December 10, 2010

Defense Bill Includes Authorization for Abortions by Military Personnel

     Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
     Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

(Update: Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the legislation, which would have lifted the military's 17-year-old ban on openly homosexual troops as well as the ban on military personnel performing abortions.)

Note: We are told by people who know that the votes are very close for passage and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is leaning toward voting for it.  Please call his Chicago number at 312-886-3506 and leave your message "urging Senator Kirk to vote NO on Don't Ask Don't Tell and NO for military medical facilities to be used for abortions."  Please do it now.   I called this number and got through, numbers in Washington were not successful.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) brought a Defense Department funding bill to the Senate floor on Thursday with the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal included in it, but a lesser known part of the bill would have made another significant change to military policy.

An amendment attached to the bill by former Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) during the committee process would end the decades-long ban on military personnel performing abortions in military-run hospitals and facilities.

The current law, found in Title 10 Sec 1093 of U.S. Code, only allows abortions to be performed by military personnel in DOD facilities in the event of rape or incest, or to protect the life of the mother. Burris' amendment would overturn that principle, which has been a permanent part of the law since 1985.

Burris, who was appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill President Obama's Senate seat, lost re-election last month and has been replaced by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who has already been seated due to the rules of his special election.

But Burris was able to add his amendment back in May during the so-called "mark-up" period in which the Senate Armed Services Committee votes and adds a series of changes to the proposed National Defense Authorization Act before reporting it to the full Senate floor.

The committee voted 15-12, mostly along party lines, to approve the amendment, with Democrats like Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) supporting it and Republicans like Sens. John McCain and James Inhofe in opposition. Only Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) crossed the aisle to attempt to block it.

The GOP is balking at taking a vote on funding the DOD that also includes this controversial measure and the repeal of the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Inhofe's spokesman sent a statement in which the senator says, "Like Hate Crimes language in last year's bill, it is inexcusable for liberals to try to include items like…legalizing abortion in military hospitals in the Defense Authorization Bill. This is just another attempt by the liberal majority in Congress to advance its far left agenda…by forcing their radical social policies on our nation's military." 

Inhofe also expressed his frustration with Reid's repeated attempts to bring the bill up for a vote without spending much time debating and amending it.

"Finally, every year the NDAA is fully debated with hundreds of amendments considered. During this time, members of the United States Senate have been able to discuss and debate the impact of each amendment before voting. This year should not be different."

However, spokesman Jared Young said it was not certain that 41 of the 42 Republicans would vote to deny Reid "cloture," in which he needs 60 votes to end debate and move to a vote on whether to pass the bill. Forty-one 'No' votes would be enough to block ending debate, but two GOP members have already expressed willingness to vote with Reid – Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Collins, however, has some requirements for Reid, who already delayed a cloture vote Wednesday in order to negotiate with her. She is asking the top Democrat, who sets debate parameters, for more time to discuss the bill, which Young explained to is "usually considered over about a two week time frame."

Collins is reportedly willing to settle for as few as four days, but wants the GOP to be allowed to offer around 10 amendments.

"There are many people in my caucus who disagree with my position," Collins said. "They deserve an opportunity to offer amendments to strike that provision, to modify it, and also to address other important controversial issues in the bill."

One of those issues, the abortion authorization language, could get a vote to be dumped if another Republican offers an amendment that would do so.

It's not yet clear whether Reid will agree to Collins' terms, and a call to his office was not returned by press time.

Christopher Neefus
Publish Date: December 10, 2010 

Court case and congressional inaction put embryonic stem cell research in limbo

     President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

In August federal district judge Royce Lamberth ruled that the funding violated the 1995 Dickey-Wicker Amendment. In Dec. 6 court arguments, a lawyer for two scientists who filed the lawsuit said federal grants for the research encourage the private sector to create more of the cells.

"There is now an incentive for the future destruction of human embryos," said the scientists' lawyer Thomas Hunger, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Justice Department lawyer Beth Brinkmann, arguing on behalf of the Obama administration, said that Congress intended to distinguish between promoting the study of embryonic stem cells and paying to create them.

The Dickey-Wicker Amendment prohibits taxpayer funding from being used to destroy embryos. President Obama's present policy holds that the research can be funded so long as the embryos were destroyed using private money.

A congressional bill sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) could allow funding for the research. She told The Hill that her bill is "still not off the table" during the lame-duck session of Congress, but that  it's an issue of timing. The House leadership sees no point in passing the legislation if it will not also advance in the Senate.

Co-sponsor Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) said the legislation is less likely to pass each day and he is "not exactly holding my breath."

DeGette said that "real results" of the research are now becoming visible, citing two human-subject studies approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the past two months. She also was optimistic about her legislation's future, saying a recent Harris Interactive poll found 72 percent of Americans favor using embryonic stem cells left over from in vitro fertilization procedures for medical research.

However, pro-life leaders were critical of these efforts.

Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, commented that Judge Lamberth has "exactly the correct view" of the law.

"We've always said the Dickey Amendment … forbids funding any research that relies upon destroying human embryos," he told CNA on Dec. 9. While both the Clinton and Obama administrations have read the law "very narrowly," the bishops' conference and the amendment's sponsors have said its restrictions are broader.

Asked whether Judge Lamberth's decision would mean a return to a Bush-era stem cell funding policy, Doerflinger said it would create "a vacuum" and result in no policy for funding research involving stem cells from destroyed embryos.

"We don't know what the final decision will look like. It may be that the decision allows a window for reinstating the Bush policy.

"But right now there's no Bush policy to refer to. It was canceled out," he added, saying President Obama would have to consider what is possible within the law or would have to support an effort to change the law.

Doerflinger said that proponents of embryonic stem cell research have not passed legislation allowing the research funding because there is "uncertainty" about whether such legislation is necessary since the court decision is unresolved.

"This court case is going to wend its way through the system for some time to come. So they don't know whether they even need to go through that battle."

He added that the "lame duck" congressional session will end soon and other "must-pass" bills have top priority.

"So they're tending to edge out any action on embryonic stem cells."

Anna Franzonello, staff counsel for Americans United for Life, told CNA on Dec. 9 that her organization is "hopeful" that Judge Lamberth's decision will be upheld.

She similarly credited the legislative failure to a political climate in which economic issues are more prominent. She also referred to a Rasmussen poll which reported that 57 percent of likely voters opposed using their tax dollars for the research.

"It's not a secret that embryonic stem cell research has not been successful, but adult stem cell research has," she continued. "People are concerned about money going to things that are effective and not failed policies."

Opposing the research is "sound ethics" but also "sound policy from a fiscal standpoint as well."

She acknowledged the possibility that the failure of embryonic stem cell research is resonating with members of Congress and the Obama administration.

"Even people who used to support embryonic stem cell research have come out and said it is not necessary, and actually obsolete," Franzonello continued. She named former National Institutes of Health director Bernardine Healy as one person who has reconsidered the need for the research.

Doerflinger noted that there will be increased pro-life voting margins in both the House and the Senate in the next Congress. There will be "a decent chance" of stopping House legislation that would fund the research.

"Our hope is that if the courts do the right thing and read this legislation the way it was intended, we can then stop any new legislation from coming in and changing the law to reinstate the funding of destructive research."

He added that the ethical issues involved in the research are hard for many people to appreciate because the embryos are at an early stage of development and their creation in a laboratory has a "depersonalizing" effect.

"But the fact is that each of us was once an embryo just that small," he said. "The educational challenge is to help people to get past their aesthetic feelings and to a real appreciation of the truth about the beginning of human life."

Kevin J. Jones
Source: CNA
Publish Date: December 10, 2010

Rep. Hall: ‘Yes,' Jesus Had Right To Life From Moment of Conception

     Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Tex.)
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Tex.)

At the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Tex.) said he believed that Jesus Christ had the right to life from the moment of conception. asked Rep. Hall, "Do you believe that Jesus Christ had the right to life at the moment of conception?"


Hall  said, "I believe in the right to life," and then added that, "yes," he believed that Jesus had the right to life at the moment of conception.

On Tuesday, the lighting ceremony for the Capitol Christmas Tree took place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. At that event, both Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said they believed that Jesus received the right to life at the moment of conception.

Click here for the video.

Chris Johnson
Publish Date: December 10, 2010

PRI Releases Latest in Overpopulation Cartoon Series

     Overpopulation Cartoon Series

The Population Research Institute (PRI) just released the fourth episode of their highly popular YouTube cartoon series. The series, which has to date garnered more than a half-million views, is designed to humorously refute the idea of overpopulation with stick figure animation.


