Friday, June 29, 2012

'The worst constitutional decision of all time'

No, not yesterday's Obamacare ruling (whatever one thinks of that decision). "The very worst constitutional decision in the [U.S. Supreme] Court's history," argues Prof. Michael Stokes Paulsen of the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, is Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), in which the Court reaffirmed (with slight modification) the right to abortion invented in Roe v. Wade (1973). Today is the twentieth anniversary of the Casey decision.

Casey justified a continuation of Court-imposed nationwide abortion on demand -- despite devastating constitutional criticism -- by (1) vainly worrying about the Court's image if it admitted a past mistake, (2) irrelevantly waxing on about "the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life," and (3) arrogantly "call[ing] the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting" the Court's dictate. Twenty years later, the American people are even less willing to "accept" the Court's usurpation of their right to democratically decide abortion policy.

Paulsen writes at Public Discourse:
At every level ... Planned Parenthood v. Casey is an incredibly significant decision -- its effects, its methodology, its substantive doctrine, its conception of the judicial role and of judicial authority, and its conception of what constitutes the rule of law. And, sadly, at every level at which the case is hugely significant, it is hugely and horribly wrong. Indeed, Casey is so extremely and extravagantly wrong that it is possible to compare Casey's wrongness with the wrongness of some of the Court's most incredibly wrong decisions in its history and reach the depressing conclusion that Casey is the worst of the worst, combining all the worst features of such cases as Dred Scott, Lochner, Plessy v. Ferguson, Korematsu v. United States, and Roe v. Wade.
Paulsen's piece -- adapted from his article in the Notre Dame Law Review -- is divided into two parts, here and here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, which includes abortion funding, health care rationing

The following news release was issued today, June 28, 2012.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court today left intact the dangerous rationing provisions and abortion funding in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The decision is a blow to efforts to protect the vulnerable lives of unborn babies, elderly persons and those with serious illnesses.

"Any law that results in funding the killing of unborn children and the withholding of medical care must not stand," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "The state's pro-life majority is extremely disappointed that the nation's highest court has upheld a law that will lead to abortion funding and rationing."

Today's Supreme Court National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius ruling, upholding most of the Obamacare law, is a call to action for the right-to-life electorate to work to elect a Congress and president this November committed to repealing the law in 2013, in order to prevent a future in which abortion insurance will be heavily subsidized by federal taxpayers and federal bureaucrats will be authorized to ration life-saving medical treatment.

Under the enacted law, federal tax-based subsidies will begin in 2014 to subsidize millions of private insurance plans that will cover abortion on demand, including some plans ("multi-state plans") that will be administered by the federal government. Under another provision of the law, the federal government could even order many plans that do not receive federal subsidies to cover abortion as a "preventive" service. The law also created an array of other mechanisms and funding pipelines by which access to and subsidies for abortion can be expanded if President Obama wins a second term.

Moreover, few Americans realize that under Obamacare, private citizens' right to spend their own money to save the lives of their own families will be subject to drastic restriction.

"If President Obama wins re-election, it will mean massive abortion subsidies and it will put the lives of millions at risk through systematic government-imposed rationing of lifesaving medical care," Fischbach added.

Unless repealed, Obamacare will give federal bureaucrats the power to impose so-called "quality" measures on all health care providers, under which treatment that a doctor and patient deem needed to save that patient's life or preserve the patient's health but which runs afoul of the imposed standards will be denied, even if the patient is willing and able to pay for it. In 2015 and thereafter, an 18-member "Independent Payment Advisory Board" is directed to inform the federal Department of Health and Human Services how to use those imposed standards to limit what private citizens are permitted to spend on their own families’ health care to below the rate of medical inflation.

The much-anticipated decision also upholds the requirement that each state establish an insurance exchange. The exchanges are marketplaces where citizens will select their coverage plans. States without an exchange plan in place by Jan. 1, 2013, will have one imposed upon them by the federal government; the Dayton administration has already begun plans to establish a Minnesota exchange.

"MCCL renews its call to legislators to work together on establishing and implementing an exchange that will exclude abortion coverage, and will guarantee coverage for pregnant women, persons with disabilities, elderly persons and other vulnerable people," Fischbach said.

The provisions of the law that will authorize rationing are documented at

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rio+20: Human beings must be the center of all sustainable development

The following was released today by MCCL GO.

Tomorrow, the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The two-day conference of world leaders will be the culmination of months of work dedicated to what is also known as the "Earth Summit."

The Rio+20 outcome document, known as "The Future We Want," has been contentious for months and poured over by negotiators for thousands of hours. "Any international meeting can be hijacked by those who want to push their abortion agenda, and Rio+20 is now on the world stage," stated Scott Fischbach of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO).

In addressing the issues of sustainable development, MCCL GO collaborated with National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund to submit a document to the Rio proceedings, which can be found here.

This statement puts the focus of sustainable development where it needs to be, on the individual human being. In part, the statement reads, "The loss of mothers and babies due to lack of even basic health care and the failure to dedicate adequate resources to save women’s lives is the greatest impediment to development in all areas."

"It is imperative that the proceedings in Rio remain focused on sustainable development and the center of all development — the individual human being," Fishbach concluded.

The homepage for the Rio conference can be found here.

The hub for social media, including the ability to add your own comments, can be found here.

And you can watch the conference live at this link.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The risks of RU486 to pregnant women

Since the FDA approved the abortion drug RU486 in September 2000, more than 1.5 million unborn children have been killed by that method. A detailed new analysis by Chris Gacek for the Family Research Council "focuses on the additional medical hazards that many women face when using RU-486 to induce an abortion." According to the FDA, at least 14 U.S. women have died after taking RU486, and thousands have experienced "adverse events." (And probably only a fraction of complications are reported to the FDA.) Below are a few excerpts from Gacek's report (notes omitted).

On how RU486 may interfere with the immune system:
Dr. Ralph Miech, emeritus professor at Brown University's medical school, has published two peer-reviewed articles describing potentially undesirable effects related to RU-486 and its anti-glucocorticoid properties. First, he believes that RU-486's blockade of cortisol receptors on bacteria-destroying white blood cells may impede the antibacterial defense mechanism of the innate immune system. Such interference, he hypothesizes, played a significant role in the deaths of at least five North Americans in which there was a post abortion, bacterial invasion of the uterus and subsequent septic shock. Second, prompted by an article describing mifepristone-related adverse events with significant and unexpected levels of hemorrhage, Miech's second article argues that RU-486 appears to interfere with the body's ability to control uterine hemorrhage. Such interference, if true, would be a dangerous feature of an abortion procedure that is designed to produce a simulated miscarriage. [T]he number of hemorrhage/transfusion and serious infection cases revealed by FDA support Miech's concern about RU-486 and hemorrhage.
On comparing the complications of RU486 (nonsurgical, chemical, "medical") abortion to surgical abortion:
One significant study on medical abortion's safety and effectiveness was published by Obstetrics & Gynecology in October 2009. It compared the immediate complications that occurred after medical and surgical abortions. The study was conducted in Finland where there is a comprehensive network of medical registries that could be used to track abortion outcomes in that country's government-based medical system. From 2000-2006 all women (n=42,619) who had abortions up to 63 days gestational age were followed up until 42 days.

Overall, medical abortion had roughly four times the rate of adverse events than surgical abortion did: 20.0% of women in the medical-abortion group and 5.6% of women in the surgical-abortion group had at least one type of adverse event. Hemorrhage, as an adverse event, was experienced by 15.6% of medical abortion patients compared with 2.1% for surgical patients. Incomplete abortions were experienced by 6.7% of medical abortion patients while only 1.6% of surgical patients had incomplete abortions. The rate for surgical (re)evacuation of the uterus was 5.9% (medical) versus 1.8% (surgical) for all causes (hemorrhage, infection, incomplete abortion). In summary, the Finnish registries revealed that first-trimester medical abortions with mifepristone and a prostaglandin - typically misoprostol - resulted in: 1) 20 out of every 100 women with a significant adverse event; 2) about 16 out of 100 women hemorrhaging excessively; 3) 7 out of every 100 women with tissue left inside; and, 4) approximately 6 out of every 100 women needing surgical re-evacuation of the uterus.
An Australian study, Gacek notes, found that 1 in 30 women taking RU486 in the first trimester of pregnancy had to go to the emergency room. It also found that among RU486 abortions performed in the second trimester, "a staggering 33% required some form of surgical intervention." In the United States, the FDA has only approved RU486 for use within the first 49 days of gestation, but Planned Parenthood administers it through 63 days' gestation -- when the danger is perhaps greater.

The risks of RU486 to pregnant women are particularly relevant because the abortion industry sees RU486 as a cost-efficient means of expanding abortion. The percentage of total abortions that use the RU486 method has increased steadily since FDA approval. In Iowa and Minnesota, Planned Parenthood now administers RU486 through telemedicine -- so-called webcam abortions, which can be promoted in rural areas lacking immediate medical resources in the event of complications. And international abortion advocates are even pushing the use of RU486 (or its companion drug misoprostol alone) in developing nations. As Gacek explains:
The track record established by RU-486 makes it clear that the push for the widespread use of medical abortion in poor nations is inhumane and detrimental to the interests of the female patients who take these pills. First, unless ultrasound equipment is available, ectopic pregnancy cannot be ruled out. Second, access to clean blood for transfusions is a necessity. Third, a surgical procedure must be offered as the back-up for women who have had incomplete medical abortions. Therefore, all of the technologies, facilities, and skilled personnel needed to perform a surgical evacuation of the uterus must be in place for medical abortion patients. Those pushing for medical abortions in developing nations do so arguing that the short supply of medical capabilities argues in favor of making medical abortions available to women in these areas. Good conscience and good medicine requires us to point out that the exact opposite is the case.
Abortion advocates are promoting a riskier method of abortion (both in the United States and abroad) because it doesn't require the expense of having an actual doctor, surgical equipment, etc., nearby. But the absence of a doctor, etc., only further increases the risk! This thinking is precisely backwards if one is at all concerned about the health and safety of pregnant women, and not just about the expansion of abortion access and/or profiting from said expansion (e.g., in the case of Planned Parenthood).

For more, see MCCL's recently updated RU486 brochure (above right), which highlights the risks of the drug and discusses the introduction of webcam abortions in Minnesota.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

44 years of saving lives in Minnesota

The following news release was issued today, June 12.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization, today celebrates 44 years of dedication to protecting and defending human life. Many hearts have been changed, protective laws passed and lives saved due to the tireless labor of MCCL volunteers and contributors throughout the decades.

"The dedicated, compassionate work of our grass-roots members is the sustaining power of Minnesota's pro-life movement," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "MCCL is one of the most effective pro-life organizations in the nation, thanks to these activists. They are steadily transforming our state’s culture into one that respects and protects all innocent human life at every stage."

MCCL has taken a three-pronged approach to advancing its pro-life mission. First, citizens are continually educated on the threats to human life posed by abortion, euthanasia, infanticide and embryo-killing experiments. People are then mobilized to become active pro-life citizens who in turn work to educate others and to support passage of lifesaving laws. Third, MCCL members work to establish legal protection for vulnerable lives.

From a handful of pro-life activists in 1968, MCCL has grown to include more than 70,000 member families and 240 chapters across the state. Together they deliver pro-life educational messages through booths at 90 county fairs and Student Day at the Capitol, call for protective legislation at the annual Jan. 22 MCCL March for Life and as citizen lobbyists, work with public officials to pass legislation protecting the right to life, and much more.

MCCL's innovation and leadership led to passage of the nation's first Parental Notification law in 1981, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and became model legislation for other states. MCCL also has been instrumental in passage of Minnesota’s Human Conceptus law (1973), Baby Doe provisions to protect disabled infants (1985), Fetal Homicide law (1986), tightened law on assisted suicide (1992), Woman's Right to Know law (2003), Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act (2005), Positive Alternatives (2005) and a ban on taxpayer funding of human cloning at the University of Minnesota (2009). MCCL also brought national attention to the brutal partial-birth abortion method when it was uncovered in 1993.

"It is a testament to our effectiveness that the abortion issue is still front and center in Minnesota," Fischbach said. "MCCL's member volunteers refuse to allow the abortion industry to destroy the dignity and sanctity of human life, no matter how small or vulnerable. We will continue to compassionately fight for those who cannot fight for themselves."