Life Advocacy Briefing

July 12, 2010

Keep Pushing on Kagan / Salt in the Wound / Adult Stem Cells Score Again
/ Chalk Up Another Advance / For Those Who Pray / Getting It Right in Texas /
‘Stop Elena Kagan’ / Shouldn’t Women Be Told?

Keep Pushing on Kagan

WHETHER BECAUSE OF HER COY PERFORMANCE IN HER CONFIRMATION HEARINGS or the stirrings of opposition to Elena Kagan within the American people, the number of Senators – so far limited to Republicans – publicly announcing opposition to confirming the Supreme Court nominee grows by the day. Keep your calls and electronic mail messages rolling on up to Capitol Hill via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121 and/or the Senate’s Internet website at


Salt in the Wound

IN ‘A NEARLY UNPRECEDENTED’ MOVE (in the words of South Dakota GOP Sen. John Thune), the President of the United States has used the Senate’s Independence Day recess – when Americans celebrate our nation’s birth of liberty – to appoint one of our country’s most ardent fans of the United Kingdom’s horrible “health care” system to what may be the single most critical post in the age of ObamaCare.

Or to quote Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in his colorful and too accurate portrayal of the action, “With Congress out of his hair for the week, Pres. Obama couldn’t resist hiring another radical socialist for one of the most important jobs in America.”

The President has the authority to grant a “recess appointment” to fill a post, and Presidents use that power, typically, to essentially insist on appointing an individual whose nomination is stalled in the midst of the Senate’s confirmation process. But in the case of Donald Berwick MD, appointed to direct the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Mr. Obama shortcircuited the Senate confirmation process almost before it had begun.

“‘It’s nearly unprecedented for an administration to recess-appoint [someone] that has not even come up for a hearing,’” said Sen.Thune, quoted by Mr. Perkins in his July 7 FRC Washington Update. “‘It’s unfortunate,’” he said, “‘that Pres. Obama saw fit to take this extraordinary step and appoint an individual charged with overseeing a benefits budget larger than the economies of Denmark, South Africa and Israel combined, without so much as a hearing to examine his views.’”

Ah, but there’s the rub – Dr. Berwick’s views.  Dr. Berwick’s slathering devotion to Britain’s socialized medicine is widely published; his nomination – and now appointment – confirm the true intentions of the Obama Regime and his fellow travelers in Congress, regardless of protestations to the contrary. More straight talk from Tony Perkins:

“So what are these ‘views’ that the White House is so desperate to cover up [by using a recess appointment to install their man without a Senate hearing]? For one,” writes Mr. Perkins, “[Dr.] Berwick is a socialist. He was caught on video suggesting that ‘any healthcare funding plan that is just … must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer … .’

“Secondly,” notes Mr. Perkins, “he thinks it’s cheaper to let sick patients die than provide care. ‘The decision is not whether or not we will ration care,’ he said last year. ‘The decision is whether we will ration care with our eyes open.’

“He is, in his own words, ‘romantic’ about nationalized health care, particularly Britain’s system,” writes the Family Research Council president. “He despises free market capitalism. And the list goes on and on.”

Congressional Republicans are in an uproar over the recess appointment. Democrats who wish to give themselves cover with the voters would do well to protest as well. The case on Donald Berwick is open and shut. And the President just put him in charge of the healthcare overhaul he and his Congressional fellow travelers have jammed down the throats of the American people. This appointment became no less politically radioactive by likewise being jammed through via the recess bypass.


Adult Stem Cells Score Again

THIS TIME, THE RESEARCH BREAKTHROUGH COMES FROM ITALY: Adult stem cells, taken safely from the patients themselves, restoring the sight of people blinded by chemical burns, some blind for decades.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the report relates treatment by research scientists of 107 eyes in 106 patients, using their own stem cells taken from the rim around the cornea of the healthy eye. “In all,” writes Peter J. Smith for, “the treatment had a 76.6% success rate, sustained over the past decade. The researchers note,” writes Mr. Smith, “that all their failure cases occurred within the first year of treatment. In all, 82 of 107 eyes had successful cures, with partial success in 14 others.”

The surgeries entailed removal of scar tissue, grafting of a stemcell colony onto the cornea and then corrective surgeries 12 to 24 months later, after the grafts had grown into new corneal tissues.

