Friday, October 29, 2010

On the obligation to participate in elections

Frank Pavone writes:
While voting is always a moral obligation, sometimes that obligation is stronger than at other times. This is especially true when pro-life people have an opportunity to elect, in a close race, someone who is committed to protect the unborn, and remove from office someone else who isn't. The closer a race is, the more each person's vote matters. And among candidates who have a strong enough base to win, we have a moral obligation to vote in such a way that will do the most to advance the culture of life.

We each have one vote, but we can also influence thousands of other votes. We can directly help candidates by volunteering for their campaigns, and we can help other voters understand their duty and get to the polls.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Video: How Obamacare expands abortion

Why Jim Oberstar lost the support of the pro-life movement

A version of the following MCCL letter ran in Timberjay newspapers in northern Minnesota (in the 8th Congressional District) on Oct. 23.

In a recent Timberjay story ("Oberstar snubbed by pro-life group," Oct. 15), Jim Oberstar's campaign said Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life's (MCCL) endorsement of Chip Cravaack indicates that MCCL has become "increasingly partisan." But Oberstar has only himself to blame for losing the support of the pro-life movement.

Oberstar avidly defends his vote for the Obama health care overhaul—and attacks those who disagree—but it is difficult to see how anyone committed to the pro-life view could find that legislation at all acceptable, which is why it was almost uniformly opposed by pro-life groups comprised of members of every political persuasion.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, explains: "[The new health care law contains] multiple provisions that authorize new programs or expand authorizations for existing programs that are authorized to cover abortion, either explicitly or implicitly. Some of these provisions are entirely untouched by any limitation on abortion in existing law or in the [bill] itself, and others are subject only to limitations that are temporary or contingent." Documentation is available at

On this monumental measure, Oberstar crumbled and came down squarely on the wrong side. "I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn't have the [pro-life] House abortion language in it," Oberstar pledged on Feb. 24, less than a month before voting for the bill even though it did not include the pro-life language. Oberstar reportedly led the effort to convince wavering pro-life Democrats to vote for the pro-abortion legislation.

Oberstar cites President Obama's executive order as a safeguard against federal funding of abortion, but the order can be repealed at any time and fails to trump the law itself, which lacks adequate pro-life protections. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards called the executive order a mere "symbolic gesture"—a barely-disguised cover for legislators wanting to vote for the bill regardless of its effect on unborn children and other vulnerable persons.

Already this year, three states began implementing—under the new health care law—federally-funded programs that would explicitly subsidize abortions. The Department of Health and Human Services eventually decided to exclude abortion from those plans, not because it conflicts with federal law or with Obama's executive order (it doesn't) but because National Right to Life had widely publicized the abortion coverage. In the years to come, pro-lifers will face many more battles as provisions of the Obama overhaul that could greatly expand abortion are put into place.

MCCL is not a partisan organization. We support pro-lifers of both parties, including many Democrats. Congressman Collin Peterson of the 7th District once again earned our endorsement this year due to his strong pro-life voting record and his answers to our candidate questionnaire.

In stark contrast, Congressman Oberstar has compiled a disappointing 33 percent pro-life voting record over his last term (2009-2010), and he refused to complete MCCL's candidate questionnaire.

The choice for pro-life voters in the 8th District is clear. Chip Cravaack is a principled pro-life candidate who will work in Congress to uphold the equal dignity of every member of the human family, no matter how small, vulnerable or dependent. Jim Oberstar's vote for the health care overhaul is a career-defining pro-abortion vote and will not be soon forgotten.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where do the candidates for the MN Legislature stand on life?

Every seat in the Minnesota Legislature is up for election in 2010 -- 67 Senate seats and 134 House seats. Pro-life legislators are essential to passing lifesaving bills and stopping pro-abortion ones.

If you live in Minnesota, please use our Voter's Guide to find out where your state House and Senate candidates stand on the right to life. Their answers to the MCCL pro-life questionnaire begin on page 5; view incumbent legislator's pro-life voting records here. (Find out which House and Senate districts you live in here.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The reality of forced abortion

What is the United States doing in relation to forced abortion in China? We seem to be encouraging it. President Obama restored U.S. funding (possibly illegally) to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which reportedly has been complicit in Chinese campaigns of forced abortion and forced sterilization.

President Bush had rightly stripped UNFPA of funding for that reason. As (pro-legalized abortion) former Secretary of State Colin Powell explained at the time, "I determined that UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allowed the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion."

For details on the problem of coerced abortion here in the United States, see our brochure.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where do the candidates for Congress stand on life?

Minnesota has eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and all are up for election this year. Below are the major candidates in each of the eight Congressional races.

Our Voter's Guide includes the candidates' responses to the MCCL pro-life questionnaire (on page 4). Go here to view the pro-life records of the MCCL Federal PAC-endorsed candidates (Demmer, Kline, Paulsen, Collett, Bachmann, Peterson and Cravaack). Go here to view the voting records of Minnesota's current Congressional delegation.

District 1   Tim Walz (pro-abortion) v. Randy Demmer* (pro-life)
District 2   Shelley Madore (pro-abortion) v. John Kline* (pro-life)
District 3   Jim Meffert (pro-abortion) v. Erik Paulsen* (pro-life)
District 4   Betty McCollum (pro-abortion) v. Teresa Collett* (pro-life)
District 5   Keith Ellison (pro-abortion) v. Joel Demos (pro-life)
District 6   Tarryl Clark (pro-abortion) v. Michele Bachmann* (pro-life)
District 7   Lee Byberg (pro-life) v. Collin Peterson* (pro-life)
District 8   James Oberstar (mixed record) v. Chip Cravaack* (pro-life)

* endorsed by MCCL Federal PAC

Friday, October 22, 2010

MCCL and the Duluth News Tribune: A study in logic

Imagine a new "health care" bill that would promote the killing and dismemberment of 10-year-old children, and let's say (for the sake of argument) it would improve the quality of most adults' health care. Would it be fair to characterize an opponent of the bill as saying, "I don't care if people are sick or dying -- just that they live past the age of 10"?

Of course not. The opponent of the bill is not against good health care -- he simply recognizes that the legislation is radically unjust to 10-year-old human beings.

If the unborn are valuable, rights-bearing human beings -- like 10-year-olds and like each of us -- then a bill that promotes their killing by abortion should be opposed on the same grounds. And that is what the Obama health care overhaul does.

But an editorial cartoon in the Duluth News Tribune portrays MCCL as saying (in our opposition to Obamacare), "We don't care if children are sick or dying -- just that they be born." The suggestion that pro-lifers don't care about sick and dying children is obviously wrong, and logically it doesn't follow -- unless one starts with an absurd premise.

It's clear that in principle one could rightly -- without apathy toward the sick and dying -- oppose a bill even if it would help some people (as in the fictional example in which 10-year-old children are killed). So the cartoonist must hold that MCCL's opposition is not such a case -- i.e., MCCL does not believe that the unjust killing of innocent human beings is at stake. For if one does believe that, then opposing Obamacare no more makes one apathetic toward the sick and dying than opposing the fictional bill (on the grounds that it promotes killing 10-year-olds) makes one apathetic toward the sick and dying. So to conclude that MCCL must be apathetic to the sick and dying (as the editorial cartoonist does), one must assume that MCCL, a pro-life organization, does not really believe the pro-life position is true.

And that's ridiculous.

Race for Minnesota governor: Candidates and stakes

Human lives will be at stake on Nov. 2 when voters elect the next governor of Minnesota. Of the three major candidates, only one defends the right to life of every human being, no matter how small, vulnerable and dependent; the other two do not.

Under Gov. Tim Pawlenty, we have enacted pro-life laws that have reduced abortions and saved lives. Abortions in our state have dropped more than 14 percent since Pawlenty took office; the 2009 total was the lowest in 35 years.

But this progress could be reversed under a new governor. Both Mark Dayton and Tom Horner support abortion on demand. Dayton cosponsored the Freedom of Choice Act in the U.S. Senate, which would have wiped out virtually all limits on abortion and made the grotesque partial-birth abortion procedure legal again. Horner says he opposes the Woman's Right to Know informed consent law, which provides basic factual information to pregnant women prior to abortion. Both Dayton and Horner support requiring that every taxpayer pay for elective abortions—a proven means of significantly increasing the number of unborn babies killed.

By contrast, Tom Emmer has a 100 percent pro-life voting record and supports protection for human beings at every stage of development. He coauthored the Positive Alternatives Act to provide help and alternatives to pregnant women in need. He will work to stop taxpayer funding of abortion, forced abortion, sex-selection abortion and other attacks on unborn children and their mothers.

Learn more about where the candidates stand on human life by visiting

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Unborn child at 10 weeks

(Via Live Action)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Weighing issues, choosing a candidate

The following is from the 2010 MCCL General Election Voter's Guide.

Some well-meaning people who oppose abortion—you may be one of them—are uncertain about which candidates to vote for in the gubernatorial and other elections this fall. Perhaps you are are tempted by a pro-choice candidate who wants to "reduce the need for abortion," or who advocates other positions with which you agree (on jobs, economics, education, etc.). Some may wonder whether pro-life politicians can actually do anything to stem abortion.

How does one decide? I believe that if you hold to the pro-life view, then it is almost inconceivable that you can reasonably vote for a pro-choice candidate over a pro-life one, regardless of the candidates' positions on other issues. Let me explain why.

If the pro-life position is true, then thousands of innocent human beings are unjustly killed each year in Minnesota, with the blessing of the government, and often using taxpayer dollars. In no other current political issue or debate is such a foundational principle at stake: the equal dignity and right to life of every member of the human family.

Candidates may disagree about how best to grow the economy or balance the budget, but they agree that we should grow the economy and should balance the budget. They only differ on the means to achieving a common goal. That is not the case when it comes to abortion and other right-to-life issues.

A "pro-choice" candidate (i.e., one who supports legalized abortion) by definition thinks a certain class of innocent human beings (the unborn) should be excluded from protection and so may be killed at the discretion of others. It is the very principle (human equality), not a mere policy difference, that is at issue. Just as it would be wrong to vote for a candidate who is "pro-choice" about slavery, it is unjust to vote for a candidate who thinks it ought to be legal to dismember unborn children, when there is a viable alternative candidate.

Apart from principle, a voter can assess the likely consequences if each candidate is elected. I think it is safe to say that the difference between candidates' probable influence on right-to-life issues is usually of greater moral significance than their differences on other issues. In short, a difference over tax policy (while important) cannot outweigh the thousands of human lives at stake with abortion and embryo-destructive research.

Many doubt (or simply don't know) that elected officials, limited by a Supreme Court-mandated regime of abortion on demand, can have a such an impact. But studies show that even modest pro-life legislation saves lives. Governors, state legislatures and Congress really do make a difference for unborn children.

The 14 percent drop in abortions under pro-life Gov. Tim Pawlenty is largely a result of Woman's Right to Know, Positive Alternatives and other pro-life bills passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor. These lifesaving measures could be undone with an abortion advocate in the governor's office, and anti-life measures—such as a 2008 embryo-killing bill vetoed by Pawlenty—could be enacted.

Lives are on the line, and every pro-life Minnesotan must vote accordingly. Use this Voter's Guide to learn where all the candidates stand, and tell others. Then vote for life on Nov. 2!

Video: MCCL endorses Chip Cravaack for Congress

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

MCCL endorses Cravaack for Congress after Oberstar breaks with MCCL

The following MCCL news release was issued today, Oct. 12.

Oberstar abandons pro-life position, supports abortion funding, rationing

DULUTH – Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) today announced its endorsement of pro-life Chip Cravaack for Congress in the state's 8th Congressional District at a news conference at the Heaney Federal Building in Duluth. The state's oldest and largest pro-life organization, MCCL was enthusiastic in its support of Cravaack, a new committed pro-life leader.

"Chip Cravaack exemplifies everything the people of Minnesota's 8th District look for in a candidate for Congress," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "Cravaack has a passionate dedication to uphold the constitutional right to life and to protect our country's most vulnerable citizens – the unborn."

Cravaack has made the protection of lives threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia central to his campaign. He strongly believes in the inalienable right to life from conception to natural death. Cravaack opposes the destruction of human embryos for experimentation and supports ethical adult stem cell research, which "has shown great possibilities and does not trade one life to save another," he has stated.

Cravaack and Jim Oberstar, the current 8th District congressman, differ sharply on these issues and on the Obama health care overhaul, which instituted health care rationing and taxpayer funding of abortion. Less than a month before voting for the Obama health care bill, Oberstar stated, "I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn’t have the [pro-life] House abortion language in it." The House language, which would have prohibited taxpayer funded abortion, was removed from the final bill, but Oberstar abandoned his pledge and voted in favor of it. He also led an effort to lobby pro-life Democrats in the U.S. House to vote for final passage of the Obama health care bill, even though it included rationing and abortion funding.

"Jim Oberstar has turned away from the pro-life principles he used to hold in common with the citizens of the 8th District," Fischbach said. "He has walked away from the pro-life movement. For years Jim Oberstar has had a 100 percent pro-life voting record and now he has a zero percent pro-life voting record. Just as Jim Oberstar has abandoned the babies, it is time for the voters to retire Jim Oberstar."

Fortunately, voters have a strong pro-life candidate in Chip Cravaack. MCCL Federal PAC urges the people of Minnesota's 8th District to vote for Chip Cravaack. He is the candidate with the courage and conviction to protect unborn babies, senior citizens, disabled persons and everyone else whose life is threatened by abortion, health care rationing and other dangers.

Monday, October 4, 2010

'A lot is at stake,' and the choice is clear

From the Star Tribune:
A lot is at stake on social issues. The Legislature has been grappling with whether the state should fund embryonic stem cell research [and] ban state funding of abortions. ...

In terms of social issues, Independence Party candidate [for governor] Tom Horner and [DFLer Mark] Dayton agree on many points -- few of which align with [Republican Tom] Emmer, according to their records and statements from the candidates. ...

Dayton is an ardent advocate of abortion rights and is endorsed by Minnesota NARAL. Horner shies away from abortion labels, but said he has no plans to change the law that now allows state-funded abortions for very low-income women. "I would maintain the status quo on Minnesota [abortion] laws," Horner said in an interview, adding that his goal is reducing the number of abortions.

Emmer has voted to bar state money from funding abortion, and has a consistent record of opposing abortion.

Both Horner and Dayton support state funding for embryonic stem cell research, which Emmer opposes.

The purpose of government

"In the state of nature—the 'law of the jungle'—the determination of who 'qualifies' as a human being is left to private individuals or chosen groups. In a justly organized community, however, government exists to secure the right to life and the other human rights that follow from that primary right."

-- U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan

Friday, October 1, 2010

Do you believe in human rights?

The Political Dictionary defines "human rights" (in part) as follows:
Human rights are a special sort of inalienable moral entitlement. They attach to all persons equally, by virtue of their humanity, irrespective of race, nationality, or membership of any particular social group.
If these rights are had "by virtue of [one's] humanity," then they are had by all humans, including the human embryo and fetus. Every person who embraces the above concept of human rights (I hope everyone does) rationally must acknowledge what follows from that concept: human rights for the unborn human killed by abortion.

I see one possible escape route for someone who embraces the above concept of human rights but who denies that the unborn has basic rights. One could take issue with my interpretation of "human," contending that while the unborn is biologically human -- i.e., a member of the species Homo sapiens -- he or she is not human in the moral, social or metaphysical sense that we mean when we talk about human rights.

The problem is that any such criterion for "humanity" -- other than being a member of the human species -- provides no basis at all for human equality, which is an important part of the concept of human rights (see above). We are only equal in virtue of the kind of thing we all are (what we all have in common), and we share that same thing in common with the human embryo and fetus.

So the traditional understanding of human rights is incoherent unless unborn human beings are included in the community of rights-bearing individuals.

Tom Horner is no moderate

In the video below, Independence Party candidate for governor Tom Horner answers questions about abortion.

My response to his claims is here.

The bottom line is that Horner does not seem to support any limitations on abortion, and he wants to continue to make taxpayers fund elective abortions. He also opposes Minnesota's Woman's Right to Know law, which informs women about abortion risks, complications and alternatives, as well as fetal development and other facts, prior to an abortion.

These positions put Horner on the radical fringe.