#1: Winter 2008
Alternative Found for Unethical Embryonic Stem Cell Research
James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Kyoto
Universitys Shinya Yamanaka have each reprogrammed human skin cells, and reverted
them back to an embryonic-like stem-cell state. This
advance offers tremendous hope that every therapeutic benefit scientists believed could be
derived from therapeutic cloning can instead be achieved by regressing a patients
own tissues. The process avoids the
destruction of human embryos to obtain their stem cells.
Thomson published in the medical journal Science while
Yamanaka published in Cell. In both
cases researchers found a way called direct reprogramming to make adult stem
cells revert to their embryonic form. The
technique involves the introduction of 4 genes into the skin cells, thereby
reprogramming them to a less specialized (pluripotent) state. The reprogrammed cells share essentially all the
features of human embryonic stem cells.
The good news about the process is that it can be
replicated easily. After the November 2007
reports, scientists at Harvard replicated the results in December. By February 2008 UCLA scientists were able to
replicate the studies and create the skin cells without destroying human embryos. That report appeared in the academic journal Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences. Kathrin
Plath, an assistant professor of biological chemistry at UCLA and lead author of the
study, indicated that the stem cells they created were virtually indistinguishable
from human embryonic stem cells.
These positive results motivated Ian Wilmut to announce that he had
rejected human cloning research, in favor of using cell reprogramming as an ethical and
uncontroversial means of obtaining pluripotent cells.
Given that Wilmut opened the Pandoras Box of human cloning with the
creation of Dolly the sheep, and two years ago obtained a license from the United
Kingdoms Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority to create cloned human embryos
from the cells of Lou Gehrigs disease patients, his rejection of human cloning
research stunned the scientific world.
Health Care Provider or Greedy Abortionist?
Planned Parenthood prominently displays phrases such as
trusted local provider of health information and services on many of its
affiliates web sites. Are the actions
of Planned Parenthood consistent with its words? If
the actions of their Missouri affiliate are representative, the answer is a loud
In August 2007 Planned Parenthood of Kansas and
Mid-Missouri joined legal action to prevent enforcement of a new Missouri law. What did that law demand? The law requires abortion clinics to comply with
the same health standards as other medical clinics. Planned
Parenthood stated the stringent requirements could result in the closing of abortion
businesses that are unable to comply. The
implication of this point is that abortionists should not be required to comply with
safety codes if they might be forced to close locations that do not meet health standards. In other words, abortion availability trumps
safety considerations for Planned Parenthood. Does
this action seem consistent for a trusted health care provider? Should this condescending attitude assure women
that Planned Parenthood really has concern for their safety?
We can certainly conclude that Planned Parenthood does
not want any oversight on whether its facilities are safe.
Even though Planned Parenthood got $305.3 million in taxpayer funds in its last
reporting year, its highly paid executives are not willing to spend money to comply with
But Planned Parenthood recently filed another lawsuit in
Missouri. This time they are opposing a
referendum that might be placed on the ballot. What
does the referendum do? Planned Parenthood
claims the measure would ban most abortions in the state, and is trying to keep it from
appearing on the ballot.
The organization seeking signatures to place the
contested referendum on the ballot is called Stop Forced Abortions Alliance. They state their referendum does not ban any
abortions nor does it make any abortions illegal.
So what does the referendum do? It
clarifies in statute the duty of physicians to screen for statistically proven risk
factors which identify women at higher risk of physical or negative complications of
abortion and clarifies the duty of abortion providers to ask whether a patient
is feeling pressured into the abortion. Provisions
for recourse in cases of negligent screening are enforced solely by injured women
through civil remedies.
Why does Planned Parenthood claim the referendum will
ban most abortions? Apparently, Planned
Parenthood likes to exaggerate to get headlines when filing a lawsuit. Maybe Planned Parenthood wants to distract people
from considering their real reason for filing this lawsuit.
If this referendum passed, would it cost Planned Parenthood money? That must be their reason for opposing the
How would this measure cost
money? It would require Planned
Parenthoods abortionists and staff to spend more time with patients, and result in
some of those patients eventually choosing against abortion. Planned Parenthood knows this referendum will not
ban a single abortion, but they cannot tell the public they refuse to spend any more time
to educate women on abortion risks or to help women make their own choice in cases where
they are being forced into abortion.
