Monday, May 31, 2010

Life Links 5/31/10

Australian authorities are continuing to investigate the infection of a growing number of women (22 right now) who were infected with hepatitis-C after getting abortions at an abortion clinic in Melbourne.
Health officials said 44 women who attended Melbourne's Croydon Day Surgery have so far tested positive for the virus, with 22 of those cases linked to the clinic.

Fourteen women are awaiting further testing to find out if their strain is linked to the centre, while eight others have already recovered, meaning officials cannot tell whether their illness was related to the cluster.

Previous tests of all staff members at the centre found a anaesthetist working there had hepatitis C. Those women being urged to have tests all underwent a procedure at the clinic involving this doctor, who was suspended in February.

The case came to light early this year when 12 women who attended the clinic were found to have contracted the disease -- with nine later linked to the doctor through exhaustive genetic testing of the infection's strain.

Marie Stopes International is partnering with China to kill more Chinese unborn children.
Marie Stopes International (MSI) has opened five outlets in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu. Here the selective abortion of girls has led to a gender imbalance of up to 131 boys for every 100 girls.

At Salon, Mary Elizabeth Williams (a pro-choicer who accepts the reality that human life begins at conception) writes about her feelings on ultrasound legislation.
Forcing a woman to look at her fetus in order to manipulate her sympathies is, make no mistake, an insulting interception of a private procedure, one that anyone who cares about reproductive freedom should be outraged over....

But the tactic, despicable as it is, does raise an uncomfortable issue. Abortion is a deeply personal enterprise riddled with conflicting emotions, one few women take lightly. Among those of us who are pro-choice, I've long considered my own simple belief that life starts at conception a verboten topic. And I've been disappointed when I've heard friends taking the convenient semantic dodge of referring to an abortion as a decision regarding "a clump of cells" and then calling a planned pregnancy at the same stage "the baby...."

The fight over ultrasounds starkly shows exactly what anti-choice forces have glommed onto, and what unnerves some of us on the other side so deeply: that having a choice and seeing that choice are two different things. Because, uncomfortable as it may be for many of us to acknowledge, a human heartbeat is a powerful thing.
What a truly backwards way of thinking. Williams recognizes (or at least claims to recognize) that the unborn are living human beings and understands abortion is a procedure which kills these living human beings. Yet instead of being outraged over the ongoing slaughter of these human beings, she's outraged over laws which show women images of the child who is about to be killed. It's almost like her starting point of thinking is "Abortion must legal" and questions like "what is the unborn" and "are the unborn valuable human beings" don't matter because "abortion must legal."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Life Links 5/28/10

The New York Times has an editorial rather one-sided article on ultrasound legislation.
Staff members interviewed at three of the seven abortion clinics in the state estimated that 30 percent to 70 percent of women chose to see ultrasound images. But they said it was uncommon for women to be dissuaded.

It had happened occasionally, they said, when a sonogram revealed a multiple pregnancy or when a woman was already deeply unsure about her choice.

But a number of women at the Birmingham clinic, which was the site of a fatal bombing in 1998, said they simply did not want to subject themselves to images that might haunt them. “You almost have to think of it as an alien,” said Carmen, 28, who was there for her second abortion in three years.

Two self-described "prochoice feminists" warn about the untold risks of egg donations and fertility treatments.

A court in South Korea has ruled that frozen human embryos aren't life forms and therefore can continued to be killed for research or disposed of if they are no longer wanted.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Life Links 5/27/10

A new study claims that the September 11 attacks may have led to an increase in the number of males being miscarried.
The death rate for male fetuses rose by 12 percent above the levels predicted for September of 2001, according to the findings published in the open access journal BMC Public Health. The phenomenon was attributed to what lead author Tim Bruckner, an assistant professor of public health at the University of California Irvine, characterized as "communal bereavement."

The miscarriage rate was calculated among male rather than female unborn babies because males are believed to be more sensitive to stress in utero.

"The theory of 'communal bereavement' holds that societies may react adversely to unsettling national events, despite having no direct connection to persons involved in these events," Bruckner said in a statement. "Our results appear to demonstrate this, as the shocks of 9/11 may have threatened the lives of male fetuses across the U.S."
Here’s the study abstract.

Mona Charen responds to pro-choice responses to Sarah Palin’s position on abortion on the Washington Post’s On Faith blog including an especially foolish argument by Chicago Theological Seminary professor Susan Thistlethwaite.
This is fatuous moral reasoning. Thistlethwaite suggests that to oppose abortion on moral grounds is to “deny women the right to moral autonomy.” Rights talk, as Mary Ann Glendon has observed, has invaded every arena of American life and impoverished civic discourse. Of course women are moral actors. But what is “moral autonomy”? Is it a new right to make immoral choices without being criticized? Does it apply in areas beyond abortion? Do laws against prostitution or baby selling compromise women’s “moral autonomy”? Do all laws?
Here are all the On Faith posts on Palin, abortion and feminism.

Governor Brad Henry has vetoed another abortion related bill in Oklahoma. This time to ban abortion coverage in government-subsidized insurance exchanges. They have the votes to override the veto but the session ends tomorrow.

Prolifers upset about advertising the killing of unborn human beings on television?

