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Friday, November 17, 2017

We asked, you answered: Changing hearts and minds


On Sunday, we asked our facebook followers: "Have you ever converted a pro-choice person to the pro-life view? If so, what was the situation?" Dozens of people responded. Here are a few of our favorite answers.

Lauren H.: Multiple times. I showed them a picture of an abortion victim.

Pauline N.: My sister; what helped changed her mind was that in some states, if a pregnant women is murdered it's considered a double homicide. So the fetus only has rights if the mother wants them.

Vanessa K.: A close relative saw me adopt one of my kids. The underage mom on the streets surely had no good options but wisely still chose life for her child. She (the relative) and I had had a few brief mutually respectful conversations about abortion. Later she told me... my adopted child's presence in our family had changed her mind.

Michael C.: My buddy said the man with Down syndrome who gave that pro-life speech changed his mind. 

Chris V.: I was talking to an acquaintance and she was telling me about her new job which she said she loved because it was really empowering for women (at a family planning center). She had been working there a couple of months. I really tried to listen non-judgmentally in order to find some common ground. I’m glad I waited. She started telling me about how disgusting it was when these older guys brought in these young girls for “procedures” or pills so their wives wouldn’t find out. I listened as she basically talked herself out of a pro-choice position because how is THAT empowering to women...? Sometimes the best “argument” is to just listen. The facts are already there.

Jena Q.: We were talking about abortion and she she said “Who the hell wants a f***ing rape baby?!?!?” I just said “My parents did.” By the end of the conversation, her whole attitude had changed.

Ricky S.: I myself was convinced by a woman that was conceived in rape. She asked me to my face if she deserved to die for the crime of her father.

Sonia S.: My husband converted me from ambivalent/uninformed to adamantly pro-life. When we were dating he took me to my first March for Life in D.C. This past year, several years later, it was my idea to go back.

Meaghan A.: I kept an open dialogue with her, I never insulted her or forced my ideas. I just loved her and then she had her baby. She and her husband just had baby #2 and she told me now that she's a mom, no way can she condone abortion.

Mary H.: My now husband. First date and I was 29 and done wasting time on morally ambiguous dudes, so I go right for all the hot button issues. He starts with the classic “I’d personally never would but”... and I am let me stop you right there... didn’t take much, he just needed to hear the other side of the arguments.

Jana K.: Yes. After a few discussions with my friend about the actual abortion procedure and the science of fetal development, without political or religious references. It wasn't a lecture, just whenever the subject came into our natural conversation. One day, she told me she had changed her mind and thanked me.

Chiara B.: Just myself, when I finally discovered that there were non-religious reasons people were pro-life, and I did a close examination of both sides' reasoning, and was forced to conclude that the pro-life side has all the facts on its side, and all the pro-choice side has is emotions.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Romanian Perspective on Abortion

It's now been 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution—a good time to remember that widespread state-sanctioned abortion is the fruit of Communism. However, when someone argues that Communists disrespected the right to life of unborn humans the same way they disrespected the basic rights of other groups of people, pro-choice activists always bring up one counterexample. That example is of the so-called abortion ban in my country: Romania.

Historic facts: the Communists who had occupied Romania legalized abortion on demand in 1957. As in all countries with Communist regimes, abortion was promoted and viewed as a sign of progress and women's emancipation. Abortion had already been widely performed since World War II; now it was official, state-approved family planning. It became so frequent that the birth rate declined rapidly and the number of abortions per year, in this country of 19 million people, reached a peak of 1.15 million in 1965 (when 8 in 10 pregnancies were aborted).

Faced with a looming demographic disaster, the leaders of the Communist Party decided on a sudden change of policy: after they had told women to have as many abortions as they (or their husbands) wanted, they were now going to request that they have babies instead. The Decree 770 issued in October 1966 restricted abortion access, allowing it only to women whose life or health was endangered by pregnancy, who were over 45 years old or had already born 4 children. And while contraception wasn't forbidden in any way, it wasn't being imported either. The effects were predictible: many women by now used to "solving the problem" chose to self-induce or procure illegal abortions—fueled by the indifference of the men in their lives who expected sex without children, as well as the general lack of support for families (mothers were forced to go back to work three months after birth, daycare centers and hospitals were terrible, many commodities were hard to find, etc). Thousands of women died as a result.

This is the tragedy that abortion activists exploit whenever they speak of the "total abortion ban" in Romania (in reality a restriction on elective abortions). It doesn't matter to them that over 7 million unborn Romanians and members of the minority ethnic groups died too in those years between 1958 and 1989 (that's just the abortions in the state records; there were of course many more illegal ones that weren't recorded). More should have died, since they were unwanted. People see the effects of the Decree on a population accustomed to getting rid of their unborn offspring, with no family-friendly laws and no education to counter that mentality, and look no further. Communist anti-abortion policies bad, therefore any other anti-abortion initiative bad.

There is a documentary that shows how things were. It's called Children of the Decree and has a strong pro-choice angle. One implied message is that the unwanted children in the horrible state orphanages should have been killed before birth. And that the woman who performed hundreds of illegal abortions (and went to prison for killing a girl in the process) was simply necessary to "help" desperate women. But there are also other things, in the comments of actual Children of the Decree who were interviewed for the documentary.

A woman had a baby who was unwanted, just as she had been: a second-generation Child of the Decree. A teenager at the time, she was convinced by her father that a child would destroy her future. Only the fear of complications prevented the abortion. In the film however she shows deep remorse, regretting that she ever saw her boy as an obstacle to get rid of. Conversely, another adult Child of the Decree finds it "amuzant" (funny, amusing) that his mother had countless abortions and he was just a case of "nothing could be done." He says that he was just lucky—could have been like the one before or the one after him. Separately, his mother observes that this generation of children was more determined to thrive than others, fought harder for what they wanted, maybe because of how they came to be born.

There are many horrifying things in the documentary, but perhaps nothing as unsettling (because of its banality) as a man who laughs at the thought that his parents would have had him killed like they did his siblings. This is what widespread abortion, legal or illegal, leads to: the knowledge that one's life doesn't matter. Like Communism, abortion kills people who get in the way, while their relatives go along with it. Those of us who survive the "choice" learn to ignore the ones who don't make it out of the dictatorship we are all conceived in—whether that dictatorship is behind an Iron Curtain or in a 21st century democracy in which the unborn have no protection. We just fight harder for ourselves, as if to win the right to our own life.

[Today's guest post by Alexandra Moldoveanu is part of our paid blogging program. Alexandra is a pro-life poet who writes and promotes literature on abortion and other human rights issues at www.prolifepoetry.space. She is the "wanted" sister of an aborted Romanian and the niece of many other aborted Romanians.]

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

In one weird way, California pregnancy centers are more harshly regulated than cigarettes


Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would take up the case of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, which is a constitutional challenge to California's anti-pregnancy-center law. The law forces pregnancy centers to post a sign advertising California's abortion subsidy program. Pro-life pregnancy centers claim that this compelled advertising violates their right to freedom of speech, and are excited to see the Court hear the case.

At Slate, abortion-supporting authors Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern say not so fast. They claim that if NIFLA succeeds in taking down California's law, then informed consent laws for abortion (which pro-lifers, and also most pro-choicers, support) will go down with it. Their argument, in a nutshell: California's law compels speech (true), and informed consent laws for abortion also compel speech (true), so both types of laws will inevitably be treated the same way by the courts.

I don't think Lithwick and Stern's conclusion follows from their premises. To understand why, let's start from an area of agreement: tobacco. It's safe to say that Marlboro would rather not place the Surgeon General's warning on its flagship product. Clearly, that's an instance of compelled speech. But even among free speech absolutists, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who believes that the required Surgeon General's warning violates the First Amendment. Why not? Because the government interest in regulation is incredibly compelling—it's literally life and death.

The same rationale applies to the legal requirement of informed consent in the healthcare context. This is true not only for abortion—which is designed to kill (and therefore, pro-life advocates argue, not actually healthcare at all)—but for all surgical procedures and potentially harmful drugs, even if they are not as deadly as cigarettes. The freedom of speech isn't limitless, and requiring warnings about potential physical dangers is a sensible limit.

Contrast that with the services typically offered by pregnancy resource centers: pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STI tests, parenting classes, financial aid, baby supplies, maternity clothes, job training assistance, maternity housing referrals, and the like. Services vary from location to location, but they all have one thing in common: they pose zero physical risk to women. They are either diagnostic or socioeconomic; they are not invasive, and they have no side effects. When it comes to regulating abortion facilities, pro-life lawmakers can cite studies showing abortion risks, and pro-choice lawmakers can cite studies whitewashing those risks, and they can battle it out. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a single reputable study that shows, say, an increased risk of preterm birth from receiving a free sonogram. It's been said so often that I don't know who coined the phrase, but no woman has ever died at a pro-life pregnancy center.

