Category: Prolife Issues

March of Dimes

Since January 1976, Right to Life of Michigan has adopted a non-support policy toward March of Dimes. This was adopted only after a three-year study of March of Dimes (M.O.D.) activities and publications, and after a high level meeting with M.O.D. national and state officers.

The crux of our difference is the amniocentesis testing for “defective” babies in utero which M.O.D. sponsors and promotes. Such tests cannot be made before the 14th to 18th weeks of pregnancy and take an additional four to six weeks for results. Between 95% and 100% of the “defectives” thus identified are destroyed in second trimester abortions. An additional 1% of babies tested are miscarried as a result of the test.

These figures are taken from two studies done by or assisted by M.O.D. in 1975 and 1979. Whenever treatment can take place in the womb, Right to Life of Michigan supports and encourages it (ex: RH babies), but the overwhelming majority of defects tested for have no known treatment or cure.

M.O.D. at no time has directly funded abortions but it has inaugurated a massive nationwide movement whose aim is to make amniocentesis testing a customary medical procedure in mid trimester pregnancy. It has become our personal experience in recent years that pregnant women, especially in their mid-30’s, are being pressured by their doctors to have the test. We see this as a direct result of M.O.D. influence among high government circles and the media.

We have made it clear to M.O.D. that we admire their good works of the past as well as those going forward today. We have asked them to drop this facet of their program but their response has been negative, and until it changes, our policy must remain in place.

We truly sympathize with parents of handicapped and suspected handicapped in utero, but feel that unwavering defense of the unborn, the born, the sick, the well, the helpless as well as the helping, must be the starting point from which we tackle society’s problems.

Nonviolence & Picketing

Nonviolence

Peaceful solutions to the violence of abortion are the goal of Right to Life of Michigan.

For over a decade our members have marched, educated, lobbied, and voted for peaceful solutions to the violent ending of life. Each day, during every abortion procedure, babies are dismembered and women often suffer long-lasting physical and psychological harm. The violence of abortion kills approximately 1.5 million babies each year.

Recent bombings and arson in other parts of the nation against abortion facilities concern Right to Life of Michigan. To counter violence with violence is against our principles. Prolifers have consistently worked peacefully through the democratic process in order to reach our goal – the end of violence within clinic walls. We are a peaceful movement.

Clearly, the actions against abortion clinics are unrelated to Right to Life of Michigan and its legislative and educational efforts. We reject any attempts to link these isolated incidents to the Michigan prolife movement which is composed of citizens throughout the state who are committed to restoring the civil rights of the unborn child and additionally to helping the woman facing a problem pregnancy.

There are peaceful alternatives to abortion. There have to be.
(Adopted 1985)

Picketing

The health of a democratic society is fostered by the open expression of dissent by its citizenry on matters of justice and social policy. Public protest on matters of conscience is a fundamental part of the American tradition.

In the present context of the legalization of abortion-on-demand by fiat of the U.S. Supreme Court (which swept aside statutes restricting abortion in every state), Right to Life of Michigan finds it entirely appropriate that citizens should exercise their free speech rights to publicly express opposition to the callous destruction of human life by abortion.

Picketing activities at abortion facilities, and in the context of appearances by government officials who espouse a pro-abortion position, serve to awaken the public conscience to the presence and evil of abortion, and to educate abortion clinic clients, those accompanying them, clinic personnel and the general public about the value of the unborn child, the potential physical and psychological harm to the mother as well as positive alternatives to abortion.

Both the United States and Michigan Constitutions protect the fundamental free speech rights of citizens to peaceably speak, assemble, picket and leaflet in public places. Right to Life of Michigan supports picketing activities which exercise these free speech rights on behalf of the unborn, provided that any statutes or ordinances against trespassing or blocking accesses to public or private property are not violated, and provided that no tactics designed to intimidate or harass abortion clinic clients, those accompanying them, clinic personnel, counter demonstrators or any member of the public are employed. Conscious of the fact that many women who opt for abortion do so under the duress of difficult circumstances, Right to Life of Michigan encourages picketing activities which communicate to women considering abortion and the public at large a willingness to assist in any way possible with difficult circumstances accompanying a decision to choose life of an unborn child.

Population

Right to Life of Michigan urges its fellow citizens not to permit non-factual population conclusions to be used as an excuse for destroying human beings.

Careful studies have revealed that the population of the world is a non-issue relative to space, food, pollution levels and quality of life. Leading agricultural economists state that the earth can feed ten times its present population according to western world standards.

The real problems to be solved are those which force poverty, inadequate food distribution, malnutrition and pollution and lay the blame for those avoidable miseries at the feet of the victims.

School-Based Clinics

“Throughout the United States there is growing concern over the promotion of teen health centers and/or school-based clinics (SBCs). These concerns include: promotion of abortion, jeopardizing the quality of education, duplicity of services, cost of programs, liability of providers, ineffectiveness of services, lack of parental involvement, conflicts of values and racial discrimination.”

All the above objections raise legitimate questions. Right to Life of Michigan opposes teen health centers and/or school-based clinics because evidence shows that such programs open the door to family planning services which promote abortion as a solution to teenage pregnancy.

