Thursday, August 30, 2007

LifeBeat for September 1, 2007

Photojournalist Michael Clancy again discusses the photograph he took of Samuel Armas, a 21-week unborn child, holding the hand of the surgeon who was operating on him while in the womb. He also discusses where this photograph has been featured.

Friday, August 24, 2007

LifeBeat for August 25, 2007

Photojournalist Michael Clancy discusses the famous picture he took of baby Samuel Armas (an unborn child at 21 weeks) holding the hand of the surgeon who was operating on him in the womb. He also talks about how taking this picture and viewing this in-utero surgery changed how he thought about abortion.

Michael Clancy will be speaking at Right to Life of Michigan Annual Conference on September 22, 2007.

Letter to the Cadillac News

The following letter to the editor was submitted to the Cadillac News after they ran this article regarding stem cell research in Michigan and an event put on by the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures:
A recent article in the Cadillac News provided an inaccurate explanation of Michigan's law on killing and cloning human embryos and the current efforts to overturn those laws. Legislation (H.B. 4616) introduced by Representative Andrew Meisner and supported by the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures isn't designed to "strengthen the state's ban on human cloning." It's designed to legalize the creation and destruction of cloned human embryos. The current law, which was passed with a large bi-partisan majority, bans human cloning and provides penalties of up to 10 years and/or $10 million dollars. Rep. Meisner's bill would change this law by legalizing the same cloning technique (somatic cell nuclear transfer) which created Dolly the sheep as long as those cloned human embryos are killed for their stem cells. You can't strengthen a ban on human cloning by legalizing human cloning. Hopefully, The Cadillac News and its readers will be wary of claims made by the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures.

Friday, August 17, 2007

LifeBeat for August 18, 2007

Brittany Millan, Right to Life of Michigan's Oratory Contest winner, talks about her experience in the oratory contest, her speech and importance of young people speaking up for life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stem cell letters published

The Detroit News has published a variety of letters responding to Alfred Taubman's editorial on embryonic stem cell research. They also published my longer letter.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

LifeBeat for August 11, 2007

Pamela Sherstad, Director of Public Information for Right to Life of Michigan, talks about some of the reasons why women have abortion. She also talks about what Right to Life of Michigan is doing to reach out to women considering abortion.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Stem cell memo

Right to Life of Michigan's Legislative Staff sent the following memo to Governor Jennifer Granholm and Michigan lawmakers regarding a recent editorial on stem cell research in the Detroit News by A. Alfred Taubman:

Attached please find an editorial from today's Detroit News by Alfred Taubman claiming that Michigan's law prohibiting destructive research on human embryos is holding back advances on stem cell research and Michigan's biotechnology sector. Here are several important points – and omissions – to note:
  • The caption written by the News under the researcher's photograph claims U-M "can use adult and umbilical chord [sic] stem cells in research in Michigan, but not ones from embryos." This is false. Research on stem cells taken from embryos is legal and is being done in Michigan with federal tax dollars.
  • Taubman is either confused or making an important omission when he refers to "critical work" being done in California that in Michigan would net scientists a 10 year prison sentence or $10 million dollar fine. Destroying "leftover" human embryos for research purposes does not carry that penalty. Cloning human embryos does carry the 10/10 penalty. Are U-M researchers directing cloning in California?
  • Taubman and embryonic stem cell advocates never mention that to create genetically matched embryonic stem cell treatments for millions of patients, millions of cloned embryos will have to be created and destroyed.
  • The real reason researchers want to be able to destroy embryos themselves to create stem cell lines is to preserve lucrative patent rights. They won't say it, but it comes down to money.
  • Mr. Taubman urges the entire state to "have the discussion" about stem cell research. Agreed! Let's have the WHOLE discussion, starting with who wants to clone and kill human embryos and who says cures can and are being found without such unethical research.

LifeBeat for August 4, 2007

Pamela Sherstad, Director of Public Information for Right to Life of Michigan, discusses the recently released Michigan abortion statistics for 2006. She also talks about the importance of reaching out and providing help and encouragement to women who are pregnant.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Stem cell letter to the Detroit News

The following letter to the editor was sent to the Detroit News in response to this editorial on embryonic stem cell research by A. Alfred Taubman. The Taubman editorial is one of a series of editorials which falsely claim embryonic stem cell research is banned in Michigan.
A. Alfred Taubman's editorial on August 1, contained a number of inaccurate claims. Taubman falsely claimed that "embryonic stem cell research is essentially illegal in Michigan." It's amazing how the University of Michigan received more than $2 million in federal tax dollars to do something which is "essentially illegal." In Michigan, it's illegal to kill human embryos for research. Human cloning is also illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. These laws don't prevent researchers from importing and experimenting on embryonic stem cells. A case in point is the University of Michigan.

Taubman also bemoans how supposedly hard it is for Michigan universities to recruit researchers because of Michigan's laws against killing embryos. That's an odd claim considering the director of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan was quoted in the Ann Arbor News on September 26, 2006, as describing their five new faculty researchers as "really first-rate" and "the top recruits in the country." In addition, this fall biochemistry experts Stephen Ragsdale and Ruma Banerjee plan to make their move to the University of Michigan. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln said it was losing two of its most prized researchers.

It should also be noted that the answer to the question of when the life of a human being begins isn't a "very personal matter." It's a scientific fact proponents of killing human embryos would prefer to ignore.

Life Facts - Kaitlyne's Bladder

Regenerative medicine has gone the extra mile by producing a fully functional custom made bladder for Kaitlyne McNamara, who was born with spina bifida and a diseased bladder. Sixteen year old Kaitlyne is one of the first people to receive a complex human organ grown from her own stem cells. Once incontinent, she hasn't had any embarrassing accidents and is enjoying her new social life.

Researchers at Children's Hospital in Boston extracted a small section of the diseased bladder, then Kaitlyne's healthy adult stem cells were isolated and placed on a "scaffold" made of collagen, layer by layer. By seven weeks the cells developed into a functioning organ and then sewn to what was left of the patient's partially working bladder. Since the bladder was created using Kaitlyne's own stem cells, her body did not reject it.

"This suggests that tissue engineering may one day be a solution to the shortage of donor organs in this country for those needing transplants," said Dr. Anthony Atala, the lead researcher, who also published breakthrough research using amniotic stem cells in early 2007.

For more information, click here and here.