Friday, April 11, 2014

MCCL GO defends life at the United Nations; executive director addresses assembly

The following was released on April 11, 2014.

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development took place this week at the United Nations. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO), a U.N.-accredited non-governmental organization, encouraged delegates to prioritize the improvement of maternal health care rather than promote the legalization of abortion.

The meeting sought to assess the implementation of the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, which was adopted in Cairo in 1994. The Program of Action calls for reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, among other goals. It does not call for the legalization or expansion of abortion.

Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of MCCL GO, addressed the full assembly of nations on Friday. "We can save women's lives with prenatal and antenatal care, skilled birth attendants, emergency obstetric care, basic sanitation and clean water," he stated. "These measures helped lead to a 47 percent decline in maternal deaths worldwide from 1990 to 2010, according to estimates. Now they must be extended to the places where basic health care is still lacking."

International abortion advocacy groups, including Ipas and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, argued that abortion must be legalized worldwide to protect women's health. "That is not true," Fischbach noted. "Maternal health depends on the quality of maternal health care, not on the legal status or availability of abortion. Countries such as Ireland, Chile and Malta prohibit most or all abortions and have a very low incidence of maternal mortality."

MCCL GO also distributed brochures explaining the inherent risks of abortion. "Legalized abortion is often touted as beneficial to women, but a wealth of medical and psychological evidence suggests otherwise," Fischbach said. "Legal or illegal, abortion poses both short-term and long-term risks to the physical health of women. It can also seriously affect their mental health."

MCCL GO urged U.N. delegates to avoid pushing abortion as the international community looks to formulate a new global development agenda. "Legalizing abortion does nothing to address the underlying issue of poor health care," Fischbach told the assembly. "Member states should reject all efforts to legalize or promote abortions and instead focus on maternal health care and healthy reproductive outcomes."

Fischbach's remarks are expected to be available online at the U.N.'s video page; he spoke about 12:50 p.m. this afternoon, EDT. A written statement submitted by MCCL GO and circulated at the U.N. is available online in English and five other languages (under agenda item 4).

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.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Planned Parenthood targets low-income women

Click to enlarge

Taxpayer funding of abortion in Minnesota is a result of the state Supreme Court's Doe v. Gomez decision. See also MCCL's coverage of the latest report on taxpayer-funded abortions.

One-third of all abortions paid for by Minnesota taxpayers

The following news release was issued on April 9, 2014.

ST. PAUL — Taxpayer-funded abortions numbered more than 3,500 in Minnesota in 2012. After 17 years of taxpayer-funded abortions, Minnesotans have funded more than 65,000 abortions at a cost of $20.7 million, according to a just-released report from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). Nearly all of these abortions have been elective.

The state's abortion industry in 1995 successfully challenged Minnesota's law which prohibited funding of most abortions. Since then, abortion advocates have steadily marketed taxpayer-funded abortions to low-income women. Taxpayers now pay for 33.4 percent of all abortions performed in the state, compared to less than one percent before 1995.

"The state's abortion facilities take a steady stream of taxpayer revenue by targeting economically vulnerable women," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "It is time to end this exploitation of poor women and their unborn children."

Minnesota taxpayers have been required to fund elective abortions since the Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez ruling. In that decision, the Court created a state "right" to abortion on demand and obligated all taxpayers to fund abortions, including purely elective procedures.

Since the Doe v. Gomez ruling, taxpayers have paid $20,737,288 for a total of 65,823 abortion procedure claims. Taxpayers' 2012 portion (the latest available) was $822,403 for 3,571 abortions. Prior to the court decision, taxpayers were charged about $7,000 per year for about two dozen abortions in cases of rape and incest and to save the life of the mother.

Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funded abortion claims rose 32 percent in 2012 after Regions Hospital closed its abortion facility at the end of 2011. Planned Parenthood increased its revenues from taxpayer funded abortions by 30 percent to $255,192.

"Polls continue to show that most Minnesotans and most Americans are opposed to taxpayer funded abortions, yet they continue to be forced to pay for them," Fischbach said.

MCCL helped to pass a ban on taxpayer funded abortion during the 2011 legislative session; it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. The Minnesota House of Representatives approved the same legislation Apr. 3; the Senate defeated it on Apr. 8. The measure would end the forced funding by taxpayers of this mistreatment of poor women and the killing of unborn children.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Senate votes down amendment to ban taxpayer funded abortion

The following news release was issued on April 8, 2014.

ST. PAUL — An effort to finally end taxpayer funded abortions in the state has been defeated in the Minnesota Senate today. The pro-life amendment is strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). The amendment was sought to a multimillion-dollar supplemental budget bill the Senate.

The proposal that no Minnesota tax dollars may be used to fund the destruction of human life by abortion was brought by Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point. First introduced by Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, as S.F. 753, the policy would end the injustice of forcing Minnesotans to pay for elective abortions. The provision would prohibit taxpayer funded abortions, except to the extent necessary for continued participation in a federal program. This policy would mirror that of the federal government, which currently prohibits funding for abortion except in cases of reported rape or incest or to save the mother's life.

The Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision forced taxpayers to fund elective abortions performed on low-income women. However, most Minnesotans are opposed to taxpayer funded abortions, including many who are not pro-life. A majority of senators upheld taxpayer funding of elective abortions by defeating the amendment on a vote of 31-35.

"It is a grave injustice to kill unborn babies and require Minnesota citizens to pay for it," said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau.

Taxpayer funded abortions have swelled to one-third of all abortions performed in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. In 2011, taxpayers paid more than $1.2 million for 3,693 abortions. Since the Doe v. Gomez decision, the state has paid $19.9 million to the abortion industry for more than 62,000 abortions.

"Taxpayer funded abortions have become highly lucrative for abortionists, who market 'free abortions' to vulnerable women," Rau added. "The amendment would end this exploitation of women."

The Minnesota House of Representatives approved the ban on taxpayer funded abortions in a floor vote on Apr. 3; the amendment passed on a bipartisan vote of 69-61. The Legislature approved a similar measure in 2011, which was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

House approves MCCL-backed amendments related to fetal pain, abortion

The following news release was issued on April 4, 2014.

ST. PAUL — Two pro-life amendments supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) were offered in the Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday. Both were approved as part of a multibillion-dollar supplemental budget bill the House passed last night.

Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, offered an amendment to ban abortions at the point when the unborn child is able to feel pain. Originally introduced as H.F. 2927, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would protect unborn children from the excruciating suffering caused by abortion. Overwhelming anatomical, behavioral and physiological evidence confirms that the developing unborn child is capable of experiencing tremendous pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization. This evidence did not exist when the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision removed all protections for unborn children and established abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.

The most common abortion procedure used at this point in development is dilation and evacuation (D & E), which involves dismembering the unborn child. The abortionist uses forceps to tear apart the fetus in the womb, and then reassembles the arms, legs, torso and head to ensure that no parts of the unborn child's body have been left inside the woman. Rep. Holberg's amendment was approved 70-60.

An amendment proposing that no Minnesota tax dollars may be used to fund the destruction of human life by abortion was brought by Rep. Patti Fritz, DFL-Faribault. First introduced as H.F. 901, the policy would end the injustice of forcing Minnesotans to pay for elective abortions. The Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision forced taxpayers to fund elective abortions performed on low-income women. However, most Minnesotans are opposed to taxpayer funded abortions. The amendment passed 69-61.

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

Taxpayer funded abortions have swelled to 34 percent of all abortions performed in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. In 2011 (most recent figures), taxpayers paid more than $1.2 million for 3,693 abortions. Since the Doe v. Gomez decision, the state has paid $19.9 million to the abortion industry for more than 62,000 abortions.

"Taxpayer funded abortions have become highly lucrative for abortionists, who market 'free abortions' to vulnerable women," Rau added. "The amendment would end this exploitation of women."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why Ipas is wrong to say legalizing abortion worldwide would save lives

The international abortion advocacy organization Ipas helped convene a meeting this week calling for governments to "repeal laws that criminalize abortion and remove barriers on women's and girls' access to safe abortion services," making "safe, legal abortion universally available, accessible and affordable for all women and girls." The conference attendees say abortion must be legalized to "sav[e] women's lives."

