The prolife movement is activated because of attempts by abortion supporters to change Michigan’s abortion laws. Abortion had been banned in Michigan—except in cases to save the life of the mother—since 1846.
Local prolife groups throughout Michigan began to informally meet together to address pro-abortion legislation.
The devastating decisions by United States Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, were announced on January 22. The decisions legalized abortion at any stage throughout pregnancy, overturning the laws of all 50 states. Rising to this new challenge, members of the Voice for the Unborn coalition formally united as Michigan Citizens for Life (MCL). The goals of this new organization were broadened to include the protection of human life from fertilization to natural death.
Prolife organizations around the country began efforts to pass a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the effects of Roe v. Wade.
The first state-wide prolife newspaper was printed, Michigan Citizens for Life News, today known as Right to Life of Michigan News.
MCL held our first annual state convention and hosted the National Right to Life Convention, bringing together prolife leaders from around the country.
Michigan passed legislation forbidding school officials from making abortion referrals.
A ban on live fetal and embryo experimentation passed in Michigan.
MCL created a Political Action Committee to endorse candidates for public office who are committed to the sanctity of human life.
MCL, for purposes of clarity and unity, changed our name to Right to Life of Michigan (RLM).
RLM opened a legislative office to put more focus on advancing prolife legislation. The first main goal was banning tax-funded abortions through Medicaid. These efforts would continue through 17 gubernatorial vetoes and several failed veto override votes. During those years the state financed an average of 19,000 abortions per year.
For the first time ever, thanks to RLM’s legislative efforts, annual statistics on abortions in Michigan were collected.
RLM began a media campaign pioneering the use of television commercials to educate the public on prolife issues.
RLM launched one of the most successful petition drives in state history, giving state lawmakers veto-proof legislation to Medicaid abortions. The grassroots effort netted nearly 500,000 petition signatures in just 83 days. The Legislature enacted the legislation into law in June.
The pro-abortion People’s Campaign for Choice mounted their own petition drive to repeal the ban on Medicaid-funded abortions. Michigan citizens opposed Proposal A by 57%, keeping the ban on the books. On December 12, the law went into effect.
RLM began LifeBeat, a weekly five-minute educational radio show that ran for more than 20 years.
As a result of the ban on Medicaid-funded abortions, Michigan abortions declined from 45,438 in 1988 to 35,138 in 1989, more than 10,000 lives saved in a single year.
RLM launched a second initiative petition drive to bring “The Parental Rights Restoration Act” before the Legislature to require parental consent for minor teen abortions. The Legislature passed the measure on September 12, with no challenge from abortion supporters.
RLM-PAC helped elect John Engler as the first prolife governor of Michigan in twenty years.
The first annual High School Oratory Contest is sponsored by RLM.
Jack Kevorkian engages in his first public assisted suicide, eventually assisting in the death of 130 people and avoiding numerous prosecution attempts before his eventual imprisonment in 1999.
In a great disappointment, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Roe v. Wade in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. However, the Court upheld a variety of new prolife laws and regulations.
RLM helped to pass an informed consent law in Michigan to ensure women receive complete information about abortion. Abortion facilities were giving very limited and often inaccurate information about abortion, usually only minutes before the procedure was done.
A ban on assisted suicide in Michigan goes into effect, but declared unconstitutional by Michigan judges after a legal challenge by the ACLU.
RLM led a complete overhaul of Michigan’s adoption and foster care laws. Dozens of changes made to state laws meant children waiting in foster care would be adopted more quickly and the “red tape” and costs of infant adoptions were significantly reduced.
After several tragic incidents of violence at abortion facilities, RLM responded with two TV commercials calling for an end to violence inside and outside the clinics. RLM was honored by the Michigan House of Representatives with a resolution applauding our efforts against violence in the abortion debate.
On June 14, Michigan became the first state in the nation to pass a partial-birth abortion ban. A nation-wide ban was vetoed by President Clinton and Michigan’s law was struck down in federal court. Following the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision and acts of violence at abortion facilities, public opinion began drifting away from the prolife side, but the revelation of the existence of partial-birth abortion shocked the conscience of the nation.
Governor Engler signed into law a bill that closed loopholes that were allowing HMO’s and other health care groups to pay for abortions with tax money.
RLM began its 1-800-57-WOMAN campaign with four TV commercials airing statewide. The toll-free number connects women with pregnancy help centers that can provide counseling, emotional and material support.
RLM launched our website, RTL.org.
RLM ran a nation-wide media campaign on abortion featuring Mother Teresa.
After several trials and acquittals, Jack Kevorkian killed his last patient, Thomas Youk, with a lethal injection and taped the incident for the show 60 Minutes.
RLM succeeded in getting a permanent ban passed on assisted suicide, as well as laws promoting better pain management for patients suffering from a terminal illness.
Proponents sought to legalize assisted suicide in Michigan with Proposal B. In response, Right to Life of Michigan formed Citizens for Compassionate Care, a broad coalition to defeat it. In September, polls had Proposal B winning by a safe margin. However, after a massive public information campaign exposing the dangers lurking in the proposal, Proposal B fell to a devastating defeat in November by 71% of voters.
