Monday, November 30, 2009

Right to Life of Michigan responds to erroneous stem cell editorial

In response to a recent editorial by the Grand Rapids Press on prolife legislation, Right to Life of Michigan legislative director Ed Rivet submitted the following editorial to respond to some of false claims in the Press editorial. The response editorial, which was published on November 27, is below.

When the voters passed Proposal 2 more than one year ago, they approved an amendment to the Michigan Constitution allowing embryos remaining from fertility treatments to be destroyed for their stem cells. The amendment does not allow buying or selling embryos, the embryos must be less than two weeks into development and the parents donating their embryonic children must give their written consent. The problem with the amendment is that it has no enforcement mechanisms, no definitions and no penalties for anyone caught violating these provisions.

In nearly every instance when voters approve a broad amendment to the Constitution, the Legislature must subsequently enact a framework of laws to implement it. Prior to 1996, California had no laws governing embryo research. When some UC-Irvine researchers were caught transferring embryos without proper consent, they had to be charged with mail fraud and tax evasion because there were not appropriate laws in place to charge them. The legislation being offered in Lansing to implement Proposal 2 will avoid this type of legal blunder.

Nothing in the proposed legislation prevents couples from donating embryos or researchers from using them. Researchers would be required to fill out a half-page form once a year that lists from where they received embryos, how many they used, and how many are retained in storage – That's it! No inspections of their facilities, no limits on what they can do with the embryos, no bureaucratic licensing process, just a half-page form once a year.

The Press' editorial against this legislation included several erroneous claims. First, it misleads readers about what Proposal 2 did. It did not “allow research using stem cells from human embryos.” That was already legal and occurring in Michigan prior to Proposal 2. Proposal 2 allowed researchers in Michigan to experiment on and kill human embryos for their stem cells.

Second, if research directors at Michigan's big three universities claim Proposal 2 is “working as intended,” they are grossly misstating the case. As a November 7 Press article indicated, the University of Michigan, the state's leading stem cell research university, “has not started projects to derive human embryonic stem cell lines” a year after Proposal 2 passed. If a year later they haven't even done what Proposal 2 legalized, how necessary was Proposal 2 after all?

Which is why the Press' claim that Proposal 2 is responsible for the $7 million in stem cell research grants is all the more misleading. Only one grant is for research using human embryonic stem cells. All the rest of the research projects are using adult stem cells, cancer stem cells or animal stem cells. The University of Michigan's own press release on the grants notes that the one embryonic stem cell study would have been legal before Proposal 2 because it doesn't require researchers to kill any embryos.

Press editorial writers are entitled to their own opinions on this research and legislation, but they're not entitled to their own facts.

Nothing in the proposed legislation will reverse or undermine Proposal 2 nor will it hinder any embryonic stem cell research. The bills simply provide the framework for Proposal 2 to be properly carried out and its provisions enforced. Voters expect that anyone caught violating Proposal 2 will be punished. But without this legislation, there are no defined penalties, no oversight or enforcement agency in charge, no accountability.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Abortion Funding Remains in U.S. Senate health care bill

On November 21, the U.S. Senate barely cleared an initial 60-vote procedural hurdle, setting the stage for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) 2,074-page health care bill to move forward. The debate and amendment process is scheduled to begin Monday, November 30.

As Right to Life of Michigan has previously noted, Senator Reid's bill [on page 118] would authorize the federal government to pay for any and all abortions through a huge new federal health insurance program, commonly known as the "public option," and also to subsidize purchase of private plans that cover abortion on demand. President Obama and Sen. Reid know that the substance of these abortion-promoting policies is deeply unpopular, so they seek to conceal the reality with layers of contorted definitions and money-laundering schemes.

President Obama and Sen. Reid are also seeking to block the enactment of the bipartisan Stupak Amendment, which was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on November 7. This amendment would prevent government funding of elective abortion through the proposed “public option," and would also prevent federal subsidies from paying for private insurance plans that cover elective abortion.

During the weeks ahead, Right to Life of Michigan will continue to fight the efforts of President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders who seek to cover abortion on demand in two huge new federal health programs. The Senate bill faces additional 60-vote hurdles in the future. Moreover, a courageous group of prolife Democrats in the House of Representatives will oppose final approval of health care legislation if the Stupak Amendment is gutted or removed.

Learn more by visiting the Right to Life of Michigan Prolife Action Center. A sample message for our senators and helpful links, which include the U.S. Senate health care legislation and Stupak Amendment, are available in the Prolife Action Center.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Senator Reid’s Health Care Plan Rejects Stupak Amendment and Pushes for Abortion Funding

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has rejected the bipartisan Stupak amendment and has substituted completely unacceptable language that would result in coverage of abortion on demand in two big new federal government programs.

The Stupak amendment would prevent federal subsidies for abortion by applying the principles of longstanding federal laws such as the Hyde Amendment to the new programs created by the health care legislation. Those principles prohibit both direct funding of abortion procedures and subsidies for plans that cover elective abortions, in existing federal programs such as Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and the military.

Unfortunately, Senator Reid has rejected the bipartisan Stupak amendment and sought to appease pro-abortion organizations who demand abortion be funded through federal programs.

The Reid bill establishes a new federal health insurance program, commonly referred to as “the public option” and referred to in Reid's bill as the "community health insurance option." The bill allows (on page 118) the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services to require coverage of any and all abortions throughout the public option program. This would be federal government funding of abortion, no matter how hard they try to disguise it.

In addition, the bill creates new tax-supported subsidies to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion on demand.

Right to Life of Michigan will continue to fight for the Stupak amendment and oppose the attempts to establish new federal government programs that will pay for or coverage of elective abortions.

Helpful Links:

Text of Reid's Health Care Bill

Text of Stupak Amendment

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Health Care Reform Focus Shifts to U.S. Senate

Calls to Sen. Levin and Sen. Stabenow are needed

Since the U.S. House of Representatives has passed health care reform legislation, including the prolife Stupak amendment which prevents the government from funding abortion or subsidizing abortion coverage, the debate over health care reform now moves to the U.S. Senate. It has been reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may attempt initial procedural steps to bring health care legislation to the Senate floor this week.

After the passage of the Stupak amendment in the U.S. House, pro-abortion groups have ramped up their efforts against the Stupak amendment and urged their members to lobby their senators to remove prolife language from the Senate version of health care reform. Some pro-abortion legislators have promised to oppose the final version of health care reform legislation if it includes the Stupak amendment.

Despite their pro-abortion positions, Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Carl Levin need to hear your voices on this crucial issue. They need know the people of Michigan strongly believe that abortion is not health care.

Please take the time to call Senator Levin and Senator Stabenow to let them know that Michigan citizens want the government funding of abortion explicitly excluded from health care reform legislation.

There is no time to delay; please make your call today!

Sample Message:

"I urge you to oppose the 'motion to proceed' to the House passed health care bill unless the Senate substitute offered by Senator Reid contains the Stupak-Pitts amendment to ensure abortion is not funded by U.S. taxpayers in the health care bill. I do not support federal funding of abortion."

It is important to note that the Stupak-Pitts amendment doesn't expand any restrictions on abortion. It merely prevents the government from funding abortion and from subsidizing health insurance plans which cover abortion. The language of the Stupak amendment is clear and it mirrors the Hyde amendment and the health care insurance program for federal employees. Federal funds are not to be used to pay for elective abortions and federally subsidized insurance plans can't pay for abortion.

Senator Carl Levin (D)
Washington, D.C., Phone: (202) 224-6221

District Offices:
Detroit (313) 226-6020
Escanaba (906) 789-0052
Grand Rapids (616) 456-2531
Lansing (517) 377-1508
Traverse City (231) 947-9569
Warren (586) 573-9145

Web Site (you can use the web site to send an electronic message):

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D)
Washington, D.C., Phone: (202) 224-4822

District Offices:
Detroit (313) 961-4330
East Lansing (517) 203-1760
Flint (810) 720-4172
Grand Rapids (616) 975-0052
Marquette (906) 228-8756
Traverse City (231) 929-1031

Web Site (you can use the web site to send an electronic message):

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Abortionist Alberto Hodari putting abortion clinics up for sale

Prolife advocates have reported that “For Sale” signs have been put up on at least 3 abortion clinics owned by notorious abortionist Alberto Hodari.

