Monday, March 25, 2019

Top 10 Abortion Myths: #10




So much of the abortion debate is based on myths, bad assumptions, bad logic, or outright gaslighting through deception. For the rest of 2019 we will highlight one common abortion myth every month. 

#10: Late-term abortions are only for health problems 

The Bottom Line: The Abortion Industry’s own researchers are forced to admit most late-term abortions are for elective reasons.

This myth is highly relevant given current debates over late-term abortion bans and legislation to protect children who survive botched abortions.

Here’s an example of this myth, from the online publication Quartz: “Abortions that happen after the 20th week are typically a medical necessity, research shows, and in most cases, third-trimester abortions are due to severe health danger for the mother, or the fetus.”

The article’s writer, Annalisa Merelli, provides one true citation for her claim, a 1999 study that looks at results of late-term abortions in France. There’s one glaring problem with this citation if you look at who was included in the study: “A consecutive series of 956 terminations of pregnancy performed for fetal anomalies in singleton pregnancies.”

The study only looked at late-term abortions involving children with disabilities; it did not look at all late-term abortions. That’s like claiming 100% of athletes are football players based on watching one football game. Did the journalist even read the brief summary of the study she referred to? Probably not. Also, why does she imply that abortion of children with disabilities is a “medical necessity”?

Where does this laziness originate from? Probably because when late-term abortions are discussed in the media, typically members of the abortion industry are called on and they only talk about children diagnosed with disabilities or extreme medical problems. People who personally profit from abortion are not unbiased, and journalists and others shouldn’t treat their citation-free claims as the gospel truth.

Here’s a prime example of this, from a Planned Parenthood tweet: “Abortion later in pregnancy is rare and often happens under complex circumstances—the kind of situations where a patient and doctor need every medical option available”

Notice the careful use of subjective language: "often." Often they might use the word "many." What do those words mean? There are more than 10,000 abortions every year in the United States after 20 weeks of pregnancy, is 10,000 "rare"? If 10,000 a year is "rare," can you say the smaller proportion of those due to disability can be called "many"? If only a small percentage of those late-term abortions are because of disability, can you describe that reason as "often"? The abortion industry doesn’t cite real statistics to back up their words.

You also won’t see the truly informed members of the abortion industry using the term “most.” That’s because their own research shows most abortions after 20 weeks are done for elective reasons.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute is the abortion industry’s gold standard researcher. Despite their abortion industry ties and former open affiliation with Planned Parenthood, they are often cited in the media as dispassionate, unbiased researchers. They’ve done a recent study on the topic: “Who Seeks Abortions at or After 20 Weeks?”

The study authors admit the topic of late-term abortion hasn’t been studied very well and that most commentary on it involves exceptional cases: “We do not know how accurately these narratives characterize the circumstances of women who seek later abortions for reasons other than fetal anomaly or life endangerment. But data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”

Their study looks at that group of “most women” who have late-term abortions to determine their reasons, and their study found they fit one of five profiles:
  • Women raising children alone
  • Women who are depressed or using drugs
  • Women in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence
  • Women who had trouble deciding
  • Young women with several children 

While we can sympathize with the very real conflicts these women might be facing, the compassionate response is not to take the life of a child who can either survive outside of the womb or who is a week or two away from it. Those five reasons would never justify the infanticide of a preemie at the same age as a child in the womb facing abortion.

A comprehensive study on the reasons women have late-term abortions may never be forthcoming. Only the abortion industry has reliable access to these women, and putting direct numbers to the issue that can be cited in legislatures and the media will harm their mission of supporting abortion. It’s not in their interest to share a personal story about a young woman who already has two children who decided to have a late-term abortion.

Those purposefully spreading this myth are highly cynical, because they won’t condemn late-term abortions for elective reasons. If you proposed to Planned Parenthood that we should ban any late-term abortions that don’t involve a child with a disability, they will not agree. They support abortion for any reason and use people with disabilities as an excuse to distract people from their real intent.

There's one remaining problem for the abortion industry with this myth. Let's accept it at face value. Let's also ignore the fact that a diagnosis of disability may be mistaken or a health problem may not be as profound as doctors predict. Polling shows a majority of Americans do not think abortion should be legal in the third trimester if the child has a mental disability or even a life-threatening medical condition.

