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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BloodMoney film not "overtly religious"

BloodMoney is a pro-life documentary which exposes the dirty secrets of the abortion industry through interviews with former abortion workers and others in the know. I haven't yet seen it, but after reading this review by Matt Abbott, I definitely want to:
[T]he film does a commendable job of explaining and showing the science and beauty of human life's earliest stages, and how abortion-on-demand became the law of the land — and, for better or for worse, it does so without being overtly religious. (Emphasis mine.)
I'm wagering that it's for the better! If you've seen it, do you agree?

Selected clips from the film have been released online. Warning: the following video does not contain graphic images, but it is extremely disturbing anyway.



If you are in need of legal assistance after an abortion injury, free resources are available.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Going to Planned Parenthood!

Editor's note: As part of our new Secular Sidewalk program, Monday blog posts will be written by sidewalk counselors. This week, our guest blogger is Heather, an atheist from Virginia.

It's about 6:00 am, on a Saturday morning. I am packed with my lawn chair, pro-life literature, a diaper bag with everything from baby stuff to drinks and snacks. I load my 3 month old son in the car and off we go to the Planned Parenthood on Peters Creek Rd in Roanoke, VA. We arrive around 6:50 and I am pulling to a closed doctor's office nearby-who graciously let us park there for Saturday mornings. I have to walk across the street with baby, lawn chair and bag. We meet in front of the abortion facility in a grassy area. A drive way that comes up the hill leading to it is right next to us and so is the parking lot. At the top of the hill, which is very close to the building, I usually set up my chair and sit with my baby.

There are about 12 other people there, all of whom I know. We all have a sign with either a message on it or a picture of a baby in the womb. At 7:00 the cars start coming in. Now my heart is really excited: maybe we'll save a baby today?

Usually it plays like this- a car pulls up and sits there for awhile and then out comes a girl and most of the time her boyfriend. They walk head down towards the clinic, then a couple of pro-lifers will call out to them. "Can we help you?" "Don't go in there, they kill babies in there" or "God has a plan for your baby" "Please come talk to us". And it usually ends like this- the couple looks over at us (the guy is more likely to since the girl seems too upset), then they just walk in and another innocent baby is no more.

I have been going to this protest movement since my son has been about a month old. My son is the real reason I come on Saturday mornings. It was at this very clinic that I would have ended my little boy's short life on earth. It was back in October of 2008; I was going through a lot of difficult things with my baby's father. Long story short I was living in the local battered women's shelter there in Roanoke, and just got hired at a nursing home as an assistant going into a CNA class. The baby was really getting to be a burden in my eyes since I could not train while big and pregnant and also that I was really sick. After a big fight with his dad, I decided that the baby had to go! It was crippling my whole life it seemed at that time. So I went to Planned Parenthood with out anyone knowing and inquired about birth control and some other services they offered, but I could not bring myself to ask about abortion. It was a sore spot with me and I was also in my second trimester. But on an autumn Wednesday afternoon I drove to the clinic to schedule an appointment for an abortion.

As I was driving in, an older woman was sitting out there with a big pro-life sign which I could not look at! I ignored her and parked in front, got out slamming the door and arguing with my boyfriend. I started to walk in but was convinced by my boyfriend to just talk to her since she was begging us not to go in. Thank goodness I did! After seeing another sonogram of my baby, I could not go through with thinking about an abortion.

Well I had my baby April 9, 2009 and brought him home on Easter sunday. I have many more details to tell about that tough time back in October but that's for another time. I now go as much as I can to the clinic to save another girl from the mental torture I was going through; but there seems to be some things that need to change with the sidewalk counseling. I will keep blogging about my Saturday morning trips to Planned Parenthood every other Monday and share what happens and how some things need to improve in sidewalk counseling to be more effective. I go there to convince girls not to abort by showing scientific facts that abortion is not the best option. Now I'm the only one in the pro-life group thats not religious, and that causes some difficulty but I am hopeful I can change the situation and draw in other people who have similar thoughts and beliefs as I do.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Scatterbrained Sunday: We have a store!

I'm very excited to announce that our Zazzle store is online! We are selling shirts, bags, bumper stickers, keychains, etc. with a variety of secular pro-life slogans and designs. A portion of the purchase price goes to SecularProLife.org's educational efforts. Here are a few of my favorite items:
Available here
Available here
And here's one especially for the atheists:Available here in various colors
Big thanks to Ro and Monica, who took charge of this project. If you have a design idea for the store, please email it to info@secularprolife.org with the subject line "SPL Suggestions."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Option Ultrasound celebrates milestone

Option Ultrasound is a Focus on the Family initiative that funds ultrasound machines and sonographer training for pro-life pregnancy clinics. (This is not to be confused with Project Ultrasound, which appears to be secular.) While our members don't agree with Focus on the Family about everything, you have to admit that this program is pretty awesome. Thanks to Option Ultrasound, thousands of abortions have been prevented, and many low-income mothers now have improved access to prenatal care!

The project just donated its 500th ultrasound machine.
Focus on the Family launched its Option Ultrasound Program in 2004 with the goal of giving abortion-minded women greater access to ultrasound services -- technology [Kelly] Rosati says not only helps women make informed decisions, but also supports their health.

“Ultrasounds give women an opportunity to bond with her baby early on,” says Rosati. “This experience encourages her to seek early prenatal care that protects both her health and that of her preborn child.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

Are Tyson and Landon Graham people?

As part of a series of articles on the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, CNN has the touching story of the Graham family. In July 2005, triplets Preston, Tyson, and Landon were born four months prematurely. Preston died shortly after his birth, but Tyson and Landon survived and were transferred to a children's hospital in New Orleans. Of course, the family's struggle had only just begun: Katrina was on its way.
Their parents, Laura and Jared Graham, came with them, but as Hurricane Katrina approached New Orleans, they were told they had to leave -- while their babies, kept alive by ventilators, had to stay.

. . .

Children's Hospital fared better than some others in New Orleans. It's on relatively high ground and its generator was on the roof, enabling helicopters to refuel it. But it was still no place for premature babies in Tyson and Landon's shape.

Laura finally heard they were being sent to Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, 70 miles away.

. . .

The boys were among 140 premature babies the staff of Woman's Hospital brought out of New Orleans in the four days after the levees broke. The hospital admitted 42 babies in the first 14 hours after the storm hit, and more kept coming. At the peak, 53 nurses were working per shift, up from a normal staff of 27.
Although Tyson and Landon lost their eyesight, and Landon requires special education, they are starting kindergarten on schedule. Their mother Laura proudly notes that the boys, who were born weighing less than two pounds each, are now "some of the tallest kids their age."

Radical pro-abortion philosophers like Peter Singer and Mary Ann Warren believe that one's status as a "person" is conditioned on certain abilities, which Tyson and Landon did not have when they were born just five months after conception. They would even argue that saving their lives was morally wrong. After all, evacuating 140 premature infants from New Orleans took tremendous resources; those resources should have gone toward helping "real people" instead. Such a great waste surely can't be justified by the uncritical sentimentality of parents.

If they should not have been saved, what does that mean for their current personhood? "Well of course they're people now-- they're five years old!" the opposition would no doubt protest. Yes: but they never would have made it to five if the utilitarian calculus had won the day. Under that theory, they are living on time that was unjustly given to them. How can you respect Tyson and Landon's rights as persons if you believe that they shouldn't be alive?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quick News Roundup: 08/26/10

Domestic News: On Tuesday in Alaska, stronger parental notification laws were enacted via voter referrendum. 55.5% of voters supported the measure which would require 48 hours notice to parents prior to performing an abortion. Earlier this week, we reported that Virginia's Attorney General wanted to treat abortion clinics under the law like any other facility that performs medical procedures, much to the outrage of abortion advocates. Former White House speechwriter Mary Cary writes that this opinion will actually make abortions safer, despite what abortion advocates try to claim. In Minnesota, their Positive Alternatives program appears to be working. The program, which provides funding to life-affirming organizations provides pre-natal assistance to pregnant women throughout the state. In its first two years, 12,000 women were helped by this program, in its second 2 years - over 13,000 women. In its first year - 4% less money was required for taxpayer funding for abortions.

International News: Marie Stopes, an international pro-abortion organization, provides free abortions to its employees as part of its "benefits package." Marie Stopes was already under fire in the UK for their pro-abortion TV advertisements. Speaking of the United Kingdom, recent abortion statistics were released in Wales and paint a grim picture. Teen pregnancies end in abortion 48% of the time and 60% of those pregnancies for teens 16 and under, end in abortion. Overall, in Wales, 20.5% of pregnancies end in abortion. The average internationally, is 20%. In Russia, 41% of people support additional restrictions on abortion according to a recent poll. According to the article, Russian abortion law allows abortions performed "...on demand up to 12 weeks gestation, up to 22 weeks for social reasons, and at any point during the pregnancy for “medical necessity” and upon the woman’s consent, and is offered free of charge at all state clinics." Russian Health Ministry statistics show that 1.2 million abortions were performed last year. Compared to the 1.7 live births last year, that means approximately 41% of pregnancies end in abortion - paid for by the Russian government.

Discussion Topic: I've tried to include a discussion topic here each week - but lately it hasn't sparked that much discussion. So, I ask the readers - what do you want to talk about? What pro-life activities, statistics, news, etc do you want to discuss?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Legal Matters

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has released a legal opinion encouraging the state to regulate abortion facilities to the extent that it currently regulates life-friendly surgical clinics and hospitals. Abortion advocacy groups are, predictably, opposed. Remember, kids: abortion is just like any other medical procedure... until people actually want to treat it that way.

In case you've been living under a rock, a judge has issued an injunction halting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. For all the hoopla surrounding it, this is a basic separation of powers case: a president's attempt to legislate via executive order must fail if the legislature has already spoken on the issue. In this case, the judge ruled that the executive order funding embryonic stem cell research was in direct conflict with the Dickey-Wicker Amendment.

In San Marcos, California, the Life Legal Defense Foundation has secured a victory for sidewalk counselors' freedom of speech and association.
[Elena] Di Ventra was issued a citation for loitering after she walked into a parking lot adjacent to an abortion center to speak with a pregnant girl and offer her life-saving information about her baby.

The parking lot is open to the public and Di Ventra immediately returned to the sidewalk after her brief conversation with the girl. Still, local police officers accused her of wandering idle about the property without an apparent reason to be present.

When the matter was brought to LLDF's attention, Life Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney Allison Aranda contacted the San Marcos City Attorney's Office and demanded that it drop what the pro-life legal group considered a meritless criminal charge.

