SD Coalition opposes experimenting on embyros

November 12, 2009

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Cures not Cloning logo.jpgHere’s a brief report from the “Coalition for Cures Not Cloning” press conference held this morning at the Old Courthouse Museum. SD Family Policy Council Action President Chris Hupke states “the proposed measure would drive a Texas-sized loop hole in South Dakota’s current cloning ban…. make no mistake, this measure uses sleight of hand to rewrite the definition of cloning.”

Former Democratic SD State Legislator Mary Glenski voted for the current ban which was passed in 2004 and was “part of an overwhelming bi-partison majority with only one legislator voting against it.” Amazing really, 103 to 1. Current SD Representative Manny Steele also spoke.

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Dr. Mick Vanden Bosch stated: “…regardless of what others say, this initiated measure allows what is medically defined as cloning.  As a doctor, I want to invest in responsible science that works and has developed cures for over seventy-three diseases.” If this proposed measure is successful and the ban is lifted, research dollars would be diverted from current adult stem cell research that yielding results and curing patients. No cures have come from ANY human embryo experimentation, ever.

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Concerned Women for America (CWA) state director Linda Schauer “urges South Dakotans not to sign the petition for this phony ballot initiative…. Only 2.8 percent of [leftover] embryos are designated for research. So what will researchers look to when they have exhausted the supply of ‘leftover’ embryos?… The so-called South Dakotans for Lifesaving Cures claim they will strengthen our laws that ban cloning, but in reality they want to open the door to research cloning — a goulish clone and kill technique. The issue is not about ‘left-over’ embryos, but whether we will respect or treat human life as a commodity.”

The Alpha Center underscores the fact that “South Dakota currently has one of the strongest bans on embryonic stem cell research and cloning in the country. If this ban is lifted it will open the floodgatres to both embryonic stem cell research and cloning in South Dakota. Embryonic stem cell research and cloning rely on the destruction of human lives. In addition, not one person has even been cured using embryonic stem cells…. There are many more ethical options for these frozen embryos and it is always unethical to destroy one person’s life for the possible benefit of someone else.”

Lutherans for Life of South Dakota strongly urge you to not sign this petition… we are confident that an honest evaluation of the science will show that limited financial resources would best be invested in areas that have shown the most success already and uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception (natural or in vitro) to natural death.

South Dakota Right to Life President George Dummann states SDRTL “opposes the petition drive to overturn the South Dakota Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Cloning Ban…. Extensive, privately-funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research has proven totally unsuccessful. Of even greater concern, it always ends a human life. It is unethical.”

Democrats for Life of South Dakota added “Embryonic Stem Cell Research has had NO success in treating illnesses — only empty promises…. Democrats for Life of South Dakota support adult stem cell research which has had a proven record of success.”

Chris Hupke referenced Dr. Oz comments last April on the Oprah show… “The stem cell debate is dead.” Click that link to see Dr. OZ in conversation with Oprah and Michael J. Fox.  (1:58 into the clip are the Dr. Oz comments.)  Every South Dakotan needs to watch it.

Embryo Adoption Web Site Adds New Videos to Promote Saving Days-Old Unborn

Washington, DC ( — To raise awareness about the relatively new process of human embryo donation and adoption, the one-stop informational web site launched three new web videos. The first video, “A True Story of Embryo Donation & Adoption,” reveals a compelling story of two families brought together by their common desire to become parents. Two additional videos share embryo donation and adoption testimonials from couples that struggled with infertility and found hope in the embryo donation and adoption process. “There are just so many couples that just don’t know what to do with their embryos,” says embryo donor Jennifer Spohr, as she tells her story in the first video. “They have many frozen [embryos] and if they don’t do something, they’re going to stay frozen forever.” Hundreds of thousands of frozen human embryos in the United States alone remain in storage and in limbo, while couples grapple with the difficult decision of what to do with their remaining embryos after completing their family building efforts. As couples weigh their options, many learn about embryo donation through the site’s fact sheets, donor testimonials, adoption stories, news archive, service providers and much more.

