Today's News & Views


Vol. 33, No. 1

Law Will Expand Availability of
Umbilical Cord Blood for Treatments

BY Liz Townsend

President George Bush shakes hands with pro-life Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) after signing the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act at the White House.

The use of umbilical cord blood stem cells to treat and cure many diseases will be enhanced by the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, passed by Congress after a seven-month delay and signed by President George W. Bush December 20.

"Not only has God in His infinite wisdom and goodness created the placenta and umbilical cord to nurture and protect the precious life of an unborn child," said bill sponsor Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.), "but now we know that another gift awaits us immediately after birth, something very special left behind--cord blood that is rich with stem cells."

The act will provide $79 million to obtain 150,000 more units of cord blood, which is expected to help treat up to 90% of patients who need the versatile cells. The blood is derived directly from placentas and umbilical cords donated by parents after their babies' birth, without harming the donor.

Cord blood stem cells have been used to treat thousands of patients suffering from more than 60 different diseases, including leukemia, Hodgkin's Disease, sickle cell disease, and thalassemia. Researchers also theorize that they may have the capacity to differentiate into other cell types, making them useful in the exploration of ethical stem cell therapies for even more diseases.

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Cloning Researcher Accused
of Falsifying Evidence

BY Liz Townsend

South Korea's Hwang Woo-suk answering questions at a press conference where he announced his resignation as head of the World Stem Cell Hub.

Embryonic stem cell research proponents are reeling in the wake of allegations that their most prominent and celebrated researcher, South Korea's Hwang Woo-suk, fabricated evidence and violated fundamental scientific procedures, calling into question all of his reported breakthroughs that have provided some of the few "successes" in the field.

Hwang has admitted to lying about the source of human eggs used in his research, while experts are questioning his claims of creating the first stem cell lines from cloned embryos that genetically match their donors, the first cloned embryo, and the first cloned dog.

Hwang resigned as head of the World Stem Cell Hub and other government-funded stem cell research agencies November 24 after confirming that he used eggs donated by his research assistants, a violation of international research protocol.

The scandal has prompted some of the first negative reports about human cloning and embryo experimentation from the mainstream media. Accounts typically report any alleged "breakthroughs" in awe-filled tones, completely ignoring the immorality of creating designer human beings and then killing them for their stem cells.

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Vol. 33, No. 1



From the President

Wanda Franz, Ph.D.


n The 1973 decision [of Roe v. Wade] is so ingrained in public consciousness that most people can recognize the case by its name. [Emphasis added.]
—Knight Ridder news story, 12/31/05

n Most women in the survey could not name the case that prompted the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing the right to abortion in the United States. Forty-three percent correctly identified the case as “Roe v. Wade” (or came close to offering the exact name), 2% gave some other name, and 55% admitted outright that they did not know the name of the case.…
Half of women (51%) now say they would like to see very strict limits on abortion—34% who think it should only be permitted in cases of rape, incest and to save the woman’s life and 17% who think abortion should never be permitted. Two years ago, 45% of women preferred either of these two kinds of very strict limitation on abortion. [Emphasis added.]
—Poll for the Center for Gender Equality by Princeton Survey Research Associates, 4/7/03

n “In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that states laws which made it illegal for a woman to have an abortion up to three months of pregnancy were un-constitutional, and that the decision on whether a woman should have an abortion up to three months of pregnancy should be left to the woman and her doctor to decide. In general, do you favor or oppose this part of the U.S. Supreme Court decision making abortions up to three months of pregnancy legal?” (Emphasis added to highlight misrepresentation.) Poll result: Favor 52%, oppose 47% [highest in 20 years].
—Harris Poll question used since 1973 (!), data from 3/3/05

Read Dr. Franz's Entire Column

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