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baby

Today let’s take a small stroll down memory lane.  While it’s easy for us to recall formative events in our lives such as riding our first bike, laughing with siblings, or family meals, our earliest events are beyond our ability to remember.  However just because we cannot remember doesn’t make them any less formative.  Let’s take a look at the diary of the unborn you.

Did you know that twenty-two days into your life your heart began to pump your blood through your tiny body?  Often before your parents discovered you were on your way you had a cardiovascular system that was working with your unique blood type.  Around this same time, your nervous system and organs began to form starting the beginnings of your spinal column, liver, and kidneys.

You continued to grow quickly, developing eyes, legs, hands, mouth, and toes all from weeks five to seven.  Your brain waves were first detectable at week six letting us know you could, in fact, thinking, despite what your siblings have led us to believe.  By the seventh week of your life you were already kicking and swimming, anxious to exercise and test your mettle.

By the eighth week of your life, you already possessed every organ that you have today.  Your bones began to replace cartilage, your unique fingerprints began to form, and you were able to hear the music your parents listened to from classical to Lynyrd Skynyrd.

In the tenth and eleventh weeks after your conception, you were able to grasp with your tiny hands.  Your body had finished forming its skeletal structure, nerves, and circulatory system.  You had formed your teeth, learned to turn your head, frown, and hiccup.  By your twelfth week in this world, your nervous system had developed all the parts you needed to experience pain, nerves, spinal cord, and thalamus.  Even your vocal cords were finished allowing you to wow all your friends by singing karaoke many years down the road.

At this point in your life, you had all the tools necessary to become the adult we all know and love.  A little more time, a little more love and a whole lot of growing were all that was necessary to help you become you.  In fact, given that all the information necessary for this miracle was in your DNA all along you could say that you have always been you.  We’re glad you’re here with us.

For more information go to our web page http://kfl.org/resources_pregnancy_wrtk.html

Attend the Rally for Life in Topeka http://kfl.org/events_2018rallyforlife.html

We will host the National Right to Life Convention in 2018. Learn more http://nrlconvention.com/

Sources for the essay:

Hopson, Janet L.  Fetal Psychology.  Oct. 1998.  07 Jan 2003. http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/tul/psychtoday9809.html.

Flanagan,  Geraldine Lux.  Beginning Life.  The Marvelous Journey from Conception to Birth.  New York: DK Publishing Inc., 1996.

Bergel, Gary (Produced by NRLC) “When You Were Formed in Secret.” 1998.

Essay by Joe Patton III

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Kansas Democrat State Rep. John Wilson (left) expressed regret to MSCTC conferees Dr. David Prentice and Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn for not voting with the majority in 2013 to create the successful stem cell center.

Once in a blue moon, a lawmaker publicly admits he regrets how he voted. Those of us present at Tuesday’s hearing in the Kansas House Health & Human Services committee witnessed such a concession.

The focus of the hearing was the status report on the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center (MSCTC), given primarily by Board advisor, Dr. David Prentice and the Director, Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn. The room was packed and the presentation was positively uplifting.

Gov. Sam Brownback, along with the Kansas Legislature, had approved the formation of the MSCTC in 2013 to be housed at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. The Center is designed to serve as a regional hub of stem cell therapy, research, and education as well as an engine for increased processing of ethically-derived, “adult” stem cells (ASCs) for patient use.

There are numerous kinds of ASCs derived from different human tissues (see graphic). The point is that no ASCs require the destruction of human embryos.

In 2013, those paying careful attention to the stem cell issue realized the overblown expectations about the usefulness of stem cells derived from human embryos. Yet state Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence) was still unconvinced of the need to fund a patient-centered medical center using only non-embryonic stem cells. He voted against the measure, although the MSCTC passed.

On Tuesday, during the Q&A period, Wilson congratulated the Center for its success and acknowledged that he regretted voting against its creation. KFL later thanked Wilson for his remarks and joined him in his enthusiasm for the Center.

