Wednesday, November 23, 2005
By Jill Stanek
State and local pro-life organizations form the political and educational nucleus of our movement. The importance of these groups cannot be overstated. Our one strength with politicians is our grassroots. Our one way around liberals and the mainstream press is by direct education.
In my opinion, the foremost state pro-life organization is Right to Life of Michigan. I give thanks for this group today and want to spotlight its inner workings to assist other groups.
One proof of RTL's success is the state's abortion statistics. In 2004, Michigan reported 26,269 abortions, a 46.5 percent decrease from a high in 1987 of 49,098.
In addition, Michigan enjoys pro-life majorities in both its state house and senate political parties.
But what I think sets RTL apart is its generous outreach to other states, from hosting pro-life events such as the recent Urban Outreach Seminar to offering its top-notch pro-life TV commercials to outside groups.
RTL has 45 paid staff, 41 of which are full-time. It has seven offices throughout Michigan.
Of that staff, six are field representatives, appointed to certain sections of the state to help affiliates grow and raise funds. In a state with a population of 10 million in 83 counties, RTL has 108 affiliates.
In addition, RTL has a 12-station, in-house telemarketing center, where 20 fund-raisers work in shifts, Monday through Saturday.
RTL's current annual budget is about $4 million. It spends heavily on media outreach, funding Yellow Page and TV ads throughout the state. It also rents billboards and radio spots, hosts a website, and funds its own resource and printing center for pro-life materials.
But RTL's president, Barb Listing reminds people, "This didn't happen overnight. I think sometimes groups visit us and get overwhelmed."
How did RTL get from there to here? I interviewed Barb last week to find out.
RTL began taking shape in 1972, when pro-aborts introduced a referendum to legalize abortion. Pro-life groups formed around the state and defeated the referendum that November. [Entire Story]
Jill Stanek fought to stop "live-birth abortion" after witnessing one as a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. In 2002, President Bush asked Jill to attend his signing of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. In January 2003, World Magazine named Jill one of the 30 most prominent pro-life leaders of the past 30 years. To learn more, visit Jill's blog, Pro-life Pulse.
This Thanksgiving, I will be giving thanks to God for Jill, who lit the spark of pro-life activism within me in 2001 through her powerful witness that changed my life. God bless you, Jill, for all the work you do for the Lord!