Pro-Life News Briefs: "Embryo Bank," Abortion, China, Dallas Cowboys

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 8, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life News Briefs: "Embryo Bank," Abortion, China, Dallas Cowboys Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 8
, 2007

Pro-life Advocates, Bioethicists Worry About Texas "Embryo Bank"
Austin, TX ( —
Pro-life advocates and those who monitor bioethics issues are concerned about a Texas company that is producing batches of ready-made embryos that single women and infertile couples can "order" after reviewing a brochure detailing the unborn child’s donor parents’ characteristics. The Abraham Center of Life LLC of San Antonio is the first to create a commercial center where prospective parents pick unborn children like food on a menu. "We’re just trying to help people have babies," said Jennalee Ryan, who arranged for an egg donor to start medical treatments to produce a second batch of embryos this week. "For me, that’s what this is all about: helping make babies." But others say it treats human life like a commodity to be bought and sold. "We’re increasingly treating children like commodities," Mark A. Rothstein, a bioethicist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, told the Washington Post. "It’s like you’re ordering a computer from Dell: You give them the specs, and they put it in the mail. I don’t think we should consider mail-order computers and other products the same way we consider children."

British Scientists Upset at Ban on Making "Hybrid" Human Embryos
London, England ( —
Not contant to do research on animals alone, British scientists are uspet that a government agency may institute a ban on creating "hybrid" human embryos. That ban would prohibit the creation of a human being using some animal cells and his or her subsequent destruction. British researchers want to use the embryos to make stem cells with genetic faults linked to conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and motor neurone disease. They hope to study the cells for possible cures. But the scientists fear the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, will outlaw the research because of the public’s concern about it. Two scientific teams applied to the HFEA for licences to pursue the research last year, but a white paper published in December proposed outlawing "hybrid" embryos. The HFEA is due to announce its decision next week, but has indicated it will turn the licence applications down. Stephen Minger, director of the Stem Cell Biology Laboratory at King’s College London, told the Guardian newspaper the decision was a "short-sighted, kneejerk reaction."

Chicago Bears Defeat Dallas Cowboys When It Comes to Abortion
Irving, TX ( —
Catholic and pro-life columnist Matt Abbott writes the following: "The Dallas Cowboys Football Club is, sad to say, a supporter of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider and promoter of abortion. This according to Life Decisions International. Now, I don’t put the blame on the entire team for supporting Planned Parenthood, but I do blame Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who, according to the Republican National Coalition for Life contributed several thousand dollars to the abortion giant in 1998. Contrast Jones with Chicago Bears majority owner Virginia McCaskey, a devout Catholic known for her support of pro-life causes. God bless her! Life Decisions International confirmed to me that “[t]he Dallas Cowboys Football Club is still a boycott target due to its support of Planned Parenthood. Sounds like a major fumble to us. Indeed."

China’s Elite Are Getting Around Forced Abortion One-Child Policy
Beijing, China ( —
The elite in China are getting around a family planning law that requires couples there to have just one child. Meanwhile, the average Chinese couple could face forced abortions, sterilizations, jail, harassment and have their family targeted for beatings and persecution for violating the law. That a popular Chinese singer, Mao Amin, could have a second child in her forties is setting off a debate in this Asian nation about whether the law should be changed or whether everyone should be required to follow it. Mao, who has a two-year-old daughter, had a baby boy at a private hospital in Shanghai late last month. The birth was “sparking mounting speculation over whether or not the country’s privileged can challenge its family planning policy,” said the China Daily. “Loopholes in the policy have allowed some of the privileged to use their fortune or social ties to have a second child,” it complained. The only exceptions to the one-child policy are for city residents who are only children and for rural residents whose first child is a girl. Mao doesnt meet either one. Rich business owners can also pay to have an extra child and some register their births in other Asian nations.

Pro-Life Law Firm Wins Motion for Nurse on Refusing Morning After Pill
Covington, LA ( —
A lawsuit filed by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys on behalf of a nurse demoted for refusing to distribute the morning-after pill will be permitted to go forward. A Louisiana court on Friday informed an ADF-allied attorney that the denial of the hospital’s motion for summary judgment is official. ADF attorneys filed suit on behalf of Toni Lemly in 2005 after St. Tammany Parish Hospital refused to grant a reasonable accommodation for her religious beliefs. “This case is about protecting a person’s freedom of conscience, particularly when it is guided by religious beliefs,” said ADF-allied attorney Brian Arabie of Lake Charles. “The hospital acted unlawfully when it refused to make a reasonable accommodation for Ms. Lemly and instead terminated her full-time position.” Lemly informed hospital staff that she objected to administering the “morning after” abortion pill because of her religious beliefs. In response, St. Tammany Parish Hospital fired Lemly from her full-time position and reduced her to part-time status, working only three days a week. Her demotion resulted in a significant reduction in pay and the loss of employee benefits. “Ms. Lemly provided St. Tammany Parish Hospital with options that would have accommodated both her full-time position and their wish to distribute the morning-after abortion pill,” Arabie said. “Instead, the hospital chose to engage in discrimination based on her courageous commitment to the unborn. We are pleased that we will now be able to continue to pursue justice on her behalf.”

Kansas Supreme Court Asked to Reinstate Tiller Abortion Charges
Topeka, KS ( —
A motion was filed on Friday with the Kansas Supreme Court by Special Prosecutor Don McKinney, asking the Court to vacate the dismissal ruling made by Judge Paul W. Clark, and reinstate 30 criminal charges related to illegal late-term abortions against George R. Tiller. District Attorney Nola Foulston successfully intervened hours after the charges were filed against Tiller by Attorney General Phill Kline, having them dismissed on the grounds that she says an Attorney General has no right to file criminal cases in District Courts without the permission of the District Attorney. Yesterday’s motion challenged Foulston’s interpretation of the law. "The judicial system of this state cannot function properly if loose cannon local prosecutors can hijack a case from the attorney general and then dismiss the charges to protect their friends or political allies," McKinney said in a statement that appeared Saturday in the Wichita Eagle. Kline will leave office on Monday, January 8, and be replaced by Paul Morrison, who campaigned against Kline’s investigation into abortion clinic wrongdoing, at one point stating he would drop all investigations if elected. Morrison has also vowed to fire Kline’s Special Prosecutor as one of his first official acts. "We support the work of Kline and McKinney and pray that their efforts will prevail," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "As citizens, we are exploring what options are available to us, independent from anything the Attorney General may be doing, to see to it that Tiller answers for these charges in a court of law."

Missouri Right to Life Opposes Governor Blunt’s MOHELA Plan
Jefferson City, MO ( —
Missouri Right to Life is asking legislators to oppose Gov. Matt Blunt’s plan to use student loan agency proceeds for university construction projects because it is worried some of the building will be used for embryonic stem cell research. That’s the science that involves the destruction of human life. In a letter to lawmakers this week, Missouri Right to Life president Pam Fichter and general counsel James S. Cole wrote that the group opposes a proposal to use $350 million from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority to support campus building projects. The money, they wrote, is "earmarked to provide just the type of life-destructive funding that the cloners have been seeking from state government for seven years or more." Fichter said the MOHELA plan must include language that prevents the money from being used for embryonic stem cell research. But she said that can’t be done, because voters approved Amendment 2 in Missouri that ties the hands of lawmakers and their ability to regulate the research. "We are opposed to any funding for any program that could be used for cloning. Right now, there is no way to protect any of the money that comes from MOHELA from being used for that," Fichter told AP.

Arizona Developing Stem Cell Research Institute, Others Get Big $
Phoenix, AZ ( —
A group of Arizona scientists are in the early stages of creating an institute to advance stem cell research. The Virtual Regenerative Medicine Institute would bring physicians and scientists together to collaborate on non-embryonic, or adult, stem cell research. Non-embryonic stem cells are taken from all parts of the human body, including fat, skeletal muscles, bone marrow and umbilical cord blood when a baby is born. Joseph Rogers of Sun Health Research Institute is leading an effort to collaborate with other scientists. Meanwhile, several leading stem cell research institutes are getting big bucks from private donors. The University of Washington’s efforts to create an institute for human embryonic stem cell research are getting a $5 million boost from retired Starbucks Chief Executive Orin Smith. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which oversees state funding for stem cell research, said it will get $181 million for grants by the end of 2006. The Stanford University School of Medicine recently received a $20 million gift to establish a new research effort to study cancer stem cells.