Friday, October 31, 2008

When Does Human Life Begin?

The Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person has a white paper out which "considers the current scientific evidence in human embryology and addresses two central questions concerning the beginning of life: 1) in the course of sperm-egg interaction, when is a new cell formed that is distinct from either sperm or egg? and 2) is this new cell a new human organism—i.e., a new human being?"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Life Links 10/30/08

Students for Life of America has another video out. This one includes a Planned Parenthood employee in New Jersey admitting that aborted babies can be born alive. It’s hard to understand at least on my tiny speakers but the Planned Parenthood employee is asked, “Could the baby be born alive.”

Her response is, “For the most part no, but it does happen.”

Michael New discusses a recent study by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good which argued that welfare programs have helped reduce the number of abortions performed more than abortion restrictions.
CACG missed an opportunity with their abortion study. They commissioned a methodologically rigorous analysis of a complicated issue — the incidence of abortion at the state level. However, their primary interest seemed to have been making the case that welfare spending was the best way to reduce abortion. They did not engage previous research on pro-life legislation. And tellingly, they failed to publicize their own findings which indicated that certain types of pro-life laws were effective. The pro-life community might have been more receptive to them had they been willing to acknowledge their own finding that public-funding restrictions reduce abortion rates. Instead, many pro-lifers simply wrote them off as group whose objective was to provide political and religious cover for pro-abortion supporters of Barack Obama.

Albert Mohler links to and discusses an article in the Boston Globe and a quote from Nicolas Cafardi, a prolife supporter of Barack Obama.
Those fighting for the abolition of slavery pressed on against obstacles and set backs worse than these because, after all, these were human lives they were defending. What if they had listened to those who, after Dred Scott and the Missouri Compromise, said that the battle was "permanently" lost? What if they had been intimidated by critics accusing them of "single-issue" voting?

If every single fetus is an unborn child made in the image of God, there is no moral justification for settling for a vague hope of some reduction in the number of fetal homicides. If the abortion fight is "permanently lost," it will be lost first among those who claim to be defenders of life -- those who tell us that the argument is merely changing.

Those South Dakota pro-choicers from other states flown in to South Dakota in an effort to defeat their attempt to pass an abortion ban sure know how to commit voter fraud.

So much for Proposal 2's “life-saving cures”

Imagine spending at least $8 million dollars to pass a proposal whose stated goal is to allow Michigan scientists to create new embryonic stem cells in Michigan by killing human embryos but then claiming even if the proposal passes you may not be able to create those lines because you won’t have the funding. That’s what Sue O’Shea, the head of the University of Michigan’s Michigan Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research recently told Nature. Here’s the quote from the article:
"So even if (Proposal 2) does pass, it won't necessarily allow us to develop any new embryonic stem-cell lines," O'Shea says. "It will just make life easier knowing we can do it."

It’s just sickening how these scientists have blatantly deceived all these people suffering from the worst of maladies by promising them cures when they know Proposal 2 won’t lead to any cures. It’s beyond vile. A couple of scientists and a few politicians who want to advance their agenda have fooled rich donors like Al Taubman and nearly half the state of Michigan into believing that passing Proposal 2 is actually going to bring about some miracle of medicine in Michigan.

The latest commercial spot in favor of Proposal 2 feature an adorable little girl with juvenile diabetes. Another features a man with Parkinson’s. Both ads have text which says, “Proposal 2 will allow vital stem cell research to discover life saving cures.”

False hope can only blind someone for so long, right? There has got to come a time when these people realize that Sue O’Shea and Sean Morrison are lying to them. Both of those scientists know that Proposal 2 won’t allow some kind of new, “vital stem cell research” since both are already performing research on human embryonic stem cells. Both of them know killing human embryos in Michigan for their cells instead of importing embryonic stem cell lines from other states won’t quicken research. Both of them know that Proposal 2 won’t bring a single patient closer to a single treatment or cure.

$8 million+ dollars is a whole heck of a lot of money so Sue O’Shea and Sean Morrison can have some peace of mind.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Life Links 10/29/08

Earl Boyea, the Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing has issued a statement after Governor Jennifer Granholm carelessly said the following about Proposal 2, a proposal to legalize the killing of human embryos for research purposes.
"as a Catholic, I can say to be pro-cure is to be pro-life."
Of course, everyone is pro-cure. Granholm is pro-killing-human-embryos for speculative research. Boyea's statement corrects Granholm by noting,
Of course, Catholics and all other responsible citizens will continue to seek cures for disease and injury. But to imply that Proposal 2 is a valid expression of Catholic principles is shocking. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Proposal 2, which goes before Michigan voters in a week, would give an unrestricted license to those who perform destructive experiments on human embryos.....

To be in favor of Proposal 2 is not to be pro-life. A well-formed Catholic conscience would never lead a person to support Proposal 2 "as a Catholic."

Anne Henderstott has a piece in Public Discourse about how dangerous it is to be a black child in the womb.
Currently, white women's rates of abortion have declined to 10.5 abortions per 1,000 women while black women's rates are an alarming 50 abortions per 1,000 black women. Put in terms of actual pregnancies, the figures are shocking: Nearly half of all African American pregnancies end in abortion.....

The black community has already been changed by abortion. At a time when 50 percent of their unborn children are aborted, many within the black community are beginning to recognize that their community has been devastated by abortion. Someday it is possible that their pro-choice political representatives will recognize this too.

Save Proposal 2 - The Uninformed to the Rescue!

With Proposal 2 support lagging, one of it's biggest supporters, the Detroit Free Press, is attempting to come to the rescue. In the last two days, they've printed 3 editorials, one by the editorial board, one by staff writer Rochelle Riley and one by guest editorialist Rev. Charles Adams, in favor of Proposal 2.

The fact that none of them know the first thing about stem cell research or what Proposal 2 would do is no impediment to the Free Press. It's almost like had a staff meeting and decided the needed editorials and it didn't matter who wrote them. Rev. Adams seems to think Michigan is the only place African-American embryos could be killed to create stem cell lines. Rochelle Riley didn't take the time to actually research what happened in the Tuskegee experiments (the men with syphillis weren't given syphillis, they already had it). They all seem to think passing that killing human embryos in Michigan instead of importing embryonic stem cell lines is going to miraclously lead to cures.

The editorials are all a response to a commerical against Proposal 2 which notes Proposal 2's attempt to allow unrestricted research on human embryos and prevent any laws which would "discourage" or "create disincentives" for researchers and then compares this to the unethical treatment of African-American men in the Tuskegee experiments.

The Free Press editorial claims,
"The commercial says, falsely, that stem cell research won't be regulated, and implies that it could therefore lead to abuses similar to the Tuskegee experiments, in which researchers denied treatment and information about their disease to hundreds of African-American who were infected with syphillis."
Ummm.... if the research would be regulated then why did a previous Free Press editorial in favor of Proposal 2 state,
Proposal 2 would have been better with some provision built in for the possibility of state regulation of this research. Instead, it has a blanket ban on restrictions.

The Detroit Free Press editorial board has made mistakes on the stem cell issue in the past where they don't know what's in their news section (for example: continuously calling the state's law preventing research on human embryos an "embryonic stem cell research ban"). Now in their attempt to defend a horrible proposal, they're disavowing what they wrote in a previous editorial.

Monday, October 27, 2008

RH Reality Check Video on Stem Cell Research

Amanda Marcotte and her crew at the RH Reality Check have produced one of their fun little videos on stem cell research and it’s a hoot. Stem cell research isn’t an issue that Marcotte touches on very often and it shows in the video. As is the case with some of the other videos, it’s hard to think Marcotte wins the debate against her strawman opponent. Some classic quotes from Marcotte include:

Why waste an opportunity to advance our scientific knowledge?

Ummm.... because it’s unethical to treat human beings as if they were research materials. If no opportunity to advance our scientific knowledge should be “wasted” then I guess Marcotte wouldn’t have had any problems with the Tuskegee experiments, eh?

Stem cells aren’t people like you or me.

That’s certainly correct but no one is claiming stem cells are people. Prolifers recognize the scientific reality that human embryos are human beings and we think it’s wrong to kill them (or any other human beings) for scientific research. Please try to at least understand our position before attempting to refute it.

Marcotte also seems unaware of the recent breakthroughs in creating induced pluripotent stem cells from adult cells. It always amazes how ignorant some proponents of embryonic stem cell research are regarding this subject. After almost 10 years of hyped promises of Cures! Cures! Cures! and no results, they still think embryonic stem cell research is going to miraculously cure all these diseases. How long will be before they finally wise up to the fact that they’ve been had? In 10 years will we still be hearing about how embryonic stem cell research holds the greatest hope to curing juvenile diabetes and Parkinson’s?

I hope not.

Britain's Brain Drain?

Every time UK researchers want to do some new unethical kind of research (like creating and killing cloned human-animal hybrid embryos) they claim that if they're not allowed to do this research there will be an exodus of researchers to other nations where the research isn't prohibited.

Now, a UK stem cell scientist is actually leaving Britain with his 10-man team. Not because the UK prevents some unethical research but because he claims he can't get adequate funding in the UK for adult stem cell research.
Colin McGuckin, professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University and an expert in adult stem cells, claimed that the Government and funding bodies are biased towards embryonic stem cell research, even his work has more immediate clinical benefits.

He claimed his university has failed to provide him with adequate facilities, adding: "You would barely know that adult stem cells exist at Newcastle."


After a series of public warnings of a need for more funding, he has now decided to move to the University of Lyon in January to open the world's biggest institute devoted to cord blood and adult stem-cell research. He will take a 10-man research team from Newcastle with him, including his research partner Nico Forraz.

Speaking to Times Higher Education, Prof McGuckin said France offered a "much better environment" to cure and treat more people.

"The bottom line is my vocation is to work with patients and help patients and unfortunately I can't do that in the UK," he said.

"France is very supportive of adult stem cells because they know that these are the things that are in the clinic right now and will be more likely in the clinic.

"A vast amount of money in the UK from the Government has gone into embryonic stem-cell research with not one patient having being treated, to the detriment of (research into) adult stem cells, which has been severely underfunded."

Proposal 2 support down

According to a Detroit News poll, support for Proposal 2 has dropped below 50%. Proposal 2 would legalize using human embryos for research in Michigan by amending the Michigan Constitution and restrict any laws attempting to regulate embryonic stem cell research.
A new, Detroit News/WXYZ Action News poll shows the initiative, Proposal 2, leading by 46-43 percent -- within the 5-point error margin. A month ago -- before a saturation campaign of advertising paid in part by $2.79 million from the Michigan Catholic Conference -- it was favored 50 percent to 32 percent.

Life Links 10/27/08

George Weigel and Ramesh Ponnuru point out the numerous errors and poor thinking on display in Doug Kmiec’s, Nicholas Cafardi’s and Cathleen Kaveny’s editorial entitled a “Catholic Brief for Obama.”

It’s almost like endorsing Obama makes people dumber. Of course it’s not that and every election cycle people of both sides disavow previously firm beliefs and issues simply because they prefer a certain candidate. But this year with Obama it just seems to have exponentially increased. For Catholic scholars like Kmiec and Cafardi, who have fought against abortion, to endorse someone like Obama, who supports the Freedom of Choice Act and using tax dollars to pay for abortions, and then claim, “Obama proposes to reduce the incidence of abortion by helping pregnant women overcome the ill effects of poverty that block a choice of life,” feels almost like the pinnacle of self-deceit. They laud Obama’s universal health care plan but then don’t mention anything about whether abortion would be one of the procedures covered by the plan. It’s almost like they can’t even honestly come up with a defense for Obama’s positions on life issues so they’ll just act like they don’t exist.

Speaking of self-deceit, Archbishop Egan recently had a good quote regarding people who deny the unborn are living human beings,
If you can convince yourself that these beings are something other than living and innocent human beings, something, for example, such as "mere clusters of tissues," you have a problem far more basic than merely not appreciating the wrongness of abortion. And that problem is—forgive me—self-deceit in a most extreme form.

Leonard Stern in the Ottawa Citizen on assisted suicide.
In most places, people who express a desire to die are evaluated for depression, and receive treatment for it. In places where assisted suicide is practised, such patients might instead receive a fatal dose of barbiturates. The researchers discovered that in 2007, not one "of the people who died by lethal ingestion in Oregon had been evaluated by a psychiatrist or a psychologist."

Asti Poole is an paraplegic Australian woman whose experience at Geeta Shroff’s clinic in India where patients are supposedly treated with embryonic stem cells (for thousands of dollars) is pretty similar to what I would have guessed the “treatment” would have been like.
"We used to joke that we were all being conned. None of us are miraculously walking."....

While in New Delhi, Ms Poole saw Indian patients of her doctor taking steps but when she asked to see footage of them before their treatment she was told: "No."

"She doesn't have anything to document before and after so there's nothing to gauge on," Ms Poole said.

Wendy Long notes the most recent misleading commercial from pro-choice groups this election cycle.

The New York Times has an article on prolife Democrats running in typically Republican districts. There’s also a quote from abortion advocate Kelli Conlin showing that she doesn’t really get the political strategy of running prolife Democrats in congressional districts which are strongly prolife.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Life Links 10/21/08

The Detroit News is featuring an article on a Michigan couple who adopted embryos and have given birth to a son.
"I feel very blessed I got to experience pregnancy and labor and delivery in all of its glory and to be able to breast feed now," she said.

The couple still has four other frozen embryos, genetic siblings of Greyson, which they plan to use in a year in hopes of giving him at least one brother or sister.

In the meantime, they still look at a black-and-white photo that looks like three flowers with several petals.

The picture is actually of the three embryos that were implanted in Rachelle's womb, one of which developed into Greyson.

"Isn't that crazy?" she said. "Out of that tiny little speck came this beautiful child."

Are all Planned Parenthood willing to lie to promote their organization? Maybe not but Aurora Jewell from Planned Parenthood's Tacoma affiliate certinaly is. In a piece in the Chicago Sun-Times about the 40 Days for Life vigil outside of abortion clinics, Jewell "said people with the Tacoma vigil have harassed and intimidated patients and staff members this fall at the Tacoma Health Center."

Her one example of this vicious intimidation and harrassment?
She said she's been told to find a better job.
Oh, those mean, vicious, derogratory prolife people!!

