Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Assisted Suicide? Oppose it

This is the first in a five-part series contrasting the ways our society could handle end-of-life care moving forward.

"It was horrible. I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won't give you the medication to live."

That’s how Barbara Wagner described to ABC News her reaction when the state of Oregon decided she wasn’t worth keeping alive anymore in 2008.

Assisted suicide—the act of helping someone commit suicide—is often regarded as ghoulish if the person considering suicide is young and healthy. When the sick and disabled are the ones facing the same gripping despair, instead, groups like Compassion and Choices say they should succumb and call it “dying with dignity.”

Were Barbara Wagner’s choices honored? Did the state of Oregon show compassion when they offered her suicide instead of care? Where's the dignity in being told you aren't worth more than a few dollars worth of poison?

Assisting people in need is a good thing, and caring for the sick and disabled should be something our society places a high value on. When you look at the amount of money we spend on medical care and pioneering new treatments and cures, it’s clear our society does place a high value on assisting the sick. The newest treatments at the edge of discovery are quite expensive, however. It can take years for revolutionary treatments to become standard, routine, and generally affordable.

How we as a society can ensure that those who can’t afford pioneering treatments still have means to access them is an important, ongoing debate and process. Instead of coming up with innovative ways to confront our challenges, simply offering to cover $50-worth of lethal drugs so a person can kill themselves is a cheap cop-out. It’s unbecoming of a society that holds itself out as truly compassionate and caring about choices.

American society continues to become greyer and greyer as fewer and fewer children are born. That's also a reality in many other developed nations. Just as we begin to unlock some of the greatest mysteries of the human body to improve the lives of billions of people, the financial incentives are now there to instead sacrifice the aged and the infirm. Whether it’s a looming entitlement crisis or a dearth of young people paying health insurance premiums, it’s tempting to just give up on those who feel like giving up on themselves.

It won’t end there, however. Barbara Wagner wasn’t ready to give up to cancer and wanted to fight one last round. Her doctors had recommended her for treatment, and that was her choice. Her choices, her personal autonomy, her financial situation: ignored. Oregon’s compassion for her ran dry. The bureaucrats managing the Oregon Health Plan had to worry about the bottom line, perhaps telling themselves it's for the greater good.

Barbara hasn't been the only person to receive such a letter. As other states begin to slowly embrace doctor-prescribed suicide, as health insurance companies and government health plans continue to feel the squeeze from our aging demographics, how many more stories like Barbara will we hear? Will we cease to care? Will we feel comfortable about not caring, because it's for the "greater good"?

Sadly Barbara Wagner passed away years ago, though thankfully the maker of the denied drug eventually donated to her the one last fight against cancer she chose.

Our society is at its best when we assist patients in caring for their needs. It’s at its worst when we tell the vulnerable and depressed that they’ve outlived their usefulness to us, and dress up death as assistance.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New study: abortion pill reversal saves nearly 68% of babies

Last week the Issues in Law and Medicine journal published a study conducted by Dr. George Delgado, who is the doctor behind the abortion pill reversal medical intervention. This is the first data published since 2012 that supports the effectiveness of the abortion pill reversal process.

Some young women are pressured into having RU-486 abortions, either by family and friends or the abortion facility staff after expressing doubts. Some undergo that abortion procedure without fully understanding the consequences. Others are conflicted and go through with them, only to instantly regret their choice that ends with the death of their child. There was little hope for these women until now.

The reversal process is simple, using a natural progesterone treatment approved by the FDA to help prevent miscarriages. The treatment has been used to try to save pregnancies for decades, and is now being used to combat the progesterone-starving effects of the RU-486 abortion pill.

This new study followed 754 women, who after taking the first pill in the medical abortion process regretted their decision and received progesterone treatment. The study found the lives of 261 babies were saved by progesterone treatments within 72 hours of taking the first abortion pill. Various methods were examined. Women taking high-dose oral progesterone treatments had 68% of their children saved, and women receiving progesterone injections had 64% of their children saved.

The study used a conservative benchmark of only 25% of children surviving when their mothers took only RU-486 and not the second pill in the medical abortion regimen.

The study also noted that there was no increased risk of birth defects of preterm births, and further noted that progesterone had been used safely in pregnancy for decades.

Though abortion advocates are still clamoring that this procedure is junk science, it is hard to deny its effectiveness when there are lives being saved. They certainly have a vested interest in keeping women in the dark about this potentially life-saving procedure.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Another reminder that elections have consequences

Another federal budget, another year of Planned Parenthood receiving your tax dollars. You may be thinking that since the Republican Party controls Congress and the presidency, this ought to have been addressed by now. Why?

Well, it came down to one single vote in the U.S. Senate.

Frankly, not every Republican is prolife. Though the two major parties are becoming increasingly polarized on the abortion issue, it's a mistake to assume the position of any politician in any party.

Following the 2016 election, the prolife margin in the Senate was zero. Though the Republican majority was 52-48, two Senate Republicans are pro-abortion: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

In March, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence had to cast a vote to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate regarding funding of Planned Parenthood. Congress removed an Obama Administration regulation meant to stop states like Michigan from shifting Title X family planning funding away from abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood.

That year prolifers in the Senate were on the verge of using a special budgetary provision to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare, including Obamacare provisions that allow tax-funding to go to insurance plans that cover abortions. This combined effort failed in July, however, by one vote.

The expectation was that Senate Republicans would go back to the drawing board and come up with yet another plan that could garner 50 votes. Then in November, Roy Moore lost the Alabama Senate election to Doug Jones. Now there are only 49 prolife votes in the U.S. Senate.

Many people have strong opinions on Roy Moore, who was an extremely flawed candidate, but the practical reality of his loss and the decisions of Alabama voters means Planned Parenthood now has a Senate majority backing their tax-funding.

The votes aren't there to be had.

Some people are wondering why their prolife elected officials voted for this budget. Typically most elected officials vote for the budget. The politics over budget shutdown fights are not easy. Even Senate Democrats who thought they automatically get to win budget shutdown fights got their noses badly bloodied in January when they tried holding out for a controversial policy that opinion polls say a majority of Americans support.

We may wish the U.S. Senate had the votes, or that Congress settled on a different plan to achieve their promises in 2017, or that the Alabama election went differently, or that the politics and realities surrounding the federal budget operated differently, or that we don't even need to be arguing to stop tearing the arms and legs off of defenseless children in the womb in the first place. Wishing isn't good enough, though.

The current Senate margin may provide enough votes for the most important item—a fair Supreme Court justice to replace one of the justices who brings their abortion advocacy with them to the bench—with effort from prolifers. The margin is not enough, however, to get any prolife legislation to the desk of President Trump today. If you don't like that reality, it's time to go to some serious work.

Elections have consequences, and for prolifers we must recognize these consequences include the life and death of millions of people. Thankfully Michigan prolifers have a chance to address this reality in the 2018 election when they vote for a U.S. Senator to represent us in Washington, D.C. Are you prepared to go to work?

As Vice President Mike Pence said recently, "I truly do believe, if all of us do all that we can, that we will once again, in our time, restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law. But we have to do the work."

So, be frustrated, but it's important to understand how we got into this particular situation. Here's three important takeaways from this story:

  1. Don't assume politicians' positions on abortion. They can lie about them, change them, or the media might never bother to even tell you what their position is. Sometimes politicians don't even really know what they believe, or are open to a positive change. Sometimes the pressure becomes too much to bear and they crack.
  2. Prolifers need to make sound choices in primary and general elections. The RLM-PAC works hard to make sure every candidate receiving their endorsement actually has to sit down to an in-person interview, from U.S. Senators to drain commissioners. They do everything possible to make sure a candidate is who they say they are on our prolife issues. President Donald Trump and National Right to Life PAC endorsed Luther Strange over Roy Moore in the Alabama primary, and if every prolife voter had listened to them, Planned Parenthood might have been defunded today. Sometimes being successful means giving up on your personal preferences or preferred strategy.
  3. Prolifers need to be realistic. The effort to end tax-funded abortions in Michigan was a long and awful fight. We fought through multiple vetoes, a stunning last-minute betrayal by a prolife elected official, overcame a nearly hopeless election fight, and we even lost a budget shutdown fight along the way. Sound familiar? Tactics had to be changed and numerous pro-abortion officials had to be voted out of office. We eventually got our bill, however, and so many lives have been saved as a result. Nothing easy is going to be given to the prolife movement, not when you consider the monstrous nature of abortion.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Pulling back the curtain

Dear Lifesaver,

It is one of the most memorable scenes in one of the most watched movies in film history. Dorothy Gale of Kansas, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion are returning to Emerald City having defeated the Wicked Witch of the West. Now it’s time for the Wizard of Oz to keep his promise and send Dorothy home.

Instead, the Wizard uses fear and intimidation to conceal his true identity and the motives of his heart. In a last-ditch effort to keep the charade going, he thunders number 24 of the 100 greatest movie lines of all time: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

Abortion providers and all those who prop up this corrupt industry use the exact same tactics as the Wizard of Oz. Consider these similarities:

  • The image they portray is a complete farce. They do not support women. They victimize women and their innocent children for a profit. 
  • The promises they make are all smoke and mirrors! Abortion never solves a thing; it’s just a doorway to more heartache and regret. 

Every day the abortion industry uses fear and intimidation to pad their pocketbook. I’ve often said that an abortionist is nothing more than a bully with a scalpel!

Like Toto, we need to pull the curtain back! When we do so, we will expose the abortion industry for who they really are and lay bare the intentions of their hearts.

But I must tell you, it’s crowded behind that curtain! In virtually every sector of our society, you will find people who are pushing the buttons and pulling the levers to deceive and intimidate. It’s a long list:

  • The media and news commentators
  • Educators, counselors and school administrators
  • Doctors, nurses and health systems
  • Pastors and denominational leaders (yes, it’s true!)
  • Hollywood celebrities and entertainers
  • Professional athletes
  • The list goes on...

You can clearly see, we have our work cut out for us. But, today, as I sit down to write this month’s newsletter, we are micro-focused on a group of some of the greatest pretenders: politicians!

Now let me hasten to say, the unborn child and women in crisis are valiantly represented today by many fine men and women in both Lansing and in Washington, D.C. But, at the same time, there’s curtain-pulling work needing to be done.

That’s exactly what we intend to do in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

Priority number one will be to prepare for the primary elections which take place on Tuesday, August 7. Then immediately, we will turn our attention to the general election, Tuesday, November 6. The list of offices up for election is long.

Please help us pull the curtain back! We cannot allow pro-abortion politicians to hide from the truth! In the days ahead, we must serve the unborn and our fellow citizens by thoroughly vetting these candidates for public office.

We need to do our best to explain where these candidates stand on the life and death issue of abortion. Then we need to pull the curtain back and invite concerned citizens from Marquette to Monroe to join us as we step into that ballot box!

Don’t underestimate the importance of your participation! Your gift of $10, $20, $25, $50 or even $100 represents an incredibly important investment in our curtain-pulling work! Go to and give online right now.

Make no mistake about it, we will face strong opposition at every step of the way. You will hear political parties, political action committees and the candidates themselves say,“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

Please join us right away with your most generous financial contribution possible and your continued prayer support. Thank you!

With deepest appreciation,
Barbara Listing, President Right to Life of Michigan

P.S. As far as the womb goes, “There’s no place like home!” (Number 11 out of the 100 greatest movie lines of all time.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tough day for California & abortion industry in Supreme Court

Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in NIFLA v. Becerra. The Supreme Court is facing the question if the state of California can force prolife pregnancy centers to advertise free abortions.

The consensus opinion between court watchers seems to be that California had a horrible day in court. Even abortion supporters agree:

Certainly the law is problematic on 1st Amendment grounds; you can't force someone to speak. California and several justices appeared to try to liken these forced advertisements to informed consent before an abortion. There's a big difference however; California's law is not requiring centers to provide informed consent of ultrasound procedures. That would not be objectionable. Instead, it forces prolife pregnancy centers to deface their own advertisements and advertise in their clinics for a hotline for free, tax-funded abortions.

Also, giving people diapers and advice isn't like a surgical procedure. Diaper rash can be truly awful, but you don't need informed consent before purchasing Pampers, and informed consent for diapers would not include advertising for free abortion.

In the oral arguments the justices seemed to focus on how the law was specifically targeting prolife pregnancy centers, exempting almost every other entity that comes into contact with pregnant women. Even the very pro-abortion justices were troubled by the focused nature of the law.

It's obvious to everyone that the law targets prolife pregnancy centers. California legislators, the media, prolife and pro-abortion groups, even the justices themselves all knew the genesis of this law. In particular pro-abortion groups billed it as addressing the problem of "fake clinics." That's how the law was thought up, lobbied, written, sold, and defended.

California's Deputy Solicitor General tried to do the impossible, however, in arguing that the law was really about reaching low-income women with pertinent information. In an act of sheer mendacity, he even threw away a lifeline from Justice Elena Kagan when she suggested the law is about dealing with a specific problem of deceptive centers, and that maybe that's a legitimate purpose for the law being so specific about prolife pregnancy centers.

You can read the oral arguments for yourself, but this is essentially how that argument went:

California: We're targeting prolife pregnancy centers! They are fake clinics!
Supreme Court: So, you're targeting prolife pregnancy centers it seems?
California: No, of course not your honor. Who? Us?
Supreme Court: Hmm, are you sure about that?
California: Well, maybe we're targeting them just a tiny bit, but really it was just in the back of our mind what those filthy fake clinics were up to when we crafted our FACT Act to STOP THE LIES!!!

It's always difficult predicting what the U.S. Supreme Court will do, even when the oral arguments appear to be pretty decisive. We'll go out on a limb, however, and say prolifers should be optimistic that today was the beginning of the end of California's Reproductive FACT Act (they capitalized FACT, in case you miss that part).

Such a victory would be important to pregnancy centers in other states facing repeated attacks on their 1st Amendment rights by hostile pro-abortion legislators.

The Supreme Court's decision in this case is expected to be released around June.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Do we need abortion for Down syndrome?

Luke Pardue
Luke Pardue, human being
Have you ever met someone with a genetic disease? Chances are you have. There is also a chance that you have met someone who has a disease, but you have no idea that they do.

Down syndrome is one genetic disease that might be more apparent than some. As many know, there are several different tests that a mother can have while she is pregnant to find out if their baby will have this genetic disease.

Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus recently wrote an opinion piece about the topic. She notes several states are seeking to ban abortion on eugenic grounds. She wrote that if she had found out she was potentially having a baby with Down syndrome, abortion would have been her first pick.

She isn’t the first one to write about this issue, but her argument might be the most lifeless.

Since her March 9 article was published, many people (even members of Congress) have taken to news and social media to share their first-hand experience with Down syndrome, either through their own pregnancy or a person they know.

Down syndrome takes place in about 1 in every 700 births. Many of these women are told by their physicians or others that abortion is the best option for them. In her opinion piece, Ruth Marcus even wrote, "I’m going to be blunt here: That was not the child I wanted."

That's what the entire abortion debate boils down to, isn't it? This child is not what I want. This child is not good enough for me.

Just because these babies are a little different, or need a little extra care does not make them any less precious.

This latest opinion piece echoed the same sentiment of news out of Iceland that Down syndrome has been largely "eliminated" there. In reality, they didn’t eliminate Down syndrome, they just kill any baby unfortunate enough to have a positive text result before birth.

One big problem with prenatal testing is that it opens up the door to abortion for any characteristic. You can test for all sorts of things today, even physical features like hair or eye color. This problem is mentioned by Ruth Marcus, but waved away in her commitment to abortion-on-demand for any reason. What if Marcus' parents didn't like her hair or eye color? What if she had a genetic disorder herself?

Everyone should have a conversation with someone who lives with a genetic disease, especially someone who has a genetic disease that was detected in the womb, but is able to live a completely normal life. Maybe someone like Ruth Marcus will come to realize that we are more than our defects.

Many babies who have genetic diseases often aren’t even given the opportunity to live because they are merely classified as a "burden." Well, every person is a burden at multiple times in their life. Is society only meant for the fit, wealthy, and independent? Is eugenics worth embracing?

There are also cases where women are told that their child might have a genetic disease when they are born, but when they are born they have no such disease. Apparently the lives of these children with false positives are simply collateral damage in our quest to avoid having to deal with the disabled.

Our society is obsessed with avoiding discrimination in any form and overturning every bastion of privilege, but unfortunately our society seems only too willing to discriminate against people based on their number of chromosomes.

No, Ruth Marcus, we don't need to be able to get rid of people with Down syndrome. We need a society where every human life is valued for what they are, not what they can or can't do for you.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Forcing the abortion agenda at the Supreme Court

Choice: the word is a rallying cry for the abortion industry, which holds personal autonomy as a supreme value in our culture. Even in their minds, however, some choices are more equal than others.

In two weeks the next major abortion case will come before the U.S. Supreme Court: NIFLA v. Becerra. On Tuesday, March 20, the Court will hear oral arguments about whether or not the state of California can force prolife pregnancy centers to advertise for free taxpayer-funded abortions.

California's 2015 Reproductive FACT Act law was specifically written to target prolife pregnancy centers; other medical and non-medical facilities that offer similar or related services are not required to give free advertising to abortion clinics.

The case should be an open and shut decision based on the First Amendment, but when it comes to abortion, throw out the law, the U.S. Constitution, and reality itself. The decision will hinge on the personal biases of the judges involved, in this case likely Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Learn more about the case here.

California is not alone. On Saturday the Washington State House approved a bill forcing any health insurance plan in the state that covers maternity care to also cover elective abortions.

Oregon took similar action in 2017, requiring insurance plans to provide free abortions.

While many politicians hold themselves out as "pro-choice" or "personally opposed to abortion," they are in reality pro-abortion. When they have the reigns of power, they move to force people to participate in abortions.

The abortion industry wants:
  • taxpayers to cover every abortion for free. They believe every person must help enable every abortion to take place.
  • every hospital, doctor, nurse, health insurance company, and everyone else connected to the health industry to either participate with abortions or help promote them. They believe no person of any belief ever has the right to conscientiously object.
  • to shutter every prolife pregnancy center. They don't want any person helping a woman through a crisis pregnancy unless they are willing to help her have an abortion, even as they accuse prolife people of refusing to help them.
  • to stop any protection for women facing abortion coercion. The abortion industry knows a significant number of women coming to them for abortions are not doing so by free will. They believe abortion coercion is not a problem and they refuse to do anything about it.
  • taxpayers to fund programs overseas that pressure prolife countries to change their laws, and to fund coercive population control programs in horribly repressive countries. They believe China's one-child policy was a good thing, because too many human beings is a bad thing.

This should be no surprise. Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger, praised the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Buck v. Bell upholding forced sterilization programs. Today Planned Parenthood is forced to limply disavow Sanger's support for forced sterilization. They claim they care about liberty and the conscience of individuals.

The reality, however, is that the abortion industry and their supporters will not rest until there's not a single person left in the public square expressing the view that every human being has moral worth. They shrug their shoulders at the horrors of population control programs in places like China.

It's the prolife movement that truly values personal autonomy. We firmly believe in it, because it's part of our basic, unalienable human dignity. We know, however, that your autonomy ends when it directly impacts the life of another human being, because they have the same personal autonomy you have.

Personal autonomy is the reason abortion is wrong—a human being's life is taken from them simply because their existence is an inconvenience. If we can declare entire classes of innocent human beings unpersons, what's the point of personal autonomy after all?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Making the U-turn on abortion

Dear Lifesaver,

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the Winter Olympics. Political tensions aside, it was a thrill to watch some of the finest athletes in the world compete against one another, each and every one of them an expert in their field.

The same thing is true in the ever-changing world of technological advances. It seems like virtually every day there’s news of yet another astonishing breakthrough. Again, the work of experts in their field!

I’m also fascinated with medical research. Through the relentless pursuit of new and innovative treatments, diseases that were once incurable are wiped from the face of the earth. The result of experts in their field hard at work.

We are experts too! We are experts at the “U-turn.” Without hesitation, I would suggest that our expertise in this area is second to none in our modern-day culture.

Today, the prolife movement is filled with people who once considered themselves to be “pro-choice.” Perhaps they kept their opinion to themselves. Maybe they were a pro-choice donor. Maybe they were a pro-abortion activist. Some who have experienced the prolife U-turn even worked in an abortion clinic once upon a time. Or, tragically, had an abortion themselves.

Countless people have made a U-turn. It’s not just a matter of educating the general public on the realities of abortion. Sure, that’s certainly part of it, but not the whole story. The U-turn experience is much deeper. It is rooted in love and acceptance. Everyone is welcome in this movement! Everyone!

Meet Abby Johnson. At one point in time, Abby ran a large Planned Parenthood affiliate in Texas. But Abby has made a U-turn. She now leads an organization called, “And Then There Were None.” Their mission is to offer a U-turn to those working in the abortion industry.

In her latest report, Abby indicated that an amazing 419 abortion clinic workers have made a prolife U-turn in their lives, including 7 full-time abortionists.

Just recently, Abby introduced Adrienne Moton to the prolife movement. Adrienne was one of Kermit Gosnell’s employees. For over 30 years, Gosnell ran the most notorious and brutal abortion clinic in the country. Moton had worked side-by-side with Gosnell in his grisly trade. But then Adrienne began to make her U-turn.

After his arrest, she helped authorities put Gosnell away for the rest of his life. Though she had helped prosecutors, she was still convicted of third degree murder and went to prison. On the day of her sentencing in May 2013, Adrienne Moton, through tears, told the court, “I don’t feel like I got arrested. I feel like I got rescued.”

Abby Johnson reached out to Adrienne while she was still behind bars. Abby spoke passionately of the love, forgiveness and redemption that she had experienced. Adrienne has now joined Abby in making a U-turn. Now she’s free—free indeed!

I am so proud of the prolife movement. As I look across the landscape of America and investigate our rich heritage as a nation, I see absolutely no parallel to our movement. We labor 24/7 for people who will never be able to thank us. We are ridiculed and mocked at every step of the way. Daily, we are slandered and mischaracterized in the news and on social media. Yet, through all the abuse, we exemplify unconditional love. We are experts at the U-turn.

But I must tell you, I am deeply troubled by what I see happening in our great state. According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, the latest annual statistics tell us that 49% of all abortions performed in our state are repeat! These are people who desperately need a U-turn in their lives.

Because of a past abortion, many are experiencing damaged relationships, broken marriages, mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, increased sexual promiscuity and generally a dysfunctional lifestyle. All this can lead to another abortion. You and I desperately need to intervene, not only to prevent a future casualty, but to provide people on a dead-end road with a way of escape: a U-turn!

The good news is we are living in a day when people are converting to the prolife movement in droves. Women, men, parents, brothers, sisters, friends and teachers are coming to grips with either a past abortion or the role that they played in a past abortion. We are living in a day when doctors and nurses are escaping the bloody clutch of the abortion industry, where people like Adrienne Moton are finding forgiveness and redemption.

The prolife U-turn: a sign of the times!

We’re here. Everyone is welcome. We desperately need to put up more U-turn signs in Michigan. Are you with me? If so, please, give your most generous donation possible online to Right to Life of Michigan for $100, $50, $45, $25 or whatever you can afford. We must dig in for the long haul.

If you are able, I would encourage you to join me as a member of our 2018 Life Support Team with a gift given on a monthly, bimonthly, quarterly or semiannual basis. If you are sold on the concept of the U-turn, the Life Support Team is an unprecedented way to make an impact. Send us an e-mail at if you'd like us to sign you up.

Thank you for helping us provide a U-turn!

With deepest appreciation,

Barbara Listing, President
Right to Life of Michigan

Treating the U.S. Treasury as a political slush fund

Yesterday BuzzFeed News reported that several large political organizations are helping several Parkland students organize for political events in the wake of the shooting there.

One of those groups is Planned Parenthood.

Right to Life of Michigan doesn't have a position on guns, and a great many other otherwise important issues. That's because those issues have nothing to do with our issues: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia. They are not a part of our mission.

Right to Life of Michigan does not receive $500 million tax dollars every year, either. And why would we? We're an organization heavily involved in politics and policy (and education). It would be strange if our legislative office was using tax dollars to lobby legislators, perverse even.

Planned Parenthood has no such qualms. Their original mission was population control through encouraging use of birth control. At least abortion relates to that mission. In the last several months Planned Parenthood has abandoned their mission statement as the leader of the "reproductive rights movement" and has engaged on issues that are entirely unrelated to their mission.

What does gun control have to do with birth control? How does tax policy impact abortion? Where does immigration fit into all of this?

Meanwhile, all the stuff they routinely tout as their true activities like mammograms (which they don't provide) and birth control are in decline as their clients and health services drop.

Planned Parenthood maintains the fiction that they are integral to the health care system when citizens complain that this highly political organization has received billions in tax dollars over the years. The media is happy to assist them in their endeavors, seemingly always failing to hold them accountable.

But where you spend your resources shows everyone what kind of person you truly are.

Planned Parenthood's heart lies in two places: the abortion clinic pathology lab, where the broken body parts of an unborn child are crudely reassembled to make sure the abortion was completely properly, and the U.S. Capitol building.

The U.S. Treasury should be used for the general welfare, not abused by greasing the skids of government through lobbyists and campaign contributions, and certainly not for taking the life of innocent human beings.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Remembering the impact of Mildred Jefferson

Often it can seem a deep-seated problem is too impossible to resolve, too broken to fix, and a single voice can’t make an impact.

Dr. Mildred Jefferson was a testament to the power one voice can have to address a problem that sometimes seems impossible to resolve and beyond our abilities to repair.

In the few years before the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in 1973, abortion activists were blitzing state legislatures, convincing several of the merits of taking away the right to life of unborn children. Even Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, was not immune to this advocacy. At first, very few voices rose in defense of the rights of the unborn. The American Medical Association once was dedicated to protecting the rights of unborn children and protecting medical professionals from being turned into merchants of death. Yet even they were undermined by the movement to embrace abortion, and in 1970, they endorsed the policy of abortion-on-demand.

When pro-abortion forces came to Massachusetts in earnest in 1970 to change state laws there, one doctor took a different path: Dr. Mildred Jefferson.

By 1970 Dr. Jefferson already had a brilliant history of firsts. Born and raised in small town Texas, Dr. Jefferson always wanted to be a doctor, but being a Black woman in a town with segregated schools in the 1940s wasn’t exactly an easy path to medical school. That didn’t even begin to hold her back, however.

Dr. Jefferson was only 15 when she graduated high school and went on to a small historically-Black college, Texas College. She was too young to pursue medical school after graduating from Texas College, so she bided her time by working on her master’s degree from Tufts University, way up in Massachusetts. It was a short trip from there to her next destination in nearby Cambridge.

In a truly momentous first, Dr. Jefferson became the first Black women to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Then she achieved another one, becoming the first female intern at Boston City Hospital, and another one when she became the first female surgeon at Boston University Medical Center.

The sky was her limit. She could have spent the rest of her life basking in the glow of her achievements, perhaps becoming a universally-celebrated historical figure for breaking down so many racial and gender barriers. History, however, set a different path before her.

Appalled by the idea that a doctor should engage in taking human life, Dr. Jefferson accomplished another first, helping to officially found the prolife movement in Massachusetts under the name Massachusetts Citizens for Life. She went on to be a founding member of the National Right to Life Committee, a chair of their board in 1974, and president of the organization from 1975 to 1978.

At the beginning of the prolife movement, Dr. Jefferson was our national spokesperson. She was not just an eloquent speaker, but impactful on her listeners. One such listener was that former California governor who legalized abortion in his state, Ronald Reagan. After seeing Dr. Jefferson speak about the issue, he wrote a note thanking her. Part of the note read, “I wish I could have heard your views before our legislation was passed. You made it irrefutably clear than an abortion is the taking of a human life. I’m grateful to you.”

Ronald Reagan was the first prolife president since Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in 1973. Helped by the persuasive words of Dr. Jefferson, he went on to galvanize the prolife movement at a time when most of the learned minds and voices of the day were still predicting that prolifers would gradually vanish from America. We’re still here, and our voices are louder than ever.

For Dr. Jefferson, being a doctor was inseparable from being prolife. She once said, “I became a physician in order to help save lives. I am at once a physician, a citizen, and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow the concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live.”

Abortion has not yet ended; it still ravages communities in America. Dr. Jefferson’s mission has yet to be achieved. Yet, there is progress: an increase in prolife protections at the state level, decisions chipping away at Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, and an abortion rate in decline for nearly 30 years.

Sadly, Dr. Jefferson died in 2010, before she was able to see Roe v. Wade reversed. At her death she was still dedicated to the prolife movement, serving on the board of the National Right to Life Committee. Though she began her career as a physician saving individual patients, she will be most remembered as a person who helped lay the foundation for saving millions of lives.

Just one voice can indeed change the world around them and the course of history.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Missing history during Black History Month

Black History Month has a long and venerable tradition. It began with a press release in 1926 celebrating a week to showcase the advancement of the Black community from bondage to freedom. It was set in February to coincide with the birthdays of two great men: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. These men sacrificed much for the principle that every member of the human race enjoys the same inalienable rights.

While the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution have done much to protect the inalienable rights of every American, abortion is a gaping hole in the foundation of our inalienable right to life. Millions of lives have disappeared into this hole, and no community has been more affected by abortion than the Black community.

Since 1973 there have been more than an estimated 19 million abortions in the Black community. Today in America there are 43 million Americans who are Black. A third of Black History Month is missing because a third of the people whose stories make up that history are gone.

There are many problems facing the Black community today, but abortion is frequently overlooked. Since 1973 abortion has taken more Black lives than every other cause of death combined. Let’s repeat it, and reflect on this: if you add up every death for every reason for every member of the Black community since 1973, it doesn’t equal the amount of Black abortions.

That’s the bad news. The good news is abortion rates in minority communities are declining, though very slowly. In Michigan additional effort by the prolife movement is being focused on reaching out to communities with high abortion rates, particularly Detroit. Though they don’t get much media attention, many prolife people serve in organizations whose mission is to help women and men in crisis pregnancies.

What more can be done? This is a complex issue. Women have abortions for many reasons, including diverse issues like economics, relationships, and futures. There are many complicated reasons for high Black abortion rates, and these reasons can’t be addressed overnight.

The most important roadblock to addressing this problem is not its complicated nature; it’s the failure of many to even identify there’s a huge problem here.

Facing complex problems is difficult, especially one touching issues that already generate controversy. Yet Black History Month remains a living testament that America has the resolve to face down difficult challenges.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Stem cell hucksters back for more cash

The CIRM was to be the great hope for cures for millions of Americans suffering from incurable diseases. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine was created by 59 percent of California voters in 2004 and given $3 billion in tax dollars to pursue cures by killing human embryos and taking their embryonic stem cells.

Now, 16 years later, CIRM is running out of cash and needs to come back to California voters and ask for more funding. Will voters give it to them?

The first question all people should ask is this: what price should society put on purposefully taking one human life to help another? For people who value every human life, the answer is each life is invaluable, and that such actions erode the fundamental nature of rights. It also subtly subverts the fundamental role of medicine in saving lives.

The second question—for those who aren't persuaded by those arguments—is this: will it work? What will the return on their investment be? How many cures have the CIRM researchers developed using human embryonic stem cells?


The CIRM was not the only player in the gold rush for stem cell cures in the first decade of the 21st century. Michigan voters narrowly approved a state constitutional amendment to allow taking human life for medical research in 2008. Other states saw votes and debates as well. Presidents and Congress clashed over this issue. One thing in common to all of these debates were promises of endless cures for basically every major condition you can think of, even conditions like Alzheimer's that appear to be incurable through stem cell treatments.

Opposing these wild claims were prolife groups and others who pointed out the extensive problems with human embryonic stem cell research ever being utilized, including risks, practicality, and basic science. Prolifers pointed out that ethical alternatives like adult stem cells had already shown real results and newer forms of personalized regenerative medicine would quickly overtake human embryonic stem cell research.

Let's revisit these claims.

In 2004, now-disgraced vice presidential candidate John Edwards promised voters that if they voted for John Kerry for president, famous actor Christopher Reeves and others with spinal cord injuries will walk again. Today, no treatment for spinal cord injuries exists using human embryonic stem cell research. Adult stem cell treatments continue to be pioneered, however, and have shown real benefits.

Also in 2004, Ron Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan, spoke at the Democratic National Convention about human embryonic stem cells. He promised listeners cures to Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and more. Today no treatments for those conditions exist using human embryonic stem cell research and no cure is even on the horizon.

Contrary to Reagan's promises, current research using induced pluripotent stem cells is moving towards a clinic trial for Parkinson's. Adult stem cells have been able to reduce symptoms in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. Researchers are attacking diabetes in mice by combining adult stem cells with drug therapy. These are just a handful of examples of ethical stem cell sources that show as much promise as human embryonic stem cells once did, or are actually helping treat some patients today. 

In Michigan, supporters of Proposal 2 in 2008 promised cures as well. They touted a study claiming 770,000 lives could be saved. They also made a bevy of other promises: a renaissance for regenerative medicine in the state, a solution to Michigan's health care crisis, health care savings of $80 million a year, business revenue of $27 million. Michigan would step out of the "dark ages" and become a global leader in fighting disease.

After 10 years, did these claims actually come true? Did we even get a biomedical renaissance for the price of sacrificing human life? The most vocal University of Michigan researcher backing the proposal, Dr. Sean Morrison, left the state for Texas a couple of years after passage. Maybe Michigan is still in the dark ages after all.

So far the only people who truly benefited from Proposal 2 were the campaign consultants and signature gatherers paid to promote the constitutional amendment.

Voters in California will hopefully reexamine the many claims backers of the CIRM made and the false hope they promised to people suffering from terminal illness. So far the only success the CIRM is relying on for their latest sales pitch involves adult stem cells. If regenerative medicine institutes had abandoned Quixotic and unethical forms of research at the beginning, imagine how much closer we might be to effective treatments for suffering patients. Maybe backers of the CIRM could turn a new leaf and not lie to voters this time?

It's understandable that people suffering from disease and their family members want to see cures right around the corner. These people deserve many things, including honesty. Every human being deserves the promise that their life will be valued and respected, and ignoring the value of some human beings will never benefit us all in the long-term. 

It's well past time for Americans to abandon unethical research with diminishing hope of ever working out.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Late-term abortion ban fuel emotions of abortion advocates

Last week’s Senate vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act once again sent abortion advocates into a tail spin. Unfortunately it was clear the bill was not going to get enough votes to overcome a filibuster, and the cloture vote on it failed. It is effectively dead for now. Pro-abortion groups didn't rest on their laurels, however, and were busy deceiving people about abortion statistics and medical research.

The failure of this bill came after a poll was released showing that 60 percent of Americans who say they are "pro-choice" believe that second and third trimester abortions should be restricted. New York Times writer David Brooks wrote a high-profile article as a hypothetical Democratic Party political consultant urging the national party to abandon their platform of unlimited tax-funded abortions. Brooks' fictitious consultant realizes that such an extreme position on abortion alienates millions of voters that would otherwise be a part of their base.

The popularity of late-term abortion bans and the extreme unpopularity of our current status quo of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy forces the abortion industry to deceive as many people as possible in order maintain the state of the law.

The news website recently provided an excellent example. Writer Amanda Marcotte slammed the prolife movement’s recent push towards late-term abortion bans, saying we are now openly challenging Roe v. Wade. Her article makes a claim that "legitimate scientists" say that the earliest possibility that unborn babies can feel pain is at 29 weeks.

Let's consult one, shall we? How about Dr. Robin Pierucci, a board-certified neonatologist in Michigan?

Dr. Pierucci wrote an article for the website The Federalist last week talking about how the premature babies she works with—some at 23 weeks gestation—are obviously capable of reacting to painful or uncomfortable procedures.

Dr. Pierucci said, "For example, when you poke them for blood work, the babies wrinkle up their faces, kick their feet, clench their hands into tiny fists, curl their toes, arch their backs and try to wriggle away, or smack at the offending person. Just ask the nurses."

Will Amanda Marcotte claim these babies aren't actually reacting to painful stimuli and showing natural reactions to pain every other human being does? If these babies born at 23 weeks can feel pain outside of the womb, wouldn’t that mean that they would also be able to feel pain inside the womb?

Who are those "legitimate scientists" Amanda Marcotte mentioned, anyway? Marcotte is relying on a 2005 article written to oppose efforts to ban partial-birth abortions; it wasn't an actual study. The first author listed is a lawyer who worked for NARAL, not a scientist. Her co-authors include abortionists who financially profit from late-term abortions. Would you say that's a slight conflict of interest? It's doubtful Amanda Marcotte took the time to actually read who the authors were, or perhaps to even read the article herself.

If you want to read what actual scientists with expertise on studying and caring for unborn children have to say, click here.

The abortion industry's understanding of science is stuck in 1876, back when we still only had theories that fertilization was the beginning of every human life (and even then theories were compelling enough for the unborn child to be protected in law).

There is no denying that Americans generally oppose late-term abortions. It is going to be very difficult for abortion-on-demand supporters to hold up their claims forever when they are so easily rebutted.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lyin' about late-term abortions

"Lie" and "gaslighting" are strong words, but they are necessary to use in this case.

Yesterday a majority of the U.S. Senate voted to ban most abortions past 20 weeks based on evidence that the unborn child can feel pain. The bill was blocked by a filibuster of 44 Democrats and 2 Republicans.

The most frequent argument against the bill that we saw was that most women who have abortions past 20 weeks have some health issue, or the child has a fatal condition or disability. Here's an example, from Planned Parenthood:

It's a bad argument for three reasons:

A) Killing someone is not an appropriate response to suffering.
B) Having a disability doesn't diminish your human rights.
C) It isn't true. It's a lie.

It's not like this is a mistake, or an assumption, or wishful thinking. Planned Parenthood's own favorite research institution has studied the issue. They found most women who have late-term abortions past 20 weeks fit one of these five profiles:

1) Single mothers with other children.
2) Depression or substance abuse.
3) Relationship issues or domestic violence.
4) Trouble deciding earlier in the pregnancy.
5) Young and without children.

These are reasons for many early abortions as well. Conspicuously absent is any mention of a child with a disability or health issues.

It's also a disingenuous argument. Planned Parenthood doesn't oppose a ban on late-term abortions because of health issues, they oppose them because they believe no unborn child has a right to life at any point in pregnancy. If such an exception were included in a late-term ban, Planned Parenthood would move on to a completely different and equally-deceptive argument to oppose it. Planned Parenthood knows that late-term abortion bans usually poll in the 60 percent range, and that even many self-identified pro-choice Democrats support such bans, so they have to skirt the issue.

Planned Parenthood gaslights the public, they gaslight the media, and they gaslight their own supporters. Gaslighting is a term for emotional/mental abuse that involves repeatedly lying and deceiving someone, with the goal of having them question their own perceptions and instead rely on the deceptive person for their view of reality.

Practically every common argument or talking point from the abortion industry involves deception of some kind: only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood's work involves abortions, "heavily edited" undercover videos involving fetal tissue trafficking, Planned Parenthood's fictitious mammogram machines, or the lie that launched the movement into the mainstream itself: back alley abortions. We could go on and on.

Why do Planned Parenthood and others do this? Because the second you acknowledge even a sliver of the truth or the humanity of the unborn child, the entire abortion house of cards comes tumbling down. Abortion rests on the idea that a child has zero moral worth before the moment of birth, or as former Sen. Barbara Boxer put it, a baby doesn't have value until you take her home from the hospital.

Just yesterday in discussing with someone the reasons women have abortions past 20 weeks, the person was unable to accept that the study discussed above from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute was legitimate. The person claimed the study was about abortion after 14 weeks, even though the title of the study is, "Who Seeks Abortions at or After 20 Weeks?". She was unable to accept the truth, and confabulated a reason to ignore the evidence.

That's why you can show someone a video of Planned Parenthood talking in their own words about selling the organs of aborted babies, and the person will likely find an excuse to assume what they've just seen isn't real or must be a deception itself. They are incapable of believing Planned Parenthood is in the wrong.

That's why it's important to keep your cool when debating people who support abortion. Most abortion supporters aren't dismissing your claims to purposefully lie or deceive. Their support of abortion rests on denying the reality of the unborn child, and they have been conditioned to accept claims from Planned Parenthood uncritically and doubt everything the profile movement says. Getting angry at them only drives them further away from your point.

That doesn't mean the prolife movement should abandon debunking pro-abortion claims. You can still sow seeds of doubt in abortion supporters, and sometimes they do see the truth when they are ready to emotionally accept it. So be patient, and continue keeping your arguments grounded in the facts and on point.

You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Friday, January 26, 2018

A movement for everyone, for everyone

The message of the prolife movement is extremely simple: every human life has inherent value, and thus an inalienable right to life. It's because of this simple belief that the prolife movement is committed to fighting the injustices of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.

It's a belief so simple every person of good will ought to be able to get behind it. It's the foundational creed of our nation, as declared by our Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
The prolife movement is thus a movement for everyone, for everyone. We all should support respect for our right to life, because it's the one thing we all share in common: our humanity.

One poignant moment at the March for Life really highlighted this fact.

Every year the Family Research Council hosts ProLifeCon, an online streamed convention for prolife people across the digital fruited plains. Every year ProLifeCon features several prolife government officials, speakers, and leaders. This year Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood abortion facility director and leader of the organization And Then There Were None.

Abby's mission is to convince every employee at an abortion facility to leave, from the clinic escort outside who often intimidates prolife sidewalk counselors, right up to the abortionist performing an abortion. It's tough work, it has to be often heart-breaking work, but it has born fruit.

At the 2018 ProLifeCon, just before the March for Life began, Abby gave a message aimed at members of the prolife movement. She told them workers in the abortion industry do listen to them. What sort of messages should the prolife movement want them to hear? Which words drive them deeper into their abortion work, and which words help them to realize the gross injustice they are engaged in and leave it forever?

Abby highlighted her message using one person: Adrienne Moton. Adrienne was one of Kermit Gosnell's employees. She had helped Gosnell as he cut the necks of born-alive babies. Her mug shot had appeared in the Philadelphia papers, and later the national media.

It was Adrienne's conscience that helped authorities end Gosnell's clinic. She had taken the photo of one of the babies killed after birth by Gosnell. Only known to the world as "Baby Boy A," this child's photo and Adrienne's testimony helped convict Gosnell.

Adrienne helped the prosecutors, but still was convicted of third-degree murder herself. She spent time in jail, though she had a light sentence for her help in the case. It was time to reflect on what she had done.

Abby Johnson said she was appalled at what some prolifers were saying during the Gosnell trial. So, Abby said she decided to send letters to all of the Gosnell clinic employees and pray for them, hoping to receive a response. She finally did, though only one: Adrienne Moton.

After talking about her efforts to reach Adrienne, Abby invited Adrienne up to the podium at ProLifeCon. It was a surprise to the several people attending the digital convention in person. This person who was a prominent figure in a nearly unbelievable grand jury report and trial was present in person. Several years ago, Adrienne was helping Kermit Gosnell to run his clinic from Hell. On January 19, 2018, she was a member of the prolife movement, adding her voice to the hundreds of thousands of prolifers gathering in our nation's capitol for the March for Life that day.

It's a movement for everyone, for everyone.

Adrienne's story is not dissimilar to many prolifers. Many people today leading the movement have themselves been uncaring for the rights of unborn children in the past, or had a very imperfect view of those rights. The only qualification for joining the movement is being committed today to the belief that every human life has value and that every society has a fundamental duty to protect our common inalienable right to life.

Adrienne's story really recalls that of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, however. Dr. Nathanson was an early architect of the abortion movement and did tens of thousands of abortions. He could not shake his understanding of fetal development and images and sonograms of babies in the womb, just like Adrienne could not delete her photo of Baby Boy A. Nathanson left his deathly trade forever. He devoted the rest of his life to protect those he had once preyed upon.

Dr. Nathanson's autobiography, "The Hand of God," recounts his story and his long trek to his eventual home in the prolife movement:
"The keenest of human tortures is to be judged without a law, and mine had been a lawless universe. Santayana once wrote that the only true dignity of man is his capacity to despise himself. I despised myself. Perhaps I had at least arrived at the beginning of the quest for human dignity."

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Detroit body broker convicted

After a two-week trial, and three and a half hours of deliberation by the jury, the verdict in the case of Arthur Rathburn is in: guilty.

For a refresher, Rathburn was being put on trial after a December 2013 raid on his warehouse turned up a slew of shady things. Investigators found the bodies for four unborn babies and human cadavers being improperly stored. The discoveries in his warehouse raised questions about the widely unregulated practices of body brokers in the United States.

He had been charged with 10 counts related to his business of buying and selling corpses which include allegedly knowing to have sold a cadaver infected with HIV and Hepatitis to a medical conference.

On January 22nd the jury found Rathburn guilty on seven counts of wire fraud, aiding and abetting. He faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in jail and a $25,000 fine. He was also found guilty on one count of illegal transportation of hazardous materials. This has a maximum penalty up to five years and a $25,000 fine. He was found not guilty on two counts of wire fraud, aiding, and abetting. He was also found not guilty on making false statements.

This case is one of many involving a national investigation by federal authorities into the largely unregulated market for body parts in the U.S. There are more and more cases coming to light after the Center for Medical Progress videos brought to light this awful underground operation in regards to aborted fetal body parts. Most recently Reuters has published several articles in a series that has uncovered these similar practices in the body broker industry.

Though Rathburn will pay for his crimes, there was sadly no mention of the unborn babies in his trial. We don't know why the babies were not mentioned in the trail, but there was a closed hearing on the case to suppress evidence prior to the trial's start. Photos and other evidence relating to the babies could have been brought up in that hearing.

There is one last chance the babies could be brought up, and that is in the sentencing hearing. Rathburn isn’t expected to be sentenced until May.

There may also be opportunities to dig deeper into the origin of the babies after the trial is over. Did he buy them from an abortion clinic in Michigan?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

They do see the March for Life

The 45th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., was well-attended as usual. Hundreds of thousands of prolifers showed up on January 19 to remind the U.S. Supreme Court and our representatives in our nation's capital that the injustice of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton will not stand.

Right to Life of Michigan affiliates took 16 buses with more than 800 travelers to the March for Life, and many more traveled on other trips or independently. Many other prolifers from Michigan also attended, including school trips.

Here more than 150 student leaders from across Michigan college campuses traveled down.

Students for Life of Michigan

The March is important because prolifers are not given the attention they deserve. Media outlets routinely ignore prolife stories, and when they do cover them, the coverage is often begrudging or designed to minimize their message. Hollywood and academia do what they can to push a narrative supporting abortion.

Here's one specific example. The Women's March events received three times as much coverage as the March for Life, though the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., had a significantly larger crowd than the Washington, D.C., Women's March, and had the President of the United States as the keynote speaker. There was mention of Women's March events in other cities, but no mention of the Walk for Life West Coast, the Chicago March for Life, other regional prolife events, or the many, many local prolife events and Sanctity of Human Life Sunday events across the nation.

You almost have to go looking for the prolife movement to find it.

There is one group of people who see the March for Life every year without fail: residents and workers of Washington, D.C. They know all about the March, if only because of massive groups of people clogging the Metro lines and city traffic. They take notice every year, in a way that transcends seeing a picture on TV. They may not talk about it, they may not want to acknowledge it, but the March reaches its precise audience where it matters the most.

Thankfully the prolife movement has never relied on popular attention to massively grow our support base. The March for Life itself is a wonderful opportunity for those new to the movement to experience the prolife movement.

This year attendees heard from President Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Pam Tebow, and many others. Speakers gave positive, confident outlooks on ending abortion in America, and caring for women and children in need; that's never been an either-or proposition for the prolife movement, though it's not the public perception you'll hear on most networks.

One other speaker in particular stood out, when her mom finally let her have a turn at the microphone. Abigail Beutler, 4, really had something she wanted to say: "thank you." That was all.

Her mom, Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler, had just finished telling the crowd about how her and her husband, Dan, had to fight to save Abigail's life when she was in the womb. She had no kidneys, and doctors were ready to pull the plug on her, saying she had zero chance to survive, suggesting abortion to the Beutlers. Thankfully a simple procedure (though never tried before) was all that was needed for Abigail to live.

We'd love to share a news story featuring Rep. Herrera Buetler's story as told at the March for Life, but none exists that we could find. Pity. It was a bold statement of hope and the value of each life.

Thankfully her story has received coverage in the past (that minimizes her message), if you'd like to hear it for yourself.

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.