Sunday, August 31, 2014

Embryinic Stem Cell Research


Embryonic Stem Cell Hype Encore

By Wesley J. Smith

I predicted in 2013 that the company which bought Geron would restart its embryonic stem cell product human trial. Indeed, it is.

I could also have predicted the media would hype it to the moon. And so the San Francisco Chronicle has in big headlines on the front page. From, “Stem Cell Industry’s ‘Huge Development’ in Bay Area:”

Almost three years after a Bay Area company shut down the world’s first clinical trial of a therapy using embryonic stem cells, another local company is reviving the therapy. The treatment drew international attention in 2010, when Geron in Menlo Park began testing it in patients with severe spinal cord injuries. But it scrapped the project a year later because of a lack of funds – a move seen as a major blow to the nascent field. The therapy was then sold to Asterias Biotherapeutics, also in Menlo Park. On Wednesday, Asterias said it had gained regulatory permission to test whether the treatment, which is derived from human embryonic stem cells, helps heal patients with a different kind of spinal cord injury…
“It’s a huge development for the field,” said Kevin Whittlesey, science officer at the agency. “We’re starting to realize the potential touted so highly when embryonic stem cell research was in its infancy.”

Let’s deconstruct this. First, the prominence of the story seeks to help California’s boondoggle stem cell agency keep its door open

The trial was also described as a victory by the state’s taxpayer-funded stem cell agency. Created by voters a decade ago, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is authorized to spend $3 billion on stem cell research, and its future rests on the results, including any potential therapies, that those scientists and companies develop. A $14.3 million grant will cover half the costs of Asterias’ trial, the company said.

Secondly, the original Geron study may not have worked all that well:
With some tweaks, Asterias is picking up where Geron left off. Geron treated severe injuries in the thoracic region of the spinal cord, which runs along the back. Asterias is targeting injuries that originate in the neck, citing an outside study that suggests injuries in this area are easier to treat. It will also amp up the doses used to inject patients.
Finally, if this is such a big deal, why do the media constantly ignore far more advanced human trials for spinal cord injury using ethical stem cells? For example this very exciting peer reviewed study [ ]of paralyzed subjects treated with olfactory stem cells:
Of the 13 patients assessed by functional studies, 1 paraplegic patient (patient 9) can ambulate with 2 crutches and knee braces with no physical assistance and 10 other patients can ambulate with walkers with or without braces with physical assistance.
One tetraplegic patient (patient 13) ambulates with a walker, without knee braces or physical assistance.
Did you get that? Tetraplegia means paralyzed from the neck down! In this study, one totally paralyzed subject now uses a walker without assistance. Why isn’t that worth a front page story?
Let me answer my own question: Because when it comes to cultural deconstruction, it isn’t the treatment that matters so much as the source of the treatment. Adult stem cells just don’t shatter any moral boundaries.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.

Source: NRLC News

Importance of Elections


Texas pro-life law faces setback in ongoing legal battle

In a sweeping, yet potentially short-lived blow to tough Texas abortion restrictions, a federal judge Friday blocked the law’s key provision requiring abortion clinics to adhere to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

Citing “undue burdens” on women seeking abortions, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel stood with pro-abortion proponents in a decision that halted the last portion of House Bill 2, the law responsible for shuttering abortion clinics across the state. The Texas provision would have forced more than half of the state’s remaining abortion clinics, which fail to meet the medical and structural standards required under H.B.2., to shut their doors.

Signed into law by Governor Rick Perry in July 2013, H.B. 2 effectively reduced the state’s abortion rate and cut the number of Texas abortion clinics from 40 to 19. The provision, which was set to go into effect September 1, would have axed the number of abortion clinics even further–only seven facilities were expected to withstand standards that would have protected women from health risks associated with botched abortions.

In an opinion, Yeakel said the Lone Star state is at a “tipping point” in regards to abortion access restrictions, asserting that the provision would further affect the ability of impoverished or minority women to obtain an abortion procedure.

