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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

SPL at the Californians For Life Summit 2016

This weekend, I had the fantastic opportunity to once again join pro-life leaders from all over my state for the Californians For Life Summit 2016! It was held in sunny (and very hot for this San Francisco girl) Pasadena. The summit is held every summer in various locations, but this year was the first year it was open to the public, so we can post about it!

While I am primarily a representative of SPL, I am also the president of Pro-Life Future San Francisco, so the event coordinator, Wynette Sills, strategically placed me at a table between Pro-Life Future Orange County and our pro-life ally Life Matters Journal!

Last year, when I attended, I was part of the cultural outreach group, along with the outstanding Pastor Walter Hoye and his wife Lori Hoye from the Issues4life Foundation. This year we were offered an opportunity to present again. My presentation addressed the mission of Secular Pro-Life, as well as the history of secularists within the pro-life movement. I called upon the group to embrace a more inclusive approach in their advocacy. The moment I said “I am a pro-life atheist” I had the attention of the entire room. It was packed, and it was kind of amazing.
  
  
                         Yours truly with the Hoyes!

After that, each organization represented had an opportunity to introduce their cause. I used that time to discuss the #HelloHyde campaign, a social media campaign to combat opponents of the lifesaving Hyde Amendment! This was met with tons of applause.

Finally, I was invited to participate in a panel featuring “Ordinary People Making an Extraordinary Effort For Life”. The panel consisted of all young pro-life leaders and it was so inspiring hearing their heroic stories and efforts made in the name of life. It was an honor to be featured. I spent the time I was given to discuss the role non-traditional pro-lifers play when swaying people who maybe have never thought too much about abortion. I also stressed the importance of political, sexual, and racial diversity. 

   
                            Pro-life-ing like a boss

We even had a couple SPL fans there! One in particular really made my day saying she has followed us for some time and recognized me from our posts! I mean, guys, I don’t do it for the fame, but that was so cool!

So many thanked us for being there. In the end when the attendees joined hands to pray, one man offered to stand with me during the prayer and he didn’t pray out loud with the group. It felt almost as if he were standing in solidarity with us.

As I left the building, people continued to reach out and offer their support for our cause. I look forward to working with these brave pro-life people in the coming year to end abortion in California.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Senator Tim Kaine, the "Personally Pro-Life" Politician


Democratic Senator and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine has a 100% rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood. That tells us everything we need to know. But for the sake of discourse, let's examine some of Kaine's statements on abortion:
I have a traditional Catholic personal position, but I am very strongly supportive that women should make these decisions and government shouldn't intrude.
In linking his "personally pro-life" beliefs to Catholicism and Catholicism alone, Kaine repeats a stereotype that the abortion lobby has promulgated for decades. If Kaine's "traditional Catholic" upbringing were his sole reason for opposing abortion, then his politically pro-choice stance would be an affirmation of the separation of church and state. The government shouldn't "intrude" upon anything just for the sake of enforcing a religious doctrine.

But where reason and religion happen to converge—as they do in laws against theft, for example—government action is entirely appropriate. As many Catholics acknowledge, opposition to abortion is supported by reason as well as doctrine. That's why pro-life atheists like me exist. The science of prenatal development will not be found in scripture, and it is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that provides "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Not those who are old enough, not those who are conscious, not those who can live independently, not those who are wanted, but everyone.

Perhaps this is simply ignorance on Kaine's part. Perhaps he truly doesn't know why non-Catholics oppose abortion. Perhaps he simply accepts the Catholic position as what he is supposed to believe and leaves it at that. That intellectual laziness is not a promising characteristic for someone a heartbeat away from leadership of the United States.

If that is the case, and Kaine's "personal opposition" to abortion truly doesn't go beyond shallow parroting of a religious doctrine, another problem arises. Kaine was not always beholden to the abortion lobby. He used to have the endorsement of Democrats for Life of America (see here and here for how he lost it). As governor of Virginia he supported some moderate pro-life legislation, including informed consent, parental consent, and the partial-birth abortion ban. If his only reasons for doing so at the time were religious reasons, then he doesn't understand church-state separation.

