Pro-life Med Fellowship Program Now Accepting Applications

Medical Students for Life (MedSFL) is proud to announce our 2nd MedSFL Summer Fellowship June 17th through July 19th. This opportunity is open to all medical students prior to the beginning their second year. Ten selected students will have the opportunity to participate in a week-long didactic lecture series in Washington, D.C. presented by top medical professionals, researchers, and legal experts. Transportation, food and lodging costs for the week-long course will be provided.

Following the week-long didactic lecture series, each student will complete a 4- week externship in their related fields that meets the program qualifications. Fellows will receive a stipend to offset living expenses incurred during the externship. At the end of the 4-week externship, students will gather again for a research conference to present a translational bioethics research paper created during their externship under their respective mentor. Externs will be coached to prepare manuscripts for a peer-reviewed medical journal publication.

Qualified Rotations will include those which: (1) are with a board-certified medical professional or researcher with appropriate credentials in good standing, (2) are with mentors accepted as Externship Mentors by the MedSFLA program (a list of qualified mentors will be provided following submission of a student’s CV), (3) allow students to produce and present a research paper at the closing research conference.

1st Application Step: Students must submit a cover letter and CV no later than January 25th to the Admissions Board Liaison (jrussell@studentsforlife.org). If you are selected as a potential candidate a tentative acceptance letter, approved Externship Mentors list to choose from the mentors they wish to study under, and a formal application will be provided.

2nd Application Step: Students must submit their completed application forms (along with externship mentor selections) to the Admissions Board Liaison (jrussell@studentsforlife.org) by January 29th. Students will be notified of final decisions by January 31st. After a final decision has been reached, a formal acceptance letter will be issued.

 

 

Join Us For A Webcast This Tuesday: What are your alternatives to prescribing contraceptives?

Join us for a national webcast on Tuesday, November 27th at 9:00 PM EST to hear Dr. Marguerite Duane discuss all the options available to physicians when counseling patients on family planning options.

As medical students you will one day be asked to prescribe birth control pills. Do you have all of your options? Do you know there are alternatives?

Fertility is a normal, healthy physiologic state.  Women’s hormonal cycles determine the fertile window when a couple will most likely conceive.  An understanding of the cycle and recognition of the external signs that determine each phase has led to the development of more environmentally friendly and highly effective forms of family planning.  Despite these advances, there is limited information about fertility awareness based methods (FABMs) being taught in medical school and residency and the majority of health professionals are trained to approach fertility as a disease state.

By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to describe the scientific basis for different types of FABMs and discuss the evidence supporting the effectiveness of these methods to both avoid and achieve pregnancy.  Participants will also be able to list the basic characteristics of the different methods to determine the appropriate population for use.  Finally, we will briefly introduce the participants to FACTS – the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Systems – a dedicated group of physicians and other health professionals committed to teaching our colleagues about fertility awareness based methods of family planning.

If you are having trouble with the webcast join online here:  http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=35177088

Life and law going cheap, abortion pills without prescription in India

Anshu Seth, Hindustan Times
Ludhiana, September 19, 2012

Days after HT’s sting operation showed an MBBS doctor offering foetus sex determination tests at a farmhouse near Mandi Ahmedgarh, our team managed to buy pills for medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) from three different retail counters in Ludhiana, without prescription and thus in gross violation of law. This appears to be the simple, two-step medical procedure involved in female foeticide, though it’s not foolproof and can even lead to the mother’s death.

This correspondent posing as a customer procured MTP kits (mifepristone and misoprostol tablets) without any prescription from Rajindra Brothers (wholesale and retail chemists) near Hero Bakery on Pakhowal Road, JP Medical Hall in Ishar Singh Nagar and GTB Medical Store in Shastri Nagar. These pills are easily available at various drug stores at Chandigarh Road, Tajpur Road, Ferozepur Road, Aggar Nagar, Model Town and various other localities of the city too.

Not only do the chemists sell these pills without mandatory prescription, they also give free advice about the usage, which when discussed with gynaecologists was found absolutely wrong and also contradictory to instructions on the on the MTP kits. The price of each kit bought varied from Rs. 300 to Rs. 500.

THE RACKET
In violation of the Pre-Conception (PC), Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) and MTP Acts, a racket in Ludhiana, Sangrur, Barnala and adjoining districts — comprised of midwives, hospital officials, some quacks, lab owners and even doctors — first singles out the pregnant women who already have one or two daughters and are visiting gynaecologists with another pregnancy.

Thereafter, the hospital PROs, midwives or paramedical staff follow these pregnant women and their families, giving them options for sex determination tests.

