LIFE DIGEST: 'Culture of life' made progress, Bush says during final address; …
WASHINGTON (BP)--The sanctity of human life made advances during his eight years in the White House, President Bush said in a recent interview.
The president defended his advocacy for a "culture of life" in an Oval Office interview with columnist Cal Thomas that was published Jan. 7.
Saying he believes "we have made progress on the issue of culture of life," Bush told Thomas, "I do believe people are beginning to understand why a person like me takes the position I take. And I do believe we can take those positions without being so judgmental that our voice is not heard. In other words, I have always tried to say, 'I understand your position, but here's mine, and here's why I think this makes sense for a compassionate America.'
"[A]s we disagree, let's keep things in mind: that all life is precious; that a society is strong when it worries about the most vulnerable among us, whether it be those who are elderly, those who are sick and those who are yet unborn."
During the Bush presidency, his administration reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which bars federal funds from going to organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas, and blocked during the last seven years congressionally approved funds for a United Nations agency that supports China's coercive population-control program. Bush also signed into law such pro-life measures as the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act and the Born-alive Infants Protection Act. In 2001, he ordered a ban on federal funding for stem cell research that destroys embryos.
BABY SURVIVES SCREENING -- The first British child who passed a screening before implantation for a genetic risk of breast cancer has been born, but nine of her siblings were destroyed in the process.
The baby girl was tested while she was an early embryo, conceived by in vitro fertilization, for the altered BRCA1 gene, which carries an 80 percent risk of producing breast cancer, British Broadcasting Co. News reported. The screening method, known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), involves testing a cell from an embryo only a few days old. Six of the other 10 embryos in this case tested positive for the gene, and three others had different abnormalities, according to the Daily Mail. All were destroyed.
Three generations of women on the side of the baby girl's father have been diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the BBC. Carrying the BRCA1 gene would not have guaranteed that cancer would occur, however.
"Curing the disease by killing the patient is hardly a step forward for medicine," said Yuval Levin, director of the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center's program on bioethics and American democracy, in a weblog on National Review Online, "and eliminating the unfit before they're born so they won't pass on their genes to future generations is just eugenics, pure and simple."
The child's parents have asked to remain anonymous.
JUDGE REJECTS REQUEST -- Physician-assisted suicide remains legal in Montana after a district judge refused to block enforcement of her decision to endorse the practice.
Helena District Judge Dorothy McCarter rejected Jan. 7 a request to stay her opinion until the Montana Supreme Court rules on an appeal, the Missoulian reported.
In a Dec. 5 decision, McCarter ruled that the state constitution includes "rights of individual privacy and human dignity [that], taken together, encompass the right of a competent terminally [ill] patient to die with dignity." State Attorney General Mike McGrath asked McCarter Dec. 10 to block enforcement of the decision until the Supreme Court responds to an appeal.
Since then, McGrath has become chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court and has said he will recuse himself from the case, according to the newspaper.
Two other states, Oregon and Washington, have legalized assisted suicide, but both did it through voter referendums.
COVER-UP CAUGHT AGAIN -- A second Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) employee has been shown on video tape trying to cover up alleged child sexual abuse and has lost her job.
An employee at a PPIN clinic in Indianapolis resigned Dec. 18, only a week after a worker at a Bloomington affiliate was fired, the Indianapolis Star reported. Each woman was caught on an undercover video camera telling a girl who identified herself as a 13-year-old impregnated by a 31-year-old man that she would not file a report. Such a report is required by state law. Each PPIN employee was shown on the video telling the girl she could get an abortion in another state in order to avoid Indiana's parental consent law.
The 13-year-old in the video secretly recorded during the summer is actually Lila Rose, a 20-year-old student at UCLA and president of the pro-life organization Live Action. In 2007, Rose posed as a minor and gained video footage of a similar cover-up at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Los Angeles.
Tom Strode is Baptist Press Washington bureau chief