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Friday, October 30, 2015

Of course women are moral agents

Way to be moral agents! Just, you know, try not to kill anybody.

It's a claim that's cropped up before, but most recently in a leaked video from the National Abortion Federation conference: the claim that pro-lifers do not believe women are moral agents.

That's just silly. Of course women are moral agents.

Moral agency isn't an easily defined, tangible thing. But in broad strokes, I think a fair definition of a "moral agent" (or, a similar term used by the NAF panelist, "moral decision-maker") is someone who is generally capable of prospectively considering how their actions might affect others, as opposed to impulsively following the commands of the id.

Using that definition, the vast majority of adults, teenagers, and older children are moral agents. And using that definition, it should be obvious that a moral agent is not the same thing as a person whose decisions are always moral. Nobody acts morally 100% of the time. That's why we have laws in the first place! To say that abortion is wrong and should be criminal says nothing about the moral agency of those who commit it.

The abortionist on the NAF panel cites informed consent legislation to make the case that pro-lifers don't believe women are moral agents. In fact, the opposite is true. If I thought women weren't moral agents, informed consent legislation would make no sense at all. What would be the point of educating someone about the death of a human being, risks to future pregnancies, and so on if we thought she couldn't appreciate those harms? You can't persuade someone who has no moral agency.

As a lawyer, my mind goes to the insanity defense. Criminal defendants are legally insane if, at the time of their crime, they lacked the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of their actions. That is a lack of moral agency.

But a successful insanity defense is quite rare. Our legal system recognizes that in most cases, crimes are committed by people who generally know right from wrong, but do wrong anyway. The reasons for the disconnect abound. In a few cases, yes, it may be pure selfishness. But if you ask me, the reasons are usually more systemic: Poverty. Fear. Lack of education. Coercion.

And so it is with abortion.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Late-term abortion is legal in Victoria, Australia, but doctors refuse

An Australian woman who is 26 weeks pregnant and believes that an abortion will ease her suicidal feelings will not receive an abortion from Royal Women's Hospital. Doctors there are unwilling to kill a viable, healthy baby.

The Age reports:
In 2008, the procedure was decriminalised, so that women could have one up to 24 weeks for any reason. After 24 weeks, two doctors need to agree based on the woman's medical circumstances and her current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances. But in reality, doctors say there are no services that will do it after 24 weeks, unless there is a major abnormality in the foetus. A doctor from the Royal Women's Hospital, who did not want to be named, said the hospital never performed abortions for "psycho social" reasons after about 16 weeks and that this was allegedly because of a lack of staff willing to do it and fear of negative publicity. 
Ultrasound at 26 weeks
In the United States, there are only a handful of abortionists who will commit the deed in the third trimester. (Gosnell was one of just five; the remaining four were the subject of a glowing pro-abortion documentary a few years ago.) And no wonder, when a third-trimester fetus is no different, developmentally, than a premature newborn.

Australia has approximately 24 million inhabitants, compared to 325 million in the United States. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there are only so many sociopaths per capita. Australia just doesn't have enough to make abortion-on-demand activists' dreams a reality there.

Royal Women's Hospital properly offered mental health care to the woman, and several individuals have come forward to adopt the child. But she remains fixated on abortion, and her case has become a rallying point for Australian abortion extremists. A local health minister "said she was concerned about limited access to abortion, particularly in regional areas of Victoria and was working on a new strategy for sexual and reproductive healthcare."

What, short of conscripting doctors, would lead to a different result in this case?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Deluded Portland woman wins abortion advocates' hearts in the strangest possible way

Pop quiz: If a complete stranger came up to your family in public and asked your child about yeast infections, and then started screaming "Yeast infections!" repeatedly until everyone left the vicinity, what would you think of that person?

(A) That person needs help.
(B) That person is brave.

The Slate clickbait headline: Brave Portland Woman Breaks Up Planned Parenthood Protest by Chanting “Yeast Infections!”

Years ago, the "brave Portland woman" in question, Mary Numair, received yeast infection treatment from the Planned Parenthood facility in Everett, Washington (which pro-lifers may remember from a botched abortion incident in 2011). Numair concluded from her experience that Planned Parenthood is just the greatest and that the families protesting abortion at the Portland facility needed to be shouted down.