“The court is firmly convinced that the State has placed unreasonable obstacles in the path of a woman’s ability to obtain a previability abortion,” Yeakel said.
The case is likely to be ultimately heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
During oral arguments earlier this month, pro-abortion proponents asserted that the final provision would have left areas west or south of San Antonio without abortion providers; however, state attorneys contended that there was no evidence to prove that the restrictions placed an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.

Portions of H.B.2 protecting pre-born children and women’s health are currently in effect. Last year, Judge Yeakel sought to block the H.B.2 admitting privilege requirement, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals quickly rebuked the federal judge and reversed his decision. Abortion providers lost a previous challenge against a H.B.2 provision requiring abortionists to obtain hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of an abortion clinic, but Yeakel’s ruling grants two abortion clinics an exception to the hospital admittance privilege requirement.

“We are disappointed that the court did not uphold House Bill 2 in its entirety,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. “This means that beginning Sept. 1, women considering abortion will not receive all of the protections from threats to their health and safety that were intended by the Legislature and Governor [Rick] Perry.”
State attorney general and pro-life advocate, Greg Abbot, vows to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

“The state disagrees with the court’s ruling and will seek immediate relief from the Fifth Circuit,” said Lauren Bean, spokeswoman for Abbot.
The lawsuit against Texas’ abortion restrictions was initiated by the Center for Reproductive Rights and championed by abortion clinics, which argue that the law poses medically unnecessary regulations on abortion providers. However, the H.B. 2 prohibition on abortions after 20 weeks passed uncontested by Planned Parenthood. The late-term abortion provision of the law protects children who, according to medical research, feel pain after 20 weeks.

But Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion groups have not remained quiet in Texas. The abortion giant has been busy filling the coffers of pro-abortion gubernatorial candidate, Wendy Davis, who is challenging Mr. Abbott. The race for Texas governor is set to be a feisty battle in which Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion groups are deeply invested.

Davis thrust the Texas abortion law into national spotlight last year after her long filibuster against the legislation made headlines. The bill stalled, but eventually passed the state Legislature. Abbot, however, defends H.B. 2, and says the law places no unconstitutional burden on women seeking abortions. He contends that almost 90 percent of Texas women of reproductive age would live within 150 miles of an abortion clinic if the law was fully implemented.

The outcome of the race for governor will determine whether Governor Perry’s efforts to implement tougher abortion restrictions will remain.

Source: LiveAction News



Sister of three aborted babies: “Our grief is real”

Sara is one of many siblings of aborted babies who has struggled with the loss of their family members. She is different from Renee and Donna in that the babies she mourns were her father’s. 
She answers some questions below:

What were your feelings on abortions before you found out about losing siblings?
I was very pro-choice. I didn’t like that abortion existed, but understood that it had a place in this world and that it wasn’t my life and my place to judge another persons’ life, choice or circumstances.

How did you find out about the abortions?
I found out about my brother Jon when I was admiring a picture in my dad’s house of a hand ( presumably the hand of God) holding a baby. He and my mom have been divorced since I was very little and he told me that he got it when his girlfriend from some years back aborted their son that they were going to name Jon. I was in shock and little more was said about it. I found out about the twins very causally. We were painting a bedroom and my dad’s current girlfriend happened to mention she aborted a set of twins that were his, again I was in shock and that’s all that was said about the matter.

How has being the sibling of aborted babies affected you?
It’s taken me a while for it to sink in that I’m a sibling of aborted babies….and to accept and own that grief. it seems a lot of resources exist when the abortions are because of the mother…but very few understand what it’s like to be in my shoes. As well as being the sibling of aborted babies I have 3 babies myself lost to miscarriage and it’s made me come to terms with aspects of those losses too.

What was it like meeting other siblings of aborted babies?
Meeting Susi/Renee was amazing. She was the first person I reached out to who didn’t judge me, she understood that I could accept that abortion was necessarily in some circumstances ( life of the mother) but also be sad that  MY siblings were aborted .

What has brought you healing?
Being able to collect tangible items for my siblings and being able to name the twins and have people remember them and their lives with me.

How can the pro-life movement reach out towards people who have lost a sibling to abortion?
Realize that we come from all walks of life….that we can love and miss our siblings no matter how we feel about abortion as a whole, our grief is real…..someone is missing from our life through no fault of our own and we have to work through our own grief process about what happened and the choice someone else made.

