embryonic stem cell research

Ask The House Not To Fund Failed Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Two years ago, we partnered with the Virginia Catholic Conference to hammer out an agreement with the biotech community to ensure that state funded research performed in Virginia would not involve embryonic stem cells or aborted fetuses.  The clause was added to all legislation involving biotech research in Virginia, thus protecting citizens of the Commonwealth from subsidizing unethical research. In 2010, the same agreement stood.  Now, it's 2011 and the debate over the pro-life amendment is once again taking place.   There are several bills this year originating from both chambers that would provide research and development tax credits to biotech companies. In order to prevent the funding of unethical research, each and every bill must include the pro-life amendment. The House Finance Committee added an amendment in line with the 2009 and 2010 pro-life amendment to one of these bills (HB 1447). Now, the amended bill will be voted on by the full House of Delegates tomorrow.   The Family Foundation and our pro-life partners at the Catholic Conference firmly believe that Virginia taxpayers should not be asked to pay for or subsidize research that involves the destruction of human embryos or the use of aborted fetuses (see position paper here and our recently completed study, Do No Harm, here). Not only is such research unethical, embryonic stem cell research has been a complete failure. That is the reason researchers cannot attract private investment and is looking for your tax dollars to subsidize their failed research — no one will pour money into a failure. So researchers have turned to (who else?) — the government — to subsidize failure. If we are going to subsidize research in Virginia, it should be in adult stem cell research, which is producing real results — real science providing real hope and real cures.   It is crucial that your delegate hear from you by tomorrow morning before the floor session begins. Legislators need to hear that the funding of life-destroying research will not be tolerated in the Commonwealth. Contact your delegate now and urge him or her to cast a vote in acknowledgment of the sanctity of human life (click here for contact information or click here to find out who your delegate is).

Ethics In The Lab: Family Foundation Releases New Policy Paper

Stem cell research has been at the center of one of the hottest debates in the 21st century where science and ethics have clashed. Additionally, many lab procedures flirt with the bounds of ethics and morality — cloning, genetic engineering, in vitro fertilization, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis to name just a few. Some scientists see new lab procedures as holding the answer to many of medicine's most difficult challenges. They see a future with the ability to clone, cure the most noxious of diseases — perhaps, even, the ability to achieve genetic perfection. But such a utopian vision dismisses the spiritual side of the equation, overriding it with the "absolutes" of science. This vision ignores the moral and ethical questions surrounding medical research:

What are the potential human costs of these so-called "advances in medicine and technology?"

Are some humans "disposable" if their destruction leads to medical advances?

As science moves into uncharted territory, Americans are caught between the hope it provides and the quickly fading morals that guard against sacrificing human life. Responding to these challenges, The Family Foundation has produced, Do No Harm: Ethics in the Laboratory, a new policy paper. In this paper, we address the oft-asked questions of

When does life begin?

Is embryonic stem cell research ethical?

Is in vitro fertilization a choice that respects life?

I encourage you to read Do No Harm as I believe you will find it instructive and enlightening. Click here to read the report in its entirety.

The Family Foundation has worked with pro-life allies for several years to educate the public and legislators on this important topic. We have successfully amended legislation that attempted to funnel your tax dollars into unethical research to ensure that Virginians are not forced to subsidize these questionable programs. There is still work to be done and too many politicians in Richmond are willing to waste our money on unethical and unproductive research. Our hope is that this paper will provide information to citizens, the media and elected officials they may not otherwise know.

To help us continue to produce research that produces policy papers such as Do No Harm and our previous papers, and to help us disseminate it to legislators, policy makers and the media, click here.

Budget Amendments, Part 2

Friday, we posted important information about one of the most significant gubernatorial pro-life budget amendments in years. We are urging the General Assembly, especially five key senators, to approve the amendment. Please read the post to see how you can help. While we are happy that Governor McDonnell has proposed this significant amendment, he unfortunately chose not to introduce budget amendments this year that would defund Planned Parenthood (Washington Post) or embryonic stem cell research. So, did we win or did we lose?

I was asked that question last week by a reporter regarding the governor's decision not to amend the state budget to forbid funding of Planned Parenthood. Such an amendment has been, and continues to be, one of The Family Foundation's highest priorities.

  

Wins and losses: A good start on some issues, work continues on others.

Interestingly, in the several years since The Family Foundation first exposed the issue of taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood (see our position paper), the amount of money flowing to that radical group has decreased. It is our understanding that there is only one unfunded contract in place, and that it soon will expire.

If correct, this means that when we do our annual research regarding funds directed to Planned Parenthood and its subsidiaries — for any reason — it should read $0.00. However, without budget language, funding can begin at any time (through contracts awarded to it by state agencies). Consequently, Governor McDonnell will have to ensure that his administration continues to fulfill his campaign promise and make sure that no taxpayer dollars go to Planned Parenthood each year of his term. While he chose not to do a budget amendment at this time as we would prefer, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Ultimately, the goal has always been to protect the taxpayer. 

We still believe the best safeguard for taxpayers is to have a budget amendment specifically defunding Planned Parenthood, rather than asking taxpayers to rely on a campaign promise. We will continue to hold Governor McDonnell (contact) accountable by checking each year to make sure that no state funds flow to Planned Parenthood.

However, we do thank the governor for amending the Planned Parenthood license plate bill to ensure that no money from the license plates will ever be used to fund an abortion (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). Given the Senate's unwillingness to remove Planned Parenthood as the recipient of the plate funds, the governor's amendment was the second best option. But, now that it appears Virginians will be able to fund Planned Parenthood by "choice" through the purchase of a Planned Parenthood license plate, there is even more reason to ensure that they do not get budget money.

Finally, we must continue to fight for a total ban in the budget on state funding for embryonic stem cell research (see our position paper here). Although The Family Foundation has had 100 percent success ensuring that no new bio-tech funds or research tax credits are created without a ban, without a budget amendment universities still have license to destroy embryos in the name of research. Universities have refused to acknowledge that they are doing this controversial research and thus the governor determined an amendment may be premature. Expressing our disappointment with the administration, we have been assured that Governor McDonnell shares our concern on this issue, will investigate what is currently being funded and take appropriate action.

Urge Governor McDonnell To Ban Funding For Planned Parenthood, Taxpayer Funded Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Governor Bob McDonnell currently is reviewing the state budget passed by the General Assembly during its recent session. He has the opportunity to send amendments to the General Assembly to bring the budget in line with his goals, objectives and values. In doing so, he can send to the legislature budget amendments that defund Planned Parenthood, elective abortions and failed embryonic stem cell research. The legislature, in turn, will vote on any amendments Governor McDonnell sends it during its veto session on Wednesday, April 21. In today’s financial climate, it is even more essential that these publicly unsupported expenditures causing the destruction of human life not be financially backed by a fiscally failing government. If financial support is to be handed out from Richmond for anything, there are numerous life supporting and worthy causes that come to mind that deserve and truly need support. Here's some background on the budget language that we hope Governor McDonnell sends the General Assembly:

Banning Planned Parenthood Funding: This amendment prohibits taxpayer funding of the radical pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood. In its last fiscal report, Planned Parenthood Federation of America reported a budget of more than $1 billion. During this decade, Virginia taxpayers have sent nearly $500,000 to Planned Parenthood, one of the most politically partisan organizations in our nation. They do not need your hard-earned tax dollars. By the way, Planned Parenthood is responsible for nearly a quarter of the abortions that take place in our nation.

Banning Funding for Elective Abortions: Incredibly in 2006 and 2007, Virginia tax dollars directly funded 322 elective abortions. The federal government requires states to subsidize abortions only when a Medicaid-eligible woman’s life is at risk or in the cases of rape and incest. In Virginia, we fund elective low-income abortions — a standard beyond what is required by the federal government. Regardless of their position on abortion, a vast majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.

Banning Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Let’s be honest, embryonic stem cell research has failed, while adult stem cell research has produced dozens of treatments and cures. Virginia has a clear choice: fund what works or fund failed research to make a political point. According to a recent article in Investor's Business Daily, California, the most severely racked state in the nation, has learned some difficult lessons:

Five years after a budget-busting $3 billion was allocated to embryonic stem cell research, there have been no cures, no therapies and little progress. So supporters are embracing research they once opposed (adult stem cell research).

With all this in mind, we need your action to redirect Virginia in a positive direction on these important public policy issues. They are so important, in fact, that Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham asked candidate McDonnell about them in October on her nationally syndicated radio talk show. He promised then to ban funding for Planned Parenthood and taxpayer funded elective abortions. (Planned Parenthood even attacked him for the pledge.) Hear his pledge for yourself, right here:

 

Now, please contact Governor McDonnell immediately and urge him to keep his word and send the General Assembly budget amendments prohibiting taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and elective abortions, as ewll as embryonic stem cell research.

Contact him by phone at 804-786-2211 or click here to e-mail him.

Virginia News Stand: March 31, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Obama Says Drill, Baby, Drill

Wow, the Obama administration is doing something that makes sense? Allowing drilling off the coast of Virginia? There must be some catch. But, at least in its preliminary stage, Governor Bob McDonnell and the vast majority of Virginians are getting their wish. Of course, he's slamming the door on production in Alaska, California, Florida and elsewhere. No doubt, he's aiming for some political cover, especially as he now pushes for extreme regulatory restrictions on U.S. energy consumption. (See? I'm for all types of energy, I support drilling.)

Elsewhere, does the governor's "no major budget changes" include the status quo on Planned Parenthood, elective abortion and embryonic stem cell research? He also looks to make some permanent restructuring (smaller) state government. So have others. We'll see.

Meanwhile, offering reason to the disingenuousness of the left, who claim Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's court challenge to the federal government's health care takeover is a waste of taxpayer money, are editorials, commentaries and news coverage from all over the commonwealth. I commend them to you all. Speaking of the power grab, it's not all as great as the libs projected as they find out not more than a week after it passed. So much for that child coverage being cheaper — or even existent; and Henry Waxman is showing his tolerance for speech and financial freedom by a witch trial for companies that dare say they will lose money because of the health care takeover. The AP has the details. 

News

Va. governor to name team to reshape, shrink operations (Washington Post)

McDonnell not expecting major budget changes (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Cuccinelli: Health-care lawsuit could save state $1 billion (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obama to Allow Oil Drilling Off Virginia Coast (AP/AOLNews)

Group opposing health care orders DNC to stop using its slogan (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

One threat proven real against GOP Congressman (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Editorial: Health Care: Unconstitutional (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

University of Wyo. cancels William Ayers speech (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Health premiums could rise 17 pct. for young adults (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama administration moves to fix kids coverage gap (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama: Tea party features 'core group' against him (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama signs student loan/health care legislation in Virginia (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Is the Va. attorney general wasting tax money on Obamacare lawsuit? No. (Mark Hemingway/Washington Examiner)

Virginia Democrats suddenly discover spending discipline (Mark J. Fitzgibbons/Washington Examiner)

'Change' Is Not New (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Liberals In Vitriol Denial (Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

Henry Waxman: the Witch Hunter of Capitol Hill (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Frustrating, Stubborn Facts (Tony Blankley/GOPUSA.com)

Why the Tenth Amendment is Important (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

Obama's Gifts to the 'Outlier' Have Only Just Begun (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

The (Health Care) Law of Unintended Consequences (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)

Clowns to the left, Jokers on the Right (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

General Assembly Must Tame Its Appetite For Tax And "Fee" Increases

Yesterday, we asked you to contact your delegates and senators and urge them to support the three vital budget amendments that ban state funding for the partisan political organization Planned Parenthood, as well as the ones that ban embryonic stem cell research (which has not produced one medical advance) and elective abortions (Virginia funded 322 such abortions in 2006-2007). Today, we urge you to take action on the other side of the ledger. While we want to hold government spending to essential core services that fit the proper role of government — and eliminate excessive spending, especially for nefarious groups and causes — we also must make clear to our representatives that we are over taxed. In their work to close the $4 billion state budget deficit, our senators and delegates must know that they cannot bridge that gap on the backs of families, individuals and businesses who are struggling in this very tough economy.

The truth of the matter is that we have a "spending surplus" — not a deficit from a lack of revenue. In fact, if lawmakers are so concerned about the deficit, they should look at themselves before they do the taxpayers. The General Assembly has doubled spending in the Virginia budget over the last 10 years, several times the rates of inflation and population growth combined! But those facts don’t get in the way of special interest, big-government lobbyists who, unfortunately, have a lot of influence at the capitol. They will use every weapon in their arsenal to jack up taxes to pay for their pet projects and programs.

One weapon is the myth that public education is getting cut to the bone and that tax increases are necessary "for the children." However, spending on K-12 education in Virginia has increased by 60 percent over the last 10 years while enrollment in public schools has increased only 7.2 percent; and 60 percent of the budget is dedicated to education and health care. But the Senate (SB 30) and House (HB 30) budgets have $300 million and $76 million in tax and fee increases, respectively. When does it end?

The Senate budget increases the 911 "fee" on every cel phone and landline to pay for 911 centers. Two problems: The increased revenue won’t go to 911 centers and the "fee" as the Senate would have you believe, is defined as a tax in the Code of Virginia — and that’s just the beginning of what lawmakers want to do to you.

It’s time for lawmakers to do what Virginia families and job creators are doing — cut expenses! We can’t make money appear out of nowhere and the General Assembly shouldn’t try. Instead, it should tame its unabated appetite for hard-earned tax payer income.

Please contact your delegate and senator immediately and urge them to reject increased taxes and fees on Virginia families, individuals and businesses in the new budget .

If you know who they are, you can get their contact info here for delegates and here for senators. If you don’t know who your delegate and senator are, click here.

Pro-Life Budget Amendment Decisions This Week

We are in the final week of the 2010 Virginia General Assembly session, and legislators now are making decisions regarding the state budget. It is critical that your delegate and senator hear from you concerning budget amendments defunding Planned Parenthood, elective abortions and embryonic stem cell research. They are scheduled to vote on the budget in the next few days! In today’s financial climate, it is even more essential that these publicly unsupported issues causing the destruction of human life not be financially backed by a fiscally failing government. Here's a rundown on three budget amendments:

Banning Planned Parenthood Funding: This amendment prohibits taxpayer funding of the radical pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood. In its last fiscal report, this organization reported a budget of over $1 billion! During this decade, Virginia taxpayers have sent nearly $500,000 to Planned Parenthood, one of the most partisan organizations in our nation. They do not need your money! And of course, Planned Parenthood is responsible for nearly a quarter of the abortions that take place in our nation. In fact, as the national abortion rate is declining, the number of abortions taking place in Planned Parenthood clinics continues to rise.

Banning Funding for Elective Abortions: Incredibly, in 2006 and 2007, Virginia tax dollars directly funded 322 abortions. The federal government requires states to subsidize abortions only when a Medicaid-eligible woman’s life is at risk or in the cases of rape and incest. In Virginia, we fund elective low-income abortions — a standard beyond what is required by the federal government.

Banning Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research: This amendment, patroned by Delegate Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights), prohibits taxpayer funding of research that requires the destruction of human embryos and is consistent with other amendments placed on legislation funding research in Virginia. Embryonic stem cell research has failed, while adult stem cell research has produced dozens of treatments and cures.

In past years, several Senate budget negotiators, in particular Senators Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield), Janet Howell (D-32, Reston) and Edd Houck (D-17, Spotsylvania), have refused to include similar amendments in the final budget. Incredibly, they have gone so far as to threaten to break off budget talks — threatening the entire state government and all its services — to keep the money flowing to Planned Parenthood and these other issues. They must be asked: When teachers and social services organizations are screaming because of budget "cuts," how can they funnel money to partisan organizations and failed research?

