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Thursday, May 24, 2018

It's wrong to vote on rights


In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued a then-novel decision legalizing same-sex marriage. In response, opponents of same-sex marriage pursued a state constitutional amendment nullifying the court's decision. To place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, however, they first had to go through the state legislature. One of the central arguments traditional marriage groups made to their legislators was a democratic one; the people should have a direct vote. LGBT citizens and their allies campaigned just as strongly, using the slogan "It's wrong to vote on rights." Ultimately, the LGBT groups carried the day, and the measure never appeared on the ballot.

"It's wrong to vote on rights" has been on my mind a lot lately as Ireland prepares to vote on the abortion referendum tomorrow. The 8th amendment to the Irish constitution, in place since 1983, provides: "The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right." The abortion lobby now asks Ireland to repeal the 8th amendment and strip the right to life from unborn children.

I won't belabor all the arguments in favor of voting no. You know them well. The tens of thousands of people alive today because of the 8th amendment... Ireland's stellar record on women's health, enjoying a far lower maternal mortality rate than its pro-abortion neighbors... the threat repeal poses to people with disabilities... and above all, the principles that all human beings are equal and might does not make right... all of these points and many more have been aptly made by the many wonderful Irish activists working to preserve their nation's pro-life legacy.

I can only affirm that it's wrong to vote on rights. It's fundamentally wrong to vote on fundamental rights like the right to life.

The fact that the referendum is happening at all is disgraceful. May Ireland redeem itself and soundly defeat this attack on human dignity. May Ireland save the 8th, and with it, countless lives.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Abortion Front and Center in the Nebraska Primaries


Last week, abortion supporter Kara Eastman narrowly defeated moderate former Representative Dan Ashford in the Democratic primary for Nebraska's second congressional district. Although Rep. Ashford was generally unfriendly to the rights of unborn children during his brief time in Congress, he did vote in favor of a 20-week abortion limit during his stint as a state-level lawmaker.

The Democratic Party's pro-abortion wing is prematurely ecstatic:
“Now we see, time and time again, that we do not need to abandon abortion in order to win,” Heidi Sieck, a Nebraska native and co-founder of #VoteProChoice, said after Eastman’s victory.
...which completely misses the point. No one is arguing that abortion industry favorites can't win Democratic primaries! That's commonplace. The argument is that abortion extremism hurts Democrats in the general election, which is probably one of the reasons why the national party backed Ashford.

Huffington Post author Daniel Marans writes that Eastman's "candidacy in the general election provides pro-choice liberals an opportunity to show that progressive Democrats are just as capable as moderates of winning in challenging territory." It also offers an opportunity to show exactly the opposite. If Eastman crashes and burns, abortion is likely to play a significant role.

Eastman's general election opponent will be Republican incumbent Representative Don Bacon, who narrowly defeated Ashford in 2016. Rep. Bacon is "proud to stand in defense of the unborn as a strong advocate for pro-life policies" and has the endorsements of various pro-life organizations.

Meanwhile, in the Nebraska Senate race, pro-life incumbent Senator Deb Fischer, who is a co-sponsor of the 20-week law, won her primary and will go up against Planned Parenthood candidate Jane Raybould.

The general election will take place on November 6.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Your donations are now tax-deductible!

Secular Pro-Life is thrilled to announce that our application for 501(c)3 status has been approved!

There has never been a better time to donate to Secular Pro-Life. We are gearing up for some major events next month: the launch of a brand-new project on June 15, the Pro-Life Women's Conference from June 22 through 24, and speaking at the National Right to Life Convention on June 30. On top of that, we're updating our print literature and amplifying our reach on social media.

And for the first time, your gift to Secular Pro-Life is completely tax-deductible!

If you appreciate Secular Pro-Life's unique role in the struggle to protect the youngest, most vulnerable human beings from destruction, please donate as you are able. We greatly appreciate your contributions, and will use them wisely to reach people that faith-based organizations cannot.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

New project launching June 15

In exactly one month, Secular Pro-Life will launch a new project. We are not at liberty to divulge the details yet, but if you join our facebook event, you'll be the first to know!

Special thanks are owed to the members of the project advisory board (organizational affiliations for identification purposes only):
  • Angel Armstead
  • Andrew Bair of Beltway Right to Life
  • Lauren Enriquez of Human Coalition
  • Beth Fox
  • Austin Johnson
  • Jenna King
  • Juliana Kriner
  • Valeria Lopez, returning from the #HelloHyde advisory board
  • Gina Mallica, returning from the #HelloHyde advisory board
  • Purity Thomas, pro-life teen activist known for being assaulted while sidewalk counseling
  • Tarquis Thomas, a/k/a Stargift Tarakasha, returning from the #HelloHyde advisory board (no relation to Purity Thomas)
  • Nia Robert
  • Albany Saindon
  • Rebecca Stapleford, who you may know from her guest writings on this blog
We can't wait to show you what we've been planning on June 15!

Monday, May 14, 2018

It's been five years since Kermit Gosnell's conviction


Yesterday, as pro-life advocates around the United States celebrated Mother's Day, Kermit Gosnell marked the five years of life as a convicted felon.

Gosnell, the notorious Philadelphia abortionist, was convicted on May 13, 2013 of three counts of murder, one count of manslaughter, and 211 counts of violating Pennsylvania's abortion waiting period law. The murder counts were for the deaths of three infants known only as Baby A, Baby C, and Baby D. The manslaughter count was for the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, a Bhutanese refugee who died after Gosnell administered her an overdose of sedatives during her abortion at 19 weeks.

Abortion advocates are sick of hearing about Gosnell. He was an outlier, they claim. Why are we still harping on this, five years later?

The truth is we have no idea if Gosnell was an outlier. He, like many others in states with abortion-friendly governors, operated without oversight for years. The reason he finally got caught? His over-prescription of narcotics caught the attention of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

That is part of a pattern. Time and time again, dangerous abortionists operate unimpeded for years, even decades, leaving a wide path of destruction in their wake. The abortion industry routinely refuses to police its own. To give just three examples (which are by no means the only ones):
  • Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari received a $10,000 slap on the wrist in the 2003 abortion death of Regina Johnson; horrifically botched an abortion in 2008; also in 2008, forced a woman to go through with an abortion after she had changed her mind; was cited for numerous health and safety violations in 2009; also in 2009, missed an ectopic pregnancy; and remained in practice until his retirement in 2013. 
  • James Pendergraft's medical license was suspended four separate times, but each time, he was allowed to resume his butchery. Like Gosnell, his downfall only came when he was caught dealing drugs—but even now, a Florida abortion facility affiliated with Pendergraft continues to operate without a license. 
  • Abortionist Steven Chase Brigham is so horrific, the vehemently pro-abortion blog RH Reality Check reported: "Since the early 1990s, public records show, Brigham’s patients have suffered emergency hysterectomies, severe bowel injuries, severed ureters, and sweeping lacerations to the uterus. Over a period of two decades, Brigham has been barred from practicing medicine in at least six states, sued by his landlords and business associates, and even served jail time for failing to pay taxes. And yet today, Brigham remains in control of a network of 15 abortion clinics in four states, and there appears little that most state authorities are able—or willing—to do about it."
Gosnell himself showed early signs of psychopathy on Mother's Day of 1972:
It was called the Mother’s Day Massacre—the brainchild of Harvey Karman, an eccentric California man without medical training who had served 2½ years in prison for performing illegal abortions in the 1950s. Karman teamed with a young Philadelphia doctor who offered to perform abortions on 15 impoverished women, each between four and six months pregnant, who were bused to the Philadelphia clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972.
What the women didn’t know was that they were guinea pigs for a device Karman had invented, which he called the “super coil.” He had tested it only on wartime rape victims in Bangladesh, where he had traveled under the sponsorship of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
That young Philadelphia doctor, of course, was Gosnell. The way the “Super Coil” worked was that a bunch of razors were coated with a protective gel and wrapped into a ball before being placed into the mother’s uterus. After warming up in the body, the gel would melt and the razors would spring open, cutting up the baby.
Of the 15 mothers who underwent the procedure, nine suffered serious complications, including one who needed a hysterectomy. Others had a punctured uterus, hemorrhage, infections and retained fetal remains. Karman’s conviction (only for practicing medicine without a license) was overturned and Gosnell totally got away with it. 
Imagine if Gosnell's license were revoked in 1972! Karnamaya Mongar, and tens of thousands of innocent children, might still be alive.

Justice delayed is justice denied. If health officials acted promptly to shut down abortionists upon their first offense, countless lives would be saved, and women would be spared injury and heartache.

Pro-life, pro-woman advocates are working hard to make that happen, but the usual suspects are fighting progress. Five years after Gosnell's conviction, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are in court, trying to eliminate an Indiana law that requires annual inspections of abortion centers and reporting of abortion complications.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Review: Ctrl Alt Delete

Last month, an independent journalist contacted Secular Pro-Life, asking for our thoughts on a web series called Ctrl Alt Delete. Its creators are strong abortion advocates with the stated goal of "normalizing" abortion "through the hahas." They also aim to dispel the stereotype that women who have abortions are irresponsible.

Each video in the series features a different woman pursuing abortion—except for a recurring character who is in the abortion facility waiting room every time. (I think this is supposed to be funny?) The episodes are quite short, so the seven-part series is only 20 minutes long.

As you probably guessed, Ctrl Alt Delete didn't bring the hahas for me. The agenda of "normalizing" the death of helpless children in the womb just doesn't tickle my funny bone for some reason.

And yet... I didn't totally hate it, either. The acting and production values are solid, and it's an interesting glimpse into abortion supporters' psychology.

The journalist asked me for my thoughts on how abortion was portrayed and what portrayals I would like to see from Ctrl Alt Delete in the future. At this point I don't know whether the proposed article will ever be published (I'll add a link if it is), so please allow me to share my thoughts:
In their quest to dispel stereotypes, the creators of Ctrl Alt Delete have completely neglected the most common reasons women have abortions; of all the characters, none felt pressured by others to have an abortion and only one cited financial insecurity. Of course, it's hard to create a comedy series that incorporates those tragic realities. The only way to portray abortion positively is to portray it falsely.
The conspicuous absence of any information about the child's development, and how abortion terminates the child's life, is irresponsible. 
The show also relies heavily on stereotypes about pro-lifers on the sidewalk. A more realistic depiction would, at a minimum, include offers of free assistance at a pregnancy center. 
On a positive note, I do appreciate that Ctrl Alt Delete included young people and women among the anti-abortion characters. I also appreciated the surprising move of putting a population control activist in the role of abortion counselor; most abortion supporters shy away from explicitly acknowledging that connection. 
In future episodes, I'd be curious to learn more about the "frequent flier" character. Why does she use abortion as her primary form of birth control? What are her interactions with the sidewalk advocates like? 
Watch the series for free here and give us your take in the comments.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

This Mother's Day, remember mothers in need

Mother's Day is this Sunday. We celebrate the birth mothers, the adoptive mothers, and all the women who have contributed to our lives. Let us also keep in mind those whose mothers or children have passed away, and others for whom Mother's Day can be a difficult time.

To honor all the mothers in your life, Secular Pro-Life encourages you to help mothers in need. Here are a few ideas.

Donate to your local pregnancy care center or diaper bank. Especially now that pregnancy care centers are under attack from organized "fake clinics" slander campaigns, it's crucial to ensure that low-income mothers are able to obtain baby supplies, parenting classes, job training, and all the other support they need to choose life.

Cornerstone Pregnancy Resource Center in Sioux City, Iowa, is particularly in need of your help. It suffered a fire late last month that destroyed its ultrasound machine and many other items. Cornerstone PRC is operated by Sue Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood manager. You can help by buying supplies via their Walmart registry.

Buy your Mother's Day gifts using Amazon Smile. Many pro-life non-profits are registered with Amazon Smile, which sends a portion of your purchase to the cause.

Give to a bail fund. Last year, activists organized a national campaign to bail out mothers from jail so they could celebrate Mother's Day with their families. While it does not appear that the nationwide campaign is repeating in 2018, you can do this on your own by giving to a bail fund and asking that your gift be directed to a mother. Bail funds cover bail for people who have been charged, but not convicted, of a crime and cannot afford to pay bail to enjoy freedom before trial. Here are links for bail funds in Massachusetts, Brooklyn, the BronxMemphis, Seattle, Chicago, and Connecticut.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Iowa passes heartbeat bill; abortion industry responds with desperation and lies


Last Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed historic legislation to prohibit abortions where the baby's heartbeat can be detected. The law includes exceptions for medical necessity, rape, and incest.

The heartbeat law will not immediately confer protection on any Iowa children. There will be a legal challenge, and the law will almost certainly be enjoined while the case is pending. And the abortion industry plaintiffs will succeed in the lower courts, which have no power to alter deviate from unjust precedents set by higher courts. Iowa lawmakers knew all of this when they cast their votes. This is a long-term strategy; it will take a couple of years for the law to reach the Supreme Court, by which time they hope that one or more of the older pro-abortion Justices will have been replaced with a pro-life Justice. If they're right, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Justice Kennedy, who has long provided the decisive fifth vote condemning preborn children to death, has been the subject of retirement rumors for years. He is 81 years old. The oldest member of the Court is 85-year-old Justice Ginsburg, a strong abortion advocate who will surely refuse to retire if there is any chance her replacement will recognize the right to life. Justice Breyer, also a reliable vote against pro-life legislation, is 79.

Even if the heartbeat law is ultimately killed by the courts, however, it still has some value as an educational tool. Recall that the pro-life movement pursued a ban on partial-birth abortion for well over a decade before it was finally upheld by the Supreme Court; during those years, partial-birth abortion was frequently in the news and the public was informed about the brutality of abortion methods. In the case of the heartbeat bill, we're educating the public about prenatal development. The heartbeat bill has forced abortion advocates to adopt the talking point that the heartbeat begins "around six weeks, before some women even know they're pregnant." It's impossible to reconcile that statement with the ignorant clump-of-cells view of abortion, or with prior pro-abortion obfuscation about when the heartbeat begins.

Abortion industry groups are caught off balance, as demonstrated by this unintentionally hilarious quote by a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood's Iowa affiliate:
“The bill weaponizes fetal heartbeat, which is by all accounts an arbitrary standard that bans abortion long before the point of fetal viability,” Lee said in an email to Reuters.
You guys. They think that heartbeats are "arbitrary" and that fetal viability isn't! I actually laughed out loud when I read that.

Another response from the abortion industry has been much less amusing. They've resorted to fearmongering, falsely telling Iowans that medical schools are required to teach abortions, and therefore the heartbeat law will cause the state's only ob/gyn residency program to lose its accreditation, and therefore the state's ob/gyn shortage will get worse.

Wait a second, you might be thinking. If every medical school has to do abortion training to be accredited, how are Catholic medical schools a thing? Right you are. There is a federal law that addresses this very issue: if an accrediting body penalizes a school for not teaching abortions, the school is deemed accredited anyway. But that fact didn't stop the Iowa City Press-Citizen from running an entire article based on the premise that the heartbeat bill could "effectively kill the only obstetrics and gynecology residency program in the state."

I brought this up with Robin Marty, who is one of the most honest pro-abortion journalists out there. You can read our twitter conversation here. Suffice to say, the article is indefensible and its authors, Aimee Breaux and Will Greenberg, should be ashamed of themselves.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Create|Encounter pro-life art contest seeks submissions


Create|Encounter, a project by our friends at Rehumanize International, is once again seeking submissions of artwork in any media (poetry, prose, painting, sculpture, music, you name it) that explores themes related to the value of human life. Abortion-related works are common, but since Rehumanize International is multi-issue, submissions concerning other forms of aggressive violence (including war, human trafficking, and abuse) are also welcome.

This is the second annual contest. I had the pleasure of seeing last year's winning works in person, and can testify that the pro-life movement is insanely talented. Those works are now posted online; check them out for inspiration!

Winners in select categories will receive free admission to the Life/Peace/Justice Conference, which will take place October 12-14 in Pittsburgh. All recognized works will be featured at the conference and in a special issue of the Life Matters Journal.

All guidelines can be found here, and the submission deadline is July 15. Get cracking!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Pro-life advocates call for Title X reform


Yesterday, a coalition of more than 85 anti-abortion organizations, led by the Susan B. Anthony List, sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, urging HHS to implement rules that disentangle abortion businesses from the Title X grant program. Secular Pro-Life was among the signatories. The letter was also signed by 41 Senators and 153 Representatives.

As we've previously noted, defunding Planned Parenthood is a complicated task in part because Planned Parenthood (and, to a lesser extent, other abortion vendors) takes advantage of multiple taxpayer funding streams. Title X is a family planning grant program that sends $50-60 million to Planned Parenthood each year, which is approximately ten percent of its annual taxpayer funding haul.

That wasn't always the case. During the Reagan administration, HHS required Title X grantees to comply with regulations that created a strong buffer between abortion and tax dollars. An abortion vendor that wanted a Title X family planning grant had to isolate its abortion activities from its legitimate healthcare activities. Specifically, they were required to "maintain an objective integrity and independence from the prohibited abortion activities by the use of separate facilities, personnel, and accounting records." The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this rule in Rust v. Sullivan, which remains good law.

Those regulations were rescinded by President Bill Clinton, but can be revived. Doing so is a relatively simple way to remove taxpayer subsidies of the nation's largest abortion chain.

The Susan B. Anthony List reports that fewer than one eighth of the 4,000+ Title X grantees nationwide are Planned Parenthoods, adding: "The Reagan-era regulations would not decrease funding for Title X by a single penny. Funds would instead be directed to service sites willing to comply." Already, abortion advocates and their media allies are misrepresenting the proposed regulation as a "cut" to Title X.