Friday, January 28, 2011

Letter writer says abortion is justified because miscarriage is common

In a Star Tribune letter to the editor earlier this month, the Rev. Kendyl Gibbons offers what is among the poorest arguments one can offer in defense of the moral permissibility of abortion.
About 15 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion (before the 20th week of gestation) or miscarriages (after the 20th week). The failure of conception to result in a live birth is a common and natural event.

There's no reason why human aspiration and necessity shouldn't also be a factor in determining whether or not a particular pregnancy is brought to term by potential parents.
Of course, this is a non sequitur. It does not follow that if some unborn human beings die by natural causes, it is therefore permissible to ourselves intentionally cause the death of unborn human beings. For example, the fact that a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, claims the lives of thousands of people does not justify the Holocaust. The fact that my father could well die from a heart attack at any time does not justify his murder.

Miscarriage (natural death) does not justify abortion (intentional killing).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The problem of taxpayer funding of abortion in Minnesota

MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach, writing for MPR News:
State tax money in Minnesota is used for a lot of good things. It funds our schools, our parks, our nursing homes. It builds our roads and helps the underprivileged. But in recent years, about 1.5 million of our taxpayer dollars annually have been diverted to the purpose of killing unborn children.

So while the vast majority of state money is arguably used to build a better life for Minnesotans, some tax dollars help to end the lives of Minnesotans. The abortion funding must come to an end.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

President Obama on abortion: No argument, just rhetoric

President Barack Obama released the following statement on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion on demand nationwide:
Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women's health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption. And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.
The president's talk about legal abortion protecting "women's health and reproductive freedom," ensuring privacy, etc., is plausible only given the assumption that abortion does not unjustly take the life of a valuable human being. But it is that assumption that he must defend if he wishes to give us any rationale whatsoever for his view. To my knowledge he has never given such a rationale, instead relying only on intellectually superficial, question-begging rhetoric that avoids the real issue.

Prof. Robert George responds:
It is hard to say what was worst about President Obama's statement on the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Was it his silence on the plight of the tiny victim whose limbs are torn off, or whose skin is burned off, or the base of whose skull is pierced and whose brain is suctioned out, with the precise objective of ending his or her life? Was it his reliance on tired (and increasingly futile) euphemisms such as "reproductive choice" to shuffle the victim out of view? Was it his glaring unwillingness even to say the word "abortion" — a word not mentioned at all in his encomium to the Supreme Court decision that manufactured a constitutional right to it? Or was it — taking these things all together — President Obama's betrayal of his own call, at Notre Dame, for "open hearts, open minds, and fair-minded words" in the debate about abortion?
Dr. Albert Mohler writes that Obama's statement is
remarkable, even for presidents who support legalized abortion. ...

There was not one expression of abortion as a national tragedy, even as a report recently indicated that almost 60 percent of all pregnancies among African American women in New York City end in abortion.

How can any President of the United States fail to address this unspeakable tragedy? There was no hope expressed that abortion would be rare, only the expression that he would remain "committed to protecting this constitutional right." ... [N]o goal of reducing abortion was stated or even obliquely suggested. No reference at all was made of the unborn child. There was no lament — not even a throwaway line that would cost him nothing in terms of his support from abortion rights forces.

These words were not imposed upon this President. This is his own personal statement. It is one of the most revealing — and tragic — statements made by any political figure in our times.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pro-life legislators call for ban on taxpayer funded abortions

MCCL-backed bill would end injustice of forcing citizens to pay for killing of unborn

ST. PAUL — Taxpayer funded abortions would be banned under legislation introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate today. The bills seek to end the injustice of forcing taxpayers to fund the killing of innocent unborn children.

"The killing of human beings in the womb is a great evil," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "To force citizens who oppose abortion to pay for it only multiplies the wrong being done."

In the House, the taxpayer funded abortion ban is H.F. 201, authored by Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover. The Senate legislation, S.F. 103, is authored by Assistant Majority Leader Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville.

Minnesota taxpayers are forced to pay more than $1.5 million per year to fund elective abortions. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, taxpayers paid $1,505,862 to the abortion industry for abortions in 2008 (latest figures). (The dollar amounts were even higher in 2006 and 2007.) Those funds paid for 3,754 abortions — approximately 99 percent of which were elective. Taxpayers paid for 29 percent of all abortions performed in the state in 2008. Minnesota taxpayers have paid more than $15 million for 50,000 abortions.

