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LIFE DIGEST: Reuters editor criticizes pro-life movement

WASHINGTON (BP)–A Washington news journalist could not restrain himself recently when he received a news release from the National Right to Life Committee.

The NRLC issued a response Aug. 26 to a New York federal judge’s decision to strike down the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The next morning, it received the following email reply from Todd Eastham, North American news editor for Reuters news service:

“What’s your plan for parenting & educating all the unwanted children you people want to bring into the world? Who will pay for policing our streets & maintaining the prisons needed to contain them when you, their parents & the system fail them? Oh, sorry. All that money has been earmarked to pay off the Bush deficit. Give me a frigging break, will you?”

One can only surmise Eastham believes it would be better for an unborn child to be killed than to be “unwanted.”

Eastham has written on political issues and the Roman Catholic Church, NRLC reported. On the subject of his ability as a journalist to deal justly with a contentious issue, NRLC provided its take:

“It is sad, but revealing, to see an editor for a major news service so casually and gratuitously express such blatant hostility to both the Bush administration and to the right to life of unborn children,” said Douglas Johnson, NRLC’s legislative director. “We can only wonder at how such vehement opinions may color Mr. Eastham’s reporting or editing on subjects such as abortion and the Bush administration.”

Reuters spokesman Stephen Naru said it was “unfortunate” an editor “chose to offer his personal opinion,” according to The Washington Post.

In the release, the NRLC contrasted the positions of President Bush and Democrat Party nominee John Kerry on the partial birth ban, as well as the impact of this year’s election on the Supreme Court’s make-up. Bush signed the bill into law, and Kerry voted against it six times.

CELLS TREAT ARTHRITIS –- Evidence continues to mount for the therapeutic power of non-embryonic stem cells.

Researchers at Northwestern University in suburban Chicago transplanted non-embryonic stem cells into a 52-year-old woman with rheumatoid arthritis in 38 joints. A year later, she is free of the disease, Reuters News Service reported Aug. 25. The stem cells were taken from the woman’s sister.

The August issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism includes a report on the successful procedure.

Stem cells are the body’s master cells that produce tissue and other cells. Extracting stems cells from adults and other non-embryonic sources, such as umbilical cord blood, does not harm the donor. Procuring stem cells from embryos, however, destroys the embryo.

Research using stem cells from non-embryonic sources already has produced successful treatments for more than 40 diseases and afflictions. Remedies have been reported for maladies such as heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries.

So far, embryonic stem cell research has produced no effective treatments in human beings and has had a tendency to generate tumors in laboratory animals.

WEIGHING SUICIDE -– Though only one in 1,000 Oregonians takes his life under the state’s physician assisted suicide law, nearly one in five terminally ill Oregon residents ponders suicide enough to talk to a family member about it.

Those results came from a survey conducted by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, The Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard reported Aug. 20.

The research found that 17 percent of terminally ill patients had discussed assisted suicide with a family member.

In other survey results, 41 percent of dying Oregon residents opposed assisted suicide, while 44 percent favored it. Fifteen percent were undecided The research also found that patients more likely to consider assisted suicide were younger, white, largely unreligious and afflicted with cancer.

IN DUTCH WITH PORTUGAL -– The Portuguese government appears determined to prevent the Dutch “abortion ship” from docking on its shores.

Defense Minister Paulo Portas reiterated Aug. 31 the government’s previous decision to use its naval vessels to block the Dutch ship from docking at the northern port city of Figueira da Foz, according to LifeNews.com. “From our point of view, the issue is closed,” Portas said.

Women on Waves, the organization that sponsors the abortion boat, plans to go to court in an attempt to remove the blockade. The converted tugboat was to sail in the direction of Lisbon and anchor just outside Portugal’s waters. A spokeswoman for WOW hinted that boats would transport Portuguese women to the abortion boat, LifeNews.com reported.

The abortion boat left The Netherlands Aug. 23 in violation of a Dutch court’s ruling that barred the boat from traveling beyond a 16-mile radius of Amsterdam. The purpose of the government order upheld in court is to keep the boat near enough to a hospital in case a woman needs care for a botched abortion.