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
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .