Life Advocacy Briefing

April 14 , 2008

FDA About to Cross the Line? / Lining Up  / Key Backing for Pitts Amendment
/ Key Endorsement for John McCain / Beijing Boycott? / Check Out PP’s Annual Report /
Take a Look / Scary Choice / Turning Her Back on Her Most Vulnerable Citizens
Notable Quote / ‘Support John McCain’

FDA About to Cross the Line?

ADVISORS TO THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION (F.D.A.) MET last Thursday and Friday to “begin to design … human experiments with human embryonic stem cells,” reports Aaron Smith for Such experiments would be the first in the US to use human subjects, and the experimentation could begin “as early,” writes Mr. Smith, “as this year.”

The meeting “‘is the first step towards clinical trials,’ said Laurie Zoloth, professor of medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University,” reports Mr. Smith. “‘It’s an important moment,’” she said, “‘and it’s only the very beginning.’”

Sen. Sam Brownback reacted sharply to the FDA’s announcement of the meeting. “Human beings are not guinea pigs,” the Kansas Republican said in a news release.  Sen. Brownback said he was “deeply concerned that the FDA is discussing procedures for conducting experiments on humans with embryonic stem cells.”

Sen. Brownback recalled the March 2001 New York Times report of “devastating patient results from human experiments using fetal tissue cells. The problem,” said Sen. Brownback, “was the cells were too immature and tended to form tumors or grow in uncontrolled ways that could not be reversed in the humans who underwent experimentation.

“I am astonished,” said Mr. Brownback, “that the FDA is proceeding with human experimentation again, with even younger human cells that have shown an even greater propensity to form tumors. At best this is irresponsible,” he said. “At worst, this is criminal.”

In a notable coincidence of timing, just two weeks ago, on April 6, the New York Times published an alarming though brief assessment of the FDA in a drug litigation story by Gardiner Harris and Alex Berenson. The two reporters quoted Cincinnati plaintiff’s attorney Janet Abaray declaring a particular drug company had “t[aken] advantage of an agency overwhelmed by its many responsibilities. ‘[The drug company] knew,’” said Ms. Abaray in the Times story,  “‘that FDA does not have the funding or the manpower to police drug companies.’ …

“A series of independent assessments have concluded,” write Messrs. Harris and Berenson, “that the agency is poorly organized, scientifically deficient and short of money. In February,” reports the Times, “its commissioner Andrew C. vonEschenbach acknowledged that the agency faces a crisis and may not be ‘adequate to regulate the food and drugs of the 21st century.’

“The FDA does not test experimental medicines,” notes the Times, “but relies on drug makers to report the results of their own tests completely and honestly. Even when companies fail to follow agency rules, officials rarely seek to penalize them,” notes the Times. “‘These are scientists, not cops,’ said David Vladeck, a professor at Georgetown Law School.”

“What makes this even more troubling,” Sen. Brownback said in his release, “is that there is a viable ethical alternative with adult stem cells that are currently being used in the treatment of well over 70 different diseases and conditions, including spinal cord injury, type-I diabetes, heart failure and Parkinson’s disease, as validated by peer-reviewed, published results.”

But scientist Zoloth declared to Mr. Smith in the report, “‘the human embryo does not have the moral status of a dying child. … You might say,’” she told Mr. Smith, “‘that we stand in a remarkable moment in human history.’” The embarkation of the government of the most powerful country in the world on the brave new world of subjecting human beings to experimentation which requires the ruthless sacrifice of embryonic fellow humans is indeed a “remarkable moment in human history;” in fact, one must wonder whether it might be one of the last moments of human history.


Lining Up

BIOTECH FIRMS ARE LINING UP, reports Aaron Smith of, to dive into human trials of embryo-sacrificing therapies.

