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Casting for limits on abortion rights, Chuck Chalberg nets a school of red herrings ("On abortion, DFLers keep promises they never made," Opinion Exchange, Jan. 25).
Chalberg waves off state-mandated waiting periods prior to abortion, or required ultrasounds or counseling sessions, as "inconveniences." A carefully worded 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report observes, rather, that "these requirements go beyond the accepted standards of care in the absence of evidence that they improve safety."
Chalberg declares oceans of concern for abortions in which infants survive. As Minnesota's 2015 "Born Alive Infant Protection Act" requires reporting any infant born alive after an induced abortion, the 2018 Minnesota Department of Health report to the Legislature ("Induced Abortions in Minnesota January-December 2017") identified exactly three "born alive" abortions (of 10,177 total), in none of which the infants survived. By the numbers, that means 0.03% (1 in 3,372) of abortions resulted in live birth, with 0% of them surviving.
Finally, Chalberg froths that Democrats will arbitrarily prohibit local government from enforcing abortion restrictions beyond state law. Well, actually, that's how state law works. The Minnesota House Research November 2019 report on state-local relations notes that "all local governmental units are 'creatures of the state' and subject to state law." The report further states that "local units of government do not have recourse to the federal constitution in order to resist state legislative interference or control."
Chalberg's line on women's abortion rights hooks nothing of substance. Chalberg's yarn is, ultimately, just another fish tale.
Peter Hill, Minnetonka
Last week, the DFL celebrated the passage of HF 1, the so-called bill to ensure reproductive rights. This bill is an abhorrent and egregious example of what is allowed to happen when a society turns its back on God. A bill that would allow the murdering of the most vulnerable of lives up until the moment of birth has no place in Minnesota. A law that would allow girls as young as 13 to get abortions without parental consent or involvement shows a disturbing lack of compassion for women and reproductive health.
As a registered nurse for almost 20 years, I have seen the devastation that abortion brings into the lives of those who have decided impulsively to terminate their pregnancy and lived to regret that decision. A state that willingly allows, and condones, the killing of unborn children up until the moment of birth is a state that welcomes evil into its midst. The added misery caused by partial-birth abortions, which would be legal with the passing of this bill into law, is unspeakable and a reflection of how broken down our society has become.
The fact that this passage in the House is celebrated and glorified in the media illustrates just how far we have fallen into depravity. God has given human beings a spark of the divine with the ability to create life, and any society that rushes to eradicate this wonderful gift is a society that has lost its way. I urge anyone who treasures the value of all human life to reach out to your representatives and let your voice be heard.
Gentle Halstenson, Henderson, Minn.
Chalberg, in a grand flourish of snark, thinks he has caught the DFL in an outrageous lie about its position on abortion. It's all very vague, but his sarcasm is apparently aimed at pending legislation that will ensure that women have full autonomy to make decisions about their own reproductive care. I guess he thinks the DFL had somehow promised to do something else — like incorporate all the nickels and dimes that the forced-birth lobby has managed to insert in Minnesota law over the years, to make abortion as difficult as possible within the confines of Roe. Now, he implies that removing those restrictions is "extreme," and even worse, a betrayal of the voters.
Chalberg's essay is entirely free of evidence — that anyone with a brain actually believed explicitly pro-choice candidates would retain restrictions on choice that have always been illegitimate, being motivated by religious doctrine rather than medical science. It's also free of evidence about the reality of abortions, suggesting that late-term abortions are common and particularly offensive. In fact, nearly all abortions occur before 10 weeks, when the fetal tissue is barely visible to the naked eye (as evidenced by photos recently published in the New York Times by doctors who have grown impatient with all the talk about murdered "babies").
For contrast, listen to speakers at the recent "March for Life" in Washington, D.C., marching onward to outlaw all abortions, everywhere. What's the word? Oh yes — extreme.
Stephen Bubul, Minneapolis
As the nation mourns yet another mass shooting in California, a bill before the Minnesota Legislature enshrines a woman's right to an abortion with no limitations. As Democrats argue passionately for increased gun control they simultaneously demand a woman's right to an abortion at all nine months of pregnancy.
A society that devalues life at its earliest stage will not respect it at later stages. If a woman can walk into an abortion clinic and freely take the life of a viable fetus at eight months of pregnancy, why should we be shocked when a man walks into a classroom and starts shooting innocent children? When an entire political party labels infanticide "reproductive health care" there are going to be social consequences, namely, a widespread disregard for human life.
Recall the horrific mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Law enforcement cowered while parents rightly demanded that the authorities with guns act: that good men actually do something while an evil man acted. Now in Minnesota, a leader in health care technology, we are presented with a bill that allows a woman to legally take the life of her child right up to the moment of birth. Unlike the authorities in Texas, this time good people must act.
The radical political left has it all wrong. In an age of underfunded police and criminals who roam freely due to cash-free bail laws, we need to strengthen the right of free people to protect themselves. It is no time to erode constitutional rights to guard our neighborhoods and homes.
And in an age where advanced medicine allows for saving infants at earlier and earlier periods of gestation, we need to protect innocent life, not join the ranks of North Korea and China by legalizing infanticide.
Cain Pence, Minneapolis
At first I did not understand where the good professor was going with his column "On abortion, DFLers keep promises they never made," about DFL extremism and abortion. I always cringe a little when men weigh in on abortion, as these are not our reproductive rights being challenged. That is not to say men can't weigh in. However, the extreme position of the commercials Chalberg not-so-cleverly referenced made me wish he had stayed on the sidelines.
Sarcastic humor and finger-pointing to whose perspective is more extreme is not going to help move the ball down the field when the issue truly needs understanding, empathy, love and compassion.
Rick Brausen, Hopkins
Other crises can wait, apparently
We cannot talk about Social Security, we cannot hold meaningful discussions on fixing our debt and deficit problems and we cannot fund our schools correctly, but I am so glad we can work on the Taylor Swift tour ticket issue ("Taking on Ticketmaster's showstopper fees," Jan. 25). This is in the U.S. Senate. Our senior senator, whom I adore, should truly be ashamed for this clear pandering, softball issue getting press and hearing time. Rome burns and on this one, Amy fiddles. No tickets required.
Mark A. Ronnei, Pequot Lakes, Minn.