The City Attorney's Office quickly reviewed the matter and agreed to dismiss the case.
Sounds to me like there's a deeper problem here: pro-abortion police officers who spend their time looking for excuses to arrest pro-lifers. As opposed to, you know, doing their jobs and keeping people safe. Hopefully the dismissal of charges will discourage future arrests, but I think a personnel change is what's really needed. Still, the Life Legal Defense Foundation deserves a thumbs up.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Killer of mom & baby convicted

Former Marine Cesar Laurean has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who was 8 months pregnant at the time of her death. According to the Elliot Institute, homicide is the #1 cause of death for pregnant women in the United States. Many of these homicides are connected to a mother's refusal to have an abortion. In Lauterbach's case, though, the motive was apparently revenge: she had accused Laurean of rape.

It's hard to find a silver lining in such a tragedy. At least the media did a praiseworthy job, sensitively depicting the reality of TWO victims:
The remains of Lauterbach, 20, and her unborn baby were found in January 2008 in Laurean's backyard firepit. Authorities determined that her body had been buried there since December 2007, when she first went missing from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina when she was eight months pregnant.

Laurean, 23, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to The Associated Press.

Mary Lauterbach, the victim's mother, read a statement in court saying to Laurean, "I feel so sorry for your daughter. She will have to live with the shame that her father is in prison for murdering not one but two people," the AP reported.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thumbs up to Amana Fontanella-Khan

One of SecularProLife.org's long-term goals is to change the media portrayal of pro-lifers. To that end, we occasionally profile articles that equate the pro-life position with religion, as well as articles which avoid this trap. Today's article, "India, the Rent-a-Womb Capital of the World," falls under the latter category. In it, Slate author Amana Fontanella-Khan writes about the ethical issues surrounding surrogacy in India:
Some describe this as a win-win situation. The doctors get clients, the childless get children and the surrogates get much-needed money. But some media horror stories have challenged this happy vision.
. . .
In another disturbing case, an upper-class Indian woman hired a surrogate to carry her child and invited her to live in her home during the pregnancy. The client accused the surrogate mother of stealing and not only kicked her out of the house but coolly informed her that she didn't want her services anymore and that she should terminate the pregnancy. Surrogates get paid only on delivery of the baby, so this kind of situation is economically devastating for a surrogate. It can also severely compromise the ethical and religious beliefs of surrogates who may not wish to undergo an abortion.
Lesser reporters might have assumed that women from an "essentially semi-feudal and pre-industrial" culture rely solely on religion for moral guidance. By stating that opposition to abortion is based in religion and ethics, this reporter respects both the pro-life position and the Indian women who espouse it. So thank you, Ms Fontanella-Khan and Slate, for bringing attention to this abuse of women's rights, and for portraying pro-lifers fairly.

I do take issue with the phrase "terminate the pregnancy," which is obviously not a problem unique to this article. I recently heard a wonderful quote about this issue; please tell me if you know its original source.
Pro-lifers don't object to terminating pregnancies. Pregnancies are only supposed to last a short while. We favor terminating them around nine months. The objection is to killing children.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Scatterbrained Sunday: Lessons from this weekend

Thanks for bearing with the lack of blog posts for the last few days. I had a good reason: I was at orientation for the Students for Life Wilberforce Fellowship, which is a year-long leadership program. I learned a few things that you might find interesting.

David Bereit of 40 Days for Life was there, and asked me to share this with you. It turns out that, in addition to the well-known Biblical symbolism, there was also a secular reason for the 40-day time frame. The campaign began in a college town, where a friend with an advertising background noted that area companies strategically focused their marketing on the first few weeks (roughly the first 40 days) of the fall semester. Sure enough, that's exactly what the local abortion facility was doing, so pro-lifers followed suit.

I received a booklet, "When They Say... You Say" by Olivia Gans and Mary Spaulding Balch of the National Right to Life Committee, which contains this excellent passage:
Don't be sidetracked by pro-abortion comments that typically come up. The most common is to dismiss the undeniable facts of prenatal life as merely a "religious" issue. Do not allow your questioner to discount the scientific facts of life with misleading beside-the-point rhetoric.

In fact, it is precisely because of modern scientific understanding that there are people of all faiths, and no fath, working in the pro-life movement. The cause of the unborn is the ultimate human rights issue. While it may be tempting, and may in some settings even appropriate, to engage in a discussion of the theological origins for a person's pro-life position, usually the religious arguments are just another attempt by pro-abortionists to evade the powerful truth you are presenting.
Google Analytics shows that many people have taken this advise, citing SecularProLife.org in online debate boards for the proposition that abortion is not a religious issue.

Students for Life emphasized the need for pro-lifers to study the movement's history, so that we can avoid making the same mistakes. In 1984, pro-lifers were in power in the White House and Congress, but infighting destroyed the chance to pass meaningful legislation: the movement split on whether the Human Life Amendment or Human Life Bill was better. It's the same old incrementalism debate.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quick News Roundup: 08/19/10

Happy Thursday, All. My weekly news roundups will now take place on Thursdays here at Secular ProLife. So, on with the news!

Domestic News: It's official - in Nebraska, the Attorney General will not fight to defend the recent pro-life legislation requiring mental health screenings prior to abortions. That has not discouraged supporters too much - who are already rewriting the legislation and resubmitting it so that it will be able to withstand more judicial scrutiny. In Louisiana, the courts have put a hold on recently passed legislation requiring an ultrasound prior to an abortion. The judicial order blocking parts of the legislation also allow abortionists to not supply patients with printed information required by the new law. Next Tuesday, Alaskan voters will be deciding on parental notification for those under 18 receiving an abortion. Ballot Measure 2 would require parental notification for minors if they seek an abortion. In 2007, a similar measure was passed by the legislature but was deemed unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court.