ADULT STEM CELL PROJECTS
Dr. Prentice, a native Kansan and frequent expert testifying on bioethical issues at the Kansas Statehouse, described ASC therapies as the “gold standard” in regenerative medicine, with over 1.5 million people having been treated to date, world-wide.

His presentation examined the real patients who are benefitting from the current therapies offered at the MSCTC, such as 300 patients annually receiving stem cells in collaboration with the KU Cancer Center.

Prentice detailed some specific projects already underway, some in pre-clinical research phase, and others in planning stages. They include numerous new and innovative uses for ASCs targeting the brain, heart, spinal cord, liver, and joints.

Of particular interest is the groundbreaking direction MSCTC is taking on “graft-versus-host” disease, which can be a serious complication for some bone marrow adult stem cell transplants. Graft-versus-host is a problem in which stem cells not derived from the patient are introduced into the patient to replace those lost through chemo/radiation, but the cells begin to attack the new “host” as foreign.

MSCTC’s director, cardiologist Dr. Dawn, is described by Prentice as one of the world leaders in cardiac repair technologies. With Dr. Dawn and other specialists at the Center, patients with severe heart ailments– formerly “without hope”– are given hope with adult stem cells.

Director Dawn pointed proudly to the Center’s accomplishments in a mere 3 ½ years, and described continuing efforts to collaborate with other scientists and private companies as well as develop methods and products that can be patented.

The fifth MSCTC annual conference is scheduled for September 15-16. Details about it and the Center can be found at http://www.kumc.edu/msctc.html.

The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, committed to advancing the use of ethical science, is proving itself to be everything we hoped for.

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mad scientist warningIn a disturbing but not unpredicted development, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) last Thursday announced its support for expanded tax-funding of experiments in which human genetic material is combined with animals.

NIH will take public comment on the matter until Sept. 4 but—sadly– the agency has never changed directions based on negative public input.

For decades, researchers have engaged in ethically-noncontroversial mixing of human and animal cells such as growing human cancer tumors in mice to study disease processes and evaluate treatment strategies.  Also ethically-noncontroversial are therapies that utilize animal tissue, for example, using a pig’s heart valve for human heart repair, or other use of mammalian tissue in humans.

Stem cell research, however, is fundamentally different. “Pluripotent” stem cells can turn into any cell in the body, and when injected into animal embryos (as the new NIH proposals would allow) scientists don’t know what kind of new species will result. (See KFL post on hybrid creation controversy.)

UC-Davis stem cell researcher Paul Knoepfler, told the New York Times,

we lack an understanding of at what point humanization of an animal brain could lead to more humanlike thought or consciousness.”

David Prentice, board member of the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center in Kansas raised concerns about the results of injecting stem cells into animal embryos:

 “[N]ew forms of life—human-animal hybrids—could then be in view, or even the development of an animal with a largely human or fully human brain. NIH’s answer to objections like these seems to be to preclude such animals from breeding (this would likely not be 100 percent effective—just ask anyone who has run an animal facility)…If human-animal chimeras are allowed to be intentionally created for research, the door is also open to reproductive experiments, creating part-human organisms or designer animals to, say, carry out dangerous or degrading tasks human beings do not want to perform. Or donate organs these creations sacrifice for their human betters.”pigmanface

Research into creating animal–human hybrids is ongoing with private funding. Last September, NIH looked around at what was developing there and issued a moratorium on government funding of such projects. But after holding a November 2015 workshop, apparently all questions of acting responsibly have been abandoned and NIH is ready to plunge into this ‘brave new world’ of interspecies experiments.

Bioethics author Wesley J. Smith is not optimistic  about these developments:

“If we had a science sector that believed in the intrinsic dignity of human life, we could explore these potentially beneficent avenues of biotechnology with little concern that scientists would begin to blur vital distinctions or cross crucial ethical lines dividing human beings from fauna. Alas, we don’t live in that milieu and we can’t trust our regulatory bodies–which can be more controlled by the sectors they are supposed to regulate than the other way around–to maintain strict boundaries.”

