Thursday, August 31, 2017

A look back at 50 years: 1981

This is the third entry in a monthly series we’ll be running throughout 2017 looking back at historically significant profile moments in our state’s history.

Our early leaders had a vision of major media advertising to help bring the prolife message into every home in Michigan. These wouldn’t just be ads for the sake of advertising, but truly memorable and impactful messages. In 1981 our first ads debuted on statewide television. Since then we’ve had many memorable ads.

The favorite of many people is our "Seed" ad. Produced in 1994, the ad contrasts the fullness of life with the emptiness of abortion. We filmed an updated version of "Seed" in 2015.

The most unique ads we’ve produced were a series in the 1990s featuring Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa didn’t just do any old TV ad on request, but she did several for us on the issue of partial-birth abortion that aired in 1997. She did that just a few years after her famous 1994 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast where she delivered a bold defense of the unborn child as a valuable member of our human family.

We recently produced our first 30-minute documentary, "Life Uninvited." The documentary grew out of our Compassion Project ads, which featured four women sharing their personal perspective and experiences with the issue of rape and abortion. Rape and abortion is a difficult issue to discuss, but these four women cut through the political noise to shine a light on their own experiences and the value of every child, no matter their circumstances.

Our ads have been critical in educating voters about important issues during election seasons. Two notable examples shine. The first are the series of ads produced in 1997 to oppose the effort to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in our state. In July of 1998 that legalization effort was beating us in the polls, 46 percent to 42 percent. After weeks of bringing our message to the people of Michigan, the final vote was 71 percent against the suicide measure, and only 29 percent for. Our message decisively moved hundreds of thousands of Michigan voters.

The 2016 election also ended in a surprise result. We aired two TV ads, "Birthdays" and "Start with Life," addressing the issue of abortion and the importance of voting your values no prolife issues. Also accompanying the TV ads was an impactful radio ad, War on the Unborn, taken from the popular YouTube video by Peter Heck. Michigan had not voted for a prolife presidential candidate in a generation, but the state did in 2016, in dramatic fashion.

When presented clearly and compellingly, the prolife message that every human life has value can touch hearts and change minds. Ads that can do that don’t spring out of nothing. Creating them is a team effort, from identifying the need, to crafting a truly compelling message, to sometimes finding the right messenger for the message, to filming, to placing the ads strategically for maximum impact, and to raising the money to accomplish all of these necessary steps.

We have also made the effort over the years to allow our colleagues in other states to use our ads. We believe we’ve inspired many others to produce their own ads to bring the prolife message to their corner of the country.

Visit our YouTube channel to see our most recent ads, as well as some of our classics.

Visit our blog in September for our next notable moment in Michigan history in 1988.

Honoring 50 years of prolife advocacy in Michigan
1972: The Voice of the Unborn
1979: Michigan Citizens for Life

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

First pregnancy help grants address abortions in Detroit

Yesterday Right to Life of Michigan visited three pregnancy centers located in Detroit to award them a total of $8,970 in grants. The grants represent a step towards increasing the prolife movement’s focus on addressing the high abortion rate in the city of Detroit.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, "This is a small, but very important step. Abortions continue to decline around the state, but Detroit’s abortion rate remains high. It’s a problem not being addressed, much less talked about."


RLM President Barbara Listing with the staff of Care Net Pregnancy Center Detroit

The grants will address several needs the centers indicated: helping with clients’ transportation costs, improving facility safety, Spanish educational materials, website development, a phone application and advertising. Grantees include Pregnancy Aid, Care Net Pregnancy Center and two of Image of God Crisis Pregnancy Center’s three locations in Detroit.


In 2016 Michigan residents had 25,348 reported abortions; 6,106 of those were Detroit residents. Despite only holding seven percent of the state’s population, Detroit accounts for 24 percent of the state’s abortions. Abortions in Wayne Country are 40 percent of the state’s total. Abortion has a disparate impact on minorities, particularly the Black community. Michigan’s population is 14 percent Black, but Black women had 50.5 percent of the reported abortions in Michigan in 2016.


