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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Turkey Day Travelers Brace For Rough Journey; 6,000 People Still Missing in Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; Erasing Bad Memories
Aired November 22, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone. Glad to have you with us.
Tonight, we have got vital, up-to-the-minute information for the millions of you who are just about to head out on the roads or to the airports for your turkey day travels.
ZAHN: Are we there yet?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here I am, in the rush.
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ZAHN: Thanksgiving is coming, and so is the bad weather.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flight we were on was canceled at noon.
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ZAHN: If it's this bad today, what will tomorrow be like?
Who is your daddy? -- the startling story of brothers and sisters...
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like finding the lost-love siblings you never had.
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ZAHN: ... with nothing in common except the anonymous man who was their father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you guarantee the anonymity of the donors?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I think I would be misleading if we say we absolutely guarantee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: The search for sperm donor 66.
And, if you had the choice, would you take a pill to erase your worst memories?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not playing god. It's helping you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: It's closer than you think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This could very well become one of the newest lifestyle drugs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: What would you like to forget?
And before we get to the holiday travel troubles, I want to give you the very latest on a developing story that might be causing some big worries out in the Pacific Northwest.
Just a few hours ago, an ominous looking plume rose above Mount Saint Helens in Washington state. It was even seen as far away as Portland, Oregon. The U.S. Geological Survey says this is actually a plume of dust kicked up by falling rocks. The mountain, which exploded catastrophically back in 1980, has been slowly building up a lava dome since last month.
And scientists do say, a more explosive eruption, possibly dropping ash within a 10-mile radius of the crater, is possible at any time. But they say this isn't it. And they will keep on watching and keep us posted.
Now to the story that has millions of people's attention all over the country tonight -- we're counting down to Thanksgiving, but, first, we have to get through tomorrow, which is the busiest travel day of the year. An estimated 37 million Americans are planning Thanksgiving getaways of 50 miles or more.
And, at least six million of them will be crowding into airports. But, believe it or not, 83 percent of this year's holiday travelers are going by car, despite gas prices well over $2 a gallon. And, as you can see, traffic is a mess in Denver already, as seen in the little left box, as well as downtown Los Angeles, which is on the right.
We have got our eyes on the highways and the skyways. And we have got two forecasts you need to hear tonight before you start your trip.
Allan Chernoff is watching what's up at the airports.
But we are going to get started with meteorologist Bonnie Schneider at the CNN Weather Center.
There is some bad weather to talk about tonight, isn't there?
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, absolutely, Paula.
As we take a look at the Northeast, it's kind of the tail end of a nor'easter, but still wreaking havoc on much of the region. As far west as Cleveland, Ohio, into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we are seeing snow. And, as we look at temperatures, it's cold enough to get black ice tonight, a lot of ice on the roadways if you're driving, as a -- a lot of folks will be.
The temperature has certainly dropped below freezing, not to mention the -- the fact that, within the next six hours, we're expecting an inch of snow in Pittsburgh. So, keep that in mind for even early-morning trouble, because there will be snow on the roads.
As we slide off further to the east, check things out into New England. A lot more snow is expected in the mountains of New Hampshire, up to four inches. It's snowing currently in Burlington, Vermont -- raining ahead of the system. But a lot of this will change over to snow.
And you can see that line right through central Maine, where we're expecting some change-over and certainly some icing happening as well. And, as we look towards low temperatures this evening, many locations will drop below freezing. We have temperatures right now dropping down in D.C. to about 32 degrees.
And, as we look towards this evening, even though the nor'easter has cleared out, as far as rain goes, for New York City, look what's happening. We still have very strong winds, northwesterly winds sustained at 23 miles per hour. We had gusts as strong as 40 miles per hour. And that is why there are still airport delays currently this evening at JFK, La Guardia, Newark, down through Philadelphia, and up towards Boston Logan.
Even if you don't have the rain, Paula, and you have the strong winds, the airports certainly can still get backlogged.
ZAHN: Another story -- excuse me -- storm brewing for tomorrow -- where is that going to hit?
SCHNEIDER: Well, Paula, this is a completely different storm. It's an Alberta Clipper, zipping down from Canada, pulling down much colder air behind it. This one will affect much of the Great Lakes for tomorrow.
In fact, as we look towards travel delays anticipated for Wednesday, look at these cities, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, where it's snowing right now. And, out on the west, we are looking at delays for Seattle as well, unrelated to the snow.
But, speaking of Chicago, this is very interesting. Not only are we going to see snow showers -- not really accumulating to much, just a dusting -- but strong wind. That will contribute to delays -- and, obviously, Chicago, a major airport.
