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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Recap: Pro-Life Demonstration in San Francisco

Monday night, Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood, delivered a message entitled "The Future of Choice" in San Francisco.  Pro-Life Future of San Francisco was on the scene that night to protest.  It was a very cold in the city, and I wasn't sure what to expect.  Mostly I pictured a long line of people waiting to get in while they shouted at us. Beforehand, I had prepared a couple hundred copies of just one of the contracts between Stem Express and Planned Parenthood, specifically the Marmonte location (on pink paper), in the hopes that it would land in the lap of the Medical Director whose signature was highlighted on the agreement!

Upon arrival it was apparent that there was not a line at all, simply people entering and leaving the building.  There were about 15 of us already there, including several members of our chapter, as well as a Students For Life group from Southern California, and members of the community.  West Coast Regional Coordinator Camille Rodriguez was already engaged in a very intense conversation with some of the attendees.  I was later told from the other members that the woman originally approached Camille with agitation, but that the woman was moved to tears by the empathy, understanding, and clarity with which Camille spoke. She wanted to talk more after the show and said she had never had such a conversation about abortion from "the other side". They hugged as they said goodbye.

Why are we so dope?
The majority of the crowd was millennial women, and some men.  There were some of the older generations there as well, far less then I'd expected. Most of them would walk by the protesters and quietly read the signs as they entered the building.  Members of PLFSF handed out the pink contracts saying "Would you like some information on Planned Parenthood"?  Many of them took the pink paper without a second thought.  Some refused it.  One girl took one and then kindly came back outside and said "I'm sorry I don't want your propaganda".  There were also two counter protesters.  The two women simply stood on the other side of the entry way holding their signs too.  The lack of hostility from everyone was almost alarming.  Most were totally polite.  There weren't any weird tense moments.  Just real conversations, and quiet stares.

A woman approached us who immediately let us know that she supported our right to be there, and believed strongly in the right of free speech.  She said that she had had "many" abortions, but that allowed her to attend Harvard to study neurology. Learning about brain development in utero made her sometimes question the morality of abortion.  She also mentioned concerns about the fetal tissue donation program, and what she felt were the racist intentions behind the founding of the organization.  I offered her a copy of the contract and she freely took it.

When the counter protesters decided to leave I said "I appreciate your passion, have a good night", and one of the women was totally surprised and immediately said "Thank you for saying that, I appreciate yours too!"  It was so genuine that it caught me off guard as well!  We saw the humanity in each other and didn't reduce each other to the signs we were holding.

Kickin It
Several of us waited around until the end in order to make the biggest impact we could.  The entire crowd was greeted by us once again and there were several other conversations to be had.

Overall I felt like the crowd was able see the person behind the protester.  San Franciscans are raised up protesting.  Many of them know what it's like to fight for a cause and it's much harder for them to dismiss us, since they know the personal sacrifice it takes to get out there in the cold in the hopes of reaching just one person. I'd like to think we we reached a few.

Thank you to everyone who came out or tweeted along with the live stream.  Our efforts combined can turn the tide against the one organization truly exploiting women and unborn children for their own financial gains.  #ShutItDown

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tomorrow: we're on the radio!

Tomorrow at 1:30 pm Eastern/12:30 pm Central/11:30 am Mountain/10:30 am Pacific, SPL president Kelsey Hazzard will be interviewed on the Culture of Life radio show, hosted by Laura Rosecrans and Monte Harms. We'll be talking SPL's ongoing projects, our plans for 2017, and how religious and non-religious people can work together in the fight against abortion. It should last about half an hour.

Culture of Life is a program of HUB, a Christian radio station in New Mexico. Outside of New Mexico, you can listen live here. Afterward, you'll find a recording on Monte Harms' website (bottom right).

Monday, December 5, 2016

Response to the Argument from Investigation


Increasingly, I have encountered an argument in favor of abortion that goes something like this:
If an embryo or fetus has a right to life, that means every death of an embryo or fetus has to be investigated as a possible murder. Parents grieving their miscarriages will have their grief compounded when cops show up at their door. That possibility is horrific and must be avoided at all costs. Therefore, if you support treating embryos and fetuses as human beings, you must hate grieving parents, you monster.
For shorthand, I will call this the "Argument from Investigation."

Is it rich to see the same people who use degrading language like "clump of cells" and "parasite" suddenly care deeply about the sensitive grieving process of people who have suffered a miscarriage? Yes. Is the Argument from Investigation a blatant appeal to emotion? You betcha. But it's a damn good one; even attempting to respond opens me to instant condemnation.

Nevertheless, I have two responses.

The first is simply to note that the factual premise is wrong. The right to life does not necessarily contain within it a guarantee that your death will be investigated by police. Currently in the United States, all human beings outside the womb and not on death row have the right to life. But most of our deaths will not be investigated. Death is a part of life, and police resources are limited, so deaths typically go uninvestigated unless there is a specific reason to suspect that they are unnatural or that foul play is involved.

I have lost many family members to natural causes over the years; no police investigations resulted. On the flip side of the coin, when my friend's mother died in a nursing home, my friend valiantly tried to convince police to investigate, because he was sure that the nursing home's subpar care was a factor; no police investigation resulted. Older people die in nursing homes all the time, and without concrete evidence that the nursing home was to blame, the police wouldn't even go there.

Treating every fetal death as a possible abortion is akin to treating every adult's death as a possible homicide. It's not going to happen—not because we don't value the rights and lives of the deceased, but simply because it's wildly inefficient. There's a better way.

Prior to Roe v. Wade, laws against abortion were enforced against abortionists, not against mothers. When the right to life is restored, we can use the same investigative techniques as before, like undercover sting operations on those advertising abortions and abortion drugs. We will also finally be able to respond appropriately when abortionists injure or kill their customers; today, many of those abortionists freely continue to practice their trade, but when abortion is again illegal, their poor treatment of women will be their downfall.

Second, I wonder if people invoking the Argument from Investigation are aware that a strongly analogous situation is happening right now. Consider this account of "Dorian," a father whose baby died from what was eventually classified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Dorian walked in to find his five-month-old son lying dead underneath a blanket on the couch. Then the police arrived, and the worst day of Dorian's life was somehow about to get even worse.
"As soon as a detective showed up, everything shut down. It stopped being a place of mourning, and started being a crime scene. I was forced to leave my own home while they performed an investigation. I was not allowed to touch or hold the corpse of my son. I was not allowed to console my wife. You see, the detective had to ask her questions in private."
While they were being questioned, the coroner unexpectedly took the baby's body away. "She had promised me that I could hold him one last time before she took him. The detective made her break that promise."
They were, of course, collecting evidence. ... They have to make sure that, for example, the infant wasn't poisoned.
It turned out that Dorian and his wife were completely innocent and the investigation only served to traumatize them. That is an incredibly messed up scenario. Sadly, I'm not sure how it could have been avoided. Dorian himself says he "understood" law enforcement officers' decision to confiscate his son's body for autopsy, adding that "it's a complex emotion." I can't begin to imagine.

Suffice to say, I have yet to see anyone suggest that the infant's right to life is the problem and that we should legalize infanticide for the sake of parents whose children die of SIDS. Like most pro-choice arguments, the Argument from Investigation is only invoked to serve the narrow purpose of justifying abortion and ceases to apply in any other context.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Cecile Richards Visits San Francisco - Protest Planned Parenthood

Calling all Bay Area Pro-Lifers! Monday, December 5th, 2016, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards is scheduled to deliver a speech entitled "The Future of Choice" in San Francisco, California. Join Secular Pro-Life Representative and President of Pro-Life Future San Francisco, Terrisa Bukovinac, in peaceful protest against Planned Parenthood and the destruction of millions of innocent human lives in the name of "choice."

Terrisa asks that you refrain from using any graphic images and kindly requests that secular language is used for all messaging efforts. For those that cannot be there in person, be sure to tune into the talk which will be streamed live on Facebook. All are encouraged to use the hashtag #PPSELLSBABYPARTS.

Your voice is needed in our quest to abolish elective abortion and restore the inherent right of all humans to life.The event will be hosted by the Commonwealth Club whose motto is "Find the truth, and turn it loose in the world." We intend to do just that.

Protesting will begin at 6:30 PM near the main entrance of the Herbst Theater. Police will be patrolling the area to ensure the safety of all participants.

Let Planned Parenthood, and the Bay Area, know that even in one of the most pro-choice places on the planet, there is a pro-life presence representing the strength of the pro-life position. We look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

CDC: Gruesome Late-Term Abortion Methods Still Being Used

Last week, the CDC released its annual abortion surveillance report (for 2013, because it's always behind). The big story the media picked up from it was that the American abortion rate has once again hit a record low. Of course, that's welcome news. But dig deeper, and the report also contains some extremely disturbing findings.

If you have a weak stomach, stop reading and just trust me when I tell you it's worse than you think.

Scroll to the bottom, where you'll find Table 22 (click to enlarge):


First of all, note that this table only includes data from 36 states, so every number I'm about to mention comes with the huge caveat "at least." The true numbers are higher.
 
"Intrauterine instillation" is also known as saline abortion. Also known as the method survived by such notable pro-life advocates as Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen. Also known as the method abortion apologists will tell you "doesn't happen anymore" whenever you mention Melissa Ohden or Gianna Jessen.

Well, it happens. It happened at least 113 times in 2013, mostly on older fetuses. It happened 45 times to babies older than 21 weeks, who could have lived outside the womb. Babies old enough to feel the pain of the saline solution burning their lungs. Babies the size of famous preemie Amillia Taylor when she was born:


Horrific. And they wonder why those cuckoo anti-choicers won't just shut up.

The next row is abortions committed by "Hysterectomy/Hysterotomy." A hysterectomy, of course, is the surgical removal of the uterus—in this case, a uterus with a child inside. A hysterotomy is an incision of the uterus, of the kind used in C-sections. The difference between a C-section and a hysterotomy abortion is whether the attending physician intends for the baby to live or to die.

Hey, remember when Donald Trump was asked about abortion during a debate, and he said Hillary Clinton's extreme position would allow abortionists to "rip the baby out of the mother," and liberal media types pointed and laughed and wrote think pieces declaring that that's totally not how abortion works, right guys? In 2013, forty-five babies became victims of abortion by hysterectomy or hysterotomy methods. Nine of them were 21 weeks gestation or older.

My unfavorable opinion of Trump is well-known, but I'll concede he got that one right.

Late-term abortions are only "rare" in relationship to the many more abortions that occur by common methods in the first half of pregnancy. They are not rare in absolute terms. Even a single child's death in such a horrific manner is completely unacceptable.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Donate to Secular Pro-Life for Giving Tuesday

Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard here. Today is Giving Tuesday, and in the spirit of generosity, I ask you to join me in donating to Secular Pro-Life.

We don't often ask for money. We're a shoestring operation, with no physical offices or paid staff. We keep our costs down so your donations can have the maximum possible impact.

Above: A Yale student examines our
"Why Should Non-Christians Care
About Abortion?" brochure
We are now entering into the most expensive time of year: preparing for the January anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when the Students for Life of America (SFLA) national conferences are held in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, California.

Secular Pro-Life was founded by students, and supporting the pro-life youth movement is a key part of our mission. Polls show that Millennials are both more pro-life and less religious than older generations. Young adults drive the demand for secular pro-life resources. The SFLA conferences are our best opportunity to equip pro-life student leaders to make the secular case against abortion on their campuses.

Our policy has always been to offer materials to student groups completely free of charge. We would hate for non-Christians to go unreached on a campus just because the pro-life student organization couldn't afford secular pamphlets! That's why we'll be at the SFLA conferences with materials galore for student leaders to take back to their schools.

