Thursday, April 7, 2016

MCCL backs effort to ban dismemberment abortions

The following news release was issued on April 7.

ST. PAUL — An initiative aimed at ending a particularly gruesome method of abortion was introduced today in the Minnesota Legislature. The bill to ban dismemberment abortions has the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization.

H.F. 3849 is authored by Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley; S.F. 3487 is authored by Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point. The legislation, which has bi-partisan support in both chambers, would ban dismemberment abortions in the state.

Polling indicates that the majority of Americans oppose second-trimester abortion, including many who support abortion in general. Three states—Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia—have made the dismemberment procedure illegal, and the governor of Mississippi is expected to sign a ban on the procedure into law next week.

"All abortions destroy the life of a developing human being, but dismemberment is outrageously cruel and needs to be stopped," said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau.

In a dismemberment abortion, forceps with sharp metal jaws are used to grasp legs, arms and other parts of the developing baby in the womb, which are then twisted and torn away. This continues until the child's entire body is removed from the womb. Because the baby's skull has often hardened to bone by this time, the skull must sometimes be compressed or crushed to facilitate removal. Risks include incomplete abortion, cervical laceration and hemorrhage requiring hospitalization.

Dismemberment is the most common second-trimester abortion method and is used to abort unborn children as old as 24 weeks. Dismemberment is a type of dilation and evacuation or D & E abortion; 704 D & E abortions took place in Minnesota in 2014 (see Table 14), according to the Minnesota Department of Health. A medical illustration of the dismemberment procedure is available on the MCCL website.

"Halting this inhumane practice is something that most Minnesotans can agree on," Rau added. "It's time to end dismemberment abortions in our state."

Letter to the editor: The facts about assisted suicide

The following MCCL letter to the editor ran on April 1 in the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. It was written in response to a column touting the bill to legalize assisted suicide in Minnesota.

Forum columnist Mike McFeely dismissively claims that opposition to assisted suicide in Minnesota "appears twofold"—the Catholic Church and Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life ("We should be able to die with dignity," March 20). Not true. Not even close. The opposition is broad and well-grounded.

During the March 16 committee hearing for Sen. Chris Eaton's bill to legalize assisted suicide—which she withdrew after it became clear that it would not pass—17 people testified against it. They included doctors, nurses, disability rights advocates, professors, attorneys, and people with grave illnesses (contrary to McFeely's suggestion, no officials from the Catholic Church spoke).

Indeed, opposition to assisted suicide brings together liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, the secular and the religious. It unites the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

These groups object to assisted suicide for good reason. The dangers are numerous. Eaton's bill, for example, provides no safeguards whatsoever once the lethal drug has been dispensed—no witness is required at the death. Nor does it require psychiatric evaluation before patients receive the lethal prescription. And, given the bill's loose definition of "terminal illness" and the difficulty of making an accurate prognosis, legalizing assisted suicide would lead to the killing of patients who have years left to live.

Under Oregon's assisted suicide law, which McFeely touts as a model, depressed patients have received lethal prescriptions. Patients who went on to live for years (far beyond the required six-month prognosis) have received lethal prescriptions. Some Medicaid patients have been denied expensive treatment and offered life-ending drugs instead. And the annual number of assisted suicides has consistently risen—as has the regular (non-assisted) suicide rate.

These are not what McFeely calls the "fears" of "irrational opponents." They are established facts, many supplied by Oregon's own reports. Minnesotans should continue to reject assisted suicide.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Tax-funded abortions spike to highest-ever percentage in MN

The following news release was issued on April 4, 2016.

ST. PAUL — After 19 years of taxpayer-funded abortions, Minnesotans are paying for 39 percent of all abortions performed in the state. Taxpayers have funded more than 73,000 abortions at a cost of $22.5 million, according to a just-released report from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). Taxpayer-funded abortions numbered almost 4,000 in Minnesota in 2014; nearly all of those abortions were elective.

Taxpayers are forced to fund abortions due to a successful 1995 challenge to Minnesota's law which prohibited funding of most abortions. Since then, abortion advocates have steadily marketed taxpayer-funded abortions to low-income women. Taxpayers now pay for 39 percent of all abortions (up from 34.2 percent in 2013), the highest percentage ever.

"Aggressive promotion of abortion to economically vulnerable women is enriching the state’s abortion industry," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "It is time to end this exploitation of low-income women and their unborn children."

Minnesota taxpayers have been required to fund elective abortions since the Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez ruling. In that decision, the Court created a state "right" to abortion on demand and obligated all taxpayers to fund abortions, including purely elective procedures.

Since the Doe v. Gomez ruling, taxpayers have paid $22,507,205 for a total of 73,171 abortion procedure claims. Taxpayers' 2014 portion (the latest available) was $953,187 for 3,957 abortions. Prior to the court decision, taxpayers were charged about $7,000 per year for about two dozen abortions in cases of rape and incest and to save the life of the mother.

Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funded abortion claims rose 40 percent in 2014, after rising 45 percent in 2012 and 2013. Planned Parenthood increased its revenues from taxpayer funded abortions in 2014 by 39 percent to $410,713; it filed claims for 1,801 abortions, which represented 45 percent of the claims that year.

Whole Woman's Health, which purchased and merged two abortion facilities in Minneapolis, filed 1,081 abortion claims, the second most. The abortion business has paid several large fines for breaking the law in Texas. Legislation currently before Minnesota lawmakers (S.F. 616, H.F. 606) would require the state’s five surgical abortion facilities to be licensed and inspected by the Department of Health as outpatient surgical centers. None is licensed or inspected by the state.

"Polls continue to show that most Minnesotans and most Americans are opposed to taxpayer funded abortions, yet they continue to be forced to pay for them," Fischbach said.

MCCL helped to pass a ban on taxpayer funded abortion during the 2011 legislative session; it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. Similar legislation (S.F. 683, H.F. 607) was introduced last year in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives. The measure would end the forced funding by taxpayers of this mistreatment of poor women and the killing of unborn children.