Pro-Life News: Abortion, Stem Cell Research, South Dakota, Pennsylvania

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 13, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life News: Abortion, Stem Cell Research, South Dakota, Pennsylvania Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 13, 2006

Pro-Abortion Leader Kate Michelman Won’t Run for Pennsylvania Senate
Harrisburg, PA ( —
Because the Pennsylvania Senate race features two candidates who oppose abortion, former NARAL president Kate Michelman had been considering tossing her hat in the ring for the contest. She had been receiving encouragement from pro-abortion activists to run either in the Democratic primary against state Treasurer Bob Casey or run as an independent to draw pro-abortion votes from Casey and pro-life Sen. Rick Santorum. Citing family considerations, Michelman said she won’t run. "After 27 years on the frontlines of social battles, I was prepared to make the transition toward a more conventional life," she said about her stepping down last year from NARAL. Michelman said she won’t run despite her concern that Casey endorsed Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, whom the Senate later confirmed. Surprisingly, Michelman all but endorsed Casey, in part because of his position in favor of federal taxpayer funding for family planning. "Despite profound and fundamental differences, I have decided that Pennsylvania will be better served by electing Bob Casey to the U.S. Senate than giving his opponent another term," she explained. Michelman said she may later regret that decision.

South Dakota Residents Barraged State Officials About Abortion Ban
Pierre, SD ( —
During the debate and the time before Governor Mike Rounds signed the nation’s first state abortion ban following the Roe v. Wade decision, more than 10,000 South Dakota residents phoned or emailed state officials with their opinions on the subject. Mark Johnston, a spokesman for Rounds, said the state established a call center after the first onslaught of calls and letters started pouring in. The center had five additional lines to handle the calls. "Our front-office and operations people have done a phenomenal job," Johnston, Rounds’ press secretary, told AP. He said most of the messages on the bill were directed to the governor’s office. He said the highest volume of calls he personally handled was 150 on one day.

Adult Stem Cell Research Treatment Will Help Rebuild Failing Hearts
Chicago, IL ( —
A treatment using adult stem cells to help heart patients rebuild their hearts is undergoing the second phase of its trials. Baxter International will use the cells to treat 150 patients to create new blood vessels in their cardiovascular system. This is the first phase two study of its kind approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The first phase, involving 24 patients, found great success with many having to take fewer nitrate tablets or being able to resume activities such as walking or using a treadmill — tasks they were unable to do before the trial began. Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in America, responsible for an estimated one in every five deaths. A successful treatment could have profound impact, especially with the moral problems and lack of success embryonic stem cells have had. Those cells have never been used in human trials while adult stem cells have already developed treatments for more than 80 diseases and conditions. Two years ago, Ronald Trachtenberg said, the severe heart condition that hounded him for more than 20 years essentially had confined him to his recliner. Within six months of having his own stem cells injected into damaged areas of his heart, the 60-year-old retired accountant said, he began feeling like a new man. Today Trachtenberg reports dramatic reductions both in chest pain and in the need for the nitrate pills he previously took by the handful on days he had severe heart spasm. He said he can walk 500 feet back and forth in front of his Cape Cod, Mass., home and takes a nitrate pill, a common medication for people suffering severe angina, just "once in a blue moon."

Britain to Reduce Price of Morning After Pill to Reduce Teen Pregnancies
London, England ( —
In order to reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which officials in England say are still considerably high, the government is planning to cut the price of the morning after pill in hopes more will be used. Finance Minister Gordon Brown said taxes on the Plan B drugs will be lowered, resulting in a reduction in cost from $43 to $38. Taxes on condoms would be reduced y a similar percentage, the Cybercast News Service Reports. Britain has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe, but pro-life groups say reducing the morning after pill cost is not the best way to fight it because the drugs can sometimes cause an abortion. Norman Wells, head of the Family Education Trust, told CNS News he thought the move would have little effect on pregnancy rates. "The root of the problem is not the cost of contraception, but that we have divorced sexual activity from its proper place within a faithful marriage between one man and one woman for life," he said. He also said Britain needed to reform its views about the benefits of abstinence education. "There’s a tremendous resistance and hostility here to the idea of teenagers exercising sexual restraint."

California Lawmakers Order Audit of Stem Cell Research Committee
Sacramento, CA ( —
Last week, California lawmakers ordered a state audit of the finances of the committee set up under Proposition 71 to spend $3 billion in taxpayer funds on human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. The Legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted unanimously last Wednesday to have the state auditor review both the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee. The panel has come under fire and is the subject of two lawsuits over conflict of interest rules violations and not having any state oversight of its spending. "I believe the audit will help ensure that the program is on sound footing as it moves into its grant-making phase next year,” said state Sen. Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, who called for the audit. State Auditor Elaine Howle told the San Francisco Chronicle the audit would also evaluate the committee’s strategic plans and make sure ti has the right controls in place to comply with state law. She indicated the audit will take six months.