Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New late-term abortion restrictions in Kansas possible

Legislators in Kansas have passed a bill to rewrite their late-term abortion law in an attempt to prevent any abortionists specializing in killing children after 21 weeks from practicing in Kansas. It doesn't have veto-proof majorities and pro-choice governor Mark Parkinson hasn't indicated whether he will sign it or not.
The measure would allow patients or family members to sue doctors if they have evidence an abortion violated state law. Also, doctors would be required to report more details to the state about abortions performed after the 21st week of pregnancy and involving fetuses considered viable, or able to survive outside the womb......
Here's a good tidbit for all the individuals who claimed abortionist George Tiller was saving the lives of women.
But the state hasn’t required physicians to list the exact medical diagnosis justifying each abortion, just a statement saying it was necessary to preserve her health. The state has said none of the more than 3,000 late-term abortions of viable fetuses since the law took effect were to save a patient’s life.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life Links 3/30/10

According to the New York Daily News, a man became enraged when his wife refused to have an abortion. He apparently attempted to kill both his wife and her sister in front of a room full of children.

In Louisville, a high school custodian found an early term fetus in a feminine receptacle. The coroner believes the child was miscarried.

Judge Daniel Riley has thrown out the ACLU's lawsuit against Illinois' long-unenforced parental notification law but he also didn't allow the law to take effect. The ACLU of Illinois describes the ruling here.
The judge went on to conclude that under Illinois decisional law, plaintiffs mounting a pre-enforcement facial challenge to a state law must show that the law would be unconstitutional in every application. Given the fact that some teens would not be harmed by the Parental Notice law, plaintiffs' facial challenge could not go forward and he would grant defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings.

In the wake of today's ruling, we are reviewing our legal options, including an appeal of the Judge's decision. We note that the Judge was careful and blunt in describing the Illinois law as "unfortunate," and in noting that enforcement of the Act will result in horrible outcomes for some young women, including "physical and emotional abuse." However, the Judge ruled in favor of the State because he did not believe that the law would be harmful in every incident where a pregnant minor was compelled to notify a parent of her decision to terminate a pregnancy.

At least twenty-one dead children (apparently born and unborn) were found in a river in China. The bodies came from the hospital of Jining Medical University.
A local health official said an investigation had been launched.

"The hospital medical staff involved have been suspended from their work during the investigation," Zhong Haitao, a spokesman at the Jining Health Bureau, told Xinhua.

The report did not specify how many staff members had been suspended.

One of the bodies had been bundled into a plastic bag marked "hospital waste”, the Beijing News said.

Duke University's Women Center has canceled an event about the being a mother while also being a Duke student simply because the sponsor of the event was Duke's student prolife group. Mike Adams has more details.
Given all of these beliefs, it would seem that a discussion on motherhood would be acceptable at the Duke Women's Center. But it isn’t. A discussion of motherhood is too traumatic for campus feminists. Who says women are emotionally incapable of rational debate? Feminists at Duke seem to think so.

Kevin Staley-Joyce on Planned Parenthood's shout-out to the nuns who supported Obamacare.
It may well be the case that some of the religious sisters involved in the letter’s synthesis really do believe the bill is “life-affirming.” Assuming they do not identify with Cecile Richards and her organization, called “Murder, Inc.” by some, one can only hope they now see that the wrong side is celebrating. And if they find themselves on the celebrating side, it is easier to see why Richards suggests we listen to them—not because of their gender, religious affiliation, or perspective—but because they’re pro-abortion choice.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Stupak defending himself poorly

The Washington Post has printed an editorial by Bart Stupak responding to a column by Kathleen Parker.

It’s really just a reciting of his past arguments where he asserts that it was “clear that the House leadership would eventually obtain the 216 votes” and he acts like all executive orders have the same intent and consequences.

Another thing that stuck out to me is that I don’t think the editorial was written by a prolifer. For example, the editorial says,
Some, including Parker, have criticized Obama's executive order as unenforceable in the courts and therefore just a "fig leaf." Yet the language that critics point to is standard language with any executive order, including Bush's ban on embryonic stem-cell research.
Ban on embryonic stem cell research? Hmmmm.... That’s the kind of misleading language proponents of killing human embryos for research continuously used to describe Bush’s policy of limiting the federal funding on embryonic stem cell research.

Second, the description of Bush’s executive order seems to have been written by someone who doesn’t know what executive order they’re talking about. Here’s Executive Order 13435. It wasn’t Bush’s order to limit the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (that order came in August of 2001). This executive order instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to support research on pluripotent stem cells which didn’t require the killing of human embryos.


Robert Samuelson on President Obama’s spending:
Obama's behavior resembles a highly indebted family's taking an expensive round-the-world trip because it claims to have found ways to pay for it. It's self-indulgent and reckless.

I know people like this. They have a mountain of credit card debt which they pay the minimum on. Yet when they get some extra money (like from their tax return, monetary Christmas gifts, etc.) they never think, “Let’s pay down some of our debt.”

Instead, they always think, “Yipppeee....What extravagant item can I buy with this money?”

Isn’t it nice to know that President Obama and our Congressional leaders have the same financial mindset as your irresponsible college buddy?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Life Links 3/26/10

In the UK, a teenager named James Chattaway is on trial for stomping his girlfriend on stomach after she changed her mind and decided not to have an abortion.
James Chattaway and Daisy Glazebrook were shocked when their two-year romance resulted in an unexpected pregnancy, and they arranged for a termination.

But Chattaway became incensed when she sent him a text message saying she had changed her mind.

He then went to her home in Winds Point, Hagley, where he climbed in through a window and attacked her on the doorstep - stamping on her stomach.

In Louisiana, abortion clinic protesters are calling for the state's Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to do more to punish an abortion clinic where investigators found numerous problems. Alan Levine, the secretary of the DHH, says state law doesn't give him enough authority.
DHH investigators found a number of faults, such as facility workers failing to follow proper techniques when pre-filling syringes by storing them in non-sterile zip lock bags. This failure put patients at risk of bacterial and septic infection, the report claimed. Investigators also found the clinic failed to properly document and monitor vital signs when a patient is sedated.

DHH also criticized Delta officials for not reporting to law enforcement when they treated a handful of minor girls and finding out if their partners were over the age of 18. State law forbids men over the age of 18 from having sex with partners under the age of 18.

The Washington Post Voices blog reports on President Obama's executive order signing.
As Galston notes, the president's decision to sign the order did not drive a single pro-choice lawmaker to vote against it, suggesting that the substance of the letter was less important than its symbolic value.

An abortion clinic protester in Ohio was acquitted by a jury after being charged with assaulting an abortion supporter.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Life Links 3/25/10

The White House has posted President Obama’s executive order on abortion in health care. It’s titled, “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Consistency with Longstanding Restrictions on the Use of Federal Funds for Abortion.”

My question is if “The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly created health insurance exchanges” then why is it “necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services”?

That’s basically the same thing Jake Tapper was trying to get to when he questioned Robert Gibbs yesterday (about a third of the way down).
Q Can I ask one other question about the executive order the President is signing today? Does the President think that this executive order is necessary? Does he think that there was ambiguity in the law? Or does he think that there wasn’t any ambiguity but this was just done because people like Bart Stupak wanted it done?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I would say the President believed that the law -- the President has always believed that health care reform should be about that, not about other issues. The President did not, in health care reform, believe we did change the status quo and believes that this reiterates that it’s not changed.

Q So he doesn’t think it’s necessary, it’s just reiterating what is already in the law?

MR. GIBBS: I mean, it’s an executive order so this isn't -- I mean, it’s not a frivolous thing, Jake.

Q No, of course not. But does this executive order change anything that the law already didn't do?

MR. GIBBS: It ensures that health care, the law the President signed yesterday, maintains the status quo of the federal law prohibiting the federal use -- the use of federal dollars for abortion.

Q So it is needed, that the law was not clear enough?

MR. GIBBS: The President reiterated that in the executive order.

Q So all he’s doing is repeating what’s in the law?

Q So it’s just -- I mean, you can’t have it both ways. Either the executive order is needed to clarify something that’s not --

MR. GIBBS: No, I -- again, I would refer you to the executive order and the statements that we made about this over the weekend.

Q I read the executive order, and it says that’s a reiteration of what already exists.

MR. GIBBS: Well, there you go.

Stupak is claiming prolife groups are hypocrites because they applauded President Bush’s 2007 executive order on stem cell research but are opposed to health care legislation with President Obama’s executive order. It’s like Stupak thinks all executive orders are equal with regards to intent and consequences.

The article also has this tidbit about how Stupak thinks Pelosi had the votes before the executive order agreement and allowed some Democrats to vote “no” once the Stupak coalition acquiesced.
It was that or nothing, he insisted, saying he knew for a fact that Pelosi released certain House Democrats from voting for the bill after he and his bloc of six or seven votes swung into the yes column.

“A number of them came up and thanked me … said, ‘Thanks for getting us off the hook,’” Stupak said. “I’ve been around here long enough to know that the speaker, Democrats or Republican, always carries a few votes in their pocket.”

“So I had a choice: to come up empty-handed and a bill passes with language that I totally disagree with, or I do the next best thing.”

However, Pelosi told a group of liberal columnists during an interview Tuesday that she did not let any Democrats off the hook from voting for the bill.

“I never give passes,” she said, according to David Corn, of Mother Jones magazine.

The Washington Times has an editorial calling Stupak a coward.

Deceptive pro-choicer claims without evidence that prolifers responsible for death threats

Jill Filipovic must be the queen of faulty generalizations. In a post yesterday entitled, “Anti-Choice Dems Receive Death Threats From Pro-Lifers,” Jill claims that prolifers are responsible for death threats against congressmen who voted for health care reform.

Her evidence for such a claim?

A post at FireDogLake which links to a blog post at Eschaton which links to a news story at the Charlottesville Daily Progress. The news story notes that police are investigating a slashed propane line in the grill on U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother’s porch. It is also reported that Tea Party activists mistakenly posted the address of Tom Perriello’s brother when they meant to post Perriello’s address.

The FireDogLake piece also links to a Hill article noting that an increased number of House members have received threats.

Nowhere in any of the articles are any of these actions proven or even suggested to have been committed by a prolifer or committed by someone involved with a prolife organization.

Is Jill simply assuming that the inappropriate and unacceptable actions taken by someone opposed to health care must have been done by prolifers? Or is she just so obsessed with demonizing prolifers that she doesn’t care if she blatantly misleads people?

Also, in another horribly ignorant post, Jill assumes that every Democrat in Stupak's coalition who was present at President Obama's private executive order signing would be a man.

It's like she takes no time at all to do any research before making such claims. From what I've read, it seems that Kathy Dahlkemper was certainly in the Stupak 12 and Marcy Kaptur was also likely in the group.

UPDATE: Yep, here's the signing photo with both Dahlkemper and Kaptur.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stupak's weak defense

At Slate, John Dickerson interviewed Congressman Bart Stupak about the president's executive order and Stupak's view of it. Stupak argues,
"Some people say this piece of paper isn't worth it, but I would remind them that in 2007, when George W. Bush signed the executive order to prevent stem-cell research, these groups that are criticizing it, they applauded it, they welcomed it; and now President Obama's going to sign an executive order once again protecting life and somehow it's not worth the paper it's written on. You can't have it both ways."

Both Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin aren't buying Stupak's arguments.

Levin writes,
This argument makes no sense whatsoever. I was part of the team that produced Bush’s executive order, the text of which you can read here. The order was in no way designed to “prevent stem-cell research,” or to change an existing law, modify the treatment of the life question in federal law, or anything else that Stupak is suggesting President Obama's order will do. It merely instructed the National Institutes of Health to encourage the exploration of potential alternatives to embryo-destructive research.

Life Links 3/24/10

A mother in Seattle is upset with her daughter's in-school clinic after the clinic helped her daughter get an abortion during a school day without her knowledge.
When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15-year-old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy.

"She took a pregnancy test at school at the teen health center," she said. "Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion."

Jill says her daughter, a pro-life advocate, was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours, all without her family knowing.

"We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus," said Jill. "They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility."

President Obama will sign the executive order on abortion and health care today in a private ceremony with Bart Stupak and other members of Stupak's turncoat alliance in attendance.

In Canada, a motion by the Liberal party to include abortion funding in Canada's G8 initiative to improve the health of women and children in the developing world was defeated.
In a perplexing series of events Tuesday, Ignatieff's party failed to muster enough of its own MPs to pass a Liberal motion demanding the government include the "full range of reproductive health services" in its G8 initiative to improve the health of mothers and children in the developing world.

The Liberal motion did not specifically mention the word "abortion" but its intent was understood. Indeed, Ignatieff at one point during debate railed against "botched procedures" in the backstreets of the developing world.

Dan Sotelo needs to learn how to make an argument. The political science major at the University of Arizona doesn't like a graphic display of abortion images on his campus and the university paper has published his opinion piece. Unfortunately, instead of making an argument against the display, Sotelo's editorial is filled with unsupported assertions like Sotelo's position that the comparison between abortion and other disturbing violations of human rights "lacks validity" and "Just as Howard Stern is dismissed for his shock-jock antics, so too must this display be dismissed" and "The views of the organizers aren’t invalid, but their ends-justify-the-means approach is unnaceptable (sic)."

In the UK, a teenage girl's abortion apparently caused a rift between the families of the girl and her boyfriend which ended in the murder of the boyfriend.
THE abortion of a 17-year-old girl sparked a split between two families which led to murder on Hartlebury Common, near Stourport, a jury heard.

Tracy Carpenter said the girl, who she fostered, had been in “a happy-go-lucky” relationship with Shane Price before she got pregnant.

But after the termination, she claimed Shane’s mother Eileen Price threatened to kill the teenager if she continued her love affair.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life Links 3/23/10

William McGurn has an excellent column in the Wall Street Journal on Bart Stupak and prolife Democrats.
Amid the recriminations it's easy to overlook what Mr. Stupak had cobbled together. His amendment restricting federal funding for abortions, passed in November, marked the only bipartisan vote in this whole health-care mess. For the first time since Roe v. Wade, pro-life Democrats had seized the legislative initiative in the teeth of their leadership's opposition—and brought the party of abortion to heel.

Now Mr. Stupak has thrown it away. By caving at the last hour, he discredited all who stood with him. (What does it say about Ohio's Marcy Kaptur and Pennsylvania's Chris Carney that they had already agreed to vote yes even before the fig leaf of the executive order had come through?) In addition to undermining an encouraging partnership with pro-lifers across the congressional aisle, Mr. Stupak signaled that, in the end, you can't count on pro-life Democrats.....

In signing on to this sham order, the Stupak people signed their death warrant as a force within their party. In an America where a majority now describe themselves as pro-life, they have put legislative accommodations on abortion further out of reach. At least in the near future, they have ensured the Democrats will become even more uniformly pro-choice, and our national debate more polarized.

And that's a tragedy for our politics as well as for our principles.

John Hudson collects various explanations as to why Stupak caved.

At the Huffington Post, Michael Moore is taking credit for Stupak's vote.

Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) has admitted to shouting "it's a baby killer" during Bart Stupak's floor speech.
"In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase 'it's a baby killer' in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership," Neugebauer's statement reads. "While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself. … The timing and tone of my comment last night was inappropriate."

Speaking of that floor speech, here's an interview Megyn Kelly did with Stupak which includes some of that speech. It's hard to believe Stupak could actually believe what he's saying. Democrats are the ones who stand up for life? Come on.

Stupak reminds me of an elementary school child who steadfastly stood up for a friend who was constantly being harassed by her peers until one day he can't take the pressure any longer and joins the harassers.

Some pro-choicers aren't happy with Obama's promise to sign an executive order. Katha Politt thinks pro-choice groups should get some kind of payback for taking one for the liberal team. The National Network of Abortion Funds takes the opportunity to rail against the "cruel legacy of the Hyde Amendment."

Don't read this Washington Post column by Anthony Stevens-Arroyo in which he compares the passage of health care reform to a football game where Pelosi, Casey and Stupak are leading "the Catholic team" on a winning drive. Seriously. You will be dumber for reading it. It's that bad. Don't do it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Votes have consequences

I never thought Bart Stupak’s primary challenger Connie Saltonsall would have any chance against him but now his Republican challenger might.

Dan Benishek’s FaceBook page is blowing up with people promising donations and support.

Stupak gets played

I’m still having trouble believing that Bart Stupak put himself, his staff and his family through that process and decided that the promise of an executive order (which both National Right to Life and Americans United for Life says does little to ensure federal funds won’t be spent on abortion) from Barack Obama was good enough. Why he would have spent so much effort in the past months to get abortion out of health care only to fold?

Did Pelosi fool him into thinking they had the votes without him? Why would Stupak say, “I do believe they had the votes even before” at his Sunday press conference? The 219 total shows they didn’t have the votes without Stupak and his allies. But come on, if they really had the votes without you, do you think they would have really been putting forth so much effort to get you?

If Planned Parenthood is still supporting the legislation and is calling Obama’s executive order “a symbolic gesture,” it’s difficult to believe Stupak actually thinks the executive order solves the abortion problems in the Senate bill. Even NARAL couldn’t call for the bill to be defeated.

Also, extremely disappointing - Democrats for Life. This statement is embarrassing. Seriously??
"Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) applauds President Obama for his bold leadership in agreeing to an Executive Order that bans taxpayer funded abortions in the health care reform bill expected to pass the House this evening."
Why not stand up and praise the prolife Democrats like Dan Lipinski who stood their principled ground and voted against this bill?

I’ve known some people on my local level who were active in Democrats for Life and sometimes it seemed like they were more interested in trying to get prolife organizations to include Democrat priorities (like universal health care) in their agendas as opposed to attempting to get the Democratic Party to change it’s position on the life issue.

I thought Bart Stupak was different. I was wrong. He went from hero to zero in less than a day.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Baby Blogging

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil

Sometimes rhetoric comes back to bite you in the behind

At This is What a Feminist Looks Like, Vanessa (language warning) describes a recent Planned Parenthood training session she attended.
She was explaining how detrimental it will be to pass a health care bill with limited or no abortion care, and she mentioned a conversation she’d had with some male friends. Some of my guy friends were saying, you need to get over this, we need to pass health care reform. Can’t you just start a fund when you start having sex? You know. Keep some change in a [expletive] plastic jar, to save up for that rainy day abortion you might need later in life! Those are my words, not hers, FYI. She was very funny about it, saying, Well excuse me why don’t you start a fund?!

So, ya know, it was a funny moment in the midst of a positive evening, and it made me laugh and it stood out. But there’s a deeper message, one that we shouldn’t gloss over: why do we (they?) insist on making abortion a woman’s problem? Why does reproductive health care have to mean “for women”? Seriously, why the [expletive] shouldn’t all people be contributing to this hypothetical fund that might be necessary if insurance companies are unable to cover abortions?

It's so interesting to me after decades of defending abortion by claiming "it's my body, my choice" and that "women have a right to privacy," some pro-choice women don't understand why men (including pro-choice men) think the onus of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and paying for abortion should be on the woman.

If you base your arguments in favor of abortion on the ideology that abortion is a personal and private decision where only the pregnant woman's choice matters, it's not very persuasive when you claim others and the public should fund this decision.

Is Planned Parenthood Really Opposed to the Nelson Language?

Also, note how the Nelson abortion language in Obamacare is treated at this Planned Parenthood training session. To me, it doesn't sound like Planned Parenthood really believes that the Nelson amendment "would result in the most significant restriction in access to abortion coverage in the nearly 35 years since the U.S. Congress first adopted the Hyde Amendment."

One of Powerpoint slide is titled, "Nelson: Hey, At Least It’s Not Stupak" and Vanessa comes away from the Planned Parenthood training session thinking, "The fact is, Nelson is a compromise, one that we can probably live with. Stupak was never any such thing. It was just another example of America, and yes, unfortunately, the Democratic party, throwing women under the bus."

Life Links 3/19/10

Here's House Minority Leader John Boehner on Obamacare.
Boehner believes that abortion will be the key complication for on-the-fence Democrats in the final hours. “I’ve always thought that this would be the issue,” he says. “This is public funding for abortion. They know it can’t be fixed. There just aren’t the votes in the Senate.” He says he respects pro-life congressman Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) for holding firm, but cautions that he “never thought that Stupak could hold ten to twelve votes.”

Boehner says there will be major political consequences for pro-life Democrats who break from the Stupak bloc. “Take [Rep.] Steve Driehaus, for example,” he says. “He may be a dead man. He can’t go home to the west side of Cincinnati. The Catholics will run him out of town.”

I'm not at all surprised by this news from the Guardian: "At-home access to 'morning after' pill wouldn't curb unwanted pregnancies."
Women given an advance supply of emergency contraceptives were no more likely to have unprotected sex, to get an STD or to change how they used other contraceptives, compared to women not given advance supplies. This suggests that they are not less vigilant about safe sex as a result.

But surprisingly, the women were just as likely to get pregnant. This was true in all the studies.

The researchers aren't sure why having an advance supply didn't lower pregnancy rates, especially since women who had these pills were more likely to use them.
Hmmmm.... well, maybe the pills aren't effective as you thought they were. Wouldn't that be the most obvious possibility?

Duke University is going to create a therapy center for umbilical cord stem cell treatments after receiving a grant for $10.2 million dollars.
The money from the Robertson Foundation will establish a Translational Cell Therapy Center at Duke for cell-based treatments, notably the work of Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg. It is the latest large donation from private sources to advance medical research at local universities.

Kurtzberg has used umbilical cord cells to treat cancer and genetic disorders in children. In many cases, infusions of cord blood have reversed and even cured otherwise fatal disorders. Kurtzberg has recently begun using the once-discarded material in hopes it can also mend brain damage in children diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Improving women's health without abortion? What?

Michelle Goldberg is spouting pro-choice blasphemy. She doesn't like the Senate's abortion language but argues pro-choice feminists should support it anyways.
It's become clear that if health-care reform passes, it's going to significantly erode, and probably end, insurance coverage for abortion. That makes it a serious step backward for reproductive rights.

Feminists should support it anyway.

The simple fact is that health-care reform, even with its awful provisions on abortion, will hugely improve the health of American women.

What? A pro-choice feminist who claims legislation which will supposedly harm access to abortion will improve the health of women?

All the hard-core pro-choicers at NARAL are scratching their heads and wondering, “But how can the health of women improve without abortion??”

Goldberg also notes,
Anti-abortion forces have had the advantage in this fight because they're willing to sacrifice the health of millions on the altar of their ideology. Their nihilism gives them leverage. It's tempting to wish that pro-choice forces could be equally resolute, and it's possible that stronger demands early on could have made a difference. But it's too late for that now. The choice is the Senate bill or nothing, and nothing would be a tragedy. There are very few things in this world for which it is worth compromising reproductive rights. But the greatest expansion of the social safety net in a generation is one of them.
Michelle is right that prolifers are more resolute but it’s not nihilism but rather simply understanding that attempting to help some human beings while allowing the government to subsidize the killing of other human beings shatters the underlying principle behind why people want better health care: Human life is valuable.

Another Whopper on Health Care Reform from Politics Daily's David Gibson

Politics Daily columnist David Gibson is pointing to this paper in the New England Journal of Medicine by Patrick Whelan as evidence that health care reform will reduce abortions. The paper notes that the number of abortions performed in Massachusetts dropped 1.5% in the 2 years after Massachusetts implemented their health care reform legislation.

Now most people would recognize that dropping abortion by 1.5% over two years isn’t really proof that Massachusetts’ health care reform reduced abortions yet Gibson titles his column, “Massachusetts Study: Health Care Reform Reduced Abortions.”

If you read the study, you notice it doesn’t really say “Health Care Reform Reduced Abortions” since only someone who doesn’t know anything about abortion statistics would assume that the implementation of one thing would be the sole cause of a drop in a rather small drop in abortions without doing a study that eliminated a bunch of other factors.

In reality, abortions have been decreasing in Massachusetts for more than a decade as Patrick Whelan notes in his paper.
Overall, since 2000, the number of abortions in Massachusetts has dropped by 12% (from 27,180 to 23,883) and by nearly 36% since 1991.

Whelan never makes the claim that Massachusetts’ health care reform reduced abortion instead he assumes that federal health care reform wouldn’t increase the number of abortions.
I believe it is reasonable to conclude that the possibility of some federal subsidization of overall care, for a fraction of the additional 31 million people who would be covered, would not mean a significant or even a likely increase in the number of abortions performed nationally.

What’s really interesting about the Massachusetts’ statistics is that almost the entire drop of abortions for the entire population came from a drop in teen abortions. From 2006 to 2008, the number of abortions performed in Massachusetts fell from 24,245 to 23,883. A drop of 362 abortions. In the same time frame teen abortions dropped to 3,726 in 2008. Whelan doesn’t list the 2006 total but says the decline is 7.4% for teens. My math puts the 2006 number at 4,024. So teen abortions dropped 298.

With the drop in teen abortions making up 82.3% of the entire abortion decline over two years, you’d think Whelan would attempt to provide evidence that Massachusetts’ health care reform significantly improved access to health care for teens.

He doesn’t.

Keepin’ it classy

How some advocates of Obamacare have responded to Congressman Bart Stupak’s opposition to the Senate bill’s abortion language:
The fight has taken a toll on his wife, who has disconnected the phone in their home to avoid harassment.

“All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats. She won’t watch TV,” Stupak said during an hourlong interview with The Hill in his Rayburn office. “People saying they’re going to spit on you and all this. That’s just not fun.”

Life Links 3/18/10

Dale Kildee is getting some deservedly strong responses from prolife groups for his decision to vote in favor of the Senate's abortion language from the Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life and Right to Life of Michigan.

The Associated Press notes that since prolife doctors in South Korea have voiced their concerns about the lack of enforcement of South Korea's abortion law, it has become much more difficult to get an abortion.
But getting an abortion, once so routine here that South Korea was known as "Abortion Republic," is no longer easy. In recent weeks, the government has begun enforcing a long-ignored ban on the procedure for the first time.

It took Mrs. Kim 10 tries to find a doctor willing to perform an abortion, and he's demanding nearly $1,000 in cash. To scrape together the money, the six-weeks pregnant woman took a second job cleaning an office building overnight for a few weeks.....

Hospitals have stopped openly advertising abortions. One gynecologist in eastern Seoul says she turns away patients who call, but quietly accepts them if they show up in person. Another in the city's fashionable Apgujeong district asks for up to $2,000 "to help cover the legal risks," and requires patients to sign a waiver freeing the doctor from liability.

Former University of Michigan and NFL offensive lineman Jon Runyan is running as a Republican for a New Jersey congressional seat currently held by Democrat John Adler. Runyan describes himself as "pro-choice on abortion 'with a lot of restrictions;' he is opposed to late-term abortions for example."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Is the difference really that trivial?

Michael Gerson responds to the meme that the differences between the abortion language in the House and Senate versions of health care are trivial.
Marcus dismisses these concerns as trivial. The practical effect is “nil.” Actually, maintaining this principle -- that federal resources should not be used to encourage elective abortions -- has been one of the few, consistent pro-life successes since Roe v. Wade. Marcus, along with Jost, hopes that principle will be casually abandoned in the confusion of health reform. In fact, they seem determined to add to that confusion at a key moment. Apart from the principle involved, is it really credible to imagine that massive public subsidies to health-insurance plans that cover abortion would reduce the number of abortions? Is there any evidence that one of the main reasons women have abortions is because they lack health coverage that includes contraception?

In fact, all the political “muscle” is being applied on one side. The president and Democratic leadership could have crafted a health-reform approach that maintains the status quo on public funding of abortion. Instead, they produced a bill that subsidies health plans that offer abortion and offends the conscience of millions of Americans. Their pro-abortion views have proven even deeper than their commitment to health-care reform -- a cause they have complicated with their pro-choice ideology.

Congressman Dale Kildee sells out unborn on Obamacare

So disappointing.
Representative Dale Kildee, Democrat of Michigan and a strong opponent of abortion, announced on Wednesday that he was satisfied with the provisions in the Senate-passed health care bill that seek to limit the use of federal money for insurance coverage of abortion.....

“For those who know me, I have always respected and cherished the sanctity of human life. I spent six years studying to be a priest and was willing to devote my life to God. I came to Congress two years after the Hyde amendment became law,” Mr. Kildee said in a statement. “And I have spent the last 34 years casting votes to protect the lives of the unborn. I have stood up to many in my party to defend the right to life and have made no apologies for doing so. I now find myself disagreeing with some of the people and groups I have spent a lifetime working with. I have listened carefully to both sides, sought counsel from my priest, advice from family, friends and constituents, and I have read the Senate abortion language more than a dozen times.”

And by "always respected" he means "always respected until Democrats gained control of Congress and really pressured me to vote in favor of expanding the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research."

So instead of agreeing with prolife groups he's worked with for years, he's siding with Pelosi.

Life Links 3/17/10

At the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto talks about ObamaCare and eugenics.
Getting government into the eugenics business would have disturbing implications for reproductive liberty. What would happen to a woman who received, say, a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome? She would be free (as she is today) to exercise her right to have an abortion. But would she be free to exercise her right not to have an abortion?

Presumably the government could not directly force her to abort, as this would provoke political outrage and run afoul of Roe v. Wade and subsequent rulings. But one can easily imagine softer forms of coercion coming into play. A government-run insurance plan, for instance, could deny or limit coverage for the treatment of certain conditions if diagnosed before fetal viability, on the ground that the taxpayer should not be forced to pay the costs of the woman's choice to carry her child to term. Perhaps the courts would find this an "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose, but that does not strike us as an open-and-shut case.

The Economist has a long piece on gendercide.
The spread of fetal-imaging technology has not only skewed the sex ratio but also explains what would otherwise be something of a puzzle: sexual disparities tend to rise with income and education, which you would not expect if “backward thinking” was all that mattered. In India, some of the most prosperous states—Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat—have the worst sex ratios. In China, the higher a province’s literacy rate, the more skewed its sex ratio. The ratio also rises with income per head.....

So modernisation and rising incomes make it easier and more desirable to select the sex of your children. And on top of that smaller families combine with greater wealth to reinforce the imperative to produce a son. When families are large, at least one male child will doubtless come along to maintain the family line. But if you have only one or two children, the birth of a daughter may be at a son’s expense. So, with rising incomes and falling fertility, more and more people live in the smaller, richer families that are under the most pressure to produce a son.

Margaret Sommerville lays out her arguments against euthanasia and assisted suicide.
But although the need for euthanasia to relieve pain and suffering is the justification given, and the one the public accepts in supporting its legalization, research shows that dying people request euthanasia far more frequently because of fear of social isolation and of being a burden on others, than pain. So, should avoiding loneliness or being a burden count as a sufficient justification?

Pennsylvania posts abortionist Kermit Gosnell's long list of violations

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has listed 14 broad categories in which abortionist Kermit Gosnell committed multiple violations of state laws.
Health officials reviewed records of 11 patients on whom Gosnell performed abortions between Nov. 19, 2009, and Feb. 19 - the day after the clinic was raided. State investigators found that nine of those women were in the second trimester of pregnancy - 14 or more weeks.

Three of those patients developed severe complications and had to be rushed by ambulance to a hospital.

In all three cases, the Health Department order says, ambulance personnel found doors and halls that could not accommodate a stretcher, and locked exit doors - one of which was blocked by "an IV pole, a wheelchair, and a broken office chair."

Two patients had to be helped to walk out to the ambulance. The rescue of the third patient, who was unconscious, involved cutting a padlock and finding a key......

Among other violations found by the Health Department's investigation:

Emergency resuscitation and monitoring equipment such as a heart defibrillator, breathing tubes, and a blood oxygen gauge were nonexistent or broken. The only suction source for clearing a blocked airway was the same one used for early abortions; it had no inspection sticker and corroded tubing.

Drugs to treat a patient for cardiac arrest, allergic reactions, or excessive bleeding were not stocked.

An oxygen mask and tubing were covered "in a thick gray layer" of apparent dust.

Gosnell had no backup physician, and patients in the recovery area were not monitored by a nurse.

The clinic did not submit fetal tissue from the nine late abortions to a pathologist to verify the fetus was not "viable" - unable to survive.

The clinic did not do blood and urine tests required to make sure patients could safely undergo abortions.

The Health Department also found that, even though Gosnell knew he was required to report serious complications to the state within 24 hours, he did not do so with the patient who went into cardiac arrest Nov. 19.

And Gosnell apparently lied on the quarterly reports he had to submit. For the last quarter of last year, he listed only two second-trimester abortions, yet his facility "provided at least six second-trimester abortions" during that period, the state order said.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life Links 3/16/10

The Los Angeles Times has an article on how New Mexico abortionist Curtis Boyd is apparently stepping up to fill abortionist George Tiller's shoes by aborting more unborn children in the third trimester.
Curtis Boyd, an Albuquerque doctor, recently announced on his website that, in response to Tiller's death, he had begun performing third-trimester abortions. Boyd, 72, also announced that he had hired two California physicians, Susan Robinson and Shelley Sella, who used to work with Tiller on a rotating basis.....

After Tiller was murdered by Scott Roeder, who faces sentencing April 1, the National Abortion Federation began asking members who already provide second-trimester abortions to consider extending their practices to include third-trimester abortions.

At Real Clear Politics, Jay Cost has done his research into which Democrats are likely nay votes on health care reform and which of the Democrats might be part of Stupak's group.

North Carolina's Wake County has re-instated the county's policy of including abortion in their health insurance plan.

American's United for Life will be using print advertising in the districts of some Democrats who originally voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment to encourage them to vote no on health care reform.

Self-described liberal Mark Shields has a decent column on abortion.
Of all the arguments in support of legalized abortion made by elected legislators, the one that bothers me the most is, "While I'm personally opposed to abortion, I cannot vote to impose my views on others ..."

This represents the ultimate privatization of beliefs. Thank goodness 19th Century abolitionists did not use this logic to explain their unwillingness to vote to outlaw slavery.

Every day, liberals, in whose ranks I count myself, urge legislators to vote to impose our views and beliefs on others when it involves enacting a progressive tax system, guaranteeing gay rights, protecting the environment, or through the federal government, providing health care to millions of Americans who do not presently have it.

Some now argue that government can involve itself in social morality -- such as ending racial segregation -- but butt out when it comes to personal moral decisions. This leads to the kind of convoluted liberalism that, as Father Thomas J. Reese, the Jesuit author, has observed, holds that "government should no longer ban topless dancing, but should ensure that the dancer works in a smoke-free environment."

Bone marrow stem cells were used to treat mice with asthma.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Universal health care = Less abortions? Not so much

Michael New smacks down a lame T.R. Reid column which claims passing universal health care would lower the abortion rate in the U.S.

I love this assertion from Reid.
This is not a coincidence. There's a direct connection between greater health coverage and lower abortion rates.
Reid then fails to provide any evidence of direct connection. It's like they don't know the difference between correlation and causation at the Washington Post.

It's funny how pro-choicers will claim various different liberal initiatives are the cause of lower abortion rates in other countries depending on what legislation they're pushing. Sometimes it's free contraceptives, sometimes it's more sex education and sometimes it's universal health care.

Life Links 3/15/10

The National Review posted excerpts of an interview with Bart Stupak regarding health care.
They’re ignoring me,” he says, in a phone interview with National Review Online. “That’s their strategy now. The House Democratic leaders think they have the votes to pass the Senate’s health-care bill without us. At this point, there is no doubt that they’ve been able to peel off one or two of my twelve. And even if they don’t have the votes, it’s been made clear to us that they won’t insert our language on the abortion issue.”

Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser has an editorial in the Washington Post arguing that Republicans are ignoring the abortion issue at their own peril.
Republicans too often treat the abortion issue like an eccentric aunt at Thanksgiving dinner -- if they ignore it, maybe it will go away. And lately, Republican heads have been turned by a new, flashy guest at the table -- the tea party movement, which has been attracting big crowds, high-profile speakers and money with its message of lower taxes and less government spending. Some party leaders sound as if they are counting on this new energy to deliver victory in November all by itself.

That's a risky bet. There is no doubt that the tea party movement has invigorated GOP leaders and given them hope of retaking Congress after the crushing defeat of 2008. However, the movement hasn't been tested nationally at the ballot box; its power to elect or defeat candidates is still largely theoretical. But year in and year out, pro-life voters consistently help carry Republican candidates into office.

Rut-row....The new NIH guidelines for the federal-funding of human embryonic stem cell research have caused a problem: Only one of the older lines, which researchers have spent years and millions studying, has been approved for new funding.
"The situation at the moment is worse than it was under the Bush administration," said Charles Murry, a professor of pathology and bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. "Because of this, we are going to waste a lot of time."
The problem is that it remains unclear how many of the original 21 lines, which researchers have spent millions of dollars and nearly a decade studying, were derived at a time when ethical requirements were less specific, leaving in doubt how many would pass muster under the tough new guidelines.....

So far, the NIH has approved 43 lines. But that includes only one of the original 21 "Bush" lines. An additional 115 lines are awaiting review. But that includes only two more of the original lines.

"We're losing access to those lines in this approval process for some period of time -- maybe indefinitely," Kamp said. "They are the main workhorses for many of our projects."
Researchers with existing federal grants can continue to work on the old lines regardless of whether they have been approved under the new policy. But any research involving new grants, including those awarded using the flood of new funding the NIH received as part of the stimulus package, can only use lines approved under the new policy. That has left researchers scrambling to decide how to proceed: They can wait in the hopes that the lines they've been using will be approved. Or they can switch to a new line.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Comparing the gay rights and prolife movements

Michael Gerson writes,
Pro-life activists have made far less legal progress than have advocates for gay rights, in part because the courts have played an active role in discouraging democracy on abortion. But it is a remarkable achievement that 37 years after Roe v. Wade attempted to settle the abortion question, it remains unsettled. Fifty-two percent of Americans believe that having an abortion is "morally wrong." Fifty-three percent oppose public funding in health-reform legislation. The provision of abortion remains stigmatized within the medical profession. And the abortion rate in America has dropped significantly since the 1980s....

But the pro-life movement also shifted its political strategy, moving away from judgmental moral arguments toward a language of civil rights aspiration. Pro-life activists and politicians, influenced by Catholic thinkers such as Richard John Neuhaus, began talking of an expanding circle of legal inclusion and protection that includes the unborn -- a welcoming society that values the vulnerable. In this narrative, abortion is not only wrong but also unjust....

But so far the gay rights movement has succeeded for many of the same reasons that the pro-life movement (to a lesser extent) has succeeded. Both have taken sometimes abstract, theoretical arguments and humanized them. Both have moved away from extreme-sounding moralism (or anti-moralism) and placed their cause in the context of civil rights progress. Whatever your view on the application of these arguments, this is the way social movements advance in America.

