Thursday, April 30, 2009

Life Links 4/30/09

Last night, Ed Henry asked President Obama if he was still as enthused about signing the Freedom of Choice Act as he was when he was speaking to Planned Parenthood during the campaign season. Henry also put in a nice shot about Obama's "above my pay grade" comment. Here's the transcript of Obama's answer which seemed focused on defending his abortion position and avoided explaining what FOCA is and why he promised signing would be the first thing we would do as president.

In the newspaper of Cal State Long Beach, Jonathan Oyama has probably the worst editorial I've ever read which focuses on the writer's dislike of a display with images of aborted children. He claims the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform shouldn't be allowed to display these pictures because of "Supreme Court cases on freedom of speech rights" and then fails to cite a single case. He claims the pictures are from illegal abortions without evidence. He then shows he doesn't seem to know the meaning of the words "hypocritical" or "statistic."

If we're lucky, we might get to see more poorly researched and argued articles by Oyama in the future. He's a senior journalism major.

A waitress in the UK has won a lawsuit after her boss suggested she get an abortion and reduced her hours after she became pregnant.
She said he told her the baby had not really formed, that she would be fat and ugly like the women in the supermarket.

Wesley Smith notes the use of a new manufactured term for human cloning ("stem cell research using aborted human eggs") which I've never heard before.

The Catholic Key Blog has an editorial written by Cardinal Justin Rigali which strongly disagrees with a previous column by Doug Kmiec in which Kmiec claimed Obama's guidelines were "ethically sensitive" and in some parts "more strict" than Bush's regulations. From the column:
Here Kmiec applauds Obama for taking “off the table” the option of “reproductive cloning.” But that only means cloned human embryos will be created solely for stem cells and other research uses, and not be allowed to survive and be born. That cannot be called a sensitive or pro-life policy.

With all due respect to Kmiec, then, on this and other issues relating to the destruction of unborn human life, the federal government is not moving “in a noticeably more Catholic-friendly direction.” Nor is it moving in a human-friendly direction.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Life Links 4/28/09

First Things has a letter Mary Ann Glendon wrote to Father Jenkins turning down Notre Dame's Laetare Medal.
Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”

• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Stem cells from fat have been used to treat 3 patients with multiple sclerosis.
An international team has found that the "very simple" injection of patients' own cells can stimulate the regrowth of tissue damaged by progression of multiple sclerosis, a finding which suggests a new way treat the neurological disease.

After the operation, some patients have been left free from seizures and better able to walk after the treatment.

Bonnie Erbe is more concerned about someone using a hidden camera to catch Planned Parenthood counselors breaking the law than she is about the counselors breaking the law, not reporting alleged statutory rape and encouraging underage girls to lie about the age of their boyfriend. You know you have a serious problem if you're more concerned about someone tricking a Planned Parenthood counselor than a Planned Parenthood counselor sending an alleged 13-year-old back to her 31-year-old boyfriend.

For a good laugh, here's Scott Swenson describing Kathleen Sebelius' abortion views:
There can be no doubt she is as politically centrist as Kansas is geographically, especially on sexual and reproductive health issues. The far-right wouldn't fight Kathleen Sebelius so hard if she didn't literally define the center so well.

JT at Between Two Worlds quotes a post by Kevin DeYoung noting a quote from Lincoln regarding how liberty (DeYoung replaces liberty with "choice") can mean different things to different people.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rev. Joel Hunter is not “completely pro-life”

CBN News has posted this statement from Reverend Joel Hunter regarding his thoughts on Obama’s first 100 days in office. Hunter writes,
As someone who is completely pro-life (concerned about the vulnerable outside the womb as well as inside the womb), I am encouraged by the vision (and budget) President Obama has cast for empowering those marginalized with the resources they need to become responsible citizens.
Hunter’s ability to call himself prolife evaporated when he claimed that the NIH Guidelines which expanded the federally funding of embryonic stem cell research “respect life from beginning to end.” I guess he’s concerned about human life outside the womb only if birth has occurred.

Hunter’s prolife credentials should take another hit after this statement to CBN News. At the end of the statement Hunter claims the Mexico City policy (not providing federal funds to the few extremely wealthy family planning organizations who provide and promote abortion internationally) had a “pro-life side to it.”
Even the overturning of the Mexico City Policy had a pro-life side to it, in that sex education, contraception and family planning almost certainly will decrease the number of abortions performed.”
Hunter, of course, hasn’t done any research to see if providing family planning funds to already-rich organizations intent on spreading abortion across the globe and in countries with prolife laws will decrease the number of abortions performed internationally.

He just thoughtlessly repeated what someone in the Obama administration told him. Just like Doug Kmiec.

That’s what parrots do.

Life Links 4/27/09

California abortion clinic owner Bertha Bugarin has been sentenced to 7 years in jail for performing abortions without a license in the San Diego area. She was previously sentenced to 3 years in jail for similar crimes in Los Angeles County. She’ll serve her terms concurrently.
Darvas said that the women suffered emotional trauma. One woman was hospitalized twice for complications and then gave birth to a baby who died within three hours, while another had to go through two procedures because the first was bungled.

The Austin-American Statesman has an article originally in the LA Times focusing on Lila Rose’s undercover investigations and video showing how various Planned Parenthoods fail to report possible cases of statutory rape. UPI also had a story on Rose’s efforts.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (UK’s governmental body which makes decisions on fertility issues and what can be done with embryos) is going to decide whether couples can store their embryonic children for the purpose of using those embryos in the future to create embryonic stem cell lines for themselves or their other children.
However, storing embryonic cells is controversial as they allow the creation of embryos for a purpose other than new life. It means couples could have IVF simply to create a body-repair kit.

A US company is already offering this service, which it has described as an ‘investment’ for the future.

The HFEA will discuss the issue in July – and if it rules in favour of the proposals, they will automatically become policy.

David Bass has a piece in the American Spectator about Planned Parenthood’s as a profitable non-profit.
Planned Parenthood's report boasts that, in 2007, "the number of adoption referrals at Planned Parenthood health centers increased by more than 100 percent. The number of abortions provided rose by a little more than five percent."

The percentages appear significant until one examines the hard numbers. In 2007, Planned Parenthood increased its number of adoption referrals by 2,502 for a total of 4,912 referrals. But it conducted 15,560 more abortions during the same period, totaling 305,310 abortions in all. For every adoption referral, therefore, Planned Parenthood conducted 62 abortions. Whoopty doo dang.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Life Links 4/24/09

Kathleen Sebelius has vetoed a bill to provide more regulations on late-term abortions in Kansas.

Kathryn-Jean Lopez has posted the text of a speech by Bill McGurn regarding President Obama's upcoming address at Notre Dame.
These are but a handful of the wonderful things going on at this campus. And we know that this witness exists too in the other, unheralded acts of love designed to ensure that the unwed sophomore who kneels before the Grotto with an unexpected pregnancy weighing on her mind has a better choice than the cold front door of a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Unfortunately, people across this nation – and perhaps even here at this university – know little of these things. And they do not know because the university keeps this lamp under a basket. In her most public witness, Notre Dame appears afraid to extend to the cause of the unborn the same enthusiasm she shows for so many other good works here.

If, for example, you click onto, you will often find a link for the Office of Sustainability, which happily informs you about all the things Notre Dame is doing to be green-friendly. You will find another link that defines the university with a series of videos that ask, “What would you fight for?” Each home game during the football season, NBC broadcasts one of these videos. They are more than a dozen of them – each highlighting members of the Notre Dame community who are fighting for justice, fighting for advances in medicine, fighting for new immigrants, and so forth.

Imagine the witness that Notre Dame might provide on a Fall afternoon, if millions of Americans who had sat down to watch a football game suddenly found themselves face to face with a Notre Dame professor or student standing up to say, “I fight for the unborn.”
I think I would actually become a fan of Notre Dame football (as opposed to currently hoping they lose every game) if that happened.

The Purple Envelope Campaign is up and running.
Just think how much we can raise for CareNet and Heartbeat Int. if everyone who sent a red envelope to the White House sends them a purple envelope!

Write this message:
Thank you for all that you do to protect life. Life begins at conception. We appreciate the work you do that helps women choose life. God bless you and your work.

This, like the Red Envelope Project, is something that you can do with your family. Please send your envelope and dollar to one or both of these great organizations.

Here's the addresses:
Care Net
PO Box 758530
Topeka, KS 66675-8530

Heartbeat Int.
665 E. Dublin-Granville Road, Suite 440,
Columbus, OH 43229, USA

World Magazine has an article on how Pastor Walter Hoye spent his time in prison. Pastor Hoye was arrested and spent 19 days in jail after sidewalk counseling outside an abortion clinic in California.
"I would be holding court with about 30 guys, explaining why I did what I did," he said. "I explained what an abortion actually does, that it takes an innocent human life. We held prayer vigils, we had Bible studies. I must have counseled and mentored guys all day and all night. It got to the point where we started talking seriously about Christ."

Most of the men in the cage at first mouthed pro-choice slogans, Hoye said. "But when I forced them to complete the sentence, 'I believe that a woman has a right to choose to kill an innocent life,' they couldn't do it."

Is Barack Obama a bigot?

Jill at Feministe has a post regarding the recent controversy over Perez Hilton's question to Miss California about same-sex marriage and the ensuing brouha-ha over her answer. Jill sums up what happened:
So by now you’ve probably heard about Miss California’s statements about same-sex marriage during the Miss USA pageant. In short, Miss California was asked whether she supported marriage rights, and she said, in many more words, “No.”
After the pageant, Perez Hilton (who was a judge at the pageant) went to call Ms. California Carrie Prejean some names, apologize, reverse his apology and then call her some more names.

Jill then attempts to argue that both Ms. California and Perez Hilton were being intolerant.
So Miss California said gay people shouldn’t be allowed to get married because she was raised to believe in opposite marriage, and Perez Hilton called her a bitch. Sounds like they’re operating on about the same level.

What? In what crazy, whacked-out universe is that "operating on the same level?"

One person was asked their opinion on a political issue. She gave an opinion which is shared by more than half the country. The other person insults her personally for giving this opinion.

Being tolerant of someone doesn't mean you agree their opinion. It means that you respect their right to share it (especially when you ask them for it) and don't personally attack them for it if you happen to disagree with their opinion. It's about tolerating the person sharing the opinion and treating them with some basic respect. It's not about accepting their beliefs as true. Tolerance only comes into play when there are disagreeing opinions over certain issues and it's about how the individuals who disagree treat each other when they're disagreeing.

In trying to show that other people don't really understand the concept of tolerance, Jill shows she doesn't understand the definition of tolerance and even sounds like she thinks what Prejean did was worse than what Hilton did.
I think some people don’t really understand the concept of “intolerance.” Being intolerant of someone’s racist, sexist, heterosexist, etc etc opinions is not the same as being intolerant of someone because of their race, sex, sexual orientation, etc etc. There’s a difference between trying to take away someone’s civil rights (or never offering them at all), and voicing your disapproval of a person who is trying to take away a group’s civil rights.
Being intolerant of someone's opinion is quickly turned into good thing if that person says something (like "I think marriage should be between a man and a woman) which you disagree with and think is "heterosexist." But note that Hilton wasn't intolerant of Prejean's opinion about same-sex marriage, he was intolerant towards her. He treated a woman he didn't know at all with a complete lack of respect simply because he disagreed with her opinion on the issue of whether people of the same-sex should be married. That's classic intolerance.

I don't think anyone would have faulted Hilton for intolerance if after the pageant he had shared his beliefs on same-sex marriage and noted his disagreement with Ms. Prejean's beliefs and critiqued her answer. I certainly wouldn't have. But he went way beyond that by childishly insulting her.

Jill goes on to critique comments by a Focus on the Family spokesperson by saying,
It’s not “religious persecution” to say that someone is a bigot for having bigoted views.

As Roland Martin aptly points out, many of the leading voices on the left believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. So if thinking that marriage should be between a man and a woman makes one a bigot (which is what Jill seems to be asserting here) then Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are all bigots.

For some reason, I doubt Jill will be making that kind of claim. It's much easier for bloggers in favor of same-sex marriage to claim Christians and conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage are all bigots than actually make an argument showing why they're bigots and then holding the politicians they prefer to the same standard.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yet another way to make induced pluripotent stem cells

Both Forbes and MSNBC have articles about a study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell where researchers used genetically engineered proteins to turned ordinary mouse cells into pluripotent cells.
Instead of inserting the four genes into the cells they wanted to reprogram, the scientists added the purified engineered proteins and experimented with the chemically defined conditions without any genetic materials involved until they found the exact mix that allowed them to gradually reprogram the cells.

The scientists found that those reprogrammed embryonic-like cells (dubbed "protein-induced pluripotent stem cells" or "piPS cells") from fibroblasts behave indistinguishably from classic embryonic stem cells in their molecular and functional features, including differentiation into various cell types, such as beating cardiac muscle cells, neurons, and pancreatic cells.

Hillary Clinton: "Reproductive Health" Includes Abortion

In Hillary Clinton's first congressional testimony since being confirmed as Secretary of State, she said the following:
"We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women's health and reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal and rare."
Anytime the U.S. pushes for some U.N. document which includes the phrase "reproductive health," remember that includes abortion.

Let’s work on this analogy

In the comments section of Cristina Page's recent blog post regarding reducing the need for abortions, Amanda Marcotte made the following comment in an attempt to answer why pro-choicers should want to reduce the need for abortion:
I want to reduce the need for abortion in the country as I do for myself (by taking the birth control pill) for the same reasons I do it for myself: Abortion is expensive, often painful outpatient surgery that costs money and time I don't want to spend.

Asking why you want to reduce the rate of abortion is like asking why you want to reduce the rate of cavities. We all think cavities are bad. Pro-choicers are just all about brushing your teeth and anti-choicers are all about quitting eating.
Besides trying to generalize her problems with abortion: expense (even though abortion is a fairly cheap surgery) and pain (anaesthesia is commonly used), the problem with this analogy is it uses cavities as both an analogy for unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

For pro-choicers like Marcotte, the true problem isn’t abortion (in fact Marcotte has called abortion a “moral good”), it’s unplanned pregnancy. The solution for this problem (once it has occurred) according to them is abortion in the same way that drilling and fillings would be the proper solution to cavities.

When prolifers ask pro-choicers why they think there should be less abortions, we’re trying to get them to actually spend some time and think about why they think on one hand that there should be fewer abortions and then on the other hand think abortion is the proper solution to an unplanned pregnancy if a woman so chooses.

Marcotte tries to avoid this by focusing on preventing unplanned pregnancies via contraception (analogized to brushing teeth). However, the reality is that there will always be unplanned pregnancies in our country (just like there will always be teeth with cavities). No contraceptive method is 100% and there are far too many individuals who use contraceptives (or brush their teeth) irregularly or don’t use them at all. So if there will always be unplanned pregnancies and abortion is a morally good option, why shouldn't there be more abortions considering large percentages of unplanned pregnancies don't end in abortion?

By Marcotte’s analogy, pro-choicers are saying they want fewer fillings. But why? I can understand why they'd want fewer cavities but if fillings are the proper response to the problem of cavities, why would we want less of them? If anything we'd want more to make sure everyone faced with the problem of cavities choose such a morally good option.

Pro-choicers can’t answer the question of why they want fewer abortions by answering that they want fewer unplanned pregnancies. It’s not an answer to the question. It’s a complete avoidance.

Life Links 4/23/09

Here’s the New York Times editorial on the NIH’s stem cell draft guidelines. They’re disappointed funding wasn’t made available for research on cell lines derived from cloned human embryos.

American United for Life have published their legislative summary/guide entitled Defending Life 2009.

Robert Carlson, formerly the bishop of Saginaw and a strong voice for the unborn has been appointed to replace Raymond Burke (another strong voice for the unborn) as the archbishop of St. Louis. I’m sorry to see him leave my state but I hope he’ll be able to do more in his new position.
Archbishop-elect Carlson has been outspoken in the area of life issues, particularly abortion. In 2003, he had a well-publicized dispute with Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota about Daschle’s positions on abortion. The archbishop-elect said at a press conference April 22 that the matter was intended to be a private one.

In November 2008, he issued a statement on the election of President Barack Obama, noting that “this moment in American history also comes with many setbacks in the continuing struggle to protect the rights and dignity of all people, especially the unborn.”

In that statement, he also spoke out against the passage of Proposal 2, a state constitutional amendment that protects human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research and allows government funding of stem-cell research.

“The culture has chosen to reject the matters that are nearest and dearest to the Catholic heart,” he wrote. “Therefore, our witness must grow stronger.”

A man in Nebraska was arrested after blocking the path of truck with graphic photos of aborted children.

Today is the day Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will either sign or veto late-term abortion legislation in Kansas. If she doesn’t sign it or veto it, the bill will became law.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life Links 4/22/09

A local Memphis television station has a story on Live Action catching a Memphis-based Planned Parenthood employee helping to cover up statutory rape.
Planned Parenthood in Memphis refused to comment on-camera on the tape.

In a statement, a spokeswoman called the allegation "serious."

While the spokeswoman said the accuracy of the tape hasn't been verified, she says Planned Parenthood has taken swift action, and is conducting additional staff training this week.

Christopher Orr (someone who favors legal abortion) shoots down the pro-choice argument that prolifers can't praise people for choosing life because they think abortion should be illegal.
I'm sympathetic to the intent of this argument, but ultimately I don't think it holds water. There are, after all, plenty of situations in which we applaud someone for doing one thing, even as we believe the alternative should be unacceptable or even illegal.

Imagine someone who is genuinely hungry, or even has a hungry family, who finds himself walking past an unattended fruit stand. Just because we might applaud his decision not to steal an apple, it doesn't mean we think theft should be a legal option.

Wesley Smith discusses how British advocates for experimenting on human embryos were able to turn the tide to get what they wanted.
But the point wasn't to provide the politicians and the public with accurate science from which to engage in rational analysis. It was to skew the politics and stack the deck in order to achieve a desired outcome. A pseudo scientific term was coined to carry the weight of this junk biology--and the "pre embryo" entered the lexicon.

That gave parliamentarians who wanted to authorize the research an excuse to do so. Human embryos were, suddenly, no longer human.

One would think after the whole Raelian cloning scam, the mainstream media would have learned their lesson regarding quacks who've claimed to have created cloned human embryos and implanted them in women's wombs. If reporting on one of these quacks, they would provide some expert refuting the likelihood of the quack's claims. Guess not.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Life Links 4/21/09

Wesley Smith uses the development of a butterfly to show how human embryos are human organisms.
Let's look at the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly. It is the same animal when it is a worm-like creature with many legs that it is later after it has metamorphosed into a beautiful butterfly that can fly. The butterfly isn't a different individual member of that species. It is the same member of that species--it is just in a different stage of development with different capacities. When it is a caterpillar, it can eat leaves but it has no wings. Still, it has the developmental potential to fly. It isn't any less a member of its species of butterfly when it is a caterpillar than after it leaves the cocoon.

The UK's Mirror shares Coleen Nolan's abortion story.
Aborting that baby was a terrible thing to go through, and now that I have three children I sometimes think, wistfully, I could have had a 28-year-old child by now.

But I've never tortured myself with guilt because I could honestly see no alternative.

I was barely 16 and had joined my sisters in the group The Nolans.

We'd had smash hit singles, sell-out UK and Japanese tours and had this goodygoody Von Trapp image. There was no way the youngest Nolan could be caught up in a baby scandal.

A woman in India has died after slipping into a coma during an abortion.

It appears Rev. Joel Hunter has joined Doug Kmiec in a deep imbibing of the Obama Kool-Aid. He thinks the NIH Guidelines which allow the federal funding of research which requires the intentionally killing of human embryos "respect life from beginning to end." It's sad when pastors sell-out their prolife beliefs and values to gain what they think is some kind of influence on President Obama. Instead the opposite happens. Instead of changing Obama's views, their views begin to change to match and support Obama's views.

A man in Virginia has been convicted of trying to hire a hitman to kill his former girlfriend after she refused to have an abortion. From the story:
Thorne-Begland said Holliday, 29, was pregnant by Scott and that the pair worked together at a bank's customer-service center. Scott was seeing another woman with whom he worked and did not want her to find out about Holliday, Thorne-Begland said.

Scott had told Holliday repeatedly to get an abortion, but she wouldn't do it, Thorne-Begland said.....

The informant asked Scott if he should shoot her in the head, in the hope that the fetus might survive. "Shoot her in the dome, boom, boom," the man said, according to a police transcript of the conversation filed in Richmond Circuit Court.

"I don't want the baby saved, man," Scott replied.

Zach Nielsen shares the story of a couple at his church who adopted a child with hydranencephaly. The child recently died. Below is an excerpt from the child's mother.
It may be this very realization of further indwelling sin that God seeks to remedy in part through our love of Matt. I once thought we were called to care for orphans and widows in their distress because by caring for them, we would see buckets of fruit in our own lives. I now believe, we are called to selfless acts because in our attempt to selflessness, our selifishness is exposed. I am utterly incapable of selfless love apart from Christ at work in me. So, exposed and helpless in the wake of selfishness, we have no choice but to rest completely in Christ for salvation. By faith alone, we are saved. Through our attempts at "good" works, we become all the more aware of our need for salvation. Praise God that His grace and love cover us completely and instill in us the hope of heaven!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Planned Parenthood Memphis caught covering up statutory rape

Another month goes by and Lila Rose and Live Action films has released another video of Lila posing as a minor claiming she's been impregnated by an older man. Their press release sums up the Planned Parenthood counselor's actions.
The Planned Parenthood counselor tells Rose on camera, "Look, if we keep this conversation I'm gonna have to talk to my manager and yeah, [your boyfriend]'s gonna get in trouble," but promises, "I'm not gonna tell anybody, ok?" She adds, "And please don't say that I told you this." When Rose tells the counselor she thinks her boyfriend will get in trouble if her parents find out, the counselor advises Rose to lie about the man's age when speaking to a judge in order to obtain a bypass of Tennessee's parental consent law for abortion: "Don't mention it. Just say you have a boyfriend 17 years old...whatever."

"The Planned Parenthood counselor hears about the abuse, says she should report it, decides to remain silent, then tells me to lie to the judge about 31-year-old man." Rose notes of the video.