But, then, Thursday, the temperatures plummet into the 20s. Due to the windchill factor, it will feel like it's in the teens. And this holds true for Detroit as well. So, if you're traveling to any of these cities, bundle up. It's going to get a lot colder. And, in New York City, too, we're looking at colder temperatures for Thanksgiving -- Paula.
ZAHN: Bonnie Schneider, thanks for the warning. Appreciate it.
So, the weather is already playing havoc with people's flight plans.
Let's turn to Allan Chernoff, who has been keeping an eye on the airports for us. He joins us live from New York's La Guardia Airport, where there are significant delays already.
How big of a mess is this holiday going to be?
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, already, it is quite a mess.
In fact, just about every single flight anticipated here into La Guardia for American Airlines is currently delayed. People who want to fly out to Dallas, they have been waiting for two hours and 45 minutes, and, tomorrow, likely to be more of the same, that wind that Bonnie was talking about, also the possibility of snow late in the day, likely to be more delays at La Guardia.
Down in Atlanta, it's supposed to be windy. That certainly would lead to delays also, certainly delays upon arrival -- and, in Chicago, a major mess. They will be deicing the planes, if indeed it is as cold as the forecast is calling for. And they also are talking about wind, snow -- obviously, major delays over in Chicago as well.
ZAHN: So, do you have any suggestions to help people shave some time off their travel schedules this holiday?
CHERNOFF: Well, Paula, of course, there's only so much that you can do. So much of this is out of our control.
But you certainly can embrace technology. And that would mean, first of all, on the airlines' Web site, you can print your boarding pass in advance. Or, if you come to the airport, at least you can use the kiosks here to print everything out -- no need to wait at those ticket counters.
Of course, the airlines don't have as many ticket agents as they used to have. And, of course, also, that will let you go directly to the gate. And, keep in mind, with all these delays, you want to call ahead, check to see if there is a delay, check on the check-in time for your actual flight. That can at least save you some time waiting here at the airport.
ZAHN: Always good to hear that advice over and over again.
Allan Chernoff, have a good holiday. Thanks.
We -- of course, we can't do anything about the weather. But here's one more thing that might help you get on to your plane a little bit sooner. The Transportation Security Administration has a new checklist to keep you from being delayed by the ever-changing rules at airport checkpoints.
Here are some of the highlights: Don't wrap any gifts. Take laptops and video cameras out of their cases. And carry on your undeveloped film, because if you put it in your checked baggage, it's likely to get zapped. You do not have to take your shoes off anymore. Leave them on. But remember to go through your pockets. Cigarette lighters, pocket knives and weapons are still not allowed.
And the TSA says, if you have to go through additional screening, you can ask that it be done in private.
Now I want to shift our focus to New Orleans and the news we were all shocked to learn today, that, almost three months after Hurricane Katrina, more than 6,000 people are considered still missing. That's right, more than 6,000 still missing. It's a breathtaking number.
And we sent our Ed Lavandera to find out more. He has been working this story all day long. And he has just filed a report for us on what he found.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's slow and tedious work. A New Orleans Fire Department search-and-rescue team hunts for a missing person possibly still left behind in this home. The dogs pick up on a scent, but it's not clear what might be left in the rubble.
STEVE GLYNN, NEW ORLEANS FIRE DEPARTMENT: There's just so much here that the dogs tend to get a little confused sometimes.
LAVANDERA: The rescue team will return and continue their search, removing the debris one piece at a time. This is what it takes to find the missing in Katrina's wake, searching one street, one house, one room at a time.
GLYNN: We are going to try to account for every person that we have listed as missing. And we will do whatever -- whatever we can. We are going to -- we are going to clear every one of those houses, if that's what it -- what it takes.
LAVANDERA (on camera): The number of people still mission is staggering. Just look at the Web sites for the national centers for missing adults and missing children.
These groups report that there are 6,627 people still unaccounted for in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast region. Fourteen hundred of these cases are considered high-risk.
(voice-over): Those kinds of numbers are exactly why Saint Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stephens and other officials were angered when the federal government called off active searches for bodies earlier this month.
Teams are now back on the streets looking for victims, but not before many people returned home to make gruesome discoveries.
JACK STEPHENS, SAINT BERNARD PARISH SHERIFF: Unfortunately, my worst fears were proven true, in that people were coming home and discovering casualties. In some cases, they were family members. In some cases, they were people they didn't even know that sought refuge in a house.
LAVANDERA: The hope is, the vast majority of people on the missing-persons list are alive and well, just scattered around the country.
KYM PASQUALINI, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING ADULTS: If they made a report and they have since located their loved one, if they could just give us a call back and let us know that their loved ones has been located, I'm certain that we would close out many of these cases.
LAVANDERA: There is reason to be hopeful, as Mary Margaret Mouledous just discovered. For the last three months, she's been looking for her friend Janet Droerey (ph). She just found out she evacuated to Texas.
MARY MARGARET MOULEDOUS, RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS: When she left, she didn't think to even bring her phone book with her with all her phone numbers and everything on it. And she said: But I have been thinking about you ever since it happened.
LAVANDERA: A phone call to her friend.
MOULEDOUS: Tell her this is Margaret.
LAVANDERA: And, with that discovery, one more missing person is crossed off the list. But there are still 6,620 other names to go.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, New Orleans.
ZAHN: And then there's this.
To give you an idea of just how slow and painstaking this search is, New Orleans firefighters say they have found 30 bodies since October 10 and that it usually takes half-a-day to officially clear just one house.
Coming up, a 26-year-old teacher who's just been fired, not for anything she has done in the classroom, but because she's pregnant, single, and was teaching at a Catholic school.
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MICHELLE MCCUSKER, TEACHER: I also don't understand how a religion that prides itself on being forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant and choosing to have this baby.
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ZAHN: Some people are outraged. I will be talking to the man who is defending the school's action.
But, next, the startling developments in a story we have been following for some time now. Stay with us for some new details about the teenage girl who ran off with her boyfriend after he allegedly killed her parents. What was she doing at the time of those murders?
And, then, a little bit later on, a family with a very unusual reason to be thankful this holiday -- they just discovered they are sperm donor babies, different mothers, but the same secret father.
ZAHN: I have some new information for you now on that chilling murder investigation in Pennsylvania, the case of an 18-year-old accused of murdering the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend and then running off with her.
Well, today, the girl's lawyer says she did not know that her boyfriend was going to kill her parents.
Our Jason Carroll has been working this dramatic story all day long, digging for new details about the girl and her actions that night.
Tonight, here's what he has found.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the image of Kara Borden that the public has come to know. It was the moment when police finally caught 14-year-old Borden and her 18-year-old boyfriend, David Ludwig, the young man who had allegedly murdered her parents.
As detectives piece together details of the case, they have been trying to answer questions: Why would Borden, as she admitted in an affidavit, willingly go with Ludwig to start a new life, even after he allegedly shot her father and mother? Was she somehow involved in the murders?
(on camera): To answer those questions, detectives are looking into Borden's past, essential trying to create a portrait of the teenager.
(voice-over): Borden and her family moved to the small community of Lititz, Pennsylvania, from North Carolina eight years ago -- their house not far from the town's picturesque Main Street.
Borden was homeschooled. And, according to friends, she met Ludwig through a small network of students. Like many teens, Borden used the Internet to express herself. On one of her earlier Web site, she wrote that her interests included Jesus, church, her youth group, family and soccer -- her occupation, artist.
On a later Web site, God was still an interest, but she also included boys, her expertise, Borden writes, baby-sitting and guys. ] Borden attended this church and youth group meetings. But those who know her say she became less involved with those meetings the more she became involved with Ludwig.
For the 14-year-old, that involvement apparently became very serious. Affidavits show the couple had a sexual relationship. Police recovered digitally-stored images of Kara Borden in various stages of undress from Ludwig's home.
Dr. Walt Mueller, who lives in the area, has counseled teens and parents in times of crisis, including during the Columbine incident.
DR. WALT MUELLER, CENTER FOR PARENT/YOUTH UNDERSTANDING: All that I think we can take away from this, as parents, is that, at -- at some level, we need to realize that we need to be very actively involved in the lives of our kids, understand their world, understand the -- the different pressures that they're facing out there, and be realistic about that.
CARROLL: In pictures from her parents' funeral, Borden appears composed. Her attorney continues to say she, too, is a victim.
ZAHN: Well, I guess that depends on who you talk to, Jason.
Her attorney, on one hand, says she was simply a witness to the murders, that she had nothing though do with the murders themselves. And, yet, you have been doing some digging around. What do we really know about her actions the night of her parents' murders?
CARROLL: Well, we definitely know, according to the affidavits, that she was inside the house, as well as her little sister Katelyn. She did hear the shots being fired.
Her little sister Katelyn actually saw her parents being shot. And, at one point, Ludwig shouted out Kara Borden's name. He was -- repeatedly shouted her name inside the house. She had gone outside the house. And when she saw him in the car, according to her own statements that she gave to detectives, she ran up to the car. She ran up to him, saying she wanted to get inside with him and go as far away as possible -- Paula.
ZAHN: So, do you expect that someone is going to try to implicate her in the murders themselves?
CARROLL: I think that's a question that a lot of people are asking.
I think, at this point, this is an investigation that is far from over. Detectives definitely are probably going to want to talk to her at length again. As you know, they have already spoken to her once before, at least once before. If you speak to her attorney, he continues to say this is not a case about the 14-year-old Kara Borden; this is a case about Ludwig.
I think it's one of those things that we are just simply going to have to wait and see how the investigation plays itself out -- Paula.
ZAHN: We will be counting on you for all the new details.
Jason Carroll, thanks so much.
And there is a brand-new controversy involving a teacher here in New York. She isn't married, but she's pregnant, and now she's been fired. Coming up, has the Catholic school where she worked gone too far?
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DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Deborah Feyerick at the largest sperm bank in the world. Inside these tanks, 20,000 potential babies, but what happens if they grow up and decide they want to know who's their daddy?
That coming up on PAULA ZAHN NOW.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: As we speak, a 26-year-old preschool teacher in New York is taking on the Catholic Church. She says she was fired because she's pregnant and single.
Here's Mary Snow.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's 18 weeks pregnant and unmarried. And because of that, 26-year-old Michelle McCusker is now unemployed -- at the heart of the firing, Catholic doctrine.
Saint Rose of Lima school, the Catholic school where McCusker taught pre-kindergarten, terminated her in a letter, stating -- quote -- "A teacher cannot violate the tenets of Catholic morality."
MCCUSKER: And I also don't understand how a religion that prides itself on being forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant and choosing to have this baby.
SNOW: McCusker, with lawyers from the New York Civil Liberties Union, filed a federal complaint, saying the firing is illegal and discriminates on the basis on sex and pregnancy. Lawyers say the same Catholic doctrine applied to women is not applied to male employees.
CASSANDRA STUBBS, NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: Does the school question the male employees about their sexual practices? How does the school punish male employees for engaging in nonmarital sex?
SNOW: The school's employer, the Diocese of Brooklyn, said no one was available to talk about the firing, but released a statement, saying -- quote -- "This is a difficult situation for every person involved, but the school had no choice but to follow the principles contained in the teacher's personnel handbook."
That handbook is part of a contract McCusker signed when she started the job. When it comes to laws for secular and religious schools, employment lawyers say not everything is equal in hiring.
ROBERT WHITMAN, ATTORNEY: Religious schools can discriminate. A Catholic school can say, we will only hire Catholics.
SNOW: McCusker is Catholic. She signed a one-year contract with the school. Her lawyers say, even without the contract, she still is the target of discrimination, discrimination that McCusker says only came about because her pregnancy is visible and acknowledges that abortion, which is forbidden by the church, would probably not have gotten her fired. McCusker acknowledges the irony.
MCCUSKER: I do believe, if I had decided to abort the baby, the decision to fire me wouldn't have come because they wouldn't have known.
SNOW: And lawyers say that is at the heart of the case, that moral standards can't be applied evenly among what goes on in private and what is clearly public.
Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
ZAHN: Joining me now, William Donahue, the president of the Catholic League.
Always good to see you.
You have heard the argument of her attorneys: This is absolutely an illegal firing. There's a double standard here. Because a man can't get pregnant, he's not getting being punished for having premarital sex.
WILLIAM DONAHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: Right.
And their problem is with nature and with nature's God. All the people in the school did was to recognize what nature informs. That is to say, it's obvious that the man impregnates the woman and the woman looks pregnant. Now, if this school knew of a male who would -- impregnated a woman other than his wife, and they just turned a blind eye to it, then you have a discriminatory case here.
But just because there's more outward signs with a woman, that's a different situation altogether.
ZAHN: But the fact is, it's not like the school is going to go question its single teachers, male teachers, and say, have you gotten someone pregnant; have you had premarital sex?
ZAHN: That's not even realistic.
DONAHUE: That -- that's -- that may be the case.
But you know what -- the real issue here is this. In the public schools, you teach the three R's, reading, writing and arithmetic. In the Catholic schools, they add one more, religion. Now, if this were a college professor, I think the -- the critics might be on better ground.
You are talking about a teacher who takes a contract, voluntarily signs it, knowing that you have to abide by Catholic precepts, and then stands in front of impressionable young people, who have an expectation that, when you talk about matters sexual, you can abide by the Catholic Church's teaching, when, obviously, right in front of you, you have clear evidence that this woman doesn't abide by the Catholic Church's teachings.
ZAHN: But she would argue that she is abiding by one of the Catholic teachings. And that is to value the sanctity of human life. And she said, if she had had an abortion, she would be employed right now. She wouldn't have been fired.
DONAHUE: If she had had an abortion, that would have been the absolutely wrong decision. Cardinal O'Connor, back in the 1980s, in New York City, said any woman, Catholic or whatever, who wants to bring her baby to term, the Catholic Church will pay for it. We are not anti-woman.
What we are saying is this. If you are using drugs or you are involved in procuring abortions, or you are obviously living a lifestyle which is contrary to the Catholic Church's teachings, how dare you present yourself as a moral agent, and when you voluntarily signed a contract?
I taught 20 years as -- as a Catholic teacher, 16 as a professor, four in elementary school. I knew what I was getting into. This woman is no victim. She is sitting there whimpering away. She signed that contract. If she doesn't like it, she should be teaching at PS- 109.
ZAHN: But the reality is that you're not going to see men punished by the same standard, are you, if men have knowingly gotten someone pregnant, they're single, they're teaching at that school?
DONAHUE: So -- so -- so -- so, what...
ZAHN: I mean, what would -- what would have to happen? The school would have to question each one of their...
DONAHUE: No. Some -- somebody would know over the lunchroom. Probably, some teacher would say that so-and-so Jones over here is having an -- an affair with somebody. Then -- then they should do something about that.
Look, again, you're dealing with impressionable youngsters. You're teaching religion in a Catholic school, when the moral precepts are there. The parents expect, when they pay their money, to have a higher standard. A teacher is not just a geography person. A teacher is a moral agent. And, in a Catholic school, the expectation is that they live up to those precepts to the best of their ability. Yes, the nature argument kicks in here. And it does make it clumsy.
But it doesn't make it right for her to take this position. And the ACLU has no business trying to get involved in this. Catholic schools have insularity from the state.
ZAHN: Yes. You think this has nothing to do with the First Amendment?
ZAHN: How do you really feel, Bill?
ZAHN: Always good to see you.
DONAHUE: Thanks. Thanks so much.
ZAHN: Love your energy.
And imagine discovering brothers and sisters you never knew you had. Coming up next, the children of sperm donor number 66.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 families with 15 children, all born from the same donor.
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ZAHN: Now that they have discovered each other, should they try to find their father, who wanted anonymity? That's next.
And would your life be less complete if you could erase your very worst memory. What would you like to forget?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: I want to you try to imagine what I would be like suddenly to find out you have a half-dozen brothers and sisters you've never even met, never even knew existed. A pretty strange thought, maybe a little scary, but it's happening as children conceived with sperm donations track down their biological siblings.
We sent Deborah Feyerick to Denver to meet five brothers and sisters who just a year ago had never heard of each other. Deborah just back today and filed this report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shows you.
FEYERICK (voice-over): They laugh and joke as if they've known each other forever. Five brothers and sisters, half siblings who share a father they have never met. In fact, they only met within the last year.
(on camera): You guys are really the first generation, on some levels, to be searching for one another. Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like finding long lost siblings you never had. I mean, how many chances? What are the odds that's going to happen?
FEYERICK (voice-over): More surprising for 15-year-old Justin, an only child. Unlike the others here, he only found out this summer he was conceived using donor sperm. Immediately curious, he went online, and that's where he found twins Erin and Rebecca (ph) and siblings Tyler (ph) and McKenzie (ph), all from the same donor, donor 66. All live in the Denver area with an hour's drive from each other.
ERIN BALDWIN, CHILD OF SPERM DONOR: It's always that connection that you feel like you've gone way back but you really haven't. You've just met.
FEYERICK: The one they haven't met is their genetic father. But from his written profile, which most potential mothers get, they know donor 66 was a surgical assistant. His sperm went to three mothers treated by the same doctor in the Denver area.
Wendy Kramer brought the teens together through her Web site, donorsiblingregistry.com. She created it with her son Ryan to help find his own donor dad. So far the site has made 1,000 matches between donor siblings or between donors and their children.
WENDY KRAMER, FOUNDER, DONOR SIBLING REGISTRY: So there's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 families with 15 children all born from the same donor.
FEYERICK (on camera): And you think that this is almost an under-reporting of the number, that there may be twice of three times as many from this one person?
W. KRAMER: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Forty percent of women report their live births. You know, so this -- we're seeing a fraction here.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Sperm banks are not required to track the number of children born from any one donor. They may be two or 200. Since a donor may donate multiple times, there's just no way to know for sure.
(on camera): How many half brothers and sisters do you think you have out there?
RYAN KRAMER, CHILD OF SPERM DONOR: I'd say probably between 15 and 20 or so.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Wendy's son, Ryan, has never met many of them. He's 15 and by all accounts a genius. We met him at the University of Colorado, where he will soon be a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering. He easily answers calculus and physics questions. But questions about his own biological dad are much, much tougher.
R. KRAMER: Parts about my face, you know, there are -- my brow or teeth or my nose or certain things just, you know, clearly don't come from my mother. And to see those in somebody else, would just answer a world of questions for me.
FEYERICK: Ryan's donor dad likely wasn't much older than Ryan is now. In fact, the majority of donors accepted by sperm banks are college students. They must be handsome, smart, outgoing, the kind of guy a girl would like to date. It's no coincidence many sperm banks and clinics within walking distance of campuses. The work is easy, the pay is good.
DR. CAPPY ROTHMAN, CALIFORNIA CRYOBANK: They can make between 600 an $900 a month just coming to visit us a couple of times.
FEYERICK: Dr. Cappy Rothman is a pioneer in the field of donor sperm.
(on camera): What are we looking at here?
ROTHMAN: The next generation.
FEYERICK (voice-over): He founded California Cryobank in the mid-1970s, and estimated as many as than three quarters of a million babies have been born from his sperm bank alone, a daunting number considering there are now 150 sperm banks across the country.
When Rothman began, the controversy was using a stranger's sperm to have a baby. The controversy now, Rothman says, children trying to track down their genetic donors, men who never intended to be found.
(on camera): Do you guarantee the anonymity of the donors?
ROTHMAN: We try to, we thought we did, we hoped we could. But after what's been taking place with the misuse of some of the technology out there, I don't think we can absolutely guarantee. FEYERICK (voice-over): Most potential mothers sign contracts agreeing to respect a potential donor's privacy. Wendy says she never did. It may not matter. Testing DNA is as easy as swabbing your cheek, and the growth of genetic databases could make it all but impossible for donors to remain anonymous. One teenager recently used a saliva sample, had his DNA analyzed, and found his genetic father through a DNA database.
W. KRAMER: I see all on my Web site, and over the next ten years, this wave of kids is about to hit this sperm bank industry and want answers to their questions.
FEYERICK: Donor dads have absolutely no legal or financial responsibility to their genetic offspring. So then, what is it children like Ryan really want?
R. KRAMER: Really, all I'm looking for from the donor is just to answer a few of those questions I have. You know, I'm not looking for a relationship or money or anything that, you know, a lot of people assume that donor kids want to know about them. Really, it's just a curiosity about who he is and, you know, where I came from.
FEYERICK: The five Denver born kids from donor 66 are now debating how far they want to go to find their genetic dad.
(on camera): So, show of hands. Who wants to find the donor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would love to, but like ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be cool.
FEYERICK: You're not so sure? Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm satisfied beyond belief. I have two brothers, two sisters.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Sisters and brothers, once strangers, now family.
JUSTIN SENK, CHILD OF SPERM DONOR: You know, your friends, you may never see them again after college or after high school, but I'm going to know all of them for the rest of my life.
FEYERICK: And who's to say how many more children from donor 66 they will meet down the road.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Boulder, Colorado.
ZAHN: So now we've heard from the children and we want to get an idea of what it is like from the perspective of a sperm donor. Joining me now is David Plotz, who went through the donor application process and interviewed dozens of donors for his book, "The Genius Factory." Thanks so much for being with us tonight. Can you give us a quick description of what it was like to go through that process? DAVID PLOTZ, AUTHOR, "THE GENIUS FACTORY": Sure. It's very funny. It's like a kind of college application process crossed with the strangest job interview you've ever had. You fill out a very long application and then you go in and you go through this incredibly long interview, where they talk about all your family health history, and, you know, what your interests are.
And they do an interview. They talk about the financial obligations, all the while avoiding the main subject, which is that as soon as the interview is over, you're going to be asked into go into a small room and provide a sperm sample for them. And so it's this desexualization of something that is, you know, ultimately this strange sexual act.
ZAHN: And were you guaranteed your anonymity?
PLOTZ: Well, I didn't go all the way through with it, but they would have guaranteed my anonymity. As your story suggested, these days that guarantee doesn't mean very much, that the Internet and the ability of people to use DNA databases, and the ability of people to get on these lists and look around for siblings and their donor father means that anonymity doesn't carry the same weight it used to a decade ago.
ZAHN: So, do you think any of these donors you spoke with had the expectation that a child that they sired would someday be knocking on the door and saying, "are you my dad?"
PLOTZ: Well, I think it's funny, because the donors today are basically college kids, they're doing this for beer money. And what 21-year-old spends a lot of time thinking about, in 19 years, my son is going to show up at my door and say, hi, dad.
I don't think your 21-year-old college student donor has the ability or history or the emotional access to understand that at all. So, they're not prepared for it. And that's what is going to happen.
ZAHN: So what do you think the ramifications are now of these Web sites that will actually help these children try to establish who their biological father was?
PLOTZ: I think we're in a very genetic age. Children feel they have a genetic right to know who they are. There's a sense that we have a genetic history that we're entitled to know.
And I think it's very hard when children come to you, and they didn't choose to be born from a sperm donor, it's not their option. When they come and they say, "I want to know who my father is. I need to know my genetic history." It's terribly hard to tell them, "you can't search, you can't know."
So I think when the choice becomes the donor father's right to anonymity and the child's right to know, the child's right to know is going to trump.
ZAHN: Well, the issue certainly raises an awful lot of questions that are very difficult to answer today. David Plotz, though, thank you for shedding some light on it.
PLOTZ: Thank you.
And our Susan Candiotti has found an amazing story of survival. This fisherman was nearly lost at sea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGERS WASHINGTON, RESCUED FISHERMAN: I'm yelling for help as hard as I can, and I'm blowing a whistle. You can hear a whistle, probably a mile away on the water.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And what happened?
WASHINGTON: He just waved and kept going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So why wasn't he rescued sooner? Stay with us for his guess.
And then a little bit later on in the hour, something that sounds like science fiction, believe it or not. A pill to erase your worst memories is now being tested. Would you take it and will it work?
ZAHN: This next story may surprise you, and outrage you. It is about a man who somehow managed to survive seven hours stranded in the Atlantic Ocean after his boat capsized.
His survival was miraculous. But what is truly shocking is that twice during his ordeal, he says other boaters simply ignored his desperate cries for help. Here's Susan Candiotti.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Fisherman Rogers Washington reunited with the men who saved his life at sea. His near-death experience, he says, also taught him about human cruelty.
WASHINGTON: It's the law of the water. If you see anyone in danger, you're supposed to help them.
CANDIOTTI: The conditions were worse than this about two weeks ago, when two waves capsized Washington's 26-foot fishing boat. He and his friend, Roger Moore, a mentor since childhood, found themselves in the water.
WASHINGTON: It was everything a person would like to have for a father. To me, he was.
CANDIOTTI: Washington dove under the boat to retrieve life jackets, an air horn, whistle, and a cooler lid. The boat kept sinking.
WASHINGTON: Went straight down. I didn't get a chance to make a call or nothing.
CANDIOTTI: A couple of hours later, hope. Washington says he saw a large boat, about 200-to-300 feet away, with two men aboard.
WASHINGTON: I'm positive they saw me. If they didn't see me, they heard the horn and the whistle.
CANDIOTTI: The boat went by.
WASHINGTON: I'm not prejudiced or nothing, but I think they thought we were refugees, Haitian or something.
CANDIOTTI: About an hour later, the men spotted a shark and Washington his friend had a stroke, or a heart attack.
WASHINGTON: I got on the side of him, I hold his nose, wiped his mouth and everything. I blew air into him.
CANDIOTTI: You tried to give him CPR?
WASHINGTON: Yes, I did.
CANDIOTTI: But Moore died. Washington had to let go. About two hours later, a sailboat came into view. Washington waved the cooler lid at a man and woman. He was sure that the sailors saw him.
WASHINGTON: I'm yelling for help as hard as I can and I'm blowing a whistle. You can hear a whistle, probably a mile away on the water.
CANDIOTTI: And what happened?
WASHINGTON: They just waved and kept going.
CANDIOTTI: What did you think when they kept going?
WASHINGTON: You know, that's ridiculous, these people just pass me up.
CANDIOTTI: After Washington had been in the water for about seven hours, a 55-foot fishing trawler, captained by David Pensky, came into view.
CNN brought him and fellow rescuer Richard Holden back to Florida to show us what happened.
DAVID PENSKY, RESCUER: I'd say he was about as far as that boat, actually, just pretty close to that, maybe just a hair closer.
CANDIOTTI: And despite the waves, you could see him?
PENSKY: I saw an arm. The first thing I saw was an arm.
RICHARD HOLDEN, RESCUER: When we realized that this was a guy floating on a cooler lid with a life jacket stuck under his arm, screaming, "I'm an American, I'm an American," we just slipped into this rescue mode.
CANDIOTTI: Washington's rescuers sadly believe others may have looked the other way.
PENSKY: It's just, it's sad. The whole thing is just a sad commentary on our times.
CANDIOTTI: Washington says he'll never forget the boaters who passed him by.
WASHINGTON: They might go through the same ordeal and I might be the person who would rescue them. If I passed them by, I wonder how they would feel.
CANDIOTTI: The body of Washington's friend was recovered two miles offshore, two days later.
Rogers Washington, forever grateful to the men he calls angels, for saving his life.
WASHINGTON: I thank God for you guys. I can't thank you guys enough.
CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, CNN, Ft. Lauderdale.
ZAHN: At last, one lucky man.
At ten minutes before the hour here, time to check in with Larry King to find out what is cooking at the top of the hour. Hi, Larry, who's joining you tonight.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Hi, Paula. It's Tuesday, I must be in New York.
ZAHN: Is that where you are?
KING: I've been really jumping around, last night I was in L.A. and tomorrow I'll be in Washington.
But what a show we've got tonight. Jerry Seinfeld and Martha Stewart. Hey, who loves you?
ZAHN: Hey, send them my regards.
KING: Yes, they're both right here. Hop in.
ZAHN: Hey, Martha, how are you doing? Hi, Jer? Tel Jer that I'm catching all his reruns from five years ago.
KING: Yeah, the DVDs are out.
ZAHN: No, I'm actually watching them on another channel.
KING: What? Have you no gratitude? ZAHN: It's OK, it's OK. I do. But we do have options in this multi-channel universe.
ZAHN: Larry, have a good show.
KING: Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: Time now to check the headlines that could affect your money.
ZAHN: Coming up next, would you like to take a drug that could erase your worst memory?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHLEEN LOGUE, MEMORY PILL PARTICIPANT: A man jumped through the passenger window, held a gun to my head, let his friend in the back and said, drive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Coming up a scientific breakthrough that could make her life easier, but it also raises SOME serious ethical dilemmas.
ZAHN: What would you do if someone offered you a pill that could really wipe clean your worst memory? It's experimental now, but researchers are working on a drug that will do something like that.
You're about to meet a woman who volunteered to try it after she had a devastating experience.
ZAHN (voice-over): Kathleen Logue has a rich life. Memories to be cherished. But on these streets a decade ago, Kathleen's life changed forever.
LOGUE: I went out with some friends in Boston, and was driving home. Stopped at a red light a mile away from my parents' house, and all of a sudden, I was covered in glass. A man jumped through the passenger window, held a gun to my head, let his friend in the back and said, drive.
He took me to an abandoned building, tried to rape me. I fought like I've never fought before in my life. I didn't want to end up dead in that house.
ZAHN: It was miracle Kathleen survived, but her doctor diagnosed her as suffering from post traumatic post disorder, or PTSD. For years, she could barely function. She was afraid to drive or go anywhere alone.
LOGUE: I was 24 and all of a sudden, I didn't feel 24 anymore. It aged me. I just couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. They were everywhere. Everywhere I looked.
ZAHN: Slowly, therapy helped and Kathleen was able to move on with her life. But she could never completely let go of the haunting memories of that terrifying night.
One very typical day five years later brought all the memories and all the heart stopping panic rushing back.
LOGUE: I just got run over by a bicycle messenger going so fast down the one-way street and just flattened me. It was the, I'm going to die. I had felt the I'm going to die before.
ZAHN: The heart pounding, the pain, the paralyzing fear. She had felt it all before. But this time would be different.
Kathleen was treated at Mass General Hospital and agreed to be part of a controversial study. She was given an experimental drug. A beta blocker called propranolol.
DR. ROGER PITMAN, HARVARD MASS GENERAL HOSP.: You don't remember everything that happens to you, as big as our brains are. They don't have enough room for everything.
ZAHN: Just imagine if the impact of a bad memory can be lessened and made less painful. Dr. Roger Pitman and his team wanted to find out.
For about three weeks Kathleen took the drug and participated in exercises like this. She's recalling the memory of the bike accident by listening to a recording of the event.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You feel like the wind's knocked out of you and your shoulder hurts badly, your heart pounds. You hear the witnesses around you.
ZAHN: Nurses are monitoring her heart rate, muscle tension and skin composition, all the things researchers believe signal an increase in stress hormones and may help determine how strongly a memory is seared into our brain.
The result, the drug worked for Kathleen. By the end of the trial, she had no physical response to hearing the details of her accident. It's not that she forget what happened that day, but the physical and emotional trauma were gone.
But some in the medical community think this kind of research is playing God. And, worse, people will begin trying to use this pill for all the wrong reasons.
DR. DAVID MAGNUS, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: The worry is that once this is approved, you will have people embarrassed about something that happened over the weekend, unhappy about their break-up, all kinds of reasons why somebody might want to forget what happened and I think you'll see a much broader usage.
This could very well become one of the newest lifestyle drugs.
ZAHN: Researchers acknowledge the potential of the drug to be misused, but believe the benefits for patients like Kathleen are worth the risk.
PITMAN: We respect those concerns. We think they're legitimate questions to raise. The fact some abuse is not a reason to deny the legitimate users the blessings of drugs such as these.
ZAHN: Kathleen Logue feels lucky she had a chance to try the so- called memory pill.
LOGUE: All our memories make us who they are, but if we can make them easier so they don't consume our lives, it's not playing God. It's helping you.
ZAHN: And that is it for all of us tonight. Thanks for being with us. We'll be back same time, same place tomorrow night. "LARRY KING, LIVE" is next.
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