Mike Thompson needs to stick to the cartoons

Detroit Free Press cartoonist Mike Thompson shows us why he should focus on drawing instead of trying to write arguments for his position or defend his cartoons with editorial columns.
Stupak believes that abortion is morally wrong. OK, if that’s what he believes, then he should have the fortitude to introduce legislation that would criminalize abortion. Instead, Stupak is making headlines for another attempt by an anti-abortion lawmaker to whittle away at a woman’s right to choose until that right becomes non-existent.

First, Thompson doesn't seem to understand why Stupak opposes abortion. True, Stupak thinks that abortion is morally wrong (probably like he thinks lying or cheating on your wife is morally wrong) but the reason he thinks abortion should be illegal is because it intentionally takes the life of an innocent human being.

Second, notice how Thompson, instead arguing that Stupak's beliefs are incorrect or that his amendment is bad or that the federal government should subsidize health insurance plans which cover abortion, attempts to attack Stupak personally (as opposed to attacking Stupak's arguments).

Most people understand that not all prolifers are going to be introducing bills to make all abortion illegal because passing such a bill is not possible in the current political climate (you know the climate where Democrats have large majorities in both chambers and the presidency). As the next paragraph shows Thompson is a lot more ignorant than the average Joe.
Given the current composition of the U.S. Supreme Court, now is a golden moment for Stupak and the anti-abortion crowd to introduce legislation to attack Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion. So why haven’t they? The answer is simple: Stupak and the anti-abortion movement want to get their way on the most controversial issue of our time while sparing themselves any blowback.
This is so incredibly stupid and thoughtless, it's hard to know where to begin.

First, if Thompson knew anything about the current composition of the U.S. Supreme Court he would know that there are only four justices (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito) who would possibly be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade.

Second, how on earth does Thompson think an abortion ban would pass the U.S. Senate?

Third, why would President Obama (who favor tax-funded abortion and voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion) sign such a bill into law?

But it's "a golden moment," eh?

Does Mike Thompson not understand how laws are made? Does he need to go back to elementary school for a lesson on how a bill becomes a law?

It's also interesting how Thompson thinks Stupak hasn't gotten any "blowback" from his efforts. Stupak has a primary challenger and I can't imagine how many Planned Parenthood and NARAL members in New Yorker have called his office complaining about his amendment.

Thompson motive seeking continues:
They’re doing so because a proposal to outlaw abortion would prompt people to ask: What comes next?
Yes, that's the real reason Stupak hasn't introduced an abortion ban. He's scared Mike Thompson will bring up back-alley abortions. It has nothing to do with what's politically possible or prudent.

I just don't understand how someone can such an idiot. Stupak is trying to make sure the government doesn't subsidize health insurance plans with abortion. He's trying to defend his castle with limited troops which is under attack from a massive push by roaming marauders and Thompson is trying to ascertain why Stupak hasn't tried charging out of his castle and taken over the marauder's homeland.

Democrats abandon attempts to alter abortion language in health care reform

The Associated Press is reporting the Democratic leadership is going full steam ahead on reconciliation without changing the abortion language.
House Democratic leaders Thursday abandoned a long struggle to strike a compromise on abortion in their ranks, gambling that they can secure the support for President Barack Obama's sweeping health care legislation with showdown votes looming as early as next week......

One of the toughest hurdles facing Pelosi involves abortion. Some anti-abortion Democrats say the Senate language is not sufficiently airtight to prevent taxpayer dollars from mingling with money that might be used to subsidize abortions.

Others disagree, and party leaders acknowledged Thursday they can't resolve the dispute using budget reconciliation rules. Instead they hope that only a few House Democrats who voted for the health care package in November will now switch to "no" because of the abortion issue. Party leaders think they can offset those defections by persuading some of the 39 House Democrats who voted "no" last year to switch to "yes."

Many House Democrats who oppose legalized abortion "are either satisfied enough with the Senate provision, or they decide that that's as much as they're going to get and they don't want to defeat health care," said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Life Links 3/12/10

Tom McClusky lists the top eight reasons abortion is in the health care overhaul.

A Michigan jury has rejected Harlan Drake's insanity defense and found him guilty of first degree murder for killing abortion protester James Pouillon and businessman Mike Fuoss.

Joe Carter examines how the Netherlands has become so enamored with assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Over a period of forty years, the Dutch have continued the search for where to draw the line with euthanasia, shifting from acceptance of voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill, to voluntary euthanasia for the chronically ill, to non-voluntary euthanasia for the sick and disabled, to euthanasia for those who are not sick at all but are merely “suffering through living.” While the initial impetus may have been spurred by a desire to give expanded rights to the person who faces extreme suffering or imminent death, the effect has been to concentrate power into the hands of state-sponsored medical professionals. And while the justification for assisted death is usually the supposed well being of the suffering patient, the Dutch have redefined natural dependency into an unacceptable or unwanted social burden.

By conflating the duty to reduce suffering with the perceived necessity to eliminate all suffering, Dutch physicians have increasingly resorted to euthanasia as a novel form of sympathectomy. A sympathectomy is a medical procedure that is sometimes required after a localized trauma or peripheral nerve injury, when a person may feel a syndrome of pain and tenderness that can only be relieved by the excision of a sympathetic nerve. In a similar manner, when faced with the many pains, heartaches, and disabilities that eventually afflict most of us in one form or another, the Dutch are resorting to the excision provided by euthanasia.

AUL has responded to the criticisms by Commonweal's Matthew Boudway of their legal analysis on abortion and health care.

David Christensen takes down the meme that the federal government already subsidizes abortion because the federal government doesn't tax employer-based health care plans.
There are several errors in this argument. First, the employer tax exclusion does mean that a business is being taxed less so they can purchase health care plans. Being taxed less by the government is different than the government making direct payments, through tax credits, grants or other expenditures. So the employer tax exclusion for health care is different than the Federal government pays someone to purchase of health plans. There is a difference between government spending of public funds, and the government taking less of your money. Matt conflates the two.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Life Links 3/11/10

Blogger Thomas Peters reports that Dale Kildee’s office says he still hasn’t decided whether he will vote for health care reform minus the Stupak amendment.
As a courtesy, we called Kildee’s office and told them about our intentions, and about our dismay at his changed position.

Linsey Beck, Kildee’s legislative staffer, told us that the media reports were inaccurate, and that the representative has not decided to vote for the Senate language bill.

Mary Ann Sorrentino, a former executive director of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island, has a piece in Salon where she takes issue with Angie Jackson live-tweeting her abortion.
But the right we were fighting so hard for -- which was granted only a short 37 years ago -- was based on what the Supreme Court called "privacy."

We wanted a woman to be able to make personal decisions about their pregnancies in the privacy of their most intimate circles -- her partner, family, closest friends, physician and religious advisors, if she so chose. Or, she could decide as a panel of one and discuss it with no one.

Angie Jackson has the right to choose to take RU-486 and then write about her cramps, her bleeding, and the eventual expulsion of the products of conception on the Internet. But many of us who have spent our lives on the front lives of the abortion debate also have the right to hate the fact that she chose to do this.

At its worst, it is self-serving, exhibitionist and selfish. At best, it has "bad judgment" written all over it.

There’s a review of the abortion-themed play “Girls in Trouble” in the New York Times.

A prolife group in Pennsylvania is asking the district attorney to investigate whether suspended abortionist Kermit Gosnell failed to report statutory rape to child-welfare authorities.

I’m glad I don’t have cable. It spares me from watching the deceptiveness that is Rachel Maddow. At FireDogLake post a clip of Maddow attempting to argue against Bart Stupak's position on abortion and health care. She is either exceptionally uninformed or intentionally lying. She acts like Stupak’s plan would oppose allowing women from buying abortion insurance coverage with their own money and only rich women could get abortions.

I also like how the clips of Stupak are cut short. Nice Michael Moore style arguing.

She ends by claiming Stupak is simply trying to get attention for himself. Seriously? People watch this garbage?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

National Day to Appreciate the Person Who Killed Your Child

That's right. Today is one of the most uncelebrated holidays of the year: National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers.

