Mayor apologizes for insensitive comment made toward pro-life people

Editor’s note. This appeared Thursday on the blog of Right to Life of Michigan.

Grand Rapids, Michigan Mayor George Heartwell

It started at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. Grand Rapids, Michigan Mayor George Heartwell said, “. . . every year, the forces of darkness seek to deprive women of the health and education they need by choking off the funding to Planned Parenthood.”

And then the calls and e-mails started coming in to the Mayor’s office from across the country. Prolife people communicated their disappointment and stated they did not appreciate being labeled “the forces of darkness.”

At the Grand Rapids City Commissioners’ Meeting May 15, Mayor Heartwell apologized for calling prolife people “the forces of darkness.” He said, “My comments were insensitive, and I deeply regret them. I apologize.”

Right to Life of Michigan Education Coordinator Chris Gast said, “Several people directly addressed Mayor Heartwell expressing anger and sadness that their elected mayor would disparage their efforts to promote respect for life. A couple of people said they accepted his apology, but his comment had wounded them deeply because abortion had touched them personally.”

A question remains: How will the story end? At the local, state and federal levels we have the opportunity to elect men and women who will represent our values and our respect for human life. Mayor Heartwell’s comments generated a moment of outrage, but let’s remember the power and privilege we have each time we participate in an election. When it is time to vote, please remember to be a voice for the voiceless at all levels of government.