Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Trump Administration, year 1

It's been nearly a year since the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. What has the president's record been on prolife issues so far?

Supreme Court and other court appointments
President Trump nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. Justice Gorsuch's record indicates he will follow the U.S. Constitution as written, rather than accepting an invented, unwritten right to abortion in the Constitution. President Trump has worked closely with prolife leaders in the Senate to fill vacancies in other federal courts with nominees who also have records of fairness and honesty.

Conscience protection
The Trump administration has taken action to protect the moral and religious rights of conscience so that medical professionals, religious institutions and employers may not be forced to participate in abortion. This includes expanding exceptions to organizations under the Obamacare HHS Mandate, which required coverage of drugs that may cause abortions.

Mexico City Policy
President Trump restored the Mexico City Policy, preventing tax dollars from being given to organizations that perform or promote abortion overseas. The policy was later expanded to include a broader range of health-related foreign aid program.

United Nations Population Fund
The Trump administration cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund due to that agency’s involvement in China’s two-child policy, which involves forced abortions and forced sterilizations.

Title X
In 2016, the Obama Administration issued a regulation to prevent states from withholding Title X family planning funds from organizations like Planned Parenthood that perform abortions. President Trump signed into law H. J. Res 43 to restore authority to the states to direct Title X funds to providers they deem suitable.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

BB ad to air again in Michigan

Starting tomorrow the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund radio ad, "War on the Unborn," will air throughout Michigan. The ads will continue to run through the annual memorial of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton on January 22.

The ad is popularly known as the "BB ad." Audio in the ad comes from this popular YouTube video by Peter Heck. Peter uses just BBs and a tin can to put the high cost of abortion in context.

For more information about the numbers used in this ad, read our factsheet on the topic.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The tip of the iceberg of organ trafficking

The oft-repeated narrative regarding the undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in the tissue of aborted babies is that the issue is entirely made-up—“fake news” via “heavily-edited videos.”

This narrative was aided when investigations in several states turned up no legal charges. These were states where Planned Parenthood wasn’t involved in organ harvesting or pro-abortion officials were the investigators. Recent events have undermined this narrative, however, showing we’ve barely seen the tip of the iceberg of this macabre trade in human corpses.

On December 7, news broke that the Department of Justice is investigating Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Given the evidence Congress compiled over many months—and the plain statements from Planned Parenthood leaders caught on camera—we believe there is not just smoke there, but true fire.

Another story broke two days later out of California, where officials are forcing two connected biotechnology companies to shut down for breaking laws banning fetal organ harvesting. The evidence used in the conviction came directly from David Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress’ undercover investigation. Those videos are more properly called “evidence” than “heavily edited.”

Two days after that, yet another story broke, this time in New Mexico. It was announced that the FBI is investigating the University of New Mexico and an infamous late-term abortion clinic in Albuquerque for their fetal organ harvesting. Now we have learned that one of the researchers at the center of this trafficking case was sending body parts to a man in Michigan.

Then at the end of December, Reuters released an exclusive story regarding a 2013 raid on a “body broker” Detroit, Arthur Rathburn. Rathburn’s business was buying corpses, chopping them up with chainsaws, and selling them to medical conferences. During the raid four unborn babies were discovered by the FBI in his warehouse.

There is no evidence yet showing where Rathburn obtained these babies, or if they were aborted or stillborn.

Rathburn’s trial is now underway; he stands accused of 10 federal counts. Reuters has been pursuing Rathburn’s case as one of several in a seven-part series on the body broker industry. The parallels between the body broker industry (Rathburn’s case in particular) and the abortion industry are eerie, especially when it comes to a lack of regulatory oversight.

Where will these stories lead? We’re not sure, but they deserve more public scrutiny than they’ve received so far. Much, much more.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Babies missing from Rathburn trial

Arthur Rathburn's trial is underway in federal court in Detroit. The "body broker" is alleged to have knowingly sold a cadaver infected with HIV and Hepatitis to a medical conference, where attendees would have used the body for a cadaver lab.

Rathburn is facing 10 counts related to his business of buying and selling corpses. Part of this story is the fact that the bodies of unborn babies were discovered in his disheveled facility in a raid in 2013. So far, they have gone unmentioned.

Thursday, January 4, was the first day of his trial, including opening statements and testimony from two witnesses. The first witness was an FBI agent who managed the search of Rathburn's facility, including the finding of the unborn babies. Prosecutors detailed the macabre results of the search, including bizarre storage methods. For example, severed human heads were all packed together in ice, touching each other. Talking about the unborn babies (stored in a bin with human brain tissue) would have been a perfect example of his shoddy practices, and for a moment it seemed like they might be mentioned, but they remained conspicuously absent.

Why? A theory would be that the photo was disallowed by Judge Paul D. Borman. A day after Reuters leaked photos of the unborn babies, there was a closed hearing in the case to suppress evidence. Where those photos of the babies the subject of that hearing, or part of the hearing?

It may be the case that the babies were stillborn and obtained through legal means, and the only purpose for including them in the trial would be the photos showing his storage methods. Or, it may be the case that Rathburn illegal obtained the babies from an abortion clinic. Federal prosecutors then would have ignored the violation, didn't have enough evidence to convict him, or focused on other easier aspects of his case. Absent critical evidence, we don't know yet.

One disturbing aspect is that most of Rathburn's clients were medical conferences, where attendees would use body parts for cadaver labs. What sort of medical association purchases unborn children to dissect in hotel ballrooms and conference centers?

Any prolifer attending the trial would see a lot of eerie similarities between Rathburn's business and the abortion industry, particularly Kermit Gosnell:

  • Rathburn outwardly appears to be a nondescript business man.
  • His wife was a critical part of his business, and will testify against him.
  • There was little regulatory oversight of his work.
  • There was a gross disregard for human life and sloppy medical practices; many of the body parts strewn across his facility showed ragged cuts on them, undoubtedly made by the chain saws and other shop tools found in his facility.
  • Body parts were found in food containers, even in the fridge next to sandwiches.
  • A defense attorney excused the state of his facility as the nature of the business, and portrayed Rathburn himself as someone just willing to help people.
  • Dog bowls were found in Rathburn's facility, implying he kept pets in his facility, just as Gosnell had cats wandering around his abortion clinic.
  • Gosnell kept pet turtles in his facility, dead turtles were found in Rathburn's facility.

We'll continue to cover this story and hope to get to the bottom of the unborn babies after the trial concludes. The trial is expected to run a few weeks.

Monday, January 8, 2018

New adoption ad campaign in Michigan

Today two Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund television ads are debuting across the state. The ads focus on adoption. A third ad was also produced, as well as a four-minute short film weaving the three stories together. The campaign's purpose is to encourage adoption as a positive, life-giving, and often life-completing option for unplanned pregnancies.

Watch them below and share them!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Planned Politics: Planned Parenthood released their latest annual report

Over the holidays Planned Parenthood released their 2016-2017 annual report. The report did not feature many big changes from the previous year, except for two things: they had much more donations come in, and they spent many of those dollars on politics.

Having read many Planned Parenthood reports over the years, the tone of this year's report continues a noticeable shift from those a decade prior or more. Previous reports naturally included sections dedicated to legislative battles over abortion, but this year's report has a much darker tone while featuring politics more prominently.

First, let's quickly detail Planned Parenthood's reported services. They reported 2.4 million clients in 2016, no change from the previous year. The number of abortions they performed dropped slightly from 328,348 to 321,384. That means 13 percent of their clients received abortions.

There were small increases in their sexually-transmitted infection testing, which is the only service besides abortion that Planned Parenthood has expanded in recent years. Their contraceptive services decreased again, serving 82,000 fewer women. Several other health screenings, treatments, and other services had small declines. Their reported services continue to be less than detailed, enabling them to fudge numbers as necessary to continue claiming that abortion is only 3 percent of their services.

