Thursday, October 29, 2009

California’s embryonic stem cell funding agency gives majority of grants to non-embryonic stem cell work

In another sign that embryonic stem cell research is unlikely to ever result in successful treatments for human patients and is years behind adult stem cell research, the New York Times reports that only 4 of the 14 projects recently approved for $230 million in funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) plan on using embryonic stem cells.

CIRM was created after a ballot proposal was approved by California voters to spend $3 billion dollars over 10 years on embryonic stem cell research. The ballot proposal was sold as necessary to the citizens of California because the federal government was allegedly not spending enough money on embryonic stem cell research.
The $230 million in grants awarded Wednesday to California universities and companies represent a big step toward moving stem cells from basic research toward application in treating diseases like cancer and AIDS. Grant recipients are supposed to have a therapy ready for initial human testing in four years.

But only 4 of the 14 projects involve embryonic stem cells. The others will use so-called adult stem cells or conventional drugs intended to kill cancer stem cells, which are thought to give rise to tumors.

The grants thus represent a departure from the program’s original mission. California voters approved the 10-year, $3 billion effort in 2004 largely to get around restrictions on embryonic stem cell research imposed by the administration of President George W. Bush.

Such research is ethically controversial because creation of embryonic stem cells involves the destruction of human embryos.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stupak will attempt to block health care reform if abortion funding not removed

On Friday, the Hill ran a story about how Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) and approximately 40 Democrats will attempt to prevent health care reform legislation from coming to the House floor unless they are given a vote on an amendment to explicitly exclude abortion funding from health care reform.

"There?s about 40 like-minded Democrats like myself -- we?ll try to take down the rule," Stupak said. ?If all 40 of us vote in a bloc against the rule -- because we think the Republicans will join us -- we can defeat the rule. The magic number is 218. If we can have 218 votes against the rule, we win.?

With 177 Republicans in the House, Stupak would need at least 41 Democrats to cross the aisle and vote against the rule. Stupak's amendment was originally defeated by the House Energy and Commerce Committee during mark-up.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Bart Stupak (D-MI) and prolife Democrats continue to oppose abortion in health care reform

A recent Associated Press article highlights how Michigan prolife Democrat Bart Stupak continues to work to remove abortion funding from the health care reform bills. Stupak and other prolife Democrats will attempt to block the bill unless they are allowed to a vote on an amendment to remove abortion funding for health care reform.
Stupak says language specifying that someone obtaining an abortion must use her own money, not federal money from the subsidies, doesn't go far enough because it's impossible to clearly segregate funds in that way.

"Once you get the affordability credits (subsidies) in there, that's public funding of abortion. We're not going there," Stupak said. "How do you get past the affordability credits is really the issue. And we can't."


Unless an eleventh-hour agreement is reached, Stupak intends to carry through on a threat he's been holding over House leaders for months: to block action on the larger health overhaul bill unless he's allowed to offer a stand-alone amendment during floor debate to include the Hyde amendment restrictions in the health overhaul bill.

Such an amendment would be almost certain to prevail, since it likely would attract the votes of most Republicans as well as some Democrats. So Democratic leaders won't let Stupak offer it.

Instead, it appears they may have to take the risk of letting Stupak try to block action on the underlying bill, which he intends to do by assembling "no" votes on a procedural measure that needs to pass before debate can begin.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Wayne State Researcher Helping Paralyzed Patients with Adult Stem Cells

WWJ, a news radio station in Detroit, is reporting on how a recent study by Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher Jean Peduzzi-Nelson has shown that taking adult stem cells from the nasal tissue of paralyzed patients and then injecting it into their spines can help them regain some mobility.
The injuries in the study patients were 18 months to 15 years old. The patients, ages 19 to 37, had no use of their legs before the treatment. One paraplegic treated almost three years after the injury now ambulates with two crutches and knee braces. Ten other patients ambulate with physical assistance and walkers (with and without braces). One 31-year-old male tetriplegic patient uses a walker without the help of knee braces or physical assistance. When the stem cell transplant and scar removal process was combined with an advanced form of rehabilitative training that employs brain-initiated weight-bearing movement, 13 patients improved in the standard measures used to assess functional independence and walking capabilities.

“We concluded that olfactory mucosal autograft is feasible, relatively safe and possibly beneficial in people with chronic spinal cord injury when combined with post-operative rehabilitation,” Peduzzi-Nelson said. “There are clear indications of efficacy based on neurological, functional and electrophysiological testing that justify moving forward to a larger, controlled clinical trial. In patients who are willing to commit to lots of intense rehabilitation, this combination treatment holds promise to improve their condition.”


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Prolife Advertisement Details Abortion Funding in Health Care Reform

Americans United for Life has released a new ad chronicling how current health care reform measures include funding for abortion despite promises from President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that health care reform wouldn’t include funding for abortion.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Health Care Reform Update

Finance Committee passes proposal 14-9

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved the America's Healthy Future Act which was crafted by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mt.). The bill contains an array of far-reaching provisions which endanger the lives of senior citizens and unborn children. On September 30, 2009, the Finance Committee defeated two prolife amendments to the bill, offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan sits on this committee and voted to approve the America's Healthy Future Act. Please let Senator Stabenow know that you are disappointed that abortion coverage was not explicitly excluded from the bill.

Contact Information:
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D)
133 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4822
Fax: (202) 228-0325

Web Site:

Now that the Finance Committee approved the Baucus bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nv.) will need to combine the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Finance bills into a single bill. The full Senate may take up a bill later this month.

Right to Life of Michigan will continue to keep you posted on health care reform. At any time, visit Right to Life of Michigan at for information on health care reform.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

NRLC: White House Press Secretary's Remarks Show White House Still Engaged in Smuggling Operation for Government Funding of Abortion

National Right to Life has a press release noting how remarks from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs show the Obama administration is still attempting to mislead the public on whether health care reform legislation includes government funding of abortion.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the national federation of right-to-life affiliates, said: "Gibbs' statement is one more proof, if any more were needed, that the White House is actively engaged in a political smuggling operation -- an attempt to achieve funding of elective abortion by the federal government, cloaked in smokescreens of contrived language and outright deception. There is no current federal law that would prevent the new programs created by the pending health care bills from paying for abortion on demand -- and the White House knows this full well.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall 09 Issue of RLM News Online

The Fall 2009 issue of the Right to Life of Michigan News is now online. You can read it online here.

This issue includes articles on health care reform, a Conference recap, information about Michigan 2008 abortion statistics and a state legislative update.