Pages

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hiatus

The blog is on hiatus and will return after Memorial Day weekend.

AbortionSafety.com updates

A lot has happened since Jill Stanek wrote about the AbortionSafety.com initiative. We're looking for a volunteer to join our research team ASAP. This is a great opportunity to become more involved in life-saving work! Get the details here.

We are currently conducting preliminary research, and already have a professional graphic design for the site! None of this would be possible without our generous donors. We have raised over $500 for the cause, and have until November to reach our $5000 goal. Please consider making a donation.

Remember, you can get real-time updates by following the Abortion Safety Project blog.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Midweek News Item: 05/25/11

The news item for the week - new statistics just came out of the United Kingdom regarding abortions. 189,574 abortions were performed in 2010 - that's up 8% from 2000. Almost 1/3 of the abortions were repeat abortions. Here's an excerpt from LifeNews' article on the topic:
The figures indicate 189,574 abortions were done in 2010, up .3% from the 189,100 abortions in 2009 and 8% more than in 2000 (175,542). Those abortions were done in residents of England and Wales and another 6,535 abortions were done on women and unborn children who are not residents of the United Kingdom. The increase is the first time abortions have gone up since 2006-2007.

The new figures show about half of the abortions were done on women who had an unmarried partner at the time, 26 percent were done on single women and 16 percent of women who had abortions were married at the time.

The stats also showed 3,718 abortions were done on the unborn children of girls under the age of 18, which is down slightly, 12,742 were done on 16-17-year-old girls, and 21,809 were done on girls aged 18 or 19. On the other end of the spectrum, women over the age of 35 had 27,046 abortions.

Repeat abortions are still a problem in the UK as 64,303 procedures were done on women who already had at least one abortion and 1,201 were done on girls under 18 who had at least one abortion already while another 79 were done on girls under age 18 who had two or more previous abortions. The statistics revealed almost 300 women between the ages of 25 and 29 had four or more previous abortions at the time of the abortion they had in 2010.

The abortion rate continues to remain high as it was 17.5 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, the same last year but more than double the 1970 rate.
More troubling approximately 12 women a day travel to the UK from Ireland for abortions. 53% of these women were in their 20s and 3% were under the age of 18.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pro-life student prompts review of unconstitutional speech policy

Via the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE):
Ohio's Sinclair Community College (SCC) has announced that it will review an unconstitutional policy that prohibits all distribution of literature on campus by individual students. SCC banned a student from distributing literature about abortion, birth control, and breast cancer to her classmates after class. . . . SCC student Ethel Borel-Donohue's story began during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month last October, when she distributed roughly 15 flyers relating to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to various students in her Probate Law I course after class. . . . The flyers discuss possible risks of breast cancer related to birth control and abortion.
I always like to highlight stories about freedom of speech. This is no doubt due in part to some personal biases (I'm a law student), but it's important for the American public to realize that the pro-life movement is not only out there fighting for the right to life-- we are also on the cutting edge of free speech advocacy.

Throughout history, the Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment has unfortunately varied based on the political popularity of the speech at issue. When many free speech plaintiffs were Communists, the Court interpreted the First Amendment very narrowly, limiting the plaintiffs' right to distribute pamphlets. Once the Communist threat was seen as less serious, the Court began to support greater free speech protections. And when sympathetic plaintiffs whose pro-civil-rights speech had been suppressed started bringing cases to the Court, the First Amendment lived up to its promises.

Now, we have a new wave of plaintiffs: pro-life advocates. And, sadly, the pro-abortion Justices of the Court have not consistently recognized free speech for us. Perhaps the most egregious example is the 2000 case of Hill v. Colorado, which restricted speech, displays of signs, and distribution of pamphlets outside of abortion facilities. Justice Scalia's dissent, which is worth reading in full, attacked the pro-abortion majority's hypocrisy head-on:
None of [the majority's] remarkable conclusions should come as a surprise. What is before us, after all, is a speech regulation directed against the opponents of abortion, and it therefore enjoys the benefit of the “ad hoc nullification machine” that the Court has set in motion to push aside whatever doctrines of constitutional law stand in the way of that highly favored practice. Having deprived abortion opponents of the political right to persuade the electorate that abortion should be restricted by law, the Court today continues and expands its assault upon their individual right to persuade women contemplating abortion that what they are doing is wrong.
In light of the Supreme Court's attitude, the pro-life movement must be extremely vigilant, working to secure our right to speak the truth whenever it is threatened. I applaud Ms Borel-Donahue's courage, and hope that the SCC's policy review will have a positive outcome.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Obese and female? Too bad.

A disturbing Sun Sentinel article has been making the rounds this week:
Fifteen obstetrics-gynecology practices out of 105 polled by the Sun Sentinel said they have set weight cut-offs for new patients starting at 200 pounds or based on measures of obesity — and turn down women who are heavier.

Some of the doctors said the main reason was their exam tables or other equipment can't handle people over a certain weight. But at least six said they were trying to avoid obese patients because they have a higher risk of complications.
In other words, the women and unborn babies who are most in need of a doctor are the ones who are being turned away.

Secular Pro-Life fully supports the right of physicians to refuse a particular service-- such as abortion-- on grounds of conscience. But should they be able to turn down particular patients on the basis of things like weight? The state of the law is unclear.

Happily, pro-life pregnancy resource centers and clinics are committed to caring for all women who come through their doors. I hope private practice ob/gyns will follow their example.

[Side note: I tried to determine whether or not the ob/gyns mentioned in the article perform abortions, but did not come up with any information. If you know, please share in the comments.]

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lessons from the Impending Apocalpyse

The big story today is that, according to a California-based fringe religious group led by Harold Camping, May 21 is the apocalypse, which will kick off the end of the world. According to the Guardian in the UK, the prediction did take time zones into account, and so has already failed:
The 89-year-old Californian preacher had prophesied that the Rapture would begin at 6pm in each of the world's time zones, with those "saved" by Jesus ascending to heaven and the non-believers being wiped out by an earthquake rolling from city to city across the planet.

But as the deadline for the Apocalpyse passed in the Pacific islands, New Zealand and Australia, it became apparent that Camping's prediction of the end of the world was to end not with a bang but with a whimper.
Here in the eastern United States, I still have a while to go. I'm not holding my breath.

I'm of the opinion that we can draw important lessons from all sorts of unlikely places. In this story, I count two lessons for the pro-life movement.

1) A Lesson in Human Psychology
Slate recently posted an interesting piece on how earlier apocalypse-prediction groups have reacted to the continuing survival of the world. It's a truly stunning illustration of the human ability to rationalize just about anything. If this history is any indication, the Camping clan will not react with an "Oops! I guess I was wrong." They have invested very heavily in their beliefs. From the Washington Post:
Mark Vrankovich, director of the Christian group Cultwatch, whose aim is to warn people about cults, told the New Zealand Herald he worries that some followers might break off relationships when the Rapture doesn’t come.

“You invest a lot of your emotional energy or put money into it. So no matter what the evidence you want to keep on believing,” he told the Herald. “The alternative is that you've wasted your time and money, you've wasted friendships and burned bridges - people don't want to face up to that.”
The lesson for the pro-life movement: The time to talk to people about abortion is before they become too invested in pro-abortion falsehoods. There are, of course, individuals who were heavily involved in the abortion movement and then admitted they were wrong, such as Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Norma McCorvey (the Roe of Roe v. Wade), and Abby Johnson. But those cases are the exception, not the norm. Nobody likes to hear that their understanding of prenatal development is unscientific. Nobody likes to hear that the "bad days of back-alley abortion" are a complete fabrication. Nobody likes to hear that the cause they've dedicated themselves to is responsible for the destruction of real human lives. They'll resist the logical conclusion in order to preserve their egos.

Thus, the best hope for increasing the numbers of pro-life advocates is to reach people who are on the fence, or only moderately pro-choice. That's why student pro-life efforts are so important: we need to get the truth out early. The older a person gets, the more likely it is that he or she has chosen a side and is unwilling to budge.

2) A Lesson in Making Every Day Count
Very few people bought into the May 21 apocalypse prediction. For most of us, it was a joke. But it can also be an opportunity for reflection. After all, my time on this earth, and your time on this earth, will end some day. So many human beings are killed before they get a chance to experience all that the world has to offer. We are incredibly fortunate. What would you do if you thought your time would soon be up? What are you doing to make the world a better place for future generations?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Obama and abortion in the courts

President Obama nominated University of California law professor Goodwin Liu for a federal judgeship on the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which has a reputation as a very liberal Circuit). After a year of wrangling, Liu's nomination has been filibustered by the Senate. Although pro-life groups believe that Liu is opposed to preborn rights, abortion was not the main focus of the debate; conservative Senators were very concerned about Liu's overall judicial philosophy.

