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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Alpha News And So Called "Breaking" Information

Category: Women's Issues
Posted: 09/29/15 16:34

by Dave Mindeman

Alpha News is a pro-GOP, pro-conservative online news network. They have been trying to grab headlines with "investigative" stories that try to slant the perspective toward that conservative viewpoint.

There isn't anything particularly wrong with that if they are factual and you know their inherent bias.

But today's "story" is a bit over the top. Alpha News puts it this way:


Of course, the tie-in here is that fetal tissue purchases are the tag line used in the Center for Medical Progress abortion videos.

Alpha News says they "discovered" fetal tissue purchases....

Alpha News contacted the University of Minnesota on September 2nd after discovering online records of purchase orders with "Advanced Bioscience Resources Inc." listed as a vendor. We were provided copies of the purchase orders today which indicated the University purchased fetal tissue from the vendor from 2008-2014.

Now, I have to ask, is this really news at all?

Fetal tissue research sales is not some sudden new phenomenon. The University of Minnesota is, by definition, a research institution and would most likely cooperate in other research facility projects. Alpha News could have obtained any of these invoices, as the paragraph states, within the last 7 years, if they had wanted to....or anyone else for that matter.

So, it is not breaking news. It is just being packaged that way so that more people will now pay attention to this area of research.

In reality, this is just another indication that this isn't just about some "devious" Planned Parenthood activity. It is really about fetal tissue research and whether or not we want to or need to do this.

Alpha News, the House Congressional Committee, or MCCL can package this in any manner they want. They can use scary language or scary pictures or plenty of righteous indignation....but the facts remain the same. This has been debated before. It has been vetted by the people who make these decisions. It is legal and to many researchers, vitally necessary to make the breakthroughs needed to find treatments for some of our most devastating diseases.

I wish the rhetoric would at least be directed to the right discussion. These attacks on Planned Parenthood are unwarranted and threaten a valuable service organization that helps the poor.

Those are the "breaking" facts.

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Abortion Outrage? Simple Solution Is End The Research

Category: Women's Issues
Posted: 09/25/15 14:56

by Dave Mindeman

Abortion politics roils Washington and a number of state legislatures. The current furor is fueled by the Center for Medical Progress....a name which is a complete misnomer.

Carly Fiorina used these tapes to make a name for herself in the debates. Although, like the tapes themselves, the truth was one of the casualties.

And even Speaker Boehner's decision to step down has roots in the latest abortion outrage caused by these tapes.

As usual, the social conservative right concentrates on gruesome descriptions and outrageous insinuations to fuel anger and indignation. There is no discussion about the other side of this.

First of all, legal abortion is in place because abortion would occur regardless of law. Legalizing it has stopped the back alley deaths that most assuredly would go on if the legality was eliminated. It IS a women's health issue because the abortion procedure is never going to go away...legal or not. Women's lives can depend on a safe medical procedure.

Secondly, I find the outrage over the use of fetal tissue to be highly hypocritical. If these procedures are so outrageous, then ban it. Ban all of it. End the research. Stop the potential breakthroughs. Stop blaming Planned Parenthood and objectifying them with your outrage. It can end quite simply. Ban fetal tissue research.

If the social conservative right is comfortable with taking away the hope of many disease sufferers have in this type of research, then by all means do it. End all of it and explain that decision to the people affected.

I am tired of the self-righteous indignation that engulfs this issue. There is a choice here....unlike the choice you want to take away from women in general....but it is a choice.

Stop the research. Or, please, shut up.
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Planned Parenthood Investigation? Then Also Talk Ending Research

Category: Women's Issues
Posted: 07/23/15 18:49, Edited: 07/23/15 18:51

by Dave Mindeman

Our MN House GOP members want an investigation of Planned Parenthood. They have formally asked Governor Dayton to authorize it.

Fortunately he quickly refused the bait.

While they admit that Boehner already will have Congress investigate any "violation" of Federal Law, for some reason these GOP legislators think that a Minnesota investigation is warranted as well.

And for what reason? If it is a Federal issue that needs to be investigated, by what authority would this request be issued? Minnesota has its own statute, but this "video" didn't take place in Minnesota and there has never been any allegation that any Minnesota clinics have violated any laws.

But let's get back to basics here. This "investigative" video was done over a year ago. If they truly felt Federal violations involved, why wait a year. Why didn't they go public and try to stop the practice immediately?

It's because there were no violations. Planned Parenthood was operating within the law with procedures that are not common but have been done for nearly two decades. Republicans know this - they just want another talking point. Another outrage to have.

Maybe the GOP wants to stop this research. But it has been scrutinized before....

Fetal tissue research was initially allowed under specific conditions and approval by a government Ethics Advisory Board (EAB).

A moratorium was in place for awhile as this same type of discussion came to national attention, but it was reinstated in 1993.

And why has it continued? Because important medical breakthroughs have come as a result. Many of our vaccines have come via this research...and current potential breakthroughs in Parkinson's and similar disorders have made significant progress with fetal tissue research.

Similar type discussions have come because of embryonic stem cell research. And potential medical breakthroughs have been even more promising in that regard.

But there is a lot of discomfort about the processes. Planned Parenthood has followed all the guidelines that have been meticulously discussed and put into best practices. And they only act as one part of the conduits for obtaining the fetal tissue. The law also stipulates that payment for the costs involved are legally justified. Planned Parenthood does not profit from any of this.

This video, a year in the making, is simply meant to make this issue as uncomfortable as possible. The editing of the video made every effort to make the doctor sound as callous as possible.

But there is no investigation needed. Nothing in that video showed any type of lawbreaking. The discussion was uncomfortable, but there were certainly no illegalities to this.

So, let's say that all this publicity and choreographed "revelations" succeed in changing the law so that no fetal research happens. That won't stop the abortions. They will continue.

But they will now have to explain to the millions of people who suffer from diseases that could find improvements from fetal tissue research happening now and should continue if the laws are left alone....that their hope must end.

Tell the Parkinson's sufferers. Tell those with spinal cord injuries. Tell those with ALS. Tell the future that new vaccines will no longer be researched and implemented.

We grapple with medical ethics all the time. We had discussions like this when organ transplants were not the routine procedures they are today.

If you want to end the fetal tissue research practices, yes, you can do that. But if you want that debate, then also discuss the trade offs that are necessary. The research into disease progress that must end. The sufferings of people with long term illnesses that will continue without hope. Be honest about that as well.

I know the MN GOP is always looking to get that knee jerk response that can give them a political edge on abortion issues. But, for once, try not to grandstand on an issue that needs a more reasoned discussion.

That's probably a lot to ask -- since this "outrage" was over a year in the making and cost a lot of time and money to stage.

But for once, just try.
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