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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quick News Roundup: 09/30/10

Domestic News: In Maryland, The Gynecare Center run by embattled abortionist Romeo A. Ferrer, is closing its doors. Ferrer has come under fire due to the death of a woman during a botched abortion attempt. The Maryland Board of Physicians has already revoked his medical license and no one will be working at his facility in his stead. In Wisconsin, for the first time since 2003, the annual number of abortions performed has increased. According to the state Department of Health Services, year over year, the number of abortions performed in Wisconsin increased 3.6% from 2008 to 2009. That said, the abortion rate in Wisconsin is still well below the national average - 7 abortions for every 1,000 women in Wisconsin versus 17 abortions for every 1,000 women nationally. In Colorado, a ballot initiative this year will, if enacted, establish a Personhood Amendment to their state Constitution. Pro-life activisits in Colorado don't like the way that the state decided to discuss it in voter guides sent out to many Coloradans. If any of our readers are from Colorado and have seen one of these voter guides, feel free to leave some comments to help us understand the purported controversy.

International News: Brazlian supermodel Isabeli Fontana said that her American modeling agency tried to coerce her into having an abortion when she became pregnant at 19 in order to salvage her modeling career. She refused and had the child. Her son is now 8 years old and she still has a lucrative career in modeling. Since the enactment of Mexico City's policy to legalize abortion, an average of 21,000 abortions have been performed annually. For comparrison, that's approximately 1/4 the number of abortions performed annually in New York City.

Discussion Topic: What led you to Secular ProLife? What specifically led you to be interested in reading / discussing pro-life ideas from a non-faith perspective? I like the idea of trying to bring in more people to the table to discuss pro-life ideas and Secular ProLife was just the place for that to happen. I was also interested in seeing an organization that was pro-life and willing to not necessarily promote being sexually active, but acknowledge that it happens and that contraception should be available to help prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Action Alert: Help fight coerced abortions

As anyone who's been doing pro-life work for an appreciable length of time is aware, coerced abortion is a huge problem in the United States. The promise of "choice" has been rendered illusory by parents, boyfriends, and abusers. These cases are rarely publicized (notwithstanding a recent exception for a Brazilian celebrity). The risk is especially high for teen moms, who are less educated and have fewer resources.

To help these young mothers assert their right to not kill their children, the attorneys at the Justice Foundation have crafted a letter for the parents of a minor pregnant mom. Efforts to establish uniform state laws on coerced abortion have failed in the face of opposition by Planned Parenthood, but other legal avenues are available to protect young mothers and their unborn children. The Justice Foundation's "Dear Parent" letter does an excellent job explaining this in layman's terms. I especially like their response to one of the more common coercive statements:
"If you have this baby, I'm kicking you out of my house." You do not have to support her child, but you do have to support her, just as she has to support her baby.
The Justice Foundation is working to get this letter out to pro-life pregnancy centers and clinics, where it has already prevented several coerced abortions. You can help by sharing the Dear Parent letter with anyone who is likely to come across coerced abortion situations, such as high school guidance counselors, social workers, and law enforcement officers. Download it here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Americans "Deeply Ignorant" on Religion

You may have already seen this, as it's getting a lot of press, but let's discuss it from a pro-life angle.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has released the results of a 32-question religious quiz it administered to over 3400 Americans. Atheists and agnostics got an average of 20.9 questions correct, about three points higher than evangelicals and four points higher than Catholics and mainline Protestants. From the article:
Among the topics covered in the survey were: Where was Jesus born? What is Ramadan? Whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation? Which Biblical figure led the exodus from Egypt? What religion is the Dalai Lama? Joseph Smith? Mother Teresa? In most cases, the format was multiple choice.

The researchers said that the questionnaire was designed to represent a breadth of knowledge about religion, but was not intended to be regarded as a list of the most essential facts about the subject. Most of the questions were easy, but a few were difficult enough to discern which respondents were highly knowledgeable.

On questions about the Bible and Christianity, the groups that answered the most right were Mormons and white evangelical Protestants.

On questions about world religions, like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism, the groups that did the best were atheists, agnostics and Jews.
The average American got more than half the questions wrong. That's just pathetic.
SecularProLife.org's primary goal is to make abortion unthinkable for people of every faith and no faith. But in the process, members are getting to know people from different religions and cultures. The core pro-life belief is that every human being is a unique person of value; our diversity is therefore an asset, not a liability. I encourage pro-life Christians who want to brush up on their knowledge of world religions to stop by our facebook group and make a friend of another faith background.

And in case you were wondering:
Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Ramadan is a holy month in Islam.
Martin Luther's writings spawned the Protestant Reformation.
Moses led the exodus from Egypt.
The Dalai Lama is Buddhist.
Joseph Smith was Mormon.
Mother Teresa was Catholic.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Staying Focused!

Last week I touched on the subject about staying focused on what sidewalk counselors are there for- Saving babies! Not religion, politics and so on... I wanted to finish discussing this issue. Growing up I always heard the saying "United we stand, Divided we fall". The more I grow up and experience the "real" world, the more I see this is so true. If we are to truly be influential in the war on abortion, then we MUST stand together! Fighting or arguing about other issues is not going to solve anything. If you look at history, any important figure whether man or woman, stood on ground on what they believed in until they saw the results they wanted. Take Susan B. Anthony for example; she fought her whole life for the equality of women- she didn't jump on other issues of her time but stayed faithful to her cause for women's rights. And she got what she wanted. Today we enjoy the freedoms she fought for. If Susan wouldn't have been faithful and put her whole heart into her convictions, than America would not be the same place as it is today. That's how us pro-lifer's have to be. We have to do this with our whole hearts, and when out there to show the truth and especially to save babies we can't be jumping from one thing to the next or we will get nothing done!