Let the voice of the people be heard!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Senator Stabenow: Stop Misleading Your Constituents!

Gaslighting is ugly. Gaslighting is when a person uses manipulative techniques to get another person to question their perception of the truth.

On February 25, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow voted to filibuster the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The bill she voted against does exactly what the bill title suggests, and many of her upset constituents contacted her about her vote.

Senator Stabenow’s lackluster constituent responses have become a Michigan legend. Her prolife constituents are used to having their opinion be ignored or glossed over in her response. However, this time Senator Stabenow’s response crossed a line. She gets the legislation so wrong that people are now questioning their own basic understanding of the facts.

Many people have contacted us because of her response, asking if they understand the Born-Alive Act correctly. They do. Does Senator Stabenow?

Here’s Senator Stabenow’s description of the Born-Alive Act: “S. 311, which was recently before the Senate, addressed much more narrow circumstances when there is a medical tragedy late in a woman’s pregnancy. These are circumstances where a woman wants her baby and faces a heart-wrenching medical decision because something went wrong late in her pregnancy—not because of a ‘botched abortion.’ In these rare incidences, I believe a woman, her family, and her doctor are the appropriate people to make critical medical decisions, not politicians in Washington.”

Wrong.

The bill addresses any circumstance where an attempted abortion results in the birth of a live infant, regardless of the infant’s health status.

Is Senator Stabenow suggesting that every late-term abortion involves a “wanted” baby who is diagnosed with a disability or fatal medical disorder? Even pro-abortion researchers are forced to admit that most abortions after 20 weeks don’t involve the infant having a disability or medical condition.

The critical section of the Born-Alive Act is short enough for anyone to read: “Any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age; and following the exercise of skill, care, and diligence required under subparagraph (A), ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.”

That’s simple. A child born-alive after an abortion at, say, 24 weeks deserves the same treatment as a preemie born at 24 weeks. Who could disagree with that?

Well, the abortionist could. The abortionist is paid to make the baby dead, not end the pregnancy with a live birth. The prolife movement is aware of situations where the abortionist just lets an infant die, whether it’s denying life-saving care or even basic humane comfort care to the now-dying infant. Under the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002, the abortionist can simply say it was decided that the child wasn’t worth saving, and that’s that. It’s difficult to hold the abortionist legally accountable for his unequal treatment of a child marked for death by abortion.

Senator Stabenow didn’t object to the 2002 version. When her response says the abortionist and the woman should decide the fate of the child, she means there should be no real penalty if the abortionist ignores his medical training to opt to let the child die of neglect. When an older infant—disabled or healthy—is left to die of neglect, society takes that seriously and calls it out for what it is: infanticide.

Senator Stabenow’s response is so bad that people are becoming less informed by reading it.

The Born-Alive Act doesn’t force dying infants to be put on ventilators, as some claimed during debate on the bill. All the bill does is require an abortion survivor to be treated with the same dignity and care as other preemies would. If a preemie would receive a treatment in a certain case, so should the infant who survived the botched abortion. The bill says the infants must be transferred to a facility equipped to provide proper medical care, which a Planned Parenthood abortion facility generally isn’t equipped to provide.

If the pro-abortion senators thought the legislation was sloppily-worded, they could have proposed a clarifying amendment. When confronted with the real problem of infants who might survive the abortion attempt being left to die, pro-abortion senators like Debbie Stabenow choose to ignore it, lest any abortionist be held accountable.

Is Senator Stabenow purposefully gaslighting her constituents, cynically hoping they won’t do something simple like look up the text of the bill online, or look up real statistics on reasons women have late-term abortions? Maybe. Our best guess is she is clumsily repeating talking points handed to her by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. Has she even taken the time to read the bill?

So often, the response from the abortion industry to important issues involves lies and deception, to the point that their own supporters—as well as members of the media and elected officials—believe the talking points rather than facts and reality. These aren’t honest mistakes, but a concerted effort to turn otherwise intelligent people into incompetent people dependent on the abortion industry for their views, even on cut and dry issues like saying infanticide is bad or believing babies deserve equal medical treatment.

This leads us to ask one more important question: who does Senator Stabenow really believe she answers to? The people of Michigan, or the abortion industry? If she can’t agree with most of her constituents on an issue like protecting actually born infants, the least she can do is stop misleading them.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Dismemberment Abortion Ban Introduced in Michigan

***Editor's Note: The bills were introduced in the Michigan Senate on March 19—SB 229 & SB 230***

Legislation to ban dismemberment abortions in Michigan was introduced today in the Michigan House.

House Bills 4320 and 4321 would amend Michigan’s 2011 ban on partial-birth abortions by including the dismemberment abortion procedure, also known as a dilation and evacuation abortion (D&E).

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “These bills are Michigan’s response to New York’s abortion law and other states seeking to explicitly allow abortions through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason.”

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy accurately described dismemberment/D&E abortions in his opinions in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on partial-birth abortion in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) and Stenberg v. Carhart (2000).

In Gonzales, Justice Kennedy wrote, “The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman.”

In Stenberg, Justice Kennedy wrote, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn from limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.”

Listing said, “In his opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy rightly said that dismemberment abortions are ‘laden with the power to devalue human life.’ Tearing the arms and legs off children in the later stages of pregnancy is not a good reflection of our Michigan values.”

The dismemberment abortion procedure is the most frequently-used late-term abortion procedure in America and Michigan. In 2017, there were 1,777 dismemberment abortions in Michigan reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Of those, 98 percent occurred in the second trimester, between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.

In published research on reasons women have abortions, the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute has stated that most late-term abortions are done for elective reasons.

In a 2013 study, the authors admitted, “But data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”

Listing said, “Opinion polls routinely show a majority of Americans believe late-term abortions should be illegal. Dismemberment abortions are obvious violence and that’s not how we should be treating our own children.”

Background Information
DISMEMBERMENT ABORTION ANIMATED PORTRAYAL
DISMEMBERMENT ABORTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
MICHIGAN ABORTION STATISTICS
GUTTMACHER LATE-TERM ABORTION STUDY

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Missing Women's History

Susan B. Anthony, prolife lady
(photo courtesy of LifeNews.com)
Women’s history month was instituted to celebrate the important role women have had in building history. This month celebrates women who have made famous impacts in fighting for justice and equality like Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman, as well as the many unrecognized efforts of women throughout history whose names are unknown.

During this month, we cannot forget the group of women who have been by far the most unrecognized and undervalued in all of history: the nearly 30 million women in America whose lives were taken from them in the womb since 1973.

Many speak about abortion as if it liberates women. In reality, abortion is a tool for discriminating against women. According to one estimate, more than 160 million women around the globe were denied the chance to impact the world because of sex-selection abortions and infanticides in recent decades. Women's organizations should be outraged; it's alarmingly unjust that tens of millions of women’s lives ended simply because they were female instead of male.

Several cultures have strong social or economic forces that lead to a preference for having sons rather than daughters. Some of these cultures have strict population control policies that encourage or even coerce parents to limit the number of children they have (for example, China’s two-child policy). This leads to birth rates in many countries being higher for boys than for girls as families strive to make sure that first or second child is a boy. China’s 2005 census data showed a sex-ratio at birth of 1.18 boys.

India’s 2011 census showed a ratio of 1.09 boys for every 1 girl aged 0-6. The problem has become so stark it's a crime in India to use an ultrasound to learn the sex of your unborn child.

Abortion makes it easy for parents to pick and choose which lives are worth keeping; in many millions of cases the lives of females are not the ones chosen to keep alive.

Sadly this is not a new issue, and for many years before abortion became widely available, baby girls would often be tragically left to die by many parents who felt they needed a boy instead. This still occurs in some countries today with alarming regularity. Some may see that as more horrifying than having an abortion, but both options end the child’s life.

In recent weeks, many U.S. politicians including 44 U.S. Senators have sent the message that they too see no difference in ending a child’s life before or after birth. If the child is unwanted by the birth parents and targeted for abortion—as is the case for many millions of baby girls around the world— they see no problem with infanticide through neglect if the abortion happens to fail and results in a live birth.

So many politicians, celebrities, and of course, Planned Parenthood, widely praise abortion as the foundation of women’s rights, but by doing so they ignore the stories of hundreds of millions of women who were denied the most basic right to life. Abortion is a tool used over and over for discrimination and targeting of vulnerable lives deemed "unwanted." So much more women's history would be made if we simply valued the life of every little girl.

