Thursday, December 29, 2011

Selective reduction abortion statistics from the UK

The propensity to kill one of your unborn twin children is not just an American tragedy though I would guess the numbers in the U.S. would be much higher.
Department of Health statistics found that more than 100 babies were terminated by women expecting twins, triplets or quintuplets, the Daily Telegraph said.

The statistics, released under the freedom of information law, revealed that in 2010, 85 women aborted at least one foetus while going on to give birth to another baby. This compares to 59 women in 2006.

Of the 85 women undergoing selective reductions last year, 51 were reducing a pregnancy from twins to a single baby, up from 30 four years before.

The data showed that there were 20 abortions to reduce triplets to twins and nine procedures to take a pregnancy from triplets to a single child.

GOP attacks women by trying to save girls from sex-selection abortions?

Oh Alternet. You rarely disappoint. Here's Tanya Somanader piece entitled "The GOP's 10 Most Extreme Attacks on Women." One of those extreme attacks on women is legislation which hopes to outlaw sex selection abortions in the U.S.
Race/Sex Abortions: Taking their queue from Arizona, House Republicans introduced the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) — a so-called "civil rights" bill that bans physicians from performing abortions based on the fetus's race or sex. The problem of selective abortion is virtually non-existent, as not one state official or independent research offered any evidence of race-based abortions. Only 5 percent of abortions occur after the point when a fetus's sex can be determined. Arizona's measure, now law, sends doctors and clinicians to jail for three years if they knowingly provide such abortions. The federal bill PRENDA allows for civil suits against the physicians.
Tanya never explains how this legislation, which would deal with a supposedly "virtually non-existent" problem, is extreme or an attack on women.

I guess I supposed to take it as a given that for Alternet readers any legislation which restricts abortion (even abortions performed solely because the child is a girl) is an extreme attack on women.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Life Links 12/28/11

Rick Perry dropped his rape/incest exception to abortion after attending the abortion forum in Iowa, watching Gift of Life and discussing abortion exceptions with a woman who was conceived in rape. The Hill has the video of him discussing his change of heart.

The Detroit Free Press has an AP story on China's one-child policy and those who defy it.
It's impossible to know how many children have been born in violation of the one-child policy, but Zhai Zhenwu, director of Renmin University's School of Sociology and Population in Beijing, estimates that less than 1% of the 16 million babies born each year are "out of plan."

Robocalls are bad enough but now we've got robotexts.
During Tuesday's edition of "Andrea Mitchell Reports," correspondent Peter Alexander said that some Iowans received text messages Tuesday morning urging them to call an in-state phone number.

When they did so, they heard "a recording of Mitt Romney's comments from 1994, where his convictions on the pro-life, the abortion, debate have really been in question."

In California, Willie Hines Jr. has pleaded not guilty to murdering Tatjana Cruz and her unborn child.

A Texas man has been arrested for a stem cell scheme in which he made $1.5 million for injecting stem cells into patients with diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis. His scam was featured on 60 Minutes in 2010.
According to a 19-page indictment filed in Houston's federal courthouse in November, Morales oversaw the purchase umbilical cords and placentas from a maternity clinic in Del Rio, Texas.

Morales allegedly had the genetic materials shipped to a lab in Arizona where they were forwarded into the hands of a South Carolina pathologist who harvested the stem cells.

According to the 15-count indictment, Morales would use the stem cells in Mexico as medical treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis and procedures that are not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

New research is showing that performing an autopsy on the remains of stillborn children can provide information about a possible or probable cause.
In fact, the study of 512 stillborns -- a fetal death in the second half of pregnancy -- found the most common causes were obstetric complications, including preterm labor and premature rupturing of the amniotic sac, accounting for 29 percent of the deaths.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Life Links 12/22/11

One of the Planned Parenthood clinics which is closing in Washington provided RU-486 chemical abortions. Herald writer Sharon Salyer gets how RU-486 abortions work completely wrong.
The Oak Harbor clinic, which operated three days a week, served a little more than 1,000 patients, said Kristen Glundberg-Prossor, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman.

While surgical abortions were not performed at the site, women could prevent a pregnancy by getting from the clinic RU 486, the so-called abortion pill.

State Representative Margo Davidson, one of the Pennsylvania legislators who voted in favor of the new abortion clinic regulations, was related to Semika Shaw, one of abortionist Kermit Gosnell's victims.
"I honor her memory by voting for this bill," Davidson told her colleagues Wednesday after the controversial measure was approved. "So women will no longer walk into a licensed health-care facility and be butchered as she was."
Shaw's death, which led to a $900,000 insurance settlement, was central to the grand jury's conclusion that state officials had failed to inspect the clinic for two decades and repeatedly ignored complaints of possible criminal activity there.

Davidson, 49, who grew up in same Mantua neighborhood where Shaw lived and the Gosnell clinic was located, said her young cousin probably sought an abortion because she had two young children and realized that as a single woman, she could not support a third. The grand jury report said Shaw had four previous abortions.

Little wonder the clinic wasn't inspected in those days, Davidson reasoned. "The regulations regarding inspection were only policy," the legislator said. "It was not mandated by the law."

In Australia, a 42-year-old woman died after undergoing an abortion at the same abortion clinic where abortion clinic anesthesiologist James Peters infected dozens of women with hepatitis C. The clinic is run by Marie Stopes International.

A woman in the UK spent the last 3 months of her pregnancy in a tilted hospital bed to reduce the risk of miscarriage.
Donna Kelly, 29, was told five months into her pregnancy that her baby was just an inch from the top of her cervix and at risk of "falling out".

So doctors made her lie in a hospital bed tilted at 45 degrees to reduce the pressure.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Georgia abortionist charged with Medicaid fraud, billed abortions as new patient visits

Georgia-based abortionist Tyrone Malloy has been indicted on Medicaid fraud. He and his former office manager allegedly billed the federal government over $100,000 for abortions over a nearly 3 year period. They also allegedly billed the government for ultrasounds they didn't perform. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The alleged fraud occurred at Malloy's Old National Gynecology, a medical practice in the 6200 block of Old National Highway in College Park, whose website says it specializes in first-trimester abortions.

According to the indictment, between Dec. 9, 2007 and Aug. 9, 2010, the defendants billed the Georgia Medicaid program approximately $131,615 for new patient visits when, in reality, the visits were for elective abortions.

The Georgia Medicaid program is funded jointly by the state and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Under federal law known as the Hyde Amendment, federal funds cannot be used for elective abortion services; nor are abortions covered by Georgia Medicaid, the indictment states.

Malloy and Warner also are charged in the indictment with billing Georgia Medicaid about $255,024 for detailed ultrasounds that actually were never performed during the same period from 2007 through 2010.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Life Links 12/19/11

In the Washington Post, Marc Thiessen discusses Newt Gingrich's various statements on when life begins and embryonic stem cell research.

The Guttmacher Institute has published new research which looks at the demographics of women who have abortions after 12 weeks. The studies findings include that black women and teens were more likely to have later term abortions than other segments of the population and that later term abortions were more likely to be paid for with health insurance.

Here's abortion advocate/journalist Sarah Kliff's write-up.

A California woman, whose name has not been released, has died after being beaten by her unborn child's father. She was 20 weeks pregnant and her child died immediately after the attack and she died a couple of days later. Police are now looking for Willie Davis Hines Jr.
San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies received a report of a domestic disturbance at 4:44 p.m. They discovered the victim, a 24-year-old woman, was knocked unconscious by Hines during a fight. The unnamed victim was flown to a hospital for treatment of critical head and upper body injuries. Doctors discovered the woman's 20-week-old fetus had died.

St. Louis Today has the story of Melinda Star Guido, a child who was born at 24 weeks, weighing nine ounces. She now weighs over 4 pounds.
Melinda was just 270 grams at birth — roughly the size of a soda can. When a baby is that small, doctors say it is anybody's guess what will happen. There is little research about long-term survival. Doctors across the nation often let babies weighing less than 400 grams die, Ramanathan said.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Planned Parenthood resumes abortions at two Arizona facilities

Planned Parenthood of Arizona has announced that they will resume providing abortion at two clinic as they either found another abortionist to provide them (they were using nurse practitioners until Arizona law squashed that) or their current abortionists have become more willing to travel.
The organization halted abortion services at all but three clinics statewide in late August after several state laws went into effect requiring that only physicians dispense medication abortion pills or perform first-trimester surgical abortions. Before, a nurse practitioner or physicians assistant could perform those duties. Planned Parenthood at the time was unable to find enough doctors to continue providing abortions at all of its locations, particularly those in the more rural areas of Flagstaff, Yuma and Prescott Valley.

The only three clinics that continued to provide abortions were in Tucson, Tempe and Glendale.

Planned Parenthood of Arizona CEO Bryan Howard said they now have enough doctors to serve five locations in the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas. He said they are still trying to find doctors in the rural areas so they can re-open those clinics.
Bryan Howard again restates that 20% of Planned Parenthood of Arizona's patients are looking for abortions.
According to Howard, about 50,000 Arizona women seek care from Planned Parenthood's 13 clinics each year, about 10,000 of them for abortions. The rest are for a variety of health-care needs, including birth control, vaccinations, cancer screenings and annual gynecological exams.
Howard also notes that the abortion restrictions have likely lowered the number of abortions performed on women from rural communities (which undermines the pro-choice talking point that abortion restrictions don't prevent abortions).

Life Links 12/15/11

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article on Katie Sharify, the last patient in Geron's now-canceled study, who was recently injected with cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. It's tragic the false hope this young woman has been given. While doctors tell her that the cells aren't likely to help her, she seems to not know about adult stem cell research into paralysis and her expectations of what embryonic stem cells are going to do in the future is completely unrealistic. At first she wasn't convinced, then a surgeon talked her into it, likely citing a first-of-its-kind-must-be-super-important kind of reasoning and downplaying possible risks.
Sharify said she wasn't immediately sure she wanted to participate in the study. She didn't know a lot about embryonic stem cells other than that they were controversial. She knew she'd be getting a treatment that was considered fairly safe, but was also experimental. Her parents were even less enthusiastic.

The entire family debated the treatment up until the night before the surgery. In the end, it was the surgeon from Stanford who would be injecting the actual stem cells who convinced her.

"After talking to him, I knew this was a really big deal," Sharify said. "I'd been trying to find the reason all of this happened to me."

National Right to Life PAC and Nebraska Right to Life PAC will be working against Senator Ben Nelson in 2012 if he seeks re-election because of his vote on health care legislation.
"Ben Nelson cannot win in Nebraska without pro-life support and he won't have it. No pro-lifer should even consider supporting Ben Nelson for re-election," David O'Steen, the national group's director, said in a statement.

Whether or not Nelson will seek reelection is one the biggest open questions in the race for control of the Senate. Democratic leaders have kept mum about their conversations with Nelson, who told The Hill on Tuesday that he could make a decision as early as next week.

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell has been indicted for his illegal prescription business, which was the only reason his house of horrors abortion clinic got raided in the first place.
Authorities said the doctor wrote hundreds of prescriptions a month, topping out at 2,300 prescriptions in January 2010, the month before federal drug and FBI agents raided the clinic.....

According to prosecutors, patients paid $115 to $150 for the prescriptions and received cursory, if any, examinations. They were allowed to purchase multiple prescriptions under different names, authorities said.

Gosnell and his staff dispensed some of the medicine over the 20 months covered by the indictment, including more than 900,000 pills and 19,000 ounces of cough syrup with codeine, authorities said.

USA Today, CNN and MSNBC covered last night's abortion forum in Iowa.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, trailing in Iowa polls, won the biggest applause from the crowd tonight – and aimed his remarks at his competitors.

"I have some problems with some of the folks who running for office these days when they say, ‘I believe life begins at conception.' That's like, I say, ‘I believe the sun rises.'" Santorum said, to laughs.

"Why would you say you believe something that's a fact?" Santorum added.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Abortionist's wife pleads guilty

Pearl Gosnell, the wife of infamous Philadelphia abortion Kermit Gosnell, has pled guilty to a variety of charges related to her helping him abort children at the Women's Medical Society abortion clinic. She won't testify against her husband at trial.
Pearl Gosnell, 50, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to performing an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy, two counts of conspiracy and participating in a corrupt organization, according to court documents.....

Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner set Pearl Gosnell's sentencing for Feb. 15. He warned Gosnell that she faces up to 54 years in prison, but that her actual sentence would not be "nearly that long," according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The lawyers in the case are under a gag order. However, defense attorney F. Michael Medway confirmed to the Inquirer that Pearl Gosnell would not testify against her husband at trial, which is her legal privilege.

Life Links 12/13/11

The federal government denied a request from the state of Texas which would have prevented Medicaid patients from using family planning money at abortion clinic.
As for the state's request to ban clinics that perform abortions from getting money through the Women's Health Program under a separate Medicaid waiver, Mann said it violated federal law.

"Medicaid does not pay for abortions and will not pay for abortions," Mann said. "The issue here is not whether Medicaid funding is involved, but whether a state can restrict access to a qualified health provider simply because they provide other services that Medicaid doesn't pay for. The law does not permit this."

"We are disappointed in the decision, which is inconsistent with federal law that gives states the authority to establish qualifications for Medicaid providers," said Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for Texas Health and Human Services.

The Wall Street Journal's William McGurn writes about Kathleen Sebelius' plan to impose a contraceptive coverage mandate on employers, including Catholic employers.
Whether you approve or disapprove of contraception or sterilization is beside the point. Today nine out of 10 employer plans offer what Mrs. Sebelius wants them to. The point is whether it is right or necessary for Mrs. Sebelius to use the federal government to bring the other 10% to heel.

There was a day when liberals and libertarians appreciated the importance of upholding the freedoms of people and groups with unpopular views. No longer. As government expands, religious liberty is reduced to a special "exemption" and concerns about government coercion are dismissed, in the memorable words of Nancy Pelosi, as "this conscience thing."

Another study with iPS cells out of Stanford shows how their potential to be used to model genetic diseases far outreaches embryonic stem cells due to the ease of obtaining them from patients with genetic disease as opposed to attempting to find embryos with genetic diseases, then kill them and obtain their embryonic stem cells.
Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have shown that iPS cells, viewed as a possible alternative to human embryonic stem cells, can mirror the defining defects of a genetic condition — in this instance, Marfan syndrome — as well as embryonic stem cells can. An immediate implication is that iPS cells could be used to examine the molecular aspects of Marfan on a personalized basis. Embryonic stem cells, on the other hand, can't do this because their genetic contents are those of the donated embryo, not the patient's.

This proof-of-principle regarding the utility of induced pluripotent stem cells also has more universal significance, as it advances the credibility of an exciting approach that's been wildly acclaimed by some and viewed through gimlet eyes by others: the prospect of using iPS cells in modeling a broad range of human diseases. These cells, unlike ESCs, are easily obtained from virtually anyone and harbor a genetic background identical to the patient from which they were derived. Moreover, they carry none of the ethical controversy associated with the necessity of destroying embryos.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life Links 12/12/11

Newsweek's The Daily Beast has a long story on Jennie McCormick, the woman in Idaho who aborted a later-term pregnancy using RU-486 and then put her dead child in a box on the back porch.
McCormack, who thought she was about 12 weeks along, took the pills (the protocol involves two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol) the afternoon they arrived. The drugs are FDA-approved only for ending early-stage pregnancies; McCormack had no complications, but the pregnancy turned out to be more advanced than she thought—perhaps between 18 and 21 weeks, experts later speculated—and the size of the fetus scared her. She didn't know what to do—"I was paralyzed," she says—so she put it in a box on her porch, and, terrified, called a friend. That friend then called his sister, who reported McCormack to the police.
The author, Nancy Hess, includes this absurd claim about fetal pain with no source given.
(Virtually all research on the subject shows that fetuses cannot distinguish pain until as late as the 30th week of gestation.)

ABC News has a report from Elizabeth Vargas on sex-selection abortion and infanticide in India.

Hilarious Amanda Marcotte quote of the week (my emphasis):
But don't take my word for it. David Dayen at Firedoglake quoted respected and non-ideological pollster Celinda Lake on the issue:

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said she could "not even remotely" understand the political calculus of the decision, saying it "alienates the base, causes conflict with women in the base, [is] bad for key groups of women like younger women and unmarried women, and doesn't win the swing independent women."
It's one thing to ignorantly claim Celinda Lake is non-ideological. It's another to say she's non-ideological and then post a quote which the author identifies Lake as being a Democratic pollster.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Pro-choice advocates: Back-alley abortions? Who cares?

Among the numerous foolish claims in this RH Reality Check piece questioning why self-inducing a post-24 week abortion should be illegal, Steph Herold and Susan Yanow claim:
In spite of ever-increasing restrictions, abortion is legal through the second-trimester throughout the United States, although it is inaccessible to many women.
Yet the arrested woman self-aborted her child in New York City, the abortion capital of America where tax dollars pay for the abortions of poor women and 41% of pregnancies end in abortion.

How is abortion inaccessible in New York City?

It's not as Herold and Yanow admit later noting the woman had virtually unfettered access to abortion.
Women in New York City have much better access to abortion care than Ms. McCormack did. New York State allows state Medicaid funds to cover abortion services, and there are a number of clinics in New York City that provide abortion care through 24 weeks. New York also does not have the restrictions, such as waiting periods and parental consent, that are insurmountable barriers for women in many other states. So why would a woman in New York City decide to end her pregnancy by herself?
What's interesting here is that if the woman in question had self-aborted in a state with abortion restrictions, pro-abort individuals and organizations would be screaming from the mountaintops about how draconian prolife laws forced this woman into a dangerous situation where she felt she had to self-abort. But since the incident took place in America's abortion capital, we're informed how safe self-abortion supposedly is (at 24+ weeks - are you kidding me!) and told it shouldn't be a crime.
We do not have enough information to guess whether or not this woman fell through the gaps in the social support and health net, or made a conscious choice to end her pregnancy in a way that she felt most comfortable. But why is self-treating an unwanted pregnancy a crime?

We certainly should do everything possible to provide excellent information to women about services and fight to keep abortion care widely available and accessible. But if a woman decides that the best thing for her to do is to self-induce an abortion, she should have access to the best information available on how to do this safely (ie with medicines, NOT herbs) and know where to go in case of a complication.

Reason pro-choice Canadian won't debate: "We already won" yet we still have lots to do

Try to make sense of these two posts from Abortion Monologues writer Jane.

First, she claims the reason pro-choicers in Canada are unwilling to debate prolifers is because they've "already won." While it's true that abortion is legal in Canada that hardly means pro-choicers have won the debate over abortion.

In her next post, Jane claims her time is better spent advocating for abortion (but wait - I thought you already won?) as opposed to trying to provide a defense of abortion that doesn't get completely destroyed in a minute of cross-examination.

I would wager $100 that for any other cause where the law isn't on Jane's side, she wouldn't be claiming that the other side has already won and debating was pointless.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Life Links 12/8/11

On Wednesday, authorities arrested a man enlisted in the Navy named Joseph Devia for allegedly killing Omoyeme Erazua, a pregnant woman he had apparently impregnated, after see refused to have an abortion.
Erazua's body was discovered on a Houston street. An autopsy showed she had been stabbed in the neck about 20 times.

A purse found with the body contained a cellphone that showed calls and text messages between Erazua and Devia indicating Devia believed he was the child's father. The messages also indicated Devia wanted Erazua to have an abortion and that she had refused, according to a complaint filed by the Harris County district attorney's office cited in the Houston Chronicle.

At least 4 presidential candidates (Gingrich, Bachmann, Santorum and Perry) have signed up to attend an abortion forum in Iowa.

Former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson has been hired as Senior Policy Advisor by Americans United for Life.

Michael New reviews a recent study on abortion legislation in Europe which, as he notes, "shows nothing."
Methodological shortcomings aside, the findings themselves should cause pro-lifers little concern. The only restrictions the study analyzes are country-wide requirements that a woman must demonstrate 1) a physical-health reason, 2) a mental-health reason, or 3) a socio-economic reason before having an abortion. The study finds that five EU countries that require that women demonstrate a reason for obtaining an abortion (Spain, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Finland, and the U.K.) have similar abortion rates to EU countries where abortion is available on demand. However, the findings support what pro-lifers have been saying for years, that health exceptions (and other exceptions) are too broad and fail to provide any real protection to the unborn.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Life Links 12/6/11

Newt Gingrich's communication director Joe DeSantis has clarified to prolife bloggers that Gingrich believes life begins at fertilization.

I still haven't seen any defense or reasoning for Gingrich's comments to ABC's Jake Tapper in which he specifically said he thought life began at implantation and provided his reasoning for that belief. It seems rather far fetched to believe he got implantation and fertilization confused. I'm not buying this at all.

British abortion provider BPAS is encouraging women to stock up on emergency contraception during the Christmas season and promoting a new service which allows women to get the pill for free with a phone call.

The trial of the Australian abortion clinic ananaesthetist who infected more than 50 women with Hepatitis C is under way.

The Daily Caller has a piece on embryonic stem cell research by Neil Munro which discusses the intentional hyping of embryonic stem cell research by scientists and Democrats. It has these interesting quotes by bioethicist Art Caplan who recently did a 180 on embryonic stem cell research.
"By hyping stem cells, the Democratic guys could accuse [conservatives] of being anti-science," said Caplan. "Those deals were wink-wink deals, but they were going on," he said.....

The mass media aligned with the Democrats "because the science community and the patients' community was on the pro-[embryo stem-cell] side," said Caplan. "They tended to listen to those voices more than the political [conservatives] and religious [advocates] and few scientists" pushing the rival technologies, he said.
Caplan was one of those guys accusing conservatives, especially President Bush, of being anti-science. He was one of the key voices on the pro-embryonic stem cell side the mass media turned to for an opinion which invariably promoted embryonic stem cell research while downplaying alternatives.

I welcome converts to the "embryonic stem cell research was completely hyped" tent but converts like Caplan should admit they were among the hypers and apologize for their attacks on prolifers who were right about the science.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Life Links 12/5/11

After his odd and competing statements on when life begins and embryonic stem cell research, Newt Gingrich's campaign has gone into damage control and published a statement on their web site which says Gingrich believes that "life begins at conception." It never notes what Gingrich means by conception. Unfortunately, the definition of conception (which should by synonymous with fertilization) has been manipulated to where some people think it means the same thing as implantation. Clarification needed.

The New York Times features on article on the prolife factions in Ohio and the heartbeat bill.

A former abortionist at Marie Stopes abortion clinics in the UK has been disqualified from practicing medicine. One of the patients whose care Phanuel Dartey botched was a woman seeking an abortion.
One of the five cases involved an unidentified Irishwoman whose uterus was perforated. The patient was also left with parts of her fetus inside her during the 2006 procedure.

The woman had to be rushed to hospital on her return to Ireland and was in a critical condition for two months before eventually recovering.

Defending prolife legislation can be expensive. In Kansas, for example:
After about six months, the state has tallied $392,520 in legal bills stemming from attempts to restrict abortion that were pushed during the legislative session earlier this year.

The state spent $237,834 on private lawyers defending efforts to strip Planned Parenthood of federal family planning funds. It has laid out $94,380 defending new rules for abortion clinics.

New York NOW is upset a New York woman has been arrested and charged for self-abortion.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Gingrich's position on implantation/embryonic stem cell research is nonsensical

Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich talked with ABC's Jake Tapper about abortion, when life begins and embryonic stem cell research. While Gingrich is supposedly the intellectual candidate in the field, his answers are far from thoughtful.
I think that if you take a position when a woman has fertilized egg and that’s been successfully implanted that now you’re dealing with life. because otherwise you’re going to open up an extraordinary range of very difficult questions.
So instead of basing when he thinks life begins on something like....I don't know... science, Gingrich appears to base it on his desire to avoid difficult questions.