Imagine that! Even with the ad’s late-night airing and “simple, uncontroversial language.”

It’s almost like pro-choicers like Vanessa at Feministing have no clue why a television ad for abortion would upset prolife people.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Life Links 5/26/10

The Alan Guttmacher Institute has a study on ob/gyns who planned on performing abortions once they started practicing but didn't.
Eighteen physicians had wanted to offer elective abortions after residency, but only three were doing so at the time of the interview. The majority were unable to provide abortions because of formal and informal policies imposed by their private group practices, employers and hospitals, as well as the strain that doing so might put on relationships with superiors and coworkers. Restrictions on abortion provision sometimes were made explicit when new physicians interviewed for a job, but sometimes became apparent only after they had joined a practice or institution. Several physicians mentioned the threat of violence as an obstacle to providing abortions, but few considered this the greatest deterrent.

Apparently, one of American Idol competitor Crystal Bowersox's unreleased songs is about abortion. From the Lake County News-Sun:

"Here's a thought provoker," Prince says. "It's about abortion." "This is quite a life you've laid in front of me," she sings among layers of strings, mandolin, percussion, music box, saxophone and backup vocals. "You don't want it, so let's just throw it out." It's the one track on which Bowersox sounds like the powerhouse she's proved herself to be on national TV.

The BBC is reporting that a man in Jordan killed his daughter when he attempted to cover up his sexual abuse by cutting the unborn child (whom he admitted to fathering) out of her body.
In his testimony to police in the region north-east of Amman, the 46-year-old man said after he discovered that his daughter was pregnant with his child, he took a carpet-cutter and cut her open with it.

He then removed the foetus and threw it away, reports said.

"The 19-year-old woman died on Sunday morning of severe internal bleeding after her father performed an abortion to get rid of a five-month-old foetus to hide his crime," a police spokesman told the Agence France Presse news agency.

He stitched up the wound, but he could not stop her bleeding and she died soon after.

The Oklahoma Senate has joined the Oklahoma House in overriding Governor Brad Henry's veto of a bill which requires women seeking abortions to provide basic information.

The Telegraph goes over some the UK's recently released abortion stats.

Rock for Life and American Life League have split ways but ALL's press release indicates they'll still sell Rock for Life merchandise and seems to indicate they plans on continuing to use the Rock for Life name.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Life Links 5/25/10

In Naples, a Planned Parenthood patient was transported to a hospital by emergency vehicle. This happened on Monday, the only day that the Planned Parenthood of Collier County performs abortions.

The Oklahoma House has overridden another one of Governor Brad Henry's vetoes on prolife legislation. It was a reporting bill which requires women seeking abortions to provide basic information.
Information a woman would have to give includes marital status, age, race, education, number of births, number of miscarriages, number of induced abortions and type of abortion.
Is "controversial" really the correct term for a bill which passed 84-13?

At the same time that Marie Stopes is advertising their abortion services on television in the UK, they botched an abortion and killed a women in India.

The Daily of the University of Washington has an article about a Genocide Awareness Project display on campus.

In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has a draft policy which advises young people to have a stockpile of emergency contraception kept at home. Here's an interesting quote:
Penny Barber, chief executive of the Brook advisory centre in Birmingham, who helped compile the draft guidance, said: "We know emergency contraception is more effective the sooner you use it after sex so it's crucial young women have it on hand in case they need it.

"Evidence demonstrates that making emergency contraception available in advance does not change the amount of sex young people have."
It's interesting because those same studies show that making emergency contraception available in advance does nothing to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. If the goal is to reduce unplanned pregnancies then why is NICE focusing on a tactic (providing emergency contraception in advance) which has proven over and over as ineffective at reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies? It's like they keep believing it will work in spite of all the evidence to contrary.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Life Links 5/24/10

At the Abortion Gang blog, Meghan is (language warning) blaming the prolife movement for some of the negative emotions (including suicidal thoughts) she felt following her abortion.
Well-intentioned feminists clamor about feelings of relief and burdens lifted without proper mention of those “various other” emotional responses which lend superficial credence to the PAS imaginings of anti-choice pseudo-psychiatrists.

I would know. After aborting a pregnancy a couple of years ago, I plummeted into a state of emotional and psychological distress not unlike that which supposedly indicates PAS. While I fear this confession will be grossly misinterpreted by the anti-choice blogosphere, I believe that it’s important to validate the unspoken negative feelings of those who abort. (This is not to say that my experience is universal; however, there’s little doubt in my mind that it will resonate with many readers who’ve aborted).

I suppose the average anti-choice onlooker would’ve gladly diagnosed me with “Post-Abortion Syndrome.” BUT (and this is a big BUT): I’ve never associated the guilt, shame, isolation, anxiety, or depression that I endured in the wake of the procedure with the procedure itself. In my experience, PAS represents a flawed causal model which conflates abortion (the alleged cause) with aggressive anti-abortion sentiment, sexism, and pervasive cultural stigma (the actual cause).

Yes, antis, I blame you and the patriarchy for my post-abortion emotional upheaval.

Planned Parenthood’s President Cecile Richards answered some questions for the Iowa Independent. Richards believe that doctors not physically seeing and examining women and then prescribing drugs which have killed and harmed numerous women “is an incredibly important advance” for women who don’t live close to hospitals in case a complication occurs.

I guess we can change the adage "Don’t come between a woman and her doctor" into "Don’t come between a woman and a computer screen."

Elle has a piece on a couple who agreed to have an abortion if she got pregnant. She got pregnant, decided to keep the child and now he doesn’t want to pay child support.
Greg Bruell and his girlfriend of a year and a half, Sandra Hedrick, had a pact. “We agreed that if we got pregnant, we’d terminate because we were not in a stable family unit,” Hedrick says.Or as Bruell more starkly puts it, “I resumed sexual relations with her on the condition that were birth control to fail, she’d abort without waffling.”

“Resumed,” because nine months earlier Hedrick had conceived a child with Bruell and the couple decided to end that pregnancy. Or rather, he decided, and she went along....

But when she got pregnant in early 2009 (she was on birth control, she says, though its effectiveness may have been diluted by antibiotics she was taking), she balked. “I looked at the ultrasound,” Hedrick says. “A bad move.” She also realized that this might be her last chance to have another child. She broke the news to Bruell: She was keeping the baby.

Worst myth list ever

Via Jill Stanek’s blog I read a couple of “abortion myth” lists on Ms. Magazine’s blog. My first thought was: Is Carole King (the author) in junior high? Or does she think her readers are in junior high?

These lists are hilarious on so many fronts. First, King never provides evidence that prolifers are creating each and every one of these "myths" or that these are "myths" that anyone believes. A lot of them are half-truths like “Abortions cause pain for the fetus” (some can, some can’t - where's the evidence showing prolifers saying all fetuses can feel pain).

One is an opinion. How can an opinion like “If a woman doesn’t want to have a child, she should use contraception or abstain” be a “myth?”

Some are completely true like “Women have multiple abortions rather than using birth control.” Now if the “myth” was “All women who have multiple abortions aren’t using birth control” then yes that would be untrue but there certainly are women who have multiple abortions who haven’t been using birth control.

Some are things that any thoughtful prolifer would never say like “Making abortion illegal will stop abortion.” Who would think that? Making abortion illegal would certainly reduce abortion and make abortions harder to get but I don’t know anyone who thinks making any activity illegal will completely stop that activity.

Others show how ridiculously ignorant King is. When refuting the myth “Adoption is an alternative to abortion,” King writes, “Furthermore, there are no guarantees that a child will be adopted. In the U.S. alone, there are currently 114,000 children in foster care who are eligible for adoption.” You basically have to know nothing about foster care adoption and the infant adoption and the demand for each to equate the two.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Life Links 5/19/10

The National Post has an editorial responding to the reaction of pro-choice politicians and pundits who were incensed when Cardinal in Canada expressed the Catholic Church's position on abortion.
Like many religious Christians, strictly observant Catholics typically regard all fetuses as carrying the divine spark of human life. And so they urge that the tragedy or rape should not be compounded by a second moral tragedy.

Not that you would know any of this from the freaked out reaction by many pro-choice politicians and pundits. Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois said she was "completely outraged" by the Cardinal's remarks. A columnist with Montreal's La Presse newspaper, Patrick Lagace, said he wished that the Cardinal "dies from a long and painful illness." Even Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Josee Verner -- whose international maternal-health policies the Cardinal supports -- declared that the man's remarks were "unacceptable."

When, exactly, did it become "unacceptable" for a man of faith to articulate his Church's position on a controversial bioethical issue?

Wesley Smith vs. Peter Singer on Robot Rights and human exceptionalism.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has printed a paper by researchers who surveyed Belgian physicians about their role in euthanasia deaths. The results show about a third of deaths were caused by physicians who didn't get the consent of their patients before killing them.
Results: The response rate was 58.4%. Overall, 208 deaths involving the use of life-ending drugs were reported: 142 (weighted prevalence 2.0%) were with an explicit patient request (euthanasia or assisted suicide) and 66 (weighted prevalence 1.8%) were without an explicit request. Euthanasia and assisted suicide mostly involved patients less than 80 years of age, those with cancer and those dying at home. Use of life-ending drugs without an explicit request mostly involved patients 80 years of older, those with a disease other than cancer and those in hospital. Of the deaths without an explicit request, the decision was not discussed with the patient in 77.9% of cases.

At the Intellectual Conservative blog, Rachel Alexander resigns from the Arizona Right to Life board after the Arizona RTL-PAC decided to endorse John McCain over J.D. Hayworth.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Americans still more likely to consider themselves "pro-life"

A new poll out from Gallup on abortion shows that the increase in the percentage of individuals who consider themselves "pro-life" isn't just a blip.
The conservative shift in Americans' views on abortion that Gallup first recorded a year ago has carried over into 2010. Slightly more Americans call themselves "pro-life" than "pro-choice," 47% vs. 45%, according to a May 3-6 Gallup poll.

The shift in opinions since 2003 has been in the Republican and independent camps as more Republicans (57% up to 68%), independents who lean Republican (53% up to 61%) and independents with no leanings (31% up to 45%!) describe themselves as pro-life.

The percentage of Democrats describing themselves as pro-life has dropped in the same time period from 37% to 31%.

Life Links 5/17/10

The Des Moines Register has an article on Planned Parenthood’s nefarious abortion pill by teleconference process in Iowa.
The first-in-the-nation system allows a Planned Parenthood physician from Des Moines to visit with each patient by videoconference, then press a computer button to open a drawer in front of the patient, who could be seated up to 190 miles away. The patient then reaches into the drawer and withdraws the abortion pills.

A mother and her child are both doing well after surgeons removed a tumor the size of a watermelon during her pregnancy.
"One night I couldn't breathe and my dad took me to A&E but they just sent me home saying it was a panic attack. The doctor's said the tumour might have been there my whole life but it was only the pregnancy hormones that allowed it to grow.

"It was a shock to be told that I have tumour in my chest without even really realising it. Some of my family had told me I should have an abortion because of the risks to me to have any surgery, but I knew I had to go through with it for Layla.

A nun in Arizona who was an administrator at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center was reassigned after the Bishop Thomas Olmsted discovered she was part of an ethics committee which approved an abortion to apparently save a pregnant mother’s life.
McBride was part of the discussion about the surgery, described as urgent. It involved a serious illness, pulmonary hypertension. The condition limits the ability of the heart and lungs to function and is made worse, possibly even fatal, by pregnancy.

In a statement issued to The Republic late Friday, the diocese confirmed that Olmsted learned of the case after the surgery.

"I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese," Olmsted said. "I am further concerned by the hospital's statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother's underlying medical condition.
Here are statements from the Diocese of Phoenix and St. Joseph’s.

The AP has a story on how prolifers in various states are working to keep their tax dollars from subsidizing abortion coverage.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Life Links 5/14/10

The Washington Post profiles Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List.

Overall, the story is fairly balanced but reporter Jason Horowitz displays some ignorance when he mentions Ramesh Ponnuru's book "The Party of Death."
Dannenfelser, wearing a striped beige jacket and a necklace of silver spheres, came out of her small office, where books about the importance of women in the life of Pope John Paul II ("Wojtyla's Women") and an anti-Democratic screed ("The Party of Death") sat in a short bookcase.
If you know nothing about a book past the title, you probably shouldn't comment on it.

The mindlessness of some abortion proponents never ceases to amaze me. There was a small protest (from another story's pictures it appears around 20 people attended) outside one of Florida Governor Charlie Crist's residences encouraging him to veto a recently passed ultrasound bill and it's gotten some media coverage.
"I can remember my mother telling me stories when I was young of young women dying in the streets from botched abortions." They're stories Nancy Turner has never forgotten, and stories she doesn't want to see happen again. That's why she and other pro-choice supporters are speaking out about House Bill 1143.
1. Dying in the streets? Seriously? Who believes that? We consistently have abortion proponents claiming sans evidence that hospital wards were full of women dying from botched abortions and now apparently the wards were so full that women were just left to die in the streets.

2. How on earth would a bill requiring abortionists to show women an ultrasound lead to women having botched abortions?

Here are a couple of stories on the March for Life in Canada. The Toronto Sun has some photos including the requisite photo of the handful of pro-choice protesters.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Abortion is love?

So says one Abortioneer in a post which appears to be a grasping attempt to write something profound. It comes out profoundly weird.
Abortion is utmost motherhood—a woman transpiring her valued comfort zone to preserve the destiny of her offspring. Abortion is life and death. A code of honor. A sacred rite.

Abortion is love.

Life Links 5/13/10

Our neighbors to the north are holding their March for Life today.

Sarah Palin will be speaking at a fundraiser for the Susan B. Anthony List on Friday night.
Palin is such a draw that the annual Susan B. Anthony event was revamped from a tea to a larger "Celebration of Life Breakfast," with some 550 attending, the most the room can hold. Tickets range from $150 to $25,000, which includes a VIP reception. A spokesman for the group told me Palin is not charging for her appearance.

NARAL has endorsed Senator Arlen Specter Democratic primary opponent. I think that’s a smart move. There’s no telling what he’d do if Republicans won control of the Senate.

Prolifers in Vancouver are waiting to see if a “privacy commissioner” will release statistics showing how many abortions were performed at various Vancouver hospitals.
Hospitals including Vancouver General Hospital and Kelowna General don't want detailed stats published. Anti-abortionists say the government releases the numbers for other procedures in hospitals so they ought to do the same with abortion.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Preventing teen births by aborting children

Ross Douthat has more on red-state and blue-state families:
And it really is striking, when you dig into the data, how much of the blue-state advantage in preventing teen births is made possible by abortion. Rhode Island’s teen pregnancy rate is identical to West Virginia’s, but West Virginia’s teen birth rate is 33 percent higher. California’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than Alabama’s, but California’s teen birth rate is 20 percent lower. Kentucky and Maryland have the same teen pregnancy rates, but Kentucky has almost 60 percent more teenage births. And so on …

This data isn’t a problem for many abortion supporters of the old school, who would argue that of course abortion is essential to post-sexual revolution family stability — and that’s why they’re for it! It’s more of a problem, though, for the quasi-anti-abortion argument that Slate’s Will Saletan, among others, frequently advances, which posits that liberal funding for contraception and comprehensive sex education, rather than legal sanctions and moral stigma, are the best way to reduce the abortion rate. This “pro-life case for Planned Parenthood,” in Saletan’s vivid phrase, has obvious intuitive appeal if you’re pro-choice but uncomfortable with abortion. But it would be much more persuasive if abortion rates weren’t higher in liberal (and Planned Parenthood-friendly) states than in conservative ones.

Why some unemployed Michiganders don't want work

This shouldn't be surprising to anyone. People in Michigan on unemployment are turning down job offers so they can keep getting unemployment benefits.
Members of the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association "have told me that they have a lot of people applying but that when they actually talk to them, it turns out that they're on unemployment and not looking for work," said Amy Frankmann, the group's executive director. "It is starting to make things difficult."

Chris Pompeo, vice president of operations for Landscape America in Warren, said he has had about a dozen offers declined. One applicant, who had eight weeks to go until his state unemployment benefits ran out, asked for a deferred start date.

Our government simply doesn't understand incentives. They've provided so many benefits for not working that for some people it makes little or no financial sense to get a job. Why get a job working 40 hours a week when you can get close to the equivalent for sitting at home?
The average landscape worker earns about $12 per hour, according to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth. A full-time landscaping employee would make $225 more a week working than from an unemployment check of $255.

But after federal and state taxes are deducted, a full-time landscaper would earn $350 a week, or $95 more than a jobless check. The gap could narrow further for those who worked at other higher-paying seasonal jobs, such as construction or roofing, which would result in a larger benefits check.
Here's a personal example. I own a rental property in which the prospective tenants receive Section 8. Section 8 is a housing voucher program where the federal government pays a portion of the rent for low-income families or individuals. For my prospective tenants, the government will pay more than 6/7 of their rent. The wife works part-time and the husband doesn't have a job. I have no doubts that they receive other government assistance as well like food stamps and utility bill assistance because I can't imagine how this family consistently makes their car payment (about 3 times their portion of rent) and survives without it.

But what happens if the husband was to get a job. If it's a low-level entry job then I don't see how his salary would offset the government benefits they could lose if their combined income reaches a certain level.

So what's his incentive to get a job? In the short-term there really is none. If he gets a job then he's not home to watch their children which means they'll need get some sort of childcare. They also might need to get a second car or rely on public transportation. If he gets a job then a large portion of their government assistance (rent, food, utilities, health care?) goes away.

Now maybe the net income from this job will more than offset the loses of government assistance but I don't think it would by much and certainly not enough to make it worth working 40 hours a week.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life Links 5/11/10

Back in 1997, current Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged President Clinton to support a loop-hole-ridden amendment by then-Senator Tom Daschle to ban post-viability abortion as a way of stopping his veto of the ban on partial-birth abortions from possibly being overridden.
In a May 13, 1997, memo from the White House domestic policy office, Kagan and her boss, Bruce Reed, told Clinton that abortion rights groups opposed Daschle's compromise. But they urged the president to support it, saying he otherwise risked seeing a Republican-led Congress override his veto on the stricter bill.....

''We recommend that you endorse the Daschle amendment in order to sustain your credibility on HR 1122 and prevent Congress from overriding your veto,'' they wrote.
Here's some more information on that amendment from National Right to Life including a Washington Post article entitled, "Daschle Bill May Not Ban Anything" which notes how the bill would allow abortionists to decide if they broke the law or not.
In effect, the draft measure would give a doctor, or nonphysician allowed to do abortions, the last word on the likelihood a fetus would survive outside the uterus, as well as calculating risks of "grievous injury" to the mother if she continues the pregnancy.
The article also notes that Kagan urged Clinton to support a ban on human cloning.

In China, a farmer has killed a family planning official (and beaten her children) for reporting his wife's pregnancy to authorities, who then forced her to have an abortion.

The Vancouver Sun has an article on how two hospitals are now charging $50 to tell pregnant patients if their child is a boy or a girl. The policy includes a clause which attempts to prevent sex-selection abortion.
A draft document of the new policy obtained by The Vancouver Sun indicates that while fetal gender determination is not normally included in the ultrasound, "at the patient's request, it will be included in the radiologist's report ... [and] a charge of $50 will be levied for this additional service.

"The ultrasound staff will not disclose this information to the patient. Rather, [the pregnant patient] will obtain it from the referring physician after 20 weeks gestation [when abortion is no longer an available option]."

The time period after which such information is disclosed is important to prevent women from aborting if they are disappointed by the news of the gender of their fetus.

The Louisiana House has unanimously passed a measure to give the Department of Health and Hospitals more authority to shut down abortion clinics that pose an imminent danger to women.
The bill would give the secretary of the department the power to deny, refuse to renew or revoke an existing license of an abortion clinic if an investigation determines that it is in violation of state or federal law.

In the Daily Mail, Kishwar Desai writes about how British Indian families will travel to India to abort female unborn children.
Having carried out extensive research into the subject for my new novel, I'm convinced that scenarios like this are played out regularly in most of Britain's major cities. Indeed, research from Oxford University has estimated that girl babies are 'disappearing' from British Indian families at a rate approaching 100 a year. As with all official estimates, the reality could well be more.

By 'disappearing', I mean British Indian communities in this country are failing to produce the number of girl babies that science tells us to expect, which, broadly speaking, is 950 girls for every 1,000 boys.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Connie Saltonsall all the way! Oh.... Never mind.

Remember when Bart Stupak was leading the fight to keep abortion out of health care and he was the number #1 target of pro-choice groups? Remember when a virtually unknown woman named Connie Saltonsall vowed to run against Stupak and be a pro-choice voice for Northern Michigan and how almost every pro-choice blog linked to a story about her or her campaign web site and encouraged donations?

Well, that’s done.
The first Democrat to announce she would challenge U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak in their party’s August primary — before Stupak said he would retire from Congress at the end of the year — said today she was withdrawing from the race for the northern Michigan seat.

“I am forced to do this because it has become apparent to my campaign that the leadership of the Michigan Democratic Party has preemptively anointed Gary McDowell as their Democratic candidate,” said Connie Saltonstall, a Charlevoix resident.

McDowell has previously been endorsed by the Right to Life of Michigan Political Action Committee.

Life Links 5/10/10

Americans United for Life has issued this statement on President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States.
“Elena Kagan has strong ties to abortion-advocacy organizations and expressed admiration for activist judges who have worked to advance social policy rather than to impartially interpret the law. Americans United for Life will oppose President Obama’s attempt to reshape the Court as an activist, pro-abortion institution through which unelected judges will work to impose an out-of-the-mainstream social agenda upon the American people.”

Ross Douthat on the differences between teen birth and teen abortion in red and blue states.
More important, Cahn and Carbone also acknowledge one of the more polarizing aspects of the “blue family” model. Conservative states may have more teen births and more divorces, but liberal states have many more abortions.

Liberals sometimes argue that their preferred approach to family life reduces the need for abortion. In reality, it may depend on abortion to succeed. The teen pregnancy rate in blue Connecticut, for instance, is roughly identical to the teen pregnancy rate in red Montana. But in Connecticut, those pregnancies are half as likely to be carried to term. Over all, the abortion rate is twice as high in New York as in Texas and three times as high in Massachusetts as in Utah.

At FRC Action’s blog, Tom McClusky argues that an abortion tax would be a bad idea.
When you tax something, especially targeting something specific, it creates a revenue stream that politicians get addicted to – thus making the object of your taxation harder to eliminate. Taxing something also gives it legitimacy in the eyes of many. Even objects that fall under the so-called category of “sin taxes” have this legitimacy – almost as if being taxed gives you government approval.

Morally it is also troubling. Governments should not be profiting from abortion – no matter how profitable. While certainly not the intention of the author, but it would be the result.

After finding 8 students guilty of “non-academic misconduct” for refusing to turn their graphic abortion signs inward, the University of Calgary has issued a formal warning to the students saying that more sanctions could come if they continue to display images of aborted children.
"We did not break a single university bylaw or regulation, and so we will defend ourselves accordingly. We will also not cease exercising our rights to free speech just because they're threatening us," club president Alanna Campbell said in the group's statement.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Friday Baby Blogging

With the largest bunny in the history of world

Dancing in her "pretty dress" in front of the mirror

Life Links 5/7/10

A lawmaker in Kansas proposed a tax on abortions as a method of raising revenue and lower abortions.
But Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook may have just offered the most unique idea so far: impose a sales tax on abortion.

Pilcher Cook, a Shawnee Republican, offered the idea as an amendment today as the Senate debates a 1-cent sales tax increase. Her amendment would also decrease the proposed sales tax hike to .9 cents.

She noted that governments routinely use tax policy to effect behavior – cigarette and liquor taxes, for example, or tax breaks designed to spur economic activity.

“If you want less of something, you tax it,” Pilcher Cook said.

Human endometrial stem cells were injected into brains of mice with Parkinson's-like symptoms and transformed into brain cells.
"Endometrial tissue is probably the most readily available, safest, most easily attainable source of stem cells that is currently available. We hope the cells we derived are the first of many types that will be used to treat a variety of diseases," said Yale's Dr. Hugh Taylor.

"I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for what we will be able to do with these cells," added Taylor, whose findings are published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

At the RH Reality Check, Robin Marty seems to be really struggling over whether the child she miscarried was a baby or not.
I found comfort in the medical terms of “products of conception” and spontaneous missed abortion. From the point in which we realized that the heart had stopped beating, my only thought was that something had died inside of me, and that I desperately and with every fiber of my being needed it to be removed. It wasn’t a baby.....

That I needed medical permission to remove it was galling to me. The baby was dead and my body had betrayed me. Now I had to undergo surgery just to make it end.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Life Links 5/6/10

The Kansas Senate has fallen one vote short of overriding Governor Mark Parkinson’s veto of the late-term abortion bill.
“Someday I hope the unborn have a voice in these chambers,” said Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, a Grinnell Republican. “We will have a change in governor. We will get this passed. It’s just a year away.”

The bill would require physicians to give the medical diagnosis that prompted them to authorize the abortion. State law prohibits abortions during or after the 22nd week of pregnancy, unless a doctor determines that the pregnancy constitutes a serious health threat.

Florida governor and Senate candidate Charlie Crist is considering vetoing a prolife measure which includes an ultrasound measure and prohibits insurance plans from covering abortion if the plan is subsidized by the government.
Crist appears increasingly likely to veto the abortion bill, expressing reservations about the language even before it makes it to his desk. Once he receives it, he has 15 days to decide.

