Friday, February 27, 2015

March 1 is Zero Discrimination Day

The following news release was issued on Feb. 27, 2015.

The United Nations has designated March 1 as Zero Discrimination Day. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO) welcomes this designation and urges the global community to come together to combat discrimination against the most vulnerable members of the human family.

"Discrimination is a violation of human rights. It is immoral, hurtful and dehumanizing. Too many people around the world face unequal treatment because of their race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or identity, disability, gender or age," states the United Nations. "Zero Discrimination Day ... is a chance to celebrate diversity and to reject discrimination. By joining our voices together, we can be part of a resounding call for compassion, tolerance and peace that cannot be ignored."

It is in this spirit that MCCL GO implores all nations to reject the discriminatory killing of female children through sex-selective abortion and infanticide, to speak out against the denial of health care to the needy and elderly, and to stand up for the disabled who are pushed toward euthanasia and assisted suicide.

We must not discriminate on the basis of race or religion, but neither should we discriminate on the basis of age, size, ability, dependency or stage of biological development. Denial of the right to life itself is the worst form of discrimination. The killing of innocent human beings through abortion, infanticide and euthanasia is a violation of this right and a rejection of human equality.

"Discrimination is a violation of human rights and must not go unchallenged," says United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Everyone has the right to live with respect and dignity."

On Zero Discrimination Day, MCCL GO urges all nations to reject discrimination and affirm the equal dignity of all human beings, including the unborn, the disabled and the elderly. Everyone deserves respect and protection. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

MCCL GO is a pro-life NGO global outreach program of the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Education Fund with one goal: to protect as many innocent lives as possible. Learn more at www.mccl-go.org.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bill to protect newborns in danger of harm approved by House panel

The following news release was issued on Feb. 26, 2015.

ST. PAUL — A state program offering a lifesaving option to women in danger of harming their newborns would receive much-needed funding under legislation unanimously approved today by the Health and Human Services Finance committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives. This protective measure is strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).

The Safe Place for Newborns program is a last alternative for mothers who feel desperate, and their babies who are at risk of harm or abandonment. Resources and funding are needed to expand awareness of the program statewide.

The bill approved today would appropriate funds enabling the Department of Human Services to distribute information about the Safe Place option. Increasing public awareness in this way would help to prevent unnecessary tragedies. The chief author of H.F. 825 is Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville.

"This law is intended for those rare and heartbreaking instances where the mother either was not aware of, or was unable to cope with, her pregnancy or plan for the birth," said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau in her testimony on behalf of the measure. "H.F. 825 seeks an appropriation for the Department of Human Services to increase awareness of this law."

Minnesota enacted the Safe Place for Newborns law in 2000. This program aims to prevent infant abandonment or infanticide by allowing a mother to anonymously surrender her newborn at a designated "safe place," no questions asked. Several cases of infanticide have occurred in the state in recent years.

MCCL helped to amend the law in 2012 to expand the number of safe places and the length of time women have this option. Under the amended law, a mother, or someone acting with her permission, may leave her newborn at a hospital, an urgent care facility, or an ambulance dispatched in response to a 911 call within seven days of birth. Personnel at the safe place immediately begin arrangements for care for the child.

"A new generation of women needs to be made aware of the existence of Minnesota's Safe Place for Newborns law," Rau added.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mexico study shows areas with greater protection for unborn have lower maternal mortality

Abortion advocates often say that legalizing abortion reduces maternal mortality and improves the health of women. That's simply not true. A new study of data from Mexico provides more evidence debunking the connection between maternal mortality and the legal status of abortion.

The study—by Elard Koch of the MELISA Institute in Chile, Monique Chireau of Duke University Medical Center, and an international team of researchers—was published on Feb. 23 in the open access version of the British Medical Journal. The researchers looked at maternal mortality data from the 32 Mexican states, which vary in their abortion policies, during a 10-year span (2002-2011).

The results? States with less permissive abortion laws actually had significantly lower maternal and abortion-related mortality ratios than states with more permissive laws.

Koch et al. found that this disparity is "explained by differences in other independent factors known to influence maternal health rather than by abortion legislation itself." Those factors included skilled birth attendants, women's education, and clean water and sanitation. The incidence of maternal mortality depends on such factors—it does not, according to the evidence from Mexico, depend on the legal status of abortion.

"No statistically independent effect was observed for abortion legislation," the study's authors explain. "A less permissive abortion law ... was not associated with increased maternal and abortion-related deaths."

In light of this evidence, Koch et al. propose seven evidence-based public health interventions that would decrease maternal mortality in developing countries, including antenatal care, emergency obstetric care, and clean water and sanitation.

MCCL GO (Global Outreach) has always emphasized that improving maternal health care, not advocating abortion, is the key to reducing maternal mortality and saving women's lives. You can find our educational materials on our website.

More information about the Mexico study is available from the MELISA Institute, including a video in which the researchers discuss their findings.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

January-February MCCL News now available online

The January-February 2015 issue of MCCL News is now available online. Stories include an overview of MCCL's current legislative agenda, reviews of the March for Life and Legislative Dinner, and a preview of Student Day at the Capitol.

MCCL News is only available online to registered NetCommunity members who are also current donors. Be sure to keep your membership current by making at least an annual donation to MCCL.

Your support is greatly appreciated, and we hope you enjoy and make use of MCCL News.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Safe Place for Newborns bill would strengthen efforts to protect newborns in danger of harm

ST. PAUL — A state program offering a lifesaving option to women in danger of harming their newborns would receive much-needed funding under legislation introduced today in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives. This protective measure is strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization.

Minnesota enacted the Safe Place for Newborns law in 2000. This program aims to prevent infant abandonment or infanticide by allowing a mother to anonymously surrender her newborn at a designated "safe place," no questions asked. Several cases of infanticide have occurred in the state in recent years.

MCCL helped to amend the law in 2012 to expand the number of safe places and the length of time women have this option. Under the amended law, a mother, or someone acting with her permission, may leave her newborn at a hospital, an urgent care facility, or an ambulance dispatched in response to a 911 call within seven days of birth. Personnel at the safe place immediately begin arrangements for care for the child.

The Safe Place for Newborns program is a last alternative for mothers who feel desperate, and their babies who are at risk of harm or abandonment. Resources and funding are needed to expand awareness of the program statewide.

"No troubled mother needs to resort to abandoning or killing her newborn child," said MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau. "Safe Place is a wonderful program that many more people need to know about."

The measure introduced today would appropriate funds enabling the Department of Human Services to distribute information about the Safe Place option. Increasing public awareness in this way would help to prevent unnecessary tragedies.

The chief author of S.F. 796 is Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley. In the House of Representatives, the chief author of H.F. 825 is Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Canada's legalization of assisted suicide poses dangers for Minnesotans, MCCL warns

The following news release was issued on Feb. 6, 2015.

MINNEAPOLIS — Today's decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to legalize assisted suicide poses multiple dangers to Minnesotans, according to Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). Legal assisted suicide across the state's northern border puts the lives of disabled, ill and elderly citizens in danger.

"The Canadian Supreme Court ruling creates a situation ripe for abuse, and MCCL stands with our friends across the border who are against assisted suicide," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach.

When assisted suicide is legalized it is a deadly mix with our profit-driven health care system and opens us all to:

• Abuse: Abuse of people with disabilities, and elder abuse. An heir or abusive caregiver may steer someone towards assisted suicide, witness the request, pick up the lethal dose, and even give the drug.

• Mistakes: Diagnoses of terminal illness are too often wrong, leading people to give up on treatment and lose good years of their lives.

• Carelessness: People with a history of depression and suicide attempts have received the lethal drugs.

• Contagion: Assisted suicide is a contagion and can increase suicide rates for all populations.

• PTSD: Stress disorder rates increase for family and friends who participate in a suicide.

In practice, assisted suicide in Canada can impact Minnesota. State residents have been ordering medications from Canadian pharmacies for years. Now that lethal drugs will be available from those pharmacies, Minnesotans may have access to them.

Suicide tourism represents an additional threat. Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal, has become a destination for suicidal Europeans. About one-third of assisted suicide victims in Switzerland are foreigners, most with non-fatal diseases.

Alex Schadenberg, an international anti-assisted suicide expert from London, Ontario, is the featured speaker at MCCL's 2015 Legislative Dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 11, in St. Paul. He will discuss the impact of today's Supreme Court ruling on Minnesota, and explain why efforts to legalize assisted suicide in the state would put vulnerable lives in danger.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

MCCL backs bills to ban taxpayer funded abortions, require abortion facility licensing

ST. PAUL — Justice and safety regarding abortion are the focus of two initiatives introduced today in the Minnesota House of Representatives (Senate companion bills are expected next week). A bill to ban taxpayer funded abortions and another to license abortion facilities have the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization.

H.F. 607, authored by Rep. Tama Theis, R-St. Cloud, would ban taxpayer funded abortions in the state. Because of the Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision, taxpayers are forced to fund elective abortions performed on low-income women. Most Minnesotans are opposed to taxpayer funded abortions, including many who support legal abortion.

"Killing unborn babies and requiring Minnesota citizens to pay for it are both grave injustices that must be corrected," said MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau.

Taxpayer funded abortions have swelled to 34.8 percent of all abortions performed in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. In 2012, taxpayers paid more than $822,000 for 3,571 abortions. Since the Doe v. Gomez decision, the state has paid $20 million to the abortion industry for more than 65,000 abortions.

"Taxpayer funded abortions offer a guaranteed revenue stream for abortionists, who market 'free abortions' to vulnerable women," Rau added. "The bill introduced today would end this exploitation of women."

H.F. 606, authored by Rep. Debra Kiel, R-Crookston, would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed. The legislation would apply existing licensing requirements for outpatient surgical centers to surgical abortion facilities, ending their special exemption. The bill also authorizes the state commissioner of health to perform inspections of abortion facilities, with no prior notice required.

"This common-sense legislation is important to ensure the safety of women," said Rau. "There is no reason for abortion facilities to be granted special exclusion from licensing that governs other outpatient surgical centers across the state."

The requirement would apply to the state's five surgical abortion facilities, which together perform nearly 99 percent of all abortions in Minnesota. In 2013, a total of 9,903 abortions were performed in the state.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

MCCL March for Life draws thousands to call for end of taxpayer funded abortions

The following news release was issued on Jan. 22, 2015.

ST. PAUL — Thousands of Minnesotans came to the State Capitol today to urge lawmakers to ban taxpayer funded abortions. Pro-lifers also called on legislators to protect the safety of women by licensing abortion centers. The annual Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) March for Life commemorates the millions of lives lost to abortion.

View more photos from the 2015 MCCL March for Life
The 41st annual MCCL March for Life marked the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions that have resulted in the deaths of more than 600,000 unborn Minnesota children (Minnesota Department of Health), and more than 57 million unborn babies nationwide.

"In Minnesota, more than one-third of all abortions are paid for by you and me as taxpayers in this great state," MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach told the huge crowd of citizens gathered from across the state. "Today we call upon the Legislature to end taxpayer funding of abortion."

MCCL's 2015 legislative agenda calls for lawmakers to ban taxpayer funded abortions, which account for 34.8 percent of all abortions performed in the state. This is the highest percentage since the Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision forced taxpayers to pay for abortions performed on low-income women. This percentage has increased nearly every year since the court ruling. Taxpayers have funded 65,823 abortions since the decision at a cost of more than $20 million, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

MCCL's pro-life agenda also seeks the licensing and inspection of abortion facilities, which currently are exempt from licensing and inspection required of other outpatient surgical centers across the state. Such minimal oversight by the Minnesota Department of Health would help ensure a degree of safety for women entering abortion facilities.

MCCL is also urging state lawmakers to allocate funding and resources for the Safe Place for Newborns program. More people need to know about the option to anonymously surrender a newborn to a "safe place" (hospital, urgent care facility, ambulance), to prevent cases of abandonment and infanticide.

Many of Minnesota's pro-life state legislators were in attendance and were introduced during the brief program on the lower Capitol Mall steps. Pro-life Congressmen John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Tom Emmer and Collin Peterson sent written greetings that were read to the crowd.

View historical photos of the MCCL March for Life and access photos and audio from today's event on the MCCL website.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The three intractable problems of Roe v. Wade

On Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton. The Court ruled that abortion must be permitted for any reason before fetal viability—and that it must be permitted for "health" reasons, broadly defined in Doe (so as to encompass virtually any reason), all the way until birth. Roe and Doe legalized abortion on demand nationwide.

The New York Times proclaimed the verdict "a historic resolution of a fiercely controversial issue." But now, 42 years later, abortion is as unresolved and controversial as ever. Three intractable problems will continue to plague the Court and its abortion jurisprudence until the day when, finally, Roe is overturned.

Marchers at the MCCL March for
Life
on Jan. 22, 2012
First, and most importantly, the outcome of Roe is fundamentally harmful and unjust. Why? The facts of biology show that the human embryo or fetus (the being whose life is ended in abortion) is a distinct and living human organism at the earliest stages of development. "Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, a zygote," explains the textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology. "This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."

Justice requires that the law protect the equal dignity and basic rights of every member of the human family—irrespective of age, size, ability, dependency, and the desires and decisions of others. This principle of human equality, affirmed in the Declaration of Independence and the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is the moral crux of western civilization. But the Roe Court ruled, to the contrary, that a particular class of innocent human beings (the unborn) must be excluded from the protection of the law and allowed to be dismembered and killed at the discretion of others. "The right created by the Supreme Court in Roe," observes University of St. Thomas law professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, "is a constitutional right of some human beings to kill other human beings."

After Roe, the incidence of abortion rose dramatically, quickly topping one million abortions per year and peaking at 1.6 million in 1990 before gradually declining to 1.06 million in 2011 (the latest year for which estimates are available). Under the Roe regime, abortion is the leading cause of human death. More than 57 million human beings have now been legally killed. And abortion has significantly and detrimentally impacted the health and well-being of many women (and men). The moral gravity and scale of this injustice exceed that of any other issue or concern in American society today.

The second problem with Roe is that it is legally, constitutionally mistaken. Justice Harry Blackmun's majority opinion claimed that the "liberty" protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment includes a "right of privacy" that is "broad enough to encompass" a right to abortion. "As a constitutional argument," notes University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt (who favors legalized abortion), "Roe is barely coherent. The Court pulled its fundamental right to choose more or less from the constitutional ether."

The right alleged in Roe is blatantly contradicted by the history of abortion law in the United States. Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment roughly coincided with enactment of a wave of state laws prohibiting abortion from conception with the primary aim (according to clear and abundant historical evidence) of protecting unborn children. Most of these statutes were already on the books by the time the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in 1868, and many of them remained unchanged until Roe struck them down more than a century later. "To reach its result," Justice William Rehnquist thus concluded in his dissenting opinion, "the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment."

Blackmun's reasoning was fallacious, his facts erroneous, his key historical claims demonstrably false. The process behind the decision, we now know, was remarkably shoddy. Roe and Doe constituted a full-blown exercise in policy-making—the arbitrary (untethered to the Constitution) invention of a new nationwide abortion policy to reflect the personal preferences of a majority of the justices.

Even pro-choice legal experts don't try to defend Roe on its merits. "What is frightening about Roe is that this super-protected right is not inferable from the language of the Constitution, the framers' thinking respecting the specific problem in issue, any general value derivable from the provisions they included, or the nation's governmental structure," wrote the eminent constitutional scholar and Yale law professor John Hart Ely. "It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be."
Sign at the 1977 MCCL March for Life

Third, Roe is undemocratic. It struck down the democratically decided abortion laws of all 50 states and imposed abortion-for-any-reason nationwide, whether the people like it or not. Because the Court lacked any constitutional warrant for this move, it usurped the rightful authority of the elected branches of government to determine abortion policy.

The radical scope of the Roe regime was not and has never been consistent with public opinion, which favors substantial legal limits on abortion. (Polling questions on Roe are often inaccurate, and ignorance of the extent of the decision is widespread). Roe has disenfranchised millions and millions of Americans who will not rest while Roe and abortion on demand persist. They want to have a say. The Court decided they could have none.

So these are the intractable problems of Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court abused the Constitution to usurp the authority of the people by imposing a gravely unjust policy with breathtakingly disastrous results.

Unjust. Unconstitutional. Undemocratic. Together, these problems will lead, eventually, to Roe's collapse.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Assisted suicide practitioner stripped of medical license

The following news release was issued on Jan. 7, 2015.

ST. PAUL — A physician charged with assisting the suicide of a Minnesota woman has been barred from practicing medicine. The Maryland Board of Physicians revoked the medical license of Dr. Lawrence Egbert after he facilitated the suicides of six people in Maryland.

"We commend this decision of the Maryland Board of Physicians," stated Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. "Egbert's actions promoting killing are simply incompatible with the role of a physician, which is to heal and care for patients, not to kill them."

Egbert was the medical director for Final Exit Network, an organization that helps people kill themselves, including people who are mentally ill. Egbert says he has helped arrange about 300 suicides and been present for 100, but he has so far avoided any convictions.

Egbert is also part of an ongoing case in Minnesota. Egbert and Final Exit flew to Minnesota in 2007 and assisted the suicide of an Apple Valley woman using helium and a plastic bag. They sought to cover up the evidence after she died. Egbert is now charged with assisting suicide and interference with a dead body. Minnesota law prohibits assisted suicide under Minnesota Statutes section 609.215, subdivision 1.

"Assisted suicide is not legal in Minnesota," said Fischbach. "Our law protects patients who are vulnerable, depressed, sick or disabled. No one should be excluded from our protection and care."

The Final Exit case was put on hold until a related assisted suicide case was resolved last fall. It was then sent back to the trial court, which held a hearing on Dec. 8. The trial will take place later this year.

Newsweek has called Egbert the "New Doctor Death," following in the footsteps of the late Jack Kevorkian, the notorious pathologist who assisted 130 people in killing themselves during the 1990s and spent years in prison for murder. None of Egbert's six suicide victims in Maryland were terminally ill, according to the Maryland Board of Physicians, and one victim appeared to be merely depressed. The board determined that Egbert's actions were illegal and violated the American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics, which strongly condemns assisted suicide.

In a 2012 interview with the Washington Post, Egbert described how his helium suicide contraption works. "[The people committing suicide] turn blue or bluish — we can say gray," Egbert said. "After they're unconscious, their muscles start twitching. That's very upsetting to relatives. Some think they're trying to wrench the bag off."

"Patients need our support and care," Fischbach responded. "They need to know that their lives matter. They do not need a so-called doctor to guide them in taking their own lives."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Three things Christmas tells us about human life and dignity

Christians use the Christmas holiday to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This event (apart from everything else it entails) provides a number of insights about human life and dignity. Here are three.

1. Each of us was once an unborn child. The Incarnation—the coming into the world of Christ—did not happen in the manger. It happened some nine months earlier. This is what the facts of human embryology and developmental biology tell us, and it is what the scriptural accounts affirm.

Mary is said to be "with child" (Matthew 1:18) upon Jesus being "conceived ... from the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 1:20). Earlier, Mary is told she will "conceive in [her] womb ... a son, [to be named] Jesus" (Luke 1:31), who even before birth is called a "child ... [who] will be called holy—the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Luke 1:41-44 recounts that the unborn John the Baptist (who was probably in his sixth month) "leaped for joy" in his mother's womb when he entered the presence of the unborn Jesus (who was probably a very young embryo at the time).

Jesus began his earthly existence as an embryo and fetus. So did all of us.

2. The weak and vulnerable matter just as much as the strong and independent. God himself chose to enter the world in the most vulnerable condition possible: as a tiny embryo, and then a fetus, and then a newborn baby lying in a manger. This turned ancient "might makes right" morality on its head. It suggests that human dignity is not determined by age, size, power or independence.

3. Human life is extraordinarily valuable. Christmas is part of God's larger plan to rescue humanity because He loves us (John 3:16). Jesus was born so that we might live. From this Christian perspective, God considers human life to be immensely precious and worth saving at tremendous cost. "Christian belief in the Incarnation is thus inseparable from belief in the objective, and even transcendent, value of the human race as a whole, and of each human person as an individual," writes Carson Holloway.

Christmas proves that human beings matter. All of them, at all stages of their lives—including the youngest and most vulnerable.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MCCL News available online

The November-December issue of MCCL News is now available on our website. It includes stories on the emerging threat of assisted suicide, MCCL's upcoming March for Life and Legislative Dinner, the 2014 elections, and more.

MCCL News Online is available to registered NetCommunity members who are also current donors. Be sure to keep your membership current by making at least an annual donation to MCCL. Your support is greatly appreciated, and we hope you enjoy and make use of MCCL News.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Minnesota taxpayers have funded 65,000 abortions since 1995

The following news release was issued on Dec. 15, 2014.

ST. PAUL — More than 65,000 unborn babies have been killed in Minnesota with taxpayer funds since a Dec. 15, 1995, Minnesota Supreme Court ruling required taxpayers to fund abortions, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS). The Doe v. Gomez ruling established the most extreme abortion-on-demand state policy in the nation.

"The Doe v. Gomez decision by a handful of activist judges has been disastrous for Minnesota women and their unborn babies,” said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "On this 19th anniversary of the decision, Minnesotans continue to believe it is not the mission of the state to abort thousands of innocent unborn children each year, yet that is exactly what is happening under this radical ruling."

The Supreme Court's Doe v. Gomez decision established a new state constitutional "right" to abortion on demand. This supposed right would remain protected by the state Constitution even if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion in the United States, were to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Doe v. Gomez allows abortions for reasons such as "stress" or "discomfort." It forbids the state to "interfere" in any way with a woman's "decision making" regarding abortion.

Doe v. Gomez also obligates the state—and thus, taxpayers—to pay for abortions, something not required by the U.S. Supreme Court. From June 1994 (under an earlier decision) through 2012, state taxpayers paid more than $20.7 million for 65,823 abortions, according to MDHS. In 2012 alone (the most recent statistics available), state taxpayers paid $822,000 for 3,571 abortions (MDHS). The state does not report how many women have been hurt or killed from these abortions.

While the total number of abortions in the state is declining gradually, taxpayer funding of elective abortions has risen most years since 1995. Minnesota taxpayers now pay for 34.8 percent of all abortions performed in the state—the highest percentage ever.

"This is not the will of the majority of Minnesotans, who oppose abortion on demand," Fischbach said. "The Court took away the people's ability to decide whether they want abortion on demand in the state and whether they should be required to pay for others' elective abortions. After 19 years, it's time for the Supreme Court to revisit this wrongly decided ruling."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How we know that the unborn is a human being

Here's how we know that the unborn (the human embryo or fetus developing in utero) is a living human organism—a member of the species Homo sapiens.

  • We know that the unborn is living because he or she (sex has been genetically determined) is growing through cellular reproduction, metabolizing food into energy, and responding to stimuli. So the unborn meets the biological criteria for life.
  • We know that the unborn is human because she has human DNA. She is also the offspring of human parents, and living beings reproduce after their own kind (e.g., humans only beget humans). So the unborn is biologically human.
  • We know that the unborn is a whole (albeit immature) organism, not a mere part (like a skin cell or the sperm and egg) of someone else, because she is actively developing via a self-directed process through the different stages of life—embryo, fetus, infant, child, adolescent, adult—as an individual member of the species. She needs only a suitable environment and nutrition to develop herself to maturity.
  • Finally, we know that the unborn is a living human organism because the embryology textbooks and other relevant scientific authorities tell us so. "[F]ertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is formed," explains Human Embryology & Teratology. The authors of The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology write, "Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."

That's how we know beyond any doubt that the unborn is a human being in the biological sense. She is a living organism of the species Homo sapiens, the same kind of being as each of us, only at an earlier developmental stage.

The important question for our society is an ethical one: How should we treat these young human beings? Do they deserve the same kind of respect and protection as the other members of our species? Do all human beings have a right to life, or do only some?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Preterm birth is a serious global problem—but its link to abortion is ignored

Nov. 17 was World Prematurity Day. New global estimates indicate that, as Eve Lackritz of the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth explains, "important gains have been made for nearly all causes of child death, except one in which progress has remained nearly stagnant: newborn mortality."

Preterm birth is not only the leading cause of newborn mortality. It is now the leading cause of all under-five deaths. About 3,000 children die each day from complications of prematurity, and those who survive are much more likely to have cerebral palsy or other health problems.

But the international community and media coverage have failed to acknowledge a significant risk factor for premature delivery. A wealth of worldwide research has established that induced abortion substantially increases the risk of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies. For example, a 2009 systematic review published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that a history of one induced abortion increased the risk of preterm birth by 36 percent and increased the risk of low birth weight by 35 percent. The increased risks greatly escalated with additional abortions—to 93 percent and 72 percent, respectively. Another 2009 systematic review, in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, concluded that abortion raised the risk of birth before 32 weeks' gestation by 64 percent. A 2013 study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada showed "a significant increase in the risk of preterm delivery in women with a history of previous induced abortion."

The prevalence of abortion undeniably contributes to the problem of newborn mortality (as well as to cerebral palsy and other disabilities). Abortion doesn't just take the lives of human beings in utero—it leads to the deaths of already-born babies too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

U.N. marks 25th anniversary of Convention on the Rights of the Child

The following news release was issued on Nov. 19, 2014.

NEW YORK, N.Y. — On Nov. 20, 1989, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed the dignity and rights of all children by adopting the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Events marking the 25th anniversary of the recognition of those rights will be held Thursday at the United Nations in New York.

As nations celebrate their accomplishments in establishing legal rights and protections for the world’s children, the unmet needs of multiple millions of young human beings must be prioritized in order to secure their safe and hopeful future. A new literature piece, "Celebrating the Rights of the Child," details areas in which the rights of children still are not honored or defended.

"On the 25th anniversary of this landmark human rights treaty, we should celebrate our progress on behalf of the youngest members of the human family while also acknowledging the ways in which the rights of children remain unprotected," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO), a U.N.-accredited non-governmental organization. Fischbach will be in New York for Thursday's U.N. events.

The first 1,000 days of a child's life—from conception to the second birthday—dramatically shape his or her prospects for survival and future well-being. Lives can be saved by improving the quality of care during labor, childbirth and the days following birth, including essential newborn care. Prenatal care and nutrition and optimum breastfeeding are also important to ensure healthy development.

Tens of millions of abortions occur around the world each year, and countries that protect unborn children face pressure to legalize the procedure. This is a profound injustice. The Convention on the Rights of the Child affirms that, quoting the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth." All children, born and unborn, deserve protection.

The Convention calls for securing the rights of each child "without discrimination of any kind." But sex-selective feticide—when abortion is performed solely on the basis of the unborn child's sex—is a massive problem in areas where culture and tradition favor boys over girls, including parts of Asia, Southeast Europe and the Caucasus.

"Great progress has been made in the past 25 years on behalf of children," said Fischbach. "But many still suffer. All children, born and unborn, male and female, have an equal dignity and right to life. They deserve our respect, protection and care."

MCCL GO is a pro-life NGO global outreach program of the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Education Fund with one goal: to save as many innocent lives as possible from the destruction of abortion. Learn more at www.mccl-go.org.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Will 1 in 3 women have an abortion?

Abortion advocacy organizations often say that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime. In fact, a whole campaign is based on that statistic.

But it's not accurate. Secular Pro-Life has put together a new website, Not1in3.com. The website explains:
The study most activist groups cite in order to justify the "1 in 3" statistic is Changes in Abortion Rates Between 2000 and 2008 and Lifetime Incidence of Abortion, published in 2011 by Dr. Rachel K. Jones and Dr. Megan L. Kavanaugh. ... The lifetime abortion rate given by the study is approximately 3 in 10, not 1 in 3. But the authors caution us that even the lower figure of 3 in 10 may be overstated ...
Moreover, given the recent declining abortion numbers, the 30 percent figure is clearly obsolete:
Abortion statistics are always a few years behind. That's why the Jones & Kavanaugh study, which was published in 2011, contained an analysis of data only as recent as 2008. It wasn't until three years after the study was published that reliable numbers were available through 2011. In 2014, Dr. Jones revealed the stunning news: between 2008 and 2011, abortion rates plummeted to the lowest level recorded since Roe v. Wade.

The 2011 study's prediction that 3 in 10 American women would have an abortion came with an important caveat; it only applied if American women were "exposed to prevailing abortion rates throughout their reproductive lives." There were almost 165,000 fewer abortions in 2011 than there were in 2008.

The positive trend shows no signs of stopping. Although reliable post-2011 abortion statistics are not yet available, we know that dozens of abortion businesses across the country have closed in the last three years due to a combination of decreased demand and pro-life legislation.
So it is likely that significantly fewer than 1 in 3 women will have an abortion.

Of course, more than a million abortions still occur in the United States each year—it is the leading cause of human death. But the prevalence of abortion should not lead us to accept it, as abortion advocates apparently think. It should lead us to work to protect the unborn, meet the needs of pregnant women, and care for those who have been detrimentally affected by abortion—so that the impact of abortion in American culture will continue to diminish.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Maximize your pro-life impact on Nov. 13

Thursday, Nov. 13, is Give to the Max Day in Minnesota.

Beginning at midnight and all day Thursday, donations to MCCL through GiveMN.org will be doubled, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000. Donation activity also boosts MCCL's chances to win a cash prize from GiveMN.

Your generous gift will expand our pro-life educational work and help save lives. Use MCCL's GiveMN fundraising page to make a secure credit card gift. (Donations to the MCCL Education Fund are tax deductible.)

Nov. 13 is the day to maximize your impact for life. Thank you for your support!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Vote for life on Nov. 4: What you need to know before you head to the polls

Before you vote on Nov. 4, consider what is at stake.

Abortion is the leading cause of human death in Minnesota (almost 10,000 deaths annually) and the United States (almost 1.1 million). The candidates we elect to public office will affect our laws and policies in ways that influence the incidence of abortion. Unborn lives are on the line.

In the race for governor, incumbent Mark Dayton faces pro-life challenger Jeff Johnson. Dayton has vetoed seven different pro-life measures, single-handedly preventing those lifesaving bills from becoming law.

In the U.S. Senate race, pro-lifer Mike McFadden is running against incumbent Al Franken, who has earned a zero percent pro-life voting record. In a narrowly divided Senate, the success or failure of federal abortion-related bills may depend on one or two seats.

Also on the ballot are candidates for the Minnesota House of Representatives and the U.S. House. Use MCCL's Voter's Guide to check the races in your own districts to see which candidates have committed to voting pro-life. You can find your district numbers at MNVotes.org.

Here are some other helpful links:

MCCL General Election Voter's Guide (where the candidates for governor, Congress, the state Legislature and other offices stand on right-to-life issues)
Additional information about voting
How pro-life laws save lives
Can pro-life voters reasonably support pro-choice candidates?

The race for governor:
Comparison flier: Jeff Johnson v. Mark Dayton
Mark Dayton's record on protecting human life: Veto, veto, veto (etc.)
Tina Smith: Dayton running mate, former abortion industry leader
Dayton supports licensing dog breeders, yet rejects any oversight of abortion facilities

The race for U.S. Senate:
Comparison flier: Mike McFadden v. Al Franken
Al Franken's record: Advocating unfettered abortion until birth
Franken-sponsored bill would nullify most limits on abortion

Justice requires that the law protect the equal dignity and right to life of every member of the human family, especially the most vulnerable. Elections play a huge and necessary part in working toward that goal.

Please use this information to learn about the candidates and the stakes, and share it with others. Then vote on Nov. 4!

Friday, October 31, 2014

How pro-life laws save lives

The election of pro-life candidates leads to pro-life laws proven to reduce abortions


Some people believe that the election of pro-life candidates to public office does nothing to reduce abortions or protect unborn children. But that's simply not true.

The success of pro-life candidates has led to the enactment of pro-life laws and policies at both the state and federal level. And those laws have saved many lives from abortion.

Evidence: Laws reduce abortions

A substantial body of research shows that pro-life laws—e.g., informed consent, parental involvement, bans on taxpayer funding of abortion—help to modestly but significantly reduce the incidence of abortion.

Consider the evidence here in Minnesota:

  • The Woman's Right to Know informed consent law was enacted in 2003. Under this law in 2013, a total of 12,164 abortion-minded pregnant women received factual information about fetal development, abortion procedures, abortion risks and complications, and alternatives to abortion. That number is 2,261 more than the number of women who actually underwent abortions. Since Woman's Right to Know became law, as many as 20,687 women have chosen life for their unborn children after receiving the information.

  • The Positive Alternatives Act of 2005 created a program to provide grants to pregnancy care centers and other programs that help women in difficult circumstances and offer life-affirming alternatives to abortion. More than 35,000 women statewide were helped through the Positive Alternatives program in its first six years (July 2006-Aug. 2012).

  • The number of abortions performed on Minnesota minors peaked in 1980 at 2,327. In 1981 Minnesota passed a law requiring that both parents be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on a minor (a court-required judicial bypass option is included). After years of steady decline, minor abortions in 2013 fell to 295, the lowest number on record and only 3 percent of all abortions.

Success in Minnesota

The number of abortions in our state has declined for seven straight years, and dropped 30 percent from 2003 to 2013. The abortion number and rate are now at their lowest levels since 1974.

Thousands of Minnesotans are alive today who would have been killed in utero if not for pro-life laws. Those laws continue to save lives from abortion every day.

Pro-life candidates essential

But they would not exist if we had not elected pro-life candidates to public office. And no new pro-life laws can be enacted if we do not elect pro-life candidates this year. Several recent pro-life measures in Minnesota—including bills banning taxpayer funding of abortion and protecting pain-capable unborn children—were stopped precisely because voters had chosen pro-abortion candidates.

Progress has been made, but abortion remains the supreme injustice and leading cause of human death in Minnesota. Much more work lies ahead, and it begins on Nov. 4.

This article was published in the Sept./Oct. 2014 issue of MCCL News.