Despite the focus on euthanasia, Michigan passed several notable prolife laws in 1998, including the first human cloning ban in the country. The Prenatal Protection Act also passed, giving legal protection to an unborn child when a criminal action against a pregnant woman results in the child’s death or injury.
A second attempt to ban partial-birth abortion by defining a partially-born baby as an infant with legal and human rights was signed by Governor Engler, but was again struck down in federal court.
Legislative efforts to require abortion facilities to follow basic health and safety regulations were successful.
RLM produced three TV ads for the first time focusing on men and abortion.
Jack Kevorkian is convicted of second-degree murder for the killing of Thomas Youk and was imprisoned.
Michigan passed a law protecting doctors from “wrongful birth” lawsuits in situations where parents say they would have aborted their child if they knew they had a disability.
The Safe Delivery Act passed, allowing mothers unable to care for their child to anonymously surrender their children to an emergency services provider within 72 hours of birth.
RLM also helped pass a law giving adoptive families a state tax credit.
A package of bills to improve end-of-life care for patients became law. The package was based on recommendations from a commission set up in the wake of the assisted suicide advocacy in the 1990s and the 1998 ban.
Following a scandal at Christ Hospital in Illinois, and other places where babies that survived botched abortions were left to die without care, Michigan passed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act to require abortion survivors to be treated the same as any other infant or person.
RLM created a department to focus our outreach to minority communities with life-saving information and assistance. The department created the Life of a People presentation to explore the consequences of abortion in the Black community.
The third effort to ban partial-birth abortion, the Legal Birth Definition Act, was approved by the Legislature, but vetoed by Governor Granholm. The unique Act defined birth as when any part of the infant was delivered vaginally, and thus would have given the baby legal rights.
RLM began running Yellow Page ads to promote the 1-800-57-WOMAN hotline to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
The Right to Life of Michigan Outstanding Prolife Youth Award was created for high school seniors.
RLM responded to the veto of the Legal Birth Definition Act by conducting our third statewide initiative petition drive. The People’s Override was successful in circumventing Governor Granholm, but was again struck down in federal court. Attorney General Mike Cox appealed the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to take the case.
RLM developed television ads promoting the loving option of adoption.
The RLM Educational Fund hosted the National Urban Outreach Seminar in Detroit.
The Ultrasound Viewing Option law was passed in Michigan, requiring abortion providers to give patients the opportunity to view the ultrasound image of their baby.
RLM helped pass legislation to create a state network of umbilical cord blood banks to aid ethical forms of stem cell research.
Another law is passed to give parents of stillborn children a one-time tax credit intended to help with any hospital or funeral costs.
RLM began using Google AdWords to direct search traffic to prolife websites, and launched a special website to promote education on stem cell research, stemcellresearchcures.com.
The U.S. Supreme Court for the first time upheld a federal ban on partial-birth abortion in Gonzales v. Carhart.
RLM and like-minded organizations formed MiCause to defeat Proposal 2; a ballot proposal which legalized the killing of human embryos for research in Michigan. Proposal 2 passed in a narrow vote of 53% to 47%.
A bill based on the federal partial-birth abortion ban was passed by the Michigan Legislature but again vetoed by Governor Granholm.
RLM began utilizing social networking to help spread the prolife message.
The number of annual abortions in Michigan declined to the all-time low of 22,357 since statistics were first collected in 1980.
RLM debuted two new television commercials, “Accusations” and “Little Rascals,” in a state-wide campaign.
Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell became the center of a national controversy after a media blackout of revelations involving hundreds—if not thousands—of infanticides and the deaths of patients in his facility.
The Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act was signed into law by Governor Snyder, ending the long, 15-year fight to ban the barbaric procedure.
Michigan’s adoption tax credit and stillborn tax credit were repealed by Governor Snyder as part of a larger tax overhaul that eliminated credits.
The Prolife Omnibus Act, nicknamed the “Prolife Bus,” is signed into law. The Omnibus Act addressed numerous issues with abortion facility regulation, including requiring regular inspections and fixing issues with reporting on abortion statistics. Many of the worst abortion facilities in Michigan closed in the following years, including thanks to enforcement by Attorney General Schuette.
In response to Obamacare’s threats to conscience rights, RLM formed the NO Taxes for Abortion Insurance committee to conduct our fourth citizen-initiated legislation drive. More than 315,000 signatures were collected in 4 months by prolife volunteers to the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act. The Act prevented abortion from being automatically included in health insurance plans.
RLM helped passed the Good Faith Medical Act, stopping hospitals from having secret medical futility policies for denying care to the sick or disabled.
Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell is convicted of murder in the deaths of three born-alive babies, and manslaughter for the death of patient Karnamaya Mongar.
RLM launched the Compassion Project, a series of four women’s stories in short films discussing the issue of rape, incest, and abortion. The ads played on statewide television, along with a later 30-minute program bringing the four stories together, called Life Uninvited. Two additional ads were released; updated versions of our popular “Seed” and “Daffodil” ads.
