Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Presidential Medal of Freedom Winners

Two pro-life activists will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year, Congressman Henry Hyde and Cuban physician and activist Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet.

Per, Henry Hyde is a former congressman and author of the Hyde Amendment:
Hyde was first elected to the House in 1974 and served as chairman of the House International Relations Committee and the House Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2001.

In those positions, Hyde advanced pro-life legislation and worked to stop using taxpayer dollars to subsidize abortions in other countries.

Hyde's lasting legacy will be the federal Hyde amendment, which has prevented federal tax dollars from being used to fund almost all abortions since the 1976. The Supreme Court heard a case in 1980 challenging the law and upheld it as constitutional.

Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet is a Cuban physician who spoke out against Castro's government and refused to do abortions in his country and is currently serving 22 years in prison:
Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1961, Biscet received his degree as a specialist in internal medicine, and, by 1987, he was practicing and teaching obstetrics at the Hijas de Galicia hospital in the nation's capital city.

In the early 1990s, the drug Rivanol was being used to provide young Cuban women with chemically induced abortions, Raimundo Rojas, the Hispanic Outreach Director for National Right to Life, tells

Dr. Biscet began researching and compiling evidence as to how this strong abortifacient was being used to destroy children. He also documented many accounts of children being killed after surviving this type of abortion.

Biscet eventually wrote a paper titled "Rivanol: A Method to Destroy Life," that he published in April 1998. Later that year, he denounced the Cuban National Health System as being a party to genocide, Rojas said.

Shortly thereafter, the nation's health system officially expelled Biscet, preventing him from practicing medicine in Cuba.

"He was tried and sentenced to three years in jail for simply stating the truth," Rojas told

Biscet served the entirety of his three year term.

One month after his release, Dr. Biscet was arrested while meeting with other dissidents in a private home. He was again savagely beaten and this time sentenced to 25 years in jail, Rojas explained.

"His torture at the hands of Castro's henchmen is well documented and he continues to speak from his cell for the dignity of all life including that of the unborn," Rojas says.

Monday, October 29, 2007

U.S. Senate to vote on federal funding of abortion

This is a congressional alert from the National Right to Life Committee (Federal Legislation Department), issued on Monday, October 29.

WASHINGTON (October 29, 2007) -- As early as this week, the U.S. Senate will cast an important vote on federal funding of abortion.

The Senate is expected to take up S. 1200, a bill to make extensive changes to the laws governing federal health programs for American Indians, which are administered by the Indian Health Service.

Some years ago, federal Indian Health Service (IHS) funds were used to provide abortion on demand. That is not occurring at the present, but it is necessary to amend the permanent law to ensure that it does not occur again in the future. That goal would be achieved by an amendment that pro-life Senator David Vitter (R-La.) intends to offer when the Senate takes up S. 1200.

The Vitter Amendment is similar to the Hyde Amendment, but would permanently apply to the IHS. If enacted, it would alter the basic IHS law to permanently prohibit federal funding of abortion (except to save the life of the mother, rape, or incest) in all federal Indian health programs.

For a number of senators, this will be the first time that they vote on the issue of direct federal funding of abortion. That is because the Senate has not conducted a roll call vote squarely on an amendment to prohibit direct funding of abortion procedures since 1999. (However, the Senate has voted repeatedly on related issues, such as funding for organizations that promote abortion and the use of federal military facilities for self-funded abortions.) All U.S. Senators need to hear immediately from constituents who are opposed to federal funding of abortion.


NRLC Letter to Senators

Pre-Term Birth and Cerebral Palsy Linked to Abortion

A new study appearing in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine shows a link between previous abortions and pre-term births:
The study’s authors, with the Reduce Preterm Risk Coalition based in Vancouver, are Dr. Byron Calhoun an obstetrics and gynecology professor at Western Virginia University, Dr. Elizabeth Shadigian, obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan and Brent Rooney the research director. They concluded that prior induced abortion is a significant risk factor in very pre-term births and cerebral palsy.

The research backs up previous findings published in 2006 by Dr. Richard E. Behrman of Stanford University’s Institute of Medicine, that named “prior first trimester induced abortion” as “immutable medical risk factor associated with preterm birth”.

Very pre-term babies have much higher than normal risks of suffering medical problems including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism, epilepsy, blindness, deafness, lung impairment and serious infections.

The estimate combines a study of 58,717 newborns with a birth weight under 1500 grams (3 pounds 5 ounces) most of whom were very-preterm. Calhoun estimated that since 31.5 per cent of children born with very low birth weight are due to prior induced abortions. Approximately 7.7 per cent of children with very low birth weight develop CP, at least 1,096 cases of CP are directly associated with the mother’s prior abortion.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Adult Stem Cells Cure the Blind

Fortune Magazine details the work the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in India which is successfully transplanting corneas derived from adult stem cells to help patients see again:
In an operating theater in the central Indian city of Hyderabad, he surgically implants corneas grown in a petri dish from stem cells by his colleague Geeta Vemuganti in patients with damaged eyes. Together they perform about 80 corneal regeneration procedures a year, making the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute where they work one of the most prolific facilities in the world using stem cells to regenerate tissue of any kind.

The Sangwan-Vemuganti team uses stem cells found in the tissues of living adults, not ones derived from embryos. Teams all over the world are working with adult stem cells, trying to coax them to regrow cells in hearts, brains, livers, and other organs, but progress is slow.

Besides corneas, scientists have had some success regrowing skin cells and bone tissue, but those procedures remain experimental.

The treatment uses stem cells harvested from the limbus, located where the cornea touches the white of the eye. For those with damaged corneas, these cells - called "limbic" and "conjunctiva" - are harvested from a patient's good eye, if he has one, or from a close relative.

They are placed in a petri dish and chemically tweaked to grow into the lower layer of a cornea, called the epithelium. It is then transplanted into the eye of the patient, where in most cases it takes hold and grows. In 56% of the cases at the Prasad Institute, patients could still see clearly 40 months later.

The formerly blind Saradhi tears up when he recalls the day his bandages came off after his operation in 2005. "I immediately had back the vision - very clear vision," he says. The first thing he saw was Sangwan, then his brother, wife, and children, including his youngest, born after the attack.

The hospital performs 25,000 eye surgeries a year, ranging from cataract removal to LASIK procedures. The institute receives a small number of medical tourists from Europe and the U.S.; more come from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Advances in Adult Stem Cell Research

Two separate studies presented at the annual scientific meeting of the AABB detailed the continuing advances of cord blood stem cell research:
The first study analyzed four cases where an individual's own cord blood stem cells were released to treat aplastic anemia. The cord blood was processed and stored at Cord Blood Registry and the transplants were conducted at three different institutions. The cases suggest that autologous cord blood transplantation for aplastic anemia is a safe and effective treatment protocol and demonstrate that this approach is amenable to use at different treatment centers across the United States.

"Aplastic anemia is a life-threatening disease with no known cause that can be acquired at any time in life and is difficult to treat," said lead study investigator Dr. David T. Harris, Ph.D., professor of immunology at the University of Arizona and scientific director of Cord Blood Registry. "This study offers evidence that transplant physicians have a safe and effective weapon for combating this disease for patients who have access to their own cord blood stem cells."

The second report documented 13 cases of autologous cord blood stem cell use in both traditional and regenerative medicine applications. Sample release data suggest a rising demand for autologous cord blood over the last 10 years and an increase in samples requested for regenerative medicine applications.

In addition to the four cases of aplastic anemia (reviewed in detail in the first study), the report documented nine samples released for regenerative therapies:

* Two client samples were released for type 1 diabetes as part of an ongoing clinical trial at the University of Florida. Preliminary data from the first seven patients in the trial show the stem cell infusion appears to have reduced their disease severity, possibly resetting the immune system and slowing the destruction of their insulin-producing cells.
* Six samples were released to treat neurological conditions, including cerebral palsy (four samples), anoxic brain injury (one sample), and traumatic brain injury (one sample). Although these six samples were not released as part of any specific clinical trial, anecdotal evidence by physicians involved with these cases suggests that the treatments were safe, with some anecdotal reports of improvement in quality of life. Since the study period ended, two more samples were released for treatment of cerebral palsy.
* One additional sample was released for an experimental autologous stem cell infusion to treat a diagnosis of a rare immune disorder.

"Cord blood stem cells are increasingly being used by transplant physicians in regenerative medicine because of their demonstrated ability to produce almost all of the cell types of the body," said Harris. "These cases provide physicians and researchers with additional insight into how cord blood stem cells may be used to treat more conditions and ultimately benefit more patients."
To date, embryonic stem cell research has not shown any practical clinical use, while the body of clinical research on adult stem cell research continues to grow. And it begs the question, why is all the public money going to embryonic stem cell research?

Abortion Death in Massachusetts

The Cape Cod Times has a story about the tragic death of a Laura Hope Smith, a 22-year-old woman in Massachusetts who died from an abortion:
On the day she died, Laura Smith went to the women's health clinic with her friend Karen Trott of Dennisport, for the first of two appointments that day, Trott said.

Smith received an initial treatment, to prepare for the abortion that would take place later in the afternoon. She was not allowed to drive, so the two women spent the day together, with Trott driving, running errands and talking, Trott said.

"I couldn't eat all day long because she couldn't eat."

At around 4 p.m. Smith and Trott returned to the clinic and waited for Smith to be called into the office.

Trott left for a short time at around 5 p.m., thinking the procedure would be done in about 15 minutes. When she returned she waited and waited, becoming increasingly upset, she said.

"And then all of a sudden (an assistant) comes out and says she's not breathing," Trott said. "And I was like, what do you mean she's not breathing?"

Rescuers from the Hyannis Fire Department were sent to 68 Camp St. at 5:49 p.m. on Sept. 13, performed CPR on an unnamed patient and transferred the person to Cape Cod Hospital, according to a fire official. He could not reveal the name of the patient because of medical privacy laws.

Trott drove to the hospital as well and asked to see Smith but wasn't allowed to do so. When she asked about Smith's status, she was told, "It doesn't look good."

In national figures from the Centers for Disease Control, there were 846,000 legal abortions and nine abortion-related deaths in 2002.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bella in Theaters October 26

Bella MovieFor more than a year, Right to Life leaders across the nation have eagerly anticipated the October 26 release of Bella,a professionally produced film with an undiluted pro-life message. Winner of the Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award, Bella promotes the sanctity of human life, gives an accurate portrayal of a woman in a crisis pregnancy, and shows how sacrificial love, kindness, and keeping her child are most important factors in preserving her well being and happiness.

The film is currently scheduled to be released in only 30 cities across the country. Selling out theatres in both Knoxville and Nashville is especially critical since executives of Regal Cinemas in our state and will be watching closely to see how the film does before considering a broader nationwide distribution.

Friday, October 19, 2007

On Euthanasia and Living Wills

The Washington Post has a good piece by Charlotte Allen that takes a closer look a the "right to die" and end of life decisions.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Family Speaks Out

The family of Laura Hope Smith, a 22-year old woman who died from an abortion last month in Massachusetts, is speaking out:
Eileen Smith told the [National Catholic Register] newspaper that she's upset at the lack of media coverage, other than initial reports in and other alternative media.

“I don’t want Laura’s death swept under the rug, she told the Register.

“If Laura had died falling off a bike or in a car accident, it would have been in the paper the next day. This is a political hot potato,” she said.

According to Smith, a reporter from the local Cape Cod Times approached her two days after her daughter died for an interview. However, the article never ran in the newspaper.

“My daughter walked into that office healthy and she left dead. I don’t want her death to be in vain," Smith added.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Compare and Contrast: ASCR vs. ESCR

Dr. Alan Moy, CEO of Celluar Engineering Technologies, a company specializing in Adult Stem Cell research, treatments, and therapies, sat down for an interview to discuss his company, and the intricacies of Adult Stem Cell research vs. embryonic stem cell research. Some highlights:
Adult stem cell research is not conducted by many scientists because scientists do not have access to adult stem cells because it requires significant resources (recruiting patients, collect tissues, storage, processing and growing stem cells). This is a daunting task which is a barrier for scientists. So CET provides that work so that scientists can work on adult stem cell research.

Adult stem cells offer these advantages: no ethical controversy, none to minimal risk of immune rejection, and reduced cost and time to harvest and grow up an initial stem cell line from adult tissue than from embryonic sources.

It's a big leap for embryonic scientists to promise that embryonic stem cells will lead to cures. There are too many scientific, ethical and business hurdles that have to be overcome for embryonic stem cells to be considered a therapy that will be adopted by industry. You have to clone to overcome rejection and cloning has never been accomplished in humans or primates. In addition, you have to overcome to tumour formation.

The bottom line is that they are over-excited by a behaviour observed in a Petri dish, and several more steps have to be proven before embryonic stem cells can be considered promising.

Embryonic stem cells are not well designed for large scale production, unlike adult stem cells -- so there are significant cost and manufacturing constraints. There are major ethical hurdles that prevent them from being adopted by the public. If you somehow could clone and eliminate the tumour risk, 70 per cent of the public is against cloning. This restricts the market for such companies to jump into such commercial activities. Finally, cloning is not a solution for treating a genetic disorder like juvenile diabetes.
Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cashing in on Hope

A recent scheme devised by a California-based company that would allow parents to store stem cell lines created from their embryos is coming under fire from experts:
Under the scheme couples pay for stem cells to be extracted and stored, in the hope that medical breakthroughs will make it possible to use them to treat diseases in the family. It costs about £8,500 to have cells collected from surplus embryos and stored for 20 years.

But fertility researchers said the service, which has been approved in the US, exploited parents' fears and was based on unproven technology.

Robert Winston, the Hammersmith hospital fertility specialist, said: "It's a clear example of exploitation of the worries of couples about the fate of their children. I would be horrified if anyone tried to do this in Britain."

John Paul Maytum, of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, said a British company would not be permitted to use embryos to create stem cells if there was no clear idea what they would be used for. "It is very difficult to see how that would pass the 'necessary and desirable' test for the use of human embryos."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Parsing the Planned Parenthood Spin Machine

Steve Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute, is out with a sharp criticism of the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's spin-tank. From the piece:
In its new report on abortions worldwide, Guttmacher makes several claims. These fall into two broad, overlapping categories. The first consists of ploys to raise more funds for the population control-abortion crowd. The second, intended to pander to radical feminists, consists of veiled pleas to legalize abortion, couched in the form of arguments.

Guttmacher claims that the number of induced abortions worldwide declined from nearly 46 million to under 42 million between 1995 and 2003. "Significantly, the abortion rate for 2003 was roughly equal in developed and developing regions ... despite abortion being largely illegal in developing regions."

In actual fact, neither Guttmacher nor anyone else knows how many abortions have been performed worldwide in this year or any other year. Guttmacher's numbers may be reasonably accurate for countries with socialized medicine, like Great Britain, where accurate records are kept. But for other developed countries, like the United States, they are at best educated guesses. Abortion may be legal, but its proponents have kept it deliberately shrouded in secrecy.

As far as the numbers given for the developing world, they are simply bogus. Take the case of Columbia, for example. In the hysteria surrounding the effort to legalize abortion there, the feminists kept advancing higher and higher numbers. The numbers of illegal [hence "unsafe"] abortions spiraled upward at a dizzying pace--250,000, 300,000, 450,000. All fantasy.

I interviewed the Vice Minister for Health of Columbia on September 28th of this year. She informed me that, since the legalization of abortion in that country on May 10th of last year, the Ministry for Social Protection's health clinics had performed approximately 50 abortions. Not 50,000, or 5,000, or even 500. Fifty. This is several orders of magnitude smaller than predicted.

Why, you may ask, does the Guttmacher crowd play fast and loose with zeros? Because they are deliberately exaggerating the magnitude of the problem in order to create a "health crisis." After all, the more women they can claim have "unsafe" abortions, the more women they can claim die as a result. The numbers are merely chips in a high-stakes poker game to legalize abortion-on-demand worldwide.

Another Guttmacher claim is that the number of abortions has "fall[en] most where abortion is broadly legal." "On the whole, the abortion rate decreased more in developed countries, where abortion is generally safe and legal on broad grounds ... than in developing countries, where the procedure is largely illegal and unsafe." This statement is speculative at best, since there are no hard numbers where clandestine abortions are concerned. Again, Guttmacher invents absurdly large numbers of "unsafe abortions," which then enable it to claim that the abortion rate plummets with legalization (and the collection of real statistics).

A Moment of Silence
Woman Dies from Abortion
WHO Study on Abortion's Frequency, Safety Likely Relies on False Data

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stem Cell Study

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines adult stem cells and how they relate to human development. From the article:
The results not only provide insight into the development of muscle types in the human fetus, but also suggest new ways to treat atherosclerosis and cancer, diseases that involve the creation of new blood vessels from stem cell reserves that would otherwise replace worn out skeletal muscle. The newly discovered mechanism also suggests that some current cancer treatments may weaken muscle, and that physician researchers should start watching to see if a previously undetected side effect exists.

Thanks to stem cells, humans develop from a single cell into a complex being with as many as 400 cell types in millions of combinations. The original, single human stem cell, the fertilized embryo, has the potential to develop into every kind of human cell. As we develop in the womb, successive generations of stem cells specialize (differentiate), with each group able to become fewer and fewer cell types. One set of mostly differentiated stem cells has the ability to become bone, blood, skeletal muscle or smooth muscle. Many human tissues keep a reserve of stem cells on hand in adulthood, ready to differentiate into replacement parts depending on the stimuli they receive. If body signals that skeletal muscle needs replacing, the stem cells take that route. If tissues signal for more blood vessels, the same stem cells may become smooth muscle that supports the lining of blood vessels.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Women Deserve Better

Karen Shablin, a former member of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) and now Pro-Life Feminist, recently spoke at Princeton University. She spoke of her personal experience with abortion and why she's now pro-life:
"My decision to have an abortion in my 20s, in retrospect, was an effort to protect everything I had worked for," she said, adding that now she "oppose[s] abortion with every thread of my being."

Looking back, Shablin said, she thinks she underestimated her own strength and the support that would have been available to her had she chosen to carry her pregnancy to term.

Her transformation into an opponent of abortion, Shablin said, came when she was working as Medicaid director for the state of New Jersey. During that time, the state implemented a family cap policy, which denied additional benefits or reduced the cash grant to families who had children while on welfare. The policy strove to dissuade people from expanding their families without the means to support more children.

But since New Jersey was also publicly financing abortions, Shablin said, many women terminated their pregnancies in order to avoid losing their benefits. When she saw the first family cap report, she was "heartbroken" to see that some women had had four abortions in a 12-month period.

"Like many, I believed that women might choose abortion after [an unplanned pregnancy], but I didn't believe that women would have multiple abortions," she said.

Advances in Technology Reshaping the Debate

Just as there have been steady and recent victories in the pro-life fight in the U.S. and England as technology has shown more definitively when life begins, the advances in Ultrasound Technology is reshaping the debate once again in Australia:
Kristin Savell, a law professor at the University of Sydney, says 4-D ultrasound technology has given the public direct access to the most lifelike images imaginable about unborn children.

She says they've given pro-life advocates a tool to discuss the personhood of the unborn child in significant and effective ways.

"The 4D images have been used by opponents of abortion to reinforce the complexity of the sentient fetus," she writes in the latest issue of the Journal of Law and Medicine. "Attention has persistently been drawn to the behavioral capacities of the fetus from around 18 weeks."

The 2-D and 3-D ultrasound images have relied on sound waves to produce moving pictures but the 4-D ultrasounds provide the added element of time and the ability to watch the baby move and respond and react in real-time.

"The idea that you can see a face and facial features is very central to how we understand ourselves," she says, according to a report by the Australia Broadcasting Network. "I was intrigued by the power of the visual and how it is impacting on the public debate."

She says this notion of personhood and the humanity of the unborn child has potential to reshape the abortion debate in both Australia and beyond.

Monday, October 8, 2007

You can be Pro-Life and...

There is an interesting interview with a self-proclaimed atheist who is also pro-life. Excerpt:
In the late 1960's the pro-choice movement made a deliberate, strategic decision to trivialize the abortion debate by dismissing all pro-life arguments as mere Catholic dogma. This made it easy to gloss over the inconvenient, undeniable scientific embryological fact that human life begins at conception in favor of specious arguments regarding church/state separation and accusation that religion "is being forced down our throats." Planned Parenthood today still insists that the question of when life begins is a religious one which varies from woman to woman, apparently mind-dependent rather than reality-dependent. They do draw the line at the old Mayan practice of throwing infants into volcanos, although I don't see why, under their theory, that wouldn't be a protected exercise of religion as well.

I've seen more of a reliance on science - embryology, ultrasound - on the pro-life side than on the pro-choice side. In fact, the mainstream pro-choice organizations oppose showing women who are considering abortion ultrasound pictures of the child on the grounds that they are "confusing."

It should be noted that the pro-choice side isn't opposed to raising religious arguments when it suits them. Planned Parenthood has hired clergy to promote abortion from a theological standpoint. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice devotes its very existence to that endeavor. Ironically, even the atheistic Freedom from Religion Foundation employs a religious argument when it comes to abortion - it argues that the practice should be permitted because it isn't expressly forbidden by the Bible.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bad News for Rudy

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 27% of Republicans say they would vote for a pro-life third party candidate over pro-abortion Rudy Giuliani:
If Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination and a third party campaign is backed by Christian conservative leaders, 27% of Republican voters say they'd vote for the third party option rather than Giuliani. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that a three-way race with Hillary Clinton would end up with the former First Lady getting 46% of the vote, Giuliani with 30% and the third-party option picking up 14%. In head-to-head match-ups with Clinton, Giuliani is much more competitive.

Yet Another Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer

A new report shows a strong link between abortion and breast cancer. Yet another shot that undermines the standard "safe, legal, and rare" rhetoric:
It shows, that among risk factors, abortion is the "best predictor of breast cancer." The results show that countries with higher abortions rates, such as England and Wales, higher breast cancer incidence is reported. "Where abortion rates are low (i.e. Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic) a smaller increase is expected," the study said.
Read the whole study...

Similarly, a different study shows that motherhood reduces the risk of breast cancer:
In addition to the unbridled joy that comes with being a parent, a surprising new benefit of motherhood was recently found by researchers: a reduced risk of breast cancer. Researchers at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center have stumbled upon an odd phenomenon that links motherhood with a lower chance of developing the deadly disease.

The study consisted of a group of 82 women, with 35 of the participants having been diagnosed with breast cancer. More than half of the women had given birth to at least one son. This was significant, as Dr. Gadi and his team used the presence of Y-chromosomes (male DNA) as proof of fetal microchimerism.

When the results from the women's blood samples were analyzed, a clear trend emerged. Forty-three percent of the cancer-free participants had male DNA in their blood, compared to only 13 percent in the breast cancer group. This finding indicated that the transmission of cells from fetus to mother was related to a decreased incidence of breast cancer.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Trafficking in False Hope

The BBC has a good piece which looks at people exploiting the "hope" of Stem Cell Research for a quick buck. Definitely worth a listen.

From the piece:
Stem cells are the building blocks of life. With the potential to grow into any type of tissue in the body, they seem to offer hope for patients with nowhere else to turn.

Patients with muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's and severed spinal chords are travelling thousands of miles and spending thousands of dollars on stem cell treatments - even though they know there is no guarantee of a cure.

Listen to the whole thing here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Moment of Silence

As reported earlier, there have been more developments in the death of a 22-year old woman in Massachusetts from an abortion:
Smith's 22-year old daughter, Laura Hope Smith, walked into Osathanondh's Women Health Clinic in Hyannis on September 13, 2007, as a healthy young woman engaged to be married before she died on Osathanondh's abortion table. A friend had taken Laura to the abortion clinic without the knowledge of her mother, Eileen, who told Operation Rescue that she never realized her daughter was 13 weeks pregnant andconsidering an abortion until both her daughter and the child were dead.

However, Smith is worried that both the press and the authorities mayhush-up her daughter's death. A local newspaper had promised to publisha full-length interview with Smith on the day of her daughter'sfuneral, but has since reneged on the article.

A complaint has been filed against Osathanondh with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine regarding the abortion death. In 2001 Osathanondh made headlines for threatening in a fit of rage to murder five nurses for misplacing his paperwork.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Controlling the Language

A developing debate in Georgia highlights the importance of controlling language in the abortion debate, specifically with regards to the word 'Personhood':
Dan Becker, spokesman for the Georgia Right to Life, which is working on a state constitutional amendment that simply would declare that an unborn child is a person from the moment of fertilization, said the concept of personhood was pointed out by Blackmun in his original declaration of the right to an abortion, and it shows the legal precedent is living on borrowed time.

"It is important to bear in mind that the proposal establishes a constitutional principle; it does not enact criminal or civil legislation. And it establishes a constitutional principle that provides a direct challenge to the fundamental holding of Roe v. Wade," he wrote. "Without a direct challenge to Roe, any proposal to protect innocent human life from abortion is utterly meaningless."

Roe determined that "the unborn is not a person within the meaning of the law," he said, and that can be its downfall.

It was the Roe author, Blackmun, who concluded: "(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."

"Thus, the personhood of the preborn child is the single point on which the entire debate turns," Becker said.