… One of the most insidious aspects of the abortion controversy has been the success of the feminist movement in presenting abortion on demand as a matter central to the liberation of women. The feminist logic suggests that women can never be seen as equal to men in terms of career so long as the “risk” and reality of pregnancy and motherhood are present. As the feminists argue, abortion becomes a mechanism for leveling the playing field and for liberating women.

As far back as the 1970s, at least some feminists saw through this logic. Catherine MacKinnon, a radical feminist legal scholar, argued that legal abortion would merely facilitate the “heterosexual availability” of women. In other words, abortion would be a benefit to men, who would be liberated to take sexual advantage of women, knowing that the availability of legal abortion would effectively remove their risk of the entanglements that would come with pregnancy and parenthood…

Over 30 years after Roe v. Wade, we now know that abortion “has increased the expectation and frequency of sexual intercourse (including unprotected intercourse) among young people,” Stith observes. As he explains, the post-Roe expectation is that a woman now has less justification for refusing the sexual advances of a male. By and large, abortion has liberated men from the fear of parenthood, if not of pregnancy. Beyond this, if the woman with whom they are having sex becomes pregnant, the availability of abortion serves, in the mind of men, to reduce if not to remove their responsibility for fatherhood.

The availability of abortion means, in the thinking of many men, that the entire responsibility for pregnancy and parenthood now falls to women. If a woman refuses to have an abortion, having the baby is simply her “choice.” As Stith realizes, this gives many men even more leverage as they demand an abortion as the cost of continuing the relationship. Stith cites a report from the Medical Science Monitor indicating that 64% of American women who have had abortions felt pressure from others to do so.

As Stith explains:

Prior to the legalization of abortion in the United States, it was commonly understood that a man should offer a woman marriage in case of pregnancy, and many did so. Though with the legalization of abortion, men started to feel that they were not responsible for the birth of children and consequently not under any obligation to marry. In gaining the option of abortion, many women have lost the option of marriage…

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The Tiller murder and the legislative and judicial hearings on partial-birth abortion have focused public attention on late-term abortion in the U.S. Late-term abortion is not an exact medical term, but it has been used to refer to abortions in the third trimester (28-39 weeks) or even second trimester abortions (13-27 weeks). According to less-than-perfect statistics collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute, 12% of U.S. abortions, approximately 144,000 procedures a year, are performed after the first trimester, that is, more than 12 weeks elapsed time after the woman’s last menstrual period. About 15,600 abortions, 1.3% of the 1.2 million abortions in 2005, occur after the 20th week. Late-term abortions have been part of the American landscape since the Supreme Court issued its landmark 1973 rulings in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton – both issued on the same day. Roe authorized abortion beyond the point of fetal viability to protect the “life or health” of the mother. Doe provided such a broad definition of “health” that it effectively required that there be abortion-on-demand through a pregnancy’s entirety. Thus, the Supreme Court’s abortion decisions imposed on the United States one of the most permissive abortion law regimes in the world.

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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 10, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Besides removing all restrictions on using taxpayer funds for embryo-destructive research yesterday, President Obama also formally rescinded a Bush-era executive order pushing for more research into the most promising and ethical forms of stem cell research…

Executive Order 13435 pushed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “conduct and support research” on stem cells that “may result in improved understanding of or treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions, but are derived without creating a human embryo for research purposes or destroying, discarding, or subjecting to harm a human embryo or fetus.”…

The NIH plan promoted further research into sources of stem cells such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are considered to be one of the most promising areas of research…

“I can think of only two reasons for this action,” [bioethicist Wesley Smith] said, “for which I saw no advocacy either in the election or during the first weeks of the Administration: First, vindictiveness against all things ‘Bush’ or policies considered by the Left to be ‘pro life;’ and second, a desire to get the public to see unborn human life as a mere corn crop ripe for the harvest.”…

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CTV.ca (01/03/2009) – Canadian researchers have found what could be a new way to make embryonic-like stem cells, a discovery that could lead to cures for devastating conditions such as spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s disease…

Previous methods to create embryonic-like stem cells have used a virus to help transform adult cells into pluripotent stem cells — cells that can develop into most other cell types. But those methods carried the risk of damaging the cell’s DNA. With damaged DNA, the cells often became cancerous or led to abnormalities.