There are more than 150 locations in Michigan where prolife pregnancy and adoption help agencies provide services, but only a handful are located in the city of Detroit. Many agencies around the state benefit from local Right to Life of Michigan affiliates who continue to provide volunteers to them or help with their material or advertising needs. Currently the city of Detroit has no Right to Life of Michigan affiliate within the city limits. Right to Life of Michigan will continue to develop new plans and additional actions to address abortions in Detroit and educate people about this ongoing problem.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Announcing a new initiative addressing abortions in Detroit

Mark your calendar to join Right to Life of Michigan for a teleseminar announcing a new initiative to address abortions in the city of Detroit! The teleseminar is Wednesday, August 30, at 10:30 a.m.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing and Administrative Associate for Multicultural Outreach Tina Teifer will introduce the new initiative and provide you with details. This new initiative is the first step to increase our focus on the persistently high abortion rates in Detroit; 40 percent of reported abortions on Michigan residents happen in just Wayne County.

Listen in to be the first to hear this announcement!

RLM Conference Director Natalie Collins will also join us to give a brief preview of our 44th Annual Conference on September 21 in Kalamazoo.

The teleseminar will last about 30 minutes and is open to all prolife people, so please feel free to share this information.

There are two ways for you to listen in:

Use your phone and call (425) 440-5010; PIN Code: 662744#
 Or, listen via the Internet:

We are looking forward to speaking with you Wednesday, August 30, at 10:30 a.m.!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sen. Stabenow's record on conscience rights

Conscience rights and religious liberty are a founding principle of the United States. They have long been protected, whether it's the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment or the tradition of exempting conscientious objectors from military service. Where does Debbie Stabenow stand on conscience rights that involve prolife issues?

Forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to fund abortions

On March 22, 2013, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) offered an amendment to a budget resolution that would have stopped the Obama Administration's HHS Mandate. The mandate requires employers and individuals to pay for drugs and procedures that may cause abortions by listing those methods as "preventative health services." Debbie Stabenow voted against this amendment and the Fischer Amendment failed by a vote of 44 to 55.

This vote forced the Little Sisters of the Poor—a Catholic religious order of women dedicated to caring for the elderly poor—to seek a court order to prevent themselves from being forced to spend precious resources on purchasing abortion-inducing drugs. Numerous other organizations and individuals also filed in court to protect their conscience rights from the HHS Mandate.

In 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores that the HHS Mandate violated federal law involving closely held-corporations. The Little Sisters of the Poor are not a closely-held corporation, however, and their court case continued until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 2016 in Zubik v. Burwell to require the Obama Administration to fix the HHS Mandate to protect the conscience rights of the Little Sisters and other nonprofit groups. Following the 2016 election the Trump Administration has promised to restore the conscience rights of the Little Sisters of the Poor and others.

Forcing everyone to purchase health care plans that include free abortions?

When the ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was handed down, Debbie Stabenow and other senators sought to change federal law to force the Little Sisters of the Poor and others to purchase health insurance plans that cover drugs that may cause abortions. On July 16, 2014, the U.S. Senate took up S. 2578, which would have given the Obama Administration authority to supersede every federal law and conscience protection to force people to purchase any "preventative health service" they mandate. The bill would include superseding the Hyde Amendment, which protects taxpayers from being forced to directly pay for abortions, meaning the bill would have allowed the Obama Administration to force every insurance plan in the country to cover abortions for "free"—even late-term abortions—or doctor-prescribed suicide. Stabenow voted for S. 2578, but the bill failed to reach the 60-votes necessary to end debate.

Supporting coercive population control organizations

Since 1985 the Kemp-Kasten Amendment has prevented the United States from funding coercive population control organizations overseas that include forced abortions or forced sterilizations. For example, George W. Bush's administration restricted taxpayer funding to the United Nations Population Fund when it was revealed they were complicit in cooperating with China's One-Child Policy that involves forced abortions and sterilizations. In 2007 an attempt was made to weaken the Kemp-Kasten language in a Senate appropriations bill. On September 6, 2007, an amendment was approved to restore the Kemp-Kasten protections by a vote of 48 to 45. Debbie Stabenow opposed this effort to protect the human rights of individuals overseas and American taxpayers from being forced to help engage in coercive population control programs.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Michigan’s Safe Delivery law continues to save babies’ lives

On Monday the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that the 200th infant has been surrendered under Michigan’s Safe Delivery of Newborns Act since 2001.

Michigan’s Safe Delivery law allows mothers to legally and confidentially surrender unharmed newborns to emergency service providers up to 72 hours after birth. An emergency service provider is defined as an on-duty employee of a fire department, hospital or police station.