If any real risk existed, I'd support compelled warnings. But it just doesn't, and that's why California's law doesn't require disclosure of any danger; instead, it requires NIFLA to advertise for its competitors in the abortion industry. Even the Surgeon General's warning doesn't go that far! Cigarette manufacturers are not required to post advertisements for Nicorette gum on their packaging; their compelled speech is limited to posting warnings about the risks of tobacco. And yet pregnancy care centers in California are compelled to actively promote the tragedy of abortion—the very thing they exist to help mothers avoid.

Compelled speech laws are generally unconstitutional unless the government has a compelling interest in preventing serious harms. California's compelled speech law doesn't come close to meeting that test. It is an ideological crusade against those who would dare use the peaceful power of persuasion to save lives from abortion, and the Supreme Court should invalidate it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Project Weak Link enters next phase


Last year, Created Equal launched Project Weak Link. This campaign focuses on corporations that, while they do not kill unborn children directly, enable the killing by contracting with abortion businesses.

Sometimes, contractors don't realize that they are enabling violence, and it's a simple matter of education. For instance, earlier this year, a Wichita abortion facility lied to roofers about the nature of the building they were working on; when pro-life advocates informed the roofing company of the deception, the roofers exercised their consciences and walked off the job.

Project Weak Link, by contrast, focuses on companies that know full well what they are doing: "medical waste" disposal contractors. These are the corporations that profit from carting away the tiny bodies of abortion victims. As we wrote when Project Weak Leak first launched:
One of the leaked CMP videos featured abortionists commiserating about a perplexing administrative problem: if you can't sell the corpses, how else to dispose of them?
Created Equal has jumped on this and launched a new initiative called Project Weak Link. The tissue disposal companies are the weak link in the abortion industry chain. Created Equal proposes that if tissue disposal companies realize that working with abortion businesses will bring them bad press and cost them money, the power of the market will kick in to save babies.
Project Weak Link achieved a significant victory when the nationwide disposal company Stericycle cut ties with approximately 260 abortion businesses. Now, Project Weak Link is shifting its focus to another company: Specific Waste Industries, a disposal corporation enabling abortion throughout the Midwest.

Specific Waste Industries is particularly notorious for contracting with EMW Women's Surgical Center. EMW is the last abortion facility in Kentucky, and it encourages women to abort by giving them fake information about prenatal development.

To participate in this phase of Project Weak Link, you can do two things:

1. Sign the petition against Specific Waste Industries.
2. Call Specific Waste Industries CEO Victor Anderson at 502-425-2770; ask him to put humanity above profits and terminate his company's contracts with abortion vendors.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Aborting to get a guardian angel?


Last week, Susanne Maynes, writing for Pregnancy Help News, discussed an unusual issue facing pregnancy counselors:
“My best friend died a few years ago,” she said. “I think of him as my guardian angel now. I don’t know, but that’s what I think.”
Brittany was articulating a notion that ... those who die somehow morph into angels who provide a comforting presence, and even guidance, in our lives.
I’ve heard this idea from clients at our pregnancy center quite a few times. Often, it’s a dear grandmother who has passed away, and the girl believes Grandma isn’t really gone; she is still nearby and able to help her. 
While there are a number of problems with this unbiblical view of life and eternity, none looms larger than the next (il)logical step some women do take: If those who die become our guardian angels, then the baby I abort can become a source of comfort and guidance in my life.
This isn't the first time we've seen supernatural concepts used to rationalize abortion. Nicki Minaj may be the most prominent example; when she went public about the abortion she had as a teenager, she acknowledged being “haunted” by it, but said she found comfort in the idea that her aborted baby became a “little angel” watching over Minaj's brother Caiah.

Maynes describes the guardian angel mentality as both “scientifically and theologically unsound.” I can't speak to the theology, but she's undoubtedly correct about the science. There is zero scientific evidence that the dead watch over us. The idea that someone would kill a precious, innocent human being in order to acquire a fictional guardian spirit utterly horrifies me.

