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 | By The Most Reverend Robert D. Gruss

Dear Friends in Christ - September/October 2022

Dear Friends in Christ,

Many years ago, St. Mother Teresa challenged the world with these words: “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

In a few short weeks, the citizens of Michigan will be going to the polls to cast their votes to select their candidates for office. But also on the ballot is a pro-abortion initiative spearheaded by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union called “Reproductive Freedom For All,” which seeks to amend the state constitution to allow unregulated abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. On the ballot it will appear as Proposal 3. It is the most radical abortion legislation in the country. This proposal is so devious and presents a grave concern for the unborn, pregnant women in need, children and parents.

Voters will be asked if the state constitution should be amended to create a right to abortion throughout pregnancy with no regulations, no opportunity for the legislature to change the law and no limitations on who can obtain an abortion from any person, at any time, without consequences. It would also affect parental rights regarding an abortion involving their children. The vague language on the ballot itself says it will “invalidate state laws conflicting with this amendment.”  In other words, if passed, the proposal would result in the elimination of many of current Michigan laws relating to abortion, including laws prohibiting partial-birth abortion and taxpayer-funded abortion, laws requiring parental consent and informed consent for abortion, laws protecting the conscience rights of persons who refuse to participate in abortion and more. The proposal would prohibit lawsuits from being brought against any individual for performing an abortion, even when complications result from the procedure.

Proposal 3 is not about “reproductive freedom”, but rather about revoking the rights of the unborn, pregnant women in need, children and parents.

On behalf of the Catholic dioceses of Michigan, the Michigan Catholic Conference has partnered with Right to Life Michigan and other pro-life organizations to form a coalition called Citizens to Support MI Women and Children to oppose and, ultimately, to defeat this extreme and dangerous proposal. To learn more about ways to engage and support this important work, visit their website:

Every human person is a “manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory” (Gospel of Life, 34). And therefore, we must reflect this truth in how we act and in how we treat one another. We must never to be afraid to proclaim this truth, but with love and compassion and mercy.  This is how we respond to the abortion crisis in our world.

“The Lord has called you from birth, from your mother’s womb he gave you your name,” Isaiah tells us. These words reveal that each child conceived in the womb reveals the heart and desire of God, for the child, the mother, the family. But a mother facing an unexpected pregnancy may find it difficult to receive this gift God has given her. She may not see the child as a gift, but a burden. This is where the Church, the Body of Christ comes in. Women facing challenging pregnancies should see the Church as a place where they can find help, where they can find support, and where they can be loved. What they need is a witness to love and to life, a witness of care and concern, for both the woman and child.

This is why, as Catholics, we must continue to accompany mothers in need and to welcome their babies into the world. Motherhood is a beautiful and sacred vocation. Besides ongoing prayer, being part of the nationwide effort “Walking with Moms in Need” is a way to get involved. More information may be found on our diocesan website or at It is a way parishes can respond to Pope Francis’ challenge to be ‘islands of mercy in a sea of indifference.’

How can you help to defeat this extreme abortion proposal?

PRAY: This moment is an invitation and opportunity for all of us to bring this proposal into the spiritual realm of our lives through prayer and fasting. Let us storm heaven with our prayers and sacrifices.

ENGAGE: Learn more about this issue on our diocesan website: Engage your circle of influence regarding this proposal. Let other know how destructive this proposal is to human life and our culture.

VOTE: Register to vote and vote NO to Proposal 3, the most extreme abortion proposal in our country. To vote in favor of this proposal would be to actively participate in the promotion and expansion of the intrinsic moral evil of abortion.

Friends, love compels us to ‘go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15). Let us band together is promoting the Gospel of Life, praying that this destructive proposal will be defeated.

Building a better world is the call of all us. A world which is just, a world which values the dignity of others, especially the unborn, those who are suffering, those on the margins of society and the stranger among us. This is our time for such building.

Let us always place our trust in the Lord and ask for his continuous guidance as we continue the fight for the sanctity of all human life.

The Most Rev. Robert D. Gruss is the seventh bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.