As someone who loves a postabortion family member, how should the pro-life movement reach out to postabortion women (and men if applicable)?
If we’re reaching out to you…love us and accept us for who were are and where we are. I know my father grieves those babies that he never got a chance to know……I know he would have loved them just as much as I would have.

Can you give any advice to other siblings?
Reach out….find someone who understands.

Can you give any advice to mothers who may want to tell their surviving children that they aborted their sibling? 
Find a quiet place…speak your heart….involve the father if you can so he can tell his story too.

With over 50 million legal abortions in the years since Roe V. Wade, one can only imagine the suffering that abortion has caused those who were left behind- the mothers, the fathers, and the siblings.

Source: LiveAction News

Ice Buckets and Babies Lives


Embryonic stem cell research: Setting the record straight

With the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge going around, many people started talking about how they can’t support ALS because embryonic stem cell research kills babies. Other people said that it doesn’t matter because the embryos used for research coming from the IVF process have no hope of living anyway. And others? They said embryos are hardly people, so have at it.
There are all sorts of “facts” being thrown around, so let’s set the record straight with some scientific facts.

At the moment of conception, a new, unique DNA is present in that single cell. This fertilized egg, scientifically called a zygote, is the beginning of the continuum of human life. All that needs to happen from this point on is for the zygote to have nourishment to grow. Eventually it will become an embryo, then a fetus, and eventually after birth an infant and adult. Check out fetal development facts here.

But some would say it’s not a person. A zygote certainly doesn’t look very much like a person. But being born doesn’t magically make us human beings. Developing toenails doesn’t magically make us human beings. It makes sense to say that the moment of our beginning – fertilization – is the beginning of our existence.
Okay, embryos might be human. But since stem cells are all taken from the IVF process, they have no hope of developing into people anyway. Right? So we should make use of them!
The fact is that stem cells can be taken taken from more than embryos in the IVF process. We’ve gotten them from adults. They also have been found in amniotic fluid, and the umbilical cord. Many people throw around the idea that embryonic stem cells come from purposefully aborted embryos, but there’s a lot of research to be done on this topic. In 2009, the National Institute of Health released Guidelines on Human Stem Cell Research which allows funding for stem cell research on embryos from IVF. It also allows embryos to be donated in compliance with certain regulations.
I found that it’s not intellectually honest to say that all this research is happening on aborted babies. In fact, much of it is on embryos from IVF procedures. Why? Because the cells needed for research are best harvested at the blastocyst stage of development: about 5-6 days after fertilization when the embryo has developed into about 100 cells with an inner cell mass of 10-20 undifferentiated cells.
So enough of the scientific jargon. Why the focus on embryonic stem cells?

Embryonic stem cells are what we call pluripotent which means they can be programmed to become any cell except egg or sperm. Adult stem cells are naturally multipotent which means they can be programmed to become a different cell of a similar type. For example, an adult stem cell from bone marrow could be programmed into a blood cell.

Initially most people, including scientists saw more value in embryonic stem cell research over adult. Why? Because there is allegedly more potential with embryonic stem cells, especially looking at the natural state of adult vs. embryonic. But is there really more potential with embryonic stem cell research? Is it necessary to fund it with millions of dollars? Take a look at the recent developments in the embryonic/adult stem cell research saga:
If you believe the scientific fact of human life existing before birth, then we have come to a dilemma: do we have to end lives to do research to protect lives? Well, it’s a foggy situation, you might say. How about this: If it’s okay to sacrifice some life to research to save other lives, why don’t we have people with disabilities give their lives to research? How about people who are depressed and don’t want to live anymore? How about a “normal” person be electively chosen to die for research? If it’s for the purpose of saving other people, isn’t that okay?
Hopefully your answer is “no”. It’s not okay to have a person killed in the same of scientific research.
And after doing research myself, it’s clear that stem cell research is not as simple as people say it is. However, it’s incredibly exciting with all the potential.

Adult stem cells have demonstrated incredible potential as the articles I linked to have shown. Embryonic stem cell research, on the other hand, has not had a major breakthrough lately that I was able to find.