I don't actually think Senator Kaine is ignorant. I think he knows exactly why abortion is wrong, he understands the separation of church and state, and he abandoned the cause of helpless children for the sake of political power.
I'm a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions. In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don't need to make people's reproductive decisions for them.
In other words: Priorities, people! Over a million people die in abortions every year, but the government has too much on its plate to address that. Things more important than doing something about unborn children being torn limb from limb include "protecting animals and wildlife" because "the way our society treats animals is a reflection our humanity." I kid you not, that's straight from the Clinton/Kaine campaign website.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Pro-life, but unwilling to say so


Better late than never on this story. Three weeks ago, Students for Life of America (SFLA) launched a new research initiative: the Institute for Pro-Life Advancement. Its focus is on polling and finding the best ways to convey the pro-life message. Its first paper, on Millennials' abortion views, is enlightening.

A central finding was that the majority of Millennials favor pro-life policies, including total or near-total abortion bans. Yet many hesitate to call themselves "pro-life." The report surmises that Millennials "don't want to associate themselves with the pro-life label" and suggests that we need to rebrand, but has little to say about the underlying causes. That's understandable; they didn't poll people about their reasons for denying their pro-life identity, and pure speculation doesn't belong in a think-tank-style white paper.

We're free to speculate, though, and my educated guess is that it has a lot to do with the idea that being pro-life means being anti-gay. That's not true, but countless "family values" groups have linked "life and marriage" to the detriment of life. In a not unrelated vein, there's the stereotype that you have to be religious to be pro-life. Obviously, Secular Pro-Life is hard at work on that!

The section on abortion advocates' rebranding as compassionate islands in a sea of "stigma" is an interesting read. The abortion movement's blatant reliance on emotional appeals creates an opening for us to be the movement of facts. This doesn't only mean scientific advocacy like educating people about prenatal development (which we should keep doing), but also on pointing out the basic reality that a lot of people walking around today would be dead if the "compassionate" abortion lobby had its way.

The Institute for Pro-Life Advancement also recommends that we continue voicing our feminist objections to abortion. Given the success of last month's Pro-Life Women's Conference, I have no doubt the pro-life movement will do exactly that. The Supreme Court may be hostile to our concern for women's health, but there are other arenas where we can make a difference, starting with our local pregnancy centers and maternity homes.

Put another way:


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#HelloHyde Thanks You!

On Monday, we finally went public with our #HelloHyde campaign to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment on September 30. (Go ahead and read that if you haven't already, so you don't get confused by the rest of this post.)

The response was incredible. You facebook shared and tweeted the hell out of it. Numerous leaders and organizations, both secular and religious and from all parts of the country, have come on board. We received excellent coverage in pro-life media outlets, including LifeNews and Live Action News. After working on this in secret for so long, it's a thrill to see the positive response to #HelloHyde. Thank you all so much!

There's still a lot of work to be done between now and September 30, and we have lots of volunteer opportunities! We need:
  • Video editors to help us with the next phase of promotion. Email info@secularprolife.org if you are willing to offer your video skills for free or at a reduced rate.
  • People born through the Medicaid program to submit their #HelloHyde photos. Note that this is open to all Medicaid babies, even if your mom was pro-life and you were never at risk for abortion. We are going to put the photos in context with a statistic: 1 out of every X people born through Medicaid would have been aborted if not for the Hyde Amendment. (The statistical analysis is being done by our allies at the Charlotte Lozier Institute and will be publicized later this summer.) Get your #HelloHyde name tag and instructions at HelloHyde.org.
  • Everyone to sign up for email updates at HelloHyde.org.
We'd also like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves. Your #HelloHyde board is a motley crew consisting of:
  • Gina Mallica (Medicaid kid): Gina graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors in Animal Science in 2012. It was there that she caught the pro-life fervor and served as the president of the UF Pro-Life Alliance. In her spare time she is an avid blogger and actively involved in her church, especially in missions. She lives in South Florida with her husband and cat.
  • Stargift Thomas (Medicaid kid): Stargift is a priestess and witch in training under the Pagan faith. She is currently in the process of applying to the nursing program at Lone Star College. She has aspirations to further her education to become a Nurse Midwife. Stargift has a strong attachment to pregnant women and preborn children, vowing to the Goddess to serve them. She is the mother of two children; a son lost in the womb and a three-year-old daughter. She currently resides in Houston. 
  • Valerie Lopez (Medicaid mom): Valerie is a "super senior" at Texas A&M International University working on her last few classes to achieve a BA in English. She's a mother, wife, and future educator. Her personal hobbies are dancing, reading, and working to advance the pro-life movement in any way she can.
  • Kelsey Hazzard (Ally coordinator): Kelsey is the president of Secular Pro-Life. She obtained her B.A. from the University of Miami and her law degree from the University of Virginia. She is a Students for Life of America Defender of Life Award winner and has appeared in numerous media outlets, including NPR, LifeNews, and Buzzfeed.
People from different faith backgrounds coming together for the right to life—that's what Secular Pro-Life is all about!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Abortion business confirms need for safety regulations