The video is here.

Thoughts on Susan Boyle

Various videos of Susan Boyle singing on the British television program Britain’s Got Talent have been watched around 50 millions times combined on YouTube currently.

Susan Boyle has been featured on the Today Show and Good Morning America and I can't count the number of times I've seen the video of her singing on television during various news/entertainment shows.

I think this is a profound example of how broken our society is.

Since when did being young and beautiful become such a prerequisite for being a good singer that people are so surprised and amazed that a homely 47-year-old woman can sing?

NIH posts embryonic stem cell funding draft guidelines

The National Institutes of Health have posted their draft guidelines for the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Starting on April 24, the NIH will accept comments from the public on these guidelines for 30 days. To my surprise, the guidelines exclude funding on research using embryonic cell lines created from human embryos created for research purposes.
These draft Guidelines would allow funding for research using only those human embryonic stem cells that were derived from embryos created by in vitro fertilization (IVF) for reproductive purposes and were no longer needed for that purpose. Funding will continue to be allowed for human stem cell research using adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. Specifically, these Guidelines describe the conditions and informed consent procedures that would have been required during the derivation of human embryonic stem cells for research using these cells to be funded by the NIH. NIH funding for research using human embryonic stem cells derived from other sources, including somatic cell nuclear transfer, parthenogenesis, and/or IVF embryos created for research purposes, is not allowed under these Guidelines.
National Right to Life believes these guidelines could be part of what they’re calling a bait-and-switch strategy.
We believe that today's action may be part of a "bait-and-switch" strategy, under which Democratic leaders in Congress will suddenly bring up new legislation that they will claim codifies today's NIH action, but which will in fact authorize further expansions involving the deliberate creation of human embryos for use in research, by human cloning and other methods.
I’m not so sure. Wouldn’t it be much easier for the NIH just to fund any embryonic stem cell research (regardless of the source) than have these draft guidelines and then have Congress pass legislation which claims to match the guidelines but doesn’t? Congressional action would be harder to overturn in the long run but I’m doubting the NIH draft guidelines are part of some grand scheme. I guess we’ll have to see.

For more evidence that some scientists will never be satisfied with any funding restrictions, Stanford research Irv Weissman blasts the draft guidelines in a press release because they don’t allow the federal funding of research on embryonic stem cell lines created from cloned human embryos (SCNT is short for somatic cell nuclear transfer - the scientific term for cloning).
“Instead of facts, the NIH placed its own version of ethics in place of the president’s clear proclamation,” said Weissman, the Virginia & D.K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research. “As head of the National Academy of Sciences' panel that unanimously endorsed research using SCNT, and as a drafter of the guidelines for the International Society for Stem Cell Research, I know that this suggested ban on federal funding of SCNT-derived human embryonic stem cell lines is against our policies and against President Obama’s March 9 comments. The NIH has not served its president well.”
The NIH doesn’t really say research using embryonic stem cell lines from cloned embryos is unethical. Maybe they’ve finally come to realize that funding research involving cell lines for cloned embryos (which haven’t been created yet) isn’t “scientifically sound.”

UPDATEDYuval Levin's thoughts are here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Baby Blogging

More cat wrestling

Cristina Page is not the person to look for advice on how to reduce abortions

In a recent piece at the RH Reality Check blog, Cristina Page shares part of conversation she had with Jill Stanek after Jill asked Cristina why she felt it was important to reduce the need for abortion. Page basically avoids the question (focusing on unplanned pregnancy instead of abortion - if that's your true goal then why not focus solely on that?) and then expects Jill to answer a number of her questions.

Page then goes on to make a number of ridiculous claims like giving President Clinton the sole praise for reducing the number of abortion during his terms (because state prolife legislation apparently played no role in that reduction, it was just Clinton waving his magical wand) and blaming President Bush for slowing down this trend without providing any evidence showing any type of causation.

In various op-eds, Page continually supposes that her policy preferences will reduce abortions but never provides any evidence for how they will. She always points to European countries with lower abortion rates than the U.S. but never mentions abortion is more restricted there than here. Nor does she recognize that many states with extremely low abortion rates also happen to be states with a number of abortion restrictions. She also never puts her big girl pants on and discusses what happens in the U.S. when her policy preferences are put in place.

For years, Page worked for NARAL's New York branch where the legislators and pro-choice governors gave them nearly everything they wanted. They get an A- from NARAL on abortion laws and they were ranked 5th overall by the Alan Guttmacher Institute for state efforts to help women prevent unintended pregnancy. So by pro-choice standards, they're doing great.

Yet New York has one of the highest abortion rates and ratios for residents of any state in the country. In 2007 there was nearly 1 abortion for every 2 births. That's a disaster.

The statistics are even worse for black women. The abortion ratio for black women in New York State is nearly one abortion for every one birth. In New York City, there are more abortions performed on black women than there are births to black women. How sobering is that?

The CDC average for 2005 (which doesn't include a few states) was approximately 1 abortion for every 4 births. In some states like the Dakotas, Utah and West Virginia, the abortion ratio (abortions to births) was approximately 1 abortion for every ten births.

Clearly, the state of New York is not leading the way in reducing abortions. They are not some beacon of light which other states should follow if they want a lower number of abortions. If anything, New York's policies which Cristina Page prefers, (no restrictions on abortion, tax-payer funding of abortion, etc.) provide a great example of what not to do if you're looking to reduce abortion.

Taking advice on how to lower the number of abortions from Cristina Page is like taking advice on how to get a mortgage from somebody who got an adjustable rate mortgage, was foreclosed on and yet still thinks adjustable rate mortgages are the way to go.

Life Links 4/17/09

ABC News covered Sarah Palin's speech at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life banquet.
She said she learned she was pregnant with Trig while she was out of the state at an oil and gas conference.

"There just for a fleeting moment I thought, I knew, nobody knows me here. Nobody would ever know. I thought, wow, it is easy. It could be easy to think maybe of trying to change the circumstances. No one would know. No one would ever know."

Ultimately, Palin said she realized she had to stay true to what she'd been saying for years -- that "life is valuable because it is ordained".

"I had just enough faith to know that trying to change the circumstances wasn't any answer," Palin said.

But the Governor said the experience gave her an appreciation for what women and girls facing an unwanted pregnancy go through.

"I do understand what these women, what these girls go through in that thought process."

Matthew Franck takes down Doug Kmiec's latest defense of President Obama.
Will Douglas Kmiec affirm the proposition that a new human being exists as of fertilization, the coming-to-be of a zygote? If so, can he identify any human beings who are not persons? Not legal persons, just . . . persons? If there are any human beings who are not persons, what must happen to convert these human non-persons into human persons? Is there any stage of development, change of condition, or characteristic of identity we might choose for this decisive transition to “personhood” that would not be wholly arbitrary as a defining threshold? Is there any natural fact other than fertilization that can serve properly as the marker of our coming into being as distinct, individual human persons?

These are matters for reason, are they not? By declaring that such judgments are, for him, matters for “faith informed by love,” Kmiec encloses this great public issue in a little box called “religion” and tucks it away in the back of a cupboard. It’s a clever rhetorical maneuver that “religionizes” and thus radically privatizes each of our views on “personhood,” just the way abortion advocates have done for the last 35 years. By this gambit, President Obama is off the hook. He merely has his own private view, which reason cannot show to be inferior to any other view. We all just have our own different faith commitments about these things!

A man in Connecticut is in jail after being accused of repeatedly raping a now 13-year-old girl for more 2 years. Authorities found out after the girl traveled to New York for a late term abortion.