Planned Parenthood wants the money from all those
abortions, but they keep telling the public they are trying to reduce abortion. This referendum would certainly reduce abortions
in Missouri. Planned Parenthoods
opposition to it proves their slogan about reducing abortions is false, and also shows
once again that Planned Parenthood is much more concerned about abortion revenue than
either the safety or the personal choice of the women on whom they commit abortion.
Is that why we are learning of cases where rapists
relied on Planned Parenthood to commit abortions on their victims to cover the rapes? Missouri must be another ground
zero for Planned Parenthood in the battle over abortion, right beside Aurora,
Illinois. And we have not even covered
the 107 criminal charges filed against Planned Parenthood in Missouri! Do you think Planned Parenthood is a trusted
local provider of health information and services?
I think greedy abortionist might be a better description.
Access to Birth Control Does Not Reduce Abortion
You must have heard the repeated claim that better access to birth
control would reduce unwanted pregnancy and abortion.
Maybe it would be helpful to take a step back from such slogans to check out the
real world. Consider the situation in Spain,
as reported by LifeSiteNews on January 7th, where the abortion rate has doubled since
According to Forum Libertas, the Spanish pro-family web site, the use
of contraceptives has increased 60% since 1997, and morning after pill use has
increased 67% since it was introduced in the year 2000.
Such increases must represent better access to birth control so what
happened to abortion? According to recently
released government figures Spains surgical abortion rate has now reached over
100,000 annually, double the 1997 total of less than 50,000. How many additional medical abortions have taken
place using RU-486?
Forum Libertas observes, this increase has occurred despite the
promotion of contraception and the introduction of the morning after pill,
which are touted by their promoters as a means of avoiding the necessity of a
later abortion. The results speak for themselves.
After a substantial increase in the use of contraceptives, including the
morning-after pill, the abortion rate has doubled. Planned
Parenthood claims such circumstances should cut the abortion rate in half. The real world results totally refute
Planned Parenthoods claims.
Report: The End of Roe?
On January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Frances Kissling,
former president of Catholics for Free Choice, (not a Catholic organization) and Kate
Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, collaborated on a letter calling
on the pro-choice forces to regain the moral high ground.
Has the killing of innocent unborn babies ever been the moral high ground?
They recognize the successes of the pro-life movement in passing laws
that restrict abortion restricting Federal funds for abortion, parental consent or
notification, mandatory waiting periods, and pre-abortion counseling. For obvious reasons, they didnt mention the
ban on partial-birth abortion or the increase on laws requiring ultrasounds for women to
see their baby before making the choice.
They even acknowledge that the Pro-Life movement is a respectable point of view.
Over the years, while the unborn baby has become more visible through
science, the pro-aborts have insisted on a womans constitutional right to choose. Pro-lifers have insisted that we look at what is
being decided. Advocates of choice have a hard time dealing with the increased
visibility of the fetus. The preferred
strategy is still to ignore it and try to shift the conversation back to women. Kissling and Michelman claim that at times, this
has made them seem insensitive. John
Paul II coined the term culture of life. President Bush adopted it and it
moved some hearts and minds. Supporting abortion is tough to fit into this package. You bet!
Planned Parenthood has announced they will spend $10,000,000 to
insure that a pro-abort is elected. They are
pinning their hopes on the health care plan of Hillary Clinton which will include coverage
for abortion. Are the pro-aborts admitting
that they are loosing the battle for abortion in America to the Culture of Life?
At the evening Mass on January 21, opening the National Prayer Vigil
for Life, Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the US Bishops Committee on Pro-Life
Activities, said just that Roe will not stand.
He described the comments of Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, stem cell researcher credited
with the discovery of turning adult skin cells into the equivalent of human embryonic stem
cells without using an actual embryo. He said,
When I saw the embryo, I suddenly realized there was such a
small difference between it and my daughters. . . . I thought, we cant keep
destroying embryos for our research. There
must be another way. Cardinal Rigali
said, If God can use a helpless embryo to change a human heart, he can certainly use
us with all our limitations and weaknesses.
Science has provided us with a window to the womb where we see a
living, moving unborn baby. Men and women are
finally addressing the damaging and life changing effects of abortion in their own lives.
High school and college students have seen the results of abortion on their friends and in
their own families. They have joined the Pro-Life movement in full force and they insure
its future. These are all signs of hope and
of victory for the end of abortion. We dont have to work to regain the moral high
ground. The defense of human life in all stages and conditions of dependency is the moral
Abortions Down in Illinois?
Abortions at 30-year low was the main headline of the
1/17/08 Chicago Tribune. The
sub-headline was Illinois sees large drop: 19% in 5 years. It is certainly good news if abortions nationally
have dropped to 1.21 million from 1.3 million over the last five years, but what about
Illinois? A check of the abortion statistics
published for Illinois by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) did not show a
19% drop in abortions.
Abortions in 2000 were 45,884 and in 2005 43,409. That change
is only a 5.4% drop, far lower than the stated 19% drop. To emphasize that point further, IDPH data for 2006
shows 46,467 abortions in Illinois, higher than the total for 2000, so no decrease at
all. Unfortunately, abortions are not dropping in Illinois.
Of course, Illinois does not have any informed consent or parental
notice laws in effect. Such laws have allowed women to make more informed
decisions, decreasing annual abortion rates in many states and contributing to the reported national reduction in
abortions. We need such laws in Illinois.
and Low Weight Birth Risks
increase the risk of pre-term and low weight births in future pregnancies? A recent study concluded, Previous abortion
is a significant risk factor for low birthweight and pre-term birth and the risk increases
with the increasing number of previous abortions. Practitioners should consider previous
abortion as a risk factor.
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University
published their findings in the December 2007 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and
Community Health. The study examined data
on over 45,000 U.S. mothers. Overall, about
14% of these mothers had premature births and 11% had low birthweight infants.
However, mothers with one previous abortion were 70%
more likely to have a pre-term birth. This
risk increased to two times for mothers with a history of two abortions and three times
for those with three or more abortions.
The impact of abortion was even greater for risk of low
weight births. For mothers who reported at
least one prior abortion, they were almost three times as likely to have a low birthweight
baby. This risk increased to five times for
women who had two previous abortions and to nine times for women who had three abortions.
A study published in the November 2007
Journal of Reproductive Medicine found abortion linked with premature births and
cerebral palsy. Abortion advocates continue
to claim that an abortion has no negative impact on future pregnancies. Why do they claim concerns about impact of
abortion on future pregnancies is not scientific? They
are ignoring science.
In Vitro Fertilization is a Deadly Business
Recent testimony before the British Parliament revealed just how
deadly in vitro fertilization (IVF) is from beginning to end. Excess embryos get created because women respond
differently to fertility drugs. As many as 40
embryos are created in one IVF treatment. The
embryos are then assessed for viability, with only about 20% usually considered strong
enough to implant successfully. Embryos not
deemed strong enough to implant are killed. Remaining embryos deemed excessive are frozen, but will die
within 10 years, if they even survive the freezing process.
If too many implanted embryos survive, some may be killed by selective
reduction. NaProTECHNOLOGY is an
ethical and more reliable alternative to IVF. Learn
more at FertilityCare Centers of America
March for Life Largest Ever?
Long-term observers and participants in the January 22,
2008 March for Life in Washington, D.C. reported that it seemed to be the largest ever. Certainly, more buses came from Illinois than I
can ever remember. The Respect Life Office of
the Chicago Archdiocese sponsored five buses carrying a total of 250 people. More buses were sponsored by various churches and
other organizations from around the state.
Fifty across and
thousands deep, wrote John-Henry Westen for LifeSiteNews.com. The march was an unbelievable sea of people. Some near the front who had completed the march
went for lunch and returned to their hotel rooms only to see thousands of marchers still
progressing toward the Supreme Court.
As usual the March for Life,
very conservatively estimated at 225,000 marchers, was still not newsworthy. In Chicago, the Tribune
printed a picture but no story. The
picture showed three people with pro-abortion signs and one with a Pro-Life sign in front
of the Supreme Court, making their totally inadequate reporting misleading as well. The Sun-Times and television news programs
did not provide any coverage at all.
Regardless of the lack of reporting, the huge crowd of Pro-Life
marchers was energized by the spirit of the moment. The
large percentage of young people participating will take that energy back home. They know what they experienced. We pray they will be moved to bring the Pro-Life
message to their fellow students and make a difference in coming years to bring an end to