It's been a while since we wrote anything for our "Website Under Deconstruction" series. This series explores falsehoods and evasions in the websites of abortion businesses. Previous installments of the Website Under Deconstruction series have profiled businesses in Portland (OR), Orlando, Chicago, Missoula (MT), Robbinsdale (MN), Cleveland, Montgomery, Phoenix, and Pensacola. Today's installment takes us to Queens, NY.

I came across the website for Liberty Women's Health Care via a Google ad while doing some general abortion research. The URL struck me: saferabortion.com. As an attorney, my educated guess was that the "r" in "safer" was key to avoid liability for misrepresentation when they kill or maim a patient. I was intrigued and clicked.

I'm so glad I did, because it's an eye-opener. Try to ignore the horrid web design and focus on the content, in which Liberty bashes its back-alley competitors (all emphasis and red type in original):
Unlike other facilities, we use ultrasound before, during, and after the first and second trimester abortions, as well as at the follow-up visit, to ensure the safety of our patients and completeness of the procedure. We have the most current, accurate,state-of-the-art ultrasound machines on-site, including multi-frequency abdominal and vaginal probes, which allow even the very earliest pregnancies to be diagnosed accurately, and not poor quality, obsolete ultrasound machines found at other facilities. Our board-certified OB/GYN physician is an expert at OB/GYN ultrasound, which is very important, since the quality and accuracy of the ultrasound is greatly dependent on both the quality of the equipment and the skill of the person doing the ultrasound.
We use only sterilized surgical instruments and sterile, one-use-only, disposable plastic uterine curettes, unlike some unsanitary "bargain" clinics that reuse these curettes and do not practice safety, cleanliness, and sterility, such as ones in Jackson Heights, the South Bronx, or downtown Brooklyn.
For the added convenience of our patients, we provide safer early surgical abortions starting from the very earliest that the pregnancy can be seen by ultrasound, in contrast to other facilities that do not perform early abortions. A surgical abortion can be done safely only if the pregnancy can be definitely seen inside the uterus on careful ultrasound exam. The lower limit of visualization of a pregnancy by ultrasound is 4 weeks, 0 days by menstrual age (approximately 2 weeks after conception or approximately 1 week after implantation of the embryo into the endometrium, the lining of the uterus). Below 4 weeks, a pregnancy cannot be visualized by ultrasound even with multi-frequency vaginal probes (which we use); therefore, a safe surgical abortion is not possible below 4 weeks. Please beware of some unethical clinics that falsely claim to do surgical abortions at 3 weeks, which is definitely not safe to attempt, since the pregnancy cannot be seen at 3 weeks. If the pregnancy cannot be visualized inside the uterus by vaginal ultrasound, the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus usually in a fallopian tube) must be recognized, and these patients must be followed closely and carefully with serial blood tests to measure the quantitative beta-HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin or pregancy hormone) levels and vaginal sonograms. An ectopic pregnancy can be a life-threatening emergency, and patients must be followed promptly and carefully. Ectopic pregnancies are often difficult to detect. Our board-certified OB/GYN physician is skilled at diagnosing and treating ectopic pregnancies with state-of-the-art surgical and non-surgical methods.
This is rich. Ultrasound is necessary for patient safety? Abortion businesses don't always sterilize their instruments? There are quack abortionists out to make a quick buck? You don't say.

It gets even better. Liberty goes on to brag that its abortionist has hospital privileges. It also claims to be accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care—which would mean it meets ambulatory surgical standards like the ones struck down by the Supreme Court—although I could find no evidence of Liberty's accreditation on the AAAHC website. Either way, by linking hospital privileges and ambulatory surgical regulations to patient safety, Liberty has violated a major pro-choice talking point.

The abortion industry denies that health and safety regulations are necessary and insists that it is capable of regulating itself... until, that is, it's financially beneficial to say the opposite.

Monday, July 18, 2016

#HelloHyde Campaign Launches Today


For months, we've hinted at an upcoming campaign to support the Hyde Amendment. Today, we finally go public. Our press release is below.

The short version: we are going to flood the internet with photos of people who have been born through the Medicaid program. These are the voices that matter most, because a significant fraction of young Medicaid recipients would be dead today if not for the Hyde Amendment. In fact, the Hyde Amendment is credited with preventing over a million abortions.

The big event is September 30 (the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment's enactment), but we need your help today. Here are three things you can do right now to support #HelloHyde:
  1. Ask your parents if you were born through the Medicaid program. If the answer is yes, get your #HelloHyde name tag and submit your photo at HelloHyde.org!
  2. Tell your friends about #HelloHyde. If you have a large group wanting to participate in the photo campaign, we can send you bulk name tags. Contact us at info@secularprolife.org. 
  3. Sign up for email updates at HelloHyde.org.
  4. Make a donation so we can reach more people through paid advertising. 
For the abortion lobby, every person whose life is saved by the Hyde Amendment represents a financial loss. It's no surprise the Hyde Amendment is under constant attack. We cannot be silent. Thank you so much for your dedication.


#HELLOHYDE CAMPAIGN TO CELEBRATE 
40TH ANNIVERSARY OF LIFE-SAVING HYDE AMENDMENT

Pro-life advocates led by Medicaid recipients announced the launch of #HelloHyde, a social media campaign to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment, which restricts taxpayer funding of abortion through the Medicaid program, has prevented over a million abortions since its enactment in 1976.

The #HelloHyde campaign features photographs of people born through the Medicaid program over the past forty years.  Medicaid recipients can submit their photos at HelloHyde.org.

“I received Medicaid care as a baby, so the Hyde Amendment is incredibly important to me,” said #HelloHyde spokeswoman Gina Mallica. “Low-income children deserve a chance at life, not a government-subsidized death.”

Fellow spokeswoman Stargift Thomas, who was born through the Medicaid program in 1991, agreed. “For forty years, the Hyde Amendment has affirmed that lives like mine are worth living,” she said.

The fortieth anniversary of the Hyde Amendment will take place on September 30, 2016.

The Hyde Amendment is an annual rider to the federal budget.  It prohibits federal funding of abortion through the Medicaid program, with exceptions for rape and the life of the mother.  It has passed Congress with bipartisan support every year since 1976.

But the longstanding compromise between pro- and anti-abortion groups has been threatened in recent months.  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, and repeal is also a plank in the proposed Democratic party platform.

“The repeal efforts are offensive to the many Americans who owe their lives to the Hyde Amendment,” Mallica said. “The #HelloHyde campaign puts faces to this life-or-death issue.”

But despite well-funded opposition, #HelloHyde campaigners are optimistic.

“This is a time to celebrate,” Thomas said. “The Hyde Amendment has saved over a million lives and we are confident that it will save many more in the future.”

The #HelloHyde campaign is coordinated by Secular Pro-Life, an organization that unites people of every faith and no faith to promote the right to life.

Say #HelloHyde to Stargift. She is a pagan priestess and a student aspiring to be a nurse midwife (CNM). She is a pro-life activist, LGBT supporter, and Afrocentric advocate.

Say #HelloHyde to Gina. She is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and became a pro-life activist while attending the University of Florida.
 # # #

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No, most late-term abortions are not medically necessary.

When it comes to The Abortion Debate, both sides often try to focus on facets which make the opposition look worst. For example, pro-lifers like to talk about late-term abortions. Pro-choicers like to talk about rape and medically necessary abortions. Both of these are small fractions of all abortions. Nevertheless, they all warrant thoughtful responses.

It's not uncommon for pro-choicers to sincerely believe that most late-term abortions are done for medically necessary reasons. After all, 97% of pro-choicers and 69% of pro-lifers support the legal option of abortion when the woman's life is in danger. Likewise 96% and 68% support it when "the woman's physical health is endangered" (2011 Gallup).

Claiming late-term abortion is usually done out of medical necessity may help counter the public’s overwhelming disapproval of the practice: 64% of all US citizens believe abortion should be illegal in the 2nd trimester, 80% in the third trimester (2013 Gallup). Note that second trimester is week 13 to 26; definitions of "late term" vary, most I've seen include anywhere from 16 to 20 weeks and onward.

Yet, to the best of our knowledge, most late-term abortions are not done for medical reasons.

This 1988 study surveyed 399 women seeking abortion at 16+ weeks. The study found women were obtaining late-term abortions instead of earlier-term abortions (i.e. reasons for delaying) because:

  • 71% Woman didn't recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation
  • 48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion
  • 33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents
  • 24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion
  • 8% Woman waited for her relationship to change
  • 8% Someone pressured woman not to have abortion
  • 6% Something changed after woman became pregnant
  • 6% Woman didn't know timing is important
  • 5% Woman didn't know she could get an abortion
  • 2% A fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy
  • 11% Other
But, again, these are reasons for delaying abortion, not necessarily reasons for seeking abortion. This is an important distinction because, for example, a woman may have delayed her abortion because it was hard to make arrangements for it, but she may be getting the abortion due to medical necessity. If we want to know why women getting late-term abortions seek abortion in the first place, we need to look elsewhere. Unfortunately, sources discussing this seem to be very hard to come by.

(If you know of any statistics looking only at late-term abortions and women's reasons for obtaining abortion in that time-frame -- NOT reasons for delaying -- please email it to info@secularprolife.org or message us on the Facebook page.)

According a 2004 study by Guttmacher, 1,160 women seeking abortion (not just late-term) gave overall reasons for obtaining an abortion at all stages (may list more than one):
  • 74% Having a baby would dramatically change my life
  • 73% Can't afford a baby now 
  • 48% Don't want to be a single mother or having relationship problems
  • 38% Have completed my childbearing
  • 32% Not ready for a(nother) child
  • 25% Don't want people to know I had sex or got pregnant
  • 22% Don't feel mature enough to raise a(nother) child
  • 14% Husband or partner wants woman to have abortion
  • 13% Possible problems affecting the health of the fetus
  • 12% Physical problem with my health
  • 6% Parents want me to have an abortion
  • 1% Woman was victim of rape 
  • <0.5% Became pregnant as a result of incest
The same Guttmacher study has statistics for later term abortion (13+ weeks gestation). According to Guttmacher, 21% of women who had abortion at or past 13 weeks were doing so for fetal health concerns, and 10% for personal health concerns. This would mean, at most, 31% of these later term abortions were for health reasons.

But in fact it’s even less than that, because in some cases the same woman who had personal health concerns also cited fetal health concerns, meaning there is overlap between these two groups. According to the study: "A woman’s concerns for her health or possible fetal health problems were cited as reasons to end her pregnancy by one-fourth of the qualitative sample."  In other words:

About 75%of 13+ week abortions are not for fetal or maternal health concerns.

Furthermore the 25% figure relies on a heavily generous interpretation: We must assume health concerns always equal medically necessary abortions. As the study explains:

Women who felt that their fetus’s health had been compromised cited concerns such as a lack of prenatal care, the risk of birth defects due to advanced maternal age, a history of miscarriages, maternal cocaine use and fetal exposure to prescription medications. Concerns about personal health included chronic and life-threatening conditions such as depression, advanced maternal age and toxemia. More commonly, however, women cited feeling too ill during the pregnancy to work or take care of their children.

A risk—not even a certainty--of a birth defect could include something as minor as a cleft lip. A risk of cleft lip gets included in the “medically necessary” category. In other words, many health problems are not serious enough to warrant the phrase "medically necessary abortion" yet are still included here. Pro-choicers often use the phrase “medically necessary” to conjure up images of things like ectopic pregnancies, but the reality is many of the abortions categorized as “medically necessary” are not nearly so impactful, much less fatal. 

Examples of common birth defects

Some people say “late-term” abortion should only include abortions at or after 16 weeks gestation. I’ve only been able to find reasons for abortions at or after 13 weeks data, which is slightly different. One could argue that the proportion of medically necessary abortions after 16 weeks would be higher.

And it probably would be. However there’s no indication it would be so high as to constitute even a majority of late-term abortions, much less “nearly all” late-term abortions. The data available suggests that (a) it’s true women seeking late-term abortions are more likely to be doing it for medical reasons than women seeking earlier term abortions and (b) it’s also true that most late-term abortions are not done for medical reasons.

Remember that at 13+ weeks, 25% of women were seeking abortion for medical reasons. Let’s be generous and guess that at 16+ weeks, it’s exactly half of women that seek abortion for medical reasons. According to Guttmacher, about 1,000,000 abortions are done every year, and 4.8% of those are done at 16+ weeks gestation ( = 48,000 abortions). Even if a full half of those are for medical reasons (very unlikely), that means 24,000 late-term abortions done annually for non-medical reasons. So: At least 65 late-term abortions are done every day in the U.S. for non-medical reasons. That is worth our attention, and if as many people are as opposed to late-term abortions as Gallup reveals, then it's worth everyone's attention! 

Bucking Convention(s)

The Democratic and Republican Party conventions are coming up, and pro-life activists are on it.

Democrats for Life of America purchased a billboard to remind convention-goers in Philadelphia that the extremist pro-abortion party platform (i.e., taxpayer-funded late-term abortions at unregulated facilities) is risking millions of votes:


The convention begins July 25. You can sign a petition encouraging the Democratic party to get a clue at OpenTheBigTent.org.

Meanwhile, on the GOP side, pro-lifers aren't giving presumptive nominee Donald Trump a pass. The Donald's stance toward Planned Parenthood is wishy-washy at best. #OperationRNC wants language in the party platform to redirect funding from PP toward federally qualified health centers that don't promote or commit abortions. There will be several pro-life rallies in Cleveland this week, and #OperationRNC airplane banners throughout the convention itself.

The next couple of weeks should be very interesting.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

International Progress for the Right to Life

In the United States, the pro-life movement struggles in the face of an unreasonable Supreme Court which recently ruled that abortion businesses have the right to an exemption from the regulations that other outpatient surgical facilities must follow, despite absolutely nothing in the Constitution that remotely supports that conclusion. On top of that, we get to deal with the presidential election from hell.

While our despair is understandable, let's not forget about the fight for life in other countries. Worldwide, things are looking up for unborn children.

In just the last two weeks:

The Mexican Supreme Court did what ours should have done in 1973, finding no constitutional right to abortion.

In Ireland, pro-life advocates blocked a bill that attempted to target unborn children with disabilities.

And in Poland, which already has strong pro-life laws, advocates have delivered nearly half a million signatures in support of a proposal which would create further legal protections for preborn children, expand funding for perinatal hospice, and reform adoption procedures.

Americans, let's be inspired to up our game!

Monday, July 11, 2016

NRLC convention recap

Your president, Kelsey Hazzard, here. On Saturday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) convention in northern Virginia.

The convention was actually three days long, but I only made it for the third and final day, so I'm not fully qualified to recap the event. That said, what little I did have the opportunity to see makes me hope that I'll be able to catch the full event next time. (The convention moves each year, and I'm told 2017 will be in Milwaukee.)

Saturday morning kicked off with a panel highlighting NRLC's "Will to Live" program. The Will to Live is a free, customizable document which you can use to make your health care wishes known in the event that you become incapacitated. Its language makes it clear that the patient does not buy into the idea that it's better to be dead than disabled, and that the patient desires nutrition, hydration, and treatment for the condition. Two panelists offered emotional stories involving their elderly fathers; one father had a living will and survived, while the other did not and died after denial of care.

The panel concluded with a plea to pro-life advocates, which I did not record verbatim, but was along the lines of: "You do so much every day to save the lives of babies who you don't know and will probably never meet. Your selflessness is admirable, but don't forget about yourself and your family. Use the Will to Live and you could save your own life and the lives of your loved ones."

Next, we went into breakout sessions, where I spoke about making the case against abortion from a secular point of view and how NRLC state affiliates can make their organizations more inclusive. It went well; the session was well-attended and very interactive. Several individuals approached me afterward to say that they would be changing their approach in light of what they'd learned from me. We did not videotape the presentation, but NRLC created an audio recording. We'll let you know when that's available.

During the lunch hour, I networked with friends old and new, and specifically promoted a new campaign that we'll launch next Monday, July 18. Stay tuned.

I attended a handful of afternoon sessions (on federal legislative updates, press relations, and electoral campaigning) and then it was off to the airport. My schedule has been a bit of a whirlwind lately; I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't exhausted, but it's all been 100% worth it.