Open Letter to the Illinois General Assembly
May 24th, 2018

On September 28, 2017, Governor Rauner signed into law House Bill 40, which authorizes the use of taxpayer funds for abortions through Medicaid and state employee health insurance. This new mandate is not eligible for reimbursement by the federal government, putting the entire cost on Illinois taxpayers.

House Bill 40 did not contain an appropriation; therefore, funding for elective abortions will come out of state Medicaid and health insurance funding.

No one knows how many more abortions there will be due to House Bill 40, but no matter the number, the principle is the same: our state tax dollars should not go to pay for abortion. You have the opportunity to ensure that no taxpayer money is used to end the life of any unborn child.

We are asking all members of the Illinois General Assembly to refuse to provide the means for House Bill 40 to accomplish its deadly consequences by including language in annual appropriations denying the use of tax dollars for elective abortions.

Due to our less-restrictive laws, in 2016 there was a 40 percent increase in the number of people coming to Illinois from out-of-state to undergo an abortion, forcing Illinois taxpayers not only to pay for abortions of Illinois citizens but of those from out-of-state. House Bill 40 will accelerate this trend.

Please work with us to protect taxpayers and unborn children.
Robert Gilligan, Executive Director
Catholic Conference of Illinois

Dawn Behnke, President
Illinois Federation For Right to Life

Eric Scheidler, Executive Director
Pro-Life Action League

Mary Kate Knorr, Executive Director
Ralph Rivera, Legislative Chairman
Illinois Right to Life Action

Bonnie Quirke, President
Lake County Right to Life

November 11, 2010

Minnesota Judge Refuses to Dismiss Case against Online Suicide Predator

     Carlton University student Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario

A Minnesota judge has rejected a request to dismiss two felony charges against suicide predator William Melchert-Dinkel on Tuesday, preparing the way for the case to go to trial – a decision that a prominent anti-euthanasia activist has welcomed as a sign that "sanity is prevailing."

Melchert-Dinkel, 48, a former Minnesota nurse who admitted to participating in online chats with 15 to 20 people about suicide, and entering into fake suicide pacts with about 10 people, was charged in April with two counts of aiding suicide in the 2005 hanging death of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Conventry, England, and the 2008 drowning of Carlton University student Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario.

Kajouji jumped into the freezing Rideau River in early March 2008. It was later revealed that she had been in conversation in an internet chat group with Melchert-Dinkel, who had been posing as a teenage girl. The man had allegedly urged Kajouji to hang herself in front of a webcam so others could watch and promised he would die with her.

In October, Melchert-Dinkel's defense attorney, Terry Watkins, filed written arguments with the court that sought to have the two charges dropped on free speech grounds.

In the document, Watkins argued that the online communications Melchert-Dinkel used when providing suicide advice was a form of constitutionally protected speech, and that the Minnesota statute criminalizing speech assisting suicide is unconstitutionally vague.

In his decision, Judge Neuville said that the protection of free speech does not extend to online speech that encourages activities that are defined as criminal offenses by state statute.

Minnesota State Statute states that, "Whoever intentionally advises, encourages or assists another in taking the other's own life may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 15 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $30,000, or both."

"It is unquestioned that the state has a compelling interest to protect and preserve life. Prohibiting persons from advising, encouraging, or aiding others to take their own life furthers the State's interest in protecting and preserving life," Judge Neuville wrote.

"[The statute] does not prevent people from expressing opinions or discussing suicide. Rather, the statute only criminalizes a narrow and precise type of speech, i.e., speech that intentionally and directly advises, encourages, or aids a specific person to end their own life. Thus, speech that directly encourages and imminently incites the act of suicide ... falls outside the protection of the First Amendment."

In response to Watkins' argument that the Minnesota statute criminalizing speech assisting suicide is unconstitutionally vague, Judge Neuville wrote that the statute "is definitive enough to allow an ordinary person to know what conduct it prohibits ... and it is not written in a way that encourages discriminatory enforcement. Therefore, the Court finds that [the statute] is not unconstitutionally vague according to the Constitutions of Minnesota and the United States."

Alex Schadenberg, the chairman of the euthanasia prevention coalition, said that, "William Melchert-Dinkel should be prosecuted and sentenced as if he were sitting with Nadia Kajouji and encouraging or counseling her to commit suicide," and welcomed the judge's ruling as a sign that "sanity is prevailing."

Schadenberg observed that Melchert-Dinkel "is not the only one who is perpetrating these crimes for their own sick gains upon depressed and vulnerable people," and said that the law must deal with internet suicide predators.

"Melchert-Dinkel committed a heinous crime when he took advantage of Kajouji, a depressed first year student at Carlton University, and convinced her that suicide was the best course of action.

"It is the same as pushing a person off a cliff," Schadenberg stated.

Melchert-Dinkel has entered a preliminary plea of not guilty and requested a jury trial. The next court hearing is set for November 19.

Contact: Thaddeus M. Baklinski

Publish Date: November 10, 2010