Hodari was recently fined $10,000 due to the death of a woman who died in his clinic in 2003 and he was in the news after the bodies of aborted children along with women’s medical records were found in one of his abortion clinic dumpsters and he was given 6 months probation.

Hodari faces various lawsuits and has recently filed for divorce from his wife.


Monday, November 16, 2009

President Obama plans on breaking his promise, wants abortion funding in health care bill

After promising in front of a nationally televised audience on September 9 that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” in health care reform, President Barack Obama is now positioning himself in opposition to an amendment that would enforce his promise.

On November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 240-194 to add the Stupak amendment to health care reform legislation. The Stupak amendment permanently prohibits the new federal government insurance program from paying for abortion, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest and permanently prohibits the use of the new federal premium subsidies (also known as "affordability credits") to purchase private insurance plans that cover abortion.

Obama and his advisors are now falsely claiming that the Stupak amendment changes the “status quo” even though the status quo is certainly not a government run health care plan which includes federally-subsidized abortion coverage. They also plan on working to remove the prolife amendment from the final health care bill.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Critcal Reading on Jack Lessenberry's column

At we've published a new critical reading. This critical reading examines Jack Lessenberry recent column in the Toledo Blade entitled, "Michigan Senate aims to ignore people on stem-cell research."

Lessenberry makes a number of false claims regarding stem cell research including claiming that stem cell research was illegal before Proposal 2, misleading claims about legislation to regulate embryonic stem cell research, and claiming that recent stem cell grants to the University of Michigan were because of Proposal 2.

Read the PDF here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stupak amendment added to health care reform bill

Over the weekend, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill but only after legislators were given the opportunity to vote on the Stupak Amendment sponsored by Michigan’s Bart Stupak (D-Menominee). The Stupak Amendment prevents public funds from being used to pay for abortions in the government public health care plan except in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. It also prevents individuals who have federally-subsidized insurance to get abortion coverage with their federally subsidized insurance.

The Stupak amendment passed by a vote of 240-194.

Michigan’s congressional delegation voted 9-6 in favor of the Stupak Amendment to remove abortion funding from the health care reform bill. The “no” votes included Michigan’s two freshman congressmen Gary Peters and Mark Schauer along with Carolyn Kilpatrick, John Dingell, Sander Levin, and John Conyers. The “yes” votes were Fred Upton, Bart Stupak, Pete Hoekstra, Dave Camp, Dale Kildee, Mike Rogers, Thaddeus McCotter, Vern Ehlers, Candice Miller.

This is a great prolife victory but much more work needs to be done as the U.S. Senate continues work on their version(s) which include abortion funding and rationing concerns. Eventually, the differences in the House and Senate versions will be handled in a conference committee. Prolifers have won a first step battle and prevented the initial expansion of abortion and abortion funding that Planned Parenthood, NARAL and other pro-abortion groups demanded.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Final Countdown for U.S. House Vote on Health Care Legislation

Phone your U.S. House member today -- urge a NO vote on the "closed rule"

On Saturday, November 7, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) plans to attempt to ram a massive pro-abortion bill (H.R. 3962, previously H.R. 3200) through the House under a no-amendments procedure called a "closed rule." This strong-arm procedural tactic would shut out the only real prolife amendment being offered by Michigan's prolife Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak. The Stupak-Pitts Amendment will remove the abortion-funding provisions from H.R. 3962.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is working to insert into the bill phony compromise language with the Ellsworth Amendment. The Ellsworth Amendment is intended to cloak the bill's pro-abortion provisions in legislative smokescreens.