The latest video, available to watch at, is about two and a half minutes long. It tackles the root causes of poverty and how to alleviate it. All of this, while retaining the wry, humorous tone of its predecessors.

"Reducing the number of people in the world would not make those who remain any wealthier," says Joseph Powell, the creator and animator of the series. "But, as we show in our video, that's not how it works, and population control won't change that."

"We set out to be entertaining," adds Colin Mason, PRI's Director of Media Production and the video's editor. "The idea is to enthrall the viewer, who at the same time effortlessly absorbs certain demographic truths, chiefly, that people in their numbers create wealth, not poverty."

"The fight against the myth of overpopulation does not have to be a bare-knuckled brawl," says Steven Mosher, PRI's president. "These videos are funny and easy to digest, the very opposite of Al Gore's boring pronouncements on the 'dangers' of too many people. Our viewers end up considering the science that supports our pro-people position, often for the very first time. We say to our skeptics: watch, laugh, and learn."

Click here to view the latest video.

Colin Mason
Source: Population Research Institute
Publish Date: December 9, 2010

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a Stem Cell Disease

     x-linkd recessive genetice defect

Stanford researchers have identified muscle stem cells as a root problem in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a fatal disease which results from severe muscle wasting and weakness. About one out of every 3,500 boys in the U.S. is affected, though very few girls because the gene lies on the X-chromosome; males only have one X chromosome, while females have two and so have a "spare" for the affected gene. In this genetic disease the dystrophin gene, associated with the muscle fiber, is mutated.

Under normal circumstances, muscle stem cells replace damaged muscle. Interestingly, in the usual mouse model for muscular dystrophy ("mdx mice"), the muscle stem cells do seem to keep up, but with human DMD the muscle stem cells can't seem to keep up and the muscle degenerates. The scientists found that in human DMD, the muscle stem cells experience what they termed "exhaustion". All cells have short sequences of DNA on the ends of their chromosomes, called "telomeres", and as cells divide repeatedly and age, these telomeres get shorter, like little fuses burning down. Because of the continuous need to cycle and replace damaged muscle, the DMD muscle stem cells burn down their fuses rapidly. To test their theory, the scientists developed a new mouse model that had both the dystrophin mutation and a problem with the telomeres in the muscle stem cells. The new mouse model showed the same problems as seen in human DMD.

The authors note that this is the first time that muscular dystrophy has been shown definitively to be a stem-cell-based disorder. One co-author, Dr. Jason Pomerantz, said:

"If a treatment does not replenish the stem cell compartment, it will likely fail; it would be like pushing the gas pedal to the floor when there is no reserve."

Sure enough, the scientists were able to ameliorate the problems in the mouse model by transplanting normal muscle adult stem cells.

Other research shows that embryonic stem cells are unsuitable for this type of repair, and that adult stem cells are needed.

Previous results, including from the Stanford group, have show that adult stem cells can be useful for muscle regeneration.

Click here to read the new study published online early in the journal Cell.

David Prentice
Source: FRCBlog
Publish Date: December 10, 2010

December 9, 2010

Death threats in Rockford not taken seriously

     Rockford bridge

Another Illinois pro-life group has faced a death threat, which has thus far been followed by no action from authorities.
Prayer warriors were on hand at the Northern Illinois Women's Center, a well-known abortion facility in Rockford, Illinois, with a few pro-abortion advocates who were conducting a counter demonstration, when a man and woman approached the entrance.

"He started walking towards us and reached in his pocket like he was trying to intimidate us...pulled his hand out of his pocket and put it to his head like a gun and said, "What would you do if I pulled out my .45 and put a bullet in your head,'" accounts pro-lifer Kevin Rilott. "He was looking right at a couple of pro-lifers when he said this."

A nearby police officer took the suspect inside and talked with him for about an hour, but apparently no action was taken. This follows a similar threat against a sidewalk counselor at the same clinic two weeks ago. So the Rockford pro-lifer says that underscores the risk counselors take in trying to save babies' lives.

"It seems like the more we are assaulted and pushed by the abortion supporters, the more support we get from our local Christian community," Rilott notes.