Maynes is a Christian, so unsurprisingly, she thinks the solution to guardian-angel religion is a dose of non-guardian-angel, orthodox Christian religion. Also unsurprisingly, I disagree with her. But let's move on, because Maynes goes on to propose a series of four breakthrough questions that I quite like. In fact, I think they have the potential to be used in countless situations, not just counseling a pregnant woman who believes in guardian angels. Those four questions are:

  • “How do you know that’s true?”
  • “Where did you get your information?”
  • “How did you come to that conclusion?”
  • “What if you’re wrong?”

Think of the possibilities here.

Pro-lifers don't care about children who are already born! How do you know that's true?
It's just a clump of cells. Where did you get your information?
Women can't be equal to men without abortion. How did you come to that conclusion?
Being aborted is better than being born into poverty. What if you're wrong?

For more on asking good questions in abortion debates, check out Equal Rights Institute.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

She was raped and refused abortion. Here’s how she answers her critics.

It’s common to catch hate online; perhaps you made a comment someone didn’t like or posted a meme they didn’t agree with. A few years ago, a friend of mine started getting criticized a lot. The reason?

She didn’t kill her son.

Jennifer Christie refused to have an abortion after being raped on a business trip. Some people weren’t happy about that, calling her “stupid,” “brain damaged,” “f–ked in the head” and “an a–hole.” They also labeled her son as a “rapist’s DNA deposit” and something “from Satan.”

She’s often condemned for having a “rapist’s baby” or “bringing another rapist into the world.” A message from one woman was particularly blunt: “I want to hurt you.”

Considering all of this, you might assume that Jennifer would back off. It’s a reasonable assumption; it’s also wrong. Here’s an excerpt from her courageous reply:
The “rapist's baby”? How about MY baby? Because that is what he is. He's part of me. In my blue eyes that have every old lady in town stopping us in the grocery store and giving him little treats and kisses because he looks “just like an angel!” But not only mine. 
He's part of the father who is raising him and loving him and takes him to the library and the park and vanquishes bedtime monsters with silly songs and sock puppet shows.
He's part of his big brothers who put together toddler bikes and tirelessly toss the ball outside with enthusiasm and his sister who insists he dress like a Ralph Lauren ad so she can parade him around her friends at work and tell customers he's hers (I don't love this).
He's his grandparents and godparents and aunts and uncles and our friends and church family and people around the world who love him yet have never laid eyes on him.
That's who he is and that's who he'll be. 
You can check out more of Jennifer's advocacy at her website.

Jennifer’s son isn’t alone. Rebecca Kiessling was also conceived in rape, and she’s only alive today because abortion was illegal at the time. Rebecca isn’t “spawn” or “another rapist”—she’s an attorney, an adoptive mother, and a human being. So is Juda Myers, Valerie Gatos, and every other child, regardless of how they were conceived.

There’s a lot to be said about rape and abortion (like the abortion industry’s habit of helping rapists hide their crimes). But the most basic? That we shouldn’t execute girls and boys for what their fathers did. It’s something Jennifer Christie has never doubted.

She won’t stop saying it either.

[Today's guest post by Adam Peters is part of our paid blogging program.]

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Will Artificial Wombs End the Abortion Debate?

Illustration of artificial womb technology sustaining a young lamb

Xavier Symons, writing for BioEdge, a news website that focuses on bioethics, wrote an article about ectogenesis. Ectogenesis refers to a human embryo or fetus developing in an artificial environment outside of the woman's uterus. Scientists recently kept premature lamb fetuses alive in an artificial environment, so hopes are high that they can eventually develop artificial womb technology to keep human embryos and fetuses alive if the woman absolutely does not want to be pregnant. Many are touting this as exciting technology that could essentially end the abortion debate.

Judith Jarvis Thomson, in her famous essay about abortion, argued that simply having a right to an abortion does not grant a woman a right to a dead baby. The reason abortion is justified, as a proponent of bodily rights would argue, is because the child is violating the right to the woman's bodily autonomy and the state should not legally compel a woman to remain plugged in as life support to the developing embryo/fetus. She compared pregnancy to a famous, unconscious violinist. But, she conceded, the right to unplug from this violinist does not grant you the right to slit the violinist's throat. So if the woman could be unplugged from the unborn child without killing him, that would be ethically preferred. According to the aforementioned article, some bioethicists, such as Eric Mathison and Jeremy Davis, both from the University of Toronto, agree with Thomson's position that a right to abortion does not include a right to a dead fetus.