International News: In the Phillipines, a US based group is lobbying to change their abortion laws. Currently, the way the law is worded, abortions are outright banned with no exceptions in the Phillipines. On this matter and other international law issues, the World Health Organization said, "Access to safe, legal abortion is a fundamental right of women." As reported here earlier, a new ad in the United Kingdom was causing quite a stir. Why? It was promoting abortion services. Well the thousands of complaints sent to government advertising watchdogs were recently rejected and the ad is allowed to stand. The overall complaints of ad are summarized by the AP as follows:
Viewers complained that it was offensive because it promoted abortion, offended their religious beliefs, did not take into account the views of fathers, was sexist for implying that pregnancy was solely a woman's responsibility and equated decisions about the procedure to choices about consumer goods.
Discussion Topic: A lot of the battle lines in the abortion debate in the US are happening on a State level and on a court level. Are you following your State elections? How closely are you following these elections and have you asked the questions of candidates regarding their views on abortion? When a candidate is pro-life, I've found them to be very frank and honest in answering the question if asked. If they're not - many of them dodge the question and give half-answers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

South Carolina Establishes Waiting Period

SuzyB reports that South Carolina has passed a law requiring abortion businesses to give their clients accurate information, and 24 hours to contemplate it, before an abortion.
The new law requires that a woman considering an abortion be given a full day to review materials objectively explaining what an abortion is and how to determine the age of an unborn fetus.

"I believe life is sacred, and in the debate over when life begins, I think we as a society should always err on the side of life," Gov. Sanford said. "Given current federal law, I think it's imperative that a decision of this magnitude only be made with the fullest and most accurate knowledge available. It's our hope and expectation that this new law results in a substantial decrease in the number of abortions carried out in South Carolina."
Well done, South Carolina pro-lifers! S.C. now joins more than 20 other states that have enacted common-sense informed consent laws protecting a woman's right to know.

One minor criticism: I wish that Governor Sanford had chosen his words more carefully. Abortion advocates often interpret "life is sacred" as a religious statement. In our secular culture, it's really become synonymous with "life is precious" or "life is valuable." I've even heard pro-life atheists use the term "sacred" in this way. But it's not the best vocabulary to use, in my humble opinion.

A couple of housekeeping notes:
1) M.R. Newman's weekly news briefs are moving from Friday to Thursday, beginning tomorrow.
2) I will be unavailable this weekend. If anyone would like to guest blog, please email info@secularprolife.org.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Women Aren't Just "Personally Pro-Life"

A variety of surveys show that women are much more likely to be pro-life than pro-abortion "women's groups" would have you believe. For instance, Gallup's most recent report states that men and women are about equally likely to call themselves pro-life.

As encouraging as these surveys are, one might legitimately worry about what "pro-life" means here. After all, we've all heard a politician begin a statement with "I'm personally pro-life, but..."

Fear not. A recent Rasmussen poll put the question differently, with excellent results:
The national survey finds nearly half, 48 percent, of Americans continue to believe abortions are too easy to obtain in the United States.

. . .

Women (53 percent) feel more strongly than men (42%) that abortions are too easy to get, which belies the notion abortion advocates promote that women support abortion more than men.

. . .

The Rasmussen poll also found 61 percent of voters say abortion is at least somewhat important as an issue in terms of how they will vote in November, with 33% who say it is very important.
By asking whether abortions are too easy or too difficult to obtain, Rasmussen has given us a more accurate picture of how people might vote, not just what people believe. And it's a very encouraging picture! The pro-life voters are there. It's now up to us to educate them and increase the number who say that abortion is a very important issue in the election. If we do that, we will be well on the way to making this the year of the pro-life woman.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Healthy, Happy, Hot, and On Trial

Remember the "Healthy, Happy, and Hot" controversy earlier this year? Let me refresh your memory: a group of Girl Scouts were attending a United Nations event. The parents were kicked out of the room and, without any parental permission, the girls received a Planned Parenthood booklet called "Healthy, Happy, and Hot." It's still on the Planned Parenthood website, if you're interested. But this is the "best part":
Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status. Sharing your HIV status is called disclosure. Your decision about whether to disclose may change with different people and situations. You have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose your HIV status.

Safer sex is a shared responsibility. When you share your HIV status, you and your partner(s) can work together to make your sex life safe and pleasurable!
And when you don't share your HIV status, you can endanger your partner's health and life! Woohoo! Of course, Planned Parenthood valuing privacy over human lives is nothing new.

Did I mention that negligently infecting someone with HIV can be a crime?
An HIV-positive German pop singer went on trial on Monday accused of failing to tell sexual partners about her condition, causing one of them to become infected.

Nadja Benaissa, 28, former singer in the girl band No Angels, is charged with causing grevious bodily harm and attempted bodily harm, a court spokesman told CNN.

Benaissa had unprotected sex on five occasions between 2000 and 2004 with three people and did not tell them she was infected, Agence France-Presse reported the charge sheet as saying. She had allegedly known her status since 1999.
The reason she didn't disclose her HIV status, she says, was that "she believed there was little chance of her passing on the virus and did not want it made public because of the harm it might cause her daughter and the band." If Planned Parenthood has come to Ms Benaissa's defense, I'm not aware of it.

