Thursday, January 28, 2010

John Edwards and coerced abortion

A new book alleges (it is not proven) that in 2007 John Edwards -- in the midst of his presidential campaign -- tried to persuade his pregnant mistress, Reille Hunter, to have an abortion.

Whether or not the allegation is true, it calls to mind the fact that coercion and even violence against pregnant women is not uncommon. On Jan. 5 a Utah man was arrested for giving his pregnant girlfriend an abortifacient, without her knowledge, to kill their unborn child. This happened after he repeatedly asked her to have an abortion but she refused. The man is charged with "unlawful termination of a pregnancy."

Also recently, a Florida man was charged with murdering his pregnant girlfriend because she refused to get an abortion.

And Dave Andrusko writes:
According to the Associated Press, a mother accused of "giving her pregnant teen daughter drugs to kill the fetus and induced labor will spend three years under house arrest, a judge ordered Friday." After Tonuya Rainey's 16-year-old daughter "gave birth on a toilet at home on March 6, 2009, authorities say, Rainey threw the fetus in the garbage."

The teenager was 24 weeks pregnant when her mother "gave her a combination of pills" to induce the abortion, according to AP. Rainey's public defender told Broward Circuit Judge Matthew Destry, "This was not done to be mean or out of anything but love for her daughter."

The plea bargain was worked out after Rainey pled guilty "to five felony and two misdemeanor charges ranging from unlawful termination of pregnancy, practicing medicine without a license, child abuse and unlawful disposal of fetal remains," the AP reported.
MCCL supports legislation to prevent coerced or forced abortions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Abortion is self-inflicted dehumanization

National Right to Life President Wanda Franz, writing in this month's (Jan. 2010) NRL News:
It is not just that abortion is barbaric; that it kills with impunity; that it is a horrendous misuse of the right to a private space -- it is more: in an abortion we treat another human being as a mere disposable thing. When we treat another human being as a mere thing, then by logic we look at ourselves as nothing more than things. But things aren't moral agents; they are not responsible for their actions. For things there is no wrong and no right. Things aren't human.

Thus abortion is the ultimate form of self-inflicted dehumanization.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pro-choice leader: 'A fetus is not a life'

In its coverage of the March for Life, CNN quoted NOW President Terry O'Neill saying, "A fetus is not a life, sorry."

If O'Neill means "life" in a biological sense, then she's obviously wrong, as countless pro-choice advocates concede. After all, the fetus meets all the biological criteria for life, and he or she is growing. Dead things don't grow. No scientist denies that the fetus is alive.

O'Neill's statement is defensible only if she means "life" in a moral or social sense. But then she could put her position much more clearly, the way sophisticated and intellectually honest pro-choice advocates do: "The fetus may be a living member of the species Homo sapiens, but he or she (sex has already been determined) is not a valuable person with rights, like you and me."

That's O'Neill's position, but it's not enough to just state it -- and then add "sorry!" In public deliberation over important issues, we give reasons for our views. O'Neill needs to offer reasons to think we should exclude one class of human beings (the unborn) from the realm of equal respect and protection.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Abortion's effects on women

Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), addressing the 2010 March for Life in Washington, D.C.:

Abortion isn't health care. There is nothing whatsoever benign, healing or nurturing about abortion.

Safe? Certainly not for the 52 million babies who have been dismembered or chemically poisoned or starved to death since 1973. And certainly not for women, who have been hurt physically and psychologically, and the medical data strongly suggests abortion even causes prematurity in a significant percentage of children born to women who have undergone abortion.

Safe for women? At least 102 studies show significant psychological harm, major depression and even higher incidences of suicide in women who abort. This has been covered up.

Safe for women? At least 28 studies--including three in 2009—show that an abortion increases the risk of breast cancer by some 30-40 percent or more, yet the abortion industry has largely succeeded here as well in suppressing those facts.

Nevertheless, according to the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, 2009 was a pivotal year in the debate about the abortion breast cancer link. Three studies were published from Turkey, China and the United States which matter-of-factly demonstrate the abortion breast cancer link as one of many breast cancer risk factors.

For example, the recent U.S. study by Jessice Dolle of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center demonstrated that abortion raises breast cancer risk by 40%. Study co-authors included Janet Daling and Louise Brinton.

Amazingly, Brinton was a chief organizer of the 2003 National Cancer Institute (NCI) workshop denying the link. Now a study she co-authored reiterates the link and reports them as consistent with earlier studies that found induced abortion to be a risk factor for breast cancer.

Abortion, safe? Not for subsequent children of women who have had an abortion. At least 113 studies show a dramatic association between abortion and preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies--36% after one abortion, a staggering 93% after two. In like manner, abortion causes lower birth weights in subsequent children. Prematurity and low birth weight are leading causes of disability in children.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Six thousand rally for life in St. Paul

Thousands at MCCL March for Life call for ban on saline, sex-selection and forced abortions

Pawlenty, pro-life officials participate in March commemorating 37 years of abortion on demand

ST. PAUL – Six thousand Minnesotans marched at the State Capitol today to urge lawmakers to ban cruel saline abortions and sex-selection abortions. They also called for an end to coerced abortions in which women experience pressure or physical violence. The huge Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) March for Life commemorates the millions of lives lost to abortion.

Pro-life Gov. Tim Pawlenty energized the enormous crowd by underscoring the mission of the pro-life movement: "We're here today to remind our fellow citizens and policymakers in this state and around the country that we stand for protecting life, and we want to promote and celebrate a culture of life in Minnesota and in the United States of America."

The 2010 MCCL March for Life marked the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions that have resulted in the deaths of more than 543,000 unborn Minnesota children (Minnesota Department of Health), and more than 52 million unborn babies nationwide. In addition, recent research from the Elliot Institute shows that nearly two-thirds of post-abortive women report that coercion was a factor in their abortions.

"No woman should ever be forced to abort her baby—not by relatives, the child’s father or abortionists," MCCL Executive Committee member Jackie Miller told the huge crowd of citizens from across the state. "We have legislation this year to stop coerced abortions, saline abortions and sex-selection abortions. Women deserve better than abortion!"

MCCL called upon lawmakers to increase funding for Positive Alternatives as they deliberate over the budget deficit. Passed in 2005, this legislation provides grants to organizations that help pregnant women in need successfully face the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. More than 12,000 women received critical help in the program's first two-year grant cycle; 6,500 women were served in the third year.

"Positive Alternatives saves lives," Miller explained. "We must expand this program that offers women real choices!"

MCCL's 2010 legislative agenda also calls for a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion. In 2007 (most recent figures), Minnesotans were forced to pay nearly $1.6 million for elective abortions, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Taxpayers now fund 28 percent of all abortions in the state. The MCCL agenda includes a bill requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and a human cloning prohibition.

Many of Minnesota's federal and state pro-life elected officials were in attendance and were introduced during the brief program on the Capitol steps. "The pro-abortion majority in Washington, D.C., is crumbling!" declared pro-life Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. "We're going to stand strong and we are going to continue, because it is one battle at a time, and we are winning!"

Congressman Erik Paulsen also addressed the crowd: "No issue is more important than life. Thank you for being here today – you are making a difference for life!"

Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau also spoke briefly, encouraging Minnesota's pro-life majority to keep up the fight to protect unborn children. Written greetings were sent by pro-life U.S. Reps. John Kline, Collin Peterson and James Oberstar.

View photos from today's 2010 MCCL March for Life on the MCCL Web site. MCCL is Minnesota's oldest and largest pro-life organization with more than 70,000 member families and 200 chapters across the state. For more information about MCCL, visit Please subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Don't forget: March for Life today!

The MCCL March for Life is today, Fri., Jan. 22! Join thousands of Minnesotans on the State Capitol grounds in St. Paul for the annual MCCL March for Life.

Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court rulings that legalized abortion on demand. The results have been devastating: In Minnesota, more than 543,000 unborn babies have been killed since Roe v. Wade. More than 52 million have been killed nationwide.

We need thousands of Minnesotans marching at the Capitol to call for justice for unborn children and their mothers. Pro-life Gov. Tim Pawlenty is expected to speak, and many other pro-life public officials will be in attendance.

The MCCL March for Life begins at noon, followed by a brief program at 12:30 on the Capitol steps. In addition, an ecumenical prayer service will be held at the nearby St. Paul Cathedral at 10:30 a.m.

Make every effort to attend, and to bring family members and friends with you. Thank you for upholding the dignity and sanctity of human life. See you at the Capitol!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Adult stem cells saved Jack Bauer's life

At the end of last season (2009) on "24," a dying Jack Bauer's only hope was an experimental stem cell treatment using adult stem cells taken from his daughter.

As the new season begins this week, we see that the procedure saved Jack's life (of course).

