web grab.jpgby JivinJ, host of the blog, JivinJehoshaphat

  • The federal government denied a request from the state of Texas which would have prevented Medicaid patients from using family planning money at abortion clinic:

    As for the state’s request to ban clinics that perform abortions from getting money through the Women’s Health Program under a separate Medicaid waiver, [Cindy] Mann [director of the federal Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services] said it violated federal law.

    “Medicaid does not pay for abortions and will not pay for abortions,” Mann said. “The issue here is not whether Medicaid funding is involved, but whether a state can restrict access to a qualified health provider simply because they provide other services that Medicaid doesn’t pay for. The law does not permit this.”

    “We are disappointed in the decision, which is inconsistent with federal law that gives states the authority to establish qualifications for Medicaid providers,” said Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for Texas Health and Human Services.

  • The Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn writes about Kathleen Sebelius’ plan to impose a contraceptive coverage mandate on employers, including Catholic employers:

    Whether you approve or disapprove of contraception or sterilization is beside the point. Today nine out of 10 employer plans offer what Mrs. Sebelius wants them to. The point is whether it is right or necessary for Mrs. Sebelius to use the federal government to bring the other 10% to heel.

    There was a day when liberals and libertarians appreciated the importance of upholding the freedoms of people and groups with unpopular views. No longer. As government expands, religious liberty is reduced to a special “exemption” and concerns about government coercion are dismissed, in the memorable words of Nancy Pelosi, as “this conscience thing.”

  • Another study with iPS cells out of Stanford shows how their potential to be used to model genetic diseases far outreaches embryonic stem cells due to the ease of obtaining them from patients with genetic disease as opposed to attempting to find embryos with genetic diseases, then kill them and obtain their embryonic stem cells:

    Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have shown that iPS cells, viewed as a possible alternative to human embryonic stem cells, can mirror the defining defects of a genetic condition — in this instance, Marfan syndrome — as well as embryonic stem cells can. An immediate implication is that iPS cells could be used to examine the molecular aspects of Marfan on a personalized basis. Embryonic stem cells, on the other hand, can’t do this because their genetic contents are those of the donated embryo, not the patient’s.

    This proof-of-principle regarding the utility of induced pluripotent stem cells also has more universal significance, as it advances the credibility of an exciting approach that’s been wildly acclaimed by some and viewed through gimlet eyes by others: the prospect of using iPS cells in modeling a broad range of human diseases. These cells, unlike ESCs, are easily obtained from virtually anyone and harbor a genetic background identical to the patient from which they were derived. Moreover, they carry none of the ethical controversy associated with the necessity of destroying embryos.

[Photo via CatholicVote.org]

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