Tapper seeks clarification:
TAPPER: So implantation is the moment for you.

GINGRICH: Implantation and successful implantation. In addition I would say that I’ve never been for embryonic stem cell research per se. I have been for, there are a lot of different ways to get embryonic stem cells. I think if you can get embryonic stem cells for example from placental blood if you can get it in ways that do not involve the loss of a life that’s a perfectly legitimate avenue of approach.

What I reject is the idea that we’re going to take one life for the purpose of doing research for other purposes and I think that crosses a threshold of de-humanizing us that’s very very dangerous.
If life begins at implantation (as Gingrich asserts) then why would he think that the killing human embryos who haven't implanted would "involve the loss of a life" and would cross "a threshold of de-humanizing us"?

His views make absolutely no sense. He completely contradicts himself in the span of a few sentences.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

New York woman charged with self-abortion

Yesterday, I linked to a story about the body of an approximately 24-week-old unborn child being found in a Manhattan dumpster. Now authorities have charged 20-year-old Yaribely Almonte with performing an abortion on herself.
Yaribely Almonte was charged with self abortion in the first degree, a misdemeanor which carries a punishment of up to a year in jail.

It was initially unclear how police connected the fetus to Almonte, but a law enforcement official said that she admitted to police that she had purposefully induced an abortion. It was not immediately clear how Almonte is alleged to have done this.

Under the state law, it's illegal for a woman who has been pregnant for 24 week or more to commit or submit to "an abortional act upon herself which causes her miscarriage." The exception to the law is if a licensed doctor performs the abortion after determining that the mother's life would otherwise be in danger.

Life Links 12/1/11

Slate's William Saletan (a pro-choicer who favors some abortion restrictions) describes his debate with Ann Furedi regarding limits on late-term abortion and while his conclusion (cognition, interaction and viability make humans valuable) is wrong, he still points to some major flaws in her beliefs:
If, as Furedi says, viability makes no particular difference, then why stop at birth? In our debate, I pointed out that the neural development trajectory outlined in "The Emergence of Human Consciousness: From Fetal to Neonatal Life" doesn't end at birth. It runs through the first three years of life. If a child's ability to survive on its own makes no difference, and if neural development adds no binding significance to the fetus's original dispensability, then who are you to impose your values on Susan Smith, Andrea Yates, or Marilyn Lemak? If a woman feels that eight, 18, or 28 weeks after birth isn't too late for her, shouldn't we trust her judgment?
Interestingly, Salean is unable to see that his own arbitrary criteria for limiting abortion could also lead to the killing of some born human beings.

On Tuesday, Circuit Judge William Gowan entered the default judgment in favor of Daschica Thomas who sued longtime Mississippi abortionist Joseph Booker in 2005 after a botched abortion in 2003 put her in a coma for a week. Booker didn't show for the hearing and his former lawyer doesn't know where to find him. He no longer works at Mississippi's lone abortion clinic.
The lawsuit claims that Booker wasn't the doctor originally scheduled to perform the abortion, but the other doctor was out that day. When Booker was performing the abortion, he allegedly stopped abruptly, said he couldn't finish it and told Thomas to come back so it could be completed by the other doctor.

The lawsuit claims a "reasonably prudent" physician would have treated Thomas with antibiotics because of her diabetes, but Booker didn't. Thomas allegedly came down with a blood infection, went into a coma and needed blood transfusions. The lawsuit also claims, among other things, that Thomas couldn't have children after the abortion and that her husband lost his job for missing work while caring for her.

Booker performed abortions in Mississippi for years and found himself in controversial situations before.
Here's an interview Booker did after the death of George Tiller.

The Illinois Supreme Court will take up Illinois' parental notification law which has been in limbo since 1995.

At the NY Times Opinionator Gary Gutting discusses personhood, abortion and logic.
The basic problem is that, once we give up the claim that a fertilized egg is a human person (has full moral standing), there is no plausible basis for claiming that all further stages of development are human persons. The DNA criterion seems to be the only criterion of being human that applies at every stage from conception to birth. If we agree that it does not apply at the earliest stages of gestation, there is no basis for claiming that every abortion is the killing of an innocent human person.

Trent Franks has introduced a bill to ban sex-selection abortions on the federal level. The usual suspects are opposed to the bill as they favor ensuring access to "culturally competent medical care."
n a letter to Congress co-signed by over 30 pro-choice groups — including Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Center for Reproductive Rights — laid out their case, explaining that Franks' bill was "simply more of the same from the anti-choice extremists choice extremists in the House" and urged Congress to oppose the initiative.

"[T]he bill will effectively exacerbate already existing disparities by limiting some women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care and penalizing health care providers," they wrote. "Instead of addressing health disparities and ensuring accessible and culturally competent medical care for all women, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act will further isolate and stigmatize some women — particularly those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander and African American communities — from exercising their fundamental human right to make and implement decisions about their reproductive lives."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life Links 11/30/11

Kathleen Parker writes about Mitt Romney's prolife conversion.
he result of that conversation and others was a pro-life Romney, who kept his campaign promise to honor the state's democratically asserted preference for abortion choice but also began a personal path that happened to serve him well, at least theoretically, among social conservatives. Was his conversion sincere? No one can know another's heart, but Hurlbut is convinced that it was.

"Several things about our conversation still stand out strongly in my mind," Hurlbut told me. "First, he clearly recognized the significance of the issue, not just as a current controversy but as a matter that would define the character of our culture way into the future.

"Second, it was obvious that he had put in a real effort to understand both the scientific prospects and the broader social implications. Finally, I was impressed by both his clarity of mind and sincerity of heart. . . . He recognized that this was not a matter of purely abstract theory or merely pragmatic governance, but a crucial moment in how we are to regard nascent human life and the broader meaning of medicine in the service of life."

Washington Post's Breaking News Blog covers the Maryland Board of Physicians decision to close its investigation into abortionist LeRoy Carhart's failure to disclose how he would be performing late-term abortions in Maryland.

The National Catholic Reporter has a piece on Democrats for Life. Of note is DFL's continued support for Senator Bob Casey despite his rather lackluster voting record.

A human child at 24 weeks gestation was found in a trash can in Manhattan.
"The way I found it was perfectly placed, covered with garbage," said Gregory Santana, 20, who is the son of the building's super.

"It was inside a small bucket, inside a couple of extra bags," he said. "I ripped it open, immediately saw the baby [and\] closed it back up."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Life Links 11/29/11

The Northern Illinois Women's Center abortion clinic in Rockford will stay closed until at least January 4, 2012, when attorney for both the abortion clinic and the state health department will have another hearing.

Lea Singh writes about the upcoming Gosnell murder case and the acceptance of late term abortion amongst some.
And yet, late-term abortions, effectively right up to the moment of natural birth, are not illegal in Canada or in many parts of the United States. If Gosnell had chosen to act in medically acceptable ways by dismembering or killing the fetus within the womb just before removing it, he would likely be a hero in the eyes of many for providing an essential service that empowers women. Who knows, he could have gotten the highest civilian award -- a mere three years ago we bestowed the Order of Canada upon Henry Morgentaler, a man who claims to have personally performed over 100,000 abortions.

Is it just me, or is there something sickly schizophrenic about a society that huffs and puffs in outrage at the killing of a baby in the light of day, but quietly supports it when it happens in the darkness of the womb? We are talking about the very same baby here, at the exact same moment of gestation, the only difference being the location of the demise. If we can kill a baby within the womb, why not outside of the womb? Viable babies are being put to death in late-term abortion clinics all over the United States, perhaps some in Canada. We call it "abortion" but in the light of day, these actions clearly are "murder".

Apparently, some pro-choicers at Harvard aren't big fans of tolerance. From Aurora Griffin's op-ed in the Harvard Crimson:
In response to the growing hostility toward discussion of the abortion issue on campus and dissolution into name-calling, as seen in the impressively consistent vandalism of Harvard Right to Life's poster campaigns, I'd like to present a philosophical argument for the pro-life position. HRL's innocuous "Smile, your mom chose life." posters have been ripped down within hours of posting almost without exception. At a school where free speech and diversity are valued so highly, this is a travesty.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why the pro-choice movement is losing?

I think one reason is they typically just aren't very good at persuasion. Here's Ann Furedi attempting to argue there should be no limits on abortion.
What we have to ask ourselves is whether there needs to be any policy intervention or social intervention to change or regulate what is going on at the moment. And I don't think there does. There is no evidence to suggest that we need to restrict later abortions in any way, by enforcing legal time limits. And I certainly don't see any reason to think that doctors are abusing the current situation, or indeed that women are abusing the current situation......

Does late abortion have a detrimental effect on society? No, I really don't think it does. There is no evidence that the number of women requesting late abortions is increasing. The figures remain very much the same. However, does the idea that we can override who makes these decisions about late abortion have a detrimental effect on society? Yes, I really believe it does. Because what we're really saying when we argue that an earlier time limit needs to be imposed is that we don't trust women's decisions, and we don't trust doctor's decisions.

Notice the complete lack of evidence and thoughtfulness. Furedi's reasons for why something should be or shouldn't are as follows: "I don't think there does", "I certainly don't see any reason to think", "I really don't think it does" and "I really believe it does."

It's like the end all and be all of evidence for Ann Furedi is what she believes.

This is how elementary school children argue. Yet she's one of (if not the) leading voice for abortion in the UK.

Life Links 11/28/11

The Washington Post is covering the case of the New Jersey hospital attempting to force nurses to assist in abortions.
One of the nurses, Fe Esperanza R. Vinoya, said a manager told her: "‘You just have to catch the baby's head. Don't worry, it's already dead.' "
The ACLU says who cares about conscience, nurses should be forced to catch dead baby heads.
"These are health-care professionals who work at a publicly funded hospital saying that they do not want to do the job they were hired to do, including caring for a woman before or after surgery," said Jennifer Dalven of the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project. "People have a right to their beliefs, but that shouldn't give them the right to discriminate against patients who need medical care."

A prolife group in New Zealand used a location of statue featuring a large hand holding a tiny baby child to launch balloons and spread the prolife message. The group which commissioned the statue and the clueless artist are upset.
Meanwhile, a surprised Mr Vincent said the anti-abortion group's message was not the intent of his sculpture.

"Voices Against Violence was the organisation that commissioned it, and it's about nurturing and protecting the most vulnerable in our community, which is children."

The Californian has a long story on a couple whose child's spina bifida was repaired in the womb.
"The ultrasound tech was nervous; you could tell something was wrong," Marriah said earlier this year in the couple's Winchester home. "She told us, 'The fetus would have been a girl.' People abort babies with spina bifida. That's what you do. I said I didn't want anything to do with abortion."
A team of 27 medical professionals performed the procedure. Marriah's uterus was removed and placed on her stomach. Doctors entered the uterus and the still-forming fetal spine and attached fetal skin to the hole in the fetus's lower back. The uterus then was replaced inside Marriah and she was sewn back up. After the surgery, she was bedridden for three months while her baby continued to grow....

Kaleah Erin Peltzer was born Oct. 18, 2010, by Cesarean section. Although premature, she was a healthy baby girl.

"She was our miracle baby," Marriah said.

A Nashville woman has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit, alleging the treatment she received while in jail caused her to miscarry and then jail staff improperly disposed of the child's baby.
Allison said prison staff denied her requests to take another test and other medical requests until Nov. 13, 2010, her birthday, when she began to experience "sudden and excruciating abdominal pain" during a Bible study.

Allison said she went across the hall to a bathroom, was bleeding profusely and miscarried into a toilet. She was later taken to Nashville General Hospital.

Prison employees were under instructions from paramedics and a doctor to preserve the fetus, according to the lawsuit, but their attempts to unclog the toilet destroyed it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life Links 11/22/11

CNN has an article on a clinical trial using fetal stem cells from an aborted child in an attempt to treat ALS.
In an operation than lasted about four hours, Grosjean received five injections into the cervical, or neck, area of his spinal cord, each delivering 100,000 cells. The cells came from Maryland-based biotech company Neuralstem, which is funding this clinical trial and devised a procedure to grow millions and millions of motor neuron cells from the donated spinal cord tissue of an 8-week-old aborted fetus.

In the UK, updated figures from the Department of Health show that Britain is spending much more than they originally thought on abortion.
Campaigners say the new calculations provide more reason to stop the organisations that offer counselling to pregnant women also performing terminations, which are now estimated to cost £680 each, on the grounds that it represents a conflict of interest.

They are calling for spending watchdogs to investigate why Parliament was "misled" over the scale of the "abortion industry".......

Under the updated figures, taxpayers spent £118m on abortions in 2010, of which £75m went to private clinics and just £44m to NHS bodies.

The total number of terminations carried out in England rises from 136,000 to 173,000 and the cost of each one from £660 to £680 under the revised figures.

Herman Cain has signed Susan B. Anthony List's Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge.

Michigan Attorney General shuts down two abortion clinics for good

From the AG Bill Schuette's press release:
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the permanent dissolution of Health Care Clinic, of Delta Township, and the affiliated Women's Choice Clinic, of Saginaw, in response to a lawsuit filed by his office alleging the clinics were operating without the proper physician ownership required by State law. According to an agreement submitted by Schuette and the clinics' owner and approved by Eaton County Circuit Court Judge Calvin E. Osterhaven, the clinics will permanently dissolve. The clinics' owner, Richard Remund, as well as his wife and corporate officer, Margaret Remund, are banned from ever organizing another abortion clinic.

"Profit should never come before patient safety, and that's why state law requires medical facilities to be run by licensed medical professionals," said Schuette. "Facilities that fail to follow this important safeguard should not be in business."

According to paperwork filed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the clinics, which have been closed under temporary restraining order since Schuette filed suit on November 7, 2011, have now officially been dissolved. A consent order approved in Eaton County Circuit Court today makes that dissolution permanent.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life Links 11/21/11

Ramesh Ponnuru notes presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's history (which includes various quotes noting his favoring of funding research using "cells in a fertility clinic") with human embryonic stem cell research.

In the meantime, Michelle Bachmann is going after Gingrich on abortion and claiming that he has "Failed to Meet a Consistently Pro-Life Standard."

Wesley Smith links to an article in the LA Times discussing the collapse of Geron's human embryonic stem cell research program. The article seems much more like an editorial. Reporter Eryn Brown makes this false assertion
"Many biotech start-ups benefit from hefty grants from the National Institutes of Health, but until 2009 the agency largely remained on the sidelines of embryonic stem cell research."
The NIH spent around $250 million on human embryonic stem cells from 2002-2008 and around $700 million on animal embryonic stem cell research for the same time period. I know spending in Washington is out of control but spending around $1 billion in 7 years on experimental research is hardly sitting on the sidelines.

Overheard - Pro-Choice Feminists rip Planned Parenthood, NARAL

Ninersgal at the Abortion Gang blog:
Here's the scoop: if PPFA didn't spend so much money on fancy pink posters and snazzy T-shirts, they might not need to shake the money tree so often.

Kalli Joy Gray at the Daily Kos:
I'm not saying Keenan and her organization don't mean well. Or that the big feminist advocacy organizations of this country serve no purpose at all. But this post reflects the kind of ineffectiveness and tone deafness that is so prevalent among those who monopolize so much of the conversation about women in this country. Far too little, far too late. With zero recognition of the work that a new generation of feminists is doing to fight for women

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pro-choicer Marie Diamond might want to try learning how to do some basic research before attempting to discredit prolifers

It amazing how little research some pro-choicers will do before attacking prolifers. Marie Diamond's piece in Think Progress is a perfect example.

