An extremist group’s rights don’t get to trump everyone else’s, unless we let them.
I’m utterly disgusted by Right to Life of Michigan’s latest crusade, this time against U.S. Representative Gary Peters and his daughters. Now I truly understand how disgusted and outraged my parents were when an evangelical relative showed me photos of aborted fetuses when I was 10 years old.
The tactics of groups like Right to Life are always the same: Heap shame on those who disagree with them because they support a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions or the rights of people who wish to die on their own terms by creating a living will. Incite anger, hatred and even violence if necessary to rile up the masses to gain support for their worldview. Call people who disagree with them “ice cold” and “heartless” to evoke an emotional response. If gruesome photos don’t do the trick, go after their families in the most despicable of ways.
In case you missed it, here’s what happened, according to MLive:
U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, a Bloomfield Hills Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, blasted the abortion insurance law when it took effect….
‘As the father of two daughters, I struggle with how to tell them that the state we love and where our family has been for generations is now unfairly discriminating against them and makes health care less affordable,’ Peters said in a statement last week.
Right to Life of Michigan … launched a new web page on Tuesday highlighting Peters’ ‘position on abortion and other life issues.’
The anti-abortion group’s political action committee has already endorsed Republican Terri Lynn Land for the Senate. She has not directly discussed the law.
Peters ‘wants to make sure abortion is accessible and cheap for his daughters,’ according to the website, which cites a tweet he made about his family earlier this year on the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade and his recent comments about the abortion insurance law. [Emphasis mine.]
‘As we continue the PAC season, with elections coming up, I’m sure there will be other information we make available,’ said Pam Sherstad. ‘But obviously the U.S. Senate race is a huge race in Michigan. It’s a chance for pro-life people to work hard and put someone who values life in that seat.’
Someone who values life? When did Rep. Peters ever say he doesn’t value life? He didn’t. Neither did any of the millions of Americans who are pro-choice.
Clearly emboldened by winning the battle to force women to pay for their abortions unless they buy a separate insurance rider in advance — a product not available in the private insurance market in Michigan — Right to Life is only ramping up their efforts to outlaw abortion altogether. By threatening to bring on more attacks as the November elections approach, they are proving how little they value any life that doesn’t propel their agenda forward.
Do they not realize that their vitriol may motivate the unhinged or unapologetic to turn angry words into angry actions? Do they not realize that their hateful rhetoric against Rep. Peters and his daughters might incite physical violence? It’s the political equivalent of shouting “FIRE!” in a crowded theater, a way to motivate their followers to take increasingly extreme actions.
What continues to turn my stomach the most is the fact that Right to Life is so focused on fetuses that they simply do not care about anyone else’s life. They do not care about a person’s right to die with dignity. They do not care about the Bible’s teachings of mercy and compassion. They do not care about easing someone’s suffering, unless it suits their agenda.
A friend who lives in another state was in tears when I told her about the new abortion insurance law in Michigan. Years ago, she had a wanted pregnancy go wrong, and went to the hospital in the excruciating pain of a miscarriage. Her doctor mercifully helped end the pregnancy that was inevitably going to end on its own hours or even days later, and told her after that what happened to her happened to one in 10 women. “I can’t imagine having to live through that kind of physical agony for hours on end,” she told me. “Who would want to see someone suffer like that?”
This friend has a deep-rooted faith in God, but has become disillusioned with religion. I can’t blame her, given how some people are using religion as a sword instead of a source of peace and compassion.
Right to Life of Michigan has proven they will stop at nothing, and their attacks on Rep. Gary Peters and his family have crossed a line they won’t retreat back behind unless we do something about it. Despite calls from Democrats across Michigan to do so, their “pro-life” candidate Terri Lynn Land has not denounced the attacks by Right to Life. Not surprising, since she’s been almost entirely silent on every issue since announcing her Koch brothers-backed campaign.
Why should Land say anything, when there are groups like Right to Life who will do her dirty work for her?
That’s why the rest of us need to stand up against hate groups like Right to Life, whether by speaking out against them or by supporting candidates who won’t bend to their extremist will. Yes, I called Right to Life a hate group, because their actions are hateful. If we don’t call them what they are, we are complicit in their attempts to keep forcing their agenda down our throats at the expense of everyone else’s rights. No one is infringing on their rights, and it’s time we let them know they can’t get away with infringing on the rights of others.
Join Progress Michigan and others in calling on Land to denounce Right to Life’s disgusting attacks on Peters and women. Sign the petition HERE.
[Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue | Flickr]