LifeWorks: May 2012
May 2012 | eVolume 2, Issue 5
Your monthly news update from New York State Right to Life
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November 2012: the babies need your help!
While the adage "All politics is local" makes a lot of sense a lot of the time - we have to realize that someone else's local is impacting all of us. And by us I mean our human family.
We need your help. And it doesn't matter where you live. NYS Right to Life State Political Committee and Federal Political Action Committee are targeting a few critical races this year. If we are going to continue to build a pro-life New York - we need everyone to be willing to look beyond our own districts and help in races that are close and that will be pivotal in the fight for children's lives.
We will be talking about those specific races in the near future but for now I have to ask you - if there is a race - a very close race - somewhere in our state and you can help make the difference in the outcome, whether from helping from your own home or by carpooling to the area to take part in an on-the-ground effort, will you do that? Will you join us? Someone once said that abortion will end when pro-lifers are willing to inconvenience ourselves. Okay, we know none of this is convenient, but when we contemplate that we are in the middle of a real live holocaust, happening in blood red living color in our own neighborhoods, can we seriously say that we have done enough?
New York State Right to Life knows that the pro-life increment can make the difference in a close race. We won't waste your time asking for help in races we know we are going to win or races that are such longshots they aren't realistic. We are asking you to help in races that are tight enough for your help to make a difference.
If you are willing to give a little bit more than you are now - and there are a wide variety of ways that can look - please call us. The book of Timothy exhorts the young to be an example and as far as I recall there is no retirement in the Bible. So that pretty much leaves the battle to all of us. A wise man once said that it is nonsense to say that where abortion is concerned the church is getting involved in politics - the reality is that politicians have gotten involved in spiritual warfare. They're killing babies. Suit up. We have work to do.
Calling all pro-life teens!
NYS Right to Life invites pro-life teens to our fourth annual Camp Esther, which will be held August 17-19, 2012 at the Good News Center in Utica, NY. Camp Esther is an intensive leadership weekend that trains students in the ins-and-outs of the Life issues as well as effective advocacy to save lives. In addition to hearing from top pro-life speakers, students also have the chance to meet pro-life peers from across the state.
Thanks to the generosity of our partners, the Good News Foundation of Central New York and the New York State Ancient Order of Hibernians, students attend camp for just $100 (before June 30), which covers all speakers and training, a stay at the beautiful Good News Center, and all materials and meals for the weekend.
Alumni of previous camps have gone on to work for the cause of Life in various capacities, some even establishing and leading their own pro-life initiatives and organizations. For the first time, Camp Esther 2012 includes advanced track option for returning campers, many of whom have considerable experience in the pro-life movement. The advanced track will build upon what campers have learned in previous years with more in-depth lessons on Life issues as well as more opportunities to practice effectively sharing and defending the pro-life message with individual feedback.
Students interested in Camp Esther are encouraged to register as soon as possible, as we expect to reach capacity quickly. To register, contact Natalie at NYS Right to Life at 518-434-1293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for the Camp Esther flyer [PDF], which you can download and share with others.
New York representatives defend sex-selection abortion
Make no mistake about it - it has never been about women's rights.
All New York State Democrats along with Republicans Richard Hanna and Nan Hayworth vote AGAINST protecting baby girls from gendercide. House of Representatives voted 246-168 for the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (H.R. 3541), to protect the girls from being aborted simply because they are girls.
National Right to Life drew attention to President Obama and Planned Parenthood defending the sickening practice of sex-selection abortion as just another option. "Among the organizations that warned House members not to vote for the bill was the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation’s major abortion provider. PPFA sent an email memo to House members on May 29 warning of its “intent to score” a vote for the bill as a vote against “women’s health.” Also on May 29, the Huffington Post reported that “no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).” So, for PPFA, abortion for sex selection is just another menu option, except where it is illegal – and PPFA vehemently opposes making it illegal."
Shame on every pro-abortion hypocrite in the delegation from New York including every Democrat and Republican Richard Hanna. But the biggest shame is reserved for Congresswoman Nan Hayworth - a female member of Congress with an otherwise 100% pro-life record.
Please call your Representative today. Pro-Gendercide in Green. Pro-Life in Pink. House switchboard number 202-225-3121.
