Our younger daughter and her husband are having a baby! Here is his or her first picture:
Our younger daughter and her husband are having a baby! Here is his or her first picture:
One of John McCain’s lapses, according to us pro-lifers and as commenter Organshoes reminds us, is his support of embryonic stem cell research. He has indeed, like other ostensible pro-lifers in Congress, voted to use “discarded” embryos from fertility clinics for their stem cells. But here is his position now, from his official website:
Stem cell research offers tremendous hope for those suffering from a variety of deadly diseases – hope for both cures and life-extending treatments. However, the compassion to relieve suffering and to cure deadly disease cannot erode moral and ethical principles.For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes.To that end, Senator McCain voted to ban the practice of “fetal farming,” making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes. Furthermore, he voted to ban attempts to use or obtain human cells gestated in animals. Finally, John McCain strongly opposes human cloning and voted to ban the practice, and any related experimentation, under federal law.As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos.Where federal funds are used for stem cell research, Senator McCain believes clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress, and that any such research should be subject to strict federal guidelines.
Does this position have holes? Probably. But how does it compare to what the Democrats are calling for?
Insurgents in Iraq made use of mentally handicapped women as suicide bombers. Indeed, they loaded up two women with Down’s Syndrome, those sweet-tempered children, and blew them up, killing nearly 80 other people.
How much more monstrous than the jihadists get? Can moral relativists rationalize THIS?
According to movie critic John Podheretz, the academy-award nominee “Juno” is a profoundly culturally-conservative-in-the-best-sense movie, being against both abortion and, even more subversively to today’s pop culture, against the very concept of “cool.” Now I want to see it.
Great and widely-applicable story from Dawn Eden at National Review Online, from a discussion of Planned Parenthood and the left’s absolute hatred of abstinence education:
Some 1,700 years ago, a hermit living in the Egyptian desert predicted “a time is coming when people will go mad.”“And when they see someone who is not mad,” continued the man known today as St. Anthony the Great, “they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us.’”
What are some examples of this syndrome?
Today is the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. We need a word for the commemoration of a bad event that we mark with the opposite of celebration: This is not a holiday, but an unholy day. Thousands will mourn the unholy day here in D. C. in frigid weather at the March for Life.
But perhaps we are seeing a little progress. A study of every abortion facility in the country has found that the number of abortions has declined sharply. From ABC News: Why Are Abortions Down in America?:
The study, conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, which researches issues related to reproductive health and sexuality, found that in 2005, the U.S. abortion rate fell to 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 to 44, the lowest level since 1974. The total number of abortions also declined, to a total of 1.2 million in 2005, well below the all-time high of 1.6 million abortions in 1990.
But the study raises a fascinating and tricky question: Why?
The researchers who conducted the study said they simply don’t know, but they do have two theories.
One reason could be that since people now have easier access to contraception — including emergency contraception like Plan B — there are fewer unwanted pregnancies.
Another reason could be that there are also fewer abortion clinics.
OR, maybe pro-lifers are winning the debate. It is absurd to take too much comfort when abortions are “only” numbering 1.2 million. Notice, though, how many recent movies are about “keeping” the baby, evidence perhaps of a cultural shift.
Today’s Washington Post is marking the anniversary with a celebratory article on the increasing use of RU-486, the abortion pill, which supposedly makes abortion easier.
“The impact and the promise is huge,” said Beth Jordan, medical director of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. “It’s going a long way towards normalizing abortion.”
But, from what I can tell from the article, abortions done by RU-486 are counted in the declining abortion statistics. So if abortion has become easier and more widely available, as the article claims, and yet are STILL going down, we may be making more progress in the battle for hearts and minds than we realize.
According to pro-life activist Gerard V. Bradley is John McCain.
McCain is not the only pro-life candidate in the Republican field. There are — and were — others. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback is rightly regarded as a champion of the unborn. He was no doubt the first choice of many ardent pro-life Republicans. But Brownback gave up his campaign for the Republican nomination months ago. Now he is backing McCain.
Of the remaining pro-life Republicans, none can match McCain’s record of opposing abortion. He has served in Congress for 24 years, and cast a lot of votes on abortion legislation during that time. His record is not merely exemplary — it is perfect. McCain’s votes on abortion really could not be better. A campaign advertisement in South Carolina says of John McCain: “Pro-life. Not just recently. Always. Never wavering.” The ad is true.