Cathy and Austin Ruse have a column discussing Bonnie Erbe's recent claim that having abortions in an economic downturn "benefits society."
One of the great triumphs of the pro-life movement is that it has managed to stigmatize abortion so thoroughly that even pro-abortion advocates are forced to admit there should be fewer of them. Erbe’s cheerleading for abortion is the vestige of an old and tired advocacy that will not gain traction, no matter what happens to the economy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Best News I've Heard Today

John Madden is retiring. Finally.

Life Links 4/16/09

A woman in Tennessee has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for trying to steal a baby. She claims she attempted to kidnap a newborn child after having an abortion and trying to cover it up and trick her abusive boyfriend.
In testimony Wednesday, Johnson told the court the New Year's Eve incident happened because she was trying to cover up an abortion and fool an abusive boyfriend. A relative told her what would happen if she didn't.

"He said, 'She better produce some kind of baby, or I'm going to kill her,' and he had a gun," said Johnson.
According to this story, prosecutors don’t trust her account of the reasons behind the kidnapping.

A British biotech firm called MedCell Bioscience is planning on starting a clinical trial in the next year using an adult stem cell technique which has successful treated race horses with tendon damage.
Patients will receive injections containing millions of their own stem cells, which have been extracted and multiplied up in a laboratory, and can regenerate new tissue to repair damaged regions.

More than 1,500 race horses have been treated using the same process and follow-up data suggests a 50 percent reduction in re-injury over a three year period, compared with conventional treatment.

Cate Nelson has a piece on Eco Child’s Play about how she went from a prolife feminist to being pro-choice during her pregnancy with her first child after she left her cheating fiancee.
But I also knew that most women do not have the support network that I had at hand. Most women overall, not just pregnant women in bad situations. If another woman were in my situation, pregnant, how could I ask her to carry the child? That was my choice, yes. But would my choice be different if I had no one?

I felt Little L move very early for a first pregnancy (12 weeks). I am thankful for him every day. I was thankful for him every day that I was a single mom, too. No matter how I struggled at times. But Little L and I had incredible people in our lives. People who babysat for free so I could work. People who bought us loads of clothes or sent us Whole Foods gift cards. People who thought about what we needed and gave and gave and gave, without us ever asking.

Most women—most poor families—do not have that.
She provides no argument for why the fact that some poor families who don’t have the support network she had means it should be legal to kill unborn children.

At the Weekly Standard blog, Kevin Vance notes that Hillary Clinton is standing by her praise of eugenicist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.
Mrs. Sanger, of course, wasn't the benevolent advocate for human rights that Clinton's remarks make her out to be. In fact, Sanger's "vision" for birth control seems to be united to a eugenic vision. In the October 1921 issue of The Birth Control Review, Sanger wrote that "the campaign for Birth Control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal with the final aim of Eugenics."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Talk about self-defeating

One of my favorite arguments which is often put forward by pro-choice advocates who oppose informed consent laws is that women know exactly what abortion is and does so any law which attempts to regulate what information abortionists provide to women considering abortion is disrespectful to women. Kathleen Reeves makes this type of argument in this post at the RH Reality Check blog.
It takes a special kind of arrogance for a person to turn a religious view into a critique of medicine. The statement in the bill could be describing a person, a dog, or a fish, but not a fetus. And the insistence that this bill is for women’s own good is so dishonest that I wonder how these people put up with themselves.
Which statement is Reeves referring to? This one:
"The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
This is language which some Kansas legislators hope abortionists will be required to say to women considering abortions.

Apparently, Reeves thinks dogs and fish could be considered whole, separate, unique living human beings.

Also note Reeves' argument for why this statement is wrong:
It codifies a fringe view: that an embryo or a fetus is a living thing having, apparently, nothing to do with the body in which it’s being carried.
Now which part of the statement does Reeves' reject. That the unborn are living things? Or that they having nothing to do with their mothers (an assertion which is nowhere in the statement)? Or the combination of the two?

Regardless, she brings no evidence to bear which indicates the unborn aren't whole, separate, unique living human beings. This is par for the course for the vast majority of abortion advocates. They believe the unborn are not living human beings because.... well, because they just aren't.

Reeves then goes on to argue it's offensive to women (like her) to tell them what abortion does.
But will anyone stand up and say that it’s offensive to all women seeking abortions, and to all women, period, to say that we just don’t understand abortion?
What's obvious is that Reeves doesn't understand abortion. She thinks it doesn't terminate the life of a living human being because she erroneously thinks the unborn aren't living human beings.

Her post (which shows her ignorance regarding biology, what the unborn are and what abortion does) proves the thesis of her post (all women understand what abortion does) wrong.

Adult stem cells help treat type 1 diabetes

From Bloomberg:
The study, reported today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 20 of 23 patients treated with their own stem cells reduced or ended dependence on insulin as their bodies took over production of the hormone. Twelve patients stayed off insulin for extended periods, while eight relapsed and returned to low-dose shots. Three didn’t respond.
The study's abstract is here.

So far it appears that international news outlets are more open to publishing this news than their American counterparts.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life Links 4/14/09

DHHS Secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius received 3x as much money from infamous abortionist George Tiller as she disclosed.
In a response to questions from the Senate Finance Committee made public last week, Sebelius wrote that she received $12,450 between 1994-2001 from Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers.

But in addition to those campaign donations, records reviewed by The Associated Press show that Tiller gave at least $23,000 more from 2000-2002 to a political action committee Sebelius established while insurance commissioner to raise money for fellow Democrats.

Sebelius did not tell senators about that additional money, although Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., asked specifically about any Tiller donations to her PAC.

UK Telegraph columnist Ed West wonders why atheists don't seem to care about the abortion issue?
I'm not a hard-line anti-abortion campaigner. Given the state of public opinion, the best we can hope for at the moment is a compromise – but unrestricted access up to 24 weeks, paid for by the taxpayer, is not a compromise, it's a law drawn up by an ideologically-driven minority. Denying the humanity of a 20-week foetus is as unscientific and irrational as denying the beef on your plate is a cow because you can't hear it moo.

Al Gore is going to sit on the board of a venture capitalist company focused on induced pluripotent stem cells. This makes me wonder what Gore would have done with the stem cell issue if he had run in 2008 and been elected.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Denver Post needs to do a little digging

The Denver Post has an article which profiles woman named Leah Potts who suffered a spinal cord injury tens years ago and has gone to India for “human embryonic stem-cell transplants.” Potts is preparing to go to India again for another transplant at the price tag of $75,000.

If reporter Claire Martin ( had done a little digging she would have discovered that Potts received treatment at the clinic of Geeta Shroff. Shroff is a former fertility expert who claims to have stumbled upon a limitless supply of embryonic stem cells from one embryo which can somehow be injected in any patient with no adverse effects. She claims she hasn’t come across a disease which her embryonic stem cells can’t treat. Sound too good to be true? It is.

If Claire Martin had done some research she would have also discovered that every reputable stem cell researcher in the world doesn’t buy for a second that Shroff is actually injecting patients with embryonic stem cells. She has never once documented her work or provided any proof that she’s actually injecting patients with embryonic stem cells. Shroff is a scam artist who used the outlandish hyping of embryonic stem cell research and the hopes of patients to line her pockets.

60 Minutes even did a story on Shroff where embryonic stem cell researcher Hans Keirstead shared this:
LIZ HAYES: Now, if you're still thinking what Dr Shroff is doing here might work, you should know this — none of her patients receive immunosuppressants or anti-rejection drugs. And, without them, her treatment is not only useless, it could also be harmful.

DR HANS KEIRSTEAD: They are not immunosuppressed which means that, for certain, the patients that receive the cells are rejecting the cells. That is an adverse reaction. And, I think that most researchers in my position in first and second world nations are very, very disturbed at renegade, rogue researchers squirting cells that are unqualified into humans.
Here's what Dr. Wise Young, a spinal cord injury researcher thinks about Geeta Shroff:
"She's also a scam. She has no background in stem cells, has never done anything in stem cells, never published anything in stem cells, and all of a sudden she comes out with something that she claims are human embryonic stem cells. They've not allowed anyone to look at these things, they've provided no evidence that these are human embryonic stem cells. And what is also not being published is there are multiple lawsuits against her by people who claim that she has done nothing, and there are a number of investigations. Geeta Shroff herself would take patients and tell them that she's going to cure them — even before she sees them and examines them."

Dr. Shroff is taking advantage of injured and sick people by bilking them of tens of thousands of dollars and then injecting them with something which clearly isn’t embryonic stem cells.


Marcy Bloom on Jacob Appel’s call for an Abortion Pride Movement (my emphasis):
Of course, we don't live in that world yet. Like Appel, describing abortion as safe, legal, and rare" has always deeply offended me...the rare part, that is. Should women be rare? Should our sexuality and sexual expression be rare? Should abortion providers be rare? (They already are.) Should sexual activity be rare? It is, of course, unwanted pregnancy that needs to be rare. Unfortunately, due to misogynistic beliefs and policies, it isn't. As a result, there needs to be as many safe, legal, accessible, funded, and compassionate abortions as women freely chose.
Yes, misogynistic beliefs and policies are what make unwanted pregnancies so frequent. It has nothing to do with people who don't want to have children having sexual intercourse without using contraceptives or using them inconsistently.

Life Links 4/13/09

Ron Reagan has an interview at where he continues to spin in his support of killing human embryos for their stem cells. He even tries to make the “pre-embryo” argument.
We’re actually talking about pre-embryos here. Technically speaking, it’s not an actual embryo yet......

You’re talking about something that’s quite different from the quote un-quote “embryos” that you get from an IVF clinic, and very different from the kind that would be developed in a laboratory. Until a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus my understanding is it’s not an embryo. It’s a blastocyst, or a pre-embryo.
He also argues for human cloning for research.
On the other hand, you can get your embryonic stem cells by making them in a laboratory taking your skin cell and a donor egg, taking the nucleus out of that egg so you’ve rendered it genetically inert where essentially it has no DNA anymore. You put your skin cell where the nucleus of that egg used to be, then you hit it with some chemicals and magically enough it begins to act as if a conception has taken place. But no conception has ever taken place. This is essentially a fake embryo. It’s not a unique genetic entity.
Reagan does have one thing right.
There’s a great deal of confusion and scientific illiteracy around this issue, and among politicians.
He also calls the Dickey Amendment “the next hurdle to get over.”
The ban has been lifted on funding for embryonic stem cell research, but there’s still legislation in congress that gets renewed every year that will ban federal funding for the creation of embryonic stem cells. That’s the next hurdle to get over.

China has 32 million more men than women because of sex-selective abortion.
In the paper, Zhejiang university professors Wei Xing Zhu and Li Lu and Therese Hesketh of University College London found that in 2005 alone, China had more than 1.1 million excess male births.

Among Chinese aged below 20, the greatest gender imbalances were among one-to-four-year-olds, where there were 124 male to 100 female births, with 126 to 100 in rural areas, they found.

The gap was especially big in provinces where the one-child policy was strictly enforced and also in rural areas.

Jiangxi and Henan provinces had ratios of over 140 male births compared to female births in the 1-4 age group.

Chinese scientists have apparently created mice eggs from stem cells in the ovaries of infant and adult mice.

According to the UK’s Telegraph, the Vatican has blocked Caroline Kennedy as the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.
Vatican sources told Il Giornale that their support for abortion disqualified Ms Kennedy and other Roman Catholics President Barack Obama had been seeking to appoint.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Memo to Amy Sullivan: Get Your Facts Straight!

Someone might want to inform Time's Amy Sullivan that Barack Obama expanded the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and will allow federal tax dollars to be spent on whatever the National Institutes of Health deems reasonable. This changed the previous policy which allowed federal funding of embryonic stem cell lines created before August of 2001.

Obama didn't sign "an executive order allowing research on embryonic stem cells to go forward after an eight-year halt."

Nor did he "reverse George W. Bush's ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research" since Bush was the first president to fund embryonic stem cell research and embryonic stem cell research received hundred of millions of dollars in federal funding before Obama took office.

It would really be nice if reporters like Sullivan and her editors at Time took a few minutes to familiarize themselves with the basic facts of the topics they're writing on before printing descriptions of public policy which are blatantly untrue.

You start to realize that "reporters" like Sullivan are more interested in pushing their policy preferences than reporting facts when you seem them constantly using innaccurate policy descriptions which also happen to be exactly how proponents of changing a policy inaccurately describe the policy in an attempt to influence public opinion.

Life Links 4/10/09

World Magazine and the Omaha World-Herald both have articles on how the economy is possibly affecting women in unplanned pregnancies.

Kim Lute, an associate producer at CNN International in Atlanta, has an editorial in favor of embryonic stem cell research. She seems to thinks embryonic stem cell will one day lower the number of people who need organ donations. Unable to find any examples of how embryonic stem cells are ever going to be used to create replacement organs, she turns to adult stem cells for a success story.
Recently, an article in the British medical journal The Lancet announced that a team of international doctors performed a pioneering and successful windpipe transplant on a young Colombian woman. A donated trachea was re-engineered using the woman’s own stem cells —- extracted from her bone marrow —- thus eliminating the need for immunosuppressant drugs. This biological and transformative structure renewed hopes that manufactured organs might revolutionize the concept of traditional transplantation. Now that stem cell research will be better funded, perhaps science can succeed where human generosity has failed. Perhaps no one else will face a preventable death.
It's really quite breathtaking to realize how little proponents of embryonic stem cell research know about the research they are so fervent in their support of.

According to the Catholic News Agency, Obama is having some trouble finding an ambassador to the Vatican and that Doug Kmiec wouldn't be accepted.

UPDATE: The Vatican is denying they've turned down Obama's picks.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Red Envelope Project

I’m not a fan. According to this World Net Daily article around 2.25 million red envelopes were received by the White House.

How many of them were seen by President Obama? Probably close to zero.

How much money was spent mailing empty red envelopes to a president who will likely never see more than a single one of them?

2,250,000 x .43 (for a stamp) = $967,500

Nearly a million dollars, not to mention the cost of buying red envelopes, and what did it accomplish?

Prolifers should really be looking for a more positive way of spending their money to support prolife causes than the Red Envelope Project.

Instead of buying and mailing red envelopes, let's encourage prolifers to make small donations to a prolife charity of their choice.

Planned Parenthood abortion numbers up again

According to their most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood again increased the number of abortions performed at their clinics. The annual total has now eclipsed 300K with 305,310 performed in 2007. This is an increase of 5.4% from 2006's total of 289,750.

They also made $85 million in profit and received nearly $350 million from government grants.

Surprisingly, after years of dropping numbers, the number of adoption referrals more than doubled to 4,912.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Life Links 4/8/09

Women's Choice Clinic of Oakland, the 'oldest feminist health center providing abortions in the nation" is set to close it doors this week.