Here's a testimonial from University of Michigan student Chrissy Healy:
University of Michigan is an extremely secularized community, and so it was of the utmost importance that our Students for Life group approached discussions about abortion from a non-religious perspective if we were ever going to reach the individuals on our campus. It was extremely important for our group (especially those members who came from religious backgrounds, but were against abortion for non-religious reasons) to be able to refer pro-choice students to resources like those provided by Secular Pro-Life. Without these, we would quickly lose our audience’s attention.
As just one example, one of our monthly events was centered on the “Why Should Non-Christians Care About Abortion?” brochures that we had received from Secular Pro-life. We made a sign and handed out the brochures to everyone who walked by, and it proved to be a valuable platform for beginning dialogues about abortion. That day, we even caught the attention of some of the Students for Choice members who were hosting their own event just down the hallway. They walked over to check out our information, which evidently took them by surprise, and left with a few of the pamphlets. Resources like these brochures and others from Secular Pro-life laid the groundwork to us diversifying our pro-life group, which is larger now than ever and includes some non-religious members.
In larger organizations, the cost of conference giveaways is barely noticed. But for Secular Pro-Life, it's a substantial component of our annual budget.

I don't believe in asking people to do anything I wouldn't do. Accordingly, I have personally donated $100 to Secular Pro-Life for Giving Tuesday. Please join me in giving as you are able.

Thank you for your support!

For Life,
Kelsey Hazzard

P.S.—Our donation page also allows you to set up a monthly gift. If you are able to donate regularly, we'd greatly appreciate it! Just check the "Repeat Monthly Payment" box.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Election Isn't Over Yet

Foster Campbell, left, and John Kennedy, right

I have terrible news for you: the election isn't over. No, I'm not talking about Jill Stein's recount. I'm talking about the runoff election for Louisiana's next Senator, pitting State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) against Public Service Commissioner and former state senator Foster Campbell (D).

The good news? Mr. Kennedy has the endorsement of National Right to Life, while Mr. Campbell has the endorsement of Democrats for Life of America.

Louisiana is a bright spot for those of us who want a bipartisan pro-life movement. The state is so strongly pro-life that it's practically impossible for abortion supporters to successfully run for office. Its current governor, John Bel Edwards, is a pro-life Democrat. (It's also the state where Democratic legislator Katrina Jackson, who is black, championed an abortion facility regulation bill; Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Melissa Fournoy responded with threatening and borderline racist comments about her, because of course.)

How nice it must be to be able to vote based on a wide range of economic and social concerns, without having to immediately exclude a major candidate for condoning mass slaughter!

Indeed, abortion doesn't seem to be a focal point in this election. Neither candidate features it on their website. Mr. Kennedy's website doesn't even have an "Issues" page, only a hard-to-search blog; Mr. Campbell's issues page contains no mention of abortion, but does devote space to disability rights, which is promising. Less promising: Mr. Campbell apparently failed to respond to Louisiana Right to Life's questionnaire.

Mr. Kennedy is favored to win, but we've seen how little that counts for. Early voting has begun and the race will conclude on December 10.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pro-Life Resource for Prematurity Awareness Month


November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and a great opportunity for pro-life advocates to extend our compassion to babies born too soon. Although modern medicine has made great strides and the age of viability outside the womb is lower than ever before, preterm birth remains a serious health concern.

Premature birth can strike anyone; in many cases, the cause is unknown. However, research has uncovered some risk factors. Among them: tobacco use, lack of prenatal care, and previous induced abortions. 

That last factor is, of course, a political lightening rod. But women deserve to know the truth. 

The evidence for the abortion-preterm birth link is overwhelming. It appears in countries with vastly disparate cultural attitudes about abortion, in data uncovered in the course of exploring other hypotheses, and in meta-analyses. The abortion lobby can't dismiss the body of research as the work of one or two random scientists with a political agenda. 

To publicize this information, Secular Pro-Life created the Prevent Preterm campaign at PreventPreterm.org. There, you'll find an easy-to-understand summary of the medical literature on abortion and preterm birth, as well as information on other preventable risk factors and where to find affordable care in your community. You can also learn from the stories of mothers who have experienced preterm birth after abortion. 

Secular Pro-Life is very proud of our work on Prevent Preterm, and we hope you will use it as a valuable resource to prevent both abortions and premature births. One very simple way you can help is to share Prevent Preterm graphics on social media. Who knows? You could save a life!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"Kill your baby, or kill your career" is not a true choice

Above: Demonstrators outside the Supreme Court during Young v. UPS.

[Today's guest post is by Christina Reagan.]

Back in 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed with the intention to protect women from being fired or discriminated against on the basis of pregnancy.

Why then does it not seem uncommon that vulnerable pregnant women are told they have to "get rid of it" to move forward in their careers? And why is this an acceptable reason to end a pregnancy, even if the pregnancy is desired?

It doesn’t take much sleuthing the internet to find many painful abortion stories of women who felt they needed to have an abortion to advance their careers. As I read some of these stories—where some women experience painful, haunting dreams due to making a choice they really didn’t want to make—I keep on wondering, why it is socially acceptable for women to be told they must choose between child and career?

I personally know someone who was told by her superior to "terminate," after she told this person she was pregnant. She chose to keep the child and had to then switch jobs.

Why must a vulnerable pregnant woman feel she must choose between a child and a career? This is a horrible spot to put a woman in, particularly if she is single and depends on that income for survival. Many women are just starting out and are hoping to advance in their careers. They may be advised by well-meaning superiors, colleagues, family, and friends that having a baby (especially if there is no husband involved) will stall their progress or will destroy their careers irreparably. They will never be that person they want to be or have that career they aim to have. What is worse is that they are led to believe they won’t be able to feed and provide for that child should they choose to keep the pregnancy.

As feminists, fighting for women’s rights, don’t we have a duty to protect the vulnerable from being coerced? Don’t we have a duty to ensure that a woman is not hampered in her career progress by her choice to have a child, whether she is single or not and whether the pregnancy was planned or unplanned? Why is abortion encouraged as a solution to a mistimed pregnancy in a young woman’s career? Why can’t we change this system?

In order to guarantee equality for women in the workforce, instead of viewing children as an impediment to a woman’s career, we must view them as a normal part of a woman’s life. Many women work as mothers and are amazing leaders. I have been through a difficult pregnancy, and the encouragement of those around me helped immensely. I had never been more vulnerable than I was at that time in my life, yet because I was so enveloped in love and support towards continuing to pursue my career and education, I did not lose hope. I was strengthened and empowered by those around me, who supported my pursuit of education and career despite the difficult circumstances I was enduring.

It is my hope that we can create these kind of environments for the vulnerable pregnant women in our midst. That they can be encouraged that motherhood and career success are not mutually exclusive. That they don’t have to choose between pursuing a career and having a child.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Want a free pro-life speaker?

Above: SPL speaker Monica Snyder addresses a pro-life youth rally

Secular Pro-Life has long recognized the importance of student outreach. As a result, we have never charged an honorarium to campus groups. However, for financial reasons, we have required student organizations to cover cost of travel for SPL speakers. Also, since SPL is entirely volunteer-run and our speakers have day jobs, scheduling has been an issue.

Recently, a few groups have gotten around these hurdles that by hosting SPL presentations via Skype, making it absolutely 100% free. We're excited to do more Skype talks in the future!

In our experience so far, this works best with smaller audiences. For larger groups, it's tricky to coordinate Skype and other visuals like a powerpoint at the same time. But we will continue to learn by doing and work out the kinks. Even with smaller presentations, you can magnify the impact by inviting your student newspaper to cover it, like Tigers for Life did at Trinity University in San Antonio. (Good job, guys!)

If you are a leader of a student pro-life organization and you're interested in having a free Secular Pro-Life speaker, you can email us at info@secularprolife.org and/or come by the SPL exhibit booth at the Students for Life of America national conferences in January.