“Geron could be the first company to conduct experiments in humanswith drugs made from human embryonic stem cells,” writes Mr. Smith. “Geron has already filed an application to the FDA to begin human testing, according to analysts.  Mr. Smith notes Geron “refused to confirm this and would not discuss” the FDA advisory meeting. An analyst for financial advisory firm UBS told Mr. Smith he “believes Geron could begin human testing by mid-2008.” Geron is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

The chief scientific officer of LosAngeles-based Advanced Cell Technology, Robert Lanza, “said his company plans to file an application for human testing to the FDA within months,” reports Mr. Smith. ACT, whose principal laboratory is in Massachusetts, is using cells harvested from embryonic human beings to develop a treatment for vision loss, according to

Another company, Neuralstem, which uses stem cells harvested from a fetal human rather than embryonic stem cells, reports Mr. Smith, “intends to file an application for human testing to the FDA in September or October.” The company is focused on treating Lou Gehrig’s disease.


Key Backing for Pitts Amendment

SOUTHERN BAPTIST PUBLIC POLICY LEADER RICHARD LAND weighed in last week on the pending Pitts/Hyde Amendment to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

When HR-1328 reaches consideration in the US House, Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) plans, he has signaled, to offer an amendment barring use of taxpayer dollars for abortion; the federal government subsidizes Indian medical care separately from the Medicaid program, which is protected by an annual appropriations amendment first and famously offered in 1976 by the late Rep. Henry Hyde and renewed every year. Adoption of the Pitts Amendment, which mirrors an amendment already adopted by the Senate under sponsorship of Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), would be a permanent change, as HR-1328 is a reauthorization measure, not an appropriation.

The abortion ban has applied to the Indian Health Care program by regulation, but Mr. Land, who is president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, warned that could change unless Congress takes action. “‘Without your amendment to permanently adopt this policy,’” Mr. Land wrote to Rep. Pitts earlier this month, as quoted by Tom Strode for Baptist Press, “‘a future Administration could easily open up taxpayer dollars to subsidize abortions through Indian Health Service.’” And wouldn’t it be just like Planned Parenthood to use tax dollars to target for extinction an already tiny minority like American Indians.

Pro-life citizens who wish to contact their Representatives to urge “support for the Pitts Amendment to Indian Health Care” may use the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.


Key Endorsement for John McCain

THE NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE COMMITTEE HAS ADOPTED A RESOLUTION endorsing Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for President, apparently ending a lengthy feud between Sen. McCain and NRL over the Senator’s authorship of campaign finance legislation strongly resisted by the large pro-life association.

The resolution, whose text we publish at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, cites Sen. McCain’s “strong pro-life voting record against abortion” and his opposition to the 1973 Supreme Court edict commercializing baby killing, Roe v. Wade. And NRL, in its resolution, expresses strong opposition to “both [Sen.] Barack Obama and [Sen.] Hillary Clinton.”


Beijing Boycott?

REP. THADDEUS McCOTTER (R-MI) HAS FILED A BILL BARRING federal officers or employees – including Pres. George W. Bush – from attending the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, citing Red China’s one-child depopulation pogrom as one of several enumerated human rights violations – including the Communist Chinese government’s brutal repression of Tibetan protesters seeking freedom – which would justify such an official snub.

HR-5668 has 15 bipartisan co-sponsors and has been assigned to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The bill is part of a building campaign urging Pres. Bush not to honor the brutal Communist regime by attending the opening ceremonies.

Citizens who take particular interest in confronting the Red Chinese over their atrocities may call their own Representatives to ask them to co-sponsor the measure and to pressure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) to bring the HR-5668 before the House for a vote. The Capitol switchboard number is 1-202/224-3121.

House Members co-sponsoring the bill as of this writing are Republican Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (CA), Tom Tancredo (CO), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Mark Souder (IN), Scott Garrett and Christopher Smith (NJ), James Walsh (NY), Virginia Foxx (NC), Zach Wamp (TN) and Michael Burgess (TX). Also Democratic Representatives Maxine Waters (CA), Michael Michaud (ME), Michael Capuano (MA), Shelley Berkley (NV) and Peter DeFazio (OR).


Check Out PP’s Annual Report

PLANNED PARENTHOOD’s ANNUAL REPORT FOR ITS 2006-2007 FISCAL YEAR is posted on the Internet at

Among the highlights: Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s revenue topped $1 billion for the first time during the recently ended fiscal year, notes Katherine Kipp for Baptist Press. “Of last year’s revenue,” writes Ms. Kipp, “$336.7 million, or about one-third, came in government grants and contracts. …

“The Planned Parenthood report also showed the organization doubling its ‘excess of revenue over expenses,’” writes Ms. Kipp, “from $55.7 million in 2005-2006 to $112 million last year.”

Specific to abortion, Devon Williams in Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink notes the report indicates “a record 289,650 preborn babies were killed at Planned Parenthood clinics” during the last fiscal year, “an increase,” he writes, “of nearly 25,000 from 2005-2006.”


Take a Look

PRIESTS FOR LIFE DIRECTOR FR. FRANK PAVONE HAS PRODUCED two eye-opening videos in which he calmly and matter-of-factly demonstrates the dismemberment and suction methods of abortion, using fetal models and also instruments which were used in actual abortions. The videos vividly demonstrate what abortion is and are posted on the Internet at


Scary Choice

ONE OF CHICAGO’s NOTORIOUS ABORTIONISTS, whose medical license was revoked in 1988, has resurfaced as principal of a public school in Chicago.

The 1988 revocation of the license of Arnold Bickham followed the death of a customer, reports Hilary White for It was the second time his license was revoked. The State of Illinois had first revoked his license in 1970, reports LifeSite, “after it was revealed he was attempting abortions on women who were not pregnant. Two [customers] … [who] underwent abortions at [Mr.] Bickham’s hands at his Watertower Reproductive Center in Chicago,” reports LifeSite, “died of complications” at the time of the 1970 revocation.

The infamous abortionist “was sued by patients several times for malpractice,” notes LifeSite, “for infection, internal injuries, perforated uterus and hemorrhage.” And he was convicted of a felony involving “defrauding government job training funds,” reports LifeSite, “to cover his abortion facility payroll.”

Mr. Bickham has been out of the headlines for many years, but his name has now resurfaced in connection with his unseemly new job. His appointment as principal of Mildred I. Lavizzo School came to light when prominent pro-life Internet journalist Jill Stanek posted a letter from a Lavizzo School 8th grader on her weblog,, noting, reports LifeSite, “that students and teachers ‘aren’t comfortable with being around him, and we want help. If he has this kind of background,’” said the student in the blog letter, “‘he should not be able to work in this type of organization, because you’ll never know what he will try to do.’”

A school spokesman told Mrs. Stanek, according to LifeSite, “that the Lavizzo school council were apprised of the full background of their new principal.”


Turning Her Back on Her Most Vulnerable Citizens

ARIZONA GOV. JANET NAPOLITANO (D) HAS VETOED a measure barring partial-birth abortion, calling instead for a “bipartisan” approach to “family planning and the prevention of sexual violence against women.” The abortion lobby fellow traveler cited two somewhat technical problems she had with HB-2769, and those two problems have been addressed in SB-1048, a second bill to outlaw partial-birth abortion now making its way through the Arizona House after having passed the state senate.

With the original bill having passed the House 34 to 25 and the Senate 21 to 9, chances are good that Gov. Napolitano is about to be tested all over again on whether she can bring herself to stop the practice of partially delivering well-developed unborn babies for the purpose of stabbing them to death.


Notable Quote

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) on Oregon’s horrific experiment in establishing a legalized regime of doctor-abetted suicide, from an interview by the Eugene Register Guard: “I commend Oregon on this count as well, because whether I agree with it or not or think it’s a good idea or not, the fact that Oregon is breaking new ground and providing valuable information as to what does and doesn’t work when it comes to end-of-life questions, I think is very beneficial. … With appropriate safeguards and informed decision making, I think it’s an appropriate right to have.”


‘Support John McCain’

National Right to Life Committee resolution endorsing Sen. McCain’s candidacy for President, adopted this month by the NRL board of directors

Whereas the next President of the United States will be either the nominee of the Republican Party or the nominee of the Democratic Party, and

Whereas both contenders for the Democratic nomination, Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, have strong positions and voting records in favor of abortion on demand and strongly support the appointment of only US Supreme Court Justices who favor Roe v. Wade, and

Whereas the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, has consistently taken a strong pro-life position against abortion, has a strong pro-life voting record against abortion and opposes Roe v. Wade,

Be it resolved that National Right to Life supports Senator John McCain for election as President of the United States and strongly opposes both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and urges all pro-life citizens to do likewise.


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