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San Antonio Christians need not apply

(Or, how I ensure that I never run for office in San Antonio.)

 

For the last few months, the San Antonio City Council has been considering a “Non-discrimination ordinance” in which they pretty much discriminate against the First Amendment rights of free speech or free exercise of religion. If passed, it would prevent anyone in the City of San Antonio from running for office or being appointed to a citizens’ committee – or from holding office if elected – who advocates for traditional marriage or speaks or writes about their religious belief that homosexuality is a sin. It also looks like a great way to slide into a San Francisco-style attempt to give out same sex marriage licenses.

 

    Sec. 2-552. – Appointed Officials, Boards and Commissions.

  (a) Appointments to Boards and Commissions.

    When making appointments to boards and commissions, the City shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or handicap disability.

    (b) Prior Discriminatory Acts.

    No person shall be appointed to a position if the City Council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or handicap disability.

    (c) Discrimination by Appointed Officials – Malfeasance.

    (1) No appointed official or member of a board or commission shall engage in discrimination or demonstrate a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group of persons, or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or handicap disability, while serving in such public position.

    (2) Violation of this standard shall be considered malfeasance in office, and the City Council shall be authorized to take action as provided by law to remove the offending person from office.

 

Once the City tramples on the First Amendment, it’s not so hard to take (more) control of what should be private property and the free citizen’s means to make a living.

Property owners in San Antonio are no different from those in most cities. They don’t really own their property. They merely pay rent in the form of taxes and fees for the right to use it until a majority of their neighbors – or their elected representatives – decide to take control of a portion of it. If you don’t believe me, just try to build a home 1 foot higher than City ordinance allows or buy a house across the street from Schlitterbahn in my town of New Braunfels with the intention of renting it by the night or week to tourists.

But the new San Antonio ordinance goes a little farther. It doesn’t just prohibit action – it forces action by creating a new Class C misdemeanor for discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. So, everyone who sells their home, rents their property or makes a living as a wedding photographer would now be forced to rent or sell to, or work for people engaged in activities that goes against their religion.

 

    SECTION 10. Discriminatory practices in the provision of public accommodations and housing shall be a Class C misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punishable in accordance with Chapter 1, Section 1-5 of the City Code. The penalties contained herein are non-exclusive and the City shall have any and all remedies to which it may be entitled in law or in equity. The exercise of any penalty or remedy by City shall not be deemed as a waiver of any other remedy to which the CITY may be entitled.

 

City Council member Diego Bernal has said he plans to take out the section about bias. However, nothing’s official, yet. If you would like to let the Council know how you feel before they consider the ordinance on August 2, you can read the actual ordinance, here.  That link also has the names of Council members and their phone numbers.

Hat tip to the Center for Western Journalism and San Antonio radio station, KSLR.com , for their articles and links.

Stories about PP closures and what to do if you need a doctor

What is PP doing with the $13 Million grant that the Obama Administration awarded them? Last March, the spokeswoman for the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas was crowing about the future use of the funds.

One thing it’s not doing is funding services in Bryan/College Station, Huntsville, and Lufkin, Texas.

In the meantime, everyone who is worried about low cost or free birth control and family planning should check into the Texas Women’s Health Program. For the most accurate and largest number of TWHP qualified doctors and clinics in your area, Texas’ Department of Health and Human Services has a search engine available here. More information, here. Use the “Advanced Search,” then choose Plan type:”Traditional Medicaid,” Provider type: “Specialist” (although this will actually bring up family physicians and other primary care docs). If you qualified at PP, you should qualify under this program, even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid. These docs give a 6 month or 12 month prescription, and the State will pay for screening, family planning.

Standing for Life – The Unfinished Story | Twisted Conservative

Those who #Stand4Life should get to know Jason Vaughn; as one of the effective leaders for life in Texas, he’s making history!  Here’s his recount of the events of last week:

Late Friday night we won the battle to reduce abortions in Texas! It was a great night and I am so excited to be a part of history. I’ve said before that the world may never know my name, but perhaps one day I will hear my God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. You see that man there? I used you to save him from being aborted and I used him to change the world.”

It was a long and tiring week. There were some nights when I fell asleep in my clothes from the day. I had the privilege to work amazing men and women who love the people of Texas and want to see the end of abortion.

For those interested I want to walk you through the week.

Read the rest and see the pictures and videos he uses to document Texas’ #Stand4Life, via Standing for Life – The Unfinished Story | Twisted Conservative.

Rep. Jason Villalba Closing Speech on HB 2 (#Stand4Life )

Texas Alliance for Life has posted the video of the speech given in the Texas House of Representatives by Representative Jason Villalba (District 114, Dallas) in favor of life and HB2. It’s a beautiful testimony to love and humanity, and an answer to all the claims that this Bill is simply a political ploy. Watch for the sonogram picture of the Villalba’s 13 week son and the Representative’s declaration that he will fight for his son and all the babies destroyed by elective abortion.

“Planned Parenthood web ad blurs distinctions” (DMN Fact Check)

So, after telling us all these years that they don’t spend money from tax funds for their abortion business, Planned Parenthood is now saying that their facilities are often in the same buildings as the “separate” affiliates that don’t do abortions and that meeting the standards of an ambulatory care center will shut down both businesses.

Planned Parenthood operates 10 abortion clinics in the state that would be mandated to raise to the new standards. The abortion clinics, by law, are separate entities and must be separately funded from health centers where cancer screenings take place.

Planned Parenthood officials acknowledged that, but said some abortion clinics and health centers are housed within the same buildings. She suggested that if it were too expensive to upgrade the abortion clinics, then it could also force a shut-down of the health care clinics in the same building.

Officials could not say how many of the 10 abortion clinics are adjacent or within the same building as health care centers.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, responded by email and cited 55 health care centers already have been shuttered in Texas.

That assertion is based on legislative funding cuts from two years ago and is not related to the pending legislation.

And the previously closed health centers are not related to the assertion made in the advertisement.

Health centers that do not provide abortions would not be affected by the legislation.

via Fact check: Planned Parenthood web ad blurs distinctions | Trail Blazers Blog.

Scientific Huffington Post (!) Poll: Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks

20 week ultrasound

#Stand4Life across the US: 59% support a Federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks, even though the question didn’t include an exception for the life of the mother!

Remember that University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll that showed that 63% or 62% (depending on whether the question mentioned pain or not) of registered voters in Texas wanted a ban on abortion after 20 weeks? Well, it seems that most US voters agree.This poll found that 59% of voters would support a ban, while only 30% oppose it.

The Huffington Post, not a conservative website at all, solicited a scientific poll by the same group that did the UT/TT poll, YouGov. These results agree with last month’s Gallup poll revealing that 64% of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in the second 3 months of pregnancy and 80% would make it illegal in the last 3 months.

The HuffPost isn’t making a big deal out of the poll, focusing on the conflicting views of the public rather than on the results of the poll itself. In fact, from my GoogleNews search, it doesn’t appear that (as of 7 AM today) anyone other than a couple of blogs (at the Washington Post and the Weekly Standard),  National Right to Life, and LifeNews.com are reporting the poll!

Pro-abort McClendon Amendment Redefines “Child”

McClendan Amendment July1 2013 to HB2

. . .as someone whose mother chose not to abort him!

Democrat Ruth McClendon, from District 120 of San Antonio, proposed an Amendment to HB 2 today that she thinks is necessary, “if we’re not going to allow women to control their own bodies.” The Amendment would re-define “child” as one,

B. whose mother declares in writing in accordance with rules adopted by the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission, that, because of Section 245.010 (a), Health and Safety Code, or Subchapters C and D, Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code, the mother chose not to or did not have access to a facility to exercise her right to an abortion at the time the child was born.

Isn’t it obvious that the mother of each and every born child chose not to abort them? Whether or not there’s a “constitutional right?”

And, please, “at the time the child was born?” Does that mean the mother chose not to abort at birth or that she made the declaration at the time of birth?

Representative Kenneth Sheets, Republican from the Dallas-area District 107, explained that his family is going through adoption and that he knows that the same benefits are available to his family and to everyone.

 

“No Cost” Contraception (Obama Administration fantasy)

The Obama Administration has published its final rule on health insurance coverage of contraception. “Religious employers” are supposed to be happy with the Obama decree that insurance companies will provide contraception “at no cost.”

We all know that there’s no such thing as “no cost.” Everyone will “share” the cost, since everyone will be forced to buy health insurance.

Here’s the letter, thanks to one of the Conscience groups I follow:

From:   Lauren Aronson
             Director, Office of Legislation
             Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
 
Re:       Administration Issues Final Rules on Contraception Coverage and Religious Organizations
 
Today, the Obama administration issued final rules that balance the goal of providing women with coverage for recommended preventive care – including contraceptive services prescribed by a health care provider – with no cost-sharing, with the goal of respecting the concerns of non-profit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage.  The final rules reflect public feedback received in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in February 2013. 
 
Today’s final rules finalize the proposed simpler definition of “religious employer” for purposes of the exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement in response to concerns raised by some religious organizations.  These employers, primarily houses of worship, may exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans for their employees and their dependents. 
 
The final rules also lay out the accommodation for other non-profit religious organizations – such as non-profit religious hospitals and institutions of higher education – that object to contraceptive coverage.   Under the accommodation these organizations will not have to contract, arrange, pay for or refer contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds, but such coverage is separately provided to women enrolled in their health plans at no cost.  The approach taken in the final rules is similar to, but simpler than, that taken in the proposed rules, and responds to comments made by many stakeholders.
 
With respect to an insured health plan, including a student health plan, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its insurer that it objects to contraception coverage.  The insurer then notifies enrollees in the health plan that it is providing them separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for them for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan. 
 
Similarly, with respect to self-insured health plans, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its third party administrator that objects to contraception coverage.  The third party administrator then notifies enrollees in the health plans that it is providing or arranging separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for them for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan.  The final rules provide more details on the accommodation for both insurers and third party administrators.

 
To view the Final Rule: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2013-15866_PI.pdf
 
To view technical guidance on the temporary enforcement safe harbor visit: http://cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Regulations-and-Guidance/Downloads/preventive-services-guidance-6-28-2013.pdf
 
To view the self-certification form for eligible organizations visit: http://cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Forms-Reports-and-Other-Resources/index.html#Prevention
 
If you have any questions, please contact the CMS Office of Legislation. Thank you

@GovernorPerry: “This is a human rights issue.” #TxProlife #TxLege

My children, the Governor’s children, and  all children of human beings are also humans. The question in the mind of some people is, “when are they *human enough* for the advocates of elective abortion on demand?”

The Governor and Texas law affirms that it’s from the moment of fertilization. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with us.

The Governor spoke in support of the right not be killed for every one of our children today, at the National Right to Life National conference in Dallas. You can read his speech at his website, here.

I’m especially proud of the way he praised our pro-life Texans and commended the work we do to support women and girls who find themselves pregnant but are afraid that they aren’t ready, can’t afford the child, or just didn’t want to be pregnant at that time in their lives.

The Governor is taking heat for his comments about Senator Windy   Wendy Davis’ history. This is a woman who should know as well as any of us that an unplanned pregnancy is not the end of plans for the future and should be counted as “unplanned joy.” (That phrase is one of the themes of Feminists for Life.)

Here’s to our Governor Rick Perry!

 

Rush Limbaugh explains it all #SB5, #SCOTUS

Rush was talking about the Supreme Court ruling on gay “marriage,” but he might as well have been talking about the Texas Dems, Cecile Richards, and last night’s Mob at the Texas Capitol:

I have often said that what animates people on the left — what motivates them, what informs them — is defeating us. No matter how, no matter what, no matter what it means. Their hatred for us overwhelms anything else. No matter the result, victory that includes impugning and demeaning and insulting us is what they seek. It’s what makes them happy. Now, the left politicizes everything, and in this case, hardball politics became the name of the game.

Chaos, Mob, not filibuster, subverted Texas Senate #SB5 #TxLege

In the Texas Senate, the filibuster is a method of allowing a minority viewpoint known. The minority Legislator is allowed to speak without time limits and without unwanted interruptions, as long as he or she follows the rules laid out beforehand.

Yes, Senator Windy Wendy Davis began a filibuster. She knew the rules, and she broke them. Her fellow Democrat Senators engaged in stalling tactics, but it was the noise and chaos in the gallery that made the three minutes of difference that killed the Bill.

You can watch the Senate video at this page.The

Senators West, Whitmire,Watson, Ellis, Van de Putte, Zaffirini, and (of course) Senator Davis proved to all of us that they value the elective abortion of human beings above orderly government and Legislators.

I was, unfortunately, not shocked that Senator Leticia Van de Putte encouraged the gallery to disrupt the Senate. It also appears that she lied about the timing of her motion to adjourn. See the roll call vote beginning about 12:19/15:50. Note that she spoke and that the temporary President, Senator Duncan, responded after the roll call began. 12:31

I was surprised that the gallery wasn’t cleared much earlier, even though it might have meant that I would have had to leave. However, until the last hour, the outbreaks were intermittent and quickly calmed down.

My friends and I were very concerned about the reaction of those who so clearly showed no respect for the rest of us and who greatly outnumbered the State Troopers.  Every seat was full, the pro-life crowd was greatly outnumbered and the halls were crammed with more people in orange.  When the standing and shouting became constant, the Lt Governor signaled to the Troopers who began to remove people in an orderly manner.

More Troopers arrived, but they were constantly at risk of physical confrontation, with some of the Orange shirts resisting the request for them to file out. At one point, the Troopers were forced to lock the West doors of the Gallery and the Mob continued to push from the hall and fill the Rotunda.

I certainly didn’t want to be in the middle of a fight with these people and am grateful that the Troopers kept some semblance of order. I don’t believe that there was a way to clear the gallery earlier or with less disruption than we had and am proud of the State Troopers.

 

BMJ on RCOG Fetal Awareness White Paper #SB5 #TxProlife

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published their white paper on “fetal awareness” in 2011. (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Fetal Awareness – Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice. London: RCOG Press 2010 http://www.rcog.org.uk/files/rcog-corp/RCOGFetalAwarenessWPR0610.pdf  Accessed June 24, 2013).

 
Here is a peer-reviewed, “editor’s choice” editorial outlining the flaws in that paper. “Fetal awareness and fetal pain: the Emperor’s new clothes” by Dr Martin Ward Platt, Newcastle Neonatal Service, of the Royal Victoria Infirmary http://fn.bmj.com/content/96/4/F236.long#ref-1 (Accessed June24, 2013).

 
The author, Dr. Platt, points out that the evidence for no fetal awareness until birth has no evidence in humans, only in animals. He further points out that it goes against our experience with sleep/wake cycles and what we know about the ability of the fetus to learn his mother’s voice and other learning, including long-term effects on brain anatomy and response to pain:

 

“So, what is the evidence that the human fetus lacks ‘awareness’? In a word, there is none. The only evidence, including the bit about the chemical environment, is in sheep and one or two other experimental animals. I have looked at the references in the report, and the references in the references, and when I finally got back to the primary literature I found no evidence for the contention that human fetuses lack awareness, or exist in some different conscious state, beyond the unwarranted extrapolation from sheep.

“In contradiction to the notion of the ‘unaware’ fetus, the everyday experience of pregnancy – the felt behaviours and responses of the unborn baby, especially to sound – as well as much primary research literature on the human fetus, contains strong evidence for an opposite view. There is an extensive literature, in humans, on fetal sleep and wakefulness, fetal motility, fetal memory, fetal hearing, fetal breathing and its control and fetal behaviour – and these are just examples that scratch the surface. None of this work is easily reconciled with the notion of a permanently unconscious human fetus. The third point in box 1 is simply not true.”

and

“. . . the precautionary principle of prevention and treatment of pain in case it is being experienced, which is an ethical rather than a scientific argument, nor does it affect the evidence in relation to the long term neurobiological effects of pain experiences in preterm babies.”

and

 

 

. . . “One notices statements in the report such as: “Interpretation of existing data indicates that cortical processing of pain perception, and therefore the ability of the fetus to feel pain, cannot occur before 24 weeks of gestation”. We could rewrite this as ‘in theory they can’t feel pain, therefore they don’t’. It is the substitution of wishful thinking for empirical enquiry. It reminds me of my days as a medical student when I was taught that once the periosteum was anaesthetised, bone marrow aspiration was painless because there were no nerve endings in the bone. As soon as I came to perform bone marrow aspiration I realised that, whether there were supposed to be nerve endings or not, the procedure caused deep bone pain. So: should we deny patients’ real experiences on entirely theoretical grounds, or accept them and look harder for the underlying cause? We now know that bone is richly innervated, but older techniques of bone histology were unable to demonstrate the fibres.”

BTW, Here’s the part of that (debunked by Dr Platt) 2011 RCOG paper that I found most interesting:
“One possible solution is to recognise that the newborn infant might be said to feel pain, whereas only the older infant can experience that they are in pain and explicitly share their condition with others as an acknowledged fact of being.”

Chub, Scrub, Stuff and Stall #SB5 #TxLege

Orange t-shirts admittedly outnumbered those of us in blue at the Texas State Capitol on Sunday, June 23. However, in the long run, what mattered in the passage of the House version of Senator Hegar’s Senate Bill 5, sponsored in the House by State Representative Jodi Laubenberg, is that Texas voters had sent a clear majority of pro-life Republicans to the House of Representatives.

If you’ve always wondered about the meaning of “chubbing,” look at the 6/23/13 record of the House video, available at the House website. Pro-abortion Democrat after Dem took the microphone to bring an amendment, with fellow pro-abortion Dems standing to ask questions and run out the clock.

You can also watch the effects of “POO,” or calling for “points of order” around 4:30 PM. House Democrats called for a review of the Rules, resulting in adjournment and restart after a delay of 2 hours.

As to those t-shirts, someone showed up with 1000 t-shirts to give away. Where did that money come from?  Interestingly, the women who gave out the shirts also wore Planned Parenthood buttons and successfully instructed those in the shirts how to act in the Gallery. And the orange shirts obeyed immediately.

One theme the Dems repeat is that SB 5 is not the protection for women that the Republicans say it is. They claim that pro-life laws are not about human life and ethics, but rather, simply about winning Republican primaries. This is a great example of “projection” of one’s own motives and wishes onto another. While I believe that Jessica Farrar would abort everyone with spina bifida and that Thompson is convinced that the embarrassment of the trauma of rape and incest is cured by abortion, the ultimate reason for the long night of interruptions and delays is that the clock is running out on the Special Session. If the Dems manage to delay long enough, SB 5 will not pass in the House. Even when it passes, the time used up in the House decreases the time that will have to be wasted in blocking it by filibuster in the Senate.

In the long run, the Democrat members in the Texas Legislature have repeatedly called for unfettered and unregulated elective abortion on demand.They claim that abortion is better for women and families than spending money on babies and children, that allowing babies to be born will ruin women’s lives, that it’s better to abort children with “fetal anomalies” and “birth defects” even when the “defective” human could live and make his or her own way through life. Senfronia Thompson even brought out a coat hanger to shake at the House and claimed that the cure for the “embarrassment” of the trauma of rape and incest is abortion, even after 20 weeks. Every one of the Dems seemed to have no understanding that the facility improvements will not be required for 15 months.

SB5 was passed finally in the House this morning. It will now have to go back to the Senate. There may not be time enough for reconciliation with the Senate version because of delays caused by both the House Republicans and House Dems. I hope that the protections in the Bill become law to protect the women who make the choice to abort their children and to protect the lives of fetuses at 20 weeks and greater.

Edited 7/11/13 for grammar and spelling errors – BBN

Stand for Life Sunday 6/23/13 1PM @ Texas Capitol #SB5 #HB60

#TxProlife and all Texas voters who would stop (or at least limit) the abortions of our little brothers and sisters are asked to join us in a prayerful, peaceful stand in favor of no abortions after 20 weeks, higher standards for abortion facilities and a requirement that the doctors who perform abortions maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of the facility.

(seriously: doctors should have local hospital privileges, don’t you think?)

Please consider joining us at the Capitol when the House debates these Bills on Sunday. Wear blue, so we can show our numbers.

If you can’t attend, please pray for us and call your Representative’s office to ask for a “yes” vote on SB5 and HB60. Our best chance is to pass the Senate Bill, so the law will go through faster and with less chance of stalling. If the Senate has to agree with a different Bill, there may not be time.

Pray for a peaceful stand for life and courageous Legislators who will defend the Texans of tomorrow!

I won’t be able to follow this page very well during the meeting at the House, but should be able to keep up with those of you who contact me on Twitter, at bnuckols.

2/3 Texans support ban on abortion after 20 weeks

They also found that the majority of Texas voters would support restrictions on abortion that are greater than those we have today.

The University of Texas and the Texas Tribune have published the results of a poll that included questions about voters’ opinions on abortion. The poll of registered voters in Texas, recruited by an organization called “YouPoll.”

Q37. What is your opinion on the availability of abortion?

1.    By law, abortion should never be permitted.                         16%
2.     The law should permit abortion only in case of
rape, incest or when the woman’s life is in danger.                     30
3.     The law should permit abortion for reasons other than rape, incest, or danger to the woman’s life, but only after the need for the abortion has been clearly established.                     13
4.     By law, a woman should always be able to obtain
an abortion as a matter of personal choice.                                    36
5.    Don’t know                                                                                               5

Q38. Do you think that laws restricting abortion here in Texas should be made more strict, less strict, or left as they are now?
1.   More strict                                                        38%
2.   Less strict                                                         26
3.   Left as they are now                                    21
4.   Don’t know/no opinion                              14

By answering “3. The law should permit abortion for reasons other than rape, incest, or danger to the woman’s life, but only after the need for the abortion has been clearly established,” the respondents would actually support laws that are much more restrictive than current law.  However, it’s being reported as though current law requires a need to be established, and to match the answers in Q38.

2/3 of those polled  support for a ban on abortion after 20 weeks, whether or not the abortion causes pain to the fetus. The poll asked half of those polled one question and half another, with very similar results:

C.    [SPLIT SAMPLE a AND b]

a.   Prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks based on the argument that a fetus can feel pain at that point.

  1. Strongly support               49%    
  2. Somewhat support            13        
  3. Somewhat oppose               8        
  4. Strongly oppose                 19        
  5. Don’t know                         11

b.   Prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks.
1.   Strongly support                            47%
2.   Somewhat support                        15
3.   Somewhat oppose                         8
4.   Strongly oppose                             22
5.   Don’t know                                     9

Rather than reflecting people’s knowledge that 20 weeks – or 5 months – is very close to our current viability of 22-23 weeks, I believe that the responses reflect our conflicted and complicated feelings about abortion in general.

Texas State House Affairs Committee Video

The video is online at this page.

House State Affairs disruption #TxLege #HB60 #SB5

“There are many ways to kill a child, and abortion may be the kindest way to do it.”

That first line was not only a statement made by one woman who testified tonight (watch the meeting at the House website, here), it was a recurring theme at the House State Affairs Committee meeting on June 20,2013, even though there is no evidence that increased elective intentional abortion has ever decreased child abuse.

But, the suggestion that it is acceptable to kill children was not what disrupted the meeting of these Texans.  After many, many times of reminding them not to film the proceedings, not to engage in outbursts that broke up the meeting, Chair Byron Cook announced that he would limit the testimony in order to bring up the second Bill on the Agenda. At that point, the crowd began shouting and some tried to speak without being called to their turn. The Chair called a brief recess and testimony resumed. (Personally, I agree with the Chair that the crowd should be better behaved and with the citizens who had signed in that they should be allowed to speak.)

Earlier this week, Representative Jessica Farrar (D- 148, Houston) sent out this email:

Friend,Governor Perry has declared war on women.  Last week he vetoed the Texas Lilly Ledbetter Act because he thinks women should be paid less than men for doing the same work.  Now, he has added bad women’s health bills restricting safe access to abortion to the Special Legislative Session. This week is your only opportunity to speak out against these bills.Come to the State Capitol this Thursday afternoon and evening, June 20th, when the House State Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on these bad bills.  The hearing will begin at 1:00 p.m. or upon adjournment of the House in Room JHR 140.Please prepare a three minute testimony on the subject, and speak from your heart. What you say can make a difference.  Be ready for a long night, as the hearing will go on as long as it takes.You can also fight back against Rick Perry’s war on women by helping to elect Democrats who will stand up for equal pay and women’s health issues. Please consider donating $5, $10, or $25 to the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee to ensure that our key Democratic legislators return, and that we are able to gain seats in the House.  Your support now will build the foundation we need to ensure this war on women will go no further.Sincerely,Jessica

Pol. Adv. paid for by the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee, Lon Burnam, Treasurer.
P. O. Box 1925, Austin, TX 78767

Although Rep. Farrar admitted early on Thursday night, that “there are two lives involved” in abortion,   she is the one who suggested that we should abort every child with spina bifida in Committee, back in the regular Session. Below are some of the other continuing themes we’ve heard during testimony in favor of the status quo and against any new restrictions on abortion providers.

Texas has a culture of hate for women, so we should abort children (male and female) in order to prevent a “brain drain.”

A married Social Worker told us that she was “elated” after her abortion to be relieved of a responsibility she never wanted. Another woman said that her friends had abortions between 18 to 24 years old, claiming that it was before they were able to choose their majors in college or decide on an outfit! Many men said that they were “relieved” not to be burdened with unwanted children. One that really stuck out was 24 years old when he enabled the abortion of his own child.

One man, an angry 30 year old unemployed lawyer, echoed the wish of many of those who came at the call of the Texas Democrats. He and the others believe that the Texas Legislature should work on laws that will give him a job, healthcare benefits. (And child day care, Medicaid for all, maybe even an allowance for stay at home women.)

There were the usual complaints that men in the Legislature were trying to control the women of Texas (ignoring that the author of the Bill, many of the co-authors and a great many of the voters who put them in office are women) and the repetitive accusations that only religious bigots are “anti-choice.”

“There are many ways to kill a child, and abortion may be the kindest way to do it.” Maybe, because then the child will never know. But there are no GOOD ways to do it.

Addendum (or a couple of other recurrent themes):

1. The claim that abortion will prevent the consequences of post partum depression. Abortion is never treatment for what is properly called “perinatal” depression. In fact, perinatal depression can be triggered by miscarriage or spontaneous abortion and by elective interventional abortion.

2. Don’t forget that women and children will be harmed most by the limits on abortion and that Texas’ legislature should let President Obama give us free expanded Medicaid and Obamacare!

Update: the video can be viewed, here, at the Texas Legislature Online website.

Edited 6/21/13 at 9:00 AM to add the link to the video and add the ‘tag” HB60 – BBN

Edited 6/21/2013 for typos and to fix the penultimate (how often do I get to use that word?) paragraph “post partum depression,” not “post partum abortion.” (The latter is not possible, yet.) BBN

RX: Sack cloth and ashes for #SB303 opponents

Searching the news for stories on #SB303, led me to accusations that supporters of the Bill gossiped with Capitol staff and “maligned Texas Right to Life, stooping so low as to criticize our sartorial manners, footwear selections . . . “

When you stop laughing enough to read further, notice that the premise of the article, after turning private gossip into public gossip, is that elaborate conspiracies hidden within the minds of doctors, nurses, and entire staffs of “hospitals” and “facilities” judge the “futility of the patient’s life.”

“We agree that some treatments do stop achieving the intended goal of that specific treatment, such as dialysis no longer filtering uric acid from the blood.  When a treatment or therapy is in fact medically futile, no physician would ever continue that, and a properly informed patient or his surrogate would not want to continue futile or harmful treatment, and nothing in current law or in any of Texas Right to Life’s past or present proposals would require the continuation of such medically futile treatment.  Physicians would not continue medically futile treatment anyway.”

“Conflicts arise when the futility judgments are transferred from the efficacy of a medical treatment to a value judgment on the futility of the patient’s life.”

Isn’t the entire conversation about whether the doctor determines the “efficacy of a medical treatment?” No,thanks to articles like this one, the debate on medical conscience is all about pretending to read minds and gossip about the motives of doctors, hospitals, bald-faced claims that the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops is only interested in the “$$$” from Catholic hospital systems. Every discussion I’ve attempted with the opponents of reform devolves into accusations that I “want to kill” patients.

In the grim tale told by TRTL,the physician’s conscience and medical judgment isn’t denied or even trivialized as equal to a lobbyist’s choice of suits or shoes. We, the doctors who are currently the only ones licensed by the State of Texas to write orders and administer treatments, are either ignored altogether or treated as a tool for some mythological eugenic “hospital committees that have decided by their own subjective standards that the lives of these patients have little or no value and should therefore be denied medical treatment.” They object that the physician’s finding that, in his or her  “reasonable medical judgment, resuscitation would be medically ineffective” is not defined in the law and accuse us of deciding “that imminent death is better than resuscitative efforts.”

Frankly, I have no idea what that last means, since resuscitation is only needed in the event of imminent or actual natural death, when the heart or breathing stop functioning.  Based on this statement and the note about failure of dialysis, I’m certain that no doctors were consulted by or gave feedback to the authors. Again, the lack of physicians who oppose SB 303 is not an indication that we are all involved in a conspiracy. Instead, it is proof of our medical judgment – and consciences.

The end sought by the opponents of SB303 is “treatment-pending-transfer,” including “resuscitative efforts” prescribed by law, not doctors, on every patient who has not specifically refused in advance. When the doctor’s medical judgement and conscience lead him to determine that such would be medically futile, they demand that the doctor set aside conscience and medical judgment and do exactly what they say no doctor would do.

Complete autonomy on the part of patients and their families awarded by legislation the ability to demand what they want, when they want, as long as they want and with as much legal liability as possible cannot turn around the failure of organ system after organ system, and physiological cascade after cascade. All of which we doctors can measure and predict with good certainty.

The authors of this article are proud of their “successful” campaign to ensure for at least two more years, that patients and their surrogates

  • don’t have the right to be notified of DNR’s placed on their charts,
  • have no protection against the removal of artificial nutrition and hydration,
  • don’t have the right to medical records before the medical ethics committee meets,
  • don’t have the right to be accompanied in the medical committee meeting, and
  • don’t have an additional 7 days to prepare for the medical ethics committee and an additional 14 days to find another doctor willing to accept responsibility for the medical treatment of the patient.

If there is any clothing I’d suggest that the authors wear, it’s the sackcloth and ashes of the repentant sinner.

Boy Scouts of America Betrays Boys

Like many of you, I feel betrayed after our years of support and defense of the BSA. Worse, the BSA is betraying the boys who will be misled by their own whims and impulses and by peer pressure and predators.

A child cannot legally consent to any sort of sex during the years he is eligible for the Scouts and he cannot truly know his sexual orientation. But he can be influenced and abused by the normalization of immorality.

Will the BSA now confirm other behaviors that once were considered contrary to “God and my Country?”

Specious “Scientific” Argument for Abortion

There is no more “scientific” justification for killing humans with “fetal anomalies” before birth than for killing them after birth. The decision to kill is always a moral decision – or an immoral one.

Would this author support “after birth abortion” for the babies born with the same anomalies? That must make all those around her – or working at her organization – who were born with or diagnosed with other “variable onset anomalies” feel secure and supported!

Of particular concern are two classes of fetal anomalies that cannot be detected early in a pregnancy. First are the variable-onset fetal anomalies. These anomalies begin at variable gestational ages but are often detected beyond 20 weeks. Second are the late-onset anomalies that develop late in the gestational age of the fetus, typically in the second or third trimester, or are undetectable until the abnormality is at the end-point of a pregnancy. Importantly, the 20-week bans passing across the states generally do not include exceptions for lethal fetal anomalies, meaning women are forced to carry fetuses with anomalies to term, regardless of viability.

I’m not making a simple “anti-choice” statement. We know that in nearly all cases, abortion at this stage is more dangerous for the mother than carrying to term.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, here’s the “science:”

Advocates of 20-week abortion bans generally rely on junk science based on the pseudoscience of fetal pain to warrant the state laws prohibiting third trimester abortions. Their claims stem from erroneous assertions that the fetus feels pain at 20 weeks, despite several comprehensive literature reviews demonstrating no credible evidence of fetal pain until the third trimester.

 

This is not how science is done. Science is not a consensus, it’s observation and reporting of data that can be reproduced. The definition “agreed” upon by pro-abortion advocates involves emotions and is nothing but a neo-scientific construct, that igores real scientific evidence of higher brain response to noxious stimuli.

The same ethics hold for abortion as for any other intentional, elective killing of a member of our species: only kill when it’s absolutely necessary to save another life endangered by the first – the life of the mother.

“Science Progress” is a branch of “Center for American Progress,” the far-left public policy organization begun by John Podesta.

Texas Judge: Lesbian Couple Can’t Cohabitate –

Some people still try to convince us that it’s a good thing that children have people other than their parents living in the home, in spite of the evidence.

This woman wants out of the contract she agreed to when she got the divorce that was the end of another contract: her marriage. Can’t help but wonder whether a case like this will this be the end of true marriage in Texas. And the end of the rule of law and honoring contracts.

They also said in the statement that the clause “is a burden on parents, regardless of their sexual orientation, that takes away and unreasonably limits their ability to make parental decisions of whom their children may be around and unreasonably limits what the United State Supreme Court has identified as the liberty of thought, belief and expression.”

via Texas Judge: Lesbian Couple Can’t Cohabitate – ABC News.

 

For a mega-study using data from the CDC, see this article, Blackwell DL. “Family structure and children’s health in the United States: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey, 2001–2007.” National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(246). 2010.

Denouement: The Death of #SB303

The 83rd Legislature of the State of Texas still has a couple of weeks to go, and it ain’t over ’till both the House and Senate are sine die, but it appears that SB 303 did die over the weekend.

Representative Susan King, who broke her leg last Sunday, just the day before the marathon meeting of the House Public Health Committee, has done an incredible job of working with Senator (Dr.) Bob Duell in their attempt to reform our State’s Advance Directive Act through SB 303.

The Committee Substitute which Representative King presented in the Committee had all of the benefits I wrote about last week, as well as a revision to prohibit a doctor from writing a DNR order against the wishes off a competent patient.

(Talk about unintended consequences: current law is silent on “DNRs,” so it’s apparently legal for a doctor to order that resuscitation not be performed on a competent patient without any discussion with the patient, much less obtain consent!  I have sincere doubts that any doctor would do so, but there have been allegations. Even though the ones who claim to have knowledge – and who have not produced one iota of proof – are the same disingenuous cynical scaremongers (I’ll call them “CS2”) I’ve mentioned before, this reform would be a good.   And should be accepted on its face.)

Because of the egregious misrepresentations of the  CS2, Committee Chair Lois Kolkhorst declined to allow SB303 out of the Committee as it was written. Rep. King tried one more time, with a bare bones CS1 containing the protection against DNRs for competent patients and the prohibition against withdrawal of Artificial Hydration and Nutrition, except when it would harm the patient or hasten his death.

So, for the next two years, when you hear the CS2 complain about Texas “death panels” or read a plea for funds to fight “secret DNRs” and withdrawal of food and water in Texas hospitals, remember the CS2 who killed pro-life reform in the 83rd Legislature.

Cloned human embryos announced

Cell SCNT diagramTachibana May June2013If we can still believe scientific journals, Cell reports in the June 6, 2013 issue indicate that  scientists have succeeded in cloning human embryos.

The term used for cloning by the group is “reprogramming” fibroblasts using somatic cell nuclear transplantation. However, there’s no longer an attempt by the authors or members of the scientific press to create a new “unfertilized blastocyst” or pre-embryo: the embryos are called embryos, morula, and blastocysts.In recognition that these are not quite the same as embryonic stem cells derived from embryos produced by direct fertilization, the stem cells derived from the cloned blastocysts are designated as “Nuclear Transfer Embryonic Stem Cells” or NT-ESC.

Tachibana’s group obtained well over a 100 oocytes from women who underwent ovarian stimulation and transvaginal retrieval.

The growth of four embryos to the blastocyst stage resulted in NT-ESC, after differentiation into a blastocyst with a trophoblast (precursor of the placenta) and the inner cell mass (the part that will develops into the actual body of the human). These embryos were destroyed to harvest the ICM.

The report details years of research to find the optimum technique for cloning human embryos. It was found that the mitotic stage of the oocytes, MII, is critical. The researchers further developed a protocol utilizing caffeine and electrical stimulation to induce activation of the fused nucleus from the skin cell and donor oocyte. In addition, the authors found that “higher quality oocytes,” those more likely to form viable embryos, resulted when the ovarian stimulation yielded fewer than ten oocytes. If larger numbers of oocytes were produced due to the ovarian stimulation, somatic cell nuclear transfer was less likely. In fact, the first four clones that developed far enough to produce NT-ESC came from one woman who donated eight oocytes in one cycle, resulting in the production of five cloned embryos.

There are several ethical problems which surround this research.

First, as strongly noted by the Center for Bioethics and Culture, the ovarian stimulation risks abuse of women who might be placed at risk due to the hormones administered to induce ovulation. As noted in the paper,

“In the context of generating patient-specific pluripotent stem cells, reproducible results with various patient-derived somatic cells and with different egg donors are a necessity.”

Although the donation is called voluntary and anonymous, the women were compensated for their “time, effort, discomfort, and inconvenience associated with the donation process.”    I can’t help but wonder about how long the anonymity will last for the one woman whose oocytes yielded those first four successful clones and NT-ESCs or for the two women whose oocytes yielded the clones confirming the reproducibility of their method, in the second stage of the research. Or how much pressure they will face to continue to donate “voluntarily.”

The lack of concern for the women involved is revealed in this interview with the authors at The Scientist,

““I was worried that we might need a couple of thousand eggs to make all these optimizations, to find that winning combination. But it actually took just 128 [eggs], which is a surprisingly low number to make 6 [hESC] lines.””

6 NT-ESC lines were derived from 128 harvested oocytes, for a yield of 4.6% In later stages, the success rate was still 2 NT-ESC lines from 7 embryos and 15 oocytes, or 13% of oocytes.

The primary objection is that 100% of the human embryos were created in harm’s way and must be destroyed to harvest the NT-ESCs.

These embryos are delayed human twins, artificially induced. Although the first cell of these embryos began in the lab, as the result of highly technical and involved procedures, they are human embryos and near-identical twins of the somatic cell nucleus.   There is indirect acknowledgement that the embryos are twins of the donor of the fibroblasts by the reporting that tests of the chromosomes of the cloned embryos show that the DNA matches that of the donor of the fibroblasts, a patient with Leigh’s syndrome.

The sources of fibroblast nuclei raise other ethical dilemmas. The first research was carried out using female fetal fibroblasts. Later research involved creating human embryos with Leigh’s syndrome.  Leigh’s syndrome results from a genetic defect of the mitochondria, the cell “power plant,” which is inherited from the mother and only found in the cell cytoplasm, not the nucleus. Reports are already ignoring the fact that the donor’s twins were produced with the express intention of destroying them for their inner cell mass. At least one is predicting that this is a technique which can be used to create future children for mothers who have the abnormal mitochondria.

The report, Tachibana et al., “Human Embryonic Stem Cells Derived by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer,” Cell (2013),http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.006, is available on-line and in PDF (as of today).

Office of the Governor Rick Perry – [Press Release] Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on the Kermit Gosnell Verdict

Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement on the Kermit Gosnell verdict:

This trial and verdict shed light on a detestable and gruesome industry that takes the lives of hundreds of thousands of babies every year in communities across our nation. Those of us who believe in the sanctity of life will continue to fight for the day when abortion is nothing more than a sad footnote in American history.

via Office of the Governor Rick Perry – [Press Release] Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on the Kermit Gosnell Verdict.

Alzheimer’s sufferer, 76, dies from snake bite after his family chooses NOT to give him anti-venom so he can ‘die with dignity’

What do you think the doctor should have done? Follow the law or his conscience, using his medical judgment?

The people who have commented on the news article overwhelmingly agree with the patient’s family’s decision.

I believe I would try to talk the family into a trial of venom, but the law gave them final say. Here in Texas, I could refuse to honor their wishes – after going through the ethics committee process, at least 2 days.

Richard Flora, 76, was bitten by an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake on Thursday out the front of his daughter’s home in Hobe Sound, Florida

Family decided not to give him anti-venom and he died at hospital 11 hours later

Man was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and hated the disease, his daughters said

via Richard Flora: Alzheimer’s sufferer, 76, dies from snake bite after his family chooses NOT to give him anti-venom so he can ‘die with dignity’ | Mail Online.

Opponents of SB303 Promote Doctors Without Conscience

The opponents of Senate Bill 303 may not realize it, but they are promoting the very thing they claim to oppose: elevating the patient’s right to determine his own care above the doctor’s conscience will result in doctors who practice medicine without consciences.

The consequences of elevating autonomy above non-maleficence (“first do not harm”)  go to the very heart of medical ethics. In fact, the promotion of patient autonomy is the common justification for euthanasia and elective abortion on demand.

The doctor is the one whose hands, conscience, and medical judgment will be writing the orders for or actually carrying out the resuscitation. Just as it’s not ethical to force doctors to cause the death of patients, it’s not ethical to demand that doctors write orders and perform interventions when their medical judgment indicates that the intervention will not be successful and will increase pain and suffering while prolonging the process of death.

As ethicist Gilbert Meilaendar noted at the President’s Bioethics Council Meeting in September 12, 2008,

[T]he reason for a physician being willing to risk his life in an epidemic was precisely that he didn’t think staying alive was the most important thing, that there was something else that was morally more compelling and obligatory even than preserving his existence. And that would have something to do with the personal integrity that you seem willing to think may be — one should be willing to set aside in embracing what one thinks is evil.

Why Ethics? | LifeEthics.org

If there’s no such thing as right and wrong or good and evil, why are we arguing in the first place?

If you crack the egg of a bird on the Endangered Species List, it won’t matter that the bird was a fetus or embryo. You’ve still broken Federal law. Why is the species of an (unhatched) animal so clear cut under law, but human embryos have no protection under current law? Legal follies such as this underscore our lack of seriousness and consistency when contemplating our children of tomorrow. My concern is that we are not teaching them why they should treat us kindly, much less giving them a good example.

Bioethics dilemmas and most political disputes may seem to be new problems, but they’re not. Every “new” problem is another facet of the potential to deny the existence of right and wrong or to infringe on the inalienable rights of our fellow humans. Knowledge of the basics can guide decisions and actions.

If there’s no such thing as right and wrong or good and evil, why are we arguing in the first place? These truths transcend relative social considerations and laws, including religious beliefs, ideology, or the wants and wishes of the powerful or majority. They even transcend time and space: if you take a close look at the big debates, the speakers aren’t simply talking to each other: we’re arguing with the great thinkers of the past and trying to convince people who come along after us.

The unique nature of the species Homo sapiens sapiens is the source and the definition of “human dignity,” and the reason that all members of the species and our offspring are human beings who should be valued equally, without discrimination.

And of course, we are unique, since It looks like we’re the only species having this conversation. We’re the only species that, when an individual has safety, food and sex, doesn’t just go to sleep. Our species makes art, records history, and argues about the nature of the universe. Humans seem to naturally “know” “that’s not fair,” even at 3 or 4 years old. We seek Unconditional Justice, Truth, Love, Beauty and Knowledge. And we value Unconditional Love most of all.

The Negative rights to Life, Liberty and Property are owned and endowed upon individuals; they are not the property of or gift of societies or governments. These exist in a necessary order; a hierarchy of importance and power to call on society for protection. The right not to be killed trumps the right not to be enslaved, which precedes the right not to have your property taken from you by force or fraud. If they can kill you, there are no limits on how much they can enslave you or take from you. We must be secure that others won’t take our property against our will, because earning and owning property is how we avoid enslavement to others and how we make plans and lay by the staples of life to support the lives of ourselves and our families, both immediately while we can earn, and later when we are unable to work.

Society and government must protect these “inalienable” rights of individuals, but only as far as to ensure equality of opportunity, not the equality of outcome. These are protections against the actions of others, not against words or thoughts. It is not protection or promotion of someone’s personal tastes and not the right to not be offended. We must be very, very careful when we tax and even more careful if we presume to force the actions of others.

Good politics and science cannot exist in a moral vacuum. The powerful, the majority, the surging mob. the man with the biggest gun or governments cannot do good when their actions infringe on the life, liberty or property of the individual. To claim that people must act or give up property indefinitely for the greater good – Utilitarianism – ends in domination without measurable or objective limits.

And yet, to function in society carries responsibilities. Extraordinary privileges like those given to lawmakers, doctors, and scientists to do good, may also result in extraordinary power to do evil through abuse of unequal power of weapons, tools, numbers or even knowledge and skill. This is where conscience and the first principle of “first do no harm” come in. The right of conscience is a function of the liberty of an individual not to be forced to act against his understanding of good and evil, right and wrong.

Medicine and science have held a unique position to advocate for the protection of human rights, at least since Hippocrates, who formalized the now 2500 year old oath to “heal when possible, but First, do no harm” Non-maleficence, or not acting in order to avoid harm, must precede and be incorporated in the desire to do good or beneficence.

Once again, we come back to that first point: all of our offspring, descendants deserve the same value and protection of their rights to life, liberty and property without discrimination. It’s possible that we already have offspring among us who are not of our species. Science has created human embryos with more than two biological parents and others who have been the subject of genetic manipulation. Also out there are is the Humanity+ or Transhumanism movement in all its permutations, along with more accessible enhancement of the human mind and body through technology, medicine, machines, and manipulation at the nano-level.

We must consider how our children of tomorrow will consider us. It is true that humans aren’t perfect, we will make mistakes, and some humans will purposefully infringe on the rights of others. However, what values and principles will the pattern of our governments and individual action reflect? Will it be our respect and love for one another? Will they respect and love us or will they look back in horror or disgust?

(I want to thank Robert Spitzer, who wrote “Healing the Culture,” one of the best Ethics books in existence.)

This is a March, 2011 post from LifeEthics. org. Why Ethics? | LifeEthics. Edited 5/10/13 to move to top of the list.

American Academy of Family Practice quotes me on Plan B without restrictions

plan b packShould all girls “of child bearing age” be able to walk into the corner pharmacy and buy Plan B without ID, age restrictions or parental supervision? I don’t think so!

However, my professional organization, the American Academy of Family Practice, issued a statement this week advocating for just that. Our online newsletter included my comments in an article published today:

On the other hand, family physician Beverly Nuckols, M.D., of New Braunfels, Texas, said she has issues with the Academy statement because it is inconsistent with its own Family Medicine, Scope and Philosophical Statement.

“Family physicians not only treat the patient within the context of her family, we also strive to treat the whole patient — ‘biological, behavioral (and) social,'” Nuckols said. “In this case, the ‘disease’ we are trying to prevent is the high-risk behavior of unprotected sex. Parental involvement is vital to the health of children and is the best prevention for high-risk behavior, including adolescent sexual activity.

“The AAFP normally and correctly advocates parental involvement and intervention to prevent other high-risk activity, such as driving without a license, the use of guns without adult supervision, smoking, or overeating, etc.,” she said. “What is the rationale for treating adolescent sexual activity any differently than we would treat other risky behavior or preventable risk factor?”

Nuckols, who serves as chair of the Christian Medical & Dental Association’s Family Medicine Section, said she also has concerns about OTC Plan B One-Step because there are few controlled, randomized studies that prove levonorgestrel to be medically safe and effective for adolescents at the dosage given.

“The published data on emergency contraception don’t break out the numbers of adolescent girls, but the numbers appear to be low,” she said. “The closest I’ve found are small studies for treatment of menstrual disorders and inherited bleeding disorders by chronic use of oral or intrauterine levonorgestrel, with the youngest age at 14.”

via AAFP Disagrees With Justice Department Blockade of OTC Access to Plan B One-Step — AAFP News Now — AAFP.

(BTW, The author quoted my written statement, exactly, so any errors are mine.  I goofed in identifying myself to the author: Much to my relief, our CMDA Family Medicine Section elected a new Chair and I’m now the Past-Chair. I didn’t realize we had passed the turn-over date. Oh, and “data” really is plural, so “data … don’t” is not terrible grammar, just awkward.)

New brain research shows two parents may be better than one

More evidence that we shouldn’t treat our children of tomorrow like lab rats by redefining marriage:

A team of researchers at the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) have discovered that adult brain cell production might be determined, in part, by the early parental environment. The study suggests that dual parenting may be more beneficial than single parenting.

Scientists studied mouse pups that were raised by either dual or single parents and found that adult cell production in the brain might be triggered by early life experiences. The scientists also found that the increased adult brain cell production varied based on gender. Specifically, female pups raised by two parents had enhanced white matter production as adults, increasing motor coordination and sociability. Male pups raised by dual parents displayed more grey matter production as an adult, which improves learning and memory.

“Our new work adds to a growing body of knowledge, which indicates that early, supportive experiences have long lasting, positive impact on adult brain function,” says Samuel Weiss, PhD, senior author of the study and director of the HBI.

Surprisingly, the advantages of dual parenting were also passed along when these two groups reproduced, even if their offspring were raised by one female. The advantages of dual parenting were thus passed along to the next generation.

To conduct the study, scientists divided mice into three groups i) pups raised to adulthood by one female ii) pups raised to adulthood by one female and one male and iii) pups raised to adulthood by two females. Researchers then waited for the offspring to reach adulthood to find out if there was any impact on brain cell production.

Scientists say that this research provides evidence that, in the mouse model, parenting and the environment directly impact adult brain cell production. While it’s not known at this point, it is possible that similar effects could be seen in other mammals, such as humans. The study is published in the May 1 edition of PLOS ONE. It was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The research paper can be read online: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062701.

Don’t Experiment with Marriage (children aren’t guinea pigs)

Government could decree that “East” is now “North.” After all, they’re just arbitrary names for concepts, right? However, until all the old signs and maps (and compasses!) are replaced and gone forever, a lot of people will be lost and possibly hurt in transportation accidents.

Changing the family structure by government laws and regulations on marriage is reckless social experimentation, more like changing “up” to “down,” than “East” to “North.”

Rand Paul, (small-l)ibertarian Republican junior Senator from Kentucky and the son of perennial Presidential candidate Ron Paul, told the National Review that the Republican Party’s “problem” with gay marriage could be solved by changes eliminating references (and benefits) to marriage in the tax codes.

However, as an editorial in The Hill commentary noted,

Paul did not address in the interview how he might deal with other advantage and privileges extended to legally wed heterosexual couples, like federal spousal benefits, pension plans, health care, and Social Security survivors benefits.

And Paul ignores the societal consequences on our children of tomorrow.

Research confirms that the best environment for children is to live in a home with their married biological parents. When the ideal is not possible, statistics still favor stable, traditional marriage and the 2 parent home for the successful adult child of blended families and adoption. Please take a look at peer-reviewed studies published on the effects of stable families on children, here and here.

Want proof that government interference can change society for the worse? Look at the harm government has done to lower income families all those years when benefits were denied to families when the father was in the home. Or the negative influence of housing subsidies on marriage. (I can email the full article.)
Society and government ignore facts at the risk of harming the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of future generations. Don’t expect me to vote for or pay for dangerous societal experimentation – or even to sit quietly while someone outlines his intention to play social engineer.

Update: see this post from May 5, 2013, showing more evidence for the benefit to children of being reared in the home with their biological parents.

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