Pro-Life News: Stem Cell Research, Pregnancy Discrimination, Missouri

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 16, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life News: Stem Cell Research, Pregnancy Discrimination, Missouri Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 16
, 2006

Adult Stem Cell Research Delays Start of Lou Gehrig’s Disease in Rats
Rockville, MD ( —
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown that transplanting adult stem cells into spinal cords of rats bred to duplicate Lou Gehrig’s disease delays the start of nerve cell damage typical of the disease and slightly prolongs life. The grafted stem cells develop into nerve cells that make substantial connections with existing nerves and do not themselves succumb to Lou Gehrig’s, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The study is published in this week’s issue of Transplantation. "We were extremely surprised to see that the grafted stem cells were not negatively affected by the degenerating cells around them, as many feared introducing healthy cells into a diseased environment would only kill them," says Vassilis Koliatsos, M.D., an associate professor of pathology and neuroscience at Hopkins. Although all the rats eventually died of ALS, Koliatsos believes his experiments offer "proof of principle" for stem cell grafts and that a more complete transplant of cells — already being planned — along the full length of the spine to affect upper body nerves and muscles as well might lead to longer survival in the same rats.

Pregnancy Discrimination Still Occurs in the Workplace, Women Pressured
Denver, CO ( —
Pregnancy discrimination still occurs in the workplace and abortion makes it more difficult for women as some employers view abortion as a quick solution to the so-called "problem" of a pregnant employee. Andrea Wolff-Yakubovich, a former finance director for a John Elway AutoNation dealer, knows first-hand what it’s like. She was fired three weeks after she got pregnant. "Why would Andye want to be in the car business?" her boss allegedly asked her husband, according to the Denver Post newspaper, who also worked at the dealership. "She should just be at home barefoot and pregnant." Now Wolff-Yakubovich is in U.S. District Court in Denver, suing for discrimination and alleging the above comments as part of her claim. The auto dealer denies her claims. But her Denver attorney Darold Killmer tells the newspaper an epidemic is happening. "I’ve seen more (pregnancy discrimination) clients … in the last couple of years than I’ve seen in the past 10," he said. "Myths and stereotypes still rule the day," he said. "The idea that a pregnant woman will only focus on the baby instead of her work is still a prevalent attitude among employers these days."

Missouri Ads on Human Cloning Proposal Discuss Egg Collection Issues
Jefferson City, MO ( —
New ads produced by a pro-life organization talk about the problems associated with collecting human eggs from women for use in human cloning research. The adds are in opposition to a state ballot proposal that would have Missouri back human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. "The procedure was really painful, and my mom was upset,” a woman in the new television ad says. “Now I find out that it might cause kidney failure, ovarian tumors and sterility. Some women even die from it.” An off-screen voice tells television viewers that research on early stem cells will require millions of human eggs. “And women will pay a terrible price,” the narrator says. The ad is produced by the Vitae Caring Foundation in Jefferson City. Carl Landwehr, president of the Vitae Caring Foundation, defended the TV ad in comments to the Kansas City Star newspaper. “Whether the words are spoken by the person who lived through it or by someone portraying that is not as important as the facts,” he said.

Scientists Flocking to California for Piece of Taxpayer Funding Pie
Sacramento, CA ( —
Scientists from across the country are flocking to California to try to get their hands on part of the $3 billion in taxpayer funding the state will dole out for embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. One researcher even left Harvard for the chance at the money. "To have the government come forward with that kind of money, I think adds that much more attractiveness to the research programs at Stanford and other California leading institutions," said Dr. Robert Jackler of Stanford University. Jackler has recruited several top researchers into his department including Dr. Stefan Heller who worked at Harvard using private research dollars. “You can do so much more with that kind of funding," he said of the tax money. California’s funding is still held up in courts by two lawsuits from pro-life and taxpayers groups saying they committee chosen to give out the grants has numerous problems.

Denver Residents Oppose Ms. Magazine "I Had an Abortion" Campaign
Denver, CO ( —
Denver area residents are opposed to the recent "I had an abortion" campaign in Ms. Magazine to promote abortions. In an October 4 poll conducted by Survey USA, 50 percent of Denver residents called it a "bad decision" while just 33 percent said it was a good decision. Women were opposed to the campaign on a 53-29 percent margin while men were opposed by a lesser 48-38 percent margin. Older Denver residents were overwhelmingly opposed while those 18-34 supported it 45-43 percent. Hispanics were mostly likely to oppose the Ms. Magazine campaign (55-21 percent) while black Denver residents were the only ethnic group that supported it (51-21 percent). The poll surveyed 500 adults and had a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

California Abortion Industry Behind Anti-Parental Notification Campaign
Sacramento, CA ( —
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today commented on the No on 85 campaign’s statement that it will spend millions of dollars in the next few weeks to defeat the parental notification for abortion initiative on the California ballot. “It’s no surprise that abortion profiteers will spend vast amounts of money so that they can continue to sneak behind the backs of parents,” said Fr. Pavone. “Fortunately, it’s not the number of dollars that will be counted on election night, but rather the number of voters. Abortion profiteers have the money. Americans who want to defend parents’ rights have the votes. It’s time to pass Proposition 85.”

Maryland Rules Says Scientists Developing Stem Cells Must Share Them
Annapolis, MD ( — A state scientific panel has ruled that researchers getting state grants for stem cell studies must share any stem cell lines developed with public tax funds. It’s a requirement that some say will deter private research firms looking to develop stem cell lines for cures for profit from accepting any money. "In some cases, it might be an issue [for private companies]," said Dr. Aaron Heifetz, Vice President of Business Development at Cognate BioServices Inc., a biotech company headquartered in Baltimore, said of the decision. Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg, a member of the 15-person Maryland Stem Cell Commission, the group that will oversee $15 million in state grants, told Fox news: "For a private company to withhold research results they got using public funds is wrong. If their intent is…moving the field forward they should be willing to share."