The Scientific American blog is claiming The Scientist is reporting the FDA could approve Geron's clinical trial to use cell derived from embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord patients in early 2009. I don't have a subscription to the Scientist so I can't where this information is coming from but I'm guessing it will give Geron another chance to not meet expectations.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Safe and legal???

In South Africa, where abortion is legal, a reporter with the Daily Dispatch was able to purchase abortion pills on the street.
In the past three weeks, 41 women and teenage girls have been admitted to two hospitals with botched backstreet abortions – some in critical condition and fighting for their lives.....

The men then bragged about how they performed abortions even with pregnancies in advanced stages of up to seven months.

“Someone comes with seven good months. That’s a real kid ... People come, they give me R3000 … R2000. Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine,” said one.

Life Links 10/20/08

Robert George and Yuval Levin critique Barack Obama’s latest attempt to explain away his votes against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
Obama's case against the bill did not revolve around existing state law, as he seemed to suggest last night. The law Obama referred to in the debate was the Illinois abortion statute enacted in 1975. But at the time of the debate about the Born Alive Act, the Illinois Attorney General had publicly stated that he could not prosecute incidents such as those reported by nurses at Christ Hospital in Chicago and elsewhere (including a baby left to die in a soiled linen closet) because the 1975 law was inadequate. It only protected ''viable'' infants-and left the determination of viability up to the ''medical judgment'' of the abortionist who had just failed to kill the baby in the womb. This provision of the law weakened the hand of prosecutors to the vanishing point. That is why the Born Alive Act was necessary-and everybody knew it.....

(Obama) seemed to realize that the logical implication of protecting the child born alive after an attempted abortion is that abortion involves taking the life of a child in the womb, and that acknowledging that, even at the extreme margins of the practice of abortion, could put the legitimacy of abortion itself in question. Therefore, Obama chose to defend the widest possible scope for legal abortion by building a fence around it, even if that meant permitting a child who survives an abortion to be left to die without even being afforded basic comfort care.

Public Discourse also has the text of Archbishop Charles Chaput’s speech entitled “Little Murders” which he recently gave at an ENDOW dinner.
The truth is that for some Catholics, the abortion issue has never been a comfortable cause. It's embarrassing. It's not the kind of social justice they like to talk about. It interferes with their natural political alliances. And because the homicides involved in abortion are ''little murders'' - the kind of private, legally protected murders that kill conveniently unseen lives - it's easy to look the other way.....

So I think that people who claim that the abortion struggle is ''lost'' as a matter of law, or that supporting an outspoken defender of legal abortion is somehow ''prolife,'' are not just wrong; they're betraying the witness of every person who continues the work of defending the unborn child. And I hope they know how to explain that, because someday they'll be required to.

Ramesh Ponnuru highlights what is arguably a pro-choice argument in Doug Kmiec’s most recent editorial highlighting his endorsement of Obama. It’s particularly sad for me to see people who claim to be prolife abandon or water down their opposition to abortion because the candidate they’ve chosen to endorse favors legal abortion.

The Detroit News has an article on a couple (the Kovacs) who attempted to get pregnant via IVF and now want to donate their 10 embryonic children for research. There is also a sidebar video where Robyn and Larry Kovacs claim that donating their embryos to be killed in research is “the most selfless thing” they could do as people and their way of “paying it forward.”

They seem like nice people who just aren’t very thoughtful. How sickening is it to think that donating your children to be killed in medical experiments is “selfless” and your way of “paying it forward?” It’s repulsive. It gives me the chills that we have people who are just so blatantly thoughtless they think allowing their children to be used as research materials “would be the best thing that could ever happen.”

The News also have videos on the side bar where researcher Sean Morrison tries to explain why embryonic stem cell researchers should be allowed to kill human embryos in Michigan and State Senator Tom George explains how Proposal 2 would prevent any restrictions on this type of research. There will also be an article tomorrow on couples looking to adopt frozen embryos.

Meanwhile, another week and another induced pluripotent stem cell advance.
Now, a team of researchers led by Juan Carlos Izpis├║a Belmonte at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, succeeded in boosting the reprogramming efficiency more than 100-fold, while cutting the time it takes in half. In fact, they repeatedly generated iPS cells from the tiny number of keratinocytes attached to a single hair plucked from a human scalp.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Baby Blogging

It seems that even my daughter's steadfast devotion to Michigan football can't help them out very much.

But she still find something to smile about.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why can’t pro-choicers be honest about “health?”

During the abortion question back and forth at last night’s debate John McCain said the following in response to Barack Obama’s claim he would support a late-term abortion ban if it had exceptions for the life and health of the mother.
Again…just again, an example of the eloquence of Senator Obama, health (indicates air quotes) of the mother. You know that’s been stretched by the pro-abortion movement to mean almost anything.
This quote has been attacked by various pro-choice bloggers.

Cara at the Curvature writes, “Women’s health is so trivial to McCain that he can’t even force himself to spit out the word with a straight face. Considering the health of women when discussing the issue of abortion is ridiculous to Senator McCain, something he sees as the “extreme pro-abortion” position.”

Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars says, “And that's when McCain proved how heartless and clueless he is.”

Jed L. at the Daily Kos thinks it’s proof that McCain “really is crazy.”

NARAL has even come out with a commercial.

Unfortunately, none of these bloggers or NARAL has actually taken the time to show what “health” means with regards to abortion. Because of Doe v. Bolton , “health” exceptions for abortions include “all factors -- physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman's age -- relevant to the well-being of the patient."

That is an extremely broad definition of health and as Senator McCain stated during the debate it can “mean almost anything.” McCain wasn’t trying to dismiss pregnant women who have actual physical health concerns. McCain was merely pointing out that the definition of health with regards to abortion doesn’t really mean anything at all and when Barack Obama says he supports a late-term abortion ban with health exceptions what he really supports is a meaningless late-term abortion ban which wouldn’t prevent a single abortion.

These are the facts of what “health” means with regards to abortion. Why doesn’t a single one of the pro-choicer bloggers linked to above mention this?

Are they completely ignorant or just exceedingly dishonest?

Random debate thoughts

How many different ways can John McCain say Americans are angry and hurting. We’re also hurting and angry. We’re angry. And we’re hurting.

I think Barack Obama’s use of natural pauses and umms/uhhs really helps him get his thoughts in order before he says what he wants to say. McCain seems to barely use these kind of natural pauses and instead can sometimes start with one thought, stop, and then go in another direction. From the perspectives of how they say things, Obama does a much better job of clearly explaining what he’s talking about.

Was it me or did that stupid question about the tone of the election and the answers to it go on for 10 minutes too long. With all the domestic policies issues out there, do we really need to spend 15 minutes talking about whose campaign is more negative? The question seemed almost designed to bring more heat and less light to the debate. Same with question about running mates. Pointless.

Why does John McCain never call out Obama on the fact that it’s impossible to give 95% of Americans an income tax cut because not that many Americans pay income taxes?

Life Links 10/16/08

Jill Stanek and Ed Morrissey cover Obama’s misleading response when McCain brought up the Born Alive Infant Protection Act during the debate last night.

I think McCain did alright with the abortion question but I was waiting for him to bring up Obama’s favoring the use tax dollars to pay for abortions and wish his response regarding “health” and abortion was a little more exact or call Obama out for his campaign’s “clarification” regarding abortion and mental health. Or maybe mention how BAIPA passed in the U.S. Senate 98-0. McCain also said “Breyer” when he meant Alito.

CQ Politics has the text of the debate here. The abortion question comes up approximately 3/4 of the way down. I just don’t know how any rationale person can actually find the following Obama line convincing:
There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade
What? How would declaring born-alive infants who survive abortions “persons” help to undermine Roe v. Wade? Does Roe prevent states from saying born-alive infants aren’t “persons?” Could someone from Planned Parenthood or Barack Obama’s campaign provide an explanation for this assertion? Maybe someone in the media could actually ask for some reasoning to this nonsensical statement? I won’t be holding my breath. The media “fact-checkers” have been exceedingly horrendous on this issue.

Sharon Begley reports on how a leading scientist thinks it will take a “major miracle” for embryonic stem cells to treat Parkinson’s. Apparently, when transplanted, they eventually change in the same way the body’s original cells change.
In other words, whatever went wrong in the brain originally to produce Parkinson’s was still going wrong, ravaging the transplanted cells. Very bad news for Parkinson’s patients who have pinned their hopes on stem cells—and ironic given the prominent, courageous role Michael J. Fox and his foundation have played in drumming up public support for stem cell research.
Unfortunately, earlier in the piece Begley (who is a proponent of embryonic stem cell research who ignores the success of adult stem cells) doesn’t inform readers the successful treatment of blindness by British research Pete Coffey was with adult stem cells from the patients’ own eyes.

The Bay City Times comes out against Proposal 2.
Proposal 2 would allow researchers in Michigan to harvest embryonic stem cells in the state, and prohibit any attempt in the Legislature to tinker with the law.

This is a textbook example of what we mean about locking laws into the vault of the Michigan Constitution. If flaws in this proposal later appear, it's too late to tweak the law after it becomes part of the Constitution.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life Links 10/15/08

Robert George on Barack Obama's abortion extremism and the arguments of prolife Obama supporters.
They say that his economic and social policies would so diminish the demand for abortion that the overall number would actually go down-despite the federal subsidizing of abortion and the elimination of hundreds of pro-life laws. The way to save lots of unborn babies, they say, is to vote for the pro-abortion-oops! ''pro-choice''-candidate. They tell us not to worry that Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy (against funding abortion abroad), parental consent and notification laws, conscience protections, and the funding of alternatives to embryo-destructive research. They ask us to look past his support for Roe v. Wade, the Freedom of Choice Act, partial-birth abortion, and human cloning and embryo-killing. An Obama presidency, they insist, means less killing of the unborn.