Please contact your delegate and senator immediately and urge them to support budget amendments prohibiting taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, embryonic stem cell research and elective abortions.

If you know who they are, you can get their contact info here for delegates and here for senators, or to look up Senators Saslaw, Howell and Houck. If you don't know who your delegate and senator are, click here.

Virginia News Stand: December 4, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Left Wing "Science"

Left-wing ideology masquerading as science has been in the news a lot this week, with word of the leaked East Anglia e-mails proving the climate change hoax. But one hoax that's been around longer is that of embryonic stem cell research, which, according to the left, will provide miracle cures that will make the lame jump up and walk in an instant. However, there has not been one medical breakthrough from such research, while there have been hundreds from adult stem cell research. The difference between the climate alarmists and the culture of death crowd is that the latter actually has implemented its goals into policy, while Cap-and-Tax still has a way to go. This week, the National Institute for Health initiated the process for the destruction of embryos for (futile) research. There is coverage of it below in National News.

Also: Governor Tim Kaine demonizes the Tea Party movement, CBS corrupts Frosty The Snowman, a call for Al Gore to give back his Academy Award (because of the false information his movie was based on), the Manhattan Declaration is discussed, another misnamed Orwellian bill (this time to allow homosexuals a backdoor into the military), a 90-year-old Virginia World War II hero struggles to fly his flag, and an inopportune time for media-hungry President Obama to appear on the cover of Golf Digest.

News:

Kaine plans to extend health benefits to same-sex partners (Washington Post)

McDonnell adds five to administration’s team (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell names four to state posts (Washington Times)

Deeds’ losing campaign ends up in the black, but just barely (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine: Tea Party movement 'devouring' GOP (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

National:

New Stem Cell Lines Open To Research (New York Times)

Embryonic stem-cell funding — an incentive to kill (OneNewsNow.com)

Pro-life group faces Senate in uphill healthcare battle (OneNewsNow.com)

House establishes permanent 'death tax' branch (OneNewsNow.com)

Cornwall Alliance keeps climate change 'folly' in spotlight (OneNewsNow.com)

'Honest and Open' Act a misnomer (OneNewsNow.com)

Dems seeking compromise on public insurance option (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Commentary:

Gore Hit ByAn Inconvenient Truth (Tasha Easterling/Rightly Concerned Blog)

When We Should Be Civilly Disobedient (Matt Friedeman/Rightly Concerned Blog)

90-Year-Old Vet Ordered to Remove Flagpole (Tasha Easterling/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Frosty Like You've Never Seen Him Before (Bryan Fischer/Focal Point, Rightly Concerned Blog)

Woods, Obama Make Golf Digest Cover (Matt Friedeman/Rightly Concerned Blog)

A World Without Men

On this blog, we often extol the phenomenal scientific breakthroughs of adult stem cell research and the numerous significant medical and scientific advances that such research has achieved. We also plainly and frequently dismiss embryonic stem cell research because it has produced not one advancement nor demonstrated a method to improve any malady or condition. Rather, the destruction of embryos for research is a convenient excuse to expand the culture of death by destroying the beginning of life. Until now . . . sort of. If you want to call it that — and it's a radical feminist's dream.

Some scientists in Britain (aren't British scientists the ones who gave us Dolly, the first cloned sheep?) recently reported what they consider a breakthrough from embryonic stem cell research, although numerous doctors and scientists remain skeptical: They claim they can create sperm from embryos (see Baltimore Examiner). (Also, see this other bizarre project Brits are undertaking.) 

Even if truly possible, it's at least 10 years away. But if it ever did come to pass, the reasoning goes, a woman can give up an embryo, have sperm extracted from it, and inseminated into her "partner," and a lesbian couple can have a child biologically (revel in the hope at the Socialist Worker).

Perhaps better, a woman could impregnate herself with herself. Supposedly. So, then, what need for men? As this ABC News Nightline report flippantly states, men cause all the crime, wars and automobile accidents, so good riddance.

Congratulations, then, to the loon-lefties out there who "feel" (and don't know) that embryonic stem cell research is the wave of the future — you've finally got your one scientific (extremely weird) "breakthrough" from embryonic stem cell research (if you can even call it that). We hope you are proud of the future it might bring.

Virginia News Stand: July 8, 2009

Today's news leads off with what will increasingly lead the news — the gubernatorial campaign. In this case, a Public Policy Poll, which tracked the Democrat primary, has all three GOP candidates ahead: Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling both are up by six points, while Attorney General candidate, Senator Ken Cuccinelli is up by seven. The Richmond Times-Dispatch and Washington Times both report. Elsewhere, somehow Sarah Palin has become an issue for McDonnell. Is Rod Blagojevich an issue for Creigh Deeds? Today is another day where national issues and commentary are more plentiful than the state news. One report we'd like to draw your attention to has to do with the new NIH standards for embryonic stem cell research. OneNewsNow.com reports that the NIH ignored the 30,000 anti-stem cell public comments it received — out of 49,000 total — as it opened up the flood gates of embryo harvesting and sacrifice.

In Britain, meanwhile, in an attempt to reduce Europe's highest teenage pregnancy rate, the government went about teaching students how to use condoms, spending millions of pounds. Guess what? The rate doubled.

In other news worth your read, new documents link Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor to a radical leftist agenda; a well-know black pastor says President Barack Obama has no "black experience to speak of;" and, thanks to a new ministry, military chaplains are able to get audio Gospels to our troops in the field. 

