Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Baby Blogging

Walking in mommy's shoes

and enjoying an ice cream cone

A Prolife Civil War?

At Alternet, Cristina Page claims the prolife movement is on the verge of a civil war (!?!?) because of Tim Ryan got botted from the advisory board of Democrats for Life.

She perpuates the lazy and thoughtless assertion that Tim Ryan was kicked off the advisory board of Democrats for Life merely because he supports contraception. Page fails to note that James Langevin is still on that same board even though he's signed on as a co-sponsor of Ryan's contraception supporting legislation. She also fails to note his booting happened shortly after he voted to allow Washington D.C. to fund abortions. But never mind that. Ryan "is committed to preventing abortion so much so that he, unlike every other pro-life legislator in Congress" worked with a pro-choice organization to discover that the best way to limit abortion is to funnel more money to Planned Parenthood, America's top abortion provider.

It's amazing she would publish this column a week after a large number of prolife organizations came together via a webcast to discuss how to prevent the stealth inclusion of abortion in health care reform. Apparently, you can overlook that togetherness when you have Jim Wallis, Frank Page and Joel Hunter speaking in favor of Ryan's legislation. In this civil war, you have Wyoming vs. the rest of the United States.

You can tell Tim Ryan is a liar from his own description of how he supposedly "got the boot."
"I went to the Democrats for Life of America's national board meeting that they had in DC a few years back and there were 50 board members or so and I gave them my pitch: If you're really for reducing abortions you've gotta be for contraception. I gave them all the statistics on unintended pregnancy and that most abortions take place for women within 200% of poverty and all this stuff and it just didn't resonate with them at all and so we had this stark disagreement and I got the boot."
So a "few years back," he advocated supporting contraception as a means of reducing abortion but wasn't kicked off then. He was subsequently kicked off a few years later because of his position on contraception which he shared a few years ago.

Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense. Either Democrats for Life is the slowest, moving organization in the world or Tim Ryan is a liar.

Life Links 7/31/09

The AP reports on attempts to exclude abortion from health care reform.
The amendment said health care legislation moving through Congress may not impose requirements for coverage of abortion, except in limited cases. It was approved in the Energy and Commerce Committee after conservative Democrats joined Republicans to support it.

But committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., invoked House rules that allowed him to bring up the amendment for a second vote, despite Republican objections.

This time, one conservative Democrat — Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee — changed his vote from "yes" to "no." And a second conservative Democrat who hadn't voted the first time — Rep. Zack Space of Ohio — voted "no."
Those votes were enough to revoke the first vote and prevent the amendment from passing. Space has a 0% prolife voting record while Gordon has voted in favor of a couple of pieces of prolife legislation in 2005-2006 (such as the Child Interstate Notification Act and the Unborn Pain Awareness Act) and did vote for the passage of three pieces of prolife legislation (PBA Ban Act, Unborn Victims of Violence and human cloning ban) in 2003-2004 after voting in favor of hostile amendments.

Lynn Paltrow has an exceptionally poor piece in the RH Reality Check blog which basically argues prolifers shouldn't claim abortion is a form of violence, an attack on innocent life, killing, murder, etc. because a good portion of women who have abortions have already given birth. You see, whether or not this kind of rhetoric accurately describes abortion doesn't really matter because using this kind of rhetoric "reveals a frightening degree of anger, disrespect for and hostility" towards abortionists and women who have abortions.

This logic is a little like saying we can't use the term "mutilation" when talking about female genital mutilation because it shows hostility towards fathers and mothers who choose to have their daughters genitals mutiliated.

Richard Stith writes about how attempts to stealthly include abortion in health care reform is a "struggle for the moral validation of abortion."
Inclusion of abortion in an official national healthcare plan is a communal imprimatur, similar to the imprimatur received for gay sex when gay marriage is approved. It does more than increase liberty; it says that nothing is significantly wrong with the act in question....

The great political problem for pluralism is that toleration alone may not satisfy the human heart. John Noonan (in A Private Choice) has reflected upon how slavery and abortion became polity-shattering to the degree that advocates for each cause escalated their demands from simple toleration to universal legal approval. Yet he also recognizes their difficulty in moderating those demands: “[I]n a moral question of this kind, turning on basic concepts of humanity,…you cannot be content with the practical toleration of your activities. You want, in a sense you need, actual acceptance, open approval,…the moral surrender of [your] critics.”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Life Links 7/30/09

The various media outlets, including the New York Times, are reporting on the news that the official number of abortions a year in China is 13 million. The official number may be much lower than the actual number of Chinese abortions.
When unreported and medication-induced abortions are counted, the actual number is substantially higher, according to physicians and medical researchers quoted by the state-run newspaper China Daily on Thursday.....

Wu Shangchun, a research official with the National Population and Family Planning Commission, told China Daily that about 10 million abortion-inducing pills are sold annually in China.

National Right to Life’s Douglas Johnson replies to William Saletan’s essay which calls any prolifer opposed to Tim Ryan’s and Rosa DeLauro’s “Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion, and Supporting Parents Act” a “militant.”

I wonder why the bill couldn’t have included a clause which prevented contraceptive funds from going towards abortion providers. If the real goal is to lower the number of abortions, why not make sure the funding goes to organizations whose income isn’t tied to how many abortions they provide?

Instapundit asks a good question and Jonathan Adler answers. From Adler’s thoughts about whether Congress could pass a tax on abortions:
My own view is that, under current law, a tax targeted at abortions would be difficult to sustain. Under Casey, states may not impose regulations that place an "undue burden" on a woman's constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy. A law creates an "undue burden" where it has "the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus." Any abortion tax large enough to raise a meaningful amount of revenue would likely increase the cost of abortions sufficiently to constitute an "undue burden" under this test.
I think the short answer would be: Yes, if Justice Kennedy doesn’t think an abortion tax would be an undue burden.

Police in New Hampshire have found a child who was cut from her mother’s womb. The child is apparently in good condition after her mother was killed.
Haynes was eight months pregnant. Her body was found by her landlord, William Thompson, who said a "horrifying smell" led him to her apartment, where he found her body wrapped in bedding in a closet. Her death was ruled a homicide.

The exact cause of Haynes' death has yet to be determined pending toxicology tests, but Worcester said the autopsy indicated Haynes suffered head injuries.
There’s more information in a Boston Globe article.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Life Links 7/29/09

Scott Roeder has pleaded not guilty to the murder of abortionist George Tiller. During Tuesday's hearing Roeder was identified by two ushers who chased him until he pull his gun on them.

Terence Jeffrey notes how John Holdren, the new White House science advisor, doesn't (or at least didn't when he co-wrote Human Ecology) have the most scientific criteria for who is a human being (my emphasis).
On page 235, while making an argument for legalized abortion, the authors use language that on its face says a child "will ultimately develop into a human being" -- after it is born.

"To most biologists, an embryo (unborn child during the first two or three months of development) or a fetus is no more a complete human being than a blueprint is a building," they wrote. "The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being. Where any of these essential elements is lacking, the resultant individual will be deficient in some respect."
I guess my daughter isn't a human being yet as she's received only a year and a half of the "essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food" which will make her a human being after "years."

A study by researchers in Turkey published in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology finds that Turkish women who had abortions have a higher risk of breast cancer.

Hungarian police have arrested four men on suspicion of illegal stem cell treatments. They allegedly used stem cells from embryos and fetuses.
"There is well-founded suspicion that a U.S. citizen called Julliy B. has carried out stem cell treatments for money within the framework of a Hungarian stem cell research laboratory and a Hungarian-owned private clinic since 2007," police said.

The Ukrainian suspect prepared the stem cell doses and patients generally paid $25,000 or 5 million Hungarian forints for a treatment, police said.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Life Links 7/28.09

In Time, Nancy Gibbs (who notes her growing concerns with how assisted suicide is practiced in Switzerland.
Some euthanasia activists, including Dignitas founder Ludwig Minelli, believe in death on demand. "If you accept the idea of personal autonomy," he argues, "you can't make conditions that only terminally ill people should have this right." Autonomy and dignity are precious values; the phrase sanctity of life can sound sterile and pious in the face of profound pain and suffering. But Minelli is arguing for much more: that autonomy is an overriding right. This view rejects the idea that society might ever value my life more than I do or derive a larger benefit from treating every life as precious, to the point of protecting me from myself.

A woman in India is accusing her husband and in-laws of lacing her drink with drugs and then having a nurse come and kill her unborn child because the husband suspected she was having an affair.

While talking about an unborn child with a fetal anomaly, an abortion clinic worker at the Abortioneers blog lets the b-word slip out after sharing her experience with a 22-week pregnant woman who was deciding whether to have an abortion or have her child treated after birth (my emphasis).
She didn't have her abortion, as far as I know. At least not with us. And I suspect she continued the pregnancy....

I think of her every day. Every.Day. I send her loving thoughts, her baby loving thoughts. I wish for them peace and happiness. I hope that their child will have the quality of life they dream of.
This is same unborn "baby" she would have assisted in killing a few weeks earlier. Cognitive dissonance anyone?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Life Links 7/27/09

The New York Times has a long article on abortionist George Tiller, efforts to shut down his clinic and Tiller’s efforts to kill the prolife movement.
Confident and dryly mischievous, he told friends he had come to see himself as a general in an epic cultural war to keep abortion legal, to the point of giving employees plaques designating them “Freedom Fighters.” His willingness to abort fetuses so late in pregnancies put him at the medical and moral outer limits of abortion. Yet he portrayed those arrayed against him as religious zealots engaged in a campaign whose aim was nothing less than to subjugate women.

“If a stake has to be driven through the heart of the anti-abortion movement,” he said, “I want to have my hand on the hammer.”
For some reason, I doubt any pro-choicers responded to the above quote the way they did when prolifers used rhetoric to describe what Tiller did.

A paper in the Netherlands has an article and interview with Rebecca Gromperts which discusses the Women on Waves and how their organization and its “abortion boat” have cancelled all upcoming trips.
Gomperts' dream of a fleet of abortion boats never materialised. In fact, there never was even an 'abortion boat'. There have been campaign actions which involved boats but no abortions were ever carried out there.

Scott Klusendorf details how he shared the basis for prolife position to a class of 2nd graders at a public school without mentioning abortion.
I then asked, "What makes us equal? It can't be our body size, because some are larger than others. It can't be our intelligence, because some have good report cards while others have bad. It can't be our bellybuttons because some point out rather than in. So what makes us equal?”

From all over the room, tiny voices shot back “We’re all human!” Exactly. The only thing we all share equally is our humanness.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Life Links 7/24/09

North Dakota's only abortion clinic is attempting to block the state's ultrasound/fetal heartbeat law from going into effect on August 1. Here's one of the reasons given for the lawsuit.
Adding the equipment to allow women to hear the fetal heartbeat “would impose a high financial burden on the facility,” according to the center, which is working on behalf of the Fargo clinic.

Fr. Bernard Coughlin in First Things:
It is not faith that tells us that abortion kills an innocent life. It is science. And the more we know about it the more the phrase “a woman’s right to choose” is recognized as simply a euphemism for “a woman’s right to kill the child in her womb.....”

The president says: “We must find a way to live together.” All the while, the infant in the womb is answering: “But first I have to live.”

The LA Times has an article on the recent research showing that induced pluripotent stem cells are truly pluripotent which incorrectly states,
Cloning, in which the nucleus is removed from a cell and implanted in a fertilized egg, has never been achieved in humans.
It's been achieved but the cloned human embryos didn't live very long.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another induced pluripotent stem cell breakthrough

Here’s more proof that iPS cells are the “functional equivalent” of embryonic stem cells. Two groups of Chinese scientists were able to use iPS cells from mice combined with cells that form the placenta to create mice which were genetically identical to the donor mice.
"This gives us hope for future therapeutic interventions using patients' own reprogrammed cells in the future," Fanyi Zeng of the Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, who worked with Zhou, said during a telephone briefing for reporters.

