Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mother "Pressured" to Terminate Pregnancy of Trisomy 18 Child at Catholic Hospital

Westen, J.H. (25 Feb. 2009). Mother "Pressured" to Terminate Pregnancy of Trisomy 18 Child at Catholic Hospital. From: on Feb. 25, 2009.

LONDON, Ontario, February, 25, 2009 ( - In the wake of the National Post article whitewashing the practice of 'early induction' of babies with lethal fetal anomalies at the Catholic hospital in London Ontario, a mother who was offered the procedure is now willing publicly to tell her story. Nikki Cooke says she hoped that when the original story on the procedures taking place at St. Joseph's hospital was published, what she calls "eugenic abortions" would finally come to an end. (see the story:

She explained to London Bishop Ronald Fabbro in a chance meeting on January 20, 2009 that she was pressured to terminate her pregnancy by 5 doctors at the Catholic hospital and by the hospital ethicist Fr. Michael Prieur, despite the fact that neither her life nor health were in danger. Eight days later Cooke wrote a lengthy letter to the bishop with a complete description of the circumstances of her experiences at the hospital.

The National Post article was published a full month after that conversation on February 20. In that article Fr. Prieur alleges that the procedure - early induction on babies with lethal fetal anomaly - is only undertaken when the health or life of the mother is at risk and Bishop Fabbro, in both a photo and statement for the article, appears to indicate full support for his chief ethicist. (see coverage: )

Nikki Cooke and her husband Brian spoke with about their ordeal, which began in December 1996. A routine ultrasound at 12 weeks detected problems with their unborn child. Further tests revealed that the child had Trisomy 18, which a team of five doctors from the hospital informed the couple is a deadly anomaly incompatible with life.

"Each of the five doctors on the team at St. Joseph's Hospital said, now that our baby has a deadly anomaly they would not operate on the baby to correct defects and their recommendation was to terminate (the pregnancy)," Mrs. Cooke said.

"We were pressured to have an early induction by the team of doctors on the Committee at St. Joseph's Hospital and if we did not choose this option and the baby was born alive they said, 'We will not resuscitate your baby,'" related Cooke. The couple has five letters, one from each of the doctors to their family doctor, stating the recommendation to terminate the pregnancy.

"We were shocked by this recommended option and the lack of respect for life, as we were in a Catholic Hospital," Cooke explained. "We told the team of five doctors, we cannot have an abortion and stated we were Catholic. One of the obstetricians said, 'The Catholic Church will back you up, and there is a Committee here at St. Joseph's Hospital that you should speak to.'"

Asked about the role of Fr. Prieur, she said: "Fr. Michael Prieur told us that he was on the Committee at St. Joseph's Hospital with a team of doctors and a midwife and that he was already made aware of our case." She recalled that "he told us the Church will support us if we choose to end the pregnancy through early induction."

Cooke added: "He explained how it would be done and that we would hold our baby until he died. We were confused, mortified and devastated besides our moral reasons why, we knew that ending a pregnancy at any stage was abortion. After Fr. Prieur finished counselling us I said, 'We cannot stop the Hand of God and decide when our baby was going to die.'"

While some have taken offence at the headline of the original exposé, which was "Twenty Years of Eugenic Abortion at Ontario Catholic Hospital," the Cookes feel strongly that the practice at the hospital is just that - "eugenic abortion".

The couple relates that they "chose life," against the advice of the doctors and Fr. Prieur. However, the child died in utero a week prior to birth.

The silver lining to the story is that the couple's faith was strengthened by the experience.

"By choosing life, Brian and I grew closer in our relationship with each other, with our children and especially with God," she explained. "Had we chosen the 'death of our child', our lives would have been nothing but bitter turmoil not to mention, depression and needing a significant amount of counselling afterwards. God truly blessed us and continues to do so. We thank God that He entrusted to us the care of this little soul who would be with Him for Eternity."

The couple now have seven living children.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday

Robert George launches website to test pro-life argument for Obama

From Catholic News Agency (

Princeton, N.J., Feb 13, 2009 / 05:17 pm (CNA).- Some Catholics and Evangelicals in the pro-life community made a significant wager based on Barack Obama’s promise to reduce abortions during the last election, a bet that Princeton philosophy of law professor Robert George is convinced was “foolish.” In order to document the outcome of this gamble, regardless of the results, George and some of his colleagues have launched

Professor George took time earlier this week to explain to CNA what led him to create the website, and he began by recalling the debate surrounding the election.

“In the run-up to the presidential election of November 2008, a small number of outspoken Catholic and Evangelical intellectuals and activists were pushing the idea that it was legitimate to vote for Barack Obama and other pro-abortion liberal candidates, not despite the likely impact of their policies on abortion, but because of the likely impact of their policies on abortion.”

Professor George summed up their reasoning as ignoring the anti-life voting record of the candidates and voting for them because of their economic policies, which would be “so enlightened” that they would reduce poverty, the main cause of abortion, according to these scholars.

“Paradoxically,” said George, “their argument was that voting for the explicitly so called pro-choice candidates was the pro-life thing to do.”

Saying that this argument struck him as “not only as paradoxical but as foolish,” the professor told CNA that he resolved to create a website after the election to track the decisions of the Obama Administration on the issues of “the sanctity of human life and the defense of the institution of marriage.”

The resulting website,, is dedicated to holding accountable “everyone in the debate: those politicians who declared themselves to be opposed to abortion but in favor of its legality and public funding and the expansion of its availability …those intellectuals, Catholic and Evangelical, who in effect gave cover to politicians who were opposed to pro-life laws…and people like me, who were skeptical.”

“We are going to look at what actually happens when a liberal pro-abortion president and a liberal pro-abortion Congress are voted into office.”

“Despite my view that the argument was foolish, if it turns out that I’m wrong, and they were right; if I was foolish to think they were being foolish, I will be held accountable by this website.”

The website is going to publish facts and analysis, George stated.

“It’s going to publish the facts about what happens when abortion is extended, when it’s paid for with public dollars, when laws requiring parental notification for minors who are contemplating abortions or informed consent laws are wiped out…we’ll be able to see the impact was.”

Lest anyone level the charge that George’s new website is about being able to say “I told you so,” he stressed, “That’s not the goal of moral accountability the website, and that’s not the goal of the ethical concept of moral accountability.”

“The goal is to make sure, going forward, -that people in our movement do not repeat mistakes we have made in the past.”

Prof. George explained to CNA that he is willing to believe that the scholars and activists who supported candidates with records in favor of abortion were sincere in their stated beliefs and that they too have a stake in knowing whether they were right or wrong.

Currently, George’s website contains submissions on topics dealing with the reversal of the Mexico City Policy, the Freedom of Choice Act, Obama and same-sex marriage and other decisions made by the new Administration.

The contributors thus far represent both Catholics and Protestants and come from a wide range of disciplines: Constitutional law, political science, theology and philosophy.

Prof. George said that he is interested in engaging in debate with people of opposing views and welcomes their submissions as a way to hold those on his own side of the argument accountable.

In the end, George summarized, “somebody is going to be right, and somebody is going to be wrong.”

The First Principle of Justice

Weigel, G. (18 Feb. 2009). Were they at the same meeting? The Pope and The Speaker. National Review Online. From:

. . . that the Church's opposition to the taking of innocent human life, at any stage of the human journey, is not some weird Catholic hocus-pocus; it's a first principle of justice than can be known by reason. It is a "requirement of the natural moral law" -- that is, the moral truths we can know by thinking about what is right and what is wrong -- to defend the inviolability of innocent human life. You don't have to believe in papal primacy to know that; you don't have do believe in seven sacraments, or the episcopal structure of the Church, or the divinity of Christ, to know that. You don't even have to believe in God to know that. You only have to be a morally serious human being, . . . who understands that moral truth cannot be reduced to questions of feminist political correctness or partisan political advantage. . .

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Assault Victim Sues Planned Parenthood

Perry, K. (18 Feb. 2009). Assault Victim Sues Planned Parenthood. Cinninnati.Com Crime and Courts. From:

A Warren County woman sued Planned Parenthood Friday, accusing its staff of ignoring training and procedures by not reporting her suspected sex abuse when she was a minor, resulting in her being sexually abused for an additional 1½ years.

“They played ostrich,” attorney Brian Hurley said, suggesting Planned Parenthood employees purposely ignored warning signs of suspected sex abuse.

Hurley filed the suit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

The suit accused Planned Parenthood and five of its employees of ignoring obvious signs of suspected sexual abuse instead of reporting them as Ohio law requires.

Attorney Dan Buckley, representing the employees, hadn’t seen the suit and couldn’t comment. The attorney representing Planned Parenthood didn’t immediately return a call.

The woman was sexually assaulted from age 13 through age 17 by her biological father, and became pregnant by him, the suit alleges.

She went to the Mount Auburn facility of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio in November 2004 to have an abortion. When questioned by Planned Parenthood employees, the girl told them “that she had been forced to do things that she did not want to do,” the suit alleges.

That statement, Hurley said, should have caused Planned Parenthood employees to alert law enforcement officials about suspected sex abuse against a minor.

The father was arrested 1½ years after her Planned Parenthood experience, Hurley said, when the girl’s future college basketball coach became suspicious and reported suspected abuse.

The father was convicted of sexual battery and sexual touching and sentenced in 2006 to five years in prison.

Now an adult, the woman is in college where she also plays basketball.

“She’s a brave young woman,” Hurley said of his client.

The suit asks for her to be awarded an unspecified amount of money to compensate her for her pain as well as money to punish Planned Parenthood for its role.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

North Dakota Personhood Bill Passes State House 51-41

North Dakota Personhood Bill Passes State House 51-41
Posted on: Tuesday, 17 February 2009, 17:26 CST

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The civil rights movement gained a significant victory today as the North Dakota House of Representatives voted Feb. 17 to recognize the personhood of all human beings.


Led by American Life League Associate group North Dakota Life League, the personhood movement celebrated the passage of The Personhood of Children Act (House Resolution 1572), introduced by State Rep. Dan Ruby, in a 51-41 vote.

"We are very excited about the personhood movement in North Dakota -- which has the chance to become the first state to protect the rights of all its citizens from their biological beginning," said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League.

The Senate vote is expected in the next two to three weeks.

Fifteen other states are currently pursuing personhood legislation.

American Life League was co-founded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to natural death. For more information or press inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4171.


Personhood North Dakota:

North Dakota Life League:

Examiner: ND Pro-Lifers Hang Hopes on Personhood Referendum (9 February 2009)

SOURCE American Life League

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Adult Stem Cells and MS

Watch CBS Videos Online

Poll shows disapproval of Obama's Mexico City policy reversal

Jones. J. (2009).Americans approve of most Obama Actions to date. Gallup Poll. Retrieved from:

PRINCETON, NJ -- Of seven actions Barack Obama has taken during the early days of his presidency, five are supported by large majorities of Americans.

The Jan. 30-Feb. 1 USA Today/Gallup poll asked Americans to say whether they approve or disapprove of seven specific actions Obama has taken as president. Americans' general support for most of these is in line with Obama's initial overall job approval ratings.

The public is most supportive of his decisions to name special envoys to oversee the administration's efforts in the Middle East, and Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to tighten rules on people working as lobbyists either before or after serving in his administration. Both of these moves are favored by 76% of Americans.

