NRL News

A Three-Part Smorgasbord to end the day

by | Jan 6, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Beckett and Freya Humenny (Photo by Hennepin County Medical Center)

It’s already Thursday, meaning there is only one day left in the week to talk about stories that are important to pro-lifers. Let me quickly summarize three stories, lest they get lost in the shuffle.

The Michigan Blood Cord Blood Bank in Northeast Grand Rapids “recently marked the delivery of its 100th potentially lifesaving unit of stem cells from donated umbilical cord blood to a transplant center in the northeastern United States, where it will be transfused into a 14-year-old boy who is battling leukemia,” writes Paul R. Kopenkoskey for The Grand Rapids Press.

According to the story, “Pregnant women pre-register their cord blood donations with Michigan Blood and discuss donation arrangements with their physicians, giving their written consent prior to giving birth.” Donations take place shortly after the baby is delivered. “The hospital then ships the donated umbilical cord blood to the cord blood bank,” Kopenkoskey writes.”About 25 percent of donated units qualify by stem-cell count for inclusion in the cord blood bank’s inventory.”

Dr. David Prentice, an expert in stem cell therapies, congratulated the Blood Cord Blood Bank. He told NRL News Today

“This is a great milestone for Michigan, showing that adult stem cells are saving lives and improving health right now.  Cord blood and bone marrow adult stem cells continue to deliver on the promise of care and cure for diseases and injuries.  This is where we should be focusing all of our stem cell resources.”


Gallup conducted an interesting poll at the end of the year to test the public’s sense of how close to their own political persuasion the various Presidential candidates are. They offered respondents a five-point scale “with 1 being very liberal and 5 being very conservative. Americans’ mean score on this scale is 3.3, meaning the average American is slightly to the right of center ideologically,” according to Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones. The two furthest away?  Rep. Michele Bachmann, who left the race after Iowa, and President Obama! More generally, “A majority of Americans, 57%, perceive Obama to be liberal, with 23% describing his views as moderate and 15% as conservative,” Jones wrote.


On Tuesday Sarah Barr wrote a semi-whimsical story for Kaiser News about twins born in separate years! Beckett Humenny was born at 6:40 pm on December 31 while her sister Freya arrived at 12:26, January 1. “And so after we ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the adorable pair, we had to ask: What could a case like this mean for a family’s insurance?”

That’s not what we are concerned about, of course. But it did get me to thinking about a story we wrote years ago about twins who were born not a few hours apart but a couple of months apart. There would be nothing, except the absence of a willing abortionist (how likely is that?) to prevent a mother in that situation from aborting that second baby.

It is not exactly the same, admittedly, but this also reminds you of “selective reductions,” the number of which continues to grow as a result of the rise in multiple pregnancies following IVF treatment. Whereas at one point aborting some but not all of multiple pregnancies was justified as a medical necessity, the practice has (not surprisingly) changed. Now the most common use of selective reduction is reducing twins to “singletons.”

We wrote a great deal about this last summer after Ruth Padawer’s extraordinary story, “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy,” ran in the New York Times Magazine. Her LONG and carefully research story detailed the evolution of “selective reduction.”

What’s ensued was a vigorous back and forth, the product of deep unease even by “pro-choicers” staggered by the bizarre schizophrenia of desperately attempting to get pregnant in the first place (typically by the use of powerful fertility drugs or IVF) and then taking the life of one of two babies.

If you have five minutes, check out “Reducing Twins To Singletons: the Erosion of an ethical demarcation

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