The second group of researchers, led by Shaorong Gao of the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing, created five iPS cell lines, one of which was able to produce embryos that survived until birth. Although four animals were born, only one lived to adulthood. Nevertheless, the work is "proof that iPS cells are functionally equivalent to embryonic stem cells," Gao said in a telephone interview.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Life Links 7/22/09

I guess besides thinking that when human rights begin is "above his pay grade," Obama also feels that "rather than wad(ing) into" the issue of whether health care reform legislation will include forcing insurance companies to cover abortion, he'll just not answer the question (transcript here). Typical Obama. Stay away from wading into specifics, speak in vague, ear-pleasing generalities and try to pass desired legislation as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, five Democrats have proposed in a letter to Nancy Pelosi the possibility of an amendment which keeps the "status quo."
Saying they are "increasingly concerned about potential roadblocks around the issue of abortion" in Congress' health-care debate, abortion opponent Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and four other Democrats propose "a common-ground solution" that would neither require nor ban private insurers from covering the procedure as long as federal funds are not used, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

Matthew Franck provides a nice, indepth tutorial for those (like Judge Sonia Sotomayor) who don't understand or are unwilling to accept that abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy in the United States of America.
When such “factors” as these—“emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age”—are all declared to “relate to health” in the “medical judgment” of the doctors who perform abortions, then it may be fairly said that the rule in Blackmun’s paragraph (c) in Roe’s trimester framework is swallowed up by its exception. If a woman would be distraught by the prospect of becoming a mother, if her boyfriend is threatening to leave her, if she would have to cut short her progress through college, if she simply declares to the abortionist “I don’t want this baby”—any reason the doctor will accept is a perfect and complete shield from the state’s prohibition of post-viability abortions, no matter how close to a timely childbirth the mother is, and no matter how good the prospect for a successful birth with a healthy mother and child. In practice, it will suffice if the woman gives the physician no reason whatsoever. He is in the abortion business, and she has to come to him for the “procedure”; plainly her “emotional” or “psychological” state is such that she associates the termination of her pregnancy with a restoration of her “health.” If an official inquiry were to be made by state authorities after the abortion, the physician need cite no more than his “medical judgment” to this effect.

NARAL has decided to endorse the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States.
NARAL says Sotomayor's (SUHN'-ya soh-toh-my-YOR') testimony during her confirmation hearings shows President Barack Obama's first high court choice is a stronger supporter of privacy rights than either Chief Justice John Roberts or Justice Samuel Alito, the previous two nominees. And the group notes that Sotomayor also said several times that privacy rights include a woman's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy.

Wesley Smith notes a new study in mice which shows that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis may be not as safe as some believe.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Life Links 7/21/09

Wesley Smith notes another induced pluripotent stem cell advancement in which iPS cells were used to repair the damaged hearts of mice.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bart Stupak (a prolife Democrat from Michigan) is working on a compromise amendment with regards to abortion and health care reform.
Stupak indicated that the compromise language would affect the treatment of state abortion laws under the bill. He offered few other details on the specific compromise language, but said the two sides are "working in good faith" and urged other members of the committee not to push their own abortion-related amendments.

At Mere Comments, Hunter Baker shares a sermon he gave on abortion at his church.
Despite this history, there are Christians today who will say we should leave behind this “political” issue of abortion and the sanctity of life. They recommend that we focus on our proper sphere of influence which is preaching the word and saving souls. I am always fascinated by this kind of argument. And by fascinated, I think I really mean irritated. First, why in the world can’t we preach the word AND fight against injustice AND protect the weakest among us? Second, why wouldn’t we want to emulate the example of the early Christians? Don’t we try to be like them? Don’t Christians all over the world argue for the authenticity of their brand of the faith by claiming that they are MORE like the early church than anyone else? Aren’t they the ones who have passed the acid test and have been tried like gold? The demands of our Christian lives are as nothing compared to theirs. If we cannot be troubled to speak for the unborn, I agree with Francis Schaeffer that the people of ages to come will be right to question whether anything we believed about our God was true.

Police in Romania have detained three Romanians and have taken away the passports of five Israelis and told two other Israelis not to leave the country since they are suspecting in human egg trafficking.
Romanian organized crime prosecutors have been investigating members of a network who allegedly brought couples who couldn’t have children to Romania and then got in touch with people who donate human eggs for money.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Does reproductive rights language undermine a man's investment in pregnancy?

At the Daily Dish, Conor Friedersdorf has a couple of posts which mirror some of my thoughts from a few years ago. He writes,
A culture that tells men they shouldn't have any part in decisions about abortion, as portrayed at the "abortion party," inevitably discourages them from responding to a pregnant girlfriend by asking, "What should we do?" And the notion that at most men should signal mutual investment in the process, and graciously support whatever the woman decides, may sound wonderful to a lot of people, but is it really realistic? A societal norm that elevates the woman's choice above all else can certainly safeguard widespread access to abortions. But I suspect that the same norm inevitably leads some men to ask -- wrongly in my view, but understandably -- if you think that abortion is ethically unproblematic, and whether to have one or not is your choice, why should I have to pay child support for 18 years if you decide against having one?"


The narrow assertion I want to make is that the social norms we are inculcating are working to safeguard reproductive choices for women, and to undermine men's investment in pregnancies and child-rearing.

Life Links 7/20/09

Robert George, Patrick Lee and Maureen Condic respond to Ronald Bailey regarding Bailey’s argument that embryos aren’t living human beings because scientists can take mouse iPS cells put them together with a blastocyst which can only form placental tissue and create mouse embryos.
For people who advocate the killing of embryonic human beings in the cause of biomedical research, the Holy Grail is an argument that would definitively establish that the human embryo, at least early in its development, is not a living human organism and therefore not a human being at all. The problem for these advocates is that all the scientific evidence points in precisely the opposite direction.