Despite the setback with Liu, the Obama administration is moving full steam ahead with another pro-abortion candidate, also for the federal Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit. Morgan Christen, who is currently a justice on Alaska's state Supreme Court, was a board member of Planned Parenthood's Alaska branch during the 1990s. Planned Parenthood has of course been a vocal opponent of pro-life legislation, including regulations like parental consent that the majority of Americans support. Pro-life legislation is almost always subject to lawsuits by Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocacy groups-- lawsuits that are typically heard in federal court.

As a justice on Alaska's supreme court, Christen did recuse herself from a case in which Planned Parenthood sued to remove a parental notification initiative from the state ballot. However, there are no guarantees that Christen will recuse herself from abortion-related cases in the future.

Obama's nominations are also important because a judgeship on a federal Circuit Court of Appeals can be a stepping stone to becoming a Supreme Court justice. Currently, there are four pro-life Supreme Court Justices (Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, Justice Thomas, and Justice Scalia), just one vote shy of restoring states' ability to end abortion.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pro-life student? This program is for you

If you are a college or graduate student involved in the pro-life movement, I strongly encourage you to apply for the Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship, a free program offered by Students for Life of America. Applications are due June 18, and SFLA will announce their selections on June 30. The year-long program begins in late July.

2011-2012 will be the second year of the Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship. I am one of the 2010-2011 fellows, and it has been an incredible experience.

It kicked off with a trip to SFLA headquarters in Arlington, VA (travel expenses paid), where we had two days of intense training. We were each assigned an adult mentor from a highly regarded pro-life organization. (Both secular and religoius organizations were represented.) Throughout the year, we've been reading materials about how to be better leaders, and discussing the readings in twice-monthly conference calls. These readings offer very practical advice, which I think has made me a better president for Secular Pro-Life.

All of that is great, but I have to say that the best part has been getting to know the other Wilberforce fellows. We love bouncing ideas off of one another. I am so happy to call them my friends.

Is it a time commitment? You bet-- and it's unquestionably worth it.

Apply now!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Midweek News Roundup: 05/18/11

Domestic News: MTV is running ads for Planned Parenthood, but has rejected ads from a pro-life group, Heroic Media. Heroic Media has been allowed to advertise on MTV in the past, but without prior notice MTV pulled Heroic Media's ads. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) signed legislation on Monday providing numerous new abortion regulations. Specifically, according to LifeNews these new laws, "...allow for inspections of abortion centers, allow women a chance to see an ultrasound before an abortion, and ban the use of webcam, or telemed, abortions." Similar legislation was passed by the legislature in 2003 and 2005, but was vetoed by former Governor and current Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (D). With the Presidential election coming up in the United States, many are wondering where the potential Republican candidates stand on abortion. We've got a nice list that our leader posted here and this is another good resource. Additionally, regarding potential contender Mitch Daniels (R-IN), he signed some sweeping, pro-life legislation last week.

International News: In Russia, legislators are working to curb abortions. How? By prohibiting abortions from being covered by state sponsored medical care. It would also prohibit abortions performed after the second half of the pregnancy, i.e. 20 weeks. Schools in New Zealand are coming under fire for helping students get abortions without their parents knowledge. They did not violate any law, but many parents are upset about not being informed about the medical procedure being performed in secret on their children.

Did I miss any news in my roundup that you feel is important? Feel free to add links in the comments!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Secular Sidewalk: Video evidence


Please watch the above video, which is less than two minutes long, and share it. It's high time we did something about the abortion movement's incessant negative misrepresentation of sidewalk counselors.

As you may know, Monday is Secular Sidewalk day on the blog, featuring two pro-life sidewalk counselors: Heather (an atheist) and Amelia (a Christian). Today is Heather's turn. I asked her for her take on the video.

