The council members from what is widely considered one of the country's most liberal cities took the unusual action Dec. 8 to express their disapproval after the representatives voted for a pro-life amendment to a health care reform bill. That amendment bars government coverage of abortions in the "public option" and prohibits federal subsidies for lower-income people in private insurance plans that cover abortions.
Sixty-four Democrats -- including the 20 pro-choice advocates cited by the Berkeley City Council -- joined 176 Republicans Nov. 7 in voting 240-194 for the pro-life amendment by Reps. Bart Stupak, D.-Mich., and Joe Pitts, R.-Pa.
Berkeley council member Gordon Wozniak was the lone dissenter. Wozniak said he believed the use of a coat hanger was improper and could harm the California city, according to the Associated Press.
P.P. CAUGHT AGAIN - Employees of Planned Parenthood, the country's No. 1 abortion practitioner, continue to provide deceptive information, according to the latest investigative video from the student organization Live Action.
Undercover video released Dec. 9 shows a counselor at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Appleton, Wis., providing erroneous information about fetal development to a young woman posing as a client. The secretly recorded video shows the counselor telling a young woman posing as 10 weeks pregnant that her "fetus" will not have a heartbeat until the 17th or 18th week of pregnancy. A heartbeat in an unborn child normally begins about three weeks into development.
"A fetus is what's in the uterus right now," the counselor says, as recorded by the camera. "That is not a baby."
The edited video -- available at www.liveaction.org -- also shows a doctor telling the woman she is not carrying a baby. Undergoing an abortion will be "much safer than having a baby," he says. "You know, women die having babies."
"Planned Parenthood, while claiming to support patient self-determination, operates with an 'abortion-first mentality,'" said Lila Rose, 21, a UCLA student and president of Live Action, upon release of the video.
A similar undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood that began in 2008 showed staff members circumventing the law. Employees at seven PPFA affiliates in five states -- Alabama, Arizona, California, Indiana and Tennessee -- were caught on video seeking to cover up alleged child sexual abuse.
ADULT CELLS HELP HEART -- Adult stem cells can repair heart damage, according to new research on human beings.
The 10-university study provides the clearest evidence to date that adult stem cells can transform into heart cells to repair damage from a heart attack, researchers said, according to The Miami (Fla.) Herald.
Robert Simari, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who did not participate in the research, told The Herald, "This is an exciting first step in a direction many thought cell therapy couldn't go."
After being injected with adult stem cells and observed for six months, the patients, in contrast to patients who were not treated with such cells, were "four times as likely to have improved overall condition" and had "only one quarter as many dangerous heart arrhythmias," according to The Herald.
FRENCH REJECT EUTHANASIA -- The French National Assembly recently defeated legislation that would have legalized euthanasia.
During the week of Nov. 29-Dec. 5, legislators voted 326-202 against the measure. The proposal said "all adults in an advanced or terminal phase of a serious and incurable illness which involves physical or psychic suffering which cannot be treated and which they feel is unbearable, may ask for medical help, under strict conditions, to die with dignity," according to BioEdge, a bioethics news website.
Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.
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