That is false. Maternal health depends far more on the quality of medical care (and related factors) than on the legal status or availability of abortion. Consider:

  • Maternal mortality declined dramatically in the developed world as a result of advancements in modern medicine that took place before the widespread legalization of abortion.
  • Today Ireland, Poland, Malta and Chile significantly restrict or prohibit abortion and yet have very low maternal mortality ratios.
  • Among the few countries that achieved a 75 percent reduction in their maternal mortality ratios (a target of Millennium Development Goal 5) by 2010, Maldives, Bhutan and the Islamic Republic of Iran did so while generally prohibiting abortion.
  • After Chile banned abortion in 1989, its maternal mortality ratio continued to decline significantly and at about the same rate, dropping 69.2 percent over the next 14 years, according to a 2012 study by Elard Koch, et al. Even maternal deaths due specifically to abortion declined—from 10.78 abortion deaths per 100,000 live births in 1989 to 0.83 in 2007, a reduction of 92.3 percent after abortion was made illegal.

Legalizing abortion, the Chilean study's authors conclude, is demonstrably unnecessary for the improvement of maternal health and the saving of women's lives.

In fact, legalizing or expanding abortion can be detrimental to the health and safety of pregnant women. Abortion poses physical and psychological risks. These risks include immediate complications such as hemorrhage, infection and death as well as long-term risks such as breast cancer. A wealth of worldwide research has established that abortion increases the risk of subsequent preterm birth, which can cause death or disability in newborn children. Abortion is also associated with a variety of psychological and social problems, including depression, drug abuse and suicide.

The health risks of abortion are exacerbated in countries where basic health care is lacking. The legalization or expansion of abortion in such countries can increase the incidence of abortion, increasing the number of women subjected to the risks of abortion.

The evidence shows that better maternal health care, not abortion, is the way to save lives.

Friday, March 21, 2014

International Day of the Unborn Child: March 25

International Day of the Unborn Child is March 25. Share these graphics on social media to highlight this important day and the humanity and value of unborn children.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Minnesota Supreme Court strikes pro-life law against 'advising, encouraging' suicide

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

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Supreme Court has overturned the state's longstanding prohibition against encouraging and advising a person to commit suicide. The 4-1 ruling is a significant setback in efforts to protect citizens from the danger and injustice of suicide and assisted suicide. Those most at risk are the elderly and persons with disabilities, whose lives are often the most devalued.

"Today's ruling rolls back years of protections for vulnerable citizens who are not receiving the medical and mental health care they need to live," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "Instead of guaranteeing care for those with chronic pain or depression, for example, the Court has turned its back and said, 'Let others urge them to commit suicide.'"

The Supreme Court ruling in State v. Melchert-Dinkel means that Minnesotans suffering from difficult physical or mental illnesses can be subjected to encouragement to commit suicide, including from those who may benefit financially from the death.

The Supreme Court overturned an appeals court ruling in the case of William Melchert-Dinkel, a Faribault ex-nurse who urged two vulnerable people online to commit suicide by hanging. He gave them details about the length and diameter of rope, how to tie the knot and where to place the noose on their necks. He also urged them to set up a webcam so he could watch them die; both committed suicide.

Melchert-Dinkel was convicted in 2011 under Minnesota Statutes section 609.215, subdivision 1, which provides criminal penalties for anyone who "advises" or "encourages" suicide. MCCL was instrumental in the passage of this protective law in 1992.

The Supreme Court has not acted on a Minnesota Court of Appeals unpublished September ruling in the State v. Final Exit case that said the law's prohibition against advising and encouraging suicide was unconstitutional.

"MCCL will carefully consider the Court's ruling that the current law's wording lacks specificity," Fischbach said. "We will look at the possibility of clarifying the statute through legislation. People at risk of suicide need care and protection, not prodding and guidance on killing themselves."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lawmakers seek to protect unborn babies who can feel pain

The following news release was issued today, March 10, 2014.

ST. PAUL — Legislation to stop abortions after the point at which the unborn child can feel pain was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives today. The measure would prohibit the killing of innocent unborn children at 20 weeks from conception.

"For far too long, Minnesota's abortionists have been inflicting unconscionable suffering on unborn babies by killing them when they are already extraordinarily developed and pain-sensitive," explained Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "It is illegal to treat animals in such a brutal way; this bill will finally protect unborn children at 20 weeks and older from the torturous pain of abortion."

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.F. 2927, is authored by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville. The initiative is modeled after a law first enacted in Nebraska in 2010 and subsequently by nine other states, which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks from conception. The legislation is different from an Arizona law that was challenged in court by the abortion industry and struck down last year.