United States law does not require taxpayers to fund elective abortions. In 38 years of abortion jurisprudence, the U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled that the U.S. Constitution contains an entitlement to publicly financed abortion. Minnesota's requirement is even more extreme than the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, which established abortion on demand.

Despite the state requirement, most Minnesota citizens do not believe that they should be forced to pay for elective abortions. Efforts to ban taxpayer funded abortions have had broad support throughout the state and across party lines for many years, but legislation has been repeatedly denied hearings by pro-abortion leadership in both the House and Senate.

"Like most Americans, most Minnesotans oppose taxpayer funded abortions, including many who consider themselves 'pro-choice,'" Fischbach said. "A ban is long overdue. MCCL urges lawmakers to right this wrong and vote with the will of the citizens of Minnesota to end taxpayer funded abortions."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thousands join MCCL March for Life, call for ban on taxpayer funded abortions

Pro-life members of Congress, Legislature participate in March commemorating 38 years of abortion on demand

ST. PAUL – Nearly four thousand Minnesotans marched at the State Capitol today to urge lawmakers to ban taxpayer funded abortions. They also called for a prohibition on abortions after the point at which an unborn child can feel pain. The annual Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) March for Life commemorates the millions of lives lost to abortion.

The 2011 MCCL March for Life marked the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions that have resulted in the deaths of more than 555,000 unborn Minnesota children (Minnesota Department of Health), and more than 53 million unborn babies nationwide.

A large majority of Minnesota citizens support a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion. In 2008 (most recent figures), Minnesotans were forced to pay more than $1.5 million for 3,754 elective abortions, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Taxpayers now fund 29 percent of all abortions in the state.

"Our state currently faces a six-billion dollar budget deficit, but we are still paying for abortions!" MCCL Legislative Associate Elisia Meyer told the huge crowd of citizens from across the state. "It's time to stop funding Minnesota’s abortion industry. This is the year to stop the killing!"

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks from fertilization in order to protect pain-capable unborn children from excruciating deaths. Fetal pain already is acknowledged in state law. Minnesota's Woman's Right to Know law (2003) and Unborn Child Protection Act (2005) require women considering abortion to be informed about fetal pain after 20 weeks gestation.

MCCL's 2011 legislative agenda also calls upon lawmakers to protect funding for Positive Alternatives as they deliberate over the budget deficit. Passed in 2005, this legislation provides grants to programs that help pregnant women in need successfully face the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. More than 25,000 women have received critical help through Positive Alternatives.

"Positive Alternatives saves lives," Meyer explained. "We must preserve funding for this program that offers women real choices!"

Many of Minnesota's pro-life elected officials, including members of Congress and the state Legislature, were in attendance and were introduced during the brief program on the Capitol steps.

Congressman John Kline noted the Jan. 19 vote in the House of Representatives to repeal the Obama health care law. "You know that that awful legislation has language allowing taxpayer funding of abortion," Kline said, urging citizens to continue their efforts to overturn it.

Congressman Erik Paulsen encouraged people to not give up the fight for life, reminding them, "There is nothing more important than life."

The U.S. House must vote to end taxpayer funding of the abortion industry, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann told the crowd. "We can zero out that checking account with the stroke of a pen!"

Congressman Chip Cravaack said he will work to repeal pro-abortion legislation and defund President Obama's attempt to increase abortions at home and overseas. "This is just the start of a year dedicated to promoting and protecting a culture of life," Cravaack said. "Thank you for fighting this fight with us!"

In a written greeting, Congressman Collin Peterson pledged to continue to work on pro-life policies. "I look forward to working with you over the next year as we continue to protect life for all human beings."

View photos from today's 2011 MCCL March for Life on the MCCL website.

MCCL is Minnesota's oldest and largest pro-life organization with more than 70,000 member families and 240 chapters across the state. For more information about MCCL, visit

The 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today, Jan. 22, 2011, is the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton U.S. Supreme Court decisions that foisted upon our nation a policy of abortion on demand throughout all of pregnancy, and which have resulted in the killing of more than 53 million unborn human beings by legal abortion.