This new method, described online in the journal Nature, uses a novel “wrapping” procedure to deliver specific genes to adult cells to reprogram them into stem cells, without damaging the cell’s DNA…

This new simplified method does not require embryos and instead can generate stem cells from many adult tissues, including a patient’s own skin cells, allowing for personalized therapies.

The method, developed by Dr. Andras Nagy, from the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, has been dubbed piggyback. It uses a DNA sequence that can move around in a cell to extract the cell’s DNA and transform it into a stem cell. When it’s done the DNA leaves the cell, leaving no trace of itself in the way that viruses sometimes did…

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This really is a fascinating approach, and one that makes a lot of sense. Hopefully it will be fruitful in the near future (if all is above board), but take note of the following as well before getting too excited about it:

Bioethics Expert Advises Caution for Pro-life Endorsement of iPS Stem Cell Breakthrough

BISMARCK, North Dakota, February 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The rights of unborn children gained a victory in North Dakota on Tuesday, as the state House of Representatives voted to recognize the personhood of all human beings, from conception.

“For purposes of interpretation of the constitution and laws of North Dakota, it is the intent of the legislative assembly that an individual, a person, when the context indicates that a reference to an individual is intended, or a human being includes any organism with the genome of homo sapiens,” reads part of The Personhood of Children Act (House Resolution 1572)…

“We are very excited about the personhood movement in North Dakota – which has the chance to become the first state to protect the rights of all its citizens from their biological beginning,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League…

Fifteen other states are currently pursuing personhood legislation.

The Senate vote is expected in the next two to three weeks. North Dakota will become the first state in the Union with personhood legislation if the measure passes the Senate…

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As per the inaugural address:

But the nod to open science will be most welcome, given the political and ideological interference of his predecessor, who obstructed stem cell research and only grudgingly accepted that humans are driving climate change.

“We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost,” said Obama.

In his next sentence, he committed Americans to break their love affair with oil. “We will harness the Sun and the winds and soil to fuel our cars and run our factories,” he said.


So does that mean, then that the rightful place of science is over and above ethics? Is that (the ethics [or lack thereof] relating to the use of embryonic stem cells, etc.) one of the “petty grievances” that are mentioned earlier on in the speech? I have no problem with wishing to get away from a dependence on oil (although, not because of some worry about carbon emissions), but when science trumps ethics the idea of “freedom” can quickly lose all meaning.

Some other quotes:

“We come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations, and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

“The world has changed, and we must change with it.”

“We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers.”

And a few links:

Inaguration Thoughts
White House Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 3, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Obama campaign threw their vehemently pro-abortion stance into relief by investing in radio ads attacking pro-life Sen. McCain for threatening to take away women’s “right to choose.”

The ads feature the voice of a “nurse-practitioner with Planned Parenthood” warning her listeners that McCain will seek to have Roe v. Wade overturned and ban abortion.

“I know abortion is one of most difficult decisions a woman will ever make,” says the woman’s voice.  “Let me tell you – if Roe v Wade is overturned, the lives and health of women will be put at risk. That’s why this election is so important. John McCain’s out of touch with women today. McCain wants to take away our right to choose.”…

The McCain campaign has made no secret of the Republican presidential nominee’s rejection of “abortion rights.” His surprise choice of pro-life and pro-family Gov. Sarah Palin for his running mate offered values voters even more reason to trust the Republican leader to champion the rights of the unborn upon election to the White House.  Some have even suggested that the Obama ad will help McCain, whose unapologetic stance on the issue is considered a strength by many in the conservative camp…

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