by Steven Ertelt
June 25, 2007
Pro-Life Senators Will Vote Against Budget With Embryonic Funding
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life senators say they will vote against the fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill because senators who back embryonic stem cell research funding added language to it last week that forces taxpayers to finance the grisly research. Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research currently is allowed only for research using embryonic stem cell lines created on or before Aug. 9, 2001, under a policy announced by President Bush on that date. Bush on Wednesday vetoed a bill to expand that funding. So, Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), added language to the spending measure that was less comprehensive but allowed funding of the embryonic stem cells that have already been derived, rather than expanding it for new funding. But Sens. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, voted against the bill. Brownback and Nelson said they voted against the measure in part because of the stem cell provision and Craig said he would oppose the stem cell provision on the Senate floor. "Simply advancing the date is an easy way out," Craig told Congressional Quarterly. "If the world begins to realize that we will advance the date, then we will start to develop, I suspect, surplus embryos for the purpose of science." Bush will likely veto the spending cell if it gets to him with the Specter-Harkin language intact.
Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advocates Using Funding as Election Issue
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Advocates of embryonic stem cell research admitted last week that they are turning the funding of the grisly research into an election issue now that President Bush has vetoed a bill that would force taxpayers to finance it. One of the House’s chief sponsors of the bill, Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, said Democrats "intend to continue bringing this up until we have a pro-stem cell president and a pro-stem cell Congress." She also admitted, "This will be an election issue in 2008 not just in the House, not just in the Senate, but in the presidential election." Meanwhile, activists increased pressure on U.S. Sen. John Sununu to change his position on the subject. Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican, voted against the legislation and opposes new funding because "it may result in the destruction of additional human embryos." Americans United for Change, a liberal advocacy group, is attacking Sununu on the radio and has used advertisements in newspapers to pressure him to vote to overturn the president’s veto. In a written statement, Sununu pushed back against criticism of his stem cell position. "Americans United for Change is a very liberal special interest funded by union bosses. It is disgraceful that they distort the facts on such an emotional issue for partisan politics," Sununu said.
Adult Stem Cell Research Makes Progress as Embryonic Debate Goes On
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As politicians continue to debate funding embryonic stem cell research, studies on adult stem cells show continued promise. In the first trial of its kind in the world, 60 patients who have recently suffered a major heart attack will be injected with selected stem cells from their own bone marrow during routine coronary bypass surgery. The Bristol trial will test whether the stem cells will repair heart muscle cells damaged by the heart attack, by preventing late scar formation and hence impaired heart contraction. Dr. Raimondo Ascione from the University of Bristol and colleagues at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) have been awarded a grant of £210,000 from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to conduct the clinical trial. Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director of the BHF, said:” We hope that this exciting Bristol project will provide information taking us a step nearer to the day when stem cells can be used routinely to help repair damaged hearts.” In a heart attack, part of the heart muscle loses its blood supply (usually due to furring up of the arteries with fatty material) and cells in that part of the heart die, leaving a scar. This reduces the ability of the heart to pump blood around the body. While the blood supply to the heart can be improved with coronary bypass surgery or angioplasty, thereby reducing the risk of further heart attacks, these techniques do not restore the viability and function of the area already damaged. In 3-6 months after surgery, 20 per cent of patients develop a thinning of the walls of the heart, which in its most extreme form, can lead to congestive heart failure. Dr Raimondo Ascione, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, said: “We have elected to use a very promising stem cell type selected from the patient’s own bone marrow. This approach ensures no risk of rejection or infection. It also gets around the ethical issues that would result from use of stem cells from embryonic or fetal tissue."
Fred Thompson Attacked by GOP Presidential Campaigns on Abortion Vote
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Fred Thompson isn’t yet a candidate for president on the Republican side but he’s already coming under fire from rival campaigns. One campaign told CBN News that Thompson voted against a measure that would have prohibited federal employees from getting abortions through their taxpayer-funded health care plans. However, CBN’s David Brody explains that’s not the case: "In August of 1995, according to a New York Times article back then, the Senate voted to ‘bar the use of government money to pay for most abortions for federal workers, but it rejected a stricter measure that the House had adopted.’ It was that stricter House measure that Fred Thompson seemed to have a problem with. Someone close to Thompson’s potential presidential campaign tells me that Thompson did not like that the fact that the House-passed language only provided exceptions for the life of the mother so instead he voted instead for the final Senate version which had not just an exception for life of the mother but exceptions for rape and incest as well. This Thompson source calls that ‘a reasonable and consistent position.’" Brody says the rival campaign probably preferred the stricter House bill and that Thompson’s camp responded that he has a 100% pro-life voting record according to National Right to Life.
Australia Province MP Pushing Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide
Canberra, Australia (LifeNews.com) — A Liberal MP in the Australia province of Victoria is proposing to move a private member’s bill that would allow assisted suicide. The proposal by veteran MP Ken Smith came as Bracks Government MP Maxine Morand, the parliamentary secretary for health, yesterday voiced support for voluntary euthanasia at a rally on the steps of Parliament House. If Smith’s bid to introduce the bill is successful, it is possible that the Victorian Parliament could have another emotive conscience vote. Morand’s personal view is at odds with the Government’s stance on euthanasia. Premier Steve Bracks has previously said that if there was a conscience vote on euthanasia, "I’m not predisposed to support it." State Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu has indicated he is personally in favor of voluntary euthanasia. Under the Medical Treatment Act, patients can legally refuse medical treatment. But Rodney Syme, vice-president of Dying with Dignity Victoria, says the law is "opaque" when it comes to doctors giving terminally ill patients drugs to kill them. Syme has left himself open to prosecution for assisting suicide by admitting he gave terminally ill man Steve Guest medication that may have helped him die. Syme says his intent was not to help Guest die, but to relieve his suffering. Guest had cancer of the oesophagus.
Canada Physicians Reject Sex-Selection and State-Sponsored Abortions
Ottawa, Canada (LifeNews.com) — Canadian Physicians for Life endorses the alarm of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada about sex selection blood test kits that could promote sex selection abortion as early as 6 weeks after conception. Will Johnston, MD, president of the group said, "Our society is defenseless against the abuse of this technology. We have adopted the custom of providing abortions for any reason or no reason at all, so there is no rational objection to providing abortions for abhorrent reasons. We are desperately insecure about recognizing good and rejecting bad decisions." Johnson said the only real defense of the unborn child is in the heart of the mother. "The time has come, in this era of unsustainably low fertility and a growing recognition of the harm done by abortion, for the state to actively publicize the harm of abortion and actively promote families. The legal status of abortion does not have to change for many lives to be saved and many women to be encouraged through the great challenges of pregnancy." He concluded, "The promotion of abortion by misguided apostles of self-fulfillment should be recognized for what it is – really, really bad advice."
North Carolina House Committee Votes for $10M for Embryonic Research
Raleigh, NC (LifeNews.com) — A North Carolina state House committee voted last week to make taxpayers there spend $10 million on funding embryonic stem cell research. Pro-life groups oppose the research because it involves the destruction of human life. The measure goes to the House Appropriations Committee before a full floor vote after passing the Science and Technology Committee. The bill would allow research on stem cells that come from embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization procedures. Guilford Representative Earl Jones is the lead sponsor of the bill. Rep. Jim Gulley said the intent is to further research toward cures for a collection of diseases. Gulley has Parkinson’s disease, an incurable, degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. But Wake Representative Marilyn Avila says any human being should be protected.
Wyoming Governor Appoints John Barrasso as New US Senator
Cheyenne, WY (LifeNews.com) — Governor Dave Freudenthal has appointed state Sen. John Barrasso as the new U.S. Senator from Wyoming. Doctor Barrasso replaces pro-life Sen. Craig Thomas. Senator Barrasso was the key sponsor of the Laci and Conner Peterson bill that Right to Life of Wyoming strongly supported in the last session of the legislature. Barrasso has said repeatedly both publicly and privately that he is pro-life and RTLW hopes he will have a voting record that continues the pro-life tradition of Senator Thomas. "Whether it was abortion or bioethics issues, Senator Thomas was someone we could always rely on to vote pro-life and we will ask Senator Barrasso to do the same," the group said. Barrasso will have an opportunity to show his stripes immediately. President Bush recently vetoed a bill that would force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research — which involves the destruction of human life. Right to Life of Wyoming strongly opposes this bill and, now that Senator Barrasso has been appointed, the Senate will vote on whether to override the president’s veto. This will be a crucial vote for the new senator because he could be the 67th and final vote to override if he sides with supporters of the bill.