Friday, June 29, 2007

LifeBeat for June 30, 2007

Scott Klusendorf, President of the Life Training Institute, again talks about making a persuasive case for the prolife position. It is often important when discussing abortion to ask people who are pro-choice to back up the criteria they use to discriminate against the unborn with reasons why their criteria are valid.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Andy Meisner's False Stem Cell Claims

During his appearance on Off the Record (a public television program focusing on Michigan politics) on June 22, 2007, Representative Andy Meisner made a number of false claims regarding the issue of stem cell research and his legislation to legalize the killing of human embryos for research and the creation and destruction of cloned human embryos. You can view this program online here.

Meisner claimed there is a ban on embryonic stem cell research in Michigan despite the fact there is currently research involving embryonic stem cells occurring at the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan received a large 3-year federal grant to perform research on embryonic stem cells in 2003. Embryonic stem cell research is not banned in Michigan. Killing or experimenting on human embryos for research is banned in Michigan. This doesn't prevent researchers from experimenting on embryonic stem cells.

Meisner claimed legislation passed in 1998 was the "second ban on stem cell." Meisner is referring to Michigan's ban on human cloning which was a package of bills passed in 1998 with unanimous votes in the Michigan Senate and with 85+ votes (out of 110) in the Michigan House. Meisner and other proponents of human cloning for research typically avoid telling people they are in favor of human cloning for research or if they do they'll frequently use terms like "nuclear transfer" or "somatic cell nuclear transfer" because they know the majority of people are very uncomfortable with human cloning and creating human embryos solely for research. They also know that many people aren't familiar with the terms nuclear transfer and somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Meisner also claimed his legislation was about doing embryonic stem cell research restricted to stem cells taken from embryos leftover from in vitro fertilization. Yet Meisner's legislation would legalize the killing of cloned human embryos (which aren't "leftover from in vitro fertilization). His legislation would allow researchers to kill human embryos created by human cloning. Meisner's legislation (H.B. 4616) says, "A person may use a live human embryo to derive stem cells for nontherapeutic research if those embryos were from either of the following sources:" and then lists the following as a source,
"Notwithstanding section 16274, the utilization of a somatic cell nuclear transplantation procedure which was for the sole purpose of creating nuclear transfer blastocysts for the extraction of embryonic stem cells. As used in this subdivision, "blastocyst" means an embryo..."
In other words, his legislation legalizes the killing of a live human embryos (blastocysts) created by human cloning (somatic cell nuclear transplantation procedure) as long as they were created for the sole purpose of being killed for their stem cells.

Meisner is on the advisory board of the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures. Their web site describes human cloning for research (which they call nuclear transfer) by saying, "Nuclear transfer is a laboratory procedure that creates embryos for use in stem cell research; sometimes referred to as ‘therapeutic cloning.'" On another page they describe Meisner's legislation by saying, "Proposals being considered by some policymakers would lessen state restrictions on stem cell research by removing restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, allowing for the creation of stem cells through nuclear transfer."

Unfortunately, Andy Meisner has not been honest with the Michigan people about Michigan's current law and what his legislation would do. If the people of Michigan are so in favor of human cloning and killing human embryos for their stem cells then why does Andy Meisner need to lie about his legislation?

Monday, June 25, 2007

LifeBeat for June 23, 2007

Scott Klusendorf, President of the Life Training Institute, talks about making a persuasive case for the prolife position. Though the unborn are smaller, less developed, in a different environment, and have a different degree of dependency than most born people, none of those differences make the unborn less valuable than born human beings.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Life Facts - Human heart valves grown from ethical adult stem cells

For the first time, British researchers have grown part of a human heart from stem cells extracted from bone marrow in the lab. Dr. Adrian Chester, was able to grow small discs of heart valve tissue with the help of scaffolding made of collagen. Later this year, this tissue will be implanted into animals to monitor its effectiveness.

Many people who suffer from heart valve disease have artificial replacements, which have limitations. Sir Magdi Yacoub, Professor of Cardiac Surgery at Imperial College in London, said, "The way a living valve functions, it anticipates haemodynamic events and responds and changes its shape and size. It's completely different from an artificial valve which will just open and shut." If the trials prove to be successful, Professor Yacoub predicts the heart valves will be implanted in patients within three to five years.

Fifteen million people died of cardiovascular disease in 2005. Replacement valves grown from ethical sources of stem cells could save many lives in the very near future.

For more information, click here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Use Tax Dollars for Embryonic-Killing Stem Cell Research

On June 20, President George W. Bush vetoed legislation to expand the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The bill, S. 5, would have broadened which embryonic stem cell lines researchers could use in federal funded experiments.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, "President Bush has again boldly prevented American taxpayers from being compelled to fund the killing of human embryos. Advances in life-affirming forms of stem cell research continue to prove we do not need to kill the smallest, most vulnerable human beings in order to successfully treat those who are suffering."

According to the National Institutes of Health, the federal government has spent $122 million on research using human embryonic stem cells in the last four years and plans to spend an additional $74 million in the next two years. The University of Michigan received a federally funded grant to experiment on human embryonic stem cells in 2003. This research has not treated a single human patient.

"Right to Life of Michigan will continue to educate the public on the advances in adult stem cell research and research using stem cells found in umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid through our web site. Unfortunately, many people have been deceived into believing that embryonic stem cells offer their only hope of being cured," said Listing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

LifeBeat for June 9, 2007

Ed Rivet, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan, discusses anti-life legislation introduced in Lansing to legalize the creation and destruction of cloned human embryos. Ed also discusses how information about where women can obtain free ultrasounds is now on the state of Michigan's web site.

LifeBeat for June 2, 2007

Ed Rivet, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan, talks about prolife legislation which has been introduced in the Michigan legislature, including the Citizen Accountability Act.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

LifeFacts - Follow the $$$

James Thomson is known as the first scientist to successfully isolate human embryonic stem cells (hESC) at the University of Wisconsin back in 1998. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) holds the patent to this landmark invention along with two others, boasting they own the rights to all hESCs in the U.S. However, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a preliminary decision stating that they may throw out the patents, since the science is not new and was based on previous work. WARF, who charged hundreds of thousands of dollars for the use of the patented stem cells, challenged the decision.

Jeanne Loring, director of hESC research at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in California said, "The patents are impeding our research. They're more important than what's going on in the [U.S.] Senate right now." She said, "It is making scientists go overseas to do this sort of research. It isn't the funding that's sending us overseas. It's the patent issues."

Michigan, a hub of biotech research, continues to discover new breakthrough therapies, using ethical forms of stem cells, while operating within the law.

For more information, click here.

Friday, June 8, 2007

June/July/August 2007 issue of the RLM News

The June/July/August issue of the Right to Life of Michigan News has been posted online. The issue focuses on stem cell research and also has articles on the release of Jack Kevorkian, an update on partial-birth abortion and how information about free ultrasound is now posted at the state of Michigan's web site.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Letter to the Detroit Free Press published

The Detroit Free Press published letters to editor from both Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference today in response to a misleading editorial on stem cell research from Liz Barry.

Friday, June 1, 2007

LifeFacts: Adult stem cells improve the mobility of dogs with muscular dystrophy

Scientists from Italy experimented on six dogs afflicted with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, using stem cells derived from ethical sources. Stem cells were collected from the muscle tissue of both healthy dogs and from dogs with MD. The stem cells extracted from the dogs with MD were modified in the lab to correct the gene. The dogs who received stem cell transplants derived from the healthy dogs benefited more than the dogs who received their own 'corrected' stem cells. Four of the dogs regained muscle strength, while two did not. One of the two died and the other showed no improvement, possibly needing higher doses of the treatment.

Once human trials begin, it would be ideal for those afflicted with MD to be treated with their own 'corrected' stem cells in order to alleviate the rejection issue. Much progress has been made; much more research must be done. Experience proves over and over again that the prospect of finding cures lies in using ethical sources of stem cells.

For more information, click here.

New information on

Two new sections have been added to Right to Life of Michigan's web site focused on stem cell research.

One section, Facts v. Myths, addresses various myths regarding stem cell research and another section,Cloning Facts, discusses human cloning.