LIFE DIGEST: Pro-lifers surpass pro-choicers again
WASHINGTON (BP)--Americans described themselves as more pro-life than pro-choice on abortion for the second straight year, according to a new Gallup Poll.
The survey showed 47 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-life, while 45 percent say they are pro-choice, Gallup reported May 14.
Gallup referred to the results -– first evidenced in May 2009 -- as the "new normal."
"While the two-percentage-point gap in current abortion views is not significant, it represents the third consecutive time Gallup has found more Americans taking the pro-life than pro-choice position on this measure since May 2009, suggesting a real change in public opinion," Gallup's Lydia Saad wrote. "By contrast, in nearly all readings on this question since 1995, and each survey from 2003 to 2008, more Americans called themselves pro-choice than pro-life."
Last May, Gallup's polling showed 51 percent of adults said they are pro-life, while 42 percent identified themselves as pro-choice. It was the first time a majority of Americans had called themselves pro-life since Gallup began asking the question in 1995. Until then, no poll had shown more than 46 percent of Americans saying they were pro-life.
In July 2009, the Gallup poll showed a 47 to 46 percent advantage for the pro-life identification over the pro-choice one.
The survey also found an increase in pro-life sentiments since 2005-06 among Republicans, independents who lean toward neither political party, Americans under 30 years of age and adults from 50-64.
CANADIAN PRO-LIFERS RALLY -- Canadian pro-life advocates gathered in record numbers May 13 in Ottawa to encourage Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take further action against abortion.
About 15,000 pro-lifers gathered in Canada's capital, making it the largest pro-life rally ever on Parliament Hill, some veteran participants said, according to the Toronto Star.
The crowd was emboldened by the Harper government's recent opposition to foreign aid for abortion. The Canadian government, which is hosting the G8 economic summit in June, has refused to include abortion in the maternal and child health initiative to be considered at the meeting, the Catholic and Family Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) reported. The host country traditionally establishes the agenda for the G8 summit.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the British government and Canadian abortion rights advocates have criticized the Harper government's position.
Last year, the Canadian International Development Agency eliminated abortion funding in foreign countries. It refused to renew contracts with the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, leading abortion providers globally.
At the Ottawa rally, Roman Catholic Cardinal Marc Ouellette of Quebec City called for "more courage" regarding abortion, saying "there is absolutely no protection for the unborn," the Star reported. He told the crowd, "The next step should be a reopening of the discussion about the legal situation of abortion in Canada."
ADULT STEM CELL SUCCESS -- British and Indian doctors have transplanted a new windpipe, or trachea, into a 10-year-old boy using his own non-embryonic, or adult, stem cells.
It marked the first time such a procedure has been performed in a child and the initial case of an entire trachea being transplanted, the UCL Institute of Child Health in Great Britain reported.
The transplant was conducted for a boy who has a rare congenital condition named Long Segment Tracheal Stenosis, which refers to a diminutive windpipe that will not develop. "It is like breathing through a straw and is a life threatening condition," according to the institute.
Doctors stripped a donated trachea of the donor's cells and injected stem cells from the boy's bone marrow into the trachea shortly before implanting it in the boy, the institute reported March 18.
Using the boy's own stem cells prevents possible problems with transplant rejection. Use of non-embryonic stem cells does not harm the donor.
The case is another success for non-embryonic stem cells, which have produced therapies in trials for at least 73 ailments in human beings, according to Do No Harm, a coalition promoting ethics in research. Embryonic stem cell research, which results from the destruction of human embryos, has yet to generate successful treatments in human beings.
W.VA. OKS ULTRASOUND LAW -- West Virginia has become the 20th state to enact a law providing pregnant women with an opportunity to see an ultrasound of their unborn babies before an abortion, according to the National Right to Life Committee.
Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, signed the measure into law May 17. It gives a woman seeking an abortion the choice of whether to see an ultrasound image of her child.
"Abortion is one of the most common, yet under regulated procedures performed in the United States," National Right to Life director of state legislation Mary Spaulding Balch said. "Accurate information empowers us to make informed decisions. We would never expect a person to undergo any procedure without having all possible information at their disposal before consenting. Abortion is no different. Women deserve to have all of the facts at their disposal before making the life and death decision that will affect themselves and their unborn children."
VA. LIMITS ABORTION FUNDS -- Virginia legislators have affirmed a proposal by new Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell to limit state funding of abortion, winning in the Democratic-controlled Senate by one vote.
On April 21, the Senate voted 20-19 for McDonnell's recommendation, which restricts funding for abortions to cases when the mother's life is endangered or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, according to The Washington Post. Previously, Virginia law permitted Medicaid funding for abortions to protect the mother's health, which provided a loophole for the procedure in a wide range of cases.
Virginia law enables a governor to recommend amendments to bills approved by the General Assembly.
Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.