TARGETED ABORTIONS FACTSHEET

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Infanticide: Between a Woman and Her Doctor?

Sen. Ben Sasse, the bill's primary sponsor
During the 1996 partial-birth abortion debate, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer said babies don't receive human rights until they come home from the hospital. Last night, 44 U.S. Senators affirmed that as their position on when life begins.

That list includes our two Michigan senators, Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 311) would require that a baby born alive after a botched abortion must be afforded “the same degree” of care that would apply “to any other child born alive at the same gestational age,” including transportation to a hospital.

The 2002 federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act lacks specific legal protections for children who survive botched abortions. That bill passed the U.S. Senate unanimously.

Before the vote, several senators criticized the bill by saying medical decisions should be between a woman and her doctor. They focused their arguments on sick or disabled children.

Prolife people see no difference between taking the life of a child an hour before birth or an hour after birth; both are wrong. Many abortion supporters will admit abortion kills a human being, but say it's justified because a woman has complete control over her body. Last night's vote about treating children outside the womb exposes that argument as an excuse. Those 44 senators agree that there is no difference between taking the life of a child an hour before birth or an hour after birth; they are for it. They are frankly admitting that abortion is not about women's rights; it's a right to a dead baby.

The logic of abortion demands we dehumanize our own children by suggesting that some lives are unworthy of life. It's foolish to believe that logic doesn't ultimately extend to infanticide, and eventually to an embrace of euthanasia for adults.

Three Democratic senators and one pro-abortion Republican opposed the filibuster. Every senator filibustering the bill is a Democrat. Not too long ago, many elected Democrats were prolife. Today, the abortion industry has captured the party's leadership, purging almost everyone who doesn't agree with abortion up to and even after the moment of birth.

A significant portion of Democratic voters believe late-term abortions should be banned. However, the party's national leadership goes way beyond 20 weeks; they are committed to seeing no evil about infanticides in abortion facilities.

Infants who survive botched abortions deserve equal treatment, not the death they were originally marked for.

Let your U.S. Senators know what you think about them looking the other way on infanticide. Senator Gary Peters can be reached at (202) 224-6221. Senator Debbie Stabenow can be reached at (202) 224-4822.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Black History Month 2019

February is Black History Month. This celebration originally lasted one week in February, always around the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and Frederick Douglass (February 14th). These men were both important influences in the Black community. Douglass dedicated his life and Lincoln sacrificed his fighting for the proposition that every member of the human race was created equal.

American history is sadly tainted with numerous injustices towards the Black community. These injustices involved Black people being treated as less than human and being denied even the basic dignity and rights they deserved as human beings. Many injustices still face the Black community today, but none are so distorted and ignored as the fact that 900 Black lives are lost daily to abortion.

Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry advertises abortion as a woman's right, and something that all women must have equal access to. However, it seems that Black women have extremely disproportionate “access” to ending their child’s life though abortion. In 2015, 36% of lives ended in abortion facilities in the U.S. were Black ones, but only about 13.3% of the population is Black. In Michigan, abortions are even more disproportionately preformed on Black women. Though Black women make up only about 14% of Michigan’s female population, they had 50.6% of all reported abortions in 2017.

How can someone claim to stand for justice and equality but in the same breath promote abortion? Abortion horrifically treats the unborn as less than human by taking their lives without question, and disproportionately ends the lives of Black members of our human family.

Here's a fact that should be heard everywhere, but gets entirely ignored: abortion has taken more Black lives in America than every other cause of death combined since 1973. Every cause. Combined.

For every Black person’s life ended by crime, accidents, cancer heart disease, or any other reason since 1973, more lives have been lost to abortion. Can anyone really claim that this is justice?

More than 19 million Black lives have been aborted since 1973. Just think for a moment how much Black history has been wiped out by abortion, how many lives were denied the right to see the light of day and the opportunity to make a difference in this world.

As we celebrate Black History Month, let us stand in opposition to the injustice of abortion and firmly hope that one day this will be a distant memory of another fight against injustice in American history that we worked to overcome.

Right to Life of Michigan has a produced a video series, Still on That Journey, that takes a closer look at this issue. Watch the first video:

 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Right to Life of Michigan Calls on Peters, Stabenow to Protect Born Alive Infants

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Right to Life of Michigan is calling on U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow to the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

Last night, an effort to give the bill unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate was blocked by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).

The legislation would require that a child born alive after a botched abortion be treated with the same level of care as a premature infant born at the same stage of pregnancy, and that the child be transported to a hospital for proper care.

 Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “It should be easy for everyone to agree that once a child is born, they deserve the same treatment as any other child. Why would anyone disagree? This isn’t about abortion, but about treating newborns with the care they deserve.”

The bill would add protections to the existing federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002. The 2002 law defines a child born alive following a botched abortion as a person under existing federal laws. The 2002 law passed the U.S. Senate with unanimous consent.

Listing said, “Senator Debbie Stabenow was in the U.S. Senate in 2002, so we hope she won’t object to making sure the law is being properly enforced today.”

The legislation was introduced by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) in the wake of a new abortion law in New York and legislation in Virginia. The New York law recently signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo repealed legal protection in the state for children born alive following botched abortions.

Similar legislation in Virginia was defeated after the bill sponsor publicly admitted the legislation would allow abortions through all nine months of pregnancy, even during the process of labor.

Embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam defended the legislation and third trimester abortions in a radio show where he said, “The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

Listing said, “There are examples of children just left to die following a late-term abortion. It’s clear our country’s laws need to be improved to ensure infanticide or passive euthanasia of children is not occurring. This shouldn’t be a controversial issue and we expect our Michigan Senators to stand for basic, humane treatment.”

Michigan residents: Call your senators today and ask them to protect infants born alive following botched abortions. Ask them to vote yes on S.311, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Senator Gary Peters can be reached at (202) 224-6221. Senator Debbie Stabenow can be reached at (202) 224-4822.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Virginia, New York, and New Honesty from Abortion Supporters

VA Governor Ralph Northam, photo courtesy of Steve Helber/AP
On January 22, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a horrific bill into law. On the 46th memorial of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, Governor Cuomo made several changes to state abortion law, including formally legalizing abortion through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason.

This new law has prolife people everywhere heartbroken and horrified. On the very same day of mourning for the 59 million lives lost over the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decisions 46 years ago, we received news that might make it seem like there is no end in sight. Days later, a similar bill failed to pass through Virginia’s legislature. In defense of the bill's sponsor, embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam made a statement condoning infanticide, saying that disabled babies can be born alive and left to die.

Other states with pro-abortion majorities are following suit. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has promised to do the same in Michigan, but our prolife majorities in the Legislature prevent that—for now.

Taking a deeper look into these events, the tragic truth is clear: these opinions are nothing new. In fact, abortion through all nine months of pregnancy—until the day of birth—is what Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton originally legalized. Roe v. Wade stated that abortions in the third trimester could be banned as long as an exception existed if the woman’s health was in danger, but Doe v. Bolton expanded this idea of "health" to mean whatever the woman or abortionist wanted. The Court Opinion defines health as any factor, "physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient."

Put simply, the Supreme Court legalized abortion at any time and for any reason.

States can ban late-term abortions as long as they allow them for any reason.

The purpose of the New York's new law was simply to ensure that abortions at any time and for any reason will continue be legal in New York when Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are finally overturned by the Supreme Court. These laws are simply a defense of the barbaric status quo.

Condoning infanticide and devaluing the life of humans even after birth has also sadly been done before. One example was during the 1996 debate on legislation to end the partial-birth abortion procedure. In her support for the procedure, then U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer stated that the baby does not have rights until it leaves the hospital: "I think when you bring your baby home, when your baby is born--and there is no such thing as partial birth--the baby belongs to your family and has all the rights." President Barack Obama helped lead efforts to fight legislation in the Illinois Legislature to protect infants born alive after botched abortions.

Poor media coverage, an unwillingness to discuss this topic on all sides, and the refusal of most pro-abortion advocates to plainly state their radical beliefs have blinded a majority of people to the gravity of the abortion issue and the extent which it already has its grip on this culture.

How can we expect abortion's grip to loosen? Only when people will stop looking away from this issue of life and death. Perhaps the silver lining in the recent events in Virginia and New York is that people are taking notice. The extreme opinions that have always been around are finally getting the attention they demand.

We must work harder to expose abortion for what it is, and call people to act against it.

If you'd like to get involved in your local community to build a culture that defends our innocent unborn and newborn children, click here to get connected to your local Right to Life of Michigan affiliate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Media Crosses a Line in March for Life Coverage

The Daily Beast's photo choice

Today marks 46 years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Every year, prolife people gather in Washington, D.C., to protest the Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. The national March for Life also brings attention to the lives lost to abortion. Since 1973 there have been an estimated 59 million abortions.

Prolife people are used to scant or slanted media coverage of the March for Life. However, this year the media and our national discourse crossed a bright red line.

Very few Michigan media publications covered the March for Life in-depth. That all changed with a short online video appearing to show a student at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, Nicholas Sandmann, staring down an older Native American man from Michigan playing a drum, Nathan Phillips. That story got a lot of attention.

The Washington Post led with a story reading like an editorial, not actual news coverage. The story characterized the children as a mob surrounding and hounding Phillips, who said they chanted “build the wall” at him in a demeaning manner. It said the teen facing Phillips “relentlessly” smirked at him. It said Phillips was just trying to escape the whole situation and that the students made an “aggressive display of physicality.”

Additional video evidence has shown that the story and Phillips’s account don’t align with the facts.

The students were waiting for their bus to pick them up, not seeking out the Native Americans to harass them. Several adults were heckling the students with racist and anti-gay slurs before Phillips arrived. The students showed restraint, eventually trying to sing school fight songs to drown out the hate directed at them. Phillips was not surrounded by a mob, he purposefully approached the group of students. When Phillip’s group approached with their drums, the students began dancing to their beats, not mocking them. Zero videos of the event have captured anyone chanting, “build the wall.” Phillips did not come to de-escalate the situation, he stared down Sandmann—banging a drum directly in his face—while at least one member of Phillips’ group antagonized the kids. Video has captured Sandmann moving to de-escalate an argument between one of his fellow students and a member of Phillips’ group.

Almost everything that everyone read about the March for Life and this situation was at best gravely wrong, at worst a cynical lie to hold up a teen as a scapegoat. The media has enabled those false statements.

The episode should remind everyone of how the Planned Parenthood organ trafficking videos were handled. Even though full footage and transcripts were released alongside the featured undercover videos, many media outlets uncritically repeated Planned Parenthood talking points that the videos were deceptively edited. In the case of the Covington kids, the media mostly all ran with deceptively-edited videos without waiting for any background information.

The rush to judgement on the part of the media was a violation of their basic professional ethics. Sandmann is arguably a private figure and a minor. The media ran with an account containing false information without giving Sandmann or anyone a chance to tell their side of the story. Reporters began trying to track down his personal information to expose him to the online mob. The online mob found a person who wasn’t Sandmann, and that person began receiving death threats. A CNN contributor and other members of the media expressed fantasies of committing violence against Sandmann, a minor.

Sandmann has since released a statement that lines up with the video evidence available, which contradicts several key points of Phillip’s account.

Something has to change. People must be held accountable, especially those wishing to commit violence against a teen like former CNN contributor Reza Aslan, who continued reporting about an entirely unproven charge of “build the wall” chants.

Why was a story riddled with false information the only thing most people heard about the March for Life? Why did a non-violent confrontation that happens in similar ways numerous times at political events in America make national news?

Because it fit the prejudices of most media outlets.

Sandmann was wearing a Make America Great Again baseball hat. The “deceptively edited” video captured by Phillips’ group was a perfect vehicle to confirm every prior bad assumption many have about prolife people or Trump supporters in general. In their lust to score web traffic or political points, many media outlets set about destroying the life of a minor they’ve never met and didn’t care to hear from.

President Donald Trump routinely antagonizes the press as spreading “fake news,” and has even called the press the “enemy of the people.” While certainly hyperbolic, imagine it from the perspective of prolife individuals.

For years, legalized abortion has been protected by the media. Roe v. Wade is often characterized as a limited decision, and Doe v. Bolton is never mentioned. Most Americans don’t know the basic facts of the abortion issue. The March for Life is routinely slighted in what can only be described as a purposeful manner. Crowds of hundreds of thousands are labeled mere “thousands.” Misleading pictures of people gathered at the side of the March for Life—pictures that no skilled photographer would be proud of—are used instead of shots of the impressive crowd.

Prolife people have seen this for 46 years. When President Trump calls the media the “enemy of the people,” many prolife people nod their heads. Their cynicism is confirmed on a routine basis. This ongoing hit-job on a teen whose only crime is standing while an adult bangs a drum in his face is yet another example making it hard for us to reassure prolife people that the media isn’t their enemy.

Many prolife people send their children to the March for Life. Next year, parents will have to decide if sending their child is worth the danger of having reporters threaten violence against their child as they work to systematically spread false information to destroy their child’s future. It doesn’t matter how much they prepare their children for dealing with protestors, something as simple as awkwardly standing in place is enough to incite a mob.

A media claiming the mantle of the First Amendment is chilling the very ability of young people to gather peacefully and express their free speech rights without fear of reckless and irresponsible retaliation. Something must change.

On Monday, Right to Life of Michigan contacted several Michigan media sources that ran with the false story and asked for explanations, apologies, follow-up stories—anything to restore at least some modicum of respect for journalism as a profession. The few that have responded so far have blamed the national media for getting the story wrong, even though they ran those flawed stories attacking children. Those that responded expressed zero sympathy for the death threats these kids have received. None showed any awareness of how far over the line they’ve crossed.

There are some outlets that put in real effort to cover the March for Life. They are to be commended for following their journalistic ethics and desiring to be fair. However, they are the exception.

Prolife people in the future must change as well. Even people who’ve been to the March for Life itself and understand the incredibly peaceful nature of the event joined in the crowd to denounce Sandmann and the Covington kids before the facts of the story were known.

Moving forward, prolife people should adopt a 24-hour rule. Please wait a day for genuine reporting to occur before believing what you read. Mainstream media outlets can not be trusted to follow their own professional ethical rules, including treatment of private figures, collecting full details from sources, or giving the subjects of their hit pieces a real opportunity to respond.

The Covington kids are the latest in a long train of outrageous incidents. Mistakes happen and people get stories wrong, but why are the mistakes always slanted in favor of abortion? Why does Planned Parenthood always get favorable coverage of their false talking points? Why was America’s most prolific serial killer, Kermit Gosnell, dismissed as a local crime story unworthy of mention? Why do instances of prolife people being verbally abused, harassed, or mocked never turn into the outrage of the day on social media?

For many prolife people, this was the last straw. We have heard their messages to us and understand their frustration. Right to Life of Michigan will always work to apply standards that journalists fail to apply to themselves, though of course we will stand for our beliefs. We will honestly try to give the full details about stories. We would not single out pro-abortion teens at events as avatars of our rage and seek to destroy their lives.

If prolife people misbehave, Right to Life of Michigan will call it out. Our policy is always to follow the law. We’ve gone as far as running TV ads in the past to call for peace and respect for civil discourse.

When journalists choose to ignore their own professional ethics, we will call it out as well. We will continue to do their job for them, giving you in-depth information and background details for free.

If our civil discourse has any chance to recover, the media needs to adopt changes that show they are serious about treating the abortion issue fairly. This goes beyond half-hearted corrections to get out in front of potential libel lawsuits. Half the country is prolife and they are not going to subscribe or provide advertising revenue to publications treating them as an enemy to be destroyed.

Most prolife people believe that if the media was 50/50 fair with news coverage of abortion, we would have made many more significant gains. In spite of biased coverage and major political and cultural institutions set against us, we continue to change hearts and minds, increase legal protections, and abortion rates continue declining.

How many more lives would have been saved if the American people were given a free choice to look at the issue and decide for themselves?

Since 1973, 59 million human beings have had their lives erased by abortion. Each life lost is a tragedy. The catastrophe of abortion—the leading cause of death in America if counted—should be treated as better than a side issue.

Every year, we’ll continue to highlight the March for Life, the egregious abuses of power in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, and the real human lives lost. We’ll keep doing it—even if we’re the only ones doing it—until one year we don’t have to anymore.

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.