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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 15 stories of 2011

I couldn't limit myself to just 10!  Without further ado, here are the 15 most-read Secular Pro-Life blog posts of 2011.

15) It's a tie.  Cognitive dissonance and the power of language analyzes two stories from Slate that revealed the mental and linguistic gymnastics abortion supporters have to go through to deny the humanity of unborn children.  Lautenberg's shocking comment slams New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg for his remark that pro-life Americans "don't deserve the freedoms in the Constitution."

14) Abortion Rights vs. Sexual Assault: Guest writer Michelle Ye Zhang criticizes abortion advocates who exploit survivors of sexual assault for their cause.  She asks: "Do [pro-choicers] not realize how highly insulting it is to be told that I should feel more pain and anguish due to not being able to kill my preborn child than from a man placing his hands on me without my consent? "

13) China to move to 2-child policy by 2015: "Pro-lifers have long criticized the one-child policy as a violation of human rights. Pro-life leaders are rightfully skeptical that a two-child policy will be much better."

12) GAP visits Liberty U.: Argues that bringing the pro-life message to evangelical Christians is important outreach.  "Secular Pro-Life is quick to point out that not all pro-lifers are Christian. . . . But we need to remember that the opposite is also true: not all Christians are pro-life. And among those who are pro-life, many are apathetic."

11) Is the pro-life movement anti-sex?: This was a lot of fun to write.  I'll leave it at that.

10) Gender selection in Australia: Guest writer Amelia Linne reminds us that sex selection is not just an Asian problem.

9) Abortion after sonogram: This post, which was reprinted on LifeNews.com, tries to explain the psychology of a woman who aborted after receiving a sonogram from a pro-life pregnancy center.  She experienced post-abortion stress, but remains staunchly pro-abortion.  "She apparently thinks that if only she had been able to maintain her ignorance of human development, everything would have been fine. She blames the pregnancy center for allowing her to see the situation for what it really was. And now, she wants to impose her wished-for ignorance on other women by fighting sonogram laws."


8) Pro-life atheist's review of 180 Movie: Guest writer Patrick Ptomey has some positive things to say about the movie, but wishes that producer Ray Comfort had refrained from playing the "Hell card."  (Also check out Comfort's response on Life Report.)

7) On NARAL report card, high abortion rate gets you good marks: By comparing NARAL rankings to abortion statistics from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, this post demonstrates that "killing unborn babies at a higher than average rate virtually guarantees a state a position in the top 25. Even Florida, the only such state not in the top 25, received a passing grade with a D. And of the twelve highlighted states, eight received grades of A- or better. Working to make abortion rare? Apparently, that's extracurricular."

6) The sad story of Joseph Maraachli: Describes the plight of the Maraachli family, whose terminally ill son Joseph was ordered off of life support by a Canadian judge.  (That decision was later changed.  Baby Joseph was transferred to the United States, where he spent his last days as comfortably as possible, with his family by his side.)

5) Remembering Kortney: My personal memories of Students for Life of America staffer Kortney Blythe Gordon, who was a great friend of Secular Pro-Life.  She and her unborn baby, Sophy, died instantly in a car accident on October 8.  Fellow SFLA staffer Jon Scharfenberger, who was in the passenger's seat, died later that month.

4) Stages of Life: "The simple truth is that human development is gradual. At no point in the human lifetime does a Personhood Fairy magically endow us with rights."

3) Abortionist Gosnell arrested on post-natal murders: Breaking news that Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was arrested on eight counts of murder.


2) Eggs, acorns and silkworms: Refuting pro-choice propaganda: A pro-life, pro-science response to the tired points in the pro-choice graphic shown at right.  "These analogies only work if you avoid those pesky 'difficult concepts' from science: concepts like fertilization, species classification, and biological development." 

1) Finally, our number-one most-read story of the year by a landslide was a guest post by former abortion worker Jewels Green: Pro-life and committed to ending abortion: but NOT "by any means necessary."  In it, she described how a trespass of her abortion center by pro-life activists created a counterproductive mentality of cohesion and defiance among the abortion workers.  The post generated considerable controversy, starting a much-needed discussion about the proper role of civil disobedience in the pro-life movement. 

Secular Pro-Life wishes all the readers of this blog a happy new year.  We look forward to being your source for pro-life new updates in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bad Week for the Abortion Industry

It's been a bad week for the abortion industry, which means a great week for babies!

Two notoriously skeevy abortionists-- Steven Chase Brigham and Nicola Riley-- have been charged with murder.  They allegedly killed viable babies while operating an illegal abortion mill in Maryland.  Already, their licenses to practice medicine had been revoked, bringing some measure of protection to women and their babies.  But criminal charges send an important message to other abortionists: What you are doing is killing, and while we may not be able to criminalize your chosen "profession" directly, you will be held accountable the minute you step over the legal line.  You are not above the law!

Another abortionist, Bruce Ferguson of New Mexico, has decided to retire today.  Although his departure isn't due to any moral insight, we're still glad to know that he has left his lethal business.  The abortion facility he worked in will close.