DESTRUCTION OF EMBRYOS
Beyond the moral quagmire of mixing species, this kind of experimentation would destroy many human embryos. Read our KFL fact sheet about animal-human hybrids (also called chimeras), which includes reasons why pro-lifers should be opposed:

  1. The research on these procedures would destroy many human embryos. No matter what we might learn from watching cells grow in the conditions created by a chimera, the fact remains that researchers would be killing human embryos to get their cells.
  2. If the purposeful creation of human-animal chimeras is allowed for research purposes, it opens the door to abuse of the technique for reproduction, as well as creation of part-human organisms as bizarre designer humans or animals.
  3. It could produce an animal that produces human sperm or eggs.
  4. It could produce an animal with a human brain.

NIH should be halting these ethically-unmoored manipulations of the human-animal boundary. Instead, this agency is moving to sanction them and promote them with our tax dollars.

God help us.

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apemanDespite the histrionics of Salon’s Andrea Marcotte , and the not-so-subtle inferences of the Wichita Eagle that pro-lifers are nutty, the creation of animal-human hybrids (called “chimeras”) is indeed worrying at least some scientists.

NPR (National Public Radio) has run stories about the controversy which (as usual) involves researchers impatient with any limitations.

On the May 18, 2016 radio broadcast, of NPR’s “All Things Considered” Rob Stein reported:

A handful of scientists around the United States are trying to do something that some people find disturbing: make embryos that are part human, part animal. … But some scientists and bioethicists worry the creation of these interspecies embryos crosses the line. “You’re getting into unsettling ground that I think is damaging to our sense of humanity,” says Stuart Newman, a professor of cell biology and anatomy at the New York Medical College.

The experiments are so sensitive that the National Institutes of Health [NIH] has imposed a moratorium on funding them while officials explore the ethical issues they raise.

Previously, Stein had filed a report on NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Nov. 6, 2015, titled, “Should human cells be used to make partly human chimeras?” Stein revealed that the NIH was holding a workshop that day focused on this chimera agenda, and presumably, the funding moratorium.

One of the proposals was to fund “research in which human pluripotent cells are introduced into non-human vertebrate animal pre-gastrulation stage embryos.”

In the written story that accompanied the May 18 broadcast, Stein explained, “Scientists have been creating partly human chimeras for years. …What’s new is putting human stem cells into the embryos of other animals, very early in embryonic development.”

Stein uses as an example, the experiments of Pablo Ross, a reproductive biologist at the University of California, Davis. In simplest terms, Ross’ research:

  1. takes a pig embryo,
  2. deletes a gene,
  3. adds human cells,
  4. puts the altered chimera embryo into a pig womb,
  5. checks to see whether a human organ is forming,
  6. destroys the chimera embryo within 28 days,
  7. continues such experiments with variations.

ANIMAL-HUMAN HYBRID ETHICAL CONCERNS
Stein lists some concerns about chimera experiments raised by Newman and other professors and ethicists:

  • Human stem cells could form human sperm and human eggs in the chimeras.
  • Animals could give birth to some kind of part-human, part-pig creature.
  • If you have pigs with partly human brains you would have animals that might actually have consciousness like a human.
  • If a male chimeric pig mated with a female chimeric pig, the result could be a human fetus developing in the uterus of that female chimera.

Stein writes, “The uncertainty is part of what makes the work so controversial. Ross and other scientists conducting these experiments can’t know exactly where the human stem cells will go. Ross hopes they’ll only grow a human pancreas. But they could go elsewhere, such as to the brain.”caution

Newman told Stein, “If you have pigs with partly human brains you would have animals that might actually have consciousness like a human,” adding, “It might have human-type needs. We don’t really know.”

The Wichita Eagle story (the basis for Marcotte’s  rant) focused on some of the bio-tech issues Kansans for Life included on our Political Action Committee’s questionnaire for candidates to the Statehouse. I was quoted accurately but derisively about pro-life concerns:

“The questionnaire is a way to show candidates the range of the kinds of things that the pro-life movement is interested in…[cloning and animal /human hybrids (chimeras)] has  been a concern for over 10 years. We’re not inventing this. This is not crazy stuff. Am I aware of it happening in Kansas? At this moment, no. But does that mean it’s not happening somewhere, I can’t tell you that.”

Apparently, it is happening in the U.S. –and even the NIH is denying funding until vexing ethical questions are examined.

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147 studies show abortion-preterm link, but the denial continues

147 studies show the abortion-future preterm birth link, but pro-abortionists deny it.

The too-high rate of preterm births and low birth weight babies continues to plague state health agencies. But veteran pro-abortion apologist Dr. David Grimes assures readers in his recent Huffington post entry that any connection of premature births to abortion is merely an invention of “naive” pro-life enthusiasts.

Graves is brazenly dishonest.

The research into the  effects of induced abortion upon  future preterm births began in 1960 and now there are 147 statistically significant studies showing the connection. Many –if not most– women contemplating abortion wish to do get pregnant in the future. Is it not the essence of “informed consent” to make them aware of the possible consequences of that abortion for a subsequent pregnancy?

In July 2006, The Institutes of Medicine, which publishes several reports each year, issued a report “Preterm Birth, Its Causes, Consequences and Prevention.” The IOM cited abortion as an “immutable” factor for preterm birth.

Immutable means the effect cannot be undone; even smoking as a factor for lung cancer is not immutable. Now, granted that the “immutability” factor is buried on page 517-518 of the report, it’s still a bombshell! Ironically, Grimes was nominated to IOM membership in October 2006. Yet Grimes ignores the IOM finding.

As a trained epidemiologist and prolific author, it is unconscionable for Grimes to write there is only a “weak association” between abortion and an increased risk of subsequent premature deliveries and/or low-weight babies. There is such a high number of studies– including two “gold standard” meta-analyses (also called systematic reviews) in 2009—that demonstrate otherwise.

The APB link is settled science, according to this excerpt (emphasis added) from the invaluable book Complications: Abortion’s impact on Women (Lanfranchi, Gentiles, Ring-Cassidy, 2013)

“Thanks to two recently-published systematic reviews it is now settled science that women who have had one or more induced abortions significantly increase their chances of later giving birth to a preterm or low-birth-weight child.
Shah and colleagues analyzed 37 sound studies, and determined that the adjusted estimate of increased risk of low birth weight births was 24 per cent after one abortion, and 47 per cent after more than one abortion. The adjusted risk of preterm birth — meaning under 37 weeks’ gestation — increased by 27 per cent after one abortion, and 62 per cent after two or more abortions.
Swingle and colleagues reviewed 21 sound studies and concluded that one induced abortion increased the adjusted risk of a subsequent preterm birth by 25 per cent, while two or more abortions increased the risk by 51 per cent (Adjusted risk, means after other variables such as income, age and marital status have been taken account of).
More important, they found that women with prior induced abortions have 64 per cent higher risk of a very preterm delivery (under 32 weeks gestation) compared to women with no prior induced abortions. Both these studies confirm the “dose-response” effect; in other words, the more abortions a woman has, the greater her risk of later having a preterm and/or low weight birth child. Why should this be so? The explanation is that in a surgical abortion the cervix is forced open, thereby weakening it. The more abortions a woman has, the weaker her cervix is likely to become.”

This excerpt belies Grimes’ claim that the relevant science misgroups women, doesn’t screen out other factors, and misunderstands “causation.”

For example, the large Kissler study he dislikes, clearly says, “Observational studies like ours, however large and well-controlled, will not prove causality.” But it adds, importantly, “Health care professionals should be informed about the potential risks of repeat induced abortions on infant outcomes in subsequent pregnancy.”

As a health “professional,” Grimes should stop denying the obvious.

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up down arrowsFirst, the good news—Kansas continues to see annual abortion numbers steadily decrease. On Wednesday, we learned there were 3% fewer Kansas abortions in 2014 (7,263) than in 2013 (7,485), according to the annual preliminary report from the Kansas Department of Health & Environment.

Also encouraging is that clinics reported 115 women received informed consent certification and did not go through with a Kansas abortion in 2014.