The possibility of artificial wombs does raise some ethical concerns. For example, considering how important pregnancy is, does a woman have a right to separate herself from her developing child in order to avoid the burdens of pregnancy, even if she intends to keep the child? At the very least, pro-life people can agree that if a woman intends to abort her child, allowing the child to survive in an artificial womb and allowing the child to be given for adoption would be preferable. I think many abortion-choice people, such as Thomson, Mathison, and Davis, could agree that if a woman intends to abort, it would be preferable to place the child in an artificial womb since a right to abortion does not ipso facto guarantee a right to a dead fetus.

However, not all abortion-choice advocates would jump on the bandwagon. As much as I would love artificial womb technology to end the abortion debate, the reality is that many who are involved with abortions are not simply seeking to make the woman un-pregnant; they are actively seeking the death of the child. Look no further than doctors who will kill a child born alive after an "unsuccessful abortion," and abortion-choice advocates and organizations that oppose "infant born alive" bills which prohibit such killings.

According to the article, Joona Rasanen offers the following argument that a right to abortion also grounds a right to a dead fetus (see the BioEdge article for the original source):
...if ectogenesis abortions become reality, some women (and men) will have genetic children out there who carry their genetic material without their consent. In this scenario, their right to genetic privacy has been violated, and the only way to avoid this is if they have a right to the death of the fetus…[and] there is yet another way to claim that the genetic parents have a right to the death of the fetus: the genetic parents own the fetus, and because of that, their property rights are violated if the fetus is gestated in an artificial womb without their consent.
There are a number of things wrong with Rasanen's arguments.

First, it's simply barbaric to consider the fetus to be property of the mother. We used to consider black people property and that was a gross denial of their human dignity. Fetuses are human beings at a very early stage of development. Calling them property is dehumanizing.

Second, Rasanen doesn't seem to understand that the fetus' genetic material is not the woman's; it comes from the woman (and the man), but it is not identical to her genetic material. This kind of argument would work against cloning her against her will, but not against a child existing against her will just because he or she came from her genetic material.

Third, this argument proves too much. What if a woman has a daughter, and her daughter then, at the appropriate age, has a child, but the mother doesn't want the grandchild for whatever reason? This argument would justify the mother forcing her daughter to have an abortion, or killing the child once the child is outside the womb, because this child is allegedly violating the grandmother's "right to genetic privacy." In fact, it would justify the woman's boyfriend or husband forcing the woman, herself, to have an abortion because the child would be violating his "right to genetic privacy," and she would be violating it by not having the abortion.

Fourth, why would a violation of her "right to genetic privacy" bring a death sentence? Someone who steals my car is violating my right to property ownership, but that certainly doesn't justify my killing the thief. Perhaps the argument is that it would bring a death sentence because that is the only way to preserve the woman's (and man's) "right to genetic privacy." But of course, then the argument that abortion is impermissible at any time during pregnancy due to the fetus gaining personhood rights would be negated. This would grant the parents the right to kill the child at any age, even as an adult, because there is someone walking around violating this alleged right. If your argument, though, is that it's permissible at some points because the fetus is not a person, then impermissible at some other point because he gains personhood rights, then it's your personhood argument that is doing the work of justifying your abortion-choice stance and not any right to genetic privacy.

These arguments simply don't justify killing the embryo or fetus, especially if artificial womb technology becomes a reality. But what do you think? Will artificial wombs put an end to the debate? Are they a good thing? If you consider yourself pro-choice, what do you think about artificial wombs, and will the death of the embryo/fetus still be justified if they become a reality?

[Today's guest post by Clinton Wilcox is part of our paid blogging program.]

Monday, November 6, 2017

UK abortion investigation reveals threats to women's health


All too often, abortion businesses cut corners with women’s health. This is true not only in the United States but in other countries as well. The legalization of abortion was supposed to make it safe. However, one only has to look at the many failed inspection reports of legal abortion centers to see that a legal abortion is not necessarily a safe one. Abortion facilities often endanger women’s health.

The most recent inspection report from an abortion clinic in England illustrates this. The Marie Stopes abortion chain, a network of abortion clinics similar to Planned Parenthood in the United States, had its Maidstone abortion facility inspected on May 17, 2016. The resulting report was released on February 10, 2017, and it shows major deficiencies that endanger women. Details in the inspection report show poor training, lack of cleanliness, lack of patient privacy, and abortion workers paid on commission, encouraged to sell as many abortions as possible.

