News in Brief
Passes Bills to Tighten Abortion Restrictions
Gov. Jan Brewer signed three pro-life bills July 13 involving
waiting periods, parental involvement, partial-birth abortions, and
abortionists. The Arizona Senate gave final approval to the bills in
June, while the House passed them in March, according to the
Associated Press (AP).
Bill 2564 requires women to meet with an abortionist 24 hours in
advance and be told about risks, alternatives, the unborn child’s
development, and assistance available if she chooses life. It also
allows health care workers to conscientiously object to
participating in abortion. In addition, it provides that minor girls
need to get written, notarized consent from one parent before an
abortion, the Arizona Republic reported.
new provisions will provide stronger protections for the minor girl
and her parents,” Mary Spaulding Balch, NRLC state legislative
director, told NRL News.
bill, HB 2400, brings the state’s partial-birth abortion ban in line
with the U.S. Supreme Court-approved federal ban. It imposes a fine
or up to two years in prison for an abortionist who violates the
ban, as well as clarifying the language that defines a partial-birth
is true that partial birth abortion is banned by the federal law,
the state partial birth abortion ban allows for enforcement of the
law by state prosecutors—not just federal officials,” said Balch.
“This is a prudent way for Arizona to ensure that this heinous
practice of pulling a living unborn child out of his mother’s womb
and stabbing him in the back of the head will not go unprosecuted.”
bill, SB 1175, requires that only licensed physicians may perform
abortions. This bill “is extremely important since Nurse
Practitioners and other non-doctors are not equipped to deal with
complications arising from a surgical abortion,” said bill sponsor
Rep. Nancy Barto in an Arizona Right to Life press release. “Women’s
lives will be saved because of this clarification.”
Legislators finally saw their pro-life bills become law after years
of vetoes by former governor Janet Napolitano. “This is common
sense. It is something that Arizona women deserve. Besides that,
this is something those babies deserve,” state Sen. Russell Pearce
(R-Mesa) told the AP. “That’s a live person, a real victim.”
Stem Cells Treat Heart Disease in Clinical Trial
Jones, 66, has shown marked improvement after participating in a
clinical trial that used his own adult stem cells to treat
congestive heart failure. Doctors from the University of Louisville
(UofL) and Jewish Hospital harvested stem cells and then
transplanted them back into Jones’s heart in an attempt to repair
damaged tissue, according to a UofL press release.
studied this in rats, mice and pigs but this is the first time we’ve
tried it in a human,” said Roberto Bolli, director of UofL’s
Institute for Molecular Cardiology. “If it works, it will be a
revolutionary treatment for heart failure.”
were transplanted July 17 into Jones’s bloodstream through his leg,
and then traveled into his damaged heart. In only one week, his
heart function rose from 20% to 30%, according to the press release.
appeared with his doctors at a press conference July 24. He said
that he is now exercising three times a day, and “I may even start
clinical trial is expected to involve 20 patients over the next two
years, testing for the safety and effectiveness of the procedure,
according to the press release.
continue to enroll patients in this first-of-its-kind clinical
trial,” Bolli said in a press release issued by Jewish Hospital. “We
hope to help the heart regenerate its own tissue and improve heart
Unborn Babies Made from Ultrasounds
ultrasound technology to the next dimension, a design student has
developed a new technique to create three-dimensional plaster models
of unborn babies that expectant parents can hold and forge an even
closer bond with their children.
Jorge Lopes, a PhD student at the Royal College of Art, displayed
the models in a London exhibition beginning July 27, according to
the London Times. “It’s amazing to see the faces of the mothers,”
Lopes told the Times. “They can see the full scale of their baby,
really understand the size of it.”
uses a technique called “rapid prototyping,” which takes ultrasound
and MRI scans of the unborn babies and “prints” them with a plaster
powder instead of ink. The plaster builds up, layer by layer, until
it creates a perfect 3D replica of the baby.
the models are of Lopes’s own son. “It’s my son with 13 weeks and
almost 16 weeks. We’re having a baby in August,” Lopes told ABC
News. When he held the completed models, “I was crying. Of course,
it’s—amazing to see. And, you know, you can see the umbilical cord
obstetrics clinic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is conducting a trial
to use the technology. Testers will include a blind woman, who would
actually be able to feel the body and face of her unborn baby, the
bonding is really important for postnatal bonding,” ultrasound
pioneer Stuart Campbell, head of obstetrics and gynecology at King’s
College London, told ABC News. “To have a model of the child they
can carry around with them and feel and touch, to me, must help that
Finds That Unborn Babies Can Remember
Researchers in the Netherlands found that unborn babies respond to
stimulation and then remember the feeling, according to a report in
the July/August issue of the journal Child Development.
as 30 weeks old, the babies startled when they heard a low sound,
but then became accustomed to it as it was repeated. Getting used to
a stimulus and showing no reaction after repetition is called
habituation. “Habituation is a form of learning and a form of
memory,” co-author Dr. Jan Nijhuis of Maastricht University Medical
Center in The Netherlands told LiveScience.