"24" is fiction, but adult stem cell treatments aren't. More than 70 different conditions have been successfully treated using ethical adult stem cells. Lives have been saved. Research with embryonic stem cells -- taken from living human organisms in the embryonic stage of development, killing them in the process -- has yet to produce any therapeutic benefits at all.

MLK Day reminds us to treat everyone with respect, including unborn

Today, Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., released the following statement:
Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of a Beloved Community where all are treated with respect and dignity. He fought against society's exclusion of people who were treated as less than human because of their appearance. Today, we are compelled to continue Uncle Martin's fight by standing up for those who are treated as less than human because of their helplessness and inconvenience.

The unborn are as much a part of the Beloved Community as are newborns, infants, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. Too many of us speak of tolerance and inclusion, yet refuse to tolerate or include the weakest and most innocent among us in the human family. As we celebrate the life of Uncle Martin, let us renew our hearts and commit our lives to treating each other, whatever our race, status, or stage of life, as we would want to be treated. Let us let each other live.

Friday, January 15, 2010

'Battle over embryonic stem cell research is over'

In 2004, Proposition 71 in California appropriated $3 billion in state funds (over 10 years) to unethical embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Now researchers there seem to be acknowledging failure and embracing what works: adult stem cells.

As Joe Carter of First Things writes, "Years from now, when we look back in astonishment at having been fleeced for billions to pay for therapeutically worthless research, we'll recognize that California was the Waterloo for ESCR."

Here's what the Los Angeles Times reported on Jan. 10:
For 3 1/2 years, the [California Institute for Regenerative Medicine] focused on the basic groundwork needed to someday use human embryonic stem cells to replace body parts damaged by injury or disease. Such cures are still far in the future.

Now the institute has a more immediate goal: boosting therapies that are much further along in development and more often rely on less glamorous adult stem cells. It is concentrating its vast financial resources on projects that could cure conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, AIDS, sickle cell disease and various types of cancer.
This is "a significant change in direction for an effort originally designed to bolster research on human embryonic stem cells," the Times noted. An Investor's Business Daily editorial puts it this way:
Five years later, ESCR has failed to deliver and backers of Prop 71 are admitting failure. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state agency created to, as some have put it, restore science to its rightful place, is diverting funds from ESCR to research that has produced actual therapies and treatments: adult stem cell research. It not only has treated real people with real results; it also does not come with the moral baggage ESCR does.

To us, this is a classic bait-and-switch, an attempt to snatch success from the jaws of failure and take credit for discoveries and advances achieved by research Prop. 71 supporters once cavalierly dismissed. We have noted how over the years that when funding was needed, the phrase "embryonic stem cells" was used. When actual progress was discussed, the word "embryonic" was dropped because ESCR never got out of the lab.
ESCR faces very serious, perhaps insurmountable, scientific obstacles to offering therapies to patients. Adult stem cells are successfully treating patients already, and have the potential to help many, many more. And now -- effectively abolishing any conceivable remaining therapeutic justification for ESCR -- we have induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are equivalent to embryonic stem cells but are less expensive and easier to obtain.

That's why Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health (and no pro-lifer), calls ESCR "obsolete."

Carter writes, "The battle over embryonic stem cell research is over. A few skirmishes will no doubt continue -- perhaps even for years -- and some ESCR advocates will refuse to acknowledge defeat. But they have decisively lost ... and ethical research has won."

The devastation of sex-selection abortion

The Associated Press reported on Jan. 12:

Abortions of girl fetuses are expected to leave China with 24 million more men than women over the next decade, according to a study that warns the imbalance will dash many young men's chance at marriage and lead to increased crime.

China enforces strict family planning controls, including limiting most couples to having one child. Because of a traditional preference for male heirs, many families terminate pregnancies of girl babies in order to be able to continue trying for a boy. Infanticide of baby girls has also become a problem.

The study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, reported in Chinese state media this week, specifically said such preferences were behind the ballooning imbalance.

"Sex-specific abortions are extremely commonplace, especially in rural areas," the CASS report said. "The phenomenon of abortions of female fetuses is very serious."

China is showing us the horror of sex-selection abortion -- morally and culturally. But it's not just a Chinese problem. A June 2009 New York Times story cited several studies showing that some Americans of Asian descent retain a preference for sons and sometimes choose abortion because of it.

That's why MCCL supports legislation in Minnesota to ban sex-selection abortion.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Come to 2010 MCCL March for Life!

The following MCCL news release was issued on Thur., Jan. 14, 2010.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) will hold the 2010 MCCL March for Life at the State Capitol on Friday, Jan. 22. The purpose of the MCCL March for Life is to commemorate the 52 million unborn babies' lives lost to abortion and to call for legislation to protect all innocent human life, including pregnant women and their unborn children. MCCL will announce its 2010 legislative agenda at the event.

Pro-life Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Norm Coleman and state lawmakers are expected to participate in the brief MCCL program that begins at 12:30 p.m.

Jan. 22 marks the date of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which legalized abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Minnesota has lost more than 543,000 lives to abortion since these 1973 court decisions, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Each year, thousands of Minnesota citizens march at the Capitol on the anniversary of the decisions, to call for greater protections for unborn children and their mothers, for elderly and handicapped citizens, and for all vulnerable human life. The MCCL March for Life is the largest annual event held at the Capitol.

MCCL urges all pro-life Minnesotans to come to the Capitol on Jan. 22 and speak up for justice for unborn children, pregnant women and all defenseless human beings.

Date: Friday, Jan. 22, 2010
Time: March begins at 12:00 noon; Program begins at 12:30 p.m. on Capitol front steps
Place: State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul

For more information on the right to life and the 2010 MCCL March for Life, visit

Tough circumstances that (don't) justify abortion

A blogger known as Bookworm, formerly very pro-choice but now mostly pro-life, explains how the difficult circumstances that seemed to make abortion justifiable in the past are now rarely the case.

There is no longer a real social stigma attached to out-of-wedlock pregnancy. The risks to the mother of pregnancy and childbirth have been drastically reduced. And it's easier than ever to be sexually active without getting pregnant and having a ton of kids. Plus, there are hundreds of pregnancy care centers willing to help, and many wonderful couples seeking to adopt if a mother does not want to raise her child.

"In our modern era, therefore, many of the forces that once drove abortion are gone," Bookworm writes. "Why then ... should we still have abortion?"

The fact that some pro-choice advocates, especially via Hollywood movies (as Bookworm points out), rely on these obsolete circumstance-based arguments points to the intellectual bankruptcy of the pro-choice movement.

But even if the circumstances were much more difficult, abortion would not be morally justified. People don't argue that infanticide is justified by difficult circumstances (indeed, infanticide, even in the most desperate situations, is abhorred). If the fetus killed by abortion is a valuable human being, like the infant, then abortion is equally unjustified.

Bookworm shows a commitment to such principled moral thinking -- to doing the right thing, not necessarily what comes easiest or feels best -- when she thoughtfully writes:
My problem is that, while I know that convenience abortions are morally wrong, I still get this emotional, lizard-brain feeling of a trapped rat in a cage when I imagine myself being a young woman who finds herself pregnant when she doesn't want to be. For me, although motherhood has had many rewards, it's also entailed many sacrifices. When I think of those sacrifices, and then apply them to, say, a 22 year old version of me, or when I imagine my own daughter grown, and in the same situation, I still want to cry out "But that's not fair." When that happens, though, I squish my lizard-brain, tell myself "Life isn't fair," and try to focus on the fetus and not my feelings. I only hope that, if my daughter, before she's married, ever does come to tell me she's pregnant, I remember that deeper morality, and give her the right advice.
Fortunately, the compassion of the pro-life movement, including pregnancy care centers nationwide, is making the tough (but right) choice a lot easier.

'We're glad we chose life'

What a remarkable headline and photo from In Touch magazine. As one commenter put it (scroll down for comments), "The symbolism of both mothers holding two children that are typically aborted cannot be lost. This picture says a 1,000 words."

(HT: Jill Stanek)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The intellectual bankruptcy of the pro-choice movement

Jon Shields, professor at Claremont McKenna College, writes:
Whereas many [pro-lifers] have comfortably embraced distinguished allies in the academy, abortion rights advocates cannot easily do so. In fact, pro-choice philosophers are badly at odds with the pro-choice movement. As Rosamund Rhodes, the pro-choice director of bioethics at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, confessed more than three decades after Roe [v. Wade], abortion rights proponents are simply not prepared to explain "how or why the fetus is tranformed into a franchised 'person' by moving from inside the womb to outside or by reaching a certain level of development." ... As [pro-choice philosopher Peter] Singer put it, "[L]iberals have failed to establish a morally significant dividing line between the newborn baby and fetus."

