Friday, September 28, 2007

Life Links 9/28/07

Wesley Smith on No Brakes Biotech

A Catholic Church in California has banned a man from attending after he refused to cover up the graphic pictures of aborted on his truck when he attended Mass. I believe graphic photos have their place but I don't think children's Mass is one of them.

The UK's Telegraph has an article on trial at Frenchay hospital using adult stem cells to help treat multiple sclerosis.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Serge on the radio

Serge of the Life Training Institute discusses Judith Jarvis Thompson's Violinist Analogy and other bodily autonomy rights arguments which support legal abortion on Issues, etc.

Adult stem cells helping to treat paralyzed patients - where's the press coverage?

Nowhere that I can find. Here's a press release from PrimeCell™ Therapeutics LLC announcing researchers in Ecuador have used stem cells from bone marrow in patients' hip bones to successfully restore function in paralyzed patients. One patient had been paralyzed for 22 years!
Of the 25 patients who provided more than three months and up to 14 months follow up: 15 gained the ability to stand up, 10 could walk on the parallels with braces, seven could walk without braces and five could walk with crutches. Three patients recovered full bladder control, and 10 patients regained some form of sexual function. No adverse events or abnormal reactions to implantation were observed.
Imagine for a second the press coverage this would get if embryonic stem cells were the cells that were helping paralyzed patients walk with assistance and regain bladder control.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In These Times needs an editor or two

In These Times (a leftwing monthly magazine) has an article by Carrie Kilman on abortion in the South. One of the highlights is when Kilman ignorantly claims that most states in the Deep South "ban abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy."

Does this magazine have a single editor?? Seriously?? Of the states Kilman lists (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina) each has an abortion facility which advertises they do abortion after 12 weeks on their web site. I found the above clinics in a couple of minutes by simply typing "abortion" and the state name in Google.

The rest of the "article" continues by embarrassingly parroting talking points from abortion clinics and pro-choice organizations.

Life Links 9/26/07

Here's another update from Aurora via the Chicago Tribune.
Aurora zoning law requires a special-use permit for a non-profit medical clinic. To acquire such a permit, the applicant must schedule a public hearing, notify property owners within 250 feet of the proposed building and advertise the hearing in a local newspaper, Ergo said.

None of that happened in this case.
Planned Parenthood attempted to avoid these requirements by creating the for-profit Gemini Office Development.

Instead of correcting the long list of health violations at their clinic, Alternatives (an abortion clinic in Atlantic City, New Jersey which has been closed for months) has decided to surrender their license. The numerous violations, "including bloodstained operating tables, expired drugs and the absence of a sterilization sink," were found when the health department visited the clinic for the first time in six years.

I wonder what Ann Friedman's rationale for the horrible conditions on the inside of this clinic would be? Maybe the clinic invested so much money on "actual medical care" they weren't able to afford cleaning supplies and a sterilization sink.

Researchers have used bone marrow stem cells to help treat rats with liver failure. This research happened in Massachusetts but the papers which I've seen carry the story are either in the UK or India.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Life Links 9/25/07

Police in Florida have apprehended Andrew Foster, the teacher who allegedly had sexual relations with at least two of his students, one of whom he got pregnant and took for an abortion.

Here's more news on the Missouri law regulating abortion clinics. Judge Ortrie Smith seems to not understand the "undue burden" clause pertains to women seeking abortions not abortion clinics who don't want to keep up with basic safety regulations for surgical facilities.

I watched a segment on Good Morning America this morning on Mike May, a man whose sight was restored with the help of a stem cell transplant and cornea transplant. May made news about four years when the results of his treatment were published in Nature Neuroscience. ABC News has an excerpt of a new book about May's transition from being blind to being able to see.

What not to say to someone who is still dealing with post-abortion feelings

Gosh, this makes me sick. Just Another Alias shares her feelings of being empty and having nothing to say goodbye to and hold onto about 10 months after her abortion. What does her doctor tell her?
Some medical scientists believe that the soul doesn't enter the body until birth, or even many months past birth.
Maybe this doctor should focus on treating his patients and maybe consider trying to find a professional for JAA to talk to instead of jumbling together a bunch of poor pro-choice talking points. I would love to see the reference to the "medical scientists" who believe the soul enters the body when the child emerges from the birth canal. Another quote from the doctor she shares makes me wonder if he should be let anywhere near newborn children.

I wonder if this doctor would say the same kind of thing to a woman who lost a child to miscarriage or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and was still struggling with her feelings 10 months later.

Any comments left on JAA's blog should be made out of love.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Defending "rundown" abortion clinics

It's a daunting task but Ann Friedman is stepping up to defend the general rundownedness of the exteriors of abortion clinics. Apparently, prolifers are the reason some abortionists can't put up a fresh coat of paint.
It's tough to see a run-down abortion clinic, with high concrete walls and peeling paint, next to a sparkling new "crisis-pregnancy center." But the bottom line is that it's really, really expensive to provide actual medical care.
Yeah, assuming that charging $400 to forcibly dilate a cervix and vacuum an unborn child out of a uterus is "actual medical care." I wonder why a plethora of abortionists (including those that aren't involved in lawsuits with Planned Parenthood attorneys) have this problem while other facilities (such as hospitals) which actually provide medical care usually look kept up.

Ann continues,
And it's cheap to run an office-slash-misinformation center. Roll one ultrasound machine in, buy some beige furniture and, bam, you're done. Lots of money left over to spend on the landscaping.
And it's cheap to run an abortion clinic. Roll in an ultrasound machine, some exam tables with stirrups, some recliners for the recovery room, a suction machine, and start aborting children. You can even ignore the state's abortions laws.

At the end of this article,I'm wondering what it would take for a pro-choice blogger to not defend a legal abortion facility. When two clinics in New Jersey got shut down for various health violations, not a peep of disgust for the "blood-stained operating tables." They constantly evoke women dying after illegal abortions but when legal abortions kill women, they look the other way.

Remember this is the same Ann Friedman who attended the Blogs4Life conference, sat next to my 29-year-old wife and I, and claimed
"the majority of anti-choice bloggers, judging by the attendance, are 50-year-old men, several of whom brought their young sons along. Nearly every younger woman I noticed there was attending as a reporter..."

Life Links 9/24/07

There's a new New Atlantis out. It includes a piece by Yuval Levin on ethical alternatives to embryonic stem cells, Cheryl Miller reviews the book Everything Conceivable, and Gilbert Meilaender explores human dignity.

Wesley Smith on Ian Wilmut's most recent cloning claims.

Pastor John Piper's son and daughter-in-law discovered their child, due to be delivered on Sunday, was died in the womb.

Daily Herald columnist Joni Hirschman Blackmun is comparing abortion to tobacco. She says tobacco kills (which, of course, isn't really true since it's typically the long term use of tobacco which can lead to various types of cancer which can kill) but she doesn't harass stores which sell tobacco products so, in the same way, opponents of abortion shouldn't be protesting the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Aurora. It's an incredibly weak analogy but she at least seems to recognize that abortion kills.

Scott Klusendorf posts the notes to his speech for being a prolife pastor in the 21st Century.
I'll tell you how some churches I know respond: They give the local crisis pregnancy center (CPC) director five minute each year--on 'Sanctity of Human Life Sunday'--to briefly discuss her ministry to women in need, followed by a vague sermon that says little about abortion per se, but rather discusses our need to be 'pro-life' in all areas like caring for the poor, feeding the homeless, stopping spousal abuse, etc. Now, there's nothing wrong with a discussion of these topics or with giving the CPC director time to highlight her work (indeed, we should give her much more time than that!), but is a tepid pro-life Sunday once each year going to equip lay people to persuasively respond to these assaults on human dignity? What's needed is pastoral leadership that preaches truth and equips lay-persons to engage the culture with a robust, but graciously communicated, biblical worldview.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Life Links 9/20/07

The Chicago Sun-Times has an editorial in favor of letting the Planned Parenthood in Aurora open. It's bad. The two sentences below makes me wonder if anyone on their editorial page board has done any research about this situation.
Aurora officials, incredibly, say they didn't know what type of health-care facility was proposed when they voted to grant the $7.5 million, 22,000-square-foot clinic an occupancy permit. They claim Gemini Office Development, the developer representing Planned Parenthood, misled them about the type of medical facility it intended to open.
Incredibly? Were the Aurora officials supposed to know nefarious motives of Gemini Office Development? Were they supposed to assume the 22,000-square-foot facility was going to be an abortion clinic?

There's more stupidity to follow.
The city and some Aurora residents wonder if Gemini Office Development was a cover for Planned Parenthood.
Wonder? Planned Parenthood has admitted as much.
Without the clinic, many pregnant women in Aurora will lack access to birth control, prenatal care, cancer screening and treatment for fibroids and sexually transmitted diseases.
Is there any evidence the women of Aurora lack these things now and the hospitals and physicians currently in Aurora can't provide them?

An immigration judge in New York named Noel Ferris has been taken off a case by Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan after mistreating a man seeking asylum because of China's one-child policy.
Mr. Sun said that he began living with the woman who later became his wife when she was 22 (the law did not allow her to marry until the age of 23). When she became pregnant, the principal at the school where she worked in Fujian Province notified the authorities, who dragged her away for an abortion and beat up Mr. Sun when he tried to stop them, he said. During her second pregnancy, he testified, family planning officers issued an order for his arrest after he resisted sterilization.

