Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Will Sex Ed End Abortion? No, it Won't

Ray Buursma recently wrote an editorial in the Holland Sentinel entitled, "Time for Pro-Lifers to Lobby for Sex Education."

On December 3, Buursma wrote an article accusing the prolife movement of scamming people, claiming that we don't really want to end abortion. He issued a challenge, saying that if anyone can show him that laws limiting abortion have been passed in Michigan or nationally, then he will admit his mistake!

On December 6, the Holland Sentinel published our response, in which we noted such laws we've passed. Sadly, the Holland Sentinel chose to delete a paragraph featuring our most compelling example, our 1988 ban on Medicaid-funded abortions that has reduced abortions by more than 225,000 since then, according to our best guess. We pointed out that we accomplished several important things in the last eight years with Governor Rick Snyder, who wasn't honestly prolife.

Buursma admitted our response makes a point, but he stopped short of admitting his mistake. He said our response wasn't good enough, and even though we had a governor who wasn't prolife, we should have done more.

He then quickly shifts the conversation from his concern for our supporters being duped by us to blaming those same supporters for stopping us from focusing on sex education. Buurmsa's criticism is a frequent argument we hear: we should be reducing abortions by stopping our efforts to educate people about the value of unborn children and stop advocating for their legal protection. Only by focusing on sex education (or contraception) can we achieve abortion reductions, they say.

First of all, what then? Let's say totally devoting ourselves to sex education and contraception cuts abortion rates in half (let's believe that bad assumption for a moment). What then? Instead of nearly 1 million abortions a year, we still have 500,000 a year, a titanic loss of life on par with cancer or heart disease. What then? Are prolifers then allowed to educate others about the value of every human life and seek their legal protection?

Buursma tellingly never mentions eliminating abortions, only reducing them. Why reduce abortions? If you think abortion takes the life of an innocent human being, what's an acceptable legal level for that? Who would argue we should cap homicides at 10,000, and not care so long as the number stays below that?

Let's address Buursma's point, however. Does sex education meaningfully reduce abortions? He acknowledges contraception is already widespread and easily accessible. His article lays the blame for abortion especially on teen pregnancy, and suggests better sex education will help solve that problem.

A study of the Texas panhandle region showed that the teen pregnancy rate decreased dramatically after the 19 Planned Parenthood locations in the area closed. Planned Parenthood is the country's leader in promoting contraceptives and sex education for teens in America, so if Mr. Buursma were correct, what went wrong with the study? Shouldn't their leaving a region of Texas show a drastic increase in unplanned pregnancies?

Much of the decline in teen pregnancy rates in the past several years can be attributed to teens having less sex overall. From 1991 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey found the percentage of high-school students who had engaged in sexual intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent.

However, the vast majority of abortions have nothing to do with teen pregnancy. The teen abortion rate in 1987 was 36.6 per 1,000 teens. In 2017, it was 7.3. That's lower than the 2017 abortion rate for women 30 and over, which is 8.9 per 1,000. You're welcome for those reductions, Mr. Buursma.

A majority of abortions in the state are done on women 25 and over. Women ages 25 to 29 accounted for 30.9% of the abortions in Michigan in 2017, followed closely by women ages 20 to 24 at 31%. Women 30 and over had 29.3% of abortion. The demographics of abortion are aging, with women 25 and older accounting for a greater share and increasing abortion rates.

Perhaps Buursma should be suggesting remedial sex education classes for women in their 30s rather than focusing on teens.

Perhaps instead he should focus his message on Planned Parenthood itself. In Michigan, 51.4% of all abortions are repeat abortions. 23.1% of all abortions are done on women who've already had two or more abortions. Women are visiting Planned Parenthood for abortions, and many keep coming back again and again. What is the nation's leader in contraception and sex education doing about this repeating cycle of abortions in older women, other than profiting from it?

In his article, Buursma lauds a few countries as examples for us to emulate. However, there are many other countries that mandate sex ed who have high abortion rates. It's worth noting some countries Buursma mentions have significantly more restrictive abortion laws than the United States. Germany mandates a three-day waiting period, bans many late-term abortions, and women have to receive counseling at a government-approved center. These are laws that would cause Planned Parenthood to meltdown and declare that America is indeed the Gilead depicted in the dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale.

Buursma mentions Scandinavia as one such place for us to emulate, yet Sweden's abortion rate (20 per 1,000) is significantly higher than America's (14.1 per 1,000). Sweden gets fawning media coverage of their sex ed program, so what gives Mr. Buursma?

England is a great example as our closest cultural sibling. England's teen pregnancy rate is well below ours, yet their abortion rate is higher than America's (16.7 per 1,000), and rising. Why? One reason is that when you subsidize something, you get more of it. In England, abortions are paid for by their universal healthcare plans. In addition, the advent of non-invasive prenatal testing is meeting the juncture of aging societal demographics of sex, marriage, and childbearing. Babies are being screened prenatally for any possible disability and then destroyed through abortion if found "defective."
 
Looking at these numbers, teen pregnancy and lack of comprehensive sex education don't seem to be the real issues at all. Even if we eliminated every single teen pregnancy and abortion, we would still have more than 24,000 abortions in Michigan every year. This issue is much deeper than sex education.

Why do countries that heavily promote contraception and sex ed still have large numbers of abortions? Could it be that because once abortion is made legal, many believe it is acceptable, even good? Could it be that we have so devalued human life that society now feels it is OK to destroy a mere "fetus" due to our circumstances, aspirations or the child’s potential disability? We treat a child a day before birth as property, but a child a day after birth as totally human. Though, even that's becoming a shaky proposition as some circles argue the infanticide of disabled babies is morally good.

Ending abortion will not come from sex education or more contraceptives. Right to Life of Michigan doesn't even take a position on true contraceptives or sex ed in general. In some ways, they are irrelevant to achieving our mission. According to the Guttmacher Institute that Buursma cites, 51% of women having abortions were using contraceptives in the same month of the abortion. They've already taken sex ed, and it didn't help them.

The latest public relations campaign of the abortion industry, "Shout Your Abortion," claims abortion is a good thing. They are willing to say abortion is an acceptable method of birth control itself. They've taken sex ed, and they frankly don't care. They don't want to reduce abortions at all. Really, that's a more coherent position than Buursma's. Either abortion is a horrific moral injustice or it's not at all. A child in the womb has human rights or they don't.

Only when society embraces once again the ideal that every single human being is equal and entitled to legal protection will we see the end of legalized abortion.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

59 Million and Counting


On the 46th anniversary of the court cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that legalized abortion, we remember the 59 million lives lost to abortion since January 22, 1973.

Large numbers like 59 million can be difficult to wrap your brain around, because there aren’t many tangible examples of numbers that big. We decided to put together a few examples of what the number 59 million could represent.

One common use for numbers is, of course, the dollar. $59 million could go a long way—it could send just a few kids to college, or it could buy several different houses and properties. There are also a few less practical, but no less interesting, ways to spend that much money. $59 million could buy front-row, Saturday night Hamilton tickets on Broadway for the entire city of Lansing, MI, with a few thousand tickets left over. $59 million could buy the famous wedding dress of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, 152 times. $59 million could buy one of Washington, D.C.’s historical monuments of either Presidents Lincoln, Washington, or Jefferson, and you would still have few million left to save towards your next favorite monument.

In addition to signifying what an item was sold for, numbers quantify how many items were sold or how many people bought it. In movie sales, Avatar holds the world record for the highest-grossing film ever made. 97 million tickets were sold while it was in the theater. The missing 59 million people could have increased the tickets sold by 60%. Other famous box office hits, including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Spiderman 2, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Finding Nemo, and Back to the Future, each sold around 59 million tickets. The missing 59 million people could have doubled the tickets sold for these movies.

If each person lost to abortion was represented by 1 second of silence, this would take 683 days— nearly two years—of silence.

If each person lost to abortion was represented by one square mile, the space needed would be 2 million square miles more than the land area of the globe.

Though 59 million people can’t realistically be in one physical place, millions can come together through the World Wide Web. Millions of people can be united in one interest or follow the same celebrity on social media. President Trump, for example, has around 57 million followers on Twitter. The missing 59 million people could double his Twitter account. Former President Obama has 20 million followers on Instagram. The missing 59 million people could quadruple his Instagram account.

One physical space that does give a comparable example of millions of people together is large cities. On the crowded streets of a city like New York, you can barely stretch out your arm without it hitting someone else. Even then, it is impossible to visualize how many people are really in the entire city. But imagine for a moment the busy streets, packed coffee shops and restaurants, and sky-high office, hotel, and apartment buildings in some of the world’s most popular cities: Beijing, Tokyo, London, Paris, Los Angeles, and New York. Now realize: the entire population of these six famous cities combined comes to roughly 3 million people less than the missing 59 million.

If the people in these cities all disappeared from one cause, would the world pay attention? Because they had faces that were visible, and they could make sounds you might hear? Or would there still be some who made excuses, saying that the world was overpopulated anyway, or that so many of those people probably lived in poverty or with disabilities, and led worthless lives anyway?

Let us be the first to pay attention and stand up for the 59 million lives lost and be the first to recognize the sanctity of every human life.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Farewell to Rick Snyder

Photo courtesy of Detroit Free Press
On Friday, December 28, former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed our bill which would have made our state's ban on webcam abortion permanent, finishing his last term as governor with a final disappointment for prolifers.

In 2012, Snyder signed the original ban on webcam abortions, but he insisted it include a sunset provision that made it expire in 2018.

Though there has been no change in the process since the original ban, and the process still involves ending human life, Snyder commented that medical abortion should be treated like any other telemedicine procedure: “On a daily basis, our health care professionals thoughtfully and deliberately determine when any health care delivery method is safe, including telemedicine for other areas of care. Telemedicine for medical abortion should not be any different.”

A webcam abortion allows a doctor to prescribe the abortion pill, RU-486, to a woman after only "meeting" her through a webcam. The abortionist never once examines the patient. This makes it cheaper for Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities to give out the abortion pill without having a doctor on staff, and more dangerous for the woman because of an even starker lack of necessary follow-up care. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received reports of 22 deaths associated with use of the abortion pill.

Though the veto is a disappointment, it is unfortunately not a surprise. The past eight years with Snyder have been a long trail of lukewarm acknowledgement at best, and vetoes and betrayals at worst. Snyder’s two terms have been another reminder to prolife voters that elections have real consequences, especially in primary races. Voters had a chance to choose a passionately prolife candidate for governor in the crowded 2010 Republican primary election. The RLM-PAC endorsed Mike Cox, but there were three other prolife candidates running, as well as Snyder.

Snyder publicly told voters he was "prolife." We did our best to inform voters that he was not being upfront with them. Snyder won the crowded primary with only 36 percent of the vote, and was eventually elected governor for two terms.

Snyder was a better alternative to his general election opponents, whose support for abortion was total. We were able to pass several significant pieces of legislation, often thanks to dogged effort and assistance from prolife allies. This includes a ban on fetal organ trafficking, a ban on partial-birth abortions, and an overhaul of how abortion facilities are regulated.

In the end, Snyder's legacy on prolife issues will be scores of missed opportunities. We spent a lot of effort collecting petition signatures to override Snyder's veto of legislation to stop expansion of abortion funding through health insurance reform. A ban on barbaric dismemberment abortions could have passed, expanding our partial-birth abortion ban and providing us with a potential U.S. Supreme Court showdown. Many more bills addressing ongoing abortion industry abuses could have been achieved. Bills addressing abortion and disabilities and creating a choose life license plate remain unfinished.

With a prolife governor, our legislative agenda revolves around coming up with the best policies we can pass that will save the most lives. With Snyder, our legislative agenda revolved around guessing about what he might be willing to sign. We had to put in twice the effort to make half the gains with a governor who seemed to have only stood for life on his own terms.

The missed opportunities represent real lives lost. Our prolife issues are aren't about scoring political victories or "bringing home the bacon." Will abortions increase as Planned Parenthood exploits the end of the webcam ban? How many women will be impacted by a lack of follow-up care? How many lives could have been saved by ending dismemberment abortions, or supporting the work of pregnancy help centers through a choose life license plate? These are questions Rick Snyder was unwilling or incapable of facing.

We now face a term with a pro-abortion governor in Michigan. At least Governor Gretchen Whitmer makes it clear she doesn't stand for the unborn, letting us know exactly what to expect. Just as we have made progress with a governor who doesn't really believe what he told to voters, we are committed to making progress with a governor who didn't really tell voters the scope of her support for abortion.

Ultimately, the progress we make is limited by the officials we elect. For prolife people, elections have life and death consequences.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Four Days, $35,000 to go!



There's only four days left in the year, but we have one job left to do.

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.

Our goal for this year is $75,000, a huge increase from last year's goal of $50,000. We're still $35,000 short with less than a week to go!

Without your support, our educational work doesn't happen. That means 150,000 people wouldn't have gotten information from our website in 2018. 446,800 people wouldn't have received the Right to Life of Michigan News this year. Last month, 76,000 people would have seen a cat video instead of important prolife news and information last month on Facebook and Twitter.

There are many more ways the Educational Fund reaches people with prolife information, but all of these efforts rely on generous gifts from prolife people.

Will you help us cross the finish line? Will you help us prepare Michigan for a world without Roe v. Wade?

PLEASE DONATE TODAY

Friday, December 21, 2018

Michigan Legislature Paves New Way to Revive Stillborn Child Tax Credit

The Michigan Legislature has sent a bill to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk that allows parents to claim a stillborn child as an exemption on their state income taxes. The bill received unanimous support in both chambers.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “This bill cannot take away the grief from the loss of a child, but it will help with the financial burdens of a stillbirth.”

The Stillborn Child Tax Equity bill is similar to legislation passed in 2006 that gave a tax credit to parents of a stillborn child. That tax credit was eliminated in 2011, along with many other tax credits.

HB 4522 allows families that experience a stillbirth after 20 weeks to claim the child as a deduction on their state income taxes in the year of the stillbirth. The parents will need a certificate of stillbirth provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The one-time deduction is intended to help families cover the costs of prenatal care or possible funeral arrangements.

Listing said, “Miscarriage and stillbirth are difficult topics for our society to address. Because they aren’t discussed often, the costs associated with them can be overlooked. Parents of a stillborn child who died a day before birth should be treated the same as parents of a child who died a day after birth.”

HB 4522 was passed unanimously by the Michigan House on April 11. It was passed unanimously by the Michigan Senate on December 20, and the House concurred to changes on December 21.

Background Information:
HB 4522

Michigan Legislature Passes Bills Creating Baby Boxes in Michigan


A package of bills is heading to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk allowing specialized “baby boxes” for safe surrendering of a newborn. The package passed with bipartisan votes in both the Michigan House and Senate.

These bills modify the existing Safe Delivery of Newborns Law to allow the baby boxes and increase the current age of surrender from 72 hours to 30 days after birth. The baby boxes will be climate-controlled, lock upon closing, and trigger an alarm when a newborn is placed in them.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “Abandoned infants are a tragedy that still happens too often. These baby boxes could make the difference between life and death for newborns in these situations.”

Michigan’s Safe Delivery law currently allows anonymous surrender of a newborn baby to an emergency service provider. The baby is then placed for adoption. A parent may change his/her mind and request that the infant be returned within 28 days of surrender.

Listing said, “We must help young women and teens be better informed about this law. If they think they are in a situation with no other choice, there is a confidential life-saving option for them. The baby boxes help reassure women that surrendering the newborn is confidential.”

The Michigan House passed the package of bills (HB 5750, 5751, 5953 & 5954) on May 16. The Michigan Senate passed the package on December 18, and the House concurred with two small amendments on December 21.

The late State Representative Patty Birkholz played an integral role in originally crafting the Safe Delivery of Newborns Law in 2000. Birkholz served in the Michigan Legislature from 1997 to 2008.

Listing said, “Patty Birkholz was passionate about bringing this law to Michigan to help make sure no child was ever abandoned. We are happy her law is still saving lives and we’ll keep building on this legacy.”

The Safe Delivery law took effect on January 1, 2001. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that the 200th infant had been safely delivered under the law on June 7, 2017.

Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have laws allowing similar baby boxes.

Background Information: 
SAFE DELIVERY OF NEWBORNS LAW
HB 5750
HB 5751
HB 5953
HB 5954

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

RLM Calls on Gov. Snyder to Make Webcam Abortion Ban Permanent

Right to Life of Michigan is calling on Governor Rick Snyder to sign SB 1198 to make our state’s ban on webcam abortions permanent.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “Governor Snyder signed our state’s ban into law originally, and we hope he will now make it permanent.”

A webcam abortion involves a medical abortion using the RU-486/mifepristone pill regimen. The abortionist speaks remotely with a woman using a video camera, pushes a button to open a drawer containing the abortion pills, and the woman takes the pills. The abortionist never physically examines the woman.

Right to Life of Michigan supported legislation to ban this practice in 2012. The original webcam abortion ban was signed into law by Governor Snyder. The law contained a sunset provision and will expire at the end of 2018.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, at least 22 women have died taking the abortion pill. Because of potential side effects, the FDA requires abortion pill distributors to undergo risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS). The FDA states the abortion pill may only be dispensed under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider who can diagnose ectopic pregnancies accurately and provide access to follow-up emergency care.

Listing said, “Having an abortionist talk to a woman he’s never met via a webcam may save the abortion facility money, but cheap medicine is not safe medicine. Planned Parenthood should follow the FDA guidelines, not try to expand abortion by cutting corners.”

FDA guidelines for the abortion pill were recently revisited in 2016, and the REMS requirements were maintained.

Planned Parenthood in Michigan claims the practice is safe and no different than other telemedicine practices, but the revised FDA guidelines reflect the continued need for a licensed doctor to be physically present and available to give adequate follow-up care.

Listing said, “Planned Parenthood in Michigan already has a poor record of follow-up care. Cree Erwin died following a botched abortion at Planned Parenthood’s Kalamazoo facility in 2016. If they can’t provide adequate follow-up care now, how will they do it when the woman is hundreds of miles away?”

According to statistics reported to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, only two percent of women are referred to the abortionist by a physician. Most women meet the abortionist only briefly before the procedure. Common telemedicine consultations involve an actual relationship between the patient and the provider.

Listing said, “The abortion industry says abortion has to be legal because it’s between a woman and her doctor. Now they want to make it between only a woman and a webcam.”

The Michigan House passed SB 1998 on December 12, 2018, by a vote of 62 to 47. The Michigan Senate passed the bill on November 29, 2018, by a vote of 25 to 12. The Michigan Senate concurred with slight changes to the bill on December 18, 2018.

Background Information: 
SENATE BILL 1198
WEBCAM ABORTION PROCESS
FDA GUIDELINES
CREE ERWIN CASE
MDHHS STATISTICS

37% Down, 63% to Go for Matching Gift!

Every year, generous support enables us to give prolifers an opportunity to double the life-saving impact of their resources.

Our supporters helped us met our goal of $50,000 in 2017 in year-end tax-deductible online donations to the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund. However, 2018 showed us that we have much more educating on prolife issues to do.

We'll be facing BIG challenges in 2019, but also BIG opportunities. The U.S. Supreme Court could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade at any moment; are the citizens of our great state ready to directly deal with the issue of abortion once again?

We were able to go BIG with a goal of $75,000 in matching gifts to close out 2018. Today we are at 37% of our goal. Please help us cross the finish line!

Your support helps many of our projects and programs. Here's a new one we just rolled out that you should be aware of: HelpintheD.org.

Statistics show abortion is decline, but abortion rates are not declining as much in urban areas, particularly among minority populations. In Michigan, that means Detroit. Persistent problems fuel a cycle that pits mother against child. Each new life is an opportunity to embrace, but the overall message from our society (especially to minorities) is that every new child is just a burden to care for.

HelpintheD.org is a website to help flip the script on motherhood. In reality, the city of Detroit is home to many organizations that can offer free help to women, men, and families in need. HelpintheD.org lists a lot of places women can go for material support, which helps them to realize motherhood can work for them.

We know the talking point that "prolifers don't care about the baby after it's born" is untrue. It's especially frustrating to hear abortion supporters use that line while doing their level best to defame and even shut down prolife pregnancy help centers. HelpintheD.org is just one example of the ways we use our Educational Fund tools to connect women with people who will help them care for the baby after she or he is born.

Please help make sure our prolife information is in the hands of as many people as possible, including women about to make life and death decisions. Help us take advantage of 100% of this BIG opportunity.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The US Supreme Court and Planned Parenthood

There was news yesterday that the U.S. Supreme Court failed to take up two cases involving defunding Planned Parenthood. The cases are very complicated, dealing with Medicaid law and how someone can bring a lawsuit to decide whether or not an organization can be a “qualified” provider.

By refusing to take the cases, the different rulings in the various circuit courts are left to stand. Justice Clarence Thomas authored a public dissent criticizing the other justices for being afraid to take up the case. He wrote that they ought to be taken up because of the split decisions in the circuit courts.

Without getting too deep into the weeds of Medicaid law, what are prolifers to make of all this?

First, don’t panic. We don’t know why Chief Justice John Roberts and new Justice Brett Kavanaugh didn’t want to take the cases. Maybe they agree with what the lower courts decided regarding Medicaid law. Maybe they don’t, but thought it wasn’t the right time or the right cases to decide the issue. In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the politics of abortion made the justices afraid to take the case now.

None of us know the exact reasoning behind their choice to not hear the case. Even if Roberts and Kavanaugh agree with the circuit court rulings, it has no bearing on abortion laws or ultimately even on defunding Planned Parenthood. Medicaid law is written to make it difficult for states to determine who is or isn’t “qualified” to receive Medicaid funding. Right to Life of Michigan hasn’t passed legislation making Planned Parenthood ineligible as a Medicaid provider, because a reading of Medicaid law indicates it’s probably not something we can legally do. We continue to pursue other avenues with higher chances of success.

There is a downside to originalist judges: if the law is written in a way you don’t like, good originalist judges will rule against you. The good news for us is Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are so legally indefensible that we don’t need justices to be prolife warriors; we just need fair justices. So far in their judicial careers, Roberts and Kavanaugh have sided with laws directly against abortion every time.

Here’s the real question we’re asking ourselves: why is defunding Planned Parenthood so frustratingly hard?

Planned Parenthood has taken a progressively larger role as both an abortion provider and as a leader within the abortion movement. As this has occurred, defunding them has become a progressively higher priority. Sadly, Planned Parenthood has spent more than a century embedding themselves in our public institutions. Their tentacles reach into a multitude of programs, as well as government and societal institutions. Dealing with each tentacle requires a different strategy at a different level.

On the state level, we’ve successfully defunded Planned Parenthood. We took away their ability to take taxpayer money directly for abortions with our Medicaid-funded abortion ban in 1988. Recent state budgets have zeroed out Planned Parenthood funding.

The real problems for defunding Planned Parenthood are the federal-state partnership programs like Medicaid and Title X and the morass of rules they have. Federal tax dollars flow through our state government to Planned Parenthood, and there’s not a lot we can do at the state level to block that because of how the federal laws are written. The Trump Administration has a unique plan to work within the law to limit Planned Parenthood’s Title X money, and we have a law to prioritize that funding for providers who don’t do abortions, but enforcement is always a challenge.

The simplest solution is to rewrite Medicaid and Title X laws. It’s not so easy, however, because of the Senate’s filibuster rules. In order to change those laws, we need a prolife majority in the U.S. House, 60 prolife votes in the U.S. Senate, and a prolife president. Or, we need to convince 10 pro-abortion U.S. Senators not to filibuster such legislation. Or, we change the U.S. Senate rules to scrap the filibuster (a double-edged sword that could be used against us).

Senate rules do allow spending bills to avoid a filibuster. In fact, the prolife majorities tried to use those rules to make Planned Parenthood ineligible as a Medicaid provider in the annual budget, but that effort was scrapped on July 28, 2017, by John McCain at the last minute, a 49-51 vote. He objected to specifics of the plan to repeal Obamacare that was also attached to the budget.

At that juncture, the U.S. Senate had to start back at square one. After that, the unthinkable happened in a special election to fill a Senate vacancy on December 12, 2017. Alabama voters had selected a profoundly flawed candidate in Roy Moore over the prolife candidate backed by President Trump, Luther Strange, in the earlier primary. Then in the general election Alabama voters chose the pro-abortion candidate Doug Jones over Roy Moore. We went from 50 prolife votes to only 49 votes in the U.S. Senate, and the golden opportunity was gone.

What are the lessons that prolife people should take away from all this?

Elections have consequences

Whatever you think of the Alabama special election, the practical effect of the vote doomed defunding Planned Parenthood. Alabama primary voters could have chosen a far more electable candidate, but they chose a firebrand with tons of personal baggage. Several prolife pundits made the case that voting for Roy Moore would hurt the prolife movement, but some of these same pundits complained about the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday and claimed the GOP didn’t have the guts to defund Planned Parenthood—these pundits opposed the 50th vote necessary for it to happen.

Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world with perfect candidates. It felt good for many Alabama voters to buck the “establishment” and vote for the tougher guy. It felt good for other voters and pundits to oppose the same guy for his monumental character flaws. In the end, both groups are left bitter and disappointed. Prolife voters must always keep in mind the practical real-world consequences of their choices. Importantly, if you make a choice that results in a bad practical effect, you have to accept that consequence and move on.

We don’t have a critical mass of public support yet

Polls routinely show that people oppose being forced to pay for abortions. Planned Parenthood, however, has wormed its way into many institutions, including the media. They do a great job of gaslighting even their own supporters into believing that abortion is just a minor part of their operation. While public support for defunding Planned Parenthood has grown, it needs to be higher to achieve our goal permanently. Taking away their Medicaid funding for a year or two would be outstanding, but Planned Parenthood can still achieve small pro-abortion majorities who will give the money right back to them another year.

In order to defund Planned Parenthood totally, we need otherwise pro-abortion senators to fear how voters will react if they continue giving our tax dollars to the nation’s largest abortion provider. Right now, defunding is generally a 50-50 issue politically. It needs to be a 60-40 issue or better to create the best opportunities to enact prolife policy, like popular bans on direct taxpayer funding of abortion or partial-birth abortion bans.

The largest blame goes to the media

Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up the case, the media joyfully began reporting that they ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood. While the decision largely helped Planned Parenthood’s effort to keep their funding in several states, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule on the merits of the case pertaining to lawsuits involving Medicaid law. The articles in many major publications didn’t do a good job of explaining the issue.

When the undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood’s human organ harvesting schemes debuted, the media reflexively took Planned Parenthood’s side, some even denouncing their own tactic of undercover exposes as unreliable. When Planned Parenthood is revealed to be engaging in Medicaid fraud, or running a “meat market” abortion facility, or kills a patient out of negligence, they get cursory coverage by a few local sources at best.

The media fails to challenge Planned Parenthood on their false claims, and sometimes even helps spread them as the gospel truth.

When Planned Parenthood selects even a popular target for shaming, the media will shame away with glee.

Without a drastic change in how they conduct themselves, the major media institutions are never going to help the prolife movement build public support for defunding the leader of the abortion movement, much less provide neutral coverage.

If you are frustrated that Planned Parenthood is still taking your tax dollars and using it to further their abortion agenda, then it’s up to you. Do the job the media won’t. Talk about Planned Parenthood. Educate your friend and your neighbors. If you don’t want to create opportunities to do that, find the courage to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. We have resources to help you do that.

Planned Parenthood may have a decades-long head start on us, influence amongst our elite institutions, Hollywood, big-money interests and foundations, and gobs of your own cash to use against you. However, they don’t have the truth; they can only succeed by convincing people they don’t support abortion as much as they do.

Keep working to spread the truth and let people know Planned Parenthood and abortion are inseparable.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Latest CDC Abortion Report Shows Further Decline

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their latest annual report on abortion statistics last week, showing that abortion rates are lower than ever. Though it is unacceptable that any number of children should die because of abortion, it is encouraging to see that the number of lives lost decreases each year—slowly but surely.

Looking at the breakdown of abortion statistics can be helpful in discerning what category of women the prolife movement needs to reach the most, but it is also important to note that the accuracy of the CDC data is not perfect. For example, California, Maryland, and New Hampshire all fail to report annual data on abortions to the CDC.

The total number of abortions reported to the CDC in the U.S. decreased 2% from 652,639 in 2014 to 638,169 in 2015. This number has been steadily dropping; it has decreased a total of 24% since 2006, when the total number of reported abortions was 842,855. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which polls abortion facilities directly, the total national figure for all 50 states was 926,200 in 2014.

The CDC also breaks down the data into important categories such as the race and age of the woman, the gestational age of the baby, and the pregnancy and abortion history of the woman. Here's some important numbers worth keeping in mind and trends in the last decade.

Age of Woman
The age distribution of women having abortions have remained similar throughout the years, always with the highest rates of abortions had by women in their 20’s. In recent years, the average age of a woman having an abortion has been slowly increasing. The largest change in the age group of women having abortions are teens ages 15–19. From 2006 to 2015, the percentage of abortions accounted for by that age group decreased by 41%; their abortion rate decreased by 54%.
  • Ages under 15 = 0.3% of reported abortions
  • Ages 15–19 = 9.8%
  • Ages 20–24 = 31.1%
  • Ages 25–29 = 27.6%
  • Ages 30–34 = 17.7%
  • Ages 35–39 = 10.0%
  • Ages 40 and over = 3.5%

Race of Woman
According to the CDC, abortion ratio decreased from 2007 to 2015 for the three largest race/ethnicity groups. The ratio is the number of abortions compared to live births, meaning more women are choosing life. There are still large disparities between these groups, however.
  • Non-Hispanic white women: the abortion ratio decreased 27% (from 147 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 108 in 2015).
  • Non-Hispanic black women: decreased 22% (from 514 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 403 in 2015)
  • Hispanic women: decreased 26% (from 205 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 152 in 2015)

Gestational Age of Baby
Between the years 2006 and 2015, the percentage of abortions after 13 weeks has been below 10%, and there has been an increase of 11% in abortions before 16 weeks’ gestation. While 1.3% seems like a small number, using more complete figures on total national abortions gives us a figure of more than 12,000 late-term abortions every year in the U.S.
  • Less than 13 weeks = 91.1%
  • Between 14 and 20 weeks = 7.6%
  • More than 21 weeks = 1.3%

Pregnancy History
A majority of women having abortions already have a child, but most do not fit the stereotype of a large family that can't care for itself; only 14.2% of abortions are performed on women who have three or more previous births. These numbers indicate a significant challenge for reaching women who are already mothers who somehow believe that a second or third child is a direct threat to their future.
  • No previous live births = 40.7% of abortions
  • One or more previous live births = 59.3% of abortions

Abortion History
Like the pregnancy history numbers, the high repeat abortion rate is a tragic reminder that many women who have abortion are locked into an ugly cycle. 8.2% of abortions are done on women who have had three or more previous abortions.
  • No previous abortion = 56.3% of abortions
  • One or more previous induced abortions = 43.6% of abortions

Conclusion
The steady decrease in abortions is encouraging, meaning that our hard work to promote life-giving options has been effective. However, this report also indicates the extent of work left to be done, as there is still a gigantic loss of life due to abortions. Even without three states reporting their numbers, the CDC abortion total would qualify abortion as the largest cause of death in America.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Bill would make webcam abortion ban permanent

***12/13/18 UPDATE: The Michigan House voted 62 to 47 to pass the legislation. The last step before the governor's desk is a concurrence vote in the MI Senate to approve minor changes***

Yesterday the Michigan Senate voted 25-12 to pass legislation to make our state's ban on webcam abortions permanent before it expires at the end of the year. The legislation is now before the Michigan House for consideration.

What's a webcam abortion, you might ask. The FDA guidelines state that the abortion pill (RU-486) should be given to patients by the abortionist directly: "Mifeprex is to be dispensed to patients only in clinics, medical offices and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber." The FDA reaffirmed their guidelines in 2016 after reviewing clinical data. Michigan originally passed legislation in 2012 to require the abortion industry to follow the spirit of these guidelines, but the law has a "sunset' provision that requires the law to be reaffirmed.

The law poses a burden on the abortion industry, particularly Planned Parenthood. They already utilize the abortion pill as a cost-saving measure over a surgical abortion. There are not many abortionists, due to the unattractive nature of the profession's involvement in taking human life. Many abortionists are "circuit-riders" who work at multiple abortion facilities, requiring these abortionists to drive long distances to see patients.

How much more money could the abortion industry save if the abortionist can be 500 miles away, dispensing abortion pills with the push of a button after a quick video conference?

While the abortion pill is sold by the abortion industry as safe and easy, it can be a heavier burden on the woman than a surgical abortion. Even hardened abortion advocates will tell you about their negative experiences with the abortion pill, often suffered alone at home. Besides serious side effects—particularly heavy bleeding—that occur for any medical abortion that "works," the abortion pill can be especially dangerous if the woman has an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. At least 22 women have died taking the abortion pill.

The abortion industry claims abortion should be legal because it's a medical procedure between the woman and "her doctor." The abortion industry already doesn't take that relationship seriously. When a woman suffers serious side-effects from an abortion, much of the abortion industry does a poor job with patient follow-up. How much worse will it be when the abortionist doesn't have to ever be in the same room as their "patient"?

Telemedicine may be fine when you have to call up your busy family practice doctor you've seen for years for a fever or skin condition, but abortion should be treated more seriously than that. Planned Parenthood ran a profit of nearly $100 million dollars according to their latest annual report, but their idea of increasing access to "healthcare" for women is cutting corners and making an even bigger mockery of the doctor-patient relationship for abortion procedures.

To defend webcam abortions, abortion industry figures cite a study saying webcam abortions are even safer than when doctors physically examine the patients. Imagine that! The study's lead author is Daniel Grossman, an abortionist who profits from abortions. He's on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, which has a center on campus devoted to abortion advocacy. Abortion facilities object to even being regularly inspected by health officials, let alone allowing independent researchers who don't financially benefit from abortions to gather unbiased data.

Planned Parenthood in Michigan opposes our state's webcam abortion ban and talks about the safety of abortion, but they have yet to be held accountable for the recent death of a woman following an abortion at their Kalamazoo facility. Are Planned Parenthood abortionists going to drive hundreds of miles to see a woman experiencing serious side effects from the abortion pill? Are they going to have her drive hundreds of miles to see "her doctor"?

The sunset provision on our webcam abortion ban means if this bill isn't passed before the end of the legislative session, Planned Parenthood can make good on their business plan to have abortion be just between a woman and a webcam.

We encourage you to contact your Michigan House Representative and encourage them to support S.B. 1198, to end the sunset on our webcam abortion ban.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Giving Life on #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is an extension of Thanksgiving. Rather than focusing on deals for Christmas gifts, or arguing online, #GivingTuesday is a day dedicated to using the tools of social media to give life to our communities.

While many worthy causes will be honored on #GivingTuesday, we should all remember that everything we do and everything we give is enabled by the gift of life itself. Every day, more than 2,500 children across our nation will be tragically denied that all-important gift of life.

We're asking you to help us give the gift of life by supporting the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund. Your tax-deductible donation will be matched!

We made a short video to explain how your gift to the Ed Fund will be used. Your support translates to hundreds of thousands of people receiving our prolife message.

Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control released their latest abortion report, showing another decline in 2015. We are winning the battle for hearts and minds, but there is much, much more of the battle left to fight.

DONATE TODAY

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Price of Prolife Courage

Rep. Brian Elder
We teach our preschoolers to do what’s right even when others are doing wrong. We tell our middle schoolers to befriend the lonely classmate even if other classmates will think they’re weird. We desperately hope our teens won’t fall prey to peer pressure and make poor choices. But this desire to stray from what we know is right in the face of others who disagree is never something we outgrow.

In 2016, the Right to Life of Michigan Political Action Committee (RLM-PAC) endorsed Democratic candidate Brian Elder as a 100% prolife candidate. He filled out a questionnaire stating his prolife views, and he went through an interview with local PAC volunteers who found him to be genuine. His victory in the primary against a pro-abortion Democrat was a bright point in terms of teaching other prolife Democrats that their courage can win the day. Rep. Elder even met with us, earnestly hoping to recruit more prolife Democrats to help us see a day when both major parties respect the value of every life.

However, less than two years later, Rep. Elder refused the RLM-PAC endorsement for the midterms (in a very politically-calculated manner), claiming RLM has become too political. Although he assured dumbfounded people that he still personally held prolife views, he also made it clear that he had "absolutely no plans to do anything substantive on the issue."

After winning his unopposed primary, Rep. Elder introduced legislation which would have severely handicapped many prolife pregnancy help centers in a substantive way. His unconstitutional legislation would have forced these nonprofit help organizations to deface their own advertisements with disclaimers. In other words, any pregnancy center advertisements would have to be accompanied by more disclaimers than messaging.

On top of this shocking reversal, just this past October, Rep. Elder wrote a letter to Planned Parenthood stating he would vote with his 100% pro-abortion Democratic caucus members on abortion issues.

Rep. Elder went from being enthusiastically prolife, to criticizing RLM for engaging in politics and not doing enough to help pregnant women, to leading an unconstitutional attack on non-political nonprofits whose sole mission is helping pregnant women. This drastic flip was obviously aligned with Rep. Elder’s campaign to be the Speaker of the Michigan House, despite his denials. In his ambition to become speaker, Rep. Elder abandoned his beliefs.

The National Democrat Party sadly endorses abortion-on-demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy in their platform, so, as a Democrat, standing up for life takes great courage these days. However, lacking great courage is not an excuse to take the easy path to get what you desire.

Rep. Elder said he’s personally prolife. He knows that abortion ends a child’s life. But he also knows that, among Democrats, being prolife isn’t what many of his peers are doing on the state level. Doing what is right in front of peers who disagree is hard, but it is still right.

RLM-PAC endorsed 11 Democrats in the midterm elections this year. That’s 11 individuals who are swimming upstream for what is right; individuals who have the courage to fight for what they know is right, even in the face of opposition. Their courage is honorable.

Republicans maintained control of the Michigan House in the 2018 election, ending Rep. Elder’s hopes to be speaker. Despite asking for support from Planned Parenthood, Rep. Elder didn’t even get a minority leadership position in the House.

Was walking away from what he believed in worth the result?

Ultimately, elected offices and news headlines only last a little while—quickly replaced by the next candidate and the next story. Your courage and your word lives longer than your personal ambitions; they last forever in the impact you have on the world.

Let’s set an example for all to see and stand for life, especially when it takes great courage. Let’s continue to support those who show great courage.

Friday, November 16, 2018

November is National Adoption Month


November is National Adoption Month. This month we celebrate the beautiful families who are brought together through adoption, and the courage of the birth parents who chose life for their children. Whether through infant adoption, international adoption, or adoption from foster care, adoption gives children the opportunity to have a permanent home and loving family.

November is a month usually marking the start of the holiday season, and the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving, a time often spent in gratitude for family and friends. This is a great time to celebrate the lives and families that are impacted by adoption.

Adoption is a loving and courageous, though often overlooked, alternative for those facing an unplanned pregnancy. There are an abundance of families who are on waiting lists, sometimes for many years, who wish to adopt a child into there home, but many women facing an unplanned pregnancy are told that they only have two choices: raising the child themselves, or ending his or her life in abortion. However, adoption is a third, life-giving option.

Right to Life of Michigan has a long list of adoption agencies as well as pregnancy centers around the state that are more than willing to discuss this option with mothers, and walk with them through the process. When mothers choose life and adoption for their child, it is blessing for all three parties involved: the birth mother, the child, and the adoptive family.

This month, we want to hear from you about how adoption has touched your life! We will be featuring individual adoption stories on our Instagram profile, @righttolifemi. Please send a direct message to our Instagram or e-mail us at info@rtl.org with your personal stories and pictures of how adoption has impacted your family, if you would like to participate.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Double for Human Life

Once again, we're offering an opportunity to double your life-saving impact. A generous offer means that all year-end online donations to the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund will be matched up to a total of $75,000.

Donations to the Ed Fund are tax-deductible!

We met last year's goal of $50,000, but decided to stretch to a much bigger goal this year. The need is obvious. It's clear not enough people in Michigan let abortion impact their lives, their decisions, and their efforts.

With the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned increasing every day, the possibility of citizens once again being asked to engage directly on the issue of abortion also increases. Will the people of Michigan be ready?

Your support of the Educational Fund will translate into more information about our prolife issues in the hands, heads, and hearts of Michiganders.

Will you help us?

DONATE TODAY


https://donationsef.rtl.org/

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Trump Administration's Two New Rules are Prolife Victories

Dept. of Health and Human Services
Secretary Alex Azar
On November 7, the Trump Administration's Department of Health and Human Services announced a prolife victory: two new rules were established regarding abortion coverage in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

The first rule affects taxpayer funding of insurance plans that cover elective abortions.

Back when the Affordable Care Act was being debated in Congress in 2010, a long train of peculiar circumstances led to a small band of prolife Democrats in the U.S. House being the final legislative obstacle. These prolife Democrats objected to provisions in the bill that would essentially lead to taxpayers funding abortions.

In order to placate these prolife Democrats, President Obama promised to sign a (phony) executive order that said taxpayer dollars would be kept separate from insurance plans that cover elective abortions. The prolife Democrats caved, and the Affordable Care Act became law and a source of never-ending political heartburn in America.

When the Obama Administration released the rules for how it was going to keep taxpayers dollars separate from abortion, it became clear that the Obama Administration would not follow the law or their own phony executive order, and even took steps to withhold information about insurance plans that cover abortion from the public.

In Michigan, we dealt with this "abortion surcharge" by passing our Abortion Insurance Opt Out Act in 2013. Sadly, taxpayers in Michigan are still paying for abortions in other states with the federal government and insurance companies acting as the middleman. In some states, no plans are available on health care exchanges that don't fund elective abortions.

In 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GOA) confirmed that taxpayers are subsidizing the purchase of abortion-covering plans on a massive scale

On November 7, the Trump Administration proposed a rule to finally require real separation between your tax dollars and abortion coverage. People who purchase insurance coverage of abortion would have to separately pay for it themselves, not with taxpayer subsidies.

While amending or repealing the Affordable Care Act would be preferable, a lack of prolife majorities in the current U.S. Senate and incoming U.S. House leaves this rule as the best available option.

The second rule affects the HHS Mandate.

Back in 2011, the Obama Administration issued regulations to the Affordable Care Act that required health plans to provide all FDA-approved contraceptive methods. The regulations were called the "Dept. of Health and Human Services Contraceptive Mandate," or HHS Mandate for short.

Some of those methods (particularly emergency contraceptives) can potentially cause an early abortion. This led to cries of injustice against religious freedom from groups like Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby, who would be coerced to buy services they were morally against. Failure to purchase potentially abortion-inducing drugs would have resulted in crippling fines meant to punish the groups for their views.

Both Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor had to take their cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they won.

Last year, President Trump proposed rules that would protect religious freedom for all who do not want to pay for certain contraceptives or abortion through their health care plans. On Wednesday, November 7, these rules were finalized.

The first part provides an exemption from the HHS mandate to entities and individuals that object to in on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs. The second part provides a similar exemption for nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and individuals that have non-religious moral opposition to the services.

In other words, whether you are religiously-opposed or morally-opposed to the HHS Mandate, these rules essentially make the HHS Mandate optional.

These two rules changes show the prolife commitment of the Trump Administration to stop policies from pro-abortion administrations that break the letter or spirit of laws on the books.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Election 2018: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Photo courtesy of MI Senate
Before we look at the results, thank you to the many prolife volunteers around the state who outdid themselves these last few weeks. Right to Life of Michigan and our many volunteers made more than 2,050,000 voter contacts in the general election campaign, and our election posts on social media collected more than 625,000 views. That’s a lot of people reached with RLM-PAC endorsement lists and prolife educational information. That doesn’t include many TV and radio ad spots. Though the top of the ticket was an “up-mountain” battle with the proposals on the ballot, these efforts made a critical difference down the ballot.

The Good 
Most importantly, we have a prolife majority in the U.S. Senate. This secures the ability of President Trump to nominate fair justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous lower courts. With a better margin, even better judicial appointments can be approved by the Senate. We continue to remake a judiciary that has been enshrining abortion-on-demand as the law of the land for four decades; the end of Roe v. Wade remains in sight. It’s clear that the ugly attacks against Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his nomination fight made an impact on Election Day.

Michigan also defended prolife majorities in our State Senate and House. Even with a pro-abortion governor now, this means we don’t have to worry about pro-abortion legislation. Thanks to Michigan’s unique citizen-initiated legislative process, we have also preserved an avenue for passing prolife legislation by making Gretchen Whitmer irrelevant to the process.

The Bad 
We could have had a 100% prolife governor for the first time in 16 years, but sadly, Gretchen Whitmer defeated Bill Schuette. We lost an opportunity to easily make many life-saving advances in our state law. This also means the number of apathetic or hostile bureaucrats in state government will increase, further frustrating efforts to enforce our laws.

There is now a pro-abortion majority in the U.S. House. The national prolife legislative agenda will remain stalled outside of further enforcement or regulatory changes by President Trump. We have a precarious 4 to 3 prolife majority on the Michigan Supreme Court.

Justice Elizabeth Clement won, but Justice Kurtis Wilder narrowly lost. There’s no room for error when it comes to upholding our state’s prolife laws in the courts.

The Ugly 
We could have had a truly excellent Michigan attorney general in Tom Leonard. Instead, Michigan voters elected Dana Nessel by a slim margin. Nessel stumped on her campaign by saying she wants to shut down prolife pregnancy centers and not enforce prolife laws. Though her duty is to enforce the law, her words seem to indicate that she believes her duty is a crusade for her extreme beliefs.

Nessel is a volatile figure, and there’s no telling what she will do. Whatever happens, it’s our duty to do everything we can to make sure our prolife laws remain enforced and to stand 100-feet tall in defense of prolife citizens and organizations who may find themselves unjustly targeted by our state’s new top law enforcement officer.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Abortion? Shhh... We Don’t Talk About That

The election is only days away. The candidates are working overtime in hopes of coming out on top on November 6th.

Abortion is on the front of every voter, candidate and reporter’s mind, right? It's the leading cause of death in America and in Michigan—more than heart disease, cancer, or opioid abuse. A possible fifth vote in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade was added to the U.S. Supreme Court this fall. It's a big issue, right? Wrong, apparently.

If Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, Michigan’s law that bans abortion except to save the life of the mother could go back into effect. That is, if fair elected officials like the governor and the attorney general to uphold the law.

But even with the stakes this high, abortion has barely been discussed in the news surrounding the election since the primary.

We know that Gretchen Whitmer’s record on prolife issues—even on common-sense topics like letting women see their own ultrasounds and holding abortion clinics to the same safety standards as other medical clinics—is extremely bad. She has emphatically stated that she would promote abortion as governor, but often says it without actually saying the word "abortion":

"As Governor, I will work fiercely to defend the rights of every Michigan woman, including women’s access to all forms of reproductive care and contraception. I am going to fight like hell to pass state laws that will protect women's legal right to control their bodies and make their own decisions about whether and when to become a parent."

Whitmer’s campaign website lists her stance on Women’s Rights. After clicking the link to the page on this topic, there is another vague statement about reproductive health care inside a statement about equal rights and pay. Only after clicking another link to “"Read Gretchen’s Full Plan" is there a mention of Roe v. Wade and abortion.

For someone who promises to "fight like hell" to advance abortion, even up to and during the process of birth, she seems strangely hesitant to say it outright.

The media has never done a decent job of covering prolife issues, but this election season, it seems they don’t want to discuss abortion even from the "pro-choice" perspective. Pro-abortion candidates don't want to use the word "abortion" either.

The topic of abortion was not featured in either of the gubernatorial debates and has been discussed little elsewhere, even the euphemisms. Perhaps the pro-abortion candidates and media are so used to covering the topic in euphemisms, they hope that one day the debate will disappear completely. Perhaps discussing the topic at all makes it too difficult to convince themselves and others that abortion is something other than taking a human life.

For whatever reason, it seems that abortion is an "off-limits" topic in this election, when it should always be front and center.

We made this Whitmer Translate GIF as a helpful gimmick to help people understand Whitmer’s (and other elected officials) euphemisms when it comes to abortion. Perhaps what we need more is a search bar to find and expose her real extreme views on the topic.

Friday, October 19, 2018

It’s Raining Fetuses: Seeing a Culture of Death in Real Time

Seats at the Gosnell trial reserved for reporters

When a crime involves inappropriate treatment of dead bodies and suspicious, inhumane, and unethical behavior from the professionals involved, you would expect the story to be met with outrage and a flood of media coverage.

Sadly, there seems to be no shortage of stories like these. Though it is outrageous, it is not uncommon to hear of criminals storing or selling body parts and lying to family members, patients, and customers about what is really going on. Recently, there have been three notable cases with extreme examples of these situations.

Just last week, state investigators found remains of 11 infants hidden in the ceiling between the first and second floor of the former Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit. The funeral home had been shut down in April due to other violations of state law. The building had new owners who had no idea how many corpses were stashed throughout the building, but an anonymous tip led investigators to the remains.

The authorities have not been able to discover the identity or families of all the bodies they found, and are hoping to discover more through investigating hospital records.

Another recent disturbing example was Arthur Rathburn, a man who ran a “body broker” business out of a warehouse in Detroit. Rathburn dismembered the corpses he received, stored them in undignified and unsanitary conditions, sold the parts of corpses with various diseases such as HIV to unknowing doctors, and lied to the family members, even giving them sand in place of ashes because he had sold every part of the body.

The bodies of four unborn babies were found in Rathburn’s warehouse. Their bodies were not mentioned in his criminal case, even though selling fetal tissue is illegal. Right to Life of Michigan is still working on trying to find the source of the bodies, but the trail is going cold with a famous New York museum being the last bizarre tip.

Finally, there was the case of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, perhaps one of the most underreported crimes in history. Not only did the Philadelphia abortionist collect feet as trophies of the babies he killed through abortions, he also killed hundreds of babies after birth, negligently killed one woman during a botched abortion, and had absolutely zero health or safety standards in his clinic. One clinic worker testified, “It would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.”

Gosnell’s clinic had been ignored for years by health and safety regulators, and even after the death of the adult patient there was no investigation. What finally brought investigators to his clinic was a report of illegal prescription drug use.

While many have tried to ignore Gosnell—despite his status as potentially America’s most prolific serial killer in history—the efforts of people who recognize that the story needs to be exposed have brought his crimes to the silver screen. The movie “Gosnell” is currently in theaters, giving the American people a front-row seat to the ways a culture of death can sow corruption.

In all three cases of Cantrell, Rathburn, and Gosnell, the criminals’ shocking abuse of human life is crystal clear. What is less apparent, but still telling, is the media or investigators’ tendency to too often look the other direction when it comes to the most vulnerable of lives. In a world that does not protect life in the womb, nor, in many cases, life right before death, how can we expect our culture to reflect anything other than death and the destroying of life?

"Look, in this advanced democracy, in the year 2000, is it our crowning achievement that we have learned to treat people as things? We are not debating policy options. This is a debate about our understanding of human dignity. Our moment in history is marked by a mortal conflict between a culture of life and a culture of death." - Henry Hyde

***Editor's Note**** The plot thickens... another Detroit funeral home is being investigated for mishandling the bodies of babies.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Gretchen Whitmer, Where Are the Cures You Promised?

Cure Michigan Co-Chairs Joe Schwarz & Gretchen Whitmer

During the gubernatorial debate on Friday, October 12, Gretchen Whitmer brought up her role of leading "Cure Michigan" in the effort to pass Proposal 2 in 2008. Proposal 2 amended the Michigan Constitution to specifically allow destroying human life for medical research.

The debate moderator asked a question about recreational marijuana use, and Whitmer specifically mentioned her role with Cure Michigan as proof of her commitment to helping the sick and disabled.

She said, "I was the co-chair of the embryonic stem cell initiative as well, because I took care of my mom at the end of her life and I know what the promise of cures or the promise of relief during treatment would mean."

In a later rebuttal on the same topic, she said Michigan needs a governor "who knows how to get things done."

In reality, Proposal 2 didn't get anything done; Cure Michigan delivered zero cures. It's another prime example of how Whitmer's words don't match reality.

This issue should matter a lot. Whitmer is right in that the promise of cures or relief mean a lot to ailing patients. Sadly, Whitmer and Cure Michigan sold false hope to ailing patients and their family members. Patients deserve real hope and results, not rhetoric.

Supporters of Proposal 2 touted a ready-made study showing all of the benefits that could occur if Michigan voters agreed to pass the proposal. The study said Proposal 2 could save 770,000 lives, save Michigan $80 million in health care costs, increase worked productivity by $27 million, and create a biotech revolution in Michigan.

Cure Michigan ran TV ads with patients suffering from debilitating conditions pleading for voters to help unlock cures in Michigan.

Now that 10 years has passed, what actually got done? Nothing.

Human embryonic stem cell research hasn't led to a single cure or treatment anywhere. No lives were saved in Michigan and no economic benefits have been realized. Human embryonic stem cell research has largely been passed by other promising ethical fields of research. Those facts were fairly obvious back in 2008 to those who weren't significantly invested in research on human embryos.

Why would Whitmer tout her work leading a proposal that promised cures and delivered nothing? Does she not think people will do their homework on the issue? Has she not done her homework on it? Did she have to tout it since it was one of the few things she has actually accomplished? You be the judge.

The end result of her effort is not up for debate, however. Like much of the rest of Whitmer's political career, there were a lot of words and not a lot of results.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Gretchen Whitmer's Record

Gretchen Whitmer has been a loud and vocal opponent of legal protection for the most vulnerable. Below are examples of how her voting record fails to live up the important standard that every human life has value. Click on each link to learn more about her record.

Partial-Birth Abortion - Whitmer opposed our efforts to ban the barbaric partial-birth abortion procedure. She supports abortion-on-demand through the process of birth.

Ultrasound - Whitmer believes abortionists should be able to hide ultrasounds from women seeking abortions. Every patient ought to be entitled to proper informed consent and their own medical records.

Coercive Abortions - Whitmer failed to support protecting women who are coerced into having abortions against their will. She's not "pro-choice," she's pro-abortion.

Women's Health - Despite her rhetoric, Whitmer looks the other way on numerous health and safety violations in the abortion industry. She has a financial incentive to do so, since she profits from their campaign donations and political support.

Abortion Insurance - Whitmer believes every person should be forced to pay for abortion with their insurance premiums. She opposed our legislation protecting the conscience rights of porlife individuals with with blatantly incorrect arguments.

Tax Funding of Abortion - If elected, Whitmer will lead every other Planned Parenthood-endorsed legislator to get rid of our 1987 ban on Medicaid-funded abortions. This law alone has saved more than 230,000 lives.

Gretchen Whitmer's Record on Abortion Funding

In 1987, a law was passed that saved more than 230,000 Michigan lives. Gretchen Whitmer will try to repeal this law if elected governor.

The 1987 law eliminated Medicaid abortion coverage on all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother (in 1993 this was amended to include cases of rape and incest because of the Clinton Administration).

This law went into effect in 1988 after facing the Michigan voters as Proposal A. 57% of Michigan voters supported the law. The very next year there was a 22% drop in Michigan abortions, saving 10,190 babies almost immediately.

Assuming a steady 22% fewer abortions per year, this law has saved about 230,000 lives in the past 30 years. It is likely that some of your acquaintances, friends, or even family are alive today because of this law. If you are under 30, consider the possibility that you may be alive today because of this law.

Planned Parenthood has long opposed our ban on Medicaid-funded abortions. Part of their endorsement requirements include supporting "access" to abortion for low-income women. Gretchen Whitmer proudly accepted Planned Parenthood's endorsement; they gave her a sole endorsement during the primary election, even though several of her opponents were also extremely pro-abortion.

Whitmer has made repealing our Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act a specific campaign promise, forcing you to pay for abortions through your health insurance premiums.

If Whitmer is elected governor and has pro-abortion majorities in the Michigan House and Senate, she will take every opportunity to advance abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Even if you are opposed to ending the lives of babies in the womb, you will be coerced into directly paying the abortion industry.

It is easy to see large number like 230,000 as just a number. But each number that adds up to the final total represents a unique human life saved. Gretchen Whitmer refuses to acknowledge the individual dreams, skills, and contributions that each of these lives offers us.

Gretchen Whitmer is not content to ignore the good that comes from these lives, but to also force you to help end the lives of thousands of others.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month


October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month.


This month, your social media feed may be filled with adorable photos and videos of Lucas Warren, the first Gerber baby with Down syndrome, and other beautiful witnesses of life with Down syndrome. Some videos may have facts about life with down syndrome; facts highlighting that their life is a life worth living and are not so different from any other life. There may be stories about individuals with Down syndrome, and reasons why they are wonderful daughters, sons, siblings, students, employees, coworkers, and even husbands and wives.

What the social media posts most likely will not highlight is the fact that for every three faces you see with Down syndrome in these pictures or in person, there are seven faces who never had a chance to live outside the womb because they were killed in an abortion. In the U.S., there is an estimated average abortion rate of 67% for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb. Other countries like Iceland and Denmark boast of eliminating Down syndrome almost completely, with abortion rates of nearly 100%.

Children’s lives like the ones all over social media who smile, laugh, clap, and grow up tying their shoes, getting A’s in class, succeeding at sports and jobs, living independently, and being worthy of life every bit as much as everyone else who can do these things, are being targeted for termination through abortion.

Even though an overwhelming majority of children’s lives are ended because they were diagnosed with Down syndrome, the majority opinion in the U.S., according to a recent Gallup poll, is that Down syndrome abortions should not be legal. The poll shows that 51% of Americans believe it should not be legal to abort a baby with Down syndrome even in the first trimester, and 71% believe it should not be legal in the third trimester.

However, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton make it legal to abort Down syndrome babies at any point for any reason, even though a majority of Americans find that morally abhorrent.

Would more children with Down syndrome be given a chance at life if doctors weren’t able to suggest an abortion after the diagnosis? What if instead they offered encouragement and support or other options such as adoption? Perhaps our social media and our daily lives would see more of these faces if 67% of them weren’t missing and more were given the opportunity to live their valuable lives.

TARGETED ABORTIONS FACTSHEET