Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Visit MCCL at the State Fair

Visit MCCL at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul through Monday, Sept. 5. We are located on the first floor (main floor) of the grandstand building near the west end.

The MCCL booth at the State Fair this morning (Aug. 31, 2011).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What follows from being pro-life?

From the truth of the pro-life position (i.e., the equal fundamental dignity and right to life of every member of the human family), and the factual reality of abortion (which is widespread and common), euthanasia and embryo-destructive research in American society (as extreme violations of human dignity), what follows about what each of us morally, indeed rationally, ought to do?

Obviously one ought not to have, perform, participate in or encourage an abortion, nor may one support in any way euthanasia, assisted suicide or the destruction of embryonic human beings for research.

But it also seems that we ought to take meaningful steps to help make a difference in light of the sheer gravity and scale of the injustices that are occurring. The role each of us plays will vary and depend upon circumstances, ability and other factors. But like a 19th century American (or Briton) living in an age of human slavery, we ought to do something.

You can find some ideas here. I divide the actions we can take into three broad categories: compassionate assistance (e.g., for the pregnant woman in need who is at risk of abortion), education and persuasion (revealing the truth of human dignity and the reality of abortion, etc.), and political and legislative action (to secure just protection for those who are now unprotected, and to save lives).

Even a single human life matters. So does a single changed mind, or a single touched heart.

As philosopher William Lane Craig writes, our pro-life position "is a philosophically and scientifically informed ethical concern" -- a fact I tend to emphasize on this blog. "But there's a better word for it," notes Craig. "It's called compassion. God help us if our hearts have grown so cold that we cannot weep for these little ones who perish daily by the thousands."

How the health care debate is about human equality

From a new essay by Yuval Levin regarding health care policy and the 2012 presidential race:
Centralized management of the health-care sector inevitably invites an explicitly utilitarian approach to comparing the worth of different people's lives as a matter of public policy. Deciding what treatments to cover for which patients involves the government's determining whose lives are worth living and whose are not. Princeton's Peter Singer, an unabashed advocate of such public rationing, explained in the New York Times a few years ago that such an approach would, for one thing, require the government to value the lives of the disabled less than those of everyone else—a quadriplegic, for instance, should be valued at roughly half the worth of a healthy active person. "Some will object that this discriminates against people with disabilities," he wrote, but that's only because we begin from the premise that all human beings are equally valuable. That can't be true, Singer argued, since the very fact that we seek cures for illnesses and disabilities proves that we believe such conditions make life less worth living. He concluded: "Disability advocates, it seems, are forced to choose between insisting that extending their lives is just as important as extending the lives of people without disabilities, and seeking public support for research into a cure for their condition."

This kind of embarrassing sophistry is precisely where public control of the health-care system, and the resulting public rationing of treatment, must lead—to a rejection of human equality as a principle guiding government policy. Centralized bureaucratic administration of coverage decisions leaves no room for moral diversity (so, for instance, Obamacare compels everyone to fund abortion, despite some cheap tricks employed to make it seem as though money is not fungible). It leaves no room for individual decisions, and fewer ways for families to weigh their priorities and make unavoidable but difficult judgments humanely and compassionately.
Read the rest.

Planned Parenthood now performing abortions in Rochester

The following news release was issued today, Aug. 30, 2011.

In a rare public admission, Connie Lewis, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, stated, "In recent months, we have begun providing a limited number of medicinal abortions at the Rochester clinic." Lewis was quoted in the Aug. 21, 2011, edition of the Rochester Post Bulletin.

"It is disturbing that Planned Parenthood is now killing unborn children in Rochester using deadly RU486, a drug combination that is so dangerous that is has been banned in many countries, including Canada," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. "At least 14 women are known to have died in the U.S. from this abortion drug."

The RU486 drug cocktail kills the unborn baby by cutting off nutrients from the uterine wall that the baby needs to survive. Once the unborn child is suffocated, a second drug is taken to induce contractions strong enough to expel the dead baby.

The Minnesota Department of Health just released its 2010 Abortion Report showing that the state now has its lowest abortion rate on record, and the lowest number of abortions performed on women in Minnesota since the early 1970's. Both pro- and anti-life forces hailed the report as good news.

The 2010 Abortion Report data included the fact that Planned Parenthood was the only abortionist in Minnesota that increased its abortions performed statewide last year. Now Planned Parenthood Minnesota has expanded its abortion operations to a second location for the first time, and the state's low abortion rate is sure to increase.

"The expansion of chemical abortions to Rochester is further proof that Planned Parenthood is abortion obsessed," Fischbach said. "Planned Parenthood's focus is to make as much money as possible by killing as many unborn children as possible, any way it can. This expansion of abortion in Minnesota is a tragedy."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Why is abortion still legal?

By Priscilla Lundquist

During a promotional event at the pregnancy care center where I was interning, a foreign exchange student came into the office asking what our purpose was on campus. When I told him that we were reaching out to women facing unplanned pregnancies who are at risk of aborting their babies, he was astonished that abortion was legal in the United States.

As I look back over the years since the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade I also am shocked and astonished. My heart breaks that abortion is still legal in the United States. All of the efforts made by lawmakers and pro-life organizations and all of the advancements in science and technology proving that the unborn is human have not kept millions of babies from being killed. (Although many lives have been saved by our efforts.)

How can a country that extols freedom and justice sacrifice millions and millions of its children in the name of women's rights?

Even at the time of Roe v. Wade, with its comparatively outdated science and technology, early ultrasound technology and prenatal science demonstrated the unborn as alive and as such, deserving of protection from being aborted. Many states backed this evidence up with laws that prohibited abortion. Despite this, the members of the Supreme Court declared that the unborn were not persons protected under the Fourteenth Amendment. They passed over growing scientific evidence in favor of the unborn deserving protection and delivered a decision that has resulted in the slaughter of countless human lives.

Progress in science and technology has only made their error more obvious.

One of the goals of most pregnancy care centers is to persuade those women who have positive pregnancy tests to come back in for ultrasounds. Over 90 percent of those who see the ultrasounds of their babies choose life. Advancing ultrasound technology shows clearly that it is just as much a human life inside the womb as outside of it. When an expecting mother looks at the screen, they see not an indistinct mass of tissue, but an intricately formed, beautiful baby. It becomes clear that abortion is not a decision to simply "terminate" the pregnancy but rather a decision to end a life.

Science has also helped our cause, showing just how early an unborn baby's heart starts beating, bones and features develop, and brain waves are detectable. "Prior to the earliest abortions, the unborn already has every body part she will ever have," Randy Alcorn writes in his book ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments.

How long will our nation ignore the mounting pile of evidence of the unborn's right to life and continue to sanction and fund this shocking practice?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dayton, Klobuchar and Planned Parenthood

Scandal-plagued abortion giant Planned Parenthood will hold a fundraiser with Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Aug. 29. Planned Parenthood is the leading performer and promoter of abortion in Minnesota -- managing to increase its abortion totals even as abortions overall decline -- and has come under intense scrutiny nationwide after undercover investigations exposed the group's willingness to cover up underage sex abuse, misinform pregnant women and break the law.

The event will also "honor Tina Smith for her passion and commitment to Planned Parenthood." Smith is a former Planned Parenthood executive who is now Gov. Mark Dayton's Chief of Staff.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Teardrop baby

This remarkable photograph shows a human being at about the stage when most abortions are performed. She had to be removed from her mother due to an ectopic pregnancy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reflecting on Judith Thomson's violinist analogy and the argument from bodily autonomy

A recent symposium at the University of Colorado commemorated the 40th anniversary of what may be the most famous essay in contemporary moral philosophy (so most people have never heard of it): Judith Jarvis Thomson's 1971 "A Defense of Abortion." The event included David Boonin, a defender of Thomson's approach who is among the best philosophical defenders of abortion today, and Francis Beckwith, a critic of Thomson's argument and a leading pro-life philosopher, as well as Don Marquis and John Martin Fischer. Beckwith shares some of his remarks from the discussion here.

The argument from bodily autonomy

Most thinkers have agreed that the permissibility of abortion depends upon the moral status of the unborn human being who is killed. Thomson pioneered a different approach, sometimes called the Good Samaritan argument or the sophisticated argument from bodily autonomy. She argues that abortion is morally permissible even if the unborn is a full-fledged, rights-bearing "person," like you and me. Why? Because a person's right to life, she says, does not entail a right to the use of someone else's body for life support.

Thomson offers this famous analogy:
You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, "Look, we're sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you -- we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it's only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you." Is it morally incumbent on you to accede to this situation? No doubt it would be very nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you have to accede to it?
Thomson believes this example is relevantly analogous to an unwanted pregnancy. Because (she assumes) you are not morally required to remain connected to the violinist in Thomson's story, a pregnant woman is not required to let the unborn child remain connected to her. So "unplugging" the child is permissible.

Three points

I wish to make three points in response to this and other versions of the sophisticated bodily autonomy argument.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The most important issue in the 2012 presidential race

"Why should it matter whether the 2012 candidates for president are pro-life," asks Notre Dame law professor O. Carter Snead in a new essay at Public Discourse, "especially given the vast array of other pressing issues facing the United States, including (though certainly not limited to) crushing national debt, widespread unemployment, existential fiscal strains on the social safety net, multiple wars, and the continuing menace of terrorism? Aren't the American people tired of the intractable bickering of a handful of extremist combatants in what seems to be an endless culture war? Unless you're a radical leftist or a right-wing Christian, why should any serious person in the public square waste time on these issues when there are so many real matters at stake at this moment in our nation's history?"

"These questions reflect an attitude that seems to be widely shared in certain circles of our polity," Snead continues. "But I would respectfully submit that such questions reflect a badly misguided and inadequate understanding of the moral, cultural, legal, and political dispute of which the pro-life movement is a part."

Snead articulates the pro-life position (i.e., the equal dignity of all human beings), explains how those current matters in which human equality is rejected (particularly abortion and embryo-destructive research) are intrinsically of greater moral significance than the other political issues of our day, discusses the power of the presidency to affect these issues (contrasting President Obama's abortion-expanding record with the pro-life accomplishments of his predecessor), and lays out a pro-life game plan by which the next president can save lives and guide society closer to the requirements of basic justice.

Snead's essay is excellent and well worth reading. I may highlight sections from it in future posts, for as Snead concludes, "Literally millions of lives hang in the balance."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Women's health after abortion

Abortion is wrong because it is the unjust killing of innocent, unborn human beings. But it can also have devastating consequences for the other persons involved.

Women's Health after Abortion: The Medical and Psychological Evidence is a 2003 book published by the deVeber Institute. Authors Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy and Ian Gentles provide an excellent and thorough analysis of research regarding the effect of abortion on women's health -- both physical and psychological, short- and long-term.

The entire book is available online here. Individual topics are easy to access, and there are helpful summaries of the findings.

Monday, August 15, 2011

'The state's greatest failure to be the state'

"A fundamental concern of law is the protection of the weak against the strong and powerful. Such weakness is vividly seen in the utter helplessness of the unborn baby. The unborn have no voting rights and no physical power to avert their destruction. If their interests are to be served and protected, it must be by adults in general and by government in particular. The Supreme Court decided that the state has no compelling interest in the fetus until viability. (One wonders at what point the fetus has a compelling interest in the state.) By denying the unborn the fundamental right to live, the state has reneged on its solemn duty.

"The Roe v. Wade decision has provoked the most serious ethical crisis in the history of the United States. This is the nadir in American jurisprudence, the moment of the state's greatest failure to be the state."

-- R.C. Sproul

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The late John Stott on abortion

"How can we speak of the termination of a pregnancy when what we really mean is the destruction of a human life? How can we talk of therapeutic abortion when pregnancy is not a disease needing therapy and what abortion effects is not a cure but a killing? How can we talk of abortion as a kind of retroactive contraception when what it does is not prevent conception but destroy the conceptus? We need to have the courage to use accurate language. Abortion is feticide: the destruction of an unborn child. It is the shedding of innocent blood, and any society that can tolerate this, let alone legislate for it, has ceased to be civilized.

"One of the major signs of decadence in the Roman Empire was that its unwanted babies were exposed, that is, abandoned to die. Can we claim that Western society is any less decadent because it consigns its unwanted babies to the hospital incinerator instead of the local rubbish dump? Reverence for human life is an indispensable characteristic of a humane and civilized society. ...