Perhaps that's just because she's expressed too much remorse for Planned Parenthood's taste. In court, she declared that she is "sorry from the heart." I have no way to know the sincerity of Ms Benaissa's apology, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, apparently believes that she was simply exercising her "sexual rights" and has nothing for which to apologize.

Interestingly, although she's now 28, Ms Benaissa was not much older than a Girl Scout at the time of the alleged offense: just 17 years old (plus nine).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scatterbrained Sunday

We're putting together an online store to raise money. What items would you like to see?

Check out "What can we learn from the polls?" by SecularProLife.org member Nulono.

New York, the abortion capital of America, also has some of the nation's strictest laws protecting housecats. I'm a cat lover, but come on: priorities, anyone?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

UNC update; free speech; ella

There's a ton to report today, so I apologize if my comments aren't as in-depth as usual.

1) The immediate issue regarding North Carolina public university students being forced to buy abortion coverage has been resolved. Mere days after Students for Life of America sounded the alarm, the university provided a way for pro-life students to opt out. However, SFLA remains concerned about the possibility that tax money will fund abortion through the plan.

2) All charges against David Avignone have been dropped. Avignone is a pro-life student who was arrested under the same circumstances as Joe Holland.

3) Washington, D.C. officials have finally recognized that a disputed sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic is, in fact, public property. Pro-life advocates are now working to bring down the fence so that sidewalk counseling and peaceful demonstrations can resume as soon as possible. (Backstory here.)

4) The FDA has approved ella, a "morning-after pill" which is advertised as working up to five days after sex-- two days more than its competitor, Plan B. When Plan B hit the market, pro-life groups voiced concern that it could work by killing the zygote after fertilization but before implantation. The language of the debate was muddied, with supporters of Plan B defining pregnancy as implantation to birth rather than conception to birth.

This time around, pro-life groups are arguing that ella may be abortifacient even by the opposition's definition of pregnancy. That is, it might work by killing post-implantation. Is ella actually RU-486 lite? I'm not medically qualified to say. But it's at least something that the FDA ought to address, so that pro-life women don't accidentally take an abortion drug because the label says it's purely contraceptive.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quick News Roundup: 08/13/10

Domestic News: In New Jersey, pro-life groups are hopeful that with Governor Christie at the helm and after 7 years of petitioning, the state will end its prohibition on having "Choose Life" license plates. For those interested, the National Right to Life PAC has released a number of their 2010 endorsements. Currently there are only a few endorsements for US Senate and House of Representatives - but worth reviewing. In 2008, LifeNews put together a pro-life voters guide, hopefully post-primaries they will put a new one together.

International News: Human Rights Watch recently released a study on the number of abortions performed in Argentina. The result? 40% of pregnancies end in abortion in Argentina. That's 20% above the intenational average, according to the UN, of 20%. In the United States, the number of pregnancies that end in abortion is 22%. In Brazil, their Congress is looking at a proposal to ban abortions on demand. On June 16, Brazil's Minister of Women's Affairs signed the "Brasilia Consensus" which supported allowing abortion on demand throughout Latin America. It calls on signing nations to review their laws regarding abortion and promote abortion on demand. The law proposed in the Brazilian Congress would not bind them to this proposal. Polling done in Canada by Angus Reid show that only 21% of Canadians fully understand what Canada's laws are regarding abortion. Canada's laws allow for unrestricted access to abortion at any time in the pregnancy.

Site Update: In case you missed it, Secular ProLife has a new video out. Check it out and spread the word.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pendergraft gets his fourth suspension

Florida abortionist James Pendergraft is a danger to women. How many slaps on the wrist will it take? His license to practice "medicine" needs to be permanently revoked. Plenty of other pro-life commentators have spoken out on this already, and I have nothing to add, so here's a summary of the coverage.
From Operation Rescue:
“This is a case that should outrage everyone,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Here is a proven quack that has served three previous license suspensions, yet continues to offend. Even a stint in prison hasn’t helped Pendergraft amend his ways. Nevertheless, the Board will allow this man to continue the practice of medicine after he serves his fourth suspension. It is irresponsible to place women at repeated risk from this guy. Enough is enough!”

. . .

“Pendergraft’s clinics are a menace to the public. They should be closed, and perhaps if he was in another state, they would be. It is simply outrageous that these people who have proven that they cannot comport themselves within the law are allowed the opportunity to continue to prey on an unsuspecting public. The Florida Board of Medicine seriously dropped the ball by not revoking Pendergraft and forcing the closure of his clinics,” said Newman.
From LifeNews.com:
Pendergraft, who has subjected women to botched legal abortions, was ordered to pay $10,000 fine and take a course on record keeping.

The medical board suspended his license after it found Pendergraft had allowed an unlicensed employee to order and administer drugs even though she was unqualified and had a known history of drug abuse. Pendergraft also was disciplined for prescribing steroids to her for unknown reasons.

. . .

The first suspension was the result of a complaint filed April 14, 2008, that states Pendergraft illegally prescribed controlled substances without proper DEA licensing. The board also said Pendergraft committed medical malpractice in a botched abortion of a 19-week-old unborn child in February 2006.

The botched abortion saw Pendergraft inadequately dilating a patient's cervix for a D&E abortion. He then ruptured her uterus and shoved the unborn child's body into the abdominal cavity.
From Jill Stanek:
Apparently the FL Board of Medicine doesn’t ever see a pressing need to revoke the medical license of its worst menaces, much less FL authorities sending this particular quack to prison.

The list of crimes late-term abortionist James Pendergraft has committed, as well as the slimy tag team working at his 5 Central/South FL abortion mills (examples here and here), is too long for this post.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fund your classmate's abortion, or leave school?

Students for Life of America is fighting to change a policy of the University of North Carolina. Like most colleges, UNC requires its students to have health insurance. Students who are uninsured must purchase a plan through UNC. The UNC plan includes abortion funding, and there is currently no way to opt out.

In other words, uninsured pro-lifers at UNC must either go against their convictions or transfer to another school. Some choice! SFLA has a website where you can learn more about the policy and sign a petition on behalf of pro-life UNC students and prospective students.

And now, for something completely different. In Illinois, a man has legally changed his name to One Nation Under God. Was it to draw attention to his faith? Or perhaps to support the pledge of allegiance? Nope, this is supposed to be a pro-life thing.
Under God described his name change as a "calling" to return Americans to "One Nation Under God" by overturning the legalization of abortion.

"Jan. 22, 1973, is the day the nation murdered God," Under God said.

That is the date the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Roe v. Wade.
Wow. Way to not help.

Longtime supporter Mishy Zhang points out that if he had really wanted to bring attention to the WHOLE pro-life movement, and not just its religious elements, Mr. Under God could have just changed his name to "Pro-Life" like this person did in 2008.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

San Francisco abortion centers lose Planned Parenthood affiliation

The big news in American pro-life circles today is that Planned Parenthood of the Golden Gate (PPGG) has been voted out of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). The cited reason was "management problems." This of course leaves much room for speculation. Perhaps PPGG simply wasn't earning enough money. But Abby Johnson, who used to work at a Planned Parenthood, suspects something more. On her facebook page, she says "[Y]ou have got to REALLY mess up to lose your PPFA affiliation. No minor problems led to this action."

Like many abortion centers, PPGG has had some major problems, which LifeNews.com documents well:
In September 2003, 18-year-old Holly Patterson died after receiving the abortion drug Mifeprex, also known as RU-486, from the Planned Parenthood chapter.

PPGG came under fire for telling patients to take one part of the drug vaginally instead of orally, as recommended by the FDA. That resulted in the deaths of four California women who developed deadly bacterial infections as a result.

In December 2005, PPGG was accused of hiding an 11-year-old's rape.

A testimonial posted on a California Planned Parenthood abortion business' website regarding an 11-year-old rape victim sparked a call for an investigation into the organization's handling of sexual abuse cases.
In the “Shared Stories” section of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate's website, a client's shared her story.

“I was raped at 11, by my 17 year old boyfriend. I chose not to tell my parents because I didn't think their involvement would help, that was the right choice for me. Planned Parenthood [sic] helped me deal with the aftermath of the rape allowing me to deal and cope as best as I could in my own way.”

In response, pro-life leaders have called for an investigation, as Planned Parenthood is required by law to report cases of child abuse. The abortion business eventually removed the post from their web site.

And in August 2005, an online cartoon video PPGG sponsored drew sharp criticism because it advocated violence against pro-life advocates.

The PPGG video features a cartoon superhero who travels the globe to promote abortion and oppose abstinence education.

She tells viewers that pro-life people often protest outside Planned Parenthood and claims they "can sometimes become unruly."

“But mostly, I just wish they would disappear," the character says.

Next, the "Superhero for Choice" shoots each protester with a gun that envelopes the pro-life person in a condom. The condoms explode and the protesters die.

The abortion activist cartoon character happily explains that, with the death of the protesters, people can now visit the abortion business "without intimidation or violence."

At the end of the video, during the rolling of the credits, a pro-life person is decapitated.
Despite these issues, PPGG was apparently a chapter in good standing until now. So, what could be worse in PPFA's mind than the death of a patient, the coverup of an 11-year-old's rape, and a cartoon promoting violence against pro-lifers? We shall see...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Delivering the Big News


Was it sneaky of us to make it look like a funny home movie so that pro-abortion people will watch? Maybe. Was it necessary? Absolutely. Please share with your friends! (It's also available on Pro-lifetube.)

I am aware that this is similar to a recent piece from First Things. We actually filmed before that came out. It's a complete coincidence-- I guess great minds think alike!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Scatterbrained Sunday

Over in the facebook group, we're talking about sidewalk counseling. What's the best way to reach out to non-Christian moms entering the abortion mill? If you're an atheist, how do you develop good relationships with more religious sidewalk counselors? What literature do you use? What resources can SecularProLife.org develop that would be helpful? We value your suggestions.

Jill Stanek asks "How valuable is debate now that pro-lifers lead in the polls?"

We will soon begin running Facebook ads for our sex ed initiative, Grow Your Knowledge. Abortion advocates often tell pro-lifers that we should invest in comprehensive sex education instead of fighting for the right to life. We've risen to the challenge, but our approach is not what they were hoping for. Through Grow Your Knowledge we are sharing the truth about prenatal development, and our pro-life advocacy is as strong as ever! Please contribute if you can.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Putting a face on parental notice

There are obvious arguments for parental notice before teens get abortions. Parents are responsible for their children's welfare. We don't want parents to be blindsided when their daughters have abortion complications. And of course, parents can offer support to their children, bringing down the number of abortions.

