Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why Ipas is wrong to say legalizing abortion worldwide would save lives

The international abortion advocacy organization Ipas helped convene a meeting this week calling for governments to "repeal laws that criminalize abortion and remove barriers on women's and girls' access to safe abortion services," making "safe, legal abortion universally available, accessible and affordable for all women and girls." The conference attendees say abortion must be legalized to "sav[e] women's lives."

That is false. Maternal health depends far more on the quality of medical care (and related factors) than on the legal status or availability of abortion. Consider:

  • Maternal mortality declined dramatically in the developed world as a result of advancements in modern medicine that took place before the widespread legalization of abortion.
  • Today Ireland, Poland, Malta and Chile significantly restrict or prohibit abortion and yet have very low maternal mortality ratios.
  • Among the few countries that achieved a 75 percent reduction in their maternal mortality ratios (a target of Millennium Development Goal 5) by 2010, Maldives, Bhutan and the Islamic Republic of Iran did so while generally prohibiting abortion.
  • After Chile banned abortion in 1989, its maternal mortality ratio continued to decline significantly and at about the same rate, dropping 69.2 percent over the next 14 years, according to a 2012 study by Elard Koch, et al. Even maternal deaths due specifically to abortion declined—from 10.78 abortion deaths per 100,000 live births in 1989 to 0.83 in 2007, a reduction of 92.3 percent after abortion was made illegal.

Legalizing abortion, the Chilean study's authors conclude, is demonstrably unnecessary for the improvement of maternal health and the saving of women's lives.

In fact, legalizing or expanding abortion can be detrimental to the health and safety of pregnant women. Abortion poses physical and psychological risks. These risks include immediate complications such as hemorrhage, infection and death as well as long-term risks such as breast cancer. A wealth of worldwide research has established that abortion increases the risk of subsequent preterm birth, which can cause death or disability in newborn children. Abortion is also associated with a variety of psychological and social problems, including depression, drug abuse and suicide.

The health risks of abortion are exacerbated in countries where basic health care is lacking. The legalization or expansion of abortion in such countries can increase the incidence of abortion, increasing the number of women subjected to the risks of abortion.

The evidence shows that better maternal health care, not abortion, is the way to save lives.

Friday, March 21, 2014

International Day of the Unborn Child: March 25

International Day of the Unborn Child is March 25. Share these graphics on social media to highlight this important day and the humanity and value of unborn children.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Minnesota Supreme Court strikes pro-life law against 'advising, encouraging' suicide

The following news release was issued on March 19, 2014.

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Supreme Court has overturned the state's longstanding prohibition against encouraging and advising a person to commit suicide. The 4-1 ruling is a significant setback in efforts to protect citizens from the danger and injustice of suicide and assisted suicide. Those most at risk are the elderly and persons with disabilities, whose lives are often the most devalued.

"Today's ruling rolls back years of protections for vulnerable citizens who are not receiving the medical and mental health care they need to live," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "Instead of guaranteeing care for those with chronic pain or depression, for example, the Court has turned its back and said, 'Let others urge them to commit suicide.'"

The Supreme Court ruling in State v. Melchert-Dinkel means that Minnesotans suffering from difficult physical or mental illnesses can be subjected to encouragement to commit suicide, including from those who may benefit financially from the death.

The Supreme Court overturned an appeals court ruling in the case of William Melchert-Dinkel, a Faribault ex-nurse who urged two vulnerable people online to commit suicide by hanging. He gave them details about the length and diameter of rope, how to tie the knot and where to place the noose on their necks. He also urged them to set up a webcam so he could watch them die; both committed suicide.

Melchert-Dinkel was convicted in 2011 under Minnesota Statutes section 609.215, subdivision 1, which provides criminal penalties for anyone who "advises" or "encourages" suicide. MCCL was instrumental in the passage of this protective law in 1992.

The Supreme Court has not acted on a Minnesota Court of Appeals unpublished September ruling in the State v. Final Exit case that said the law's prohibition against advising and encouraging suicide was unconstitutional.

"MCCL will carefully consider the Court's ruling that the current law's wording lacks specificity," Fischbach said. "We will look at the possibility of clarifying the statute through legislation. People at risk of suicide need care and protection, not prodding and guidance on killing themselves."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lawmakers seek to protect unborn babies who can feel pain

The following news release was issued today, March 10, 2014.

ST. PAUL — Legislation to stop abortions after the point at which the unborn child can feel pain was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives today. The measure would prohibit the killing of innocent unborn children at 20 weeks from conception.

"For far too long, Minnesota's abortionists have been inflicting unconscionable suffering on unborn babies by killing them when they are already extraordinarily developed and pain-sensitive," explained Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "It is illegal to treat animals in such a brutal way; this bill will finally protect unborn children at 20 weeks and older from the torturous pain of abortion."

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.F. 2927, is authored by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville. The initiative is modeled after a law first enacted in Nebraska in 2010 and subsequently by nine other states, which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks from conception. The legislation is different from an Arizona law that was challenged in court by the abortion industry and struck down last year.

Overwhelming anatomical, behavioral and physiological evidence confirms that the developing unborn child is capable of experiencing tremendous pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization. This evidence did not exist when the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision removed all protections for unborn children and established abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.

The most common abortion procedure used at 20 weeks is dilation and evacuation (D & E), which involves dismembering the unborn child. The abortionist uses forceps to tear apart the fetus in the womb, and then reassembles the arms, legs, torso and head to ensure that no parts of the unborn child's body have been left inside the woman.

"People on both sides of the abortion debate should agree that the gratuitous suffering of the unborn child is incompatible with a humane and civilized society," Fischbach said. "MCCL calls upon all state legislators to support the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act."