As a side note, I commented on the Baily article when I noticed something which I thought was a mistake and Bailey was quick to make the correction. This is in marked contrast to some pro-choice blogs where any comment noting a possible error is treated as equivalent to trolling.

Alveda King has an opinion piece in the Washington Times.
Racism springs from the lie that certain human beings are less than fully human. It's a self-centered falsehood that corrupts our minds into believing we are right to treat others as we would not want to be treated. So it is with abortion.

Racism oppresses its victims, but also binds the oppressors, who sear their consciences with more and more lies until they become prisoners of those lies. They cannot face the truth of human equality because it reveals the horror of the injustices they commit. While victims die physically, practitioners die spiritually. So it is with abortion.

Twenty prolife Democrats in the House sent a letter the Democratic leadership on Friday noting they couldn’t vote for health care reform in its current form.
The letter comes at a time when other blocs of House Democrats, such as the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, have threatened to withhold their support for the bill. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., warned that Democratic leaders should heed the group's letter, saying the bill is endangered by the defection of anti-abortion Democrats.

"I told leadership repeatedly, but they just sort of ignored us," said Stupak, who signed the letter. "They ignore at their own peril."

Frances Kissling lists her qualms with "new pro-lifers"

Frances Kissling has a rambling essay at Salon entitled, “What’s wrong with the new pro-lifers” where she notes various disagreements she has with lefty/centrist prolifers who supported Obama during the campaign and are now hoping to reduce the number of abortions in America via common ground.

While the essay has more than its share of unsupported assertions, large portions of the essay are based on the flawed idea that prolifers don’t see women as “moral agents.” Apparently, believing that abortion is the unjust taking of a human life and therefore immoral means prolifers ignore women and have a “cavalier attitude” towards them.

Is the definition of “moral agent” for Kissling something like this: “Someone whose decisions are always correct and always moral.”

Other ideas from Kissling:

-Pregnancy isn’t natural and normal because women can die during pregnancy (I guess eating is unnatural too, since people can die from choking)

-Prolifers “take for granted” that the lives of unborn are more important than a woman’s claim to bodily autonomy (Prolifers actually make arguments for why the lives of unborn children take precedence over a mother’s wishes. Pro-choicers like Kissling are the ones who typically without argument, like in this essay, assume a woman’s wishes take precedence.)

-Women need abortion because some women choose to have abortions. Her whole defense of the reducing “the need” for abortions language relies on the idea that women choose and decide to have abortions. Kissling is basically saying that if a woman wants an abortion, then she “needs” one.

White House Budget Director: Abortion funding is “one of the questions that is playing out” in the health care debate

From the NY Times:
An Obama administration official refused Sunday to rule out the possibility that federal tax money might be used to pay for abortions under proposed health care legislation.

Peter R. Orszag, the White House budget director, asked whether he was prepared to say that “no taxpayer money will go to pay for abortions,” answered: “I am not prepared to say explicitly that right now. It’s obviously a controversial issue, and it’s one of the questions that is playing out in this debate.”

UPDATE: Here's the transcript of the interview from FOX News.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Life Links 7/17/09

The House of Representatives has passed a spending bill with an amendment to allow the District of Columbia to pay for the abortions of poor women. Here's the roll call vote. A press release by the Susan B. Anthony list notes that the House voted 216-213 to prevent amendments dealing with social issues from receiving an up or down vote in the House.

Michael New reports that even pro-choice organizations can recognized that ending tax-subsidized abortions reduce the number of abortions performed.
The evidence presented about the effectiveness of public funding restrictions is very persuasive. A 1999 study by Cook et al. analyzed North Carolina’s provisions for public funding of abortions. North Carolina is unique because instead of funding abortions for low-income women through Medicaid, they did so through a separate state fund which periodically ran out of money. When funds were unavailable, the authors found a consistent increase in the birth rate and a decrease in the abortion rate. Furthermore, these trends were more pronounced among blacks. Another Guttmacher study found that the abortion rate among Medicaid recipients was more than twice as high in those states that publicly funded abortion through Medicaid.

The Washington Times has an article on a study which shows the unborn have memories. The best line comes when, after quoting a representative from National Right to Life, the story notes:
A call to NARAL Pro-Choice America for comment on the implications of the research were not returned.

Americans United for Life has posted Charmaine Yoest's testimony at the Sotomayor confirmation hearings.

In the News, reports on a report in the journal Obstetrician and Gynaecologist which notes a link between domestic violence and abortion.
A report in the Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (TOG) journal said a "significant number" of women requesting an abortion have been or are still in a violent relationship.

One in three has reportedly experienced a lifetime of domestic violence.

The report's authors are demanding a greater awareness about domestic violence; claiming the research underlines the need to support women seeking to terminate unwanted pregnancies associated with violent partners.

Thirty per cent of women having a second abortion reported being in a violent relationship and women having a third or subsequent abortion were over 2.5 times as likely to report a history of physical or sexual abuse by a male partner.
Unfortunately, the authors somehow believe abortion can be a good thing for victims of domestic violence and can become a way for them to get away from their abuser.
They stress that some women are protected by abortion from continuing with unwanted pregnancies and are enabled to escape violent relationships.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Life Links 7/16/09

Wesley Smith shoots down Peter Singer’s advocacy for the health care rationing of people with disabilities.

Rebecca Taylor shows that Pharnygula needs to actually read a bill regarding human-animal hybrids before commenting on what it would do. It’s hilarious when someone who hasn’t read the bill, and apparently has no clue (he doesn’t seem to know that Britain has allowed attempts at human cloning using animal eggs) what Senators Brownback and Landrieu want to prevent in the U.S. tosses, out the terms “ignoramus,” “clowns” and “Rethuglicans.”

Michael Fumento relays embryonic stem cell research’s dirty little secret in Forbes.
Addressing a 2007 Wisconsin convention nine years later, Thomson articulated that the time frame had shifted to "decades away," plural.