Another witness to this incident decides that "the violence of abortion breeds more violence," but those who participate are determined to continue prayer vigils and demonstrations at the clinic until it is shut down.

Charlie Butts
Source: OneNewsNow
Publish Date: December 9, 2010

States Fund Majority of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

     Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Six states–California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and New York–have poured large amounts of state taxpayer funds into human embryonic stem cell research, and according to a letter just published, states now fund the majority of human embryonic stem cell research conducted in the United States. According to the letter, each year since 2007 these six states have funded more human embryonic stem cell research than the federal government.

In all, between December 2005 and the end of 2009, the six stem cell states awarded nearly 750 grants totaling just over $1.25 billion. California has so far given out over $1 billion. On a per capita basis, funding awarded through the end of 2009 ranges from just over $1 in Illinois to nearly $28 in California. California gave 75% of its grants for human embryonic stem cell research specificially, while Connecticut gave 97% of its designated stem cell funds for embryonic stem cell research.

The authors note that they only included states with programs to provide funding specifically to support stem cell research. Other states that have funded stem cell research as part of larger bioscience programs, e.g., Massachusetts and Wisconsin, were excluded from their analysis.

According to Aaron Levine, senior author:

"An interesting question going forward is how committed these scientists are to stem cell research or if they are relating their work to stem cells now simply to be eligible for state funding – that's unknown right now."

The authors have created an online searchable database about each grant given out by the six states.

The information was published as a letter to the journal Nature Biotechnology

David Prentice
Source: FRC Blog
Publish Date: December 9, 2010

Pro-life message spreads in China

     Chinese flag

Individuals in China are using various forms of media to communicate the pro-life message in the face of the country's coercive abortion regime.

Opponents of abortion are using Internet sites, DVDs and booklets to deliver the pro-life message, according to a report by the Global Times newspaper. Chinese pro-lifers recognize, however, their mission is daunting on a variety of levels.

While pro-lifers in China work against the power of the world's strongest Communist system, Christians in unregistered churches reportedly are the targets of a new crackdown by the government. Top-secret information showed the Chinese Communist Party initiated Dec. 1 a four-month campaign known as Operation Deterrence against the network of "underground" congregations, according to ChinaAid Association.

Government-mandated population control -- commonly referred to as a one-child policy -- has been in effect in the world's most populous country for more than 30 years. The policy generally limits couples in urban areas to one child and those in rural areas to two, if the first is a girl. Parents in cities now may have second babies if the husband and wife were only children.

During the three-decade program, the state actions against women have included forced abortions, even on women in the eighth and ninth months of pregnancy, and compulsory sterilizations. Infanticide, especially of female babies, also has been reported. Penalties for violations of the policy also have included fines, arrests and the destruction of homes.

At least 13 million abortions are performed in China each year, according to an estimate by the country's National Population and Family Planning Commission, the Global Times reported Nov. 2. There are about 20 million live births annually.

Chinese women undergo an average of 3.4 abortions apiece, with some having as many as 15, said Zheng Shurong, an obstetrician at the Peking University First Hospital.

Chu Yuhan, 28, who had five abortions before publishing an anti-abortion booklet and establishing an Internet discussion group earlier this year, is one Chinese citizen who is challenging the norm in her homeland. A 46-page booklet she wrote was circulated among more than 3,000 people in three months, according to the Global Times.

Others who are seeking to inform their fellow Chinese about abortion, according to the newspaper, include:

-- Chen Huankai, 29, a former soldier who sold 230 copies online in October of an anti-abortion DVD he produced.

-- Chen Qin, a 27-year-old interior designer, who started the country's first anti-abortion website that attracts an average of 50 hits per day.

-- Ye Genggeng, 45, a former software engineer who began a website named "Save Baby" and distributed more than 20,000 pro-life fliers to universities and a hospital.

They are "very brave" in the face of overpowering odds, said Reggie Littlejohn, an American expert on China's one-child policy, of the Chinese who are advancing the pro-life message. 

"China's pro-life movement is indeed nascent, as the [Chinese Communist Party] has poured out three decades of propaganda to the effect that a fetus is not a person -- even up to the ninth month of pregnancy -- and a woman's body is not her own," Littlejohn told Baptist Press by e-mail. She is ChinaAid's authority on the one-child policy and president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, which works to end coercive abortion and sexual slavery in China.

