Weekly Review

Fetal Research, Pro-Life Setback, Weekly Standard Shutters, Defining Sex, and Remembering Beethoven

No More Fetal Research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will spend up to $20 million over the next two years to develop research methods that don’t use tissue from aborted babies. Government-funded research has relied on fetal tissue for years, but the NIH said, “new technologies raise the potential of reconstituting these model systems without fetal tissue.” The move came in part as a result of activism by pro-life members of Congress. They wrote letters this fall to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, asking him to end all of the department’s involvement with research using fetal tissue. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., led the effort. He said, “NIH has taken an important step by encouraging the development of ethical alternatives to fetal tissue research. Research that exploits even one unborn child is barbaric and unconscionable. I continue to urge HHS to stop funding research that uses fetal tissue from elective abortions.”

Pro-Life Setback. Pro-life advocates were disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up a case that could have defunded Planned Parenthood. The Supreme Court refused to hear Gee v. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast, originating from Louisiana, and Andersen v. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, coming from Kansas. According to WORLD, “In both cases, state officials sought to reallocate Medicaid funds to organizations such as federally qualified health centers rather than Planned Parenthood, and the nation’s largest abortion provider (along with several of its clients) sued to keep its funding.” Lower courts said the states could not defund Planned Parenthood, though rulings in other cases seem to come to different conclusions. By refusing to take the cases, these lower court rulings stand. “This is something that the states are asking for guidance on. It’s something that they need to know,” Catherine Glenn Foster, CEO of Americans United for Life, told WORLD. “We believe they will sort it out sooner rather than later. But until they do, the states are really flying blind.”

No Standard. The Weekly Standard is no more. Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes founded the conservative magazine in 1995. During the George W. Bush administration, it gained a reputation as being the “in-flight magazine of Air Force One.” That said, its circulation never rose about 100,000, which it reached in 2012. It’s been in decline since, and even more so since 2016, when criticizing Donald Trump became an editorial focus. “This is a volatile time in American journalism and politics,” Editor-in-chief Stephen Hayes wrote in a letter to employees. “Many media outlets have responded to the challenges of the moment by prioritizing affirmation over information, giving into the pull of polarization and the lure of clickbait.”

Defining Sex. Organizations representing 30,000 Christian and conservative health professionals want the Trump Administration to standardize a scientific definition of sex. The American College of Pediatricians, the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, and the Catholic Medical Association, sent a letter to the Trump Administration asking government agencies to adopt a uniform legal definition of sex “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” Pro-LGBT groups immediately responded. Diana Flynn of the LGBT activist group Lambda Legal called the proposal “another ideologically driven attempt by the Trump administration to marginalize people and force them into the shadows.”

Milestones. Yesterday was the anniversary of the 1770 baptism of Ludwig van Beethoven. If you’ve never seen “Crescendo,” the remarkable short movie loosely based on his mother’s struggles before he was born, take 15 minutes and watch it here. My friend Jason Jones produced the movie, and it has raised millions for the pro-life movement around the country. John Stonestreet and I tell Jason’s story, and the story of the movie, in our book “Restoring All Things.”


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