As has long been the pattern, almost exactly half –49%– of Kansas abortions were obtained by out-state residents (3,578). The heavy majority came from Missouri (3,381) which has only one operative abortion facility in St. Louis. That means that women from northwest Missouri, including the populous Kansas City metro area, obtain abortions right over the state line at Planned Parenthood and the Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park, Kansas.

There is one other Kansas abortion business, South Wind Women’s Center (SWWC) in Wichita, which opened in April 2013. SWWC is located in the same building that abortionist George Tiller occupied for decades and which closed in June 2009. A fourth abortion clinic, the Aid for Women clinic in Kansas City, closed in July 2014.

The Kansas annual report shows that most of the abortion patterns as to age, ethnicity and pregnancy history remain unchanged. However, of concern in this report is

  1. the continued rise in abortions by pill to an annual figure of 3,228 —now 44.4% of total abortions– and far above the reported national average;
  2. an unexpected 9% rise in D&E/ dismemberment abortions from 2013 (584) to 2014 (637); and
  3. a troubling rise in abortions obtained by metro Wichita-area women in the past 2 years while abortions have consistently declined in every other metro area.

First, the increase in abortions induced by abortifacients is a national trend, and a 2011 Guttmacher report tabbed it as 22.6 % of all abortions. In Kansas, abortions by pill are available at all 3 clinics, and rose from 2.903 in 2013 to 3,228 in 2014. Only one clinic, SWWC, publishes the cost of such– $600– on its website.

Second, it is very disturbing that the number of D&E/ dismemberment abortions rose last year to 637, after the number had been decreasing.

State data shows the D&E figures as: 932 in 2008,793 in 2009,715 in 2010, 661 in 2011, 640 in 2012, and 584 in 2013.

The SWWC website describes the D&E method as the “removal of the pregnancy with forceps” — similar to the deceptive descriptions from the other clinics. None of their “informed consent” documents reveal that the living unborn child will be painfully torn limb from limb and bleed to death.

SWWC charges $800-$2,000 for a D&E, according to a Feb. 20, 2015 PBS NewsHour story. The other clinics do not post their D&E pricing. All three clinics testified in opposition to SB 95, the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which passed the Legislature March 25 and awaits the promised signature of Gov. Sam Brownback.

The third trend of concern in the Kansas abortion data is that one county has shown a rise in women obtaining abortions over the past 2 years: Sedgwick– which covers the Wichita metro area where SWWC opened in April 2013. Annual abortions obtained by Wichita area women were down to a historic low of 566 in 2012, but rose to 691 in 2013, and then increased again to 834 in 2014.

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Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, with health committee presenters: Dr. David Prentice, stem cell patient Richard Walters, Dr. Dana Winegarner, & Director Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, with health committee presenters: Dr. David Prentice, stem cell patient Richard Walters, Dr. Dana Winegarner, & Director Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn

What was once only a dream has become a reality– the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center will host its inaugural in-depth educational conference about adult stem cell treatments Saturday, Nov. 23 in Kansas City. See details here.

The purpose of this conference (which provides continuing education credits) is to update health professionals and trainees about advances in therapy with adult stem cells, as well as explaining adult stem cell biology and its potential for tissue and organ regeneration.

Adult stem cell treatments in the form of bone marrow transplants have been used for many years to successfully treat leukemia and related bone/blood cancers. The scientific community is now focusing on additional therapeutic options including organ repair. The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center was created this year by the Kansas Legislature, (read here) under the leadership of Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, in order to:

  • facilitate the “translation” of basic stem cell research findings into actual clinical applications;
  • multiply clinical grade stem cells obtained from adult tissues, cord blood, and other sources, excluding embryonic and fetal;
  • increase the number of patients receiving stem cell treatments;
  • educate medical professionals and the public;
  • create and maintain a global database of available stem cell trials and therapies.

The Center’s director is Buddhadeb Dawn, M.D., current director of the KU Med Center’s Cardiovascular Division, who has been engaged in promising adult stem cell therapy for cardiac repair. International stem cell expert, Dr. David A Prentice, has been appointed to the Center’s 15-member advisory board.

Let your favorite medical personnel know about this exciting conference!

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