South Dakota Catholic Bishop Says Don’t Sign Petition for Embryonic Research

Pierre, SD ( — Pierre, SD ( — Former South Dakota Secretary of State David Volk wants to overturn a state law that bans the creation and destruction of human embryos for research. Volk will need to collect more than 16,000 signatures to bring the issue to a vote in the 2010 elections. Catholic Bishop Paul Swain is urging Catholics not to sign the petition. His new statement says, in part: “South Dakota has established a thoughtful and ethical approach to such research. There currently is no ban on stem cell research in South Dakota. The state does, however, prohibit embryonic stem cell research. This should not be weakened or repealed. State laws support and encourage adult stem cell research, as does the Church. Adult stem cell research has already helped thousands of human patients suffering from over 70 different conditions such as heart disease, spinal cord injuries, juvenile diabetes and many cancers. Adult stem cells, whether taken from adult tissues (like skin or bone marrow) or umbilical cord blood, have proven to be versatile and successful, and do not involve serious ethical concerns. Embryonic stem cell research always involves the destruction of human embryos, human life. Despite the fact that millions of dollars have been spent on embryonic stem cell research in other states, no cures or treatments have been discovered to date. The taking of innocent human life is a grave moral evil with which we must never cooperate or endorse. To be consistent with this Church teaching, Catholics should not circulate or sign a petition to place it on the ballot. Nor should Catholics vote for it should that effort be successful.”

Pro-Life Group: Fetal Tissue From Abortion Used in Neocutis Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Washington, DC ( — The pro-life group Children of God for Life announced last week that Neocutis, a bio-pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology and skin care, is using tissue form the remains of babies who are victimized by abortions to produce several of their anti-aging skin creams. “It is absolutely deplorable that Neocutis would resort to exploiting the remains of a deliberately slaughtered baby for nothing other than pure vanity and financial gain, the gorup’s director, Debi Vinnedge, told “There is simply no moral justification for this.” For years Children of God for Life has been a watchdog on pharmaceutical companies using aborted fetal cell lines in medical products and they have received thousands of inquiries from the public on the use of aborted fetal material in cosmetics. Until now, this was the first time they have encountered any company bold enough to put the information right on their own website and product literature. Neocutis’ key ingredient known as “Processed Skin Proteins” was developed at the University of Luasanne from the skin tissue of a 14-week gestation electively-aborted male baby donated by the University Hospital in Switzerland. Subsequently, a working cell bank was established, containing several billion cultured skin cells to produce the human growth factor needed to restore aging skin. Contact Neocutis at Neocutis Inc., 3053 Fillmore Street # 140, San Francisco CA 94123 and call 866-636-2884 or see

Archbishop Chaput: “God Will Demand an Accounting” for Our Moral Indifference

By James Tillman

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PHOENIX, AZ, October 20, 2009 ( — In remarks delivered to the Phoenix Catholic Physician’s Guild on October 16, 2009, Archbishop Chaput of Denver condemned moral indifference in the face of the culture of death as dishonesty towards God and ruinous to America.

The archbishop began by discussing a single facet of our society: its attitude towards children with Down syndrome.

“Currently about 5,000 children with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year,” he said.  “They join a national Down syndrome population of roughly 400,000 persons. But that population may soon dwindle.  And the reason why it may decline illustrates, in a vivid way, a struggle within the American soul.”

“That struggle will shape the character of our society in the decades to come.”

Prenatal testing for Down syndrome, he continued, rather than helping parents prepare to care for their child, has become a reason for parents to kill their child.  “Studies show that more than 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome now get terminated in the womb.”

But this statistic, he continued, is but a symptom of the sickness that has spread throughout America.  The choice that the parents of an infant with Down syndrome make is the same as the choice society faces as a whole.

“The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is between love and unlove; between courage and cowardice; between trust and fear,” he said. That’s the choice we face when it happens in our personal experience.  And that’s the choice we face as a society in deciding which human lives we will treat as valuable, and which we will not.

“Every child with Down syndrome, every adult with special needs; in fact, every unwanted unborn child, every person who is poor, weak, abandoned or homeless – each one of these persons is an icon of God’s face and a vessel of his love.  How we treat these persons – whether we revere them and welcome them, or throw them away in distaste – shows what we really believe about human dignity, both as individuals and as a nation.”

Catholics can no longer excuse themselves from combating this disease by saying that their religion is private and separated from every other area of their life, he continued: religion is not simply a private thing.

“Catholic public officials who take God seriously cannot support laws that attack human dignity without lying to themselves, misleading others and abusing the faith of their fellow Catholics.  God will demand an accounting.”

“Catholic doctors who take God seriously cannot do procedures, prescribe drugs or support health policies that attack the sanctity of unborn children or the elderly; or that undermine the dignity of human sexuality and the family.  God will demand an accounting.

“And Catholic citizens who take God seriously cannot claim to love their Church, and then ignore her counsel on vital public issues that shape our nation’s life.  God will demand an accounting.”

But the maintenance of public morality is not merely a duty to God but also to our nation, he continued.

To show this, he mentioned John Courtney Murray, an American Jesuit who believed that freedom, religious liberty, and democracy were congenial to the Catholic faith.

“But he had a caveat,” the Archbishop said. “It’s the caveat George Washington implied in his Farewell Address, and Charles Carroll – the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence – mentions in his own writings.  In order to work, America depends as a nation on a moral people shaped by their religious faith, and in a particular way, by the Christian faith.  Without that living faith, animating its people and informing its public life, America becomes something alien and hostile to the very ideals it was founded on.”

This, Archbishop Chaput continued, is why Father Murray could write that our American culture, as it now exists, has become “the quintessence of all that is decadent in the culture of the Western Christian world.”

“It would seem to be erected on the triple denial that has corrupted Western culture at its roots: the denial of metaphysical reality, of the primacy of the spiritual over the material, [and] of the social over the individual … Its most striking characteristic is its profound materialism … It has given citizens everything to live for and nothing to die for.”

“And its achievement may be summed up thus:  It has gained a continent and lost its own soul.”

The Archbishop ended, therefore, by urging men truly to act as Catholics and thereby to change the world.

“Be the best doctors, nurses and medical professionals you can be,” he said.  “Your skill gives glory to God.  But be the best Catholics you can be first.”

(Read the full text of Archbishop Chaput’s address here)

Handheld Ultrasound: A Peek at the Future of the Pro-Life Movement?

By Kathleen Gilbert

Friday, October 23, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO, California, October 23, 2009 ( – New technology hailed as a stunning leap forward in modern health care may be about to give pro-life advocates unheard-of power to save a life – in the palm of their hand.

At the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco this week, General Electric unveiled the ultraportable and user-friendly Vscan, an ultrasound machine about the size of a large flip phone.  Dubbing it “the stethoscope of the 21st century,” the company offered various scenarios in which the device could vastly advance the landscape of diagnostics.  

For pro-lifers on the front lines, the new gadget could hugely improve abortion-bound women’s access to ultrasounds, which have been found highly effective in helping mothers choose life for their baby.  In the past, the sheer size of the devices has given pro-lifers a perennial puzzle over how to bring the heavy medical equipment into the paths of such women. 

Thomas Peters of the American Papist blog was among the first to ponder the new invention as a potential “revolution in sidewalk pro-life counseling technology.”

Chris Slattery, the founder and president of the New York pregnancy resource center Expectant Mother Care, called the breakthrough “absolutely awesome.”

Slattery said that his own operation has been actively pursuing smaller versions of the ultrasound – having just crammed his mobile ultrasound into a 15-foot cargo van, a step up from the previous 20-foot mobile home.

“Our movement is going more and more mobile with ultrasound,” said Slattery.  Some pro-life organizers, he said, are so devoted to the life-saving benefits of ultrasound that they have created “a whole sub-segment of the movement” dedicated to providing mobile ultrasound. 

But while the vision of pro-life sidewalk counselors nationwide packing a personal ultrasound in their back pocket may be an attractive one, the new technology won’t be available for general consumption.  Ultrasound sonography is tightly regulated by state law as well as national medical guidelines issued by the American Institute in Ultrasound Medicine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Radiology.

Still, with equipment and training provided by organizations such as Option Ultrasound and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), more and more pregnancy resource centers today have been able to open the technology to a life-saving venue.  Major pregnancy resource center groups now provide regular and ongoing sonography training for medical clinic affiliates.

“[Ultrasound] is the most powerful tool in the movement,” said Slattery.  “I’ve been looking for a new ultrasound machine – and I want to find out more about this.”

See related coverage:

New Technology Lets Parents Hold Life-Size Model of Unborn Child