This is delusional.
JT at Between Two Worlds has a nice piece which summarizes George's arguments and links to various pieces of legislation on life issues where Obama's position is always on the wrong side.

George Wiegel has a long piece in Newsweek touching on basically the same subject entitled "Prolife Catholics for Obama."
And should an Obama administration reintroduce large-scale federal funding of abortion, the bishops will have to confront a grave moral question they have managed to avoid for decades, thanks to the Hyde amendment: does the payment of federal taxes that go to support abortion constitute a form of moral complicity in an "intrinsic evil"? And if so, what should the conscientious Catholic citizen do?

About which, it will be very interesting to hear what professors Kmiec, Kaveny and Cafardi have to say.

Brent Bozell on the major network blackout of Barack Obama's record on abortion.
Try this on for size: ABC, CBS, and NBC together have unloaded more than a thousand stories on Obama’s presidential campaign, and we’re still waiting for the first broadcast network TV story devoted to examining Obama’s abortion record....

Remember all this omission when you see vapid pseudo-journalists like Jon Stewart oozing to Michelle Obama that her family has been "vetted about as much as a family can be vetted." Remember all this when the networks claim the campaign should be about "the issues." Obama’s been on the presidential campaign trail for twenty months, and the TV networks are still giving him a pass. At this point, it isn’t accidental, nor is it coincidental. It is deliberate.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life Links 10/14/08

Kathryn-Jean Lopez lists some of Obama's positions on abortion.
Barack Obama has told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that the first thing he will sign as president will be the Freedom of Choice Act, which will sweep away limits on abortion — state and federal — including restrictions on government funding of abortion and laws protecting anti-abortion health care providers.

Barack Obama has condemned the Supreme Court’s Gonzales v. Carhart ruling, which affirmed the federal partial-birth abortion ban.

Barack Obama supports federal funding of abortion.

Barack Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment, which restricts use of taxpayer dollars for supporting abortion.

Melinda Henneberger has an article in Slate on how some prolife women she's talked to will be voting for Obama this year for various reasons. She seems to see this as some sort of trend that prolife women are tired of voting for Republicans based on the abortion issue. I'm highly skeptical of this kind of interview less than 10 people study and then try to come to a conclusion. Isn't this the same kind of article we see every year where Catholics who supposedly voted for Republicans previously are now gung-ho for the Democrat.

Jill Stanek discusses her interaction with "fact-checking" Newsweek journalist Michael Scherer.
Given the time spent with and information given to Scherer, I should have been shocked today by his Groundhog Day follow-up article, "How valid is Palin's abortion attack on Obama?" but by now I'm used to MSM's willing suspension of belief in the truth about Obama, because the truth is just so incredibly awful, and he seems so nice. Obama couldn't possibly support infanticide of certain preborns, despite the fact he does. He just couldn't.

The Detroit Free Press has an article on the rehabilitation work of a woman who traveled to Portugal to receive an adult stem cell transplant for her spinal cord surgery. It's a reminder that there is no "silver bullet" to heal severe spinal cord injuries.

Pro-choicers in South Dakota recently held an event to show their displeasure with a proposal to make abortion illegal (with some exceptions). I don't think rallying for abortion in South Dakota is a big crowd getter. The article notes they had "more than 2 dozen" attend the rally. Is a rally really a rally if only 25 people show up?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Life Links 10/13/08

It’s about time. The McCain campaign seems to have finally realized it’s time to seriously criticized Barack Obama’s voting record on abortion and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. LifeNews has Sarah Palin’s full remarks. Time has a skewed “fact-check” on Sarah Palin’s remarks and the BAIPA issue but it includes for the first time (or at least as far as I can remember) in the mainstream media some of the text from Barack Obama’s nonsensical speech against the Illinois BAIPA (my guess is the writer, Michael Scherer, actually found Obama’s reasoning valid). The fact check doesn’t include any information about Barack Obama’s years of misrepresenting why he voted against the Illinois BAIPA, him calling NRLC “liars” or his campaign’s admittance of Obama’s misrepresentation. Both campaigns are unfortunately claiming BAIPA required providing medical treatment.

Another week and another reprogramming cell advance. This time without using any viruses.

Those Michigan specific diseases? Proponents of Proposal 2 in Michigan have no valid reason for why they can’t merely import embryonic stem cells from other states. Why do they have to kill human embryos for research in Michigan? Here’s the most recent example of their attempt to find a reason.
Biology Prof. Sue O’Shea said relying on out-of-state embryos is limiting.

“We would like very much to make disease models, to study diseases that Michigan people have,” she said.
Ummm.... Are there any diseases which are Michigan specific besides maybe being a Detroit Lions fan? I know this is a college paper but if someone said something like that, wouldn’t your first question be, “Well, what diseases do people in Michigan have that people in other states don’t?”

Meanwhile, obviously biased Detroit Free Press reporter Megha Satyanarayana has an article about Bill Clinton trip to Michigan to help raise money for Proposal 2. President Bush’s embryonic stem cell funding rules are said to have restricted “all federal funding for the work, with minor exceptions. Attempts by Congress to override Bush have been unsuccessful. Both presidential candidates have indicated they would overturn the ban.” The event included testimony from a young woman with a spinal cord injury who was treated with adult stem cells in China.

Proposition 71 in California promised Cures! Cures! Cures! Jennifer Lahl talks about how its currently more like Buildings! Buildings! Buildings!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What's scarier than a Barack Obama presidency?

How about Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Granholm?

Michigan's pro-choice Governor Jennifer Granholm could supposedly be on his short list for appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Another source of pluripotent stem cells

A study in Nature finds that stem cells taken from men’s testicles seem to be as versatile as embryonic stem cells. The research was done by German scientists. Germany has a policy against the killing embryos for research which is very similar to Michigan’s laws. Here’s the AP story.
The new study used cells taken from biopsied tissue from 22 different men undergoing various medical treatments. The men ranged in age from 17 to 81. Researchers found that after a few weeks of growth, the cells could differentiate into various types of cells just like those taken from embryos.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Life Links 10/8/08

Douglas Johnson compiles the case against Barack Obama on prolife issues and the mainstream media's failure to highlight Obama's positions on issues like tax-funded abortions and the Freedom of Choice Act.

David Lewis Schaefer puts some honesty in the debate about Roe v. Wade and what would happen if it was overturned.

The Columbus Dispatch has an article on a case where Planned Parenthood failed to notify the parents of a 14-year-old girl who had an abortion. They also failed to report statutory rape to the authorities. The girl's parents are now suing Planned Parenthood and a portion of the lawsuit will be argued at the Ohio Supreme Court.
Planned Parenthood lawyer Daniel J. Buckley denied that the medical provider shirks its responsibility to inform authorities of abuse.
Yeah, too bad Students for Life of America has some rather convincing evidence that Planned Parenthood employees fail to report statutory rape when they are aware of it.

Proposal 2 backers are bringing in the big guns to raise money for them. Bill Clinton will speak at a fundraiser at the Oakland County Airport. The minimum price for a seat is $500. The article by Tanner Ali has this passage,
"This decision has huge implications for the university. ... This decision has huge implications for the state," Taubman said, adding that 8,000 jobs would be created instantly if the ballot proposal is passed.

Michigan has some of the most stringent stem cell research laws in the country, with scientists using new human embryos for research facing a $10 million fine and up to 10 years in prison.
8,000 jobs instantly created because researchers at the University of Michigan can kill human embryos instead of merely importing stem cell lines? Only a complete idiot would believe that. The ridiculous "economics" study funded by proponents of killing embryos only estimated something like 400 biotech jobs and 300 additional jobs.

Also, the $10 million fine and 10 years in jail is the maximum punishment for human cloning not killing human embryos for research. The Detroit News and Free Press constantly get this wrong because they're just parroting a talking point of proponents of killing human embryos for research and haven't ever actually taken the time to read Michigan's law.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Obama's Health Care Plan and Abortion

Will Barack Obama's health care plan cover abortions? His campaign doesn't seem too open to sharing that information.

Life Links 10/6/08

The Los Angeles Times is featuring an article on how some families who want to give their embryonic children for medical research are facing some obstacles. The article includes a rather sad quote from the embryos’ parents.
"I thought of them as potential life, but I don't think of them as children," says Chris Bailey. "They are definitely more than sperm and egg."

After much discussion, the couple decided to donate the embryos to research.

"We felt we were so lucky that research had been done and [that it] gave us the opportunity to have children," says Tanya Bailey. "So why not give our embryos to research as well to help somebody else out?"
How about the simple fact they’re your children and not research materials?

The Los Angeles Times also has an article on how donating embryo for adoption can supposedly be difficult except the only reason it was difficult for the lone individual they profile is because she didn’t want to use an embryo adoption service (instead she’s just trying to find someone on the internet) and wants the adoptive family to make her the children’s godmother. To me, Leanna Wolfe seems to be more focused on what she can get out of donating her embryos (the embryos were conceived with both egg and sperm donors) as opposed to focusing on giving those embryos the best chance at life. This is typically how it works with donations - if you’re focused on getting as much as you can out of a “donation” then it isn’t really that much of a donation.

The Boston Globe has an article on abortion with video of Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s address at the recent Respect Life Walk in Boston.

Rebecca Taylor on human embryos and the duty to die mentality.
But what I realized is that Lady Warnock and others who share her opinions really think there are humans that have a "duty to die." Not just the sick or elderly who are a burden on their families, but also the "left-over" embryos from IVF.

