Month Archives: March 2011

New Video: Sex Trafficking in America: How You Can Protect Your Children

by Carrie Russell

March 24, 2011

How you can protect your children from the dangers of child pornography and sex trafficking. Watch Bob Flores, former Administrator of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJD), and Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council to learn more. You can view the rest of the webcast by clicking here.

An Overview of CDC’s Most Recent Abortion Data Report

by Family Research Council

March 24, 2011

On February 25th, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its annual abortion surveillance report with their most recently compiled data and statistics —- in this case, from 2007 —- on abortion in the United States.

Since 1969, the CDC has reported annually on abortion-related data; typically this information is made public in November, usually during Thanksgiving week. As reported by Erick Erickson earlier this year, the CDC did not release this information as expected in November, 2010, and as late as January, 2011, there was even a rumor that the CDC would not be releasing this information at all.

However, that proved to be false as the report was eventually published on February 25, 2011. The CDC claimed that it was late because of data compilation problems.

So now that we have the report, what does it tell us about abortion and womens health?

To begin with, it is important to know what is absent from the report. Because state reporting of abortion is strictly voluntary, the CDC abortion surveillance report, while providing important numbers about abortion in the U.S., is not providing an accurate estimate of an overall picture of the US.

Up until 1998, every state annually reported abortion-related data. However, beginning in 1998, some combination of states refused to report abortion data each year. Included in the non-reporting states are California (1998-2007), New Hampshire (1998-2007), Oklahoma (1998-1999), Alaska (1998-2002), West Virginia (2003-2004), Louisiana (2005), and most recently, Maryland (2007). California has the highest number of abortions in the U.S., so in particular withholding their information from the total number bears great significance. Given that reporting abortion data ultimately serves to benefit womens health, I cant help but wonder why these states refuse to make this information public. In the report most recently released, California, New Hampshire and Maryland withheld their abortion data.

Because of incomplete data, groups studying trends and working on public policy related to abortion are forced to rely on the Guttmacher Institutes statistics. In the words of the CDC, CDC is unable to obtain the total number of abortions performed in the United States. During 1998—2007, the total annual number of abortions recorded by CDC was only 65%—69% of the number recorded by the Guttmacher Institute, which uses numerous active follow-up techniques to increase the completeness of the data obtained through its periodic national survey of abortion providers.

Another missing piece to the abortion surveillance report is the abortion fatality rate. Page 36 of the report indicates that from 1998-2007 the CDC did not calculate the fatality rate due to the fact that they did not have all of the states abortion data. Given that the majority of statistical conclusions included in the CDCs abortion surveillance reports since 1998 have in some capacity lacked U.S. data in its entirety, this claim does not seem to pass muster. It is sensible to believe that in the same way the abortion rate was computed with the information provided that the abortion fatality rate would be computed.

However, while missing important data, the report is extremely valuable and provides a great deal of important information. For example, the CDC indicates that in 2007, six women died in the US (in the reported states) as a result of complications related to abortion.

  • We also learn that approximately one-fifth of all children in the U.S. are aborted. Among the 45 reporting areas that provided data every year during 1998—2007, a total of 810,582 abortions (97.9% of the total) were reported for 2007; the abortion rate was 16.0 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15—44 years, and the abortion ratio was 231 abortions per 1,000 live births.
  • We know that most abortions were performed on women in their 20s. Women aged 20—29 years accounted for 56.9% of all abortions in 2007 and for the majority of abortions during the entire period of analysis (1998—2007). In 2007, women aged 20—29 years also had the highest abortion rates (29.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20—24 years and 21.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 25—29 years).
  • The report states that the majority of abortions are performed early in pregnancy. In 2007, most (62.3%) abortions were performed at 8 weeks’ gestation, and 91.5% were performed at 13 weeks’ gestation. Few abortions (7.2%) were performed at 14—20 weeks’ gestation, and 1.3% were performed at 21 weeks’ gestation.
  • We also read that in 2007, approximately 20% of women used RU-486, the dangerous abortion drug, and that approximately 78% of abortions were surgical (curettage).

In the end, while not complete data, the annual CDC abortion surveillance reports are hugely significant and provide invaluable information to those of us who are daily engaged in the battle to fight for womens health both those women who are born, and those women (and men, too) who are unborn.

New FRC Pamphlet Available: Jack Klenks Who Should Decide How Children are Educated?

by Chris Gacek

March 23, 2011

Who Should Decide How Children are Educated?FRC is proud to announce the availability of its new policy pamphlet entitled, Who Should Decide How Children are Educated? by Jack Klenk. Mr. Klenk is a retired, long-time Department of Education policy expert and proponent of educational reform.

You can download the document here. [PDF]

Primarily, Klenk asks the following linked questions: Who has the primary responsibility for making critical decisions about the education of school-aged children? Their parents? Or government and the school system it operates?

Klenk presents an extended overview of the development of American public education and demonstrates that we now have a top-down model that has been designed to promote the preferences of experts, bureaucracies, and unions above that of parents. Rather, a system must be developed that overturns old patterns of behavior. The current educational system is overdue for a modernization, that will it make it more flexible, less bureaucratic, and more family-friendly. To be authentically public, it must serve all parents from the whole public.

For education to serve the public, it must give parents access to a variety of schools, not just the monolithic government option. The old system is a monopoly that is not suited to modern life. As with other monopolies, it gives disproportionate weight to itself and special interests, and not enough to the customers the parents and children. Furthermore, monopolies always resist improvement-forcing competition. Any new system of education for the public must leave behind the mindset that only government schools can serve the public. Parents should be allowed to select the educational institutions that best suit their needs.

However, the reforms must be accomplished in a manner that does not interfere with the freedom and distinctive identities of nongovernmental schools. This is critical. Government financial support of parental educational choices cannot be allowed to threaten the independence and distinctive features (e.g., religious education) of alternative institutions. Vouchers, tax credits, and charter schools are all part of a wave of educational change that appears to be on the horizon as the public realizes that government schools are very costly and are not performing well.

State of Sex Trafficking In the States

by Brianna Walden

March 22, 2011

In an address to the U.N. General Assembly President Bush said:

Each year, an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are bought, sold or forced across the world’s borders. Among them are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, and others as young as five, who fall victim to the sex trade. This commerce in human life generates billions of dollars each year — much of which is used to finance organized crime. Theres a special evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable. The victims of sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life, an underground of brutality and lonely fear. Those who create these victims and profit from their suffering must be severely punished. Those who patronize this industry debase themselves and deepen the misery of others. And governments that tolerate this trade are tolerating a form of slavery.

This tragic form of slavery is not just a problem over there, in third world countries far removed from us. On the contrary, it is happening right in our own backyard. Despite laws criminalizing it, sex trafficking is a huge problem in America.

In The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Americas Prostituted Children, Shared Hope International affirms that at least 100,000 American children a year are victims of sex trafficking, and that number may be much higher. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) highlights the fact that sex trafficking of children is largely under-reported in their estimate that 1 in 5 girls are sexually abused or assaulted before they become adults and 1 in 10 boys, however less than 35% of those cases are reported. Researchers estimate that 1015 percent of children living on the streets in the United States are trafficked for sexual purposes according to the National Institute of Justice in their report Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: What Do We Know and What Do We Do About It?.

And that question, What do we do about it? must be considered, both on an individual level and a state/federal government level. Legislatively speaking, both the federal government and many state governments have passed laws criminalizing human trafficking, and providing for its punishment (see figure 1 below). However, we are finding that this is not enough. Shared Hope International states:

Victims of domestic minor sex trafficking are frequently processed as juvenile delinquents or adult prostitutes. Prostituted juveniles are trained by their trafficker/pimp to lie to authorities and are provided with excellent fraudulent identification resulting in their registration in the arrest records as an adult… Due to the unique trauma bonding that occurs between a victim and her trafficker, these children often run from juvenile facilities right back to the person that exploited them.

The National Institute of Justice says it is estimated that 96 to 98 percent of victims are in need of basic amenities for survival: food, housing, transportation, etc. In response to this many states have introduced legislative initiatives to promote awareness and support to those brutalized by sex trafficking. The figures below will give you an idea of the state of sex trafficking laws in the states.

For a detailed explanation of each state law check out the Fact Sheet on State Anti-Trafficking Laws from US PACT [Policy Advocacy to Combat Trafficking] a program of the Center for Women Policy Studies.

For assistance or to report a sex trafficking case contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center national hotline at: 1-888-3737-888 or go to the Polaris Project website.

To view a detailed US Department of State summary on human trafficking in the US and other countries click here.

Adult Stem Cells Help Patients with Aggressive Multiple Sclerosis

by David Prentice

March 22, 2011

A team of scientists from Thessaloniki, Greece, have shown that chemotherapy followed by adult stem cell transplant can stop progression of aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS). The team observed a group of 35 patients who received transplants of their own bone marrow adult stem cells after being treated with chemotherapy to wipe out the rogue immune cells that were attacking their nervous system and causing their MS. An average of 11 years after their transplants, 25% of the patients in Greece have not seen their disease progress, the researchers report. Among patients with active lesions on MRI scans before their transplants, indicating that they were in an inflammatory phase of the disease, 44% have not progressed. For 16 people, symptoms improved by an average of one point on their disability scale after the transplant, and the improvements lasted for an average of two years. The participants also had a reduction in the number and size of lesions in their brains. But two patients died from transplant-related complications. The results are published in the journal Neurology, the journal of the American Association of Neurology. Co-author Dr. Vasilios Kimiskidis said:

Keeping that in mind, our feeling is that stem cell transplants may benefit people with rapidly progressive MS. This is not a therapy for the general population of people with MS but should be reserved for aggressive cases that are still in the inflammatory phase of the disease.

Other researchers not associated with the current study commented that this was still a big step forward in the use of adult stem cells to treat MS Dr. Richard Nash of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle noted:

This is the first long-term paper thats being published on this.

Nash is part of a National Institutes of Health trial of stem cell transplants for MS, but he was not involved in the Greek study.

Dr. Richard Burt, Chief of the Division of Medicine-Immunotherapy for Autoimmune Diseases at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, points out:

Its the only therapy to date that has been shown to reverse neurologic deficits. But you have to get the right group of patients.

Burt published a study in 2009 in The Lancet in which 17 out of 21 patients with relapsing-remitting MS improved after stem cell transplants.

In a gentler method of treatment, Prof. Neil Scolding and colleagues published positive results in 2010 for stabilization of MS patients using their own adult stem cells.

Adult stem cells continue to lead the way, showing published evidence of positive benefits for thousands of patients with dozens of diseases and conditions.

Musings on Bachs Birthday

by Robert Morrison

March 21, 2011

I was researching a U.S. history book several years ago when I read about Gov. Nelson Rockefeller shaking hands with the 110-year old Henry Herndon in Indiana in 1968. Rocky was very excited. You could have given him Venezuela and the billionaire would not have been as happy. The reason?

The governor was told that Henry Herndon shook hands with Abraham Lincoln. Rocky went around for days telling everyone he met: Hey, fella, shake hands with me. I just shook hands with a man who shook hands with Abraham Lincoln.

I mentally filed that not away. Nice to know. Interesting comment, too, on American politics. When Lincoln shook hands with Henry Herndon, he was no longer the poor lad born in the log cabin. By that time, Lincoln was a successful lawyer from Springfield, Illinois.

But he was no Rockefeller. Yet, Lincoln won his first bid for national office—and the richer than Croesus Rockefeller was defeated, not once, but twice.

It was only several weeks later that it all dawned on me: Hey! I shook hands with Nelson Rockefeller in 1971. Which means I shook hands with the man who shook hands with the man who shook hands with Abraham Lincoln.

But Lincoln shook hands with J.Q. Adams, who shook hands with George Washington, his father John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe and James Madison.

History buff that I am, I really got excited about this.

This led me to speculate that I might be similarly linked to Johann Sebastian Bach. Today is Bachs birthday. Bach spent his life as a humble kappelmeister in Germany. I think he must have walked everywhere he went. He never realized that he was a great genius.

He was a great husband and father. Two wives (he was once widowed) bore him some twenty children. Many of them went on to distinguish themselves in the world of music, too. Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, Johann Christian Bach are only two of his distinguished progeny.

Columnist George Will says that the angels play Bachs music around the Throne of God (but when they get off on their own, they jam with Mozart!) I dont know about any of that, but it is true that Bachs music opens up a world of devotion to us. He finished every composition with the Latin words: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam—to the Greater Glory of God.

How much better our world would be if we all did our work with that dedication in mind.

Maybe then people would read what we write or consider what we accomplish 260 years after we are gone.

Bach has never really been gone. His music went out beyond the galaxy on board the U.S. Pioneer X space probe. What if Extra-Terrestrials hear it and come to Earth asking us: Take us to your Kapellmeister.

Might John Adams have shaken hands with King George III when he was our ambassador to London? And might the King have shaken hands with the London Bach, Johann Christian Bach, who of course shook hands with his father, old Johann Sebastian?

Oops. Sorry. It doesn’t work that way. Kings didn’t shake hands in those days. And besides, Johann Christian died in 1782, before John Adams arrived in London.

So this hands-on exercise stops with George Washington, Franklin and Jefferson. Perfectly fine. (Unless I can somehow make another connection between John Adams and J.C. Bach).

Now, there was my beloved professor at U.Va., Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, who shook hands with Winston Churchill, who shook hands with the whole world!

I shared my Lincoln handshake story with my doctor friend aboard the USS Lincoln. He has assured me that no matter how vigorously any of these worthies shook hands, there would be no DNA remaining to pass on.

May be. But there is a sense of how connected we all are. More important than any of these is our connection to our Lord. And His to us through His son, Jesus Christ.

No Kisses for ICANNs Approval of .XXX Internet Domain Name

by Chris Gacek

March 21, 2011

At a March 18 meeting in San Francisco, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the creation of a top-level domain — .xxx for sites dedicated to pornography and obscenity.

As PCWorld put it, The adult entertainment industry now has a home on the Internet: It’s called .xxx.

The Family Research Council has opposed the creation of the .xxx porn ghetto for years, and we are profoundly disappointed that this measure was approved. We believe that ICANNs action legitimizes hardcore pornography by giving it a designated location on the internet.

The Obama Administration appeared to want to have it both ways on this issue. According to a Politico story:

The Obama administration has not taken a public position on .xxx. Asked about the issue [the week of the vote], a spokeswoman for the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said: It is premature for us to comment at this time.

(Premature the week of the vote.) However, the head of NTIA, Lawrence Strickling, is quoted on a Fox website voicing opposition: This decision goes against the global public interest, and it will open the door to more Internet blocking by governments and undermine the stability and security of the Internet. Apparently, the Administration is worried that nations like Saudi Arabia will just block the entire domain establishing a negative precedent for non-interference with the Internet. It does not appear that any objections were raised within the Obama Administration to the proposal based on its making online obscenity legitimate, more prevalent, or easier to locate and obtain.

I realize that this is not a subject with which many readers will be familiar. Technical issues like this can really have the feel of inside baseball. Here are a three articles that will help the reader get an idea of the major problems with .xxx. Jan LaRue, an attorney who used to work at the Family Research Council, wrote this piece for Human Events in 2005 (Will the Department of Commerce OK a XXX Internet Domain?) pointing out many flaws in the .xxx concept and policy proposal. Also, Bob Peters of Morality in Media has set forth his organizations objections to .xxx in this news release (Why a XXX top-level domain wont work) from June 2010. Pat Trueman, then of FRC in 2005 now at Morality in Media, wrote this article (.xxx Would Legitimize Porn) in USA Today opposing the .xxx domain.

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