by Steven Ertelt
December 31, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life issues ranging from abortion and assisted suicide to human cloning and stem cell research continued to play a huge role in both American and worldwide politics and culture in 2007.
LifeNews.com covered pro-life topics with more than 2200 original news stories and editorial columns this year and today we count down the top ten news stories of the year.
As we looked at our range of news stories, we considered the topics that had the most bearing on the pro-life debate or the most significant impact.
Sadly, many of these news articles were never widely reported in the mainstream media or were confined to local news sources.
1. Supreme Court’s Ruling Upholding Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
Handing a victory to the pro-life movement, the Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on partial-birth abortions in April. The bill marked the first time an abortion method had been prohibited since Roe and the decision was the culmination of a decade-long battle that aided the pro-life community in shifting public opinion and educating millions about the travesty of abortion.
While the decision only prohibited several thousand abortions — mostly in New Jersey, Louisiana and Kansas — it showed the court has the support for reversing key abortion decisions as it overturned a previous ruling against a state ban.
It also served as the first opportunity for newly-minted justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito to demonstrate their pro-life tendencies. The two could join Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia and a fifth justice in eventually overturning Roe itself.
2. Embryonic Stem Cell Research Alternative Created With iPS Advances
Two teams of scientists may have radically altered the debate over embryonic stem cell research when they devised a new process that allows for the creation of embryonic stem cells without the destruction of human life.
The newly-produced embryonic stem cells are known as "iPS" cells and pro-life groups called the new method an ethical alternative. Richard Doerflinger, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and one of the top bioethics watchdogs in the nation, hailed it as "a very significant breakthrough in finding morally unproblematic alternatives to cloning."
The scientists even produced the cells without a cancer gene and found them to be much more useful than critics contended.
3. President Bush Vetoes Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Bills
"If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayers — for the first time in our history — to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos," the president said.
As noted bioethicist Wesley J. Smith pointed out, President Bush has not received enough credit for vetoing the funding bills and promoting ethical alternatives that are already helping patients.
4. Terri Schindler Schiavo Day Created, Assisted Suicide Bills Die
Despite the international attention surrounding the life and death of Terri Schiavo, issues like assisted suicide and euthanasia still don’t receive as much attention from the pro-life community as they deserve.
The Schindler family is helping to combat that problem by establishing the "International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo." Terri Schiavo‘s day will be another reminder of how the culture of death that abortion started has extended to the elderly and disabled.
As the Schindler continue their yeoman’s work for the disadvantaged, pro-life advocates were successful in stopping assisted suicide in California, Hawaii, and Vermont. They hoped to join Oregon, where assisted suicides are at an all time high.
Sadly, Jack Kevorkian was released form prison after serving just eight years of a 10 to 25 year prison sentence he received for killing a patient.
5. Abortion Centers, Abortion Practitioners Close Down or Lose Licenses
As the pro-life community looks forward to the day Roe is reversed and abortions can be stopped immediately, some abortion centers are closing down now.
Meanwhile, abortion practitioners did the pro-life movement a favor by violating various laws and subjecting themselves to fines, prison or losing their medical licenses.
A Kentucky abortion practitioner may have engaged in Medicaid fraud, unlicensed abortions were apparently done in Florida, one in Mississippi may have killed his wife and raped a patient, one lost his license in Florida for doing an illegal late-term abortion and another did in Michigan, and one in Oregon pleaded guilty to child porn. One even told college students he had a "license to lie" to women and another sexually abused patients.
6. Planned Parenthood’s Deceitful Tactics Exposed in Aurora, Denver
The nation’s largest abortion business found itself exposed in Aurora, Illinois and Denver, Colorado for using fictitious names in attempting to get zoning approval and building permits for new abortion centers.
The tactics came about after pro-life advocates in Austin, Texas were successful in stalling the opening of a new abortion facility there when they boycotted builders involved in the project.
7. Pro-Life Grassroots Activism Still Strong Despite Media Claims
The mainstream media makes it appear that Americans no longer care about abortion, but the 40 Days of Life campaign saw thousands of Americans protest and pray at hundreds of abortion centers in dozens of states.
8. Research Continues to Show How Abortion Hurts Women
Some in the pro-life community think abortion will eventually be illegal as more women hurt by abortion come forward. Research in 2007 proved what it has shown in years prior — that abortion poses significant medical, mental health and other problems for women.
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers found abortion raises risks of pre-term and low birthweight babies, another study found abortions linked with cerebral palsy, one showed abortion linked to drug and alcohol abuse, and another had it linked with child abuse.
9. China Jails Leading Activist Against Forced Abortions
As China prepares to hold the 2008 Summer Olympics, pro-life advocates and human rights campaigners are distraught over the treatment of Chen Guangcheng. Chen is the leading advocate against forced abortions there and was preparing a lawsuit for the thousands of women in Linyi who had been victimized by forced abortions and sterilizations when he was jailed.
Chen was eventually convicted of bogus property destruction charges and sentenced to four years in prison after his attorneys and witnesses were prevented from attending his trial.
Some have called for boycotting the Olympics as a result.
10. Kansas Abortion Scandals and Investigations
Kansas continues as one of the top abortion battlegrounds in the United States. Dozens of charges have been filed against a Planned Parenthood there and late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller over illegal abortions. The state attorney general has been caught in an affair in which he may have pressured a subordinate to give him documents related to the abortion probes. And abortion advocates pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into elections to keep the pro-abortion establishment in place.
* The pro-life themed movie Bella did more than anything in recent years to unite the pro-life movement behind a single vehicle to change hearts and minds on abortion. The support for the movie led to tremendous success at the box office and it would have had more had the distribution company allowed it to see a full-scale national release.
* The number of cases of men using abortion to cover up instances of sexual abuse continued in 2007. The trend began in previous years and pro-life advocates continue asking local officials to investigate abortion centers that may not be reporting sexual abuse or statutory rape to authorities.