The time is NOW to take a stand and overwhelm members of Congress with calls and e-mails insisting that they vote against using federal dollars for abortion funding.

This afternoon, House Leaders are expected to put forward a "Rule" which blocks the only prolife amendment on the table, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, from receiving a vote.

TAKE ACTION NOW (it doesn't matter if you have already called and sent an e-mail message, call and e-mail again today and Saturday!)

Call your U.S. House Representative in Washington, D.C., and call the local district office with this message:

"I am strongly opposed to any attempt to pass the health care bill, H.R. 3962, under a 'closed rule,' and I urge you to vote 'No' on the anticipated closed rule. I support the Stupak Amendment (pronounced STEW-pak), which would remove the abortion-funding provisions from the bill."

Use the link below for U.S. House contact information:
Congressional Contact Information

Send an e-mail message to your member of Congress with the above message.

Please forward this message to at least 5 friends.

Pray that our elected officials will have wisdom and open minds and hearts to hear from their constituents.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Director Quits Planned Parenthood After Seeing an Ultrasound of an Abortion

ABC News is covering the story of Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood in Texas, who quit after viewing an abortion through ultrasound. She was also being pushed to have her clinic provide more abortions.
Although she had seen ultrasounds before, including during her own pregnancy, Johnson said she had never seen an ultrasound image during an abortion. She is unclear why, as the director of the clinic, she was asked to be in the procedure room on that day, because it was not a normal part of her duties. Still, Johnson said, the experience changed her forever.

"I just thought, 'What am I doing?'" she said. "And then I thought, 'Never again.'"

Two weeks later, Johnson quit.

"I looked out the window and saw a couple of women praying and I thought, 'That's where I need to go,'" Johnson said.

She walked down the street and into the welcoming arms of the Coalition for Life.

Although she had originally been happy at her job, Johnson slowly grew to question "the motives of the organization," she said, particularly because her superiors were "pushing clinics that did have an abortion program to bring in more money."


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another year wait for early embryonic stem cell clinical trial

The first clinical trial designed to test the safety of the placing cells created from embryonic stem cells in human patients will have to wait approximately another year. Forbes is reporting that Geron hopes to restart it’s delayed clinical trial sometime in the 3rd quarter of 2010. The first ever approved clinical trial using embryonic stem cells was delayed in August after studies using animal studies showed the animals developed cysts at their injury sites after being injected with the cells developed from embryonic stem cells.


Monday, November 2, 2009

New Critical Reading of Ryan Dinkgrave's editorial in the State News

At we've published a new critical reading. This critical reading examines Ryan Dinkgrave's recent column in the State News entitled, "Stem cell opponents defying voters' will."

Unfortunately, Dinkgrave gets a number of basic stem cell facts wrong including President Bush's funding policy on embryonic stem cell research.

Read the PDF here.

Tonight: Urgent Health Care Web Cast

A nationwide web cast is planned to provide an update on health care reform. Hear the updates and learn what you can do!

Your attendance is crucial:

Seventy plus prolife and pro-family organizations that make up the Stop the Abortion Mandate Coalition invite you to attend this urgent educational event.

Here are the details:

WHAT: Stop the Abortion Mandate Urgent Web Cast

DATE: TONIGHT, Monday, November 2

TIME: 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific

Register now at:

During the live webcast, you'll hear the latest breaking news from many nationally respected leaders.

Invited presenters include:

* DOUGLAS JOHNSON, National Right to Life Committee

* REP. CHRIS SMITH, U.S. House of Representatives


* CHARMAINE YOEST, Americans United for Life

* KELLYANNE CONWAY, The Polling Company

* KRISTEN DAY, Democrats for Life

* DR. DAVID STEVENS, Christian Medical & Dental Associations

During the event, you will:

* Hear the LATEST UPDATES and news straight from our nation's capital

* Learn exactly how abortion IS mandated in the proposed health care reform bills

* Discover what YOU can do about it!

Join Right to Life of Michigan and register for the important webcast now: