Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Hiatus

Traffic to the Secular Pro-Life blog tends to dip this time of year, as people travel and prioritize spending time with their families. Therefore, we will not have any blog posts this week. We wish a very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and we are very thankful that each and every one of our readers was born!

For those of you who are participating in Giving Tuesday, please consider a donation to our fundraiser for youth outreach at the March for Life.

Friday, November 16, 2018

March for Life Itinerary!

We are just two months away from the March for Life! Every January, the pro-life community gathers in Washington, D.C. to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It is a time for mourning, as we remember the many lives lost to abortion since 1973. It is also a time for organizing, as we strategize to save lives in the coming year. In particular, Secular Pro-Life takes this opportunity to (1) draw media attention to secular arguments against abortion, and (2) connect with pro-life youth activists and equip them to engage with people of any faith or none.

The March for Life and associated events are can’t-miss for Secular Pro-Life—and you can’t miss us either, as we carry our 14-foot-tall bright blue banner down the National Mall! We would love for you to join us. A tentative itinerary is below. However, our schedule is not finalized, as we still have some funding needs. You can help us meet those needs by making a donation.

Geaux Forth Youth Rally
Date: Thursday, January 17, 2019
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Warner Theater
Description: The Geaux Forth Youth Rally is a gathering of pro-life teens and young adults sponsored by Louisiana Right to Life
Funding Needs: $175 for exhibit booth

Rehumanize Meetup
Date: Friday, January 18, 2019
Time: 10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Location: Mall side of the Smithsonian Castle, Washington, D.C.
Description: Before the March for Life, join us for a mini-rally with various allied organizations, hosted by our friends at Rehumanize International. Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard will speak at the meetup.
Funding Needs: Covered

March for Life
Date: Friday, January 18, 2019
Time: Noon
Location: National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Description: March with us down Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court to protest the injustice of abortion and demand the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Funding Needs: Covered

Karaoke Fundraiser
Date: Friday, January 18, 2019
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Location: TBA
Description: Last year’s joint karaoke fundraiser with Rehumanize International was a hit, so we’re doing it again! Practice your song in the shower and get ready to belt it out for a great cause.
Funding Needs: Covered

Students for Life of America National Conference
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: All day
Location: Upper Marlboro, MD
Description: Approximately 2,700 students from colleges and high schools all over the country gather at this event to learn from seasoned activists—and, of course, take home materials they can use on their campuses!
Funding Needs: $2,000 for exhibit booth

Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: All day
Location: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Description: This Catholic-focused student conference has invited Secular Pro-Life to exhibit and offer attendees a different perspective. We want every pro-life person, including those who belong to a church, to know how to make the secular case against abortion!
Funding Needs: $200 for exhibit booth

January is the most expensive time of the year for us. In total, we need to raise $2,375. Any additional funds raised will be invested in extra pamphlets and other educational materials which we distribute to students for free. Please contribute as you are able. Your support for Secular Pro-Life is greatly appreciated.

For Life,
Kelsey Hazzard
President of Secular Pro-Life

P.S. – If you happen to live in the D.C. area and would like to open your home to Secular Pro-Life, please contact us! Every dollar we do not have to spend on a hotel is a dollar we can put toward our other March for Life expenses. Thank you for your generosity.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Responding to "My Body Is My Own" Video

Imagine a video featuring various people talking about how happy they were to be alive. They shared how they had narrowly survived car accidents, cancer, attempted murder by an abusive partner, and other near-death experiences. They danced and sang and declared their intention to make every moment count, while upbeat music played in the background. And at the very end of the video, there's a logo for... an anti-abortion group.

What would you make of such an ad? The most generous thing you might say is that while it conveys a positive message about the value of life generally, it misses some pretty key elements of the abortion debate. Less generously, you might denounce it as manipulative, and as shamelessly exploiting good causes to draw attention to something else entirely.

The reason I ask is because Planned Parenthood recently came out with the pro-choice version of that hypothetical video, entitled "My Body Is My Own."

For those of you who can't watch the video, it features people of various ages, races, abilities, and gender identities (primarily women and girls) responding to the prompt "My body is my own when..." Answers include "when I can embrace my imperfections," "when people say I'm a good friend," "when I'm boxing," "when I'm dancing," and my personal favorite, because it is a goal I have yet to achieve, "when I can parallel park really fast." Interview segments touch on such worthwhile topics as gender stereotyping, body image, and bullying.

And at the very end, there is the Planned Parenthood logo.

No mention of contraception. No mention of pregnancy. No mention of sexual health. And of course, no mention of the lethal practice of abortion, beyond a vague reference to "making decisions."

Four years ago, I wrote:
If not "pro-choice" (and not, they vehemently protest, "pro-abortion"), what do they want to be called? The answers vary, but there's a common theme: they want to ride on the coattails of genuine good causes. In an Alternet piece, Planned Parenthood talks about supporting "economic security," while abortion advocate Monica Simpson, whose efforts are focused on the Black community, wants to link abortion to a "safe and healthy environment" for children and freedom from domestic violence. And of course, there's the time-tested method of hiding abortion in the tent of "women's health." 
... Based on the signals we're getting from pro-choice media commentators, we need to be particularly vigilant in our charitable endeavors. Pro-lifers are as active in charitable organizations as anybody else, so we have the ability to impede the pro-choice strategy here. Whatever causes you are involved in, be on the lookout for activists looking to co-opt them in the name of abortion—and when it happens, speak out against it, quickly and loudly!
With this video, Planned Parenthood's co-opt strategy has officially jumped the shark.

Friday, November 9, 2018

New Project (You Can Volunteer From Home!)

Secular Pro-Life is launching a new volunteer project. Helping out is incredibly easy: all you need is a positive attitude and an internet connection. You do not have to donate money or leave your house. It doesn't even take more than five minutes—but if we get enough participants, we could have a significant impact on the abortion industry.

I can't share more than that in a public setting, so if you're interested, request to join this closed facebook group.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Election Highlights

Ballot Measures
Alabama voted to enshrine the right to life for unborn children in the state constitution. Abortion will continue to be legal there under federal law, but the amendment could become relevant when Roe v. Wade is overturned. Also, in some cases, abortion activist judges have used state constitutions to invalidate federally approved abortion limits like waiting periods and informed consent; that avenue is closed off in Alabama.

West Virginia also passed an amendment designed to combat the activist-judge problem: "Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion." This overturns a state supreme court decision that required taxpayer funds to support abortion of babies conceived to mothers on Medicaid.

Oregon, being Oregon, rejected a measure that would have ended taxpayer funding of abortion.

House of Representatives
Democrats needed to pick up at least 23 seats to take control of the House. As of this writing, they have gained 26, with an additional 23 races too close to call. Sadly, these new Democratic Representatives are all expected to vote in line with abortion industry interests. (A few pro-life Democratic incumbents won re-election, such as Dan Lipinski of Illinois.)

As of this writing, the GOP has gained two Senate seats, for a total of 51. This secures the Republicans' majority in the 100-person body, making it less likely that the GOP will need to use Vice President Pence as a tie-breaking vote. Pro-life political groups prioritized the Senate, knowing that Republican Senators are likely to make life-friendly judicial appointments. Three Senate races are too close to call:
  • Arizona, where Martha McSally (R) leads Kyrsten Simena (D)  
  • Florida, where Rick Scott (R) leads Bill Nelson (D)
  • Montana, where Matt Rosendale (R) leads Jon Tester (D)
Mississippi presents one final opportunity, as no candidate won a majority of the votes cast. The two leading candidates, Cindy Hyde-Smith (R, 41.5%) and Mike Espy (D, 40.6%) will proceed to a run-off.

Democrats gained, and Republicans lost, the governor's mansion in seven states: Illinois (where the incumbent Republican was pro-abortion), Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. Alaska (Republican leading), Connecticut (Democrat leading), and Georgia (Republican leading) have not been called.

Monday, November 5, 2018

November 6 is Election Day

Unless you're one of the estimated 20 million Americans who have participated in early voting, tomorrow (November 6) is the big day. If you are eligible to vote, Secular Pro-Life encourages you to research your candidates and cast an informed vote. Voters in Alabama, Oregon, and West Virginia will also have an opportunity to vote on abortion-related ballot measures.

Secular Pro-Life is a 501(c)(3), which means we cannot endorse candidates. (Even before we obtained 501(c)(3) status, we refrained from political endorsements for various reasons; long story short, it's not our wheelhouse.) However, we can share information and advocate on issues.

In particular, we feel it's important to note that anti-abortion legislation has a proven track record. Abortion advocates sometimes claim that pro-life laws don't actually prevent abortions, in an effort to demoralize us, but the more honest among them acknowledge that pro-life laws do work. Research has established the efficacy of informed consent, parental consent, and other common abortion limits. A single pro-life law—the Hyde Amendment, a limitation on federal funding of abortion first established in 1976 and renewed as a budget rider every year since—has saved the lives of more than two million Americans.

To find out where your candidates stand on abortion-related legislation, check out these resources:
Those who are the most impacted by abortion are too young to vote. Remember them as you cast your ballot.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Unique From Day One: Pro-Life is Pro-Science

For decades, the abortion industry has depicted the pro-life cause as a narrow, out-of-touch religious crusade. As an atheist pro-life advocate, I know better. I am proud to work alongside compassionate people of every faith and none. We are a human rights movement, protecting human beings in the womb from senseless destruction and offering their parents empowering, peaceful solutions.

That is why I was so thrilled when the March for Life announced that the 2019 theme is Unique From Day One: Pro-Life is Pro-Science.

You’ve probably heard the slogan “facts don’t care about your feelings.” It’s meant to be a bit snarky, but I find it beautiful. If facts don’t care about your feelings, they also don’t care who you are, where you’re from, how much money you make, what color your skin is, or whether or how you pray. Scientific facts have the power to transcend political and theological differences. The scientific method is radically inclusive, giving everyone the ability to discover truth.

You were once a zygote. Every person you have ever met and will ever meet was once a zygote. The birth canal does not magically confer humanity. Abortion stops a beating heart. These are the facts, and we proclaim them confidently!

Sadly, pseudoscientific notions like eugenics are still with us. The abortion industry still takes advantage of uneducated people with lies about “clumps of cells” and “balls of tissue.” Scientific progress does not reach everyone instantaneously. It is up to us spread the truth, until the day abortion is unthinkable for everyone.

I’ll be in Washington, D.C. to support the pro-life, pro-science message on January 18. Won’t you join me?

[This piece by Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard was originally published on the March for Life blog.]

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

We asked, you answered: How to avoid burnout?

A Secular Pro-Life supporter wrote to us seeking the community's advice. On her behalf, we shared:
One of our followers is very involved in the pro-life movement, including working for a pregnancy resource center. Sometimes she feels worn out and discouraged by the abortion issue. What advice do you have for pro-life activists when they feel overwhelmed?
Our facebook fans gave many excellent responses. Here are a few of our favorites:

Kim G.: When you’re getting info out there, whether written or spoken, remember all the silent individuals greatly moved by your message. There are more of them than the loud-mouthed haters. You are strong enough to stand up to them where others may not be. But a strong, silent group of supporters are there in the shadows.

Rebecca G.: Listen to positive music (I have found that music is highly transformative for the mood, in whatever direction you choose, good or bad), and surround yourself with friends. A night out talking about something else, a pedicure, or some other kind of self- pamper. Let some steam out of the pot so you can get back at it when the time comes. And know you aren’t alone!! We’re all here rooting for the same cause, and for compassionate workers like yourself!!

Lauren E.: I watch a movie or do something that takes my mind off of it for a few hours. But sometimes there are seasons where I just feel EXHAUSTED and you have to push through it. I think part of ending the genocide is being the side that doesn't give up no matter how hard it gets.

Tanya S.: Take care of someone else who may also be discouraged in the pro-life movement. Send a card or a gift card. Send their organization a donation and a thoughtful word. Make it a habit, and do it double time in moments of discouragement. If we all do this, we're all going to be cared for.

Nora B.: When you feel bad emotionally, take care of your body first. Eat, sleep, exercise, breathe. If the problem is still there, you’ll be in a much better frame of mind to address it.

Lydia R.: So I’m in the field of science and medicine, and you probably know how they feel when they lose patients. It’s hard to see the good we’ve done when we’re surrounded by evil. Evil is natural, and everything you do to combat it is unnatural and wears you out. So you can’t focus on the evil. Instead, focus on how you’ve held evil back — how many people you’ve helped. Not how many you’ve lost.

Krista R.: Self-care is necessary in the pro-life movement! For me, that includes time with loved ones, doing what I love, sleeping and eating well, and taking introverted time for myself when needed!!

Monday, October 29, 2018

We asked, you answered: What would you do to save lives if you won the lottery?

During the lottery hoopla last week, which concluded after the winning Mega Millions ticket was purchased in South Carolina and winning Powerball tickets were purchased in Iowa and New York, we asked our facebook fans: "What would you do to save and improve human lives with $1 billion?" Here are a few of our favorite answers.

[Note: Secular Pro-Life does not take a position on the morality or wisdom of state-run lotteries; we were just being topical. If you struggle with compulsive gambling, we encourage you to seek help.]

Destiny H.: Build a pro-life full service women’s healthcare version of Planned Parenthood, that offers everything but abortion. Plant one in every major city across the United States.

Nora B.: Start a progressive whole-life super PAC. Also, give a pile of money to Secular Pro-Life, New Wave Feminists, Rehumanize International, Abide Women's Health Services and any other pro-woman, pro-life organization I could find.

Clare F.: Open homes for young single mothers where they can live in community, share childcare and household responsibilities, while each works and/or goes to school. A self-sufficient community of single mothers.

