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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Injunction against embryo destruction will protect "real cures for real patients"

A federal district court has granted the Christian Medical Association (CMA) and others a preliminary injunction against the Obama administration's attempts to bypass a law that prohibits federal funding of research in which human embryos are harmed or destroyed.
Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, today issued the preliminary injunction, stating, "Plaintiffs have established that the preliminary injunction factors—the likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable injury, the balance of hardships, and the public interest—weigh in favor of a preliminary injunction."
CMA CEO David Stevens, MD, noted, "This case highlights the harm that diverting federal funds away from proven effective research poses to those patients who are waiting for cures. We are grateful that the Court also recognizes the clarity of the law and the harm that funding illegal and unethical embryo-destroying research poses to ethical researchers.
"The bottom line is that ethical stem cell research that does not destroy a living human embryo is the fastest, most efficient and effective means to obtaining real cures for real patients. Already providing hope and help for patients with over 70 diseases, ethical stem cell research that does not destroy living human embryos holds proven promise for even more amazing breakthroughs in the future."
The Court also noted that "the will of Congress, as expressed in the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, is to prohibit federal funding of research in which human embryos are destroyed. Plaintiffs have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits. The Dickey-Wicker Amendment is unambiguous. It prohibits research in which a human embryo is destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subject to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed under applicable regulations. The Guidelines violate that prohibition by allowing federal funding of ESC research because ESC research depends up on the destruction of a human embryo."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Simple truths about complicated stem cell research

Most non-scientists have trouble following the technical side of the stem cell debate, but the basic principles you need to know are actually pretty simple:
  1. There are different kinds of stem cells and different ways--some lethal to developing human beings, others harmless--to tap their potential for medical advances.
  2. Embryonic stem cell research, including human cloning research, destroys a living human embryo--the early phase of life that each of us human individuals begins with.
  3. After decades of research and hyperbolic speculation, embryonic stem cells still have not helped a single patient.
  4. Meanwhile, non-embryonic, or "adult" stem cell research that does not harm a human embryo, is already providing real help and hope to patients suffering from 73 diseases and ailments.
  5. U.S. law forbids federal funding used to harm or kill human embryos. A recent court case by the Christian Medical Association and others challenges the Obama administration's policy to fund apparently illegal research.
So if you want the fastest, already proven route to helping real patients without killing living developing human beings, non-embryonic stem cell research is clearly the answer.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Over 200 military physicians protest amendment to use military facilities for abortions

Over 200 physicians who have served U.S. soldiers have signed a letter to U.S. senators protesting a Senate bill amendment that would use U.S. military medical facilities as abortion clinics. The 16,000-member Christian Medical Association organized the letter and today sent it to the senators urging them to vote no on a National Defense Authorization Act amendment by Sen. Roland Burris that would remove restrictions on performing abortions in military facilities. CMA Senior Vice President Gene Rudd, MD, who received the Gorgas Award for distinguished service in the American military, said,
"If enacted, requiring military physicians to perform abortions threatens military readiness. Morale will suffer among those already serving. Morale is a key component of military effectiveness. Furthermore, just as we have seen a marked decrease in young doctors entering OB/Gyn training for fear of being forced to do abortion, this requirement will discourage young doctors from joining the military."
"In addition to facilitating further destruction of unborn life, the provision will place military physicians with life-honoring convictions in the unenviable position of either disobeying orders, abandoning their conscience, or seeking objector status."
Current law in effect since 1996 prohibits the performance of abortion by Department of Defense (DoD) medical personnel or in DoD medical facilities (except when the life of the mother is at risk or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest). A separate provision prohibits the use of DoD funds for abortion except to save the life of the mother. In 2006, the House rejected by a vote of 191-237 an amendment similar to the Burris amendment. The Burris amendment, which would allow abortion on both domestic and overseas military bases, is even more expansive than the rejected 2006 amendment. The letter from military physicians urges senators to "vote NO on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (DoD) (S.3280) because it contains Sen. Roland Burris' amendment to strike Section 1093(b) of Title 10 of the US Code."
CMA Director of Global Health Outreach Col. Donald Thompson, MD, who recently retired from the Air Force, said,
"This provision would put conscientious military medics on the losing side of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) in key areas crucial to good order and discipline in the military. Chain of command, avoidance of fraternization and carrying out lawful orders are key to an effective combat force, yet this provision would require military physicians, nurses and support staff to leave their ethical convictions at the door when they join the military. When a senior officer in the chain of command 'thinks that this should be done,' then that is the same as a direct order to the subordinate. Favors and perks go to those who 'feel' the same as the boss.
"Our military exists to fight our nation's wars, not to be a ideological playground. If this provision stays in the NDAA, it will drive out of the military those who are most likely to serve their nation by going in harm's way."
Action: Contact your senators and urge them to "vote NO on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (DoD) (S.3280) because it contains Sen. Roland Burris' amendment to strike Section 1093(b) of Title 10 of the US Code."