On December 19, Ohio passed the Down Syndrome Information Act, which requires medical professionals to distribute up-to-date, evidence-based information on Down syndrome to parents who receive the diagnosis, either prenatally or after birth, that their child has Down syndrome (DS). Included in the required material is contact information for support organizations and local resources available to the parents. The Down Syndrome Information Act (Sub. HB 552), sponsored by Rep. Peter Stautberg, was signed into law along with 39 other pieces of legislation by Governor John Kasich last Friday. The bill passed the House and Senate both times with no opposing votes this November and mid-December.
On Monday, December 22, Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) joined with Family Research Council (FRC) as cosignatories on comments filed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) regarding new federal rules from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Personnel Management on transparency in health insurance coverage of abortion. The comment covers two separate rulemakings, one of which concerns the general use of federal tax subsidies to purchase health insurance plans on the federal and state insurance exchanges, and another which addresses transparency with respect to certain multi-state plans (MSPs) managed by OPM under the Affordable Care Act.
A recent report on prenatal genetic screening from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has caused quite a stir. The report showed significant inaccuracies in non-invasive (i.e., using blood tests and not invasive means such as chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis) prenatal screening and told the stories of a number of women who chose to terminate based on these inaccurate test results. The report, which is the result of a three-month investigation by the group, found that prenatal testing companies are overselling the accuracy of their screening tests and doing little to inform parents and doctors of the major risk of unreliability of these test results – a circumstance that can lead to a multitude of problems.
Late last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released its annual Abortion Surveillance Report for 2011, revealing that abortion incidence is at its lowest level since the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973.
According to the data, 730,322 abortions were reported in 2011, down 5% from the previous year and 13% since 2002. Of the 48 areas reporting for both 2010 and 2011 (the District of Columbia and New York City included), 41 reported a decline in the abortion rate (i.e., number of abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age). Maine experienced the greatest dip with its rate decreasing from one year to the next by almost a quarter, and its state rate holding at almost half the national rate of 13.9.
The California based City of Hope, one of the country’s leading cancer research hospitals, recently sent out birthday greetings to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the nation’s leading funder — apart from the federal government – of stem cell research.
“On its 10th birthday, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine celebrated 10 stem cell therapies that have been approved for clinical trials, including an HIV/AIDS trial at City of Hope,” the message read.
The birthday greeting contained an unintended irony, for while CIRM was approved by California voters a decade ago to give priority funding to human embryonic stem cell research, eight of the 10 approved clinical trials referenced by City of Hope were for research projects using adult and other non-embryonic stem cells.
On November 20, the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Family Research Council launched a new website to expose which health insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges cover and do not cover elective abortion for the 2015 enrollment period. The website, ObamacareAbortion.com, is a joint effort between the two groups. Researchers have examined new plan documents, contacted insurance carriers and the exchanges seeking plan information. Here are some of the findings for select states.
This past week, a new campaign was launched in Dublin, Ireland seeking to end the use of the term “incompatible with life” to describe unborn children prenatally diagnosed with life-limiting conditions. The campaign, which is calling on the media as well as those in the medical and legal fields to stop using the term, is part of an effort by the group Every Life Counts, which represents families whose children have been diagnosed with such severe conditions as anencephaly and Trisomy 18.