Based only on "improper assumptions," "conjecture," or "her personal views," the appeals court said, the judge rejected this account as implausible.

The Globe and Mail covers research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association about genetic screening, abortion, and how counseling can help parents choose life.

This strikes somewhat close to home. My wife and I were asked by her Ob/Gyn if we wanted genetic screening. It was unsettling to me as he is a Christian and went to the same Christian college as I did. I assumed this is something he routinely offers to patients as a way of providing his practice with additional income but that didn't make me feel much more comfortable. I guess for the majority of patients a negative result on a genetic screening test offers some kind of relief or assurance and for some a positive result would help them prepare for a child which may have special needs. But what about those who receive a positive result and then decide to have an abortion? What about false positives? Is it responsible for a Christian physician to offer a test which may lead his patients to have an abortion?

How can adult stem cell research get more press coverage?

When researchers obtain them from a male reproductive organ.

Some headline writers had fun with this story:

Testes new source of stem cells?

Using testicles to fix the brain, heart and blood

New ballgame for stem cells

Pro-choice blogger can't find time to do basic research

Oliver Willis is claiming that Fred Thompson has joined Mitt Romney and John McCain in "saying that women should be jailed for having abortions."

His evidence for the Thompson claim? A blog post by Feministing which links to a LA Times article which says,
A day after touting his "100% record against abortion," Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson said Friday that women should face no criminal penalties for having one during the first three months of pregnancy.

Authorities "can do whatever they want to with abortion doctors, as far as I'm concerned," the former Tennessee senator said. But "if it comes down to giving criminal sanctions to a 19-year-old girl and her mama, I'm against that."
I guess one could take that to mean Thompson is in favor of jailing women for having abortions after the first trimester but it certainly doesn't specifically say that and there's no direct quote from Thompson about time frame much less a quote indicating that he'd been in favor of prosecuting women for having abortions after 3 months.

Willis' evidence for the Romney and McCain claim? An article stating that they would have signed the South Dakota law banning abortion. Unfortunately, Willis hasn't taken the time to read the South Dakota law in question. If he did, he would have know the law explicitly states,
"Nothing in this Act may be construed to subject the pregnant mother upon whom any abortion is performed or attempted to any criminal conviction and penalty.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Michigan native charged with infanticide

A college student from Michigan who was going to school in Pennsylvania has been charged in the death of her infant daughter. Before giving birth to and allegedly killing her child, Teri Rhodes supposedly performed internet searches using the following criteria: "what can kill a fetus," "alternative methods of ending pregnancy," "herbal abortion techniques" and "pregnancy termination."

The child was found dead "in a white plastic bag inside the bathtub" of Rhodes' campus apartment.

This television story notes, "Rhodes hid her pregnancy from every one, from her volleyball coaches, friends, and even medical staff" and says, "investigators allege Rhodes delivered her baby girl in the shower. They say she then put her in a plastic bag, and then took a shower, while here baby laid in the bag, at the bottom of the tub."

Standing up for women abortionists

There are few things that aggravate me more than feminist bloggers who claim to stand up for women but when a women is lied to by a physician who performs abortions they stand beside an abortionist who allegedly told a woman, "Don't be stupid, it's only blood." The "it" being an unborn child. They don't even make an attempt to defend those comments or claim Sheldon Turkish didn't make them. I doubt Amanda and Jessica are ignorant enough to believe the unborn child at 6 to 8 weeks is "only blood" or "just tissue at this time" as Turkish has admitted to probably saying. So why can't they at least admit the abortionist deceived his client? Don't they have a problem with this? Why aren't they in the least bit upset that this man intentionally lied to his female client? Is this where unmitigated support for abortion takes someone?

It's almost like they have this belief that when it comes to abortion, an abortionist can say whatever he or she pleases to a woman who has questions about fetal development. Also notice how neither of them makes any attempt to prove the unborn aren't human beings.

The latter link to a piece by Amanda has to be one of the most intellectually dishonest, strawman-filled pieces of commentary I've ever read. Every time I read something she writes, I believe I would think less and less of John Edwards if it were possible.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Life Links 9/18/07

Scott Klusendorf on Fred Thompson, Terri Schiavo and intrinsic dignity
True, they may come out of it. But that kind of thinking puts in place a premise that it's okay to kill people who don't improve. Truth is, Terri had no duty to get better. Her life had value as it was. Remember: The pro-life argument is that humans have intrinsic dignity simply because they are human, meaning Terri shouldn't have to get better to avoid being killed.

I missed the pro-embryonic stem cell research editorial by Nicole Reslock (nurse whose son has juvenile diabetes) that was printed in the Lansing State Journal on Sunday. Proponents of killing human embryos for research in Michigan have changed their rhetoric slightly. In the past, editorials typically claimed embryonic stem cell research was banned in Michigan. Now, Reslock claims "Michigan law prohibits embryonic stem cell research procedures." Those "embryonic stem cell research procedures" being killing human embryos for research and using the cloning technique somatic cell nuclear transfer to create cloned human embryos. Neither of these is an actual "stem cell research procedure." No research is actually being done on the stem cells when they are removed from a human embryo or when scientists attempt to create human embryos via cloning.

Reslock labels human embryos as "the cells" "doomed to be destroyed" and claims the beliefs of those opposed to killing human embryos for research are "jeopardiz(ing) the lives of so many innocent children."

Doctors in Germany claim to have successfully treated a man who suffered a severe heart attack with his own stem cells. Before the stem cell treatment, "the man spent seven weeks in the intensive care unit with no sign of improvement." The article also discusses Germany's law on killing embryos for research though I believe they mean "embryos" not "pre-existing stem cell lines."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Life Links 9/17/07

Here's some coverage of another large protest at the Planned Parenthood in Aurora.

There's also an article in the LA Times about George Tiller and his recent legal troubles. It includes this paragraph (emphasis mine).
Tiller also accepts some late-term patients with healthy fetuses. Among them, he has said, have been girls as young as 10, rape victims, alcoholics, drug addicts, and women who were suicidal or depressed or who feared their relatives would harm them if they continued the pregnancy. Tiller has said a few of his patients were just a week or two from their due dates.

An Indiana paper has an incredibly sad story about a foster parent who impregnated a 15-year-old girl who was living with him and his wife and then tried to convince his wife to take the girl for an abortion. Darrin Reid was somehow allowed to be a foster parent even though the state restricted the time he could spend with his own children.

Let's seek cures that don't involve killing or cloning. Indeed.

The editorial page board of the Kansas City Star is an embarrassment

What a bunch of clowns. The gall of these people to just flat out lie to their readers. Either that or they've done no actual research about a subject which has been at the forefront of Missouri politics for a couple of years.
Amendment 2, passed by Missouri voters in November, protects all scientific research allowed by federal law and clearly bans human cloning.

But a newly formed group is pushing for a constitutional amendment that would ban a form of stem-cell research called somatic cell nuclear transfer. It involves creating new cells in a lab dish, and using them to study diseases and potentially develop cures.
It clearly bans human cloning but not the cloning technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer. Okay? It's amazing how these editors seem to believe their readers are unable to go to Google and type in "somatic cell nuclear transfer."

The editorial's "cells in a lab dish" language mirrors the "cells in a lab dish" language on the web site of Missouri's pro-cloning organization named the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures. You'd think these professional editors would be able to come up with an editorial on this topic without cribbing talking points nearly word for word from their state's pro-cloning group. If you read the page linked above you'll likely notice a couple of other points of congruence between the Kansas City Star's editorial and the web page of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures (for example - the word "clearly").

What I think I love more than anything is the labeling of somatic cell nuclear transfer as a "form of stem cell research." SCNT has been unable to create a single human embryo from whom stem cells have been successfully extracted. Not one. No human stem cell lines from SCNT yet these jokers claim it's a form of stem cell research.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Life Links 9/14/07

Walter Weber comments on the New Jersey Supreme Court's recent ruling in An Abortionist's Right to Deceive Women.

What happens when Planned Parenthood doesn't get their way? They sue. I don't know why but I'm continually amazed at the nerve of this organization. To actually state, "The City of Aurora's fig leaf argument that it was 'misled' about the nature of the services that Planned Parenthood intends to provide at its facility is neither factually nor legally persuasive" when they intentionally lied on application forms, would beyond belief for nearly anyone but Planned Parenthood.

Eric Johnston believes Rudy Giuliani would be the "most effective advocate for the pro-life cause" because he's pro-choice and not that religious.
Only a constitutionalist who supports abortion rights can create an anti-Roe majority by explaining that the end of Roe means letting the people decide, state by state, about abortion.
Huh? That's just not true. Why can't a prolife constitutionalist correctly explain what overturning Roe would do? Hasn't Fred Thompson done that?
Pro-lifers care about many important policy questions related to abortion, and Mr. Giuliani consistently stands with us.
Really? Please provide some examples besides his recent flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment. Like maybe... the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research? The Mexico City policy?

Here's an article on Dr. Denise Faustman and her work to cure diabetes without embryonic stem cells.

Cornell researchers are growing human ovaries and human eggs in lab mice.

Friday Cat Blogging

Rascal is not happy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Teacher who impregnated and took a student for an abortion is on the run

Here's the story at the Palm Beach Post.

Florida has a parental notification law. The teacher, Andrew Foster, is 27. The student was 17. The article claims Foster took "her to an abortion clinic and sign(ed) forms on her behalf to end the pregnancy."

Are these the parental notification forms? And if so, how could an abortion clinic believe 27-year-old Andrew Foster was this girl's father?

Let's hope they catch this guy.

Life Links 9/13/07

Jill Stanek posts a video of Stephanie Gray from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform discussing the prolife view and some typical objections to it.

Here's a long article about the Genocide Awareness Project's display at Middle Tennessee State University and the conversation between the students and GAP volunteers. There's also mention of a pro-choice chant I hadn't heard before - "Get your ideology off of my biology!" I don't think it's quite as catchy as "Get your rosaries of my ovaries!"

Some pro-choice members of the clergy in the Chicago area got together to support Planned Parenthood's Aurora clinic. The article relays the same horrible religious pro-choice arguments we've heard before including the one which says denying women the right to have abortions is denying their moral standing.

Australian researchers have found what appear to be stem cells in women's endometrial tissue. They believe the discovery of these cells might eventually (at least 10 years) help them treat a variety of gynecological problems.

Eggs, eggs, eggs. Researchers in England are partnering with a fertility clinic to offer women a 50% discount on in-vitro fertilization if they agree to donate half of the eggs retrieved from their bodies for human cloning research. The BBC article fails to note that the cloning research doesn't produce stem cells, it produces cloned human embryos.

ABC News has a long article on human-animal hybrid cloning in Britain.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Life Links 9/12/07

FRC's blog has posted a rebuttal by Andrew Schlafly, General Counsel for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, to some of the information in a recent LA Times article on Missouri's law regulating abortion clinics.

The UK's Daily Mail has an article in which woman discuss their thoughts on their abortions. Dawn Eden notes how one of the testimonies has been removed.

The New Jersey Supreme Court needs a lesson in embryology.

Funding organizations which provide or promote abortion overseas

David Freddoso has an article on Senator Bob Casey's vote to fund groups which promote and provide abortion overseas. It seems odd to me that Casey would vote with prolifers on the funding of embryonic stem cell research but against prolifers on providing funding to abortion promoting organizations overseas.

I read some of the debate over these amendments. It was Barbara Boxer at her best. Here's a sample. She was continually referring to an 11-year-old victim of rape and how these organization can't "help" her if they want to keep getting funding. "Help" being either giving her an abortion or referring her to an abortion provider. There was also talk about how not providing funding to groups providing or promoting abortion was a free speech issue. I guess the U.S. government is violating my right to free speech by not paying me for writing on this blog. There was also mention of a girl from Nepal named Min Min Lama who was arrested and imprisoned after a relative secretly gave her (without Min Min's knowledge according to the BBC story above) a drug to cause an abortion. It was asserted that a Nepalese family planning organization couldn't work to have the girl released until they decided to discontinue getting U.S. funds. This, of course, makes no sense since trying to get a teenage girl who was forcibly aborted released from prison isn't providing or promoting abortion. The family planning agency (which was associated with the International Planned Parenthood Federation) was actually interested in lobbying the government to get rid of Nepal's law against abortion.

Boxer has used these same poor arguments before. I guess a lot of senators just recycle the exact same arguments they make every year the issue gets debated.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Some abortion advocates really don't like to see abortion

The Genocide Awareness Project has returned to Middle Tennessee State and the blog of the Tennessee Guerrilla Women isn't happy about it, calling the group "misogynistic," "deceptive" and "secretive" while claiming their display has "lots of fake blood and phoney photos."

LifeLinks 9/11/07

Yuval Levin raises some interesting points regarding the fire in the fertility clinic argument and those who make it.

Mandy Oaklander has an article at New America Media about how some couples from India will travel to a fertility clinic in the United States to insure they get a child of a certain sex. The clinic uses some of its advertising budget to advertise to ethnic media and offers pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) as a tool to eliminate embryos of the wrong sex. According to the medical director of the gender selection program, 90% of his Indian clients request boys.

The court case on Missouri law regulating abortion clinic continues. The LA Times also covered this story.

Researchers at UCSF have supposedly improved on Shinya Yamanaka's technique of turning adult mouse cells into pluripotent stem cells.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Father Thomas Berg on StemLifeLine

He writes,
The website, it must be said, is almost too much to believe. Is there really a market for parents to destroy some of their own offspring — the siblings to their own born children — for personal gain? My first reaction was to wonder whether it wasn't some kind of a gimmick....

Apparently, the company is for real. Founded in 2005, StemLifeLine just received its tissue bank license in May of this year. So, only recently has it begun in earnest its one and only “service” of “developing” and “transforming” unwanted IVF embryos into “useful” stem cells. Such are the idyllic euphemisms employed on the website to smoke screen the reality of the company’s dedication to embryo destruction.

Fr. Berg also discusses how the lines aren't really "personalized" and how 10 embryos might not be enough for parents to create a stem cell line from their embryonic children.

I blogged about this despicable company in May and August.

Life Links 9/10/07

Scott Klusendorf is beginning to blog through Francis Beckwith's Defending Life.

Jill Stanek has a video of piece on Hannity's America regarding Planned Parenthood.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas working on cells from BPH patients have found cells in the prostate which resemble other flexible adult stem cells.

This study on primary stromal cells from BPH patients resulted in findings that prostate stroma cells possess multipotent stem cell markers, strong proliferative potential and the ability to differentiate or transdifferentiate to muscle-forming, fat-forming and bone-forming lineages. These cell preparations may serve as a potential tool for prostate stem cell research and its role on regulation of prostatic hyperplasia.
HT: Life Ethics

Are you kidding me? A link from the Corner. Too bad I didn't notice it until a minute ago.

More from Just Another Alias

From an entry on Friday at See my story, Hear my words (my emphasis):
I think I really believed that I would have an abortion, and then it would just be over, and I would be exactly the same. Or maybe I just didn't really let myself think about it all. Sometimes I feel angry, that nobody warned me, or suggested that this might be so so hard to bare in the aftermath. Had I known, I wonder if I would have thought about it longer. Maybe it's best, that I didn't know until now.

No one told me I might miss something I didn't want. And despite it all, I can't imagine that it would have been better any other way.
Think about this when abortion providers loathe to mention anything about the possible emotional aftereffects of having an abortion besides relief.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Calling 60 Minutes

Researchers in Toronto have used skin cells to treat rats with spinal cord injuries.
Injured rats injected with skin-derived stem cells regained mobility and had better walking co-ordination, according to the study published yesterday in the Journal of Neuroscience. The skin-derived stem cells, injected directly into the injured rats' spinal cords, were able to survive in their new location and set off a flurry of activity, helping to heal the cavity in the cord.
I wonder if this research will get it's own segment on 60 Minutes like Hans Keirstead's research on rodents with spinal cord injuries using embryonic stem cells.

Yeah, probably not.

Fire in the Fertility Clinic again?

Andrew Sullivan posts an e-mail where the writer asserts that human embryos aren't persons. Unfortunately, the writer does this without ever providing any evidence for this assertion or describing which qualities make a human being into a person and why someone should accept his arbitrary qualities over others. The e-mailer then says the problem with the prolife movement is we don't accept "neurological criteria" as a valid reason to discriminate against the unborn. Well, yeah, duh. We wouldn't be prolife would we if we thought it should be legal to kill human beings based on "neurological criteria?" Man, if only we were pro-choice those pro-choicers would agree with us!!

The e-mailer then brings up Ronald Bailey's old fire in the fertility clinic scenario (which Ellen Goodman recycled in 2005) and claims prolifers "twist themselves in knots" trying to answer it. I wonder if Sullivan's e-mailer has actually ever brought this up with a prolifer used to handling such thought experiments and pro-choice arguments. If he had, he might realize this scenario comes nowhere near proving what it purports to prove. Or as Ramesh Ponnuru writes in Party of Death (pg. 89),
"Goodman's question about the burning building scenario doesn't prove the point she thinks it does. Think about another hypothetical situation: You're in a burning building. You can either rescue a research scientist who is making great strides toward a cure for Alzheimer's disease, or rescue four herion-addicted fifty-eight-year-old men who have spent their lives rotating through the penal system and are likely to continue to do so. Whom do you save?

Let's say you save the scientist. Are you therefore saying that it's permissible to kill hopeless old addicts? Are you saying that such people do not have the same right not to be killed that the scientist does? Of course not. Neither Goodman's question nor mine asks you to contemplate killing anyone."

Whose has more social skills: a toddler or a chimp?

According to this article in Time, the toddler wins out.
But when it came to "social learning" tasks — such as understanding how to solve a problem by watching someone else do it, figuring out someone else's state of mind from their actions, or using nonverbal communication to explain or understand how to find something — the kids made monkeys of the apes. In one test, for example, researchers showed both groups how to open up a plastic tube to get at a treat. The children learned by watching, and opened it as the adults did. The apes tended to just chew the tube open. In another, researchers would hide the treat while the test subjects were present. Then the subjects would have to find it, with the only clue being that the scientists would look toward the hiding place. Again, the kids beat the apes soundly.

Mike Huckabee - Pill Snatcher Extraordinare

At least that's what some pro-choice bloggers would have you believe.

Amie Newman has a comical post at the RHReality Check blog claiming birth control pills, IUDs and Plan B "are in danger of being outlawed should" a presidential candidate who believes life begins at conception be elected. I submit you have to be insane or very close to it to actually believe the election of someone like Mike Huckabee in 2008 would put the above contraceptives in danger of being outlawed. For goodness sake, Plan B was approved for over-the-counter sales during President Bush's stay in the White House.

Republicans presidents who are prolife haven't come anywhere near banning abortion so how on earth can a sane individual think it would be possible for a prolife Republican president to ban birth control pills or come anywhere near such a thing? Is there a single presidential candidate or member of congress who has even submitted legislation or has a position in favor of doing such a thing?

Newman also links to this post by Garance Franke-Ruta at the American Prospect blog TAPPED which supposedly "decode(s)" what "life begins at conception" means.
"Life begins at conception" is code for the extremist anti-choice position that wants hormonal birth control pills, the morning after pill, and intrauterine devices to be outlawed as abortion-inducing agents, or "abortifacients." All these methods prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in a woman's uterus. They prevent pregnancy, but not conception.
Not a single link to any kind of evidence to back up the statement that birth control pills don't prevent conception. Or any statement from any prolife organization saying birth control pills never prevent conception.

What's so sad here is how paranoid and delusional these people are. They can't understand that saying, "life beings at conception" (short for: "the life of an individual human being begins at conception") isn't a code for anything. It's a scientific fact. They don't want to argue whether this statement is true or not (because they lose that argument). They'd prefer to take that statement asserting something as true and make into some kind of wink-wink, nudge-nudge, I'm-going-to-ban-contraceptives, political posturing. I guess it's much easier to create "he wants to ban birth control" strawmen than honestly wrestle with the reality that abortion intentionally ends the life of a developing human being.

In the comments section, some of Garance's readers take exception with her broad generalized statements and she eventually says, "The pill's primary mechanism of action is to prevent ovulation, not implantaion. As I said, there can be break-through ovulation -- as, for example, was experienced by a friend who got pregnant while on the pill. The odds are low but some women are just extremely fertile, it seems."

I like this response from torourke:
This is one of the more unintentionally hilarious items I've read in a while. In other words, "Mike Huckabee definitely opposes some forms of contraception, and his line at the debate was code to the Christo-fascist underground movement that he is really on their side, but then again I have no idea what I am talking about, so yeah, maybe somebody should ask what his position actually is on contraception."

Solid analysis there Garance. Gee, how about looking at his record while he was Governor of Arkansas? Did he support legislation that would restrict the use of any kind of contraception?


If you look at his website, he supports run-of-the-mill pro-life positions and the refunding of abstinence education (which I think is a bad idea). But nowhere does he mention that he would like to ban any kind of contraception.

'Life begins at conception' is an utterly banal observation that can found in your average embryology textbook, or is that a coded-message as well?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Source please?

The Washington Post has a long article (the Reuters article can also be found at Yahoo! Asia News) about abortion in the Philippines, where abortion is typically illegal.

Besides being nearly identical to an advocacy piece you'd typically find on Planned Parenthood's website, the article contains a number of estimates (though they're not called estimates) regarding how many women receive abortions in the Philippines and how many women are hospitalized and die from abortion complications. The article claims "health reports" show that nearly "80,000" Filipino women are treated for abortion complication each year. I'm not sure which "health reports" the reporter used but there was an article in the International Family Planning Perspectives from September 1997 which estimates the number of abortion complications in the Philippines in 1994 to be 80,000. The IFPP is Alan Guttmacher's peer-reviewed research journal.

If you read the IFPP article, it's fairly obvious there is a whole lot of estimating going on there. They need to estimate how many women are hospitalized, they need to estimate how many of those hospitalizations were because of miscarriages as opposed to induced abortion, and they need to estimate how many women who have abortions are hospitalized based on their estimates of how many women were hospitalized for abortion complication. The IFFP article notes there would be 480,618 annual abortions per year in the Philippines if 1 in 6 women (one of a couple of estimates) who have abortions are hospitalized. This statistic matches up with the Post article which says "about half a million women end their pregnancies every year" in the Philippines.

If the Alan Guttmacher Institute is the source of the reporter's abortions statistics why is this and the AGI's ties to Planned Parenthood never mentioned in the article? The reporter sources the AGI for her statistics on what family planning method women used. Why can't she do the same thing for her abortion statistics? Should estimates from a leading abortion advocacy organization really be your sole source of information on how many abortions are performed in a country? And if so, shouldn't your readers at least know that these numbers are coming from an organization that advocates in favor of legal abortion?

Britain says yes to the creation of cloned hybrid embryos

According to the Times Online, Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has "agreed in principle" to allow scientists to attempt to create cloned hybrid embryos using animal eggs. Within three months they'll decide whether to grant licenses to various researchers who've applied to do this research. Check out this quote from Stephen Minger.
"It has always been our view that the use of non-human oocytes [eggs] for SCNT is currently the only ethically justifiable option, given the large numbers of eggs required to derive cloned human stem cell lines from individuals with incurable and highly progressive neurological disorders."
Did you catch that? Minger and his colleagues have always believed using animal eggs is the only ethical way to clone embryos for stem cells. I wonder if American researchers feel the same way.

Remember the good ol' days when researchers said they just wanted to use embryos who were going to be thrown away.

Gotta love this headline from USA Today. Notice how the word "embryo" is mysteriously missing from the AP article.

"I know I can't have the baby. I don't really have a choice."

A young woman is scheduled to have an abortion and shares her situation at the Choice to Live With blog.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"You're very emotional about this"

William Harrison, an abortionist in Arkansas, has a recent entry in his blog at Daily Kos which includes an unprinted letter he wrote in 1997 to an editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in response to this column by Paul Greenberg.

In the editorial, Greenberg discusses his recent attendance at a court hearing on a law to ban partial-birth abortion and how bureaucracy plays a role in allowing horrible things to happen to human beings. He mentions the testimony of a former abortionist who compared what she did (and how she was able to do it) with how German doctors were able experimented on Jews during the Holocaust. Greenberg writes,
Label any group Tiermenschen, define them as sub-human, make them unpersons, declare them chattel, and they can be disposed of without qualm.

Harrison took exception with this comparison in his letter, claiming Greenberg should not compare the abortions Harrison undertakes on a daily basis with the Holocaust because the unborn child in the first two trimesters can't feel pain and various emotions. Harrison writes,
The very thought of unremitting terror and the anticipation of enduring what must have seemed an eternity of cold, exhaustion, humiliation, hunger, thirst and withering pain, unrelieved and inexorable, is a horror that no embryo or fetus can ever experience, but which the Holocaust victims lived with for hours to years.
Harrison seems completely unable to understand that he is justifying the killings he commits by making the unborn into non-persons unworthy of protection using arbitrary criteria (many of which numerous born humans don't meet). His defense of his actions almost proves Greenberg's point. They can't experience the same pain and emotions the victims of the Holocaust endured (and are therefore sub-human or non-persons) so Harrison feels his daily work of killing the unborn can't be compared to the Holocaust.

Harrison can't wrap his mind around the reality of why some prolife people compare legal abortion with the Holocaust. It's not about the pain or emotions most aborted unborn children never feel. It's about the intentional killing of an unfathomably massive number of human beings and how it is accomplished by dehumanizing them.

Another Planned Parenthood getting sued

From the Lincoln (Nebraska) Star Journal:
A 40-year-old Nebraska woman said in a lawsuit filed Friday that she had an emergency hysterectomy because of a botched abortion at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Lincoln last month....

The lawsuit names as defendants Planned Parenthood of Nebraska and Council Bluffs and Dr. Meryl Severson of Omaha....

A signed operative report from a physician at the hospital said the woman had experienced a "catastrophic perforation" of the uterus during the abortion. Downing provided a copy of the report in which the doctor's name was blacked out.

Because of the "extensive nature of the trauma," the report said, the physician summoned a second doctor and they performed an emergency hysterectomy on the woman. The doctors took photographs of the uterus to show the damage, according to the lawsuit.

"Had she not received emergency care when she did, it is my professional opinion that the patient could have hemorrhaged to death," the doctor said in a signed summary provided by Downing.

Life Links 9/4/07

Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is expected to give the okay for British researchers to attempt to create human-animal hybrid embryos sometime tomorrow. Researchers hope to create this hybrid embryos and then kill them for their stem cells. HFEA reports claim the majority of the public support this research but I'm wondering what "factual information" was given to poll respondents to make them less hesitant.
The consultation, a £150,000, three-month mix of opinion polls, public meetings and debates, found participants were initially cautious of merging animal and human material, but became more positive. "When further factual information was provided and further discussion took place, the majority of participants became more at ease with the idea," the HFEA's report says.

A girl from Missouri has had her blindness (optic nerve hypoplasia) in China with umbilical cord blood. The multi-part article notes the girl has supposedly seen some improvement responding to light and has 20/400 vision. The cost of the trip and treatment was $40,000.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have discovered unique stem cells in human blood vessels which could possible be used to treat muscle injuries.
In a study using human muscle tissue, scientists in Children's Stem Cell Research Center - led by Johnny Huard, PhD, and Bruno Péault, PhD - isolated and characterized stem cells taken from blood vessels (known as myoendothelial cells) that are easily isolated using cell-sorting techniques, proliferate rapidly and can be differentiated in the laboratory into muscle, bone and cartilage cells.