"The Bible has much to say about God's concern for the defenseless. And the most defenseless of all people are unborn children. They are speechless to plead their own cause and helpless to protect their own lives. So it is our responsibility to do for them what they cannot do for themselves.

"I now turn ... to the Christian church. ... We need to provide much more support for overburdened mothers -- personal, financial, social, and medical support -- both before and after their child is born. We need to ensure that children who may be unwanted and unloved by their parents will be welcomed and loved by others in society and especially by the church. ...

"And, finally, we must not stand in personal judgment either on the women who have resorted to an abortion or on the men whose lack of sexual self-control is responsible for so many unwanted pregnancies. Instead, we must tell them that there is forgiveness with God. ..."

-- The late John Stott, June 25, 1983

Recent study confirms MCCL GO white paper report

The following was released today, August 11, 2011.

A study released this week by Human Rights Watch, entitled "Stop Making Excuses: Accountability for Maternal Health Care in South Africa," highlights nearly the same facts that a MCCL Global Outreach white paper ("How South Africa is failing women and children") stated back in January.

Human Rights Watch is confirming what we have long known: Good quality health care, and not abortion, is what will decrease maternal mortality rates for the populace. The Human Rights Watch 66-page report details situations in which pregnant women were actually abused by the very medical staff from which they sought help.

While the study does make reference on page 56 to a "Right to Life," the citation is made for the life of the woman and notes that this right is to be interpreted in a "restrictive" manner. The right to life of the unborn child is not mentioned in the report.

"When government officials and health care advocates spend their days pushing abortion on women, you are going to get more abortions," said MCCL GO Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "If they change focus and push quality health care, women and babies can live. It's pretty simple."

Abortion was made legal in South Africa with the implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996. In the year prior to the legalization of abortion, 1,600 abortions were performed in the country. Since the law was changed, reported abortions have increased to more than 80,000 per year, according to the most recent statistics from the South African Office for National Statistics.

MCCL GO has called for a renewed emphasis on improving health care for women as the only sure means of reducing maternal mortality. Better medical care, including antibiotics, sterile gloves and equipment, improved obstetric and prenatal care, access to doctors and hospitals, availability of birth attendants and better communications, is the answer to problem of maternal mortality.

"Legal abortion only leads to more abortions, and, as a result, more abortion-related complications for women," Fischbach said.

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How aborted babies are used in medical research

WORLD Magazine has published a revealing story on the use of tissue from aborted babies for medical research. Some excerpts:
Federal and some state laws permit fetal tissue research, and although some regulation of the practice exists, there appear to be gaps in oversight. Few have firsthand knowledge of the secretive networks that procure the tissue, and no central agency or organization tracks them. But an uncomfortable reality is clear: The overwhelming majority of fetal tissue used for research in the United States is obtained from aborted babies. ...

To learn firsthand how tissue makes its way to research labs, I reached by phone the executive director of an abortion clinic that allows women to donate their fetuses. Jennifer Boulanger of the Allentown Women's Center in Allentown, Pa., said her clinic supplies tissue to the University of Washington. She said her clinic is not paid for the donations, but the university provides her staff with the supplies needed to collect and ship the specimens.

In order to abide by state law, the clinic's workers don't tell women about the donation program until after they have made the decision to abort. Boulanger explained that although women must be a certain number of weeks along in their pregnancies to qualify for the program, "I would say the majority of those who are eligible choose to donate."

To ensure tissue freshness, "the specimens are FedExed overnight" to Seattle, she said. Boulanger didn't have at hand the number of specimens her clinic provides annually, but she estimated, "I don't think it's any more than 10 a week."

The recipient, named misleadingly the Birth Defects Research Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle, has been sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for over four decades. It's known within the research community as a top government distributor of fetal tissue. Last year the Puget Sound Business Journal stated the lab "in 2009 filled more than 4,400 requests for fetal tissue and cell lines."

The lab's grant records indicate it received $579,091 from the NIH last year. To date, it has retrieved the products of 22,000 pregnancies. According to a description the lab provided in its most recent grant applications, an increase in nonsurgical abortion methods has "created new obstacles to obtaining sufficient amounts of high quality tissue. To overcome these problems and meet increasing demand, the Laboratory has developed new relationships with both local and distant clinics." ...

Theresa A. Deisher, a scientist specializing in adult stem cells, told me stem-cell lines from aborted fetuses have been used to create cosmetic products and several common vaccines, including chickenpox vaccines: "I know the most terrific abusers of the products of abortion are academic scientists, across the board."

The nonprofit group that Deisher founded in 2008, Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, stands in Seattle as a sort of rebuttal to the University of Washington's birth defects lab. "Its mission is to educate people about the pervasive use of morally illicit material in the biomedical industry" and other industries, she said. ...

With state regulation of fetal donation spotty, Deisher fears that young women facing unplanned pregnancies may be enticed to abort with the promise that "great medical advances" will come from their fetuses: "What a terrible thing, to exploit those young women in such a vulnerable period."

But as long as fetal tissue is in demand and sparsely regulated, they'll continue to be solicited.
Some contend that since aborted unborn children have already died, we might as well make use of their bodies for a good end. But there is a moral difference between using the remains of a human being who has died of natural causes and using the remains of someone who has been unjustly killed.

"Only if nothing can be done to prevent the ongoing evil does the argument from salvaging good have merit," write J.P. Moreland and Scott Rae. "Surely one is not justified in obtaining a benefit from evil while doing nothing to prevent it."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lies, damned lies, and human cloning

The Minnesota House DFL caucus has linked to a document (uploaded by Carrie Lucking, who works for the caucus) titled "What you need to know about the 2011 legislative session." It states, "On the eve of a state government shutdown, Republicans made a list of divisive social policy demands that included ... a ban on all stem cell research."

The authors of this document are either lying or embarrassingly misinformed. The two proposed measures at issue (neither of which was included in the final budget agreement) would prohibit human cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer) and prohibit taxpayer funding of human cloning, respectively. The measures would not affect any of the stem cell research -- adult or embryonic -- in Minnesota.

Indeed, the cloning bills only relate to stem cell research insofar as researchers could use cloning to create new human organisms at the embryonic stage of development in order to kill them to harvest their stem cells. But Minnesota researchers are not currently pursuing human cloning (according to the testimony from the University of Minnesota's Stem Cell Institute). And in any case, no one has yet successfully derived stem cells from cloned human embryos. Thus, not only would the cloning bills not affect any stem cell research in Minnesota, but they could not even affect any stem cell research that has ever happened anywhere.

So we are not talking about "a ban on all stem cell research." We are talking about a ban on absolutely no stem cell research.

Here's what the bill prohibiting human cloning actually says:
"Human cloning" means human asexual reproduction accomplished by introducing nuclear material from one or more human somatic cells into a fertilized or unfertilized oocyte whose nuclear material has been removed or inactivated so as to produce a living organism at any stage of development that is genetically virtually identical to an existing or previously existing human organism. ...

Prohibition on cloning. No person or entity, whether public or private, may: perform or attempt to perform human cloning; participate in an attempt to perform human cloning; ship, import, or receive for any purpose an embryo produced by human cloning or any product derived from such an embryo; or ship or receive, in whole or in part, any oocyte, embryo, fetus, or human somatic cell, for the purpose of human cloning.

Scientific research. Nothing in this section shall restrict areas of scientific research not specifically prohibited by this section, including research in the use of nuclear transfer or other cloning techniques to produce molecules, DNA, cells other than human embryos, tissues, organs, plants, or animals other than humans. In addition, nothing in this section shall restrict, inhibit, or make unlawful the scientific field of stem cell research, unless explicitly prohibited.
We have made the case that human cloning is unethical and seems to have very little therapeutic justification. Most critics of the cloning legislation (like the authors of the linked document) have yet to be honest about what the measures would actually do, much less offer reasons to think that human cloning is ethically permissible and should be subsidized by the government.

Sex-selection abortion happens here, and it's a problem

An article published earlier this year in the journal Social Science & Medicine is titled "There is such a thing as too many daughters, but not too many sons": A qualitative study of son preference and fetal sex selection among Indian immigrants in the United States.

From the abstract:
South Asian families immigrating to the United States find themselves in an environment where reproductive choice [i.e., abortion] is protected by law and technologies enabling sex selection are readily available. Yet there has been little research exploring immigrant Indian women's narratives about the pressure they face to have sons, the process of deciding to utilize sex selection technologies, and the physical and emotional health implications of both son preference and sex selection. We undertook semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 65 immigrant Indian women in the United States who had pursued fetal sex selection on the East and West coasts of the United States between September 2004 and December 2009. ... We found that 40% of the women interviewed had terminated prior pregnancies with female fetuses and that 89% of women carrying female fetuses in their current pregnancy pursued an abortion. These narratives highlight the interaction between medical technology and the perpetuation of this specific form of violence against women in an immigrant context where women are both the assumed beneficiaries of reproductive choice while remaining highly vulnerable to family violence and reproductive coercion.
More about sex-selection here and here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Now available: New issue of MCCL News

The June-August 2011 issue of MCCL News has just been mailed to MCCL members, and is also available to members online. Contact us to start or renew a subscription.

The contents of the current issue include:
  • Pro-life progress lost in special session
    • Legislative leaders abandon unborn babies, lifesaving bills under pressure to end shutdown
  • 2010 Abortion Report shows more women, minors finding alternatives
    • Lowest total since 1975, but Planned Parenthood performs record number
  • 2011 Fall Tour preview: What would you do to save a life?
    • Find out how to increase your effectiveness as a pro-life citizen
  • Six local Planned Parenthood clinics close
    • Scandal-plagued abortion giant has faced increased scrutiny
  • Pro-life 101: The moral status of unborn human beings: Part One
    • Two philosophical approaches to denying the value of the unborn
  • Pro-life Bachmann announces bid for presidency
  • MCCL brings message of life to youth at Sonshine
    • Pro-life presence reaches thousands at Christian music festival
  • State Fair preview: Volunteers share message of life at State Fair 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why abortions have declined in Minnesota

The number of abortions in Minnesota has declined for four straight years, and dipped more than 22 percent between 2000 to 2010. Last year's total was 7 percent less than the previous year -- the largest decrease in nearly 20 years.

Abortions are now at their lowest level since 1975. The abortion rate may be the lowest ever recorded, and is about half the national abortion rate.

This is wonderful news that has observers asking: What accounts for the decrease? There are probably many factors, including outreach to pregnant women in need, public education and increased awareness of the humanity of the unborn child. But I suspect the biggest factor is the pro-life laws that have been enacted in our state. Let me mention three important ones.

(1) The current four-year abortion decline coincides with the implementation of 2005's Positive Alternatives Act, which provides grants to pregnancy care centers that help women in less-than-ideal circumstances, offering life-affirming alternatives to abortion. Reports from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) show that more than 25,000 women statewide were helped through the Positive Alternatives program in its first four years (July 2006-June 2010).

(2) The Woman's Right to Know informed consent law, passed in 2003, saves unborn lives from abortion every year. Under this law last year, 14,208 abortion-minded pregnant women received important factual information about fetal development and abortion risks, complications and alternatives. That number is 2,703 more than the number who actually underwent abortions.

(3) The number of abortions performed on minors peaked in 1980 at 2,327. In 1981 Minnesota passed a law requiring that both parents be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on a minor (there is a judicial bypass option, as required by the courts). After years of steady decline, minor abortions last year fell almost 17 percent to 482, the lowest number on record (statistics for minors go back to 1975) and only 4 percent of all abortions.

It seems reasonable to conclude that these three measures have had a large role to play in the decreasing number of abortions. And it's not only pro-lifers who think so. From an Associated Press story two years ago (following a similar 6.5 percent abortion decline in Minnesota):
Wendy Hellerstedt, a professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health who studies reproductive issues, said the [abortion] declines may be explained by state policy changes in the past few years that deter abortions.

For example, she said, Minnesota now requires the notification of parents before minors can get an abortion. In addition, she said, all women now must receive state-specified counseling that discourages abortion, and they must observe a 24-hour waiting period.

"There has been an escalation of policies that limit access," Hellerstedt said.
Extensive research from outside of Minnesota confirms that typical pro-life measures -- informed consent laws (such as our Woman's Right to Know), parental involvement requirements (such as ours), bans on taxpayer funding of abortion, etc. -- work to significantly reduce the number of abortions. There can be little doubt about this. Many children (probably thousands) are alive today who would have been dismembered and killed in utero were it not for the enactment of the MCCL-backed Positive Alternatives, Woman's Right to Know and parental notification laws.