Abortion is any act or procedure performed with the willful intent to cause the death of an unborn child from conception to birth. As such, abortion is a grave act of injustice toward the child and a clear violation of the child's natural, unalienable right to life and his/her legal right not to be deprived of life without due cause. Right to Life of Michigan, therefore, is unalterably opposed to abortion.
This position does not oppose medical treatment to save the life of the mother. Treatments may, in rare circumstances, result in the unintended death of her child. The unintended death of the child is not to be construed as abortion. When the life of the mother is judged by competent medical personnel to be in danger, a doctor can and should treat both the mother and her unborn child, striving to save the lives of both. Because of medical advances, it is rare that the child's life cannot also be saved. Before the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions legalizing all abortions, the Michigan statutes governing abortion provided an exception for the life of the mother. Right to Life of Michigan accepts the intent of those statutes.
Right to Life of Michigan is opposed to aborting unborn human individuals conceived through acts of rape and incest. Right to Life of Michigan abhors the violence and violation of rape and incest. Our organization encourages public and private support for the victims of sexual assault as well as prosecution of the perpetrators of the crime. No matter how a child is conceived, abortion remains an act of injustice toward that child, a human being truly present and living within the womb. The injustice done to the woman cannot be undone and is compounded by an injustice toward her innocent child who is conceived from the assault. The advocates of abortion in cases of sexual assault imply that pregnancies resulting from such acts are common. In fact, conception from rape is known to be very rare.
Right to Life of Michigan's primary opposition to abortion is grounded in reasoned reflection on the scientific facts about the being who is present in the womb or the petri dish: that being is, from the moment of conception, an indisputably living, human individual. There is no point during the continuum of fetal development, from conception to birth, where one could, without arbitrariness, identify a break in that continuum, a point before which that living human individual could be said to be nonliving, nonhuman, not an individual being. We further observe that any criterion that could be applied to question or deny the full humanity of the unborn child could also be applied, with equal arbitrariness, to many other living human individuals who all people understand to be fully human; i.e., the comatose, the physically disabled, the mentally impaired, the infant.
What advocates of abortion seem unable to grasp or unwilling to concede are the obvious: that the unborn, particularly in the early states of development, look like what living human individuals look like at that point in their lives.
Right to Life of Michigan rejects as specious and arbitrary the assertion that, while the unborn child may be a living human individual, it is not a person and, therefore, need not be accorded legal rights, such as the right not to be killed without due process. Before it is a legal right, the right not to be killed without justification is a natural, unalienable human right possessed by all living human individuals. To say that it is unalienable means that it is not a right that is granted or bestowed by society or by the state. It is a right possessed by nature, by what a human being is. The right to life became a legal right because it was recognized to be a basic natural right that the state was obligated to protect. That right to life may be acknowledged by the state. It may be ignored by the state. But it is not dependent for its existence on the state.
For that reason, Right to Life of Michigan rejects the assertion that the unborn child may be aborted because it is unwanted. Being wanted tells us about the attitude of the outsider toward the unborn child; it does not tell us anything about the nature of the child. The natural right to life of any living human individual is not dependent upon and, therefore, cannot be negated by the desires or attitudes of others. No living human individual can be someone else's property or an object of property rights or claims of disposition, as the unwantedness argument implies. Moreover, we know from the long lists of people waiting to adopt that, in fact, there is no unborn child who is not wanted by someone.
In the interest of protecting human life and offering women in crisis pregnancy situations viable alternatives to abortion, Right to Life of Michigan fully supports the option of adoption. In supporting this, we realize that adoption will not be the choice of every woman facing a crisis pregnancy, but it is a choice that should be available in her decision making.
While there is a surplus of families waiting several years to adopt a child into their home, there are women today being convinced that abortion or child rearing are their only choices. It is important that women in this crisis situation be presented with the life giving choice of adoption and to be informed of the resources available to them.
The movement to support human life and to oppose abortion involves a great diversity of individuals and organizations with each contributing in different ways towards the goal of protecting the unborn child.
Other individuals and groups believe that civil disobedience is a legitimate approach in waging a campaign against abortion.
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 corporation and their board members to legal charges and financial claims.
Right to Life of Michigan opposes all attempts to legalize or condone euthanasia. While once commonly understood as "mercy killing," the term "euthanasia" now encompasses acts from lethal injection, to "assisting" in suicide, to withholding basic levels of care from non-terminal patients. In all cases of euthanasia, the action or omission is expressly intended to cause the death of a person.
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.
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 activities and publications, and after a high level meeting with MOD national and state officers.
Rape and Incest
Abortion is not the answer to a pregnancy which is the result of sexual assault. When a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, the woman and unborn child are the victims. Using abortion to end a crisis pregnancy does nothing to alleviate the rape. It merely allows society to forget about the rape and pretend that justice has been done, leaving the woman to deal with the emotions of the assault and abortion often alone.
Peaceful solutions to the violence of abortion is the goal of Right to Life of Michigan. For over two decades 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.
(Updated December 5, 2000)