It’s time we look at the facts. If you want to support stem cell research that’s actually making a difference, I recommend you support the JPII Medical Research Institute which focuses on “the most ethical and cost-effective way of conducting medical research to help develop therapies and cures for a variety of diseases.”

Source:LiveAction News

Saturday, August 30, 2014



CNN explains why a woman should tell her OB-GYN she has had an abortion

By Dave Andrusko
tellyourdocAs they say, imagine my surprise. A friend recently posted a link on Facebook to a story that ran (as it turns out) several years ago–“5 secrets you shouldn’t keep from your GYN”—that had a remarkable truth not ordinarily seen on the “mainstream media.”

Elizabeth Cohen, described as a CNN Senior Medical Correspondent, began with a series of horror stories revolving around the unwillingness of women to tell their OB-GYN certain sensitive (or, seemingly, not so sensitive) information.

Cohen does a good job of discussing subject areas you might not necessarily think of—or would assume women would routinely reveal—before getting to #4: “Whether you’ve had an abortion.” (The “Rankin” in the following quote is Dr. Lissa Rankin, a gynecologist in Mill Valley, California.)
“People who’ve had abortions sometimes worry about saying so if they know their doctor is pro-life, or if they don’t know where their doctor stands on the issue,” Rankin says. While it’s understandable to have that worry, it’s medically important to tell your doctor if you’ve had abortions.
Why it matters: If you’re infertile, it’s important for your doctor to know about past abortions for two reasons. One, it indicates that at least in one point in your life, you were fertile and “the plumbing works,” Rankin says.
Secondly, the infertility might be caused by infection or scar tissue that resulted from the abortion, she adds.
Also, multiple abortions could put you at a higher risk for miscarriage or premature birth, she says.
Finally, if you’re about to have surgery on your cervix or uterus, your doctor needs to know about prior abortions, as scar tissue might make the surgery more difficult.
Wow! How many times have experts—and by no means necessarily pro-life—tried to get these truths across?! Abortion is an unnatural assault on a woman’s reproductive system. There can be, and are, a host of complications.

They include what Cohen talked about but many others as well, including a substantially elevated risk of a premature delivery. This “seriously threatens the lives and health of newborn children,” writes Paul Stark. “The risk of premature delivery increases with each additional abortion.” In addition, abortion is “also associated with an increased risk of infertility, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and placenta previa.”