The long and detailed inspection report, which can be read at this link, found that:
Infection control systems, processes and practices were not delivered in line with the current national guidance. There was poor hand hygiene, poor use of personal protective equipment and poor pre-surgical preparation. 
The report went into more detail. The inspectors noted that:
the sink in the theatre was not used by any member of staff throughout the entire list of 21 patients. We saw a surgeon [who] wore sterile gloves but kept their large, stoned costume rings on when undertaking surgical procedures. This surgeon did not wash their hands or use alcohol gel between patients and failed to follow good hand hygiene practice. Other theatre staff changed their gloves but did not wash their hands or use hand gel between patients…
We observed that poor practice in the theatre meant that the sterile gloves were contaminated by being removed from the outer wrapper with unwashed hands. The contaminated gloves were dropped by the surgeon from unwashed hands onto the trolley, which contaminated the sterile field.
We observed poor practice in pre-operative preparation of the genitalia. This posed a risk of introducing an infection…
We observed that in the theatre, a member of staff used a single antiseptic wipe to clean all equipment, the couch and the floor between patients. 
In addition, not enough time was allocated between patients to properly clean and sterilize the room and instruments.

Keep in mind that this is the way doctors and staffers conducted abortions and cleaned the space while the inspectors were right there, standing over their shoulders and watching. The employees knew that they were being supervised by inspectors and still did not wash their hands or clean properly. If workers were willing to do surgery on 21 women in a row without washing their hands knowing they were being watched, what were they doing when the inspectors weren’t there and no one was watching them?

The inspectors also cited workers for carrying an open bucket of aborted baby remains through the waiting room where women were sitting. Abortions at Maidstone are done through fourteen weeks, so dismembered arms and legs may have been visible among these remains. Inspectors did not note women’s reactions to this, but they found it “poor infection prevention and control practice as well as potentially being offensive to patients waiting.” The abortion facility gave women the option of taking her abortion “remains” home, in which case “they were put into an opaque pot and a release form signed.”

One wonders if the women had been properly educated about what those remains would look like because before making the irrevocable and life-changing decision to abort her baby, patients were only giving “counseling” sessions of fifteen minutes. According to the report:
Appointments were 15 minutes long. Heavy workloads, crowded operating and clinic lists and a strict 15 minute consultation time led to best practice not being adhered to…. Staff we spoke with talked about a lack of time and need to keep the appointment on track. One member of staff said about the information provided, “They can’t take it all in, it’s so fast.” This presented a risk that consent was not fully informed.
We observed a member of staff passing the consent form to the patient to read and sign whilst they cleaned the room. There was no opportunity given for discussion or questions and when questioned the member of staff felt this was because of a lack of time. 
Women were not given time to think about their options. In fact:
Staff were also concerned that the pressurized environment … meant that there was a culture that worked against patient choice….One staff member describe it as “feeling like a hamster in a wheel” and said the word, “Cattle market” came up quite a lot. 
The abortion facility was so crowded that:
There was limited space in the waiting rooms. At one time during the day there were 15 people in the waiting room, with four standing due to lack of available seating. Staff told us that this was the usual situation. 
Finally, the abortion workers “expressed concern that they were assessed and bonuses were paid based on performance against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for patients.”

“Key Performance Indicators” is a term that means the intended number of abortions to be done on a given day. In plain language, the word used would be “quota.” This was a number set by the management. Staff members were given bonuses and evaluated based on whether or not they met the “key performance indictors” i.e., quotas, of abortions for each day. The inspectors said that “this corporate focus on achieving KPIs worked against the concept of patient choice.”

Although the lack of cleanliness, rushed schedule, poor “counseling,” and abortion quotas were the main things mentioned in the report, the inspectors also said workers were poorly trained and careless when administering anesthesia. The center was also criticized for sending patients, including teenagers, home unescorted after their abortions, even when they had not yet recovered from general anesthesia. Patients drove themselves home or tried to negotiate long bus routes while still under the influence of drugs given to sedate them.

There was very little Marie Stopes did, in the final report, that the inspectors did not find fault with. The overall picture was of a dirty, hazardous facility where women were pressured and rushed through their abortions. This latest example of rushed, biased counseling and unsterile premises fits with an overall pattern of profit-seeking and indifference to women’s health found in many abortion facilities today.

[Today's guest post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program.]

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

January Plans!


It's November first, and you know what that means: it's time to make your plans for all the Roe v. Wade anniversary protest events happening in January!