What do you think the pro-lifers in this video did well, and what do you think they could improve?
Heather: I feel like maybe she could have spoken up more, because she was hard to hear. But as far as the actual content, she did the right thing. She focused on the person's material needs, and offered an ultrasound, which is just like the sidewalk counseling that saved my son.

In this case, even though there were a lot of people, only one spoke directly to the potential abortion client, while the rest stood back. Is that typical?
Heather: I think so, yes. Usually one person leads while the rest just stand there.

Do you have to deal with escorts at your abortion center? If so, what's that like?
Heather: No, but that would make it twice as hard!

Anything else to add?
Heather: Really, in this situation, a person is going to feel so overwelmed, no matter what. And she would probably be embarrased to stop and talk, with another person [the escort] in her ear.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2012 GOP Hopefuls

Yesterday, Mike Huckabee announced that he would not be running for the Republican presidential nomination. Huckabee was popular among many pro-life voters, particularly those with conservative Christian backgrounds. There are still plenty of other options, though, and pro-lifers have yet to unite around any one candidate.

Secular Pro-Life is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates. Realistically speaking, however, it's highly unlikely that President Obama will face a strong liberal challenger. If there is to be a pro-life president in 2012, he or she will have to come from the Republican party.

So, let's take a look at what the GOP has to offer, in no particular order:

Tim Pawlenty has amassed a strong pro-life record as Governor of Minnesota and is widely considered a front-runner, but I'm not going to bet my money on anyone this early.

Mitt Romney is running on a pro-life platform... this time. But his history of flip-flopping on abortion (and other issues) has left a bad taste in many people's mouths.

Ob/gyn-turned-Congressman Ron Paul is the obvious favorite for pro-life libertarians.

Herman Cain, a businessman, is known primarily as a fiscal conservative. However, he came out in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood, publicly condemning Margaret Sanger's racist ideology. That certainly takes guts. Unfortunately, he also characterized his support for the "sanctity of life" as a "religious belief," playing directly into the hands of abortion advocates who want to direct the debate away from the scientifically proven humanity of the unborn child.

Rick Santorum is unquestionably pro-life, and coming off a fresh win in the South Carolina party straw poll. But he is also a well-known leader of the Religious Right; can he appeal to voters who don't share his religious views?

Newt Gingrich announced his entry into the race on Wednesday. He comes in with a lot of baggage, as values voters are less than pleased with his three marriages and extramarital affairs. However, he has been consistently pro-life.

Of course, we all know former VP candidate Sarah Palin. Although many pro-life voters like her, she has not announced whether or not she plans to run. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that she has an electability problem, with 58% of respondents saying they would "never" vote for her.

Donald Trump also fared poorly in the Quinnipiac poll, but is still considered a front-runner. Like Cain, he has publicly stated that he is pro-life on abortion, but has focused primarily on fiscal issues.

So, whom do you all like?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Video: The Language of Abortion

Thank you for your patience these past few weeks. Final exams are finally over (woohoo!) and the blog is back on schedule.

Today, I'd like to share an excellent video from The Signal Hill, an organization based in Canada:


Secular Pro-Life did a video with a similar concept last year, but I confess: Signal Hill has us beat. Congratulations, Signal Hill, and keep up the great work!

Facebook Page

We have finally decided to migrate from the groups format to the pages format on Facebook. Click here and like our new page.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Midweek News Item: 05/11/11

Hey all, it's your midweek news bulletin. In Indiana, the state legislature passed some sweeping abortion regulations which a) defunds Planned Parenthood and b) prohibits abortions after 20 weeks. Governor Mitch Daniels (R), who many think is considering a bid for President, signed the bill. Planned Parenthood immediately went to court to try to prevent the state from cutting their funding. The result? A Judge will allow the defunding efforts to go ahead as planned. Here's an excerpt from the article:
Indiana won a key victory in its fight to cut off public funding for Planned Parenthood Wednesday when a federal judge refused to block a tough new abortion law from taking effect, a move that could boost Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels' image among social conservatives as he considers running for president.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt denied Planned Parenthood of Indiana's request for a temporary restraining order despite arguments that the law jeopardizes health care for thousands of women.

Planned Parenthood wanted to keep funds flowing while it challenges the law signed this week by Daniels. The judge's decision allows the cuts to take effect immediately.

Pratt said the state has not had enough time to respond to Planned Parenthood's complaint and that the group did not show it would suffer irreparable harm without a temporary restraining order.

A hearing was scheduled June 6 on the request for a preliminary injunction, and Pratt said she will rule on the matter before July 1, when new abortion restrictions included in the law are set to take effect.

Monday, May 9, 2011

First ever pro-life link party!

First things first: What is a link party? Simply put, it's a feature that collects the best blog posts on a particular topic of interest.

Life Report is organizing this week's party, and the topic is The Physical Dangers of Abortion. It's so importnant for pro-lifers to be knowledgable about this, and the link party should serve as a great refresher course. If you have a blog post or podcast about abortion risks, I encourage you to add your voice to the party.

SecularProLife is participating in this link party, and hopes to participate in many more to come. Thanks, Life Report!

Meanwhile, this blog remains on semi-hiatus until the end of final exams (Friday). Thank you for your patience.

Friday, May 6, 2011

“Here at Planned Parenthood We Care About Women.”

You may have read the title and felt really confused. Am I at the correct website? This is a Pro-Life blog, right? Fear not, you are in the right place.

Every time PP feels they have been attacked the same assertions come out, “If you defund PP, women won’t have the proper resources.” “We do more than abortion, we help women.” “If you hate PP you hate women.” And so on and so forth.

However, PP has had this ongoing campaign against CPCs. Why? Because CPCs are Pro-Life. Nevermind that many CPCs provide extra care for women in need. Never mind that they provide resources women who want to keep their babies. They are Pro-Life, which means they must be stopped.

Wait a minute. I thought PP was about women, not about abortion?

If they truly cared about women and not just abortion you would think they would want to approach CPCs and work along side them rather than trying to demonize and drive people away from them.

Now saying all this, I don’t doubt that individuals within the company actually do care about women. I also don’t doubt on some level that the company as a whole does. However they have let the abortion agenda take over. The more we hear about the company and the amazing work that individuals like Lila Rose do show that sometimes abortion is put before the wellbeing of women.

So PP. This is your chance to show us that we are wrong. If you truly cared, you would put aside abortion and work with us on the other issues that concern women.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Roe v Wade for Men

So someone somewhere in cyberspace was musing about an urban legend in which a girlfriend stole her boyfriend's sperm without his knowledge and then sued him for child support.  And then someone2 laughed it off, saying you can't take a man's sperm without his knowledge.  Seems pretty reasonable, doesn't it?

But I've actually read about cases--weird, weird cases--in which a man's sperm was "stolen" from him.  There was the case where a man alleged he had only had protected oral sex with a woman and she later inseminated herself with the resulting sperm.  There was the case where a man alleged he was passed out entirely, drunk, and a woman had sex with him (wait, isn't that a form of rape?), but she still (successfully) sued him for child support.

Extreme cases?  Sure.  Probably not very common.  But they do highlight a double standard in the reproductive rights movement.  Post-conception, pre-birth: women have a choice.  Men don't.

As a pro-lifer, I feel that the best way to even out this inequality is for everyone to take responsibility if/when they choose to have sex.  And of course by "take responsibility" I mean "not kill their offspring," although there are certainly those who argue that abortion *is* the responsible choice.

However there are those who believe the best way to address this gender difference is to allow men more reproductive choice as well.  No, this doesn't mean allowing men to force women either to give birth or to have an abortion.  It means giving men the legal right to opt out of raising a child, so men cannot be "forced" into parenthood any more than women.

The National Center for Men even filed a lawsuit demanding "Roe vs Wade for Men" and elaborating on how men shouldn't be pushed into having children they don't want.  The lawsuit was practically stillborn (bu-dum-ch!) but it still reflected a mentality I find utterly depressing.

I think it's depressing when people feel their situation or needs are important enough to ditch their children.  It's sad to think of a new life created and pretty much immediately shunned.  This sadness applies both when men try to find ways out of child support and when women choose abortion.  I wish every child *was* a wanted child, but meanwhile I don't think it should be legal to ditch the unwanted ones.
"I say love everyone.  And those you don't love, kill.  That way you can love everyone again."
 If you read the above lawsuit or these other articles and you feel like you want to grab a guy by the shoulders, shake him and say "Man up!" then you have some idea of how I feel about some of the more common reasons cited for obtaining an abortion.