Apparently unaware that measures to defund Planned Parenthood redirect that funding to more deserving women's health providers, because nobody is pro-yeast-infection, Numair helpfully screamed about yeast infections for half an hour:
“One woman was shaking her head. I knelt down to her kid and said, ‘Do you know about yeast infections?’ ”
Onlookers gave Numair the thumbs-up, and some passing cars honked in support, but she was the only counter-protester on the scene. Still, with a spontaneous chant, she managed to break up the protest in under a half-hour. “I don’t know why I started chanting ‘Yeast infections!’ but it just came out. I have this cold, so it was just this obnoxious squeak, cheerleader-like. And I started doing high kicks, which I don’t normally do, in my skinny jeans.”

I should point out that the cause-and-effect here is doubtful. The protest had already been going on for some time before she showed up, and these events generally only last an hour or two. It may have just been time to go home. If people were really that upset about hearing the phrase "yeast infection," it wouldn't have taken them a half hour to disperse.

But I digress. I really love what Numair had to say next:
Numair has never seen protestors at this Planned Parenthood location before, but she thinks the recent right-wing hype around fetal tissue donation and congressional hearings might have given anti-choice activists a new lease on life. “The group last night felt that they were on the winning side of a battle for the first time,” she said. “There was this arrogance and sense of victory—they knew that the defunding is very possible and they have Congress at a standstill.”
Why yes. We DO feel that we're on the right side of history. And do you know what really solidifies that impression? When our opponents have no better response than to throw childish tantrums.
Though her yeast-infection story is deeply personal, Numair thinks her strategy—chanting reproductive-health terms that embarrass anti-choice protestors—is replicable for other counter-protesters around the country. “I did look at the preacher-pastor guy and said, ‘See you next time!’ and I intend on sticking to that,” she said. She plans on making a bigger sign, too, and perhaps a few props. “If someone wants to help me make a giant wooden labia, that would be great.”
I hate to break it to you, Numair, but the vast majority of pro-lifers have seen labia before. Some of us even have them ourselves! Oh dear, pardon me while I fetch the smelling salts.

In all seriousness, exposing children to sexual imagery is of course wrong. If a man carried a giant wooden penis onto a street where children were gathered, even Portlanders would probably see that as an issue. But because this is particular nutcase supports abortion, her plans are applauded.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Naresh Patel, who attempted "abortions" on non-pregnant women, sentenced to 18 days

Late last year, Oklahoma police arrested abortionist Nareshkumar "Naresh" Patel after he sold abortion pills to undercover officers who were not pregnant. He was charged with fraud.

As we pointed out at the time, Patel's scam wasn't original. Back in 1978, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation found that abortion businesses regularly padded their bottom line by selling "abortions" to women who weren't actually pregnant. Unfortunately, we know of no investigations in the decades between then and Oklahoma's undercover op. We raised several questions:
  • Activists on both sides of the aisle generally treat the Guttmacher Institute's abortion statistics as the most reliable, but those figures originate with reports from the abortionists themselves. Are non-lethal "abortions" being counted? 
  • Have any women been injured or killed by complications from fake abortions? 
  • And how many women are beating themselves up for having killed their children... who didn't?
We still don't have the answers to any of those questions, but we do have the answer to a more basic one: what will become of Naresh Patel? Operation Rescue reports:
Oklahoma abortionist Naresh Patel pled guilty on Friday to charges he committed fraud when he sold abortion pills to three non-pregnant undercover officers after Operation Rescue filed a complaint against his that resulted eventually in his arrest in December, 2014. 
Patel was ordered to serve 18 days in a private correctional facility, pay a $20,000 fine, and serve 10 years of probation. 
Patel surrendered his medical license and can never practice medicine again, according to his plea agreement. His abortion clinic has permanently closed. 
Patel must also pay court costs, $2,000 in restitution and a victim’s compensation assessment of $100.
Operation Rescue applauds the fact that Patel will no longer be allowed to commit abortions, and that is certainly a victory for the women and children of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is now down to just two abortion businesses.

But 18 days, a fine, and probation seems awfully light to me. Yes, it's a plea bargain, and it may be the best deal Oklahoma could get, because the charge was merely fraud. But the true extent of his crime goes much deeper.

There's no reason to believe that Patel's scam began and ended with the undercover officers. This was his pattern. Every time Patel induced someone who wasn't pregnant—and who obviously wouldn't have wanted an abortion if she were informed of that fact—to take abortion pills, he arguably committed a battery. To the extent he committed surgical abortions on women who weren't pregnant, make that a sexual battery.

But of course, the inherent limitations of an undercover operation make it impossible to bring those charges. The real victims don't even know they were victimized and the evidence is destroyed.

