Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MCCL's Primary Election Voter's Guide is now available

MCCL's 2014 Primary Election Voter's Guide is now available for free online. It shows where candidates for the U.S. Senate and House, Minnesota House, governorship and state offices stand on right-to-life issues such as abortion, assisted suicide and health care rationing. It also explains the significance of the Primary Election and the importance of electing pro-life public officials (see page 2).

The Minnesota Primary Election will be held on Aug. 12. More information about voting is available here.

Human lives are at stake in this critically important election. Please read and share MCCL's Primary Election Voter's Guide (and upcoming General Election Voter's Guide), and remember to vote pro-life in the Aug. 12 Primary Election and in the Nov. 4 General Election.

Friday, July 18, 2014

MCCL mourns the passing of Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba

On July 16th, former Minnesota State Representative Mary Ellen Otremba of Long Prairie passed away at the early age of 63. Mary Ellen was a warrior when it came to protecting the weak, the vulnerable, the elderly and the unborn. She was a staunch Democrat and just as dedicated a pro-lifer. She was a dear friend of the pro-life movement and an unwavering ally of MCCL.

After the passing of her husband, Rep. Ken Otremba, in the fall of 1997, Mary Ellen ran for and won the same House seat that he had held. And, just as Rep. Ken Otremba fought for life in the Legislature, so did Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba. In her very first legislative session, it was Rep. Otremba who offered the amendment that became our 1998 abortion reporting law that now gives us our annual abortion report to the Legislature each July. Nearly all legislative initiatives that dealt with life issues were touched in one way or another by Rep. Otremba in the course of her time in the Legislature.

During her 14 years in the House, Rep. Otremba cast nearly 140 votes on life issues, and each time, pro-life! She drew the ire of her fellow Democrats when they were electing a Speaker because she would not vote for a Speaker—even within her own party—who was not pro-life.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) Executive Director Scott Fischbach praised Rep. Otremba: "Mary Ellen was a dear friend, a real fighter for all vulnerable people. She had such a passion for the unborn and their mothers rooted in her deep love and compassion for people. She once said that she tried to make all decisions through the eyes of the poorest person she knew. Her willingness to stand up for life in the face of enormous pressure against her is inspiring to all of us."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Franken co-sponsors bill to establish unlimited abortion until birth

Al Franken speaks at a 2013
Planned Parenthood rally
Today the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the so-called "Women's Health Protection Act" (S. 1696), a radical measure that would eliminate almost all state and federal limits on abortion—including, for example, Minnesota's Woman's Right to Know law. It is co-sponsored by Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, testified at the hearing:
I would note at the outset that we find the formal title or marketing label, "Women's Health Protection Act," to be highly misleading. The bill is really about just one thing: It seeks to strip away from elected lawmakers the ability to provide even the most minimal protections for unborn children, at any stage of their pre-natal development. While the proposal is so sweeping and extreme that it would be difficult to capture its full scope in any short title, calling the bill the "Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act" would be more in line with truth-in-advertising standards.
Tobias' full written testimony is available here. National Right to Life previously summarized what the bill would do:
The new bill would invalidate nearly all existing state limitations on abortion, and prohibit states from adopting new limitations in the future, including various types of laws specifically upheld as constitutionally permissible by the U.S. Supreme Court. Among the laws that the bill would nullify are requirements to provide women seeking abortion with specific information on their unborn child and on alternatives to abortion, laws providing reflection periods (waiting periods), laws allowing medical professionals to opt out of providing abortions, laws limiting the performance of abortions to licensed physicians, bans on elective abortion after 20 weeks, meaningful limits on abortion after viability, and bans on the use of abortion as a method of sex selection. These laws generally have broad public support in the states in which they are enacted, including support from substantial majorities of women.

The bill would also invalidate most previously enacted federal limits on abortion, including federal conscience protection laws and most, if not all, limits on government funding of abortion.
To support the "Women's Health Protection Act" is to support unfettered abortion on demand—with no serious regard for the welfare of pregnant women or for unborn children at any stage of development. It is to support a bill that would undeniably and substantially increase the number of unborn children who are killed.

Franken, one of 35 co-sponsors, has earned a zero percent pro-life voting record. He has vigorously opposed such commonsense bills as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would simply protect unborn children after 20 weeks, when they can experience pain.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dayton supports licensing dog breeders, yet rejects any oversight of abortion facilities

New regulations of pet breeders go into effect; governor previously vetoed abortion center licensing

ST. PAUL — A measure to license and inspect commercial dog and cat breeders—passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this year—went into effect on July 1. The new regulations throw into sharp relief Dayton's refusal to accept any state licensing or inspection of abortion facilities, which perform thousands of surgical procedures on Minnesota women each year.

"Gov. Dayton wants to safeguard the well-being of pets, and that is admirable," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "But his concern evidently does not extend to the human beings undergoing surgery in unlicensed and uninspected abortion centers."

The new law will impose health standards and require commercial breeding facilities to be licensed by the Board of Animal Health. "The humane and decent treatment of these innocent creatures is no longer an unwritten expectation—it is the law," said Dayton in a press release.

But Minnesota's abortion centers are neither licensed nor inspected by the Department of Health. In 2012 the Legislature passed a bill to license abortion facilities in the same way as other outpatient surgical centers, and to allow such facilities to be inspected. Dayton vetoed the bill.

Poor health conditions and dangerous practices have been uncovered in abortion centers in numerous other states. The horrific Philadelphia clinic of Kermit Gosnell, now serving life in prison, has especially drawn nationwide attention; the grand jury report in that case specifically blamed the lack of state oversight and called for abortion centers to be licensed as ambulatory surgical facilities. "There is no justification for denying abortion patients the protections available to every other patient of an ambulatory surgical facility," the grand jury noted, "and no reason to exempt abortion clinics from meeting these standards."

Dayton, however, favors denying women those protections and exempting abortion centers from the health standards that all other outpatient surgical facilities must meet. "The governor's advocacy for pet breeding regulations makes him more supportive of the welfare of animals than he is of the welfare of women who are seeking abortions," Fischbach observed. "That should be deeply troubling, because people matter more than animals."

"The state has a clear interest in ensuring at least minimal health and safety standards for women," Fischbach concluded. "This is common sense, regardless of one’s position on abortion. Yet Gov. Dayton seems more committed to toeing the abortion industry line and preserving unfettered abortion than to protecting women."

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pro-life efforts continue to drive down abortion numbers

Dayton vetoes obstruct trend of more teens, women choosing life

The following news release is a follow-up to today's earlier release regarding the latest Minnesota Abortion Report.

ST. PAUL — More women and girls are choosing life for their unborn babies, driving down the number of abortions performed in Minnesota, according to the 2013 Abortion Report issued today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). About 800 fewer women resorted to abortion last year than in 2012, a decrease of 7.5 percent. The abortion rate fell to its lowest since 1974, and abortions performed on minors fell to the lowest number ever recorded.

But these numbers could have been even lower if Gov. Mark Dayton had not vetoed every effort to protect women and their unborn children.

"Governor Dayton has done everything in his power to slow down the decline in abortions," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "Had he not vetoed bills approved by the Legislature to protect unborn babies who can feel pain, to license and inspect abortion facilities, to ban taxpayer funded abortions and to ban dangerous 'webcam abortions,' even more women, teens and unborn babies would have been saved from the tragedy of abortion."

Many of the 2013 statistics are encouraging. Abortions have decreased nearly 24 percent statewide since the Positive Alternatives program began funding efforts to help pregnant women in need. It is by far the biggest seven-year decline since the state began recording abortion numbers in 1973.

Abortions performed on minors were down 27 percent to 295, representing less than 3 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.

More than 12,000 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. Abortions were performed at a rate of more than 27 every single day last year. More than 40 percent of abortions in 2011 were performed on women who had undergone at least one prior abortion; 306 women had four or more previous abortions. The report also shows that African Americans remain a target of the abortion industry. They represent just 5 percent of the state's population, yet 23 percent of abortions were performed on African Americans.

Planned Parenthood performed more abortions than ever last year—a total of 4,370—even as the state total decreased significantly. That was an increase of 11.6 percent over the previous year and 44 percent of the state total. Yet Planned Parenthood continues to claim credit for the decline in the state's abortion numbers.

Tax-funded abortions increased to 34.8 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. Taxpayers have funded 69,265 abortions since the decision.

2013 Minnesota Abortion Report: Women embrace life-giving abortion alternatives

The following news release was issued on July 1, 2014.

ST. PAUL — Abortion numbers have dropped for the seventh straight year in Minnesota to their lowest level since 1974, confirming the success of life-affirming laws that provide women with abortion information and alternatives and empower them to choose life for their unborn children—and themselves.

Women are turning away from abortion in greater numbers, according to the latest annual Abortion Report issued today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The 2013 decrease of 7.5 percent follows a trend of fewer abortions statewide since Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) helped to enact the Positive Alternatives law, which took effect in July 2006. But the abortion total could have been even lower.

"As governor, Mark Dayton has vetoed seven protective measures, at least four of which would have protected women and further reduced the number of abortions last year," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "Dayton's defense of the abortion industry has been at the expense of unborn babies and their mothers, who are nonetheless rejecting the self-destruction, dehumanization and death that result from abortion."

Pro-life legislation—all of which Gov. Dayton vehemently opposes—has helped to empower women in their desire to give birth to their unborn babies. Positive Alternatives offers women life-affirming alternatives to abortion by funding programs that help women with health care, housing, education, transportation and much more. The state's Woman's Right to Know informed consent law and the parental notification law for minors considering abortion also serve to empower women and girls with factual information and trustworthy support. Ultrasound, in utero surgery and other technology have caused more Americans to reject what unquestionably kills a developing human life in the womb.

"Most women don't want to abort their unborn babies, and today's report is further evidence that the greater the access women are given to factual information and abortion alternatives, the fewer of them resort to abortion," Fischbach said. "MCCL has always been focused on empowering women to choose life and our efforts are clearly working."

The 2013 total of 9,903 abortions is a reduction of 7.5 percent from the previous year's 10,701 total. More than half were performed on women in their 20s. A total of 12,164 women received the Woman's Right to Know informed consent information, meaning 2,261 women chose not to abort after learning about fetal development, abortion risks and complications, and abortion alternatives.

Today's report also shows that taxpayer funded abortions grew to 34.8 percent of all abortions reported in the state, the highest percentage since the 1995 Doe v. Gomez Supreme Court ruling requiring taxpayers to fund abortions.

Full reports for 2013 and prior years are available at the MDH website.

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