by Steven Ertelt
January 15, 2007
Pro-Life Groups React to House Vote on Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life groups were disappointed by a vote in the House of Representatives last week to force taxpayers to pay for embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life. "For years, embryonic stem cell research has been privately funded and still hasn’t produced human treatments, despite the millions of dollars spent," Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said after the vote. "Apart from these concerns, we know that a vote for embryonic research would encourage the cloning of human embryos. Thankfully, the president will again veto the bill, and the House will have the votes to sustain it." The House passed H.R. 3 by a vote of 253-174. This was 32 votes short of a two-thirds majority. Meanwhile, National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson said, "Every lawmaker who voted against this bill supports stem cell research, but not the kind that requires killing human embryos, and we commend them for that. Today the key lawmakers pushing this bill rejected an anti-human-cloning amendment, which was one more proof that the biotech industry is determined to use human cloning to create human embryo farms." Legislation identical to H.R. 3 has been introduced in the Senate as S. 5. Senate action on the issue is expected within a matter of months.
Abortion Practitioner Calls for More Pro-Abortion Activists to Help Him
Omaha, NE (LifeNews.com) — Nebraska late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart, who filed the initial lawsuit that ended with the Supreme Court declaring a partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional, says more pro-abortion activists are needed. He says that’s because abortion will likely be a "never-ending battle" between them and pro-life advocates. Carhart is back at the Supreme Court with a second lawsuit challenging a 2003 Congressional law that prohibited the gruesome abortion procedure. "The only way women come close to achieving equality is if they can control their fertility," he told the Omaha Herald newspaper. "Abortion rights for men have been available since the beginning of time. When they’re unhappy with a pregnancy, they walk away; it doesn’t matter whether it’s the day after conception or when the child is 10 years old." "It’s worth it to me," he said of his battles over the ban. "You have to fight for what you believe in." Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, calls Carhart a "poster boy" for abortion. "This man has a vested interest in protecting his industry," she said. "He wants to be able to kill unborn babies in any manner he deems necessary to bring him his profits."
Pro-Life Senator Brownback, Possible Prez Candidate, Blasts House Vote
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback criticized a vote in the House of Representative to make taxpayers pay for embryonic stem cell research. He made the following statement afterwards: "We all want to find cures and treatments for the many diseases and maladies that affect millions of Americans, but there are better options than research that kills nascent human lives. Private and federal dollars have funded embryonic research for over two decades, and yet embryonic stem cells have yet to treat one human patient. Conversely, completely ethical and non-controversial adult and other non-embryonic stem cells have already been shown to have clinical applications for over 70 different types of diseases. Taxpayers should not be left to foot the bill of human embryonic stem cell research, which has proven to be highly inefficient as well as unethical. I look forward to a vigorous bioethics debate in the Senate." Brownback also pointed out that the House "fell well short of the votes they would need to override a presidential veto of legislation to increase taxpayer funded research that destroys human life." President Bush vetoed identical legislation last year and the White House has announced he will do so again. The veto was the first of his presidency.
Pope Benedict XVI Comments on European Underpopulation Problems
The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — The pope made recently commented on the underpopulation problems many of the European nations are having that places their birth rate below the kind of population growth necessary to sustain a nation. The speech, given in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican, recapped notable events of last year. "It was beautiful to listen, before the
people assembled from all continents, to the testimonies of couples–blessed by a numerous throng of children–who introduced themselves to us," he said. The pontif used the recollection of this experience to muse upon the nature of Europe’s demographic crisis. Even the inflated statistics of the United Nations Population Fund put Europe’s total fertility rate at a fatal 1.4 and assert that Europe’s population is already shrinking. "Before these families with their children, before these families in which the generations hold hands and the future is present, the problem of Europe, which it seems no longer wants to have children, penetrated my soul. To foreigners this Europe seems to be tired, indeed, it seems to be wishing to take its leave of history," the Pope said.
Missouri Governor Blunt Blasts Missouri Right to Life on MOHELA Plan
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt is blasting Missouri Right to Life, which is asking legislators to oppose 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. In a letter to lawmakers recently, 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." But Blunt dismissed the concerns saying they are "superfluous." "The funds can’t be used for research prohibited by Missouri statute," he said. Yet, Fichter said a constitutional amendment approved by voters in November prevents lawmakers from stopping money from going to embryonic stem cell research. The amendment bars the legislature from withholding money because of stem cell research and guarantees that research legal under federal law is legal in Missouri. "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.
Tennessee Pro-Life Group Happy That Pro-Life Advocate Elected Speaker
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — Leaders of Tennessee Right to Life expressed great confidence Tuesday afternoon following the election of pro-life state Senator Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) as Speaker of the Senate last week. Ramsey defeated mixed record John Wilder (D-Mason) who had served in the position since 1971. Wilder dismayed pro-life supporters when, in 2004, he led Senate efforts to derail pro-life resolution SJR 127 which called for a public vote to restore Tennessee’s pro-life laws. In contrast, pro-life Ramsey has consistently led the Senate floor effort to pass the resolution and other pro-life policies. "Pro-life Tennesseans have won an enormous victory today," said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life. "In the selection of Ron Ramsey to lead the Senate, there is no question that the protection of life becomes priority rather than peripheral." Ironically, one of the Senate’s staunchest pro-abortion activists, state Senator Rosalind Kurita (D-Clarksville), cast a deciding vote in favor of pro-life Ramsey. The same irony played out in the state House where strongly pro-abortion Speaker Jimmy Naifeh was re-elected with the support of several Republican legislators who claim to support pro-life protections. Unfortunately, however, pro-life laws have little chance of passage while Naifeh holds the leadership post, the group said.