Monday, November 29, 2010

The viability criterion for fetal personhood

Among the criteria that have been proposed to exclude unborn human beings from having the status of "person" or bearer of a right to life -- and thus justify killing them by abortion -- one of the least defensible, it seems to me, is viability. I'm not aware of any thoughtful pro-choice advocates who defend viability as the point at which a developing human being acquires a right to life. In fact, distinguished pro-abortion philosophers such as Michael Tooley and Peter Singer have shown that the viability criterion is clearly "untenable" (Singer's word).

But the view that viability is the standard for fetal personhood is common -- maybe because it's the law of the land (sort of). The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade, and reaffirmed in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, that viability is the point at which the state first has a serious interest in protecting the life of a developing human being. (That doesn't mean post-viability abortions can be prohibited under the Court's rulings. The post-viability "health" exception, detailed in Doe v. Bolton, is so broad that virtually any reason is sufficient to justify an abortion late in pregnancy, and thus we in effect have a policy of abortion on demand throughout the entirety of pregnancy.)

Why is viability so relevant? Here is the Court's entire argument, in its 1992 Casey v. Planned Parenthood ruling (decided by a 5-4 vote):
Viability, as we noted in Roe, is the time at which there is a realistic possibility of maintaining and nourishing a life outside the womb, so that the independent existence of the second life can in reason and all fairness be the object of state protection that now overrides the rights of the woman.
That's it. As Francis Beckwith writes, this is fallacious:
For the Court to make its argument valid, it would have to add to its factual premise [the fact of fetal nonviability through roughly the first six months of pregnancy] the normative premise: whenever a human being cannot live on its own because it uniquely depends on another human being for its physical existence, it is permissible for the second human being to kill the first to rid the second of the burden.
That controversial view was assumed (not argued for) by the Court in both Roe and Casey. So American abortion policy -- and all the unborn human lives sacrificed because of it -- hinged on an unmentioned, undefended moral assumption by five philosophically-untutored (clearly) lawyers.

Problems with the viability criterion are not difficult to find. "Viability" is determined not just by the physical maturity of the fetus, but by the current state of medical technology, what facilities and resources are available, and the skill of doctors. That's why the typical point of viability has moved earlier in pregnancy as medical technology has advanced. But if viability determines personhood, then one's basic rights depend on the technology and doctors available, and those rights can be gained or lost depending on the circumstances or time period one finds oneself in (e.g., a developing-world country). That is absurd.

A conjoined twin depends entirely on the body of another for survival, but no one suggests that she is not a person who merits full respect. Further, we are all "nonviable" relative to our environment. Writes Beckwith: "If any one of us were to be placed naked on the moon or the earth's North Pole, we would quickly become aware of our nonviability. Therefore, the unborn prior to the time she can live outside her mother's womb is as nonviable in relation to her environment as we are nonviable in relation to ours."

Ultimately, viability is a measurement of dependency on other people and things. But we are all dependent (on other people and things) to varying, and often-changing, degrees. So dependency seems a shaky basis for determining whether someone has the right not to be killed. It seems more accurate to say that the dependency and vulnerability of some members of the human family impart on us a special obligation toward them -- not a justification for killing them! The viability criterion has it backwards.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why should pro-lifers get involved in politics and legislation?

There are several good reasons for engaging in politics and legislation. First, basic justice requires that the law protect the rights of every member of the human family, including the unborn, elderly and disabled. A political regime that sanctions the killing of our innocent offspring, even if no one engaged in that practice, would still be deeply unjust, for it relegates one class of innocent human beings to the status of nonpersons who may be killed for the convenience of others. We must work to make our laws more just and more protective of human rights.

Second, government policies clearly affect behavior, including the practices of abortion, euthanasia and embryo-destructive research. For example, legalizing abortion in the United States dramatically increased the number of abortions, and modest pro-life limitations enacted in recent years have been shown to reduce the number of abortions. In a society in which abortion on demand is permitted and widely accepted, the law is perhaps the single most important instrument for reducing abortions and saving lives.

Third, government policies can influence public opinion. Researcher David C. Reardon explains, "Studies in the psychology of morality reveal that the law is truly the teacher. One of the most significant conclusions of these studies shows that existing laws and customs are the most important criteria for deciding what is right or wrong for most adults in a given culture."

Consider that laws against slavery and racial discrimination actually preceded widespread opposition to those practices. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once put it, "Laws can't change men's hearts, but they can change men's behaviors. When the behavior changes, the hearts may follow."

Fourth, the mere controversy over public policy proposals, whether or not they are enacted into law, can help change public sentiment. The decade-long debate over the partial-birth abortion ban exposed a particularly-gruesome abortion procedure to the public and shifted public opinion in the pro-life direction. Pro-life political and legislative involvement helps keep right-to-life issues a subject of public concern.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Should abortion be legalized in Africa? Why the argument fails

Writing on the "Poverty Matters" blog at the UK Guardian's website, Sharon Camp argues that abortion must be legalized in African countries to prevent women from dying as a consequence of dangerous, illegal abortions.

There are two main problems with Camp's case: one is logical, and the other is factual.

The logical problem is that her case rests on the undefended assumption that abortion is morally permissible. This is an example of the fallacy of begging the question, or merely assuming what one ought to prove.

Here's the problem. If abortion unjustly takes the lives of innocent human beings, then Camp's argument amounts to saying that because some women may hurt themselves trying to have their own children killed, we therefore ought to make it legal and safe for women to have their own children killed. This is like saying we should legalize bank robbery because it might be risky for bank robbers.

As pro-choice philosopher Mary Anne Warren writes, "The fact that restricting access to abortion has tragic side effects does not, in itself, show that the restrictions are unjustified, since murder is wrong regardless of the consequences of prohibiting it."

So only by assuming that abortion is not a serious moral wrong does Camp's position make sense. But she gives no reasons at all in support of that assumption.

Factually, Camp is simply mistaken on a number of counts, and thus she arrives at the wrong solution to the problem of maternal mortality in Africa.

First, the maternal mortality numbers she cites should be subject to serious scrutiny. A  2010 study published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet shows, contrary to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, that maternal deaths worldwide dropped by 35 percent from 1980 to 2008. The Lancet study cites several reasons for the decline in maternal mortality, but does not include legal abortion or increased access to abortion.

United States history is instructive: Prior to Roe v. Wade in 1973, advocates of legal abortion claimed there were 5,000-10,000 women dying each year due to illegal abortion. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL Pro-Choice America, later admitted the numbers were completely fabricated in order to further the effort to legalize abortion on demand. The Centers for Disease Control reports that only 39 women died from illegal abortion in 1972 (and 24 died from legal abortion).

Second, Camp is mistaken about a causal connection between abortion prohibitions and maternal mortality. Many countries that do not permit abortion have very low rates of maternal mortality (e.g., Ireland, Chile and Poland), and many countries that permit abortion on demand have very high rates of maternal mortality (e.g., India and Russia). It is clear from the evidence that maternal mortality numbers hinge on the quality of care and medicine for women, not on abortion's legality.

In the developed world, the decline in maternal mortality coincided with "the development of obstetric techniques and improvement in the general health status of women" (from 1935 to the 1950s), according to WHO. This took place well before the widespread legalization of abortion.

Third, Camp asserts that laws prohibiting abortion have no effect on the incidence of abortion. Generally speaking, this is wrong, and demonstrably so. A reliable study concluded that abortions in the United States rose dramatically from an average of 98,000 per year to well over one million after legalization in 1973, peaking at 1.6 million per year. Stanley Henshaw of the Guttmacher Institute has explained, "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." (For a host of reasons, this correlation may not be as strong in third-world countries, explains Dr. Michael New.)

From these facts, it is reasonable to conclude that if abortion is legalized in an environment lacking adequate maternal health care, more women will pursue dangerous abortions and be hurt or killed. Jeanne E. Head, R.N., UN Representative for the National Right to Life Committee, explains: "Women generally at risk because they lack access to a doctor, hospital, or antibiotics before abortion's legalization will face those same circumstances after legalization. And if legalization triggers a higher demand for abortion, as it has in most countries, more injured women will compete for those scarce medical resources."

The solution to the problems in Africa that Camp discusses is the same as that which has worked in all countries that have successfully reduced maternal deaths and saved women's lives: better health care. Not legal abortion.

Learn more about the "maternal mortality" argument for legalizing abortion here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Couple puts unborn child's life up for a vote

The following MCCL letter to the editor was published today, Nov. 23, in the Star Tribune.

An Apple Valley couple has made waves by asking the online public to help them decide whether to have an abortion ("Apple Valley couple put abortion to an online vote," Nov. 19).

Let me make two points in response to this shocking situation:

Life or death?
First, the couple, Peter and Alisha Arnold, and some news reports have asserted that abortion in Minnesota is illegal after 20 weeks. This is not accurate. The U.S. Supreme Court's Doe vs. Bolton decision in 1973 requires a "health" exception so broad that virtually any reason is sufficient to justify an abortion late in pregnancy. The 2009 abortion report from the Minnesota Department of Health shows that 79 abortions were performed after 20 weeks' gestation in our state last year.

Second, the actions of the Arnolds are entirely consistent with the "pro-choice" position. If abortion is morally permissible, then there is little ground for criticizing the Arnolds' decision to use popular opinion in making their choice.

But most of us know that something is very wrong here. Why? Because abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, one's own offspring. And putting a child's life up for a vote shows an appallingly callous disregard for the value of human life.

I pray that the Arnolds' unborn baby -- whom his parents have already nicknamed "Wiggles" -- will live and be loved.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fetal pain as common ground

Even those bioethicists and philosophers who deny the right to life of every human being (and thus think it is permissible to kill some humans, such as the unborn) agree that pain is generally a bad thing. Some bioethicists even think that pain and suffering is the sole criterion for determining right and wrong.

E. Christian Brugger writes:
Everyone can agree that we have a duty not to cause pain to others without a just cause. Bioethicists endorse the relieving of pain as an expression of the "principle of beneficence." And international bodies concur that access to pain relief without discrimination is a fundamental right. As a society we even take efforts to eliminate pain from the process of executing capital offenders whose guilt is manifestly established.
If evidence shows that unborn human beings at later stages of development feel pain during abortion procedures, then there should be common ground that both pro-life and pro-choice advocates agree on:
First, pro-lifers and pro-choicers should be able to agree on the principle of full disclosure. If fetuses feel pain, then where abortion is legal, abortion providers should disclose to the gestational mother the effects of her choice on the fetus. We may disagree about whether abortion is wrong, but we should be able to agree that withholding information relevant to making an informed abortion decision would be unfair to women.

Second, if fetuses feel pain, then where abortion is legal, abortion providers should also take reasonable measures to suppress the pain. We should be able to agree that it would be wrong not to try to remove the pain, just as it is when political authority fails to take reasonable measures to remove the pain from the process of legal execution.
So, do the unborn feel pain? Very powerful (arguably decisive) evidence indicates that they do. But let's suppose there is some doubt. Brugger writes:
The burden falls on the one who might be doing wrongful harm to rule out reasonable doubt that they are. If you were hunting in the woods and saw something moving in the distance, but were unsure of whether it was a deer or another hunter, you would be bound not to shoot until reasonable doubt was dispelled that what was stirring in the distance was not another hunter. When a doubt of fact bears on settling whether an alternative under consideration is immoral (e.g., it would be immoral to shoot in the face of reasonable doubt), one should withhold choosing till the fact has been settled.
Thus, if we are unsure whether the unborn feel pain, we must act as if they do. Only reasonable certainty that the unborn do not feel pain can justify not taking that possibility into account during an abortion. Can anyone claim such certainty?
Coming from one who is not a scientific expert on the question, but who has read considerably over the past four months on most all dimensions of the question, I conclude strongly that moral certitude that fetuses do not feel pain presently cannot be reached. In other words, fetal pain experience is a reasonable conclusion from the settled evidence. This evidence includes an appeal to fetal anatomical, neurochemical, physiological, and behavioral features, as well as responses to noxious stimuli (behaviors such as facial grimacing, the withdrawing of limbs, clenching of fists, opening of mouth and even crying).

