Monday, April 28, 2008

Signers Beware!

The following letter was submitted to the Grand Rapids Press after I was asked to sign a "stem cell" petition.
Recently, as I was taking a walk to my local library, I was approached by two women who asked if I was a registered voter and if I would sign their petition. “Petition for what?,” I asked. “Stem cell research,” they responded. When I asked “what kind of stem cell research?,” they pointed me to a specific talking point on a purple sheet underneath their petitions which discussed the theoretical promise of embryonic stem cell research and all the diseases it would supposedly cure. I was then pointed to a copy of a Grand Rapids Press article on Kadi DeHaan, a young woman who suffered a spinal cord injury, and told embryonic stem cells were used to treat her.

I’m familiar with Kadi’s story and I knew her improvement was due to strenuous physical therapy along with trips to Russia for injections of her own adult stem cells, not embryonic. Embryonic stem cells have never successfully been used to treat any human patient.

Besides falsely attributing Kadi’s success to embryonic stem cells, the paid signature gatherers (they told me they’re getting $1 a signature) never mentioned the petition would legalize the killing of human embryos for research purposes.

Voters who oppose killing the most defenseless of human beings should be careful when approached to sign a “stem cell” petition. Some paid circulators are trained to say whatever it takes to get you to sign, regardless of whether what they’re saying is true or not.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

LifeBeat for April 26, 2008

Dr. Francis Beckwith discusses popular pro-choice arguments and why those pro-choice arguments fail. To listen, click here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

LifeFacts - "Reprogrammed" Stem Cells Alleviate Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease in Rats

Brain-damaged rats with Parkinson's who once wandered in uncontrollable circles were successfully treated with stem cells from ethical sources. The researchers started with adult skin cells from mice and reprogrammed them back to an embryonic-like state. These cells, known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), are like a "blank slate" which can be coaxed into becoming any cell in the body. In this case, the cells were coaxed to become neural cells and then transplanted into the rat's brain tissue. Within 8 weeks, the cells were generating dopamine, resulting in eight of the nine rats showing marked improvement.

"These cells are more readily available and much less controversial than embryonic stem cells. But they seem to have identical potential," said Rudolf Jaenisch, from the Whitehead Institute who oversaw the work. His lab has already used this reprogramming technique successfully to treat sickle cell anemia in rodents.

For more information, click here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

LifeBeat for April 19, 2008

Dr. Francis Beckwith discusses his prolife book Defending Life. He also talks about how Roe v. Wade has been the most misunderstood U.S. Supreme Court decision. To listen, click here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

LifeBeat for April 12, 2008

Kurt Ramspott, president of Guys for Life, talks about why the role of men in abortion is often overlooked. He also discusses how Guys for Life reaches out to men who are involved in an unplanned pregnancy. To listen, click here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

What does embryonic stem cell research with no restrictions look like?

Perhaps you have seen them on a college or university campus or at the farmer's market -- people circulating petitions to have Michigan's constitution changed to allow the destruction of human embryos in Michigan for stem cell research.

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research in Michigan are pushing this petition drive because they want Michigan researchers to be on the “cutting edge” of embryonic stem cell experiments. The recent announcement out of Britain that scientists there have been able to create cloned embryos by mixing human DNA with the eggs of cows in an attempt to get embryonic stem cells precisely demonstrates that cutting edge.

In hopes of creating embryonic stem cell lines to match the DNA of human patients, British scientists at Newcastle University have resorted to creating cloned hybrid embryos which are part human and part cow. Cow eggs were used for these cloning experiments because researchers have had difficultly obtaining a large enough quantity of human eggs.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “The cutting edge of stem cell research in Britain gives us a sneak preview at what unrestricted embryonic stem cell research looks like, and it isn’t pretty. Britain is a disturbing example of what happens when scientists aren’t restricted by solid ethical boundaries. The idea of ‘Can I do this?’ quickly overwhelms any thought of ‘Should I do this?’ This is what happens when respect for human life is discarded so all avenues of stem cell research can be explored.”

Researchers with the North East England Stem Cell Institute “used human eggs from consenting in vitro fertilization patients, but these are in short supply. Animal eggs are considered to be a viable alternative for research.”

Listing said, “There is a reason why Michigan has laws against the destruction of human embryos for research. What is happening at the North East England Stem Cell Institute is a reminder of why guidelines are critical for scientists.”

Thursday, April 3, 2008

LifeBeat for April 5, 2008

Kurt Ramspott, president of Guys for Life, talks about how he came to work with men who are involved in an unplanned pregnancy and the role men can play in a woman's decision to have an abortion. To listen, click here.