New York Representatives: (those voting yes in pink, present votes orange)
Ackerman, Gary, New York, 5th
Hanna, Richard, New York, 24th
Bishop, Timothy, New York, 1st
Clarke, Yvette D., New York, 11th
Crowley, Joseph, New York, 7th
Engel, Eliot, New York, 17th
Hayworth, Nan, New York, 19th
Higgins, Brian, New York, 27th
Hinchey, Maurice, New York, 22nd
Israel, Steve, New York, 2nd
King, Pete, New York, 3rd
Hochul, Kathy, New York, 26th
Lowey, Nita, New York, 18th
Buerkle, Ann Marie, New York, 25th
Maloney, Carolyn, New York, 14th
Reed, Tom, New York, 29th
McCarthy, Carolyn, New York, 4th
Owens, Bill, New York, 23rd
Grimm, Michael, New York 13th
Meeks, Gregory W., New York, 6th
Gibson, Chris, New York, 20th
Nadler, Jerrold, New York, 8th
Rangel, Charles B., New York, 15th
Serrano, José E., New York, 16th
Slaughter, Louise, New York, 28th
Tonko, Paul D., New York, 21st
Towns, Edolphus, New York, 10th
Turner, Robert, New York, 9th
V elázquez, Nydia M., New York, 12th
NYS Right to Life congratulates all who participated in our 30th annual pro-life oratory contest, which was held on Saturday, May 12, 2012 in Albany, NY. Each of the eight contestants, all high school juniors and seniors, travelled from around the state, each having won local contests held by NYS Right to Life affiliates.
First prize went to Caitlin Kennedy, a senior at St. Pius V School in Melville, NY, representing the Long Island Coalition for Life. Caitlin began her compelling speech by recounting the horrific cases of infants who survive abortions, only to be left to die or killed by lethal injections. She emphasized the importance of publicizing such cases to help even “hardened audiences” realize the violence of abortion.
For the second consecutive year, Caitlin will represent NYS Right to Life at the National Right to Life Jane B. Thompson Oratory Contest, which will be held on Saturday, June 30 in Washington, DC in conjunction with the National Right to Life Convention. In 2011, Caitlin advanced to the final round of the national competition, placing fourth overall. NYS Right to Life looks forward to supporting Caitlin in June and will cover admission to convention as well as $600 for travel expenses for Caitlin and a chaperone.
Two contestants tied for second place at NYS Right to Life’s oratory contest: Mya Pugh, representing the Joint Parish Respect Life Committee in Queens, and Kathryn Hollowood, representing Schenectady County Right to Life Committee. Each will receive a $100 cash prize.
Several students spoke about how attacks against Life have reached far beyond abortion as other vulnerable members of the human family are now threatened by euthanasia and lethal embryonic stem cell research. Other contestants exposed the euphemisms pro-abortion advocates use to justify taking the life of an unborn child and many spoke about the pain abortion can bring mothers following an abortion.
NYS Right to Life is impressed by the talent and obvious passion for the cause of Life displayed by all who participated. We look forward to their continued leadership in the pro-life movement for years to come. NYS Right to Life is proud to offer each contestant a full scholarship to our fourth annual pro-life leadership weekend, Camp Esther.
The complete list of contestants is as follows: Charles Bachmann (Westchester-Putnam Right to Life Committee), Kathryn Hollowood, Caitlin Kennedy, YoonJi Lee (Syracuse Right to Life Committee), Dominik Maida (Broome County Right to Life Committee), Mya Pugh, Jason Pymento (Staten Island Right to Life Committee), Dennis Rosa (Bronx Right to Life Committee).
Evidence presented at World Health Assembly that health care, not abortion,
will solve maternal mortality
By Paul Stark, Communications Assistant for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life
Article originally published by National Right to Life News Today.
Evidence that legalizing abortion does not reduce maternal mortality was presented this week at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO), and Jeanne Head, R.N., NYS Right to Life executive board member and U.N. representative and vice-president for international affairs at the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), launched an updated analysis published by MCCL GO and NRLC.
Despite a worldwide decline in recent years, maternal mortality remains a serious problem in developing nations. “We have known for decades that most maternal deaths can be prevented with adequate nutrition, basic health care, and good obstetric care throughout pregnancy, at delivery, and postpartum,” says Head. “Yet some in the international community have focused their resources primarily on legalizing abortion at the expense of women’s lives.”
The new analysis, “Women’s Health & Abortion,” explains that maternal mortality fell dramatically in developed nations as a result of mid-20th century improvements in health care—well before the widespread legalization of abortion. Today Ireland and Poland, which prohibit most abortions, boast among the world’s lowest rates of maternal death.
“Maternal mortality is determined by the quality of maternal health care, not the legal status of abortion,” notes Fischbach. “Pushing for legal abortion in developing countries does nothing to solve the problem. It only leads to more abortions.”
The analysis highlights a peer-reviewed study of maternal mortality in Chile published on May 4. The researchers, led by Dr. Elard Koch of the University of Chile, show that maternal mortality declined significantly even after Chile prohibited abortion in 1989. Maternal deaths due specifically to abortion also dropped after abortion was made illegal. (Read more about the aforementioned study here and here.)
Koch, et al., cite various factors to explain the decrease, including a significant increase in education level, utilization of maternal health facilities, and improvements in the sanitary system. The researchers conclude that “making abortion illegal is not necessarily equivalent to promoting unsafe abortion, especially in terms of maternal morbidity and mortality. … Our study indicates that improvements in maternal health and a dramatic decrease in the [maternal mortality ratio] occurred without legalization of abortion.”
Chile’s success contrasts with the recent record of the United States, which permits abortion on demand and has seen its maternal mortality rate climb upward over the last two decades. The U.S. maternal mortality ratio (the number of deaths per 100,000 live births) increased from 10.3 in 1999 to 23.2 in 2009. Over the same period, Chile’s ratio decreased from 23.6 to 16.9.
A report issued this month by the World Health Organization and other U.N. agencies estimates that maternal deaths worldwide dropped 47 percent from 1990 to 2010. The report offers further proof that women’s lives can be saved through improved health conditions.
“We urge the World Health Assembly to adopt measures to significantly reduce maternal mortality in the developing world by improving women’s health care,” Fischbach adds. “We call upon the WHA to save lives, not expend endless energy and resources advocating the legalization of abortion in countries that protect their unborn children.”
NARAL endorses Obama, cites “highlights” of his “accomplishments”
By Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News Today
While not exactly something to hold the presses over, NARAL Tuesday endorsed pro-abortion President Barack Obama for a second term.
“The difference between President Obama and Mitt Romney on choice is clear and stark,” said NARAL President Nancy Keenan. “We will make sure that voters understand the importance of re-electing President Obama. We are ready to go to battle and work every day to keep a pro-choice leader in the White House.”
Keenan went on to emphasize that NARAL “will focus on a key bloc of women voters in battleground states. Choice is the issue that compels this segment to support President Obama once he is contrasted with a candidate with extreme anti-choice views.” Of course, this assessment came out the day after a new CBS News/New York Times poll showed Romney running ahead of Obama, including with women.
In its press release NARAL offered “Highlights of President Obama’s Accomplishments for Women’s Reproductive Rights.” They are in abortion-speak, but decoded they include:
NARAL is quite correct: the contrast between pro-life Mitt Romney and pro-abortion Barack Obama is “clear and stark.” Both NARAL and pro-lifers will be doing their best to make sure the American public knows who stands for life and who stands for death.
Pro-life Mitt Romney promises to begin replacing ObamaCare on “Day One”
By Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News Today
In the first television commercial since he became the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, pro-life Mitt Romney answers the question “What would a Romney Presidency be like?” by saying that he would “issue orders to begin replacing Obamacare with commonsense health care reform” on his first day in office. (You can watch the 30-second video at www.mittromney.com/videos.)
Mr. Romney will have the American people behind him. This health care “reform” has never enjoyed popular support. As National Right to Life News Today reported on Monday, Rasmussen Report found:
“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law, while 37% are at least somewhat opposed. This includes 46% who Strongly Favor repeal of the measure versus 26% who Strongly Oppose it.”
Just how badly has Obama stumbled?
By Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News Today
Earlier this week I wrote a piece that generated a fair amount of response: “The Turning Point of 2012?” My point was simply that come November when we look back to try to figure out the reasons why the elections turned out the way they did, last Monday might be seen as both a symbolic and substantive turning point.
What happened May 21? In twelve lawsuits filed simultaneously in various U.S. district courts, 43 Catholic dioceses, schools, hospitals, social service agencies, and other institutions filed suit, accusing Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services of violating the First Amendment and federal law by requiring Catholic organizations to “sacrifice their beliefs in order to be able to continue their mission of serving all people in need.”
Coolly and with calculation the Obama Administration had picked a fight with the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church refused to wimp out. In a word, the battle had been joined.
(Obama carried the Catholic vote by nine points in 2008—54% to 45%. I haven’t seen recent numbers but earlier this month Gallup’s daily tracking poll showed Obama and Romney tied at 46% among Catholic registered voters.)
In the four days since, there have been a spate of stories—which said not word one about the litigation—that openly speculated that the re-election prospects of pro-abortion President Barack Obama may be in serious trouble. If this is true in the absence of considering the impact of assaulting the religious liberties of hundreds of millions of Americans, what would the measure of Obama’s troubles be if that truth were factored in?
So, what caused this rush of stories? A confluence of events captured in the headline, “Obama stumbles out of the gate,” as POLITCO put it. Let me briefly enumerate some of them.
#1. Republicans are quickly coalescing around pro-life Mitt Romney who will soon officially reach the number of delegates needed to be the Republican presidential nominee. But as many have written, including us, duh? Given a choice between Obama and any Republican (aka someone who is not Obama), only the willfully blind would not have seen this coming. Also, Mr. Romney is campaigning effectively, something even his harshest critics are grudgingly conceding.
#2. The Obama campaign is to mistakes what Fischer is to nuts. To borrow from author and columnist Jimmy Breslin, talk about the gang that can’t shoot straight. The most obvious recent example is Obama’s assault on Romney’s stint at Bain Capital. Even members of his own party—and some who are very prominent—publicly groaned. Class warfare is a might risky tactic. (See #5.)
#3. Some hideous poll numbers. To be sure there are plenty of numbers that can be read either in the President’s favor, or, more typically, show them in a dead heat. But Florida is pivotal to Mr. Romney’s winning the election. Two months ago Quinnipiac gave Obama a seven-point lead—49% to 47% to 42. This week the same pollster puts Romney up by six points, 47% to 41%. That really caught people’s attention.
#4. How embarrassingly, transparently political this “greater unifier” is proving to be. POLITICO’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei wrote
By the way, that’s another way of saying there are likely no depths to which the President’s campaign will not sink.
#5. Finally, there are these telling paragraphs that lead off Allen’s and VandeHei’s story.
This is the flipside of something that is as obvious as the nose on your face: Mr. Obama is floundering. He grasps at every passing issue in the desperate hope that it will act like a flotation device, an electoral life preserver.
Put another way, it’s not “cool” to panic.
Michael J. Fox is looking past embryonic stem cells in a search for a cure for Parkinson’s
By Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News Today
In a most revealing interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, actor Michael J. Fox conceded that it is likely that sources other than embryonic stem cells will provide a cure for Parkinson’s, the disease from which he suffers. He did so, even though Sawyer kept trying to find a way to elicit from him a response that embryonic stem cell research was merely in a temporary “cul-de-sac” and even though he has been among the most vocal proponents of embryonic stem cell research.
Fox sat down with “ABC World News” anchor Diane Sawyer for the Yahoo! News and ABC News “Newsmakers” series to talk about the work of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. He was joined by Deborah W. Brooks, co-founder and executive vice president of the Foundation.
Sawyer tells Fox that her colleagues at Yahoo are “getting a lot of questions about stem cell research and whether this is the promise, this is the future.” (By stem cell research, she means embryonic stem cell research, which he understands.) Fox immediately hedges and qualifies.
“Stem cells are an avenue of research that we’ve pursued and continue to pursue but it’s part of a broad portfolio of things that we look at,” he says. “There have been some issues with stem cells, some problems along the way,” added Fox.
He then takes a slightly different direction.
“It’s not so much that [embryonic stem cell research has] diminished in its prospects for breakthroughs as much as it’s the other avenues of research have grown and multiplied and become as much or more promising. So, an answer may come from stem cell research but it’s more than likely to come from another area,” he said.
Undeterred, Sawyer chimes that “There may be a Secret and we’re just not there; we haven’t found the Secret yet.” Fox shifts gears again, telling Sawyer that he has no regrets for what he had done—that his concern all along had been “research freedom”–that is, “not shutting down avenues of research because of ideological reasons that were countered by the majority’s opinion of whether it was worthwhile doing.”