Overwhelming anatomical, behavioral and physiological evidence confirms that the developing unborn child is capable of experiencing tremendous pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization. This evidence did not exist when the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision removed all protections for unborn children and established abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.

The most common abortion procedure used at 20 weeks is dilation and evacuation (D & E), which involves dismembering the unborn child. The abortionist uses forceps to tear apart the fetus in the womb, and then reassembles the arms, legs, torso and head to ensure that no parts of the unborn child's body have been left inside the woman.

"People on both sides of the abortion debate should agree that the gratuitous suffering of the unborn child is incompatible with a humane and civilized society," Fischbach said. "MCCL calls upon all state legislators to support the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act."

Friday, February 28, 2014

MCCL News available online

The January/February issue of MCCL News is now available on our website. It includes stories on the March for Life, the legislative session, Student Day at the Capitol, 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.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Why campaign finance laws fail—every time

By Andrea Rau

It is very easy to complain about money in politics, as George Beck does in his Feb. 3 commentary in the Star Tribune ("Who is bankrolling campaigns, really?"). First of all, the nature of politics is that there is always someone or some policy that you don't like. So it is easy to complain about that individual or policy.

Now imagine that you are wrapped up in your cozy blanket on the couch, watching the latest episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Blacklist or America's Got Talent, when an ad comes on with glowing reviews of that policy you hate. It is brought to you by a group called Everyone Loves America's Got Talent. Now you can really complain about money in politics.

But should you? And maybe even a better question: How did we get to a point where some group called Everyone Loves America's Got Talent runs ads during America's Got Talent railing against your pet issue, which of course has nothing to do with America's Got Talent?

That ad ran because the people who support that policy were squeezed out of the political system years ago—at least that is what advocates of our current campaign finance laws think should be true. The complex web of different shadow organizations with money flowing from one to another is the result of campaign finance laws that are growing ever more stringent, and making it ever-harder to follow the money.

These laws, put in place to shine light on where money flows, have failed, and failed miserably. The problem is that they have not stopped the flow of money. The valve is still open, with only a dam put in place to stop the money from flowing to the candidates.

After the initial dam was constructed, the money started pooling in other places—especially in the coffers of political parties. But then some elected officials thought the flow there was too heavy, so more dams were put in place to limit the amount going to the parties.

But the valve still wasn't closed. So the money kept flowing and new pools were created. Now we have so many different pools we can't keep track of them, and people are complaining more than ever. They used to be able to blame the candidate, but then they had to blame the parties, and now they blame so-called "shadow groups."

Some of these groups, I admit, are shadow groups. They have been set up to take advantage of the pools of money that will always flow into politics. Some of them may only be around for an election cycle before changing names. Working around the complex laws that exist, they have figured out how to largely hide their identities while spending millions of dollars to deliver a particular message.

But many of the groups now decried as shadow groups are nothing of the sort. Many are well-known within their communities and have worked on the same set of issues for decades.

New proposals to require complex reporting from these organizations, and from nearly anyone who wishes to mention the name of a candidate, would have a significant impact on the ability of such organizations to do their work. And, perhaps more important to those who are pushing for these regulations, they would have little influence on political spending.

Why? Because campaign finance laws always fail.

There are an infinite number of ways to spend money to spread a message, so we can never actually turn the valve and stop the flow of money in politics. Past efforts to do so have never worked and have actually made it harder to find the source of the funds in the ever-growing backwaters that our current laws have created.

We can learn from the past. New attempts to limit the flow of money into politics and campaigns are doomed to failure.

It would be easier to follow the flow if we didn't have to wade all the backwaters. Rather than putting new dams in place, it is time to drain these backwaters of political funding by removing the regulations currently in place and allowing the flow to return to a more natural state.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

'The State of Abortion in the United States'

National Right to Life has released a new report titled "The State of Abortion in the United States." It includes the following sections, all of which provide helpful and important information:
  • Synopsis of U.S. Supreme Court Cases
  • Public Opinion & Abortion
  • Federal Legislation & Abortion
  • State Laws & Abortion
  • Abortion in America: A Look at the Numbers
  • Planned Parenthood: The Nation's Largest Abortion Provider
  • Obamacare's Threat to the Born
Although the incidence of abortion has declined in recent years—the result of a variety of pro-life efforts—the report indicates that more than 56 million abortions have taken place since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thousands of Minnesotans come to Capitol

The following news release was issued today, Jan. 22, 2014.

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.

The 40th 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 588,000 unborn Minnesota children (Minnesota Department of Health), and more than 56 million unborn babies nationwide.

"In Minnesota, more than one-third of all abortions are paid for with our tax dollars," stated MCCL Development Associate Jan Ochsner. The huge crowd of citizens gathered from across the state responded with thunderous boos. "Rather than turning our backs on women and encouraging them to get a free abortion, we should be using that money—our tax dollars—to provide real help to women."

MCCL's 2014 legislative agenda calls upon lawmakers to end taxpayer funded abortions, which account for 34 percent of all abortions performed in the state. This is the highest percentage since the 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court required taxpayers to pay for abortions performed on low-income women. This percentage has increased nearly every year since the court ruling. Taxpayers have funded 62,252 abortions since the decision, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

MCCL's 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 again is calling for passage of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits abortions at the point when an unborn child can feel pain. MCCL will also continue to support programs that provide help to pregnant and parenting mothers and their children, so that no woman ever feels forced into an abortion due to lack of resources.

Many of Minnesota's pro-life elected officials, including state legislators, were in attendance and were introduced during the brief program in the Capitol Rotunda. Pro-life Congressman John Kline read a list of recent protective legislation he has sponsored and added, "None of these has become law. That's why you're here today. Thank you for being here. Stay with it. We must protect life, and we cannot do it without you." Other pro-life Members of Congress Erik Paulsen, Michele Bachmann and Collin Peterson sent written greetings.

The annual event was moved inside for only the second time in 40 years due to severe weather conditions. View historical photos of the MCCL March for Life and photos from today's event on the MCCL website.

Friday, January 17, 2014

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, 41 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.

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. This was established long before 1973, though subsequent scientific and technological advances have greatly improved our knowledge of life before birth. As Dr. Horatio R. Storer explained in a book published in 1866, "Physicians have now arrived at the unanimous opinion that the foetus in utero is alive from the very moment of conception."

Justice requires that the law protect the equal dignity and basic rights of every member of the human family—irrespective of age, size, stage of development, condition of 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 1.2 million. Under the Roe regime, abortion is the leading cause of human death. More than 56 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."

Justice Blackmun
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 ridiculous, his facts erroneous, his key historical claims demonstrably false. The process behind the decision was appallingly 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."

Since 1973 the Court has modified Roe while stubbornly clinging to its "essential holding." But the Court's abortion jurisprudence cannot forever withstand the weight of fact and reason.

The first MCCL March for Life on Jan. 22,
1974, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade
Third, Roe is undemocratic. It struck down the democratically-decided abortion laws of all 50 states and imposed a nationwide policy of abortion on demand, 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 extent 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, fostering divisive cultural and political battles. These Americans will not rest while Roe and abortion on demand persist. They want to have a say. The Court decided they could have none.

Overturning Roe would not make abortion illegal nationwide. It would not end the debate. It would return the question of abortion policy back to the people and their elected representatives, where it had been for almost 200 years, and where it always belonged.

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 10, 2014

What does it mean to be pro-life?

Every human being matters, and we ought to act accordingly


The media often use the label "anti-abortion" to describe pro-life advocates. It's true that we oppose abortion—and infanticide, euthanasia and embryo-destructive research. But we are only against those things because we are for something else.

What we are for

What are we for? We are for the proposition that human life is good, that it is worth living, that it deserves respect and protection. We are for the proposition that every human being has an equal worth and dignity—that every human being has a right to live.

The pro-life position rejects all attempts to divide humanity into those who have rights and those who don't. Our society now recognizes that past discrimination on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity and social status was deeply unjust. We recognize that the worth of a human being does not depend on such characteristics.

Nor, however, does the worth of a human being depend on age, size, ability, dependency, stage of development or the desires and decisions of others. The big are not more valuable than the small. The strong do not have more rights than the weak. The independent do not matter more than the vulnerable and needy.

No, we have value and a right to life simply because we are human—not because of what we can do, but because of what (the kind of being) we are. That's why everyone matters. Everyone counts.

What we are against

It is because we support equal human dignity that we oppose the intentional killing of innocent human beings. And that means we oppose abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and embryo-destructive research.

