Friday, April 30, 2010

Pro-life Emmer endorsed, supports protection for innocent human life

The following MCCL news release was issued today, April 30.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) today congratulated the Tom Emmer-Annette Meeks ticket in the 2010 Minnesota governor's race following their endorsement at the GOP Convention. Both candidates have long and solid records as pro-life leaders.

"Representative Tom Emmer is the perfect kind of candidate for governor, because he respects the constitutional right to life and has worked and voted to protect innocent life throughout his career as a public servant," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "In Annette Meeks he has chosen a longtime friend of MCCL who has been a strong pro-life advocate during her decades of work on public policy."

Rep. Emmer, R-Delano, has a 100 percent pro-life voting record in his three terms as a state representative (2004-2010). He was chief author of a 2008 MCCL-supported measure to encourage adult stem cell research and ban all forms of human cloning. Rep. Emmer has worked with MCCL on other protective legislation including Positive Alternatives, the Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act and efforts to prevent taxpayers from being forced to pay for saline and sex-selection abortions, embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

As pro-life Gov. Tim Pawlenty has demonstrated, a pro-life governor is absolutely crucial to passage of protective legislation. More than once, the Minnesota House and Senate have passed pro-life bills only to see them vetoed by a pro-abortion governor. Woman's Right to Know, for example, was repeatedly rejected by pro-abortion governors for nine years until Pawlenty signed it into law in 2003. Pawlenty has also shown courage with vetoes of anti-life legislation, including a 2008 bill to sanction embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

"Tom Emmer has been a champion for the unborn, the disabled and the elderly as a state representative, and MCCL is confident that he will continue to work for their protection as governor," Fischbach said. "Government must protect the lives of its most vulnerable citizens, and Tom Emmer has a long history of serving the most innocent and helpless among us."

Planned Parenthood: Targeting of minorities harkens back to racist founding

The following is taken from the April 2009 issue of MCCL News.

The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a devout eugenicist who promoted birth control and sterilization as a means of ridding society of "unwanted" segments of the human family. "All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class," she wrote.

"We are paying for ... an ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all."

Sanger's rejection of human dignity and equality is central to the work of Planned Parenthood today. The organization is the leading killer of unborn Americans, who are deemed "unwanted," "incovenient," disabled and/or economically burdensome.

Sanger, who once spoke at a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, wrote in 1939: "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population." Even today, Planned Parenthood continues to heavily market its services to minority populations.

Nearly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in minority neighborhoods. Nationwide, the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women, and the rate among Hispanic women is double that among whites. Since 1973, over 13 million African-American babies have been killed by abortion; one quarter of the black population has been wiped out.

Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, led by President Sarah Stoesz, is no exception. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the abortion rate among white Minnesota women in 2007 was 14.1 per 100 live births. Among African-American women, it was a shocking 48.8.

And while people who identify themselves as black or African-American represent only 4 percent of Minnesota's population, they accounted for more than 23 percent of Minnesota abortions in 2007.

Rai Rojas, Director of Hispanic Outreach for National Right to Life, says that Hispanic women are also increasingly targeted for abortion.

"Examples of how the Latino community is targeted are plentiful, including an over-abundance of advertisements in mono-lingual Spanish papers that publish only in Latino communities; Planned Parenthood's choice of a Mexican-American as its chaplain; and an all-out Web campaign that targets Latina women," Rojas explains.

"As the abortion rate among non-Latin women declines, the abortion industry realizes it needs to make up for that negative cash flow," Rojas says. "Pretending to be a benevolent 'family planning' organization is its hook into the Hispanic community."

Abortion is a plague on minority communities in this state and around the country. Unless Planned Parenthood's gruesome and exploitative efforts can be stopped, the devastation will likely continue.

Why we show newborn babies (the logic of the pro-life case)

PZ Myers complains here about pro-life groups using images of already-born babies. Abortion kills fetuses and embryos, not infants, so showing pictures of newborn babies to argue against abortion is dishonest, he says.

Myers specifically points to the billboards of Prolife Across America. (For some reason he also mentions MCCL, but none of the billboards he discusses are ours; our billboards, see photo below, are not actually subject to this criticism.) Myers writes:
All of [Prolife Across America's] signs feature cute baby pictures coupled to factoids about development, and they thoroughly enrage me — I see them all along the roadsides on my drive in to Minneapolis. They are basically generating false associations about development.
One billboard Myers singles out has a photo of a baby with this text: "Face it: I had eyes, ears and even my tongue! 28 days from conception."

