Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tim Pawlenty's pro-life policies are saving lives

By Scott Fischbach
MCCL Executive Director

Yesterday a strange and misleading attack on former Governor Tim Pawlenty and our Woman's Right to Know law was written by Joel Brind and posted on Jill Stanek's blog. This provides me another great opportunity to talk about the impact of Woman's Right to Know and the excellent pro-life record of Gov. Pawlenty.

On Apr. 14, 2003, our newly elected Gov. Pawlenty signed the Woman's Right to Know legislation into law—literally hours after it was passed by the Legislature. After nine long years of intense legislative battles—and vetoes of our legislation by Gov. Ventura and Gov. Carlson—our pro-life champion, Tim Pawlenty, finally empowered the women of our state with the facts about abortion!

Tim Pawlenty
Our Woman's Right to Know law was one of the first in the nation to share information with women about a possible link between abortion and breast cancer, and we were the very first state to ever mention to women that unborn children can feel pain. The law that pro-life hero Tim Pawlenty signed truly broke new ground for the pro-life movement.

The results of our Woman's Right to Know law are awesome. Since the law went into effect, thousands of women have chosen life! Every year the Minnesota Department of Health releases a report on abortion. This report shows that about 2,500 women each year who contact an abortionist for an appointment, and then are given the packet of information and 24 hours to reflect on the information—as per the Woman's Right to Know law—never return to the abortion center!

In 2011, a total of 13,645 women contacted an abortionist for an appointment, but 2,574 of them never returned to the abortion center after receiving the Woman's Right to Know information. Since Gov. Pawlenty made Woman's Right to Know the law in our state, 15,696 more women have received the information than have aborted.

Gov. Pawlenty's Woman's Right to Know law is saving lives today and every day. In fact, his policies have led to a 21 percent decline in the number of abortions in our state over the last five years.

Because of pro-life stalwarts like Tim Pawlenty, we now have the lowest number of abortions performed per year in Minnesota since 1975, and the lowest abortion rate ever recorded.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Amy Klobuchar: Far outside the mainstream

Amy Klobuchar enjoys something of a reputation for bipartisanship. But she has never compromised—or shown any moderation at all—on the issue of abortion.

Klobuchar, who has served one term in the U.S. Senate, faces pro-life challenger Kurt Bills in the Nov. 6 election. She rarely mentions abortion in public, but her little-known record speaks for itself.

Zero percent pro-life

According to National Right to Life's scorecard of votes pertaining to the right to life, Klobuchar has voted 19 times against the pro-life position and zero times in favor of it—a 0 percent pro-life voting record.

She voted against maintaining the prohibition on sending U.S. "population assistance" funds to any organization that "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization," such as that in China. She voted in favor of overturning the Mexico City Policy, thereby allowing the funding of organizations that "perform or actively promote abortion" in other countries.

Klobuchar voted against giving states the option of covering unborn children under the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides health services to children of low-income families.

She voted in favor of mandating federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of human embryos—human beings at the embryonic stage of development. Unlike adult stem cell research, which is ethically unproblematic, embryonic research has not led to any successful human medical treatments.

Obamacare, Planned Parenthood

Klobuchar voted for the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which includes abortion funding and dangerous rationing provisions. Before final passage, she voted to kill an amendment to remove the abortion-expanding elements from the bill. Since Obamacare was passed, she has voted against repealing it and against blocking its funding.

This year Klobuchar voted against an amendment, offered by Sen. Roy Blunt, to protect the conscience rights of religious institutions from coercive Obamacare mandates.

In 2011 she voted against denying federal funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation's premier provider and promoter of abortion, which performs hundreds of thousands of abortions annually while raking in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

With Pres. Obama; Al Franken lurking
(AP photo via MPR)
Klobuchar is close to the abortion industry leader. She attended a political fundraiser for the group last fall, and when Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the breast cancer charity, decided earlier this year to withhold modest grants to Planned Parenthood (a decision since reversed), Klobuchar wrote a letter to Komen urging it to "reconsider." The abortion giant, she claimed, is essential to "women's health," even though Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms—it refers women elsewhere for actual health care. (That's why Komen thought it could make better use of its grant money.)

Supreme Court, EMILY's List

Klobuchar, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, voted to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both of whom will almost certainly vote to reaffirm Roe v. Wade and Court-imposed nationwide abortion on demand. Prior to taking office, Klobuchar opposed the nominations to the Court of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, who later provided the decisive votes to uphold the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.

Klobuchar has been endorsed by the pro-abortion political action committee EMILY's List, which requires that all endorsees support not only abortion on demand but also late-term and partial-birth abortion. Since 2006 Klobuchar has received $377,900 from the group—by far her top contributor. (View photos of her speaking at EMILY's List events here.) She is also endorsed by the pro-abortion Feminist Majority.

She has earned 100 percent ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Klobuchar: Unlimited abortion

Amy Klobuchar has without exception resisted any and all limits on the killing of unborn children; in at least some cases she wants such killing to be subsidized with taxpayer dollars, as if abortion were a public good of which we ought to have more. Minnesota voters should consider whether they want someone who holds those views influencing public policy on their behalf.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Primary Election Voters Guide

The Primary Election Voters Guide edition of MCCL News is now available to MCCL members online. It includes responses from candidates for the state Legislature and U.S. House and Senate to questions about their views on right-to-life issues. It also includes stories on Kurt Bills and Amy Klobuchar, Obamacare, the importance of increasing pro-life majorities at the Legislature, the upcoming MCCL Fall Tour, and the recently-released Minnesota Abortion Report. The primary election takes place on Aug. 14.

MCCL News online is only available to registered NetCommunity members who are also current donors. Be sure to keep your membership current by making at least an annual donation to MCCL. Your support is appreciated!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Religion and abortion: Why the pro-life view should not be dismissed for its alleged basis in religion

The following was published in the May/June issue of MCCL News.

In a recent Star Tribune opinion piece, local writer Bonnie Blodgett attributes the pro-life view to "only religious zealots." Other pro-choice advocates routinely dismiss the pro-life position on the grounds that it is a mere religious belief and therefore may not be "imposed" on our pluralistic society.

No appeal to religion

This claim is mistaken in two ways. First, the pro-life position is not inherently religious. Pro-lifers contend that abortion takes the life of an intrinsically valuable human being and should be prohibited by law as a matter of basic justice. This view is supported by empirical facts of biology (which show that the unborn, the human fetus or embryo, is a bona fide member of our species) and a foundational moral principle (namely, the equal dignity and right to life of every human being). Thus pro-lifers offer serious moral arguments using science and philosophy; they need not appeal to God, religious authority or sacred texts.

Killing unborn human beings is unjust for the same reason as killing five-year-old human beings. Since one need not be religious to recognize and argue against the wrong of killing five-year-old children, one need not be religious to oppose the killing of abortion. Indeed, many non-religious people are pro-life, such as the atheist writer Nat Hentoff and the members of SecularProLife.org.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the prominent abortion doctor and co-founder of NARAL, was an atheist when he famously changed his mind and became a pro-life advocate (though years later he converted to Catholicism). Nathanson switched sides on the basis of the scientific evidence, not religious teaching.

Religious influence legitimate

Second, many pro-lifers do hold a religiously-informed and/or religiously-motivated pro-life position. But that fact does not render it illegitimate or unworthy of public consideration. Religion has played a central role in the work of social reformers throughout history. William Wilberforce passionately and tirelessly led the effort to abolish the British slave trade—and he did so with distinctly biblical motivation. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Christian minister who grounded his civil rights efforts in his religious perspective. Both Wilberforce and King successfully fought to change the law to reflect their religiously-informed moral views.

But those views—that slavery and racial discrimination are morally wrong—are not exclusively religious beliefs. And they should not be ruled out-of-bounds because they have deep ties to religion and religious people.

Ironically, some pro-choice advocates, such as the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, argue for their position on explicitly religious grounds. In an extraordinary bit of both ignorance and poor reasoning, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has defended her support for unfettered abortion on demand by appealing to the teachings of her Catholic faith. If pro-life religious views are not a legitimate basis for public policy, then neither is Pelosi's pro-choice position. Many other pro-choice politicians, including Pres. Barack Obama, frequently offer religious references in support of their preferred public policies.

Separation of church and state?

Some people claim that religiously-informed policy positions violate the "separation of church and state" contained in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But the Constitution only prohibits establishment of a national religion or interference with religious belief or practice. It protects religion from government, not the other way around. People of faith, and people of no faith, are free to propose and defend their views in the public square.

Hostility toward religion—or the nebulous fear of certain religious groups forcing their beliefs on others—is really just an excuse to reject the pro-life position without due consideration. The pro-life view is indeed supported and taught by numerous religious traditions. But it is also a moral truth accessible to people of any or no theological persuasion.

And pro-choice advocates will have to deal with it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Birth rates, Positive Alternatives and the abortion decline: A response to Robin Marty

Regarding the recently-released 2011 Minnesota Abortion Report, which shows another decline in the number of abortions, Robin Marty of RH Reality Check writes:
According to Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's largest anti-choice advocacy group, [the decline is] because of the implementation of the "Positive Alternatives Act," a bill passed in 2005 to provide "resources" to convince a woman or girl with an unintended pregnancy to chose birth over abortion.

"The numbers speak for themselves: Positive Alternatives is providing women with the resources and support they need to choose life for their unborn babies," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) in a statement. "More women and teens are rejecting the abortion industry's message that abortion is the answer to an unexpected pregnancy."

But is that true? Not at all. If "more women and teens" were choosing to carry their unexpected and unwanted pregnancies to term, there would be an increase in the state's birth rate. Statistics don't bear that out.

Minnesota has been experiencing a declining birth rate for years, and it's been approaching the lowest it has been in 100 years, the state reported last year.
But our point is that the likelihood of a pregnant woman choosing to give birth rather than abort is increasing due to factors that surely include Positive Alternatives. That is not the same as saying that the birth rate (number of births per 1,000 women of reproductive age) is going up, as Marty superficially supposes. Less women may be getting pregnant -- and, consequently, less total women may be giving birth -- but more of those who do become pregnant are choosing life.

The 2011 Abortion Report (from the Minnesota Department of Health) says as much. The number of abortions per 100 live births was 19.6 in 2000, 17.3 in 2007, 16.5 in 2008, 16.1 in 2009, 15.5 in 2010, and 15.1 in 2011. The percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion has decreased, and the percentage of pregnancies ending in live birth has increased.

Those are the facts. And they are not explainable in the way that Marty wants to explain them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Extending the Declaration's project 'to include the true wideness of our human community'

The following is re-posted from last year.

The Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776, includes this famous affirmation of human dignity: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Randy Alcorn reflects:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident." There are certain truths so basic, so foundational that we must hold to them if the social fabric of this country is to endure. What are those truths?

First, "That all men are created equal." Flowing out of that it says, "That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Note the order: the cornerstone is that all are created equal, then that there are certain rights given by God that you and I are not free to ignore. Then, that the first and most basic unalienable right is the right to life. The exercise of our right to liberty and our right to the pursuit of happiness are secondary to respecting the right to life. Our pursuit of happiness must not compromise any other person's right to live. So, the right to life is not some modern anti-abortion slogan. It is the most fundamental assertion of the document upon which this nation was founded.

The three most significant moral issues in American history have each hinged on an understanding of what it means that "all men are created equal."

The first question: Does "all men" mean only the white race or does it include blacks? The second question: Does "all men" mean males, or does it mean all mankind, male and female? Laws were changed as our nation came to a correct answer to these questions.

The question before us today is a third one, with as much moral significance as the first two. Does "all men" include not only the bigger and older, but also the smaller and younger? Does it include our preborn children?
Or, as Francis Beckwith puts it, the question before us is whether
the project that began centuries ago -- having its metaphysical roots in the biblical notion of the imago dei (image of God) that provided the intellectual scaffolding for the Declaration of Independence, the abolitionist movement, Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial -- can be, and ought to be, extended to include the true wideness of our human community, that is, to include the unborn.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Positive Alternatives drives down abortion numbers; abortions on minors down 7.8%

The following news release was issued today, July 2, 2012.

ST. PAUL — Pro-life efforts across Minnesota continue to drive down the number of abortions performed in the state, according to the 2011 Abortion Report issued today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Abortions have decreased 21 percent statewide since the Positive Alternatives program began funding efforts to help pregnant women in need. It is by far the biggest five-year drop since the state began recording abortion numbers in 1973.

"The numbers speak for themselves: Positive Alternatives is providing women with the resources and support they need to choose life for their unborn babies," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "More women and teens are rejecting the abortion industry's message that abortion is the answer to an unexpected pregnancy."

Many of the 2011 statistics are encouraging. Abortions decreased 3.8 percent to 11,071; abortions performed on minors were down 7.8 percent to 445, representing just 4 percent of all abortions in the state. This is the smallest number since the state began recording minor abortions in 1975 and follows a general decline in numbers since 1987.

Fewer women experienced complications both during and after their abortion procedure. Instances of cervical laceration decreased, as did incomplete abortion and failed abortion, in which the unborn child survived the initial abortion attempt.

More than 13,000 women received factual, state provided information about abortion risks and complications, abortion alternatives and much more under the Woman's Right to Know law. MCCL helped to pass the informed consent law in 2003; state abortion numbers have decreased in all but one year since the law took effect.

Not all of today's report is good news, however. More than 41 percent of abortions in 2011 were performed on women who had undergone at least one prior abortion; 99 women had six or more previous abortions. The report shows that 63 percent of women who had abortions used the procedure as a backup method of birth control. These women reported that no contraception was used at the time of conception.

Tax-funded abortions increased to 34.2 percent of all abortions. This is the highest percentage since the 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court required taxpayers to pay for abortions performed on low-income women. This percentage has increased nearly every year since the court ruling.

The following is additional information concerning "Induced Abortions in Minnesota, 2011, Report to the Legislature," released July 2, 2012, by the Minnesota Department of Health:

The 2011 total of 11,071 reported abortions is the lowest recorded since 1975, and also the lowest abortion rate since 1974 (9.7 per 1,000 females age 15-44). 11,071 abortions equates to more than 30 abortions performed every single day last year

The total number of reported abortions performed in Minnesota since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion on demand: 578,226

41.5% of women who received an abortion in 2011 had at least one prior abortion. A total of 796 women reported they had had 3 or more prior abortions

13,645 women received information about abortion risks, complications and alternatives under the Woman's Right to Know informed consent law, which is 2,574 more than the number who underwent abortions

Planned Parenthood performed an average of more than 9 abortions every day in 2011, for a total of 3,608. The provider performed 32.6% of all abortions, performing more than 1,300 more than the next largest provider. It has been the state's largest abortionist since 2004, and has increased its abortions by 47% since 2000


• 102 different people performed abortions in 2011
• 7 physicians each performed more than 500 abortions last year
• Minnesota's 7 abortion facilities performed 99% of all abortions in 2011
• 88 people performed abortions at the 7 abortion facilities, up from 54 in 2010

With few exceptions, abortions performed on minors have been declining annually since 1987. In 2006, abortions on minors spiked 16% after Planned Parenthood opened two feeder clinics in Twin Cities suburbs and marketed its services to minors

63% of abortions were used as back-up birth control (no contraception used at time of conception)

Race and abortion: African Americans—5% of population, 23% of abortions; Asians—4% of population, 7% of abortions; Caucasians—90% of population, 59% of abortions; Hispanics—5% of population, 6% of abortions, American Indians—1% of population, 3% of abortions. The abortion ratio (abortions per 100 live births) among American Indians rose dramatically from 20.6 in 2010 to 34.0 in 2011

Late-term abortions (after week 22) decreased from 12 to 3. The latest abortion was performed at 31 weeks (in 2010 the latest was at 28 weeks)

Suction was the most common form of abortion, used for 72% of abortions. RU486 chemical abortions were 19.7% of the total, down 1% from 2010. Seven instillation (saline) abortions were performed; induction of labor, as a form of abortion, decreased from 18 to 8. No intact D&X abortions were reported

Reasons women gave for their abortions (more than one reason could be given):

• Less than 1% for rape, incest, "impairment of major bodily function" (consistent with past years)
• 67% "does not want child at this time" (63% in 2010)
• 34% economic reasons (32% in 2010)

Complications: 107 reported, down from 164 in 2010

• 14 occurred during abortion procedure (6 cervical lacerations, 4 hemorrhage, 4 other)
• 93 occurred after abortion procedure (down from 142 in 2010)

Abortions drop again in Minnesota

The following was released today, July 2.

ST. PAUL — Abortion numbers dropped for the fifth straight year in Minnesota, according to the latest annual Abortion Report issued today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The decrease of 3.7 percent follows a trend of fewer abortions statewide since the Positive Alternatives program began in July 2006, funding efforts to help pregnant women in need.

Positive Alternatives is one of several pro-life legislative efforts by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) to offer women life-affirming alternatives to abortion and to significantly reduce the number of unborn babies aborted each year. Others include the Woman's Right to Know informed consent law, and the parental notification law for minors considering abortion.

"These decreasing abortion numbers confirm that MCCL's efforts to educate and to provide alternatives for women are working," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "However, recent pro-life losses suffered at the Capitol, and Planned Parenthood's promotion of RU486 webcam abortions, do not bode well for the unborn or their mothers."

With the help of pro-life citizens across the state, MCCL succeeded in gaining passage of two pro-life measures during the 2012 legislative session. Both were quickly vetoed by pro-abortion Gov. Mark Dayton, including the ban on dangerous "webcam abortions" and a requirement that the state's abortion facilities be licensed and allowed to be inspected.

The annual Abortion Report shows a total of 11,071 abortions were performed in the state in 2011, a reduction of 3.7 percent from the previous year's 11,505 total. The 2010 total is the lowest number on record since 1975. Full reports for 2011 and prior years are available at the MDH website. These numbers represent the cost of the actual abortion procedure. However, there are other costs associated with an abortion, including charges for STD testing, ultrasound, exams, medications and intake interviews.

Positive Alternatives was passed by the Legislature in 2005 and signed into law by pro-life Gov. Tim Pawlenty to establish a grant program through MDH. Grants are given to life-affirming programs offering essential services to women; 31 organizations are currently participating in the Positive Alternatives grant program. MDH reports show that more than 25,000 women statewide were helped through the Positive Alternatives program in its first four years (July 2006-June 2010). The fact that more than 11,000 pregnant women last year still believed that abortion was their only or best option underscores the enormous need for women to find alternatives to abortion.

"Minnesota needs to continue to establish greater protections for unborn children and their mothers," Fischbach said. "The Department of Health statistics clearly show that help provided by Positive Alternatives and other legislative measures drive down abortion numbers as women find life-affirming alternatives."

— MCCL will release a further analysis of the MDH Abortion Report later today. —