Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Life Affirming


Another mother rejects advice to abort, Maisie doing wonderfully

By Dave Andrusko
Maisie Smith, now aged 18 weeks, with her mother, Amy
Maisie Smith, now aged 18 weeks, with her mother, Amy

This will be a short post for two reasons. Maisie Smith’s wonderful story is the last story of the day and I’ve been meaning to write about Maisie and her wonderful mother, Amy, for two days.
(The full story can be read at

Maisie’s and Amy’s story is one of those life-affirming accounts of a “you’ve got to be kidding me” response when a physician looks at a problem diagnosed prenatally and suggests “termination.”
That’s what happened after Amy went in for an ultrasound. At first the doctors thought what they saw was a cyst. In fact it was CDH– congenital diaphragmatic hernia—meaning her “organs slipped into her chest area, leaving little room for her lungs to grow.” according to reporter Rachel Millard.
“We were then told to go for a scan at St George’s Hospital where we were given the terrible news that our little girl did in fact have a right-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and her chances were 50/50,” Amy told Millard.

“In Maisie’s case her liver and bowel were in her chest. After being told that she had CDH, we were offered a termination, which quite took me aback. I couldn’t believe what the doctor was saying to me. I told him that wasn’t even an option.”
Maisie was born at 37 weeks, a little over three months ago, weighing 5lb and 4oz. She was immediately taken away to be intubated and had her operation on the day after “Boxing Day” (in England Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas).
“It was the longest few hours of my life,” Amy said. “Since then Maisie has just gone from strength to strength.”

Millard concludes her lovely story with a description from Amy–Maisie is “the best baby.”
“She sleeps through the night and is always, always smiling. It melts my heart because she has been through so much yet she is always, always smiling. I am welling up just talking to you.”

Source: NRLC News

Oklahoma and Life

Gov. Fallin Signs Oklahoma Perinatal Hospice Bill into law

By Dave Andrusko
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

The good news is in and now it’s official. On Monday pro-life Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 2685—the Perinatal Hospice Bill—into law.

HB 2685 addresses a rare but tragic circumstance: when a pregnant woman is told that her unborn child has a fetal anomaly incompatible with life. All too often the physician encourages the mother to consider abortion as the “humane” response to such a diagnosis. The Perinatal Hospice Bill is the pro-life alternative.
The mother (and father) facing these circumstances will receive information about public and private agencies and services available to her which offer perinatal hospice and palliative care if, instead of abortion, she decides to carry her baby to term.

Even the Associated Press wrote about the new law in respectful terms. “Perinatal hospice services provide support from the time of diagnosis through the infant’s birth and death,” the AP explained, “Those services can include obstetricians, neonatologists, psychiatrists or other mental health professionals as well as clergy, social workers and specialty nurses.”

Tony Lauinger, State Chairman, Oklahomans for Life, told NRL News Today, “Our throw-away culture today too often exhibits a coarsened attitude toward the intrinsic value of each individual human life – especially the life of a child with a diagnosis of severe or lethal disability – and too readily regards killing as an acceptable ‘solution’ in such a case.” He added, “The least we should do when a family faces the heartbreak of such a diagnosis is provide them information about the positive alternative of perinatal hospice, comfort care, and family counseling.”

Earlier this month, NRL President Carol Tobias eloquently wrote about “Pro-Life Caring, Pro-Life Compassion.”  Here are some excerpts:
It must be a devastating thing to be told your unborn child might have a condition incompatible with sustaining life. Sometimes, of course, the child survives and thrives despite the diagnosis. But when these tragedies do occur, they are very real and painful to the families. And often, the attending medical personnel recommend, or even pressure, the mother to abort.
In response to these tragedies, our state Right to Life affiliate worked with advocates, legislators, and NRLC, and passed an amendment to the state’s Woman’s Right to Know informed consent law to ensure parents would receive helpful information about public and private agencies and services that offer life-affirming hospice for these infants (called perinatal hospice), with palliative care, and counseling for the parents.
Armed with such support, the parents could partner with these agencies to help their children receive the love and nurturing they need and deserve. Knowing this support is available in such a difficult circumstance, parents are far less likely to succumb to pressure to abort. …
Intentionally taking the child’s life is no answer – any more than killing any other individual with a disability would be justified. “Perfection” is something none of us can claim, and using “quality control” as grounds for aborting a baby is unworthy of a society that respects the sanctity of each innocent human life.

There are many effective ways we can fight against the notion that some life can be deemed “disposable.” Support for laws like this in states across the country is one such way.
Congratulations to Oklahomans for Life!

Source: NRLC News

Memories of Abortion


Rocker’s memoir tells of being haunted by her abortion, defends “right” to abortion anyway

By Dave Andrusko
clothesmusicboysbookThis will be a brief post because I could find very little about “Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys,” the memoir of Viv Albertine.
Okay, I didn’t who she was, either. She was the star of the 1970s all-girl punk band, “The Slits,” a group that was apparently hugely influential in breaking through in a male-dominated industry.
Her story intersects with us in that she had an abortion in 1978 “rather than give up her career,” as a publicity blurb for the book puts it. In the years to come Albertine tried IVF treatments eleven times and “lost two babies before finally becoming mother to a little girl in 1999.”

In the book (we are told) she writes, “I didn’t regret the abortion for 20 years. But eventually I did and I still regret it now. I wish I’d kept the baby, whatever the cost. It’s hard to live with.” But, she adds, the right to choose “cannot and must not be ever taken away from us.”
A couple of thoughts. Even though she is “adamant” that abortion be legal, she also “admits the abortion haunted her throughout the process of trying to have a baby.”

How it could it not? Having exercised her “choice” to abort the baby fathered by another rock star, for the longest time everything pointed to her never being able to conceive again. And then she loses two babies (presumably to miscarriages). Of course Albertine is “haunted”—by regret, by remorse, and, perhaps, by a little ghost.

And it is equally understandable that the regret she had bottle up might not make its way to the surface of her mind until around the time she had her little girl (maybe when she had her child; the blurb is not exact).

When Albertine looked at her, how could she not see a reminder of the child whose life was less important to Albertine than her career?
Her story reminds you of what so many, many post-abortive women have said with insight and remorse: abortion doesn’t make you unpregnant; it makes you the mother of a dead baby.

Source: NRLC News

NARAL and Crisis Pregancy Centers


Having won over Google, NARAL looks for more ways to stop CPCs from advertising

By Dave Andrusko
google4Over the next few days, we should learn more about NARAL’s successful campaign to convince Google to pull ads paid for by Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Yesterday we talked about what could be gleaned from a story in the Washington Post (“Google accepts NARAL’s ‘analysis,’ rejects pro-life CPC ads”). Today we’ll talk about what comes through in NARAL’s victory lap fund-raiser and a story in The Hill newspaper.

For those who missed yesterday’s post, Google accepted NARAL’s assertion that CPC’s were deliberately misleading in their advertising. The Post story intimated that only “some” CPC ads would be affected. In fact, NARAL targeted 79% of CPC ads.

But, in fact, what NARAL is attempting to do is far worse than that. They are trying to parley their success with Google to convince other search engines to bow down to NARAL—and, of course, raise money from their supporters at the same time.

So what have we learned in addition? First, from Julian Hattem of The Hill, “NARAL logged a series of complaints with Google about ads that it claimed were deceptive, and spent the last month urging the company to take action. According to NARAL, more than two-thirds of the ads it passed along to Google were removed.” More than two-thirds!

Second, no backsliding will be tolerated. “NARAL, though, says it will work with Google to make sure that the ads don’t come back,” Hattem writes. “It’s also organizing a thank you note to CEO Larry Page, to ‘support your commitment to ending this manipulation of women making vital health decisions.’”
NARALlogo3reWhat else? “Google’s leadership in removing the majority of these ads is a victory for truth in advertising and for the women who have been targeted by a deliberate misinformation campaign by crisis pregnancy centers,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement Monday. “The action taken by Google to address this pressing problem raises the bar for other search engines to monitor and enforce their own advertising policies.”

So we’re clear. NARAL is not content (as if anyone would think they would be) to have Google take “appropriate actions”—which includes (as a Google spokesman told The Hill) “account disablings and blacklists — as quickly as possible.” They want Bing and Yahoo and Ask and AOL Search to squelch CPC advertising as well.

And, of course, no NARAL assault would be complete without hypocrisy and trolling for money. As we reported yesterday, Hogue piously insisted to the Post, “We have no problem with crisis pregnancy centers advertising online; we have no problem with their existing.”
Really? So the laws you get compliant city and county councils to adopt to drive them out of business—laws that are flagrant violations of First Amendment rights—don’t count? Or the bogus “studies” you grind out to “prove” the falsehoods you brought to the table are “true” are incidental?
But on top of all that, Hogue sends out an email with this:

It won’t be long before CPCs and their supporters go after Google for making this change because deceptive ads are one of the primary ways they lure women into their doors.” (boldface in the original).

Let’s ignore the obvious—that Hogue and NARAL are so wedded to multiple layers of deception they wouldn’t know a truthful statement if it smacked them in the face. Hogue would have her readers believe that CPCs, which charge nothing or next to nothing for their services and are largely run by volunteers, are so powerful that NARAL would be pulverized if Hogue’s supporters don’t fork over even more money.
No wonder President Obama loves NARAL. They are two peas in a pod.

Source: NRLC News

Obama and the People


Obama popularity craters in new Post/ABC News poll

By Dave Andrusko
Pro-abortion President Barack Obama
Pro-abortion President Barack Obama
When the headline for the lead story in today’s Washington Post reads, “Post-ABC News poll shows Democrats at risk in November as Obama’s approval rating falls,” you know the results of this survey of 1,000 adults must have been ominous.
And that conclusion is certainly borne out by Dan Balz’s and Peyton M. Craghill’s lead paragraph:
“Democrats face serious obstacles as they look to the November elections, with President Obama’s approval rating at a new low and a majority of voters saying they prefer a Congress in Republican hands to check the president’s agenda, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.”
Since awful poll numbers for President Obama are nothing new, let’s investigate why the Post is panicking.
  • Obama’s approval number is down to 41%. So? It was at 46% the first three months of the year. If you read carefully a ton of stories over the last couple of weeks, you know that reporters and columnists had convinced themselves that Obama—and by extension the Democrats running in November—had turned a corner. And then….this. (And a National Journal poll, which we’ll discuss below.)
  • The Post and ABC News keeps cranking out poll data that shows the public is much more supportive of ObamaCare than does any other poll; indeed slightly more approve than disapprove in this one. Just a couple of weeks ago, however, a national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA Today found that 50% disapproved to only 37% who approved, virtually the same as the month before.
  • But having found what it was looking for, the Post/ABC News survey ran into this unwelcomed news: “A 58 percent majority say the new law [ObamaCare] is causing higher costs overall, and 47 percent say it will make the health-care system worse. While a majority say the quality of the health care they receive will remain the same, a plurality expect it to result in higher personal costs for that care.” And to be clear, only 8% think their costs have gone down.
  • A huge part of the narrative that things had finally started moving in the right direction–that the debate was “over” over ObamaCare—was because a certain number of people had (we were told) signed up. But the Post/ABC News survey found that barely 3 in 8 (37%) approve of the President’s handling of the implementation of ObamaCare.
  • On the all-important question of whether people think the country is headed in the right direction, “Americans express continued discontent about the country’s direction, with two-thirds saying things are on the wrong track,” Balz and Craighill write. This is hardly surprising, especially given that “Just 42 percent approve of his handling of the economy.”
And then there is this. “Another measure of voting intentions came when people were asked whether they thought it was more important to have Democrats in charge in Congress to help support Obama’s policies or Republicans in charge to act as a check on the president’s policies. On this, 53 percent of voters say Republicans and 39 percent say Democrats. That is almost identical to the results of the same question when it was asked in September 2010, two months before the GOP landslide.”
  • Switching over to a preview of a National Journal poll that appeared yesterday written by Ron Brownstein, we learn that Obama’s approval is at 41% in that survey as well. An abysmal 27% said the country was on the right track.
  • One other all-important number coming out of the National Journal poll: intensity. Barely one in five–21%–strongly approve of the President’s performance. But nearly four in ten–39%–strongly disapprove, almost twice as many.
The President (and certain Democratic strategists) insist that vulnerable Democrats are better off running in support of ObamaCare. If they actually believe that—which is highly unlikely—and Democrats take their advice, they will rue the day.

Source: NRLC News

Tuesday, April 29, 2014



Royal College of Ob/Gyn bars pro-life doctors from receiving its degrees and diplomas

Doctors and nurses who have a moral objection to prescribing ‘contraceptives’ which act by killing human embryos are to be barred from receiving diplomas in sexual and reproductive health even if they undertake the necessary training according to new guidelines.
Under new rules issued by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH) earlier this year these doctors and nurses are also to be barred from membership of the faculty and from specialty training.

The FSRH is a faculty of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists established on the 26th March 1993 as the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. In 2007 it changed its name to the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare.
Whilst many contraceptives act by preventing the union of sperm and egg, some, including most IUCDs (intrauterine contraceptive devices) and the morning-after pill EllaOne (ulipristal acetate), also act by preventing the implantation of an early embryo. In other words they are embryocidal or abortifacient, rather than truly contra-ceptive.
Many doctors, of all faiths and none, have a moral objection to destroying human life and wish therefore to avoid using drugs or methods which act after fertilisation.
In fact this position was once held by the British Medical Association (BMA) when it adopted the Declaration of Geneva in 1948. This states, ‘I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception even against threat’.
But in 1983 the words ‘from the time of conception’ were amended to ‘from its beginning’ due to sensitivities about increasing medical involvement in abortion. The word 'beginning' was left undefined, giving doctors the
to argue, contrary to the biological reality, that early human life was not actually human life at all. 
  Now it seems that doctors who wish to abide by the original wording of the Declaration of Geneva are to be barred from practising in certain medical specialties. This is an extraordinary about face.
The Faculty may argue that they are not barring doctors and nurses from practising, but simply from obtaining certain qualifications. But as many job appointments will be conditional on applicants having these qualifications this is effectively also a bar on practice.

Interestingly doctors who have a moral objection to abortion are still able to complete the Faculty’s qualifications because the Abortion Act 1967 contains a conscience clause which protects them. But there is no law protecting those who object to destroying human embryos.
Many Christians believe that every human life, regardless of age, sex, race, degree of disability or any other biological characteristic, is worthy of the utmost respect, wonder, empathy and protection.
This is based on the idea, taught in the Bible, that human beings are made in the image of God. In a society which is becoming more hostile to Christian faith and values it is perhaps not surprising that we are seeing institutional discrimination of this kind.
Perhaps it is time for Christian doctors and nurses, and others who share their prolife views, to set up an alternative training programme.

Reprinted with permission from PJ Saunders

Source: LifeSite News



The Washington Post’s 180 degree turn on human cloning

By Michael Cook
WAPONYTGood for the Washington Post! It certainly takes a principled stand in its editorial on stem cell research. Not even its potential for curing dread diseases is sufficient reason to cross a bright line, it argues. “The creation of human embryos specifically for research that will destroy them is unconscionable. The government has no business funding it.”
Unfortunately, that was in 1994 (October 2). Almost exactly 20 years later, the Post took a very different line. An editorial last week argued: “As long as scientists do not cross ethical lines much farther from where they are now … researchers should have the flexibility to go in whichever direction is scientifically useful.”

As Emerson once said, “a foolish inconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” No one can blame the Post for recalibrating its positions with the years. But a 180-

turn is a different matter.

The 1994 editorial warned of the “slippery slope.” Anyone who denies that this lacks force as an argument should read both editorials carefully. Twenty years ago, the “deeply alarmed” Post said that creating embryos for experimentation was “flat wrong”. Now it says that “Some ethical worries are reasonable, but they are not enough reason to hold back this research.”

What is very discouraging in this comparison is not so much the change in the Post’s position as its decline in moral sophistication. Back in 1994, it recognised that serious ethical issues were involved. The issue could not be decided simply by acquiescing to scientists’ demands. Now its position is essentially that the only thing that matters is financial and scientific success. Is this really progress?
Editor’s note. This appeared at

Source: NRLC News

The Ghost of Kivorkian


Assisted Suicide Frees Doctors’ Inner Kevorkian

By Wesley J. Smith
Dignitas3Pathologist Jack Kevorkian infamously assisted the suicides of people he had not actually treated, or even examined. He would look at medical records, speak to the victim, and bring on the carbon monoxide or suicide machine.

Similarly, a Swiss doctor assisted the suicide of a man he did not physically examine, and took umbrage that authorities brought a case against him. From The Local story:
“A Neuchâtel doctor is considering an appeal after being fined 500 francs ($517) by a local court that found him guilty of helping an 89-year-old patient die without getting a proper diagnosis of the man’s condition.

“The prosecution argued that Freiburghaus had ‘crossed the line’ by failing to follow the legal regulations, which require that a doctor must properly diagnose the presence of an incurable illness and a short life expectancy before assisting suicide.”
Are they kidding? In recent days, we have seen Swiss suicide clinic deaths of healthy elderly women, one upset with modern technology and the other about losing her looks.

Back to the story:
“The doctor said he was reproached for not having gone far enough with his diagnosis. But Freiburghaus said he obtained a complete history of the man’s illness from the patient. From this he determined the man was suffering from rectal cancer. The doctor testified, however, that his patient did not want to be treated or examined and threatened to commit suicide by his own means.
“The doctor’s appalling abdication of professionalism reminds me of Dutch
home euthanasia death doctor, Bert Kaiser, who wrote in Dancing with Mr. D, that he euthanized a man due to lung cancer even though the diagnoses wasn’t certain.” Freiburghaus is upset that his prerogatives could be limited:
“Freiburghaus remained unrepentant, expressing disbelief over the court’s decision, according to an online report from Le Matin. ‘Soon a doctor will no longer be able to do anything without contravening legal niceties,’ he is quoted as saying by the newspaper.”
Similarly, Kaiser wrote that as he was on his way to lethally inject the patient, he told colleagues, “If anyone so much as whispers ‘cortisone’ or ‘uncertain diagnosis,’ I’ll hit him.” (Page 39.)
Here’s the moral of the story: Assisted suicide/euthanasia eventually brings out some “doctors’” inner Kevorkian. That is just one reason why we should reject the death agenda.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.

Source: NRLC News



Questions remain as Utah woman formally charged with 6 counts of first-degree murder in deaths of babies killed at birth

By Dave Andrusko
Megan Huntsman appears in court Monday.  Rick Bowmer, Associated Press
Megan Huntsman appears in court Monday.
Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

Prosecutors in Provo, Utah, this morning officially charged 39-year-old Megan Huntsman with six first-degree murder charges for killing six newborns over the space of ten years and stuffing their bodies into a garage “tucked away among old shoes and an artificial Christmas tree.”
Huntsman is the only suspect in a case where to date little light has been shed on what could possibly explain the alleged murder spree which took place between 1996 and 2006 when she strangled or suffocated the babies at birth.

Over the weekend, the New York Times filed a 1,500+word dispatch that filled in some details that painted a picture of a desperately unhappy and sick woman with no sense of self-esteem and hints of domestic abuse which were denied (at least by the estranged husband, Darren West).
But the primary questions remain the same. How could Huntsman, a relatively slight woman, have seven pregnancies during this time span and no one, including her now-estranged husband know? (She is not charged in the death of the seventh baby who was found; Huntsman told police the baby was stillborn.) People who knew her told the Times’ Jack Healy and Serge F. Kovaleski that they “simply chalked up the fluctuations in her 5-foot-4, 105-pound frame to weight gain.”
In one sense her behavior was consistent with her pregnancies in the early 1990s when Huntsman had her two oldest daughters. “Relatives, neighbors and friends said they had never even realized Huntsman had been pregnant,” Healy and Kovaleski write. “[S]he concealed those pregnancies from her family until she was close to going into labor, according to the police.”

What explains that after having their first two daughters, Huntsman and West “had a third who was born during the time that Huntsman has admitted to killing the other babies”?
West has a history of trouble with the law, including serving time on federal drug charges. Yet “Neighbors described him as a caring father who had been hoping to rebuild his life after his recent release from prison,” according to the Times. “When the bodies were discovered, he had been cleaning the home in hopes of moving back in with their daughters, and denied knowing anything about the babies or his wife’s hidden pregnancies.”

Likewise, when Huntsman moved in with her boyfriend, Jimmy Brady, “She could be loving and mothering,” Healy and Kovaleski write. She“helped care for Brady’s 5-year-old son, and spent hours playing with the young children of her next-door neighbor Joshua Flowers, 34, taking them to a playground and chasing them around on bicycles, he said. “She’d come out and smile and say hi and talk about her kids,” Flowers said.

One piece of additional news in the Times’ story surrounded what happened after West discovered the body of one baby packed in a cardboard box and called Huntsman. (It was not until police came that the bodies of the other six babies were found.) Huntsman then told Brady that years before
“she had miscarried a child, panicked and hid it away. She did not mention the other six, he said. Knowing the police were coming, he said, she begged him for a gun.
“His voice trembling as he spoke on his front steps, Brady said he was still shaken.
“’I don’t know what to believe anymore,’ he said. ‘I knew a totally different person than what’s on the news. I just don’t see how somebody could hide this many demons in the closet for so long.’”

Source: NRLC News

Murder Most Foul

Chicago teen charged with 1st degree murder for killing newborn baby who “looked like her ex-boyfriend”

By Dave Andrusko
Ana Rosa Mora, 18, allegedly murdered her newborn by putting it in a plastic bag and leaving it outside to die.
Ana Rosa Mora, 18, allegedly murdered her newborn by putting it in a plastic bag and leaving it outside to die.

Judge Laura Marie Sullivan Saturday ordered 18-year-old Ana Rosa Mora held on $500,000 bail for the murder of her full-term baby boy whom prosecutors said she placed outside her house in a plastic Walmart bag a week ago Saturday and then went back to bed.

Prosecutors said that Mora told police the baby looked like her ex-boyfriend, who was in fact the father, and that she was afraid her current boyfriend would realize that and leave her,” reported Mitch Smith for the Chicago Tribune.

The baby was alive when stuffed in the plastic shopping bag, The Cook County medical examiner’s office later determined. He died of asphyxia and possible exposure. The baby was found by a construction worker.

Mora concocted an elaborate but flimsy cover story to fool those who knew she had been pregnant. Assistant State’s Attorney Glen Runk said Mora told two staff members at Kelvyn Park High School that she had given birth, and showed them a photo of a baby girl on her iPad.

In the same conversation, prosecutors said, the high school senior “then brought up the dead baby found near her home and asked the school officials whether police had the right to take DNA from people in her house and whether that DNA would show who the child’s mother was,” Smith reported. When Mora was offered congratulations by a Chicagopolice officer stationed at the school, she further incriminated herself by telling the officer the baby was six months old in front of other staff members. (It turned out Mora had downloaded a baby’s photo off the Internet.)

“One of the school staff members grew suspicious that evening and called the officer,” Smith reported. “That officer called detectives, and police interviewed Mora on Tuesday. Officers arrested the teen at her Logan Square neighborhood home Friday afternoon.”
Mora first denied the baby was hers, and then admitted placing him in the gangway next to her home in the 2700 block of North Hamlin Avenue.

Source: NRLC News

Monday, April 28, 2014



Not just the UK: babies incinerated in Oregon to provide electricity

Just as the shock and horror that followed news of British hospitals using the remains of aborted children to provide heat to their facilities began to subside, news broke that Canada and the U.S. are partnered with one another to accomplish the same end.
The British Columbia Health Ministry has admitted that babies killed by abortion are ultimately being used to provide electricity to certain parts of Oregon. A waste-to-energy facility in Oregon receives biomedical waste from British Columbia, and this “biomedical waste” includes the bodies of babies who were aborted in Canada. It is unclear exactly which parts of Oregon are being powered by this energy source, but according to the Oregon Refuse and Recycling Association, it is “likely” that the remains make their final stop, prior to being incinerated, at the Covanta Marion waste-to-energy facility.
According to LifeSiteNews:
The power facility, located in Brookes just off the I-5, burns waste in two massive boilers at a temperature of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat transfers into water tubes, which creates steam to drive turbines. The turbines generate electricity.
A 2007 article about the Marion waste-to-energy facility that appeared in the Willamette Live — ironically titled “Burn, Baby, Burn” — stated that at the time the incinerator burned about 800 tons (1,764,000 pounds) of medical waste per year.
“Medical waste is brought to the facility in sealed boxes and is carried to the furnace on a conveyor belt which layers it with the rest of the solid waste being processed,” the article states.
Locals at the time protested the “importation and burning of medical waste,” expressing concern about breathing “toxic emissions.”
It will be interesting to see what those locals may think about the fact that they are breathing the emissions of aborted fetal remains – babies who never got the chance to breathe themselves, because others didn’t want them to. It will also be interesting to see how many more of these cases are uncovered now that the can of worms has been opened in the U.K.

Source: LiveAction News



Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy and the problem of wantedness

When Chelsea Clinton announced last week that she was pregnant, pro-lifers everywhere immediately noticed the irony in Chelsea referring to her offspring as a “child,” when abortion advocates like herself opt for the word “fetus” when it suits them. They are quick to gush over their own pre-planned children and babies, but when defending a woman’s right to kill her offspring, the babies aren’t babies; they’re fetuses. The pro-abortion side has cried foul over pro-lifers noticing the dichotomy, but their explanation for the divorced terms has yet to add up. Think Progress attempts to explain where pro-lifers are supposedly wrong:

Abortion opponents expressed confusion that the Clintons would refer to Chelsea’s unborn child as a “baby” and not a “fetus,” suggesting that’s wholly incompatible with their support for legal abortion. “When it’s their own grandchild, it appears the Clintons see things differently, with their words most definitely betraying their true feelings on the matter. No talk of a non-person fetus, only of a child,” a Christian Post editorial noted, declaring that the Clintons must actually believe that life begins at conception.
The insinuation, of course, is that the people who support abortion rights must always opt for abortion over pregnancy. But that’s an incredibly black-and-white view of reproductive rights that doesn’t actually reflect the reality of Americans’ experiences — including the women who have chosen to end a pregnancy at some point in their lives.
The piece went on to swim in the theory that, although most Americans identify themselves as pro-life, they aren’t actually against abortion. We’ve heard the speech; most people can be convinced that an exception for rape is humane, for example. In reality, “reproductive rights” issues (read: abortion) are incredibly black-and-white. There is nothing more black and white than hanging an innocent human being in the balance of life and death, as abortion “rights” do.
So why the dichotomy of terms, when science affirms that babies and fetuses are the same thing? Clearly, it is a form of sophistry utilized by the abortion camp, and the answer is wantedness (or lack thereof) in regards to pre-born children. Wanted offspring are “babies.” Unwanted offspring are “fetuses.” The latter term distances offspring from the warm, thriving, tiny humans with fingernails and beating hearts who they are. “Fetus” is a perfectly accurate term to describe an unborn baby, but it’s a term that has been relegated to textbooks, where medical nomenclature is predominantly Latin, and therefore unfamiliar to most laymen.
Most women seeking to “end their pregnancies” want to imagine themselves doing just that – ending a pregnancy - and leave it at that. Of course they don’t want to imagine what horrors, besides halting the growth of a belly, ending a pregnancy entails (the processes can be read about or viewed in all of their inglorious reality here). And, being the masterful marketers that they are, abortion providers will make the abortion sale by further and further distancing a mother – mentally – from the child she carries. The “uterine contents” will be emptied. Her “fetus” will be removed. The “procedure” will be quick.
Chelsea, who has staunchly advocated for abortion rights, will be giving birth to a beautiful baby very soonThis is great news. Perhaps when she looks into her child’s eyes for the first time, and he or she looks back at her in all of his or her humanity, she will be convicted to acknowledge the equal value of all fetuses in the future, whether they are wanted or so-calledunwanted” children.

Source: LiveAction News

Tax Payer Funding of Abortion in ObamaCare


Understanding taxpayer funding of abortion in ObamaCare

Obamacare Wants You to Pay for AbortionSince ObamaCare was first proposed, Americans have been in danger of funding thousands more abortions every year. And now, a detailed list created by the Susan B. Anthony List describes how, under the gargantuan mess that is ObamaCare, “as many as 111,500 additional abortions per year could be heavily subsidized by taxpayers.” This, despite the recent reminder provided by a CNN poll that the majority of Americans have always opposed taxpayer-funded abortions.
The SBA List reports that subsidies are one main way that ObamaCare forces taxpayers to fund others’ elective abortions. In twenty-six states, “refundable advanceable ‘affordability’ tax credits” will “heavily subsidize the purchase of insurance plans that cover elective abortion.” These twenty-six states have not removed elective abortion coverage from their insurance exchanges – thus forcing taxpayers to fund the coverage. SBA List explains that the taxpayer funding “may reach as high as 100 percent of the premium. Such a massive subsidy to buy elective abortion coverage has never before been available to the public and it represents an imposition on all U.S. taxpayers.”
In addition:
Consumers in abortion-funding plans directly subsidize the abortions of others by paying into an “abortion slush fund.” Those participating in the abortion-funding plans will pay a mandatory minimum $1 per month for abortion coverage.
Yes, a mandatory minimum. Instead of allowing Americans to “choose” whether or not they desire to fund elective abortions, ObamaCare is forcing this onto unwilling Americans. Now, ObamaCare has made it mandatory to pay for abortions.
As if this is not outrageous enough, ObamaCare makes it difficult for citizens to determine whether or not they are purchasing a plan that covers elective abortion. While regulations require just “one pro-life plan…be established among the ‘multi-state plans’” and “offered in each state health exchange,” it’s still a mucky catastrophe. SBA List explains:
Intense review of the website, revealed that it is nearly impossible for consumers to discern which plans exclude coverage of elective abortions and abortion-inducing drugs.
The clandestine abortion funding problems prompted the introduction of the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act in Congress.
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) asked HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to provide a list of plans that are pro-life, as required by the health care law. She backtracked on her promise to provide a list of plans to Congress in December 2013.
Congressman Doug Lamborn took to Facebook to explain the dangers of ObamaCare.
Congressman Doug Lamborn took to Facebook to explain the dangers of ObamaCare.
Add to all this the expansion of Medicaid – and its increased funding of elective abortions – as well as the requirement for insurance plans to provide “abortion-inducing drugs,” and you can see how ObamaCare steamrolls the taxpayers. ObamaCare entirely dismisses the wishes of the majority of Americans, forcing us to fund active, elective killing of unborn children – to the tune of more than 100,000 of them every year.
To find out more about how this happened and what’s being done about it, read the additional details from SBA List here.
As American citizens, we ought to be metaphorically banging down the doors of Congress. We ought to absolutely insist that they pass an amendment to ObamaCare that will stop us from being forced to pay for elective abortions. We ought to ask our own representative and senators to do their part to reveal the truth about ObamaCare and taxpayer abortion funding – just like Congressman Doug Lamborn has done.

The majority of Americans should not be relegated to a one-plan option that’s nearly impossible to find in the first place – all so we don’t have to pay for thousands of murders that we don’t support.
This is wrong. Outrageously wrong.

Source: LiveAction News



The Very Face of Extremism

By Rai Rojas, NRLC Director of Hispanic Outreach
Editor’s note. Lauren Enriquez wrote a piece that ran today on the tenth anniversary of the pro-abortion “March for Women’s Lives” in Washington, D.C. which we reprinted. This prompted me to go back in the National Right to Life News archives. I found two articles that are particularly instructive. This is the first. Laura Echevarria’s wonderful critique of media coverage of the march is second. Both appeared in the May 2004 issue of NRL News.
Then NARAL President Kate Michelman and Hillary Clinton
Then NARAL President Kate Michelman and Hillary Clinton

If you are the usual pro-abortion advocacy groups, what do you do when abortion rates continue to drop, pro-life legislation is passed in Congress, young people of America are moving into the pro-life camp in droves, and the American public shows clear signs that it is finally taking notice that supporters of abortion are the very face of extremism?

If you are Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Feminist Majority, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the ACLU, or the Center for Reproductive Rights, you put together a “March for Women’s Lives” and demonstrate to all who actually see you that you are every bit as radically out of the mainstream as pro-lifers say you are!
Like cicadas, which appear every 17 years on the East Coast, pro-abortionists surfaced April 25, 2004, in Washington, D.C., in large numbers for the first time in a dozen years. Their mission? To try in vain to convince the public that they are a powerful force that can defeat President George W. Bush in November.

But a more honest title for their gathering would have been, “The March for the Bottom Line.” Quite frankly, as most of us know, they are protecting a billion dollar a year industry which cares little about women’s lives and none about the lives of tens of millions of unborn women.
My guess is that the leaders of these groups understood that history is no longer moving in their direction. That is why they threw caution (and truth) to the wind and said anything that they believed would get their supporters to act.
The rhetoric from the podium on the National Mall was not only vile and vulgar, it was so angry that it honestly approached irrationality. Especially infuriating was that they made an extra-special appeal to Hispanic women and Latino families.
They beckoned us to believe that to be “pro-choice” is to be truly pro-family, pro-child, pro-woman, and have the best interests of the Hispanic community at heart. Did Hispanics buy this speechifying?
Absolutely not.

Pro-abortionists such as NARAL’s Kate Michelman, Feminist Majority’s Eleanor Smeal, and Planned Parenthood’s Gloria Feldt claim to be pro-family. But Hispanics are very aware that these pro-abortion groups have lobbied against legislation that would ensure that parents know whether their minor daughter is about to undergo a possibly life-threatening procedure.
They claim to be pro-child, but they work to defend partial-birth abortions which are so barbaric and unnecessarily cruel that nearly 3/4 of all Americans are opposed.
Abortionists are now being asked in courtrooms across America to give honest testimonies about what happens to an unborn child during a partial-birth abortion. Even presented in clinical language, partial-birth abortions are so ugly and so violent as to be obscene. Hispanics know that anyone who supports the deliberate killing of a partially delivered baby is not pro-child.
They shriek that they are pro-woman. Then why lobby against a bill that would offer the utmost protection to vulnerable pregnant women? As President Bush said at the signing of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, “The moral concern of humanity extends to those unborn children who are harmed or killed in crimes against their mothers.”
Hispanics know that special heartache a woman feels when an assailant harms or kills her unborn child. Hispanics have a much better sense of being “pro-woman” than Kate Michelman ever will.
If this weren’t enough mockery, they claim to be “pro-Hispanic.”
They really just don’t understand – - and don’t care – - that Latin Americans live in countries where abortion goes against the Latino culture, Latino morals, and Latino laws. These pro-abortion groups see this as backwardness, and they are shocked and awed by Hispanic resistance to pro-abortion propaganda.

The onslaught against Latinos increases daily as scores of American companies spend millions of dollars a year to try to change the Hispanic culture from a culture of life to a culture of death, both here in the U.S. and in Latin America. Thankfully, with the help of National Right to Life, International Right to Life, Human Life International-Spanish Division, and many other pro-life agencies, they are meeting more and stronger resistance.
In this country, as is evident by polls, we Hispanics bring our cultural abhorrence for abortion with us when we migrate. But make no mistake, we are a targeted group by those who marched in Washington, D.C.

They’ve even co-opted some terribly misinformed Hispanics who are way out of step with the rest of us to join them. But the vast majority of us know what’s right.
We know that every child has a place en nuestras casas y nuestras familias – - our homes and families. We know and cherish and honor the sanctity of motherhood and of life.
No matter how loud they shouted April 25, selling abortion to Hispanics will continue to be a very hard sell. Judging by the volume and the hysteria of their podium statements, they know it too.

Source: NRLC News

Pray for Us


Blessed John Paul II: Saint and Pro-Life Hero


By Marie Smith, Director, Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues
Pope John Paul ll
Pope John Paul ll

Blessed John Paul II, a beloved pope and inspirational religious leader who was a pro-life hero, will be canonized a saint on Sunday, April 27th. We pause to reflect on the pro-life messages of this soon-to-be saint who as pope spoke with steadfast faith and inextinguishable commitment to human dignity for all. A pope who acted with peerless courage and conviction in the face of extreme animosity and danger to help bring freedom and democracy to his Polish homeland and eventually all of Eastern and Central Europe, bringing about the demise of the Soviet Union. His travels to over 129 countries earned him the title of “The Pilgrim Pope” and won the hearts of billions as he called upon the faithful to advance a culture of life.
For pro-life lawmakers–and for all those working to protect unborn children and their mothers from the violence of abortion–Blessed John Paul II’s defining of this global struggle as the “culture of life” vs. the “culture of death” epitomized the battle clearly and succinctly. He renewed the pro-life movement with a clear vision of what it was working for and not just against, and motivated a new generation to stand up for the most vulnerable. Blessed John Paul II’s courage, charisma, and unwavering convictions were–and are–the stuff that makes heroes. He was, and remains, a pro-life hero who soon will be canonized a saint.
Blessed John Paul II innately understood the darkness of the struggle for the right to life for children in the womb. After all, he had endured years in the midst of the evil and darkness that had enveloped his beloved Poland, never giving-in or giving-up, resisting as he could until the day freedom was won. We need to do the same in the pro-life movement.
When he addressed World Youth Day in Colorado Pope John Paul II exhorted the youth on the dangers of the “culture of death” which struggles against life:
“Death battles against life: A ‘culture of death’ seeks to impose itself on our desire to live and live to the full. There are those who reject the light of life, preferring ‘the fruitless works of darkness’ (Eph. 5:11). Their harvest is injustice, discrimination, exploitation, deceit, violence. In every age, a measure of their apparent success is the death of the innocents. In our own century, as at no other time in history, the ‘culture of death’ has assumed a social and institutional form of legality to justify the most horrible crimes against humanity: genocide, ‘final solutions,’ ‘ethnic cleansings’ and the massive ‘taking of lives of human beings even before they are born or before they reach the natural point of death’ (cf. Dominum et Vivificatem 57).”
Blessed John Paul’s message to the youth to feel the “urgency of the task” in opposing the culture of death speaks to us all,
“At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation. Like the great apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task: “Woe to me if I do not evangelize” (1 Cor. 9:16). Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life.”
The world knows all too well the woes of not feeling the full “urgency of the task” to overturn laws that allow the death of unborn children by abortion and not succeeding in defending life as many nations with laws allowing abortion on demand struggle with demographic implosion and below replacement fertility rates brought on by the large numbers of innocents killed in the womb. In the United States, the terrible ‘woes’ of abortion on demand have resulted in over 56 million children have lost their lives since abortion was imposed by the Supreme Court and countless women who have experienced the harmful physical, psychological, and spiritual consequences of abortion.
Blessed John Paul II also clearly understood the relentless and unified efforts of international pro-abortion organizations and agencies at the United Nations that continue today to seek legitimacy, legality, and justification for the killing of preborn children. His leadership helped to stop the advance of an international right to abortion at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) at Cairo in 1994.
His encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) continues to instruct, inspire, motivate, and encourage today. Article 59 is especially relevant as the recent UN debate during the meeting of the Commission on Population and Development marking 20 years since the meeting at Cairo exemplifies:
“Finally, one cannot overlook the network of complicity which reaches out to include international institutions, foundations and associations which systematically campaign for the legalization and spread of abortion in the world. In this sense abortion goes beyond the responsibility of individuals and beyond the harm done to them, and takes on a distinctly social dimension. It is a most serious wound inflicted on society and its culture by the very people who ought to be society’s promoters and defenders. As I wrote in my Letter to Families, “we are facing an immense threat to life: not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilization itself”. We are facing what can be called a “structure of sin” which opposes human life not yet born.”

Evangelium Vitae specifically speaks to pro-life lawmakers who struggle in countries with legalized abortion as they attempt to enact restrictions on abortion, often through incremental actions. Soon-to-be Saint John Paul II addresses the passage of such laws:

73) “A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favouring abortion, often supported by powerful international organizations, in other nations-particularly those which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive legislation-there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and pub

lic morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.”
Blessed John Paul II’s call for a “great campaign in support of life” continues to motivate and inspire our work to ‘mobilize consciences’ and unite efforts of people of all faiths to achieve cultural transformation so that all cultures “may express the full truth about the human person and about human life.”

Pope John Paul II was an inspirational leader of the Catholic Church, a skilled communicator, a charismatic and personable individual- one whose holiness was palpable. It has been a great personal joy to have met him on a number of occasions and during one particular moving encounter to have experienced the spontaneous flow of tears, along with many others in the room, brought on solely by being in his presence.
From the beginning of his papacy, Pope John Paul II instructed the world to “have no fear”. Saint John Paul II will help us to “have no fear” as we defend life from womb to tomb and work to advance a culture of life through law and policy. Saint John Paul II, pray for us!

Source: NRLC News

Media and Assisted Suicide


How media helps push us off suicide cliff

By Wesley J. Smith
Wesley Smith
Wesley Smith
I’ve seen it again and again in my more than twenty years of opposing assisted suicide: the media promote suicide in the guise of reporting the news. Indeed, these days, it is almost a universal rule.
Here’s the biased–both by what is reported and what isn’t–usual pattern:
1. Make sure the headline promotes assisted suicide, particularly important since many won’t read the story;
2. Introduce an ill person with terrifying disease–often ALS (motor neurone disease), the bloody flag of the euthanasia movement;
3. The patient just wants to die when a “line” is crossed;
4. But mean society won’t let doctors prescribe death, so he has to die in a way he would rather not (take your pick) violently, with his family absent, in Switzerland, in agony, etc.;
5. If the law would only permit doctor-prescribed suicide, he could die at home, in his own bed, surrounded by the things and people he loves;
6. Write the story as if it appears or implies that the suicide is a necessity;
7. Never mention suicide prevention and how people similarly situated were helped not to kill themselves and are glad to be alive;
8. Don’t fairly present opposing arguments, e.g., no quotes, or quotes from priest only, no (or barely a mention of) reasons to keep assisted suicide illegal;
9. Immediately have the suicidal hero–or a “compassionate” family doctor–slap down the concern;
10. Don’t describe the horrors of Belgium, the Netherlands, or Switzerland–oft discussed here;
11. Assure that assisted suicide guidelines will prevent abuse–without noting it hasn’t worked out that way wherever society widely embraces euthanasia consciousness.
Et voila! You have a story in which the reader is left nodding, “Of COURSE the law should be changed so he could die as he pleases.”
Read this story in the Bristol Post, and you see the pattern played almost to a tee in all its propagandistic reader manipulation:
1.Pro allow the suicide headline:
“Beethoven and Bordeaux, not Beatles and beards for my dying wishes, says ex-Bristol head”
2. Suicidal person with terrifying disease:
“Former schools inspector Chris Woodhead has revealed that he has planned his final moments in his battle with the progressive disease which has left him quadriplegic and unable to feed himself since his diagnosis in 2006.”
3. Wants to die when line crossed:
“A former Bristol teacher and head of Ofsted says he wants to die when motor neurone disease deprives him of his ability to speak.”
4. “Has” to die in way he doesn’t want:
“Bristol University graduate Mr. Woodhead, a former head of English at Gordano School in Portishead, previously stated in 2011 that he might be willing to go to Dignitas, an assisted suicide centre in Switzerland, to die.”
5. Would rather die at home with what he loves:
“…he said he would not be going to the clinic to end his life alongside ‘bearded social workers,’ and would much prefer to live his final moments with his loved ones, listening to Beethoven’s later quartets with a bottle of Bordeaux.”
6. Suicide a necessity: Implied in this case as the story says zero about what can be done to ensure comfort or alleviate impact of person’s “line.” For example, this story never mentions technology that facilitates communication, e.g. as used by Stephen Hawking, if the patient loses the ability to speak.
7. Other options not mentioned: The story does not interview suicide prevention expert or hospice professional who works to help people with ALS keep on keeping on. The medical director of St. Christopher’s Hospice could have given the reporter an earful of such hopeful examples.
8. No meaningful opposition allowed. Here’s the only sentence involving the reasons not to legalize assisted suicide:
But it has concerned critics who are worried it may be open for abuse.
9. Slapdown!
“Mr. Woodhead said he didn’t ‘buy for one moment that we are going to see all sorts of vulnerable people bumped off by their avaricious relatives.’”
10. Don’t mention horrors elsewhere already documented abundantly. Check
11. Guidelines will prevent abuse!
He said: “It seems to me obvious that society can build necessary safeguards to guard people and that people are making huge song and dance about something which is quite simple.”
Of course, it isn’t nearly that simple.
And once assisted suicide was allowed for ALS patients, the same pattern would apply to people with disabilities, chronic diseases, mental illnesses, etc. Because legalized assisted suicide for the terminally ill would not stop trips to Switzerland to be made dead by the non terminally ill–already occurring
But why do a balanced job? That takes work. And insight. And objectivity. And professionalism.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.

Source: NRLC News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Premature Babies


Preemie goes untreated, mother not informed it was hospital policy

By Dave Andrusko
Memory box: First-time mother Tracy Godwin, 34, cradled her newborn son Tom in her arms until he died.
Memory box: First-time mother Tracy Godwin, 34, cradled her newborn son Tom in her arms until he died.
In 2010, when Tracy Godwin,       

In 2010, when Tracy Godwin, then 22 weeks pregnant, suddenly developed excruciating stomach pains, she immediately went to the hospital. The Daily Mail’s Andrew Levy writes
“She was put in a private room at Southend Hospital and when staff told her the baby might arrive early she begged them to do everything they could to keep it alive. After three days a midwife broke her waters with what Miss Godwin believes was a large pair of scissors and she gave birth to her 1lb son shortly afterwards.”

But despite her desperate pleas, Godwin was left alone to cradle her tiny son for 46 minutes until Tom stopped breathing “as staff ignored her desperate pleas for help.” It was not until six weeks later that she learned it was the hospital’s policy not to resuscitate babies born before 23 weeks.
Tom was 22 weeks and two days.

Now, four years later—and after the successful birth of a daughter who was also born premature— the hospital finally apologized and promised “to improve our internal policy for babies born prematurely,” which, on the surface, does not guarantee they will care for future babies like Tom. It more likely means that staff will be ordered to tell mothers of the hospital’s non-treatment policy.
Godwin described the traumatic experience to Levy:

“They put him in my arms and he cried and was wriggling around. I could feel him breathing and see his eyelashes and toes.
“‘But I kept thinking, ‘Where’s the incubator?’ We were begging the midwives to do something to help him but no one was saying anything. He was not stillborn, he was trying to live.”
Although the hospital reached an unspecified agreement with Godwin in January, earlier this month the Coroner’s office recorded that the baby died from natural causes and said failings in the care provided “did not affect the outcome.”

Back in December 2012, we wrote about a similar situation in Great Britain but with a happier ending, courtesy of what can only be described as a miracle.
Part of the criteria for “viability” is that a preemie weigh at least one pound. Placed on the hospital scale, Maddalena, born early to Kate Douse and her husband Renato, weighed exactly one pound.
Only the baby didn’t weigh 1 pound. Maddalena only seemed to weigh that much because a pair of scissors had accidentally been left on the scale! The doctors at Royal Sussex Hospital did not discover their “error,” the Sun newspaper reported, until she was safely on the ventilator.

Source: NRLC News



Three scientists doggedly fight the PVS dogma

By Dave Andrusko
Scott Routley was misdiagnosed as being in a PVS for  more a decade, until his brain activity was scanned in an fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine. Routley’s neurologist Prof. Bryan Young said the scan results overturned all the behavioral assessments that had been made over the years.
Scott Routley was misdiagnosed as being in a PVS for more a decade until his brain activity was scanned in an fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine. Routley’s neurologist Prof. Bryan Young said the scan results overturned all the behavioral assessments that had been made over the years.
Thankfully, whenever there is another study that proves yet again that we over-categorize severely brain-injured patients as being in a PVS, there is coverage not only of the original investigation but also what the study means—its larger context.
We’ve written about last week’s dramatic study reported in The Lancet and the New York Times bumbling attempt to commandeer the study’s findings for the Times’ unceasing campaign to misrepresent the tragic death of Terri Schiavo.  I would highly recommend you take a few minutes and read them both.
The best overview I believe I’ve ever read on the whole topic of how “a mind might be coaxed back into awareness” appeared today in the British publication, The New Statesman. Written by Roger Highfield, who was the newspaper’s science editor for two decades, the piece is not perfect but nonetheless hugely impressive.
The science is remarkable complex, but because Highfield and the three scientists whose work he profiles are gifted communicators, laypeople (like yours truly) can grasp at least the outlines of the big picture. While I would strongly encourage you to read the analysis, because it is over 8,000 words [], I’ll provide a summary/overview.
  • Medical doctors do not like to be told they are wrong,” neurologist Nicholas Schiff told Highfield. What was it that was ”condemned as a waste of time” by almost all their peers? Lots of things, starting with them questioning the accuracy of sweeping in so many into the PVS category reserved for the “hopeless.” And there was the certainty that since “no patient in a persistent vegetative state was conscious” (as Highfield puts it) “Doctors, with the best intentions, thought it was perfectly acceptable to end the life of a vegetative patient by starvation and the withdrawal of water. This was the age of what [Steven] Laureys calls ‘therapeutic nihilism.’” As a result, “Schiff, Laureys and [Adrian] Owen cut lonely and isolated figures at academic conferences, desperately trying to explain their findings to their peers, who remained unconvinced, even antagonistic.”
  • As the equipment becomes more sophisticated and the researchers more ingenious at using these and older techniques, there is an urgent need to rewrite textbooks. For example, Scott Routley was in a PVS for more a decade, at least according to the standard tests. But after doctors asked him questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine, it turns out they were wrong all along. Routley’s neurologist for a decade, Prof. Bryan Young at University Hospital, London, said the scan results overturned all the behavioral assessments that had been made over the years [1]
  • One other of what could be many, many item. The British medical establishment is grudgingly coming to recognize that are ways that “might jump-start a stalled brain,” as Highfield describes it. “Over the years, a remarkable series of experiments have shown how a mind might be coaxed back into awareness” and “how a brain can rewire itself even decades after an injury.” So there has been progress; those who do not exactly embrace the work of Owen, Schiff, and Laureys insist they are no longer “skeptical,” only “cautious.”
Highfield ends his piece with an interesting twist, especially for pro-lifers:
“Back on Skype, Owen smiles, considering whether to tell me what he is planning next. Owen’s [wife], Jessica Grahn, also a neuroscientist, became pregnant at the start of 2013. What happens when consciousness winks on in the developing brain?
“He emails me a video of their unborn child, a montage of fMRI slices through their baby’s head, as it twists and turns in Jessica’s womb. ‘My colleagues have been doing fMRI on my wife’s tummy every week for a few weeks now to see if we can activate the fetus’s brain.’ he writes. ‘It is AMAZING.’”

[1] The BBC included an explanation of how patients like Routley communicate.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging measures the real-time activity of the brain by tracking the flow of oxygen-rich blood
The patients were repeatedly asked to imagine playing tennis or walking around their home
In healthy volunteers each produces a distinct pattern of activity, in the premotor cortex for the first task and the parahippocampal gyrus for the second
It allowed the researchers to put a series of yes or no questions to severely brain-injured patients. [Some] were able to answer by using the power of thought.

Source: NRLC News