Life Advocacy Briefing

For the week of June 04, 2007

Time for Action / Time for Prayer / Amnesty International Losing Support
/ Slippery, Slimy Slope / UNFPA Pushing Abortion Again /
Possible Breakthrough in Ethical Diabetes Research / The Personhood Crisis


Time for Action

THE HOUSE COULD VOTE AS EARLY AS THISWEEK – likely Thursday, according to Associated Press (AP) writer David Espo –on S-5, the lethal legislation opening the federal treasury to scientists who are killing embryonic humans for experimentation.

Calls are needed now to House Members urging a vote against S-5, “the stem-cell bill.” Members may be reached via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

The measure is similar to HR-3, which passed the House in January. The Senate measure passed the Senate in April and now must pass the House in order to reach the White House. Pres. Bush has indicated he will veto it. He will have 10 days to do so, and a Senate vote on overriding his veto is expected immediately thereafter. So, pro-life citizens and officials should be prepared to call Senators as soon as news breaks of his veto. Senators, too, may be reached via the Capitol switchboard but should not be called to sustain the veto until it is cast.

The President vetoed the 2006 edition of this legislation last year, casting the first veto of his Presidency and earlier this year, writes Mr. Espo, in issuing his current veto threat “said it ‘crossed a moral line that I and many others find troubling.’”


Time for Prayer

JUNE IS LIKELY TO BE AN ACTIVE MONTH for those concerned about the cause of Life. Many of the battles over abortion likely to occur in the current Congress are expected to develop during June, as the House is expected to consider 11 of the 12 annual spending bills during this month. Most pro-life reforms which have become the norm in federal law are actually riders to appropriation bills and must be retained each year.

Key pro-life provisions are normally included in four bills which are scheduled this week for consideration by the following subcommittees of the House Committee on Appropriations: Financial Services; State/Foreign Operations; Labor, Health & Human Services; and Commerce, Justice, Science.

Action on these measures in the full Appropriations Committee is expected next week; we hope to be able to report on their implications in the next edition of Life Advocacy Briefing. Preliminary text is not yet available.


Amnesty International Losing Support

MANY OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’s MEMBERS ARE THREATENING to break with the formerly humanitarian organization or have already left, reports John Jalsevac for

“Amnesty International’s decision to support the worldwide decriminalization of abortion,” writes Mr. Jalsevac, “is having a huge impact on membership.” The Age newspaper of Australia “speculated,” he reports, “that many of Amnesty’s disgruntled employees and supporters may band together to found a new human rights organization.”

An Australian Catholic priest, principal of a Catholic school, “claimed” in an opinion piece in the online journal Online Opinion, reports LifeSiteNews, “‘Members are lining up to resign.’” Fr. Chris Middleton noted his school had an active Amnesty International group. “‘Such a change in policy,’” he wrote, reports Mr. Jalsevac, “‘places me in the unwanted position of contemplating the closing down of Amnesty’s presence in the school.’ …

“Amnesty risks losing many, if not all” of the 500 some Catholic schools “and many more Christian schools … in Australia alone,” reports Mr. Jalsevac. The Catholic bishops in the US, England and Canada, notes Mr. Jalsevac, “have already condemned Amnesty International’s [new] abortion policy” advocating decriminalization – hence legalization – of the inhumane act.


Slippery, Slimy Slope

THE AGENCY WHICH LICENSES ‘FERTILIZATION & EMBRYOLOGY’ in England (the HFEA) has given the green light to screening embryonic humans for a genetic condition predisposing infants to “a severe squint,” reports Fred Reed in a commentary published by the Washington Times.

“We now seem to have invented cosmeticabortion,” notes Mr. Reed, adding, “The man to whom the license was granted, Prof. Gedis Grudzinskas, was asked whether he would screen babies for hair color. He replied,” writes Mr. Reed, “that hair color ‘can be a cause of bullying, which can lead to suicide. With the agreement of the HFEA, I would do it,’” he declared.

“Mr. Grudzinskas further said,” writes Mr. Reed, “that he would ‘seek to screen for any genetic factor at all that would cause a family severe distress.’

“Here is another step into a curious future,” writes the clearly British Mr. Reed. “First, screening tried to eliminate babies who had some inevitably fatal disorder, like cystic fibrosis. Then Mr. Grudzinskas gets a license to screen for a condition that would be unpleasant, specifically an ugly squint. Now he wants to screen for anything that might make mommy and daddy unhappy. … This makes abortion begin to sound like a branch of psychotherapy and child-bearing like shopping.

“‘Creepy’ isn’t a scientific term,” writes Mr. Reed, “but maybe it fits.”


U.N.F.P.A. Pushing Abortion Again

THE HEAD OF THE U.N. POPULATION FUND INJECTED ABORTION into the agenda of the 60th annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body for the 193-member World Health Organization.

In her keynote address at the May meeting, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid declared “‘poor sexual and reproductive health [as] a leading cause of death and disability in the developing world,’” reports John Jalsevac for

“She continued on,” writes Mr. Jalsevac, “giving a list of means to curb health problems relating to female sexual and reproductive health that included wider access to ‘family planning’ services, abortion, contraceptives and condoms.

“‘Strengthened health systems should also deliver a steady and reliable supply of reproductive health commodities,’” she urged, according to LifeSiteNews, “‘including drugs for maternal health, contraceptives, HIV test kits and condoms.’” The UN agency executive “made no mention,” notes Mr. Jalsevac, “of the benefits of sexual abstinence in preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS as well as the occurrence of unwed pregnancies.”