Americans are nearly as supportive of Obama's actions to limit the interrogation methods that can be used on military prisoners -- actions designed to ensure the United States does not resort to torture to find out information from prisoners. Seventy-four percent of Americans favor that decision, the same percentage who favor his executive order to institute higher fuel efficiency standards.

Two in three Americans approve of his signing a bill to make it easier for workers to sue for pay discrimination, the first legislation he has signed into law as president.

The public does not agree with everything Obama has done, however. For example, more Americans say they disapprove (50%) than approve (44%) of his decision to order the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorist suspects in Cuba within a year.

Further, Obama's decision to reverse the prohibition on funding for overseas family-planning providers may be the least popular thing he has done so far. This was an executive order that forbade federal government money from going to overseas family-planning groups that provide abortions or offer abortion counseling. Fifty-eight percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's decision to lift this ban, while only 35% approve of it. The ban on federal funds to these groups was put in place by Ronald Reagan, but lifted by Bill Clinton. George W. Bush re-instituted the ban after taking office in 2001, but Obama has once again lifted it.

The abortion and Guantanamo Bay prison decisions are especially unpopular among Republicans; only 8% approve of the former and 11% of the latter. But these are also the least popular decisions among independents and Democrats as well, though a majority of Democrats still approve of both.

Republicans are in general less supportive of all of Obama's important early actions than are Democrats and independents, as would be expected. But a majority of Republicans do approve of four of the seven decisions, including 58% who approve of limitations on certain interrogation techniques, something the Bush administration resisted.


While the public has not supported everything Obama has done in his presidency thus far, he continues to receive strong overall job approval ratings around 66%. It appears that Americans believe the good outweighs the bad to this point in the Obama presidency.

Admittedly, many of Obama's early actions have been noncontroversial, and ones that did not receive a great deal of continuing news coverage. His work in passing an economic stimulus plan is a departure from that, and may provide a stiffer test of how strong his public support is. The U.S. House version of his plan met with opposition from the entire Republican caucus, and the Senate will work this week to craft a different version of the plan that enjoys broader partisan support.

Still, like prior presidents, Obama appears to be enjoying solid public support during this early stage or "honeymoon" phase of his administration.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,027 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Headache That Didn't Go Away

By Sandra G. Boodman
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, February 3, 2009; Page HE01

Valerie Novak fervently wished doctors would stop telling her the intense headache she'd endured for several weeks was a migraine. For one thing, neither the Georgetown University senior nor her close relatives had headaches, and migraines are frequently familial. None of the increasingly potent drugs doctors prescribed was doing much good. And the 22-year-old had lost 15 pounds in three weeks from bouts of severe vomiting.

"I was so frustrated and upset," recalled Novak of her ordeal last summer, which involved consultations with half a dozen doctors, several trips to area emergency rooms and two hospitalizations. Novak, who had always been healthy, said she feared the unrelenting pain in her left temple and associated symptoms were something "I'd have to live with for the rest of my life."

Her mother, Kathy Novak, a nurse practitioner in Bowie, was similarly skeptical of the diagnosis but grateful that doctors had ruled out more ominous possibilities, such as a brain tumor. When her middle daughter began complaining about double vision, Kathy took her to an ophthalmologist. His judgment led to an accurate diagnosis that had nothing to do with migraines but was instead a rare complication of a common item listed on Novak's medical records. Left untreated, it might have killed her.

An Arabic studies major who had been scheduled to graduate in December 2008, Novak said her headache began last summer while she was in Colorado visiting her boyfriend. When over-the-counter pain relievers failed to work, she consulted a Denver physician, who told her she probably had a migraine that would go away on its own.

Undaunted, she left for a two-week trip to visit an uncle in Egypt.

"I thought she might have a sinus infection, and I knew my brother would help her" if she got worse, her mother recalled. She said she did not know until weeks later how sick her daughter really felt. "She's strong, and she put up a good front," her mother said.