Their revenue from medical services and tax monies didn't change significantly, but they did receive nearly $87 million more in private donations than the previous year. Their annual revenue is quickly approaching $1.5 billion. Where do these additional fund get spent?

It's clearly not spent on helping more people. Every year Planned Parenthood's health services continue a pattern of decline, including the number of clients they serve overall. In their 2006-2007 annual report, they claimed $1 billion in revenue and 3.1 million clients served. Now they report a nearly 50 percent increase in income while serving 700,000 fewer people

That money is being invested in continuing the transformation of Planned Parenthood from a birth control to a political empire. This empire serves to expand abortion, protect their spigot of tax dollars, and to insert itself into every facet of American life.

Their national staff has become top-heavy. In 2006-2007, they reported 14 senior management members. In 2016-2017, they report 26 senior management members, despite being a significantly smaller organization in terms of clients served, and after their affiliates across the country underwent reorganizations and consolidation in recent years, closing dozens of clinics. What are these extra senior leaders focusing on with fewer clients and fewer affiliates to manage?

They increased their "medical services" expenses by $23 million from the previous year (without any increase in clients), but increased their management expenses by $20 million. They spent $2 million more on sexual education. All of the rest is hard to track, because they changed the names of items in their report, for example, "increase access" has become "promote health equity," whatever those terms mean. All of those vague terms allude to politics, policy and advocacy, and they increased from $193 million in the previous year to $231 million in total expenses. That's $38 million in additional investments. Add it all up, and only a quarter of their new funding is actually being spent on the patients they claim to serve.

That's not to mention their "profit" in the most recent annual report of nearly $100 million. Nonprofits can not profit by law, so "excess of revenue over expenses" has to be spent on something. Planned Parenthood is spending the bulk of it on lining the pockets of their leadership in the form of salaries and increasing their political influence.

Their annual report details some of this increasing focus on "movement building." Planned Parenthood has explicitly embraced the concept of intersectionality, explaining, "that's why Planned Parenthood worked with leaders in the racial justice, immigrant rights, and economic justice movements to highlight the intersection between these issues..." Intersectionality is a left-wing theory that says every issue in politics and society are linked together, and that anyone who considers themselves progressive must engage on every single one of these issues. So, the theory holds that if you support animal rights or pay equity, but not abortion, you are a still just a tool of the oppressors.

The benefits of this to Planned Parenthood should be obvious. Abortion has always been a strange fit for progressives. After all, what is abortion but violent oppression by the powerful over the most innocent of all? Abortion literally draws a line through the human race and declares everyone over the line to be unpersons to disposed of or used at will, even sold for profit.

Planned Parenthood takes time in their annual report to denounce white supremacy. It shows a lack of self-awareness on their part, especially given Planned Parenthood is specifically embracing their 100 years of history in this report. Planned Parenthood used to be led by the vice president of the American Eugenics Society. Their founder, Margaret Sanger, once gave a speech to the white supremacists of Ku Klux Klan, and allowed white supremacists to publish racial eugenic ideas in her journal. Black abortion rates are appallingly high. How can an organization that has done so much harm over a century convince themselves they are in the vanguard of the civil rights movement?

Intersectionality allows Planned Parenthood to put a moral claim on the efforts of everyone who considers themselves a progressive, even though many progressives would be honestly horrified to read Planned Parenthood's 100 years of history. It's also a trendy concept, especially on college campuses. Planned Parenthood has taken to heart the advice from former president of NARAL Nancy Keenan that the pro-abortion youth are not stepping up like prolife youth are. Included in this turn to politics are appeals in their annual report to popular industries that reach youth like entertainment, technology, and fashion. If Planned Parenthood can't raise new leaders, they will co-opt them.

Even though their strategy makes some sense, it is still bizarre to see the leader of the abortion industry take to social media to advocate for gun policies or immigration policies. What does the corporate tax rate have to do with abortion? Why is the founder of the birth control movement spending time weighing in on regulatory policy in the field of telecommunications?

This strategy has some large drawbacks. The prolife movement from the beginning decided to focus on our identified issues, and our issues only. Though people are becoming more tribal in their political views, there is still significant overlap between people of differing views or voting patterns. It's easier to persuade people to a position and join your organization when they don't have to accept a ton of other political baggage.

This is also why many prolife pregnancy centers have no direct affiliation with prolife advocacy organizations. Organizations dedicated to actually helping people should focus on that mission; anything else takes away from that mission. How strange would it be if your local pregnancy help center started arguing with you about your lack of outrage over Congress re-approving the federal Export-Import Bank?

All of this leads us to a key question: why should a nakedly political organization like Planned Parenthood receive a third of their budget from taxpayers? Could you imagine the National Rifle Association or the Sierra Club being given $500 million tax dollars every year? Imagine the outrage from either side. How about Right to Life of Michigan?

Planned Parenthood is not just caught up in the polarization of American politics, they are helping to lead the charge. Only time will tell what the result may be, but so far it's certainly not providing more tangible help to the women Planned Parenthood claims to be dedicated to serving.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

5 days left to double your donation!

Five days, $10,000 to go!

Generous support is allowing us to give you an opportunity to double the impact of your tax-deductible donations to the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund for the rest of 2017.

Our goal is $50,000, and we're still $10,000 short with less than a week to go.

Without your support, our work would go undone. This blog would be empty. So would our website and social media accounts. Our TV ads would be seen by no one. Nobody would be here to research the information you rely on to be informed and engaged in our work to save lives. There are many ways the Educational Fund reaches people, but all of them rely on generous gifts from prolife people.

Will you help us cross the finish line? Please donate now.


Will investigators ignore babies discovered in Detroit body broker warehouse?

Deceptive informed consent documents. Crudely chopped-up body parts. Excuses about "fees" when confronted about organ and tissue trafficking. Detailed prices per body part. Federal and state regulators out to lunch.

These are the features of the stories involving Planned Parenthood's practice of selling human body parts following abortions in their clinics. These are also the same features of a series of stories involving "body brokers," who run filthy chop shops where corpses are bought and sold by part like a butcher's shop.

One man in Michigan, Arthur Rathburn, is the nexus for these two stories. Reuters released an exclusive report yesterday that federal investigators found the bodies of four unborn babies in Rathburn's chop shop. The discovery is notable for two important reasons. First, selling body parts from corpses is legal, but selling fetal tissue is against federal law. Second, as Reuters reports, the unborn babies are not mentioned in the indictment of Rathburn or other public documents.

Another familiar parallel that may be present in this case is investigators failing to take laws against fetal tissue trafficking seriously.

Since October Reuters has been running a series detailing the macabre body broker industry that operates almost entirely beyond regulation and public scrutiny. Usually cases involving the unborn require some unrelated hook to get proper scrutiny, for example, Kermit Gosnell was initially caught because of his massive drug trafficking. In this case, Reuters' body broker series was flying under the radar of the public consciousness until Reuters found evidence of the dead babies, linking the practices of body brokers to the abortion industry.

Reuters so far has done seven stories in their series. Those who closely followed David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress' investigation will see nearly perfect parallels in the details, as will prolifers used to dealing with the abortion industry. On the surface people are told these "services" are a benefit to them and society overall by advancing science. In reality, however, the body broker industry appears to show the same familiar disregard for the value of human life and the same willingness to violate moral norms to line pockets with blood money.

Several examples from the seven-part series stand out. In exchange for paying for cremation services, poor loved ones would donate bodies to science, and in return be given back some ashes. One body broker found a use for every body part of a deceased man, and sent grieving family members back sand masquerading as the man's ashes.

Reuters easily purchased the severed head and spine of a young man by posing as a tissue buyer. After purchasing the decapitated head, Reuters was able to locate the young man's parents to inform him of his grisly fate. The body broker failed to tell the young man's parents that this was going to be his fate in death.

Medical conferences held in major hotels—even a Disney resort—have used their event ballrooms for cadaver labs. Body brokers sell the corpses, which are wheeled into the ballrooms on gurneys. Cheap plastic is thrown down on the carpet so the next day's wedding crowd (hopefully) won't discover bone fragments and bodily fluids as they dine and let their small children crawl on the carpet. Apparently abortion clinics aren't the only places where proper sanitation is an afterthought.

What does this story mean for the prolife movement? It could mean a lot.

Planned Parenthood did everything they could to distract from the undercover videos that revealed their practices to the outside world. They've been able to trick many of their supporters into believing the practice of fetal tissue trafficking is "fake news." With this news coming on the heels of revelations of a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood and convictions in a related case, the baby body parts story may have just begun. The story may result in a public examination into wider practices involving tissue trafficking. Laws may be changed.

Organ donations and tissue donations are not just an issue that impacts unborn children, but also plays an important role in end-of-life situations. Simmering in the background is the idea that euthanasia can be successfully combined with tissue donation. Will patients find themselves pressured into accepted death, only for their bodies to be horse traded like cuts of beef at the market?

In the particular case of Michigan's own body broker, Arthur Rathburn, it's unclear if the four bodies discovered were children who had been aborted or stillborn. From the pictures Reuters released, at least one baby was either not aborted using the dismemberment abortion procedure (D&E), or the baby may have been born before the abortionist had a chance to tear apart his or her body. The babies may have come from Michigan, or anywhere; one part of Reuters story involves Rathburn driving back from Canada with 10 severed heads in his vehicle.

These questions demand answers, but from Reuters' reporting, it appears investigators may once again be derelict in their duty. If nothing else, at least these revelations have served to bring public scrutiny to these awful cases.

Rathburn's trial in federal court in Detroit is scheduled to begin on January 4. He is facing charges of fraud and lying to investigators. We'll hopefully have more details for you after that date.

Is there no end to the depth of human depravity?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Planned Parenthood now runs half the abortion facilities in America

Abortions are steadily decreasing in America every year, and so are abortion facilities. In the U.S. 49 abortion clinics closed in 2017. Counting new facilities opening, the overall numbers of abortion facilities decreased by 27 in 2017. When you add it all up, 77% of all abortion facilities that were open in 1991 have shut down.

Even with abortion clinics closing right and left, Planned Parenthood’s market share of the abortion industry is up. In 2017 there were 704 total abortion facilities in the U.S. and 347 of those were operated by Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood itself has seen a small decline in their abortion facility count. In 2016 they were operating 354 abortion facilities in the U.S.

Planned Parenthood tries to sell abortion as a trivial part of their organization, yet they run half of the nation's abortion facilities and provide about a third of the nation's abortions.

Planned Parenthood is Abortion, Inc.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The end is in sight; help us meet our matching gift goal

There are less than two weeks left in 2017, and we are 60 percent of the way to our goal of $50,000 in year-end online gifts. These tax-deductible gifts to the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund are being matched thanks to generous support.

Where are these gifts spent? The Ed Fund is dedicated to educating people and motivating them to action. There's many ways to do that, from big-budget TV advertising and documentaries to reaching people on social media or through a flyer at a county fair. All of these activities share two things in common: they are life-affirming, and they are only possible because of generous gifts.

Will you help us take full advantage of this opportunity to double support for human life?


Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Look Back at 50 Years: 1998

This is the seventh and final entry in our monthly series looking back at historically significant profile moments in our state’s history.

The question of where you go when you die is ages old. In the 1990s, euthanasia and doctor-prescribed suicide advocates thought they had come up with the answer: Michigan.

That was the basic premise of a TV ad featuring the white Michigan-shaped headstone you see in the picture above, with Michigan Lt. Governor Connie Binsfeld standing behind the podium.

The drive to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in America saw its first legislative victory in Oregon in 1994. The debate over the issue, however, was centered in Michigan, with Jack Kevorkian acting as the most visible face of the movement. On June 4, 1990, Kevorkian helped 54-year-old Janet Adkins commit suicide in a van by lethal injection, thus beginning a clash of epic proportions.

Who was Jack Kevorkian? Hollywood may sing his praises by casting Al Pacino to play him in a sympathetic biopic, but the real Kevorkian can only be described as Doctor Death. A pathologist by training, Kevorkian was obsessed with death. As early as 1959, Kevorkian was proposing experiments on condemned prisoners. He said the ultimate goal of his suicide advocacy was human vivisection: performing experiments on live people.

Kevorkian's work was as sick as his goals. He would take pictures of the eyes of dying patients, hoping to capture the precise moment of their death. He would transplant the blood of corpses into himself. He created artwork of a highly disturbing nature depicting death, giving you a view into his twisted mind. Patient autonomy was not Kevorkian's crusade; his was death itself.

Kevorkian's killings set off a flurry of seemingly unreal activity. How was Michigan going to deal with it? Were our laws sufficient? Should they be changed? Should Kevorkian be embraced? For 9 years the Michigan Legislature, courts, and local law enforcement were embroiled in a struggle. Much like today's new cycle, it seemed every day brought a new revelation, political maneuver, or Kevorkian killing. At one point Kevorkian held a press conference offering a dead man's kidneys, first come, first served.

The conflict eventually came to a head. In 1997 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Vacco v. Quill that there was no Constitutional right to assisted suicide. The Michigan Legislature began efforts to clarify Michigan's law and permanently ban assisted suicide. Kevorkian supporters formed a group called Merian's Friends and began collecting signatures to put a referendum on the 1998 ballot to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in Michigan. Kevorkian's lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, began making plans to announce a run for governor against Michigan's prolife governor John Engler.

Merian's Friends quickly found that unlike Right to Life of Michigan, there was not a lot of grassroots advocacy for doctor-prescribed suicide. They quickly had to give up efforts to gather petition signatures with volunteers and relied on paid signature gatherers. Eventually they gained enough signatures. Though there were numerous fraudulent signatures gathered, the Michigan Board of Canvassers allowed the ballot proposal to go forward, titling it Proposal B.

1998 would be the stage for this epic clash. Media darling Jack Kevorkian vs. Citizens for Compassionate Care (CCC), a coalition including Right to Life of Michigan to oppose legalizing doctor-prescribed suicide. Kevorkian's lawyer vs. Michigan's governor. Everyone was all-in and the people of Michigan would make a decisive decision in November.

The polls at first looked troubling for prolife advocates. The misguided compassion of Michigan voters appeared to give Merian's Friends' Proposal B the upper hand. That's when prolifers went to work educating the public about what doctor-prescribed suicide would really mean for Michigan. The campaign was a combined effort marrying high-impact advertising with local grassroots engagement.

The day after the November election, the Detroit Free Press' top story read, "Engler crushes Fieger; suicide law trounced." Governor John Engler had easily defeated Kevorkian's lawyer with 62 percent of the vote.

The campaign against Proposal B was absolutely stunning. In the summer it looked like Proposal B might cruise to victory. After only seven weeks of educating the public, Michigan voters rejected Proposal B by a vote of 71 percent to 29 percent. The effect of the defeat was so stunning that euthanasia advocates were silent for nearly 20 years in Michigan.

Jack Kevorkian's morbid fantasies were dashed on the rocks of the Michigan people. Just a few weeks after the election CBS's 60 Minutes aired a disturbing tape of Kevorkian euthanizing Thomas Youk by lethal injection. A Michigan jury would eventually find Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder and forever end the career of Dr. Death.

1998 showed the power of the prolife message and grassroots advocacy paid off once again. Though doctor-prescribed suicide cloaks itself in the language of compassion and patient's autonomy, the troubling questions it creates are impossible to ignore. It causes our compassion for the sick and disabled to decline. It erodes patient autonomy as cost concerns become more important that caring for patients' needs. It sacrifices the already low trust the public has in our medical systems. Right to Life of Michigan will continue to educate people about these dangers of embracing suicide instead of patients.

The prolife movement will face many challenges in the future, but we'll continue to be a shining beacon for the value of every human life, and persevere through whatever obstacles come our way. Many who began this struggle are no longer with us here today, but your efforts today honor the ideals for which they sacrificed to achieve throughout these last 50 years. Thank you for remembering them throughout this series!

Honoring 50 years of prolife advocacy in Michigan
1972: The Voice of the Unborn
1979: Michigan Citizens for Life
1981: First Media Campaign
1988: Medicaid-Funded Abortions Ban
1990:  Prolife Governor
1998: Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fetal organ harvesting investigation bursts into the open

Following the release of undercover videos from David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood went into public relations overdrive to put a lid on the revelation that they profit by selling the organs of aborted babies.

In the last few days several news stories have undone Planned Parenthood's narrative that these "heavily edited" videos are entirely untrue.

On December 7, the Daily Beast broke the news that the Department of Justice is in the process of investigating Planned Parenthood for their fetal organ harvesting schemes. Congress held numerous hearings about the matter and the DOJ has asked them to turn over documents for their investigation.

On December 9, news broke that two California companies are being forced to shut down for their role in fetal organ harvesting. DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics were successfully investigated in Orange County, and the terms of their settlement with the district attorney include a $7.7 million fine and admitting to breaking state and federal organ harvesting prohibitions. Daleiden's undercover videos are the only reason these companies were caught, and it was the Center for Medical Progress itself that filed the complaints. Unfortunately for those two companies, they don't hold the political or media sway of Planned Parenthood.

On December 11, it was announced that the FBI is investigating the University of New Mexico and an infamous abortion clinic in Albuquerque for fetal organ harvesting.

That's two successful prosecutions and two open federal investigations based on these so-called "heavily edited" videos.

Planned Parenthood's spin was a sham from the beginning. Daleiden's videos were not heavily edited and the full footage and transcripts were released for each step in their investigation. They are publicly accessible to anyone honestly interested in the truth.

Planned Parenthood had a shady political organization called Fusion GPS review the videos. Fusion GPS is currently mired in a Beltway scandal of epic proportions. Though their review found nothing significant, Planned Parenthood used it to promote their "heavily edited" trope, relying on journalists and their own supporters to never actually read the report itself.

Several states also began investigations, though none have been successful yet, for various reasons. Planned Parenthood used these investigations to claim they have been "cleared." In Michigan, for example, Planned Parenthood had ceased harvesting eyeballs in the state in the past. There's nothing to clear.

In California, where the bulk of Planned Parenthood's fetal organ harvesting took place, most public officials including their current and former attorneys general are de facto staff members of Planned Parenthood. Right now they are occupied with forcing prolife pregnancy centers to advertise free tax-funded abortions and targeting the Little Sisters of the Poor again. How does any honest person expect them to sincerely investigate potential violations?

In Texas, the prosecutors investigating their case took it upon themselves to manipulate a grand jury into a legally-baseless attack on David Daleiden on behalf of Planned Parenthood. The case was thrown out, but not before Planned Parenthood used it to frame Daleiden as a crook in the news media.

Planned Parenthood's public relations strategy is never to confront an issue head-on, but to deceive even their own supporters into peddling lies or half-truths. They count on a friendly media to never call them on it, even when knowing lies are caught on camera for everyone to see.

The Achilles heel of these investigations will be the personnel responsible for it. As this case has demonstrated—and numerous cases over time—pro-choice public officials can never be trusted to hold the abortion industry accountable. We hope those investigating Planned Parenthood will keep an open mind as they view the evidence for themselves.

Even more undercover footage from Daleiden is currently being blocked by a pro-abortion judge. We hope those videos will soon be released. After all, the public is forced to fund Planned Parenthood with their tax dollars: they have the right to know the truth.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Car trunk abortionist gets slap on the wrist for three felonies

On Thursday, December 7, Michigan abortionist Michael Roth received a $798 fine and 18 months of probation for three felony convictions in Macomb County Circuit Court. The convictions stem from his suspected practice of illegal at-home abortions.

Roth pled no contest on October 16 to three counts of larceny in a building. Roth had a person steal drugs and medical equipment from his former employer Angel Ojeda, an abortionist who runs the Eastland Women’s Center in Eastpointe, Michigan.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “It’s outrageous that a man with a long record of violations can get off with so little for three felony convictions.”

In September 2015 Roth was involved in an accident when his car struck a 31-year-old man with special needs. Police found several stolen items along with tissue from aborted babies in the trunk of his car. Given Roth’s previous history of performing abortions in women’s homes in 1998 and 1999, it’s likely he was committing illegal at-home abortions.

Roth was facing other criminal charges, including identity theft and possession with intent to deliver the schedule 2 narcotic Fentanyl, but those charges were dismissed in June. The Michigan Board of Medicine suspended Roth's license on September 13 for a year and fined him $25,000 for unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Listing said, "We hope Roth's license to practice medicine will be permanently revoked. He should never practice medicine again, anywhere."

Lynn Mills is a citizen journalist who attended Roth’s sentencing hearings. Mills has followed the case from the beginning, and said she was frustrated that no media outlets have sent reporters to the hearings to cover this story since Roth’s initial arrest.

Mills said, “In court this man looked oblivious. There were no real consequences, and he will not stop doing it. Where have the reporters been? I guess this story hasn’t been sensational enough."

Listing said, “Just like the Kermit Gosnell case in Philadelphia, abortionists with long records don’t receive needed public scrutiny. It allows these abortionists to continue to get away with things others couldn’t. Roth is not an outlier, but the face of the abortion industry in Michigan and nationally.”

Right to Life of Michigan released a report in 2012, Abortion Abuses and State Regulatory Agency Failure, including details on several of Roth’s violations. In addition to his at-home abortions, Roth was disciplined in 2002 for drug-related violations, including prescribing drugs without a license. He was disciplined in 2004 for violating patient consent laws and was accused of falsifying medical records by a former employee and performing illegal late-term abortions.

In 2012 Roth received six months of probation and was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine for Public Health Code violations involving botched abortions. Roth’s most recent abortion business, the bizarrely-named Novi Laser and Aesthetic Center, was closed in 2014.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Abortion stats mistake creates CNN fake news claim

Notable journalist Kirsten Powers made a claim on CNN that abortion rates decline faster under Democratic presidents than under Republican presidents. She said it's Democratic public policy initiatives, not prolife laws, that save lives. Is that true?

Powers' claim relies on an article by Neha Thirani Bagri published on the news website Quartz, using the Centers for Disease Control abortion rate figures since 1980.

If you look at the graph, it looks like abortion rates did decline dramatically during the Clinton Administration. The numbers are from the CDC, so one might assume they are totally legitimate.

Not so fast! Anyone who’s done significant research into abortion statistics knows that the CDC abortion report does not include California, the most populous state in the union. In fact, California stopped reporting abortions in 1998, smack dab in the middle of the time frame Bagri uses to claim Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are better than Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush at reducing abortion.

This error means the numbers Powers was using during the Clinton years to back up her claim are worthless. California accounted for nearly a quarter of the abortions in America in 1997, and had an abortion rate nearly twice the national average, 38 per 1000 women of reproductive age versus 20 overall. The massive drop you see in 1998 in the graph is not proof of some great advance by Bill Clinton in preventing abortions; the drop is because the massive state with the highest abortion rate in the union refused to continue reporting their abortion numbers in 1998. It would be like a pollster suddenly taking Democrats out of his polling sample and claiming the Republican is now ahead.

It’s tempting to entirely blame Powers for making a claim that’s relying on bad data, but we shouldn't be too harsh. Powers is not some pro-abortion journalist with an axe to grind; she was the one who broke the Kermit Gosnell story into the national news, taking biased reporters to task for ignoring it. After all, the Bagri article she relied on uses numbers from the the CDC, looking credible at a glance. Powers' mistake came from assuming her fellow reporter actually read the reports she was analyzing.

True blame for this CNN "fake news" error should rest with Bagri, who either glanced at the report without reading the whole thing, or completely failed to understand it. This is a never-ending problem with reporting in America, especially dealing with abortion. Reporters decry the existence of "fake news," but frequently make or repeat claims without doing even basic research themselves. They often operate no differently than random people on social media, when they are supposed to be trusted to dig deeply into issues.

Bagri in particular went on to make sweeping claims in her article about why abortions declined under Democratic presidents. How can she make those bold claims if she didn't even read the abortion report she was analyzing? She also conveniently began her analysis in 1980, completely neglecting the fast rise in abortions under the ambivalent Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter administrations. Looking at a graph of abortion numbers (both the CDC numbers and numbers from the Guttmacher Institute), someone just eyeballing it should easily conclude that it was Ronald Reagan who changed the trajectory of increasing abortions in America, not that Democratic presidents are solely responsible for decreasing abortions.

How many thousands of people have taken Bagri's claims to heart and will repeat them in the future, including influential people like Powers? How many saw Powers make her claim on CNN? How many will see this correction?

Telephone is a fun game. In also teaches people a valuable lesson: in every step in a stream of communication vital information can be lost. That’s why it’s always important to go back to the source as much as possible. The next time you hear a bold claim—especially about the issue of abortion—do some digging before automatically running with it. Hopefully next time Powers and everyone reading this will think twice before trusting a writer with a clear bias, even when the writer is using data from a credible organization like the CDC.

The next time someone wants to make a claim that only Democratic presidents are responsible for reducing abortion, they need to reconstruct the data set to account for California keeping us in the dark. But even that exercise is ludicrously simplistic. Michigan's experience is a perfect example.

The biggest drop in our state’s abortion rate happened in 1989, when Michigan had a Democratic governor, Jim Blanchard. Was Blanchard’s enlightened leadership the cause of this amazing drop? No! In fact, it was his intransigence that prevented even earlier abortion reductions, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of individuals who would be with us today. Was that because he was a Democrat? No, it was because he was pro-abortion.

In 1987 it was prolifers of all stripes in Michigan who took to the streets with a petition drive to help enact a ban on Medicaid-funded abortions in Michigan. Prolife legislators passed the initiated legislation into law over the objections of Blanchard. Michigan voters upheld the ban in a 1988 referendum. The next year abortions dropped instantly and massively. We can’t know exactly how many abortions were prevented, but the effect of this prolife law is undeniable. A simple analysis might entirely overlook this fact of history, giving credit to Jim Blanchard, or even George H.W. Bush using Powers' simple logic

There’s also a lot of other factors involved in the ongoing decline of abortion, especially the increase in prolife sentiment in America since the partial-birth abortion debate in the mid-1990s. In a sense we can thank Bill Clinton and his repeated defenses of that barbaric abortion procedure for initiating a sea change in opinion and renewed prolife vigor in the states.

Another huge problem with these sorts of analyses is that abortion statistics are not always reliable. In Michigan in the past we know abortion clinics have refused to report their numbers to the state. Even our own official numbers over time are somewhat suspect. We do the best we can when analyzing these numbers, but that importantly includes reading these abortion reports from cover to cover. Any reporter who wants to be taken seriously on these issues needs to at least read the report before purporting to analyze it.

Presidents do matter when it comes to abortion, especially for who sits on the U.S. Supreme Court. Prolife laws and prolife education are far more important to saving lives, however. Michigan is proof positive of that. People who recognize that abortions are wrong and want to reduce abortions should join our efforts.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Help us reach our goal of $50,000

We're almost 40 percent of the way to our goal of reaching $50,000 in online matching donations by the end of 2017. Because of the match, your tax-deductible gift will be doubled!

Donations to the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund support our many projects and programs, including this blog. Without your generous support we can't accomplish important objectives like educating and equipping people to speak about prolife issues.

The prolife movement doesn't rely on the world's richest individuals, and we don't have the luxury of a news media that will prioritize covering us. We rely on you, dear reader, to allow us to be a voice for the voiceless.

We need $1,250 in daily online donations to reach our goal before the end of 2017. Will you please consider giving $44, one dollar for every year abortion has been legal in America? Your support keeps us posting!


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New vaccine highlights need for education

For years Right to Life of Michigan has made information available about the connection between abortion and vaccines. This issue finds itself in the news at times, most recently it made a splash in the national news when a mother in Metro Detroit discovered the disturbing link herself. She had to go to court with her ex-husband after refusing to immunize her child with vaccines using aborted fetal tissue.

With the pro-vaccine/anti-vaccine debate running rampant these days, the message of educating yourself on the simple facts regarding vaccines can get lost in translation. The minute you raise any concern about a vaccine, you are hit on both sides of the spectrum with opposing arguments. Often people won't take the time to read past a headline; they are stuck between a busy schedule, a blitzkrieg-style news cycle, and the feeling that they've seen and heard all of the arguments before. That's not a recipe for understanding.

One simple fact people need to be aware of is the reality that aborted fetal tissue is used to create cell lines for medical research.

We believe such research is unethical for two important reasons. First, medical subjects need to give proper consent before research is performed. The unborn aren't allowed to give consent; they aren't even allowed the dignity of being recognized as human. Second, the use of aborted babies in medical research and development creates a perverse incentive to encourage more taking of human life.

Using the bodies of broken babies is completely unnecessary.

This past October the FDA approved a new form of the shingles vaccine that was created without using aborted fetal tissue. This new vaccine, Shingrix, is already seen as more effective than the abortion-tainted alternative Zostavax. Shingrix is being recommended as the new standard to replace the old. The new vaccine was created using cells lines from hamsters. Zostavax was created using the lung of a 14-week healthy baby boy killed by an elective abortion.

Shingrix is a positive development because there was no ethically-sourced alternative to the shingles vaccine. Several vaccines produced using tissue from aborted babies also have ethical alternatives, but several do not. Right now there are no approved alternatives for Adenovirus, Chickenpox, Hepatitis A, Measles, Mumps, or Rubella in the United States.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Talk to your doctor and see what sort of alternatives you have available. It is important to ask them questions and find out the name of the vaccine you are requesting. Use the simple cheat sheet we created. The information comes directly from the vaccines' package inserts. Our resource will help you know which vaccines used cell lines from aborted babies and find available alternatives. Please keep in mind many doctors may never have heard this information before. You may have to patiently walk even prolife doctors through this information and encourage them to read the package inserts of the vaccines they use.

The choice about using these vaccines is up to you. We must all agree, however, that there is no need to take human lives to make new medical advances. With continued education we can hope pharmaceutical companies focus on producing only ethical alternatives.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Look Back at 50 Years: 1996

This is the sixth entry in a monthly series we’ll be running throughout 2017 looking back at historically significant profile moments in our state’s history.

Michigan's Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2011 had a long road to eventual victory. Along the way however, the ban illustrated the tenacity of the prolife movement.

This story began in 1992. Abortionist Martin Haskell gave a presentation that year at a National Abortion Federation seminar detailing a new abortion procedure dubbed "dilation and extraction," or, "D&X." The woman's cervix is dilated and the abortionist grasps the baby with forceps. The abortionist delivers the child, until only the head remains behind the cervix. The abortionist grabs the child's shoulders and prepares to take the child's life. Haskell's paper describes the brutality:

"While maintaining this tension, lifting the cervix and applying traction to the shoulders with the fingers of the left hand, the surgeon takes a pair of blunt curved Metzenbaum scissors in the right hand. He carefully advances the tip, curved down, along the spine and under his middle finger until he feels it contact the base of the skull under the tip of his middle finger. Reassessing proper placement of the closed scissors tip and safe elevation of the cervix, the surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into the foramen magnum. Having safely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening. The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he applies traction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient."

The most curious feature of the long debate over partial-birth abortion is the visceral anger of abortion supporters when the procedure is plainly described as a partial-birth abortion. They often say it's a "made-up term." Abortion supporters frequently refer to the equally barbaric suction abortion method as merely "gentle suction" of a "clump of cells." There are not enough euphemisms to hide the brutality of a partial-birth abortion: the child is partially born, her head is stabbed with blunt scissors, and her brains are sucked out. It's essentially infanticide.

The prolife movement got their hands on Haskell's paper in 1993, and quickly went to work publicizing it. Congress moved to ban the procedure in 1995. The U.S. House acted first with an overwhelming vote of 288-139, and the Senate followed suit with a vote of 54-44. Sadly, President Bill Clinton was completely devoted to abortion, and vetoed the bill on April 10, 1996. The U.S. House had the two-thirds bipartisan vote necessary to override Clinton's veto, but the U.S. Senate came up short.

Following failure at the national level, Michigan prolifers moved quickly. State Rep. James Ryan introduced a ban using the same language as the federal bill on May 21, 1996. On June 6, the Michigan House voted 63-36 and the Senate voted 28-8 for the ban. Governor John Engler signed it into law on June 14, 1996. Michigan led the way as the first state in the nation to ban the procedure. The ban was challenged in federal court, however, and lost.

Congress made another attempt to ban the procedure in 1997, but once again Bill Clinton vetoed the bill. Michigan went back to the drawing board, this time using a unique approach. Michigan passed the Infant Protection Act in 1999, declaring that a partially-born child has legal protection as a person. A federal judge blocked the law, following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Stenberg v. Carhart in 2000, which struck down Nebraska's partial-birth abortion ban. Michigan's new attorney general, Jennifer Granholm, refused to appeal the case.

Prolifers were undaunted. On the federal level, with the election of President George W. Bush, a new effort to ban the procedure was successful. President Bush signed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act into law on November 5, 2003. The law was quickly taken to court. Meanwhile, Right to Life of Michigan made a third attempt to ban the procedure in 2003, once again using a novel approach. Our Legal Birth Definition Act declared birth to be at the point where any portion of the child is vaginally delivered outside the mother's body. The bill passed the Michigan Legislature, but was vetoed by Jennifer Granholm, now advocating for abortion from the governor's mansion.

Prolifers persevered. Using Michigan's unique constitutional procedure for citizen-initiated legislation, Right to Life of Michigan kicked off "The People's Override," cutting Granholm out of the process to enact the Legal Birth Definition Act. An army of RLM volunteers collected 460,034 signatures in just three months, almost double the signatures required and setting state records for the most signatures collected with all-volunteer circulators and the highest signature validity. The ban was initiated into the Michigan Legislature, the House and Senate passed it again, and the bill became law in 2004 without Granholm. Once again, a federal judge overruled the law, and an appeal to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court failed in June 2007.

There was cause to celebrate, however, despite the setback in court. In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal partial-birth abortion ban by a 5-4 vote in Gonzales v. Carhart. Partial-birth abortion was finally illegal in the United States. It was the first time the Supreme Court upheld a ban on an abortion procedure, which was an important step.

We were not content with the victory, however. Federal laws require federal enforcement, and a pro-abortion president with pro-abortion prosecutors and officials would likely ignore the law or refuse to enforce it. Personnel is policy, especially on the issue of abortion.

The 2010 gubernatorial election finally put the last puzzle piece in place. With Granholm gone, newly elected Governor Rick Snyder signaled his openness to banning partial-birth abortion, and on October 11, 2011, he signed Michigan's Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act into law.

What were the end results of this lengthy process?

Public opinion on abortion underwent a big reversal. For the first time many Americans saw on TV or read in a newspaper just how brutal abortion is, and that late-term abortions are not an urban myth. A majority were shocked such brutality was perfectly legal. It's unlikely abortionist Martin Haskell knew his paper at an obscure abortion convention could change the face of the abortion debate against him.

The Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart was important. It marks the first time the Supreme Court upheld an abortion ban, creating a large crack in Roe v. Wade's foundation. It has set the stage for additional efforts to challenge equally barbaric dismemberment abortions.

It also proved to the wider world that prolifers are not going to surrender. There was speculation at the time that the U.S. Supreme Court's 1992 decision upholding legalized abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey might spell the end of efforts to protect unborn children. The decision itself "calls the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution." Instead we've seen a revitalization of prolife efforts and advances, especially on the state level.

Visit our blog in December for our final post honoring 50 years of prolife advocacy, our effort in 1998 to defeat Dr. Death.

Honoring 50 years of prolife advocacy in Michigan
1972: The Voice of the Unborn
1979: Michigan Citizens for Life
1981: First Media Campaign
1988: Medicaid-Funded Abortions Ban
1990:  Prolife Governor

Monday, November 27, 2017

2014 CDC report: abortions continue to decrease

The Centers for Disease Control released their 2014 national abortion report. A total of 652,639 abortions were reported to the CDC in 2014, a decrease of 11,896 from 2013.

The CDC numbers are incomplete because some states hide their abortion numbers. The 2014 report doesn't include California, Maryland, and New Hampshire. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research institution that tracks abortion numbers independently, estimated 157,350 abortions in California in 2014.

More women choosing life!

The report shows a smaller percentage of women are having abortions, and a larger percentage of women are choosing life for their children. Of the states that reported their numbers consistently from 2005 to 2014, the 2014 abortion rate was 12.1 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years, decreasing 2% in 2014. The abortion ratio in those states was 186 per 1,000 live births, a decrease of 7% in 2014.

The abortion ratio for women ages 15-19 declined from 393 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 338 abortions in 2014. This means a higher percentage of pregnant teens are choosing life.

Minority abortions decrease

An encouraging trend is that minority abortions continue to decrease, but minorities continue to have a large proportion of abortions. From 2007 to 2014, the abortion rate for non-Hispanic Black women decreased 27%, and for Hispanic women it decreased 41%. Non-Hispanic Whites comprise 77% of the U.S. population, but only have 38% of abortions (in the states that consistently report abortion date by race). Non-Hispanic Blacks comprise 13% of the population, but have 36% of abortions. Hispanics are 18 of the population, and had 18 percent of abortions.

The Guttmacher Institute found similar numbers in 2014: Whites had 39% of abortions, Blacks 28%, and Hispanics 25%.

Relatively little attention is paid to this ongoing racial disparity in the media, despite the easy access to numbers proving its existence. The abortion industry continues their relentless focus on minority women as a major source of their income.

Numbers you might not know

Even though abortion rates and ratios are declining in every age group, the age of women having abortions is increasing with the rapidly aging demographics in the United States. In 2005, women 30 and over had 26.5% of abortions. In 2014, women 30 and over had 30.4%.

Abortion advocates often dismiss late term abortions as just a tiny percent of abortions overall, and therefore they should be completely ignored. The CDC reported only 1.3% of abortions in 2014 were at 20 weeks gestation or later, but that translates to about 12,000 annual late-term abortions. The CDC reported 11,008 gun homicides in the U.S. in 2014. Are late-term abortions getting as much attention in society as gun violence? What about abortions overall, considering there are about 84 abortions for every gun homicide?

Nearly half of women who have abortions have already had at least one abortion. The CDC reported repeat abortion rate was 44.9%: 24.7% of women were having their second abortion, 11.6% were having their third, and 8.6% were having their fourth abortion or more.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Who's That Senator? Episode 3

Flip-flopping on job responsibilities, tax-funded abortions, repealing parts of the First Amendment: what do these things all have in common?

Learn more about Senator Debbie Stabenow's record of putting human lives in jeopardy.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Double your life-saving gifts online!

The Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund is a powerful tool for saving lives. Prolifers start at a natural disadvantage on the abortion issue, since we can't really see the unborn child in the womb with our own eyes. How do you fight an injustice committed against unseen victims who can't speak for themselves?

You can help us be there voice and find other avenues to open the eyes of people to the issue of abortion and the unborn child.

From now until the end of the 2017 your online donations to the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund will be matched. Generous support allows us to offer you this opportunity to make your gifts count double. Donations to our Educational Fund are tax-deductible.

Our goal again this year is $50,000. Will you help us reach it?