Those who agree are sent to the laboratory owners, acting as mediators, and the rate are fixed, as was done with the HT correspondent when she acted as a decoy patient in the recent sting operation.

If the test is “negative” (it’s a female foetus), the women are sent to BAMS doctors or gynaecologists, who administer MTP pills to the women irrespective of the pregnancy period. Davinder Singh, the owner of Gurnoor Laboratory in Himmat Singh Nagar, had told this correspondent, while referring us to a doctor in Ahmednagar for sex determination, that he would tell us about an expert for abortion if the foetus was female.

Read More

More Medical Deception from Planned Parenthood

Obama Administration: Planned Parenthood Does not Perform Mammograms

By Casey Mattox, counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund.

A deliberate effort is underway to rebrand Planned Parenthood as an integral provider of healthcare services, without which untold millions of women would lack basic medical care, or so the story goes. Thus, whenever any effort is made to cut off funding for the nation’s largest abortion provider and stalwart financier of leftist politicians, we’re told there is a “war on women.”

But it’s not a “war on women” when a state simply places a higher priority on funds for true health services that Planned Parenthood doesn’t perform Take, for example, mammograms.

Yes, mammograms. Perhaps there is no greater falsehood than the deceitful, and largely successful, attempt to persuade Americans that Planned Parenthood performs mammograms. It doesn’t.

When the Komen Foundation announced in February that it would no longer provide grants to Planned Parenthood—partly due to the fact that Planned Parenthood does not directly provide mammograms – its ideological and political supporters sprang into action. They decried Komen’s decision to eliminate funding for this imagined provider of mammograms. Planned Parenthood’s Executive Director, Cecile Richards, made the claim. So did President Obama. And an unsuspecting public was led to believe that such bold claims, by people who should know, must be true.

No matter that phone calls to Planned Parenthood from Live Action demonstrated clearly that this was not the case: Obama had spoken. And the president’s campaign together with Planned Parenthood’s ads continue to beat this drum (almost as if they were coordinated), building off the earlier confusion to frighten voters about the prospect of a Romney administration cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood’s “cancer screenings.”

READ MORE

Abortion Regulations before Virginia Board September 14th

If you are in the Virginia Area, please attend this meeting and show your support for life.

CBS NEWS September 7th, 2012 Link

RICHMOND, Va. — Activists on both sides of the abortion debate are rallying their troops for a Virginia Board of Health meeting next week that could determine the future of many of the state’s 20 abortion clinics.

Abortion-rights advocates packed the board’s meeting in June and cheered when the board stripped from the proposed regulations a hotly contested provision requiring all clinics to meet the same strict architectural standards as newly constructed hospitals. They claimed the provision would require costly renovations that would force most clinics to close.

The following month, Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli refused to certify the regulations. Cuccinelli, an anti-abortion Republican, said the board overstepped its authority because legislation passed by the General Assembly requiring the licensure and regulation of abortion clinics specifically mandated the strict building standards.

Now the regulations are back before the board for reconsideration Sept. 14, and abortion-rights supporters plan to once again turn out in force to urge the board to reject Cuccinelli’s position and reapprove the waiver for existing clinics. This time, the conservative Family Foundation of Virginia is also encouraging abortion opponents to make a strong showing.

“We need to mobilize hundreds of pro-life Virginians at this meeting to show the Board of Health, the media, elected officials, and the electorate that we are pro-life, we are passionate, and we are the majority,” Victoria Cobb, the organization’s president, said in an email to supporters.

Cobb said in a telephone interview that even though she expects the board to make its decision based on the law, not which side is most vocal, and she didn’t want abortion-rights supporters to dominate the scene the way they did in June.

“We didn’t really publicize that meeting, and a lot of folks wish we had,” she said.

Shelley Abrams, executive director of A Capital Women’s Health Clinic in Richmond, said abortion-rights advocates again plan to show up early for a silent protest outside the meeting. In June, hundreds of abortion clinic workers and other opponents of the regulations held such a demonstration.

“We’re definitely hoping it’s going to be much bigger this time,” Abrams said.

Abrams and other abortion-rights supporters also are urging a new board member, , to recuse himself from voting on the regulations. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell appointed Seeds, an anti-abortion obstetrician/gynecologist and senior associate dean of the VCU School of Medicine, in July. Seeds served on a medical advisory panel that worked behind the scenes to help the Virginia Department of Health draft the regulations.

“We’re not saying he’s not fit to serve on the board,” Abrams said. “We’re saying you have to be able to make science-based and evidence-based decisions. He’s already proven with his activism against abortion that this is a crusade for him.”

Seeds said he has no intention of recusing himself. He said his critics are wrong.

“I will base my decision on my professional background,” Seeds said.

He declined to say how he would vote on the architectural provision, but added that the attorney general’s advice “needs to be taken seriously.”

The building standards that have been the focus of the dispute deal with things like hallway widths and room sizes. Other proposed regulations cover a range of issues, including the types of equipment a clinic must have, staffing levels and periodic inspections by state officials.

More British women aborting their children over financial worries, say UK doctors

BY HILARY WHITE, ROME CORRESPONDENT | Tue Aug 14, 2012 16:02 EST

LONDON, August 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A survey by a market research firm has found that the global economic crisis may be influencing more British women to abort their children. The research by Insight Research Group found that about one-fifth of GPs are reporting more women requesting abortion for financial concerns.

Seventeen percent of GPs surveyed felt there was an increase in patients who “were specifically requesting terminations due to financial concerns.” Fifty-four percent of those GPs said they believed the biggest increase was among women ages 26-35. Another twenty-three percent believed the biggest increase was among single women with no previous children, while twenty-one percent said they believed it was among single women living with a “partner” with 1 to 3 previous children.

Thirty-four percent of all the GPs surveyed said that they are seeing women putting off having children “until their financial security improved.”

The findings echo those of Russian demographers who fear that recent gains in the country’s abysmally low fertility rate will be lost as more women turn to abortion to ease financial worries http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/international-life-and-family-roundup1 .

Although pro-life observers say that they have no argument with the study’s findings, they question the reaction of GPs who endorse abortion for financial reasons.

Anthony Ozimic, the communications manager for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said that for authority figures like doctors to affirm with their actions that an abortion is an acceptable solution to financial anxiety sends a profoundly negative message to the culture at large.

“Whatever the merits or otherwise of this study, Western society will continue in its moral and demographic declines as long as the message goes out that women should abort their children or significantly postpone conceiving because of financial concerns,” Ozimic said.

The UK should follow the lead of other EU countries who are offering financial, tax and other incentives to increase the financial security of families and encourage couples to marry earlier and have children, Ozimic said. Instead, the myth is being promulgated that there is such a thing as a “perfect” economic condition in which to have children, when the reality is that such conditions will not exist while the European fertility rate continues to decline.

“While prudence in planning a family is necessary, optimal economic conditions for raising children are illusory.”

Ozimic confirmed that the law does not technically allow for abortions for financial or “social” reasons, but said that doctors have been granted enormous latitude in deciding what factors in a woman’s life constitute a threat to her “mental health”.

This is acknowledged even by the courts to be the case, despite voluminous research demonstrating that abortion has a serious, long-term negative impact on women’s mental health and increasing skepticism http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/new-study-says-pregnancy-is-safe-even-beneficial-for-women-recovering-from/  among the psychiatric community of the existence of any mental health benefits of abortion.

Just 0.006% of British abortions done to save mother’s life, or prevent serious injury

BY HILARY WHITE, ROME CORRESPONDENT Mon Aug 13, 2012 15:49 EST

WESTMINSTER, August 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Figures released by the Department of Health last week show that of the over 6 million abortions committed in England and Wales since legalization in 1967, 0.006 percent were performed with the intention of saving the life of the mother or preventing serious injury.

A total of 143 abortions have been obtained under the legal grounds allowing abortion “where the termination is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.” An additional 23,778 abortions, or 0.37 percent of the total abortions performed between 1968 and 2011, were committed because the continuance of pregnancy was deemed to constitute a “risk” to the life of the mother “greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.”

The information was released at the request of Lord David Alton, a former Labour and Liberal Democrat Party MP and now member of the House of Lords who sits on a parliamentary pro-life committee. Lord Alton wrote that when the case was made for legalizing abortion, it was argued that the law needed to be changed to “deal with extremely serious situations.”

“More than 6 million abortions later the figures reveal that in 99.5% of cases where an unborn child’s life is ended there is no risk to the health of the mother,” he said.

“Other figures reveal that three teenage girls have had 24 abortions between them and that some women have had more than eight legal abortions.”

The 1967 Abortion Act, under its current wording and including all amendments, allows abortion before 24 weeks gestation if there is deemed to be “a risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated,” of “injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family;” and to “prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.”

As well, if there is a “substantial risk” that the child suffers from “such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped,” he can be aborted up to the end of full gestation, though doctors are rarely willing to abort a late or full-term child.

Abortions must be approved by two doctors, though it was recently revealed that this rule is widely ignored.

These rules have been interpreted by both doctors and judges so broadly that pro-life observers maintain that they have effectively permitted abortion on demand up to 24 weeks.

