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Friday, May 31, 2013

Hearing highlights unborn babies' pain; take action on bill to ban late-term abortions


The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, Chaired by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) recently held a hearing on H.R. 1797. Below are links to the witness testimony and to videos from the hearing. Rep. Franks is amending his “D.C. Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 1797) to provide a nationwide ban  on abortions of pain-capable unborn children after 20 weeks gestation (post-fertilization age).

Take Action: 

Use this easy form to tell your Rep. to support the abortion pain bill HR 1797 and ban late-term-abortions.

Witness Written Testimony:
Dr. Anthony Levatino
Obstetrics and Gynecology, Las Cruces, NMDr. Maureen CondicDepartment of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah, School of MedicineMs. Christy ZinkWashington, DCMs. Jill Stanek, RN;  Mokena, IL
Click here for the entire playlist from the hearing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

While patients wait for realistic adult stem cell therapy investments, scientists clone and kill human embryos


A USA Today news article, "Human embryos cloned for stem cells," rightfully highlights and wrongfully dismisses concerns that human cloning now conceivably could produce a cloned baby, and the article also misses a key concern related to patients hoping for stem cell therapies.
The human cloning scientists cite technical hurdles to date in an effort to downplay the chilling potential for reproductive cloning--an argument that incredibly underestimates the likelihood of technological improvements. The FDA overestimates its ability to "block US fertility clinics from using the cloning technique"--unrealistically presuming no rogue clinics or scientists.
Besides the profound moral and ethical boundary crossed by deliberately creating and killing living human embryos in the human cloning process, the entire undertaking also thumbs its nose at patients looking for stem cell therapies. Ethical alternative methods for obtaining powerful stem cells--such as induced pluripotent stem cells and adult stem cells derived from our own bodies--have demonstrated far greater potential for cures and have already produced dozens of actual therapies now treating diseases in patients. These non-lethal stem cell methods have provided a platform of consensus on which the scientific, political, medical and faith communities can stand together with patients in the pursuit of healing.
Human cloning undermines this consensus platform for pursuing the quickest, surest route for patient therapies, instead diverting funding and scientific focus to a more sensational and unethical approach. Human cloning for stem cells may raise the celebrity status of scientists, but it carries a heavy ethical cost while delaying real therapies for real patients.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cloning scientists like sheep have gone astray


A Wall Street Journal news article on embryonic stem cell research, "Experiment Brings Human Cloning One Step Closer" downplays ethical concerns by incredibly asserting, "Never mind the prospect of cloned humans; despite years of experiments, scientists have failed to clone monkeys." A human cloning scientist reinforces this credulous assertion, assuring us that "his lab had tried transplanting entire blastocysts into a monkey's womb, but those experiments hadn't yielded a single successful pregnancy."
A few initial reproductive cloning failures are hardly reassuring: After 277 dead embryos, Scottish researchers finally stunned the world with Dolly the cloned sheep.
Besides the chilling prospect of cloned human babies, human cloning for stem cells also undermines prospects for patient cures. After years of dissension, a consensus has finally emerged that the real promise for patients lies in ethical alternative methods for obtaining powerful stem cells, such as induced pluripotent stem cells and adult stem cells. Unlike highly speculative human cloning, these ethical stem cell methods do not kill human embryos; they enable the vital cooperation and support of the scientific, faith, political and medical communities; and they have already produced dozens of actual therapies to treat diseases in real patients.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Take Action: Tell your Rep. to support abortion pain bill and ban late-term-abortions

Rep. Franks

Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-08) has reintroduced the D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act (H.R. 1797), which would outlaw abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks (or 22 weeks in the "LMP" system), when studies have indicated babies have developed the ability to feel pain. Rep Franks has amended the bill to apply nationwide in a bid to prevent more cases like that of convicted abortionist murderer Kermit Gosnell. As Chair of the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, Franks will hold a hearing on the legislation next Thursday, May 23, 2013, at 10 AM.
Rep. Franks said, "I know when the subject is related in any way to abortion, the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close, and the humanity of the unborn can no longer be seen. But I pray we can at least come together to agree that we can and should draw the line at the point that these innocent babies can feel the excruciating pain of these brutal procedures.
"The case of Kermit Gosnell shocked the sensibilities of millions of Americans. However, the crushing fact is that abortions on babies just like the ones killed by Kermit Gosnell have been happening hundreds of times per day, every single day, for the past 40 years. Indeed, let us not forget that, had Kermit Gosnell dismembered these babies before they had traveled down the birth canal only moments earlier, he would have, in many places nationwide, been performing an entirely legal procedure. If America truly understands that horrifying reality, hearts and laws will change."

Take Action: 

Use this easy form to tell your Rep. to support abortion pain bill and ban late-term-abortions.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Human cloning for stem cells remains unethical, impractical and dangerous


CMA physicians on human cloning study revelation:
Human cloning for stem cells remains unethical, impractical and dangerous


Responding to a just-released article in the journal Cell, the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association, the nation's largest faith-based association of physicians, cited ethical, practical and safety concerns regarding the cloning of human embryos to harvest stem cells.
CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens noted, "Just when ethically uncontroversial stem cell techniques offer a platform for consensus on stem cell research and development, a small band of outliers want to revive the notion of cloning and destroying living human beings to harvest stem cells. As it was years ago when first attempted and discredited, human cloning remains unethical, impractical and unsafe.
"Unlike methods such as iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cells) or adult stem cell research that have gained a growing consensus of approval, human cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer or SCNT) requires the deliberate creation and destruction of living human embryos.
"Practically speaking, iPS cells are much better and more easily created for lab models. Most importantly for the patients our physicians treat, adult stem cells already show proven superior achievement at treating patients.
"So why would we want to turn back the clock by reverting to a technique that stem cell science has already passed by? When neither iPSC nor ASC requires subjecting women to the significant health risk of ovarian hyperstimulation, why would we want to commodify human eggs and women who are described by the study authors as having "premium quality human oocytes"?
"Besides the immediate harm of killing living human embryos, embryo-destroying cloning also has the potential to lay the groundwork for reproductive cloning--bringing a cloned human being to birth."
To schedule an interview, please contact Margie Shealy at (423) 844-1047 or by e-mail: margie.shealy@cmda.org. The Christian Medical Association is equipped with Ku Band Digital Uplink satellite and ISDN lines.

Politics conceal "back-alley abortions"

Gosnell building

The murder trial and conviction of Philadelphia abortion clinic doctor Kermit Gosnell, who operated a squalid abortion clinic, let a woman patient die and slaughtered numerous aborted babies born alive, have underscored the fact that abortion politics can serve to conceal--not eradicate--"back alley abortion clinics."
Shockingly, the Grand Jury report from the Gosnell case cites testimony revealing that when Pennsylvania pro-abortion governor Tom Ridge took office, "high-level government officials" decided to discontinue abortion clinic inspections because "there was a concern that if they did routine inspections, that they may find a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [health and safety standards] and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion."
In the last three years, 15 states have launched investigations into abortion clinics and providers, citing substandard care and women’s deaths. Yet whenever states move to bring abortion clinics up to the same health and safety standards governing similar surgical clinics, abortion activists vehemently protest that such standards will limit abortion access by forcing abortion clinics to close.
What does that tell you about the health and safety conditions in those clinics?
Even this horrific case may not move the hard-core 13 percent of Americans who still assert unequivocally that abortion is morally acceptable. But it may nudge the perceptions and consciences of many reasonable individuals who, despite their instinctive and haunting discomfort about the injustice and inhumanity of abortion, had been led to believe that allowing abortion at least would prevent "back-alley abortions."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Two US House committees launch investigations into abortion clinic regulations


Two US House of Representatives committees have launched nationwide investigations in response to the murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. A Senate resolution calling for action is also pending.

Background

The Gosnell Grand Jury report identified a “regulatory collapse” that allowed Gosnell to go undetected for decades:
“We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.”  
The Grand Jury further specifies that inspections of abortion clinics were discontinued by the administration of a pro-choice governor who “was motivated by a desire not to be ‘putting up a barrier to women.’”
The Committees are seeking to determine what state officials have done to ensure that such a “regulatory collapse” does not occur in their state. 

House committee action

  • The U.S. House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to all 50 state attorneys general, asking questions about efforts to protect the civil rights of newborns and their mothers. Read the Judiciary Committee press release.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a similar letter to public health officials in all 50 states asking questions about the licensing and monitoring of abortion clinics.  Read the Energy and Commerce Committee press release.

Senate Resolution

Sen. Mike Lee
Yesterday afternoon, Senator Mike Lee requested Unanimous Consent to approve his resolution calling on Congress and the States to gather information and correct conditions and actions similar to those that occurred in the Gosnell clinic. The resolution includes clauses identifying facts about abortion clinics and specifies that there is substantial medial evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization.
Senators Blumenthal and Boxer objected to the unanimous consent request, instead offering their own resolution stating that all incidents of abusive, unsanitary, or illegal health care practices should be condemned and prevented, and the perpetrators should be prosecuted.  The Blumenthal/Boxer resolution does not specifically acknowledge the unborn and does not call for Congress and the states to take action.

Additional Resources

The HillGosnell Trial: Location, location, location by Maureen Ferguson
National ReviewCongress and the Gosnell Case by Robert George and Ramesh Ponnuru