This twisted logic says that "left-over" human embryos in the deep freeze have a "duty to die" to give the rest of us "cures." It is the frozen embryo's duty to be ripped open for the "betterment of society" just like it is the duty of the sick and eldery to get rid of themselves.

Rita Marker writes a letter to Mary Warnock explaining why her attempts to legalize assisted suicide in Britain have failed.
By now you should realize that Lee has been very effective in the years since she first worked on a proposal that mirrored yours. And, Baroness, you can also be effective. All you need to do is remember a few crucial points:

* Be very careful with language. Use soothing phrases.
* Don't try to achieve your entire goal at one time. Use a step-by-step approach.
* Manufacture statistics. Use them to bolster your claims, whatever they are.
* Portray any opposition as "anti-choice religious zealots."
* Keep all focus on the current proposal. Never discuss your plans for expansion.
* Always portray your motivation as caring and compassionate. Never, ever, let anyone know that you see legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia as a means of cost containment.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Life Links 10/2/08

Jon Shields writes on how Republicans need to educate the public about Roe v. Wade when they’re asked about it.
What these candidates do not seem to know is that surveys also reveal massive ignorance about what Roe means. James Davison Hunter, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, has shown that the vast majority of Americans believe Roe allows more restrictions than it actually does. Such “‘mass legal illiteracy,’” according to Hunter, explains why “Americans want to keep Roe intact, but also favor proposals that would restrict (some severely) what it currently allows, if not undermine it altogether.”
While the simple “I’m prolife” response to any question about abortion may be designed to lessen the number of individuals who are turned off by the answer, it doesn’t provide the opportunity to influence anyone.

The Matthew 25 Network should be ashamed of itself. It’s one thing for a prolife Christian to support Obama. It’s quite another for a self-proclaimed Christian organization to intentionally mislead people about a candidate’s position on abortion just because they favor him because of other issues.

In another example of pro-choice intolerance and violence, Jason Shireman has been charged with aggravated assault after allegedly trying to run over abortion protesters with his car.
During an interview with police, Shireman stated that he drove onto the sidewalk to show the demonstrators "what he thought about them." He denied trying to run over them.

Wesley Smith on the Governator’s most recent veto:
And what was Schwarzenegger doing as the CIRM bought Cadillac buildings on California citizens' credit card? Rather than chide the administrators to spend the people's borrowed money more prudently, the governor instead enthusiastically applauded the agency's opulence in a CIRM press release.

And now comes the cruelest cut of all; the veto of Democratic state Sen. Sheila Kuehl's SB1565, which would have forced the CIRM to keep Proposition 71's campaign promise to help the poor by, as a Senate committee analysis put it, guaranteeing "uninsured Californians access to any drug that is, in whole or in part, the result of research funded by the CIRM."

"Big problems with Proposal 2? That's okay, just change them later"

The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press and their cookie cutter editorial board writers can’t help themselves from again falsely calling Michigan’s law against killing human embryos a ban on embryonic stem cell research. Why their editorial board writers continue to promote this lie over and over again is just more evidence they aren’t trustworthy news sources.

What I love most (besides the non-stop throwing around of the "embryonic stem cell ban" line in a state where embryonic stem cell research is federally funded) is the defense in both papers of how Proposal 2 prevents any state or local restrictions on human embryo research. State Senator Tom George recently highlighted this rather large problem in a Free Press editorial. The Free Press writes, “But that doesn't preclude the Legislature from seeking another constitutional change if that appears warranted” while the News notes, “Opponents warn that other language in this amendment, which prohibits future regulations on this research, could be problematic, and they have a point. In a new area of research, regulation may be necessary. But if that necessity arises, a process is in place to revise the state Constitution.”

Yeah, because changing the state Constitution is something that’s just so easy to do. It’s not like it takes millions of dollars to pass ballot proposals or anything.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Life Links 10/1/08

CBS News has the text of the part of Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin which aired last night. Here's the question Couric asked about abortion,
If a 15-year-old is raped by her father, do you believe it should be illegal for her to get an abortion, and why?
Unfortunately, politicians never answer this question very well. The usually just basically assert they're prolife without ever explaining the prolife position. However, we can all see the media bias here. I just can't wait until she or one of the other major network news anchors asks Obama about his position on tax-funded abortion and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

Stephen Waldman provides his take on the Obama-Born Alive controversy. While most of it is fair, he seems to have accepted Doug Kmiec's erroronous take that the legislation would force hospitals to try to save the lives of infants who aren't viable.

Archbishop John Vlazny has strongly criticized Oregon's governor Ted Kulongoski for hosting a fundraiser for NARAL. Kulongoski attends a Catholic church.
"This is a source of embarrassment for our church and a scandal for the Catholic community," Vlazny said in a statement. "For a Catholic governor to host an event of this sort seems a deliberate dissent from the teachings of the church."