Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Peace on earth requires respect for human dignity

Martin Luther King Jr., preaching on Christmas 1967:
The next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. Every man is somebody because he is a child of God. … Man is more than ... whirling electrons or a wisp of smoke. ... Man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be respected as such. … And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won't exploit people, we won't trample over people with the iron feet of oppression, we won't kill anybody.
(HT: Frank Pavone)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Senate bill still subsidizes abortion, but battle far from over

Update (12-23): Read in detail about the threats to human life in the Senate bill -- abortion funding and health care rationing -- here.

Sen. Ben Nelson has caved and agreed to bad, "compromise" abortion language in the Senate health care bill. He is the crucial 60th vote to pass the legislation in the Senate.

National Right to Life explains the problems with the new abortion language here. Among other problems, it still allows federal dollars to subsidize health plans that cover abortion on demand -- a break from the long-standing, bipartisan Hyde amendment tradition.

The bill may soon pass the Senate, but it must then be reconciled with the House bill that contains the pro-life Stupak amendment, which prevents federal funding of abortion through the programs created by the legislation. Rep. Bart Stupak and other pro-life House Democrats may be able to prevent the final bill from passing unless that pro-life language is retained.

Keeping contacting your two senators and your representative in the House, urging them to oppose the health care bill unless Stupak language is included. Also contact Rep. Stupak to thank him and encourage him to stay strong.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Support Nelson, oppose Senate attempt to fund abortion, ration care

The Senate is continuing to work on and debate its version of the health care reform legislation now before Congress. It voted down a pro-life amendment on Dec. 8 that would have prevented federal funding of abortion through the new programs created by the bill.

The Senate's one pro-life Democrat, Ben Nelson, is threatening to oppose the bill unless the pro-life abortion funding language is added. Without his vote, Majority Leader Harry Reid may not have enough votes to pass the bill out of the Senate. So this week he offered Nelson a phony "compromise" amendment, but Nelson and pro-life organizations have already rejected it because it still allows federal funding of health plans that cover abortion.

Reid wants to push the bill through by Christmas. Contact Nelson to show your support and urge him to continue opposing any bill that includes abortion funding. Also continue to contact your own senators, urging them to oppose the bill unless it is amended not just to exclude abortion funding, but also to prevent the rationing of care -- a second major pro-life concern regarding the current legislation.

Update: National Right to Life (NRLC) explains what is wrong with the abortion funding "compromise" Sen. Nelson has rightly rejected. NRLC writes that "the Nelson-Hatch (Stupak-Pitts) language is the only acceptable solution to the far-reaching pro-abortion problems in the Reid bill."

The basis for women's dignity

Not permitting abortion is an attack on women's dignity, some claim.

To which I respond: I agree that women have profound worth and dignity and rights. But on what basis do women have these things? Because they are human?

If we have dignity by virtue of being human -- that's why we call them human rights, after all -- then it follows that all humans have this dignity. And that includes the unborn human beings who are killed by abortion.

And the dignity of one human being does not require that he or she be able to kill another, innocent human being if that human happens to be inconvenient or unwanted. Such killing is, rather, a total assault on the dignity of the latter.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The dangers of egg harvesting to women

A group of both pro-choice and pro-life feminists has created a campaign called "Hands Off Our Ovaries." The group is calling attention to a little-known danger of the pursuit of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) and human cloning: the harvesting of tremendous numbers of eggs from young women.

Most of the human embryos killed for ESCR are "left over" from in vitro fertilization, but these embryos are very limited. For the embryo research enterprise to (possibly) succeed in developing treatments for patients, many new embryos must be created solely in order to destroy them for research. This would involve the cloning method of somatic cell nuclear transfer.

It would also require an incredible number of human eggs, harvested from women, in order to create the embryos. This is a practical problem, but also an ethical one -- the harvesting could be dangerous to women's health, and the demand for eggs could be used to exploit poor, vulnerable and even third-world women.

Concerned Women for America explains:
An alliance of women, including pro-choice feminists who recognize the problems, introduced the "Hands Off Our Ovaries" campaign on March 8 [2006] to enjoin its viewers to sign the Web site's manifesto, which condemns biotechnological research that harms women, and to educate about the risks of egg extraction, wherein a woman is given powerful hormones that cause her to produce multiple eggs.

Egg harvesting has incited protests from pro-life and pro-choice advocates alike. Both sides argue that reliance on women's eggs for research purposes easily leads to exploitation, particularly of low-income, needy women who could benefit financially.

A recent scandal in South Korea justifies these concerns. Dr. Hwang Woo-suk used more than 2,000 extracted eggs and finally failed to produce a cloned embryo, while payment, compulsion, and lying were used to acquire the eggs from women.

Health risks are also a considerable factor in arguments against the procedure. Two women who have undergone egg extraction in the United Kingdom in the last year have died after developing severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which causes rapid accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, chest, and around the heart. Symptoms include severe pelvic pain, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, ovarian enlargement, respiratory problems, blood clots and liver dysfunction.

According to a congressional testimony by Diane Beeson, a medical sociologist and professor emerita of sociology at California State University, East Bay, "Those who develop severe OHSS may experience a wide range of serious conditions including loss of future fertility, kidney or multiple organ failure, and death. The frequency of severe OHSS is estimated to be as high as 10 per cent of women who undergo the procedure."

Beeson, a founder of the "Hands Off Our Ovaries" campaign, also says that not only are women at risk when they take the fertility drugs that cause OHSS, but potentially their children. Studies of mice with OHSS demonstrate significant abnormalities in offspring, including growth retardation, bone development delays, and a rib deformity which is associated with other abnormalities and cancer in humans.

Many argue that if egg harvesting is to become widely endorsed for the purposes of stem- cell research and therapeutic cloning, the number of cases of severe OHSS will rise considerably. Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council points out that of the 80 million women who would be required for egg harvesting to treat diabetes alone, at least 800,000 would experience OHSS.

Moreover, in order to treat the 127 to 128 million Americans with common deadly diseases, 6.4 billion human eggs would be needed. About 640 million women would be required to provide these eggs. Given that only about 60 million women in the U.S. are of reproductive age, large-scale egg harvesting is not only dangerous, but also unfeasible.
The "Hands Off Our Ovaries" campaign says, "We seek a moratorium on egg extraction for research purposes until such time as global discourse and scientific research yields information sufficient to establish adequate informed consent."

Embryo-destructive research is wrong because it requires the killing of young (embryonic) human beings for the alleged benefit of others. But even those who disagree on this point can -- and I hope will, with a good educational campaign -- acknowledge the potential dangers of egg harvesting to women.

Fetal development showcased on WebMD

The popular WebMD medical/health site is showcasing the development of the unborn child.

WebMD is "the leading health portal in the United States," according to Wikipedia, and "receives information from accredited individuals and is reviewed by a medical review board consisting of four physicians to ensure accuracy."

A slideshow on the site shows fetal development month by month in color photographs. One caption reads: "If a sperm cell meets and penetrates an egg, it will fertilize it. This is known as conception. At this moment, the genetic make-up is complete, including the sex of the infant." The slideshow repeatedly refers to human embryos/fetuses as "babies."

It is very good to see these facts recognized by respected medical sources outside the pro-life movement. View the slideshow here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The pro-life movement and 'common liberal values'

Scholar Jon Shields (professor at Claremont McKenna College), who's not exactly pro-life but has become more sympathetic to our view in the course of his research, discusses the pro-life movement in an interview with the New Yorker (emphases added):
The pro-life cause has indeed resonated in a liberal, rights-oriented culture far more than other "culture-war" issues. ... Young Americans ... are suddenly less pro-choice than older Americans. ...

This development, however, is not as odd as it appears. I think the pro-life cause continues to inspire activists and cannot be dismissed by secular, socially liberal Americans precisely because it appeals to common liberal values that we all share [e.g., human equality]. ...

The liberalism at the heart of the pro-life campaign, however, is constantly distorted by a generation of scholars who have insisted the right-to-life movement is really about the preservation of traditional gender roles or male control over female sexuality. Such interpretations tend to ignore that the right-to-life movement regards itself as today's civil-rights movement. The failure to grasp this reality renders the passion and dedication of the pro-life movement almost impossible to comprehend.