Source: NRLC News

Planned Parenthood


Planned Parenthood Raising Money for Big Push in Fall Elections

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research
Wendy Davis and Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards
Wendy Davis and Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards
Faced with clinic closings and legislative defeats, Planned Parenthood’s political arm (Planned Parenthood Action Fund) is in the process of spending $16 million in this fall’s races. To gin up contributions, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has sent out a fiery but fact-challenged appeal fundraising letter to would-be supporters.
This massive political involvement may come as somewhat of a surprise to those who imagine Planned Parenthood to be just a  “women’s health care provider,”  the image PPFA so carefully cultivates. But, in fact, the nation’s largest abortion performer and promoter has also long been one of the biggest players on the political scene, spending millions to put politicians in office who will defend the killing of unborn babies and keep the taxpayer dollars flowing their way.
Ironically, while Richards opens with the statement “This has got to stop.  Politics has no place in women’s health care[,]” Planned Parenthood then spends the rest of the letter detailing why folks need to send “a generous contribution of $50, $75, $100, $500 or more” to aid in “changing the political landscape,” to “protect the pro-women’s health majority in the U.S. Senate” (“because the Senate approves Supreme Court nominees, we can prevent the Court from tilting further away from women’s rights”), to “show the power of women’s votes by electing candidates who support women’s health care and Planned Parenthood and defeating those who don’t.”
While there are the usual “sky is falling” pleas about access to birth control and threats to “women’s health care,” it is significant to note that in the four page letter, “abortion” appears no less than 16 times.  Several of these are in complaints about “anti-abortion groups,” “protesters,” or “extremists,” and their actions thwarting Planned Parenthood’s agenda. But others make Planned Parenthood’s profound abortion commitment more explicit.
One of their biggest complaints is about “irrational and often dangerous laws” such as “abortion restrictions” in North Carolina, “so-called patient safety laws” in Virginia, required “counseling” and waiting periods in South Dakota, limits imposed by a state medical board on “telemedicine” (web-cam) abortions in Iowa,  and a new Ohio law requiring abortionists to have “special agreements with local hospitals” (e.g., transfer agreements, admitting privileges which is an increasingly common and necessary requirement ).
Absent from the letter, of course, is anything about the filthy and dangerous conditions discovered at clinics like Planned Parenthood’s Wilmington, Delaware facility, women who’ve died after taking abortion drug RU-486 at Planned Parenthood clinics, or videos showing how some Planned Parenthood counselors ignore or evade informed consent, parental involvement, or statutory rape reporting laws.
Under the circumstances, it seems like it would be “rational” to assume that the more “dangerous” course for women would be to let Planned Parenthood continue to operate its abortion mills unregulated.
In the letter, Richards holds up two states as examples of what Planned Parenthood has done and will do.
Planned Parenthood offers Virginia as proof that “We know how to win for women.”  Without directly mentioning the cool million that Planned Parenthood put into ads in the closing days of last year’s very close gubernatorial campaign, Richards says that “we reached out all across the political spectrum, explaining the stakes to women and making it clear which candidate would protect their health and rights – and which would not.”
Unsaid is how Planned Parenthood manipulated and distorted perceptions of women in the Commonwealth, making it sound like the pro-life Republican candidate wanted to take away women’s birth control and cancer screenings, neither of which were remotely true.
Although carried along by a compliant media and buoyed by a  vast superiority in campaign funds, Terry McAuliffe, the PPFA-backed pro-abortion Democrat , won by just 2.5%.  Planned Parenthood says that “women’s votes made all the difference,” and though there were obviously other factors in play, exit polls did show that young single women – the target constituency for Planned Parenthood’s misleading ads – did go heavily for the Democrat.
While the previous pro-life Republican administration in Virginia had been able to put in place some of the badly needed clinic regulations Planned Parenthood complained about, Richards noted that “the new governor we helped elect has beat back attacks on women’s health care and is working to expand access to affordable birth control, cancer screenings, and safe, legal abortion.”  (No mention of making abortion “rare.”)
There hasn’t been much in the press about the McAuliffe’s efforts to expand “cancer screenings” at Planned Parenthood, but did feature the following headline on its May 14, 2014 website: “‘Bankrolled’ by Planned Parenthood, McAuliffe pushes looser abortion rules clinic rules.”
The other state featured in Planned Parenthood’s fundraising letter is Texas.  Richards declares “In my home state of Texas, for example, the governor and the legislature pulled every trick in the book to push through a wildly unpopular law that fully implemented could close all but a handful of women’s health facilities, leaving hundreds of thousands of women with nowhere to turn for care.”
(For all the handwringing about closing clinics, it should be noted that two Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates have already announced plans to open giant new abortion megaclinics in Dallas and San Antonio intended to be fully compliant with the new law. They, too, are using the passage of the new laws as part of their pitch for new funds.)
In that one sentence from Richards there are numerous errors and misstatements that need deconstructing. Here are just a few.
The law may have been “wildly unpopular” in Planned Parenthood’s circles and among the throngs they bused in from all over the country, but it passed handily among Texas’ elected representatives (male and female) and was signed by a governor Texans returned to office three times.
The law’s focus was not on closing “women’s health facilities” but on halting abortions on pain-capable unborn children; requiring abortionists to follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s prescribing protocol for RU-486; ensuring that abortionists would have hospital admitting privileges so they could accompany women who had suffered complications; and placing safeguards on previously poorly regulated abortion clinics.
As long as they did not perform abortions or met the commonsense requirements, the centers  were unaffected.  If clinics closed, it was due to their insistence on offering abortions without needed safeguards for women, not due to any effort by legislators to conspire against women needing health care.
Richards does take the opportunity to promote Planned Parenthood’s  latest “feminist icon,”  gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, the state Senator who led a “heroic 11-hour filibuster” of a pro-life law that eventually passed anyway. The letter manages not to mention that in opposing HB 2, Davis was, among other things, defending late abortions. Richards described the pro-abortion mob that descended on Austin during the filibuster as part of a “grassroots uproar against the reckless new law” that Planned Parenthood called “the most inspiring fight for women’s health we’ve seen in years.”
Put that in context of plans already announced by Planned Parenthood to spend $3 million in Texas elections in 2014 to elect Davis and other key pro-abortion candidates.
Planned Parenthood says that
 “Now in 2014, we need more boots on the ground.  We need more trained activists engaging in direct voter contact, face-to-face, aboutwhat these elections mean in terms of safe, legal abortion… We need women to understand how much their vote matters – to themselves, their daughters, and to women all across the country who are having a hard time getting the care they need.”
The message of the letter is clear.  Planned Parenthood is going to be raising and spending lots of money in this fall’s election, peddling myths about threats to women’s health to get voters to the polls and to defend, fund, and expand their abortion empire

Source: NRLC News



Gallup finds Obama’s ‘Strong Disapproval’ is now twice as large as his ‘Strong Approval’

By Dave Andrusko
ObamaapprovalGallup814The last two times we’ve posted on President Obama’s rocky approval ratings as measured by Gallup, several kind readers politely suggested that my suggestion—that the President’s approval numbers could dip several more points, if not more—couldn’t be true. The President’s baseline supporters, my correspondents said, would never, ever give up.
Of course, I beg to differ. Just check events of the past 24 hours and ask yourself if Mr. Obama’s approval numbers seem primed to take another hit.
On a very much related note, here’s something else from Gallup, a follow up to the post we wrote yesterday about how Republicans and Independents are much more likely to be “thinking” about the November elections than are Democrats.
Unlike yesterday’s Gallup headline, this one sugarcoats nothing: “Obama’s ‘Strong Disapproval’ Double His ‘Strong Approval’: Republicans are more likely to strongly disapprove now than in 2010.”
The key, obviously, is not that three in four Republicans strongly disapprove. No, it’s the overall numbers and the downward trend. As Justin McCarthy wrote
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans are more than twice as likely to say they “strongly disapprove” (39%) of President Barack Obama’s job performance as they are to say they “strongly approve” (17%). The percentage of Americans who strongly disapprove of Obama has increased over time, while the percentage who strongly approve has dropped by almost half.
In the first year of Obama’s presidency, the percentages of Americans who had strong views about the job he was doing were essentially tied, but the strongly negative responses now significantly outweigh the strongly positive ones. The largest segment of Americans today, 39%, strongly disapprove of Obama’s job performance, while 14% moderately disapprove. Another 27% moderately approve, while 17% strongly approve.
Which is not to say the Republicans’ passionate (and growing) disapproval of Mr. Obama does not have enormous implications for November 4.
The Gallup poll story we discussed yesterday offered a theory why the impact of much greater interest (“thinking” about the election) might be exaggerated. McCarthy’s story, by contrast, does not minimize the potential impact on turnout:
Since 2009, a majority of Republicans have strongly disapproved of Obama’s performance, ranging between 58% and 75%. Gallup has not asked this intensity question frequently, but in its recent Aug. 7-10 poll, this percentage jumped 13 points from the January 2011 measure, suggesting that extreme dissatisfaction among the president’s opposing party is higher than it has ever been.
Notably, Republicans are even more likely to say they strongly disapprove of Obama now than in 2010, a year when a tide of anti-Obama sentiments led to major Democratic losses in the House and Senate in that year’s midterm election. Part of that increase may be attributable to the passage of time, in that Republicans are simply more solid in their views of Obama six years into his presidency than two years in. But those strong negative views of Obama could boost Republican turnout this fall when the Democratic majority in the Senate is in peril. [Emphasis added.]
What would make this situation even worse for Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats? Obviously, if enthusiasm among Democrats is waning. And that’s exactly what Gallup found.
[W]hereas Democrats were nearly three times as likely to strongly approve as moderately approve of Obama in 2009, the ratio is now about 1-to-1.
What’s the final thing that could go wrong for President Obama and, by extension, Senate Democrats running for re-election this fall? A falloff among Independents.
According to McCarthy, 39% of Independents strongly disapprove, a number which, comparatively, has been consistent.

