Pro-Life News: Bishops on Abortion, Black Leaders, Stem Cell Research

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life News: Bishops on Abortion, Black Leaders, Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 12
, 2007

Catholic Bishops Back Pro-Life Abortion, Fetal Pain Legislation in Congress
Washington, DC ( —
A representative of the pro-life office of the nation’s Catholic bishops says the group is supporting two key pro-life bills in Congress. Deirdre McQuade, of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, says the bishops are supporting the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback. McQuade said the pro-life secretariat will be working for passage of legislation that would make "truly constructive changes in the lives of women and their unborn children." Another bill getting its backing is the Pregnant Women’s Support Act, to be introduced sometime soon by Rep. Lincoln Davis, a pro-life Tennessee Democrat, The legislation will provide resources "to help women make life-affirming choices for themselves and their children," McQuade told Catholic News Service. The measure would reduce the social and economic pressures that compel most women to have abortions. will expand eligibility for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, and provide assistance to victims of domestic violence. Pregnant and postpartum women are among those most likely to experience domestic violence, studies have found. The legislation also includes provisions that will require medical professionals to provide information about abortion and alternatives to abortion that leads to truly "informed consent," McQuade said.

Coalition of Black Pro-Life Leaders Meet to Discuss Ending Abortion
Washington, DC ( —
With Black History Month reminding them of the efforts of African-American leaders before them, a group of black pro-life advocates gathered in Washington last week to discuss ways to begin the end of abortion. The National Black Pro-Life Union hosted an event at the Capitol on Thursday featuring a bipartisan group of lawmakers and leaders of the black community. "Abortion kills more black people — as most of you in this room already know — than other deaths combined," NBPLU president Day Gardner told those attending. "Abortion is a silent killer because we don’t talk about it as a people. The good news is that the pro-life side is winning. America is becoming more and more pro-life everyday." "Eliminating abortion may seem to some a rather daunting task; to some it may seem impossible," she conceded. "But I believe in God — and with Him nothing is impossible. For this task we shall need to put God first, and then we must have our best leaders follow." Dr. Johnny Hunter, Alveda King, and Los Angeles pastor Jesse Lee Peterson joined Gardner as well as Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey.

Master Switches Found For Adult Blood Stem Cells in New Research
Baltimore, MD ( —
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists have found a set of "master switches" that keep adult blood-forming stem cells in their primitive state. Unlocking the switches’ code may one day enable scientists to grow new blood cells for transplant into patients with cancer and other bone marrow disorders. The scientists located the control switches not at the gene level, but farther down the protein production line in more recently discovered forms of ribonucleic acid, or RNA. MicroRNA molecules, once thought to be cellular junk, are now known to switch off activity of the larger RNA strands which allow assembly of the proteins that let cells grow and function. "Stem cells are poised to make proteins essential for maturing into blood cells, but microRNAs keep them locked in their place," says cancer researcher Curt Civin, M.D., Ph.D., who led the study. "We’re looking for ways to flip these microRNA switches, to control when stem cells grow into new blood cells," says Robert Georgantas, Ph.D., research associate at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and first and corresponding author of the study.

Texas Man Second Convicted for Attacking Pregnant Woman, Killing Baby
San Antonio, TX ( —
A Texas man is the second to be convicted under the state’s unborn victims law that allows two charges when a criminal attacks a pregnant woman and kills her unborn child. Adrian Estrada, 23, was convicted Friday of one count of capital murder for the death of Stephanie Sanchez and her baby, of whom he was the father. "This is a significant case," Bexar County prosecutor Susan Reed told the Associated Press. "This is significant for the state." The charges involve a 2003 unborn victims law that was inspired by the deaths of Laci and Connor Peterson. Sanchez, 17, was three months pregnant Dec. 12, 2005, when her body was found in her family’s home. She had been choked and stabbed 13 times. During the trial, DNA evidence was presented to show Estrada was the father. Estrada later admitted to the killings. Some 34 states have unborn victims laws protecting pregnant women and unborn children with 24 of those protecting throughout pregnancy and 10 providing partial protection.

Missouri Right to Life Still Opposes MOHELA Bill Over Bioethics Issues
Jefferson City, MO ( —
Missouri Right to Life said Thursday it is still opposed to the construction plan put forward by Gov. Matt Blunt despite some minor changes to it. The legislature made some changes to put away worries that the buildings in the plan could be used to conduct embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of human life. A Senate committee on Wednesday removed $113 million for buildings thought to be most likely to be used for the controversial research. It also added language saying the buildings could only be used for research that is currently eligible under the federal funding limits put in place by President Bush. But Missouri Right to Life said in a letter Thursday that the changes didn’t go far enough. “Missouri Right to Life remains firmly opposed” to the legislation, President Pam Fichter and general counsel Jim Cole said in the letter. Missouri Right to Life wants to block the building bill in its entirety because it’s worried that Amendment 2 approved last November by voters would prohibit the restrictions the legislature added. Even though the legislature appeared to support its position, Missouri Right to Life says the restrictions may be overturned later. “You can’t limit federal law just to what federal dollars are funding,” Cole said. “When legislators tried to do that, they violated” the amendment. Sen. Rob Mayer wants to add a provision automatically invalidating Blunt’s entire plan if a judge were to strike down the exclusion of certain buildings. “I think that would alleviate a lot of the fears of the pro-life community,” Mayer said.