Thursday, February 28, 2008

LifeBeat for March 1, 2008

Ed Rivet, Legislative Director for Right to Life of Michigan, discusses how legislative efforts to legalize killing human embryos for research in Michigan have failed and how new efforts are being made using a ballot initiative petition drive. He also talks about Right to Life of Michigan's upcoming Legislative Day. To listen, click here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

LifeBeat for February 23, 2008

Ed Rivet, Legislative Director for Right to Life of Michigan, discusses legislation to ban partial-birth abortion in Michigan and why this legislation is important. He also talks about legislation which would strengthen Michigan's parental consent legislation by preventing judge-shopping for parental consent waivers. To listen, click here.

State Senator Gretchen Whitmer Misleading the Public on Stem Cell Research

Recently on the Lansing-based radio show City Pulse Live, State Senator Gretchen Whitmer claimed the state of Michigan has "an all out ban on embryonic stem cell research." Senator Whitmer was quickly corrected by the radio host and admitted that Michigan only has a ban on killing human embryos for research and researchers can import embryonic stem cell lines from other states and do research on embryonic stem cells in Michigan. She then tried to claim that doing research on embryonic stem cells isn't actual embryonic stem cell research. Senator Whitmer apparently believes that killing human embryos for their stem cells is the only kind of embryonic stem cell research and actually doing research on embryonic stem cell lines isn't embryonic stem cell research.

She also falsely claimed there are only 5 embryonic stem cell lines approved for federal funding by the Bush administration. There are currently 21 embryonic stem lines available for federal funding. It should also be noted that the University of Michigan has raised funds to do research on embryonic stem cell lines which aren't approved for federal funding.

In addition, Senator Whitmer attempted to act like people with diseases in Michigan were leaving the state to receive treatment elsewhere as if embryonic stem cells were treating people in other states. The reality is that not a single human patient has ever been successfully treated with embryonic stem cells.

When the topic of human cloning came up, Seantor Whitmer said, "We have the same ethical reservations everyone else does about cloning. We don't want to get into that business."

If so, why did Senator Whitmer introduce Senate Bill 52 on January 24, 2007, which would, if passed, legalize human cloning (also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer) in Michigan?

Towards the end of the interview and when answering questions from callers, Whitmer claimed human embryos aren't human life because they are small and 4-days-old and that when life starts is a "personal question."

Whitmer agreed to the interview but didn't want anyone opposed to killing human embryos in the studio at the time of the interview but promised to do an interview later with an individual opposed to embryonic stem cell research. Right to Life of Michigan looks forward to correcting the blatantly false information being propagated by State Senator Gretchen Whitmer in the future.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Letter to Detroit News on stem cell research

The following letter was submitted to the Detroit News in response to an editorial by Michael Staebler.
A recent editorial by Michael Staebler, a member of the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute Leadership Council, lamented over Michigan law which prohibits the killing of human embryos for research. The editorial claimed Michigan needed to change its law to "retain and recruit the best and brightest at Michigan" and that Michigan was seen as "a backwater for serious science." If so, why did Dr. Ivan Maillard, whom stem cell researcher Sean Morrison labeled "the top young stem cell biologist in the country on the job market last year" in a Life Sciences Institute publication, decide to come to the University of Michigan in 2007 in spite of "intense competition from other research universities?" Why would "the top young stem cell biologist" wade through the supposed "backwater" of Michigan with its supposedly "medieval mentality" when other universities recruited him so heavily?

Maybe it's because some scientists don't see killing human embryos for research as the end-all and be-all of science. Or maybe it's because cutting edge stem cell work doesn't require the killing of human embryos.

Too often proponents of killing human embryos for research tend to gravitate towards wild exaggerations when they lack solid arguments.

LifeBeat for February 16, 2008

Saralee Howard, the director of the Shared Pregnancy crisis pregnancy center, discusses her experience writing the life stories of individuals who are terminally ill and how these experiences relate to her belief about the preciousness of all human life. To listen, click here.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

LifeBeat for February 9, 2008

Sidewalk counselor Mary Verwys again discusses her prolife ministry at the Omega House and why she believes it is important for there to be prolife ministries next to abortion clinics. To listen, click here.

Life Facts - 7,000th Myeloma Adult Stem Cell Transplant

The Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy located at the University of Arkansas performed its 7,000th adult stem cell transplant on October 10, 2007. The five year survival rate at the Institute is now more than 65%; the median survival rate is 7 years. Myeloma, a cancer of the blood's plasma, is treated by collecting stem cells from the patient (or umbilical cord blood if the patient's healthy stem cells are in short supply), infusing a high-dose chemotherapy (which kills the cancer along with the patient's immune system), and then transplanting the stem cells back into the bone marrow to promote immune recovery. The institute treats more than 2,250 patients annually from all over the world, suffering from myeloma. Research is ongoing, drawing from 19,000 tissue samples to identify the genetic mechanisms that trigger myeloma.

For more information, click here.