Advocates gather for ‘National Day of Remembrance’

Voters to decide ballot proposal Nov. 8

By: Brendan Losinski | Metro | Published October 13, 2022

Shutterstock image


METRO DETROIT — In the midst of a heightened political atmosphere, pro-life advocates across the country gathered for the ninth National Day of Remembrance, which they said is a way to memorialize the lives lost to abortion.

Monica Migliorino Miller, the director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, was one of the organizers of one such event at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield Sept. 10.

“This is the National Day of Remembrance for aborted babies,” she explained. “We have 215 memorial services across the country today.” She said it is an important way for them to honor unborn babies who have been aborted.

She said that so many people get caught up in the politics surrounding the topic of abortion that they forget that in the end it is the human impact that must be remembered.

“There are so few aborted babies who wind up getting buried in a real human cemetery — in a way, we in a very small way, reverse the injustice of abortion. The abortion industry is designed to deny their humanity and deny their existence. It’s set up to keep the unborn hidden and unrecognized. When we come here, we say ‘no’ and that we are not going to hide these victims and we are going to draw attention to the injustice that happened to them,” Miller said.

Participants in the event in Southfield placed wreaths on the graves of two groups of fetuses recovered by pro-life advocates, including Miller. These included those recovered from the trunk of a local doctor after he struck a pedestrian with his vehicle in West Bloomfield Township. Officers found containers with “organic post-conception material,” the results of several abortion procedures.

“There’s no Michigan law against transporting fetal tissue,” Andrea Bitely, a representative of the attorney general, said in a previous report. The doctor pleaded no contest in October 2017 to three counts of larceny from a building and was sentenced to 18 months of probation. In a consent agreement with the state Board of Medicine, his license to practice medicine was suspended for one year and he was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.

Janet Smith, a retired moral theologian from the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, was one of the speakers at the memorial.

“I see a failure of imagination in our society because we don’t see these individual babies as human beings, but more as numbers,” she said. “We hear the number of children killed by abortion, but it’s not the same as when you come here and see these little headstones. There is the headstone of a baby who died one day after being born, it said, ‘born May 14 and died May 14.’ Ten seconds before that, pro-abortion people want to say it wasn’t a human being. … People don’t want to imagine the realities of abortion.

“The question that most unsettles people who are for abortion is when they think human life begins, because they can’t answer the question,” said Smith. “It has to start sometime, and they can’t answer it. At some point, it is killing a human being and after that point, clearly it needs to be illegal. It makes no sense biologically, scientifically, philosophically, to put it at anywhere other than the moment of fertilization.”

The issue is at the forefront for Michigan residents with Michigan Proposal 3, known as the Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative, on November ballots. It would add the right to have an abortion into Michigan’s constitution.

According to the nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan, the proposal, if approved, would amend the state constitution to guarantee the right to reproductive health care, including access to abortion prior to the stage of viability.

“Once established, this right would be protected from most legislative efforts to modify it,” the group wrote in a summary. “If Proposal 3 is Rejected, decisions regarding access to abortion will revert to the state courts and legislature.”

The group said that, currently, state law prohibits most abortions, but courts are addressing whether the statute violates the state constitution. They said that major issues to consider are that the proposal “would not only preserve the right to abortion that had been federally protected by the U.S. Constitution since 1973 — it could potentially expand access to abortion to later stages of pregnancy, lift certain restrictions that have previously been in place, and establish additional rights to a wider range of reproductive health services. While abortion legalization has been shown to have positive effects on women and society at large, the impact of this expansive of a constitutional right is unknown.”

They said the proposal’s language is “broad and largely undefined, making it vulnerable to a host of legal challenges.”

If the proposal fails, the group said the Michigan Supreme Court “may still find a constitutional right to abortion, but that right is likely to be narrower than what the proposal offers. Without any constitutional protections, Michigan regulations on abortion would be left to the legislative process. Current Michigan abortion laws are among the strictest in the country, but its enforcement by local county prosecutors could vary widely across the state.”

“As an abortion provider, I know how devastating it is to sit in an exam room and tell a patient I can’t help them because state politicians have restricted their access to care,” Planned Parenthood of Michigan Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sarah Wallett said in a press release about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. “This scenario will now be a daily reality for my colleagues and their patients in hostile states across the country. Here in Michigan, I’m working with our team of expert doctors, nurses and health care professionals to ensure we can provide care to as many patients as possible. We are not going anywhere and we won’t stop fighting to protect access.”

Proponents of access to abortion also say it is a critical form of health care, especially in the cases of rape, a nonviable fetus, and the health of the mother.

The Reproductive Freedom for All group says on its website that “Important medical decisions should be guided by a patient’s health and wellbeing, not by a politician’s beliefs. But for far too long, politicians across the country have been fighting to restrict reproductive health care, and now they are gaining ground. … In addition to ensuring access to a broad range of reproductive health care, this amendment would make sure no one goes to prison for providing safe medical care,” the group states. “When people are able to make decisions about their own reproductive health care, including whether and when to have children, they have more control over their health and their economic security.”

Miller said rights are not extended to those in the womb, and she feared that the ballot measure could open the door to the removal of safety measures, like the 24-hour waiting period, parental notification and regulations on abortion clinics.

“I urge readers to expand their own sense of the boundaries of social justice,” she said. “You can call the pro-life movement conservative, but in essence, we’re not conservative. We are truly liberal in the sense that we want to be ultimately inclusive and expand the boundaries of inclusion and justice for others.”

She said she hopes Michigan residents will take this opportunity to look at all sides of the topic of abortion and see it as more than a political issue.