Rebecca Taylor has a post on how Ben and Jerry's is using a fake cloned cow milk company to educate people about milk from cloned cows.
So while the people in that video cringe at drinking milk from a cloned cow, they probably support therapeutic cloning. Therapeutic cloning is the cloning of human embryos to harvest stem cells that, in theory, will treat every disease under the sun. And scientists all over the world are rushing to make it a reality.

I don't know...drinking milk from a cloned cow or injecting myself with stem cells from my dead embryonic clone? I say pass the Oreos!

I am puzzled that people are instinctively repulsed by drinking milk from a cloned cow, but not instinctively repulsed by being treated with stem cells taken from a cloned human embryo. And not just any cloned human embryo, but their clone. Can someone please explain this to me?

In the United Kingdowm, anaesthetist Dr. Narendra Sharma was found not guilty of sexually abusing sedated women undergoing abortions. One of the main defense witnesses cited "told the jury she had seen bullying and `extreme' and `open' racism when she worked at the (Marie Stopes abortion) clinic from July to November."

Wesley Smith shares his two cents regarding the Bush conscience protections.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Pamela Merritt isn't being honest about Missouri's legislation to prevent coerced abortions

Pamela Merritt has an intentionally deceptive scenario which she claims Missouri bills attempting to prevent coerced abortions could prevent a woman from obtaining an abortion (my emphasis).
Consider a woman who is pregnant as the result of rape who, with her doctor, decides that an abortion is the best course of action. Imagine that rape survivor also mentions to her doctor that her boyfriend agrees with her decision, but has been aggressive with her about it. With HB46, now the doctor must turn the situation over to the government which mandates that the doctor label that rape survivor a "victim of coerced abortion" who "lacks the consent required by law."

Except that the bills specifically define the crime of coercion by saying:
1. A person commits the crime of coercing an abortion if the person knowingly coerces a woman to seek or obtain an abortion by:

(1) Committing, attempting to commit, or conspiring to commit:

(a) An offense defined by any other statute of this state against the woman or her family or household member;

(b) Assault as defined in section 565.050, 565.060, or 565.070;

(c) Domestic assault as defined in section 565.072, 565.073, or 565.074; or

(d) Stalking or aggravated stalking as defined in section 565.225;

(2) Forcibly or without her knowledge administering to or causing the woman to ingest any poison, drug, or other substance intended to cause an abortion, or attempting or threatening to do so;

(3) Discharging, attempting to discharge, or threatening to discharge the female employee; or changing, attempting to change, or threatening to change her compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; or

(4) Revoking, attempting to revoke, or threatening to revoke a scholarship awarded to the woman by a public or private institution of higher education.
To me committing assault is a little more than "being aggressive."

Merritt's scenario also falsely claims the abortionist "must turn the situation over to the government" because the woman in her scenario "lacks the consent required by law" according to the legislation. Except the legislation (at the very end) also describes when an abortionist would have to believe a "woman lacks the consent required by law" (my emphasis).
"Under the provisions of chapter 188, RSMo, or any other provision of law requiring that a woman give her consent freely and without coercion prior to an abortion, whenever a physician knows that the predominant reason the woman is seeking or obtaining an abortion is that the woman is a victim of coerced abortion, the physician shall certify that the woman lacks the consent required by law."
It seems quite clear from Merritt's scenario that the predominant reason for the abortion wouldn't be coercion.

So the real question is: Why does Pamela Merritt feel the need to create scenarios which clearly wouldn't be applicable under this legislation and then claim they would?

Maybe because she has trouble coming up with good arguments to be opposed to this legislation.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Kmiec asks, George Answers

Dan Gilgoff has published Robert George’s responses to Doug Kmiec’s questions regarding human embryos.

I think my favorite answer would be this one when Prof. George responds to Kmiec’s question regarding where the church has presented scientific evidence regarding the humanness of the human embryo.

The magisterium of the Church has made reference to the facts of human embryology in various documents touching on our moral obligations to our brothers and sisters at the dawn of life. (It has done so most recently in the Vatican Instruction Dignitas Personae. See especially sections 4-6.) The authors of these documents have rightly assumed that these facts are not obscure and are easily accessible to anyone who cares to know them. Joseph Biden can read. If he took the teaching of his Church seriously—indeed, if he took seriously the question of the moral status of those beings whose lives are deliberately taken in abortion and embryo-destructive research—he would spend the small amount of time required for him to familiarize himself with the facts.
He also has some thoughts on how we should treat those whom we disagree with.
In thinking about what attitude one ought to adopt towards fellow citizens with whom one disagrees about profound issues of right and wrong, all of us would do well to consider the example set by Ulysses S. Grant. Although Grant waged relentless war against Robert E. Lee and his army, the Union general regarded his great adversary as a man of integrity and honor. Indeed, he admired Lee for fighting so selflessly for a cause he believed in, though it was, Grant bluntly said, "the worst cause for which anyone ever fought." After Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Grant refused to exult, or permit his men to exult, over his vanquished foe, and (to Lee's astonishment) expressly declined to subject Lee to the humiliation of demanding his sword. Going still further in magnanimity, Grant provided 25,000 rations to Lee's starving army. If after four years of bitter and bloody warfare, General Grant could treat General Lee with such respect, we should be able to treat those with whom we disagree with no less respect, even as we struggle, as we are bound in conscience to do, to defeat them in the arenas of democratic deliberation and decision.

Life Links 4/6/09

Legislators in Georgia have passed a bill to provide a legal framework for embryo adoption where embryos are no longer “donated.”

Researchers in Great Britain are hoping to control adult stem cells with magnets to treat patients with damaged bones.

Albert Mohler notices how some culture of death advocates have done a poor job hiding the ugliness of their ideas.
So, Ludwig Minelli argues that suicide is a "marvelous, marvelous human possibility" that will cut medical costs and Bonnie Erbe argues that abortion is "a good decision" that will benefit us all.

The Culture of Death usually disguises itself better than this. Here the ugliness and brutality -- the utter Godlessness of such proposals are here for all to see. Worldviews matter. Indeed, worldviews are a matter of life and death.

Some prolife groups are upset at the lack of grilling during the Sebelius confirmation hearings.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Boxed water?

My local paper recently published an article on a couple of local guys who started a company called Boxed Water is Better in which they sell water but in cardboard carton instead of plastic bottles.

According to their web site, they’re doing it for the environment.
Started with the simple idea of creating a new bottled water brand that is kinder to the environment and gives back a bit - we found that it shouldn't be bottled at all, but instead, boxed. So we looked to the past for inspiration in the century old beverage container and decided to keep things simple, sustainable, and beautiful.

What will they think of next? Selling dirt in biodegradable containers?

This isn't a product for people who care about the environment. It's a product for people who want to look like they care about the environment. If boxed/bottled water consumers really cared about the environment then they’d be drinking water out of their faucet.

Contraceptives are that effective?

Speakers for Feminists for Life often point out how rare it is to see a visibly pregnant college student on campus and then argue one of the reasons for this is that women in college aren't provided with the resources they need to continue their education and their pregnancy. Which leads them either to drop out/put their education on hold or have an abortion.

In response to this, they encourage colleges and the government to provide resources to pregnant and parenting college students.

Jessica at Feministing doesn't think the absence of visibly pregnant college students is a problem because of contraception.
Apparently it didn't occur to Shablin that college students may be using contraception, and that's why there are "no children." Of course, the folks at Feminists for Life (and other anti-choice organizations) tend to think of birth control as abortion, so perhaps Shablin knew exactly what she was saying.
Besides the false accusation that FFL thinks birth control = abortion, can Jessica really believe contraceptives prevent all pregnancies for all college women?

Is there some new contraceptive I haven't heard of which works 100% of the time and is used 100% effectively every time by every woman in college?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Does that really explain the outrage?

Cornell law professor Sherry Colb attempts to explain why someone in favor of legal abortion would be “outraged” by the killing of Sycloria Williams’ baby girl Shanice (whom Colb repeatedly calls a “fetus”) after she gave birth while waiting for the child to be aborted.

It’s really quite interesting to read as Colb uses the bodily autonomy argument to explain why putting a born child in a biohazard bag and throwing her in the garbage is worthy of outrage while dismembering that same child at the same level of development but in a different location is merely “morally complicated.”
One might argue, as some pro-life advocates have, that there is no meaningful difference between what Gonzalez did and what an abortion provider does, because in both cases, a fetus is killed. This argument, however, ignores one of the main premises of the right to abortion – the bodily-integrity interest of the pregnant woman. Particularly at the later stages of pregnancy, the right to abortion does not protect an interest in killing a fetus as such. What it protects instead is the woman's interest in not being physically, internally occupied by another creature against her will, the same interest that explains the right to use deadly force, if necessary, to stop a rapist. Though the fetus is innocent of any intentional wrongdoing and the rapist is not, the woman's interest in repelling an unwanted physical intrusion is quite similar.

Once the fetus is no longer inside the woman's body, though, killing it is not necessary to preserving the woman's bodily integrity.

The problem with this argument is it really doesn’t get to the reason behind the emotional revulsion and outrage people feel when they hear about what abortion clinic owner Belkis Gonzalez allegedly did.

Is it really possible to emotionally react to the killing of this child by saying or thinking, “How could Gonzalez do that? Didn’t she know the child was no longer an intruder/creature/rapist occupying Sycloria’s body without consent?”

People are outraged at Gonzalez’s alleged actions because she intentionally killed a tiny, helpless human being, not because she killed a human being who recently ceased to be an “intruder.”

As she continues, Colb’s thoughts about what Gonzalez might have been thinking are truly bizarre. The reason Gonzalez acted as she did seems quite obvious (she was attempting to cover up a botched abortion at her shady abortion clinic - duh!) and it certainly wasn’t because Gonzalez thought “she was fulfilling the patient's wishes” or because she “believed that an abortion truly consists of two distinct, equally essential acts – the act of killing the fetus and the act of removing the fetus and the pregnancy from the woman's body.”

Another bizarre moment occurs when Colb argues that women should be allowed to abort their viable unborn children (instead of attempting to remove them without killing them) because “the woman has an interest in accomplishing expulsion in a manner that does not itself threaten her with physical injury.”

Yes, because that’s why women have elective, late-term abortions. It’s not because they want to get rid of their child, it’s because they want the child removed in a way that doesn’t threaten them with physical injury (as if late-term abortions were magical surgical procedures which never injured women).

Kaine signs embryonic stem cell funding ban

Governor Tim Kaine has signed a bill to ban state funding of embryonic stem cell research.
Asked for comment about Kaine's departure from the national party line, the DNC referred questions to the governor's office in Richmond.

Lynda Tran, the governor's communications director, said that Kaine's decision is "in keeping with his faith and his personal beliefs."

I wish Jennifer Granholm, Michigan’s governor, took “her faith” and “personal beliefs” about the value of human life this seriously.

HT: Rebecca Taylor

Life Links 4/2/09

Dr. Oz attempts to educate Oprah Winfrey and Michael J. Fox about stem cells. He starts talking about how the debate regarding stem cells is over (because of the advancements with iPS cells) about 2 minutes in.

Bonnie Erbe thinks that women deciding to have abortions because of the bad economy is a good decision. She also thinks this is something we should all agree on.
But in the long run, can we not agree that an unwed couple's decision not to bring a fourth child into the world when they are having trouble feeding themselves and three children is no tragedy? It's actually a fact-based, rational decision that in the end benefits the three children they already have and society as well.
The obvious problem with Erbe’s analysis is that she assumes the child about to be killed by abortion isn’t already in this world. If the child didn’t already exist then there would be no reason to have an abortion.

An armed gunman robbed an abortion clinic in Florida.
The man walked in about 2:40 p.m. and asked an employee whether he could use the restroom, the Broward Sheriff's Office said. The man then pulled out a gun and demanded money.

No patients were at the clinic, but four female employees were present. He told three of them to go to another area and ordered the fourth to empty the cash drawer, BSO said.

Kirsten Powers takes on groups opposed to allowing women to the option of seeing images of their ultrasounds before abortion.
What really seems to enrage NARAL and Planned Parenthood is when crisis pregnancy centers use ultra-sound devices, or other methods, to show women pictures of their fetuses. To say that this is a “scare tactic” would be like saying it is a “scare tactic” to show a man a picture of clogged arteries to try to get him to understand his health situation. Yes, it may scare him in a certain direction — or not — but it’s an informed decision.

If a woman is seven weeks pregnant and someone shows her this picture, what is wrong with that? How is that “scary”?

Women are not delicate little flowers who can’t handle information, despite what NARAL Pro Choice and Planned Parenthood tell us. They should have the option of having all the information presented to them before an abortion so they understand what they are doing.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Life Links 4/1/09

Hadley Arkes has a proposal for what could occur when President Obama visits Notre Dame.
The President of Notre Dame, the Rev. John Jenkins, has offered his own words to put the matter in a more defensible light, and those words have been echoed by members of the faculty. Let me take them at their word, and offer a proposal. President Jenkins was reported to have said that he doesn’t condone President Obama’s policies, and yet he thinks it important for the president to come to Notre Dame “to engage in conversation.” President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, noted that the president had met recently with Francis Cardinal George to discuss matters of interest to the Church. And with that background, he said, the president “looks forward to continuing that dialogue in the lead-up to the commencement” at Notre Dame.

As H.L. Mencken used to say, people ought to get what they want “good and hard.” If the university excuses itself in this instance with the claim that the president is coming to Notre Dame to have a serious conversation, well … let’s have that serious conversation. Notre Dame is amply supplied with people who can articulate the Catholic position on abortion and the taking of innocent life. Why not have a debate/discussion?

What happens when pro-choicers have no good arguments against legislation which gives women the option of seeing an ultrasound and hearing the heartbeat of their child before an abortion? They write ignorant, assertion-filled tirades like this one by Melvina Young. Melvina Young starts off by claiming those opposed to abortion think women are stupid and it only goes downhill from there. On one hand, Young claims women seeking abortions have already seen ultrasounds/heard the heartbeat of their children and then claims the goal of the legislation is "to elicit doubt, pain and guilt. Period." Huh? If women have already seen their ultrasounds then why how could giving them the option of viewing their ultrasound elicit such doubt, pain and guilt?

Vanessa at Feministing celebrates Tiller's acquittal (she also seems to think he got shot recently) and the comments section includes some typically ignorant comments from Amanda Marcotte, who seems to think Tiller does abortions to save women's lives and that it's "repugnant" for people to think that some women wait so long into pregnancy before deciding to have an abortion. It would be nice if Marcotte actually spend a few minutes doing research instead of just relying on her less-than-common-sense. Then she might find out that Board of Healing Arts investigation into Tiller focuses on 11 abortions performed on girls (most of them between the ages of 13-15) who had abortions after 24 weeks.

Researchers in Texas are using adult stem cells to help treat stroke patients.

The Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan has denied Right to Life of Holland application to have a float. Some residents in the city filled with conservative Christians aren't happy about this. When I checked an online petition to save the float already had more than 2,000 signatures.