Will you help us share positive prolife stories online, through social media, and through the television? Will you help us equip prolife grassroot volunteers around the state with the resources to change hearts and minds in their local communities? Will you enable us to be a resource available 24/7 to help women facing crisis pregnancies find the resources they need?

Please help us defend the unborn with your generous life-saving gift today.


Stumping for secret court orders and secret DNR orders

At Right to Life of Michigan we've been flooded with a rash of calls and requests lately of a most disturbing nature. Patients and their families are finding themselves subject to Kafka-esque actions designed to take aware their autonomy and wishes—with deadly effect.

Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst, has written an article claiming legislation we're working on to fix these issues are some sort of fundamentalist religious plot to force patients to stay hooked up to machines forever. He wistfully recalls the days of Dr. Death, Jack Kevorkian, killing patients across Michigan.

In his article he quotes an ethicist from GVSU, Dr. Jeffrey Byrnes:

House Bills 5075 and 5076 and SB 597, are being sponsored and pushed by the religious right, primarily Right to Life of Michigan. They are billed as being written to stop abuses, to stop hospitals and doctors from forcing people to die without their consent. But that’s not what’s really happening. As Dr. Byrnes put it, "Such a bill would allow for a family member – even a family member who had no real concern for their relative’s wishes or well-being – to keep the patient alive for an indefinite period of time."

What is the real purpose of these bills? They address two distinct problems.

First is the practice of secret do-not-resuscitate orders being placed in patient's files. Secret DNR orders are just plainly wrong, and it's wrong for Lessenberry to frame his piece around patient autonomy when he seeks to defend the practice of patients being deceived about the care they expect.

The second problem is equally troubling. We've learned that some hospitals are going behind the backs of patients' families and legal patient advocates to obtain secret court orders to establish guardianship over patients. Family members are showing up at the hospital only to discover hospital staff have taken control over their loved one to end their life.

That is an indefensible abuse of our court system. Secret court proceedings resulting in life or death decisions belong in Soviet Russia, not an America with robust constitutional protections. Patients have a right to have someone defend their life.

The bills would require hospitals to notify family members that they intend to go to court. In addition, the bills would require the doctor or medical facility to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the patient advocate or family is not acting in the best interest of the family before a guardian can be appointed. They also create a standard that assumes it is in the patient's best interest to be alive, and the hospital has to prove otherwise before taking control of the patient.

There is a creeping assumption in our society that the sick and disabled are better off dead, and some courts are making that the controlling presumption. The default presumption should be that a special case should be required for hospitals to take over a patient's autonomy to end their life.

There really are situations where a patient's family is being unreasonable or a patient advocate is violating the patient's wishes, and hospitals have a duty in those cases to represent the patient's interest in court. Those situations must be handled in the light of day in a fair court process, however, not railroaded through a star chamber court in the dark.

Dr. Byrnes exposes his real concern, that patients will be in control of their own care, not him:

True, there may be some possibility of abuse today. But he said, "Medical cases in these situations are immensely complicated and can’t be addressed by the simplistic wording" in these bills. He told me they would “stop doctors and hospitals and clinical ethicists like myself from being able to stop treatment." 

How could you trivialize abuses like secret court proceedings and secret DNR orders? These are not trivial issues, nor are they complicated. The purpose of a guardianship hearing is to sort out care conflicts, not to rubber-stamp cost-cutting measures that sacrifice patients' lives.

One of our own staff members directly experienced this, when her conscious father who was asking to be treated discovered the hospital had given up on him and placed a DNR order in his file without his request. What about Bob's wishes and autonomy? Are death wishes the only ones that count? You can pick whatever treatment you like as long as it's no treatment at all?

The purpose of these bills is not to let family members keep patients alive indefinitely, as Mr. Lessenberry falsely claims here. Patients do have a right to refuse unwanted medical treatment, and that right should be equally as important as patients who want medical treatment. The purpose of these bills is to prevent hospitals from deception and unjust violations of due process designed to end a patient's life against their will.

Lessenberry writes, "Many of us want some element of control over our final destiny..." That's precisely our point!

As we've begun working on these bills and publicizing these cases, we've discovered a vast undercurrent. Many believe hospitals will abuse their power to mistreat patients in service of cost cutting concerns. Many of these cases and examples are egregious and have never been publicized. For whatever reason many people don't believe anyone will speak up for them on this issue, and that there's nothing they can do about it. That's about to change.

We'll see how the broader hospital establishment confronts these proposed change in the law, and if any changes are needed in the legislation as it moves forward, but we ask Mr. Lessenberry and Dr. Byrnes this: are secret DNR orders and secret court orders really the hill you want to die on? What sort of message will that send to an already cynical public?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Successful RU-486 Reversal Shows the Power of Prolife Community

Alpha Family Center of Lowell

Great news out of Lowell, just a few miles outside Grand Rapids! They were able to save a life using the abortion pill reversal process. It's one of the first in Michigan, if not the first.
It isn't every day that life comes full circle. It also isn't every day that you are able to save a life. Recently Alpha Family Center in Lowell was able to experience both when a luncheon speech they heard more than a year ago proved to be the difference between life and death for one of their clients.
Quarterly Grand Rapids Right to Life hosts their Support Services Luncheon. The many prolife pregnancy help organizations in Grand Rapids come together at the luncheon to discuss different projects they are working on. The guest speaker at one of the 2016 luncheons was Dr. Kim Barrow, who talked about a process to reverse RU-486 abortions (also known as the abortion pill or mifepristone). Abortion pill reversal was a relatively new idea and many pregnancy centers were not aware of it.
Christa Wetzel, executive director of Alpha Family Center in Lowell, said, "After hearing about this, we knew this was something that they needed to know more about. This was a really monumental moment for us that God created. I truly believe he created this reversal so that we could help these women."
The success rate of abortion pill reversals is currently 55 percent according to, but a new study in the process of publishing has found the life-saving results may be as high as 60 to 70 percent of children. Unfortunately the success rate is not 100 percent, making for some tense moments.
Mandy referred Allison back to Alpha Family Center in Lowell for an ultrasound the following Wednesday. Everyone knew heading into the ultrasound room that there was a significant chance that Allison's baby wasn't going to make it, despite their best efforts.
In the beginning of the ultrasound appointment, there was no movement from the baby. After several long, tense, anxious moments, some movement finally appeared on the screen. Allison's baby decided to wave at everyone. This is a rare feat since the baby was just 10 weeks along.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What happens when Roe v. Wade is overturned?

Every judicial nomination in America revolves around this important question: would this justice vote to overturn Roe v. Wade? Unfortunately many supporters of legalized abortion are invested in spreading fear to the public about what would happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

It's important for the public to understand the reality of a world without Roe v. Wade, because ultimately the issue would be in their hands to again decide.

Why would the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade?

Roe v. Wade is widely regarded as a poor legal decision. Even many legal scholars who support abortion recognize the case was not decided based on the law or the U.S. Constitution. Together with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy in the United States, which is an extreme position that the American public generally rejects. Only five countries in the world have such an extreme abortion law (the U.S. and Canada join North Korea, China, and Vietnam).

What happens the day after Roe falls?

Nothing at first. The U.S. Supreme Court would recognize that abortion is not a constitutionally-protected right, and therefore the issue will be once again decided by voters and their elected officials in their respective states.

Currently the states themselves have a patchwork of laws. In some states like Michigan, laws exist protecting the unborn child, and those laws will have an opportunity to be restored. On the other end of the spectrum, other states have their own state-level court decisions or constitutional provisions protecting abortion.

Ultimately the states and voters are put back in the driver's seat regarding abortion policy. Any changes to the status quo of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy depend on you. Where do you stand?

What happens in the short-term after Roe falls?

This depends entirely on the voters. Some states will likely ban abortion except to save the life of the mother, many will have bans featuring exceptions, and some will keep the status quo. Currently public opinion is divided on the issue, but a large majority of voters reject the status quo of abortion-on-demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Public opinion shows a broad consensus for banning most elective abortions, late-term abortions, tax-funded abortions, etc.

