FRC Blog

Obama Terminates Bioethics Council

by David Prentice

June 19, 2009

The President’s Council on Bioethics is no more. With a one-day notice, the members were told in a letter from the President that their services were no longer required. Pack up, get out. Forget the fact that they had a couple of interesting reports coming out soon, one more meeting, and that the Council’s tenure would expire come this September.

Peter Lawler, member of the now-defunct Council, notes that he is reassured when the letter states that “President Obama recognizes the value of having a commission composed of experts on bioethical issues to provide objective and non-ideological advice to his Administration.” Maybe it’s because the President wants to change to bioethics. Maybe it’s because he’s smarting a bit because, when he issued his new executive order opening the door to more human embryo research and cloning, 10 of the 18 current Council members criticized his new policy. But a more likely reason is that he needs a philosophical, well-stacked bioethics rubber stamp.

The National Institutes of Health, as directed by the President, is crafting new guidelines for federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. After a short period soliciting comments on their proposed guidelines, they are scheduled to release the final guidelines no later than July 7. It would be embarrassing to have another round of criticism from an existing “President’s Council.” Better to show them the door.

The proposed guidelines on human embryonic stem cell research are more limited than what the President proposed. NIH draws the line at using “excess” embryos from fertility clinics, though they note that the guidelines can be changed whenever they want. But President Obama called for much more, including cloning of embryos for experiments. A number of scientists have chafed and whined at the proposed NIH limits on embryo creation and destruction.

Dr. Alta Charo, an ethicist at the University of Wisconsin and member of the Obama transition team, said that a new commission should focus on helping the government form ethically defensible policy.

Translation: rubber stamp.

Look for a new commission soon with members that will be ideologically in line with the White House, Charo to be a member, and the new commission swiftly to consider (and to agree with the President) the issue of stem cells, cloning, and embryo experiments.

The now-former President’s Council on Bioethics was constituted in 2001, and chaired first by Leon Kass and then Ed Pellegrino. It’s mandate was “Advising the President on ethical issues related to advances in biomedical science and technology.” Pellegrino is quoted on the current site: “To advance human good and avoid harm, biotechnology must be used within ethical constraints. It is the task of bioethics to help society develop those constraints and bioethics, therefore, must be of concern to all of us.” You might want to take a look at their accomplishments before their website is erased.

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Rape of a Minor — No Joke!

by Sherry Crater

June 18, 2009

The furor over David Lettermans outrageously crude comments regarding the 14-year- old daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin being knocked up by New York Yankee Alex Rodriquez has quieted down. Governor Palin accepted the apology of the 62-year-old Letterman on behalf of young women like her daughters who want to draw the line, in her words, with men who joke about sexual exploitation of girls.

After much prodding even the National Organization for Women (NOW), certainly not fans of Sarah Palin, had a statement on this situation. NOWs website said: Comedians in search of a laugh should really know better than to snicker about men having sex with teenage girls (or young women) less than half their age.

Letterman may have dodged a bullet in the Palin incident. However, his lewd sexual comments exposed again the hard, ugly truth that criminal sexual abuse of underage girls by older men is occurring in communities all across America. Adding insult to injury, the abuse is actually being covered up by some who claim to help young women.

Consider the findings of a young student at UCLA, Lila Rose, who did some investigative reporting on Planned Parenthood clinics around the nation. Equipped with a hidden camera and posing as an underage girl impregnated by a much older man, Lila produced videos and audio tapes of her interviews with Planned Parenthood personnel.

Lilas work exposed sexual abuse, including unreported statutory rape, as well as other blatant violations by Planned Parenthood of state statutes that were intended to protect young girls.

Above is a video of Lila posing as a 13-year-old girl going to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Indianapolis, IN for an abortion because she is pregnant by her 31-year-old boyfriend. The counselor violated Indiana law by not reporting the apparent statutory rape of a minor girl. Further, she went on to coach the young girl on how to conceal an abortion and get around parental consent laws by going to a surrounding state for an abortion.

For more examples of criminal violations of law by Planned Parenthood go here.

Sarah Palin was rightsexual exploitation of young girls is no laughing matter. There is nothing funny about it.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

June 17, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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Good News from the States

by David Prentice

June 17, 2009

While the federal government lurches toward ignoring patients and wasting more taxpayer dollars on unethical, unsuccessful embryonic stem cell research, there are some bright spots in several states where ethics, and real adult stem cell treatments, are being promoted.



Prohibiting Human-Animal Hybrids

SB 115 has been sent to Gov. Jindal for his signature (expected); it is a bill that would outlaw attempts to create a human-animal hybrid; transferring a human embryo into a nonhuman womb; or transferring a nonhuman embryo into a human womb.

Prohibiting State Funds for Human Cloning

In June 2008, the state passed a law to prohibit the use of any state money, or federal money channeled through the state, for the practice, known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning).


Human Cloning Prohibited

In May 2009, Oklahoma passed a law that prohibits the creation of human embryos through cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer) for the purpose of harvesting their stem cells and prohibits reproductive cloning (gestating cloned embryos for birth) (HB 1114).

Oklahoma Adult Stem Cell Research Gets $5.5 Million

Also in May 2009, the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust board voted to contribute $5.5 million to adult stem cell research.


Nation’s First Embryo Adoption Law

In May 2009 Georgia enacted a peach of a bill, the Option of Adoption Act. HB 388, sponsored by Rep. James Mills and Sen. David Shafer, allows legal adoption of human embryos.

Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos

Another bill working its way through the Georgia Legislature is SB 169, the “Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act”. Sponsored by Sen. Ralph Hudgens, the bill would ban the creation of embryos for research purposes and prohibit human cloning in Georgia. It passed the Georgia Senate in March 2009 and now awaits a hearing in the House, likely this Fall.


No Funds for Human Cloning at U MN

In May 2009, Gov. Pawlenty signed a higher education funding bill that includes language that prohibits the University of Minnesota from using taxpayer dollars to pursue human cloning. Last year he vetoed a bill that would have allowed the University of Minnesota to spend state funds on cloning and embryonic stem cell research.


No State Funds for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

In March 2009, Gov Kaine signed a budget bill that includes a prohibition on state funds for embryonic stem cell research. Virginia has been investing its funds into successful adult stem cell research.


Money for Adult Stem Cell Researchers

In February 2009, Gov. Perry announced that the state will invest $5 million to expand and recruit researchers to the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine’s Institute of Regenerative Medicine. As the Governor noted, “Commercialization of adult stem cell research will provide much-needed solutions for Texans suffering from various tissue and organ disorders while protecting the unborn from exploitation.”

The Texas Legislature moved part way toward helping that goal, with the Texas Senate in May 2009 passing a bill (SB 73) to establish a statewide adult stem cell research program. Unfortunately time in the session ran out before the House could consider the bill.

Texas Cord Blood Bank expands to Houston

In other Texas news, the Texas Cord Blood Bank formed partnerships with two of Houstons leading hospitals to collect blood from the discarded umbilical cords of healthy newborns; the cord blood adult stem cells can be used to treat various diseases. Houston has already shown its leadership in clinical trials using adult stem cells.


Money for Adult Stem Cell Research, No Clone Funds

In March 2008, Nebraska passed LB 606, a law that prohibits the use of state money, facilities or resources to conduct research that destroys human embryos or that creates cloned embryos for research or reproduction. The new law also will provide grants to encourage stem cell research by Nebraska institutions and researchers that does not use human embryos.

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It’s a Grand New Flag

by Robert Morrison

June 16, 2009

My friend Dick Libby is a stickler for historical accuracy. While visiting Annapolis famed Hammond-Harwood house, the retired Episcopal priest spied a painting of Marylands Old State House as it looked in 1783, when the U.S. Congress was meeting in the city. The flag that was then flying from the Capitol dome was a huge affair, 9 feet by 23 feetand it didnt look like the replica that has been on display under the dome for years. The John Shaw flagas it has been called for more than two hundred yearswas named for the Annapolis resident who was a skilled cabinetmaker and officer in the states proud militia. But the painting showed the blue band that bears the 13 stars of this early American flag running the full length of the flags hoist. The replica on display in the Capitol puts those stars on a dark blue cantoncloser to the arrangement of Old Glory we know and love today.

Dicks discovery led him to champion a restoration of the John Shaw flag to its original design. And that newly reproduced flaga truly stunning American beautywas dedicated on Sunday, Flag Day, in the Old State House. Marylands magnificent state capitol is the oldest still in continuous use.

Why care? What difference does all this make? The John Shaw flagId prefer to call it the Shaw-Libby flagwas the one that flew over one of the most remarkable scenes in the history of the world. General George Washington came to Annapolis to resign his commission to Congress. He told a reception of Annapolis dignitaries: I owe it to that Supreme being who guides the hearts of all; who has so signally interposed his aid in every Stage of the Contest and who has graciously been pleased to bestow on me the greatest of earthly rewards: the approbation and affections of a free people. Washington was not shy about saying that God had given the Americans the victory in our War of Independence.

For George Washington voluntarily to give up power, to hand back his military commission to the civil authority that had given it to him, was nearly a miracle. At that time, men of learning and experience feared the examples of Caesar and Cromwell.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

June 16, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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Pro-Life Profs Marching: Why not go in Drag?

by Robert Morrison

June 16, 2009

Hes a very serious scholar. The German professor Uwe Siemon-Netto holds advanced degrees in theology and sociology. He is director of the Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life. So I was not prepared for his answer when I asked him how he organized a protest demonstration outside Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. We needed to attract attention, he said, so, why not go in drag? I burst out laughing. He meant, of course, not seminary professors dressed up as women, but learned profs marching for life in their full, flowing academic gowns. And what a public display they made! They took part in the Forty Days of Life movement during the last Lenten season. Dr. Siemon-Netto wanted especially to show Ph.D.s demonstrating their concern for unborn children. These Lutherans processed from Concordia Lutheran Seminary, where pastors are trained for The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod (LCMS). Monsignor Theodore Wojcicki from the Catholic Kenrick Glennon Seminary of the Archdiocese of St. Louis brought with him almost the entire faculty; they were joined by a Dominican monk from the Aquinas Institute and a Jewish convert to Catholicism.

One hundred years ago, you would never have seen Lutherans and Catholics marching together in Saint Louisor in any other part of the U.S. But they have been brought together by the strongest ties of Christian solidaritythe need to protect Gods gift of life.

Uwe Siemon-Netto has written extensively for German publications as well as those in the U.S. His book The Fabricated Luther disputes the idea popularized by William L. Shirer in his best-selling Rise and Fall of the Third Reich that Martin Luther paved the way for Hitlers anti-Semitism.

Uwe is a strong voice for the unborn. He rejects the idea of collective guilt of Germans for the Holocaust. But he does talk about collective shame of any people who allow the slaughter of innocents to go forward in their name. This is especially a problem for citizens of a democracy, Dr. Siemon-Netto says. Thats because in a democracy, we as voters, as decision makers, are the prince referred to by Paul in Romans 13. We are the national sovereigns.

I had heard about Dr. Siemon-Nettos work for a number of years. A mutual friend had arranged a lunch in Washington several years ago, but our German friend had a heart attack that very morning. I thank God he has been spared to continue his great work.


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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

June 11, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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