The Right to Life of Michigan Political Action Committee (RLM-PAC) was formed in 1978 to make endorsements of political candidates on national, state and local levels regardless of party affiliation or personal popularity. Its sole agenda is to encourage the election of prolife candidates who will be advocates for the unborn - a voice for the voiceless.
Throughout its existence, the RLM-PAC has been guided by time-tested, carefully-developed bylaws which outline the criteria which candidates must meet in order to be endorsed. These bylaws also guide the state PAC board when making a final decision on candidates.
In some races, all candidates will meet the RLM-PAC endorsement criteria, in which case no specific candidate will be endorsed. Rather, the RLM-PAC will stay out of the race and declare that all candidates meet criteria.
Unfortunately, some races with multiple candidates will include at least one who does not meet our criteria along with several who do. In these races, the RLM-PAC bylaws require the endorsement of a single prolife candidate who does meet the endorsement criteria. The reason? To try to unite the prolife vote behind one candidate and prevent a split among many, thus allowing the pro-abortion candidate to win. Unfortunately, unification of the vote doesn't always occur, but common sense dictates this to be the right course of action.
Interviews are conducted with each of the candidates - interviews in which the candidates lay out their very sensitive campaign strategies and efforts to win. Only after these interviews are conducted does the state PAC board vote to endorse the one candidate they believe has the best chance of defeating the candidate who does not meet the PAC criteria. This can often be a hard decision because there may be multiple candidates with stellar prolife voting records. These decisions are not made lightly nor are they based on personal feelings.
The state PAC board members, all of whom are volunteers from around the state, are also aware that their decision may not be popular among the supporters of those candidates who do not receive the endorsement. However, they also know that NOT making a decision would only encourage a bigger split in the prolife vote and a potential loss for the unborn - their only consideration.
This year's Republican primary provided a perfect example of the feared split among prolife voters - four solid prolife candidates and one who is not prolife but ran as one. This prompted a great deal of discussion about Right to Life of Michigan PAC's endorsement decision. Rumors have abounded - that the RLM-PAC had an agreement with the Chamber of Commerce or that a large donation was promised or received from certain donors or that somehow religion played a part. All of these rumors are just that - and are categorically and completely false in every respect. The RLM-PAC board members' integrity in following the endorsement guidelines cannot be bought.
The endorsement decision was made in the same way as any other - after a Candidate Questionnaire was received and a personal interview conducted with the candidate. The interview process gives each candidate the opportunity to make the case on how he/she will be the strongest voice for the unborn.
That a RLM-PAC endorsement does not guarantee victory is obvious - but it can certainly help in some races. Other factors such as spending, advertising, message and appeal play significant roles. In the 2010 primary election, candidates endorsed by the RLM-PAC on national, state and local levels won in 232 out of 267 races or 87%. While some supporters of the losing candidates are blaming the RLM-PAC, it begs the question: which is more important the candidate or the issue? As for the RLM-PAC board members, the only issue is the unborn.
The formula of endorsing and electing prolife candidates with the goal of passing life-saving prolife laws combined with reaching out to women in unplanned pregnancies is one of the reasons Michigan has been so successful in reducing the state's abortion rate. Since 1987, the number of reported abortions performed in Michigan has dropped an astonishing 54.4% from 49,098 in 1987 to 22,357 in 2009. Abortions in Michigan would be much higher if our state still used tax dollars to pay for abortions, allowed minors to have abortions without parental consent, didn't require a 24-hour waiting period and lacked other life-affirming laws.
The RLM-PAC will continue its work of endorsing prolife candidates and looks forward to helping elect prolife candidates in the 2010 general election. We must retain strong prolife majorities in both houses of the Michigan legislature. The unborn deserve no less, and the RLM-PAC board members will continue their singular focus.
Right to Life of Michigan
Political Action Committee Director