Life Advocacy Briefing

For the week of February 5, 2007

A Blessed Day / Feminist Treaty Coming? / FDA Washes Hands
/ Establishing the Terms of Debate / March Speeches / House Debate

A Blessed Day

TOMORROW, TUESDAY, FEB. 6, IS THE 96th ANNIVERSARY of the birth of the late, great President Ronald Reagan. With thanks, we remember.

Feminist Treaty Coming?

MILITANT FEMINISTS ARE BELIEVED GEARING UP FOR A BID TO RATIFY the long-pending International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, nicknamed “CEDAW” [pronounced CEE-daw].

Martha Burk, leader of an outfit called “National Council of Women’s Organizations,” which cut its teeth several years ago on a failed boycott of golf’s Masters Tournament, “has challenged Senator and Presidential hopeful Joe Biden (D-DE),” reports Friday Fax from Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), “to schedule a vote in the US Senate on CEDAW on International Women’s Day, March 8.”  Sen. Biden chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, which holds jurisdiction over the treaty.

Ms. Burk dismisses concerns about CEDAW from pro-life/family advocates, “characterize[ing] the CEDAW,” writes C-Fam’s Samantha Singson in Friday Fax, “as a ‘simple declaration that women and girls are equal human beings with men and boys.’” Ms. Burk, however, notes Ms. Singson, “did not mention the aggressively pro-abortion directives of the CEDAW Committee,” established by the UN to oversee implementation of the treaty.

White House concerns about the “vagueness” of the treaty’s text and the coercive practices of the UN’s CEDAW panel were cited last August by the Congressional Research Service in a report by CRS analyst Luisa Blanchfield, reports Friday Fax. Though the CRS report “reiterates the now common argument of radical feminists that the treaty is ‘abortion neutral,’” writes Ms. Singson, “since the term is never mentioned in the convention text.” Ms. Blanchfield “acknowledged … in a conversation with the Friday Fax,” writes Ms. Singson, “that the CRS report does not do an in-depth analysis of the abortion directives of the CEDAW Committee, which is the main complaint,” reports C-Fam, “of conservatives opposed to US ratification. …

“One source told the Friday Fax,” writes Ms. Singson, “that CEDAW ‘is not merely a “simple declaration” that women and men have equal rights’ but that CEDAW is ‘a binding international treaty with a compliance committee that has pressured no less than 37 sovereign nations to liberalize their abortion laws.’”

Senators serving on the Foreign Relations Committee, in addition to Mr. Biden, are: Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer (CA), Christopher Dodd (CT), Bill Nelson (FL), Barack Obama (IL), Benjamin Cardin (MD), John Kerry (MA), Robert Menendez (NJ), Robert Casey (PA), Jim Webb (VA) and Russell Feingold (WI). Also Minority Ranking Member Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) and Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK), Johnny Isakson (GA), David Vitter (LA), Norm Coleman (MN), Chuck Hagel (NE), John Sununu (NH), George Voinovich (OH) and Jim DeMint (SC). All can be contacted via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

F.D.A. Washes Hands

THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION (F.D.A.) ANNOUNCED Wednesday it has no jurisdiction over the San Antonio human embryo trafficker, Abraham Center of Life.

“The agency’s statement Wednesday,” reports the Associated Press (AP), “said ‘the [agency’s] investigation determined the facility was not currently engaged in practices that fall under FDA jurisdiction.’”

The embryo bank employs a physician, reports AP, “who uses donated egg and sperm to create embryos that cost $5,000 a pair. Clients can review the donors’ characteristics,” reports AP, “including their ethnic and educational background and, in some cases, their photos.”

Though the baby shop’s director, Jennalee Ryan, “said she’s just trying to help couples or single women,” reports AP, “some critics have said [her] business may be crossing ethical lines by marketing a better baby.” Indeed, her “service” has been described as “making designer babies.”

No law in the US is known to apply to the outfit. With the FDA now declaring its own lack of jurisdiction, legislation to ban the baby trafficking practice, if anyone on Capitol Hill is willing to tackle it, could be a rare opportunity for “common ground” in the tumultuous debate over the sanctity of human life.

Establishing the Terms of Debate

FLORIDA’s NEW GOVERNOR, CHARLIE CRIST, WENT ON OFFENSE Wednesday with a proposal for $20 million in state grants for research using adult stem cells and cells derived from umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid.

Though some pro-life citizens had reservations about the St. Petersburg Republican, Mr. Crist did pledge during his campaign that he would not support experimentation which required the sacrifice of human beings; he has now take the first steps to fulfill that pledge. By taking the offensive with his exclusion of cells harvested from embryonic humans, Gov. Crist has changed the terms of debate in Florida, forcing the labcoat lobbyists to justify their utilitarian thirst for human death.

March Speeches

Life Advocacy Briefing continues our publication of speeches from the Jan. 22, 2007, March for Life with speeches by three New Jersey GOP Representatives, Scott Garrett, Chris Smith & Mike Ferguson.

REP. GARRETT: Good morning to you all. What a great day, what a great crowd. Good morning to the people from the state of New Jersey. Good morning to America.

This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and give thanks for it.

Today’s program began with ardent prayer, as it should, and as we listened to that prayer, we have remembered back to words of the Scripture and what we can learn from it. And I think back to the Book of Nehemiah and what we can learn from him. He, as you know, was in exile and came back to build those famous walls. And what the message he gave us was: Pray first, and then take action. He knew that in speaking of his adversaries he said, “They worked all of them together to come and fight against us. Nevertheless, we made our prayer unto God and set a watch against them day and night, and we act.” So just as Nehemiah worked to build that wall of stone and block and wood around Jerusalem to build and protect his vulnerable people, so now all of us come here today to Washington to build a wall of law around our most vulnerable people, to protect human life. Like Nehemiah before us, we pray that as you embark on this March of Life, we ask that it will be successful, that you will be strong, and that our message will be sustained.

Your participation is just one step in that action that we must take. This March year after year makes a profound statement on this country, on this nation. It serves as a reminder that we must value human life in all its forms and not just for the convenient. From the youngest person that’s here today, all the way right up to the President of the United States, we are sending a resounding message that Americans respect and celebrate the dignity of human life.

And I just conclude by saying that I hope that throughout the changes that have occurred in our Congress, in our public offices around this country, that all of us will join together, will set that watch guard as Nehemiah spoke against them, so that we will remain as the defenders of the most basic human life.

And finally, may the generations learn the past mistakes that we have made, and let not another human life have to pay for the mistakes of the past. Let us follow the Word of the Scripture, let us follow after Nehemiah’s example, may we pray that God bless this nation, may God bless our undertaking today, and that we take the actions to carry out our work. God bless you all.

REP. SMITH: Nellie, thank you so very much, and thank you, the March for Life, for organizing this important witness for Life. And I especially want to thank the women from Silent No More for their courage and extraordinary love and compassion that they have by being here and calling on other women to rethink what is an irreversible decision. I thank them for their love and their compassion.

My friends, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier this month that this would be a Congress that remembers the children, I couldn’t help but think that she was forgetting someone – millions of unborn children. At swearing-in when we all took the oath of office, when Speaker Pelosi invited the accompanying Congressional kids to join her at the rostrum, I smiled and thought, what a nice gesture. What a nice photo-op. And then I thought again of the forgotten boys and girls – at last count more than 49 million of them – brutally killed by what she and others euphemistically call choice.

Let’s be honest. There is no welcome mat for the unborn child anywhere to be found in the new Congressional leadership. No words or deeds of comfort for the babies and their mothers who are at risk. No compassion for those who are about to die. On the one hand, the Speaker is right when she says Congress should remember the children and strive to enhance the welfare and the well-being of our young. To be sure, born children need strong families, better access to health care, educational opportunities, a clean environment to grow up in and freedom from abuse. No one is more precious than our children.

But it is equally valid and true that unborn children have inherent worth, value and dignity. They are children, too. So when you meet your Senators and Member of Congress today, remind them that Congress has a compelling duty to protect unborn children – and their mothers – from the insidious violence of abortion. Tell them that abortion is a grave violation of human rights and that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever benign, just or compassionate about dismembering or chemically poisoning a baby. Tell them that the human right to live isn’t just for the planned, the privileged or the perfect. Tell them that abortion exploits women. Tell them the story of the women from Silent No More and that women do deserve better than abortion.

And finally, I urge you, as I know you already do – pray for our government, even when we don’t listen, even when Congress continues to enable, promote and defend the nefarious abortion trade. Because I believe, like you, that it is only by persistent prayer and fasting, coupled with hard work, that America’s dark night of child slaughter will come to an end. God bless you, and fight on.

REP. FERGUSON: Good afternoon, I’m Mike Ferguson from New Jersey; this is my wife Maureen. Greetings to all of you here from New Jersey. I see my fightin’ Irish over there. Welcome Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, Franciscan University in the back. All right – welcome.

You’ve come here today to stand for what’s right and what’s good and to peacefully and powerfully send a message to those in the corridors of power: Human life is precious, and it must be defended. Your work here at this March and at home has been fruitful over the years, because we’ve seen many successes. Most importantly, we’ve begun to win the hearts and minds of Americans across this country; public opinion research shows that America is slowly but surely coming back to Life. Now to be sure, we’ve seen some setbacks from the courts and in elections.

With the power shift on Capitol Hill, we hear talk about finding common ground. Friends, common ground can only be found when we dispense with the deceptive language and the euphemisms. We must confront the hard reality that many women choose abortion only when they feel they have no true choice.

The good news for us is that we know deep down in our hearts that our cause is just and that we will ultimately be successful. One source of hope is all the young people we see here today. Opinion polls show real pro-life gains among young people. A recent Gallup poll concluded that teenagers are significantly more pro-life than adults. A Rock the Vote survey recently found that only 21% of young voters thought that abortion should be legal and generally available. Young people know that we can do better.

We can do better for women and their children. We can do better for those who are threatened, those who are vulnerable, those who are weak or in need. Of course we can. And we will. Together, with your help, we will do better, and we will succeed. Thank you, and God bless you.

House Debate

The Jan. 11, 2007, House debate on HR-3 – the legislation to force taxpayers to subsidize embryo-killing experimentation – brought forth effective, persuasive appeals on both sides of the ethical divide. We will publish excerpts from the Congressional Record transcript of that debate from the various pro-life speeches given, and urge readers to attend carefully to the arguments made in opposing HR-3. We continue this series of speech excerpt transcripts here with our favorite House debate speech on the issue, delivered by Georgia GOP Rep. John Linder.

REP. JOHN LINDER (R-GA): … In January of 2005, University of Florida scientist Michael Atkinson, a gene therapy advocate, said: “Two years ago, the embryonic stem cell field was hype, hype, hype. It is still that way in California, but I think that field has hit a bit of a wall.” Why? Because after 25 years of animal research, embryonic stem cells have produced not one single instance of cure or even a palliative result. Not one.

They have produced some results, though. Their versatility is now believed to be a disadvantage. As explained in a letter to Senator John Kerry, signed by 57 noted scientists in the fields of biology, microbiology, chemistry and medicine, they said: “Embryonic stem cells are difficult to develop into a stable cell line. They spontaneously accumulate genetic abnormalities in culture and are prone to uncontrollable growth and tumor formation when placed in animals.”

Why is this such an important issue for politicians? Why don’t we pay some attention to what does work?

Multipurpose adult progenitor cells have been or are being assessed in human trials for treatment of spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s, stroke, cardiac damage, multiple sclerosis and more. These cells can be taken from the patient, so they have no risk of rejection and no ethical problems. They are showing positive results in 72 different diseases, and I will submit that list for the Record. [Documentation can be found in the Congressional Record for Jan. 11, 2007, or at]

The record of embryonic stem cells today is zero. In an animal model of Parkinson’s, rats injected with embryonic stem cells showed a slight benefit in about 50 percent of the rats, but one-fifth of them died of brain tumors caused by the embryonic stem cells.

Just recently, we have heard the promise of research using the mother’s amniotic fluid. We have been told by some that we are doing this to give people help. How cruel. They are not looking to the federal government for hope. They are looking to scientists for cures, and adult cells show by far the most promise.

One of the cruelest examples of political demagoguery I have ever heard was in the last Presidential campaign when [then-Senator] John Edwards said, “If John Kerry were President, Christopher Reeve would walk.” A spokesman for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute said, not in response to that, but she said no one in human embryonic stem cells will tell you that therapies are around the corner.  “Dr.” John Edwards seemed not to agree.

We are not here speaking on behalf of the half-therapies that show promise because private capital is flowing into that research. Private investors look for hope, too. They hope to make money, and they invest their dollars where they can do so. Do you wonder why private investment is not flowing into embryonic stem cell research? Might there be a hidden agenda here? Might there be a hidden agenda at play in this issue? Could it be that the proponents of this bill want to succeed in getting a bill signed into law in which the government approves the ending of a human life? Are we seeking here a way to get the government’s imprimatur on ending life that is not useful so that the product of that death can be put to more useful purposes? That is called the Hegelian Principle: That which is not useful can be destroyed for the benefit of useful purposes.

This has been used by governments before. Hitler believed in it. I want to hastily assure everyone on both sides of this issue that I compare no one to Hitler. But he believed that that which was useful was good, and that which was not useful was not good. The first Germans in the gas ovens were not Jews. They were retarded children in Catholic homes cared for by nuns. They were exterminated. The line was then moved slightly, and the next to go were the crippled soldiers from World War I. The line was then moved to include the Jews, and the German people, being desensitized, accepted it.

That is what we are doing here today; we are laying down a line between that life which is useful and that which is not. Moving that line in the future will be less of a lift.

In closing, let me point out that if these researchers were taking this embryonic tissue from the just-laid eggs of loggerhead turtles or bald eagles, they would be fined and jailed. Surely we can do as much for humans.


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