But the other side is powerful and has lots of money to spend, so sometimes cold hard logic just isn't enough. That's why Alaskans for Parental Rights has shared some more personal stories from families impacted by the lack of a parental notice law in that state.

The most heartbreaking is the story of a grandmother named Anna. Her daughter Jane told her about the pregnancy, and together they excitedly prepared for the child's birth. But the baby's father felt differently, and bribed the vulnerable 17-year-old into killing the baby:
Then came the boyfriend’s “speech.”

It began with, “Don't tell your family,” explained Anna, who with Jane, later found the boyfriend’s highly crafted, typewritten draft.

“Here is the need for parental notification,” Anna stressed. “Manipulative boyfriend. ‘Don't tell.’”

“Isn't that what every abuser does to his victim — gets them into a ‘Don't tell’ situation?’” Anna observed.

She said the boyfriend went on to warn Jane that if she had the baby, he'd lose out on medical school and they'd end up poor in a trailer. He urged her to abort for the sake of “our children” — the children planned for later.

Anna said her daughter resisted, still insisting that she could have her baby.

Across the next weeks, the boyfriend began acting despondent. Finally, he told Jane she had two weeks to get an abortion or he would kill himself, Anna recalled.

“I finally said, ‘OK,’” Jane later explained to her mother. “I didn't say, ‘Yes.’”

The boyfriend flew Jane to Seattle, where Alaska abortion clinics often refer late-term pregnant mothers. As with Alaska, Washington does not require abortion practitioners to notify a minor girl’s parent before performing an abortion on her.

The day of the secret abortion, Jane was 17 years old. Her unborn baby daughter was heading into her sixth month.
[Update: Jill Stanek solicits your advice for a woman in a similar situation.] I also thought the testimony from pro-life clinic volunteers was enlightening:
Parental notification opponents — like Planned Parenthood of Anchorage, an affiliate of the nation’s billion-dollar abortion operation — argue that parental involvement laws wrongly “mandate” communication between parent and child and put girls in abusive situations at risk.

Heidi Navarro disagrees. She is the client services director at CPC of Anchorage – a pregnancy help center that provides free pregnancy tests, counseling, parenting classes, material support, STD testing and ultrasounds to women and girls in crisis. The CPC sees about a thousand clients a year. In 2009, 172 girls, ages 15-19, came to the CPC for help – and 7 under the age of 15.

Navarro estimates about a third of those girls don't have good relationships with their parents and some of them are “couch-surfing” between friends’ houses.

Navarro believes a parental notification law would help open the lines of communication to parents – and the lack of a law only keeps those girls isolated.
Additional testimonials can be found on the Yes on 2 campaign website. If you have a parental notice story to share, I encourage you to contact Alaskans for Parental Rights.

I leave you with my favorite political cartoons on the issue, both by Glenn McCoy of the Belleville News-Democrat.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Quick News Roundup 08/06/10

Domestic News: Pro-choice Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was confirmed to the Supreme Court by the US Senate yesterday by a vote of 63 to 37. While it will not substantially change the left-right dynamic of the court, her views on abortion are considered extreme specifically her views on partial-birth abortion. Students for Life actively opposed Kagan's appointment and hand-delivered a petition to the US Senate with over 7,800 signatures showing strong opposition among the people. Earlier this week in Chicago, Northwestern University Student Joe Holland was arrested for praying outside of an abortion clinic. SecularProlife joined many other pro-life organizations in condemning his arrest. On Wednesday, all charges were dropped. Holland's attorney said, "We are pleased that the City of Chicago has dismissed these false and baseless charges against Joe Holland...[t]he First Amendment protects prayer on a public sidewalk in Chicago the same as in any other city in the country."

International News: In an odd twist, after liberalizing laws on abortion, an area in Spain has now banned bullfighting. By 2014, bullfighting will be illegal within the border of Catalonia. Pro-life activists find it ironic and disappointing that bulls will have greater protection than the unborn. In Brazil, popular soccer player Bruno Fernandes das Dores de Souza has been arrested for murdering an ex-girlfriend. Why did he do it? He had gotten her pregnant and she refused to get an abortion. According to Sports Untapped, "...she refused to [get an abortion] and this allegedly enraged Bruno. Samudio then suddenly disappeared in June as she was in the process of taking the case to court to try and prove Bruno was the father and to obtain child support from him."

Site Update: In case you missed it, SecularProLife has released their new sex education program entitled Grow Your Knowldge. It's a comprehensive, pro-life sex-education tool that provides useful information on fetal development along the way. Check it out and pass it along to others to spread the word.

Random Personal Comment: As some of you may be aware, in addition to blogging here, I blog about Maryland and conservative politics at Old Line Elephant. From my work there, I was recently asked to moderate a debate between Republican Congressional candidates in Maryland's 2nd Congressional Districct. For those of you in Maryland or specifically in MD-02, check out the debate. There are a number of goood, Republican candidates who are far better on pro-life issues than the incumbent.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kenyan constitution passes

The proposed new constitution for the country of Kenya has passed by a wide margin. Pro-life advocates there voiced opposition because the constitution's language on abortion is vague and contradictory: it states that life begins at conception, but broadens abortion exceptions.

Pro-life leaders are now changing their strategy, hoping to pass an amendment to the constitution that will clarify the right to life. Their odds are pretty good. LifeNews.com reports that most Kenyans are pro-life. Many voted for the constitution in spite of, not because of, its abortion provisions.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Press Release

Pro-life, Comprehensive Sex Ed Initiative Launched
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Charlottesville, VA- A non-sectarian pro-life group has launched an online quiz game where teens can test of their knowledge of sex, pregnancy, contraception, relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, and related topics. It can be accessed at GrowYourKnowledge.com. Its backers believe that the project will address a gap in sex education practices.

Polls show that many American pro-lifers are supportive of sex education that discusses more than abstinence--in theory. But in practice, comprehensive sex education curricula are usually produced by organizations with a pro-abortion agenda. Pro-lifers cannot get behind materials that encourage students to go to abortion clinics for their sexual health needs, that deny or ignore the facts of prenatal development, or that sugarcoat the risks of abortion.

SecularProLife.org, the group behind Grow Your Knowledge, set out to provide comprehensive sex education that did not present these problems.

"Prenatal development is strongly incorporated into Grow Your Knowledge," said Kelsey Hazzard, president of SecularProLife.org. An undercover video by Live Action Films, which showed a Planned Parenthood counselor stating that an 8-week-old has no limbs, heart, or brain, inspired the project.

"When we saw that video, we knew that we had to reach teens with the truth about how babies develop, and we had to reach them before they ever stepped foot in a Planned Parenthood or other abortion center," Hazzard said.

Although conservative and religious groups often criticize comprehensive sex education as encouraging early sexual activity, the creators of Grow Your Knowledge say that their program is different.

"The Grow Your Knowledge quiz does not encourage abstinent teens to become sexually active. To the contrary, we affirm abstinence as the healthiest option for young people, and the questions reflect that," said Hazzard. "At the same time, we aim to reduce rates of STDs and unplanned pregnancy among those teens who do not abstain."

Contact:
Kelsey Hazzard
info@secularprolife.org

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pro-lifer Arrested for Praying: Our Response

SecularProLife.org joins Students for Life of America, Law Students for Life, and many others in condemning the arrest of Northwestern University student Joe Holland. Holland, a pro-life Catholic, was praying the rosary outside of a Chicago Planned Parenthood that does abortions. He was arrested under a "bubble zone" ordinance that prohibits being within 8 feet of an abortion client "for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education or counseling" with mothers.

Many of our members are non-theists and do not pray in front of abortion centers. Many believe that this form of action is ineffective or even counterproductive. But we all share a strong commitment to freedom of speech. If anyone's pro-life expression is curtailed, all pro-life messages are threatened— the secular along with the religious.

Holland makes a great plaintiff because prayer may not be conduct covered by the bubble zone law. But if Holland is acquitted for that reason, where does that leave non-Christian pro-lifers? We cannot carve out a special exception for prayer while denying alternative means of protest for the non-religious, such as displaying a sign. The entire bubble zone ordinance must be challenged and struck down as unconstitutional! [Update: All charges against Joe Holland have been dropped.]

Abortion advocates argue that bubble zone laws are needed to prevent violence. This is absurd. Violent conduct is already illegal, and any pro-life group worth mentioning condemns it. The conduct that the ordinance prohibits is any peaceful action that might cause a mother to change her mind about an abortion. The violence that Planned Parenthood is really concerned about is violence to its bottom line.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Safe, legal, and rare? Actions speak louder

One of the main arguments that abortion advocates use is that making abortion legal will make it safe. Otherwise, they say, women will just be led into home abortions, which are unsafe. But is that really what they believe? Or are they committed to abortion even when it increases danger to women?

For Australian pro-abortion zealot Adrienne Freeman, it's the latter. She's setting up a website which instructs mothers to self-abort at home with misoprostol, which she claims can safely terminate a pregnancy "at any gestation."

1) What utter crap. In the United States, abortions by pill use misoprostol in combination with mifepristone (RU-486). Its effectiveness at killing the embryo dramatically declines as the embryo grows older.
The American clinical trials demonstrated that this regimen, which the FDA would later approve, was only “successful” in 92% of pregnancies within 49 days LMP, 83% at 56 days LMP, and 77% at 63 days LMP. Because of this high failure rate and concomitant need for surgical follow-up, the FDA only approved the mifepristone-misoprostol regimen for use out to 49 days LMP.
Even these early abortions by pill have considerable risks. But of course, misoprostol must be a great way to terminate late-term pregnancies, because some pro-abortion "doctor" is saying so on the internet.

2) How is this legal? If (when?) a woman dies because of this careless website, Freeman should be criminally charged.

3) The article ends with one throwaway sentence to reason: "Right-to-life groups have dubbed the website a hazard to women." Understatement of the year.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pro-lifers in Congress get busy

Thanks for bearing with me. A lot has happened in my absence. Two highlights out of Congress:
First, the DISCLOSE Act was defeated. The DISCLOSE Act was written in response to a recent Supreme Court decision holding that certain campaign finance reform laws unconstitutionally limited corporate speech. Pro-life groups opposed the DISCLOSE Act because its impact would not have been limited to corporate lobbyists; it would have also imposed restrictions on legitimate public interest groups, including pro-life organizations like the National Right to Life Committee.

Second, representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Linkinski (D-IL) have introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. If passed, it would create a consistent, stable, government-wide policy. Currently, different restrictions apply to different government programs, and many of those restrictions have to be renewed annually (such as the Hyde Amendment). The measure has bipartisan pro-life support, but expect abortion advocates to put up a serious fight.