The scientist didn't blame too little federal funding, as have others, according to the Associated Press. (Indeed, it's common for major publications to claim ES cell research has been "banned.") Rather Thomson blamed simple biology. Among other problems, ES cells require permanent use of dangerous immunosuppressive drugs. They have a nasty tendency to form tumors both malignant and benign including teratomas--meaning "monster tumor." Teratomas can grow larger than a football and can contain eyeball parts, hair and teeth. Yech!

OK, so how many "decades?"

The LA Times has a long article on Rev. Walter Hoye and his sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic in Oakland.

David Freddoso posts an exchange between Senators Brownback and Durbin regarding tax-funded abortion in Washington, D.C.

NPR has an audio piece on the difficulty of creating embryonic stem cell lines.

Defaming Democrats for Life

I knew some pro-choice feminist bloggers were lazy but come on. Jessica at Feministing, Jill at Feministe and Amie Newman at the RHReality Check all claim Tim Ryan got kicked off Democrats for Life advisory board because he supports contraception or as Jill puts it “Congressman booted from Democrats for Life because he wants to reduce the abortion rate.”

None of them took a second to review Congressman Ryan’s voting record to see if it made sense for a prolife group to continue to have someone with a 0% prolife voting record over the last 3 years on their advisory board. Nor did they take a gander to see if anyone else who hadn’t been kicked off Democrats for Life’s advisory board supported contraception like say Nat Hentoff or James Langevin.

I guess anything to defame prolife groups, huh?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Life Links 7/15/09

Charlie Savage has an interesting piece in the New York Times about the Sotomayor hearings, abortion, Gonzalez v. Carhart, settled law and precedent.

Jonah Goldberg notes the lack of news about or follow up questions to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg rather noteworthy quote in her recent interview with the New York Times. He also discusses abortion's eugenics roots.

In First Things, Hadley Arkes discusses empathy and apathy. After discussing Laci's and Connor's law and court cases involving partial-birth abortion, Arkes writes (my emphasis),
These moments of empathy in the law should make clear enough that a jurist on the left is not supplied with levels of empathy for the suffering of pain that exceed the levels of ordinary folk not elevated in their sensibilities by a liberal persuasion. But these cases contain as well a deeper point that is rarely remarked and almost never speaks its name: Before we can engage our empathy there must be a prior judgment on the persons or animals or even things whose pain or disfigurement count. We recoil from inflicting cruel pain on animals, and we may even be appalled by the disfigurement of fine furniture in acts of gratuitous destruction. But the annals of our species also reveal the most remarkable capacity to screen out, as unnoticed or unheard, the pains of those marked for liquidation or subordination.

We do not ordinarily think that people lose their standing as human beings, and as bearers of rights, when they suddenly become weak and vulnerable and dependent on the care of others. But for many who have absorbed the idea of a right to abortion, the dependence of the fetus in the mother’s womb has been taken as a sign quite sufficient that the child has no standing as a separate being, with a claim to the protection of the law. The laws on abortion mark the child now as a living thing under the unchecked power of the pregnant woman. Whether it lives or dies must depend entirely on her will, not to be reviewed or judged by any other standard.

It is this hopeless subordination of the child in the womb that works, in this inverted outlook, to extinguish its rights. When we strip away the fuzzy language of empathy, what stands revealed is a prettified version of the Rule of the Strong: The strong will rule the weak, and their power to rule confirms the rightness of that rule.

The Miami Herald has an article whose title describes Obama's pick for surgeon general as "a Catholic who back abortion rights."
Regina Benjamin's Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic doesn't perform abortions. A clinic employee who declined to be identified said by telephone that patients seeking information about abortions would be referred to providers in the state.

But White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said Benjamin "supports the president's position on reproductive health issues."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Life Links 7/14/09

Good for Democrats for Life. They finally kicked Tim Ryan (D-OH) off of their advisory board. Ryan claims it has to do with his promotion of contraception but I'm guessing it has a little more to do with his voting record over the past couple of years including his votes in favor of expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, his vote against an amendment to protect the Mexico City policy, his vote to protect Planned Parenthood's funding. His recent vote on the House Appropriations Committee against an amendment to prohibit the public funding of abortion in the District of Columbia could have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

His voting record since 2007 is basically the same as the most adamant of pro-choicers. He was even honored by Planned Parenthood.

It appears the individuals, including Norma McCorvey, who interrupted the Senate hearings on Judge Sotomayor were with Randall Terry.

Justin Barnard writes about new NIH head Francis Collins' positions on life issues. I was unaware of Collins' support of human cloning for research and his odd justification for it before reading this.

Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a variety of abortion restrictions into law on Monday.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why does evidence matter?

At Bench Memos, Wendy Long shares some questions from Cathy Cleaver Ruse regarding a question Judge Sonia Sotomayor asked regarding the case against the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.
In the case, National Abortion Federation v. Ashcroft, the National Abortion Federation claimed that partial-birth abortion was the safest abortion method in some cases and therefore the law banning the practice was unconstitutional. The Department of Justice requested the medical records to back up this claim with all identifying information regarding the patients removed. The partial-birth abortionists refused to provide any records with evidence to support their claim. As Cathy says: "This was tantamount to arguing that they should win the case on their word alone."

The District Judge ruled that the abortion providers should produce the medical records. That decision was appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Sotomayor sat on the appellate panel. During oral argument, according to the Associated Press (April 22, 2004), she stated: "I just don’t understand what the records will prove in this case."

Says Cathy: "What the records would prove is whether or not the partial-birth abortion doctors were telling the truth. It is irresponsible for a judge to insist that one side in a case merely be taken at its word, especially when evidence is readily available to corroborate or impeach its statements. Appellate courts are particularly unsuited to second-guessing the decisions of the trial court regarding evidence of this nature."

Overlooking the Obvious

The Abortioneers is a blog run by individuals who work at abortion clinics.

