Maeve Mullan: What is Right to Life?
Genevieve Marnon: Right to Life of Michigan is a state wide non-profit organization that is dedicated to the protection of human life from conception to natural death. Right to Life of Michigan is one of the 50 state affiliates associated with National Right to Life. We have three areas of concentration: education and outreach, legislation (my area), and our political action committee.
. Maeve Mullan: What does a typical day look like for you?
Ms. Marnon: (funny thing, I asked that same question during the interview and my boss laughed; now I know why) There is no typical day here in the legislative office. Some days are spent at the Capitol lobbying or at committee meetings, some days are spent doing research or working on bills. On any given day, we could have a meeting with a legislator or a call from a woman with a crisis pregnancy (or both). We keep ourselves educated on pro-life legislation around the country, on court decisions and on other matters that affect the life issues (we read a lot!).
Maeve Mullan: What major bills has Right to Life sponsored?
Ms. Marnon :http://rtl.org/legislation/prolifelaws.html This link contains all the bills that have been supported by Right to Life of Michigan (plus the abortion insurance opt-out bill, the guardian DNR bills and the three new adoption bills that allow for out of court consent – our website hasn’t been updated to reflect those additions yet).
Maeve Mullan: Who is Right to Life’s biggest opposition?
Ms. Marnon: Planned Parenthood , NARAL, ACLU, NOW and the National Abortion Federation.
Maeve Mullan: What are some of Right to Life’s strengths and weaknesses as an organization?
Ms. Marnon: Our greatest strength is our people. Right to Life of Michigan has a fantastic grassroots organization – our members are passionate and active. As an organization our greatest weakness is probably money – we are a non-profit that relies solely on donations.
Maeve Mullan: What made you want to work for Right to Life?
Ms. Marnon: I have always been decidedly prolife and I believe that abortion not only hurts women, but society as well. I think abortion is anti-woman. I think it tells women that they aren’t strong enough to overcome their situation and that they need to deny their motherly instincts to appease their boyfriend, husband, society, parents, etc. I believe that in a civilized society there are always better ways to deal with a crisis pregnancy than killing your baby. As far as society is concerned, it is anti-business, anti-school, anti-everything to kill off the next generation of citizens. We kill 23,000 babies every year in Michigan through abortion – that equates to 3 kindergarten classrooms full of children EVERYDAY! (excluding Sundays and holidays)
Maeve Mullan: Why don’t you agree with Pro choice as an option?
Ms. Marnon: Define pro- choice. I’m a firm believer in free choice, but once you have chosen to engage in the activity which lead to the conception of a child, your choice is not more important than an innocent child’s life. I am pro-life and anti-abortion – the word choice is not synonymous with abortion. (see question 6)
Maeve Mullan: How have your views changed since you started working for the organization?
Ms. Marnon: My views haven’t really changed, but I have learned that there are some very evil people on the pro-abortion side of the issue as well as some well-intentioned yet misguided ones.
Maeve Mullan: Have Right to Life’s tactics shifted over the years? What prompted those changes (changes in political makeup of legislature, executive, successes, failures)
Ms. Marnon: I’m afraid that although I have always been prolife, I have only been formally involved with the organization for about two years, so I can’t really speak to specific changes in tactics. I can say that as different court cases have been won around the country, it has paved the way for introduction of different kinds of legislation that were previously unattainable. And, our PAC team has worked tirelessly to promote pro-life legislators.
Maeve Mullan: What is the strategy of Right to Life in pursuit of its goal? What tactics have been most successful and least successful?
Ms. Marnon: Our strategy is to continue to push for life affirming legislation, continue to find and promote pro-life candidates, and continue to expand our outreach to women in crisis (there are now 92 crisis pregnancy centers in Michigan). Again, I haven’t been on the “inside” long enough, and I’m not part of the executive board, so I can’t really speak to specific organizational strategies. I work in the legislative office, and what has been successful is crafting well written bills that will withstand a court challenge, knowing when to introduce legislation and when to back off, and of course working closely with our pro-life caucus.
Maeve Mullan: Where do you think right to life Michigan is headed next?
Ms. Marnon: Right now, our PAC is working hard on the endorsing process because it is an election year. Legislatively we are working on a few bills that we anticipate will have bi-partisan support – they are not specifically directed at abortion per se, but will hopefully right some injustices and biases that have come to light.
Maeve Mullan: What is your idea of the perfect bill?
Ms. Marnon: My perfect bill wouldn’t be a bill at all, but an overturn of Roe vs. Wade and a return to a culture of life by our judicial system. Protection under law of all American citizens born or unborn would be my idea of the perfect bill - then I would be happily unemployed ☺
Maeve Mullan: Why was the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out act so important? What does this ultimately do for Right to Life in the end?
Ms. Marnon: The abortion insurance opt-out was important because with the use of tax payer subsidies to offset the cost of insurance premiums, pro-life people would ultimately be paying for abortions if abortion coverage remained a built-in benefit in insurance plans. By moving abortion coverage from a standard benefit to an optional rider, those people who believe in abortion, support abortion, or think they would ever choose an abortion can buy the rider, and those of us who feel that abortion is morally reprehensible are not compelled to be complicit with paying for abortion. Ultimately it probably won’t affect abortion numbers in the state, but it will require notice to be sent to employees letting them know if they have abortion coverage, and that their family members can use that coverage without their knowledge or permission. For forty years abortion has been a built in benefit in all insurance plans that offered maternity coverage, now it will be optional.