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Life changes

"Life changes" Continued...

Issue: "Pro-baby," Jan. 30, 2010

In a letter to students who were petitioning to open a center, Princeton President Shirley Tilghman told students that their argument "implies that the Women's and LGBT Centers are there to support a non-chaste or non-abstinent lifestyle, which is not the case, and would be considered offensive by both centers."

Cell divide

A bio-pharmaceutical company is advertising that it has used fetal skin tissue to develop an anti-aging cream-saying it uses cultured fetal skin cells to create an "optimal, naturally balanced mixture of skin nutrients." The company, Neocutis, claims that the fetal tissue used to develop the cell line came from a single aborted pregnancy deemed "medically necessary." It claims the unborn baby could not have survived to term.

But Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, argues that while one abortion may have started the cell line, the company has also mentioned "years of research" to develop the technology: "They don't tell you about the hundreds before that, before they perfected the cell line." At some point, the cells will die and will have to be replaced, presumably with more cells developed from fetal skin tissue, she said: "After 15 years, then what?"

Mark Lemko, president of Neocutis, said the company "expects to have no further need ever for a new or additional cell line" and that this single donation will provide some 900 million biological bandages for severe wounds and burns.

Fewer adoptions

The U.S. State Department has released the latest data on foreign adoptions, and the number has continued to decline for the fifth year in a row, to its lowest level since 1996.

The decline isn't quite as worrisome as it sounds, though, says Bill Blacquiere, president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services, the largest adoption agency in the United States. He says the declining number of foreign adoptions reflects a positive trend in countries that used to provide the United States with the highest number of adoptive children. China has relaxed somewhat its one-child policy to encourage more domestic adoptions. Russia is also encouraging domestic adoptions.

Guatemala, however, has still refused to ratify the Hague Treaty, so the number of adoptions has declined from 4,122 in 2008 to 756 in 2009. Bethany Christian Services' foreign adoptions have declined, from 497 foreign adoptions in 2008 to approximately 400 in 2009. Its adoptions overall have declined from 1,700 in 2008 to 1,500 as of November 2009.

Blacquiere adds that while countries like China are emphasizing domestic adoptions, most of the families choose young and healthy children. Older children, special-needs children, and sibling groups still need foreign adoptive homes.

Legal infanticide

Thanks to a loophole in Virginia law, it looks as though investigators will not be able to charge a woman with killing her newborn child. The woman gave birth to the baby on Dec. 11, later telling investigators that she had covered the baby with bedding while it was still living, moving, and breathing. The new mother told investigator Tracy Emerson that she never wanted the baby, and when he asked if she would have helped her baby breathe if she could do things differently, the woman said, "No. I would have left it there again."

Emerson said the medical evidence and the mother's own statement would be enough to charge her with homicide, but there's one catch: The baby was still connected to the mother by the umbilical cord. Because Virginia case law requires the baby to achieve an "independent and separate existence apart from its mother before its death" to be a murder victim, the baby is not considered to be a separate person and the mother cannot be charged.

Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee have made similar rulings, but the loophole may not last in Virginia. According to Emerson, several state legislators have promised to call an emergency legislative session to close the loophole.

Closing doors

Despite pro-abortion rejoicing at the beginning of a Democratic presidency, Planned Parenthood has had a bad year. STOPP International reports that in 2009, only 11 Planned Parenthood clinics opened and 38 Planned Parenthood offices closed-a record number of closures. It seems that shrinking state budgets can take credit, since Planned Parenthood relies on taxpayer funding for 34 percent of its revenue.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana, for example, announced that it was closing six clinics due to the loss of a state-administered federal grant. All seven Planned Parenthood clinics in El Paso, Texas, have closed as well, citing financial pressure as the reason. Planned Parenthood of Augusta, Ga., is cutting its hours in half-blaming the lagging economy-after pro-life activists held a 40 Days for Life vigil.

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