However this is not the case with those who strongly approve.
In previous years, one in five or more independents (19% to 23%) strongly approved of the president’s performance. In 2014, however, the percentage of independents who strongly approve has shrunken to 11%.
That is tremendous drop-off in strong approval: from 19%/23% down to a mere 11%!
More on Monday.

Source: NRLC News

Friday, August 29, 2014

You Have to Be Kidding?


Aborting a down syndrome baby because he can’t go to Cornell?

Editor’s note. This appeared at
One father, a computer technologist, said the following about what he would think if the baby turned out to have Down’s:
“I’m sorry to say that I just couldn’t accept that. I mean, I’ve worked hard to get where I am, I worked hard at Cornell. And I want the same for my child. I want to teach my child, and have him learn. Maybe it’s unfortunate, maybe I should be more accepting. But I don’t want a child with retardation.”
Later, in the same book, he said:
“I’m sorry to say I couldn’t think about raising a child with Down’s. I’m something of a perfectionist. I want the best for my child. I’ve worked hard, I went to Cornell University, I’d want that for my child. I’d want to teach him things he couldn’t absorb. I’m sorry I can’t be more accepting, but I’m clear I wouldn’t want to continue the pregnancy.” [1]
He and his partner were having amniocentesis done with the plan to abort the baby if he or she had down syndrome.
[1] Rayna Rapp “Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: the Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America” (New York: Routledge, 1999) 90, 133 – 134

Source: NRLC News

Planned Parenthood and Tee Shirts

Featured Image
Elise Hilton

Scarlett Johansson fails logic

Despite my esteemed background in high school drama (I starred in several productions), I don’t critique acting, except over the water cooler. I don’t have a clue what it takes to make a movie, let alone make a movie well. I assume Scarlett Johansson does, as she’s made a number of them. But clearly, Ms. Johansson doesn’t do so well with logic.

Ms. Johansson has designed t-shirts for Planned Parenthood. The hot pink t’s feature a cartoon male on the front, along with “Hey Politicians! The 1950s called…”; the back reads, “They want their sexism back!” Ms. Johansson stated her reason for wanting to be part of this project:
When I heard that some politicians were cheering the Supreme Court’s decision to give bosses the right to interfere in our access to birth control, I thought I had woken up in another decade,” explained Johansson in a statement.
“Like many of my friends, I was appalled by the thought of men taking away women’s ability to make our own personal health care decisions,” she added.
Oh. Dear. I don’t like men or anyone else taking away my ability to make decisions about my health care either, so I guess we have that in common. That’s about as far as it goes. Ms. Johansson: What men? Where? How are they doing this? Is this some vast right-wing conspiracy?
The last time I checked, pretty much anybody can walk into any drugstore in America and plunk down cash for condoms or Plan B. Most large pharmacies sell a month’s supply of birth control pills for about ten bucks. And Planned Parenthood keeps telling us they’ll give birth control to anyone who asks. There are no men stopping anyone from buying these items. (Also, just so we are crystal clear: abstinence costs nothing.)

Ms. Johansson seems to believe that if an employer does not pay for something, you can’t have it. That, my dear, is faulty logic. While I understand that in Hollywood, there are many perks that come with the job of acting (for instance, the swag bag for the 2014 Emmy Awards included a luxury hotel spa treatment, a $600 smart phone, and jewelry, along with other goodies), a boss can offer his or her employees whatever perks and salary he or she wishes. The employee can then accept the job or not. However, if the boss does not offer employees a company car, for instance, that does not mean you can’t get a car. It just means you’ll have to buy one yourself.

And this is not sexism, Ms. Johansson. It is business and ethics. A boss may not be able to afford to buy all of her employees a car, so she doesn’t do so. A boss may choose not to offer health insurance that pays for abortions, because it violates her conscience. In neither instance do you lose your ability to get those things. And frankly, claiming that it is sexism makes women sound a wee bit weak and whiny (“But, but, how will I ever get birth control pills now??”)
Ms. Johansson, we women are better than this.