In Minnesota, more than 555,000 abortions have taken place since Roe.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How choice is not relevant to the debate

Abortion defenders today are "blogging for choice" (NARAL's "Blog for Choice Day 2011"). What do they mean by "choice"?

"Choice" in the abstract is not relevant to the issue of abortion, because it is clear to everyone in this debate that some choices are permissible and others are not. For example, the choice to abuse one's wife is morally wrong, and it should not be allowed under our laws. The question is: What kind of choice is the choice to have/perform/participate in an abortion? Good? Bad? Permissible? Morally trivial? Deserving of government involvement?

The choice of abortion is the choice to intentionally kill a developing unborn human being for reasons for which it would be obviously wrong to kill older human beings (like you and me). It is an act of violence that is often bloody, and always gruesome. That is what we are talking about. Defenders of this act should defend this act, not cower behind an empty word that has become a euphemism for something dark and sinister.

New MCCL GO report: How South Africa is failing women and children

The following MCCL GO news release was issued today, Jan. 21, 2011.

A new report from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO) analyzes details concerning the maternal mortality rate, legal abortion and Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG 5) in South Africa. The full report is available at the MCCL GO website.

In recent weeks the South African government and leading health authorities have admitted that their country will not meet MDG 5, which calls for reducing the maternal mortality rate by 75 percent. Instead of a reduction, the latest statistics show that the maternal mortality rate has, in fact, doubled in South Africa.

The South African government legalized abortion on demand in 1997. At that time, abortion advocates made wildly exaggerated claims that legalized abortion would greatly reduce the maternal mortality rate. In fact, the effect of legalized abortion has been the exact opposite.

"Africa's greatest resource is its people," stated Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of MCCL GO. "The South African approach of legalizing abortion not only aborts a nation's future, it also contributes to a higher loss of life among its women."

The MCCL GO analysis reveals that South African health authorities have been successful in pushing abortion on the women of their country. It is estimated that in 1996 (the year prior to the legalization of abortion) approximately 1,600 abortions were performed across South Africa; by 2004 there were nearly 90,000 abortions performed. With this focus on abortion promotion, pre-natal and obstetric care — care that truly helps women and their babies — have not been made priorities.

"Countries on the African continent are being pressured by the U.S. Obama administration, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation to legalize abortion," Fischbach observed. "These nations ought to take note of the situation in South Africa. It is only in the delivery of adequate health care to women that they will reduce maternal mortality rates — not by legalizing abortion."

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Philadelphia abortionist charged with eight counts of murder

From the Associated Press:
A doctor accused of running a filthy "abortion mill" for decades in an impoverished Philadelphia neighborhood delivered babies alive, killed them with scissors and allowed a woman who had survived 20 years in a refugee camp to be overmedicated and die at his clinic, prosecutors said.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, was charged Wednesday with eight counts of murder for the deaths of seven babies and one patient. Nine employees also were charged, including four with murder.

Prosecutors described the clinic as a "house of horrors" where Gosnell kept baby body parts on the shelves, allowed a 15-year-old high school student to perform intravenous anesthesia on patients and had his licensed cosmetologist wife do late-term abortions. A family practice physician, Gosnell has no certification in gynecology or obstetrics. ...

Gosnell made millions performing thousands of dangerous abortions. ...

Authorities who raided Gosnell's clinic early last year in search of controlled drug violations instead stumbled upon a stench-filled clinic with bags and bottles of aborted fetuses scattered throughout the building. ...

Gosnell typically worked weeknights, arriving hours after his unskilled staff administered anesthesia and drugs to induce labor. He then "forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord," [Philadelphia District Attorney Seth] Williams said.

In addition to the two women who died, scores more were injured from perforated bowels, cervixes and uteruses, authorities said. Some were left sterile at the clinic, which had no trained nurses or medical staff other than Gosnell, they said. ...

Few if any of the unconscious patients knew their babies had been born alive and then killed, prosecutors said. Many were first-time mothers who were told they were 24 weeks pregnant, even if they were much further along, authorities said.
From National Right to Life:
This tragic report once again reminds us that the purpose of each abortion – no matter how it is performed – is to deliberately and brutally take at least one innocent human life. The victims are helpless little members of the human family, and this is equally true whether the killing is completed inside or outside of the womb. And tragically, in this case, it is reported that a mother also lost her life. If the reports prove true, these individuals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Frank Pavone responded:
Having dealt for 30 years with the abortion industry and abortionists, both practicing and converted, I am not in the least surprised by this development, and neither should the American people be surprised. This is happening every day across America.

If you read the medical textbook Abortion Practice and the sworn court testimony in which abortionists describe the procedure, you will read about how babies are dismembered limb from limb every day legally in America.  
There is a silver lining to the cloud of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, namely, that we will finally wake up to what is happening. It is the norm and not the exception. 

Roe v. Wade: Why the Court was wrong

"In the history of American constitutional jurisprudence, few Supreme Court decisions have come to be recognized as so faulty, and with such damaging social consequences that history has branded them not only as controversial or erroneous but also as watersheds of ignominy. ... Roe v. Wade is in this unenviable tradition."
— Dennis J. Horan and Thomas J. Balch

Abortion is not a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. Never does the Constitution mention abortion or even a "right of privacy," leaving the U.S. Supreme Court (in Roe v. Wade, and later in Planned Parenthood v. Casey) to wildly extrapolate a right to abortion from the Fourteenth Amendment provision that government must not "deprive any person of ... liberty ... without due process of law."

The reasoning behind this extrapolation is poor enough. But even more damning is our nation's history of prohibiting abortion. Myriad laws against abortion were enacted throughout the 19th century (as our scientific knowledge of life before birth increased) with the primary aim of protecting the unborn child. The judges and lawmakers of the time—including those who wrote and adopted the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868—saw no inconsistency between the Amendment and states' laws prohibiting abortion. As Justice William Rehnquist wrote in his dissent in Roe, "To reach its result, the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment." That is absurd. The Fourteenth Amendment clearly was not meant to include a right to abortion.

Roe v. Wade—and the constitutional right to abortion it created—has no basis in law, logic or history, and should be overturned.

Understanding Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton

This Saturday is the 38th anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton U.S. Supreme Court decisions, which together overturned the abortion laws of all 50 states and effectively legalized abortion on demand at every stage of pregnancy.

Roe v. Wade was a challenge to a Texas law that prohibited abortion except to save the life of the mother. By a 7-2 margin, the Court ruled that laws prohibiting abortion, such as the Texas law, violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states: "No State ... shall ... deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Dividing pregnancy into three three-month periods, or trimesters, Justice Harry Blackmun, writing for the majority, set up the following policy:
(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.
(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.
(c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.
It appeared, then, that Roe v. Wade would require legalized abortion for any reason through the first two trimesters of pregnancy (second-trimester regulations can only be for the health of the mother, e.g., cleanliness standards for abortion clinics), but would allow states to ban abortion during the final three months. But there was a catch. The Court specifically required a "health" exception for any third-trimester abortion bans, and the breadth of that exception was defined in Roe's companion case, Doe v. Bolton (see below).

The basis for the decision

The Court reached its conclusion in Roe by deciding that the "right of privacy" it had earlier discovered in the Constitution is "broad enough to encompass" a right for a woman to have an abortion. While acknowledging that "[t]he Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy," Justice Blackmun asserted that "at least the roots of that right" could be found in various provisions, including "the penumbras of the Bill of Rights," and particularly in the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court went on say that the right to abortion is not "absolute." Explained Blackmun, "We ... conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation." It was these other "important state interests"—namely, the woman's health and the life of the unborn—that gave rise to Roe's trimester framework that allowed for regulation of abortion later in pregnancy.

The Court argued that viability is the point at which the state first has a "compelling interest" in protecting the life of the unborn. The viability criterion was decided upon "because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother's womb."

Blackmun's confusion

Though the facts concerning the humanity of the unborn child had been presented to the Court, Justice Blackmun in Roe famously wrote: "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate."

This claim has garnered tremendous criticism, partly because in the field of medicine, there was (and is) indeed a consensus that the life of a human organism begins at conception. (The philosophical and theological ramifications of that fact are a separate matter, a distinction the Court did not seem to understand.)

Moreover, Blackmun's statement is contradicted by the fact that Roe itself took a position on the question of the moral status of the unborn—namely, it concluded that the unborn cannot merit state concern until it acquires the capability for "meaningful life" at the time of viability.

A poor use of history

In his majority opinion, Justice Blackmun offered a lengthy discussion of the legal and social history of abortion. He did so in an effort to show that until the mid-19th century, abortion was generally accepted and permitted. This would make more plausible the Court's claim that abortion is a liberty encompassed by the Constitution.

But "since 1973 the overwhelming consensus of scholarship has shown that the Court's history, especially its interpretation of common law, is almost entirely mistaken," writes Francis J. Beckwith. Blackmun mostly relied on "history" provided by Cyril Means, an attorney for the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL).

Blackmun was wrong about the common law, which, contrary to his claims in Roe, held abortion to be a crime after the point of quickening, which at the time was the first proof that a living human being existed in the womb. He was also wrong about 19th century anti-abortion laws: Blackmun argued that they were intended not to protect the unborn, but to protect women from unsafe abortions (a concern that no longer carried much weight because abortion had become a safer procedure). It is historically clear, however, that the primary purpose of the abortion prohibitions—which were prompted by advancements in our scientific knowledge of life before birth—was to protect the unborn child from unjust killing.

Law professor Joseph W. Dellapenna writes, "[Blackmun] distorted history and ... made the intellectual leap from an erroneous factual conclusion that abortion laws were not enacted to protect the life of the fetus, to a normative conclusion that these laws could not serve such a purpose."

The Court also decided that the unborn is not a "person" within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, which reads, in part, "No State ... shall ... deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Blackmun conceded, "If this suggestion of personhood [of the unborn] is established, the [case for legal abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth Amendment]." He claimed, however, that the word "person" in the Fourteenth Amendment is not meant to include the unborn. Commentators such as Dennis J. Horan, J.D., and Thomas J. Balch, J.D., have noted the irony of Blackmun "employing the most imaginative possible construction of the Fourteenth Amendment to find a right of abortion," but then "resort[ing] to the most literalistic possible form of strict construction to avoid finding the unborn to be persons."

Doe v. Bolton

Doe v. Bolton was a challenge to an anti-abortion law in Georgia. The Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Doe on the same day as its Roe v. Wade decision. The Court emphasized, in Roe, "That opinion [Doe] and this one, of course, are to be read together."

Doe is significant primarily because it describes the extent of the health exception that is used in Roe. In Doe, the Court defined "health" to include not just physical health, but also psychological, mental and emotional health. The Court cited age, familial circumstances and anything relevant to the woman's general feeling of well being as reasons that would justify a late-term abortion—and thus override what Roe decided was a legitimate state interest in protecting the unborn after the point of viability.

The Court explained:
[T]he medical judgment [for a late-term abortion] may be exercised in the light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age—relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health. This allows the attending physician the room he needs to make his best medical judgment. And it is room that operates for the benefit, not the disadvantage, of the pregnant woman.
On this criteria, virtually any reason a woman gives to have a third-trimester abortion is sufficient. "After viability, the state may 'proscribe' abortion only when the woman considering abortion can find no physician willing to say that her mental health would, for example, be 'taxed by child care' or suffer 'distress ... associated with the unwanted child,'" write Dennis J. Horan and Thomas J. Balch. In effect, if a woman could find an abortionist willing to perform a third-trimester abortion, she could have one.

In a Los Angeles Times analysis, David Savage explained: "Blackmun had said that abortion 'must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.' So long as doctors were willing to perform abortions—and clinics soon opened to do so—the court's ruling said they could not be restricted from doing so, at least through the first six months of pregnancy." During the final trimester, "It soon became clear that if a patient's 'emotional well-being' was reason enough to justify an abortion, then any abortion could be justified."

Roe and Doe together

Thus, Roe v. Wade, together with Doe v. Bolton, had the effect of mandating legalized abortion on demand up until the moment of birth in all 50 states. All state laws against abortion were invalidated. Indeed, in 1983 the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that "no significant legal barriers of any kind whatsoever exist today in the United States for a woman to obtain an abortion for any reason during any stage of her pregnancy."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The foundational principle of a just society

The great issues of justice in our world -- rape, murder, slavery, genocide, abuse, terrorism and yes, abortion -- all concern the treatment of some human beings by other human beings. The foundational principle of a just society is that which governs the right treatment of our fellow human beings -- namely, the principle that every member of the human family has equal fundamental dignity and ought to be respected and protected in accordance with that moral status.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ask Them What They Mean When They Say ‘Choice’ Blog Day

In response to NARAL's annual "Blog for Choice Day" this Friday, Jan. 21, a pro-life "Ask Them What They Mean When They Say 'Choice' Blog Day" will also take place on Friday.

The idea is to call abortion defenders on their irresponsible use of the word "choice." To what choice are they referring? The choice of a procedure that kills a living member of our species before he or she is born, usually by dismembering him or her. That is what they must defend.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Day and human dignity

Every January at the church I attend, our pastor preaches on racial harmony one weekend, in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and on the sanctity of human life the next weekend, to coincide with the Jan. 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion on demand nationwide.

There is a natural kinship between the two days. Dr. King's message, and the message we celebrate today, is that "all men are created equal" -- that skin color or race is not relevant to whether one has basic dignity and rights that ought to be respected and protected. All human beings have that dignity, including black human beings.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." ...

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
The message of the pro-life movement on Jan. 22 is that "all men are created equal" -- that size and development and dependency are not relevant to whether one has basic dignity and rights that ought to be respected and protected. All human beings have that dignity, including unborn human beings.

The moral principle violated by both racism and abortion is that every member of the human family is equal in fundamental dignity and ought to be treated as such.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Come to the MCCL March for Life

Learn more here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why fetal pain matters, whether abortion is wrong or not

"Even if the unborn is not fully human [i.e., a valuable person with a right to life, like you and me], it does not logically follow that the unborn's pain is morally irrelevant. Consider the following. On the same grounds that we claim that it is not morally appropriate to torture puppies and other animals even though they are not fully human, it seems morally appropriate to assert that it is wrong to burn, smother, dismember, and/or crush an unborn human (and thus cause it excruciating pain), even if we assume that it is not fully human. Hence, if we are going to make sure that young canines, which are not potential persons, are not tortured, then we should at least grant the same courtesy to preborn humans, who are surely at least potential persons.

"But suppose the pro-lifer is correct that the unborn is fully human. Then the factor of fetal pain makes a horrible evil (i.e., the unjustified killing of an innocent human person) even more horrible and morally repugnant: the unjustified killing of an innocent person by means of torture manifested in the burning, smothering, dismembering, and/or crushing of the victim. Hence, it seems to follow from this that if there is a small probability that the unborn is fully human (as most abortion-rights advocates concede when they argue that 'no one knows when life begins' -- that is, the unborn may be fully human), and that abortion causes the unborn excruciating pain, at least [at later stages], then it is possible that ... many abortions make the womb into nothing more than a torture chamber in which innocent human persons are burned, smothered, dismembered, and/or crushed to death. In light of this possibility, isn't it better to err on the side of life and against violence and not keep open the possibility of this horror being repeated every day throughout America?"

-- Francis J. Beckwith (Politically Correct Death, p. 49)

Why Obamacare should be repealed

A new letter from National Right to Life urges members of Congress to vote to repeal the 2010 health care overhaul, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (Obamacare).

From the letter:
As enacted, the PPACA contains multiple provisions authorizing federal subsidies for abortion, and additional provisions on which future abortion-expanding regulatory mandates may be based. Many of the abortion-subsidizing provisions of the legislation are detailed in an NRLC affidavit posted on our website here, and further documented in other materials posted here.

In addition, the PPACA contains multiple provisions that will, if fully implemented, result in government-imposed rationing of lifesaving medical care. Among the most dangerous:
  • The department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be empowered to impose so-called "quality and efficiency" measures on health care providers, based on recommendations by the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is directed to force private health care spending below the rate of medical inflation. In many cases treatment that a doctor and patient deem needed or advisable to save that patient's life or preserve or improve the patient's health but which runs afoul of the imposed standards will be denied, even if the patient wants to pay for it. 
  • The law empowers HHS to prevent older Americans from making up with their own funds for the $555 billion the law cuts from Medicare by refusing to permit senior citizens the choice of private-fee-for-service plans whose premiums are sufficient to provide unrationed care but which HHS, in its unlimited discretion, disallows. The Obama health care law could thus lead to elimination of the only way that seniors will have to escape rationing -- by limiting their right to spend their own money to save their own lives. 
  • The law instructs and authorizes state bureaucrats to limit the value of the insurance policies that Americans may purchase. Not only will the exchanges exclude policies from competing in an exchange when government authorities do not agree with their premiums, but the exchanges will even exclude insurers whose plans outside the exchange offer consumers the ability to reduce the danger of treatment denial by spending what those government authorities claim to be an "excessive or unjustified" amount. This will create a "chilling effect," deterring insurers who hope to compete within the exchanges from offering adequately funded plans even outside of them, so that consumers will find it increasingly difficult to obtain health insurance that offers adequate and unrationed health care.
Detailed information on these and other components that will result in rationing is available here.

To summarize: The law is so riddled with provisions that violate right-to-life principles that it cannot simply be patched. It must be repealed, and any replacement legislation must contain all necessary safeguards for the right to life of the most vulnerable members of the human family.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

African study finds cheapest way to kill unborn babies

The following is a Jan. 6, 2011, news release from MCCL GO.

The Daily Independent newspaper in Lagos, Nigeria, yesterday reported on a study released in the African Journal of Reproductive Health stating that Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) abortions are the "most cost-effective (abortion) option in Nigeria."

Numerous abortion advocates took part in the research including Delphine Hu of the Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard School of Public Health, and Daniel Grossman of Ibis Reproductive Health, Oakland, Calif.

"This new 'study' is simply the latest in a never-ending series of 'research' stories being planted in African newspapers to encourage the legalization of abortion," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO). "If the so-called 'researchers' would start helping women instead of pushing their abortion agenda, all Nigerians would be better off."

The news story repeats many factual inaccuracies about "unsafe abortions" in Africa and advocates the use of MVA abortions as the cheapest method, using a hand-held vacuum pump like those found here.

This "research" from Nigeria is in contrast to an earlier "finding" from Ghana that concluded that the use of the chemical misoprostol was the most cost-effective way to end an unborn child's life. The report goes on to state that both misoprostol and MVA are "ahead of dilation and curettage (D&C), which has been linked to many incidences of complications." The fact of the matter is that no abortion is safe for a woman. MVA, misoprostol and D&C abortions all have killed women.

"The provision of medical abortion with misoprostol in the place of unsafe abortion would save $1 million per 100,000 procedures. This is, however, a lower cost saving compared to the $2.5 million the researchers claim could be saved per 100,000 procedures using MVA," according to the Daily Independent. The entire text can be found here.

The agenda-driven study reduces the killing of unborn African children to a mere dollars-and-cents issue, and dismisses the genuine need of African women for greater access to good medical care.

"Nigeria, like all African nations, needs more and better health care, including improved obstetric care, more health care workers, better infrastructure, more readily available medicines and clean water — not abortion," Fischbach noted. "It's very sad that any funds were spent on such awful research. Clearly the last thing to benefit the health of Africans is to find the cheapest way to kill their unborn babies."

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

What is second-trimester abortion?

"The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman's cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed. A doctor may make 10 to 15 passes with the forceps to evacuate the fetus in its entirety, though sometimes removal is completed with fewer passes. Once the fetus has been evacuated, the placenta and any remaining fetal material are suctioned or scraped out of the uterus. The doctor examines the different parts to ensure the entire fetal body has been removed."

-- The U.S. Supreme Court in its 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart decision, describing the (entirely legal) dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure, the most common abortion method used after the first trimester of pregnancy. A total of 753 D&E abortions were performed in Minnesota in 2009, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On judicial activism

Judicial activism, as it is understood by its critics, is not the judicial practice of actively overturning laws or precedents, rather than passively upholding them. (Sometimes laws and precedents should indeed be overturned.) Instead, judicial activism refers to the judicial practice of straying from the actual meaning of the law when interpreting and applying it. Judges who engage in judicial activism undermine the American system of government by usurping the role of the legislative branch.

Defenders of judicial activism often tout a "living Constitution" judicial philosophy, which says that the meaning of the Constitution changes and evolves over time and should be interpreted by judges accordingly. But having the Constitution change according to the decisions of judges is the same as having no Constitution at all, and simply being ruled by judges. The very point of a constitution is to have a "fixed" governing document that dictates the requirements and limits of government.

If we wish to change the Constitution, the Constitution itself offers us a means to do so—the amendment process. But the Constitution cannot rightly be changed by a judge simply "deciding" that the meaning is now somehow different. That is judicial tyranny.