Monday, January 26, 2009

Authentic Hope . . . for All

The following editorial, written by Right to Life of Michigan Public Information Director Pamela Sherstad, was sent to media outlets for the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

Two events, two days apart, could have significant ramifications for the lives of millions. The two impending turning points: 1) the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on January 20 and 2) the 36th memorial of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton on January 22. Both events have the potential of impacting how hope is viewed in the United States.

Hope is on the minds and hearts of many. Many in the great state of Michigan are clinging to the hope that change in the White House will help Michigan. The anticipation of a better economy and the hope of stability is a wish of most.

During his run for president, President-Elect Barack Obama made a number of promises. He promised to change the tone in Washington and to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans. One promise which most may have missed was what Obama promised to Planned Parenthood, America’s #1 abortion provider, during his campaign. In July of 2007, he said, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do."

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is legislation which is designed to eliminate virtually all federal and state limitations on abortion. Besides getting rid of common-sense laws like parental consent, bans on partial-birth abortion and informed consent, FOCA would also force taxpayers to fund abortion if it was passed by Congress and signed by the president. In Michigan, these laws (along with the elimination of tax-funded abortions) have helped reduce the number of annual abortions by nearly 50 percent. Michigan doesn’t need more abortions; we have learned from women who have had abortions with the courage to voice their vulnerabilities that abortion is not worthy of a woman.

Those who believe there should be fewer abortions should do more than just hope that FOCA doesn’t become law. Thirty-six years have passed since two tragic decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, by the U.S. Supreme Court enshrined abortion as a “right.” These decisions have led to the deaths of more than 50 million unborn children in the last 36 years. Our society will never know the enormous toll this immense loss of life has taken on our nation and on our families.

More than three decades of abortion on demand have allowed our government and society to fail in their duty to provide life-affirming alternatives to mothers in crisis. We have failed by not providing hope. Women do not desire abortion; yet every year more than a million women put themselves through this procedure because no other options seemed viable. Abortion can only seem plausible when giving birth seems impossible. Abortion relies on a lack of hope for the future.

The turning points of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on January 20 and the 36th memorial of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton on January 22 give individuals the opportunity to consider real hope for our communities, state and country. Authentic hope can only be recognized when all human life, born and unborn, is accepted.

President Obama reverses Mexico City Policy

Sometimes change is very predictable and such is the case for President Barack Obama nullifying the Mexico City Policy one day after the memorial of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Yesterday's 36th memorial of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the two U.S. Supreme Court decisions which legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, has already resulted in more than 50 million unborn children losing their lives. Now, President Obama has reversed the Mexico City Policy which will pay for abortions overseas.

The Mexico City Policy was instituted by President Reagan in 1984 and also adopted by the subsequent Republican presidents. This policy denied U.S. population-control funding to organizations that "perform or actively promote abortion" in foreign countries. The effect of President Obama's action will be to re-direct a substantial amount of U.S. "population assistance" funds away from overseas groups that avoid involvement in abortion and into the hands of groups that are committed to the expansion of abortion.

The Mexico City Policy never lowered the amount of federal funding given to overseas family planning; it merely ensured that organizations who provided and promoted abortions internationally didn't receive any of that funding.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, "Before President Barack Omaba took the oath of office he stated his support for promoting programs to 'reduce abortions.' Giving our tax dollars to organizations which provide and promote abortions in other countries will not reduce abortions. What I know to be true is that abortion is a business; a business which preys on mothers in their darkest hours."

Right to Life of Michigan will peacefully and respectfully continue supporting mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy by promoting true choices which include the resources to parent or the heroic option of adoption. Abortion is not worthy of a woman on any continent. Nothing good can come from the United States paying for the abortions of women in other counties.

Listing said, "This change is not for the better. This change does not bring hope to women. This change will only result in unborn children being denied the inherent right to life and leave mothers stricken with the devastating aftermath of abortion."

Monday, January 19, 2009

We’re proud of our F

The state of Michigan has again been given a failing grade from NARAL (the National Abortion Rights Action League). Annually, NARAL releases a report which analyzes state legislation and grades each of the 50 states based on how their laws restrict or don’t restrict abortion. States with few or no prolife laws receive high grades while states with a large number prolife laws usually receive failing grades. Right to Life of Michigan is proud to be given another “F” from NARAL because of our numerous lifesaving laws. These laws (including a ban on tax-funded abortions, regulations on abortion providers, as well as parental and informed consent laws) have helped decrease the number of abortions performed in Michigan by 49.7% since 1987.

Friday, January 16, 2009

First Days in Office with President Barack Obama

During his first day in office, the President of the United States can revoke a variety of policies which his predecessor enacted. The most-commonly known policy which has been enacted by prolife presidents and revoked by pro-abortion presidents is the Mexico City Policy. In addition, some have speculated that the human embryonic stem cell funding policy put in place by President George W. Bush will also be revoked. Below is background information on both policies.

What is the Mexico City Policy?
The Mexico City Policy is an official policy of the U.S. government which prevents organizations who receive federal tax dollars from performing or promoting abortions in other countries. The policy doesn’t lower the amount of federal funding given to overseas family planning, it merely ensures that organizations who provide and promote abortion internationally don’t receive any of that funding.

What’s the history of the Mexico City Policy?
The Mexico City Policy was originally put in place by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. When elected in 1988, President George H.W. Bush kept the policy in place. President Bill Clinton quickly revoked the policy the first full day after his inauguration and organizations which performed abortions overseas were eligible for federal funding from 1993 until the Mexico City Policy was reinstated by President George W. Bush on January 22, 2001.

What’s Barack Obama’s position on the Mexico City Policy?
Pro-abortion groups expect Barack Obama to revoke the Mexico City Policy during his first few days in office and allow tax dollars to go to organizations which provide and promote abortion internationally. In a November 9, 2008, Washington Post article, Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, is quoted as saying, "We have been communicating with his transition staff" almost daily. Richards also said, "We expect to see a real change."

On November 10, 2008, Bloomberg published a story in which Susan Wood, co-chairman of Obama's advisory committee for women's health, says Obama is planning to “reverse U.S. family-planning and AIDS-prevention strategies that have long linked global funding to anti-abortion” policies.

Embryonic Stem Cell Funding
Another policy which Barack Obama may overturn during his first days in office is George W. Bush’s current embryonic stem cell funding policy. In August of 2001, President Bush decided that federal tax dollars could be used to support research on human embryonic stem cells as long as the embryonic stem cells were removed from human embryos (a process which kills the embryos) before August 2001. This policy has received much criticism over the years from proponents of embryonic stem cell research. There have also been various legislative attempts to overturn his policies which have been vetoed by President Bush.

It is expected that Barack Obama will announce a new policy soon after he becomes president. It is likely the new policy will allow funding on all human embryonic stem cell lines which were derived from human embryos originally created by in-vitro fertilization for couples with fertility problems. The Dickey Amendment still currently prevents federal tax dollars from going towards research in which human embryos are directly killed.

Time with tell what the future holds for commonsense policies which protect human life and keep our tax dollars from paying for abortion or the destruction of the most innocent human beings, human embryos. Right to Life of Michigan will be following these issues closely.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

LifeBeat for January 17, 2009

Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute, talks about making a persuasive case for the prolife position. Though the unborn are smaller, less developed, in a different environment, and have a different degree of dependency than most born people, none of those differences make the unborn less valuable than born human beings.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

LifeBeat for January 10, 2009

Pamela Sherstad, director of public information for Right to Life of Michigan, talks about Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and the resources Right to Life of Michigan is providing for churches.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

LifeBeat for January 3, 2009

Barbara Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan, discusses what prolifers in Michigan should be aware of in 2009. Prolife organizations will be working to ensure the Freedom of Choice Act isn’t passed. If passed, this legislation would nullify virtually all federal and state limitations on abortion and force taxpayers to pay for abortions.