While in Cairo, Novak said, her headaches got worse, and she sometimes felt nauseated and had spells of vomiting, which worsened after a snorkeling trip. A doctor she saw in Cairo performed an MRI and concurred with the migraine diagnosis.

Back home in Howard County a few days before the start of the fall semester, Novak began feeling worse. Her primary care doctor prescribed Imitrex, a powerful anti-migraine drug, which, she said, did nothing to alleviate her pain and made her feel worse. She was prescribed Percocet and, when it failed, Dilaudid, an extremely powerful narcotic, which helped -- until it wore off.

Kathy Novak said neither she nor her nursing colleagues had heard of such an intractable migraine in someone who'd never had headaches. "I think I know migraines, and this isn't helping," she told Valerie's primary care physician. One night she took her daughter to a Maryland emergency room. After a CT scan found nothing, Valerie Novak was prescribed Decadron, an anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea drug given to chemotherapy patients. Nothing seemed to work for long.

Back at Georgetown, Novak tried to settle in to her dorm. She soon developed a new and alarming symptom: tingling in her left hand. On her first day of classes, she recalled, she was unable to concentrate because of the numbness that seemed to be moving up her arm and enveloping her tongue and one side of her face.

She called the student health center and was sent to a nearby emergency room. After a full work-up, she was told -- again -- that she had a migraine. Shortly afterward she was in the office of a neurologist with vomiting so severe that she was unable to keep Jell-O down. The neurologist admitted her to a Montgomery County hospital where she spent four days. "All I did was sleep and throw up," she recalled.

At the hospital, an infectious-disease specialist ruled out meningitis without doing a spinal tap, in part because Novak had never had a fever. Lyme disease and West Nile virus were also discarded as possibilities. A brain MRI, the Novaks were told, showed nothing. Novak's symptoms, including the facial and arm numbness, and intolerance of bright light and noise, were "strongly suggestive of migraine headache," a doctor wrote on her chart. She was given a pain patch and released.

Back home with her parents, unable to go to class, Novak recalled that her "eyesight was getting wonky, with really, really weird double vision." Alarmed, her mother made an appointment with an ophthalmologist, hoping he might have an explanation that didn't involve migraines.

After dilating Novak's eyes, the eye specialist immediately spotted something alarming: Her optic nerves were dangerously swollen. "This is not a migraine," he told Novak. "You have increased intracranial pressure."

The unrelenting headache as well as the numbness, tingling and vomiting were caused by a rise in pressure in the brain. The condition, which can result from a head injury or meningitis, is considered a medical emergency; increased pressure caused by a buildup of fluid can permanently damage the central nervous system by restricting blood flow to vessels that supply the brain. In Novak's case, the double vision was caused by pressure on her cranial nerve.

The ophthalmologist's first thought, given Novak's age and history, was pseudotumor cerebri, a rare condition sometimes called a false brain tumor, that affects women between ages 20 and 45. Valerie's illness had nearly all the hallmarks but lacked one critical variable: She was not overweight or obese, as are most of those with the condition.

The ophthalmologist immediately sent Novak to Greenbelt neurologist Roger Whicker. She immediately began taking a drug to reduce the pressure and underwent another MRI and other testing, which revealed the actual cause of the illness and changed the diagnosis to sagittal sinus thrombosis, or SST, caused by a blood clot in her brain.

The probable cause, doctors concluded after performing tests that ruled out a clotting disorder, was the birth control pills she had been taking for more than four years. Luckily, Whicker said, her brain tissue appeared undamaged, which means she did not have a stroke.

SST often starts with a headache, according to a November 2008 article in eMedicine, an online medical textbook.

Some patients suffer seizures, while others can lapse into a coma if the condition is not treated. Double vision, deafness and facial weakness may also occur. Causes include infection or trauma; pregnancy and birth control pills can increase the risk.

A 1970 report in the Journal of Neurosurgery describes the case of a 27-year-old woman who developed SST after six months on birth control pills. She required treatment for multiple blood clots and seizures as well as surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain. Neurosurgeons reported that her only risk factor appeared to be oral contraceptives.

