Abortion will be an issue in the upcoming election, declared the Star Tribune’s editorial board in “Women health at stake in 2014” (July 19). That’s true — just as it has been over more than 40 years of election cycles.
But that’s about where the truth within the editorial ends. The editors claim that abortion is “essential” to women’s health care. But pregnancy is not a disease, and abortion is not health care; it ends the life of a developing human being in the womb.
Minnesota is not an abortion “island” in the Midwest. Our parental involvement law has been in place for more than 20 years, and has been a significant factor in the state’s low teen abortion rate. This legislation has continued to serve as a model for nearly all of the parental involvement laws now in existence around the country.
More recently, Minnesota designed the Positive Alternatives grant program, which provides competitive grants to life-affirming programs that offer support to pregnant and newly parenting mothers in need. When Minnesota’s legislation was written, only one other state had any kind of grant program dedicated to these organizations.
When Minnesota began its attempt to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits abortion at the point that the unborn child feels pain (approximately 20 weeks after fertilization), only one state had so far passed similar legislation. Although Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the bill, the weight of public opinion is decidedly in favor of it. A Polling Company survey in March found that 64 percent of Americans support banning the abortions of pain-capable unborn children. Similarly, a Gallup poll in January determined that 64 percent think abortion should be illegal in the second trimester of pregnancy, and 80 percent think it should be illegal in the third.
Many states now making headlines through passage of prolife legislation are passing variants of these laws that Minnesota already has in effect. We continue to believe that these laws are significantly helping the downward trend in abortion that Minnesota has seen over the last several years. Minnesota currently has its lowest number of abortions, and the lowest abortion rate, since 1975. Numbers would be even lower had Dayton not vetoed numerous common-sense, protective measures. Prolife laws educate, inform, protect and save lives.
Scott Fischbach is executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.