Friday, January 19
The March for Life in Washington, D.C.
As we have done every year since our founding, Secular Pro-Life will join the hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates marching down the National Mall to the Supreme Court in the March for Life. This event memorializes the millions of innocent lives lost to abortion as a result of Roe v. Wade, which the Court handed down on January 21, 1973. It sends a message to the Court, and to our elected officials, that we will not back down until the right to life is restored. And it is an opportunity for us to connect with one another, building relationships that will help us save lives together in the coming year. 

Of course, we will carry our giant, bright-blue, can't-miss banner that says "Secular Pro-Life: For the embryology textbook tells me so." Stay tuned for details about our meet-up location.

Saturday, January 20
This is a Catholic conference, and we've never been before. The 2018 theme is "(Ir)religiously Pro-Life: The Future of the Movement in a Secular World," and the conference organizers personally reached out to us to ensure that our voice is heard. We're excited to share our perspective with Catholic allies.

Saturday, January 20
TENTATIVE: Students for Life of America East Coast Conference in Upper Marlboro, MD
Secular Pro-Life has always loved the SFLA conference; it's a great opportunity to equip campus pro-life leaders with the tools they need to reach diverse audiences. We do have enough volunteers to exhibit at both the SFLA conference and the O'Connor conference simultaneously. Unfortunately, money is tight, and the price of an SFLA conference exhibit booth has gone up. If you want to see us at the SFLA East Coast Conference, please make a donation to help cover our expenses. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Saturday, January 28
Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco, CA
The Walk got started as an alternative for those who couldn't travel all the way to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life, but has blossomed into a fantastic event in its own right. Stay tuned for meet-up details. 

Sunday, January 29
This is the smaller and less expensive of SFLA's two conferences, and we will definitely be there. Come by our booth for free SPL literature you can use on your campus, and learn about our exciting upcoming projects! 

We hope to see you at one or more of the above events in January! Torn about whether or not to participate? Check out our photo albums from past years:
If you can't make it but support what we're doing, please consider a donating to help us through our costliest time of the year. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Prenatal Misdiagnosis: Joann's Story


My name is Joann Parlin. I became pregnant with my third child, Christina, in 1995. My pregnancy was high risk, but I didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t the first pregnant mother receive close monitoring; a lot of times it’s precautionary more than anything else.

I was four months along when at work one day I received a call from my doctor’s secretary saying that they had found “something” on my ultrasound and it “wasn’t good.” Later, they explained that they believed fluid was collecting on the back of Christina’s neck; if that were the case, she would not only be severely disabled, but her life expectancy would only be 18 years. They wanted me to have a level 2 ultrasound done.

During that ultrasound, I remember being so anxious and crying. Through glassy eyes I peeked at my baby girl, but I couldn’t bear to look at the image for too long. The doctor came back and told me that it was “inconclusive” and that they wanted to do amniocentesis. Knowing that there was a real possibility I could miscarry with this procedure, and already being high-risk, I flat-out refused. I asked the doctor: why would I risk my daughter’s life when it didn’t matter to me how she was born? He responded that it would allow me time to abort if I changed my mind and decided to do so. I told him that there was absolutely nothing that would have changed my mind about keeping her. We were in this together!

The pressure to follow the doctors’ orders was intense—both from doctors and from close loved ones—but I stood my ground. I felt good that I stood up for my baby and did what was right.

Four months later, on July 16th, I went into labour and delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl. She is now 21 and a newlywed. I beamed with pride Saturday, October 21st as I watched my daughter walk into the next chapter of her future.

It shakes me to the core to even think of those preborn children whose lives hang in the balance because of a medical opinion. Some of these babies are like my precious daughter and have absolutely nothing going on with them. To parents who find yourself in the position of a possible difficult prenatal diagnosis, or have already received one, let my story resound with you. Maybe the diagnosis is wrong, but even if it’s right, diagnoses can only give you textbook answers. Children defy the odds in wombs, doctors offices, and hospitals across the globe day-in and day-out. Take things day-by-day and get connected to resources to help you along the way. I can’t tell you what their life—or yours—will look like, but I can tell you that your babies deserve a chance to live out their lives.


[Today's guest post is the personal story of Joann Parlin as told to Feleica Langdon. It is part of our paid blogging program. Feleica is a provincial pro-life speaker in Newfoundland, founder of Life Defenders, and the regional coordinator in NL of Campaign Life Coalition working alongside the provincial coordinator, Margaret Hynes.]