What would happen in Michigan?

Michigan has an important state Supreme Court precedent from 1973, shortly after Roe v. Wade was decided. Michigan law has banned abortion except to save the life of the mother since 1846. After Roe v. Wade was decided, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in People v. Bricker that Roe v. Wade is only blocking enforcement of Michigan's law; Roe did not repeal Michigan's law. In November 1972, just a few weeks before Roe v. Wade, Michigan faced a ballot proposal to legalize abortion through 20 weeks of pregnancy. Sixty percent of voters rejected the proposal.

With Roe v. Wade gone, Michigan's law would have an opportunity to go back into effect. Michigan voters and their elected officials would ultimately have the final say.

What about women dying in illegal abortions?

In the states that do restrict abortion, there is highly unlikely to be a significant increase in maternal deaths.

Pro-abortion groups falsely inflated statistics prior to Roe v. Wade to convince voters and later the Supreme Court that thousands of women were dying because of laws protecting the lives of unborn children. Real statistics from the Centers for Disease Control verify those claims are false. In 1972, 39 women died to illegal abortions in the United States, and 24 died from legal abortions. In 1973, after Roe v. Wade was decided, 19 women died from illegal abortions, and 25 died from legal abortions.

Poland is an excellent case study. Abortion had been legal under Soviet rule in Poland for more than 40 years, just like the United States. Shortly after regaining independence, Poland heavily restricted abortion. Today pregnant women in Poland are less likely to die than pregnant women in the United States. There are 21 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the United States, compared to only 5 in Poland. Poland is a world leader in addressing maternal mortality. According to abortion advocates, Poland's rate should be incredibly higher than the United States' rate, not incredibly better. Providing good health care to pregnant women is completely independent of abortion laws.

Decades of experience in America shows that the legality of abortion affects the demand for abortion. In states that ban abortion, abortions will decline, infant adoptions will increase, and prolife pregnancy help agencies will take on an even more important role as more women seek their services.

Given the difference in abortion laws between states, voters will quickly get an accurate picture of the truth when they can compare states that keep abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy and states that don't.

What are we going to do with all the babies?

One of the most common arguments in discussions about the legality of abortion is that our society couldn't cope with an increased number of births. The basis of this argument is the fear that abortion is a necessary evil to maintain society's wealth.

It's not clear how many states would ban some or all abortions following Roe being overturned, but births would no doubt increase. Society will continue on largely as it has before, and will likely be in a better situation. The prosperity of women and society prior to 1973 did not depend on the legality of abortion, and the same is true today.

Abortions in Michigan have been nearly cut in half since 1987. Nationally abortions have declined by about a third in that same time-frame. Our country has not been negatively impacted by these individuals. The largest economic concerns facing us today are the result of too few children. An aging population is making entitlements like Social Security and Medicare insolvent. Health insurance rates continue to increase, partly because we have fewer young and healthy people paying premiums into the system to benefit the old and the sick.

What about the controversial nature of the abortion issue? 

A great source of the abortion controversy is because the U.S. Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade leave no outlet for people of conscience to affect change. Less than a third of Americans support the current regime of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy, yet Roe v. Wade allows the views of this small minority to override a supermajority of Americans. Abortion will always be a controversial issue until society reaches a broad consensus that unborn children's rights deserve to be protected in law. Even in countries like China—where abortion is totally unrestricted—abortion generates significant controversy.

Ultimately controversy is a fact of life in a country with democratic values. If we had feared the controversy of the women's suffrage movement, women would still not have the right to vote. We're still dealing with the controversy of race issues in America today, but keeping slavery legal wouldn't have made the controversy go away.

Issues should be decided based on their merits, and voters should make those decisions, not unelected officials.

What will happen in the long-term?

The prolife movement's long-term goal is to convince a majority of voters and elected officials in all 50 states to respect the rights of every human life. The prolife movement's final goal is a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that explicitly protects the inalienable human rights of unborn children. Such an amendment requires a broad consensus in society, which will likely take a long time to build.

Prolifers will remain committed to achieving these goals by persuading our fellow citizens, not through heavy-handed judicial decrees. We believe every human being deserves equal protection of their right to life, and that the broad recognition of our equal right to life is the only sound foundation for all of our human rights.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Facebook restored Wexford/Missaukee RTL's ad account

We're happy to report that Wexford/Missaukee Right to Life is able to use advertising on Facebook again! Yesterday reporters from Mlive and the Detroit News contacted Facebook about their unexplained ban, and Facebook reversed itself.

Mlive ran a story today on the issue.

The restoration was very similar to the ban of the Right to Life of Michigan ad account: Facebook told reporters that they contacted us about the mistake, but that never happened. While it's positive that Wexford/Missaukee RTL had their access restored, it's still troubling that Facebook refuses to explain how the mistake occurred, and if they took any steps to remedy the situation for future cases.

Our best guess is that a disgruntled pro-abortion Facebook user trolled a harmless advertisement of Wexford/Missaukee RTL and reported it as offensive. Facebook automatically banned the page, especially since it's a smaller community group unlikely to have access to media/someone to take their case up to fix the problem. Facebook's customer service responses were all automated form letters responses.

When reporters contacted Facebook, that's the point a human being actually reviewed the ban and saw it was indefensible.

That's our theory, anyway, in absence of some sort of human contact with a company that prides itself on "community." Nobody should have to rely on reporters to be third-party customer service agents. Facebook needs to resolve this if they want to build "trust" with groups concerned about censorship.

Facebook somewhat menacingly told Wexford/Missaukee RTL that there was "no further action you may take" to fix the ban. Well, pardon us, but Facebook doesn't dictate what we may or may not do, and Facebook was wrong here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Does the U.S. Constitution protect rusty medical equipment? Apparently so

Imagine walking into a doctor’s office to get your ear looked at because you think you have an ear infection. Upon arriving you notice that the floors are stained and discolored. After waiting for a while staring at these seemingly dirty floors, you walk back into the exam room. After a while the doctor comes in and asks you some basic questions. Then when it comes time to examine you he uses a rusty instrument to look into your ear.

As a patient, this would be horrifying. If you were in this sort of situation you would probably walk out and not ever go to that doctor again. It is even harder to imagine a doctor’s office that would be allowed to operate for years in this sort of condition.

Now imagine this same sort of place, but you are going there to have surgery. Would you stay? Even after you saw rusty tools and stained floors? Would you be okay having a surgical procedure in a place where you wouldn’t even feel comfortable having someone look in your ears?

This scenario is not made up; it is the reality of Whole Woman’s Health, a chain of abortion clinics in Texas. Remember the name? It appears on a Supreme Court decision that was handed down a little over a year ago, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

Many abortion supporter see the case as one of their biggest wins. While they hail it as a victory for women, in reality this ruling showed that the court was willing to cover for abortion-on-demand and ignore the actual safety of women.

Recently the Washington Free Beacon teamed up with former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson to release documents showing the state of the abortion industry in Texas.

For years, the self-styled "pro-woman" Whole Woman's Health has prided themselves on fighting the negative stigma around abortion while risking the safety of women. New documents show WWH staff failed to disinfect and sterilize equipment. Their facilities were in disrepair, floors were stained, and the counters were so warped that they could no longer be disinfected. They are not new to breaking rules; for years they have piled up health code violations. Back in 2011 they didn’t have a single registered nurse on site.

This is the chain of clinics that five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court decided to give a free pass by declaring "unconstitutional" important health code regulations that apply to numerous other surgical facilities. Time and time again abortion clinics have a double standard and receive free passes when other citizens would find health inspectors coming down on them like a ton of bricks. This is the twisted logic of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

There is no reason that clinics like this should be allowed to operate, especially when they have a repeated track record of health violations. It's maddening that places like tanning salons are being held to a higher standard than abortion clinics.

If abortion advocates want to claim they fight for woman’s health, then why can't they ever seem to follow basic sanitary guidelines?