Monday, June 30, 2014

Understanding Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

After the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby there’s been quite a bit of rancor and misinformation regarding the decision thrown about by individuals and organizations which don’t believe in or understand conscience rights and religious freedom of employers. 

Here’s Sarah Torre explaining the results:
Passed by Congress in 1993 by broad, bipartisan majorities, RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] protects Americans from substantial burdens on religious freedom unless the government can show it has a compelling government interest and does so in the least restrictive way possible. That’s a high bar and one the Obama Administration failed to meet under this mandate.

Today’s decision is a strong rejection of the Obama’s administration’s faulty argument that Americans’ religious freedom ends when they open a family business. The government cannot unreasonably force Americans to set aside their beliefs simply because they go into business to provide for themselves, their families, and their employees......

To be clear, the decision today applies only to the coercive Obamacare rule that was threatening the religious freedom of the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses. Other claims for religious exemptions by closely-held family businesses from other laws will have to be litigated on a case-by-case basis. RFRA doesn’t provide a blank check for religious believers to do whatever they want in the name of religion and neither does today’s decision.

While the ruling applies only to Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods, some individuals seem to think this ruling is part of the “War on Women.”

For example, Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters showed a complete misunderstanding of the ruling and its implications.  In a blog post, the Peters campaign writes,

U.S. Senate Candidate Gary Peters strongly opposes today’s decision because he believes that women should be making their health care decisions with their doctors without interference from their employers.       

The ruling does nothing to prevent women from making health care decisions with her doctors.  It merely says that if a woman is employed by an employer whose religious convictions tell them covering certain types of contraceptives violates their conscience then the employees can pay for their own contraceptives. 

The blog post continues by saying Congressman Peters is “very concerned that today’s decision will turn back the clock on Michigan women who should be in charge of their health care decisions.”

The reality is that the mandate requiring employers to cover the birth control of their employees didn’t take place for new insurance plans until August 1, 2012.  So Peters is fearful that the Supreme Court is taking Hobby Lobby employees back the “stone age” of July 2012? 

Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement claiming,

The ruling tells millions of women today that despite what our doctors tell us is best for our health, we must abide by what our employers say they're willing to provide us instead.
Women who desire to use contraceptives can still do so.  The federal government simply can’t force the owners of Hobby Lobby to violate their religious consciences and require them to cover all 20 different kinds of contraceptives (Hobby Lobby willingly covers 16 of the 20 different types of contraceptives but chooses not to cover those chemicals or devices which may have abortifacient effects).

The world is not ending.  The sky is not falling.  Contraceptives will still be available and covered by the vast majority of employers. 

It is sad when our public officials have such a limited understanding of Supreme Court cases and results and use their positions to badly misinform their constituents. 

Planned Parenthood awards clinics for providing more abortions

Abortion advocates often claim they want abortion to be safe, legal and rare.  Planned Parenthood will even claim they do more to reduce abortions than any prolife efforts. 

If Planned Parenthood really wanted there to be fewer abortions, then you’d think they would congratulate their centers for performing fewer abortions, right? 

The reality is the opposite.  They reward and congratulate clinics who increase the number of abortions they performed. 

An abortion clinic employee who recently left her job provided this image of certificate given out by Planned Parenthood of Rocky Mountains to its Aurora clinic "for exceeding abortion visits" compared to the year before.


Faith, Conscience and Commonsense Win the Day

In response to the United States Supreme Court ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, the following statement may be attributed to Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing.

"Today's ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties is a critical victory in protecting the right of conscience and religious liberty against government overreach. This case was much more about the proper role of government than about contraception and abortion-causing drugs. No one should be fined for following their faith; and employees should not be unwillingly complicit in participating in health insurance which destroys members of the human family. The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that the core principles on which this country was founded are enshrined in the Constitution for the protection of individuals, businesses, and religious organizations.

"At issue are business owners who object on religious grounds to providing certain chemicals or devices which may cause an abortion and are mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services. It should be noted that this decision is not about all contraception; this decision makes the needed distinction between contraception and chemicals or devises which have been labeled as 'contraceptives' by the Food and Drug Administration but may have abortifacient effects.

"We are studying the opinion carefully in light of the case Right to Life of Michigan filed against the Obama administration on many of the same grounds as Hobby Lobby. Though RLM takes a neutral stance on true contraceptive drugs and devices, we have always objected to those which can cause an early abortion. As an organization formed specifically to promote the uniqueness and sanctity of each human life, RLM has a right to provide health insurance to its employees without violating its very basis for existence."


Prolife representative defends decision to provide funding to mothers in need

Representative Andrea LaFontaine recently penned a piece to defend the Michigan legislature’s decision to provide funding to the Real Alternatives program which helps pregnant women carry their children to term.

When a woman is faced with an unexpected pregnancy, one challenging choice becomes life-changing. For the women who choose life, this counseling program provides a support mechanism that includes an informed, personal relationship, not just a pamphlet they can find online. Providing resources to those who have chosen parenthood can be as simple as a free supply of diapers or a few face-to-face conversations with real people who have professional training and can share helpful information. This is exactly what Real Alternatives has just begun doing for Michigan moms.

With 2014 as its first year operating in Michigan, Real Alternatives is working to establish helpful programs for real moms through existing support centers in the southern region of the state. This requires training local professionals to properly implement the program, an effort that simply takes time. Nine service locations are currently utilizing the Real Alternatives program and five additional locations will be providing those same services by the end of this fiscal year.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Track star runs race while 34 weeks pregnant

At 34-weeks pregnant, Alysia Montano recently ran the 800 meters at U.S. Track and Field Championships.  While she placed last in her qualifying heat and was about 35 seconds slower than her personal best, she still ran at a solid pace and received the approval of the crowd.

Thirty-four weeks pregnant, Montano ran the 800 meters Thursday in the U.S. Track and Field Championships. The five-time national champion finished in 2 minutes, 32.13 seconds — nearly 35 seconds slower than her personal best of 1:57.34 in 2010 in Monaco.

“I’ve been running throughout my pregnancy and I felt really, really good during the whole process,” Montano said after the qualifying heat.

That the 28-year-old former University of California star finished last in her heat didn’t matter one bit to the crowd gathered at Hornet Stadium. Trailing the lead pack by more than 120 meters for most of the race, Montano received a rousing ovation as she finished her first lap and the cheering grew louder when she finally crossed the finish line.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Oppressive Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone law struck down

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a 2007 Massachusetts law that created a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics violated the First Amendment right to free speech. The McCullen v. Coakley decision is a victory not only for the plaintiff in this case, 77-year-old sidewalk counselor Eleanor McCullen, but for prolife people everywhere. The justices found that the right of free speech, a long-standing principle of individual freedom, had been needlessly encroached upon.

The sole purpose of Right to Life of Michigan is to support and uphold the sanctity of human life; the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the importance of the freedom to engage in outreach and public advocacy.

RLM is pleased that those volunteers and sidewalk counselors who spend time in front of abortion businesses in Massachusetts will be able to continue their ministry. This decision could make the difference between life and death for the unborn child whose mother has scheduled an abortion.

Prolife people work in many ways, and for some their outreach is being a kind and loving voice for women and families entering abortion businesses. On beautiful sunny days and during cold winter storms, these individuals express the sanctity of human life by being present outside abortion businesses letting mothers know life-affirming options are available.

The McCullen v. Coakley decision is a victory for the First Amendment right to free speech and a victory for the passionate people who stand witness to life.

McCullen v. Coakley Decision

Hobby Lobby Update

On Monday, June 30, 2014, it is expected the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will hand down their decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. The Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties decision will determine if businesses can consciously choose the elements of health care plans they provide to employees. At issue are business owners who object on religious grounds to providing certain chemicals or devices which may cause an abortion and are mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Right to Life of Michigan will respond when the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision on the Hobby Lobby case.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thank you Divine Child Elementary School, Mr. Polo’s 7th Grade Class

Right to Life of Michigan would like to congratulate and thank the students in Mr. William Polo’s 7th grade class. Mr. Polo’s class participated in a Book Bank program logging pages read. 

The program also allowed the students to choose a charity to support.  We were excited to learn that Right to Life of Michigan was the charity of choice for Mr. Polo’s class.

Divine Child Elementary School Book Bank Coordinator Amy Moore said, “The students in Room 110 were the top readers in their grade for all of the six possible months [of the reading program].”
The Book Bank Program allows the students to raise money each month for a charity.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “I want to extend a special thank you for caring about those who are vulnerable and supporting the life-saving work of Right to Life of Michigan.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Detroit Free Press recognizes that an “unborn baby” is alive, quickly changes to "fetus"

The Detroit Free Press editorial board predictably opposes any commonsense legislation which attempts to regulate abortion and would never use the term “unborn baby.”  However, a recent Free Press article features a story about the tragic case of an "unborn baby" killed by a drunk driver on Friday.  The mother is in stable condition. 

However, an editor must have noticed the term "unborn baby" at some point and the article and title (which also originally included the term "unborn baby") were quickly changed and "unborn baby" was replaced by "fetus."

Here's text from the original article.     
A Macomb County man was arraigned today after police say he ran a red light in Clinton Township while driving intoxicated and stuck another vehicle, injuring the pregnant driver and causing the death of her unborn baby.
Now here's the same text of the updated article.
A Macomb County man was arraigned today after police say he ran a red light in Clinton Township while driving intoxicated and stuck another vehicle, injuring the pregnant driver and causing the death of her fetus.

See the difference?

However, in their zeal to have their news reflect their editorial opinion, the Free Press didn't change one thing.  The web address of the article still uses the term "unborn baby"  as you can see below.

The article currently does not note the changes in the text from the original article or provide an explanation. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ohio man to spend year in jail for beating his daughter after she refused to have an abortion

Some abortion advocates claim legislative efforts to prevent women from being coerced into abortion are unnecessary.  A recent case from Ohio shows the lengths some people will go to get someone else to have an abortion. 

A Fremont man pled guilty Thursday to a felony domestic violence charge and was sentenced to a year in prison for his role in the assault of his pregnant daughter in June 2013......

According to police reports, Brian Schultz drove his daughter to an abortion clinic in Cleveland and made an appointment for her after he found out she was pregnant. When they returned home, the daughter indicated she did not want to go through with the procedure. The girl said that he father punched her in the face and, along with her mother, proceeded to kick her in the stomach.

Thankfully, the young woman and her child survived the beating.  The child was born in December of 2013. 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Toledo's last abortion clinic close to closing

The last abortion business in Toledo is close to closing. The University of Michigan tried to bail them out and keep abortions continuing by signing a transfer agreement, as required by Ohio state law for all ambulatory surgical centers. The Ohio Department of Health ruled against the agreement, however, since women suffering medical emergencies at the clinic would have to travel 52 miles by helicopter for proper care from a "local" hospital.

“We applaud the hearing examiner’s decision, which puts women’s health and patient safety ahead of politics,” said Michael Gonidakis, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “No state regulator or reasonable person would permit an out-of-state hospital to contract with an Ohio abortion clinic to provide backup services. It’s absurd that this abortion clinic would even make such a request. Sadly, it appears that the clinic will put profits ahead of patient safety and attempt to delay and stall through litigation.”


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Planned Parenthood officially opposes sex-selection abortion bans

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California recently let pro-abortion legislators in their state know their organization opposes attempts to protect unborn children from being killed simply because they're the wrong sex.

The Planned Parenthood abortion business has come under fire from pro-lifers over the years for refusing to speak out against sex-selection abortions. Now, in a letter to members of the California state legislature, the abortion giant may have given a reason why: it opposes a ban on sex-selection abortions.

In a June 12, 2014, letter to lawmakers, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California hand-delivered a letter to all California Assembly Members and State Senators. A copy of the letter includes five bullet points and the fifth bullet point includes specific opposition to “sex selection abortion bans.”


At Right to Life of Michigan we don't believe your right to life and our government's basic responsibility to protect it depends on your sex, your age, your intelligence or any other qualification that abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood use to exclude members of the human family.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Abortion proponents promise petition drive, instead deliver one sentence bill late in session

State Representative Sarah Roberts, a vocal supporter of abortion, recently introduced a one-sentence bill to repeal Michigan’s Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Law.

More than 315,000 Michigan citizens signed petitions to initiate legislation to ensure that they would not be forced to pay for abortions, through their tax dollars or their health insurance premiums. The citizen-initiated legislation was passed overwhelmingly by the Michigan House and the Michigan Senate, and the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out law went into effect on March 14, 2014.

After the legislation was presented to the state legislature, abortion advocates promised their own petition drive to collect signatures to challenge the law. They would have only been required to collect around 160,000 signatures to challenge the law by placing it on the ballot as a referendum. After conducting opinion polling and debating the issue, pro-abortion groups Planned Parenthood and the ACLU realized there was not enough public support for them to collect the signatures and win a vote on the issue.

Instead of doing the hard work of collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures, abortion supporters delivered a one-sentence bill on June 12, 2014, right before the state legislature went on recess.  The fact that Michigan voters for many years have elected prolife majorities in the state House and Senate means this pro-abortion bill is dead on arrival, unlike the dozens of common-sense prolife bills over the years which have worked their way through the Michigan legislative process and become law.  Considering abortion supporters have already raised funds off of a challenge to Michigan’s Abortion Insurance Opt-Out law, perhaps they wanted to make sure their promises weren’t completely empty.

In 1988, Michigan voters decisively voted to end taxpayer-funded abortions through the state’s Medicaid program. The following year, the number of abortions in Michigan dropped by more than 10,000. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved as a result since 1988. Laws that prevent people from being forced to pay for abortions both respect the conscience rights of citizens and save lives. Abortion supporters and abortion businesses which stand to profit from tax-subsidized abortions want to undo our state’s protections.

Unfortunately in some states like Connecticut, citizens have no choice under Obamacare but to now pay for abortions. Michigan citizens—including even many people who may think abortion should be legal but don’t want to be forced to pay for abortions—can rest assured they won’t find themselves being forced to pay for abortions in Michigan.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Euthanasia during Katrina crisis

At Public Discourse, Christopher White discusses a new book which sheds light on doctors in one New Orleans hospital who horrifically euthanized patients while rescue efforts were underway after Hurricane Katrina. 
On day four—Wednesday, August 31—the first signs of real hope emerged as boats arrived to begin the massive transport operation for those remaining. At the same time, discussions began to take place among medical personnel about what should be done with patients whom they deemed unable to be transported by either boat or air. By day five, the situation appeared more desperate. Rescue was under way, but conditions continued to deteriorate. After one of the doctors made the decision to euthanize some of the animals on hand, Dr. Susan Mulderick, a colleague of Dr. Pou, thought that this seemed to be the most merciful way to treat some of the remaining patients as well. Mulderick sought out Pou, and a plan was formed.

Many of Memorial’s remaining patients were already on morphine to ease their pain. In a consultation with Dr. Ewing Cook, another member of the hospital’s staff, Pou was advised by Cook on how to administer a mix of morphine and benzodiazepine. As Fink recounts, “He later said that he believed that Pou understood that he was telling her how to help the patients ‘go to sleep and die.’” This use of morphine, unlike the patients’ current treatment, was not just for comfort. “What Cook was describing to Pou was something else entirely. The drug combination ‘cuts down your respiration so you gradually stop breathing and go out.’”


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Right to Life of Michigan PAC endorsements posted for the August 2014 primary

Right to Life of Michigan PAC has posted endorsements of prolife candidates for the August 5, 2014 primary.  You can see the list of endorsements online and create your own personalized prolife ballot. 

Make sure you know who has been endorsed before voting in the August primary.  


Monday, June 9, 2014

Remember that every life has value

Valerie Gatto, Miss Pennsylvania USA, was conceived after her mother was attacked and raped. Her mother originally intended to give her up for adoption, but decided to keep her at the last moment.  Kevin Williamson writes about Gatto and her mother's courage. 

Valerie Gatto does not want to talk about abortion. That’s probably prudent, inasmuch as she very much desires to be the next Miss USA, and contestants in that pageant are expected to have ruthlessly anodyne interests along the lines of reading children’s literature to blind dolphins. But she is admirably direct, even bracing, about the aspect of her life that intersects that troublesome issue: She was conceived when her mother, a teenager at the time, was attacked on the streets of Pittsburgh and raped at knifepoint.....
The remarkable fact is that a not insignificant number of women who become pregnant through rape do not choose to terminate their pregnancies, deciding instead to forgo adding to the sum of violence in the world, even though a portion of it has been cruelly visited upon their own persons. In a culture that treats abortion as barely if at all distinguishable from mere contraception, that is heroic. And it is heroic regardless of our specific political differences on the issue of the legal standing of abortion, important — fundamentally important — as that question is.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Jackson County Right to Life places billboard next to local Planned Parenthood

Jackson County Right to Life placed the billboard below next to a Planned Parenthood clinic in their area.  The billboard was taken down after a day because Planned Parenthood had an addendum in their lease with the advertising company preventing prolife messages from being displayed.


Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. They provided 327,166 abortions in 2012.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Register for Right to Life of Michigan's 41st Annual Conference

Register today for the 41st Annual Conference on Thursday, September 25, in Lansing. This year we're offering a new $45 group rate for registrations of four or more. That's a savings of $10 per person! 

Conference will feature Ryan Bomberger, Emmy Award-winning creative professional and Chief Creative Officer for The Radiance Foundation. Ryan's biological mother was raped, yet courageously chose to continue the pregnancy and chose the loving option of adoption for him. The Radiance Foundation gained widespread attention with their billboard and online campaign highlighting high abortion rates in the Black community. During our second general session we'll also hear an update on the 2014 election.

Five excellent workshops are planned. Learn more about how our prolife laws save lives, recent advances in stem cell research, abortion's effects on family members, improving the way we talk about abortion, and ways that grassroots volunteering can impact elections.

We hope to see you in Lansing on September 25 as we continue to keep our promise to protect the most defenseless members of our human family.