In 2002, Lord Justice Laws said, “There is some evidence that many doctors maintain that the continuance of a pregnancy is always more dangerous to the physical welfare of a woman than having an abortion, a state of affairs which is said to allow a situation of de facto abortion on demand to prevail.”

Pro-life advocates have long maintained that there is no circumstance in which an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother.

Earlier this year an eminent Irish oncologist, professor and politician, who is himself not pro-life, wrotethat in all his years practicing he has never encountered a situation in which abortion was needed to save a mother’s life.

Dr. John Crown, who has lectured in 40 countries and is the author of 150 research papers told his Twitter followers that he had during his medical career faced some “hard decisions re: chemotherapy in pregnancy.”

However, he said, “I don’t think I ever had a case where abortion was necessary to save mom.”

Medical Ethics and Personhood

By Jon Russell, National Coordinator of Medical Students for Life of America

Human person at the point of fertilization.

After all the advancements in medical science, which show us that human life definitely begins at fertilization, abortion advocates and some in the pro-life movement struggle with the issue of personhood. They ask the question: “when does personhood begin?” While those who advocate for the legality of abortion often admit that they don’t know or care to know when the personhood of a human begins, some will acknowledge that the human embryo or fetus has personhood rights but then claim the rights of the mother carrying the child trump the rights of the child. While I’m looking forward to addressing this logically fallible argument in a future article, it’s not the subject for the day.

I want to address the small minority of pro-lifers who claim that the human embryo(s) created for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or used in embryonic stem cell research may not be persons because they were not conceived through sexual intercourse. Some of these pro-lifers such as well-known pro-life physician Dr. Paul Byrne have made the case that these human embryos, made outside of sexual intercourse, are soulless and therefore cannot be considered persons. This line of “soulless” thinking beckons the question, What if a child is born as a result of IVF? Does that “soulless” child have a right to life? This dangerous line of reasoning condemns every human created through in vitro fertilization and destroyed through embryonic stem cell research to be beyond the realm of our concern for persons.

Setting aside the deep ethical concerns many of us have about IVF or our disdain for the unproven science of embryonic stem cell research, if we accept the argument that we must defend every human beings life from “conception/fertilization to its natural end” but cannot state that personhood rights also begin with conception, then we will stand with our hands tied beside Dr. Byrne (and Planned Parenthood). Our premise of our entire human rights movement falls quickly apart. This is the very logical fallacy that abortion advocates suffer from; they don’t believe in determining when personhood begins for humans and therefor anyone can say rights begin at any time most convenient to them. This fallacy is what drives some philosophers to even claim that children may be “put to death” or “left to die” after birth until a random point in time when it is determined they have value, are conscience, or can have the mental capacity to want to live.

So why is having the discussion of personhood rights important? It is important because as science continues to advance, the human embryo will increasingly be the object of destruction. If we allow for and tolerate the destruction of any human embryo, we have lost the entire argument of the intrinsic value of every human person starting at the point of fertilization. To this point there can be no compromise.

 

Why Don’t Patients Stay in the U.S. for Stem Cell Treatments?

by Rebecca Taylor | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 8/1/12 3:08 PM

The United States has arguably the most advanced health care in the world. Which is why many Americans are surprised at how many of our fellow citizens are going abroad for stem cell treatments using their own adult stem cells. This is called an autologous stem cell transplant. So why is this autologous stem cell tourism happening and why are these stem cell treatments we keep hearing about not available in the United States?

Progressives often wrongly imply that it has to do with Bush’s restrictions on the funding of embryonic stem cell research. And since there is so much misinformation surrounding stem cell research, the public often believes that this is the case. In reality, this kind of stem cell tourism has absolutely nothing to do with that because these are autologous adult stem cell transplants not embryonic stem cell transplants.

The real reason is more complex than simple funding restrictions. It is because of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA. The FDA has categorized an autologous stem cell transplant as it would a drug and therefore autologous stem cell transplants must go through the same rigorous phase trials that a new drug would. From the FDA Regulation of Stem-Cell–Based Therapies in theNew England Journal of Medicine:

Any stem-cell–based product that contains cells or tissues that “are highly processed, are used for other than their normal function, are combined with non-tissue components, or are used for metabolic purposes” — and that includes most, if not all, of them — would also be subject to the Public Health Safety Act, Section 351, which regulates the licensing of biologic products and requires the submission of an investigational new drug application to the FDA before studies involving humans are initiated.

So because stem cells would be removed from the body and “processed” with components not from the patient to get them to grow, the FDA has ruled that an autologous stem cell transplant is like a drug.

Others disagree with this assessment basically taking the stance that because the stem cells come from the patient, they should not be considered a drug. From a press release from the former American Stem Cell Therapy Association (ASCTA) which changed its name to The International Cellular Medicine Society (ICMS):

“Many patients are dying or suffering daily with incurable diseases or problems that require major surgery. These patients should have access to basic adult stem cell therapy now.” stated Christopher J. Centeno, M.D, an ASCTA physician member. “ASCTA is establishing guidelines which will allow the safe use of the patient’s own adult stem cells under the supervision of doctors.” continued Centeno. Another ASCTA physician member, Frank Falco, M.D. stated, “The FDA’s position against someone using their own stem cells is taking it too far. We are talking about a person using their own tissue to treat a degenerative disorder or process safely without the use of medications or surgery. Although we agree that oversight and standards are necessary, this should be provided through a physician organization such as ASCTA rather than by a government agency.”

A U.S. District Court has now ruled that the FDA has the authority to regulate clinics in the U.S. that are offering autologous stem cell transplants. From New Scientist:

It’s official: stem cells are drugs. At least, that’s the opinion of the US district court in Washington DC, which has ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate clinics offering controversial stem cell therapies.

Treatments in which stem cells are harvested from bone marrow and injected straight back into the same patient are deemed part of routine medical practice – not regulated by the US government. But if the cells are subjected to more than “minimal manipulation”, the FDA maintains that the therapy becomes a “drug”, which must be specifically approved for use.

It was on this basis that in 2008 the FDA began moves to shut down Regenerative Sciences, a clinic in Broomfield, Colorado, that treats orthopaedic problems using a stem cell therapy called Regenexx.

Regenerative Sciences challenged the FDA’s authority to regulate its activities, setting the stage for a legal fight. In 2010, the FDA sought an injunction to take Regenexx off the market. This has now been granted in the court’s ruling.

Christopher Centeno, medical director of Regenerative Sciences, vows to appeal. “This is really round one,” he says. “Our position remains that a patient’s cells are not drugs.”

I am not a doctor and am not qualified to comment on whether the FDA policy is reasonable or whether the court made the correct ruling, but I can say that this is an important decision. On one hand, it may prevent charlatans with too-good-to-be-true claims from preying on sick Americans. On the other hand, it means that autologous stem cell transplants with potential to help patients will have to go through years of trials, just like drugs, to get FDA approval.

If nothing else, readers should be aware of the FDA policy so that next time someone wrongly states that Americans are going elsewhere for stem cell treatments because of Bush’s funding restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, you can correct them.

Two Men HIV-Free After New Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough

by Andrew Bair | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 7/30/12 10:50 AM

Adult stem cells are responsible for another incredible scientific breakthrough.

On Thursday at the AIDS 2012 Conference in Washington, DC, researchers unveiled that two HIV-positive men have been found to be HIV-free following bone marrow transplants. Researchers believe giving bone marrow transplants, which by nature involve the use of adult stem cells, to patients undergoing anti-retroviral therapy could potentially cure the AIDS-causing virus.

“We expected HIV to vanish from the patients’ plasma, but it is surprising that we can’t find any traces of HIV in their cells,” said Dr. Timothy Henrich, one of the researchers studying the two men. “It suggests that under the cover of anti-retroviral therapy, the cells that repopulated the patient’s immune system appear to be protected from becoming re-infected with HIV.”

Only time will tell if the two men have been permanently cured of the virus. “Studies over time including biopsies of lymphatic tissue would be required,” said Dr. Michael Saag, an infectious disease expert from University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The breakthrough bears similarities to the case of Timothy Ray Brown, known as “the Berlin patient,”who says he continues to be cured of HIV after receiving a transplant of cells found to have a genetic mutations making them HIV-resistant.

Bone marrow transplants mark one of the earliest uses of adult stem cells. The first successful one was performed in 1968. Today, they are used to treat a host of blood and bone marrow diseases, blood cancers, and immune disorders. Beyond their use in bone marrow transplants, adult stem cells are used to cure or treat nearly 80 diseases. In contrast to the widely successful adult stem cells, embryonic stem cell research requires taking the life of a living human embryo and has produced no success stories.

Recently, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum announced he would be a national spokesman for Give Cures- The John Paul II Stem Cell Research Institute, an organization committed to advancing ethical adult stem cell research.

Santorum said, “It’s exciting to be a part of innovative research that uses cutting-edge, disease-specific adult stem cells to find treatments for rare diseases and cancer. Human life at the earliest stage is still a life- valued, loved, and created by God, and I believe to use and kill a human embryo for research is wrong. Creating ethical stem cell lines for people with rare diseases is ethical and innovative.”