She claims,
RH Reality Check explains that here was never any proof to support an anti-abortion activist's claim of finding fetal remains in an abortion clinic's dumpster, but the anti-abortion lobby has nevertheless used the story as an excuse to propose an unprecedented bill about the disposal of fetuses.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The RH Reality Check piece by Robin Marty which Diamond links to claims, "In the end, it turns out that there was no proof of mishandled remains." Notice how Marty says, "mishandled remains" as opposed to just saying remains. This sloppy language could confuse someone who can't do any research besides looking on pro-choice blogs (like Diamond) to believe there were no remains.

And as evidence for this claim, Marty links to another one of her posts which notes that "At the time, the AG said there was no documents found that violated HIPAA regulations."

Isn't that amazing how quickly that an assertion about documents found alongside the remains of aborted children and how dousing the remains with formaldehyde made it legal to dump them in the trash quickly turned into evidence that no remains of abortion children were found?

All it takes is a couple of sensationally lazy pro-choicers like Marty and Diamond who are much more focused on attacking prolifers than learning/telling the truth. Instead of accurately describing why no charges were filed and linking to an article sharing that information, Marty uses language which makes it seem like prolifers didn't find what they found.

Of course, Diamond's assertion that there was no proof of prolifers finding fetal remains in an abortion clinic dumpster is patently absurd considering prolifers took pictures of the remains, created a slide show of them and then publicly buried them in front of a crowd of approximately 1,000 people including a TV news crew.

Life Links 11/18/11

The New Jersey Star-Ledger has an editorial scolding the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey for attempting to force nurses to assist on abortions.
In other words, UMDNJ believes it should be able to compel nurses and other health care professionals, against their moral beliefs, to perform duties leading all the way up to the actual abortion, then force those health care professionals to attend to patients immediately afterward — or lose their jobs.

Narrowing the law to specify that nurses have the right to opt out of only the actual abortion procedure strains common sense.

For decades, the law has been interpreted to allow nurses and others, if they object, to opt out of any care given to an abortion patient. The nurses involved in the lawsuit say that simply helping to admit an abortion patient facilitates the procedure, making the nurses an active participant.

And they object to that.

A Pennsylvania judge has refused to separate the trials of two of abortionist Kermit Gosnell's employees from his trial.

While former Gosnell employees are pleading guilty left and right, abortion clinics are still fighting against legislation to strengthen abortion clinic regulations. One Newsworks article has a few quote from abortion clinic director Jennifer Boulanger.
"What people don't understand is how abortions are done and how simple they are," Boulanger said. "I'm going to speak very frankly; an abortion is a five-minute procedure."
Well, that's an incredibly broad generalization designed to mislead people. The length of an abortion procedure varies a great deal based on the length of gestation and procedure being used. Boulanger also laughably claims her clinic welcomes inspections.

Albert Mohler reflects on the loss of Mississippi's personhood amendment.
The bitter lesson of Mississippi's defeat of the human personhood amendment is this: When it comes to moral reasoning concerning the unborn child, far too many just adopt Harry Blackmun's moral framework and want to tweak it. Many in the pro-life movement want to shift his lines of moral judgment, but not to repudiate his deadly logic.

We may think we are pro-life, but if we do not affirm the personhood of every human being at every point of development, from fertilization onward, we are not really so pro-life as we think. Or, in other words, we're all Harry Blackmun now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Overheard: Abortion doula admits graphic images of unborn children are real

From an article in the New York Observer focused on abortion doulas.

To some extent, Ms. Mitchell sees her point. In an interview with The Observer, she joked that she sometimes wants to automatically reject the abortion doula applications of pro-choice activists, because it's so hard to go from pro-choice rhetoric to supporting real people who don't necessarily find their abortions empowering."Those pictures pro-life activists flash are real," Ms. Mahoney said. "That is what a fetus looks like when its head is crushed. When you see the procedure, you must decide, as a pro-choice person, whether you are in or out." She's thought about it a lot. "I have never been more in," she said.

University of Ottawa abortion debate

At Vimeo, someone has posted the abortion debate between Stephanie Gray from the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform and Jovan Morales from Atheist Community of University of Ottawa. The event was sponsored by University of Ottawa Students for Life and University of Ottawa Medical Students for Life.

I like how the debate allowed the participants to question each other. That happens at about the 40 minute mark. In about a minute, Gray totally dismantles Morales' definition of person and the entire basis for his argument. When Morales' time to question Gray arrives, it becomes more awkward than some of Rick Perry's debate moments. After a couple of questions, he has no clue what to ask her. In fairness, he did step up for the debate about a week before the debate after numerous pro-choice Canadians declined the opportunity to debate Gray. The vocal pro-choice students in the audience (who frequently interrupted Gray and called her names) try to help him out and are clearly frustrated by their side's inability to put up a solid defense of the pro-choice position.

Something I found very interesting was Morales' continued attempts to argue that the unborn aren't children but at various times he would slip, call the unborn "children" and then correct himself.

Morales' knowledge of fetal development was also severely lacking. Some of his assertions about how developed the unborn are at certain stages during the question and answer time were absurd.

Every time I watch one of these types of debate, it seems like the pro-choice debater hasn't really thought through their position. One of the last questioners asks Morales how on one hand he can assert morality shouldn't be imposed but on the other hand he thinks the government should fund abortions. Morales answer is incoherent. He points out how he is anti-war and thinks he shouldn't have to fund the war (so he's opposed to that imposition of morality) but unfortunately you have go along with what the majority of the country favors ergo tax-funded abortions (a imposition of morality he favors). "Don't impose your morality" seems to be much more of a catchphrase than something he's actually thought about. It's like he sees any law against something he favors as a horrible imposition of morality but when he wants someone to accept his morals, then it's not really an imposition of morality.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"The issue here isn't about abortion." Or is it?

Sam Wight, spokesman for a pro-choice group on Canada's Prince Edward Island really wants people to think a debate about abortions being performed on P.E.I. isn't really about abortion. My additions to his quote below are in bold.
"The issue here isn't about abortion," said Sam Wight, spokesperson for P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization, which has about 150 supporters and is planning a rally at the legislature on Saturday. "It's about having the same accessibility in our province (to abortion) as in the rest of Canada and we like to keep trying to drive that message home that we're all Canadians and we should all have this right (to abortion)."

What is it with Canadian pro-choicers not wanting to have a debate about abortion?

Unintentionally hilarious quote of the week

This one comes from Kellie Quinn in the Massachusetts Daily Collegian:
"Embryos and fetuses are humanized by this sort of political movement, and it does not help that movies and television often reinforce this stance. "
She's referring to the "humanization" of embryos and fetuses which are in fact human.

Is this what pro-choice arguments have come to? When prolifers point out how pro-choicers often attempt to de-humanize the unborn, they respond by saying prolifers humanize them.

Well, duh, they're human.

Which is a reality even Quinn seems to recognize later in her piece:
Why are we seeking to remove rights from fully developed humans for the purpose of granting additional rights to humans that do not have much, if any, brain processing yet?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Life Links 11/15/11

The decision regarding the fate of the Northern Illinois Women's Center abortion clinic in Rockford, Il. will wait another two weeks.
Attorneys for the Northern Illinois Women's Center and Illinois Department of Public Health were back before Administrative Law Judge Cynthia Ramirez this morning. They were expected to announce the terms of an agreed settlement stemming from a series of state law and administrative code violations that the clinic was cited for earlier this year. Instead, they asked for more time.....

Resolution in this case could range from revocation of the clinic's license to allowing the clinic to reopen.

Another former employee of abortionist Kermit Gosnell has pleaded guilty to charges against her.
Tina Baldwin, 46, pleaded guilty to participating in a corrupt organization, conspiracy, and corruption of a minor involving her work at Gosnell's Women's Medical Society clinic from 2001 until the clinic closed in 2010.....

The charge of corruption of a minor involves Baldwin's daughter Ashley, whom she got a job at the clinic at age 15 and who soon was working with her mother in providing sedatives and other drugs to women undergoing abortions.

I wonder what Bart Stupak's feelings are now on his health care deal after this Elena Kagan/Larry Tribe e-mail exchange was released.
"I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing," Kagan wrote, in an email obtained by Judicial Watch, on the day Obamacare passed through Congress. Larry Tribe, a Harvard Law professor and Supreme Court attorney who served as "senior counselor for access to justice" in the Department of Justice (DOJ), replied to Kagan that the bill's passage was "remarkable."

"And with the Stupak group accepting the magic of what amounts to a signing statement on steroids!" Tribe added in delight, and in derision for the pro-life Democrats.

Geron shuts down embryonic stem cell research program

After promoting the promise of human embryonic stem cells for more than a decade, the Washington Post and the New York Times both place the story of Geron in their respective business sections. The New York Times story even tries really hard to make it seem like this isn't a huge blow to the embryonic stem cell research field.

From the Times:
The company conducting the world’s first clinical trial of a therapy using human embryonic stem cells said on Monday that it was halting that trial and leaving the stem cell business entirely.

The company, Geron, said that its move did not reflect a lack of promise for the controversial field. Rather, it said, with money scarce, it had decided to focus on its experimental cancer therapies, which are further along in development......

So far four patients have been treated. Dr. Scarlett of Geron said that there were "no signs" that the treatment was helping the patients. But that was not expected in the initial trial, which was mainly looking at safety. And so far, he said, there had been no sign of safety problems......

By dropping the stem cell program — the company is cutting its work force by 66 people, or 38 percent — Geron will be able to last without needing to raise new money until it receives results of clinical trials of its cancer drugs over the next 18 months. By contrast, Dr. Scarlett said, given all the precautions in the stem cell field, he did not think there would be results from the stem cell trial until 2014.

Dr. Scarlett said that Geron hoped to sell or license the stem cell program to another company that would continue it.

So far, though, many big pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have been wary about trying to develop therapies using embryonic stem cells because of the political controversies and scientific and economic uncertainties.

Related: WaPo's story on the first patient treated with human embryonic stem cells.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life Links 11/14/11

Phill Kline on Sebelius/Six Shreddergate controversy in Kansas:
"If it is routine to destroy evidence that implicates a key political ally of the governor in criminal activity, then that simply means there is routine corruption."

A new study shows unborn children can sense how their mothers are feeling.
Researchers at the University of California-Irvine recruited pregnant women and checked them for depression before and after the mothers delivered their babies. They also tested the babies after delivery to see how their development was progressing.

What appeared to matter most, according to their finding, was a consistent environment. The babies who fared best were those born to mothers who were either not depressed both before and after birth, or those who were depressed both before and afterwards. When mothers' moods shifted from to depression to healthy or from healthy to depression, the change appeared to slow development of their babies......

"We believe the human fetus is an active participant in its own development and is collecting information for life after birth," said Curt A. Sandman, one of the authors and an emeritus professor of psychiatry and human behavior at UC-Irvine. "It's preparing for life based on messages the mom is providing."

Feministe blogger Jill Filipovic (who is sadly becoming almost an Amanda Marcotte clone in her writing style) is living in her own reality. As evidence, she writes:
But women's rights have been bad for anyone who thinks that the only option for women should be to stay home and raise as many children as God gives her. That, obviously, is not the majority of the American public, as evidenced by what the American public actually does. But it is the majority of the American pro-life leadership (which, of course, is distinct from individual voters who identify as pro-life).
The evidence for this wild assertion? ....... Crickets chirping. It's so strange how someone like Jill can act so nice in a co-interview with Feminists for Life President Serrin Foster but then write such venom. Is that what the Guardian requires of columnists? Thoughtless, argument-free pro-choice babble?

Hilariously, this comes less than 2 weeks after the Washington Post wrote a story on the feminine face of the prolife movement. Yep - Marjorie Dannenfelser, Charmaine Yoest, Penny Nance, Shannon Royce and Kristan Hawkins (not to mention the numerous female state-level prolife leaders) are just staying home and having 12 kids each. Do pro-choicers actually believe this garbage?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life Links 11/10/11

Lynda Williams, another former Gosnell employee has pled guilty to third-degree murder.
Her victims were Karnamaya Mongar, 41, an abortion patient who died during a November 2009 drug overdose prescribed by Gosnell, and one of the seven babies whose spinal cords were cut after having been born alive and viable, prosecutors allege.

Gosnell hired Williams to work for him full time in 2008 to clean instruments, but she was soon "anesthetizing abortion patients, performing ultrasounds . . . and dealing with babies born alive while he was not at the clinic," according to a January grand jury report.
Apparently, another former Gosnell employee named Tina Baldwin will plead guilty on Monday.

Michael New reflects on the defeat of Mississippi's person amendment.
There are some lessons to be learned from this. First, many polls consistently show that most Americans are uncomfortable with abortion, but think it should be a legal option in hard-case circumstances such as rape, incest, and life of the mother. Now I, along with many other pro-life activists, think that the unborn deserve legal protection in all situations, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their conception. However, this is not a view shared by most Americans — frustrating though it might be for pro-lifers.

Another lesson is that historically, the initiative process has not been kind to pro-lifers. Pro-life initiatives often do less well than expected, because abortion opponents are typically able to raise and spend more money than pro-lifers.

The Washington Post has an article on research which indicates many patients are misdiagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state. The story includes a quote from Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo.
"Regrettably, Terri was never afforded these types of exams," Schindler wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Post. "Such testing could not have hurt Terri but could have helped her."

Schindler and others called for a reconsideration of such diagnoses.

"These findings only reinforce our family's contention that the PVS diagnosis needs to be eliminated — particularly given the fact that it not only dehumanizes the cognitively disabled, but it is being used in some instances to decide whether or not a person should live or die, as it was used in Terri's case. None of us deserves to be deprived of food and water," he said.

Mark Leach writes in First Things about the new Down Syndrome test:
MaterniT21 can be performed any time from ten weeks forward in a pregnancy. In the research study, half of the samples were from the second trimester, but the test is offered earlier in the pregnancy specifically because it allows for earlier termination. Matthew Rabinowitz is CEO of Gene Security Network, a company developing its own noninvasive prenatal test for Down syndrome. Commenting on Sequenom's new test, he clinically and candidly stated, "If a couple finds an abnormality, and chooses to terminate the pregnancy, it's better to do it earlier." Considering that the majority of women currently receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome do opt to terminate, Sequenom's new test is definitively not safer for the fetus.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Life Links 11/8/11

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Pittsburgh area abortion protester and sidewalk counselor Meredith Parente. Parente is accused of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Act for allegedly shoving two abortion clinic escorts. Looking over the FACE Act, I'm struggling to see how shoving volunteer clinic escorts (if it actually happened) would violate the FACE Act. How does shoving clinic escorts impede someone looking for an abortion from entering the clinic?

The Justice Department press release notes: "The FACE Act prohibits the use of force against any person providing or obtaining reproductive health services, or those seeking to do so, with the intent to injure, intimidate or interfere with that person."

Volunteer clinic escorts aren't providing (unless "providing" is used in an incredibly broad sense) reproductive health services nor are they seeking them.

Overheard on Russian abortions:
Women of all ages used to fill gynecologist Lyubov Yerofeyeva's Soviet state clinic, lined up by the dozen for back-to-back abortions. "It was more common to take sick days for an abortion than for a cold in those days," she said.

Dennis Byrne compares the use and acceptance of graphic images used to dissuade smoking and abortion.
For years, pro-life groups have been condemned for trying to publish (mostly unsuccessfully in the mainstream media) gruesome images of aborted fetuses. The opposition to their publication comes down to something like this: It coarsens public discourse or, more generally, it will offend. Mysteriously, though, that argument didn't seem to occur to liberals that oppose publication of the "products of pregnancy termination" while at the same time favoring the forced display of the "products of smoking."

We're in a gray free-speech area, but it occurs to me that there is one significant difference: Pro-life advocates have not used the force of law to require that gruesome images of aborted fetuses be prominently displayed on the exterior of abortion clinics for all to see.

Indian officials have raided another suspected illegal abortion clinic and arrested the husband-wife team.
The two-room clinic was allegedly run by a couple without having mandatory certificates and permission of the Punjab health department. During raids, the health department team has seized blood soaked clothes, placenta of delivery, medicines and other instruments.