It is no criticism of any other pro-life candidate to say that McCain’s track record makes him the best of a small number of good choices. Mike Huckabee is a good man and solidly pro-life. I personally do not doubt the sincerity or depth of Mitt Romney’s present commitment to the unborn. But experience matters. Being battle-hardened in defense of life is a real plus. Twenty-four years of service at the national level — almost all of them in the Senate — make a big difference when we are talking about the next President, compared to candidates who have been small-state governors. There is no need to speculate or to rely upon promises or take matters on faith when it comes to McCain and abortion. He has demonstrated himself to be the best pro-life choice.
McCain’s only lapse was his openness to destroying “spare” embryos in fertility clinics that would not be implanted for their stem cells. Bradley here says that after he talked with him, McCain has changed his position and no longer supports that option.
Scientists have generated mature human embryos from cloned adult skin cells.
The scientists say they have no interest in bringing a cloned human being to term, which seems to placate people and the law. But it is the practice of destroying these embroyos that is the abomination! A cloned human being would not be, any more than identical twins, though the damage to the family is also a severe evil (since if you are cloned, your child would be your twin).
Anyway, we have discussed this point before. I would like to raise another question. What we have here is asexual reproduction. We have already separated sex from procreation. We have also separated procreation from sex. (Artificial insemination at least uses the sexual cells. This method dispenses with that, finding a skin cell sufficient.) Reportedly, an artificial womb will soon be feasible.
Do you think, in the future, that pregnancy will become obsolete? That, once we can generate children without child-bearing–with its accompanying morning sickness, 9 months of discomfort, labor pains, etc.–that this will catch on? Does this also mean that marriage and the family itself will become obsolete?
Yet another major breakthrough has taken place in generating stem cells without killing an embryo. Scientists have found a way to take one cell from an embryo and multiply it into human stem cells. The procedure does not kill the embryo, and, in fact, embryos that have had this cell haircut have been successfully implanted and brought to term. This method seems especially promising because, unlike other non-lethal approaches discovered recently that require more research, it already works in creating new lines of stem cells!
Confounding the anti-natalists we talked about recently, the fertility rate in the USA has reached 2.1 children per woman, which means that Americans are, at long last, replacing themselves.
This is good news, as other advanced industrial nations are struggling with low fertility rates that will have major bad economic consequences. Most of those countries are giving money to women who have babies and other benefits. The USA is doing nothing like that, but the higher fertility rate is taking place in all age groups and across all demographics. This is the first time the fertility rate has reached replacement level since the 1970s and the advent of birth control and legalized abortion. Read this article from USA Today. Excerpts:
The fertility rate among Americans has climbed to its highest level since 1971, setting the country apart from most industrialized nations that are struggling with low birthrates and aging populations.
The fertility rate hit 2.1 in 2006, according to preliminary estimates released by the National Center for Health Statistics. It’s a milestone: the first time since shortly after the baby boom ended that the nation has reached the rate of births needed for a generation to replace itself, an average 2.1 per woman.
“What matters is that the U.S. is probably one of very few industrialized countries that have a fertility rate close to or at replacement level,” says José Antonio Ortega, head of the fertility section at the United Nations’ Population Division.
A high fertility rate is important to industrialized nations. When birthrates are low, there are fewer people to fill jobs and support the elderly.
Fertility in the USA went up in every age group from 2005 to 2006, the biggest jump coming among those 20 to 24 years old. The U.S. population topped 300 million last year, and the Census Bureau projects growth to 400 million by around 2040.
Developed countries in Europe and Asia have launched several government initiatives to encourage more births, from financial bonuses and extended family leaves to subsidized child care.
The wide availability of birth control options and more career opportunities for women have caused fertility rates to hit low levels in Japan, South Korea, Italy, Germany and Russia. France, renowned for its family friendly policies, remains the exception with a fertility rate of 2.
“What is paradoxical is that the U.S. doesn’t have those (family friendly) policies and it has higher fertility,” Ortega says.
Fertility experts say that economic prosperity, immigration and better job security for working mothers contribute to more births.
“We do know that birthrates ticked up quite a bit among the most affluent,” says Stephanie Coontz, director of research and public education at the Council on Contemporary Families. “Kids are luxury goods, and some of this uptick may be stay-at-home moms.”
It also has become easier for women to negotiate leaves from work to stay home with their children. “Women now feel much more entitled and much more confident, especially as they’re getting more education,” Coontz says.
U.S. fertility hit its low of 1.7 in 1976 after the introduction of the birth control pill in the 1960s. Another factor: the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion.
“It’s not so much that abortion lowered the birthrate but abortion, coming on top of the birth control pill, really made it much more clear to women — and to men — that childbearing was a choice,” Coontz says.
You will notice that some people think of a big population as a liability (how will we feed so many? how will we get them jobs? what will they do to the environment?). Others see a nation’s population as its most important economic resource. Explain.