Monday, August 30, 2010

Majority of Americans oppose tax dollars being used on human embryonic stem cell research

A survey of 1,000 likely voters by Rasmussen Reports found that 57% of Americans believe that the funding of embryonic stem cell research experiments should be left to the private sector. Only 33% believe their tax dollars should be used to pay for these experiments. The survey was conducted on August 25-26.


Jack Kevorkian gets applauded at Emmy Awards

On Sunday night, Al Pacino won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Jack Kevorkian in the HBO film, "You Don't Know Jack." During his acceptance speech Pacino praised Kevorkian, a man who assisted in the suicides of more than 100 people, by calling him "brilliant and interesting and unique."

During Pacino's speech, Kevorkian stood up and received some applause from the audience.

Kevorkian was released from jail in 2007 after spending 8 years prison for the murder of Thomas Youk.
Al Pacino was honored as best lead actor in a miniseries or movie for "You Don't Know Jack," about euthanasia advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who was in the audience and stood, smiling, at Pacino's request. The controversial physician received scattered applause.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Virg Bernero's extreme pro-abortion, anti-life record

As a member of the Michigan Legislature, Virg Bernero voted to uphold the most extreme elements of legal abortion and to keep taxpayer funds flowing to abortion-performing organizations. Bernero served one term in the Michigan House (2001-02) and a partial term in the Michigan Senate (2003-05).

On three different occasions Senator Bernero voted against a bill to ban partial birth abortion (1). The third vote was on an initiative petition submitted by over 460,000 Michigan voters asking the Legislature to again approve the ban Bernero had previously voted against and which had been vetoed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Senator Bernero voted against a bill to close a loophole in Michigan's abortion parental consent law that was allowing pregnant teens to “judge shop” for a favorable judge who would grant the minor a waiver from having to get a parent's consent before having an abortion (2). Gov. Granholm eventually vetoed this bill as well.

In the House, Rep. Bernero voted against a bill to protect women considering abortions from predatory financial practices by abortion clinics. The bill would prohibit abortion clinics from collecting “down payments” in order for women to make an appointment for an abortion (3). Women are given a 24-hour waiting period under Michigan law to consider whether to go through with the abortion. Clinics collecting down payments at the start of the 24-hour period were refusing to refund some or all of the money if the women changed their mind.

Rep. Bernero voted against a bill that would prioritize state funds for “family planning” programs to be given to organizations that do not perform or promote abortion (4). Bernero has been a stalwart supporter of America's #1 abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, which receives millions of taxpayer dollars in Michigan every year. Planned Parenthood has endorsed Bernero in his race for governor.

Rep. Bernero even voted against a bill to allow Michigan drivers the opportunity to purchase a specialty vehicle license plate reading “Choose Life”, that would raise funds for adoption programs and abortion alternative agencies (5).

Prior to serving in the Legislature, Bernero personally and very publicly supported Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his deadly assisted suicide practices. Bernero was a supporter of the the 1998 Proposal B ballot campaign to legalize assisted suicide.

1 Senate Bill 395, votes on 5/1/2003 and 9/30/2003, initiative petition 6/9/2004.
2 House Bill 4478, vote on 1/21/2004
3 House Bill 5971, vote on 5/29/2002
4 House Bill 4665, vote on 12/13/2001
5 House Bill 4759, vote on 12/5/2001

Red flags surround FDA approval of ella

On August 13, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug called “ella” (also known as ulipristal acetate) for use as a emergency contraceptive. Women will need to get a prescription before obtaining ella. This drug has been used in Europe since 2009. Watson Pharmaceutical will market ella and plans to make the product available by the end of 2010.

The FDA’s web site describes ella as a “progesterone agonist/antagonist emergency contraceptive indicated for prevention of pregnancy following unprotected intercourse or a known or suspected contraceptive failure.”