“One patient had severe alkali burns on both his eyes from 1948,” writes Mr. Smith, reporting on the New England Journal article for LifeSiteNews. “Researchers … were able to adapt and derive limbal stemcell cultures with biopsied tissue taken from the patient’s left eye. The therapy managed to successfully restore both corneal surfaces,” he writes, “transitioning the man from blindness to having an almost normal, combined vision of close to 20/30. Follow-ups after two and five years,” reports LifeSiteNews, “showed that both eyes were stable after the treatment.”

The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List political action group commented on the New England Journal report on their own SBA Internet weblog, which was quoted by Mr. Smith: “‘Not only,’ wrote SBA … , do the patients ‘not have to worry about anti-rejection drugs, [but also] patients who undergo adult stemcell therapies are not troubled by the moral and ethical dilemma of destroying small humans – embryos – for scientific research. Also unlike embryonic stemcell research,’” notes SBA, “‘treatments with adult stem cells have yielded real results.’”


Chalk Up Another Advance

AND HERE’s ANOTHER ONE, this reported by David Prentice MD, July 1, 2010, on the Family Research Council (FRC) Internet weblog: “Canadian researchers have found that mesenchymal stem cells – a type of adult stem cell found in bone marrow and some other tissues – may help treat septic infection.”

Sepsis, which is a generalized infection raging through the body, is “the second leading cause of mortality in Canadian and US intensive care units,” writes Dr. Prentice, “resulting in more than 200,000 deaths each year and more than $16 billion in healthcare costs.”

The mesenchymal stemcell research was conducted in mice and reported in the American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine. “Five days after treatment,” writes Dr. Prentice, “50% of the animals that received the adult stem cells were alive, compared to just 15% of the control animals that did not receive the cells.

“‘According to Dr. Duncan Stewart, senior author,’” quoted by Dr. Prentice: “‘Our results suggest that mesenchymal stem cells may provide a promising new approach for treating organ damage caused by severe infection, and we are looking to test this in patients in the near future.’”


For Those Who Pray

WE ARE TOLD BY A FRIEND WITH CONTACTS INSIDE RED CHINA that human rights champion Chen Guangcheng, still imprisoned by the brutal Communist authorities, is “in very bad physical condition.”

We reported on Chen, a blind legal advocate who crusaded to protect mothers and their gestating babies from the Regime’s forced abortion policy case by excruciating case, when he was arrested and imprisoned. In April 2006, shortly after his arrest, Chen was featured by in a profile by Hannah Beech, but his plight has lately gone unnoticed. Time for earnest, concerted prayer for a hero of the cause.

And time for human rights advocates on Capitol Hill to demand a public accounting from Chen’s persecutors.


Getting It Right in Texas

THE TEXAS CRIMINAL COURT OF APPEALS UPHELD THE CONVICTION of a murderer in late June on charges he had murdered a 13-gestational-week-old child, “citing a Thomas More Society ‘friend-of-the-court’ brief in its decision,” reports TMS in a news release.

Lawyers for Adrian Estrada argued, reports TMS, “that the Texas Prenatal Protection Act is unconstitutional, claiming that the law’s protection of ‘an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth’ violates Roe v. Wade.”  Mr. Estrada was convicted of murdering both the child and his or her 17-year-old mother in a capital offense, and the appellate court declared, quoted in the TMS release, “‘By expressly defining capital murder such that one of the victims may be any unborn child from fertilization throughout all stages of gestation, the statute leaves no ambiguity as to what conduct is proscribed.’”

Fetal homicide laws – in their implicit and sometimes explicit recognition of the humanity of the prenatal child – may appear to be inconsistent with the underlying principle of Roe, but that is because Roe itself is inconsistent with reality. Justice is affirmed; kudos to the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals and the Life-defending Thomas More Society.


‘Stop Elena Kagan’

June 29, 2010, PRI Weekly Briefing by Steve Mosher & Colin Mason of Population Research Institute

The evening news cycle continues to be dominated by the Gulf oil spill and, more recently, by the firing of Gen. McChrystal. But long after the war in Afghanistan has ground to a halt and the clean-up of the Gulf Coast is complete, Pres. Obama’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, may still be legislating from the bench. She is, after all, only 50 years old. If confirmed, she stands a good chance of outlasting all of the currently serving justices.