To which Sawyer adds, “So the whole thing is to be “able to ask the questions and not have anything” foreclosed.
But, of course, the objections to embryonic stem cell were not “ideological,” but ethical, pragmatic, and scientific. Moreover, that public opinion supported embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) reflected one thing and one thing only: the relentless media campaign to hype ESCR in the absence of any proven results, and the determination to ignore all the alternatives which had track records of helping people all over the world.
And, to her credit Brooks tells Sawyer that there is “good news”—there are “ideas and therapeutic approaches” that are “closer to fruition” from which “patients will see benefits from in a potential shorter timeframe.” Brooks is not allowed to finish her sentence before Sawyer is back trying to resurrect ESCR.
Brooks patiently walks her through the myriad of complexities (that we have talked about in this space) which ALWAYS made it highly improbably embryonic stem cells would remedy any medical issue, let alone one as complicated as Parkinson’s. Her emphasis was on other therapies.
Although not discussed on ABC, the “gold standard” of alternatives is adult stem cells and stem cells from cord blood left in an umbilical cord after it is detached from the newborn.
There are also so-called induced pluripotent stem cells. IPSCs are created when genes are added to normal (typically skin) cells to convert them to stem cells that behave very similarly to embryonic stem cells.
In addition there is “direct conversion.” Here a few tissue-specific genes are added to a cell to target the conversion of that cell directly into another tissue type, rather than go through the intermediary step of turning first into a pluripotent stem cell.
Adult stem cell treatments move ahead, embryonic stem cells fall farther behind
By David A. Prentice, Ph.D., Senior Fellow for Life Sciences at the Family Research Council.
Article originally published by National Right to Life News Today.
Still confused by the stem cell debate? Don’t feel alone. Medical professionals and the public alike still have many questions about the different types, or sources, of stem cells as well as their potential and actual effectiveness for clinical treatments.
Embryonic stem cells continue to receive the majority of news coverage, yet remain the least likely stem cell to help patients. In fact, even the embryonic stem cell advocates are beginning to admit failure. The California company Geron, first to receive approval to inject embryonic stem cells into a few patients, gave up on their trial and shut down all of their embryonic stem cell research. After a year, none of the patients showed improvements, though they will need to be monitored for many years to come for potential tumor formation. Even celebrity stem cell promoter Michael J. Fox recently admitted that “[embryonic] stem cells” were unlikely to help any patients any time soon. Given that embryonic stem cells are ethically tainted, requiring the destruction of young human life or even creating a new human life via cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer) specifically for destruction, it’s heartening that many are seeing the many problems associated with this type of stem cell.
The newer technology of iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) has been increasingly in the news lately, as an ethical alternative to embryonic stem cells. The iPS cells are made by adding a few genes to a normal cell such as a skin cell, causing the normal cell to look and act like an embryonic stem cell, yet without any use of embryos, eggs, or cloning technology. Even though iPS cells use an adult cell (not a stem cell) as their starting material, they are definitely not “adult stem cells,” but rather an ethically-derived version of embryonic stem cells. They can be made from any person, starting with almost any normal cell, and have been used to model cell growth and development in the lab. They may also serve as disease models in the lab, allowing scientists to investigate how some diseases develop. Recently, Israeli scientists made iPS cells from heart patients, then turned the iPS cells into beating heart cells in the lab, to study heart disease.
Adult stem cells remain the only type of stem cell used successfully to treat human patients. They are the one and only gold standard for clinical treatments with stem cells. Adult stem cells have many advantages. They can be isolated from numerous tissues, including bone marrow, muscle, fat, and umbilical cord blood, just to name a few. And isolating the adult stem cells from tissues of a patient or a healthy donor does not require harming or destroying the donor, giving adult stem cells a decided ethical advantage over embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells also have a proven track record for success at saving lives and improving health on a daily basis. Over 50,000 people around the globe are treated each year with adult stem cells. The diseases and conditions successfully treated by adult stem cells, as shown by published scientific evidence, continue to expand, with published success for numerous cancers, spinal cord injury, heart damage, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, and many others.
Here are a few samples of adult stem cell advances in the last year:
If you’d like to see a few more samples of the tremendous success of adult stem cells, see the videos at http://www.stemcellresearchfacts.org.