Various prolife groups are concerned ella doesn’t act solely by preventing ovulation but also acts by preventing a human embryo from implanting in a woman’s womb. Prolife groups have serious reason for concern because the chemical make-up of ella is similar to chemical composition of the abortion drug RU-486, which is also an anti-progesterone drug and can used for abortions. RU-486 acts by cutting off the nutrients to the growing unborn child.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Federal Judge Stops President Obama's Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Policy, For Now

On August 23, federal district court Judge Royce Lamberth issued a temporary injunction against President Obama's human embryonic stem cell policy, stating that the policy violates the law. Judge Lamberth ruled that Obama's funding policy violates the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a law which bans federal funds from going to research which destroys human embryos. President Obama's funding policy attempted to get around this law by funding research after the destruction of embryos had taken place. Judge Lamberth found this distinction meaningless.
The judge ruled that the Obama administration’s policy was illegal because the administration’s distinction between work that leads to the destruction of embryos — which cannot be financed by the federal government under the current policy — and the financing of work using stem cells created through embryonic destruction was meaningless. In his ruling, he referred to embryonic stem cell research as E.S.C.

“If one step or ‘piece of research’ of an E.S.C. research project results in the destruction of an embryo, the entire project is precluded from receiving federal funding,” wrote Judge Lamberth, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan.

In other words, the neat lines that the government had drawn between the process of embryonic destruction and the results of that destruction are not valid, the judge ruled.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Post election explanation of prolife endorsement process

The Grand Rapids Press printed a guest editorial by Right to Life of Michigan Political Action Director Larry Galmish regarding RLM-PAC endorsements.
Throughout its existence, the RLM-PAC has been guided by time-tested, carefully developed bylaws which outline the criteria which candidates must meet in order to be endorsed. These bylaws also guide the state PAC board when making a final decision on candidates.

In some races, all candidates will meet the RLM-PAC endorsement criteria, in which case no specific candidate will be endorsed. Rather, the RLM-PAC will stay out of the race and declare that all candidates meet criteria.

Unfortunately, some races with multiple candidates will include at least one who does not meet our criteria along with several who do. In these races, the RLM-PAC bylaws require the endorsement of a single pro-life candidate who does meet the endorsement criteria. The reason? To try to unite the pro-life vote behind one candidate and prevent a split among many, thus allowing the pro-abortion candidate to win. Unfortunately, unification of the vote doesn’t always occur, but common sense dictates this to be the right course of action.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology notes that abortions associated with pre-term birth

In a recent letter to members, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that a paper by Dr. Jay Iams in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology mentions how abortion is associated with pre-term birth.
An Iam’s observation of particular interest is the following:

“Contrary to common belief, population-based

studies,[34-36] have found that elective pregnancy

terminations in the first and second trimesters are

associated with a very small but apparently real

increase in the risk of subsequent spontaneous

preterm birth (PTB).[37]”

We applaud his statement. Most high profile American writers won’t breathe such a thing. Allow us to mention 2 points in regard to his observation.

1. “contrary to common belief…..’ There are currently 114 studies in the literature all showing a statistically significant association between induced abortion and subsequent preterm birth. And just about none to the contrary. Why then would this association be “contrary to common belief??” Because the association is systematically ignored or severely downplayed by the established authorities in our country. It is not mentioned under complications of induced abortion in any ACOG literature we know of. It is not generally taught. It is denied by default. Maybe that is why it is “contrary to common belief……” Obviously 114 articles should carry some weight, even to the willfully blind.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School in California settles lawsuit over prolife T-shirt

A school district in Fresno, California has agreed to pay a prolife student $50,000 for forcing her to remove the prolife T-shirt she was wearing.
Tiffany Amador, a sixth grader, wore the shirt to Merced's McSwain Union Elementary School in 2008.

The shirt showed pictures of an apparent fetus and said "ABORTION: growing... growing... gone."

Amador's attorneys say she was told the shirt was disruptive and that she needed to remove it.

The district agreed to pay $50,000 to settle Amador's lawsuit on Friday.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Prolife PAC Provides Voice for the Voiceless

Right to Life of Michigan's Political Action Director Larry Galmish shares about the RLM-PAC endorsement process and the role the PAC plays.
Throughout its existence, the RLM-PAC has been guided by time-tested, carefully-developed bylaws which outline the criteria which candidates must meet in order to be endorsed. These bylaws also guide the state PAC board when making a final decision on candidates.

In some races, all candidates will meet the RLM-PAC endorsement criteria, in which case no specific candidate will be endorsed. Rather, the RLM-PAC will stay out of the race and declare that all candidates meet criteria.

Unfortunately, some races with multiple candidates will include at least one who does not meet our criteria along with several who do. In these races, the RLM-PAC bylaws require the endorsement of a single prolife candidate who does meet the endorsement criteria. The reason? To try to unite the prolife vote behind one candidate and prevent a split among many, thus allowing the pro-abortion candidate to win. Unfortunately, unification of the vote doesn't always occur, but common sense dictates this to be the right course of action.

Interviews are conducted with each of the candidates - interviews in which the candidates lay out their very sensitive campaign strategies and efforts to win. Only after these interviews are conducted does the state PAC board vote to endorse the one candidate they believe has the best chance of defeating the candidate who does not meet the PAC criteria. This can often be a hard decision because there may be multiple candidates with stellar prolife voting records. These decisions are not made lightly nor are they based on personal feelings.

The state PAC board members, all of whom are volunteers from around the state, are also aware that their decision may not be popular among the supporters of those candidates who do not receive the endorsement. However, they also know that NOT making a decision would only encourage a bigger split in the prolife vote and a potential loss for the unborn - their only consideration.

This year's Republican primary provided a perfect example of the feared split among prolife voters - four solid prolife candidates and one who is not prolife but ran as one. This prompted a great deal of discussion about Right to Life of Michigan PAC's endorsement decision. Rumors have abounded - that the RLM-PAC had an agreement with the Chamber of Commerce or that a large donation was promised or received from certain donors or that somehow religion played a part. All of these rumors are just that - and are categorically and completely false in every respect. The RLM-PAC board members' integrity in following the endorsement guidelines cannot be bought.

Adult stem cells used to treat children with deadly skin disease

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have partially cured 5 children with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), a genetic skin disorder in which the patient's skin is plagued by painful blisters which can lead to infection and cancer.

With the new treatment, "there was improved healing, fewer blisters, and their quality of life was positively affected. They could do things they couldn't do before, like ride a bicycle or go on a trampoline," said Dr. John Wagner of the University of Minnesota, who worked on the study.

It was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In addition, the patients' improvement progressed with time, he said. All five children who survived showed improvement within 100 days, although the pace varied widely, he said in a telephone interview.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Florida abortionist gets his license suspended for the 4th time

The Florida Board of Medicine has suspended the medical license of abortionist James Pendergraft for the fourth time. His license has been suspended for one year and he will be on probation for 3 years following his suspension.

Pendergraft, who has subjected women to botched legal abortions, was ordered to pay $10,000 fine and take a course on record keeping.

The medical board suspended his license after it found Pendergraft had allowed an unlicensed employee to order and administer drugs even though she was unqualified and had a known history of drug abuse. Pendergraft also was disciplined for prescribing steroids to her for unknown reasons.


A prolife victory remembered

At the web site for the magazine First Things, George Weigel writes about the 30th anniversary of Harris v. McRae.
On June 30, 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Harris v. McRae and upheld the constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment, which had prohibited federal funding for Medicaid abortions since 1976. Three decades later, Harris v. McRae remains the pro-life movement's most important legal victory since Roe v. Wade created a "right to abortion" in 1973.....

Their achievement, however, is not secure. The Hyde Amendment, although deemed constitutional, still had to be re-enacted in every Congress, every year following Harris v. McRae—a fact of legislative history that raises the most serious questions about the Obama administration's claim that the Hyde Amendment is such "settled law" that it need not be replicated in the various legislative iterations of Obamacare. The administration's "deal" with certain Democratic congressmen to include a Hyde Amendment-type ban on abortion funding through a presidential executive order is the thinnest of barriers—some would say, a non-existent barrier—against claims that abortion is a "necessary" form of health care that requires taxpayer funding. That some Catholic members of Congress and some Catholic health-care advocates have fallen for this sleight-of-hand reflects either grave misunderstanding of the law or bad faith.


Monday, August 9, 2010

The Politicization of Stem Cell Research

David Prentice and Gene Tarne have an editorial in the American Thinker comparing the over-hyping of embryonic stem cell research with the recent Climategate controversy. They provide numerous example of how scientists, advocacy groups, celebrities and politicians made outlandish claims about embryonic stem cell research and downplayed the success of adult stem cells.

Like Climategate, the public policy debate over hESCR has shown that scientists are not always disinterested parties. Rather, scientists can be every bit as political and partisan as the politicians, selectively using scientific "evidence" to justify their ideological viewpoint.

The patterns of behavior promoting public funding of hESCR have been strikingly similar to Climategate: selective use of data, manipulation of the peer review process, demonizing colleagues who question the prevailing orthodoxies, and appeals to a bogus scientific "consensus," among others. Those who question this supposed "consensus" have been dismissed as scientifically ignorant and accused of playing politics with science......

The most ironic -- and most troubling -- aspect to the stem cell debate is that all the talk about "playing politics" with science obscured the fact that in an open society, there is and must be a role for politics in determining the parameters within which science will be conducted. By itself, science is not competent to set these parameters. Science is a method to obtain knowledge; it can determine that one way may be more effective or more efficient than another. But efficient does not always mean morally acceptable.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Adult stem cells to be used in spinal cord clinical trial

TCA Cellular Therapy, LLC has enrolled their first patient in a Phase I clinical trial which plans on using the patients' own bone marrow stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries.
TCA Cellular Therapy, LLC has enrolled its first patient to participate in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first adult stem cell clinical trial to treat spinal cord injuries. Enrollee and Marine Veteran, Matt Cole was paralyzed from the chest down in a 2005 insurgent attack in Iraq....

Utilizing TCA Cellular’s proprietary therapy, a couple of thousand adult stem cells have been extracted from the patient’s own bone marrow, Mesenchymal Stem Cells have been separated, purified, multiplied to millions and will be infused into Cole’s spinal cord later this month.

“In theory we expect the cells to repair damaged neurons,” explained TCA Cellular president, Dr. Lasala. “At minimum, our team expects this therapy will provide some improvement to the patient’s motory and sensory functions with no side effects."


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

National Right to Life: Kenya's proposed constitution allows abortion on demand

From the National Right to Life Committee's communications department blog:
Media reports regarding the proposed constitution in Kenya, which goes before the country for a vote on Wednesday, continue to misrepresent the proposed document’s impact on the country’s abortion policy.

“Many in the media are falsely reporting that the new constitution would not allow abortion except ‘where the life of the mother is in danger,’” explained Jeanne E. Head, R.N., National Right to Life Vice President for International Affairs and United Nations Representative. “The truth is actually the opposite.”

The language in the proposed constitution does not contain any meaningful restrictions on abortion, despite recognition of the right to life from conception. Section 26 contains language which allows abortion when in the “opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.”


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Italian researchers use adult stem cells to create windpipe for cancer patients

In Italy, two individuals with trachea cancer have undergone windpipe transplants. Their new windpipes were created with adult stem cells from their own bodies.
Doctors regenerated tissue from the patients' nose and bone marrow stem cells to create tracheas biologically identical to the patients' original organs. Both patients underwent the transplant in early July and were released from the hospital just weeks after the surgery, according to the Associated Press.

One of the patients was able to speak again only a few days after the surgery, said Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, professor of surgery at the University of Barcelona in Spain and the head surgeon in the cases.

"They are back to the home, able to speak, able to socialize with everybody," Giovannini told the Associated Press.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Pro-choice columnist: Right to Life of Michigan knows what they're doing

Brian Dickerson, a Detroit Free Press columnist who favors legal abortion, notes in his column on Sunday how Right to Life of Michigan PAC's knows the importance of the primary election and local political races.
The organization has identified anti-abortion candidates in virtually every primary contest, from county commissioner and probate court to state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

You may think it doesn't matter very much what your county commissioner thinks about abortion, but RTL knows better. It knows its voters play an outsized role in deciding the local races many primary voters ignore, and that anti-abortion candidates who prevail in such races often use their positions as a springboard to higher offices, including the state Legislature and appellate courts, where the stakes for Right to Life are larger.

You can see which candidates Right to Life is grooming for bigger things by checking out

And even if you're among the deluded majority who believe nothing politically important happens in August, you can be sure that RTL's savvy, committed army of anti-abortion voters will be out in force Tuesday.


AP: Adult stem cell studies ahead of embryonic research

The Associated Press is featuring an article by science writer Malcolm Ritter which notes that adult stem cells are currently being used in a variety of successful treatments while embryonic stem cells are lagging behind.
For all the emotional debate that began about a decade ago on allowing the use of embryonic stem cells, it's adult stem cells that are in human testing today. An extensive review of stem cell projects and interviews with two dozen experts reveal a wide range of potential treatments.

Adult stem cells are being studied in people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, heart attacks and diabetes. Some early results suggest stem cells can help some patients avoid leg amputation. Recently, researchers reported that they restored vision to patients whose eyes were damaged by chemicals.

Apart from these efforts, transplants of adult stem cells have become a standard lifesaving therapy for perhaps hundreds of thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.