Reprinted with permission from Acton Institute.

Source: LifeSite News



Many more Republicans and Independents than Democrats thinking about upcoming elections

By Dave Andrusko
GallupGOPpoll6Let’s put three items together and see what they might tell us about the political lay of the land with 68 days to go until the November 4 mid-term elections.
First, today’s Gallup approval/disapproval numbers for President Barack Obama: 40%/54%. Realistically, it would be hard to conjure up a scenario where 40% approval becomes 43%, let alone 45%. But it would equally easy to see 54% disapproval become 56% or even 58%.
The President’s numbers can likely only grow worse. This is baggage that already vulnerable Senate Democrats can ill afford.
Second, what Gallup yesterday headlined as “Republicans’ ‘Thought’ to 2014 Election Exceeds Democrats.” Everyone has known for months and months that Republicans are much more motivated than Democrats. And while “thinking” about an electorate [either “quite a lot” or “some” ] cannot simply be extrapolated out as a firm predictor of actual turnout, it’s an awfully good indicator.
Here’s Jeffrey M. Jones’s opening paragraph
PRINCETON, NJ — One in three Americans (33%) say they have given “quite a lot” or “some” thought to the 2014 midterm election, up from 26% in April. Importantly, Republicans (42%) are much more engaged than Democrats (27%) in the election at this point.
(BTW, obviously the headline should have read something along the lines of Republicans being “much more engaged” than Democrats. But…)
As Jones notes, it only stands to reason that just as more Americans are thinking about the elections than did in April, still more will as we approach November 4. Implications?
One would be, “If there is no significant narrowing of the Republican-Democratic thought gap between now and Election Day, the Republican advantage in turnout could surpass that on Election Day 2010.”
Or as Jones elaborates
“Democrats need strong turnout to minimize the potential seat losses in Congress that occur in nearly every midterm election for the president’s party. But with Republicans much more engaged in the election at this point than Democrats — and by one of the larger margins in recent midterm election years — the odds of strong Democratic turnout seem low, suggesting 2014 could be a good year for Republicans. Even if the Republican advantage narrows considerably by Election Day, as seen in 2010, Republicans seem poised to have the upper hand in turnout.”
He also makes this…interesting comment:
“To some degree, the Democratic deficit in election thought may reflect not just their turnout intentions but also their beliefs about the likelihood their party will perform well in the election. From that standpoint, the measure may overstate the Republican advantage in potential turnout this year.”
Is Jones saying that Democrats are thinking less about the election than Republicans now but will think more about it as November 4 approaches ? Because even if they are not as optimistic as Republicans they will turn out anyway? How does that follow?
What about Republicans? Is Jones saying the turnout advantage may be exaggerated because the “thinking about” advantage Republicans enjoy now is at least partially because they believe the GOP will do well in November? That this “good feeling” is just that–a feeling, and won’t be reflected in actually voting patterns? Why?

If you’re a Republican and you feel good now about November; and if you continue to “think about” the election; and your party’s prospects continue to look very good, why wouldn’t you be highly motivated to vote? What about the Republicans whose attention to the election hasn’t kicked in yet?
Moreover, given how poorly the President is faring among Independents, if I was a Democrat running in the fall, it would make me very nervous that the percentage of Independents thinking “quite a lot” or “some” about the election has increased by nine points since April—from 23% to 32%.
Third, with Democrats floundering, they are testing any number of themes in hopes of finding one that will resonate. Naturally, the common denominator is to portray Republicans as “extremists” on [fill in the blank].

The difficulty is, as Hotair’s Noah Rothman wrote,
“In 2014, it is the Democratic Party’s turn to field a slate of weak, untested, and gaffe-prone candidates.”
It’s only one state but Montana will always be remembered for how the situation for Democrats went from bad to worse to impossibly bad. Rothman wrote
“In Montana, where Democrats originally sought to rescue their electoral prospects by replacing a weak incumbent with a fresh face, the party’s hopes utterly imploded when that fresh face proved to be a serial plagiarizer. His ultimate replacement, chosen by the party at convention, is a self-described anarcho-socialist.”
More tomorrow

Source: NRLC News