"Ashok Kumar and his wife Devinder Kumari were working as doctors, conducting deliveries and selling medicines without having any certificate," said Surinderpal, district family planning officer of Patiala, who was the member of the raiding team.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Lawsuit filed to close two Michigan abortion clinics

Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a lawsuit to shut down two abortion clinics owned by Richard Remund.
The AG office says along with the lawsuit they are also asking for further investigation to determine if there were any violations of agencies within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The state requires these facilities to be operated by a licensed medical professional. Schuette says Remund was not a licensed medical professional.

Life Links 11/7/11

Prolifers in Loganville, Georgia used Halloween as a time to educate the children in their community about fetal development. Some parents weren't happy about this.
"It was a great event with one exception: There was a pro-life group of some kind handing out 12-week-old fetus toys to the children. A man handed one of the so-called toys to my 3-year-old grandson. He asked what it was. The man that handed it to him told him, ‘This is a 12-week-old fetus. This is what you looked like in your mommy's belly,'" Loganville resident John Ramsey said. "There is a time and place for everything. This event for handing out candy to small children was not the time or the place to be handing out toys about pro-life......

"This ability to see how complex, fragile and precious life is, even at 12 weeks, is an amazing experience for children," Edmonds said. "We were told by two people this year that they enjoyed the displays but did not want to have other discussions about early life development with their children for another few years, and one person did voice concern to a city council member who was at the event. Other than that, we had a wonderful response from all of the attendees.

A Vermont man has been sentenced to 5 years in jail for attacking his son's girlfriend and threatening to kill her and her unborn child.
The Caledonian Record said Comeau was arrested in 2009 after terrorizing his 31-year-old son and his son's 23-year-old girlfriend. The girlfriend told police Comeau was drunk when he pushed her down, kicked her and grabbed her by the throat telling her he was going to kill her and her baby.

A Massachusetts man plans on pleading insanity after being charged with killing his girlfriend and an unborn child his girlfriend said wasn't his.
Peter Ronchi, 48, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the May 2009 slaying of Yuliya Galperina, who was due to give birth within days.

The Los Angeles Times has an article on scientists attempting to figure how to use embryonic stem cells to treat diabetes. Since embryonic stem cells isn't a political issues anymore, we get to hear that cures aren't anywhere near being around the corner.
But fine-tuning the cells to make them safe and effective for human use will take time. For example, beta cells do more than just produce insulin; they also respond to body cues to produce just the right amount of insulin when it's needed and thus regulate glucose levels with great precision. If you make beta cells that produce too much insulin, the level of glucose can drop dangerously low — and people can pass out, lapse into a coma or even die.....

Another major problem facing a cure in humans is the issue of autoimmunity — the problem that causes Type 1 diabetes in the first place. "Even if we are able to generate beta cells from stem cells, if you put them into a patient with Type 1 diabetes, they'll be eliminated quickly, because the immune system is primed to destroy those cells," Hebrok says.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Life Links 11/4/11

A New York City man was convicted yesterday of killing his pregnant girlfriend. Derrick Redd faces 25 years to life in prison for stabbing Niasha Delain.
Cops previously said Derrick Redd, 38, of Jamaica admitted that he 'hadn't believed the child was his and urged Niasha Delain, 25, to have an abortion.

Delain, a bank teller, was stabbed 20 to 30 times in her stomach and torso on Oct. 25, 2008, in her South Ozone Park apartment, according to the Queens district attorney's office.

The fetus was stabbed five times .

New York doesn't recognize the unborn child as a victim but according to the NY Daily News, Delain's mother has started a campaign to change the law.

Christopher White of the World Youth Alliance demolishes Nicolas Kristof's column which claims birth control is the solution to "many of the global problems that confront us."

The New Jersey hospital which forced nurses to participate in abortions "says it will temporarily stop requiring nurses to assist in performing abortions if they object on religious grounds" after the nurses filed suit with the Alliance Defense Fund.

A woman in South Korea staged a one-woman protest against a university professor and grandmother of her child whom she alleges tried to force her into an abortion. The professor denies the allegations.
Carrying her new-born baby in her arms, the 28-year-old stood holding a sign, reading "I became pregnant following my engagement. But my fiance's mother broke us up when I was six months into the pregnancy. She then tried to force me to have an abortion right up until my eighth month."

On the placard, she listed her complaints, using the real name of the professor and her department.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Life Links 11/3/11

At the Prospect, E.J. Graff displays a typical rant from a pro-choicer completely uninformed about fetal development This is embarrassing.
Rachael, I disagree. I see an embryo, the size of a pinkie, that couldn't survive even in the most intensive NICU. It doesn't have a working brain, internal organs, or lungs that could function under any circumstances. It's a mush of rapidly dividing cells with enormous potential to be a human, if nothing intervenes, like a miscarriage or a D&C. But to me, that uninhabited scrunch of cells is no more human than an acorn is an oak tree. And so I don't agree that "it's barbaric to kill 1 million babies a year," since I do not see a baby in that one ounce of tissue. I don't think women who choose abortion have committed murder, or anything even close. I think they scraped out some extra tissue that could have become babies but were not yet.
This is what an unborn child looks like when he or she weighs about an ounce and is slightly longer than my pinkie. Not quite a "mush" or "uninhabited scrunch" of cells without a working brain or internal organs.

Steven Massof, another former employee of Kermit Gosnell will plead guilty today for his role in the deaths of children who survived abortions.
A person with knowledge of the plea agreement says medical school graduate Steven Massof will plead guilty to two counts of third-degree murder and other charges.

Two murder counts typically bring a mandatory life term in Pennsylvania. But a judge could give the suburban Pittsburgh man a reduced sentence for his plea or potential cooperation.

Massof is charged in the deaths of two babies prosecutors say were born alive.

A group in Kansas raising money to start an abortion clinic in Wichita claims they have half the money they need to open up a clinic. They claim they're on track to open sometime in 2012. The article also notes that wannabe abortionist Mila Means efforts to start a clinic haven't gone anywhere.

Survivor winner Ethan Zohn's Hodgkin's lymphoma has returned. He'll undergo chemotherapy and hopes to receive a stem cell transplant from his brother.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Memo to Fact Check: You might want to actually check facts

As opposed to just contacting pro-choice organizations and asking them if Herman Cain's claims are true. Here's the last two paragraphs of the story in which Planned Parenthood attempts to debunk the claim that the majority of abortion clinics are located in black neighborhoods.
Cain's claim also isn't true today. Tait Sye, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, told us in an email that "73% of Planned Parenthood health centers are located in rural or medically underserved areas." Not all of those would be predominately black communities.

Also, the Guttmacher Institute reported this year that 9 percent of abortion clinics in the U.S. are in neighborhoods in which 50 percent or more of the residents are black. That's according to the group's "census of all known abortion providers."

If you've been reading, you already know the Guttmacher Institute report is a joke as it equates "neighborhoods" with zip codes. Why not go a step further and equate "neighborhoods" with counties or states?

I wonder why Tait Sye doesn't provide information on where Planned Parenthood's abortion clinics are located. Sure, they have a lot of small rural clinics which typically don't provide abortions but what percentage of its clinics which provide abortions are located in rural areas? Not many.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Fate of closed Rockford abortion clinic being settled

The Northern Illinois Women's Center, a notorious abortion clinic in Rockford, Illinois which was shut down in late September/early October after failing a follow-up inspection. Now an agreement between lawyers for the abortion clinic and the Illinois Department of Health is reportedly close at hand. This could mean the clinic will close for good or could re-open.
Attorneys did not discuss any details of the potential settlement during a telephone conference this morning. Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the state, and Hirshman, reached individually after the proceeding, declined to comment on the terms of the pending agreement.

Resolution in this case could fall on either side of the spectrum — from revocation of the clinic's license to allowing the clinic to reopen. The state suspended the clinic's license Sept. 29 and ordered the facility closed pending a hearing.

According to the attorneys today, a hearing is not necessary, and they plan to present Ramirez with an agreement at a second telephone conference set for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 14.