``I'm concerned about it,'' Crist said Wednesday in St. Petersburg. ``Even though I'm pro-life I don't want to impose my will on others.''
Isn’t that what “personally prolife” politicians say?

UK researchers have successfully used adult stem cells to treat multiple sclerosis in 6 patients.
A team at Bristol University and North Bristol NHS Trust – which runs Southmead and Frenchay hospitals – harvested bone marrow from the six patients under general anaesthetic. Then, after being filtered, their stem cells were injected back into their veins.

The patients were then monitored for about a year with various tests and investigations carried out to check the effect and to ensure they had not suffered any side effects.

A series of tests showed an improvement in the way messages were sent to the brain.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health wants to permanently shut down Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic after he has failed to respond to charges that he violated state law.

The Philadelphia Inquirer printed this editorial by former senator Rick Santorum about the second birthday of his daughter Isabella. Isabella has trisomy 18.
Next week, we will mark Bella's second birthday. Over these two years, we have endured two close brushes with death, lots of sleepless nights, more than a month in CHOP's intensive care unit, and the constant anxiety that the next day could be our little girl's last.

And yet we have also been inspired - by her fighting spirit, and by the miracle of seeing our little flower blossom into a loving, joyful child who is at the center of our family life.

Most children with trisomy 18 diagnosed in the womb are aborted. Most who survive birth are given hospice care until they die. In these cases, doctors advise parents that these disabled children will die young or be a burden to them and society. But couldn't the same be said of many healthy children?

All children are a gift that comes with no guarantees. While Bella's life may not be long, and though she requires our constant care, she is worth every tear.

The Wall Street Journal has an article on an Alan Guttmacher study which found that (surprise, surprise) most women pay for abortions out of pocket.
The biggest shift from the 2000 survey was the sharp increase in the proportion of women who were poor. They made up 42% of those surveyed in 2008, compared with 27% in 2000. The abortion rate for poor women was more than twice that for all women, and more than five times that of women in households making more than 200% of the poverty level.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Life Links 5/5/10

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled against the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in their embryonic stem cell patent case. The ruling can be appealed.
Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica, Calif., and the Public Patent Foundation in New York City argued that Thomson's work should not qualify for patents and that patent enforcement has hindered U.S. stem cell research.

The patent office ruled against the groups in 2008 but last week agreed with their argument that Thomson's work should not have received a patent because other scientists could have done the same that if they had his funding and access to human embryos.

CNN has an article on Emory University research using stem cells from an aborted child in an attempt to treat ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). To CNN's and reporter's credit, the article specifically mentions where the cells come from.
The stem cells used in the surgery are shipped overnight from Maryland, where Neuralstem, the company funding the trial, is based. The stem cells' source is donated tissue from the spinal cord of an 8-week old aborted fetus, which was donated to the company.
Also interesting:
Lead researcher Dr. Eva Feldman, a neurologist at the University of Michigan, designed the trial just four years ago. After a lot of animal testing, her team determined that using fetal nerve stems rather than human embryonic or adult stem cells (such as bone marrow stem cells) was most effective, she says.....

Scientists at the University of Georgia created induced pluripotent stem cells from pigs.
According to Dr. Steve Stice, director of the University of Georgia Regenerative Bioscience Center, his team took a bone marrow cell from a pig and injected six new genes, which caused it turn into an embryo-like cell. Pluripotent stem cells were harvested from this embryo-like cell and injected in another pig embryo.

The first piglets carrying these new stem cells were born September 3, 2009.

So far human embryonic stem cell research has not actually found its way into the human body. Most of the research is still in mice. But mice aren't the best animal models to get more accurate data on how a treatment may affect a person. For example, mice hearts beat four times faster than a human heart and mice don't get atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) – but pigs do. That's why pigs are much better animal models says Stice. "Physiologically, pigs are much closer to a human," he says.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Life Links 5/4/10

The Department of Human Services has removed the foster children from the home of the foster mother who alleged that a DHS employee convinced her foster daughter to have an abortion at 24 weeks by threatening to take away her daughter's children.
Donald F. Schwarz, the city's deputy mayor for health and opportunity, explained in a statement why the four minors had been removed from the house.

"It's now become clear that the foster mother has violated Pennsylvania state law regarding confidentiality [by discussing the teen's case with the newspaper], therefore potentially compromising the safety and well-being of the children in her care," Schwarz's statement read.
But coercing a 16-year-old girl to get a 24-week abortion out-of-state without the knowledge or consent of her parents isn't compromising her safety and well-being? This is so evil.

Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich put a hold on Oklahoma's ultrasound law.
Jennifer Mondino, a staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the law was in effect a few days last week. The Center for Reproductive Rights represents the plaintiffs.

She said some of the women burst into tears while others wanted to run out of the room as a result of ultrasound law....

Charlie Price, a spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, said the state agreed to the temporary restraining order to obtain more time to respond to the suit.

On its second try the Kansas House has overridden Governor Mark Parkinson's veto of a late-term abortion bill. The Senate still needs to pass the law with a 2/3 majority.