The delegate from the United States, according to Britain’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) as reported by LifeSiteNews, “expressed ‘strong opposition to sexual and reproductive health references’ at the World Health Assembly. The US expressed its opposition,” writes Mr. Jalsevac, “to any attempt to interpret the five-year strategy adopted by the WHA as ‘suggesting the existence of a new human right to sexual and reproductive health’ or ‘encouraging or compelling member states to expand the availability of abortion.’”


Possible Breakthrough in Ethical Diabetes Research


The report describes the development as “a fundamental discovery that some day may help cure Type 1 diabetes by allowing people to grow their own insulin-producing cells for a damaged or defective pancreas.”

The advance involves the engineering of adult stem cells “derived,” reports LifeSiteNews, “from human umbilical cord blood to produce insulin.”

The discovery “caps nearly four years of research,” reports LifeSiteNews, and was reported in the June issue of the medical journal Cell Proliferation. The scientists’ report called the development “‘the first demonstration that human umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells can be engineered’ to synthesize results,” reports LifeSiteNews.

The research was described by the paper’s senior author as “extremely basic,” reports LifeSiteNews. “‘It doesn’t prove that we’re going to be able to do this in people,’” said Dr. Randall J. Urban, University of Texas professor and chairman of internal medicine at the university’s Medical Branch at Galveston. “‘It’s just the first step up the rung of the ladder.’”

No human beings had to be sacrificed in the process, nor will human sacrifice be required to produce any therapies which may eventually result.


The Personhood Crisis

May 17, 2007, commentary by Judie Brown, president, American Life League

Not long ago, Maureen Downey wrote an article for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the subject of the Georgia pro-life movement’s new political goal: A proposed legislative resolution that defined a human being’s life as beginning at the moment of fertilization. The resolution would restore personhood to each innocent human being from his beginning.

Downey was appalled by this change in direction for the pro-life movement in Georgia and quipped, “The groups are trading their hammer and chisel for a nuclear warhead.” Well, to that comment I can only add that I wish the entire pro-life movement was equipping itself with precisely the same tools.

In case nobody has noticed, the ongoing focus on “reproductive health” is all about killing preborn babies, banking women’s eggs, testing embryos in laboratories in order to weed out the imperfect and developing better birth control methods that kill prior to implantation. Such practices reject Nature’s plan for marriage and contribute to the disintegration of the family. The only way to reverse this dreadful course upon which America is traveling at breakneck speed is for those of us who truly believe in the sanctity of human life to do something meaningful about it rather than continuing to “chip away” at abortion.

Georgia pro-lifers are adopting a standard, as are pro-lifers in several other states. What we all need to do is make that strategy a national plan of action – sooner rather than later. I say this after having read another article, this one from editorial writer Dan Neil, who wrote of what it means to exercise the “freedom of choice” that pro-abortion forces claim protects their “right” to abort innocent children.

Dan Neil and his wife wanted desperately to have children. They had undergone a couple of in vitro fertilization procedures that failed. But finally, on the third treatment cycle, in vitro fertilization rendered them pregnant with four little ones. As it turns out, the doctor reported that they were expecting two boys and two girls.

Sadly, however, the same doctor also informed them that multiple pregnancies can be dangerous for the mother and sometimes for the babies as well. The doctor had asked them in advance if they would be open to “reduction.” The Neils knew that word meant selective abortion, but had no idea that they might actually have to practice what that means.

At 15 weeks into her pregnancy, the Neils agreed upon the physician’s recommendation that the doctor should use a sodium chloride injection directly into the hearts of both of their sons, thus rendering them the parents of two living daughters and two dead sons. They made this decision and then watched the killings take place via ultrasound. And as Neil points out in his article, “We don’t feel guilty. We don’t feel ashamed. We’re not even really sad, because terminating these fetuses – at 15 weeks’ gestation – was a medical imperative.”

The sadness that gripped my heart when I read this article is nearly beyond imagination. It was as though I had encountered an obituary written by a couple of parents who were actually pleased with the deaths of their children.

How in the Name of God, I asked myself, has this happened? To what level of hell have we as a society descended? How could it be that I could read such a commentary – written, I suppose, to confirm the need to keep abortion “safe and legal?”

The real problem with the “hammer and chisel” versus “nuclear warhead” critics is that in the wee small areas of their thought process, I think they are afraid. They are gripped with this unbelievable sense of dread at the very thought that pro-life people might actually get serious, restore total legal protection to every single innocent person from the instant his life begins and thus eradicate all forms of abortion from the social landscape.

Neil calls abortion a matter that should never be taken lightly, yet he would fight to the death for his right to agree with his wife that their two sons are better off dead. Downey, on the other hand, surmises that women will never want to see the “right” they have taken for granted legislated; every woman, she says, should have the opportunity to decide when “to end a pregnancy.”

That is precisely why pro-lifers, particularly those in leadership positions, must get serious about our struggle to end abortion. The act of abortion directly takes the life of one of us, a human being who is no less valuable to the social fabric of this once great nation than you or me. Whether that abortion is performed in the womb or in the Petri dish or occurs because of the way a chosen method of birth control “worked,” the result is always the same: a dead child.

This is indeed a personhood crisis. The situation really isn’t going to get a whole lot better unless drastic changes are made.

For each of us, there is a time in life when circumstances coalesce and tough decisions have to be made. Perhaps it is because of illness or a death in the family. In the case of pro-life leaders, perhaps it is a sense of foreboding derived from the realization that our nation has slipped so far down into the culture of death that only a miracle will save it.

As far as I am concerned, I would like to be part of that phenomenon. But I realize that it will only occur if every one of us agrees that personhood is worth the risk of losing elections and accepting what in human terms could be considered a setback.

That’s the way miracles work – you must leave your comfort zone if you really want change to happen. The question is: Who is willing to take the risk?


Permission granted to quote with attribution. Reproduction rights granted only by express authorization.