It seems that the National Abortion Federation is one of the few organizations who still even mention it.

They're promoting it by asking you to take a picture of yourself with a sign saying why you appreciate your abortion provider.

In light of Kermit Gosnell's recent license suspension, here are a few possibilities:

"I appreciate my abortion provider because he focuses on killing my child so much that he forgets to clean the blood off the floor."

"I appreciate my abortion provider because he stored my fetus in his freezer for 20 years."

"I appreciate my abortion provider because he passed his clinic aides off as doctors when they weren't."

"I appreciate my abortion provider because he charges bargain basement prices."

"I appreciate my abortion provider because I wasn't one of the two women he killed."

Life Links 3/10/10

John McCormack of the Weekly Standard interviewed Bart Stupak on abortion and health care reform. Stupak isn't down with trusting the Senate to fix the abortion language at a later stage.
"Everyone’s going around saying there’s a compromise—there’s no such thing," Stupak said. What's changed between this week and last, Stupak went on, is that he had his first real conversation with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Congressman Henry Waxman about fixing the bill.

But Stupak made one thing very clear: While he's optimistic, there's a lot of confusion about how the House would structure a bill that he could vote for. Stupak says "the majority party can get it done. Where there’s a will there’s a way." But: "No one has said here's how you do it, here's the legislative scheme."

Stupak affirmed that he will not settle for an agreement to pass the bill now and fix the bill's problems on abortion later: "If they say 'we’ll give you a letter saying we'll take care of this later,' that’s not acceptable because later never comes."

Michigan Democrat Dale Kildee who previously has had a solid prolife voting record (until he voted to expand the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research) tells Roll Call that he'll probably vote for health care reform without the Stupak Amendment. It's so disappointing when previously strong prolifers just abandon their beliefs and principles.

The Catholic News Agency provides some of Archbishop Charles Chaput's comments to Cleveland Right to Life's symposium. He provides lots of good advice.

The California Stem Cell Report has a post on CIRM's plans spend $50 million to fund one or two clinical trials using pluripotent stem cells.
California voters approved the stem cell research effort five years ago, creating CIRM as a way to circumvent federal restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell research. Prop. 71 gave top priority to support for that area. Notably, however, the clinical trial proposal does not extend to hESC research.

Basil Merenda writes about how a Pennsylvania law prevents state authorities from informing licensing boards about criminal investigations on state-licensed professionals. The only reason the deplorable conditions at Kermit Gosnell's abortion clinic were reported to the licensing board was because the evidence was gathered by federal authorities.

Florida television station WHCG might want to think about changing this sub-headline.
A group of pro-choice advocates hit the streets of Panama City Beach Tuesday wanting an end to abortions.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Life Links 3/9/10

Health care, health care, health care.

Bart Stupak had a town hall meeting where he discussed the health care bill and his position on it. He told the Associated Press that he "more optimistic" than he was a week ago that the bill could be changed to get his approval.
"The president says he doesn't want to expand or restrict current law (on abortion). Neither do I," Stupak said. "That's never been our position. So is there some language that we can agree on that hits both points — we don't restrict, we don't expand abortion rights? I think we can get there."

Stupak is apparently being courted fairly heavily.
Stupak was invited last week to the Russian Opera in President Barack Obama's box. He told the crowd he respectfully declined.

The AP also has an article focused on abortion and health care reform where we learn President Obama is supposedly open to fixing the loophole which allows abortion funding in community health centers.
Q: Don't abortion opponents have other concerns about the bill?

A: A major one has to do with $11 billion that Obama wants to pump into community health centers serving low-income people and the uninsured. As the bill is currently written, those funds are not explicitly covered by the Hyde amendment.

White House health overhaul spokeswoman Linda Douglass says Obama is willing to clarify the language.
There's also this tidbit.
Abortion rights groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America say the House and Senate versions of the bill represent the biggest expansion of abortion restrictions in years, yet they're not trying to defeat the measures.
Hmmmm.....I wonder why? When bills which have small abortion restrictions are introduced PP and NARAL go all out against them but not much more than a press release calling on Congress to fix the Nelson amendment when they're facing the "biggest expansion of abortion restrictions in years." Something doesn't add up.

Penny Young Nance has a piece at FOXNews entitled, "Unless Abortion Funding Is Removed, There's No Way Health Care Will Pass."

Cassy Fiano writes her reaction to Angie Jackson's abortion live-tweeting and the following publicity.
Angie shrugs it off like she was throwing out some trash. And that is appalling to me, that is what I’m completely incapable of understanding. You would think that the decision to have an abortion would be one of the hardest decisions a woman would ever have to make. I am pro-life, and I find abortion a horrible, horrible atrocity. My heart still goes out to the women who think that they have no other choice and have to endure it. Yet Angie encourages women to just do it because “it’s not that bad”. How can someone be so cold?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Who needs facts? We've got Marcotte!

In her never ending crusade to prove she can't string two honest and logical sentences about abortion together, Amanda Marcotte posts this gem.
There’s no word for that but “lie”. The only thing the Stupak amendment does is prevents women from using their own money to buy insurance.
Really? Then why does the Stupak amendment specifically allow women who would have federally subsidized insurance to buy a separate rider (with their own non-federally-subsidized money) for abortion coverage?

Marcotte continues:
The original plan to keep the status quo was to make it so none of the federal subsidies that went to insurance companies would go to abortion, but Stupak has banned individuals receiving federal funding from using their own money to pay for abortion insurance.
Wrong again. They can use their own money to pay for abortion insurance. They just need to use their own money to buy a non-federally-subsidized rider.

Also, the status quo isn't that the federal government subsidizes health care plans which include abortion coverage.

Saletan says adieu to logic

Did Will Saletan take an anti-logic pill? I would think this kind of sloppy argument to be beneath him. Regarding the prolife billboards in Georgia and the prevalence of abortion among African-Americans, he writes,
The numbers are provocative. But there's something odd about the billboards. The child who appears beside the text is fully born. Abortion doesn't kill such children. What kills them, all too often, is shooting. If you wanted to save living, breathing, fully born children from a tool of extermination that is literally targeting blacks, the first problem you would focus on is guns. They are killing the present, not just the future. But the sponsors of the "endangered species" ads don't support gun control. They oppose it.
First, I really doubt that Georgia Right to Life has a position on gun control. If they did, I’m guessing Saletan would link to it. Claiming the organization has a position because some leaders in the organization do is fallacious.

Second, are guns walking around and targeting black children or are they an instrument which makes it easier to kill people.? This is a little like saying prolifers shouldn’t focus on stopping abortionists but should try to stop the production and distribution of curettes, vacuum aspirators, syringes and forceps.

He concludes by writing,
Yes, there are too many aborted. But there are also too many shot. And when you read what the people behind the billboards have said about gun control, it's hard to take seriously what they say about abortion.

What a lazy ad-hom. Saletan doesn’t like that some leading prolifers are opposed to gun control. Therefore, he won’t take what they argue about abortion seriously.

Too bad arguments don’t have a position on gun control, eh?

Life Links 3/8/10

The Los Angeles Times has a story about Dave Wilkinson, a pastor who runs three pregnancy centers and has converted an RV into a mini-CPC with ultrasound equipment.
Every Tuesday since then, Wilkinson and a handful of like-minded Christians have driven into the city in a donated motor home equipped with an ultrasound machine and parked it near the Imperial Courts housing project.

They come here because Watts is one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, and abortion rates tend to be higher in low-income areas, according to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on sexual health issues. For four hours, Wilkinson's group offers free pregnancy tests, using the ultrasound to show women images of their fetuses and leading prayer-filled counseling sessions in which they urge the women to keep their unborn babies.

