Category: Prolife Issues

Civil Disobedience

“Whether or not you have children yourself, you are a parent to the next generation. If we can only stop thinking of children as individual property and think of them as the next generation, then we can realize we all have a role to play.”
~Charlotte Davis Kasl, Finding Joy, 1994

The movement to support human life and to oppose abortion involves a great diversity of individuals and organizations with each contributing in different ways toward the goal of protecting the unborn child.

Right to Life of Michigan, a nonprofit corporation, and its affiliates have decided through years of consensus planning to focus their energies and resources on education, legislative lobbying activities and political action to achieve our goals. We have always opposed, and continue to oppose, actions that are contrary to the law. Other individuals and groups believe that civil disobedience is a legitimate approach in waging a campaign against abortion.

Without in any way judging individuals who choose this approach, Right to Life of Michigan and its affiliates reaffirm their dedication to lawful efforts to protect the unborn, and have rejected any RLM participation in civil disobedience.

The board of RLM must be particularly concerned with the potential liability of the organization in the event of lawsuits surrounding civil disobedience activities. For this reason, it is essential that RLM, its affiliates and members, avoid any involvement what-so-ever of the organization in any of the following activities:

  1. Use of the Right to Life of Michigan name or designation of individual participants in civil disobedience activities as members or leaders of Right to Life of Michigan.
  2. Participation in or support for civil disobedience or other unlawful activities as RLM affiliates or as RLM representatives.
  3. Raising money as RLM affiliates or representatives or providing RLM funds or assistance to any group involved in civil disobedience.
  4. Use of RLM membership or mailing lists for any activity involving groups involved in civil disobedience or other unlawful activities.

Of course, these policies do not preclude any individual from acting on the basis of his or her own conscience. They are designed to isolate the RLM corporation and its affiliates from activities where RLM and its affiliates may be inadvertently linked with activities which would subject the corporations and their board members to legal charges and financial claims.

(November 16, 1988)


“No civilization can survive if it treats human life as a merely instrumental good and the deaths of innocents as a legitimate objective. Yet, America is dangerously close to forgetting that human life – all human life – is a gift to be treasured. The life of a human being is an intrinsic good, not something whose value is conditional upon its usefulness to others or to the state. The life of every human being is worthy – equally worthy – of care and respect. Human beings need not prove their moral worth by demonstrating sentience, or self-awareness, or a certain level of cognitive ability.”
~From Building A Culture of Life

Until February 1997, the human cloning of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was a futuristic, science fiction scenario. On February 27, 1997, the chills of reality went down our spines with the announcement that English scientists had cloned a sheep named Dolly. Promptly following this news, researchers in Oregon on March 1, 1997, announced that a Rhesus monkey had been cloned. The reality of animal cloning stares us in the face and human cloning is around the corner. Science has an unquenchable thirst to do what is possible, sometimes without regard to moral implications.

Proponents of human cloning rush forward with proposals for its use that on the surface appear benevolent. Advocates mention replacing a dead child with a genetic twin or creating a reservoir of genetically-matched material for spare parts for diseased organs such as bone marrow, livers, kidneys, etc. The National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) has recommended that clones grown outside the womb could provide genetic advances for fighting diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Individuals and groups are stepping out to be identified as “pro-clone.” The right to choose philosophy, with which prolife groups are so familiar, will be the ultimate justification for these individuals.

Cloning, also called “somatic cell nuclear transfer (donor cell),” involves a transfer of a nucleus of a somatic cell (any ‘body’ cell other than an egg or sperm) to an egg that has had its nucleus removed. This egg is stimulated by a tiny electrical current to begin to develop. The embryo later is transferred from the lab to the host uterus to complete the development of the new individual. This new individual is not an exact duplicate of the donor since a small genetic contribution is made by the mitochondrial DNA of the host cell.

In response to the introduction of Dolly, President Clinton charged the NBAC with making recommendations on human cloning. On June 9, 1997, based on the NBAC report, the President released his “Cloning Prohibition Act of 1997,” stating, “Banning human cloning reflects our humanity. It is the right thing to do. Creating a child through this new method calls into question our most fundamental beliefs.” This act, however, is only a temporary, five-year ban prohibiting cloned humans from being created and born. It does allow federally funded unrestricted research on cloned embryonic human beings. The ‘moratorium’ announced by the President on federally funded research applies only to research intended to “create [bring to birth] a human being.”

Right to Life of Michigan finds human cloning to be an inherent violation of human dignity. As with abortion and assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, human cloning research denies the most fundamental of human rights — the right to life. The research process inevitably requires scientists to destroy and discard their ‘failed’ experiments. For example, it took 277 attempts at cell manipulation and 29 embryo implants before the sheep, Dolly, was produced.

Cloning would further violate human dignity by denying the intrinsic value of each human life, thereby viewing human beings as products or commodities. For this same reason we already oppose surrogate parenting contracts, genetic screening of embryos before uterine implanting and sex selection abortion. Cloning could not possibly respect the intrinsic value of the person created, because a cloned person will not be created simply for their value as a person. There will always be an intended and specific utility attached to a cloned person because he or she was created with a particular genetic make-up for some purpose. Any action taken to create or destroy human beings based on their genetic qualities denies their intrinsic value.

Right to Life of Michigan strongly advocates for the passage of tightly written legislation at the national and state level that will permanently ban all human cloning including research on embryos. If human cloning proceeds, our minds can conjure up many scenarios of abuse of human cloning as our narcissistic society creates human beings not in God’s own image but in our own.

(October 8, 1997)

Constitutional Convention

“The care of human life, and not its destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”
~Thomas Jefferson

Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two ways to amend the Constitution: 1) by initiative of Congress, and approval of both houses, followed by ratification of 3/4 of the state legislatures; and 2) by a call for a constitutional convention by 2/3 of the state legislatures. The amendment adopted by such a convention would then require ratification by 3/4 of the state legislatures.

After consideration of two ways to amend the U.S. Constitution, Right to Life of Michigan encourages all prolife people to work both for the Congressional passage of a Human Life Amendment and through the State Legislatures for passage of a constitutional conventional resolution.

Equal Rights Amendment

Since the Equal Rights Amendment is couched in loose and sweeping language, its interpretation1, and its eventual interpretation in the courts (if adopted), have occasioned the nationwide controversy that has surrounded it for the past ten years.

Right to Life of Michigan is concerned with two central considerations:

  • Only a woman can become pregnant, never a man. Therefore any legislation restricting abortion or its funding could be challenged, using the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as a cornerstone of the legal proceedings.
  • When an amendment is added to the Constitution and is later tested in court cases, those courts must be guided by the intent of the amendment’s framers and its legislative history.2

The intent of the ERA’s supporters can be demonstrated by litigation under the state Equal Rights Amendment in various state constitutions. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), prominent in pro-abortion and pro-ERA causes, argued during cases in Hawaii, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania that since abortion is a medical procedure performed only for women, withdrawing funding for abortions while paying for other medical procedures sought by both sexes would be tantamount to a denial of equal rights on account of sex. “…such pleadings are the bellwethers of social change and a sure guide to what ERA means for its most powerful advocates.”3

The Honorable Clare Boothe Luce, an ardent feminist for half a century, and an original advocate of ERA, in a letter to the Women’s Lobby, berated those “misguided feminists who tried to make the extraneous issue of unrestricted and federally financed abortions the centerpiece of the equal rights struggle.”4

Those “misguided feminists” are, in fact, the leading supporters of ERA as we see it today. They and their skilled lawyers, especially those of the ACLU, have failed to disguise the distinctly emerging truth that “unrestricted and federally financed abortions” are an integral part of the pro-ERA philosophy.

Right to Life of Michigan is overwhelmingly represented by women who accept the thesis of “equal pay for equal work” and “equality before the law.” But we have seen an evolutionary process at work in these past years and are alarmed at its portents.

Therefore Right to Life of Michigan continues to be opposed to the ERA and any provision that could be construed to grant or secure any right to abortion or the funding thereof.

1 Senator Paul Tsongas (D. Mass.), testifying on behalf of the proposed ERA to the U.S. Senate (5/26/83), was unable to answer questions of Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch as to legislative intent and changes in federal law following passage of the ERA, saying again and again over ninety minutes of questioning, that “the courts would decide.” (Washington Times 5/27/83).

2 “Intent of Amendment’s Framers” was spelled out by Betty Freidan, an important leader of the ERA movement, when she wrote in NOW-ERA fundraising letter, “…I am convinced that if we lose this (ERA) struggle, we will have little hope in our own lifetime of saving our rights to abortion.” Sarah Weddington, ERA proponent and lawyer who successfully argued Roe vs. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court, told a U.S. Senate Subcommittee (4/11/75) that the proposed Human Life Amendment then under discussion would deny the ERA principle that women have a right to “all choices.”

3 Lincoln Oliphant, “ERA and the Abortion Connection,” Human Life Review, Spring 1981.

4 The Honorable Clare Boothe Luce in a letter to the Women’s Lobby, Feb. 21, 1978.