Thursday, January 22, 2015

MCCL March for Life draws thousands to call for end of taxpayer funded abortions

The following news release was issued on Jan. 22, 2015.

ST. PAUL — Thousands of Minnesotans came to the State Capitol today to urge lawmakers to ban taxpayer funded abortions. Pro-lifers also called on legislators to protect the safety of women by licensing abortion centers. The annual Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) March for Life commemorates the millions of lives lost to abortion.

View more photos from the 2015 MCCL March for Life
The 41st annual MCCL March for Life marked the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions that have resulted in the deaths of more than 600,000 unborn Minnesota children (Minnesota Department of Health), and more than 57 million unborn babies nationwide.

"In Minnesota, more than one-third of all abortions are paid for by you and me as taxpayers in this great state," MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach told the huge crowd of citizens gathered from across the state. "Today we call upon the Legislature to end taxpayer funding of abortion."

MCCL's 2015 legislative agenda calls for lawmakers to ban taxpayer funded abortions, which account for 34.8 percent of all abortions performed in the state. This is the highest percentage since the Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision forced taxpayers to pay for abortions performed on low-income women. This percentage has increased nearly every year since the court ruling. Taxpayers have funded 65,823 abortions since the decision at a cost of more than $20 million, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

MCCL's pro-life agenda also seeks the licensing and inspection of abortion facilities, which currently are exempt from licensing and inspection required of other outpatient surgical centers across the state. Such minimal oversight by the Minnesota Department of Health would help ensure a degree of safety for women entering abortion facilities.

MCCL is also urging state lawmakers to allocate funding and resources for the Safe Place for Newborns program. More people need to know about the option to anonymously surrender a newborn to a "safe place" (hospital, urgent care facility, ambulance), to prevent cases of abandonment and infanticide.

Many of Minnesota's pro-life state legislators were in attendance and were introduced during the brief program on the lower Capitol Mall steps. Pro-life Congressmen John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Tom Emmer and Collin Peterson sent written greetings that were read to the crowd.

View historical photos of the MCCL March for Life and access photos and audio from today's event on the MCCL website.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The three intractable problems of Roe v. Wade

On Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton. The Court ruled that abortion must be permitted for any reason before fetal viability—and that it must be permitted for "health" reasons, broadly defined in Doe (so as to encompass virtually any reason), all the way until birth. Roe and Doe legalized abortion on demand nationwide.

The New York Times proclaimed the verdict "a historic resolution of a fiercely controversial issue." But now, 42 years later, abortion is as unresolved and controversial as ever. Three intractable problems will continue to plague the Court and its abortion jurisprudence until the day when, finally, Roe is overturned.

Marchers at the MCCL March for
on Jan. 22, 2012
First, and most importantly, the outcome of Roe is fundamentally harmful and unjust. Why? The facts of biology show that the human embryo or fetus (the being whose life is ended in abortion) is a distinct and living human organism at the earliest stages of development. "Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, a zygote," explains the textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology. "This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."

Justice requires that the law protect the equal dignity and basic rights of every member of the human family—irrespective of age, size, ability, dependency, and the desires and decisions of others. This principle of human equality, affirmed in the Declaration of Independence and the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is the moral crux of western civilization. But the Roe Court ruled, to the contrary, that a particular class of innocent human beings (the unborn) must be excluded from the protection of the law and allowed to be dismembered and killed at the discretion of others. "The right created by the Supreme Court in Roe," observes University of St. Thomas law professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, "is a constitutional right of some human beings to kill other human beings."

After Roe, the incidence of abortion rose dramatically, quickly topping one million abortions per year and peaking at 1.6 million in 1990 before gradually declining to 1.06 million in 2011 (the latest year for which estimates are available). Under the Roe regime, abortion is the leading cause of human death. More than 57 million human beings have now been legally killed. And abortion has significantly and detrimentally impacted the health and well-being of many women (and men). The moral gravity and scale of this injustice exceed that of any other issue or concern in American society today.

The second problem with Roe is that it is legally, constitutionally mistaken. Justice Harry Blackmun's majority opinion claimed that the "liberty" protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment includes a "right of privacy" that is "broad enough to encompass" a right to abortion. "As a constitutional argument," notes University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt (who favors legalized abortion), "Roe is barely coherent. The Court pulled its fundamental right to choose more or less from the constitutional ether."

The right alleged in Roe is blatantly contradicted by the history of abortion law in the United States. Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment roughly coincided with enactment of a wave of state laws prohibiting abortion from conception with the primary aim (according to clear and abundant historical evidence) of protecting unborn children. Most of these statutes were already on the books by the time the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in 1868, and many of them remained unchanged until Roe struck them down more than a century later. "To reach its result," Justice William Rehnquist thus concluded in his dissenting opinion, "the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment."

Blackmun's reasoning was fallacious, his facts erroneous, his key historical claims demonstrably false. The process behind the decision, we now know, was remarkably shoddy. Roe and Doe constituted a full-blown exercise in policy-making—the arbitrary (untethered to the Constitution) invention of a new nationwide abortion policy to reflect the personal preferences of a majority of the justices.

Even pro-choice legal experts don't try to defend Roe on its merits. "What is frightening about Roe is that this super-protected right is not inferable from the language of the Constitution, the framers' thinking respecting the specific problem in issue, any general value derivable from the provisions they included, or the nation's governmental structure," wrote the eminent constitutional scholar and Yale law professor John Hart Ely. "It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be."
Sign at the 1977 MCCL March for Life

Third, Roe is undemocratic. It struck down the democratically decided abortion laws of all 50 states and imposed abortion-for-any-reason nationwide, whether the people like it or not. Because the Court lacked any constitutional warrant for this move, it usurped the rightful authority of the elected branches of government to determine abortion policy.

The radical scope of the Roe regime was not and has never been consistent with public opinion, which favors substantial legal limits on abortion. (Polling questions on Roe are often inaccurate, and ignorance of the extent of the decision is widespread). Roe has disenfranchised millions and millions of Americans who will not rest while Roe and abortion on demand persist. They want to have a say. The Court decided they could have none.

So these are the intractable problems of Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court abused the Constitution to usurp the authority of the people by imposing a gravely unjust policy with breathtakingly disastrous results.

Unjust. Unconstitutional. Undemocratic. Together, these problems will lead, eventually, to Roe's collapse.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Assisted suicide practitioner stripped of medical license

The following news release was issued on Jan. 7, 2015.

ST. PAUL — A physician charged with assisting the suicide of a Minnesota woman has been barred from practicing medicine. The Maryland Board of Physicians revoked the medical license of Dr. Lawrence Egbert after he facilitated the suicides of six people in Maryland.

"We commend this decision of the Maryland Board of Physicians," stated Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. "Egbert's actions promoting killing are simply incompatible with the role of a physician, which is to heal and care for patients, not to kill them."

Egbert was the medical director for Final Exit Network, an organization that helps people kill themselves, including people who are mentally ill. Egbert says he has helped arrange about 300 suicides and been present for 100, but he has so far avoided any convictions.

Egbert is also part of an ongoing case in Minnesota. Egbert and Final Exit flew to Minnesota in 2007 and assisted the suicide of an Apple Valley woman using helium and a plastic bag. They sought to cover up the evidence after she died. Egbert is now charged with assisting suicide and interference with a dead body. Minnesota law prohibits assisted suicide under Minnesota Statutes section 609.215, subdivision 1.

"Assisted suicide is not legal in Minnesota," said Fischbach. "Our law protects patients who are vulnerable, depressed, sick or disabled. No one should be excluded from our protection and care."

The Final Exit case was put on hold until a related assisted suicide case was resolved last fall. It was then sent back to the trial court, which held a hearing on Dec. 8. The trial will take place later this year.

Newsweek has called Egbert the "New Doctor Death," following in the footsteps of the late Jack Kevorkian, the notorious pathologist who assisted 130 people in killing themselves during the 1990s and spent years in prison for murder. None of Egbert's six suicide victims in Maryland were terminally ill, according to the Maryland Board of Physicians, and one victim appeared to be merely depressed. The board determined that Egbert's actions were illegal and violated the American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics, which strongly condemns assisted suicide.

In a 2012 interview with the Washington Post, Egbert described how his helium suicide contraption works. "[The people committing suicide] turn blue or bluish — we can say gray," Egbert said. "After they're unconscious, their muscles start twitching. That's very upsetting to relatives. Some think they're trying to wrench the bag off."

"Patients need our support and care," Fischbach responded. "They need to know that their lives matter. They do not need a so-called doctor to guide them in taking their own lives."