Marc Thiessen had a piece about the problems with attempting to insert new abortion language into the health care bill.
The bottom line: Stupak and the blue dog Democrats in the House have no leverage if they go along with Pelosi in a reconciliation strategy. The only way they can ensure that the abortion language and other provisions they oppose are eliminated is to reject reconciliation entirely -- and demand that the House and Senate start over with clean legislation.

Justin Taylor has a couple of posts summarizing Rev. John Piper’s preaching on abortion and it’s connection to race and Piper’s thoughts on politics, preaching and abortion.
Piper knows that to link the two explosive issues is to invite misunderstanding and criticism. Nevertheless, in his 2007 sermon he makes clear that he is not associating the two in a “sly or subtle way,” but rather in an “open and intentional” way. He clarifies that his aim is not to “equate” the two, but rather to “associate them. “It’s not a biblical declaration; it’s a cultural observation.”

Piper makes his aims in linking these two manifestly clear:

For the sake of full disclosure let me tell you one of my main aims in this message: In the name of Jesus Christ and rooted in the gospel of his death and resurrection for sinners (including abortionists and pastors), my aim is to stigmatize abortion by associating it with racism. I would like you to link abortion and race the same way you link lynching and race.

My aim is that those who abhor racism will abhor abortion—“Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9). My aim is that abortion would be as culturally taboo as racism is. My aim is to hasten the day when being publicly pro-choice will be as reprehensible as being publicly racist. My aim is to hasten the day when declaring yourself pro-choice would be like declaring yourself a white supremacist.

On Sunday, thousands of Spaniards came out to protest the liberalization of Spain’s abortion law.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Life Links 3/5/10

There are a couple of articles about the role abortion is playing in the health care debate. One from the Associated Press and another in the Washington Post.

A local FOX News station interviewed embattled Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. In the comments, Gosnell's nephew and a fellow physician attempt to defend him.

At the Americans United for Life blog, Mailee Smith details a study which shows that making abortion illegal in Chile didn't raise maternal mortality.
While considered a “developing nation,” Chile offers a unique opportunity to examine the impact of abortion laws on maternal mortality. Abortion was legal there from 1931 until 1988, but was completely outlawed in 1989. As a result, Chile now maintains one of the strictest abortion bans in the world. And unlike many nations—including the United States—Chile has maternal health data dating back to the beginning of the 1900s.

The study, which examined maternal deaths form 1960 to 2007, reveals that maternal mortality peaked in 1961, right in the midst of legalized abortion. During that year, abortion caused 34 percent of maternal deaths. But by 2007 (and 8 years of an operative abortion ban), maternal mortality rates had been reduced 97.9 percent.

Weirdest pro-choice posters ever? I'm wondering if the AFP has the photo caption in this article wrong. The article is about a pro-choice protest in South Korea and shows a picture of women holding yellow posters with some text and what appears to be a drawing of a child in the womb. The caption then reads, "South Korean women hold up placards reading 'Stop a crackdown on abortion that violates women's rights.'"

It's amazing what some feminist bloggers can blame on abstinence education. According to Jill at Feministe, abstinence education is to blame for the results of this survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The survey found that overwhelming majority of young adults have sex, think using contraception is important, have used contraception in the past yet many fail to do so consistently, say they have little knowledge about contraceptives and even plan on having sex without contraception in the future. This is all apparently somehow the fault of abstinence education.

Abstinence education is probably also to blame for 59% of young women and 47% of young men thinking it is at least slightly likely they are infertile. And 18% of men thinking you can reduce the risk of pregnancy by having sex while standing. And 14% of young adults who've used birth control pills think they are effective if a woman misses 2 or 3 days in a row. And the 24% who believe wearing two condoms is more effective than one.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Why is abortion still stigmatized?

Sarah Kliff has a piece in Newsweek on attempts to de-stigmatize abortion.
Changing the stereotypes that come with abortion, and the stigma they engender, is not necessarily impossible. But it requires a larger, more complex discussion. A few sporadic stories are insufficient in representing how widespread abortion really is, the fact that 45 million women in the United States share the experience. "[Jackson] is very brave, and we need 10,000 more of her," says Peg Johnston, chair of the Abortion Care Network. "I very much think that, although it's a private experience, we really need more people who are make it public." More women speaking, says Johnston, would break down the stereotypes we associate with abortion today. Secondly, those discussions must be honest and recognize abortion as a complex experience that, as Ludlow says, "sometimes hurts," rather than a clear-cut policy issue. "I understand it's not an easy place to acknowledge the complexity," says Johnston, "but it's where we need to go." She hopes for a day when pro-choice bumper stickers with quick quips are a thing of the past. She already has a slogan dreamed up in their place that could be slapped onto notebooks and laptops. ABORTION, it would say, TOO COMPLEX FOR A BUMPER STICKER.
The problem with admitting that abortion “sometimes hurt” is the obvious question of “Why does abortion hurt some women?” If abortion doesn’t kill an innocent human being then why can it be so emotional hurtful?

One of the main problems with efforts to de-stigmatize abortion is that proponents of de-stigmatization don't really understand (or can't accept) the reason why abortion is so stigmatized.

Abortion isn't stigmatized because people think only "bad women" get abortions or that most women aren't open about their abortion experiences.

Abortion is stigmatized because it's a procedure which intentionally kills an innocent human being. No number of women sharing their abortion experiences is going to change that reality. People who really recognize the reality of abortion aren't suddenly going to change their opinion on abortion simply because more women talk about abortion. Abortion is an atrocity regardless of how many women get them and are willing to talk about them.

Stupak on Good Morning America

Good Morning America had a piece on Bart Stupak’s plans to vote against health care reform unless it includes his prolife amendment. He’s interviewed along with Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Stupak says he and 11 other Democrats who voted for the original health care legislation in House plan on voting against President Obama’s plan. He also knocks down Sebelius’ assertions that the bill doesn’t include public abortion funding and keeps the status quo.

I'd say he did a very good job in this interview, giving specifics and evidence while Sebelius was left to trod out tired, unsupportable assertions.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Life Links 3/3/10

The Philadelphia Inquirer has an article in which they attempted to discover how abortionist Kermit Gosnell could have stayed in business so long when such horrible conditions were found at his clinic.
Interviews with state officials, former patients, lawyers, doctors, and activists on both sides of the abortion debate reveal that numerous opportunities to shine a light on Gosnell's problematic practice were missed or not pursued.....

In Pennsylvania, abortion clinics are automatically inspected by the state Department of Health only when they open or relocate. In New Jersey, in contrast, clinics must be inspected every other year.
Gosnell's clinic was so bad, even pro-choice groups are claiming they wouldn't refer women there or fund abortions taking place there.
Gosnell's clinic, at 3801 Lancaster Ave., has never been on CHOICE's referral list because it never submitted to an inspection by the organization, Green said. And because the clinic had a bad reputation, the Women's Medical Fund turned away women who planned to go to there, Schewel said.
Gosnell's license was also temporarily suspended yesterday by the state's Board of Medical Practice.

NPR has an article about how abortion may still be the biggest hurdle for health care reform.

Wesley Smith comments on UK public prosecutor's plan to not prosecute people who assist in suicides.
Thus, in the final rule, the “victim”–whose assisted suicide is less likely to be prosecuted–remains undefined. Rather, the guidelines focus on the motives of the suspect without regard to why the “victim” wanted to die.....

This is nonsense. Even people with the most base motives–as in the George Delury case–will claim that they were solely motivated by compassion and that they tried to dissuade the victim. Indeed, the guidelines write the script!

The FDA has given Advanced Cell Technology an orphan drug status for a proposed treatment they've developed using embryonic stem cells. The treatment still hasn't been approved for a clinical trial.
The FDA gives orphan drug status to treatments for difficult conditions that afflict a small number of people. The designation gives drug developers as much as seven years to exclusively market a treatment after it is approved. Companies are also eligible for tax credits and grants.

Advanced Cell is using stem cells to develop medical treatments. The company has used human embryonic stem cells to generate retinal pigment epithelium cells for the treatment of Stargardt's and is seeking FDA approval to begin a human trial.