Here’s a taste of the thought process of one poster named Mr. Banana Grabber, who after discussing Lila Rose and all the abortion clinic counselors whom Lila has caught attempting to help cover-up statutory rape, tries to think about how to get rid of the “creepy older dudes who like sleeping with minors” (CODWLSWM).
Obviously, if I have to side with anyone I am going to side with clinic, but also there is a lot of footage of people at clinics definitely advising minors on how to avoid being caught by the clinic. I think this is inappropriate and not okay, but at the same time, they are trying to help the patient at the end of the day, and these young girls do need somewhere to go. Further, if Planned Parenthood or wherever is like YES WE WILL REPORT YOU that makes me nervous the creepy older dudes who are sleeping with minors will just take them to a sketchy doctor to get the procedure done which is also bad. Because the problem here is creepy older dudes who like sleeping with minors (CODWLSWM). Not the minor. If we could make CODWLSWMs go away, then we wouldn't have this problem, right? How do we make CODWLSWMs go away?

How about following the law, reporting the statutory rape and allowing the authorities to deal with the CODWLSWMs?

Banana Grabber is more concerned about the implausible scenario of a creepy older guy taking his victim to some other sketchy doctor (apparently different from Planned Parenthood, the supposedly non-sketchy abortion provider which is flouting the law) than Planned Parenthood violating the law, covering up statutory rape and sending a minor back into the arms of the creepy older guy.

Life Links 7/13/09

Marjorie Dannenfelser has a piece in the Weekly Standard entitled “The Abortion Administration” which discusses, among other items, the current health care plan being pushed through Congress.
But by now, nearly six months in, the bottom line for Barack Obama is clear. After making a few polite noises about finding "common ground" with pro-lifers, his administration has shown zero interest in doing so. Instead, the Obama agenda is to weave government-backed abortion into the fabric of American life and make it a far more integral part of domestic and foreign policy than ever before.....

Clearly, if Obama's preferred health reform becomes law, abortion will be defined as a "health benefit" automatically provided to every American family. The Hyde amendment, which for more than 30 years has banned federal funding for almost all abortions and has enjoyed overwhelming congressional support, will become all but irrelevant once abortion on demand is defined as a universal "health benefit."

Alice Eve Cohen writes about how she considered a late-term abortion and how her husband, who was then her fiancee, reacted.
At my request, he (“an abortion specialist”) scheduled an abortion in Wichita for the following Tuesday. "Think about it for the next few days before you decide," he said. Then he turned to Michael. "What do you think about all this?"

"Me? Oh, Jesus … a lot of different things," Michael answered. "I’ve seen Alice in the throes of this terrible unhappiness, and I don’t recognize her. I’ve been politically in favor of choice, but uncommitted on the personal side — it’s been an abstraction. But now that this is suddenly so real, all I can think is that there’s a baby. Our baby. My baby. And I can’t stand the thought of this baby being aborted. So If Alice has an abortion, I won’t go to Wichita with her. And I might not be here when she gets back. I’ll have my own unbearable sorrow about losing this baby, about endorsing this decision. But I don’t want Alice to kill herself. So she should do what she needs to do."

The AP has an article which provides some depth to the current abortion debate taking place in Spain and the possibility that the proposal to allow 16-year-olds to have abortions without parental consent might get junked.
The conservative opposition Popular Party asks why a girl who cannot legally buy alcohol can have an abortion without asking her parents. "The inconsistency is crushing," lawmaker Sandra Moneo wrote in the newspaper El Pais.

"No father or mother can understand the idea of a minor going through that trauma without the advice, support and opinion of her parents," Moneo said.

Zapatero's camp counters by noting that 16-year-old Spaniards can choose to have open-heart surgery or chemotherapy without parental consent, but not an abortion.

Tempers have flared on both sides. Conservatives were enraged when Bibiana Aido, the minister of equality, suggested abortion was no bigger an issue than breast enlargement.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Baby Blogging

After much effort, we were final able to convince our daughter to wear her hat for about 20 seconds.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Teen sentenced for life after killing unborn child

In West Virginia, 16-year-old Kelly J. Chapman has been sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder after shooting Nastasha Folden, five months pregnant at the time, in the stomach and killing her unborn child. He was also sentenced to 3-15 years for the attempted murder of Folden.

According to a television news story, his sentence could be changed when he turns 18. The story also features video of Nastasha emotionally speaking out about the attack and how the loss of her son has affected her.

Life Links 7/9/09

The Hill shares the Obama administration’s reasoning for not mentioning and responding to the vast majority of comments regarding the NIH’s new human embryonic stem cell funding guidelines.
The NIH witnessed this emotional intensity firsthand. The agency received more than 49,000 comments from the public after issuing a draft of its guidelines in April. About 30,000 of them — many of which were form letters — debated whether the NIH should be funding embryonic stem cell research at all, Kington said.

The NIH disregarded all such comments, labeling them “unresponsive” to the guidelines it released. “We actually did not ask the public whether we should fund research on human embryonic stem cells. We asked the public how we should fund human embryonic stem cell research,” Kington said.

The New York Times has an interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg which focuses on women on the courts but also highlights the abortion issue on pages 3 and 4.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

A woman who received an abortion at the currently shut down Clinica de Mujeres in Las Vegas shared her experience with the local news.
"I had to pay for it first. They didn't give me a receipt. They did an ultrasound which they didn't know how to do," she said. The woman also noted that the equipment appeared dirty.

The health division says Dr. Vickie Mazzorana owns the clinic and is licensed by the medical board. But this patient isn't so sure a female doctor performed her pregnancy termination.

"I was in and out of the procedure and I didn't see the girl doctor in the room. I saw a guy that I hadn't seen at all when I was checking in and he was performing the actual abortion," she said.
Here’s an article which has some background on how the clinic was closed temporarily.

The Kansas City Star has a piece on Randall Terry and his current lack of a following. Terry also seems to have misled the reporter Mary Sanchez into thinking that we was fighting the RICO lawsuit.
But Terry took his hits as well. Years of battling lawsuits, some from abortion providers for disruption of commerce, eventually bankrupted him and he bowed out for years.
Except he didn’t battle the lawsuit.

This is embarrassing. A program in Great Britain which was trying to lower the number of teen pregnancies instead saw program attendees having a much higher rate of pregnancy than their peers.
But research funded by the Department of Health shows that young women who attended the programme, at a cost of £2,500 each, were 'significantly' more likely to become pregnant than those on other youth programmes who were not given contraception and sex advice.

