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World Congress of Families: Family Update, Online!

Volume 05  Issue 24

15 June 2004

Topic: Reagan on Research 

Family Fact: Reagan

Family Quotes: Research?

Family Research Abstract: Sobered into Fidelity

Family Fact of the Week: Reagan

"Now therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death, and I do proclaim, ordain, and declare that I will take care that the Constitution and laws of the United States are faithfully executed for the protection of America's unborn children...."

(Source:  Ronald Reagan, Emancipation Proclamation of Preborn Children. January 14, 1988, quoted in "Weekly News Recap," The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity; .)

Family Quotes of the Week: Research?

"...Any cloning seems like the slippery slope, and some argue that we should see if adult stem cells may someday do the regenerative trick. But "someday" doesn't help today's victims. Support is growing for federal regulation of new reproductive techniques, combined with approval of the use in medical research of some of the several hundred thousand frozen embryos that are stored in fertilization clinics and likely to be destroyed.

Here is where the ghost of Ronald Reagan comes in. Nancy Reagan has for some time advocated bringing the talents and financial muscle of the National Institutes of Health to bear on diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes."

(Source:  William Safire, "Reagan's Next Victory," The New York Times, June 7, 2004;

"Safire urged President Bush to open the federal-funding spigots to embryonic-stem-cell research and, more ominously, to legalize research into human cloning as a medical treatment (while still outlawing the creation of cloned children). In doing so, he summarily dismissed the prospect for cures being derived from adult-stem-cell and related research - as cloning proponents almost always do....

The problems with ESCR and therapeutic cloning are fundamental and complex. Some may be intractable. In contrast, adult therapies are making tremendous strides. But apparently, these facts don't count for much in a society that increasingly looks to science as a religion and biotechnologists as its new high priests. In such a milieu, empirical analysis is trumped by the hyped promise of cures every time."

(Source: Wesley J. Smith, "Cell Wars: The Reagans' suffering and hyped promises," National Review Online, June 08, 2004;

Family Research Abstract of the Week: Sobered into Fidelity

Tragedy can sweep away selfish illusions by providing a harrowing reminder of the abiding importance of marital and family ties.  Thus, after the horror of 9/11, the national media reported soaring marriage rates in many areas.  And now, almost a decade after the fact, researchers at the University of North Texas and University of Oklahoma have documented a sharp regional decline in divorce rates in the years after the bloody Oklahoma City bombing of April 1995.

By carefully parsing divorce data from all 77 Oklahoma counties from 1985 to 2000, the Texas and Oklahoma scholars clearly establish that in over 60% of the counties, divorce rates ran "lower...than the prevailing 10-year cubic divorce trend would have predicted."  "The decline in divorce in the entire state of Oklahoma...," the researchers note, "was reliably greater during the 1- to 2-year period following the bombing (1996 and 1997), with the effect dampening over time."  The authors of the new study calculate that approximately 750 fewer divorces occurred in the state during 1996 and 669 fewer occurred during 1997 than the 10-year trend-line would have predicted.

The researchers wish to "avoid the implication that the Oklahoma City bombing was the complete and only causal agent" in the divorce decline they have documented.  However, they do point out that "divorce rates decreased most noticeably following the bombing in the general Oklahoma City metropolitan area (i.e., Oklahoma County) and its adjacent counties where thousands of persons experienced firsthand the physical and emotional destruction of the bombing."  

To explain why the Oklahoma City bombing depressed regional divorce rates, the researchers invoke "both terror management theory and attachment theory," which both predict that the trauma of violence may cause "individuals...who might have divorced otherwise [to seek] the comfort and support of the person with whom life was shared, the spouse, by keeping the marital relationship intact."  

Americans less addicted to sociological jargon might interpret the new research findings by simply acknowledging that when calamity strikes, it profoundly sobers up those affected.   The latest study, in fact, offers additional evidence of the family-reinforcing effects of such sobriety: the researchers note that as divorce rates declined "births increased in Oklahoma after the Oklahoma City bombing starting 10 months following the bombing." 

(Source: Paul A. Nakonezny, Rebecca Reddick, and Joseph Lee Rodgers, "Did Divorces Decline After the Oklahoma City Bombing?" Journal of Marriage and Family 66 [2004]: 90-100.)

For More Information

The Howard Center and The World Congress of Families stock a number of pro-family books, including Guaranteeing the Good Life: Medicine and the Return of Eugenics, part of the Encounter Series, edited by Richard John Neuhaus. Please visit:

    The Howard Center Bookstore   

 Call: 1-815-964-5819    USA: 1-800-461-3113    Fax: 1-815-965-1826    Contact: Bookstore 

934 North Main Street Rockford, Illinois 61103


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