believes in one moral absolute.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This is not prolife - this is exceptionally stupid

What is with people like David McMenemy?

Running a car into a center which provides prenatal care to low-income women and then setting it on fire because you think the center provides abortions (it doesn't) will probably go down as one of the stupidest things someone claiming to be prolife has ever done.

Planned Parenthood or other pro-choice groups will be all over this in a couple of days in an attempt to compare prolifers to terrorists.

Update on Australian Abortionist Suman Sood

She was an abortionist in the New South Wales because three other Australian states or territories refused to register her as a doctor. She also had a number of complaints filed against her.

Sood was recently found guilty of performing an illegal abortion.

Life Links 9/12/06

Wesley Smith summarizes Advanced Cell Technology's deception and the media reaction to the unveiling of the truth.

An old segment on PBS' Newshour with Richard Doerflinger from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and ACT's Robert Lanza. Doerflinger calls out Lanza's deception and Lanza responds with more dishonesty.

The editor of the Dakota Voice shares how he became prolife.

Monday, September 11, 2006

"She looked grown to me, man"

Those are the words of Freeman Gurley, a 40-year-old man charged with first-degree sexual assault after he had sex with an 11-year-old girl.

This is truly a disgusting story.

What kind of person comes home to find a bunch of teens having sex with one girl and lets them continue, much less wants to have sex with the girl himself? This makes my skin crawl.

Another one bites the dust

According to the Cleveland Plains-Dealer, an abortion clinic in Cleveland will be forced shut after "state regulators uncovered more than a dozen health code violations."

Some excerpts:
Though not the busiest abortion clinic in Greater Cleveland, the Center for Women's Health is one of two in Northeast Ohio and among a handful in the Midwest willing to terminate a pregnancy beyond 20 weeks' gestation, when the procedures are more complex....

Other local abortion providers speak favorably of Ruddock, but his relations with the state health department have been rocky.

More than a dozen health code violation yet his fellow abortionists speak of him favorably? I guess it's not a crowd with very high standards.

As Christina points out, this doctor was a member of the National Abortion Federation.

Life Links 9/11/06

Scott Klusendorf and Serge have both added to my meanderings about who prolifers should vote for in a less than obvious situation. Wynette Sills also suggests this piece by Father Frank Pavone. I should note that I voted for a pro-choice/semi-prolife candidate (David Bonior) who favored prolife legislation in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2002 (there wasn't much of a contest in the Republican primary) with the sole purpose of trying to make sure Michigan's current governor (Jennifer Granholm) never got the chance to be governor. However, I'm wondering if there is a difference between how prolife individuals should vote and how prolife organizations should respond when faced with the kind of dilemma mentioned in the previous post.

Over the weekend, the Washington Post had what I consider one of the fairer articles on pregnancy care centers that I've seen in recent years. It shows how visual images can make a huge difference.
The Smiths stayed. After they saw a picture of the fetus at 21 weeks with arms and legs and a face, their thoughts of termination were gone.

"As soon as I seen that, I was ready. It wasn't no joke. It was real," Makiba Smith, 16, said. "It was like, he's not born to the world yet, but he is inside of me growing."

Dawn Eden recalls how Planned Parenthood of New York "helped" after 9/11.

ACT and their $13 million dollar press release .

Friday, September 08, 2006

What's a prolifer to do?

In important elections where both viable candidates are pro-choice yet one pro-choice candidate favors certain prolife legislation and the other is opposed to any kind of prolife legislation, what should a prolife group do? Should prolifers work to help elect a pro-choice candidate who will sign prolife legislation, try to elect an unelectable prolife candidate or do nothing in that election?

That seems to be situation Oregon Right to Life found itself faced with after its candidate, Republican Kevin Mannix, lost in the primary.

On Saturday, the Oregonian reported that Oregon Right to Life was "recommending" that it's members vote for Ron Saxton, a pro-choice Republican, because he is willing to sign various pieces of prolife laws like parental consent, informed consent, banning tax-funded abortions, etc. even though he isn't in favor of banning abortion. This recommendation stops short of an official endorsement and they say they won't give any money to Saxton. The current governor of Oregon, Ted Kulongoski, is endorsed by Oregon's pro-choice groups and is running for re-election.

Judie Brown from the American Life League is miffed and thinks Oregon Right to Life's actions prove that "electing Republicans has become the guiding principle in their game."

While I think Judie's response is obviously inaccurate and harsh, since the obvious motive by ORTL isn't merely to elect a Republican but to elect someone (regardless of party) who might be willing to sign their legislation even if that person isn't prolife, I still wonder if this is a good idea or not.

Does this kind of move send the wrong signal to politicians in Oregon? Basically, telling politicians from Oregon that ORTL will still "recommend" you as long as you'd be in favor of prolife legislation even though you're not prolife? I think it's a dangerous line to tread as the short term hope of electing a candidate favorable to basic prolife legislation might have long term consequences.

Considering the current leading candidates for the presidential nomination at this point (which I know means very little now), I'm somewhat concerned that prolifers and prolife organizations across the country might be faced with a similar dilemma in 2008. What will we do if someone like John McCain, who is against abortion yet in favor of the increased federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, is nominated?

Or for example, in Michigan, one former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate has recently sent a letter to Michigan House members who are supporting Mitt Romney's PAC requesting they reconsider their support for Romney because of past pro-choice statements by Romney. In response, Ronna Romney, another former candidate for U.S. Senate from Michigan who was once married to Mitt's brother sent a long letter to Michigan Republican activists discussing Romney's change of heart to the prolife side in 2003.

What kind of risks can prolifers take with recommending candidates who aren't 100% and is it possible to engage in these risks without being identified as Republican stooges?

Stop my abortion

WARNING: According to Naaman - the blogger at the site below has put a photo of male genitalia in the most recent post.

is the blog (link removed due to above warning) (language warning) of an exceptionally crass individual who claims to be a 20-year-old pregnant woman who will have an abortion on October 19 unless prolifers pony up $40,000. She claims she'll post photos of her aborted fetus after her abortion.

Her first post which occurred on April 18th says, "Either click on the paypal link on the side of this page and give what you can, or I'm going to get this fetus scraped and sucked out of me in six month's time."

Now I find this blog interesting in how it shows how ignorant some vehement pro-choicers are, especially the person running this site, regarding abortion. At six months, abortion procedures don't suck and scrape unborn children. They typically dismember them.

Another thing this individual doesn't seem to understand is how much an abortion at 6 months would cost. While she claims to be a poor and now unemployed bartender who can't afford a child, how does she expect to come with around $2,000 or so for an abortion at 6 months?

She also doesn't seem to understand that her claim she could receive an abortion on October 19 undermines the typical pro-choice assertion that abortion is illegal after six months of pregnancy except in rare cases. If her doctor told her she was pregnant a week before April 18 (as the first post claims), that means the starting date of her imaginary pregnancy would probably have to be in at least late March meaning that she would be at least nearly 7 months pregnant by October 19.

Not surprisingly, whomever this disturbed individual is, she is a fan of Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon.

Should Lulu have an abortion?

I've never been much of a soap opera watcher (unless you count Beverly Hills 90210) but according to writer and blogger Stephanie Dray, a character on General Hospital named Lulu is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.

Stephanie chastises soaps for failing to confront the issue of abortion in recent years and says that the writers should make Lulu have an abortion if they plan to "shed any light on the topic at all."

ACT's Stem Cell Experiment Redux

Roger Pielke on Advanced Cell Technology's embryo experiments.
Less tongue-in-cheek, and more significantly, what has been completely overlooked here is the complete tactical blunder by ACT, Nature, and the general media in suggesting that in order to be "ethical" stem cell research should not destroy embryos. The acceptance of this point basically legitimizes the central objection to such research advanced by stem cell research opponents.

HT: Macht

Michael Fumento also provides some commentary on ACT's stem cell scam:
But ACT propagandist, er, uh, ethicist Ronald Green leapt to the company's defense. "The approach does not harm embryos; the experiment did," Green insisted. (Right. And "I didn't kill the victim;" the shooter said, "the bullets did!") An utterly unrepentant Lanza tossed off the backlash criticism as merely indicative of how politicized stem cell research has become. Now there's something he knows about.

Lanza has always been more salesman than scientist, constantly inveighing against the federal funding restrictions that restrict the growth of his bank account. Yet the media treat him as an impartial source on all things stem cell. Welcome to the world of ESC "science" – about 10% research and 90% hype.

Wesley Smith provides a transcript of an interview for Nature's podcast where ACT's Robert Lanza shows how deceptive he is.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Faith of a Quarterback

The Detroit News has an article on the outspoken faith on the Detroit Lions' new starting quarterback Jon Kitna.
"I don't think that guy is soft at all," (Lions' fullback Cory) Schlesinger said. "There are definitely a lot of men of faith who are labeled as soft, but that is not the case because they are playing for something other than themselves."

Schlesinger said Kitna was accepted because the Lions have a lot of players who practice religion. Kitna had to order more hats with crosses on them when he began passing them out to teammates.
HT: World

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Emergency Contraception Review

Serge has continued his excellent series on Plan B/emergency contraception. Check it out - Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Beverly Nuckols at Life Ethics also provides her thoughts and a review of information on Plan B/emergency contraception.

Life Links 9/5/06

Fred Barnes on how prolifers become prolifers.

A West Michigan man has been charged with a variety of crimes including "assault on a pregnant woman causing great bodily harm to the embryo fetus" after he brutally beat and raped a woman. The women was 7 months pregnant. The beating led to the premature birth of the child, who is currently in critical condition.

Former Apprentice contestant Tarek Saab (the guy who looks like Orlando Bloom) has started a Christian clothing line called Lionheart apparel and 10% of the profits will go to prolife organizations.
HT: Dawn Eden

Jonathan Rauch reviews Ramesh Ponnuru's book in the New York Times. Ramesh responds.