The Star Tribune has an article on how Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota is planning on moving its facilities to a larger building in a commercial area.
Stoesz said Planned Parenthood is preparing for a possible increase in demand because of the new federal health care bill, which will add millions of people to insurance rolls starting in 2014. Many will be the lower-income and young adults that Planned Parenthood serves, she said. "We don't know exactly what health care reform will mean for our patients," she said. "But I anticipate that more people will access health care."

Monday, May 03, 2010

So that’s what rare means?

Rarely do you see an abortion advocate like Aimee Thorne-Thomson so clearly and openly discuss what the leadership of the pro-choice movement means when they say abortion should be rare (my emphasis).
Therefore reducing the number of abortions is a goal that reproductive health, rights and justice activists should work toward, right?

Wrong. Those numbers mean nothing without context. If the 1.21 million abortions that took place in 2005 ( represent the number of women who needed abortions (and in my opinion, if a woman decides she needs an abortion, then she does), as well as the many women who chose to terminate pregnancies that they very much wanted but could not afford to carry to term, then that number is too high. The work of reducing the number of abortions, therefore, would entail creating an authentically family-friendly society, where women would have the support they need to raise their families, whatever forms they took. That could include eliminating the family caps in TANF, encouraging unionization of low-wage workers, reforming immigration policies and making vocational and higher education more accessible.

On the other hand, if those 1.21 million abortions represent only the women who could access abortion financially, geographically or otherwise, then that number is too low. Yes, too low.

Linked: Abortion and Substance Abuse

Researchers from Winnipeg University have found that women who have had an abortion are almost 4 times as likely to have problems with drugs or alcohol when compared to women who haven't had an abortion. No casual relationship was established.
The study did not demonstrate whether women who have abortions are more prone to develop substance abuse problems or whether women with such problems are more likely to have abortions.

"These are associations only," said Natalie Mota, a PhD student in the U of M's clinical psychology department who co-authored the study along with Margaret Burnett and Jitender Sareen. "Further research needs to look at the different factors that might be playing a part."

Mota said the study, published in the April issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, found that women who had abortions were 3.8 times more likely to have substance use disorders than those who had not, even when an exposure to violence -- which increases the odds of substance abuse -- was factored in.

The study also found connections between abortion and other mental health conditions like mood disorders, but substance use disorders showed the strongest link.

Previous studies in this area have found similar links, but Mota said the U of M study used a larger and more representative sample of women than any before it. She said the results show more research is needed to try to further explore the link between abortion and mental health and perhaps sort out some of the causal relationships.

Life Links 5/3/10

A foster mother in Pennsylvaniais accusing a Department of Human Services case worker of threatening to take away one of her 16-year-old daughter’s children if the daughter didn’t abort her 22-week pregnancy.
The alleged strong-arm tactic happened one day after DHS learned of the pregnancy, when the girl was about 22 weeks pregnant, according to her foster mother and the girl's social worker, Marisol Rivera....

The Daily News also learned that:

* DHS got a Family Court judge's order allowing it to take the girl for an abortion, after the girl's birth mother refused to approve the procedure.

* By the time DHS arranged for the abortion - in March - the girl was 24 weeks pregnant. She had to undergo the procedure in New Jersey because abortions in Pennsylvania are illegal at 24 weeks.
The Philadelphia Daily News also notes the attempts of the DHS to squelch this story from coming out.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is suing to stop Oklahoma’s new prolife laws. Here’s the reasoning for the suit - it apparently isn’t fair that an abortionist be on site when the woman receives an ultrasound:
At Reproductive Services, ultrasound imaging for an abortion patient is completed before the physician who will perform the abortion arrives at the facility," the suit states. "Requiring a physician to perform the ultrasound imaging himself or herself, or requiring that the ultrasound imaging be performed while the physician is on-site, would drastically reduce the number of abortions that Reproductive Services could perform.

"Reproductive Services would not be able to meet the demand for abortions from its patients and might not be able to remain in business," the suit states .

In the Ottawa Citizen, St. Mary’s philosophy professor Mark Mercer admits that the unborn are human beings and then attempts to argue that the unborn aren’t persons.
Abortion, then, involves the killing of a human being. But that abortion involves the deliberate killing of a human being is no reason for abortion to be illegal. Nor should one be morally troubled by it.
He goes on to list his arbitrary criteria for personhood (“richly aware of its environment and full of beliefs and desires,” “self-conscious,” “self-aware locus of experience” and has an interest in living) which would eliminate numerous born human beings and provides no reason for why anyone should accept his arbitrary criteria for personhood over anyone else’s arbitrary criteria.

The Oxford Mail has an article on the first birthday of Isabel MacIntyre, a twin who was born at 24 weeks weighing 1 lb. 3 oz. The other twin died five weeks after being born.
When Mrs MacIntyre’s waters broke at 20 weeks, doctors offered her an abortion, warning the twins had only a 10 per cent chance of survival.

She refused, and when the tots were born four weeks later on May 5, 2009, they were so small they fitted into the palm of a hand.

The blog of the Center for Genetics and Society has a post on a economics professor who wants to clone himself. He describes raising a clone of himself as “a dream” of his.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a long article about Abington Memorial Hospital’s once-a-year public board meeting and efforts of prolifers to encourage the hospital to stop performing abortions.