Shannon L.: I would support my local pregnancy center really well. It would be nice to see them turn into a full-scale OB/GYN clinic attached to a good hospital. Beyond anything else, I think pregnancy centers having their own OB/GYNs on staff that can provide the full range of care would be one of the best ways to improve the lives of pregnant women in crisis pregnancies. If a pregnant woman could develop a doctor/patient relationship with a good physician that will see her through the pregnancy, postpartum, and even beyond into regular care she could always feel connected to the pregnancy center as long as she needs them, even if it means calling them for assistance with finding daycare, preschool, and other early childhood needs. 

Though not as blatantly pro-life, I would also want to be a strong supporter of ag education. I think learning to raise and care for animals and plants is a good way to safely introduce young children to how delicate life is in a controlled environment. It is vital for kids to understand why being a good caregiver is important no matter what you may be caring for. A child cannot be in charge of human life, but learning responsibility for plants and animals is developmentally appropriate.

Noreen T.: Put a blue bus (mobile pregnancy center) outside every abortion clinic in Texas.

Linda P.: Start a college that caters exclusively to struggling parents that is completely not-for-profit, with all internship credits being earned through entry-level paid positions, so kind of a staffing company/college/home for unwed mothers/family counseling thing.

Rachel E.: I honestly thought about it and thought I’d give a fair bit to Secular Pro-Life.

Amanda C.: Create jobs. Financial difficulties are often cited as the reason for an abortion.

Beth T.: Labor and postpartum doulas for all mothers who can’t afford them, especially mothers pregnant with their first. It’s a huge transition that requires certain education/skills, assistance, and is associated with a million and one questions of all kinds.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Thoughts on Oregon Measure 106

There are many pro-choicers who I have heard accusing pro-lifers of incrementalism—saying that they can’t give into something like a national third trimester ban, because pro-lifers wouldn’t stop at that. Once pro-lifers attained that, they would keep pushing for more and more, until the right to end the life of a fetus was completely lost. I do think that if this country could attain European-style limits on abortion (i.e. a limit somewhere mid-second trimester) the pro-life movement would lose its critical mass to be effective; mild pro-lifers just don’t get as riled up when the humans in question for extermination don’t look very much like a baby. But I don’t think these accusations are without merit. I certainly would still be politically anti-abortion, and I know many other activists would be as well.

But I think what doesn’t get talked about so much is the incrementalism of pro-choicers as well. The conversation among pro-choicers is often cast in the veneer of protecting Roe v. Wade, but that’s not all it is about these days. It is about pushing for more and more on the side of being able to kill your offspring in fetus form. Nowhere was this more evident in the recent decision by the Democratic Party to include in its platform, an effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions.

I feel like this incrementalism is apparent even more so on the state level. In some states, we see forces like planned parenthood decrying “anti-choice” for requiring clinic regulations that would ultimately likely result in the closure of those non-complying clinics. A common refrain from pro-choicers is that it’s not like the government pays for abortions, so the pro-life movement should just back down and let people do what they want.

But that is not what is being said in my state of residence. Oregon, one of the few states to allow abortion up to the moment of birth, also has the distinction that state funds most certainly can be used to pay for these abortions. For whatever reason.

Enter Measure 106. This measure would put an end to all state funding of elective abortions. (Medical allowances would remain.) It’s been tried before and failed. Twice.

In this extreme pro-abortion rights state, this is what counts as where the battle line is drawn. Not requirements of hospital access. Not term limits. Not parental consent. There are none of those laws here. The battle line is drawn about whether or not a person should be compelled to pay for the killing of someone else’s unborn child.

Dear pro-choicers, of whom, I feel so many do mean well,

Not forcing your opposition to pay for the thing they are so strongly against, I feel like, is the tiniest, most basic of bones you could toss them. It is the very least you could do to try to get over this huge rift in our country and get to something to quell the useless moralistic outrage on both sides. The people against Measure 106 are my friends and neighbors of course, so it kills me when I can chat with them about how we don’t want to fund the next blood-for-oil war, and that it is unjust that we should do so, only to then have them later justify their opposition of 106 with a shrug and an “everyone has to pay for things they don’t believe in”. It so completely demonstrates to me how pro-choice activism ratchets up to pro-abortion through incrementalism.

So to me, I have come to a new frame of mind as a result of this local conversation. While I to believe it to be unjust, I personally have less political will to fight policy about RU-486, or super early term abortions. But I know we in the pro-life movement must treat those causes with as much seriousness as elective third trimester abortions. Because once the pro-choice side wins on that, they won’t clap their hands and go home. Next up, they will be demanding abortion up to birth in every state, then that every tax payer pay on demand for anyone to kill their child for any reason.

[Today's guest post by KB is par of our paid blogging program.]