A total of 16 per cent of those on the Young People's Development Programme conceived compared with just 6 per cent in other programmes.

Experts said the scheme failed because it introduced girls 'at risk' of becoming pregnant to promiscuous girls they might not otherwise have met.

Because of peer pressure, the more timid teenagers were more likely to have sex and become pregnant....

The failed YPDP, launched in 2004, was based on a similar scheme in New York claimed to have significantly reduced teenage pregnancies.

However, attempts to replicate the work elsewhere in the U.S. did not lead to a fall in teenage pregnancies, casting doubt on the project as a whole.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Life Links 7/8/09

Time has an article entitled, "Could Abortion Coverage Sink Health Care Reform?"
Under the legislation being worked on by three committees in the House, Americans earning up to 400% of the poverty level — $43,000 for an individual; $88,000 for a family of four — would be eligible for government subsidies to help them purchase coverage. But if the anti-abortion legislators get their way, those subsidies would have a big string attached; they could not be used to purchase a policy that has abortion coverage. For many women, that would mean giving up a benefit they now have under their private insurance policies.

The House of Lords has voted against allowing Britons to take to another country to for assisted suicide.

Nevada's state Health Division has ordered a clinic in Las Vegas named "Clinica de Mujeres" to stop performing surgeries after finding evidence that abortion had been performed their in an unsafe manner. The owner of the clinic, Vickie (also spelled Vicki) Mazzorana is an assistant professor at the University of Nevada Medical Center.

A woman from Australia and her boyfriend have been charged after smuggling in and using an RU-486 abortion pill.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Life Links 7/7/09

Byard Duncan shares his experience at his first abortion party.
Maggie, a 22-year-old college senior with no intention of bringing a child into the world yet, was going to have an abortion. She told us that she had already made up her mind; she had even determined the time, date and location. A better question might have been, "How are you going to pay for it?"

She answered that one before we had a chance to ask. "We’re having a party Friday to raise money," Maggie said. "You guys are obviously invited."

An abortion party. For the price of whatever we were willing to donate, she explained, we could partake of baked goods, beer and dancing. It was going to start at 10 p.m. at Maggie’s.

Dan Gilgoff notes a few surprises from President Obama's recent talk with members of the Catholic press.
Obama aides have been careful to say that the administration is not trying to influence a pregnant woman's decision about whether or not to have an abortion. They insist they're aiming to help only pregnant women who've already decided they want to carry their pregnancies to term.

That's been key to reassuring the abortion-rights movement, which doesn't want the administration to stigmatize abortion as an option for pregnant women.

And yet on Thursday, Obama cast the decision to have an abortion in a decidedly negative light. "I don't know any circumstance in which abortion is a happy circumstance or decision," Obama said, "and to the extent that we can help women avoid being confronted with a circumstance in which that's even a consideration, I think that's a good thing."

It will be interesting to see how abortion-rights advocates react to this.
Another issue mentioned by Obama was the conscience clause. Matt Bowman at the American Spectator isn't buying Obama's conscience clause claims.

In 2006, police rescued a mentally handicapped woman who was confined and tortured by a family in Winnipeg. The details of the family's crimes are just being revealed at their trial. The main abusers claim they began torturing the victim because she supposedly told their parents they were pregnant.
Dale Hendrickson and his fiancĂ©e, O’Malley, said they were upset after the victim told O’Malley’s parents that O’Malley was pregnant. The woman’s parents eventually forced her to have an abortion and Hendrickson and O’Malley said they blamed the victim, court was told.

Monday, July 06, 2009

When reality gets in the way of your story line? Deny reality

After reading this post (language warning), I think the above must be Amanda Marcotte’s policy when it comes to abortion. She writes,
If you correctly assume that the anti-choice movement is motivated primarily by a misogynist need to punish women who have unapproved sex, then you can see how offering social support to mothers is already, from their point of view, a compromise of their basic beliefs, from two angles:
This is completely absurd. Could Amanda for one second explain how the work of thousands of prolifers to help women in unplanned pregnancies during and after pregnancy could be motivated by a misogynist need to punish women? How is giving diapers, furniture, strollers, formula, baby food, to women who’ve chosen life a means to punish them? Maybe in bizarro world where up is down and down is up.

It’s like she’s so tied to this simpleton storyline which casts prolifers as women-hating bullies who want to punish people for having sex, she can’t look at the abortion debate except through that warped lense. Maybe that’s why her writing is so entirely unpersuasive. I also wonder if that’s one of the reasons the writing of Jill from Feministe on the subject of abortion has really gone down the tubes in recent years. If you can’t look at and take your opponent’s position and arguments in good faith for more than a second, then it becomes increasingly difficult to provide a thoughtful response to them.

Memo to Amanda: Providing support to pregnant and parenting women isn’t a compromise for prolifers. It’s part of what we do every single day.

NIH Publishes Guidelines on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

They're available online here.

Life Links 7/6/09

Algerian singer Cheb Mami has been sentenced to five years in jail for his role in an attempted forced abortion.
During his testimony, Mami expressed remorse and pleaded for the woman's forgiveness.

He broke down in tears and admitted to making a "serious mistake" but said he did not love the woman and felt "trapped" when she told him she was pregnant.

"I was ashamed to have an illegitimate child. A child should be born from a union. I didn't want this child," he told the court.

Mami blamed his former manager Michel Lecorre - who is known as Michel Levy - saying he was behind the plot to force the woman to have an abortion.

"I was in a panic and I agreed," he said. "I did nothing to stop him."

Abortionist Alberto Hodari has been fined $10,000 by the state of Michigan after the death of a woman at one of his clinics.

In another example of pro-choice intolerance, a man who dropped his girlfriend off at Planned Parenthood pointed a gun at a prolife protestor who gave him a pamphlet.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Life Links 7/3/09

Prolifers in Colorado will again attempt to place a personhood amendment into their state's constitution. I think their amendment language is craftier than their last attempt.
The proposed language for the Colorado Personhood Constitutional Amendment Initiative reads as follows: "Section 1. Article II of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended by the addition of a new section to read: Section 32. Person defined. As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the term "person" shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."
So in order for abortion proponents to oppose this legislation, they must admit that the biological development of a human being begins before birth.

Well, I figured Doug Kmiec's political shifting in the wind likely had something to do with him getting something in return. But the Ambassadorship to Malta?

Here's an interesting post by Lily Armstrong, a 13-year-old pro-choicer who went "undercover" to a prolife youth event put on by the group Survivors LA. It's fascinating to see how she views prolifers (she seems to think she needed to dress a certain way to appear to be a conservative Christian) and how she makes numerous assertions without any evidence (pictures of aborted children are "not legitimate," thinks 14-year-old girls die from back-alley abortions because of parental notification legislation, restrictions on abortion have a huge negative impact on teens, etc.). She also can't see why teens would "side" with the unborn over their 16-year-olds peers who want to have abortions.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Questioning Sotomayor

Hadley Arkes provides a suggestion for Republican senators regarding what they should question Judge Sotomayor about.
The Republicans can simply ask Judge Sotomayor to explain what Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton established. If she just says those cases established a right to abortion for the first three months of the pregnancy, the Republicans can correct her, and correct her on national television. For the right to abortion actually extends through the entire length of the pregnancy.....

From the exchanges that would emerge from this line of questioning, two critical points would be established, points that could transform the hearings:

(1) It would be clear that most people in the country — including many people who call themselves “pro-choice” — think that some abortions may be rightly regarded as unjustified, and rightly barred. And as it turns out, the law that has been shaped by the Supreme Court could be read as quite open to such restrictions on abortion in particular cases. It is arguable also that five of the justices now sitting would be willing to sustain those restrictions, depending on the case at hand. Does Judge Sotomayor understand the law in that way? Or does she think that the law springing from Roe v. Wade mandates nothing but abortion on demand, for any reason at all, at any time? If so — and if she could actually speak those lines — she would bring jolting news to many people in the country who know little about the state of the law. But if she reads the law as it actually stands now — a law open to restrictions on abortion in particular cases — that too would come as news to a large part of the public. It would also induce the most wholesome gnashing of teeth through all ranks of the Obama administration, along with a sinking feeling of buyer’s remorse among the most zealous supporters of abortion rights.

80 baby girls stolen and sold in China

According to the BBC, the state-owned Southern Metropolis news is reporting that around 80 girls were sold after being taken from their parents whom had violated China’s one-child policy and couldn’t pay the fines.
Nearly 80 baby girls in a county in Guizhou province, in the south of the country, were confiscated from their families when their parents could not or would not pay the fine, Southern Metropolis News said.

The girls were taken into orphanages and then adopted by couples from the United States and a number of European countries.

The adoption fee was split between the orphanages and local officials, the newspaper said.

Life Links 7/2/09

The Ohio Supreme Court has issued two abortion related rulings.

One ruling prevents the parents of a teen who received an abortion at Planned Parenthood from obtaining Planned Parenthood’s medical records. The parents wanted the records to bolster their civil case against Planned Parenthood for failing to notify them.

The other ruling finds that the Ohio legislature can regulate the off-label use of RU-486 and prevent abortion providers from prescribing after 7 weeks into pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood will be re-opening two clinics in Broward county which were shut down last year because of financial mismanagement.
The clinics will reopen at their former sites in Pembroke Pines and Oakland Park and offer exams, HIV testing and access to birth control. In the winter, the sites are likely to add add abortion services.

Last year, four Planned Parenthood clinics in Broward and one in Boca Raton were shut down amid financial mismanagement, and the national organization severed its ties.

Planned Parenthood of South Palm Beach and Broward Counties could not account for about $440,000 of its $3 million budget, and there were allegations that an annual financial report had been falsified.

Despite the rough economy, abortions in Minnesota decreased in 2008. The state’s prolife group is lauding their prolife legislation and even Kathi Di Nicola, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, says that, "the overall decline in abortion in nearly every category is positive news."

UCLA researchers have found that there molecular difference between induced pluripotent stem cells and embryonic stem cells.
“We need to keep in mind that iPS cells are not perfectly similar to embryonic stem cells,” said Lowry, an assistant professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology. “We’re not sure what this means with regard to the biology of pluripotent stem cells. At this point our analyses comprise just an observation. It could be biologically irrelevant, or it could be manifested as an advantage or a disadvantage.”

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Life Links 7/1/09

Lila Rose's Live Action group has released another tape of a Planned Parenthood employee (this time in Alabama) not fulfilling her responsibility to report statutory rape.

The local CBS station has already covered release of the tape and received a statement from someone at the sheriff's office and Planned Parenthood.

Chuck Colson writes about how a PBS special showed unborn children responding to music.
Part of this research involved the effect of music on fetuses. While we knew that mothers often sing to their unborn children, we weren’t sure that the unborn child could hear them.

We are now. A segment of The Music Instinct featured Sheila C. Woodward of the University of Southern California, who has studied fetal responses to music. A camera and a microphone designed for underwater use were inserted into the uterus of a pregnant woman. And then Woodward sang.

The hydrophone picked up two sounds: the “whooshing” of the uterine artery and the unmistakable sound of a woman singing a lullaby.

Then something extraordinary happened. Upon hearing the woman’s voice, the unborn child smiled....

Perhaps understandably, the connection between fetal responses to music and abortion weren’t mentioned in the show. What is not so understandable is that the program’s website contains no mention of Woodward and her findings. It’s as if someone realized the implications and hoped nobody would notice.

I don’t think that there’s some kind of conspiracy afoot. I just think that the PBS people’s worldview won’t allow them to make the obvious connection. Abortion on demand is only possible if people minimize the similarities between the fetus and us.

Stephen Waldman replies to critics of his idea to provide financial incentives for women who make adoption plans.