Pro-lifers oppose abortion because it takes the life of a human being before he or she is born. The scientific facts of embryology and developmental biology make clear that the unborn (the human embryo or fetus) is a distinct and living human organism, a full-fledged (though immature) member of the species Homo sapiens. Each of us was once an embryo and a fetus, just as we were once infants, toddlers and adolescents.

And all human beings, at all stages, have a right to life, whether or not they are "wanted" or "convenient."

We oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide because killing is never the answer to the difficulties of life. All human beings should receive our compassion and care, irrespective of disease, disability or perceived "quality of life."

We oppose embryonic stem cell research (but not adult or non-embryonic stem cell research) and human cloning because they require the destruction of human embryos. Human embryos are human beings in the embryonic phase of life. And all human beings, regardless of appearance or location (e.g., a petri dish), ought to be treated with respect and not as mere raw material to use for the hypothetical benefit of others.

Living our conviction

But being pro-life is about more than just holding an ethical position. To be truly pro-life means to live and act accordingly.

It means treating other people with dignity and respect—even those with whom we disagree. It means helping pregnant women in need and those who suffer from illness or disability.

It means recognizing the moral gravity and scale of abortion—the premier injustice and leading cause of death in American society today—and taking action to save lives. Educating ourselves, talking to others, persuading them. Supporting pro-life educational and legislative efforts through organizations like MCCL.

Being pro-life, ultimately, is about loving others, especially the most vulnerable. It is about loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. And love isn't just a feeling. It is a commitment.

This article was first published in the November-December 2013 issue of MCCL News.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What Christmas says 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.

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 chose to enter the world in the most vulnerable condition possible: as an embryo, and then a fetus, and then a newborn baby lying in a manger. This is startling, and it turns ancient "might makes right" morality on its head. It suggests that human dignity is not determined by age, size, power or independence.

3. Motherhood is enormously honorable. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was utterly important, admirable and deserving of great honor. All mothers are important and deserving of honor.

4. 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 17, 2013

Video: Hormonal stress response at 16 weeks after conception

Friday, December 13, 2013

Why Minnesota has taxpayer funding of abortion

The following news release was issued today, Dec. 13.

ST. PAUL — Since a Dec. 15, 1995, Minnesota Supreme Court ruling required taxpayers to fund abortions, more than 62,000 unborn babies have been killed in Minnesota with taxpayer funds, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS). The Doe v. Gomez ruling established the most extreme abortion-on-demand policy in the nation.

"The Doe v. Gomez ruling 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 18th 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 2011, state taxpayers paid more than $19.9 million for 62,252 abortions, according to MDHS. In 2011 alone (the most recent statistics available), state taxpayers paid $1.2 million for 3,693 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 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 18 years, it's time for the Supreme Court to revisit this wrongly decided ruling."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Abortion and breast cancer: The evidence from China

A new meta-study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Cancer Causes & Control analyzes 36 different studies of the association between abortion and breast cancer in China.

Combined, the studies show that abortion increases a woman's risk of breast cancer by 44 percent. The increased risk jumps to 76 percent after two or more abortions and 89 percent after three or more. The researchers conclude, "IA [induced abortion] is significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer among Chinese females, and the risk of breast cancer increases as the number of IA increases."

In China, which has a coercive population control policy, abortion is extremely prevalent. The weight of the evidence of an abortion-breast cancer link from all of these academic studies (which cover 14 different provinces in China) seems overwhelming.

The Chinese data should come as no surprise. Dozens of studies worldwide, spanning decades, show an abortion-breast cancer connection. A 1996 meta-analysis found a 30 percent increase in breast cancer risk among post-abortion women. And the physiological explanation of this increased risk (how abortion leaves a woman with more cancer-vulnerable breast tissue) makes perfect sense.

This isn't just a scientific discussion. It has very real consequences. As Dr. Joel Brind writes:
It is really frightening when you start doing the math on the impact of abortion on a population of over a billion women—in India and China alone: Just a 2% lifetime risk of breast cancer due to abortion—a very conservative estimate—means upwards of 10 million women getting breast cancer, and millions dying from it.
Many continue to deny (or ignore, in the case of the mainstream media) any link between abortion and breast cancer, but the criticisms of the evidence do not seem to withstand scrutiny, and more studies from around the world continue to surface. They are making the link seem almost undeniable.