Although we are not warranted in moving from these features and responses to a certain conclusion that fetuses do experience pain [emphasis added]—I realize that fetal consciousness is a central factor in the equation—we are justified in concluding from the evidence—in fact, we are rationally required to conclude—that moral certitude does not exist that fetuses do not feel pain.
What this means is that those who support abortion and think pain is bad (i.e., all "pro-choice" advocates) are rationally compelled to join pro-lifers in support of certain measures (such as Minnesota's Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act). Brugger concludes:
Unless and until contrary evidence is presented, we have a duty to act with the presumption that [the unborn by at least 20 weeks feel pain]. In a territory such as our own where abortion is legal, we have a duty: 1) to inform women considering second- and third-trimester abortions that their actions may cause their babies pain; and 2) to guarantee that suitable analgesics and anesthesia be administered to fetuses during second- and third-trimester abortions.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The limits of pragmatic arguments in the stem cell debate

Pro-lifers argue that we should not conduct biomedical research that requires the killing of human embryos (human beings at the earliest stage of their development), but rather should focus on research that is ethical and life-affirming. It is increasingly clear -- as Chuck Colson explained recently -- that every scientific objection to our position has been answered.

Advocates said that embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) was more therapeutically promising than its alternatives, but only ethical adult stem cell research has produced treatments for patients. Advocates said that only ESCR could provide us with pluripotent stem cells, but then scientists developed induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which have all the same potential benefits but are more efficient to use. Now scientists have gone further and -- still without using embryos -- converted skin cells directly into blood cells, bypassing the pluripotent stage and the difficulties it has always posed (for embryonic stem cells).

But as Colson points out, "[ESCR] scientists' first impulse is to say they still need life-killing embryonic stem cell research. ... Why?"
Could it be that this argument isn't ultimately about science, which involves carefully looking at the evidence? The evidence is clear, and is becoming ever more clear by the day. It's really about worldview, and the ... worldview so prevalent among scientists today says that human beings are simply clumps of raw material to be exploited for the greater good. ...

That's why we will never win this argument simply offering pragmatic responses. Such arguments have their place, of course, but we have to help people see the moral implications of their worldview.

And that means showing them why killing innocent human life is always wrong, whatever the latest scientific breakthrough says.
ESCR could cease altogether on pragmatic grounds (because it has become scientifically obsolete), but if our society still views early human life as mere raw material we may use as we wish, then we've still got a problem.

The moral argument will always have to be made in order for the rights of every human being to be safe and secure.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Saving lives from abortion in Africa

By Bill Poehler

Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO), is in Africa conducting training for pro-life leaders in Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Kenya. He already has met with dozens of pro-life leaders in Tanzania and expects to meet with dozens more during his 12-day tour.

Scott Fischbach with pro-life leaders from Uganda.
Leaders have expressed their gratitude for MCCL GO's partnership over the last 18 months. The international arm of MCCL has provided fetal development literature and other materials for distribution in many African countries. These much-needed resources have been used by local organizations to educate citizens, as well as governmental leaders, about the humanity of the unborn child. MCCL GO's maternal mortality brochure has also provided valuable statistics and practical information about how to save women's lives in the developing world.

MCCL GO's efforts have had a significant impact, according to local leaders. Fischbach has already been told of nine babies whose lives were saved as a direct result of MCCL GO literature shared with pregnant women and their partners.

"It has been so exciting to see the fruits of our African outreach in the arms of loving, grateful mothers," Fischbach said. "I am humbled by the opportunity to work with such wonderful people who are so dedicated to loving and saving the lives of women and their babies."

Fischbach added he is hopeful that MCCL GO's efforts will have a ripple effect in these countries, with leaders training others who will in turn educate and equip many people to share the facts of fetal development and abortion, and save lives. Many are already doing lifesaving pro-life work with joy in their hearts.

One Ugandan woman stated, "With each new baby born, God is smiling on the work of MCCL GO!"

The MCCL GO African speaking tour continues through Nov. 18. Look for the new MCCL GO website to launch soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One day only: Maximize your difference for life!

Dear Friend of Life,

What if you could help us win $1,000 just by giving 10 bucks? For today only – Tuesday, Nov. 16 – you can!

For the next 24 hours, Minnesotans will come together for the second consecutive year to show the power of online giving through To celebrate, the charitable giving site will give $1,000 to a random donor's charity every hour. You can increase our odds of winning by donating several times throughout the day.

Plus, through the generosity of an anonymous donor, all gifts given to the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Education Fund through on Tuesday, Nov. 16, will be matched — up to $20,000!

To further our pro-life work and increase the impact of your donation, please consider taking part in this unique giving opportunity with a contribution to the MCCL Education Fund. To be eligible for the matching grant your contribution must be made today, Tuesday, Nov. 16!

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. MCCL's efforts can save lives, but we need your help to make it happen. Join us!


Scott Fischbach
Executive Director

Friday, November 12, 2010

When does personhood begin? A biblical perspective

I recently saw a video in which a local pro-life pastor, in discussing the issue of abortion, broaches the question of when "personhood" (not life) begins -- whether it is at conception, or quickening, or a certain stage of brain development, etc. What's troubling is that it appears he's not really sure of the right answer, although he then offers a strong argument for why abortion is wrong regardless (along the same lines as my thoughts here), and earlier he offers powerful theological reflections on why abortion is wrong.

But does his uncertainty about personhood make sense? First we need to determine what he means by that term. He could mean "personhood" in the sense of an acquired moral status -- e.g., you and I come into existence at one point, but only become "persons" with value later on -- but that seems unlikely, since it should be clear according to the pastor's own biblical perspective that we have dignity by virtue of the kind of thing we are (creatures made in the image of God), not because of characteristics we may gain or lose, and thus we have that dignity at all stages of our lives. It follows on that biblical view that all human beings are persons, including the unborn from conception.

More likely, he means "personhood" as a nature or identity. So the pastor is uncertain about when I (what I am, a God-created soul) came to be: at quickening, or brain waves, or whatever. That's fair enough. But it seems clear to me that the Bible teaches a continuity of personal identity throughout the life of a human organism, which we know -- from the science of embryology -- begins at conception.

Consider Psalm 51:5: "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me." Consider also Luke 1:41-44, Psalm 22:10, Job 31:15 and many other passages. Writers in both the Old and New Testaments use the same word to refer to unborn and already-born children, indicating that they share the same nature.

So, the Bible affirms a continuity of personal identity throughout the life of a human being, and also teaches that we are valuable (such that it is prima facie wrong to kill us) by virtue of what we are. It follows that I was once an embryo and a fetus, and that I had the same basic moral status then that I have now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Federal election analysis, and where we stand

The following is by Doug Johnson, Federal Legislative Director at National Right to Life (NRLC).

The first two years of the Obama Administration have been a time of multiple setbacks for the pro-life cause at the federal level. Behind smokescreens of soft, deceptive rhetoric, the Administration has pushed an abortion-expansionist agenda on both domestic and overseas fronts, employing executive powers, nominations, and legislative attacks. The single greatest pro-life setback has been enactment of the massive [health care] restructuring law ("Obamacare"). ...

Now we have received the judgment of the electorate: The bloc of Democrats who abandoned the pro-life movement to satisfy President Obama and Speaker Pelosi suffered severe losses. In all, at least a dozen House incumbents who had taken high-profile stands against federal funding of abortion, but who ended up voting for the health care law, were defeated by pro-life challengers (or, in Stupak's case, suddenly retired).

Far greater losses were sustained among the ranks of House Democrats who had seldom or never voted pro-life: upwards of 40 were replaced by firmly pro-life Republicans.

It was the assessments of candidates by the mainstream pro-life organizations, such as NRLC, that correlated with the results: According to a national post-election poll conducted by The Polling Company, 24% of those who actually voted remembered receiving a previous communication or hearing an ad from National Right to Life about the candidates.

Fully 30% of voters said that abortion affected their votes, and this group broke nearly 3-to-1 in favor of the pro-life candidates.

Asked, "Did the issue of funding for abortion in the Obama health care law affect the way you voted in today's election?," 31% of voters responded in the affirmative — 27% who said they voted “for candidates who opposed the health care law,” and 4% who said they voted “for candidates who favored the health care law.” In other words, 87% of the voters who said the issue mattered, voted in accord with the NRLC position.

The take-home lesson, for lawmakers in both parties, could hardly be clearer: If you vote against the pro-life position –as defined by the mainstream pro-life groups — on a major abortion-related public policy issue, you will be held accountable by a substantial bloc of the electorate. ...

In addition to the replacement of about 40 career pro-abortion incumbents and about a dozen defectors, in about 25 other cases pro-life House incumbents of both parties are being replaced (through either retirement or defeat) by new, firmly pro-life candidates. In only one district in the entire nation was a firmly pro-life incumbent defeated by a solidly pro-abortion challenger. ...

What's that all boil down to? Overall, there has been a net shift in the pro-life direction in the House of 40 to 55 votes, depending on the issue. This brings within the realm of possibility full House approval of a permanent, government-wide prohibition on federal subsidies for abortion, such as the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act proposed by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), which has already been endorsed as a priority in the "Pledge to America" issued by the incoming Republican majority leadership in October. It also sets the stage for a battle royal over legislation to repeal the Obamacare law itself and replace it with something consistent with pro-life principles.

The election results were good in the Senate, as well, where the net shift in the pro-life direction will be from four to seven votes, depending on the issue. No senator is being replaced by a successor who has a weaker position on abortion.

This shift in the Senate will enhance pro-life prospects for fending off new legislative attacks on existing pro-life policies — among these, an ongoing effort to repeal a ban on performing abortions in U.S. military medical facilities, and a variety of bills intended to further enhance the Administration's ongoing efforts to expand abortion access throughout the developing world. But President Obama's veto pen may still pose a formidable obstacle to enactment of legislation targeted at the gross deficiencies of the Obamacare law, and of the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act.

George W. Bush on abortion

"The abortion issue is difficult, sensitive, and personal. My faith and conscience led me to conclude that human life is sacred. God created man in His image and therefore every person has value in His eyes. It seemed to me that an unborn child, while dependent on its mother, is a separate and independent being worthy of protection in its own right. When I saw [my daughters] Barbara and Jenna on the sonogram for the first time, there was no doubt in my mind they were distinct and alive. The fact that they could not speak for themselves only enhanced society's duty to defend them."

-- George W. Bush (from his new book Decision Points, p. 112)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thinking clearly about 'ethics at the edge of life'

Dr. Scott B. Rae, a professor of philosophy, and Scott Klusendorf, president of Life Training Institute, recently taught a seminar for M.A. students at Biola University titled "Ethics at the Edge of Life." All 14 sessions are now watchable on YouTube.

Klusendorf presents on "advanced pro-life apologetics," with the following sessions:

- What is the Issue?
- What is the Unborn?
- What Makes Humans Valuable Part 1: Substance View of Human Persons
- What Makes Humans Valuable Part 2: The Religion Objection
- Abortion: Law, Metaphysics, and Moral Neutrality
- Bodily Autonomy Appeals: Analysis of Thomson, McDonagh, and Boonin
- Catholic Social Justice Teaching, Assumed Moral Equivalence, and other Common Objections
- Equipping Your Local Church to Engage

The detailed notes for Klusendorf's sessions are available here. He follows the basic approach of his book, The Case for Life.

Dr. Rae presents, among other sessions:

- Death, Dying and Assisted Suicide Part 1
- Death, Dying and Assisted Suicide Part 2

Surely watching just one of these videos is more edifying than a typical television program. For pro-lifers, few tasks can be more important than educating and equipping ourselves to make a difference in this great cause.

Monday, November 8, 2010

MCCL GO takes pro-life message to Africa

The following news story is from

Over the next 12 days the people of Africa will be able to see a team from the global outreach project of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life in action.

Executive Director Scott Fischbach will speak at meetings in four East African nations, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Zanzibar, beginning Sunday.

"This is a dream come true to actually meet, speak to and share directly with the pro-life contacts that MCCL GO has been working with via the Internet, phone and fax over the last 18 months," Fischbach told "To finally be able to work hand-in-hand with those who fight to defend the unborn and their moms in Africa is a true honor."

The initial schedule includes pro-life addresses at an East African regional conference held at the Mbagala Spiritual Center in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Meetings in Stone Town, Zanzibar, will be held with various Islamic leaders not only from Zanzibar, but also from Pemba. Several high-level meetings will take place in Kampala, Uganda; this is also where MCCL GO has been asked to speak with students at two major Ugandan universities.

The African continent is presently under siege from pro-abortion forces from all corners of the world, which highlights the importance of the trip.

Fischbach says the Obama administration, the European Union, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International and others "are exerting enormous pressure on African countries to abandon the protections they have in place for the unborn and their mothers."

"Kenya has already lost most of its protections against abortion with the ratification of its new Constitution, approved after massive amounts of U.S. tax dollars funded the effort," he said, referring to the vote on the new constitution that took place in August — a document that contains loopholes allowing abortions.

"I am excited at the opportunity to address African leaders, but I am more eager to listen to and learn from them," Fischbach said.

He concluded: "The population of Africa is very young; African culture is a true culture of life that needs to be protected and defended. It is our hope that MCCL Global Outreach can play some part in sharing with African leaders the knowledge and expertise that we have gained over these last 42 years of pro-life work."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election results and the pro-life movement

Chip Cravaack
Yesterday was a good day for the pro-life movement -- nationwide and here in Minnesota.

Pro-lifers picked up many seats in the U.S. House and Senate. From Minnesota's Congressional delegation, pro-life U.S. Reps. John Kline, Michele Bachmann, Erik Paulsen and Collin Peterson all comfortably retained their seats. The one change came in the 8th District, where pro-life (and MCCL Federal PAC-endorsed) Chip Cravaack ousted Rep. Jim Oberstar in a remarkable upset. Our state will now have five (out of eight) pro-life members of Congress.

The state Legislature saw a huge turnover -- pro-lifers will now have a majority of both the House and Senate, which will enable us to pass key pro-life legislation. The extremely-close governor's race remains undecided.

Find all the election results here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Please vote: What you need to know

Unborn human lives are at stake.
Election Day is tomorrow, Tues., Nov. 2.

The 2010 elections are crucial for the cause of vulnerable persons who are threatened by abortion, euthanasia and embryo-destructive research. The results tomorrow will dictate what the pro-life movement can achieve in the coming years. Please vote for life!

Are you registered to vote? Find out here.
Do you know where to vote? Find out here.

The governorship, state Legislature and Congress will all be on the ballot. A pro-life governor is necessary to preserve recent pro-life gains, veto life-threatening legislation and make possible the enactment of new pro-life measures. A pro-abortion governor would work to unravel lifesaving policies and enact dangerous new legislation. Tom Emmer is the only candidate for governor who will stand up for life. Learn about the candidates.

Every seat in the Minnesota Legislature is up for election in 2010. Pro-life legislators are essential for passing lifesaving bills and stopping pro-abortion ones. 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 candidate questionnaire begin on page 5. Find out which House and Senate districts you live in here.

Minnesota has eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and all are up for election this year. Our Voter's Guide includes the candidates' responses to the MCCL questionnaire (on page 4). Learn about the MCCL Federal PAC-endorsed candidates for Congress here. See also these Congressional race comparisons: Tim Walz (pro-abortion) v. Randy Demmer (pro-life)Tarryl Clark (pro-abortion) v. Michele Bachmann (pro-life) and Jim Oberstar (mixed record) v. Chip Cravaack (pro-life).

For a complete list of where candidates for office (both state and federal) stand on life, see the MCCL Voter's Guide. Read about how to weigh different issues and choose a candidate (e.g., can a pro-life person reasonably vote for a pro-choice candidate?) here.

What can you do to make a difference?

1) Learn where the candidates stand on life issues and tell others
2) Bring five pro-life people to the polls who otherwise might not vote
3) Vote for life on Nov. 2

When you vote, please remember that human lives are at stake! The unjust killing of innocent, unborn human beings -- 1.2 million every year in the United States -- is the greatest social justice issue of our time.

P.S.  You can find all recent election-related posts here, including posts about the importance of the governor's race, the pro-abortion views of Tom Horner, Jim Oberstar's key pro-abortion vote and the MCCL Federal PAC endorsement of Chip Cravaack.