Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Life Links 10/31/07

The official report on the future of abortion laws in Britain doesn't sound good.

Neural stem cells have improved the memory of mice with brain damage. Interestingly, the majority of cells didn't turn into neurons so the researchers believe the stem cells were "enhancing the local brain microenvironment."
"Much of the focus in stem cell research has been how to turn them into different types of cells such as neurons, but maybe that is not always necessary," Yamasaki said. "In this case, we did not have to make neurons to improve memory."

A pro-choice blogger named NewsCat is having a dialogue (part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4) on abortion with one of her prolife commenters. Here's how NewsCat describes her position on abortion.
I think the readers of my blog get a pretty decent sense of where I stand on the abortion position, I would support all abortion and no restrictions, including up and including the third-trimester. But beyond what I think about abortion, I've also marched to in support of pro-choice policies, given money to groups that provide poor women who cannot afford an abortion the ability to obtain one, and support political candidates on a sliding scale based (to some extent) how pro-choice their politics are. I'm also someone who writes about abortion and reproductive rights in general as part of my career outside of this blog.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pro-Choicers disagree over Fox News documentary on abortion

William Harrison (the abortionist who participated in the documentary):
Am I pleased with the job Rachel Feldman did? Absolutely. Is it "fair and balanced?" Considering that I had no patients who were giving a baby up for adoption or receiving abortion care as a result of severe or fatal fetal anomalies during the time frame I worked with her, and we could find no other abortion care providers willing to work with her, I think she did the absolute best she could have done.....

Having found NO other physicians, other than Brooke's obstetrician, willing to participate in this endeavor, I think she did an incredible job.

Amanda Marcotte's reaction to the preview clips:
From the clips on the website, it seems that "Facing Reality: Choice" is going to be all about promoting stereotypes about who gets abortions. They're interviewing two young, blonde women who find themselves facing unplanned pregnancies, and the first is Jeanne, who is the one who is pretty sure she wants an abortion.....

So there you go, the two favorite anti-choice stereotypes of women who get abortions: evil sluts and foolish women who are bewitched by conniving men. I'm going to guess that the rest of the documentary continues in this vein, but I'm recording it so I can report on it later.

One wonders what Amanda's reaction to the documentary will be after she watches it (if she hasn't already). Will she reports her pre-conceived beliefs were wrong and the documentary is fair or at least decently fair? Or will she hold tight to her belief that the evil Fox News is simply working to promote stereotypes about women who get abortions?

Life Links 10/30/07

Charles Spiering on New Jersey's plan to double-down on embryonic stem cell research.
Democratic Governor John Corzine's attempt at economic renewal is similar to that of other states in the same debt jam: Borrow half a billion dollars more and invest it in stem-cell research.

But wait, don't laugh! That extra debt will yield a 16,000-percent return — that's way better than a roulette-wheel bet on the green double-zero in Atlantic City. Seriously — an economic report prepared for the governor claims that borrowing money to invest in stem cells will lead to fewer employee sick days, fewer citizen deaths, and less in health-care costs in New Jersey — a savings of $73 billion in a span of nine years. If Corzine is making the state's riskiest gamble yet, at least he is going for a real jackpot.

NBA star Carlos Boozer's 17-month old son (who has sickle-cell anemia) is being treated with stem cells from the umbilical cords of his twin brothers who were born in August.

Bob Enyart really has no clue what moral relativism is. Listen to the beginning of this discussion between Greg Koukl and Bob Enyart on what Christians should do if Giuliani is nominated for the Republican nomination. Enyart accuses Koukl (who wrote a book critiquing moral relativism) of moral relativism for believing the lesser of two evils would be to vote for Guiliani if the choice was between Hillary Clinton and Giuliani. Enyart also claims Hillary Clinton supported a ban on partial-birth abortion. When was that Bob?

I can believe how patient Koukl is with Enyart's outlandish rhetoric, continual attempts to interrupt him, and accusations. It is disturbing to me that anyone finds Enyart persuasive.

Why would Planned Parenthood board members and employees want to hide their abortions?

Jill Stanek has posted some information on pending lawsuits against Planned Parenthood Chicago Area. One of the lawsuits, filed by former PPCA abortionist Murray Pelta, mentions how he performed secret abortions on PPCA board members and PPCA employees.
The woman specifically requested that Dr. Pelta keep the procedure a secret and not make a PP/CA record of the abortion. Dr. Pelta had maintained such confidentiality of abortion services provided to other PP/CA board members and employees on a few previous occasions.

If you assume the claims in Pelta's lawsuit are accurate, then you have an organization which sells "I had an abortion" t-shirts yet some its employees and board members don't want other Planned Parenthood employees to know they're having abortions.

Why would you suppose that is?

Planned Parenthood and its employee claim they're providing a necessary and valuable service by providing abortions yet some of their own employee seem to be embarrassed that they too are receiving this service.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Life Links 10/29/07

Charles Moore in the UK's The Telegraph about how abortion will be viewed in 200 years.
As the slavery exhibition shows, something that one generation accepts readily enough is often seen as abhorrent by its descendants – so abhorrent, in fact, that people find it almost impossible to understand how it could have been countenanced in a supposedly civilised society....

It is not hard to imagine how a future Museum of London exhibition about abortion could go....

It could display the various instruments that were used to remove and kill the foetus, rather as the manacles and collars of slaves can be seen today.

It could make a telling show of the propaganda that was used to promote abortion – the language of choice, control of a woman over her own body....

In many ways, I accept, such a museum of the future would be extremely unfair. We anti-abortionists should not paint all those who disagree with us as callous.

Many of those who support abortion have a deep concern about the horrors of an unwanted child, not realising that the culture of abortion is one that promotes unwantedness.

The front page of Sunday's Grand Rapids Press featured a lengthy article about embryonic stem cell research. Besides providing an inaccurate description of "therapeutic" cloning and not noting how Michigan's laws supposedly "severely curtail" embryonic stem cell research until later in the article, it's a fairly fair article. I'm still waiting for a reporter to actually dig deep to try to figure out how embryonic stem cell proponents are planning on making money for a state like Michigan.

Wesley Smith's Awakenings in the Weekly Standard.

In a San Francisco Gate article discussing StemLifeLine (the California company which offers to kill human embryos originally created thru IVF so their parents can have a "personalized" embryonic stem cell line), embryonic stem cell research proponent David Magnus is quoted as saying,
"Magnus, the Stanford ethicist, said StemLifeLine should tell customers that no stem cell therapy may exist for 30 or 40 years."
I wonder if he favored the same customer beware suggestion when he was promoting Proposition 71. Also note how some stem cell researchers are actually associated with this ridiculous company.
Among StemLifeLine's advisory board members is Susan Fisher, who leads UC San Francisco's stem cell program. One of the scientists in Fisher's lab, Olga Genbacev, sits on StemLifeLine's board of directors. The company's staff and boards also include present and former research collaborators of Fisher's.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another sad case of infanticide by a college-aged mother who was concealing pregnancy

This time in Louisville.
McCoy spent more than an hour inside the bathroom before she came to the door and asked her roommate for a garbage bag, the citation said.

"McCoy had let the infant fall into the toilet, causing its death," the citation said. Wilkerson said the death was consistent with drowning....

At some point late Tuesday, McCoy took the baby in the garbage bag to a small trash room , Wilkerson said. That's when the roommate, suspicious, went to see what McCoy put there and found the baby's body.

Life Links 10/26/07

Students in Concord, Michigan were prevented from symbolically protesting abortion at school.