The law was passed in response to a disturbing trend of young mothers abandoning their newborn babies in a number of dangerous places, leading to their tragic death.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “Some of these 200 infants would have ended up facing tragic fates. This prolife law has given them a chance at life along with the beautiful opportunity to be adopted into loving families.”

The Act was originally championed by State Representative Patty Birkholz and passed the Michigan Legislature by unanimous votes. It was signed into law in 2000 by Governor John Engler. In 2006 the act was updated to include responding emergency medical technicians and paramedics as emergency service providers.

Listing said, “Continuing to publicly talk about this law is critical to make sure the abandonment trend doesn’t happen again. We need to help our young women and teens be better informed about this law.”

Additional educational and promotional materials about the Safe Delivery law can be found on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Jamerian Bennett passed away

We're very heartbroken to update you that Jamerian Bennett passed away on August 12 following a sudden brain hemorrhage. Thank you if you took the time to assist his case in any way.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Praying for Jamerian Bennett

UPDATE: Jamerian passed away on August 12. Please remember his family in your prayers.

Jamerian Bennett is a tough 9-year-old child fighting for his life at University of Michigan's Mott Children's Hospital. His mother, Brandee, is asking for prayer in their effort to find the care he needs.

We first became aware of Jamerian's case after WXYZ in Detroit published a story comparing Jamerian to Charlie Gard. Charlie died recently after the British hospital declared his life "futile" and refused to allow his parents to take him to another hospital willing to treat him. At the time it seemed a similar situation may be happening with Jamerian.

Jamerian's lungs have failed following pneumonia and a bad reaction to medication, leaving him on a lung bypass machine so his body can have oxygen. He is currently conscious but unable to speak; his condition is serious and he may need a lung transplant.

Jamerian's mother Brandee is as much as a fighter as he is, and when his situation was unsure, she went to bat for his care. After WXYZ began reporting on his case, a lawyer offered free pro-bono help to the Bennett family. Currently they are working on getting a transfer in place to an out-of-state facility that specializes in pediatric lung conditions.

Would you please consider taking a moment to pray for him and others in his situation? The family and the hospital need to work out details for a transfer and then Jamerian must make the arduous trip. If he needs a lung transplant he may have to wait for some time.

His case should be a lesson for us all. The most important thing for every person is to have a committed patient advocate like Brandee who will fight for you. After praying take a moment to consider setting up a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare to make sure your wishes will be fought for.

We will continue to monitor Jamerian's case and offer updates, hopefully positive and soon! If you'd like updates on him you can follow his care group on Facebook.

Friday, August 4, 2017

It will be safe, they said. It will be legal, they said. It will be rare, they said...

It has been nearly nine months since prolife President Donald Trump won the election. Since taking office he has fulfilled several important promises to the prolife movement. He appointed an outstanding justice to the Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch. His strong prolife stand combined with sustained progress in a large number of states has confounded pro-abortion Democrats, making them worry about their future prospects.

A few months ago Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said that they would not be supporting prolife Democratic candidates in 2018. This came after Senator Bernie Sanders supported a Omaha mayoral candidate, Heath Mello, who voted for some prolife bills in the past. After being attacked by his own party and forced to promote his abortion bona fides, Mello lost his race. That's where the national party stands.

Just a few days ago Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Ben Ray Lujan says that prolife Democrats in conservative districts will get funding from them in the next election cycle. He said they need to broaden their base. That's where the campaign arm of the Democrats in the U.S. House stands.

The indecision on how to handle prolife candidates in the Democratic Party is starting to cause a major divide. A recent opinion piece in the New York Times by feminist author Lindy West addresses the controversy by calling for abortion to be a litmus test for every Democratic candidate.

She wrote, "But to be anti-choice on a policy level is absolutely indefensible from an economic justice, racial justice, gender justice and human rights standpoint. And if the Democratic Party does not stand for any of those things, then what on earth is it?"

For ma long time the Democratic Party has prided itself as standing up for the little guy. There is no littler guy or gal than the innocent unborn child in the womb, though. Human rights has no standpoint if some humans have rights and others don't.

West wasn't finished. In the past West promoted the "Shout Your Abortion" social media campaign, which involves women bragging about past abortions. In her article she wrote, "abortion is normal. Abortion is common, necessary and happening every day."

This is quite different from the original explanation for how Democrats should view abortion: "safe, legal and rare."

There is nothing normal about abortion. There is nothing normal about taking forceps and yanking all four limbs off of a child. There's nothing normal about then using the forceps to crush her body, and then finally crush her skull. While it's typical for an abortionist to know they have succeeded when they see the baby's brain matter leaking out of the womb, there's nothing close to normal about that. Dismemberment abortions may be performed every day in America, but they are abhorrently abnormal.

This is why we work so hard every day to further educate people on what abortion really is, and have them see for themselves that abortion is not normal.

West backed up her claim by saying that 75% of Democrats believe that abortion should be legal in all cases. Here's the truth. Gallup did a poll in May that found that 68% of Americans want abortion to be illegal or legal only under certain circumstances. A tiny minority of Americans support the status quo of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnant.

People really don’t think that abortion is normal or necessary in all circumstances. Unborn babies are discriminated against every day because of their size, or if they have a birth defect. Women in urban areas like Detroit are being targeted by abortion mills. The numbers are appalling.

West also states that "abortion is liberty." Abortion is not liberty. Abortion is not freedom. Without a right to life, your inalienable rights to liberty or the pursuit of happiness are empty.

While it's sad to see on a personal level, the prolife movement should look forward to abortion supporters be frank about their views for the first time in the debate. We know abortion endures because of the euphemisms abortion supporters use. The American people only tolerate legalized abortion because they can pretend it happens somewhere else in the shadows.

Abortion is directly impacting all of our lives, just as it is now impacting party politics. It is important that all political parties support all candidates who are willing to stand up for the right to life: our future depends on it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sen. Stabenow's record on doctor-prescribed suicide

Sen. Debbie Stabenow has long been a supporter of doctor-prescribed suicide. Doctor-prescribed suicide involves doctors being legally allowed to dispense lethal doses of drugs to patients so that they can commit suicide.

While a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Stabenow voted against the Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999. The bipartisan bill would have done two important things to clarify a federal drug law, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The bill would have clarified that the CSA allows adequate use of pain control medications in patients, and that the CSA does not allow federally-controlled substances to be prescribed in lethal dosages with the intent of killing a patient.

In her time in the Michigan State Legislature Stabenow voted against banning doctor-prescribed suicide. Michigan's 1998 law prohibiting the practice has a truly unique history that must be remembered for context.

From 1990 to 1998 Jack Kevorkian participated in a string of killings involving a claimed 130 patients, the vast majority of whom were not terminally ill. Some of his victims had no diagnosed disease at all. In 1998 Kevorkian euthanized 52-year old Thomas Youk and filmed the killing for CBS's 60 Minutes. Kevorkian was later convicted of second-degree murder in the death.

Kevorkian's goal was to allow the practice of human vivisection in order to serve his macabre fascination with the point of death. Vivisection (nicknamed "obitiatry" by Kevorkian) is medical experimentation on a living being. Kevorkian hoped he would be able to experiment on suicidal people and convicts. In his book, "Prescription Medicine," Kevorkian described his eventual goal:

"But knowledge about the essence of human death will of necessity require insight into the nature of the unique awareness of or consciousness that characterizes cognitive human life. That is possible only through obitiatric research on living human bodies, and most likely centering on the nervous system…on anesthetized subjects [to] pinpoint the exact onset of extinction of an unknown cognitive mechanism that energizes life."

It was in these years of intense controversy that repeated efforts to ban his work were undertaken, including the eventual ban on doctor-prescribed suicide enacted in 1998. Stabenow opposed this effort to stop Kevorkian's killings. The Michigan voters had the final say when they turned back a referendum later in 1998 to legalized doctor-prescribed suicide by a vote of 71 to 29 percent.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New resources on end of life care

How do I protect my wishes? What is a living will? What about declining unwanted treatment? These and other questions frequently make end of life care a difficult topic.

People don't like to dwell on their own mortality. It's critical we face these questions for two reasons, however:

1) Most of us or our loved ones will face these situations ourselves.
 2) Euthanasia and suicide promotion are making these public issues.

In the past, the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund had several brochures for sale dealing with these issues. Now we have two brochures that cover these questions and they are available for free for download.

"End of Life Care: Advanced Directives" looks in-detail at various advanced directives and which are best for protecting patients' rights and wishes. "End of Life Care: Positive Care or Euthanasia Pitfall?" discusses three important aspects frequently involving end of life care: hospice, pain management, and medically-assisted feeding of food and water.