I think about when at Planned Parenthood, when the counter protester was arguing with us. While most there were arguing with him about homosexuality, the Bible and so on... BABIES WERE BEING KILLED! Our focus went off what we were there for and pointlessly wasted precious time. It made me mad, as I was trying to keep on my mind on the poor hopeless women going in most of my support was gone. The women would not pay any mind to us with a loud debate going on. So to I hope all of you who do sidewalk counseling please learn from this story. DON'T WASTE one moment when your at the clinics on distractions from anti-life groups or other people there to stop you from doing what your doing! You are there to save children from the worse thing ever. If someone was robbing your house and you had to save your children, would you care at that moment about who's gay or someone else's beliefs? NO!!!! Your gonna do what you can and save your children. Just think of those babies going in to the clinics to be killed as your own children!

Hope this helps most of you who are serious about this and are as passionate as I am about saving babies! Remember you are there to make a difference, so make one!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Remember The Women And The Children

Saturday, September 25, 2010, marked the 30th Anniversary of the One-Child Policy in China. Lifenews.com featured an article that reminds of us the consequences of this law. For years we have heard horror stories of forced sterilization and even forced abortions.
Family planning officials frequently jail couples who refuse to comply, sentence them to house arrest or labor camps, revoke jobs or governmental support, use physical harassment or violence and often target other family members.

We are talking about countless women being taken from their homes, beaten, tied down to a chair, and having the life inside them taken against their will.

This is something that I believe everyone should be concerned of. Even those who call themselves Pro-Choice. This violates life and choice. Pro-Lifers are often accused of not caring about the woman.
Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, one of the leading pro-life and human rights advocates in Congress, joined today with Harry Wu, former Chinese political prisoner and president of the Laogai Research Foundation and Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, for a press conference on the dark anniversary.


Congressman Smith along with other Pro-Life leaders demonstrate time and again that Pro-Lifers do not ignore the women. We are the ones out there fighting to change policies like this. Policies that force women to be subjected to regular and painful examinations. Policies that degrade women. Policies that lead to thousands of born girls being abandoned or even killed for being nothing but the "wrong sex".

Not only are the unborn being slaughtered for being nothing but "second conceived" but young girls as well for "being girls."

What can we do to help?

Smith also appealed to President Obama and called on him to "speak out in defense of the Chinese people tomorrow, especially women and children, on this terrible anniversary." Doing so, he said, would provide encouragement for millions of Chinese people, "to suddenly feel that the leader of the free world understands and empathizes with their plight."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What abortion advocates really think of the woman "exercising choice"

Warning: this post contains profanity and some other things that the easily disturbed probably shouldn't read.

If you aren't familiar with Lamebook, it's a repository of stupid, amusing, and lame Facebook posts. (If you aren't familiar with Facebook, we have a problem.) On Thursday, Lamebook featured a series of semi-coherent posts by "Kasey," who was facing an unplanned pregnancy. It ends with her deciding, on the advice of her so-called friends, to get an abortion: "THIS BABY DEAD." This original post is likely fake; it's the Lamebook comments section that really caught my attention.

The comments section did contain a few pro-lifers expressing their sadness that someone would be so callous toward an innocent child in the womb. But it also contained some extremely disturbing comments wishing harm upon Kasey. And, overwhelmingly, those comments came from self-proclaimed supporters of the "right to choose." Some examples, with the original spelling (and profanity) preserved:
I’m pro-choice all the way, but if I heard tomarrow Kasey had exsanguinated during her procedure, I’d be a happy woman.

Kasey, I hope you DIAF but I’m glad you are getting an abortion. But, do your best to DIAF as soon as you are done.
[Note: DIAF stands for "die in a fire."]
I’m pro-choice, all the way. But girls like this make me sick. Is it so hard to get on the pill you dumb, drunken whore? Instead she uses abortion as a form of birth control. And honestly, the kid is better off being aborted, since she has been drinking like crazy so far. What a pig. I wouldn’t feel one ounce of empathy for her if she died during that abortion. She’s a waste of space.

I’m also pro-choice, but this fucking disgusts me. This bitch should have been aborted instead, fucking self-centered slut. These type of people need to be shot in the face with a shot gun, then their bodies fed to pigs. At least that way they’ll be useful.

Dear Casey – it is idiots like you who make the the prolife crowd seem reasonalbe. I mean seriously, you are much too stupid to understand the gravity of your actions, laughing at having an abortion…seriously? I am not going to say I hope the knife slips, however I do hope you grow the hell up and and feel the pain and loss associated with your decision.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quick News Roundup: 09/23/10

Domestic News: Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) has decided to make abortion an issue as part of a new defense spending package. He's trying to add an amendment to the defense budget that includes an end to the current restrictions of abortions on military bases. The Senate is not expected to discuss this amendment until the post-election session. Stephen Bringham has been brought up on additional charges in New Jersey. Bringham had been cited for crossing state lines into Maryland to provide them with abortions, among other charges. His medical license had been revoked in multiple states thus far. New American Media has an article analyzing the abortion rate among Asian-American women and find some conclusions based on culture. Check out the article.

International News: In India, the abortion numbers have dropped overall. Currently, approximately 6.4 million abortions are performed in India on an annual basis. Congressman Chris Smith has a new article on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to help end poverty...and how Obama is trying to add abortion into this package.

Discussion Topic: What are your thoughts on the presentation of abortion in the media? From film to television programs to comic books.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Analysis of Pew Abortion and Religion Survey

On Monday, LifeNews.com featured an article entitled "Poll: Religion Key in Shaping Abortion Opinions, Mostly for Pro-Life People." While I don't necessarily agree that it showed religion to be "key," I did find the data to be quite interesting. Of course, raw data only takes us so far; we have to interpret it.

45% of pro-lifers identified religion as the most important influence on their stance. That may seem like a lot, but compare it to the usual pro-abortion message, in which "anti-choice" and "devout Christian" are presumed synonymous.

A secular pro-lifer is one who relies on secular justifications for the pro-life position. Christians can be secular pro-lifers. (My shorthand: if you would still be pro-life if you lost your faith, you're a secular pro-lifer.) Based on this poll, at least 55% of pro-lifers are secular. But it's likely more: the 45% who identified religion as the most important reason didn't identify it as the only reason.

Still, it's undeniable that the pro-life side relies more on religion than the opposition does: only 9% of abortion advocates identified religion as the most important influence on their view of abortion. Pew doesn't tell us why pro-lifers are more likely to say that religion is the most important reason for their stance. But we do know that this isn't a simple case of obedience to pastors: survey participants reported much more frequent preaching on the topic of poverty than abortion, but few identified religion as the most important influence on their views of poverty.

My guess? Two things. First, the discrepancy can be explained by the fact that there just aren't that many vocally pro-abortion religions. The Unitarian Universalist church is probably the most prominent, but it isn't near large enough to command 45% of abortion advocates. Pro-choicers rarely rely on religion because, statistically speaking, they're likely to be adherents of religions that are either neutral or pro-life.

Second, churches are providing Christian pro-lifers with a supportive community. Fighting to end poverty is popular; fighting to end abortion is not. In an uphill battle that at times seems unending, religion is a source of comfort and perserverance.

This second explanation goes a long way toward explaining one of the most troubling findings of the survey: 85% of atheists are in the pro-abortion camp. The 15% of atheists who are pro-life or undecided need the support of a strong pro-life community if they are to make their voices heard. That's why the work of SecularProLife.org is so important.

Overall, the survey found that the three most important factors in abortion stance were religion (26%), education (23%), and personal experiences (17%). Of those, education is the one on which we can have the most influence. Please help us educate people of every faith and no faith on the atrocity of abortion.

Monday, September 20, 2010

People

So, I thought that this week I would talk about the patients and those who accompany them to the abortion clinic.

First we have the mothers. They come from every race, age, and socio-economic background. They come with their mothers, fathers, sisters, best friends, husband, and boyfriends. But still, they most of them walk into the clinic the same way; heads down, arms around their stomachs. Most don't look at us, but they never yell at us. They just do their best to pretend we don't exist.

However, there are some variations. The women who are there for counseling, but not for an abortion yet, will occasionally come and talk to us, to see what help we really are offering.

There are also women who cry the entire time they walk to the clinic and who sob their entire walk to the car. These women are inconsolable and are usually escorted by a friend or one of the nurses. (We had one of these last saturday; the nurse walked her back to her car because she was sobbing so hard that she couldn't stand up strtaight. Her boyfriend seemed at a loss of what to do with her.)

Next there are the fathers. They're the most likely to come talk to us. They come in four main groups. Group A drives her to the clinic, gets back in his car, and does something else for an hour or two, comes back and waits for her to walk back to the car. They seem not to respect their girlfriends much.

Guys in Group B are genuinely supportive of their girlfriends. They walk inside with her and will sit in the waiting room until they're certain she's alright and then they'll walk her back to the car. Group B guys will sometimes well out negative comments to us while they walk to the clinic.

Group C guys are simillarly supportive, but disagree with abortion. They're the ones who will talk to us and bring pamphlets back to their girlfriends. They're typically very sad.

Group D guys are jerks. These are the guys who sit on the stairs in front of the clinic and laugh. They hang out together and make abortion jokes. They're more common than you'd think.

We also have the Bestfriend. She's always very supportive, tends to wait in the waiting room. She's also the most likely to cuss us out. Our theory is that the Bestfriends who are especially angry have had abortions themselves. If the best friend is really just a friend, she'll sometimes come over and speak to us. This is extremely rare, though.

Then there are The Parents. This is an especially weird grouping. Always consists of at least a middle-aged woman and her teen-aged daughter (usually 16/17). Sometimes her father will be there. They tend to completly ignore us, though the father occasionally will come over for information. If the Aunt is bringing the girl instead of The Parents, she'll come over too. (A lot of aunts come talk to us, for some reason.)

Saletan accuses pro-lifers of "punitive dissonance"

Background: Teresa Lewis is a death row inmate in Virginia. She was convicted of masterminding a plot to kill her husband and stepson, although she did not pull the trigger herself. There's considerable controversy over Lewis' mental capacity. Her supporters say that she's borderline mentally retarded; the prosecution says that's ridiculous. But the real media draw is Lewis' sex: if all goes according to Virginia's plan, she will be the first woman executed in that state in nearly a century. Governor McDonnell recently denied her clemency. (For the record, I do wish that he had granted clemency, but that's just because I'm opposed to the death penalty as a general matter.)

At Slate, William Saletan has an article entitled "Punitive Dissonance," in which he notes that Virginia's partial-birth abortion ban punishes abortionists, but not clients. Comparing Lewis' situation to that of a woman who masterminds her unborn child's death but doesn't "pull the trigger," he accuses McDonnell of hypocrisy.

I think Saletan's argument breaks down right about here:
The standard pro-life rationale for not prosecuting women in these cases is that women don't understand what's being done to their babies. But McDonnell has worked hard to make sure that they do understand. Nine years ago, he introduced legislation stipulating that 24 hours before an abortion, the doctor must offer the woman "printed materials" depicting the fetus, its "physiological characteristics," and "the methods of abortion procedures commonly employed." Those rules were enacted in 2001 and have been Virginia law ever since. Even if a woman refuses the materials, the law requires the doctor to tell her the "gestational age of the fetus" and to offer "further information concerning the procedures" that will be used.
Because surely someone who performs a partial-birth abortion in violation of state and federal law is going to transform into Dudley Do-right when it comes to the informed consent law. Right?

We must also remember that, even when consent is informed, free choice may still be lacking: more than half of American abortions are coerced.

Saletan's sights aren't just set on McDonnell, but on the entire pro-life movement:
Why the discrepancy? The answer is obvious: Like other pro-lifers, McDonnell doesn't really believe that fetuses have the same right to life as the rest of us.
Okay, Mr. Saletan. Since you know so much about what I believe, could you let me know why I've dedicated years of my life to protecting the unborn? (To oppress women, no doubt. Please.)

The issue here is not what pro-lifers believe, but what the Supreme Court believes. When the federal government defended its partial-birth abortion ban, it could not argue that it was protecting the right to life of late-term fetuses; Roe and Casey had effectively closed that door. It instead had to rely on secondary interests, among them maintaining the integrity of the medical profession. This interest would justify punishing abortionists, but it wouldn't justify punishing clients.

Saletan is eager to bash pro-lifers for alleged inconsistencies, but let's bear in mind that he doesn't actually want us to become more consistent. What he wants is for us to become pro-abortion; in other words, he wants us to accept some of the greatest inconsistencies the human mind has ever devised.

I hope Saletan someday meets a woman who regrets her abortion. He'll quickly realize that she's been through punishment enough.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scatterbrained Sunday: Help with research

An easy, free way to help the pro-life movement is to participate in research! I'd like to bring two projects to your attention.

First, a Cornell student is working on a research paper regarding support for incrementalism in the pro-life movement. He is looking for blog comment threads, discussion fora, recorded conversations, etc. on this topic. Please share your links and other sources in the comments section, or email them to info@secularprolife.org.

Second, SecularProLife.org is continuing to conduct surveys for the Secular Sidewalk project, studying how religion affects the interactions among sidewalk counselors and women going into the abortion facility. We've gotten some enlightening responses so far, but additional participation will help make our findings more robust. If you are a sidewalk counselor, please click here to take the survey. Your answers are anonymous.

We also have a survey for women who have scheduled an abortion. This survey applies to anyone who has gone to an abortion facility with the intent of getting an abortion-- whether or not they ultimately went through with it. For this survey, it does not matter if you are currently pro-life or pro-choice. As with the other survey, it's totally confidential. Click here to take the survey.

Thanks, and have a great day!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jen Roth on Point of Inquiry

Jen Roth, a longtime SecularProLife.org supporter and the co-founder of All Our Lives, was recently interviewed on Point of Inquiry, an atheist online radio program. She discusses the human rights argument against abortion, noting that this secular argument is used by religious and non-religious pro-lifers alike. I especially liked this comment, which really says it all:
A lot of the arguments against ascribing full humanity, full personhood, to the human fetus are actually not so much rational in nature. They're often cloaked in rationality, but I often find that they're very emotional in nature. "Oh, it's so small, that can't possibly be a human." "Look at something the size of the period at the end of this sentence; it's a blob of cells, how can that possibly..." Well, these are emotional arguments. These aren't rational, philosophical arguments. They're just saying "Well, this looks different from me, this functions different from me, therefore this can't be fully human." If you look back over the course of history, that's never been an argument that we've been particularly proud of.
Listen to the full interview here. Well done, Jen!

Friday, September 17, 2010

History repeats itself

From LifeNews.com:
A man who had been verbally harassing pro-lifers outside a late-term abortion center in Albuquerque for days, escalated his abuse to violence yesterday by driving his large paneled delivery truck up on a curb and striking the large pro-life sign held by Bud Shaver.

Shaver was unhurt in the incident but his sign showing an image of an aborted baby was damaged.

Shaver jumped into a truck and was able to track down and obtain the license plate number of the vehicle that hit him. He reported the incident to the police.

"We just explained our concern [to the police] that this man is starting to escalate his behavior," said Shaver. Police told Shaver that they would talk to the man, but it was unlikely that charges would be filed.
I hate to say it, anonymous angry abortion guy, but your stunt was completely unoriginal. More than twenty years ago, none other than George Tiller executed the same idea. Furthermore, Tiller had better aim: he actually hit the person, not just a sign. Your performance pales in comparison. I recommend finding yourself a new hobby. Since you're obviously a complete sociopath, have you considered drowning puppies?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quick News Roundup: 09/16/10

To our Mexican readers - Happy Independence Day! Now, onto the news.

Domestic News: The revocation of noted late-term abortionist Steven Brigam's license has progressed further in New Jersey. It's already been stripped in Maryland, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania for incidents involving late-term abortions as discussed last week. Attorney General Paula Dow, who is decidedly liberal, is already investigating it and asking Brigham to provide evidence in his own defense to maintain his license. Pro-life / conservative activist Christine O'Donnell defeated Congressman Mike Castle in the Republican US Senate primary in Delaware on Tuesday. For reference - Castle received a 46% from NRTL PAC in 1996 and has received significantly lower marks since then. His most recent grade was 0% in 2008. In the oddest news story I've heard in a while - Planned Parenthood board member / abortion activist / Rabbi Alan Freedman is holding services in...a Catholic Church in Texas. According to LifeSiteNews, Rabbi Freedman will actually hold his Jewish services in the main body of the church while Catholic churchgoers will have their Saturday services in the chapel. Not that I have a problem with inter-faith cooperation, but a Catholic Church in Texas allowing a Jewish active member of Planned Parenthood to hold his services in their sancturary just seems...well, odd.

International News: 7 women were recently freed in Mexico in a case involving infanticide. The details are not fully understood as human rights groups are claiming something different than the authorities involved in the case. What I understand, the pregnancies were terminated for each of these women for unknown reasons and instead of being charged with illegal abortions, they were charged with infanticide in Guanajuato. Some believe this to be backlash following the legalization of abortion in Mexico City. Any readers from Mexico who know more about the situation from local media, feel free to add to our understanding of the entire issue. News based outside of Mexico may not paint the whole story.

Discussion Topic: One of the more recent movements has been to modify individual State Constitutions in order to define when life begins. The so-called "Personhood" movement has been gaining momentum and will be on the ballot in Colorado in 2010 and in Mississippi in 2011. What are your thoughts on this approach to pro-life activism? Do you think it will work?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The story behind the story

Tea partier Christine O'Donnell won the Delaware Republican primary, causing the media to go into a tizzy. Political pundits are speculating wildly about the chances of the tea party movement being a massive political force come November. I'm not going to make any predictions either way. I just want to take a moment to note something that most media reports have neglected to mention: O'Donnell was the only pro-life candidate. Some articles alluded to the difference by calling the incumbent Republican she defeated, Mike Castle, a "moderate." In fact, he's not moderate on abortion at all: he received 100% ratings from NARAL in 2005, 2006 and 2007. His dip to 25% approval in 2009 was apparently not sufficient to save his reputation with pro-life voters.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, single-issue pro-life voters routinely have an impact of 3 to 4 percentage points. O'Donnell won by six percent. So while the pro-life vote may not have been dispositive, it definitely helped!

Whether or not we agree with O'Donnell's "tea party" politics, her victory stands for something broader. It stands for the proposition that, in a close race (and there are many expected in November), no candidate can afford to discard the right to life as an irrelevant "social issue." *Cough*MitchDaniels*HaleyBarbour*Cough*

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Assorted news

1) Abortionist Rapin Osathanondh took a plea deal in his trial for the 2007 botched-abortion death of Laura Hope Smith. His guilty plea for involuntary manslaughter came on the third anniversary of Smith's death. Sentencing will take place later today and is expected to be fairly light: the 67-year-old, who has already agreed to stop practicing "medicine," will spend a short time in jail followed by home confinement and probation.
Osathanondh, an obstetrician and a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, was accused of failing to monitor Smith while she was under anesthesia and failing to call 911 in a timely fashion when he could not rouse her after the procedure.

Additionally, following their own investigation, the state board of medicine found Osathanondh lied repeatedly to his staff about the incident, telling them he gave Smith oxygen, monitored her pulse and claimed he and his assistant were certified in advanced cardiac life support.
2) A dead infant was discovered in a storage bin at a Planned Parenthood in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It's unclear how the baby girl ended up there and an investigation is ongoing. Although the article doesn't mention it, the facility in question does abortions. (Update: Jill Stanek reports that the abortion workers who saw the dead baby-- only a few weeks older than the babies killed inside-- are apparently going to receive counseling.)

3) Registration has opened for the 2011 Students for Life of America national conference. SecularProLife.org founder Kelsey Hazzard will speak, along with many other pro-life leaders and experts. Here's her speech from last year:



In our continuing effort to reach out to pro-life young people (who are less likely to be religious than older pro-lifers), we would like to have a booth at the conference this year. The cost is $600. Please help us make that happen by donating!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Being a good sport

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 from Virginia.

So as I stated in my last post, I go to Planned Parenthood every Saturday when they perform abortions to offer better options to pregnant girls. Now as you know I am not religious and I don't push religion on the women going in to the clinic but many others out here do. At first I thought it was wonderful what they are doing, besides many in this group helped me out in my time of need, but I did start to see somethings I definitely did not agree with. Since I have been out there with them I have only seen one what we call "confirmed saved" meaning a mother who has completely changed her mind to keep the baby. I get frustrated sometimes when all I see is girls walking in not giving us but maybe a quick glance. I really want to reach out to these women but I feel like I can't say what I really want to because of the other pro-lifers with me.

I believe we would be more successful in helping these girls if we would leave God out of it. Now not that I don't think the Catholic Church or other Christians haven't done a great deal for the pro-life movement but when you are reaching women who are not religious, what gets them to listen to you in the first place? Obviously calling out "God loves you" is not going to persuade minds. And I have learn too that when your pro-life you have to fight that negative stereotype that all pro-lifers are radical evangelical Christians- and trying to explain to people as to why you're pro-life yet not religious can get old real fast! But I keep strong in my belief abortion is not the best solution to an unwanted pregnancy. Sadly I have seen how closed minded some individuals in our group were when a counter protester from Planned Parenthood came over to debate us. It was two men (funny how they would send two young gay men to argue over something they will never have themselves) to belittle the group and possibly break us up. As the debate went on one of the other pro-lifer leans over and whispers in my ear, "This guy comes every now and then and takes pictures then threatens us he will put the pics in the newspaper." Clearly I could see he was not from the "real" local media, and I started to talk to him. As I was making ground with him to see our side of the issue, and that I was not there to personally attack or make fun of him in any way- he started to listen very closely to my opinion. We actually started to stop arguing and just have a normal mature conversation, but as I would tell him I'm not religious and I don't judge him on his homosexuality that's when one very conservative Christian man in the group walks over and says an anti-gay slang comment to him. The counter protester (we'll call him Jacob) says "See, that's what I'm talking about, every time I come over here all they do is make fun of my clothes, my friend or me being gay and never really hear why I'm here." I felt really bad since I was trying to defend the same guy I was debating.

So I say I'm sorry for the ignorance of the fellow pro-lifers and actually got to know Jacob and by the time it was to go home, me and Jacob were not at war anymore. I even let him hold my little son (which he loved, and I think it proved my point) and gave him a soda and said good bye. We have never heard from Jacob or his friend after that, and why, well because I had compassion was fair and did not judge. I also was more open minded than the other people in our group. The sad thing is Jacob will go back to Planned Parenthood and tell them that a bunch of crazy "anti-women" people are out there and not to pay them any mind, but hopefully I was different and maybe he knows that and doesn't come back. So I am on here to say, that when doing sidewalk counseling, don't judge people and don't jump to other issues other than abortion and the facts. Because when you do, you become weak in your argument and the pro-choice side can easily stomp out your fire. See, if all the pro-lifers that day would have been as open minded and factual in their opinions, Jacob would not have kept coming back to argue. And they would have shown a strong group of people that Planned Parenthood needs to be afraid of because they are going to take away the business for good. But that's not the case now and I am bound and determined to change this! I want to save babies and the only way I will is to be kind, open-minded, factual and non-judgmental, and I want to get other young people in with me too! So if any one in the Roanoke area wants to come and support us, you're more than welcome to!

I have so much more I could say about this subject but that will be next week. I guess the moral of this week is to keep on subject when talking or debating about abortion to people you know or especially at the abortion clinics! And don't jump or get on to religion, gays, or any other hot political issue because your there to save babies not argue political science. Hope to read your comments and hear what you guys have to say.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sorry, no news today or tomorrow

Schoolwork has caught up with me. Heather will blog on Monday, and I'll be back Tuesday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New PP report shows increased abortion, decreased everything else

Back in July, Live Action wondered why Planned Parenthood's 2008 annual report was delayed. It has now arrived, and the figures show that Planned Parenthood has focused more on abortions and less on its supposed core services. (The total number of abortions done in the United States is decreasing.)
The new Planned Parenthood figures show it did 324,008 abortions in 2008 -- a 6.1 percent increase over the 305,310 abortions it did in 2007.

The 2007 figure was itself a 5.3 percent increase over the 289,750 abortions Planned Parenthood did in 2006.

. . .

While abortions are on the rise at Planned Parenthood, adoption referrals declined to just 2,405 -- a 51 percent drop since 2007. Planned Parenthood now does 134 abortions for every adoption referral it makes.

The abortion business also helped only 9,433 prenatal clients, down substantially from the 11,000 women it provided prenatal care to in 2007.

Combined with the number of abortion referrals, 96.5 percent of pregnant women going to Planned Parenthood had abortions while just 3.5 percent of pregnant women received non-abortion services including adoption and prenatal care.
None of that surprised me, but this did:
Planned Parenthood showed a decline in a number of other areas, including a drop of four percent (almost 100,000 visits) in its primary customer base – female birth control customers. While Planned Parenthood often emphasizes that it is the only provider of health care in many areas of the nation, primary-care patients accounted for only one-tenth of one percent of its business in 2008.
I would have expected a spike in the demand for contraception in 2008 because the economic recession had just begun. Planned Parenthood often frames itself as an organization that focuses on prevention, not abortion-- especially when it solicits donations. Do you think that the new numbers will discourage truly "pro-choice" donors?

Bear in mind that these statistics are from two years ago. If the trend has continued, the relative focus on abortion is even higher now.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quick News Roundup: 09/09/10

Shana tova to all our Jewish readers!

Domestic News: In my home state of Maryland, the Maryland Board of Physicians upheld the license suspension of George Shepard, Jr. and Nicola I. Riley. Both are employees of Steven Bringham, noted abortionist who has been in legal trouble in a number of states for his abortion businesses. Following the news of Bringham's actions in Maryland, authorities in New Jersey are also looking to suspend the medical licenses of Bringham's associates. This fall, voters in Colorado will have the opportunity to vote on an amendment to their State Constitution to define when life begins. As part of the "Personhood Amendment" movement, which hopes to codefy the definition of life in individual State Constitutions, Colorado is the only State to have this vote on their November ballot. Mississippi will have it on their ballot in 2011.

International News: Now that Kenya has a democratically drafted and voted on Constitution, pro-life legislators are stepping up to amend it already. Section 26 of the current Consitutiotn allows abortion when in the "opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law." Pro-life legislators are moving quickly to try to change that language. Again, for those interested - Pregnant Pause has a great list of the legality of abortion in various countries across the globe specifically listing for what reasons abortions are allowed and trimester restrictions (if applicable).

Discussion Topic: Why are you pro-life? This is a secular group which leads to a variety of reasons to be pro-life from its supporters. I've been pro-life for a while now and for a number of reasons - from the fact that science can not truly define when life begins, to the fact that viability outside of the womb is not a definable quantity, to the fact that I'm a father of a prematurely born son who thrived outside the womb and is doing great now. I'm sure I can spout off more reasons why I feel that life is precious and the unborn deserve as much respect and protection as the born. What about you?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pro-life Activist in China May be Released from Prison

LifeNews.com reports that Chen Guangcheng, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has spent the last four years in prison for his exposure of human rights abuses against women and unborn children, may be released this week.
Chen Guangcheng received international support when he was jailed on bogus charges after revealing to the world an extensive campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi, China that saw as many as 10,000 women and men victimized.

Now, Chen's wife Yuan says she believes he to finally be released from prison this week after spending four years in jail in difficult conditions.

Yuan Weijing told AFP says Chen is supposed to be released this week, but she has received no confirmation from local authorities that he will be set free.

. . .

Yuan tells AFP that local police have been setting up surveillance cameras outside his home and throughout their village that she says she believes are intended to monitor his whereabouts after his release.

"From all the surveillance equipment they are installing, it looks like that after he comes home he may not be completely free," Yuan said.

During his time in prison, Chen was reportedly denied access to medical treatment, poorly fed and at times beaten. Yuan was denied access to see her husband and not permitted to travel out of the country.
I wish the very best for Chen and his family, but I'm not holding my breath. If the Chinese government does release him, it will only be because the inhumanity of the one-child policy has already been exposed in the international media and they don't think he can do much additional damage.

This sure puts things in perspective, doesn't it? While it is valid to criticize American government policies, especially on abortion, we should rememeber that it could be much worse. What else can Chen Guancheng's exceptional courage teach us?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is social justice?

Students for Life of America asks this seemingly simple question, but finds that the definition of social justice is more complex and contentious than you might think.

As I see it, "social justice" is currently being abused by people on both ends of the political spectrum. On the one hand, we have those who use the term to justify violations of the human right to life. On the other, we have Glenn Beck, who says that social justice is "socialism," an evil liberal conspiracy buzzword, etc.

I found SFLA's analysis helpful in staking out a middle ground.
After researching social justice, we found that there is no one consistent definition. In fact, most people cannot explain it but highlight issues that they think need social justice. Issues like poverty, hunger, and illness.

First, let us define the term. Social means “pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations.” The word social refers to relationships.

Now, what is justice? Justice is “…righteousness, edibleness, or moral rightness.” Justice is more than the enforcement of the law. Justice infers a right relationship or harmony between human beings in which there has to be mercy, love, respect and caring for one another.

Social justice is right relationships or harmony with others. Its goal is to promote human flourishing and it is the sum of millions of acts of relational justice between millions of people.
The implication, of course, is that pro-lifers must pay attention to women's relational needs. Abortion is clearly not a solution by this standard. But neither is just patting mothers on the back for choosing life. We need to develop friendships; counseling is just a starting point. We need to provide long-lasting resources; most pregnancy centers offer baby supplies, parenting classes, and financial assistance, but I'd like to see more job training. If we see a mother in need as just another case, we're no better than the abortionist who sees her as just another procedure. (As ex-abortion worker Carol Everett put it, "You call them 'baby' so you don't have to remember their name.")

This definition of social justice is a challenge, not only in our pro-life work, but in our daily lives. As human beings, we're unlikely to live up to such a high standard in 100% of our interactions. And yet Christians, atheists, and people of every religion generally want to live in a socially just way. So tell me: how would you define social justice in two or three sentences? We have some new commenters on the blog, so consider this a chance to practice social justice by getting to know one another.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Day at West Alabama Women's Center

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 Amelia from Alabama.

Saturdays are sidewalk counseling days. We have two shifts. The first comes early in the morning to greet the doctor, nurses, and staff. The second shift shows up at 8:30 and stays until 11 or 12. I generally work the second shift. We have about 6 people to a shift, with a bit of overlap in the middle.

The clinic is located at the intersection of an interstate and a busy highway. We park on the shoulder of the road. The clinic is located in a complex of buildings owned by a pro-choice lawyer; we’re not allowed to approach the building. A single row of the parking lot is public property, we stand there, about 25 feet from where the patients park. They have a hard time hearing us. Dr. Payne (his real name…isn’t that ironic) opens his doors at 7.

Today is game day (Roll Tide!) Gloria, the clinic manager, has her car decked out in Crimson flags. Sometimes she’s polite to us and say good morning. Other days she’ll accuse one of our members of child abuse (one woman brings her 8 year old, who mostly stays in the car and reads). Today she just ignored us. Game days are usually a bit slower, but it’s an evening game, so there’s no need to schedule your abortion around football.

A little bit after I show up, we have one couple come talk to us. We give her a Physician’s for Life pamphlet and tell her that there are other resources. She informs us that she’s just there for a “check-up.” This isn’t actually a service offered by the clinic, but we wish her good health and send her off with smiles.

She’s the only one who talks to us for the next hour. We plead with women walking in. We tell them that we can help, that this is their child, that they are strong enough to be mothers; but there are no turn-arounds today. We watch them walk in, hunch backed, arms around their stomachs. It is as if, even as they walk into the abortion clinic, they are protecting their children from us. The maternal instinct is a funny thing.

We had two families there today. In the first one, the daughter seemed to be eleven. Her parents looked like they were mid-thirties. Usually when this happens, the girl is there for the abortion; however, this time the girl was there for support (and I was so relieved). She wandered the parking lot a bit while her mother got an abortion. The other family was the first Hispanic family I’ve seen here. The daughter was definitely the patient; she had the walk. When we called to them, the father answered and promised to come and speak to us in a minute. An hour later, we still hadn’t seen him.

Eventually, we were able to talk to two men. They brought a girl and then wandered around the parking lot. After calling them over 3 times, they finally came to talk to us. I guess they figured they had nothing else to do. Usually, in these cases we tell them about post-abortive counseling and that they might want to watch for signs of depression. However, one of them had a cross on and a praying hands tattoo. So, one of our men spent about 20 minutes preaching to them instead. I don’t know how it was taken.

Halfway through the day, someone called the police on us. This is a fairly common occurrence (the real estate office next door to the clinic doesn’t like us for some reason…they claim to be pro-life, but our presence “bothers” them). The cops know us by now, and they’re always nice about it. We show them the invisible line we’re not allowed to go past, sometimes we hand them some literature, and then they wish us a nice day and drive away.

And that was Saturday. I don’t think we saved any lives today, but maybe we touched a heart or two. We stood witness to 20 lost lives. We’re one of the few people who know that these children existed. I feel that we owe this to them. If we can’t save these children’s lives, then don’t they deserve someone (someone who will mourn the loss) to bear witness to their deaths?

Housekeeping

It has come to my attention that Blogger is quarantining some legitimate comments as spam. All the comments backlogged in the spam queue have now been published. From now on, I will check the spam filter at least once a day. If you are still having issues, try
1) breaking your comment into smaller pieces
2) including fewer links
3) alerting me directly with an email to info(at)secularprolife.org
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scatterbrained Sunday: Research paper

As some of you know, in addition to serving as the president of SecularProLife.org, I go to law school (because doing just one or the other wouldn't be nearly stressful enough). I'm currently taking a course called Law of Reproduction. It requires a 25-page paper, and I haven't chosen a topic.

My current idea is to write about the impact that a state personhood amendment would have on the legality of the pill. There's some medical debate as to whether or not the pill has any post-fertilization effect. Even if it does, it certainly doesn't work that way all the time (or even most of the time), and there's no way to know how it's working in any particular instance. Given this uncertainty, claims from opponents that a personhood amendment would effectively ban contraception strike me as probably not being on solid legal ground; after all, we don't ban all cars just because they might strike a pedestrian. But getting a more complete answer would require me to delve way beyond first-year tort law, and is probably not doable in 25 pages.

So if that doesn't work out, what other topics do you suggest? I'm happy to share my research with you once it's completed. Remember, it has to be something appropriate for Law of Reproduction. Thanks!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Planned Parenthood Golden Gate update

Less than a month ago, the national offices of Planned Parenthood revoked the charter of its San Francisco affiliate, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, which then changed its name to Golden Gate Community Health. At the time, the whole thing was rather mysterious: Planned Parenthood claimed "management problems," which is a fairly puny offense given that Planned Parenthood Golden Gate had previously killed a teenager in a botched abortion and possibly covered up the rape of an 11-year-old.

Consider the mystery solved. Planned Parenthood wanted to keep its name clean, because "Golden Gate Community Health" is under investigation by the criminal division of the IRS.

The name change only happened on Friday. So if the group defrauded the IRS, it was a Planned Parenthood affiliate at all relevant times.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Refreshing: SBA List focusing on Republicans

For the record, I do not belong to any political party. I'm generally supportive of pro-life candidates, of course, but many politicians cross party lines on abortion. That's why I'm happy to see that the Susan B. Anthony List, one of the most politically powerful pro-life groups around, has set its sights on the GOP.

The SBA List has gotten plenty of attention for its campaign against Democrats who backed out of the Stupak coalition on health care reform. Their "Votes Have Consequences" tour was sharply criticized by pro-life Democrats, eventually leading to a fruitless pissing contest.

While continuing its campaign against targeted Democrats, the SBA List just announced a campaign that will focus on strengthening the pro-life platform of the Republican Party:
Today, the Susan B. Anthony List announced the launch of its “Life Speaking Out Campaign” aimed at encouraging House GOP leadership to make protecting women and the unborn a priority in its legislative blueprint expected after Labor Day. The campaign includes a website for pro-life activists to lobby House GOP leadership (www.LifeSpeakingOut.com) and an encouraging letter to leadership signed by SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

“The Republican Party must show what it is made of this time around. They can do so by acting on their convictions and those of their party, and by making a commitment to passage of common-sense, life-saving legislation,” said Dannenfelser.

. . .

Since the format for the blueprint was originally floated, it has been widely reported that the agenda consists of five basic planks which were outlined in a recess document: jobs, national security, spending restraint, government reform and health care. The SBA List praised its reported inclusion of anti-funding of abortion language, but the “Life Speaking Out Campaign” asks that GOP leaders include a separate “Family Values” plank under which pro-life priorities would be included.
Pro-life Democrats might see this as little consolation. Still, I think it's a step in the right (no pun intended) direction. The pro-life movement must constantly push elected officials to be responsive, regardless of party affiliation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quick News Roundup: 09/02/10

Happy September All! Let's get into the news.

Domestic News: Did you know that Illinois has parental notification laws on the books? You wouldn't from the way abortion is treated in the state - but some pro-life activists want to change that. They went to court to try to have the 1995 law enforced and so far, the law has been deemed constitutional. But, the until the appeal process is finished - the court said it can not be enforced. The Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear arguments to begin enforcement immediately. In Pennsylvania, a man raped his wife in front of their children after she refused to get an abortion. The suspect, Thomas Hill, is an ex-convict and is currently in police custody.

International News: In Croatia, the number of abortions have finally fallen to a point where they no longer outnumber births. For a while, the number of abortions outnumbered the number of live births in Croatia, but over the past 9 years those numbers have finally dropped. Canada's Prime Minister has begun rolling out their African maternal health program. What's missing? Support / funding for abortion. Canada's Prime Minister Harper is pro-life and actively opposed funding abortions during talks regarding maternal health programs in Africa during the G8 summit.

Discussion Topic: I had friends in college who were supportive of "abortion rights." Recently they all seem to like referring to pro-life people as "anti-choice." How offensive is this term? What other dispariging terms have you heard used in regards to members of the pro-life movement.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Abortionist Stephen Brigham caught doing surgery without license

Pennsylvania-based abortionist Stephen Brigham faces ongoing legal troubles in that state, after similar incidents in Florida, New Jersey, and New York. He is accused of (among other things) hiring employees who did not have medical licenses.

Why stop there? Stephen Brigham has allegedly progressed from hiring unlicensed abortionists to being one himself:
Brigham has been issued a cease and desist order by the Maryland State Board of Physicians ordering him to stop the illegal practice of medicine, including abortions, at five locations throughout Maryland.

Officials say Brigham does not and never has been licensed in that state.

The order, dated August 25, 2010, indicates that Brigham has been practicing illegally in Maryland since January, 2010.

It referred to an incident that occurred on August 13, 2010, where Brigham had begun a surgical procedure reportedly thought to be an abortion. However, something went wrong and Brigham instructed the woman to travel to his abortion center in Elkton to complete the alleged abortion "on an urgent basis."
Naturally, pro-life groups are doing everything they can to end Brigham's pseudo-medical career as quickly as possible. A $10,000 reward is offered for information that leads to the conviction of Brigham or any other abortionist in the United States. If you have such information, call 316-683-6790 ext. 155, or email AbortionWhistleblower(at)gmail.com.