Whicker said that Novak's is the third case of SST he has seen in his career; the other two patients, he said, had not taken birth control pills. The neurologist said he can't explain why an MRI taken days earlier failed to reveal the potentially lethal clot. "It can be overlooked," he said.

Novak spent nine days in the hospital, where she was given blood thinners to break up the clot. Her double vision receded quickly, while the headaches diminished in severity and became less frequent.

Forced to withdraw for the semester, she spent the fall living with her parents and making regular visits to the neurologist. A few weeks ago she moved back into the dorm at Georgetown and is scheduled to graduate in May.

"I'm feeing pretty good," she said last week, although she still sometimes gets headaches and will remain on a blood thinner for a few more months. Whicker has told her she can never again take birth control pills.

Kathy Novak says she is unsure why so many doctors concluded Valerie's problem was migraines. She is philosophical about the missed opportunities: the spinal tap that would have revealed her daughter's elevated intracranial pressure and the widespread failure to consider the possible role of birth control pills, which doctors were told she was taking.

"I'm just thankful she's okay, with no deficits," she said of her daughter. "I think it could have been a lot worse."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mona Lisa Project

The Mona Lisa Project

New Undercover Video Shows Tucson Planned Parenthood Hiding Sexual Abuse of 15-year-old Girl from the

TUCSON, AZ, Feb. 3 – New hidden-camera footage from Tucson, AZ, implicates a third Planned Parenthood clinic in a multi-state child abuse scandal. In the video, UCLA student Lila Rose and her friend Jackie Stollar enter a Tucson Planned Parenthood clinic where Rose tells the nurse that Stollar, posing as a 15-year-old, is pregnant by her 27-year-old boyfriend. The nurse disregards the age difference and even cautions Stollar not to bring her "boyfriend" before the judicial hearing required in Arizona to waive parental consent for an abortion.
This negligence is punishable under Arizona law.

"Is he not a minor?" the Planned Parenthood nurse, who identifies herself as Araceli, asks. When Rose says, "He's 27," the nurse urges the girls not to bring him to the hearing: "I wouldn't take him with me, no. I mean: don't take him."

The video is the third released in a national undercover probe called the "Mona Lisa Project." The project, conducted by the student-led California nonprofit Live Action, records on video Planned Parenthood employees as they respond to statutory rape. Rather than reporting the rape—as the law requires—Planned Parenthood clinics hide the identity of the statutory rapist and offer secret abortions.

In the past two months, the Mona Lisa Project has exposed similar cases at two Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana. In response, both clinics either fired or suspended employees, and state prosecutors launched investigations into Planned Parenthood of Indiana.

"These videos demonstrate that Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, is entrenched in an organization-wide policy of circumventing state law and concealing the sexual abuse of young girls," said Live Action's president, Lila Rose.

This is not the first time Planned Parenthood of Arizona has failed to report sexual abuse. In 2002, an Arizona judge found the abortion provider negligent for failing to report the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl by her 23-year-old foster brother, who brought her to a Phoenix-area clinic for an abortion in 1998. After Planned Parenthood kept silent about the abuse, the sexual relationship continued and led to a second abortion six months later.

While noting that today Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at an event sponsored by Planned Parenthood, Rose urges Arizona prosecutors to follow the lead of Indiana state authorities and investigate the full extent of Planned Parenthood's sexual abuse cover-up.

"Our footage gives the Arizona public and law enforcement a rare window into Planned Parenthood's careless abortion-first ideology," Rose stated. "With abortion as their first and only solution for the abused victim, Planned Parenthood assists sexual predators by violating the very Arizona state laws that protect children."

Rose adds, "Planned Parenthood is not above the law. They must cooperate with Arizona state authorities to reveal the full extent of their lawbreaking."

The new video can be seen on Live Action's website,