I believe that many scholars of abortion have resisted this conclusion because they find it difficult to entertain the possibility that these conservatives might be agents in progressive history. ...

On some level, I think most [pro-choice academics] understand that pro-lifers are raising serious human rights concerns. And on a surprising number of occasions, I've had liberal academics confess that their pro-life sympathies run quite deep.
About his own views, Shields says:
I was raised in a strongly pro-choice household and carried those views with me into my fieldwork. Doing this research, however, forced me to think through my beliefs in a more systematic way. I was exposed to thoughtful activists and images of aborted embryos that I always used to carefully avoid. So, somewhere along the way, I did become far more sympathetic to the moral claims of the pro-life movement than I even imagined when I began talking to activists. I suppose I was particularly moved by the claim that human organisms might have an intrinsic value independent of their characteristics. Above all, though, this work has left me with a deeper respect for the thoughtful partisans on both sides of this issue. Our best hope, in my humble opinion, is to continue deliberating about this issue.
This is refreshing, I think, coming from the pro-choice side of the debate. He is thinking clearly about the issue and sincerely looking to find the truth.

Why the Senate health care bill is not pro-choice

It's pro-abortion. Jon Shields explains in the New Yorker:
The ban on abortion funding [passed in the U.S. House version of the health care reform legislation, but rejected by the Senate] extended the logic of the pro-choice case for abortion rights. Pro-choice advocates, after all, have long argued that we need to respect the private moral choices of American citizens. Public funding of abortion, by this logic, would not respect our moral differences because it would force pro-life citizens to subsidize the practice of abortion. A ban on funding, therefore, is consistent with what is essentially a libertarian case for abortion rights. This is partly why many Americans who are otherwise sympathetic to abortion access nevertheless believe the state should not treat abortion as a welfare right.
Even though its proponents claim to be "pro-choice," the Senate bill would force Americans to support elective abortions whether they want to or not.

Are you interested in what's true?

Greg Koukl writes:
You must ask yourself a critical question: Are you interested in what's true and right, or are you merely interested in what's pleasurable and convenient?

Here's the reason I ask. I've made an observation based on hundreds of conversations with people on tough moral issues. I've met few who were really interested in doing what's right. This may seem like a strong statement, but in the course of conversation it becomes obvious.

Sure, they give reasons for their views, convincing even themselves that they have a genuine interest in morality. Their true colors show, however, when their reasons turn out to be bad ones. They fish around for other justifications. They begin twisting the facts to fit their views. They reject or ignore contrary points instead of refuting them.

As their options diminish, their search gets more frantic. It soon becomes clear they never had any intention of being ethical at all. Their justifications were only rationalizations all along.

Instead of changing their opinions and, ultimately, their conduct, they become angry. Stripped of the appearance of being moral, they leave mad, still bent on doing what they intended to do in the first place.

Why do we do that? Because the moral demands of the truth are often an unpleasant burden to bear. When self-interest is at stake, we change the rules. We resort to contorted, disfigured arguments. We attack individuals rather than ideas. We take refuge behind the claim that the question is complicated, when it's not really difficult at all. In the end we fire our final salvo, "It's my right!" -- the last refuge of the libertine.

Those who are interested in what's true, however, let their judgments rest on the evidence. When the facts go against what they want, they make the difficult choice for the right reasons. They remain loyal to what's true and good, not to what's convenient.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The threats to human dignity

Wesley J. Smith explains how our society's commitment to "human exceptionalism" -- "the unique moral value and importance of human life" -- is under attack like never before. Some excerpts:
Most people still believe in human exceptionalism and are unaware that powerful social and cultural forces are working diligently to dismantle the sanctity of life ethic as the fundamental value of our social order. But the time has come to pay attention. If human life is knocked off the pedestal, universal human rights will be impossible to sustain. ...

The bioethical mainstream disdains the sanctity of life ethic as irrational and based on religion. In its place, they promote "personhood theory," that equates moral value with cognitive capacities such as being self aware over time. This "quality of life" ethic, as it is sometimes called, creates a two-tiered system in which some humans have greater value than human non persons [e.g., the unborn killed by abortion or embryo-destructive research]. ...

Personhood theory also denies the equal value of newborn infants. ... Infanticide isn’t just a theoretical. Baby euthanasia is commonplace in the Netherlands. ...

Personhood theory also threatens those who have lost capacities. Thus, people with profound cognitive impairments like Terri Schiavo are increasingly being looked upon as potential sources of organs even though they are clearly not dead.

The animal rights movement goes even farther, fabricating an explicit moral equality between humans and animals ...

Materialistic Darwinists also deny human exceptionalism based on their belief that since all life evolved randomly out of the same primordial ooze, species distinctions are morally irrelevant. This view has potentially deadly implications to the sanctity of human life ...

Radical environmentalism is even more alarming, taking human unexceptionalism to the next nihilistic level. Under this view, we are life's villains whose pillaging threatens the earth. In order to "save the planet" our prosperity must be sacrificed and our population strictly controlled. Some radical environmentalists even look to China's tyrannical one child policy as a model—even though it uses female infanticide and forced abortion as demographic weapons. ...

These, and other, attacks on human exceptionalism are profoundly dangerous to human life and liberty. It is our unique moral status in the known universe that gives rise to both universal (human) rights. It is the sanctity of life ethic that compels us to care for the weak, vulnerable, and elderly among us.

Either we all matter equally, simply and merely because we are human—or our value becomes relative, our rights, and indeed, our continued existence—determined by the reigning power structure of the day. After all, if we are merely another animal in the forest—or worse, the planet’s enemies—why should any of us be treated as if we have any special meaning at all?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Senate rejects pro-life amendment, supports abortion funding

The following is a National Right to Life news release about today's vote on abortion funding in the Senate health care bill. Both of Minnesota's senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, voted the wrong way -- for federal funding and expansion of abortion on demand.

National Right to Life Urges Defeat of Health Care Bill After Senate Votes to Keep Abortion in Federal Programs

WASHINGTON (December 8, 2009) -- By a vote of 54 to 45, the U.S. Senate today tabled (killed) an amendment to remove elective abortion from the new federal programs that would be created by pending health care legislation. The following statement was issued by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states, and may be attributed to NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

A majority of senators today voted to keep abortion covered in the proposed federal government insurance program, and to subsidize private insurance plans that cover abortion on demand. Now, the vote on cloture on the bill itself will become the key vote on whether to put the federal government into the abortion business. We will oppose cloture on the bill, which would require 60 affirmative votes. In addition, a number of pro-life Democrats in the House, who supported passage of health care legislation on November 7, will not vote for the Senate bill in its current form. So, this is a long way from over.

The amendment rejected today, supported by NRLC, was sponsored by Senator Ben Nelson (D-Ne.) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). It contained the same substance as the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which was adopted by the House of Representatives on November 7, 240-194. Both amendments would prevent the federal government insurance program (the "public option") from paying for abortion (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest). In addition, both amendments would prevent federal subsidies from being used to purchase private health plans that cover elective abortion, but would not restrict the sale or purchase of such policies with private funds.

As NRLC has previously noted, the health care bill pending in the Senate, proposed by Senator Harry Reid (D-Nv.) and backed by President Obama, would authorize the federal government to pay for any and all abortions through a huge new federal health insurance program, the "public option," and would also subsidize purchase of private plans that cover abortion on demand. President Obama and Reid know that the substance of these abortion-promoting policies is deeply unpopular, so they seek to conceal the reality with layers of contorted definitions and money-laundering schemes.

For extensive further documentation on aspects of the health care legislation relating to abortion, visit the NRLC website at

To go to the Abortion in Health Care index, click here.
To go to the NRLC Home page, click here.
To go to the NRLC Legislative Action Center, click here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Stupak, not Capps, maintains status quo on abortion funding

The Senate is debating the Nelson-Hatch amendment, which mirrors the House's Stupak-Pitts amendment and which would prevent federal funding of elective abortions through the health care reform legislation.

Pro-abortion senators are continuing to claim that the bill as written (which includes the Capps amendment pertaining to abortion), without the Nelson language, would maintain the status quo on abortion and health care, and be consistent with the longstanding Hyde amendment, while the Nelson/Stupak language would dramatically alter it.

But as Mary Harned explains:

The fact that the Stupak-Pitts amendment, not the Capps amendment, maintains existing law can be established from studying the Hyde Amendment and similar laws that apply to other programs. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds that are appropriated through the LHHS appropriations bill from being used to pay for abortion and prevents federal funds from being used to subsidize health care plans that offer abortion coverage.

In other words, programs like Medicaid cannot directly pay for abortions or subsidize private plans that include abortion coverage. The Stupak Amendment applies exactly the same principles to the new programs created by H.R. 3962. Just as Medicaid dollars cannot be used to subsidize private insurance plans that cover abortions, neither can the new affordability credits created by health care reform.

Other government programs apply these principles to federal funds as well. The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program has a longstanding restriction on abortion funding and coverage. The current law provides: "No funds appropriated by this Act shall be available to pay for an abortion, or the administrative expenses in connection with any health plan under the Federal employees health benefits program which provides any benefits or coverage for abortions."

Contact your senators now!

The Senate may be debating and voting on the Nelson-Hatch pro-life amendment today and tomorrow. The amendment would ensure that the Senate health care reform bill would not federally fund elective abortions, which it currently does.

Learn more and contact your senators here to make sure that the health care legislation does not significantly expand abortion.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Senate will vote soon on pro-life Nelson-Hatch amendment

From National Right to Life (NRLC), Dec. 4, 2009:

The U.S. Senate is working across the weekend, voting on amendments to the massive health care bill (H.R. 3590) proposed by Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nv.). NRLC strongly opposes the bill because of multiple provisions that would promote abortion and the rationing of lifesaving medical care.

Pro-life Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ben Nelson (D-Ne.) plan to soon file an amendment to the bill, which will be supported by the NRLC and other major pro-life groups. The Hatch-Nelson Amendment would make the same critical policy changes to the Reid bill that were accomplished in the House of Representatives by adoption of the NRLC-backed Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the House version of the health care legislation (H.R. 3962) on November 7.

Thus, the effect of the Hatch-Nelson Amendment would be to prevent the proposed new government health insurance program -- the "public option" -- from paying for abortions, and also to prevent federal funds from being used to subsidize the purchase of private health plans that pay for elective abortion.

Time is short! Please telephone the offices of your two U.S. senators. Urge them to support the Hatch-Nelson Amendment to the health care bill (H.R. 3590). The Washington offices of all U.S. senators can be reached through the Capitol Switchboard, 202-224-3121. In most cases, you can also obtain fax numbers, and phone numbers for senators' in-state offices, through the NRLC Legislative Action Center at this internet address:

After the Senate has voted on the Hatch-Nelson Amendment, there will be other critical votes on the health care legislation! The legislative situation may change rapidly. Any time you want to check the current status of the legislation, visit this page on the Legislative Action Center:

For further information on the abortion-related issues in the health care legislation, go to:

For further information on the rationing-related issues in the health care legislation, go to:

Friday, December 4, 2009

A market in fetal organs? If you're 'pro-choice' ...

In a piece from earlier this year in the Huffington Post, bioethicist and medical historian Jacob M. Appel writes: "Professor Richard Gardner of Oxford University, a renowned expert on human reproduction and an advisor to Britain's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, recently raised the prospect of using organs from aborted fetuses for transplantation into adults" (emphasis added).

Appel (who's not exactly a fringe figure in bioethics) then suggests that creating a legal market in aborted baby organs is a good idea, both for the women who would benefit financially (by selling the organs) and for the other members of society who would be the recipients of transplantations.

Let me make two points. First, this is incredibly sick, morally speaking -- I believe (I hope) it would shock the sensibilities of most people. Consider, as Appel writes:
The supply [of fetal organs], for all practical purposes, is unlimited. ... Pregnant women who provide fetal kidneys could do so repeatedly ... If only a small percentage of those women [having abortions] could be persuaded to carry their fetuses to the necessary point of development for transplantation, society might realize significant public health benefits. The government could even step into the marketplace to purchase fetal organs for patients on Medicare and Medicaid. ... A market in fetal organs would empower women to use their reproductive capabilities to their own economic advantage. ... Someday, if we are fortunate, scientific research may make possible farms of artificial "wombs" breeding fetuses for their organs.
Sounds like science fiction, doesn't it?

Second, the moral permissibility of creating a market for fetal organs follows logically from the pro-choice position on abortion. Appel makes this case well: "I believe we have a moral duty to women to give due consideration to the legalization of such a fetal-organ trade. ... If a woman has a fundamental right to terminate a pregnancy, why not the right to use the products of that terminated pregnancy as she sees fit?"

If the human embryo or fetus merits no moral respect -- and may therefore be killed (by abortion) for any or no reason if the mother chooses, as NARAL, Planned Parenthood and others argue -- then there seems to be no good justification for prohibiting a market in fetal organs. The unborn offspring is the property of the mother, and she may do what she wants with it. And that includes growing babies in the womb in order to kill them to harvest their useful parts.

This disturbing conclusion is absolutely wrong -- evidence of the total bankruptcy of the pro-choice position. It should cause those who are pro-choice to reevaluate their initial premises.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is the pro-life position a threat to religious liberty?

Writing in the Pioneer Press, Kiely Todd Roska (executive director of the Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice) says that the pro-life Stupak-Pitts amendment to the U.S. House's health care reform bill, which prevents federal funding of elective abortions, "threatens religious freedom."

"The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops advocated that their religious views [i.e., the pro-life position] be added to the House bill," she writes. "The bishops' theological viewpoints should not shape the public policy of all Americans."

Roska continues: "[W]e call on all senators to ensure that health care reform is freed of religious ideology ... We support a health care system that is inclusive and respectful of diverse religious beliefs and decisions regarding childbearing. ... In this religiously pluralistic nation, our health care system should be inclusive and respective of diverse religious beliefs and decisions regarding childbearing."

Roska keeps making the same assertion, but it's remarkably unthoughtful -- she goes on to thoroughly contradict herself:

"As religious leaders, we support public policies that are just and compassionate and prioritize the needs of those who are poor and marginalized in our society. ... A health care system that serves all persons with dignity and equality will include comprehensive reproductive health services. ... Our faith traditions are abundantly clear about living in community with others and being responsible for them. Our traditions share the common goal of taking care of the well-being of those most in need. We join with others in urging a return to the core of our faith traditions and realize that providing access to safe and quality health care makes sense morally, ethically, spiritually, and financially." [italics added]

Note what Roska has done. First, she disqualifies the pro-life position, without any arguments or evidence, by branding it "religious ideology." Then she offers for consideration her own views, and defends them by explicitly appealing to religion. In fact, her organization is all about bringing religious influences/motivations to bear on public policy (in this case, in defense of the pro-choice position).

Roska can't have it both ways. She's using a fallacious trick to discard the views of those who disagree with her without having to engage them or argue for her own position.

(By the way, the pro-life position itself is no more "religious" than the claim that murdering toddlers is wrong. Both are moral viewpoints stemming from a conviction that all human beings have dignity, and taking innocent human life is wrong. A religious perspective may or may not undergird or motivate this position, just as religion influences the views of religious people on many uncontroversial issues, and just as secular worldviews influence the views of those who adhere to them.)

Roska talks about being "inclusive and respectful of diverse religious beliefs," but the truth is that both sides in the abortion debate are seeking to impose their own views. Pro-lifers think the unborn is a valuable human person, like you and me, and ought to be respected and protected by law. Roska thinks the unborn human being is so unworthy of respect that we may kill him or her for any reason and have the killing paid for by the government. Either way, a particular viewpoint is enshrined into law.

The question isn't "religion" or "respecting diverse beliefs," but which view will be reflected in our laws -- and, in our system of democratic government, answering that question should require honest debate and deliberation, which Roska avoids by simply dismissing her opponents without argument. Does abortion unjustly takes the life of an innocent human person? If so, it should not be permitted.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Senate bill provisions threaten rationing

In addition to funding abortion, the Senate health care "reform" bill has numerous rationing-related provisions. A new National Right to Life analysis concludes:

  • Senior citizens' ability to use their own money, if they choose, to avoid involuntary denial of medical treatment under Medicare could be severely limited.
  • State commissioners of the new health insurance exchanges created by the bill would be given power to deny people who are trying to obtain policies in the exchange the option of choosing health plans less likely to deny treatment, by limiting what they would be allowed to pay for such policies.
  • In response to public reaction over the summer denouncing efforts to encourage patients to agree to reject treatment as a way of saving costs, the Senate avoided including the "advance care planning" provisions still in the House bill. Instead, it has sought to achieve a similar result under a different name, Under the title "Shared Decisionmaking," the bill funds and promotes "patient decision aids" to "help" patients make treatment decisions.
  • A Medicare Advisory Board is established to force Medicare payments below the rate of medical inflation.

Since its inception, the pro-life movement has been as concerned with protecting the lives of older people and people with disabilities from euthanasia, including the involuntary denial of treatment, food, and fluids necessary to prevent death, as it has been dedicated to protecting unborn children from abortion. Sen. Reid's bill contains multiple provisions that threaten these lives.

The Reid Bill contains important elements that would greatly impact the ability of patients to receive unrationed medical care. These elements, combined with inadequate funding -- a scheme of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" under which half of the funding comes from cuts in Medicare spending -- would result in rationing life-saving treatment for senior citizens.

Read the full analysis.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Answering pro-choice arguments -- the real issue

Most pro-choice rhetoric assumes the very point it must demonstrate: that the unborn entity killed by abortion is not a valuable human person. This is a logical fallacy called begging the question.

Consider whether a justification for killing the unborn also works to justify killing or harming other human beings. If not, it begs the question by presupposing a lesser status for the unborn.

"Women should have the right to choose," abortion defenders say. But women should not have the "right to choose" to drown their 10-year-old children. The question at hand is whether the unborn, like a 10-year-old child, deserves full moral respect and ought not be killed for the convenience or benefit of others.

"Abortion is a private matter between a woman and her doctor," some claim. But we do not permit spousal abuse on the grounds that it is a private matter between a husband and his drinking buddies. "Women should be able to control their own bodies," it is often said. But this assumes only one body is involved -- that the unborn does not count as another person.

The real issue is not choice, privacy or bodily autonomy, but the moral status of the unborn. Is he or she a rights-bearing human being, as pro-lifers argue? If so, killing him or her by abortion, like killing a toddler for the same reasons, is a serious moral wrong.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Senate bill moves forward; fight to exclude abortion funding will continue

National Right to Life to Obama and Reid: You wanted debate? Now you'll get debate -- on government-funded abortion

WASHINGTON (November 21, 2009) -- The U.S. Senate tonight barely cleared an initial 60-vote procedural hurdle, setting the stage for a 2,074-page health care bill, crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.), to move forward to debate before the full Senate. The following statement was issued by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states, and may be attributed to NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

As National Right to Life has previously noted, Senator Reid's bill [on page 118] would authorize the federal government to pay for any and all abortions through a huge new federal health insurance program, the "public option," and also to subsidize purchase of private plans that cover abortion on demand. President Obama and Reid know that the substance of these abortion-promoting policies is deeply unpopular, so they seek to conceal the reality with layers of contorted definitions and money-laundering schemes.

Obama and Reid wanted debate -- so now they'll get debate, on their cloaked provisions that would cover abortion on demand in proposed new government-run and government-subsidized insurance plans.

Obama and Reid are seeking to block enactment of the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts compromise, adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on November 7 by a vote of 240-194. This amendment would prevent government funding of elective abortion through the proposed "public option," and would also prevent federal subsidies from paying for private insurance plans that cover elective abortion.

During the weeks ahead, National Right to Life will continue to fight the efforts of President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders to cover abortion on demand in two huge new federal health programs. The Senate bill faces additional 60-vote hurdles in the future. Moreover, a courageous group of pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives will oppose final approval of health care legislation if the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is gutted or removed.

For extensive further documentation on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and other aspects of the issue, visit the NRLC website at

Friday, November 20, 2009

Take action now to oppose Reid abortion bill

Tomorrow, Nov. 21, the U.S. Senate will have its first key vote (whether to begin debate) on the health care "reform" bill unveiled earlier this week by Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Reid bill establishes a big new federal health insurance program, the public option (although now referred to in Reid's bill as the "community health insurance option"). The bill authorizes (on page 118) the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services to require coverage of any and all abortions throughout the public option program. This would be federal government funding of abortion, no matter how hard they try to disguise it.

In addition, the bill creates new tax-supported subsidies to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion on demand.

Contact your Senators here (scroll down) and urge opposition to the bill unless Stupak-Pitts language is added to exclude abortion funding, as it was to the House bill.

Adult stem cells are saving lives today

A new Web site -- -- tells the stories of patients who are benefiting from ethically-derived adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cell research, which requires the killing of human beings in the embryonic stage of their development, has yet to produce any benefits for human patients.

The site contains videos like this one:

Senate health care bill: Abortion funded, disguised by 'hollow bookkeeping requirements'

National Right to Life Committee Rejects Reid Abortion Funding Language as 'Completely Unacceptable,' Calls for Enactment of Stupak-Pitts Amendment

WASHINGTON (November 18, 2009) -- The following statement was issued by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states, and may be attributed to NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) has rejected the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts Amendment and has substituted completely unacceptable language that would result in coverage of abortion on demand in two big new federal government programs.

Reid seeks to cover elective abortions in two big new federal health programs, but tries to conceal that unpopular reality with layers of contrived definitions and hollow bookkeeping requirements.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Ca.), who has a 100% pro-abortion voting record, said in a press release following release of the Reid language: "It appears that their approach closely mirrors my language which was originally included in the House bill." The Capps language referred to was opposed by NRLC and other pro-life organizations and was deleted by the House by a vote of 240-194 on November 7, as 64 Democrats (one fourth of all House Democrats), along with 176 Republicans, voted to replace it with the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment would prevent federal subsidies for abortion by applying the principles of longstanding federal laws such as the Hyde Amendment to the new programs created by the health care legislation. Those principles prohibit both direct funding of abortion procedures, and subsidies for plans that cover elective abortions, in existing federal programs such as Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and the military.

Regrettably but predictably, Reid rejected the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts language. Instead, Reid has sought to please the militant minority that demands funding of abortion through federal programs, even though substantial majorities of Americans believe that abortion should be excluded from government-funded and government-sponsored health programs.

The Reid bill establishes a big new federal health insurance program, the public option (although now referred to in Reid's bill as the "community health insurance option"). The bill authorizes (on page 118) the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services to require coverage of any and all abortions throughout the public option program. This would be federal government funding of abortion, no matter how hard they try to disguise it.

In addition, the bill creates new tax-supported subsidies to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion on demand.

National Right to Life will continue to fight for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, and to oppose the stubborn attempts of congressional Democratic leaders to establish new federal government programs that will fund coverage of elective abortions.

For extensive further documentation on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and other aspects of the issue, visit the NRLC website at

To go to the Abortion in Health Care index, click here.
To go to the NRLC Home page, click here.
To go to the NRLC Legislative Action Center, click here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Maximize your pro-life efforts!

Remember to help us out today, Nov. 17.

We need your help -- Give to the Max, today only!

Dear Pro-life Friend,

Today, Tuesday, Nov. 17, is Give to the Max Day! For the next 24 hours, Minnesotans will come together to show the power of online giving through a new online resource,

You can take part in this unique giving opportunity with a contribution to the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Education Fund. From 8:00 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2009, until 8:00 a.m. on Nov. 18, 2009, all gifts given to the MCCL Education Fund through will receive a portion of the $500,000 matching gift offered by several local foundations for this event. (To ensure all donations receive a portion of the matching funds, the exact amount matched per dollar donated will be determined after Give to the Max Day concludes.) partners are also paying the transaction costs for gifts made to Minnesota nonprofits on Give to the Max Day, so 100 percent of your gift will go directly to our lifesaving programs!

To further our pro-life work and increase the impact of your donation, Give to the Max! Visit RIGHT NOW and make your lifesaving contribution. Again, to be eligible for the matching grant your contribution must be made within the next 24 hours.

I hope you will take advantage of this matching grant—I know I will be making my own $100 tax-deductible contribution, and I hope that you will do the same. I know MCCL's efforts can save lives, but we need your help to make it happen. Join us!


Scott Fischbach
Executive Director

Monday, November 16, 2009

Human value: three possibilities

Princeton professor Robert P. George writes:
There are three positions that can be defended without quickly falling into logical inconsistency. The first is that human beings are in no morally relevant way different from other creatures and therefore have no special dignity. The second is that human beings have an inherent and equal dignity; each and every human being possesses it simply by virtue of his or her humanity. The third is that some, but not all, human beings have dignity; those who have it possess it by virtue of some quality or set of qualities that they happen to possess that other human beings do not possess (or do not yet possess, or no longer possess).

Anyone who believes that stepping on an ant is not a grave moral wrong but murdering your grandmother to prevent her spending down your inheritance is one, has already rejected the first position. Anyone who accepts the third position will, in fairly short order, find himself driven by the force of logical argumentation into the positions infamously defended by Peter Singer. Assuming one doesn't want to embrace Singerism [e.g., infanticide], that leaves the second position.
Given the established facts of embryology (that a distinct, living and whole human organism exists beginning at conception), the second position George notes above -- the equal dignity of all human beings -- entails the moral impermissibility of killing human embryos and fetuses by abortion or embryo-destructive research.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

House adopts pro-life amendment to health care bill

National Right to Life Says House Abortion Vote 'Disrupts the Obama Administration's Pro-Abortion Smuggling Operation,' But Further Battles Ahead

WASHINGTON (November 7, 2009) -- The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in the 50 states, issued the following statement regarding today's actions in the House of Representatives on the health care restructuring legislation, H.R. 3962.

The House adopted the NRLC-backed Stupak-Pitts Amendment, 240-194. The Stupak-Pitts Amendment removed two major pro-abortion components from H.R. 3962. Specifically: (1) the amendment would permanently prohibit the new federal government insurance program, the "public option," from paying for abortion, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest; and (2) the amendment would permanently prohibit the use of the new federal premium subsidies ("affordability credits") to purchase private insurance plans that cover abortion (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest). The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mi.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). It was supported by 176 Republicans and 64 Democrats. It was opposed by 194 Democrats. One Republican withheld his support by voting "present."

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson said: "The Obama White House and top congressional Democratic leaders spent months concealing and misrepresenting provisions that would directly fund abortions through a government plan, and subsidize premiums for private abortion plans. Today's bipartisan House vote is a sharp blow to the White House's pro-abortion smuggling operation. But we know that the White House and pro-abortion congressional Democratic leaders will keep trying to enact government funding of abortion, and will keep trying to conceal their true intentions, so there is a long battle ahead."

The Associated Press reported, "Abortion rights advocates called the measure the biggest setback to women's reproductive rights in decades."

In addition to working hard to remove abortion subsidies from the bill, NRLC has sought to educate lawmakers and the public about components of H.R. 3962 that could result in rationing or discriminatory denial of lifesaving medical care. A letter sent by NRLC to the House late today, summarizing objectionable elements of the amended bill, is posted here. The letter states: "We will continue to work to correct provisions that we find objectionable in this area, both in the health care legislation that will come before the Senate, and in any conference committee on health care legislation. We reserve the right to score the roll call vote on the conference report, or on any Senate-passed bill, if these concerns are not adequately resolved."

An archive of NRLC letters to Congress and other documents regarding the abortion-related components of the legislation are posted here.

House will vote on pro-life amendment TODAY

House leaders have agreed to allow a vote on the pro-life Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the health care reform bill, H.R. 3962. The amendment would prevent government funding of abortion by prohibiting coverage of elective abortion in two big new federal programs created by the bill -- the new federal health insurance plan ("public option") and the premium-subsidy program ("affordability credits").

The vote should take place later today (Saturday, Nov. 7), with a vote on the bill itself possibly tonight. Contact your representative in the House NOW and urge him or her to support the Stupak-Pitts Amendment! Even if you have already contacted your representative about health care reform, you must do so again!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Planned Parenthood official becomes pro-life

The following MCCL news release was issued on Nov. 3, 2009.

MCCL urges pro-choice community to reconsider reality of abortion

MINNEAPOLIS — Following the dramatic change of heart by Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) called upon members of the state's pro-choice community and abortion providers themselves to take a fresh look at the reality of abortion.

"MCCL applauds Ms. Johnson's honesty and integrity in admitting that abortion is wrong," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "Once she set aside all of the rhetoric and abstractions, she recognized that abortion unjustly ends the lives of innocent unborn children."

Johnson has worked at the Planned Parenthood facility in Bryan, Texas, for the past eight years. She has been the center’s director for the last two years, but she left last month after viewing an ultrasound of an abortion.

"A flash hit me and I thought, that's it. … I can't do this anymore," Johnson said in an interview yesterday. She now volunteers with a local organization working to educate women about abortion and alternatives.

Such "conversions" to a pro-life viewpoint are not uncommon. In fact, one of the strongest advocates for legalized abortion prior to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, was Dr. Bernard Nathanson. An abortionist himself and a founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), he was director of New York’s largest abortion center. Nathanson ended the lives of 75,000 unborn children before his change of heart. The development of ultrasound technology in the 1970s led him to the conviction that abortion wrongly ends a human life. He has produced two documentary films on abortion: "The Silent Scream" and "Eclipse of Reason."

More than 90 percent of pregnant women considering abortion decide against the procedure once they have viewed an ultrasound of their unborn child. Revealing the mysteries of human life in the womb, ultrasound has become a powerful tool to correct misunderstandings regarding fetal development and the humanity of the unborn child.

"Just as it is crucial that every pregnant woman know that her unborn child is a living human being worthy of protection, it is equally important for citizens and abortionists to reconsider the reality of abortion," Fischbach said. "MCCL strongly urges people to set aside their preconceived ideas and take a fresh look with open eyes and open hearts."

Videos and DVDs are available on the Internet that show actual abortion procedures. MCCL's lending library includes videos and DVDs showing fetal development via ultrasound.

MCCL is Minnesota's oldest and largest pro-life organization. For more information about MCCL, visit

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pelosi's health care bill

From NRLC:

WASHINGTON (October 29, 2009) -- Regarding the health care bill unveiled today by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.), a spokesman for the nation's largest pro-life organization said, "A vote for this bill is a vote to establish a federal government program that will directly fund abortion on demand, with federal funds."

Read the rest. Also, see the bill's dangerous rationing provisions.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fact: abortion would be funded, care rationed

Andy Birkey at the Minnesota Independent is criticizing the new issue of MCCL News, in which we make the case against the current health care reform proposals before Congress, which would lead to government funding of abortion and rationed care.

As Birkey notes, we quote "Despite what Obama said, the House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans." But Birkey rejects our conclusion that abortions would be subsidized by the federal government, also citing, which claims that "language [was] added to the House bill that technically forbids using public funds to pay for [abortions]."

Here is actually mistaken -- the funds used for abortion would be "public" in any sense -- and we explain why in MCCL News ("Abortion not part of health care 'reform'? Don't believe it," page 4):
National Right to Life has issued a detailed memorandum demonstrating that all of the funds spent on elective abortions would be "federal funds" and "public funds" as those terms are defined in law and as they are used throughout the government. Under the House bill's (H.R. 3200) Capps Amendment, abortion providers would send their bills to the federal Department of Health and Human Services and receive payment checks drawn on a federal Treasury account. This would be direct federal government funding of elective abortion.
That public, not private, funds would be used for abortions under the bill was also confirmed by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

Birkey also denies that government rationing of health care would occur based on age, disablity or "quality of life" considerations. But as Burke Balch, director of the Powell Center for Medical Ethics, explains: "The current sources of funds being considered to pay for health care restructuring are so inadequate in the long term that rationing will be compelled."

And as we point out on page 3 of MCCL News, the mechanisms for rationing based on age or disability are present in the different bills. See more here and here.

Birkey rejects our statement that "a substantial part of the cost under the proposals would be paid for by 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' − reducing Medicare funding for older people in order to cover the uninsured."

But here's what says: "It's true that the president and the Democratic health care bills in Congress propose to pay for part of the costs by holding down the future growth of Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade, though Democrats now prefer to call them 'savings' rather than 'cuts.' "

Learn more.

An urgent message from MCCL's president

The latest on the House health care "reform" legislation, from NRLC:

WASHINGTON (UPDATED October 29, 2009) -- Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Ca.) is planning to try to ram the massive health care bill (H.R. 3962, previously H.R. 3200) through the U.S. House of Representatives on short notice, on November 5 or 6, without allowing consideration of a critical pro-life amendment. National Right to Life is urging every pro-life citizen to immediately TELEPHONE the office of his or her representative in the U.S. House of Representatives with a clear and firm message urging a NO vote on the no-amendment procedure (which is called "the rule") on H.R. 3962.

Pelosi's plan is to demand that the House pass the bill under a "closed rule," which is a procedure that would not allow any amendments to H.R. 3962 to be considered. In particular, Pelosi is determined to prevent a vote on a pro-life amendment proposed by Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mi.) (pronounced STEW-pak) and Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), which would prevent subsidies for abortion under two big new federal programs created by the bill. As the Associated Press reported on October 23, "Such an amendment would be almost certain to prevail, since it likely would attract the votes of most Republicans as well as some Democrats. So Democratic leaders won't let Stupak offer it."

Even if you have already called and written your federal representatives about the health care bills, it is critical that you call again now. Pelosi's party currently controls the House by a margin of 256-177 -- but if as few as 40 Democrats are persuaded to vote with Congressman Stupak in opposition to the "closed rule," it would be impossible for Pelosi to ram the abortion-funding H.R. 3962 through the House. Time is short.

Take action.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are there 'unwanted babies'?

Francis Beckwith writes:

What is an unwanted baby? Is it like an unwanted black person? Or an unwanted immigrant? Or an unwanted woman? Or an unwanted handicapped person?

There are no "unwanted" babies, as if the adjective "unwanted" can be a natural property of that which is intrinsically valuable. There are just adults who have a disordered understanding of their obligations to the vulnerable and defenseless in our community. Reinforcing and nurturing that immaturity by describing the intrinsically valuable as "unwanted" is deeply immoral.

Bad adults blame the baby first, just as bigoted adults blame the immigrant, the minority, and the handicapped first for their own inadequacies.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Urgent Congressional alert

From NRLC:

Phone your U.S. House member now -- urge a NO vote on Speaker Pelosi's plan to ram the pro-abortion health care bill through the House under a 'closed rule'!

WASHINGTON (October 26, 2009) -- Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Ca.) is planning to try to ram the massive health care bill (H.R. 3200) through the U.S. House of Representatives on short notice, without allowing consideration of a critical pro-life amendment. National Right to Life is urging every pro-life citizen to immediately TELEPHONE the office of his or her representative in the U.S. House of Representatives with a clear and firm message urging a NO vote on the no-amendment procedure (which is called "the rule") on H.R. 3200.

Pelosi's plan is to demand that the House pass the bill under a "closed rule," which is a procedure that would not allow any amendments to H.R. 3200 to be considered. In particular, Pelosi is determined to prevent a vote on a pro-life amendment proposed by Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mi.) (pronounced STEW-pak) and Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), which would prevent subsidies for abortion under two big new federal programs created by the bill. As the Associated Press reported on October 23, "Such an amendment would be almost certain to prevail, since it likely would attract the votes of most Republicans as well as some Democrats. So Democratic leaders won't let Stupak offer it."

Even if you have already called and written your federal representatives about the health care bills, it is critical that you call again now. Pelosi's party currently controls the House by a margin of 256-177 -- but if as few as 40 Democrats are persuaded to vote with Congressman Stupak in opposition to the "closed rule," it would be impossible for Pelosi to ram the abortion-funding H.R. 3200 through the House. Time is short.


In order to register your opposition to Speaker Pelosi's strong-arm tactic, the "closed rule," that would allow passage of the pro-abortion H.R. 3200, please enter your zip code into the "Call Now" box above [click here]. You will be shown the phone number of the person who represents you in the U.S. House of Representatives, along with specific suggested "talking points" for what you should say to the staff person who answers your call.

Encourage like-minded friends and family members to also make such calls.

After you enter your zip code, review the short talking points, then make your call. After the call, you will also be given the option of sending a short "feedback" report to National Right to Life by e-mail, telling us what response you received from the congressional staff person. These feedback reports are invaluable to the National Right to Life legislative team as they work day and night against enactment of this pro-abortion legislation.

NOTE: If you wish to also fax a letter to your representative in opposition to the "rule" that would allow passage of the pro-abortion H.R. 3200, click here to reach the page that, once you enter your zip code, will lead you to detailed information about your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, including (in most cases) his or her fax number. Faxed letters are an excellent way to register your opinion. (But do NOT rely on U.S. mail to communicate with your federal representatives, because time is too short.) This link will also give you phone numbers for your representative's in-district offices. For maximum effect, phone your message to the nearest local office as well as to the Washington, D.C., office of your representative. The same page will offer you information on how your representative has voted on the key pro-life issues that have come up in the past.

MCCL letter: Abortion is never the answer

In response to a letter to the editor advocating legalized abortion, MCCL wrote the following, published in the Fillmore County Journal on Oct. 23, 2009:

Yvonne Nyenhuis' Oct. 19 letter consists of nothing but muddled thinking and mistaken claims. I have space only to briefly address each one.

Nyenhuis implies that abortion is justified by poverty. But it is clearly wrong to kill innocent human beings because they are economically burdensome. The question at issue is not poverty, but whether the fetus or embryo is a valuable human person, like toddlers, teenagers and adults. If so, we may not kill him or her in the name of poverty any more than a father may kill his budget-busting 13-year-old daughter.

Nyenhuis says that women died from dangerous, unsanitary abortions prior to legalization in 1973. But abortion became safer for women because of modern medicine and better techniques, not because it was legalized. Dr. Mary Calderone, former medical director for Planned Parenthood, concluded in 1960 that "abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous." Legalization only made abortion much more prevalent.

Nyenhuis suggests that abortion should be available because some women become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. But less than one percent of abortions in Minnesota are for that reason, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Should we permit all the others?

Nyenhuis asks, "Who will care for [the babies who would have been aborted]?" There are over one million American families waiting to adopt. In any case, we may not brutally kill (as abortion does) innocent human beings, such as homeless orphans, if they lack parents to care for them.

Nyenhuis contends that "no men should have a vote concerning this unique and feminine dilemma." If that's so, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion was unjust, since it was decided by nine men. In truth, one's gender has no bearing on the validity of his or her position; Nyenhuis should address the pro-life argument, not attack the sex of some with whom she disagrees.

Nyenhuis says prohibiting abortion would violate women's rights and their equality under the law. But if abortion is the unjust killing of an innocent human being, then there is no "right" to such killing, just as there is no right for a mother to kill her toddler. And legal abortion violates the equality of women who are in the prenatal stages of life.

I agree with Nyenhuis that "every baby who is born should be wanted and come into a nurturing environment." But there are two ways to achieve this goal: we can learn to love every child, or we can simply kill off all those who are not "wanted" before they are born.

Our society can and must choose the former. Thousands of pregnancy care centers across the country are showing that we can meet the needs of women and their children. Abortion is never the answer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

For House leaders, abortion funding comes first

According to the Associated Press today:
Unless an eleventh-hour agreement is reached, [pro-life Rep. Bart] Stupak intends to carry through on a threat he's been holding over House leaders for months: to block action on the larger health overhaul bill unless he's allowed to offer a stand-alone amendment during floor debate to include the Hyde amendment restrictions [which would exclude abortion coverage] in the health overhaul bill.

Such an amendment would be almost certain to prevail, since it likely would attract the votes of most Republicans as well as some Democrats. So Democratic leaders won't let Stupak offer it.

National Right to Life's Doug Johnson says, "It is perfectly clear that Speaker Pelosi will seek to impose a 'rule' that protects the pro-abortion language in the bill, and that prevents any vote on a genuine pro-life amendment. That is what she will do."

This is disheartening. As Wesley Smith writes, "[House leaders] want abortion to be covered, I think, more than they want a health care bill to pass."

But it's not too late. Please contact the members of the House rules committee, including chair Rep. Louise Slaughter, and ask them to allow a vote on the pro-life Stupak-Pitts amendment to stop abortion funding in health care. Also contact your representative in the House and urge him or her to oppose bringing the bill to the House floor under a closed rule that would not allow a vote on the pro-life amendment.

Says Johnson: "Every member of the House needs to hear this clear message: A vote to bring this bill to the House floor under a closed rule is a vote for direct government funding of abortion, through the public plan, and also a vote for tax-based subsidies for private insurance plans that cover abortion on demand."

NRLC has much more here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Health care reform and abortion, rationing: what you need to know

The new MCCL News is a special edition devoted to the pending health care reform legislation and its threat to unborn children and other vulnerable persons. Please read it thoroughly and then take action.

It's available online here -- feel free to send the link to your friends and family. Or you can call the MCCL office and order paper copies for your church, family, friends, neighbors, etc.

Remember to contact your Congressional representatives daily if possible!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The stakes are too high

As Congress is now considering health care reform legislation (key Senate and House votes may take place within the next couple weeks), please contact your representatives in Congress -- both senators and your representative in the House.

Urge them to vote against any health care legislation unless it is amended to explicitly exclude abortion and the rationing of care.

As currently written, the bills would significantly expand and fund abortion and ration care for the most vulnerable members of society. This would be a devastating setback for the cause of unborn children and other defenseless persons.

Every call and email to your representatives can make a difference. If possible, please call and email every day. Lives are at stake!

Go here and here, then scroll down, to email your Congressional representatives, or go here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Abortion law does affect incidence of abortion

The new, faulty Guttmacher study, which advocates expanded legal access to abortion, suggests that abortion restrictions and bans have no effect on the incidence of abortion.

This is certainly not true. As MCCL has pointed out:

The legalization of abortion may not make the procedure less risky, but it does have one clear consequence: legalizing abortion increases the number of abortions. In the United States, the abortion number skyrocketed from an estimated 98,000 per year to a peak of 1.6 million following total legalization in 1973. Explains Stanley Henshaw of the Guttmacher Institute (an advocate for legalized abortion), "In most countries, it is common after abortion is legalized for abortion rates to rise sharply for several years, then stabilize, just as we have seen in the United States."

In South Africa, for example, the number of abortions rose from an estimated 1,600 in 1996, the year before abortion was legalized, to 85,621 in 2005. By contrast, when Poland finally prohibited most abortions following decades of government-funded abortion on demand, evidence suggests that the total number of abortions (legal and illegal) fell dramatically.
Professor Michael New adds this about the Guttmacher study:
However, the [conclusion that pro-life legislation is ineffective] is faulty. Most of the countries where abortion is prohibited are in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. These countries have low per capita income and a higher incidence of social pathologies that may increase the perceived need for abortion. This nuance is not picked up in any of the media coverage of the AGI [Guttmacher] report.

Interestingly, AGI has also released research that demonstrates the effectiveness of pro-life laws. This summer it released a literature review showing that 20 of 24 studies found that public funding of abortion increased abortion rates. Other AGI research has demonstrated that parental-involvement laws and well-designed informed-consent laws also reduce the incidence of abortion. Unfortunately, research like that typically receives scant attention from the mainstream media.

'Personally opposed' to abortion

It now looks that prominent left-wing evangelical Jim Wallis, who I had always assumed from his books and statements took a pro-life position (though I believe he prioritized the issue very wrongly), is not pro-life after all.

Keith Pavlischek recounts a discussion with Wallis:
I told Wallis as bluntly as I could, that as far as I could tell his position and that of Sojourners [Wallis' organization] was indistinguishable from the old Mario Cuomo position of being "personally opposed" to abortion while wanting to keep the procedure legal. I suggested that neither he nor Sojourners could honestly be labeled pro-life because, for that term to mean anything, it has to involve advocacy for the legal protection of the unborn. Wallis was equally frank in response. He simply rejected my suggestion that the "legal protection of the unborn" had anything to do with being pro-life. Both of us left that conversation with a clear understanding that Wallis was, quite simply, pro-choice on abortion.
So Jim Wallis, it seems, takes the popular "personally opposed" position: I'm personally opposed to abortion, but I shouldn't try to force my views on everyone else. So abortion should be legal.

Of course, no one says, "I'm personally opposed to blowing up innocent civilians, but if that's what you want to do, go right ahead." In reality, the reason to personally oppose abortion—that it unjustly takes the life of an innocent human being—is precisely the reason that it should not be publicly allowed.

As Greg Koukl explains:
Whenever you hear someone say, "I am personally against abortion, but I don't think you should pass any laws against it," one question should immediately be on your lips: "Tell me, why are you personally against abortion?" What you'll almost always hear is, "I'm personally against abortion because I think it kills an innocent human being, but that's my personal belief. I don't think I should force this belief on others."

Follow up with this comment: "Let me see if I understand you correctly. You actually believe that abortion takes the life of an innocent human child, but mothers should still be allowed to do that to their own children." Then pause and let the logic of his comment sink in.

When I asked this question of one person he quickly responded, "Well, when you put it that way ..."

I said, "Put it what way? That's your view, unless I've misunderstood you. Please correct me if I have. As I understand it, that's precisely what you believe."

This isn't a trick. It's not clever "spin." I merely repeated what he'd just told me. That was his view. It just didn't sound so good coming back at him.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Guttmacher study makes maternal mortality argument for legalized abortion

A report released yesterday by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute finds that "unsafe abortion causes an estimated 70,000 deaths each year," and recommends "[e]xpand[ing] access to legal abortion and ensur[ing] that safe and legal abortion services are available to women in need. "

Guttmacher president Sharon Camp says, "Legal restrictions do not stop abortion from happening, they just make the procedure dangerous. Too many women are maimed or killed each year because they lack legal abortion access."

So the law has no effect on the incidence of abortion? Here's what the Guttmacher Institute's own Stanley Henshaw has said: "In most countries, it is common after abortion is legalized for abortion rates to rise sharply for several years, then stabilize, just as we have seen in the United States."

Moreover, as a report from MCCL Global Outreach shows, poor medical care, not the prohibition of abortion, leads to high maternal mortality rates. And when abortion is legalized in an environment that lacks good maternal care, more women suffer and die as a result of abortion.

"The Guttmacher Institute refuses to address the greatest need of pregnant women: good medical care. This is the most important factor in reducing maternal mortality," says MCCL GO Executive Director Scott Fischbach.

"Even though Guttmacher admits that its abortion numbers in the developing world are based on conjecture and are therefore unreliable, it continues to stridently argue that the legalization of abortion is the answer to the problems facing poor women.

"Pregnant women need access to doctors, hospitals, medications, nutritional care, safe childbirth and other medical care in order to reduce the risks of pregnancy and childbirth. The legalization of abortion does nothing to improve women's health or welfare."

See "Does legalizing abortion protect women's health? Assessing the argument for expanded abortion access around the globe" from MCCL GO.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Abortion is 'greatest destroyer of peace'

President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize last week. While the president has accomplished very little overall, he's already made significant (though expected) strides in promoting the killing of unborn children all around the world.

That's the sad irony of this award. Consider what another Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Mother Teresa, said in a speech the day after she won:
But I feel a great destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing, direct murder by the mother herself. ...

And today the greatest means, the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. And we who are standing here—our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents would do that to us.

Our children, we want them, we love them. But what of the millions? Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but many are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing in between.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Celebrating the rights of the child, born and unborn

MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach, from Geneva and the Rights of the Child celebration:

MCCL letter: Pro-life and pro-reform

A letter to the editor by Bill Poehler, MCCL communications director, was published today in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

How can we believe Planned Parenthood's Sarah Stoesz ("Health care facts and misinformation," Sept. 28) when she argues that the very thing her organization wants — expanded abortion coverage — is not included in President Obama's health care plan?

She defends the president's reform plan, which she claims excludes abortion coverage, and then attacks the pro-life movement for supporting that very exclusion. The only problem is that the president's health care reform would, in fact, cover abortions, according to, the Associated Press and Time.

Obama himself made this promise in a speech to Planned Parenthood: "(I)n my mind, reproductive care is essential care" and would be covered by his public insurance plan (July 17, 2007). Need more proof? Three U.S. House amendments to specifically prohibit abortion funding were either voted down or not allowed a vote last summer.

Polls confirm that the majority of Americans are opposed to abortion coverage in health care reform. Americans do not consider abortion — the destruction of unborn human beings — to be health care, and they do not want to be forced to pay for elective abortions.

The pro-life movement has never been opposed to health care reform, as Stoesz claims.

In fact, the National Right to Life Committee has developed a reform proposal that would truly benefit women and all other citizens. Pro-life citizens believe that all Americans, born and unborn, are guaranteed the right to life. That right must not be decimated by any efforts to reform health care.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In Geneva, MCCL GO releases document on rights of unborn child

Following yesterday's news about MCCL GO in Geneva, today we issue another release, excerpted below.

GENEVA, Switzerland—MCCL Global Outreach (MCCL GO) released a new document today defending the rights of unborn children worldwide. "Celebrating the Rights of the Child" is being distributed at the 20th anniversary United Nations (U.N.) celebration of the Rights of the Child taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, with the hope of directing attention to the rights of the unborn child.

"As delegates and child’s rights advocates gather in Geneva to celebrate the progress that has been made, MCCL GO is here to remind them of the clear precedent set to defend the rights of every child—born and unborn," said MCCL GO Executive Director Scott Fischbach, who is in Geneva this week. "MCCL GO is urging U.N. delegates to protect the rights of unborn children and to reject abortion as a gross violation of the child’s right to life."

Read the rest.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another poll shows pro-life trend; Obama a poor pro-choice defender

A new Pew Research Center poll shows a continuing trend toward the pro-life position among Americans. This, at a time when Congress and the president are trying to push through a massive expansion of abortion via health care reform legislation.

Says NRLC's Doug Johnson: "The proposed new pro-abortion programs are badly out of sync with public opinion, which is why Congressional Democratic leaders and President Obama are trying to smuggle them into law behind smokescreens of contrived language and outright misrepresentations."

Dr. Michael New, who studies abortion trends, says this about the new poll:
Many pundits state that this increase in pro-life sentiment is due to the fact that we now have a president who supports legal abortion. There is probably some truth to this. President Obama has certainly galavanized opponents of abortion. His actions — coupled with the negative publicity generated by pro-life groups — has probably led some people with conflicting views on the issue to self-identify as pro-life.

However, an overlooked reason for this shift in public opinion is because the most visible pro-choice elected official in America is really not a very articulate proponent of abortion rights. When asked about sanctity-of-life issues, President Obama almost never defends legal abortion. Instead, President Obama seems a little dodgy and somewhat evasive. He often mentions the need to find common ground and expresses an interest in trying to reduce the abortion rate. Now on the policy side, he has done nothing to offer much encouragement to pro-lifers. However, President Obama's unwillingness to make a solid case for legal abortion is likely weakening pro-choice sentiment.
Being able to persuasively articulate your view and refute objections really does make a difference, especially when you have the platform President Obama does. Fortunately, he's not very good at it.

MCCL GO in Geneva celebrating Rights of the Child

The following news release was issued on Oct. 7, 2009.

GENEVA, Switzerland—The 20th Anniversary celebration of the Rights of the Child is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, later this week and MCCL Global Outreach (MCCL GO) is a participant, hoping to direct attention to the rights of the unborn child.

The document being celebrated is the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, General Assembly Resolution 44, which is a comprehensive document to advance the cause and protection of all children throughout the world.

The document quotes the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which says in part: "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."

Read the rest.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Latest health care developments -- abortion still funded on massive scale

From National Right to Life:

WASHINGTON (September 30, 2009) -- Events this week in Congress provide fresh proof that top Democratic leaders in Congress are pushing forward with plans to establish massive new programs that would pay for elective abortions and subsidize insurance coverage of abortions -- which, if achieved, would break from decades of federal policy.

"Bills currently advancing in Congress would establish direct federal funding of elective abortion, and tax subsidies for private insurance that covers elective abortions -- both drastic breaks from longstanding federal policy," commented Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states. "Ongoing events on Capitol Hill demonstrate the hollowness of President Obama's public assurances that he does not seek government funding of abortion."

The Senate Finance Committee today continued a series of meetings to amend the "America's Healthy Future Act," a health care restructuring bill proposed by Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mt.). The bill has a number of major abortion-related problems. Most of today's abortion-related debate in the committee focused on a proposed new program that would use tax money to help purchase private health insurance for about 19 million Americans. The bill specifically authorizes the use of these federal funds to pay premiums on private plans that cover elective abortions -- a departure from longstanding federal policy.

Pro-life Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) pointed out that federal subsidies for coverage of elective abortions are not currently allowed under Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, or other federal health programs. Hatch offered an amendment, backed by NRLC, that would have prohibited federal funds from subsidizing plans that cover elective abortions, but would have allowed insurers to sell abortion coverage through separate supplemental policies not subsidized by federal funds. The Hatch Amendment failed, 10-13. Baucus and all other Democrats on the committee opposed the Hatch Amendment, except for Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), who supported it. All of the Republicans on the committee supported the Hatch Amendment, except for Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who opposed it.

By an identical roll call, the committee also rejected another Hatch Amendment that would have codified the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, which is a temporary law prohibiting any level of government from discriminating against health-care providers that do not wish to participate in providing abortions.

On July 15, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved a different health care bill (S. 1679), which also contains provisions that would result in sweeping pro-abortion mandates and government subsidies for elective abortion. NRLC's Johnson commented, "Today's Finance Committee votes mean that the combined bill that will reach the Senate floor in a few weeks surely will contain provisions that would result in both pro-abortion federal mandates and huge federal abortion subsidies. However, the full Senate must vote on the pro-abortion subsidies, and other pro-abortion components as well."

Meanwhile, in the House, Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mi.), Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), and 181 other members of the U.S. House on September 28 sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.), pointing out that the health care bill approved in the House Energy and Commerce Committee (H.R. 3200), including an amendment offered by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Ca.), "radically departs from the current federal government policy of not paying for elective abortion or subsidizing plans that cover abortion." The letter notes, among other things, that the Capps language "explicitly authorizes the federal government (the Department of Health and Human Services) to directly fund elective abortions, with federal (public) funds drawn on a federal Treasury account," through the proposed "public plan."

The signers -- 25 Democrats and 158 Republicans -- urged Pelosi to allow a vote on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to prohibit coverage of elective abortions by the public plan and subsidies for private plans that cover elective abortions. Seven other House Democrats have sent Pelosi similar letters in recent days, for a total of 32 Democrats.

In response, on September 29 Rep. Capps sent Pelosi a letter in which she argued that the proposed public plan really would not be paying for abortions because "money is transmitted to a private contractor who then reimburses physicians." Johnson called Capps' argument "truly laughable -- it is like arguing that it is not the government paying for the abortions if the government sends the payment via the Internet."

In reality, Johnson said, "The proposed public plan will be entirely a branch of the federal government, all of its funds will be federal funds, and when it pays for abortions, that will be direct government funding of abortion."

Johnson also noted that the nearly united opposition to the Hatch Amendment by Senate Finance Committee Democrats, and the continued resistance by the House Democratic leadership to allowing a vote on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, "support our theory that President Obama is misleading the public when he says he does not want federal dollars used for abortion. In an attempt to keep his 2007 promises to Planned Parenthood, the President is trying to smuggle sweeping pro-abortion policies into law behind smokescreens of contrived language, verbal misdirection, and outright misrepresentation."

To go to the Abortion in Health Care index, click here.
To go to the NRLC Home page, click here.
To go to the NRLC Legislative Action Center, click here.