"These two beliefs together form the basis of the coercive enforcement of the one-child policy, in which family planning police grab women off the streets or out of their homes, strap them down to tables and force them to abort babies that they want," Littlejohn said. "In such an oppressive, coercive environment, the idea that women should be allowed to choose to have babies is slow in coming."

Chu and others acknowledged the handicap pro-lifers confront. 

"Many Chinese are morally challenged by pro-life values but will stick to the prevailing pro-choice attitude," Chu told the Global Times.

Tao Guangshi, an obstetrics professor at a university hospital in Changsha, said, "There's a medical machinery of supervisory departments, public hospitals and private clinics, all protecting this practice for vested interests."

He Guanghu, a religious studies professor at Renmin University of Beijing, told the Global Times, "With a religious population of less than 10 percent, the pro-life activists will generally be stranded when trying to start up popular movements."

The church, however, may soon be prepared to make an unprecedented impact on abortion in China. 

An American pro-life leader recently met with more than 100 pastors of unregistered Chinese churches during three days of training. They studied what the Bible teaches about the sanctity of human life, forgiveness in Christ for those who have aborted their children and the call to rescue those threatened by abortion, he told Baptist Press.

The reaction was "quite stunning," said the leader, who asked that his name not be used. "They received this with great lamentation and conviction and tears" and talked about how they could start a pregnancy help movement in China, he said.

Unregistered churches face a new challenge, according to secret instructions obtained by ChinaAid. The document from the Communist Politburo labeled the unregistered church a "cult" and outlined a plan for Chinese security personnel to investigate house churches through March.

ChinaAid said the directive provided the following reasons for identifying the network of unregistered churches as a "cult:"

-- "The house churches advocate and promote the Christianization of China;

-- "The house churches seek the unity of all churches in China;

-- "The house churches seek the unity of the Chinese church with churches worldwide;

-- "The house churches want to have dialogue with the government."

ChinaAid, which denies those descriptions fit a "cult," expressed concern the government may use the label as part of a campaign against the unregistered church in the same way Beijing used it against the Falun Gong, a sect that practices meditation and non-violence. The Chinese government has harshly repressed the Falun Gong over the last decade, and its adherents may constitute as much as half of China's labor camp population, ChinaAid said.

In an earlier development, Beijing police detained and interrogated Nov. 24 a house church pastor who also is a leading defender of the rights of Chinese Christians in what may have been a precursor to the crackdown. Fan Yafeng, who had been under house arrest since Nov. 1, was taken by force from his home and questioned for more than four hours about supposedly illegally "engaging in activities under the guise of a social organization," according to ChinaAid.

Fan, director of Christian Human Rights Lawyers of China, was awarded the 2009 John Leland Religious Liberty Award by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Tom Strode
Source: Baptist Press
Publish Date: December 8, 2010

Abortionist Released from Jail Against Recommendations in Abortion Manslaughter Case

     Rapin Osathanondh being arrested.

Eileen Smith, who helped bring abortionist Rapin Osathanondh to justice for killing her 22-year old daughter, Laura Hope Smith during a botched abortion in Hyannis, Massachusetts, in 2007, tells Operation Rescue that Osathanondh has won a motion for early release from jail today after serving only half of his sentence.
According to Smith, Osathanondh will be fitted with a monitoring device and released today to serve out the remainder of his sentence in home confinement at his plush luxury home on Cape Cod.
The following is Eileen Smith's statement on the release of the man who killed her daughter:
"Rapin Osathanondh was granted a 'revise and revoke' motion on his sentence today by the same Judge who originally gave him the 'light' sentence. Once again the man who killed my daughter receives mercy while our daughter and family receive none. He will leave jail as soon as they get the bracelet on him for his 'million dollar home' confinement. Even though the Parole Board recently denied his parole because they said he was NOT remorseful for what he did, and he was the most 'arrogant and callous person to ever ask for parole in their experience serving on the parole board', the Judge disregarded the parole board's comments and decision and granted him freedom to go home. Where is my daughter's freedom to go home, Judge?"
Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue states:

"Today's decision to release Laura's killer was just plain wrong. We are very upset that Osathanondh was allowed to be released from jail early against the recommendation of the parole board. A three month incarceration for depriving a woman of her life trivializes her humanity and diminishes the human dignity of all women. As long as abortionist quacks who maim and butcher unsuspecting women and kill their innocent babies are slapped on the wrist and sent home, we can only expect their arrogant, 'above the law' attitudes to persist and the body count of dead abortion patients to rise."

Osathanondh had agreed to a plea bargain on September 14, the third anniversary of Laura Smith's death, that included six months of incarceration with parole eligibility after three, to be followed by nine months of home confinement and three years probation. He surrendered his medical license and closed both of his abortion offices.

Troy Newman
Source: Operation Rescue
Publish Date: December. 8, 2010

Dilemma in Antioch

     Froedtert Hospital
Froedtert Hospital
The case of a 27 yr old paralyzed man from Antioch, Illinois, has made national news. Paralyzed from the neck down, due to a car accident at age 3 ,he wants Froedtert Hospital to remove his ventilator.

He has battled the hospital for the last year and a half for this purpose. He says, "I have no friends - I have no education - no education prospects - no job prospects - I have no love prospects - all I want is to no longer live like this." He is physically incapable of ending his own life. "I feel I'm the only person in the country who does not have a way or an option to kill myself."

At Froedtert, hospital psychiatrists and mental health professionals say, he is depressed and must be treated for it, before they will consider his request. He says, his desire to die does not stem from his depression, but from his poor quality of life and the low odds that it will improve.

Depression is not uncommon for people with spinal cord injuries, who often struggle to gain control over their own lives. Their suicide rate is 2 to 6 times that of the general population. Their inability to end their lives themselves often compounds their sense of helplessness.

Disability rights activists argue that the quality of life doesn't have to be inherently bad, rather, they say, society doesn't provide the resources to live a satisfying life.

This young man is not dying. He is profoundly handicapped and totally dependent on others. Hospital records reveal that he has expressed concerns that his monetary problems and desire to help his mother are clouding his judgment. He refused any mental health treatment. He said, "It wouldn't change his decision and he couldn't afford the hassle and expense of visiting the hospital regularly for treatment." He has explored moving to a state where physician-assisted suicide is legal.

This is the dilemma that society is facing all over the country. Should non-dying but profoundly handicapped people be assisted to end their own lives? And should it be legal?

Source: Lake County Right to Life
Publish Date: December 9, 2010

December 8, 2010

Co-Chairs for Congressional Pro-Life Caucus for 112th Congress Announced

      Representative Dan Lipinkski (IL)Representative Chris Smith (NJ)
      Rep. Dan Lipinski                 Rep. Chris Smith

Today, U.S. Reps. Chris Smith (NJ-04) and Dan Lipinski (IL03) announced that they will serve as Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-life Caucus in the 112th Congress.

"Protection of unborn children must be a legislative priority in the 112th Congress and I look forward to leading this bipartisan coalition of pro-life Members with Chris Smith as we continue our work to protect innocent human life," said Lipinski, a long time pro-life leader in the House who is the prime cosponsor of H.R. 5939, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," H.R. 877, the "Patients First Act," and H.R. 5111, the "Protect Life Act."

"Dan Lipinski and I have -- and will continue to -- work hard together to provide needed protection for unborn children and their mothers,' said Smith, the Republican Co-Chair of the Pro-life Caucus since 1982. "We have an aggressively prolife legislative agenda for the new Congress which includes rolling back federal funding for abortion and the abortion industry starting with H.R. 5939 the 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,' which Dan and I introduced in August of 2010, and H.R. 5111, the 'Protect Life Act,' which Dan introduced with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA-16)."

The Pro-life Caucus "is a bipartisan organization of House Members which provides information to Members of Congress on legislation and issues related to pro-life concerns. We understand that the taking of innocent human life must be stopped and that all persons -- regardless of age, health, sex, race, stage of development or condition of dependence -- must be guaranteed their full constitutional safe guards." (from the Pro-life Caucus Statement of Purpose)

Jeff Sagnip
Publish Date: December 8, 2010

Embryonic Stem Cell Funding Appeal Arguments Heard

     Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Embryonic Stem Cell Research

We have previously discussed the injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who ruled that President Obama's embryonic stem cell funding policy violated federal law.  That funding cutoff was stayed on appeal, the oral arguments of which were heard yesterday. From the story:

    U.S. funding of human embryonic stem cell studies violates the law and must be stopped, a lawyer for two scientists who sued the Obama administration told a federal appeals court. The attorney, Thomas Hungar, sought today to persuade a three-judge panel in Washington to halt the flow of federal funds for research on stem cells where human embryos are injured or destroyed. A lower-court judge, ruling the research violated the 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment limiting stem-cell research, temporarily barred funding during the case. The U.S. appealed.

    "There's no question they are trying to, and are, incentivizing the destruction of embryos in violation of the amendment," Hungar said. A lawyer for the Justice Department, Beth S. Brinkmann, said the spending is legal because the government isn't paying for the destruction of embryos. The stem-cell lines used in the research were created outside the government, she said. Without the ability to support research on embryonic stem- cell lines, the government said, years of progress toward finding cures for diseases and disorders will be lost and scientists will look to other countries such as Singapore and China to continue their work.

Hardly lost.  It's not as if scientists would have to shred their findings.  They would just have to rely on non federal money, which isn't exactly in short supply: Even during the Bush years, ESCR researchers received more than $2 billion in the USA.

Moreover, the question isn't what China or Singapore will do.  That is–or at least, should be–irrelevant.  The question is whether ESCR violates current federal law. And that boils down to whether embryo destruction and stem cell line derivation is one transaction–as Lamberth concluded–or whether embryo destruction can be distinguished from the research that follows, and thus, does not violate the Dickey Amendment's prohibition on the Feds funding research that destroys embryos.  It's a close question, and I think the appellate court could go either way.

However the appeal is decided, will the Supreme Court will take the case?  That depends on which side wins the appeal, but more on that later. 

Wesley J. Smith
Source: Secondhand Smoke
Publish Date: December 8, 2010

Hearings Reset in Tiller Associate's Illegal Abortion Referal Case

Neuhaus is accused of providing improper late-term abortion referrals

     Abortionist Kris Neuhaus testified at Tiller's trial that she approved "mental health" post-viability abortions by phone
Abortionist Kris Neuhaus
The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts has announced that hearings in the disciplinary case against Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who provided illegal late-term abortion referrals for the notorious George Tiller, have been delayed.
Hearings scheduled for December 20 and January 11 have been reset. Instead, a preliminary hearing is scheduled to be held on April 12, 2011, at 9:00 AM. It is likely that the preliminary hearing will take place telephonically.

The full disciplinary hearing, which will be conducted in a trial-like format with testimony expected from witnesses, has been rescheduled for May 3, 2010, at 9:00 AM. That hearing is scheduled to last four days.

Operation Rescue's Cheryl Sullenger filed the original complaint against Neuhaus and Tiller in 2006 for what appeared to be an illegal financial affiliation.

Tiller was criminally charged and tried for having an illegal financial relationship with Neuhaus, who was the only physician providing the legally mandated second opinion verifying that a pregnancy met the strict exceptions to the Kansas ban on post-viability abortions. Tiller was acquitted of criminal charges in March, 2009, but the KSBHA was pursuing an 11-count disciplinary petition against Tiller based on Sullenger's complaint at the time of his death.

Neuhaus' petition, also based on Sullenger's complaint, does not allege an illegal financial affiliation with Tiller, but it does allege that in eleven cases of post-viability pregnancies she breached the standard of care in several ways, including:

    * Failure to perform adequate patient interview
    * Failure to obtain adequate patient history
    * Failure to adequately evaluate the "behavioral or functional impact" of the patient's condition and symptoms
    * Failure to meet the standard of care to the degree of constituting ordinary negligence
    * Failure to keep adequate medical records

Neuhaus is an abortionist who was previously disciplined by the KSBHA in 1999 and 2000 after committing numerous abortion abuses, including an incident where Neuhaus sedated a woman and forced an abortion upon her after she had withdrawn her consent. At that time the Board deemed Neuhaus a danger to the public. It was after this discipline that Neuhaus went to work for Tiller providing the second physician referral for post-viability abortions.

"We know that the Board does not file disciplinary petitions if it is not completely convinced that violations have occurred," said Sullenger. "We look forward to the resolution of this case and pray it results in the revocation of Neuhaus' medical license."

Click here to read Neuhaus' current disciplinary petition.

Troy Newman
Source: Operation Rescue
Publish Date: December 8, 2010

Associate of Abortionist Steven Brigham Loses Maryland Medical License


The Maryland Board of Physicians announced December 2 that it permanently revoked the medical license of George J. Shepard Jr., an abortionist who worked at the Maryland clinic of Steven Chase Brigham. The board found Shepard "guilty of unprofessional conduct and that he had practiced medicine with an unauthorized person," according to the Courier-Post.

Brigham, who did not have a Maryland medical license, has been accused of operating a secret abortion clinic that performed late abortions in a two-step process that took place in New Jersey and Maryland, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. Shepard assisted Brigham in the Maryland clinic two days a week, according to the Courier-Post.

Brigham had a medical license in New Jersey, which was suspended in October and is currently being considered for revocation by the state board of medical examiners, the Associated Press (AP) reported. A complaint filed by New Jersey officials in September detailed Brigham's abortion procedure. In a typical incident, a pregnant woman went to Brigham's Voorhees, New Jersey, clinic, where he dilated her cervix and "administered a drug that killed the fetus," according to the AP. The woman was told to drive to Elkton, Maryland, the next day, where the now-dead baby was dismembered and removed.

After the scheme was discovered, investigators searched the Elkton clinic, "where a chest freezer held about 35 late-term fetuses," the Courier-Post reported. Maryland officials suspended the licenses of Shepard and Utah abortionist Nicola Riley, who also assisted at the clinic. The board decided October 28 to extend the summary suspension of Riley's license, according to a document on the board's web site. Riley now has the opportunity to request a full evidentiary hearing before an administrative law judge.

The Maryland board's order to revoke Shepard's license, dated November 18, details his involvement with Brigham and the two-state abortion process. The board ruled that Shepard "practiced with an unlicensed individual, Dr. Brigham, or aided an unlicensed individual, Dr. Brigham, in the practice of medicine in Maryland."

It added, "This arrangement potentially places patients at grave risk for harm or catastrophic outcomes." Brigham's clinic, the board asserted, "poses a threat to the public, to the patients who undergo procedures there, and to the profession of medicine."

Liz Townsend
Source: National Right to Life
Publish Date: December 7, 2010

Will the November 2 Electoral "Thrashing" Change Obama on Abortion?

      President Obama
      President Obama

If you've had a chance to scan the newspaper, watch a little television, or surf the web even briefly, you know that pro-abortion President Barack Obama is now maneuvering to reset the button--aka, rebound from a devastating defeat ("thrashing") at the polls last month. He is getting lot of either/or advice.

Washington Post reporter Dan Balz summarized the convention wisdom in a column that ran Saturday. "What is the right strategy for Obama to regain the political initiative and put his presidency back on track?" Balz asks rhetorically.

"Should he hold firm, push a liberal agenda and provoke fights with the Republicans, as Truman did? That would reenergize his liberal base and sharpen his profile with the public. Or should he be a conciliator, as Clinton tried to be, cooperating when possible with congressional Republicans but resisting when he believes they have gone too far right? That might show the Republicans as obstructionists and bring independents back to his side heading toward 2012."

Let me offer a couple of thoughts. First, as Balz subsequently makes clear, it's not necessarily one or the other. Besides, you may never actually know what strategy Obama is employing until well after the dust has settled.

Second, Obama's modus operandi always is to look directly into the Teleprompter and insist that no matter how much it's been "my-way or the highway," in fact he's been working feverishly to find common ground. "Who are you going to believe?" Obama asks in effect, "Me or your lying eyes?"

I mention this (a) because his posturing on ObamaCare is the best possible example of Obama's saying one thing while doing the exact opposite, and (b) because there is no reason to believe he would be any the less resolutely pro-abortion in the next two years.

We will be lectured a hundred times that the "new" Obama "understands" that he must "change" on a host of issues--including abortion--and that if we don't bite when he comes back with still another pro-abortion proposal, it will be because we are opposing him just to oppose him.

But that's fine. We won't be fooled, you won't be fooled, and we will work against President Obama each and every time he works to advance the anti-life agenda.

Dave Andrusko
Source: National Right to Life
Publish Date: December 7, 2010