But there's nothing mistaken or dishonest here. It would be one thing if the baby said, "I'm only 28 days from conception!" That would be false. What the baby actually says is, "When I was only 28 days old, I already had these features (eyes, etc.)."

By using the image of a newborn baby, pro-lifers are asserting that that baby is identical to her prenatal self, i.e., to the being who would have been dismembered and killed had her mother chosen abortion. To kill that fetus would have been to kill that newborn baby, only at an earlier stage of her development.

So there is a profound logic to the pro-life case and how we make it. But it seems lost on Prof. Myers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Abortionist has no problem crushing the unborn

Testimony from abortionist Dr. Stephen T. Chasen:
COURT QUESTION: Dr. Chasen, in your experience, how is the fetal head extracted in a dismemberment D&E?

ABORTIONIST DR. CHASEN: The fetal head is extracted by placing the forceps around it and crushing it.

COURT QUESTION: How readily is that — how easy is that to accomplish?

CHASEN: In some cases it is relatively easily accomplished and in other cases it is very difficult.

COURT QUESTION: Does it hurt the baby?

CHASEN: I don't know.

COURT QUESTION: But you go ahead and do it anyway, is that right?

CHASEN: I am taking care of my patients, and in that process, yes, I go ahead and do it.

COURT QUESTION: Does that mean you take care of your patient and the baby be damned, is that the approach you have?

CHASEN: These women who are having [abortions] at gestational ages they are legally entitled to it —

COURT QUESTION: I didn't ask you that, Doctor. I asked you if you had any caring or concern for the fetus whose head you were crushing.

(HT: Live Action)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to address the problem of maternal mortality

This new website compiles resources regarding the problem of maternal mortality in other countries, and shows why legalized abortion is not the solution. MCCL GO's maternal mortality brochure is included.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

DFL endorses radical abortion advocate Kelliher for governor

The following MCCL news release was issued last night, April 24.

The Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party today endorsed Speaker of the State House of Representatives Margaret Anderson Kelliher as its nominee for Governor of Minnesota. Anderson Kelliher has a long history of toeing the line for the radical fringe of the abortion movement.

She has consistently opposed commonsense limitations on abortion and been a staunch advocate for forcing Minnesota taxpayers to fund abortion, even while opposing aid for pregnant women. Her accumulated pro-life voting record since 1999 is 90 pro-abortion votes and 1 pro-life vote.

A close look at Anderson Kelliher's radical record in support of abortion shows that she voted:

• For taxpayer funded abortions (7 times).
• Against a ban on partial-birth abortion.
• Against medically accurate informed consent (34 times).
• Against providing support and resources to pregnant women in need (5 times).
• In favor of funding human cloning (8 times).

The lone pro-life vote that Anderson Kelliher cast was in favor of final passage of the 2005 Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill in which abortion was not the central issue of the legislation.

"Anderson Kelliher is an extremist on the issue of abortion," stated MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "She has never heard of an abortion she didn't support or want to force taxpayers to pay for."

Before Anderson Kelliher gets to the general election in November she will need to win the DFL primary. Current DFL candidates for the primary election all support abortion on demand and include Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza and Susan Gartner.

The general election in November will see one of these pro-abortion DFL candidates run against Republicans Marty Seifert or Tom Emmer, both of whom have long legislative records in support of women and their unborn children.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Comparing human beings to marble sculptures

In arguing against the pro-life view on abortion, PZ Myers writes:
We don't have to revere every block of rough marble because another Michaelangelo could come along and sculpt it into something as wonderful as his David; we don't have to treasure every scrap of canvas because the next Picasso is going to use it for a masterpiece. The value isn't in the raw materials, but in the pattern, the skill, the art put into it. Similarly, those cells [i.e., human zygotes, embryos and fetuses] are simply the raw clay that the process and time will sculpt into something that is worth love and care [i.e., a valuable human being].

Which is more important, the pigments or the painting? Even worse, do you think the pigments are the painting?
The analogy is misleading because a human being is not constructed from the outside, like a sculpture, but rather develops itself from within. An embryo is not raw material that may be used to form a human being, but rather a whole, self-directing organism (a human being) programmed to develop itself through the different stages of human life. A five-year-old is not a half-formed human being, like a half-finished painting, but rather a full-fledged member of our species who remains the kind of thing she is even as she grows and changes. Put simply, a living organism is a vastly different kind of thing than a constructed object.

Moreover, unlike sculptures, we don't value human beings for their artistic beauty. We value them independently of their looks, abilities, skills, etc. When we do otherwise, we end up excluding certain classes of human beings from full moral respect and protection based on morally trivial characteristics such as race, sex and handicap. This is a flat-out rejection of human dignity and equality, and the basis for such atrocities as slavery and the Holocaust.

Note that Prof. Myers' criterion for moral worth is awfully subjective; one must be "sculpt[ed] into something that is worth love and care." He adds this: "Notice how clever I was in not saying precisely when the fetus becomes a human being? That's because there is no sharp magical border, it's grey and fuzzy all the way. That's a social and personal decision."

So, apparently, whether something or someone counts as a valuable human being is "a social and personal decision." But what about the mother who personally decides her newborn baby is not yet a human being -- may she kill him? Or the culture that sees people in wheelchairs as "broken sculptures" no longer "worthy [of] love and care"?

Unlike many pro-choice bioethicists and philosophers (perhaps because he's not a trained bioethicist or philosopher), Myers doesn't offer some objective criteria (however arbitrary and inadequate, on the pro-life view) for distinguishing between humans who are rights-bearing persons and those who aren't. He just says it's "a social and personal decision," and this amounts to a radical ethical relativism.

And on that view, his last paragraph actually makes sense:
Some people are 'uneasy' about the whole abortion thing. Fine; don't get one. Your personal feelings of yuckiness shouldn't be a factor in deciding what other people do. Churches make me queasy, but I'm not planning to criminalize attendance.
But our claim is not that we don't like abortion; it's that abortion is morally wrong, whether we like it or not. Myers has reduced our objective moral claim to a claim of mere personal preference, as in the slave owner who tells the abolitionist: "Don't like slavery? Fine; don't own a slave."

The pro-life view is not 'biological reductionism'

PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, writes here about abortion. I'll respond to some of his claims in a few different posts.

He says this about the pro-life view: "Pretending that 46 chromosomes in a cell is sufficient to define a person is the most absurd kind of extreme biological reductionism."

This is a blatant misrepresentation of our position. 46 chromosomes in a cell is not sufficient to qualify that cell as a person, because any ol' cell won't do -- it must be a complete and whole organism. Pro-lifers contend that being a member of the species Homo sapiens -- a living human organism with a personal nature, who possesses inherent capacities, actualized or not, for self-awareness, rationality, thinking, feeling and choosing -- is "sufficient to define a person." We are persons by nature, because of the kind of thing we are, rather than because we have acquired a certain (seemingly arbitrary) degree of function, the root capacity for which we had all along by virtue of being human.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The problem of (fetal) pain

This week Nebraska passed landmark legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks on the grounds that the unborn child can feel pain.

"By 20 weeks after fertilization, unborn children have pain receptors throughout their body, and nerves link these to the brain," says National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. "These unborn children recoil from painful stimulation, which also dramatically increases their release of stress hormones. Doctors performing fetal surgery at and after 20 weeks now routinely use fetal anesthesia."

Because an unborn child at 20 weeks "is fully capable of experiencing pain," notes Dr. Robert J. White, a professor of neurosurgery at Case Western University, "[w]ithout question, [abortion] is a dreadfully painful experience for any infant subjected to such a surgical procedure."

Learn more here, and read scientific testimony about fetal pain here.

Adoption as an alternative to abortion

"The National Council for Adoption estimates 1.3 million couples are waiting to adopt a child. Yet each year, while 1.3 million children are being killed by abortion, less than 50,000 new children are made available for adoption. This means that for every new adoptable child, 30 others are killed. For every couple that adopts, another 40 wait in line."

-- Randy Alcorn (Why Pro-Life?, 2004)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Do we really think embryos are people?

Many people -- bioethicists, op-ed columnists, state legislators -- have offered a thought experiment along the following lines: Suppose a research lab is on fire, and you can rescue either 10 frozen human embryos or a four-year-old child, but not both. Whom do you save?

The idea is that, since most people would save the four-year-old, no one really thinks embryos are as valuable as the rest of us. We don't act as if they are. Equating embryos with children or adults is counterintuitive.

But this is not a good argument for permitting embryo-destructive research and abortion, for at least three reasons. First, choosing to save Person A over Person B is not to deny that Person B is a valuable human being. I might legitimately choose to save my own kid over a bus-full of cheerleaders, but that doesn't mean I think the cheerleaders are not persons with equal dignity. It just means there are emotional or other factors involved that would lead me to save my kid first.

Likewise, I would choose to save a loyal friend over a stranger, and I would tend to save children ahead of adults, since they have more life to live and seem to deserve special regard. But none of this means I'm denying fundamental human equality. The saying "women and children first" doesn't imply that men are inferior.

In the burning research lab, one might choose to save the four-year-old because she would experience great suffering, while the embryos would not, and because she likely has parents and family who would be devastated by her death. These sorts of considerations "can play a legitimate role in determining how we may allocate scarce resources, and, in some cases, whom we should rescue," write Robert George and Christopher Tollefsen.

Second, a preference for saving a four-year-old over 10 embryos does not justify killing those embryos, which is what embryo-destructive research and abortion entail. Those practices are not cases of choosing whom to rescue, but of choosing whom to deliberately kill, and there is a tremendous moral difference. It is one thing to save Person A over Person B when only one of them can be saved; it is entirely different to murder Person B. George and Tollefsen explain, "Choices about whom to save are subject to the particular facts of the situation without requiring a comparative valuing (or devaluing) of lives. But choices to kill are always devaluing choices."

Third, our intuitions can be wrong, and about embryos they often are. Ethicist Scott Rae writes, "The surface appearance of an embryo seems too distant and impersonal. But surface appearances and the emotions they engender are, by themselves, inadequate guides for moral reflection." Consider that slave owners in the 19th century could have used a similar thought experiment when debating abolitionists: "Would you save 10 black guys or one white guy?" At the time most people would have chosen the white guy, but that doesn't disprove racial equality. People were simply mistaken.

What this debate needs is a bit of moral reasoning. Pro-lifers use such reasoning, together with the scientific facts of embryology, to show that human embryos -- despite their size and appearance -- are indeed valuable human beings deserving of respect and protection.

Maternal deaths decline worldwide

The following news release was issued on Apr. 14, 2010.

A new study, published by the British medical journal The Lancet and reported on in the New York Times, shows a dramatic decline in maternal deaths worldwide. The Lancet reports 526,300 maternal deaths worldwide in 1980 and 342,900 deaths in 2008, a reduction of 35 percent. A total of 60,000 of the 2008 deaths were pregnant women in eastern Africa who died from AIDS.

"This new study is further proof that it is clean water, clean blood and adequate access to health care — not abortion on demand — that will help pregnant women and their babies globally," stated Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of MCCL Global Outreach (MCCL GO).

The New York Times article quotes Dr. Richard Horton, who states that he received pressure from maternal mortality advocacy groups not to release the new findings.

"For years the advocates of abortion have used the maternal mortality issue to overthrow pro-life laws in country after country," Fischbach continued. "Without the maternal mortality argument, another gaping hole exists in their push for abortion on demand."

The solution to illegal abortions and high maternal mortality rates is very simple: provide hope, opportunity and support for pregnant women by ensuring a clean water supply, clean blood supply and adequate health care. Statistics confirm that these save women’s lives — not the legalization of abortion.

Ireland, a country with pro-life laws in place, has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world, and Nepal, a country with abortion on demand, has one of the highest maternal mortality rates at 830 deaths per 100,000 live births. According to the new study, maternal mortality increased in the United States by 42 percent from 1980 to 2008. Abortion was legal in the U.S. throughout all nine months of pregnancy during this 28-year period.

This new report comes from the University of Washington and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and was paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

MCCL GO is a pro-life 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

Legal restrictions reduce abortion rates

From a new essay by Dr. Michael New, who has done extensive study of the effects of legislation and politics on abortion rates:
In recent years the pro-life position has made impressive gains in the court of public opinion. Because of this, a number of political liberals have come to the realization that support for legal abortion is a losing issue politically. As such, many have attempted a clever switch in strategy. Instead of trying to defend abortion rights, they have attempted to seize the moral high ground by claiming that 1) pro-life efforts have been ineffective and that 2) their preferred policy goals offer the best hope for reducing abortion rates. Indeed, over the past few years left-leaning groups have argued that a range of policies will reduce the abortion rate. These include more spending on welfare programs, greater access to contraceptives, and universal health care -- in short, everything but providing greater legal protections for unborn children.

This argument occurs once again in a widely circulated essay entitled "How the Religious Right Promotes Abortion" by Northwestern University Law Professor Andrew Koppelman. ... According to Koppelman, the hostility in red states to both [government funding of] contraception and comprehensive sex education leads to a greater incidence of abortion. ...

Unfortunately, Koppelman's claims are based on rhetorical sleights of hand and a faulty analysis of data. ... First, there is little evidence that more federal funding for contraceptives will reduce abortion rates. ... Finally, red states actually have lower abortion rates, in part because they have placed more legal restrictions on abortion.
The effectiveness of pro-life legislation -- taxpayer funded abortion bans, parental notification, informed consent, etc. -- in reducing the number of abortions is well established. Read the entirety of New's analysis.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What 'choosing the sex of your child' really means

This story in Britain's The Guardian profiles some couples who have used in vitro fertilization (IVF) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to choose the sex of their children.

The author mentions some of the serious ethical concerns:
Any discussion of sex selection is haunted by the spectre of the millions of missing girls of India and China. The 2000 Chinese census showed there were 117 boys under the age of five to every 100 girls. A similar trend is reported in India, which also has a deep-seated cultural preference for boys. ...

In a Mori poll, 82% of the [British] population opposed sex selection for non–medical reasons. As the report said, "A great many respondents felt that sex selection was unqualifiedly wrong because it involved interference with divine will or with what they saw as the intrinsically virtuous course of nature." There was also mention of sex selection being a little farther down a slippery slope towards designer babies.

And then the real clincher: wasn't sex selection for the benefit of the parents, rather than of the child? The report noted that, among some respondents, "The view was that it is one thing to wish to have a child of one sex rather than the other and another thing to take steps to bring it about, since positive intervention in this area changes one's relationship to the outcome, replacing hopes with expectations… Respect for the future child's value as an individual precludes the exercise of control by parents over the kind of child it is to be, including over its sex."
But the story fails to discuss what seems to me to be the gravest moral problem with this practice: It entails the killing of innocent human beings. Let me explain.

The couples in the story each used IVF to create a number of human embryos, which were then screened for their gender via PGD (PGD is also used to screen for diseases and other traits). Only embryos with the desired gender were transferred into the mother, potentially leading to implantation in the uterus and then (nine months later) birth. Presumably the other, undesirable embryos were discarded (killed).

The whole point of using PGD for sex selection is to "weed out" those embryonic humans with the "wrong" sex, "selecting" those with the right one. And since human embryos are distinct, living and whole organisms of the species Homo sapiens (just at a very early stage of their development), to kill an embryo is to kill a young human being.

We've talked on this blog about sex-selection abortion -- abortion because of the baby's gender -- but sex selection before implantation in the mother's womb is really no morally different: Offspring with the desired gender are allowed to live, and the others are killed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Denial of food, fluids is wrong regardless of PVS

Pro-life philosopher Christopher Tollefson draws two lessons from the case of Rom Houben, who was misdiagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for 23 years before doctors found out he was conscious all along.

First, a general observation: "Very often, disabled persons are capable of many more substantive opportunities for human fulfillment than we are initially inclined to believe. This is a point that disability activists have been making for many years, and it reminds us that many of the limitations that the disabled encounter are a result of our own misconceptions, misunderstandings, and failures of imagination and creativity."

More specifically, we have come to realize that "some ... allegedly persistent vegetative state (PVS) patients are in reality misdiagnosed, and are either currently conscious or capable of a fuller recovery than is often asserted to be possible."

Second, a moral point: "The case against withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) from patients in a PVS state does not, ultimately, rest on the possibility of an error in diagnosis. While, for example, the tragedy of the end of Terri Schiavo's life would be compounded by the discovery that she had indeed been conscious, or capable of consciousness, the wrong that was done to her is not mitigated by consciousness's absence."

The question is whether a patient in a PVS is valuable and deserving of the same kind of care and respect due to the rest of us. Because our basic dignity is not dependent on mental or physical capacities that come and go, the answer is yes.

'Choice' is not the issue

"This is not a debate between those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice. Every pro-life advocate that I know is vigorously 'pro-choice' when it comes to women choosing a number of moral goods. They support a woman's right to choose her own health care provider, to choose her own school, to choose her own husband, to choose her own job, to choose her own religion, and to choose her own career, to name a few. These are among the many choices that pro-life advocates fully support for the women of our country. But some choices are wrong, like killing innocent human beings simply because they are in the way and cannot defend themselves. No, we shouldn't be pro-choice about that."

-- Scott Klusendorf

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Do pro-lifers advocate 'compulsory maternity'?

Edward Abbey once said, "Abolition of a woman's right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the state."

I would respond with a question: "By prohibiting women from killing their newborn babies, is the state forcing women to be mothers -- compulsory maternity?"

Almost everyone would say no. After all, a woman with a newborn baby is already a mother. And clearly she may not kill her son or daughter -- an innocent human person -- simply because he or she is in the way and needs to be cared for. That's called murder.

Abbey would probably say that abortion (killing the unborn) is much different than killing an infant. And that's the real issue: whether or not abortion is the killing of a valuable person, like an infant. If it's not, then I agree with Abbey that it makes little sense for the government to prevent a woman from having an abortion.

But if abortion does kill a human person, then a pregnant woman already is a mother, and it makes no more sense to permit her to have her unborn child killed than it does to permit infanticide.

Abortion Recovery Awareness Month

April is Abortion Recovery Month in the state of Minnesota as proclaimed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

"Abortion Recovery Month encourages and promotes healing opportunities and raises awareness of the aftermath of abortion experienced by individuals and families," explains Pawlenty's proclamation. "Abortion recovery programs help individuals heal by providing counseling, support groups, encouragement, and education."

Abortion Recovery Awareness Month is an event of Abortion Recovery InterNational, Inc.

Go here to learn about the help and healing that is available after an abortion.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The logic of morals, the logic of law

Hadley Arkes writes here about the "pro-life" politicians (Arkes singles out Sen. Bob Casey Jr.) who have, essentially, rejected the logic of the pro-life position and of law and morality in general. Here's why.

The full pro-life position isn't just that abortion is morally wrong. We're not just "personally opposed" to it. We also think justice requires that abortion be prohibited by law -- that unborn human beings be respected and protected like every other member of the human family.

But some politicians have denied the natural connection between morality and law, between the wrongness of abortion and its legal prohibition. They have accepted the premise that abortion should be legal, and that they can only work within that framework. For example, they talk about "reducing the need" for abortion, promoting adoption, etc. But they've essentially conceded that abortion should be permitted.

This makes no sense. As Arkes writes:
If we come to the recognition that any act stands in the class of a "wrong" – that it is wrong, say, for parents to torture their infants – our next move is not to say, "therefore let us offer them tax incentives to induce them to stop." Or "let us offer them a DVD player." It strikes people, at once, as laughably obscene to make contracts or appeal to self-interest here.
If abortion is the unjust killing of an innocent human being, then it should not be allowed, any more than torturing infants.

Positive Alternatives program brings down taxpayer funded abortions in state

The following news release was issued on April 5, 2010.

ST. PAUL — Taxpayer funded abortions fell more than 4 percent in Minnesota in 2008, according to a Minnesota Department of Human Services report issued Apr. 1. The drop follows a several-year trend that coincides with the Positive Alternatives program that has provided practical help to pregnant women; Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) strongly supports the program.

Positive Alternatives was passed by the Legislature in 2005 to establish a grant program through the Minnesota Department of Health. Grants are given to life-affirming organizations offering essential services in the following areas: medical attention for the woman and the unborn child, nutritional services, housing assistance, adoption services, education and employment assistance, child care assistance, and parenting education and support services. At a modest cost of $2.4 million per year, the program served 12,000 women in its first two years.

"These numbers are more evidence of the effectiveness of Positive Alternatives, and MCCL is pleased with the results," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "Positive Alternatives is working. Fewer low-income pregnant women now believe that abortion is their only option. However, the enormous number of abortions remains a tragedy."

The 2008 figures just released show that Minnesota abortionists filed claims for 3,754 abortions and were reimbursed $1,505,862 by the state (an average of $401 per abortion). Taxpayer funded abortions peaked in 2004, when 4,104 abortions were performed on poor women in Minnesota. Public funding reached its height in 2006 with a total of $1,652,977.

Even as fewer abortions are performed on low-income women, Planned Parenthood manages to increase this part of its business. Its 6 percent increase in 2008 is part of a 140 percent increase since 2000, demonstrating once again that Planned Parenthood targets poor women for abortion. The abortion provider even argues heartlessly that these abortions save money for the state.

"It is long past time for Planned Parenthood to end its exploitation of low-income and minority women," Fischbach said.

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. Taxpayers paid for 29 percent of all abortions performed in Minnesota in 2008.

Since the Doe v. Gomez ruling, taxpayers have paid $15,632,551 for a total of 50,869 abortion procedure claims. Prior to the court decision, taxpayers were charged about $7,000 per year for about 23 abortions.

"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 is working to pass a ban on taxpayer funded abortion, H.F. 1059 / S.F. 906, authored by Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba, DFL-Long Prairie, and Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan.