Bush Administration Criticizes Stanford’s Plans for Stem Cell Research
In a new effort to subvert stem cell research, Leon Kass, chair of the President’s Council on Bioethics, sent a letter to Stanford University officials to criticize plans for the school’s new Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine. The $120 million research institute plans to clone human cells to make stem cells, which have shown enormous promise and could hold the key to cures for such degenerative diseases as Parkinson’s, neural injuries and diabetes.
Kass specifically criticized Stanford for not using the words “cloning” or “embryo” in announcements about its stem cell work. “It’s true that the word cloning raises hackles and that the word embryo makes people think of a fetus with a face,” Kass wrote, according to the Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report. “It’s absolutely critical we call things by their right name so we don’t kid ourselves about what the moral issues are...We don’t want the moral question to disappear by euphemism and distorting speech.”
Stanford denies that researchers plan to clone embryos; rather they will “insert the nucleus isolated from an adult cell into an unfertilized egg that has had its nucleus removed,” according to Kaiser. “Although I certainly respect the views Dr. Kass expresses as an honest scientific interpretation, I disagree with his characterization of what the institute proposes to do and the process by which we will do it,” Dr. Philip Pizzo, dean of the Stanford medical school, said in a statement, as reported by the Associated Press.
Bush has banned federal funding of new embryonic stem cell programs and has severely thwarted this scientific progress in the US. Several scientists testified before a US Senate subcommittee in September that even the small amount of research that is allowed has been “inordinately difficult” to access.
Media Resources: Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 12/20/02; Associated Press 12/20/02; Philadelphia Inquirer 12/15/02; Feminist Daily News 9/26/02
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .