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.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

5 days left to double your donation!

Five days, $10,000 to go!

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

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

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

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


Will investigators ignore babies discovered in Detroit body broker warehouse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there no end to the depth of human depravity?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Planned Parenthood now runs half the abortion facilities in America

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

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

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

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

Planned Parenthood is Abortion, Inc.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

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

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

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

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


Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Look Back at 50 Years: 1998

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fetal organ harvesting investigation bursts into the open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

Car trunk abortionist gets slap on the wrist for three felonies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Abortion stats mistake creates CNN fake news claim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Help us reach our goal of $50,000

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New vaccine highlights need for education

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

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

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

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

Using the bodies of broken babies is completely unnecessary.

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

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

What can you do to protect yourself?

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

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