Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May issue of MCCL News: Session outcome, Final Exit verdict, and more

The May 2015 issue of MCCL News is now available online. It includes coverage of the state legislative session, the recent Final Exit assisted suicide court case, upcoming MCCL events, and much more.

MCCL News online is only available to registered NetCommunity members who are also current donors. Be sure to keep your membership current by making at least an annual donation to MCCL.

Thanks for your ongoing support!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Senate rejects abortion facility licensing; protective legislation falters

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

ST. PAUL — Legislation to require licensing and inspections of abortion facilities failed to become law as the 2015 legislative session ended this week. The effort to ensure the safety of women entering abortion facilities was strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).

Authored by Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, and Rep. Debra Kiel, R-Crookston, the initiative to safeguard the health of women entering abortion centers (originally S.F. 616, H.F. 606) would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed by the state commissioner of health. It would also authorize inspections of abortion facilities (up to two inspections per year), with no prior notice required.

"Abortion centers perform invasive, outpatient surgery," said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau. "It makes no sense that these surgical centers should be excluded from the health and safety standards that apply to other outpatient surgical centers. This bill is necessary for us to ensure that the very unsafe conditions uncovered in other states never happen in Minnesota."

Abortion centers in Minnesota currently are neither licensed nor inspected by any state agency—even though dangerous conditions and unscrupulous abortionists have been discovered in numerous other states. Filthy conditions and unqualified staff have led to women being dangerously overmedicated, treated with unsanitary equipment and worse. A few women have even died.

The language to require licensing and inspections of abortion facilities was added to the Minnesota House of Representatives Health and Human Services omnibus bill on a bipartisan vote of 76-57 after being approved in several committees. The Senate did not even allow a hearing on the bill. An effort to include it in the Senate HHS omnibus bill was rejected in a floor vote of 29-32.

"The state licenses tattoo parlors, cosmetology salons and even dog and cat breeders—but not abortion facilities," Rau added. "It is time for this special exemption for abortion to end so that the state can ensure a degree of basic safety for women."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WHO report mistakenly links maternal mortality to abortion laws

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new report concerning the global problem of maternal mortality. MCCL GO issued feedback on the draft version when it was being discussed. The final document correctly notes that while maternal mortality ratios (MMRs) have declined, this issue "remains an unfinished agenda and one of the world’s most critical challenges."

Unfortunately, however, WHO states in its report that "treaty monitoring bodies have ... linked elevated rates of maternal mortality to ... restrictive abortion laws [and] unsafe or illegal abortion." But WHO cites only old, and flawed, country reviews. The truth is that maternal mortality depends on the quality of maternal health care, not the legal status of abortion. Some countries prohibit abortion and have very low MMRs; others permit abortion and have very high MMRs. Legalizing abortion is demonstrably unnecessary to improve maternal health and save women's lives.

WHO also asserts that maternal deaths from abortion "are likely to be underreported or misclassified" and have recently "increased significantly in sub-Saharan Africa." The problem, however, is that we lack accurate data about the number of lives lost to abortion. As the WHO report acknowledges, "Only an estimated one third of countries have the capacity to count or register maternal deaths." That's why "estimation is necessary to infer MMRs in many countries where little or no data are available." Such estimates have too often proved inflated and unreliable.

No one knows exactly how many unborn children and mothers die from abortion worldwide each year. But we do know that providing adequate care—before, during and after childbirth—and establishing a robust and accessible health care system can prevent maternal deaths. That's how lives are saved.

Abortion doesn't save anyone. WHO has elsewhere acknowledged that legalizing abortion doesn't suddenly make it safe. Abortion poses inherent risks to women. The safest abortion in the world is the one that is never performed.

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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dakota Co. jury finds Final Exit Network guilty of violating Minnesota law against assisting suicide

The following statement may be attributed to Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL):

Today's jury conviction of Final Exit Network sends a very clear message that assisting suicide in our state is illegal. We commend Dakota Co. District Attorney James Backstrom and his counsel for having the courage to bring this suit against Final Exit Network. Final Exit Network purposely came into our state, broke our law and assisted in a suicide of a vulnerable person who needed care, not suicide.

Our law protecting Minnesotans from suicide predators like Final Exit Network and other assisted suicide advocates has been in place since 1992 and has served all of us well.

Two bills are currently before the Minnesota Legislature that would endanger us all with legalized assisted suicide. S.F. 1880 and H.F. 2095 can lead to:

  • Abuse: Abuse of people with disabilities, and elder abuse. An heir or abusive caregiver may steer someone toward assisted suicide, witness the request, pick up the lethal dose, and even give the drug.
  • Mistakes: Diagnoses of terminal illness are too often wrong, leading people to give up on treatment and lose good years of their lives.
  • Carelessness: People with a history of depression and suicide attempts have received the lethal drugs.
  • Contagion: Assisted suicide is a contagion and can increase suicide rates for all populations.
  • PTSD: Stress disorder rates increase for family and friends who participate in a suicide.

The jury conviction of Final Exit Network is another step in the right direction to protect those who could become victims of assisted suicide in Minnesota.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Publicity over assisted suicide corresponds to spikes in monthly Oregon data

Media campaign by advocacy group likely resulted in suicide contagion

MINNEAPOLIS — The publicity campaign surrounding one young woman's decision to die by assisted suicide in Oregon correlates closely with a significant increase in assisted suicides and requests for lethal drugs in that state, an indication of suicide contagion. A white paper analysis of suicide contagion and Oregon assisted suicide statistics was released today by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).

Assisted suicide advocacy group Compassion & Choices (the former Hemlock Society), the nation's leading advocate and facilitator of assisted suicide, used Brittany Maynard's intention to end her life by assisted suicide to launch a massive public relations campaign. Compassion & Choices aggressively promoted the story, which ended up on the cover of People magazine and received extensive coverage by CNN and many other media outlets. In the process, Compassion & Choices and its media allies violated nearly every suicide prevention media guideline, including those strongly recommended by the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Mental Health.

"Compassion & Choices' sensationalizing of this woman's assisted suicide obviously benefited the organization with massive donations, but it was a disaster in terms of suicide contagion," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "The collateral damage Compassion & Choices caused by its exploitation of Maynard's story was tragic and entirely avoidable."

As the MCCL white paper explains, suicide contagion occurs when one or more suicides contribute to additional suicides. The number of deaths from assisted suicide in Oregon was 37.1 percent higher in October than the 2014 average. The death total then spiked in November, following Maynard's own death on Nov. 1, rising 71.4 percent above the 2014 average. The number of assisted suicide deaths in November 2014 was higher than that of any other month in at least the last five years.

The white paper places the Oregon figures in the broader context of media reporting and contagion. More than 50 studies worldwide have found that suicides increase with certain types of news coverage. Evidence indicates that the promotion, publicity and legalization of assisted suicide also likely have a contagion effect.

"The impact of the Compassion & Choices media blitz is indefensible," Fischbach added. "Its reckless promotion of assisted suicide has served as encouragement to depressed, vulnerable people to end their lives. These people need hope and help, not a push into assisted suicide."