Wesley Smith notes something Alta Charo (an avid proponent of human cloning for research) says that human cloning proponents in Michigan would never admit to.

Jill Stanek encourages everyone to see Bella this weekend. She's also got the trailer.

Meanwhile, some movie reviewers don't seem to like Bella's message

Connie Cole of the Miami Herald gives Bella a ½ star and writes, "The film is more of an exercise in pandering and propaganda -- give your baby up for adoption, you selfish pig! -- than the heartfelt drama it aims to be."

Detroit Free Press writer John Monaghan says, "Despite its way-too-obvious shortcomings, "Bella" copped an audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Consider it proof that the customer is not always right."

Stephen Holden of the New York Times thinks, "If "Bella" (the title doesn't make sense until the last scene) is a mediocre cup of mush, the response to it suggests how desperate some people are for an urban fairy tale with a happy ending, no matter how ludicrous."

Los Angeles Times reviewer Gary Goldstein feels Bella is too sweet for it's own good.

Yet not all reviewers are anti-Bella. Roger Ebert is a Bella fan. He slaps down another reviewer in the process as well. Ebert seems to recognize that some movie goers might enjoy sweet movies with happy endings.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Life Links 10/25/07

It appears that making abortion legal in South Africa hasn't prevented illegal "backstreet" abortions from occurring. It hasn't even prevented shady abortionists from advertising on street lamps and store walls.
"I can make a plan. But it will be a bit painful because the longer you wait the painful it becomes. The pain will be just like a period pain," said one "Dr Marison" when asked whether he could still abort when the woman is six months into the pregnancy.....

"After two hours the bleeding will stop and the abortion will be complete. At three months there is no baby, just blood. There is nothing to worry about," the doctor said.

Paul Kengor on the importance of the bully pulpit with regards to abortion and Rudy.
The president is the leader of his party. With a President Giuliani, neither of the two party leaderships would be pro-life. That would be devastating to the cause of life, a reality apparently understood by the principled pro-life evangelicals and Catholics threatening to stay home or bolt to a third party if Rudy wins the nomination — and, yes, thereby electing Hillary Clinton. Clearly, they have thought through the destructive implications of a pro-choice Republican president, and are trying to stop a train wreck before it happens. Maybe they have a point.

Paul Mushine is kicking the tires on New Jersey's stem cell machine.
As for Gov. Jon Corzine, at that Tuesday ceremony he was urging all to vote yes on the stem cell initiative Nov. 6. But we can't afford that gleaming new building any more than that hick could afford that Hemi.

The Detroit News has an article about how pregnant women with breast cancer can be treated without endangering their unborn children.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Will making abortion illegal lead to mandated abortions?

One pro-choice argument which I run into every now and again goes something like this:
If a government can make abortion illegal, they can also mandate abortions.
I think the idea is that if a government can control what a woman does with her body one way then they have the theoretical ability to control it the completely opposite way.

One of the main problems I see with this argument is that it doesn't take into account the reasons behind prohibiting women from having abortions or assumes the reason behind banning abortion is to control women regardless of what the consequences of that control are.

To me, the argument is totally unconvincing because I recognize the reasons why a government would ban abortion is not to "control women" but to make the intentional killing of unborn human beings illegal so it would make no sense to forcibly mandate the intentional killing of unborn human beings. But for people who hold the view that the prolife movement is all about controlling women, it seems they see abortion as the first choice in a line of choices the government could take away.

What's odd about this argument is that I can't recall ever hearing proponents of anything else but abortion claiming that making an action illegal will lead to the government mandating that action. For example: drug use. I've never heard anyone argue that making the use of certain substances illegal will lead to government mandating the use of those drugs. Imagine someone arguing, "banning cocaine will lead to mandated daily snortings." Or something like flag burning. No advocate of keeping flag burning legal would argue that banning flag burning will lead to mandated flag burning.

Nor can I recall any action being mandated because it was made illegal beforehand. Nor can I think of a single politician in favor of mandating abortions so the idea of mandated abortions becoming law seems rather outrageous.

Yet pro-choicers still make this argument now and again and some of them find it very convincing. Any thoughts besides the ones above for discussing this argument with someone who is pro-choice?

Another poll positive poll on stem cell research for Michigan

From the Michigan Catholic Conference:
A new statewide poll on the subject of stem cell research has found that 80 percent of Michigan Catholic residents are opposed to measures that would kill the human embryo so the stem cells can be removed.
The poll again (the MCC did a similar poll with Michigan residents in April) has some interesting results. More people say they support research which "clones human embryos" for stem cells than support research which "kills the human embryo" for stem cells. It seems those people might not be aware that the cloning research also kills the cloned human embryo. The majority polled also opposed research "that uses stem cells taken from human embryos" and 10% of respondents were opposed to adult stem cell research.

Life Links 10/24/07

Britain continues to debate their abortion policy and BBC News has the abortion stories of two women, one who believes her abortion was the right choice and another who regrets her abortion.

Stem cells from a horse's own fat have helped revive his career. Greg's Gold is one of the top contenders in the Breeder's Cup after spending the last 18-months recovering from a stem cell procedure.

Surgeons in India are using stem cells to grow corneas for patients with damaged eyes.
Eye surgeon Virendar Sangwan has perfected a procedure so cutting-edge that most who have tried it have failed. In an operating theater in the central Indian city of Hyderabad, he surgically implants corneas grown in a petri dish from stem cells by his colleague Geeta Vemuganti in patients with damaged eyes. Together they perform about 80 corneal regeneration procedures a year, making the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute where they work one of the most prolific facilities in the world using stem cells to regenerate tissue of any kind.

Marie Tasy, the executive director of New Jersey Right to Life has an editorial on the upcoming embryonic stem cell bond measure in her state.

MIT News has an article about a study which shows "that pluripotency, the ability of stem cells to change into any kind of cell, is regulated differently in adult and embryonic stem cells."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More on the Guttmacher/WHO worldwide abortion study

The Aggie Catholics blog provides the thoughts of a PhD statistician on the recent report published in the Lancet. Some highlights:
-If an abortion takes place in a polity where induced abortion is illegal (or severely restricted), it is deemed as unsafe, even if done so by trained providers. Here is a noteworthy quote: "Moreover, illegal procedures are harmful even when they do not lead to these consequences [death or hospitalization], because they require women to take actions in violation of the law and often without the knowledge or support of their partners or family...."

-The researchers "corrected" some data for under-reporting. The correction inflation was usually about 140%. The US correction factor was 105%; Bangladesh was 300%. Therefore, for countries where abortions are illegal, the total number of abortions was estimated, then inflated, and then all of these were considered unsafe.....

--100% of the abortions in the region including China and North Korea are safe (implying forced=induced & safe).....

-No margins of error were reported for these estimates, even when survey data was utilized.

Life Links 10/23/07

On October 27 at 9 p.m. ET, Fox News will air a program dealing with abortion choices.
In the scene FOX does not focus on the surgical details of the abortion procedure, but it is emotionally wrenching, however, as the woman cries through the abortion and her mother, beside her for emotional support, learns this is her daughter's second abortion in less than a year.

The FOX documentary profiles three women to explore the abortion issue by following their agonizing decisions to have their babies or terminate their pregnancies.

The Cape Cod Times is the first mainstream media outlet to report on the death of Laura Smith. Smith died after undergoing an abortion in September.
Eileen Smith wants more information about what led to her daughter's death. She is now represented by a Boston lawyer who filed a complaint for discovery Oct. 4 in Barnstable Superior Court to obtain medical records and autopsy results.

Named in the court complaint are Cape Cod Hospital, the state medical examiner's office, Cape & Island Center for Women's Health at 68 Camp St., and gynecologist Rapin Osathanondh, a state-licensed physician with offices at 68 Camp St. and in Brookline.

Osathanondh did not respond to two phone messages left on his cell phone requesting an interview. His attorney also did not return a call requesting an interview. A Times reporter also went to the women's health clinic, but Osathanondh was not available.....

Eileen Smith thought her daughter was strongly opposed to abortion.

"That's the confusion we have," she said. "That is one of the answers I don't have."

A report out of Rutgers is claiming New Jersey will reap "$2.2 billion in economic benefits" by spending $450 million for embryonic stem cell research. This numbers seem really high considering the same kind of prediction out of California claimed they'd make between $6 and $12 billion after spending $3 billion and that estimate has its share of critics.

The Rutgers report estimates the $450 million will result in ".613 therapies" based on the idea that it typically costs $500 million (in 2004 dollars) to develop a new drug. To me that sounds like an extreme case of comparing apples and oranges. The report also notes that the funding creating "one effective therapy directly and completely from the research support it provides" would be "a most favorable case." The caveat section at the end of the paper is also interesting.

Father Thomas Berg on hybrid human-animal cloning debate in Great Britain.

Here's an article in Nature discussing the problems with defining pluripotency and how researchers test to see if cell lines are pluripotent.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Life Links 10/22/07

The Stand to Reason Blog and ProlifeBlogs have multiple posts discussing what went on and what was said by various political candidates and conservative commentators at FRC's Washington Briefing: Value Voters Summit.

Who wants to bet that Katha Pollitt never read the WHO/Alan Guttmacher "study" on worldwide abortion? It's amazing how I haven't seen a single pro-choicer mention how the numbers for illegal abortions were derived from estimates based on estimates of estimates. Maybe that's because very few of them have actually taken the time to read the study? It's amazing how Pollitt goes to the American Life League for their response instead of National Right to Life, huh? Next time a pro-choicer says that making abortion illegal does nothing (or virtually nothing) to lower the abortion rate, ask them if it has any effect on the abortion ratio. The next time they say the Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the world, ask them to show proof that the abortion rate in the Netherlands is lower than the abortion rate in Ireland or Malta.

Researchers in Italy are using adult stem cells to help patients with eye problems and a rare ski disorder.

Wesley Smith has a Jesse Ramirez update.

More stem cell "reporting" in Michigan

I think the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures have something on Kim Kozlowski. I can't understand why a real reporter would continue to write stories like this which are basically press releases (with a couple of blurbs from the prolife opposition) for them without ever questioning them or their numbers. Besides BioFlow Industries (which I believe I was told has a grand total of 3 employees) are there any other stem cell businesses which are thinking of leaving the state? How are these embryonic stem cell companies ever going to be profitable? If embryonic stem cell research is so profitable then why did researchers in California have to get $3 billion (at an eventual cost of $6,000,000,000 to the California taxpayers) in tax dollars? Why weren't there enough private investors to pay up if the returns were so promising?

Kozlowski then cites numbers assuredly given to her by the MCSCRC about how California's "investment is projected to generate state revenues and health care cost savings of between $6.4 billion and $12.6 billion, according to an economic impact report by the Analysis Group Inc." What is not noted is how liberal publications have pointed out how "hopelessly optimistic" those numbers are. Back in February, David Hamilton (a proponent of embryonic stem cell research) discussed in Slate how "the Baker-Deal numbers look hopelessly optimistic. To begin with, they assume that stem-cell treatments will work in the first place. Many of the most hyped biotechnology innovations of the last 25 years have yet to live up to their early promise. And when they do work, they often tend to improve medical care at the margins instead of revolutionizing it."

Something else which might interest Detroit News readers is the study which estimated the "hopelessly optimistic" numbers was commissioned by the California Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures at a cost of $200,000. Now maybe the study is completely accurate but shouldn't readers be able to decide for themselves how much they should trust numbers which cost a pro-embryonic stem cell group $200,000 to acquire.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Life Links 10/19/07

The Associated Press has issued a correction for the "90% of women" worldwide will have an abortion mistake which I noticed a week ago.

Gary Bauer talks about Bella with Eduardo Verastegui.

At a recent meeting on stem cells, Professor Keith Campbell of the University of Nottingham, a proponent of embryonic stem cell research, had this to say about curing people with embryonic stem cells:
"There are many challenges associated with using embryonic cells. Furthermore if the entire population were to be served by the sorts of treatments envisaged, we would need huge numbers of embryonic cell lines in order to cover the wide range of immunological types present in the population to prevent or reduce rejection."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Princeton abortion debate

There's an abortion debate in the Daily Princetonian. Sherif Girgis provides a prolife view and Sara Viola and Jeris Stueland Yruma respond.

While Viola and Stueland Yruma agree with Girgis that the unborn are member of the species homo sapiens, they erect a strawman (Girgis' position requires "affording a specific molecule of DNA some moral worth"), falsely claim the recent WHO "study" "shows that while the legal status of abortion has no impact on the incidence of abortion" (you could make the argument the "study" shows similar overall abortion rates in regions where abortion is illegal compared to where it is legal but since we have no clue what kind of abortion rates there would be in Africa if abortion legalized the "no impact" statement is clearly incorrect), and claim prolifers don't care about women's health.

Life Links 10/18/07

A woman named Laura Hope Smith dies from legal abortion and the National Catholic Register is the only print media outlet to cover it. Why?

Phill Kline has filed charges against a Planned Parenthood in Kansas. Charges include, "29 felony counts of providing false information and 84 misdemeanor counts of failure to maintain records, failure to determine viability for a late-term abortion and unlawful late-term abortion."

The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that a young woman named Roxanne Fernando was "brutally beaten to death and buried in a snow bank" after refusing to have an abortion. She was killed in February but these details are just coming out.

The Kansas City Star editorial board is a disaster. They think Robin Carnahan's incredibly biased and inaccurate language on a ballot attempt to provide a scientifically accurate definition of human cloning is "fair and clear." Being in favor of creating and killing human embryos for research is one thing. Having no problem with obvious attempts to deceive the people of Missouri is another. Cathy Ruse has more on the sad state of affairs regarding Missouri newspapers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The problem with comparing abortion numbers in developing and developed countries

Meghan McArdle, who is pro-choice, takes aim at the WHO estimate of estimates "study" regarding abortion numbers throughout the world.
Similarly, saying that "making abortion illegal doesn't reduce its incidence, but only makes it more dangerous" is nonsense on stilts when the comparison is largely between developed countries with legal abortion, and developing countries with illegal abortion. Having an abortion in Burundi would be more dangerous than having one in America even if their government legalized the procedure, made it free, and awarded a medal and a complimentary fruit basket to every woman who had one. I am pretty sure that abortion, like almost every other activity, gets more dangerous when it is legally prohibited. But from what I can make out, this study doesn't do a good job of demonstrating that truism.

Life Links 10/17/07

A Virginia man named Daniel Riase has been sentenced to 5 years in jail after giving his pregnant girlfriend a drink spiked with misoprostol (one of the drug used for RU-486 abortions). The drug caused his girlfriend, who was 11 weeks pregnant at the time, to miscarry their child.

Charlotte Allen has provides probably one of the most comprehensive reports on Planned Parenthood's activities in Planned Parenthood's Unseemly Empire. She also discusses Planned Parenthood's 3% claim.
The 3 percent pie slice in the 2005-06 financial report, representing 264,943 abortion customers served, can only be described as deliberately misleading.

One way Planned Parenthood massages the numbers to make its abortion business look trivial is to unbundle its services for purposes of counting. Those 10.1 million different medical procedures in the last fiscal year, for instance, were administered to only 3 million clients. An abortion is invariably preceded by a pregnancy test--a separate service in Planned Parenthood's reckoning--and is almost always followed at the organization's clinics by a "going home" packet of contraceptives, which counts as another separate service. Throw in a pelvic exam and a lab test for STDs--you get the picture. In terms of absolute numbers of clients, one in three visited Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test, and of those, a little under one in three had a Planned Parenthood abortion.

From the Associated Press:
The House on Monday urged health agencies to expand research into postpartum depression problems that affect up to one-fifth of new mothers and can, if untreated, lead to more serious psychoses. Democrats also accepted a GOP-backed provision that approves a National Institutes of Mental Health study into the psychological consequences of abortions.

Ryan Anderson on how an organization called Catholics United is trying to hijack the term "pro-life" in an effort to get prolifers to support the expansion of S-CHIP.
The pro-life jabs are particularly distasteful and destructive. They are nothing more than gross moral equivocation and the intentional hijacking of language. If every poverty-fighting bill under the sun becomes a "pro-life" bill, then the words lose all meaning. According to its website, Catholics United is a pro-life group dedicated to protecting the 1.3 million Americans killed every year by abortion. Yet it is leading the charge to eviscerate the clear meaning that the words "pro-life" have had in the American context for the past generation: opposition to legalized abortion coupled with support for mothers facing crisis pregnancies.
Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter has more.
Catholics United is running deceitful ads against pro-life members of Congress who opposed the vetoed S-CHIP bill, but otherwise supported health care for underprivileged kids. Why? Because Catholics United, which demurs from airing similar ads against pro-abortion members of Congress, is not a Catholic Church sanctioned organization; it is a Leftist political front group.
Also of note, the biography of Catholics United's "Director or Organizing" (sic) James Salt notes his "messaging work for Governor Sebelius." Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is one of the most pro-abortion governors in the United States and has vetoed a bill which would have made abortion clinics comply with basic regulations for surgical facilities.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What bioethicists do

Charlotte Allen in the Washington Post on end of life issues, living wills, "dying well" and bioethicists. This is a classic line:
As far as I can tell, bioethicists exist for the most part to do some moral chin-pulling before giving the green light to whatever consensus the rest of the elite have reached.

Life Links 10/16/07

Jonah Goldberg explains his beliefs on abortion.

Alfred Taubman, a real estate developer and one of the 400 richest Americans, has donated $1.4 million dollars to the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures.

Taubman whose previous writings in favor of embryonic stem cell research in the Detroit News left one wondering why this rich and successful man would support something he is so ignorant about has some even more outlandish claims today.
"I've known people who I've seen die," Taubman said.

"Had embryonic stem cell research been around, I believe they'd be alive today."

Are pro-choice bloggers really so ignorant about when and how implantation occurs that they think "fertilized eggs" can implant? Or do they just really like to use a dehumanizing term they know is misleading? Is it really that tough to use the term "embryo?"

Jeff Fecke continues to show that some pro-choice bloggers need to learn how to do basic research. He claims the WHO estimate of estimates reports "main finding was simple: where abortion is legal and accessible, it is rare. Where it is illegal, it is more common."

This is such an odd claim considering the report by pro-choice researchers based largely on the estimates of estimates by pro-choice researchers says,
"The abortion ratio (the number of abortions for every 100 livebirths) was about 31 worldwide in 2003 (table 3). Safe and unsafe abortion ratios were similar to each other (16 and 15, respectively). The abortion ratios in developing countries tended to be lower than those in developed countries, even though the rates were comparable or higher in developing countries. Largely because birth rate were higher in developing countries."
Fecke continues,
The highest rates were in the developing countries in Latin America and Africa, where contraception is often difficult to come by and abortion is often outlawed.
Except for the fact when the reports breaks down abortion rates per region it has Eastern Europe with the highest abortion rate at 44. The next highest are Eastern Africa and Souteastern Asia with 39.

Fecke either 1.) didn't read the study (that'd be my guess) and just read some news stories or pro-choice blogs on it and then came up with his own incredibly inaccurate summary or 2.) read the study and is lying about it to support his pro-choice position.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Life Links 10/15/07

A organization for British nurses is pushing for the government to give nurses the ability to perform abortions during the first 13 weeks. Also, a television station in Britain is planning on airing footage of an abortion at 12 weeks and another at 16 weeks.

Fred Barnes on the speech Rudy Giuliani needs to make to social conservatives.

In the meantime, Deroy Murdock really needs to stop acting like abortion statistics during Giuliani's time as mayor of New York are somehow a reflection on whether Giuliani is a social liberal. I'm doubting he would make this same case for Bill Clinton.

Markus Grompe on alternative methods to obtaining pluripotent stem cells.
In the meantime, I believe that the ethical concerns regarding the destruction of human life — however tiny and fragile — outweigh the potential benefits of producing new embryo-derived cell lines. This is a view shared by many of the general public. Clearly, the best way forward would be to find a technological solution that at once sustains social consensus and opens up biomedical advances.
HT: Wesley Smith

One abortion provider in Britain describes why she won't perform abortions after 20 weeks by saying,
"I think every individual has their cut-off point. It's not scientific, it's just personal, it's just foetal size."

When I press her to spell out whether she means if the foetus is just "too much of a baby", she says: "I suppose so."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Life Links 10/12/07

A group in Michigan has filed papers to create a ballot initiative committee to allow the killing human embryos for research in Michigan. The group says it is still uncertain if they will attempt a campaign or not. Reporter Kim Kozlowski lazily promotes the false claim that embryonic stem cell research is banned in Michigan.
State Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale, is seeking a hearing this month on three bills that would loosen Michigan's law banning embryonic stem cell research, regarded as among the most restrictive in the nation.
How many times can reporters for the Detroit Free Press or Detroit News claim embryonic stem cell research is "banned" in Michigan when research involving embryonic stem cells has been taking place at the University of Michigan since at least 2003.

Cathy Ruse on the most recent attempt by proponents of human cloning for research to trick Missouri voters.
The only way to keep human cloning legal in Missouri is through lies. And Secretary Carnahan has just dropped a whopper.

ABC News has a review of Lake of Fire including how one pro-choice activist named Carol King seems to be in a tizzy the movie would show scenes from an abortion clinic where an abortionist goes through the remains of an aborted child.

Friday Nephew Blogging

My niece has a brother on the way. Here's a profile shot.

Worldwide abortion "study"

This story unfortunately labels this never ending compilation of estimates based on estimates from pro-choice researchers funded by the World Health Organization "a study." You'll have to complete an easy free registration to read the report.

For some reason the story above claims:
On the basis of the 2003 data, on average 90 percent of women worldwide will have had an abortion before the age of 45, the study calculates.
That's just an absolutely ridiculous statistical claim. So ridiculous that I couldn't even imagine it being in this estimate of estimates "study." It's not. I can't see anything in the paper which estimates how many women will have abortions during their lives. Where did the writer of this story come up with that statistic? Mark this as more evidence you should be careful to take what you read from the media with a grain of salt.

A Fox News story has this on the 90% statistic:
The study also found that, on average, 90 percent of women worldwide will have an abortion before the age of 45, based on 2003 data. However, many women will have had multiple abortions and many none at all to come to this average.
Hmmm..... So what happened here? Did one of the researchers when talking to a reporter claim something like this and at least one reporter couldn't understand or did some reporter try to do some math and didn't realize that a high percentage of abortions are performed on women who've already had a previous abortion? For example, if you multiple 42 million abortions by 30 years (the approximate number of reproductive years between 15 and 45) you get 1.260 billion abortions. When you look at a breakdown of the world's population by age and sex you get around 1.516 billion women between the ages of 15 and 44. 1.260 billion is 83% of 1.516 billion. So a claim you could make if you accepted the estimate of estimates and guessed the abortion rate would stay approximately continuous for 30 years is that there is an approximate average of .83 abortions in the world per the reproductive life of each woman.

Also of note - one estimate which throws a wrench in the belief of some pro-choicers that countries with legal abortion have fewer abortions is Eastern Europe. The paper estimates that the region with the highest abortion ratio (abortions per live births) is Eastern Europe where they have more abortions than live births. The next closest region is Eastern Asia where they estimate there is approximately one abortion for every two live births. As far as I know, the only place in Eastern Europe where abortion is prohibited is Poland.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Some pro-choicers are just too ridiculous

A blogger named Otiose Anchor claims "most women and all men who oppose abortion being legal are just idiots." He then goes on to tell the story about how he impregnated his 19-year-old first cousin when he was fourteen and she had an abortion.

Pro-choice blogger Jeff Fecke claims his daughter "really didn't exist yet" when she was growing in his wife's womb during early gestation.
Anyhow, like many pro-choice women, Robin was still able to enjoy her pregnancy, knowing that even though it was early in her term, the fetus that she carried was going, eventually, to grow into her child.

This is, of course, something those of us who are pro-choice get. I knew that at one month, two months, even four months, my daughter really didn't exist yet.
Yep. She's just wasn't there. His reasoning for why she "really didn't exist" seems to be because he would have different feelings following a miscarriage compared to if his daughter died after she was born. How's that for solid reasoning?

Life Links 10/11/07

I really doubt Malta is the home of the next pro-choice revolution.

Chelsea Zimmerman of the Reflections of a Paralytic blog shares her views on embryonic stem cell research for a Missouri television station.

Meanwhile, proponents of human cloning in Missouri just can't help being deceptive. Here's the language Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (her parents are former U.S. Senators Mel and Jean Carnahan) wants Missouri voters to see if an initiative to put a proper definition of human cloning into Missouri Constitution gets enough signatures: "to repeal the current ban on human cloning or attempted cloning and to limit Missouri patients' access to stem cell research, therapies and cures approved by voters in November 2006."
Kit Wagar does his usual awful job at describing cloning - consistently replacing a correct term - "embryo" - with an incorrect one - "cells." Hey, who needs the truth when you have unethical reporters and editors who are so willing to deceive their readers?

Last night on Bionic Woman, the main character (Jamie Sommers) tells her nemesis and the first Bionic Woman (Sarah Corvus) something along the lines of "You murdered my unborn child" since Corvus intentionally drove a truck into the car a pregnant Sommers was in during the first episode.

Weighing consequences (long and short)

Joe Carter puts forth his position on what he will do if Giuliani is nominated.
Anyone who thinks that Giuliani would disregard his deeply held commitment to abortion rights to placate a constituency who he despises doesn't know the former Mayor of New York. He will relish sticking it to social conservatives, a group that will have done nothing to help him get elected. He will reason that his socially liberal positions will help win over enough Democrats to help him during his reelection efforts. And besides, if conservatives were willing to compromise and vote him in as the "lesser evil" in 2008, why would they do otherwise in 2012?....

I can only speak for myself but I want to make the message clear: If Republicans choose to spurn the field of pro-life candidates, chooses to spit on the values of social conservatives, and chooses to remake the GOP into the "party of death", they will do so without me. This isn't a bluff; it's a statement of principle. I'm a pro-life conservative who will never cast a ballot for a pro-abortion liberal.
I don't agree with Carter's assessment that "there will not be a shred of difference between Clinton and Giuliani." There will be differences but are those differences, and their consequences, enough to justify the consequences of accepting and supporting a pro-choice Republican for president and the possibility of 8 years of both parties have pro-choice nominees?

Let's try to come up with list of consequences for each:

Consequences of 4 years of a Hillary presidency:
-Strong possibility of Hillary nominating two justices for the U.S. Supreme Court (assuming Stevens and Ginsburg retire)
-Immediate reversal of the Mexico City policy
-Expansion of the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research
-Possible attempts to overturn the Hyde Amendment
-Complete unwillingness to sign any type of prolife legislation (ultrasound, fetal pain, etc.) which is unlikely to make it to the president's desk considering the current make up of Congress
-Willingness to sign fake human cloning ban which would explicitly allow human cloning for research and willingness to allow federal funds to be spent on embryonic stem cell research involving cells from cloned human embryos.

Consequences of 4 years of a Giuliani presidency:
-Virtual guarantee of 8 years of having a pro-choice president
-Strong possibility of Giuliani (who doesn't have the best record with judges) nominating at least one justice to the Supreme Court (to replace Stevens)
-Expansion of the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research
-Giving notice that Republicans can win national elections with pro-choice candidates
-No solid guarantees on what Giuliani would do regarding the Mexico City policy and attempts to overturn the Hyde Amendment
-No solid guarantees on whether he would sign any type of prolife legislation (ultrasound, fetal pain, etc.) which is unlikely to make it to the president's desk considering the current make up of Congress
-Giuliani appears to be at least opposed to the federal funding of human cloning research

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Life Links 10/10/07

James Dobson talks with Sean Hannity about the 2008 election and the Republican candidates. I think Dobson is painting himself into a corner with regards to Fred Thompson. I don't think being against a Federal Marriage Amendment and playing a role in getting McCain-Feingold passed are good enough reasons not to support him, especially if he wins the nomination.

I also think prolifers need to spend more time weighing the long term consequences of supporting Giuliani if he's nominated vs. four years of Hillary as president.

Eric Schiedler live-blogged a recent city council meeting in Aurora.

Nicholas and Lola Kampf, the parents who kidnaped their daughter in an attempt to force her to have an abortion, won't get any jail time. Their daughter, Katelyn Kampf, isn't happy about it.

Alternet has posted a Carrie Kilman article titled "Anti-Abortion Movement Borrows Tactics from the KKK" which includes the false claim that "Every state in the Deep South -- Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina -- restricts low-income women's access to abortion. Most ban abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy." Are Alternet's editors that ignorant of abortion law?

An Israeli company named BrainStorm Therapeutics hopes to market adult stem cells for the treatment of neurological disorders like ALS and Parkinson's. They choose to work with adult stem cells because "they are also easier to control than embryonic cells, which can give rise to tumours." The leader of their scientific team, Eldad Melamed (who is also a member of the scientific advisory board at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research) also says, "We have learned how to isolate them ... From one donation of bone marrow we can produce millions of stem cells."

Researcher at The Bone Marrow Transplant Program at University of California, San Diego Medical Center, have used adult stem cells in the treatment of Myasthenia Gravis, "a rare neuromuscular autoimmune disease where the body's immune system, which normally protects the body, mistakenly attacks itself. The transmission of nerve impulses to muscles is interrupted, which ultimately prevents the muscles from contracting. Without the proper nerve impulses, muscles that control breathing can't function."

A New York Times film critic David Edelstein discusses his review of the abortion documentary Lake of Fire and a response to it. He writes (language warning), "that there's no way pro-choice activists can win the war of symbols. Whatever your worldview, there is nothing as wrenching as the image of a dead baby. You say an aborted fetus isn't a dead baby? We can debate that issue forever, but the grisly placards held up by anti-abortion activists show fetuses (most taken from Dumpsters) with the unmistakable features of infants."

He also compares pro-choice vs. prolife demonstrators - "But when you watch the demonstrations and the counterdemonstrations in both documentaries, it's the anti-abortion activists who stand gravely, photos of fetuses upraised, sometimes even (in a new tactic) engaging the other side in measured, empathetic tones. The pro-choice demonstrators, on the other hand, are sneering and profane. They shout "(blanking) Fascists" at people who (a) are not behaving like Fascists and (b) probably don't (blank) enough.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Life Links 10/9/07

Harvard University and researcher Kevin Eggan have utterly failed at human cloning. They haven't even gotten started because after spending $100,000 an advertisements, they can't find a single woman willing to go through the various procedures required to donate eggs. Eggan blames a Massachusetts law which prevents him from buying human eggs.

Paul Long of the Michigan Catholic Conference in the Detroit News on how "Embryonic hype overshadows adult stem cell success stories."
"They'll otherwise be discarded" is the clichéd argument. But once the very limited number of frozen embryos are unconscionably destroyed in the hopes of finding the same treatments and cures that have already been found with adult stem cells, from where will surplus embryos come?

A researcher in England has been working on using stem cells from the placenta and amniotic fluid in the hopes of eventually treating unborn children suffering from muscular dystrophy and brittle bone disease.

Football Analogies and Presidential Elections

Melinda Penner at Stand to Reason's blog has a football analogy regarding what prolifers should do if the Republican party nominates a pro-choice candidate (Giuliani) for president. She writes,
A pro-life candidate gives us the touchdown option. But given the possible scenario of the two main parties having pro-choice nominees, the touchdown is off the table. Pro-lifers can only choose between tying with a field goal or losing the game. A third party candidate doesn't offer the chance for a touchdown as.

It would be much better if one of the main candidates is pro-life and offers the winning option. Go for the touchdown, of course. But if our alternatives are lose or draw, I'd prefer to go for the field goal and stay in the game. Stay on the field rather than stand on the sidelines and watch a pro-choicer nominate the next Supreme Court justice.
I think there are quite a few holes in this analogy considering if Giuliani is nominated, a pro-choicer will have the chance at nominating the next Supreme Court justice (which is highly likely considering Stevens' age) regardless. And I think there's a decent chance Giuliani, if elected, could nominate someone who's not completely on board with overturning Roe.

I'm a big fan of football analogies so I attempted to come up with a scenario I thought worked better. Below is a comment I left in response (with some minor corrections):
One problem I see with prolifers who would be willing to support a pro-choice Republican candidate for President is that electing a pro-choice Republican virtually guarantees us 8 years of a pro-choice presidency.

If Giuliani wins the GOP nomination and is elected in 2008 - he'll most likely be the nominee in 2012 and I think we all know what the chances are of the Democrats nominating a prolife candidate.

What's better a guaranteed 8 years of a pro-choice presidency (with the possibility that 4 of those years are decent for prolifers because Giuliani might veto some pro-choice legislation and nominate decent Supreme Court justices) or a guaranteed 4 years of a pro-choice presidency (with a pro-choice president who'll try to reverse prolife gains, nominate pro-choice justices, etc.) but a chance at getting a prolife president in 2012?

So I think the football scenario which would be more accurate (though still far from perfect) if Giuliani was nominated would be more like this:

It's 4th and goal from the 35 yard line and we're down by 4 points. Our chances of scoring a touchdown (electing a prolife third party candidate) are very slim. We have the option of trying to use a field goal kicker (Giuliani) who isn't very good. If he actually makes the long field goal (vetoes pro-choice legislation and nominates decent individuals to the supreme court) - we'll have to use him again (for another four years) to make another field goal. Or we can punt (allow a pro-choice Democratic candidate to be president for 4 years) and hope to stop the opponent's offense and then try to score a touchdown on our next drive (2012).
Thoughts? Better analogies?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Life Links 10/8/07

Here's an abstract of a recent study using adult stem cells to help patients with multiple sclerosis.

Why would anyone pay Jack Kevorkian $50,000 to give a speech? You know the people at the University of Florida who pay $50,000 are going to hear this same kind of blathering.

Some reporters just don't get it. This English reporter believes groups in the U.S. condemn all stem cell treatment because embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of a human embryo. After discussing how a young man is possibly going to be treated with stem cells from his younger brother's umbilical cord blood, Marc Baker writes,
He has been forced to seek stem cell treatment in Belize because it has yet to be approved in the UK as doctors are split on its effectiveness at repairing sufferers' damaged cells and tissues.

It has also been condemned by pro-life campaigners and church groups as it often involves harvesting cells from human embryos. But it's proving successful in North America where it is being used to treat motor neurone disease patients.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Life Links 10/5/07

Here's more deception from Hillary Clinton on stem cell research from a speech yesterday.
But instead of fostering a climate of discovery and innovation, the Bush administration has declared war on science. The record is breathtaking: banning the most promising kinds of stem cell research,
Which kinds of stem cell research has the Bush administration banned? Maybe the kind which the federal government spent $122 million dollars on from 2003-2006 and is planning on spending $37 million dollars in both 2007 and 2008? It's not until later in the speech that Clinton mentioned stem cell research isn't banned but the federal funding of some embryonic stem cell is banned.
First, when I am President, I will lift the current ban on ethical stem cell research. [Applause] In 2001, President Bush issued an Executive Order banning federal funding for some of the most promising avenues of stem cell research. And this year -- yet again -- he vetoed legislation to open up new lines of embryonic stem cells for federal funding. Every day, we are learning more about the opportunities this kind of research offers. Within these cells may lie the cures for Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, Huntington's and more. 100 million Americans live with these conditions -- and their families live with them too. The President's ban on stem cell funding amounts to a ban on hope.
Applause for a lie? Some people in our country are so amazingly ignorant.

100 million? Who is stupid enough to believe 1 out of every 3 Americans has some condition which will be cured by embryonic cells? What conditions are in the "and more?"

The Los Angeles Times reviews Lake of Fire.
No matter where people stand on the issue, the abortion Kaye presents just 20 minutes into the film will certainly become indelible to many: Concerned that he leave no fragments of an aborted fetus in his patient's uterus, a doctor reassembles the body parts -- tiny feet, arms, a head with a clearly discernible face -- into a nearly intact whole. And the camera never blinks.

Authorities in Swaziland have arrested a woman who they believe was behind 71 dead fetuses recently found.

Let's hope abortionist and accused murder and rapist Malachy DeHenre ends up where he belongs.

Hilllary Clinton wants federal tax dollars to pay for research on stem cells from cloned human embryos

From the New York Times:
"We have to be steered by values and morals," Mrs. Clinton said yesterday, and she pointed to guidelines drawn up by the National Institutes of Health during her husband's administration as a kind of "ethical framework" through which such work could advance.

For example, she said, the use of embryonic stem cells to create tissue whose DNA is identical to that of an ailing person, a process called therapeutic cloning, "is within the ethical framework."
There you have it. The leading Democratic candidate for president is saying it's within the "ethical framework" of the NIH Guidelines to do research on embryonic stem cells created by cloning human embryos and killing them for their stem cells. Notice how the reporter seems to be equating "therapeutic cloning" (a term used by proponents of human cloning for research for the process of creating cloned human embryos for research purposes) with turning embryonic stem cells from cloned human embryos into tissue.

Hillary is also misleading reporters about the NIH guidelines created under her husband. Those guidelines say the federal government should only fund research using stem cells from human embryos if those cells were harvested from frozen IVF embryos "in excess of clinical need."
To ensure that early human embryos donated for research are in excess of clinical need of the individuals seeking infertility treatment and to allow potential donors time between the creation of the embryos for infertility treatment and the decision to donate for research purposes, only frozen early human embryos should have been used to derive human pluripotent stem cells. In addition, individuals undergoing infertility treatment should have been approached about donation of early human embryos for the derivation of pluripotent stem cells only at the time of deciding the disposition of embryos in excess of clinical need.
The NIH Fact Sheet on Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Guidelines makes this point ever clearer.
For studies using human pluripotent stem cells derived from human embryos, NIH funds may be used only if the cells were derived from frozen embryos that were created for the purposes of fertility treatment, were in excess of clinical need, and were obtained after the consent of the donating couple.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

America's Take on Abortion

Third Way, a "Strategy Center for Progressives," has released the results of a recent survey focusing on abortion. There are some interesting and almost schizophrenic responses.

Question 10 asks, "It makes no difference in moral terms whether a pregnant woman chooses to have an abortion or a baby - it is simply her choice." The results: 33% completely agree, 20% mostly agree, 16% mostly disagree and 28% completely disagree.

Question 17 asks, "Abortion is the taking of human life." 49% completely agree, 20% mostly agree 13% mostly disagree and 13% completely disagree.

This means we have a sizable portion of Americans (probably somewhere around 25%) who believe abortion is the taking of human life yet it makes no moral difference between whether a woman has an abortion or a baby.

But wait. Question 26 asks "Separate from whether or not it is legal, how do you personally feel about the morality of abortion?" The results? 46% said abortion was "mostly or always morally wrong," 22% said "it was sometimes morally wrong" while 29% said "it is not really a moral issue."

Third Way also has a memo from Rachel Laser and Jim Kessler about the survey and a strategy they think pro-choice politicians should adopt entitled: "A Consensus on the Abortion Debate—Reducing the need for abortion while preserving the right to have one."

The need for abortion? What does this mean for "choice" language?

Some sad abortion stories at LiveJournal's abortion info community

One woman who was scared of receiving general anesthesia says a clinic worker told her "either you go have this operation or go home and have your baby." She rescheduled her appointment and is planning on going to another clinic.

Another young woman is worried about how she will feel after having an abortion.
I know that having a child right now would be completely unfair for all 3 of us, but I can't help but feel like I really really want this child, and as each day goes by, I get more and more attached. So my question to all of you is, did you feel the same way when you got an abortion, and did you regret it later? do you still think it was the right decision?
In response to her questions, another woman says, "i did the least selfish thing, which was what was best for the child, not myself. i would have LOVED to have a child, i had these plans for when i wanted kids, how far apart, etc... however, when i got pregnant, it really, really was not the right time."

Another young woman describes her experience at Northland Family Planning (a group of abortion clinics in Detroit suburbs) by saying,
The clinic was nothing like I imagined it to be from the website description. It had a very uncomfterable looking cramped sleezy waiting room. There were piles upon piles of women, some huddled into corners, waiting for their appointments. I got called in and filled out a series of forms, than a few other girls and I were huddled into a small room to watch a poorly put together explination of what goes on at Northland Family Planning. After that was done we all moved back into the waiting room of hell.
She goes to describe how numerous girls had adverse reactions to some of the dilation drugs they were given, how the surgery room was nicer than the waiting room, how she prayed the soul of her "zygote" child would be returned to her when the time is right, how her male companion (boyfriend?) reacted with sadness to an ultrasound picture of their child.

Life Links 10/4/07

"Engine of growth?" I haven't heard that one before. That's a phrase New Jersey Star-Ledge columnist Kathleen O'Brien uses to describe the unborn in a recent column/blog post about the recent court case in New Jersey where a woman was suing an abortionist because he lied to her. Here's O'Brien's suggestion:
Instead of the dismissive comment "it's just some blood," he could've told her that while most of the matter he extracted would be blood, it was crucial that the baby/the embryo/the engine of growth be removed as well. Otherwise, she would still be pregnant.
Because "engine of growth" is a much more accurate and scientific term than "human being."

A man from Texas strangled his common-law wife after she falsely claimed to have had an abortion. He's being charged with capital murder because he killed both his wife and their unborn child.

Aastrom Biosciences has announced positive interim results of two studies using adult stem cells.
he first study reported positive results from the use of Aastrom Vascular Repair Cells (VRCs) in the treatment of chronic diabetic foot wounds associated with critical limb ischemia (CLI). In another presentation, positive results from the use of Aastrom Bone Repair Cells (BRCs) in the treatment of osteonecrosis of the femoral head were presented.

How dare Elisabeth Hasselbeck want fewer abortions

Apparently, not much has changed on The View. Elisabeth Hasselbeck says a possible benefit of Hillary Clinton's proposal to give people a $5,000 baby bond for college tuition (or to buy a home) is there would be fewer abortions and more people would have children.

Whoopi Golberg chimes in with her less-than-sage-wisdom telling Elisabeth to "back off" (back off of whom or what?) and abortion was made legal "because so many women were found bleeding, dead, with hangers in their bodies." I would love for Whoopi to do some actual research and try to document those "so many women" with "hangers in their bodies."

Notice how Elisabeth doesn't say here that she wants abortion to be illegal or that women having abortions are evil or anything like that. She just says she thinks that a policy of giving families a $5,000 baby bond might lower the number of abortions and she thinks that would be a good thing. How different is that from pro-choice politicians claiming they want to reduce the number of abortions by enacting various measures?

Maybe Whoopi was feeling a little defensive. She has claimed she gave herself an abortion with a coat hanger when she was 14.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Life Links 10/3/07

A study from the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle has found cells from unborn children may protect their mothers from breast cancer.
"My hypothesis was that maybe fetal cells can get into a mother and recognise a pre-cancer breast cancer cell and kill it before it becomes an active cancer," Gadi said.

"We have other studies from our group where we believe stem cells are really what are coming over, establishing themselves in various tissues and reproducing themselves," he added, urging follow-up studies.

Fetal cells could remain in the mother for the duration of her life, offering protection against cancer, Gadi said.

The results of the study were published in the October issue of Cancer Research.
I wonder how the pro-choicers who label a fetus a "parasite" would respond to this.

The Planned Parenthood in Aurora is open. The Chicago Tribune has a story and a video.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood of West Michigan has closed up some of its facilities after losing $700,000 in government funding.

The New York Times has a review of Tony Kaye's Lake of Fire, a documentary film about abortion in the United States.

Marcy Bloom has a piece at the RHReality Check blog where she asserts, "The hateful and oppressive Hyde Amendment killed Rosie Jiménez. She died on October 3, 1977, at the age of 27. We remember her because she has become a symbol--a human face--of all women and girls everywhere who are denied their human right to safe, legal, funded, and accessible abortion care."

This is like me saying the federal government's refusal to pay for poor people to have guns is responsible for the deaths of poor people who are murdered. In Marcy's tirade against no federal tax dollars being used to pay for abortions, she never once considers that maybe the individual who botched Rosie's abortion was responsible for her death.

Jill Stanek on a prolifer spying on a pro-choicer who spied on National Right to Life's convention.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Celebrating underground abortionists

Why is it that pro-choicers continuously decry the days of dangerous abortions performed by non-professionals yet then celebrate the actions and life of a woman who invented a cheap abortion device and promoted its illegal use?

Should abortion be a choice between a woman and her non-physician friend?

Rep. Andy Meisner spinning like a top

Here at the Daily Tribune (an Oakland County paper) you'll find Rep. Andy Meisner doing his best impression of a basketball on the finger of a Harlem Globetrotter.
But state Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale -- who has introduced legislation for several years to remove restrictions on stem cell research -- notes recent surveys done by MRG, a marketing research group based in Lansing, indicate most Catholics back embryonic stem cell research.

"It showed 72 percent of Catholics are in support (of stem cell research)," he said.
First, there are no restrictions on stem cell research in Michigan. There are restrictions on killing human embryos for research. Second, here we have Meisner trying to equate a 72% of Catholics favoring "stem cell research" with 72% of Catholics favoring "embryonic stem cell research." It should also be noted the MRG poll and how the questions are phrased hasn't been made public as far as I can tell and I can't find the poll on their web site.
Meisner said he is not against use of adult stem cells, but noted the "bulk of new investment is in embryonic stem cell research." He listed California as one example.
Here Meisner seems to be confusing public investment with private investment. California is one example of a state's citizenry being fooled into footing the bill for $3 billion dollars of research (at an expense of $6 billion dollars to the taxpayers) into human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. Proponents of embryonic stem cells are continually pushing for tax dollars because private investments aren't to the level they desire.
Meisner's legislation would limit research to embryonic stem cells to those left over from fertility testing.
Ummm.... let's look at Meisner's current proposed legislation (H.B. 4616). If it's just about "leftover" embryos, then what's the deal with section B?
"These are stem cells that would be thrown away," he said. "Wouldn't they be better used for research?"
The stem cells would be thrown away or the human embryos? This is like someone who wants to forcible remove organs of an inmate on death row claiming, "The organs would be thrown away. Wouldn't they be better used for research?"

More misleading claims from the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures

When I read a news story about embryonic stem cell research from a Michigan newspaper sometimes I'm not completely disgusted by the reporter's inability to check the facts of those in favor of embryonic stem cell research.

Unfortunately, this story in the Detroit News today is not one of those stories. One sentence is especially heinous.
Only about one-third of the fertilized cells from prospective parents are actually used in conception and the remaining two-thirds are frozen and eventually disposed of as medical waste.
This sentence is attributed to no one. This information (which is completely unsourced) obviously came from the Marcia Baum and the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures yet it is included as if it were some kind of fact.

Fertilized cells? What kind of language is that? How can regular "cells" be fertilized? When talking about human embryos it would be nice if reporters at least called them human embryos.

What source says that 2/3 of embryos created via in-vitro fertilization are eventually disposed of as medical waste?

Also, notice how the reporter and editors of the Detroit News seem to have no clue what conception means. They seem to have equated conception with attempts to implant already conceived IVF embryos into a woman's womb.

I couldn't believe this quote.
"Proponents of embryonic stem cell research want to prevent the destruction of those embryos," Baum said. "Many people believe that's really pro-life."
Catch that? Baum is claiming proponents of killing human embryos for research want prevent the destruction of those embryos. Nothing could be further from the truth. They don't want to prevent the destruction of human embryos, they want to take part in it.
Baum added that the 70 treatments developed through adult stem research come from a study that has been under fire in the scientific community.
Let's see how many claims Baum gets wrong here. The claims don't come from a single study. They come from a group called Do No Harm and Dr. David Prentice who has compiled a long listing of peer-reviewed studies. The list of studies hasn't come under fire from the scientific community, but from a two letters to the journal Science by advocates of embryonic stem cell research who obviously took one claim about adult stem cells - that they have been used to help "produce therapeutic benefits for human patients" suffering from 70+ different ailments - into a completely different claim - that all adult stem cell treatment are "generally available" and are "fully tested in all required phases of clinical trials and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Remember Dr. P?

A couple of months ago I posted on a revealing uncover investigation by a television crew into an abortionist named Pornpichit Sethavarangura. Sethavarangura was operating his low-price clinic out of what appeared to be an abandoned building and was shown on camera to be willing to break Michigan's informed consent and parental consent laws.

On Thursday, the state of Michigan revoked his license.
The Local 4 hidden camera investigation showed the doctor performing an abortion for $150 in a rundown building in Detroit. It also showed the doctor using dirty equipment and recorded the doctor on hidden camera saying he would perform abortions "on the spot," which is a violation of the state's 24-hour waiting period.

The television news report also recorded the doctor suggesting he would perform an abortion on underage girls, even without parental consent, which is required by law for minors.

The state's order accused Sethavarangura of negligence and incompetence it suggested the doctor showed "a lack of moral character."

When asked about the allegations, the doctor said he was providing a needed service for the poor. "They will miss me," Sethavarangura said about his patients.
Hat's off to WDIV for exposing this guy.

I wonder how pro-choicers deal with something like this. If abortion is just between a woman and her doctor, then did Dr. P (who had a medical license) do anything wrong? If women are willing to have abortions in his rundown clinic with filthy conditions for a lower price then how can pro-choicers say what he was doing was wrong? It's the woman's choice, right?

HT: Big Blue Wave

What's more patronizing?

1.) Saying that some women regret their abortions or 2.) claiming that saying some women regret their abortions is patronizing.

Here's Patterico on Jeffrey Toobin's claim that "some women come to regret their choice to abort" is a "patronizing notion."
Maybe I have found the only women who regret their decision, among the tens of millions of abortions that have occurred since Roe v. Wade was handed down. I rather suspect there are more — several hundred thousand more, if not millions. But I can't prove that.

So no, Mr. Toobin, I have no "scientifically respectable support" for Justice Kennedy's "patronizing notion" that "some" women regret their abortions. All I have is quotes from actual women themselves.

Life Links 10/1/07

Here's a reason, you'd think abortion advocates would oppose universal health care - women in Ottawa have to wait weeks for an abortion. Abortion advocates in the U.S. get riled up if a state wants a 24-hour waiting period.

Wesley Smith on the chutzpah of some embryonic stem cell research advocates (Mildred Cho and David Magnus) who are now (after an initiative they favored fooled the California public by promising to save lives) talking about therapeutic misconceptions the public may have after they were promised cures from embryonic stem cells. Here's a key paragraph from embryonic stem cell research advocates:
Even CIRM's (California Institute for Regenerative Medicine) strategic plan recognises that it is unlikely that there will be any treatments within the next decade. Women's voluntary donation of oocytes may be critical to research, but it is far too early for women to do so with the expectation that their donation is going to lead to cures anytime soon.
They go on to empathize in their conclusion that research using embryonic stem cells are "experiments." Embryonic stem cell advocates oversold the "potential" and "promise" of embryonic stem cells and now they're backpedaling.

A student in Virginia is suing her school after they prevented her from starting a prolife club.

Dennis Byrne has an editorial in the Chicago Tribune about the Planned Parenthood in Aurora.
In other words, the clinic's cheerleaders believe the clinic can deny to a certain segment of the public information that it has a right to receive. The reason is Planned Parenthood doesn't like to face the tests of a democratic society -- meaning protests, public demonstrations and the constitutional right to petition government.

The Catholic Church in Michigan is working to make sure we're not the next Missouri.