Friday, August 8, 2014

Dangers of assisted suicide highlighted as Minnesota judge hears closing arguments

The following news release was issued on Aug. 8.

FARIBAULT — Closing arguments were heard today in the case of a former Faribault nurse who went online and urged people to commit suicide while he watched. William Francis Melchert-Dinkel has been charged under Minnesota's law which bans assisted suicide. Rice Co. District Court Judge Tom Neuville heard half-hour arguments from each side this morning and will rule on whether Melchert-Dinkel assisted in two suicides.

"This case exposes the abhorrence of assisted suicide," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "Vulnerable citizens need protections, including the medical and mental health care they need to live. It is illegal to assist someone in committing suicide."

Melchert-Dinkel, a Faribault ex-nurse, is charged with assisting two vulnerable people to commit suicide. He posed as a depressed female nurse in online chat rooms using several names. He claimed that no treatment had helped ease his suffering and entered into suicide pacts with his victims. He urged them to turn on webcams as they committed suicide so that they would not be alone. He had no intention of killing himself but secretly wanted to watch them die.

The victims include 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji of Brampton, Ontario, and 32-year-old Mark Drybrough of Coventry, England. Kajouji jumped into a frozen river and drowned in 2008. Drybrough hanged himself in his home in 2005.

Melchert-Dinkel encouraged his victims to hang themselves, and he gave them details about how to do it. He boasted online about watching the death of Drybrough. Melchert-Dinkel may have had contact with 50 other suicidal persons online.

Melchert-Dinkel was convicted in 2011 under Minnesota Statutes section 609.215, subdivision 1, which provides criminal penalties for anyone who "advises, encourages or assists" suicide. MCCL was instrumental in the passage of this protective law in 1992. The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year in State v. Melchert-Dinkel that "advising" or "encouraging" suicide is protected speech under the First Amendment. The case was remanded to the lower court to rule on whether Melchert-Dinkel assisted in the suicides of Kajouji and Drybrough.

"Minnesota's law prohibiting assisted suicide has been upheld," Fischbach said. "Assisting individuals in killing themselves is illegal in Minnesota. The law is in place to protect citizens from criminals like Melchert-Dinkel who prey upon those in need of compassion and help."

Deborah Chevalier, the mother of Nadia Kajouji, has created a website dedicated to raising awareness at

Monday, August 4, 2014

Life as an intern

By Molly Blaeser

Before I talk about my experience as the MCCL summer communications intern, I should share a little story.

Let's set the scene. It's the day we celebrated MCCL staff with a June or July birthday. Meaning: Jennifer, Paul and I.

Kris, who runs the front desk, brought in cake-pies (seriously, it's a thing) from Baker's Square, when Jennifer walked in with a German chocolate cake.

MCCL intern Molly Blaeser
"Molly once told me her favorite cake is German chocolate cake, so I made one," she said with a smile.

I was beyond touched. Jennifer and I talk about a million things when we carpool to and from work, and I'd forgotten I had even mentioned my favorite cake.

Clearly, she hadn't.

Which leads me to the best part about being an MCCL intern: The people here treat you like family.

Of course, not every day was spent eating cake. I did real work at MCCL, too.

To be brief, I designed buttons and memes, wrote some articles, filled county fair orders and proofread the Voter's Guide with Andrea. This week, I will be helping with the Dakota County Fair. Those are the highlights of my work here — the real list would be much longer!

For me, the best day at MCCL was when the new buttons arrived. Along with the other designs, eight of my own had been sent to the printer. I hadn't done much design work before and had definitely never had my design work actually used. Hence my eagerness to see how my designs had turned out.

Bill came to me with a smile on his face and said, "Molly, the new buttons are here."

I spent nearly a half-hour digging through a bag of 1,500 buttons to find each of my designs. I laid them out before me and smiled. They looked even better as buttons than as images on my monitor.

When I passed by Diane's desk, I just had to show her the designs I was so proud of. And the way she complimented each one and then bragged about them to Ruby, who also smiled over them … well, it just lifted my heart.

Thank you to the wonderful people at MCCL. You made this a great experience. You all have touched me with your dedication to the pro-life movement. But even more so, you all have made me feel like part of the family, for which I couldn't be more grateful.

Friday, August 1, 2014

MCCL GO addresses the rights of older persons at the United Nations

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

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The fifth working session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing convened this week at the United Nations. Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO), spoke today at the session about the importance of protecting the rights of older persons.

"The number of older persons in society is increasing, the cost associated with aging is increasing, and the medical advances enabling longer life expectancy are increasing," Fischbach stated. "These facts point to the need to improve protection of the rights of the elderly if we are going to build a world in which all human beings are respected and protected by law."

Twelve years ago, the United Nations adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. It included a call to ensure "the full enjoyment of all human rights" of older persons and to combat "all forms of discrimination."

"The denial of medical treatment, withdrawal of nutrition and hydration, and active and passive euthanasia are direct violations of every human being’s right to life," Fischbach explained. "Euthanasia does not address physical and mental diseases that can be treated with today's medical advancements."

MCCL GO also noted that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires that we must "prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability." Such language should be used to protect those at the end of life as well.

"Our older people are amazing resources of knowledge and understanding, history and compassion—they are human beings and have human rights that require protection," Fischbach concluded. "The first of these rights is life itself."

MCCL GO is a pro-life NGO global outreach program of the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Education Fund. Learn more at

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