Health Briefs

Twenty-two states join fight for Alabama’s dismemberment abortion ban

 (WNS)–Conservative states and pro-life groups are flocking to support Alabama’s effort to reinstate its ban on late-term dismemberment abortions, a law blocked by a federal judge last summer. Alabama outlawed the procedure in May, joining four other states attempting to ban “dilation and evacuation,” the most common abortion method used in advanced stages of fetal development. It requires abortionists to dilate a mother’s cervix, tear the baby apart bit by bit, and reassemble the pieces to ensure they’ve removed everything. “It’s just as gruesome and just as horrible as partial-birth abortion,” Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver told me. Partial-birth abortion, banned nationwide by Congress in 2003, involved sucking out a baby’s brains through a hole in the base of its skull while it was still in the mother’s birth canal. The Supreme Court upheld the ban in 2007.

Utah adopts informed consent law for medication abortions

(WNS)–Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed legislation in late March that pro-life leaders hope will eventually help promote medically induced abortion reversals. The new law requires abortionists to inform women of “the options and consequences” of stopping a medication-induced abortion and will change state-printed information on abortion to tell women that mifepristone, the first of two drugs taken to end pregnancy, doesn’t always work. “If you have taken mifepristone but have not yet taken the second drug and have questions regarding the health of your fetus or are questioning your decision to terminate your pregnancy, you should consult a physician immediately,” the new literature will say.

 Goodbye, sperm and egg

(WNS)–Some scientists want to rework the ethical guidelines for research on human embryos as the possibility of artificially creating them moves closer to reality. A few weeks ago, researchers at Cambridge University in Britain announced they had engineered mouse embryos from two different types of stem cells rather than from an egg and sperm like normally developing embryos. The discovery raises questions about how researchers would approach the same technique using human tissue. Human embryonic research is already fraught with ethical problems because it involves the destruction of human life. Artificially creating embryos doesn’t change that, said David Prentice, vice president and research director for the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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