Last but not least, Planned Parenthood's latest annual report was released this week, and it confirms what pro-life advocates have been consistently pointing out in the de-funding battle: Planned Parenthood is first and foremost an abortion group.  Despite its rhetoric, it is far from being a neutral provider of women's health care and pregnancy options.
The new document the abortion organization posted shows Planned Parenthood did 329,445 abortions in 2010 while it provided prenatal care to only 31,098 women and referred only 841 women to adoption agencies. 
The number of women receiving prenatal care dropped significantly from 2009 to 2010, as the abortion business helped 40,489 women in 2009 — meaning almost 10,000 fewer women received prenatal support from Planned Parenthood last year than the year prior, or a drop of almost 25 percent. 
The number of women getting adoption referrals also declined — from a low 977 in 2009 to 841 last year, or a decline of 14 percent. 
Examined another way Planned Parenthood does 391 abortions for every adoption referral it makes and almost 11 abortions for every woman it helps with prenatal care. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rick Perry: Pro-life in cases of rape

Rick Perry recently announced that he has become pro-life in cases of rape and incest, a change that he attributes to a conversation with a woman who was conceived in rape:
Perry said his change of heart came after meeting with Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life attorney who was born after her birthmother was a victim of sexual assault. 
“This is something that is relatively new and it goes back to a meeting with Rebecca Kiessling, who was at the The Gift of Life,” Perry said about meeting her at a recent showing of the new movie. “We had a fairly lengthy and heartfelt conversation about how she was conceived in rape. Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend exceptions for rape and incest.”  
“Over the course of the last few weeks, the Christmas holiday, reflecting on that – I would suggest that my pro-life position has been rather strong as the Governor of Texas. But she made a statement to me that was really strong and pierced my heart. As I signed that document, I will suggest to you that all I can tell you is God was working on my heart,” he said.

Whether or not you believe that God was at work behind the scenes, this is a fairly typical example of a crucial influence on one's stance on abortion: personal experience.  One study that attempted to quantify influences on pro- and anti-abortion opinion found that personal experiences have a major impact, nearly equal to the impact of religion and education.  Knowing someone who was a "poster child" for abortion-- someone who was conceived in rape, in incest, in poverty, or with a genetic illness-- is extremely powerful ammunition against the propaganda that death is in the best interest of certain "unwanted" babies.  The victims of abortion are usually invisible, incinerated as medical waste; but the survivors remain with us, putting a face to the issue.  In a similar vein, numerous commentators have suggested that a survivor mentality ("It could have been me") is at least partially responsible for the stronger pro-life beliefs in Americans under the age of 30; about one third of that generation was killed before birth.

Long before her conversation with Rick Perry, Rebecca Kiessling brought her message to thousands of college students with this secular advertisement for Feminists for Life of America that really brings the point home:

Did I deserve the death penalty?  My "crime" was being
conceived through rape.  So the next time you hear
people talking about "exceptions" to abortion for
rape and incest, think of me.  My name is Rebecca.
I am that exception.

Monday, December 26, 2011

GOP candidates to address pro-life issues tomorrow night

Via a Students for Life of America email:
We are excited to announce the first ever Presidential Pro-Life Forum, a national tele-town hall and radio simulcast presented by Personhood USA in partnership with Champion The Vote and other national pro-life organizations tomorrow, December 27 at 8:00 - 9:30 pm CST. 
All current Presidential candidates have been invited to participate, and as of now, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum are confirmed. 
We hope you'll attend this 90-minute town hall conference call to hear the candidates discuss their views on right to lifeissues. On the tele-conference, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions and to give instant feedback to thoughts and ideas shared. The programwill also be heard live on Steve Deace's nationally-syndicated radio show on the Salem Network. Please visit www.ChampionTheVote.com to register!
While it's good to see that life issues are getting attention, I have some concerns about the Presidential Pro-Life Forum.  Champion the Vote describes itself as a group of voters who "are passionate about America and God's word" and "long to see our nation return to the timeless truth of a Biblical worldview."  Many of the co-sponsoring organizations have similar missions.  It appears likely that the Forum will frame the right to life in religious terms, potentially alienating non-Christian voters.

On the plus side, the Forum will provide opportunities for live questions and answers.  It is entirely appropriate for pro-life voters to ask the candidates how they would advance science, promote pro-life cooperation, and represent citizens of all faith backgrounds as president.  Secular Pro-Life encourages you to ask those questions of Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum tomorrow night.  All four are pro-life: but which would best guide us into a pro-life future?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A pro-life holiday message

This Christmas Eve, I'd like to share a poem with you. It comes from the Unitarian Universalist Church, which is not Christian but celebrates Christmas "to honor the message" of Jesus, which they say reflects "the inherent worth and dignity of every person."

Ironically, the Unitarian Universalist Church is pro-abortion-choice. Nevertheless, a UU friend tells me that this beautifully pro-life poem by Sophia Lyon Fahls is read aloud at his church's services every Christmas.


And so the children come.
And so they have been coming.
Always in the same way they come --
Born of the seed of man and woman.
No angels herald their beginnings,
No prophets predict their future courses,
No wise men see a star to point their way
To find a babe that may save humankind.
Yet each night a child is born is a holy night.
Fathers and Mothers --
Sitting beside their children's cribs --
Feel glory in the wond'rous sight of life beginning.
They ask: "When or how will this new life end?
Or will it ever end?"
Each night a child is born is a holy night.

We wish a very merry Christmas to all who celebrate.  And for those who don't, we hope that you have a great day tomorrow anyway!

Friday, December 23, 2011

End-of-semester update

[Today's blog post is by our friend Phil E., the Northeast Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America.]


The Fall 2011 semester has ended, and what a semester it has been!

Pro-life students at Houghton College connect mothers
in need with life-affirming resources.
The Northeast is a rather hostile area for pro-lifers compared to other parts of the country, but that hasn’t stopped students across the region from boosting their pro-life involvement these past few months.  It’s a trend that has been mirrored nationwide, as we’ve tracked more events this semester than any in the past, and the number of pro-life student groups has increased to a whopping 678 unique organizations in operation!!

In New York and New Jersey, the number of student groups qualifying for our highest activity ranking has almost tripled, and I fully expect that number to triple again by the end of the next semester!

There have been some fantastic achievements that individual groups made, and I thought I’d take the time to highlight a few of them.
         
University of Buffalo Students for Life
have overcome adversity.
  • Fordham University hosted a pro-life conference in October that drew students from nine schools in the region, and organizers remain determined to quadruple attendance next October!
  • At Houghton College, almost two hundred students have taken part in the L.I.F.E. group’s activities.
  • Pro-life students at Hofstra University and Felician College started their efforts in October, and since then have performed or hosted almost 40 activities and events between the two of them!
  • University of Buffalo’s Students for Life group expanded from a few people to dozens of interested pro-lifers, most of whom are international students!  UB SFL received national media attention when their pro-life “Cemetery of the Innocents” display was vandalized by not one, not two, but twelve abortion advocates!
  • Rebecca Purdy and her merry band of activists at The College of New Jersey faced an uphill battle as Planned Parenthood has a clinic right there on campus.  This hasn’t deterred them, though, and the group (which is just now turning one year old) had sixteen pro-life actions this semester alone!
I had the pleasure of visiting 22 colleges and universities these past few months, and witnessed the birth of thirteen new pro-life student groups at schools across New York and New Jersey – including six high school groups!


I’ve also had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people that are involved in their local pro-life movement, and want to thank several of them for their support this semester: Betty and Neil from Life Education Council; Cheryl Calire in Buffalo; Nancy Monette and Mary Skillan in Plattsburgh; Celeste Broyles on Long Island; Natalie and Laurie at NYS Right to Life; and Christine DiNovo and the entire CNY Network for Life team (especially Lisa Hall!) in Syracuse.

Pro-life students at the New Jersey Institute
of Technology bring female pro-life
voices to the largely male campus.
A fitting finale to my semester in the field was spending Monday afternoon canvassing at New Jersey Institute of Technology with Rebecca Madrigal.  She’s a junior at NJIT, and her passion for life has spurred her on to form a new pro-life group there on campus.  I remember telling Rebecca beforehand that chances are most of the people signing up would be female, but she reminded me that the campus is mostly male….well, according to Wikipedia the school’s male to female ratio is 4:1, but 4/5ths of the students that signed up were women!

This was a rough semester for everyone in the Students for Life family, after a violent car crash took the lives of Jon, Kortney, and her baby Sophy.  But it’s been heartening to hear so many people tell us that even though they may never have met Jon or Kortney, they still took inspiration from them, and I think that inspiration has been key to the successes the pro-life student movement has seen these past few months.

So take some time to rest up this holiday season, because we’re going to keep this momentum going into the next semester.  I have a feeling that 2012 is going to be the year that the pro-life student movement makes monumental gains in the Northeast!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pro-life attorneys stop coerced abortion

Via LifeNews.com:
Attorneys with Texas Center for Defense of Life representing a 14-year-old girl secured a temporary restraining order yesterday from a Texas court that blocks several of her family members from forcing her to have an abortion against her will.The teenager’s family members had scheduled an appointment for her to have the abortion at a local Corpus Christi clinic this week.  The girl has been under intense pressure to have the abortion, was physically assaulted last week by one family member, and has been prevented from attending school.
Despite the rhetoric of "choice," coerced abortion is disturbingly common.  And teenagers, who can be threatened with being kicked out of the home, are especially vulnerable.  Most are not lucky enough to have a pro-life law firm on their side.  


We do need more pro-life lawyers.  But if you aren't a lawyer, there are still ways for you to help.  The easiest and most effective way is to connect at-risk women with attorneys who will enforce their rights.  Familiarize yourself with the Justice Foundation's "Dear Parent" letter, and if you are a sidewalk counselor or otherwise in a position where you may encounter teens in crisis, keep copies on your person.  This letter unambiguously informs parents of their daughters' legal right to refrain from killing their grandchildren.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Plans for January

It's that time of year! No, not Hanukkah. Not Christmas, either. I'm talking about the time of year that pro-life organizations prepare for the flurry of activity that surrounds the anniversary of Roe v. Wade on January 22nd. Secular Pro-Life is no exception. Here's an outline of our schedule.

All day on Sunday, January 22, 2012, we will have a booth at the Students for Life of America conference in Bethesda, Maryland. We're sharing the booth with our friends at the Life Matters Journal. If you have registered for the conference, please come by and say hello-- we'll have Secular Pro-Life goodies for you! Registration is now full, but you can still access some of the conference via an online feed.

On Monday the 23rd, we will join hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists from across the country for the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Our meeting place and time are TBD. We welcome anyone to march behind our "For the embryology textbook tells me so" banner. Immediately after the march, all are invited to the second annual National Pro-Life Youth Rally.

Can't make it to D.C.? For the second consecutive year, Secular Pro-Life will also have a presence at the West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco, California! The 2012 Walk will take place on January 21st. We encourage participants to carry secular slogans; our favorites include "Pro-Science, Pro-Life" and "Call me an extremist, but I think dismemberment is wrong."

We hope to see you at one or more of these events. In the meantime, have a happy holiday!

To help us reach as many pro-life activists as possible during the Roe anniversary events, please consider making a donation.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Life Matters Journal releases issue #2

The Secular Pro-Life blog is back! Thank you for bearing with us during our hiatus.

Today, we're excited to spotlight the second issue of the Life Matters Journal! (Read about the first issue here.) This issue is entitled "Allies in the Culture War" and features numerous articles that will be of interest to secular pro-lifers, including: a fictional short story about a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, by Muslim SPL member Angel Armstead (page 47); an essay on the unique religious demographics of the pro-life generation and what they mean for restoring the right to life, by SPL president Kelsey Hazzard (page 22); and commentaries by pro-life Catholics, gays, Quakers, libertarians, and much more.

The entire issue is embedded below. You can also find it at the Life Matters Journal website. To purchase the print version of any issue, go here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Batman Star Reaches Out to Persecuted Chinese Human Rights Activist


As many of your are probably already aware, Chen Guancheng, is a blind human rights activist who has been instrumental in speaking out against, and exposing, the One Child Policy in China. In 2006 Chen revealed that over 130,000 forced abortions and sterilizations took place in Linyi County in 2005 alone (this is just ONE county in all of China); because of this Chen and his family have been brutally beaten and have been kept hostage by the Chinese government for the last year after Chen spent roughly 4 years in prison.

After many rumors a few months ago that Chen may have been dead activists across the world amped up awareness of Chen’s and his family's situation, and not long after word was received that Chen is still alive. Not only did we hear that Chen is still alive, but that he is being treated better because of the pressure people across the world are putting on the Chinese government.

Many organizations are stepping up to demand the release of Chen Guancheng. Nationwide awareness campaigns have been taking place to shine light on China’s One Child Policy and China’s barbaric treatment of Chen. I’m so grateful that popular actor Christian Bale, from the classic film Little Women and the Batman movies, has taken action to reach out to Chen. This may seem like a small action to some, yet it has made a huge impact on creating awareness about how the Chinese government has treated Chen and the bigger issue of China’s One Child Policy and abuse of its citizens that violate that policy. I encourage you to be courageous like Christian Bale by reaching out in love and creating awareness about injustices like these.


For the Dignity of the Born and Unborn,

Timmerie

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pro-Choice Writer: Lack of Access to Abortion Often Means Choosing Life, Not Reaching for a Coat Hanger

[Today's piece, by Eleanore S., is cross-posted from her blog Naturally Pro-Life.]

I recently happened upon this post at "The Abortioneers," a blog that chronicles the experiences of various people who work directly in the abortion industry. This particular writer was working at an abortion clinic in the South at the time Hurricane Katrina hit, and is now living in a "large metropolitan city" that was also just hit by a hurricane. (I'm guessing she is in D.C. and is talking about Hurricane Irene, which hit the East Cost on the last weekend of August - although the post doesn't specify.)

In the post, she expresses regret that natural disasters sometimes force women to miss their abortion appointments because the clinic can't open or they can't get themselves there. She describes ways in which her clinic still tried to help such women, by rescheduling their appointments and offering to "freeze" the fee for the procedure until they could come back, since abortions are more expensive the further along a pregnancy is. Yet, she acknowledged, waiting an extra week could mean that some women would end up being too far along to legally have the procedure.

Let's forget for a moment the fact that there are legal ways for a woman to get an abortion in the U.S. at pretty much any time during pregnancy, so technically she would never be "too far along." Instead, let's consider the following remark that the writer made about such women:
My heart breaks for any woman who tried to get an abortion this past weekend and will now have to carry to term.
Now hold on a minute. A pro-choice person, arguably one of the most passionately pro-choice out there because she has actually worked in the abortion industry, is actually stating on record that there are women who are going to end up having their babies in a few months because a hurricane prevented them from going to their abortion appointments?

Doesn't that directly contradict one of the most widely-touted pro-choice talking points? Namely, that if abortion isn't available, all women who would have sought one will definitely try some kind of dangerous self-abortion procedure instead?

If that's really true, why isn't she predicting that all those women trapped by the ravages of Irene will be so desperate to end their pregnancies that they will use coat hangers on themselves once they manage to take shelter? If a legal barrier is supposed to guarantee that women will do this, why wouldn't the same be true of a logistical barrier?

The real truth is, many women are ambivalent about their abortions, largely because others are often pressuring them into the decision. In fact, they are sometimes so ambivalent that they decide to leave it up to "fate" to make the decision for them. I can't tell you how many stories I've heard of women who found out that there weren't abortion appointments available, or ran into a friend who said she'd help with the pregnancy and child care, or any number of circumstances that they decided to take as a "sign" that they shouldn't have the abortion.

The former clinic worker even acknowledged this point within the same blog post:
I wonder if they see this Hurricane as a sign that they were not meant to abort?
For the sake of all of those precious women, who have already been through so much, and for the sake of the precious children they're carrying, I sure hope that this pro-choice writer was right.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tis' the Season

As we quickly approach Christmas and are immersed in the holiday season, the precious children in the womb and their mothers need our help. There are many ways we can reach out to women and children in need this holiday season and I’ve put together a list of a few things you should know and ways you can help save and touch lives with joy:

Profits from Popular Christmas Flowers are Paying for Abortions’ -- be careful what poinsettias you buy, one of the major poinsettia farms that supplies to most of the United Sates donates large amounts of their proceeds to Planned Parenthood in California.

A ProLife Christmas Carol -- Organize a group to Christmas Carol outside of a local abortion clinic!

Operation Christmas Baby -- Donate Christmas presents to pregnant mommies and their family.


Have a Wonderful Holiday Season!

Timmerie

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On the Beginning of Life

[Today's blog post is by SPL member Robert T.]

After coming under fire from established pro-life activists for his stance that life begins at implantation, Newt Gingrich has recanted this and stated that fertilization is the moment when life begins. At least one pro-life veteran is skeptical of this sudden change.

Traditionally pregnancy has been dated from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, which typically occurs about two weeks before fertilization. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists years ago decided pregnancy started with implantation, in part to avoid some questions being raised about birth control methods, specifically hormonal birth control and intra-uterine devices (IUDs). These are questions that needed to be addressed a long time ago, and pro-lifers are as guilty of failing to address this as the pro-choice side. When pro-lifers say that life begins at conception, they need to look at whether a given birth control method is abortive. Pro-life women and men need to know there's speculation that the birth control pill may cause early abortions. By the same token they also have a right to know there's much room for doubt that this takes place.

The belief that the pill causes early abortions is based on the observation that the endometrium is thinned out while a woman is on oral contraceptives, and this is believed to hinder implantation. Beginning around the 1990’s, however, some pro-life physicians began to challenge this, arguing that implantation can take place in environments far more hostile than an endometrium thinned by oral contraceptives, such as the Fallopian tube in ectopic pregnancy. Moreover, implantation is known to take place directly in the uterine muscle, which leads to a condition called placenta accreta requiring surgery. This suggests the uterine lining's purpose is as much to protect the mother as to nourish the child. Some other physicians have challenged this with their own papers. This became such a source of division that the American Association of Pro-life Ob-Gyns decided to shelve the debate and concentrate on other pro-life matters. They have a page that links to both papers.

There is also some disagreement over how methods of emergency contraception work, at least within the medical community as a whole. If, as some studies suggest, levonorgestrel (Plan B) does not disrupt post-fertilization events, it would seem unlikely that the much smaller doses of hormones in ordinary contraceptives would have this effect.

At this point I might add that I am not trying to encourage emergency contraception. There are indications that its effectiveness is overstated, and it has not been shown to reduce abortion.

With the IUD there’s not as much doubt that it can act abortively. The progesterone IUD is believed to thicken the cervical mucus to impede sperm transport, while the copper IUD is believed to have a spermicidal effect. The latter is also used as emergency contraception, however, and in this setting is considered much more effective than pills. Those who argue the effectiveness of Plan B and even ella can be accounted for by actions that occur before fertilization admit the IUD’s very high effectiveness means it must be able to act post-implantation. A moment’s reflection can help to explain this. Pills alter the growth of endometrial linings, while the IUD acts as a foreign object and an irritant.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Canada Underreporting Abortion Statistics

New abortion statistics based on billing records have shown that Ontario has been underreporting their abortion statistics. How much so? Approximately 10-20% fewer are being reported, much of which are being performed at doctor's offices instead of at abortion clinics. Here's an excerpt from an article:
New abortion statistics based on Ontario’s health billing records show that in 2010 there were more abortions committed in doctors’ offices than hospitals or private abortion facilities.

The statistics, obtained by Patricia Maloney of the Run With Life blog through a freedom of information request with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, indicated that there were 18,330 abortions committed in doctors’ offices while only 16,055 in private facilities and 9,612 in hospitals.

The figures revealed that in total there were at least 43,997 abortions committed in Ontario during 2010. That includes 2,108 committed after 14 weeks with 345 of those also committed in doctors’ offices.

This latest information bolsters evidence that there is vast under reporting in Canada’s official statistics on abortion. The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that there were 30,268 abortions in the province in 2009, 32,150 in 2008, and 32,331 in 2007. But the institute makes no claim to accuracy, acknowledging that abortion clinics are not required to report.

In response to Maloney’s request, the Ministry revealed that abortionists billed for $5,470,562.36 in 2010. They noted that this figure does not represent the full cost, however, as it does not include other costs such as the facility fees paid to private abortion facilities.

The figures also reveal that there were 77 “selective fetal reductions” committed in Ontario’s hospitals in 2010 by lethal injection into the child’s heart.

Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer of Campaign Life Coalition, said it used to be illegal to commit abortions in doctors’ offices and that they ought to be

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's that time of year...

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while may recall that the principal author (Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey-- that's me!) is a law student. Final exams are approaching, and unfortunately, I will not have time to give the blog the attention that it deserves for the next couple of weeks. Sorry for the inconvenience.

If anyone would like to contribute a guest post, please email info@secularprolife.org.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Implantation vs Fertilization: When does pregnancy begin?

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has come under fire for his comment that human life begins at implantation, not fertilization. As a scientific matter, he's plainly wrong. Perhaps he's been confused by a separate debate: when pregnancy begins.

Much ink has been spilled on the definition of pregnancy. The debate has little or no practical importance, because pro-life advocates are always going to oppose the deliberate destruction of human life, whether or not that destruction also "terminates a pregnancy." For instance, there is clearly no pregnancy involved in embryonic stem cell research, which pro-life advocates almost universally oppose. Moreover, due to limitations in the current state of medical technology, most women do not become aware of their pregnancies until weeks after both fertilization and implantation have taken place, making it a moot point in the context of abortion. Nevertheless, it is an interesting debate, because it serves as a proxy for pro- and anti-abortion attitudes about pregnancy.

Pro-lifers tend to see pregnancy as a natural stage of life. It is that part of our lives which we spend in the womb, from conception to birth. From this perspective, it seems bizarre to claim that a woman can be carrying a genetically distinct human being in her womb, yet not be pregnant. That is the result, for a few days, if you believe that pregnancy begins at implantation.

By contrast, hard-core abortion supporters tend to view pregnancy as an egregious invasion of women's bodies. As an example, consider the pregnancy analogy drawn in Judith Jarvis Thomson's well-known essay "A Defense of Abortion," in which physical attachment to the body is what allegedly justifies the murder of the famous violinist. When pregnancy is viewed as an invasion rather than a natural part of life, it's no wonder that abortion advocates define pregnancy as beginning at implantation.

When an abortion advocate engages you on the topic of when pregnancy begins, recognize it as a side issue and redirect the conversation to the core question: when human life begins. And when you do, be sure to know your science better than Newt Gingrich does!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Google: “how much does an abortion cost”

You know how when you Google something the most popularly Googled phrases come up as you’re typing? Well, earlier this week a friend of mine was on his Iphone Googling how much a plane ticket would be, and had only typed in the words “how much does” when Google pulled up some key phrases for him. The very first key phrase was “how much does an abortion cost”. He took this screen shot and sent it to me:


I wanted to see if the same would happen when I Googled “how much does” from other devices; and sure enough I had the same results on my Iphone, lap top, my mom’s Ipad, and other electronics that browse the internet. Of all the phrases Googled beginning with “how much does”, the cost of abortion is the most commonly searched. It always pops up as a suggestion!

I’m surprised and saddened to know this because it’s a reminder of how often women are having abortions. In addition, what if a pregnant woman was not Googling how much an abortion costs, but something else and found interest in the proposed Google search “how much does an abortion cost”? The woman now has a quick and easy way to get information about abortion -- when she otherwise may not have been pursuing one. When something is readily available to us, we often take interest or action. Right? I would think it’s probably the same in this case.

Once again, I find that we are surrounded by abortion day in and day out. I know I may say this often, but there’s a reason. We allow ourselves to be surrounded by abortion, and until our society works together to make life the better option, and not accept or give easy access to abortion, we will continue to be surrounded with the death of millions of children. Let’s take back the culture by supplying easy access to life affirming help and materials. That easy access can start with each individual being their for their pregnant friends, family, acquaintances, and those people we run into all the time who are talking about abortion.

For the Dignity of the Born and Unborn,

Timmerie

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Good news to start off your December

Via LifeSiteNews:
On December 1, North Carolina will become the 37th state to recognize the humanity of unborn victims of violent crimes.

The “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” conventionally known as “Ethen’s Law,” will allow prosecutors to charge criminals who kill a pregnant woman with two murders: that of the mother and her unborn child.

The North Carolina law is named after the murdered unborn baby of 22-year-old Jenna Nielsen, who was stabbed to death in Raleigh in June 2007. She was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time.

The state’s Democratic governor, Beverly Perdue, signed the bill after it passed with a veto-proof majority in April.

At an emotional press conference on Wednesday, lawmakers and family members expressed their bittersweet gratitude. Effie Steele, the mother of Ebony Robinson, who was murdered while nine months pregnant, said her daughter’s murderer was not charged with the death of her grandson, Elijah, “even though he was in the casket with Ebony, and…he was a full-grown baby.”

Dale Folwell, the Speaker Pro Tempore of the state House of Representatives who championed the bill, said bluntly, “This law is about murderers and thugs, and how we’re going to treat them.” He added, “If this prevents one pregnant woman from being murdered, it will be successful.”

Barbara Holt, president of North Carolina Right to Life, told LifeSiteNews.com she was happy that “no longer will a mother who has made a decision to carry that child be denied... the justice she deserves.”

The bill mirrors similar bills at the state and national level by specifically stating it does not apply to abortion. Despite this exemption, Holt said, “We think it’s important because it recognizes the humanity of the child.”

President George W. Bush signed the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act in 2004 after passing the Senate by a one-vote margin. However, it applies only to federal crimes.

Holt said victims’ families in her state had been “tenacious about coming back to the General Assembly every year asking for this bill to be passed,” because “a small minority” of legislators had killed the bill for more than two-decades.
The abortion lobby has consistently opposed laws protecting unborn victims of violence, precisely because they recognize the humanity of the fetus. Governor Perdue, who is strongly supported by NARAL and has vetoed common-sense abortion regulations in the past, presumably shares that view. Fortunately, this legislation passed with a veto-proof majority. Bear this in mind-- local elections can be very important to the success of pro-life and pro-woman legislation!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is Siri Pro-Life?

For those who don't know, Siri is the iPhone's new gadget that will answer your questions, whatever questions you ask it. Or, at least try to. So, what happens if you ask Siri to find you an abortion clinic in New York City? BetaBeat has screen shots. Here's the first:


This same situation is being found across the country as people ask Siri to find them abortion clinics. In a different part of New York City, it actually directs people to Crisis Pregnancy Centers instead.

So, it begs the question - is Siri or are the creators pro-life? It's not clear, but at present - it appears Siri doesn't want you to get an abortion.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pro-life website up and running again after denial-of-service attack

In July, hackers attacked AbolishAbortion.com, a Students for Life of America activism website. The attack completely destroyed the site, which (among other things) advertised pro-life jobs and internships, and provided users with daily pro-life status updates for Facebook and Twitter.

I'm happy to report that AbolishAbortion.com has risen from the ashes, with improved security features to prevent this from happening again. However, since the site was down for several months, their web traffic will likely suffer. The site was not very old at the time of the attack. Please visit the site and help rebuild their momentum! This has the potential to be a great pro-life resource, but only if people see it. We cannot allow underhanded tactics to bring it down.

Monday, November 28, 2011

We want your feedback

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.


As was mentioned a while back, our friends at the Life Matters Journal are seeking submissions for the journal's second issue. I am writing an article that is more or less adapted from the presentation that Secular Pro-Life gave at Liberty University. Since it is not due until December 7, I thought I would share my opening paragraph in order to get some feedback from our members. What points would you like to have included in the article? Do you think that this is going in the right direction? (Note: copies of the journal will be distributed at the Students for Life of America conference in January.)








We systematically vilified the Catholic Church and its “socially backward ideas” and picked on the Catholic hierarchy as the villain in opposing abortion. This theme was played endlessly. . . . And the media drum-fired all this into the American people, persuading them that anyone opposing permissive abortion must be under the influence of the Catholic hierarchy . . . An inference of this tactic was that there were no non-Catholic groups opposing abortion. The fact that other Christian as well as non-Christian religions were (and still are) monolithically opposed to abortion was constantly suppressed, along with pro-life atheists' opinions.


~Dr. Bernard Nathanson (1926-2011), former abortionist and co-founder of the abortion lobbying group NARAL.[1]



For the past forty years, the battle over abortion has been situated within a broader culture war, pitting godless liberals against right-wing theocrats.[2] As the above quote by the late Dr. Nathanson illustrates, this understanding of the abortion issue has been deliberately encouraged by abortion advocates, who utilize religion as a distraction from the fundamental human rights claims at stake. Their approach has been remarkably successful. Pro-life victory depends upon the re-casting of abortion as more than a mere “religious issue.” Today’s pro-life students, who are more religiously diverse than previous generations, have a unique opportunity to challenge stereotypes, change the course of the debate, and make abortion unthinkable.


<!--[if !supportFootnotes]-->




<!--[endif]-->

<!--[if !supportFootnotes]-->[1]<!--[endif]--> [Citation to Nathanson's book.] Dr. Nathanson became pro-life while still an atheist, and was an atheist at the time of this quote. He converted to Catholicism later in life.



<!--[if !supportFootnotes]-->[2]<!--[endif]--> Additional battles in this culture war include same-sex marriage, evolution/creationism, school prayer, and the role of religion in civic life.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving

The blog is taking a weeklong hiatus in observance of Thanksgiving.

As you enjoy this time with your families, please don't forget about those less fortunate. Your local pregnancy resource center can always use donations of baby and maternity items.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Girl Scouts and Abortion

Over the last few years tons of information has come out exposing close ties between Planned Parenthood and Girl Scouts. From money between the organizations to extreme sex and abortion education being taught to the young Girl Scouts. It is much debated whether these young girls should stay within the organization or not given these strong pro-abortion ties to Planned Parenthood. What are your thoughts? Please take the poll below or share your thoughts.


For the Dignity of the Born and Unborn,

Timmerie
www.Timmerie.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two must-see videos

1) You may have heard by now that criminal charges against a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Kansas were dropped after key evidence was lost to "routine" document destruction. Needless to say, pro-life advocates who are familiar with the case believe that this was anything but routine. Operation Rescue outlines everything you need to know in this short video:
We have no problem recognizing and condemning government corruption when it's for the benefit of a solar energy company. But when it's for the benefit of an abortion provider, the mainstream media silence is deafening.

2) Citizens United is best known for being the plaintiff in the 2010 Supreme Court case that revolutionized campaign finance law. It all started with an unflattering documentary they had produced on Hilary Clinton. Now, they're back with another documentary: this one, on the pro-life movement. The Gift of Life is narrated by former governor Mike Huckabee, who is a Baptist pastor-- but interestingly, the trailer includes no religious references aside from using the word "miracle." (The website also mentions "individuals who were nearly the victims of an abortion, but through God’s grace were spared.")

Could this be a secular film? Or did someone just realize that a secular trailer would bring in a wider audience, who can then be proselytized (as we saw with 180 Movie)? I've ordered a copy of the DVD and will bring you a Secular Pro-Life review ASAP.

I'll close with this excellent statement from the The Gift of Life website:

Historically, America has been a shining example of a culture that respects life. But with the Roe v. Wade decision, we, as a society, exchanged our sense of responsibility toward human life for a greater heralding of the right to terminate it.

There is inherent and intrinsic worth and value in every human life regardless of that person’s age, stature, functional capacity, ancestry, personal assets, last name, level of education, or occupation. Contempt and indifference toward any life can become contempt and indifference toward every life, including our own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sister of abortion victim suffers the consequences of malpractice

[Cross-posted from our sister blog, Abortion Safety Project. AbortionSafety.com is a project of Secular Pro-Life. The malpractice database will be launched in spring 2012.]

As AbortionSafety.com volunteers continue to research abortion malpractice across the country, I want to share one case with you. For me, it brought home the broad negative impact of abortion. It doesn’t stop with the unborn child, or even with the mother; abortion harms entire families and communities.

This case begins nearly two decades ago, when a young woman obtained an abortion at a Planned Parenthood in California. Planned Parenthood erronously told her that she was Rh-positive, when she was actually Rh-negative. As a result, she did not receive an injection of Rhogam, which is standard medical practice after an Rh-negative woman has an abortion or gives birth.

Several years later, she conceived a daughter. As a result of Planned Parenthood’s negligence in the earlier abortion of the sibling, this innocent baby girl suffered a severe case of Rh disease. The mother sued on her daughter’s behalf. In response to Planned Parenthood’s motion to dismiss the case, the plaintiffs described the girl’s injuries: she “had to be delivered prematurely at 30 weeks gestation and suffered a Grade III intra ventricular hemhorrage, hydrops fetalis, and erythoblastosis … has had multiple brain surgeries, and brain shunts placed … damages are in excess of $4,000,000 for lifelong medical and 24 hour per day nursing care.”

Planned Parenthood’s motion to dismiss was denied, and the case settled out of court in 2005— thirteen years after the abortion malpractice took place.

This case highlights the importance of informing women of the potential risks of abortion. We hope that you will help us continue to unearth these disturbing malpractice cases by making a donation. Thank you for your continued support.

[To view the court documents in this case for yourself, visit the Alameda County Superior Court website, click the “Case summary” link, enter case number C-828023, click on “Register of Actions” in the left-hand sidebar, then click on the document icon for “Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss Filed” (09/24/04). The relevant information begins on page 8 of the document.]

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Conception to Birth: Visualized"

In this TED video, medical imaging expert Alexander Tsiaras presents a fascinating animation of prenatal development, showing both external and internal features. The emphasis is on the earlier stages of pregnancy, when development is most rapid. It's hard to know where Tsiaras stands on abortion-- the language used in the video varies widely-- but it's a wonderful pro-life resource. (The meat of the video begins at 1:55.)

I apologize that the embedded video is cut off at the side; this is a Blogger problem that I can't fix. To view the video with better quality, go here.






Sunday, November 13, 2011

No matter how small.

Because of Initiative 26, I’ve seen a lot of debate recently about the definition of “personhood.”  Our society finds it abhorrent to deny people rights.  But the personhood debate implies that fetuses, though human, aren’t people, making our denial of their rights more palatable. 

Truth be told, I have a difficult time feeling emotional about abortion at the earliest stages.  It’s hard to identify with an eight-celled embryo.  It’s easier to empathize with an eight-week-old fetus.  And so it goes.  I think many people are horrified by abortion at 8 months, but less people get emotional about abortion of a microscopic “seed.”

The thing is, I don’t think rights should be based on our emotions. Rights shouldn’t be so arbitrary.

I try to consider what makes a “person” distinct from a “human being” in a non-arbitrary way—as consistently and objectively as I can.  I cannot see a consistent definition that would exclude the fetus but include all other people.

If personhood requires self-awareness, the fetus is not a person.  Neither are newborn infants or coma patients.

If personhood requires viability, the premature fetus born in a technologically advanced society is a person.  The equivalent premature fetus born in a more primitive region is not a person.

If personhood requires physiological independence, the fetus is not a person.  Neither are patients on respirators or dialysis. Neither is the theoretical Violinist.

To my knowledge, every definition of “person” that excludes the fetus also excludes other subsets of humans that society already considers people. Therefore, it seems the options are:

1)      Pick a consistent definition of “person” that excludes both the fetus and patients in critical care, the Violinist, newborn infants, etc.
2)      Create an inconsistent definition of “person” crafted to exclude the fetus and only the fetus.
3)      Pick a consistent definition of “person” that includes everyone.  

I can’t bring myself to be willfully inconsistent, nor can I bring myself to embrace a consistent definition that would consider it morally permissible to “terminate” newborns or hospitalized patients.  

The only option I can accept both rationally and morally is that human beings are people. The end.


Friday, November 11, 2011

International ProLife Youth Conference


Hey everyone,

I'm on my way to the International Pro-life Youth Conference in LA. I look forward to hearing from various international pro- life advocates who will be speaking this weekend, and to connecting with other pro-life youth from across the world. I know there are many who are unable to attend this weekend so I plan to bring the conference to you through various blog and twitter updates. You can attend the conference via cyberspace by following along with me online. Stay connected:

www.Facebook.com/timmeriesblog
www.twitter.com/timmerie
www.timmerie.com

The unborn, pregnant mothers, and all whom are affected by abortion need the next generation and the generations after that to help end the suffering and the cultural acceptance of abortion world wide. If you won't speak for the voiceless who will? Lets be a part of the global movement for life!

For the Dignity of the Born and Unborn,

Timmerie

International Pro-Life Youth Conference

It's Friday, which normally would mean a guest post from Timmerie. She's a bit busy today, though; she's one of the organizers of the International Pro-Life Youth Conference, taking place this weekend. Good luck, Timmerie!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The 26 Effect

My apologies for not posting the last few days. Let's take a look at the biggest story we missed: the vote on personhood in Mississippi.

You're probably aware that Mississippi's personhood amendment (Initiative 26) did not pass, despite looking like it would pass by a wide margin just a few weeks ago. Various groups have attempted a post-mortem examination. The most common explanations are that the sham group "Mississippians for Healthy Families" flooded the airwaves with misinformation, and that some pro-life leaders vocally opposed the amendment on strategic grounds.

Those are undoubtedly correct reasons. I'd like to offer one more theory: a cousin of the Bradley effect.

The Bradley effect, as you may know, concerns race:
[S]ome voters will tell pollsters they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, while on election day they vote for the white candidate. It was named after Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor's race despite being ahead in voter polls going into the elections. The Bradley effect theorizes that the inaccurate polls were skewed by the phenomenon of social desirability bias. Specifically, some white voters give inaccurate polling responses for fear that, by stating their true preference, they will open themselves to criticism of racial motivation.
Bias against unborn children is pervasive in our society. Some even feel outright hostile toward them; think of epithets like "parasite." But as the pro-life movement gains in popularity, it is socially undesirable for voters to admit those feelings to pollsters. Instead, some may publically say that they support human rights for the preborn, then vote against those rights in the privacy of the voting booth.

Call it the 26 effect.

Monday, November 7, 2011

508 babies saved in 40 Days campaign

The most recent 40 Days for Life campaign ended yesterday. Campaign director Shawn Carney reports that 508 unborn children have been rescued from abortion during the past forty days!

Whether you credit God (as Carney does) or simply the kindness of the volunteers, that is simply amazing. To put it in perspective, this campaign saved the lives of a group as large as my high school class!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Who are we?

For some reason, the media chose this past week to examine the makeup of the pro-life movement, or at least its leaders. Three articles are worth noting.

A) A widely circulated article from The Weekly Standard focused on Millennials, who "haven’t grown more religious, politically conservative, or queasy about gay rights," but "tend to see abortion as a human rights violation."

B) The Washington Post emphasized "youngish, Christian working mothers with children at home," citing Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser as its primary example.

C) Finally, the Huffington Post stuck to the usual pro-abortion narrative, equating the pro-life movement with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and alleging in the headline that it is anti-abortion men who are leading the so-called "war on women."

Although the USCCB made a valuable contribution during the health care reform debate, they definitely were not standing alone. Option C is wishful thinking. A pro-life movement made up of older, religious men is a much easier public relations target, so our loyal opposition would like to keep that impression in the public mind no matter how untrue it has become.

The correct answer is D) A and B.