Thirty-week-old babies stopped responding to the sound after about
13 repetitions. If another round of stimulation began 10 minutes
later, these babies took only a few times to ignore the noise,
LiveScience reported. Older babies, about 34 weeks old, remembered
the sound up to four weeks later.
younger than 30 weeks did not show evidence of memories. However,
Nijhuis said that the type of stimulus used in the study may not be
the best one to reach younger unborn children, and further research
is needed, according to LiveScience.
like every day we find out marvelous new things about the
development of unborn children,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, director
of education and research for the National Right to Life Educational
Trust Fund. “We hope that this latest information helps people
realize more clearly that the unborn are members of the human family
with amazing capabilities and capacities like these built in from
the moment of conception.”
Forced to Assist in Abortion
that supervisors threatened to fire her if she did not assist in an
abortion, Brooklyn nurse Catherina Lorena Cenzon-DeCarlo is suing
Mount Sinai Hospital for violating her right to refuse to
participate in abortion because of her religious beliefs.
was forced to assist this abortion against my religious objection, I
felt violated and betrayed, like I had been raped,” DeCarlo said in
a statement. “I couldn’t believe that this could happen in the
United States, where freedom is held sacred.”
claimed in the lawsuit, filed in late July, that she made her
beliefs known to her employers both verbally and in writing soon
after she began working at Mount Sinai in 2004, according to the New
York Post. She was never asked to participate in an abortion until
May 24, 2009.
supervisors assigned her to assist in aborting a 22-week-old unborn
baby. DeCarlo alleged that after she refused and asked them to
assign the task to a nurse who did not object, they threatened to
end her career by charging her with “insubordination and patient
abandonment,” the Washington Times reported.
Capitulating to the threats, DeCarlo described the horrors of
witnessing the abortion, as she was “forced to watch the doctor
remove the bloody arms and legs of the child from its mother’s body
with forceps. It felt like a horror film unfolding,” she claimed in
the statement, according to the Times.
lawsuit DeCarlo, who still works at Mount Sinai, is seeking the
assurance that her beliefs will be respected, monetary damages, and
a return to her normal number of overtime shifts, which DeCarlo
asserted were cut back after the incident, the Post reported.
that Mount Sinai will obey the law and allow health-care workers not
to assist in abortion against their beliefs,” DeCarlo said in the
statement. “I believe lots of nurses and doctors throughout the
country are being pressured to assist abortion, and I want them to
know they are not alone, and they should speak up for their rights
Brain Adapted to Missing Right Side
Demonstrating the amazing ability of the human body to adapt to
disabilities, a 10-year-old girl whose brain’s right hemisphere
failed to develop fully in the womb can see normally using only one
Describing the girl’s case in Proceedings of the National Academy of
Science, scientists at Glasgow University added that the
unidentified girl attends school, takes part in activities, and has
a normal medical history aside from occasional small seizures and
weakness on one side.
lacking one hemisphere, the girl has normal psychological function
and is perfectly capable of living a normal and fulfilling life,”
said Dr. Lars Muckli of the university’s Centre for Cognitive
Neuroimaging, according to Press Association Scotland. “She is
witty, charming and intelligent.”
parents did not even know she was missing one side of her brain
until she was three and began having involuntary twitching on one
side of her body, Press Association Scotland reported. MRI scans
showed that her brain was underdeveloped.
if one part of the brain is missing the patient can only see to one
side. However, in the girl’s brain, the retinal fibers that would
normally go from the eye into the right hemisphere instead diverted
to the undamaged left side.
brain has amazing plasticity but we were quite astonished to see
just how well the single hemisphere of the brain in this girl has
adapted to compensate for the missing half,” said Muckli.
Leaner and Meaner: Another Merger at Planned Parenthood
another merger of Planned Parenthood affiliates is in the news, this
time involving affiliates in Iowa and Nebraska.
10 other mergers have been announced since May 2007. The latest,
involving Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa and Planned Parenthood
of Nebraska and Council Bluffs, was made because of “rising medical
expenses and dwindling resources” at the Nebraska affiliate, the
Omaha Herald reported (8/3/09).
of the Nebraska affiliate retired and several employees were let go.
The new affiliate, called Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, will
be run out of Des Moines by Jill June, head of the former Iowa
affiliate. Paperwork on the merger is expected to be completed by
the end of the month.
the Iowa affiliate’s 18 clinics perform abortions, just one of the
five from the Nebraska affiliate. One of the biggest differences
highlighted by the Omaha Herald is the fact that the Iowa affiliate
has long received Title X family planning funds from the federal
government, along with a federal waiver that lets the group expand
eligibility for Medicaid funds. Nebraska pulled out of the Title X
program in 2005 and legislative efforts to apply for the Medicaid