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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.


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<!--[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.  The personhood debate implies that the fetus belongs to a subset of humans that aren’t people, making the denial of 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.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pro-life updates from New York

[Today's blog post is by SPL supporter Phil Eddy, who works for Students for Life of America as Northeast Regional Coordinator. It is cross-posted from his Students for Life blog, where you can view more pictures. I happen to know that Phil is not Catholic, but he reaches out to any and all pro-life allies, including Catholic dioceses. He is a wonderful role model for pro-life unity!]

This past week saw me drive more than 1,000 miles around the states of New York and New Jersey, and we’re seeing great things happen on the local level. On Friday, Lisa Hall – the Respect Life Director for the Syracuse diocese – hosted a huge pro-life youth rally attended by almost 500 students. She showed them “The Tide is Turning,” and had me briefly speak on the importance of taking action as a student. They’ll be bringing a large group down to the March for Life this year, and we look forward to seeing the fantastic work coming out of the myriad of pro-life efforts in Syracuse!

Much of the Northeast saw heavy snow last weekend, but Buffalo proved to be relatively balmy in comparison. There was no snow on the ground (yet…), and I had a great time meeting with students and local pro-lifers. The leaders of the group at Canisius College expressed a desire to see greater student participation on their largely apathetic campus, and we mapped out a plan for achieving that. This will be the first year that they’re bringing a group down to the SFLA conference and March for Life in January, and we discussed logistics for their pro-life winter road trip down to D.C.

Interestingly enough, they expressed a desire to see more male students involved. This is a sentiment expressed all too often by pro-life organizations, as the majority of our movement is made up of women.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to visit the St. Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach Center in downtown Buffalo and see firsthand some of the amazing work they’re doing. Assistant Coordinator Doreen Oshirak showed me around while volunteer Sharise sorted through donated items and her baby boy played nearby. SGMPOC had two walls stacked high with diapers, and several rooms filled with donated supplies. They used to be in a much, much smaller space, but a few months ago moved to the larger three-level location downtown, and were excited to be able to better serve the hundreds of mothers and children that utilize their services each year.

I also met with Cheryl Calire, Director of the Office of Pro-Life Activities for the Buffalo diocese, and she shared with me some of the incredible work they’ve already accomplished, as well as the ambitious goals they’re working on. Buffalo can get pretty cold in the winter, and a wonderful group of local women has been donating their knitting and patchwork skills to create clothing and blankets for the children the center serves. Cheryl showed me several giant plastic tubs filled with these donated materials, and told me about Project Linus, an organization made up of thousands of crafty folks nationwide whose mission is “to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.””

One of the highlights of my trip was getting to finally meet students from the now infamous UB Students for Life group. They shared with me their detailed plan for the next three semesters, as well as the alliances they’re working on with other student organizations. They asked my help with their unique problem – getting “American” students involved! You see, the UB SFL group consists of mostly international and non-white students, and they joked about the non-involvement of white students on campus. One student – Sonika – said that for her, being pro-life was just a natural part of her being Indian, and that she couldn’t fathom the idea of someone back in India actually fighting for the right to kill a child.

Gautham from Malaysia sent me a message after the meeting, with these words for the SFLA community of students and supporters: “We will certainly stand strong and make our presence felt…With your continuous support, encouragement and commitment in making UB Students for Life what we should be, we will not let you down and will definitely keep growing into a well-established student organization.”
Unfortunately, UB SFL has hit yet another roadblock on campus. Group president Sara B contacted me Wednesday afternoon to let me know that they are still dealing with an uncooperative Student Administration:

“Apparently our budget and finances were frozen by the Student Association. Instead of just punishing the dozen people who attacked our Cemetery of the Innocents display last month, the school is seeing fit to punish us as well in what we believe to be an ideologically motivated attempt to limit us….ridiculous, right? We had a meeting today with someone from SA, but they never showed up. So even though we’ve done everything right and had a big fundraising banquet with 130 people to raise even more funds for our activities, the school has essentially neutered us financially.”

Just before hitting the road for my overnight drive back down to New York City, I met with Josh, a student from Buffalo State University that is starting a pro-life group there. If Buffalo State’s administration is anything like UB’s, then it’ll be an uphill battle…but one that we will eventually win. I’m going to be focusing heavily on western New York the next couple of months, so if you know any students in that area that are interested in starting or building up a campus pro-life group, please get a hold of me [pedddy[at]studentsforlife.org].

I want to leave you on a positive note, and this observation I made while up in western NY made me smile…

The theme of our annual SFLA conference in Washington, D.C. this year is “Envision a World without Abortion,” and a huge component of getting our culture to that point involves a multitude of small steps, like making establishments more accommodating for pregnant and parenting individuals. I was pleasantly surprised to find that several Wegmans supermarket locations in the Buffalo area had changing tables and complimentary diapers and baby supplies in both women’s and men’s restrooms! It’s a small step, but an important one as we advance our goal of making our world more accommodating to parents and children.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Abortion advocates dance around personhood

As many of you know, Mississippi voters will soon have the opportunity to recognize all human beings, from conception, as legal persons. Although personhood amendments have been tried before, this is the first with any real chance of passing, and so it's gotten lots of media attention.

Pro-lifers are divided on the advisability of this strategy. Setting that aside, it's interesting to see how the other side is reacting. Their responses have a clear pattern: they attack personhood for any reason other than their actual reason for opposing it. They oppose personhood amendments because they want abortion to remain legal-- but the arguments they give in the media dance around that issue entirely. Instead, they claim that the amendment will ban contraception (it won't), send women to prison for miscarrying (abortion will be subject to the same high standard of proof as any other crime), or could have all sorts of unintended consequences, like lowering the drinking age to 20 years and 3 months after birth. [That would hardly be the end of the world if it were true, but clever defendants have already tried that argument and been shot down by Mississippi courts. See McKenzie v. State, 946 So.2d 392 (Miss. Ct. App.) (holding that "a person's age is calculated from birth" because "evidence of the date of birth is easier to certify than a date of conception"-- which will still be true even if the personhood amendment passes).]

Abortion is quite clearly the focus of the personhood amendment. So why isn't that the focus of the debate?

Simply put, pro-lifers are the majority in Mississippi. Abortion advocates cannot win on the merits of their case. So instead, they are trying to trick pro-life voters into believing that the personhood amendment will do something that it won't.

This kind of innuendo and deception is unacceptable. It is also a taste of our future. As the pro-life majority grows nationwide, pro-choice groups will increasingly have to rely on these fringe issues. Let's nip that in the bud right now. Whether or not Mississippi's personhood amendment is ultimately successful, we must defeat Planned Parenthood's propaganda.