1. Real Purpose of School-Based Clinics

In the wake of strong public opposition to the controversial family planning/abortion focus of SBCs, promoters have attempted to diffuse criticism by camouflaging the clinics as “comprehensive health care centers.”

The fact remains that the SBC movement was pioneered by, and continues to be spearheaded by, recognized pro-abortion groups including Planned Parenthood and the Center for Population Options. Even where on-site dispensing of contraceptives and abortion counseling have been prohibited by school boards or state laws, referral schemes that funnel students to nearby Planned Parenthood or other family planning clinics have been used to effectively allow the clinics to fulfill their primary aim.

2. Abortion Line Documented

While SBC advocates carefully discuss the birth control aspect of their programs in terms of “contraception,” it is important to note that “family planning” always includes “the full range of options,” of course, including abortion. And abortion counseling and referrals are a documented part of SBCs already operating in Michigan. The executive director of Muskegon Planned Parenthood openly acknowledged in an article in the Muskegon Chronicle (July 4, 1986) that of five students who had become pregnant in the 1985-86 school year while enrolled at an SBC operated by her organization in the Muskegon Heights School system, four were referred for abortions by clinic staff. Recognizing that 90 percent of existing SBCs provide pregnancy tests and that states cannot require parental consent before a minor obtains an abortion, it would be naive to think that clinics do not commonly assist teens in obtaining abortions.

3. No Evidence of Effectiveness

After 15 years and more than 500 million dollars spent on attempting to combat teen pregnancy by use of contraceptives and abortions, the record of traditional family planning programs is one of documented failure. The conclusions of a careful study by Drs. Stan Weed and Joseph Olsen of the Institute for Research and Evaluation published in the Wall Street Journal (October 31, 1986) show that the traditional teen family planning programs are associated not with lower, but higher, rates of teen pregnancy and abortion, with birth rates declining moderately due to the promotion of abortion.

Media accounts have uncritically accepted claims of success for model SBC programs in St. Paul, Minnesota and Baltimore, Maryland, but in both cases only birth rates, not pregnancy rates, declined modestly, and serious methodological flaws in record keeping preclude a scientific assessment of results.

4. Parental Rights Are Violated

SBCs violate the fundamental rights of parents to raise and discipline their children. Parents give only blanket approval for a teen to participate in an SBC program, and are usually unaware that, by law, they will not be notified if their child is directed to an abortion clinic or given other sensitive family planning counsel. In fact, at two model SBC programs in the Muskegon Heights, Michigan school system, parents must send a slip to school asking that their teen not be enrolled in the clinic, otherwise, consent is assumed.

A teen’s records are the property of the SBC, and are kept confidential from both parents and the school board. The clinic staff is assumed to have greater interest and wisdom than parents in counseling a teen in the most sensitive decisions of life, and is completely protected by law from disclosure of their counsel to either parents or school board.

Surrogate Parenting Contracts

The practice of surrogate parenting has made human life a marketable commodity. In a surrogate arrangement, a couple enlists the womb of a woman for predetermined fees, she carried the baby (a product) for nine months, and then releases the baby to the couple. Such contracts often provide for medical and other expenses related to the surrogate pregnancy as well as compensation for the services rendered; i.e., the production of a healthy, desirable child. Also, included may be criteria for acceptance of the child under the contract.

Regardless of the moral, ethical, or legal considerations surrounding those who enter into surrogate parenting contracts, Right to Life of Michigan opposes surrogate parenting because the life of the child so conceived may be threatened as a result of the contractual agreement.

Abortion is likely to be used to insure that the child meets the contractual criteria. The purchasing couple may be happy with a perfect baby, but what happens if a couple learns that the baby is “imperfect” before birth? (Amniocentesis and other prenatal testing procedures are often used to seek out an “imperfect” unborn child. Assuredly, “quality control” will be achieved through abortion. Some surrogate contracts even provide for prenatal testing and agreements to abortion if disabilities are detected.) It is even possible to specify in a contract the right sex of a surrogate parented child; the “wrong” sex can simply be aborted. The unborn child has no protection – the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision invalidates all attempts to save the life of the unborn child that fails to meet contractual criteria.

Infanticide will likely be considered in instances of a handicapped child’s birth. If the unborn child escapes detection and upon birth does not meet “perfection” standards, there is a threat that even necessary medical treatment (food and drink) will be withdrawn from the innocent life. As seen in the Indiana Baby Doe case, withdrawal of treatment (infanticide) is a reality when a baby fails to meet parental expectations.

The surrogate mother is victimized. The hired mother, whose genetic contribution is 50 percent of the end product becomes a warehousing agent. Often the subliminal force behind a woman’s decision to “rent her womb” is attaining money to relieve financial stress. Truly, she is victimized. Her body is used. The practice of surrogate parenting has made human life a marketable product, and this should not be. Born and unborn children are precious and must be protected. In the surrogate arrangement, there are no guarantees that the defenseless child will be protected.

A 1979 March of Dimes survey showed that, in 97 percent of the cases where the amniocentesis test showed the unborn child was “imperfect,” abortion was chosen.

The potential for the destruction of children of surrogate parenting arrangements by abortion or infanticide impels Right to Life of Michigan to stand firm in opposition to surrogate parenting.
(Adopted 1985)