Pro-Life News: Prof on Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Portugal Abortion, Etc.

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 18, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life News: Prof on Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Portugal Abortion, Etc. Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 18
, 2007

Princeton Professor: Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research Because It’s Wrong
Louisville, KY ( —
Embryonic stem cell research may never work to help patients because of several major scientific hurdles. However, Princeton University professor Robert George said the science should be opposed because it requires the destruction of human life. George’s comments came during a lecture at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "The fact that there’s been a lot of hyping going on and that embryonic stem cells probably will not prove to be the therapeutic miracle that they have been hyped to be isn’t fundamentally the reason we should be opposed to the use of those cells," the law professor said. However, he added that "The reason we should be opposed is a moral reason. [Embryonic stem cell research] involves, at least for now, the destruction of innocent human life to obtain the cells." George argued that advocates of embryonic stem cell research have obscured the fundamental issue in the current debate over the practice. "If we were to contemplate killing mentally retarded infants to obtain transplantable organs, no one would characterize the controversy that would erupt as a debate about organ transplantation, now would they? The dispute would be about, rather, the ethics of killing retarded children to harvest their vital organs," he said. "By the same token, our contemporary debate is not about embryonic stem cell research. No one would object to the use of embryonic stem cells in biomedical research or elsewhere if they could be harvested without killing or harvesting the embryos from whom they were obtained or if they could be obtained from embryos lost in miscarriages."

Portugal Physician Says Doctors There Strongly Oppose Doing Abortions
Lisbon, Portugal ( —
The Portuguese government may be pushing for abortion in the nation’s parliament after voters failed to approve an abortion referendum, but a leading physician says doctors there don’t want to do abortions and would seek a conscience clause to make sure they can opt out. The Dean of the College of Medicine of Portugal, Pedro Nunes, said this week that the Physicians’ Code of Ethics defends human life from conception. Nunes said that doctors, therefore, have the right to exercise conscientious objection in the event that abortion is imposed on the country. In statements to the EFE news agency, Nunes recalled that the College of Medicine did not take an official position during the recent referendum on the legalization of abortion. Nevertheless, he emphasized that most doctors defend life from the moment of conception. Article 47 of the Code of Ethics states, “Doctors must show respect for human life from its inception.” Likewise, it warns that the practice of euthanasia and abortion “constitutes a grave ethical violation,” except in cases of rape or life and health of the mother up to the twelfth week of pregnancy. About 58 percent of the residents of Portugal voted in favor of abortion, but only 44 percent of all eligible voters participated in the vote, short of the majority required for it to count. That means only a small percentage of all voters voted for abortion. Despite the lack of overwhelming public support, Prime Minister Jose Socrates announced his party would present a measure to make abortion legal.

Uganda Doctor Says He Doesn’t Want Abortion Legalized There
Kampala, Uganda ( —
Dr. Jacinta Sabiiti writes an editorial last week in the New Vision newspaper saying he doesn’t want legalized abortion coming to the African nation of Uganda. "In a way, the word abortion makes the act sound less cruel. If this word didn’t exist, somebody with intentions to terminate a pregnancy would say ‘I want to murder or kill my unborn child," Dr. Sabiiti wrote. "The unborn child is a speechless person and has no protection except from those who were given the right to be born and live. Who will speak and defend the unborn child?" Sabiiti complains that as many as 46 million abortions occur around the world every year and he laments that 26 out of 100 pregnancies worldwide end in abortion. The physician says that making abortion legal won’t make it any safer. "Abortion is a public health problem due to the severity of complications involved. Women may bleed to death following an abortion," he said. "Severe infection (sepsis) may occur after abortion and result in death. The internal organs could get damaged." Sabiiti concludes, "I am told all doctors train for many years, and also take an oath of ethics called the Hippocratic oath. This oath forbids them from procuring an abortion. Thank God my mother found such people to take care of her regularly before I was born. How glad I am to be alive. It’s a beautiful world out here!"

West Virginia Senate Panel Wants More Info on Abortion Notification Bill
Charleston, WV ( —
A West Virginia Senate panel wants more information about parental notification bill it’s considering to strengthen the state’s existing law. The bill requires abortion practitioners to document the reasons for doing an abortion on a teen without parental involvement. It comes into play when abortions are done in sexual abuse cases and asks that a tissue sample be sent to state police to assist them in catching the perpetrator. Senate Health and Human Resources Committee members decided Thursday decided to wait on voting on the bill. “We want to deter sexual predators,” said Melissa Adkins, who represents West Virginians For Life, a pro-life group supporting the measure. The bill has criminal penalties for noncompliance. Adkins said, “The penalties that are in this bill are exactly what we agreed to” during last year’s negotiations on a similar bill in the Senate. Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, asked that the bill be laid over a day so the committee can obtain more information. The measure make it through the Senate, but a key concern in the House is that Carrie Webster, the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is pro-abortion and opposes the bill. She told the newspaper she plans to give the bill a fair hearing if it reaches her panel but she has serious reservations about it.

Virginia Legislature Defeats Bill Punishing Women for Killing Unborn Baby
Richmond, VA ( —
A Virginia state legislative committee defeated a bill that would publish pregnant women who kill their own unborn children. The bill was a response to a case in Suffolk, where 23-year-old Tammy Skinner shot herself in the stomach to kill her own baby. Prosecutors twice tried to hold Skinner accountable for the death of the baby and twice judges prohibited them from sentencing her. "If the lady had delivered and left the baby in a dumpster, she would have been charged," said Delegate Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, who sponsored the bill. The Senate Education and Health Committee voted 8-7 against the bill. The vote came atfer the state House approved the bill on a vote of 72-25. Jones tried to make it clear that his bill would have no effect on legal abortions but the panel defeated the measure after lobbying from pro-abortion groups worried about any acknowledgment of the right to life of unborn children, whether dealing with abortion or not. Jones is already planning to introduce a revised bill during next year’s General Assembly session.