We've also included three Elijah Friedeman blog posts. None are long, but if you read only one, see the new television advertisemnt by Americans For Prosperity explaining the dangers of socialized medicine.

News:

Poll: McDonnell at 49% and Deeds at 43% (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Poll: McDonnell takes lead in Va. Race (Washington Times

Va.'s McDonnell ducks questions on Palin aid (Washington Times

Obama's grass-roots network builds Va. staff to promote agenda (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Grogan will run against Loupassi (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News:

Public ignored; full steam ahead for embryonic sacrifice (OneNewsNow.com)

New documents connect Sotomayor to leftist agenda (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Soldiers getting an earful of Jesus (OneNewsNow.com)

Pastor: Obama has no 'black experience' to speak of (OneNewsNow.com)

Commentary:

Britain Doubles Pregnancy Rates By Teaching Girls to Have Sex (American Family Association Blog)

Anti-nationalized health care ads released (Elijah Friedeman/American Family Association Blog)

The case against government run health care (Elijah Friedeman/American Family Association Blog)

Is the media starting to turn on Obama? (Elijah Friedeman/American Family Association Blog)

You Would Think With So Many Discoveries They'd Just Throw In The Towel

I promise, I don't go looking for scientific and medical advancements from adult stem cells. But they happen so often these days, you can't avoid them. On the other hand, you can search far and wide and not find one discovery from embryonic stem cell research.   The latest example: Looking around the FRC Blog today for something else, I found this post from May 20 by David Prentice (the words in bold are a link to a Reuters article):

Scientists at University College-London report that they have engineered adult stem cells to seek out and destroy cancer cells in mice. Mesenchymal stem cells, a type of adult stem cell found in bone marrow and connective tissue, have been shown to be good vectors to carry factors to different parts of the body, as well as seek out cancer cells throughout the body. The research team, led by Dr. Michael Loebinger, altered these adult stem cells to express the cancer-killing protein TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand), which causes the death only of cancer cells. In the lab, the cells were able to find and kill cells from lung, squamous, breast, and cervical cancer. They also injected the cells into mice with breast tumors and showed they were able to safely kill the tumors but leave healthy tissue intact. Results were presented at the American Thoracic Society's 105th International Conference in San Diego.

Many place hope in the fool's gold that is embryonic stem cell research or worse — politicians who pander to the extreme-left-abortion-at-all-cost crowd. But any objective, common sense thinking American clearly can see where our scientific goals and priorities should truly be. Any other options are purely political and not based on science or ethics, or else — with all the dozens of dramatic discoveries through adult stem cells — why wouldn't embryonic stem cell advocates throw in the towel by now?

Open Questions To Senator Deeds

On the day after his blowout Democrat primary victory, Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath) said one of the differences between himself and Republican opponent, former Attorney General Bob McDonnell, is embryonic stem cell research: Deeds is for it, McDonnell is against it. Fair enough, senator. If you are for it, we invite you to reply, here, to this question:

If embryonic stem cell research is worthy of state funding, or any funding, it should produce results: Can you name just one successful medical/scientific breakthrough from embryonic stem cell research?

Furthermore, can you give a ballpark number on the actual, successful number of such breakthroughs from adult stem cell research?

Can you name two of the biggest, most prominent diseases that have perplexed scientists that now have been broken through because of adult stem cell research?

Finally, if you are going to "invest" our hard-earned tax money into something, shouldn't it be proven to work? And if it has proven not to work, how does that make you a good steward of our Commonwealth?

(Answers here.)

Newsweek Endorses Adult Stem Cells Only?

That's the way it sounds. The lefty news mag has gone off the liberal reservation this week with its cover story blasting liberal TV queen Oprah Winfrey for the guests she puts on her show that spout off about medicine, health and fitness, usually without an opposing view, no matter how "crazy" (Newsweek's word) the advice given by said guests. However, there's always a however, and we're pleased to report that Newsweek did make an exception:

"Two of her longest-serving resident experts, Dr. Mehmet Oz and trainer Bob Greene, routinely offer sound, high-quality advice to Oprah and her audience on how to lose weight and improve overall health. ..." 

Remember Dr. Oz? He's the one who shocked Oprah and Michael J. Fox (see here!) with the good news that Parkinson's Disease, from which Fox suffers, will be cured in 10 years or less — but with adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells. Fox has so adamantly campaigned for embryonic stem cell research and public funding — as the only way to cure a myriad of perplexing diseases and ailments — in Congress, in various states and for candidates who support such funding. His and Oprah's reactions that day to Dr. Oz's presentation were priceless.

It's nice to know, however unwittingly, that Newsweek has jumped on the pro-life bandwagon. Of course, while probably it would go to great lengths to protest otherwise, it can't offer Dr. Oz its stamp of approval, then say he's lost the plot on perhaps the seminal medical science issue of the day.

Blog Roll Additions

We always look to add blogs worth reading to our blog roll. There are so many of them now, it's hard to keep up. But when new ones come to our attention, or ones that somehow slipped through the cracks are suddenly remembered, we not only add them, but give them a recommendation. So, we're glad to point out some new additions to our blog roll, that we either recently added, or added a while ago but forgot to mention at the time. One is Political Christian, a fairly new blog, by our friend Larry Miller. He's also got an entire Web site linked to the blog which is a virtual resource center for information and citizen action. Another is VA Social Conservative, from Willie Deutsch, a 20-something, who proves there is a thriving youth social conservative movement in the blogosphere as well as in boots-on-the-ground political activism. 

We also added the Web site of the Virginia Catholic Conference, an organization that often is our only ally in the General Assembly as we fight to preserve innocent, unborn life. Its leadership in keeping state funds from finding their way to the hoax that is embryonic stem cell research is unparalleled. 

The Virginia News Platoon is a fairly new conservative news source and content provider, where Krystle Weeks of Crystal Clear Conservative is the Virginia News Editor. This site keeps you up-to-date on the latest Virginia news as well as what's up at Virginia's leading conservative blogs.

Finally, but certainly not least, we highly recommend Virginia Tomorrow, another fairly new blog, but not by any neophyte or couch potato critic. Virginia Tomorrow is the creation of Dr. Bob Holsworth, one of the most insightful and fair political commentators in Virginia, or the country for that matter. Quoted far and wide on all matters political, he now has this platform to promulgate his points. He is more than willing to speak to any group and supply his observations, including a couple of presentations at Family Foundation functions. I have seen him at several other events, and he remains even keel for every audience, not matter its slant. "Dr. Bob" is one of the good, fair guys. We hope you visit his site, and the others mentioned here, often.

Obama's Decision Flies In Face Of Yet Another Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough

In what had to be the most full-of-chutzpah-statement from a president since we don't know when, Barack Obama yesterday said he wanted to "Take the politics out of science" in lifting the executive order banning federal funding on embryonic stem cell research. What a hoot!  He also said we have to pursue science, even when it's "inconvenient." Destruction of life? Doesn't get as inconvenient as that. But push on, he said. Keep destroying those embryos even though not one medical breakthrough, despite governments around the world pouring money into it, has ever come of from it.

Contrary to what he said, he had only one reason for lifting the ban: politics! We can't say it was a payoff to the abortion lobby because he's an abortion-on-demand true believer, but political it was, pure and simple. 

Maybe he was "tired" as his advisors always seem to say when he goofs —whether its when he says we have 57 states or in dissing Great Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (see The Telegraph here) (but not tired enough to play basketball every day), but somehow the president didn't see the news of another stunning breakthrough with adult stem cells.

This time, researchers have reversed symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis and, in some cases "people had complete disappearance of all symptoms," according to the researchers. It hits home to Virginia as one who experienced that complete reversal was Edwin McClure, a 24-year-old VCU graduate student. Ironically, this phenomenal discovery was made in Chicago, the president's home town, but perhaps he was too tired to notice.

Read more about this remarkable discovery from Bloomberg News (click here) as well as another major breakthrough we wrote about earlier where a woman had her windpipe reattached through adult stem cell therapy. But don't look for those three words — adult stem cells — because the Mainstream Media won't use them since it wants everyone to believe stem cells are stem cells. So does the president. But they aren't.

Except for one major exception: As we wrote last week, adult stem cells now can be manipulated into functioning as embryonic stem cells (here)and can be done so without destroying embryos. Guess the president slept through those those headlines, too. So embryonic stem cells don't work and if they do, there's another way to create them than to destroy embryos. If there's one thing people can unite behind, it's not wasting millions of dollars on something that doesn't work, much less something that can be done without causing controversy.

But that's not the path chosen by the president. Whether his excuse is fatigue or something more plausible, it doesn't excuse him from his irresponsible act yesterday. Instead of avoiding divisions, he, for political reasons, opened them up. Some move by someone who pledged to end such politics.

Obama And Human Dignity

STATEMENT BY VICTORIA COBB, PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA, CONCERNING PRESIDENT OBAMA'S LIFTING OF RESTRICTIONS ONHUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH

"It should surprise no one that the president is doing this. He's investing in failed banks, failed government programs and failed policies of the past. Why not invest in failed research at the same time? Once again taxpayers are being asked to waste money on failure in the name of 'progress.' Only this time it will cost not only money but human lives."

House Passes Four Pro-Life Budget Amendments!

Yesterday the House and Senate were supposed to finish work on their respective budgets, laying the groundwork for the budget debate over the final two weeks. Things do not, however, always go as planned in Richmond. While the Senate postponed its budget vote until next week (waiting on Governor Kaine's latest revenue conjecture, which didn't sit well with the House because now it is out on a limb), the House proceeded and passed several pro-life amendments that protect taxpayers from subsidizing unethical and failed research, elective abortions and a wealthy, partisan organization. In addition, the House included a language amendment that raises the safety standards at Virginia's abortion centers. A description of each:

One of the adopted amendments, introduced by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William), defunds Planned Parenthood. It passed 61-28. During this decade, Virginia taxpayers have unknowingly sent nearly $500,000 to this overtly partisan and pro-abortion organization. Its national annual budget is more than $1 billion. If the governor cut funding for abstinence education, ostensibly for cost savings, then we should not ask Virginians to send their hard earned money to this group.

Another amendment, also submitted by Delegate Marshall, prohibits the use of taxpayer funding of abortions. Incredibly, in 2006 and 2007, Virginia tax dollars funded 322 abortions (160 in fiscal-year 2007 and 162 in fiscal 2006). The federal government subsidizes abortions only when a Medicaid-eligible woman's life is at risk or in the cases of rape and incest. Virginia, however, goes above and beyond those requirements.  This extra funding should stop now.

A separate amendment, submitted by Delegate (and Majority Whip) Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights), prevents the funding of failed research that requires the destruction of human embryos. It passed 79-21. As many in the scientific community abandon embryonic stem cell research for the successful adult stem cell research, some in Virginia continue to advocate for taxpayer funding of the utterly unsuccessful embryonic version that simply has not lived up to its advocates' hype — producing not one major success. Meanwhile, adult stem cell research has produced dozens of cures and treatments (recently reversing the affects of some MS patients). Investment in adult stem cell research offers hope and promise, and that's where Virginia's money should go.

Also yesterday, the House voted 61-36 to add to the budget policy language that raises the safety standards of abortion centers. Similar legislation has passed the House several times in recent years, only to be killed in the Senate Education and Health Committee. Adding that language to the budget is a creative way to try to circumvent the "Committee of Death."

The House was seemingly caught off guard by the Senate's decision to postpone its budget vote, and continued work on its budget, passing it late in the afternoon yesterday. But the Senate adjourned without taking a vote on its budget and without, apparently, changing the midnight deadline for the vote.

Interview With Senator Sam Brownback, Part 2

Welcome to part two of our exclusive interview with United States Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), one of America's pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional values leaders. In the first part, we got the senator's thoughts on how to win "red" states, the financial crisis, the Supreme Court and on Republican presidential candidate John McCain. In part two, we ask him about embryonic stem cell research, church leaders speaking out on public policy and politics, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (see new video), his friendship with Senator McCain and the pending new HHS medical provider conscience regulations. We hope you will enjoy part two and the entire interview. We are pleased to have brought it to you. Let us know what you think with your comments. 

familyfoundation.org: Senator McCain has supported embryonic stem cell research in the past. Catholic teaching opposes the destruction of embryos, which happens when the stem cells are extracted from them. Has his position on this made you uncomfortable at all in your support of him? Have new developments which make adult stem cells act as embryonic stem cells had an impact on his thinking? Also, since embryonic stem cell research has not yielded one medical breakthrough, while there have been dozens from adult stem cell research — how has all this affected Senator McCain's thinking on the subject, if at all?

Senator Brownback: I think with the new developments in stem cell research, we are reaching the days when embryonic stem cell research is rendered moot, and John McCain has repeatedly pointed out the successes in non-embryonic stem cell research.    

familyfoundation.org: Are the Catholic bishops correct in their outspokenness and in taking so bold a stand or should Church leaders of all faiths stay quiet on issues of governance? To what degree should Catholic and Christian voters look to their bishops and pastors for guidance in voting?

Senator Brownback: Church leaders should lead the Church. I leave it to their discretion how they choose to do that. 

familyfoundation.org: What did you think of the two presidential candidates' performances at Pastor Rick Warren's "Saddleback Forum"? What impressed and/or concerned you about some of their answers to Rev. Warren's questions?

Senator Brownback: I think John McCain proved, again, that he is the right candidate for values voters. Anyone watching the forum could see that John McCain will lead the country in the right direction. 

familyfoundation.org: How far did the selection of Governor Sarah Palin go toward bringing pro-life, pro-family voters back toward Senator McCain?

Senator Brownback:Governor Palin really energized the pro-life and pro-family base of the party. She has brought out huge crowds and has really amped up the excitement level. Governor Palin is a real-life example of values voters' ideals. She has a beautiful child with Down Syndrome, which is something to be celebrated. Eighty to 90 percent of women who find out their unborn baby may have Down Syndrome choose to end the pregnancy. Governor Palin has reminded us all that being pro-life and pro-family is something to be celebrated.     

familyfoundation.org: What did you know about her previously and what have you learned about her since that adds to your belief she'll make a great vice president?

Senator Brownback:Governor Palin is known as the most popular governor in America. And she brings critically important and historically relevant executive experience to the ticket. With 75 percent of this year's presidential and vice presidential candidates being male senators, it is remarkably valuable to have on the ticket a woman who has executive experience.    

familyfoundation.org: The Department of Health and Human Services is considering new rules on "Provider Conscience" regulations so medical professionals and hospitals who don't believe in abortion and other things contrary to their faith do not have to provide those services. What is the status of those proposals, do you think they will get approved and how will they be an improvement over the current rules? Does Senator McCain support these new proposed rules?

Senator Brownback: For more than thirty years, the letter and the spirit of federal law has required that medical providers not be discriminated against for refusing to perform abortions if they have moral or religious objections to abortion. The HHS regulations under consideration are intended to support this law against such discrimination. Like John McCain, I have defended conscience protection laws in the past. Medical workers should be free to choose to stay true to the Hippocratic Oath to "do no harm." 

familyfoundation.org: Senator Brownback, thank you very much for taking your valuable time to provide Virginians with your thoughts on these paramount issues concerning life and traditional values, when so many critical issues face Congress. We look forward to hearing from you again in the future.

Senator Brownback: Thank you, I enjoyed visiting with you. And for more information on John McCain, please go online to catholics.johnmccain.com or johnmccain.com/phonebank

"Bishop" Biden Follows "Pope" Pelosi In Attempt To Redefine Church Truth

It keeps getting worse for certain liberal pols, especially liberal Catholics who continue to try to redefine the faith. On the heels of "pope" Pelossi's comments on Meet The Press attempting to redefine when life begins, Democrat vice-presidential nominee Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.) now wants to destroy human embryos for no reason, also in contradiction to Church teaching. During his own turn on Meet The Press Sunday (see YouTube video here), Senator Biden started off well enough as he distanced himself from Pelossi, saying he knew life started at conception and understood Church teaching. However, he reiterated the typical gross, intentional misleading position that the Church's believes only are for Catholics. (In other words, the "I can't impose my believes on you" theory; or, the "I believe slavery is wrong, but if you want to own a couple, go ahead" defense.) So, when he votes to create new felonies, he's not imposing his views on the rest of us, we suppose; and certainly not when he takes away and spends our money on failed programs that ostensibly are designed to help others. No, lawmakers never impose their morality on us. The fact is, Church teaching is that Catholics have a duty to protect innocent life, not to stand by while it is massacred. (Read the "Biden Gospel" here, by Father Thomas D. Williams, on National Review Online.)

Just as with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's fallacious remarks, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops quickly condemned Biden's remarks (read the entire statement here). Justin Cardinal Riglai, Archbishop of Philadelphia and chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., and chairman of the bishops' Committee on Doctrine, wrote that the Church . . .

does not teach this as matter of faith; it acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact. ... Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice.

Then, a cutting blow to the deception on which the so-called "pro-choice" argument is made. Wrote the bishops:

Which living members of the human species should be seen as having fundamental human rights, such as a right not to be killed?

The Catholic Church's answer is: Everybody . . . we have no business dividing humanity into those who are valuable enough to warrant protection and those who are not.

In other words, there is no compromise, senator, no matter how bad you want to rationalize it to accomodate your extremist friends.

Furthering Senator Biden's blubbering attempt at Church doctrine were his remarks yesterday when he claimed that Governor Sarah Palin's (R-Alaska) pledged support for parents raising children with developmental disabilities or birth defects should drive them to support embryonic stem cell research.

Speaking to voters at an event in Columbus, Missouri, Biden said:

I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy, because there's joy to it as well, the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect. Well guess what folks? If you care about it, why don't you support stem cell research?

Catholic teaching clearly holds that embryonic stem cell research is unethical because it kills the embryo, from which life springs forth. Furthermore, he showed his lack of knowledge on the issue because recent research has proven there are techniques under development that soon will make embryonic stem cell research obsolete, where adult stem cells can be converted to act as embryonic stem cells. Not that it is necessary — while more than several dozen documented medical breakthroughs have been accomplished through adult stem cell research — not one has been accredited to embryonic stem cell research.

The McCain-Palin campaign fired off this response:

Barack Obama's running mate sunk to a new low today launching an offensive debate over who cares more about special needs children. Playing politics with this issue is disturbing and indicative of a desperate campaign.

Wrote Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List:

Today Senator Biden outrageously implied that Americans who refuse to sacrifice innocent human life in the name of unproven, desperate attempts to cure our nation's ills through embryo-destructive research somehow don't really care about children. I am a mother of five children, one with a mental disability. The fact that Joe Biden questioned the compassion of parents like me — Governor Sarah Palin, among them — makes me sputter in disbelief. 

Religion is breaking out among liberals at a dizzying and profoundly hierarchical pace: first and foremost is Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama, the "messiah;" Governor Tim Kaine played "moses" and attempted to moved mountains in Denver; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fancies herself "pope;" and former DNC Chairman Don Fowler prayed for a hurricane to hit New Orleans for political gain. What, then, could Senator Biden's fallacious and egregious pronouncements make him other than the "bishop"? He preaches at no cathedral we'd want to attend.

Breaking: Joint Statement By Family Foundation And Virginia Catholic Conference On Absence Of Pro-Life Safeguards By Budget Conferees

JOINT STATEMENT FROM JEFF CARUSO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE VIRGINIA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE, AND VICTORIA COBB, PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA

RICHMOND - With the General Assembly set to approve a budget negotiated by House and Senate conferees, officials from two of the Commonwealth's leading statewide pro-life organizations expressed profound regret over the failure of negotiators to provide conscience protections to the vast number of Virginia taxpayers who strongly oppose paying for life-ending practices.

"Words cannot express the disappointment of pro-family Virginians at the decision of the Virginia General Assembly to continue forcing taxpayers of Virginia to fund the destruction of human life and the most extreme pro-abortion organization in Virginia. The General Assembly had multiple options, including banning funding of Planned Parenthood, embryonic stem cell research or state funded abortions. It is simply astonishing that they were unable to get any of the three amendments added to the budget.

"It is outrageously unacceptable to force Virginia taxpayers to fund abortions, life-destructive research, and the abortion industry's largest provider. Large numbers of constituents have expressed their concerns of conscience to budget negotiators for several years now, but these concerns never seem to come close to making the top of the priority list."

Last month, the House of Delegates approved budget provisions prohibiting state funding of abortions and research that requires either a human embryo to be destroyed or a baby to be aborted. Although the Senate's version of the budget did not include these items, the full Senate voted on February 27 to remove more than $200,000 in state funds that had been designated for Planned Parenthood of Virginia, the state affiliate of the nation's largest abortion provider.

Although all three of these provisions were considered by the budget conferees, none of them were included in their final report.

According to data from the Virginia Department of Health and the Department of Medical Assistance Services, state taxpayers have subsidized 322 abortions — almost one every two days — over the last two fiscal years.