On July 14, citizen journalist David Dalieden began releasing a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood and other Abortion Industry staff engaging in human organ trafficking. Planned Parenthood escaped federal legal charges, but Dalieden and his team were subjected to prosecutions.
RLM Educational Fund hosted our first ever Min Sharetha dinner, to benefit our new outreach into Michigan’s Chaldean community.
For the first time since 1988, Michigan voted for a prolife presidential candidate with President Trump winning, paving the way to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022.
RLM helped pass the Coercive Abortion Prevention Act, which requires screening for coercion before an abortion is performed.
The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act became law. RLM became aware of situations where a rape survivor who gave birth to a child was forced to fight the rapist for child custody. One of those stories was included in our Compassion Project. The act changed the evidence standard for custody hearings, putting rape on the same legal standard as child abuse or neglect.
In response to the undercover video evidence that Planned Parenthood was involved in human organ trafficking, Lt. Governor Brian Calley signed the Fetal Organ Trafficking Ban into law.
RLM revived our old radio show LifeBeat as a podcast format.
RLM began an annual initiative to address abortion’s disparate impact on the Black community in Michigan by supporting Metro Detroit pregnancy centers. Grants to four centers were given.
RLM experienced our first example of online censorship, being locked out of our Facebook ad account. Wexford-Missaukee Right to Life was also locked out later that year. Both cases were resolved after generating public comment and news coverage.
Michigan’s Safe Delivery Law passed a milestone of 200 babies surrendered through the life-saving program.
RLM helped pass our stillborn child tax equity law. It replaced the old, repealed tax credit by allowing parents to claim a stillborn child as a dependent for one year of state taxes, to help offset medical and funeral costs.
In one of his last acts in office, Governor Snyder vetoed efforts to add “baby boxes” to Michigan’s Safe Delivery Law, and to make Michigan’s ban on telemedicine abortions permanent.
RLM ran a statewide ad campaign promoting adoption.
HelpintheD.org was launched by RLM as a place for woman facing crisis pregnancies in Metro Detroit to find community help resources.
Media outlets ran a sustained attack on the prolife movement using misleading video of a high school student at the national March for Life in January. Efforts to engage the media with retractions or apologies were unsuccessful.
In the early months of 2019, New York and Virginia passed shocking new permissive abortion laws, in preparation for the U.S. Supreme Court potentially overturning Roe v. Wade. During the same time, the prolife movie Unplanned was a box office success.
RLM led a fifth petition drive for citizen-initiated legislation to ban late-term dismemberment abortions. We submitted 379,418 signatures in December, persevering through many significant hurdles.
Estimates show Michigan’s 1988 ban on Medicaid-funded abortions passed a milestone of 250,000 lives saved.
The pandemic disrupted most of RLM’s public events and programs, but prolife efforts continued. Governor Whitmer allowed abortion facilities to ignore her pandemic orders and remain open.
After taking an unprecedented six months to verify our petition drive signatures to ban dismemberment abortions, the Michigan Bureau of Elections found enough errors to reject the petition.
In response to public concern about the ethics of the Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccines involving the use of tissue from aborted babies, RLM helped place informed consent language within a pandemic relief supplemental bill, which was signed by Governor Whitmer. Unfortunately, the provision was only regarding the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) which has now lapsed.
RLM joined other organizations in submitting an amicus curae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court asking them to overturn Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Court heard oral arguments in December, leading many observers to predict that Roe v. Wade was in danger.
The FDA changed regulations on abortion pills in December, allowing distribution through the mail.
In January, pro-abortion organizations in Michigan formed a coalition to amend Michigan’s constitution to eliminate most prolife laws in the state. The coalition, Reproductive Freedom for All, ran into several hurdles for getting their petitions approved after legal challenges from RLM.
On May 2, an unprecedented leak revealed the U.S. Supreme Court was planning on overturning Roe v. Wade. The leak unleashed a wave of attacks at prolife pregnancy centers and an assassination attempt of a Supreme Court justice.
On June 24, 2022, after nearly 50 years, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing states to once again freely legislate the legality of abortion.
For only a few brief moments following the Dobbs case, Michigan’s 1846 abortion law was once again in full effect. Both Governor Whitmer and Planned Parenthood filed separate lawsuits to block the abortion law.
In November, Proposal 3 was passed by 57% of voters, creating a right to unlimited abortion in Michigan’s Constitution. Despite raising an unprecedented $21 million and delaying their attempts to make the ballot, RLM and our prolife coalition could not overcome Reproductive Freedom for All’s $47 million dollar campaign.
The abortion debate took an ugly turn in 2022. National media figure and Satanist Jex Blackmore purported to take an abortion pill on live TV in Detroit in January. In May, terrorist group Jane’s Revenge began attacking prolife pregnancy centers, churches, and prolife offices across America, including in Michigan—with few repercussions. In June, an assassination attempt of Justice Brett Kavanaugh was foiled. In September, President Joe Biden gave a dark speech suggesting opponents were enemies of the state, and then Michigan prolife volunteer Joan Jacobson was shot while going door-to-door to oppose Proposal 3. In December, the first Jane’s Revenge attack on a prolife leader‘s home occurred in Michigan to a Detroit pregnancy center board member.