Nonetheless such thinkers have articulated strong pro-choice arguments. They are not likely, however, to be embraced by the pro-choice movement because of their political liabilities. ... Scholars such has Mary Anne Warren, Michael Tooley, and Peter Singer defend abortion rights by rooting personhood in self-consciousness. From this perspective, human organisms acquire rights only when they become willful, self-aware beings. The pro-choice movement, however, has been reluctant to accept this view of the human person because it also justifies infanticide. As Singer has starkly put it, there is no "intrinsic wrongness [in] killing an infant."

These problems have left abortion rights advocates severely handicapped in the context of public debates. When pressed by pro-life activists, they have no ready explanation for why fetuses become persons at any point between conception and birth.

Top 10 stories in bioethics

Wesley J. Smith lists -- in his opinion -- the 10 most important bioethics stories of the past decade:

10. The ascendance of an anti-human environmentalism
9. The growth of biological colonialism
8. The increase in American pro-life attitudes
7. The struggle over Obamacare
6. Legalization of assisted suicide in Washington
5. The success of adult-stem-cell research
4. "Suicide tourism" in Switzerland
3. IVF anarchy
2. The Bush embryonic-stem-cell funding policy
1. The dehydration of Terri Schiavo

Read about each one here. At the heart of all these issues is the question of whether we will maintain a commitment to the equal dignity of all human beings, especially in the wake of new technological and cultural developments.

Smith writes:
We are in danger of supplanting human exceptionalism — belief in the intrinsic dignity and equality of human life — with a "quality-of-life ethic" in which some of us are deemed to matter more than others. But the path to such a brave new world is proving to be neither straight nor unimpeded. Indeed, there are encouraging signs the sanctity of life could make a comeback.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lives at stake as final vote approaches

A group of leading Democrats in Congress, in collaboration with the White House, is formulating a final version of health care reform legislation. This version will then be sent back to the House and Senate chambers for a final vote, after which (assuming passage) Pres. Barack Obama would sign the bill into law.

The bill is almost certain to include dangerous provisions that would lead to the rationing of care for some of America’s most vulnerable persons. It may also expand abortion nationwide by, among other elements, allowing federal funding of health plans that cover elective abortions.

National Right to Life (NRLC) has explained in detail the numerous pro-abortion problems with the Senate version of the health care legislation, which likely is being used as the basis for the final bill. "The Senate-passed bill contains provisions that would ultimately result in substantial expansions of abortion, driven by federal administrative decrees and federal subsidies," NRLC notes.

Pro-life citizens must contact their representatives in both the U.S. House and Senate with this message:

"The health care legislation must be changed to prevent the rationing of care, and it must include the Stupak amendment language (adopted in the House version) that prevents federal funding of abortion. If the final bill still rations care or funds abortion, please vote against it."

Contact information for Minnesota's Congressional delegation can be found here.

March for Life on Jan. 22

The annual MCCL March for Life will be held Fri., Jan. 22, 2010, at 12:00 noon in front of the state Capitol in St. Paul.

Jan. 22 is the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand nationwide. Since then, more than 50 million unborn babies have been killed in the United States. The March is an opportunity for Minnesotans to commemorate the lives lost, urge the reversal of Roe, and call on the state legislature and Congress to enact laws to protect the unborn and their mothers.

Download a flier for the event here. Listen to an MP3 ad for the March here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pelosi's free will defense of legal abortion

Here's Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in an interview with Newsweek:
I have some concerns about the church's position respecting a woman's right to choose. ... I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will.
This is an amazing remark because it's so thoughtless.

Pelosi implies that prohibiting abortion is wrong because it prevents women from exercising their will (to have abortions). Of course it does. That's what the law is all about: restricting what people can do, what actions are permissible and impermissible. Following Pelosi's reasoning, we should abolish all laws and embrace anarchy, since a law against rape, for instance, deprives rapists of "that opportunity to exercise their free will."

Pelosi doesn't believe that. She just hasn't thought at all carefully about this important issue.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Undermining the enterprise of bioethics

"When politicians insist that they cannot allow their private, religious convictions to influence bioethical policies, the clear implication is that science and philosophy can shed very little light on the moral status of the embryo. Such weighty questions are simply trapped in the darkness of religious metaphysics. Yet, those on the bioethical Left have provided no justification for taking such a dim view of human reason. Worse still, they have quietly undermined the entire enterprise of bioethics, which must begin with the assumption that human reason can shed light on such questions."

-- Jon Shields, Claremont McKenna College