FRC Blog

More adult stem cell promise?

by Jared Bridges

March 27, 2007

Once again, doctors are seeing promise of stem cell treatments, this time with a new therapy to treat patients with heart failure. And once again, the stem cells used are adult stem cells:

In two studies reported at the American College of Cardiology conference, scientists used adult stem cells — not the more controversial embryonic stem cells — to treat patients and saw marked improvement in their health. Experts note these early studies need to be replicated in larger groups to confirm the results.

The findings are welcome news for patients like Joseph Glasser, 74, who received a bleak prognosis nine years ago after suffering a heart attack that left his heart so weakened he had to have a pacemaker implanted. Seventy-five percent of his heart muscle had died, his cardiologist told him, and there was nothing more he could do.

In the years afterward, Glasser frequently felt fatigued and short of breath, so he sought out new treatment options and eventually enrolled in a stem cell study at the University of California San Diego. There, doctors took cells from his leg, cultivated them in a lab and then injected them into his heart.

Today, two years after treatment, he says he no longer has problems maintaining energy, and even walks on a treadmill and swims.

If this treatment proves conclusive, it will be one of many successful treatments with adult stem cells. How many successful treatment with embryonic stem cells? Well, just take a look at the score.

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Study on Day Care Hits Close to Home

by Tony Perkins

March 27, 2007

For years, stay-at-home parents have been trivialized by feminists who wrongly believe that a mother or father’s care is replaceable. However, a new study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH proves the feminist ideology wrong. The most expansive research of its kind, the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development found that putting a child in day care for a year or more increases the chances that the child will become disruptive in class—a trend that persists through the sixth grade.

Perhaps most telling is the fact that these tendencies were evident despite the child’s sex, family income, and even the quality of the day care center in question. The news will be particularly disappointing to day care advocates who have insisted that any negative effects are entirely contingent, on the “quality” of the care. In the U.S., experts estimate that 2.3 million kids under the age of 5 are in day care, while 4.8 million are in the care of a relative or nanny, and 3.3 million are at home with their parents. Despite the large number of stay-at-home parents, the government is often lopsided in its support of families who choose out-of-the-home care for their kids. Research shows that most parents would prefer to tend for their kids themselves. If that’s the case, why do government policies undercut parental choice and care?

There is no substitute for the contributions that at-home parents make to the development of their children, often at financial sacrifice. In light of the obvious benefits to kids, we urge Congress to pass Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Nebr.) Parents’ Tax Relief Act. Through the bill’s equalized tax treatment of stay-at-home parents, families would have the freedom to care for their own children.

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Interspecies Cloning a Baaaaad Idea

by Tony Perkins

March 27, 2007

If the U.S. doesn’t move quickly to regulate the new trend of interspecies cloning, it’s safe to say that researchers will experiment until the cows come home. In the U.K., some already have. Since human eggs are in short supply, researchers in Britain applied for permission to create human-cow embryos. In America, scientists are not even required to ask for permission—because no such restrictions exist!

At the University of Nevada, Professor Esmail Zanjani has joined the ranks of Harvard and Yale scientists who have taken advantage of the lack of government scrutiny. This week, Zanjani announced that his team has created the world’s first human-sheep chimera, whose cellular make-up is 15% human and 85% animal. Although Zanjani promises that the technique will give rise to a new source of organ donors, there’s no telling what complications will result from the hybrid.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of ethical complications in this amoral frontier. Research like this has created a legal and moral vacuum that Congress should fill with guidance and oversight. Join us in urging your leaders to ban creation of animal-human hybrids.

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Life in These United States

by Tony Perkins

March 27, 2007

While the federal government is mired in debates about the culture of life, three states have taken it upon themselves to pass a bevy of pro-life legislation. In Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill that would prohibit abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned. In the meantime, the legislation requires abortion clinics to offer women an ultrasound before they consent to the procedure.

Neighboring Arkansas approved a House measure that requires abortion businesses to tell women that they cannot be coerced into having an abortion. Vermont tackled a bill that affects the end of life. Despite pressure to follow in Oregon’s footsteps, the Vermont House defeated a measure that would have legalized assisted suicide.

Unfortunately, New Hampshire is one state that has become the focus of an intense attack from anti-family forces. Next week, legislators are considering bills on every subject from parental notification and abortion regulation to legalizing civil unions and a constitutional amendment to protect marriage. Our friends at Cornerstone Policy Research are hosting a rally tomorrow at the New Hampshire statehouse in Concord. The Granite State is increasingly a key battle ground in the nation’s culture wars.

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Eugenics, U.S.A.

by Jared Bridges

March 26, 2007

What do gay British men do when they want a designer baby? They pay a visit to their Uncle Sam, of course. A shortage of donor eggs and surrogate mothers in the United Kingdom has prompted some infertile gay couples to buy “designer babies” from a Los Angeles clinic:

DOZENS of gay British men have paid about 33,000 to create a baby of their chosen sex on an IVF programme for two-father families.

Nearly 20 male couples from this country have already taken part in the scheme, in which they pay for eggs from a university student which are then implanted in a different woman who bears the child.

The Fertility Institutes, the clinic in Los Angeles which runs the programme, said it had also received 25 inquiries by last week from male couples in Britain thinking of paying for surrogate children.

These $65,000 children come highly customized. Here’s clinic director Dr Jeffrey Steinberg:

On our programme, to be an egg donor, it is a requirement that you are between 18 to 27 years old and that you are currently at a university. Couples worry about the family history, and if there is a social marker of stability and achievement it is probably success at a university. University students are not interested in carrying the baby for themselves or anyone else.

The surrogates, on the other hand, are very interested in carrying the baby but, a lot of the time, they are blue-collar and not of the best of the selection [for eggs]. If we separate them we get the best egg donors and the best women to carry the babies, which is the perfect combination.

That’s right, it’s only the best for British gay dads. It’s a good thing that Dr. Steinberg is seeing to it that these “blue collar” types who continually pollute the gene pool are only used to do the “manual labor” of making a baby. Who knows what type of people we would end up with if the proletariat produced any offspring?

Of the myriad of tragedies associated with this program, one is that the children end up with a (white-collar) donor mother and a (blue collar) surrogate mother whom they will likely never know. Two “dads” simply don’t measure up to a mom. Add to this the dangers involved with IVF-PGD, and a program that touts the creation of new life can quickly become a recipe for destruction.

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Following Mommy’s Steps: Hamas’ Tool to Recruit Children Bombers

by Family Research Council

March 24, 2007

A “music video” broadcast on a Palestinian Hamas TV station on Wednesday features a young Palestinian girl singing to her mother who is preparing to carry out a suicide bomb attack. The caption of the video reads, “Duha, daughter of suicide bomber Reem Riyashi, sings to her mother.” In 2004, Riyashi killed four Israelis after blowing herself up on a border crossing between Israel and Gaza.

Initially the little girl is frightened (Mommy, what are you carrying in your arms instead of me.”) but after seeing her mom on TV, the daughter has a change of heart: Instead of me you carried a bomb in your hands. Only now, I know what was more precious than us. May your steps be blessed, and may you be flawless for Jerusalem. Send greetings to our messenger Muhammad.

By the end of the video the girl decides to become a bomber herself. After finding explosives in her mothers drawer she says, My love will not be (merely) words. I am following mommy in her steps.

(HT: Iconia)

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Quote of the Week

by Family Research Council

March 24, 2007

Last week I pointed out that the bill to provide supplemental war funding included $25 million for payments to spinach producers, $120 million to the shrimp industry, $74 million for peanut storage, and $5 million for shellfish, oyster and clam producers (see: Funding the War on Spinach). In response to this pork-loading, Congressman Mike Pence has a great retort:

Spinach, shrimp, peanuts and shellfish? That’s not a war funding bill, that’s the salad bar at Denny’s. “

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TIME for God

by Tony Perkins

March 24, 2007

It’s not just ‘The Good Book’,” said Georgia State Sen. Tommie Williams. “It’s a good book.” Williams was referring to the Bible in an interview about the state’s decision to introduce Bible literary classes in the public schools. The movement to bring the world’s best-selling book back into the classroom is gaining ground across the U.S., demonstrated, in large part, by a thoughtful Time magazine cover story on the subject. The article, “The Case for Teaching the Bible,” argues that the social and cultural benefits of secular Bible classes outweigh any hypersensitivity about Church and State.

Drawing on polls that show over 60% of Americans favor teaching about Scripture in a secular setting like public schools, writer David van Beima discusses the consequences of our nation’s Biblical illiteracy. Among them, he notes the lack of knowledge and understanding about Western civilization at large. Van Beima writes, “[In the end], what is required in teaching the Bible in our public schools is patriotism: a belief that we live in a nation that understands the wisdom of its Constitution clearly enough to allow the most important book in its history to remain vibrantly accessible for everyone.”

What was lost in the sweeping 1963 Supreme Court case that removed prayer from public schools is the reality that the Constitution does not bar an objective treatment of the Bible and religion in schools. It encourages it. Yet the case triggered a mass exodus of any reference to Christianity in education. The time has come for our nation to experience a true revelation on the Bible’s relevance—not only to our personal lives but to our identity as Americans.

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