So, please America, pay attention to her confirmation hearings, which [began last] week.

Like her sponsor, Pres. Barack Hussein Obama, Kagan has left little in the way of a paper trail. Her judicial record is nonexistent – she has never served on the bench – and her position on most issues is murky. What we do know is this: Elena Kagan is bad – very bad – on the Life issues.

How do we know this? Because Kagan served Pres. Clinton in two senior policy advisory roles – and was given specific responsibility for the abortion issue. In these roles, she was instrumental in blocking pro-life legislation. She consistently took an extremist position on this and related issues, and Clinton frequently took her advice.

According to an extensive, well-researched memo by Americans United for Life (AUL), Kagan “consistently promoted anti-Life positions that at times extended beyond what Pres. Clinton was inclined to do.” In fact, AUL says, Kagan was instrumental in Clinton’s opposition to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban of 1996. She claimed that a ban on “pre-viability” abortions would be unconstitutional. Clinton, as a result of her influence, vetoed the bill.

Even more damning is AUL’s finding that “Kagan later advised the President to support a phony late-term abortion ‘ban’ to give ‘cover for pro-choice Senators’ who did not want to support a real partial-birth abortion ban.” Such actions are more befitting a political operative, not a Supreme Court nominee.

Kagan manifested this kind of extremism on other issues as well. Her response to a federal ban on physician-assisted suicide, for example, was that such a ban would be a “fairly terrible idea.”

Everyone concerned about the rule of law should be particularly taken aback by her adulation of former Israeli Supreme Court Judge Aharon Barak. Kagan called Barak her “hero,” effusing that “he is the judge who has best advanced democracy, human rights, the rule of law and justice.” In fact, Barak’s self-proclaimed judicial theory undermined democracy and the rule of law, since he believed that a judge’s job is not to apply existing laws to specific circumstances but to give the law “a new meaning, a dynamic meaning.” He was, in short, no impartial arbiter of the law. His American acolyte is cut from the same cloth.

From the evidence, it seems obvious that Kagan does not believe in the rule of law or even in democratic rule but in the rule of judges who “interpret” laws according to their own left-of-center prejudices and then use clever but fallacious reasoning to defend writing their own biases into their decisions.

She would not be just an “activist judge,” as bad as that is. She would be a judicial dictator, usurping the role of the elective legislature, ignoring our traditions and spurning constitutional limits, all in an effort to enforce her own leftwing, anti-Life views on the rest of us.

Her confirmation would be a disaster for the American experiment in representative government and for all Americans, past, present and future, both born and unborn. Her nomination must be opposed.

Contact your Senator and urge him or her not to support the confirmation of Elena Kagan. [1-202/224-3121;]


Shouldn’t Women Be Told?

July 1, 2010, commentary by Wesley J. Smith on his Secondhand Smoke Internet weblog

I have not engaged this issue – whether abortion increases the risk of breast cancer – but have noticed the feverish drive to discredit any such link, the emotionality of which makes me think that the objections have more to do with politics than science. Be that as it may, a new study has come out showing the “A/BC” link. From the story:

“An abortion can triple a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer in later life, researchers say. A team of scientists made the claim while carrying out research into how breastfeeding can protect women from developing the killer disease. While concluding that breastfeeding offered significant protection from cancer, they also noted that the highest reported risk factor in developing the disease was abortion. Other factors included the onset of the menopause and smoking. The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, are the latest research to show a link between abortion and breast cancer. The research was carried out by scientists at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. It is the fourth epidemiological study to report such a link in the past 14 months, with research in China, Turkey and the US showing similar conclusions.”

Other larger studies have indicated no connection. But recent studies have convinced a former skeptic:

“There has been an 80% increase in the rate of breast cancer since 1971, when in the wake of the Abortion act, the number of abortions rose from 18,000 to nearly 200,000 a year. Earlier this year, Dr. Louise Brinton, a senior researcher with the US National Cancer Institute who did not accept the link, reversed her position to say she was now convinced abortion increased the risk of breast cancer by about 40%.”

Expect there to be a concerted attack on this research, which puzzles me a lot. Regardless of whether one believes abortion should be legal, certainly women should make an informed decision if they are thinking about terminating [their child’s life]. Even if the chance of getting breast cancer is small due to abortion – and again, I am not involved with this at all – surely women should be told that it seems to exist. Right?

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