Patel is one down. How many more to go? We have no idea how widespread this practice is. I humbly suggest that it's time for any police department that cares about women to go undercover and find out.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pro-life legislators use procedural maneuver in effort to beat Planned Parenthood filibuster

 
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

The House of Representatives has voted numerous times to redirect Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funding to more deserving healthcare providers. You know, ones that don't defraud Medicaid, cover up statutory rape, or sell baby parts. What a concept.

Unfortunately, all of those efforts have fallen flat in the Senate. Back in August, a pro-life measure on Planned Parenthood won the votes of 53 Senators. But the majority wasn't enough; Planned Parenthood only needed 40 Senators in its pocket to filibuster the bill.

So this time, we're doing things a little differently, with a budget reconciliation measure. I'm no expert on the ins and outs of Congressional procedure, so here's how National Right to Life explains it:
Budget reconciliation is a process Congress can use only on certain kinds of legislation. But the genius of this approach is that budget reconciliation is one of the few procedures where senators in opposition cannot filibuster to block a bill. They have to allow a vote!

That means a bill can be passed with the support of a majority of senators – 51votes – instead of the 60 votes needed to stop a bill-killing filibuster. 
The House vote is expected today. Then it will be up to a simple majority of the Senate. Finally, Obama will be forced to make a stark, public decision: fund his political allies, or increase funding for community health clinics.

We all know which he'll choose. But it's important to get him on the record and underscore the need for a pro-life president in 2016.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Join us in January for the 2016 Roe anniversary

We're about three months away from the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and it will be here before you know it.

Join Secular Pro-Life as we remember the victims of abortion, celebrate the lives saved, and strategize together to save as many lives as possible in the coming year.

We'll be at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., the Walk for Life in San Francisco, CA, and the corresponding Students for Life of America conferences.

Get the full itinerary for both east coast and west coast on our website.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Common ground in the abortion debate

Last week, we asked Secular Pro-Life fans on facebook: "Where do you think pro-lifers and pro-choicers are most likely to have common ground?" Here are some of the top responses. You can read everything the SPL facebookers had to say here.

Carmen J. - It's not really choice if there are no other choices. I would hope that all pro-choicers agree that coerced abortion should never, ever happen. Along those lines, many but not all pro-lifers would agree with many (most? but still probably not all) pro-choicers that changes need to be made to the fabric of our culture such that no woman feels pressured by circumstances to abort. Every mother who wants to keep her baby should be able to; no mother should feel she has no other option but to terminate the pregnancy for reasons having to do with money, maternity leave, flexibility of work schedules/circumstances, and/or quality childcare.

Nadja W. - Polls suggest a large majority of Americans support banning abortion in the third trimester, so I'd start there.

Brock H. - Compassion is the common ground. I think that generally speaking, pro-choicers and pro-lifers have compassion for mothers in difficult situations. Also (while they may not admit it often), pro-choice people tend to see that there is something precious and valuable within the womb or else they wouldn't talk about what a hard decision abortion is for an expecting mother (why would it be a hard decision if they weren't letting go of something worth holding on to?). The only real difference is that pro-life people see a child in the womb as a life deserving of protection.

Bob M. - I think most people agree that it is wrong to kill a person. They disagree on when the person begins.

Autumn A. - I agree with many pro choicers/liberals on a lot of things... Like marijuana policy, gay marriage, etc etc. Just not abortion.

Crystal K. - We both really like chocolate? In all seriousness, we *should* both be against forced abortions (like in China) or supporting the mother if she changes her mind (like with Abortion Pill Reversal), if the pro-choicer is truly pro-CHOICE.

Lauren M. - My pro-choice friend is a fellow disability rights activist and feminist and she was appalled when I told her how many nations legalized sex-selective abortion and abortion based on a child's disability.

Kate H. - Caring about post abortive women, and women in general.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Abortion: A Mercy Killing?

[Today's guest post is by Sean Cahill, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law. She says: "Because it changes the way my voice is heard when it comes to life issues, I feel compelled to state that I'm a woman, despite what my name suggests."]

Amazing anti-ableism poster by Feminists for Life
In my experience, most abortion debates start with the "clump of cells" argument, then move on to the mother's right to bodily autonomy. But somewhere along the line, we inevitably fall down the rabbit-hole discussing the potential future of suffering this fetus would most certainly live. We (pro-lifers) are told: This isn’t just about life, it’s about quality of life. Don’t you understand this fetus would grow into another foster child? Another poor struggling child? Another disabled person? How could you subject someone to that life? This isn’t a selfish decision by the woman, she is making the honorable choice by not inflicting this inevitable life of suffering onto her child. With the thousands of children already in foster care and suffering in poverty, how could you want to add more children to the mix? With all the suffering the disabled go through, how could you subject someone else to that suffering? It’s about the greater good. 

From conception, a unique human being comes into existence, with DNA that never existed before and will never exist again. Abortion causes the death of that individual and all of her (or his) potential. No matter what class or group of people she might have joined after birth, she had unique distinct worth. How is the greater good served by the devaluing of fellow human beings based on their characteristics or life experiences? Abortion supporters say that a so-called clump of cells is only potential human life with no value, so we lose nothing despite the fact the unique person this “clump of cells” would have become will never exist.

But what about the already-born? We all agree they have worth, right?

What do these pro-choice "mercy killing" arguments say to people who are impoverished or differently abled? It's hard enough to maintain your self-worth against constant attacks from abuse, neglect, abandonment, lack of resources, and societal disrespect and judgments. Our society is poorly structured. People who are differently abled or differently formed may struggle to fit in; they may be bullied at school. They may undergo countless surgeries and other medical procedures. All the while they all may feel like a burden to those around them.

Then as they scroll through their facebook newsfeed, their worst fears are affirmed, when they see their very existence used as an argument in order to prevent others from being subjected to a life like theirs. "Should be aborted" can quickly turn into "should have been aborted." (No wonder low-income Americans don't embrace the abortion lobby.)

These arguments are not about women’s rights. In fact, these arguments pass stereotypical judgments on women seeking abortions and their abilities. They reinforce a woman’s choice to abort as the “right” one because she could not have possibly given her child a life worth living. These arguments are about the child and the life that child would live. These arguments are prospectively deciding the worth a person’s life will have, assuming that the difficulty they will face outweighs the value they can add to the world.

I have worked intimately with those belonging to these populations. I have worked with children and adults who have been severely abused. I have worked with those who struggle with the daily tasks we take for granted. I have been brought to tears by individuals’ stories and the hardships they have faced. But, you know what? I have not met one person whose life was not worth living or whose potential was not worth having in this world.

We have made great strides in this society towards inclusion. Many are working very hard to address poverty and its symptoms. Of course, this work is not assisted, but only hampered, by ideas that certain individuals are better off dead than alive; that in this “progressive” society certain characteristics and experiences detract from a person’s worth. The problems faced by children and families involved in foster care need to be addressed. The problems faced by those who are differently abled need to be addressed. These human beings’ very existence is not and cannot be treated as the problem, though. All of these individuals need to be met with compassion.

While we may still disagree about the worth of those still in the womb, I hope we can all agree that all of us “post-birth” individuals are equally human, and deserve equal dignity. In a truly progressive society we must not denigrate anyone’s life or existence by passing judgment on it as “not worthwhile.” In history, we have seen what happens when one needs to prove more than human DNA to gain meaningful membership to the human race, when those who are different are assumed to be inferior and less worthy.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Even with legal abortion access, illegal abortionists still prey on women


Back when Kermit Gosnell's slaughter was exposed, the abortion lobby tried valiantly to blame it on pro-lifers. This is what happens when the evil anti-choicers start winning, they said. Never mind that there were other abortionists doing business legally in Gosnell's Philadelphia, and never mind that the abortion industry there was effectively subject to zero regulation under a pro-choice gubernatorial administration. Somehow it was our fault.

Recently, three illegal abortionists have been caught, and I expect to hear the same disingenuous arguments again. Let's look closely.

First up is Michael Roth of Michigan, who is strongly suspected of having committed abortions out of his car; an investigation is underway but no charges have been filed yet. Roth is a licensed physician. In addition to being an abortionist, he splits his practice between legitimate women's health care and cosmetic procedures. He had a medical office, but his landlord evicted him for lease violations in December of 2014.

At which point Roth allegedly moved his so-called medical practice to his car, because he just loves women so goshdarn much.

Michigan is home to about 20 abortion centers of the non-vehicular kind.

Next, an unnamed couple in South Carolina is also accused of committing abortions out of their car. Details are scarce, but apparently the couple is involved in the drug trade, and in the process of investigating the drug angle, police found evidence of illegal abortions—exactly how Gosnell's horrors were discovered. South Carolina has three abortion centers, spread evenly across the state.

And finally, there's Rick Van Thiel, or "Dr. Rick," of Las Vegas, Nevada. Van Thiel is accused not only of committing in-home abortions, but also doing vitamin injections, hormone injections, and possibly some back-alley dentistry.

While Michigan and South Carolina have fairly robust pro-life laws in place, Nevada is at the bottom of the pack. Beyond requiring that abortions be done by a physician, it has no health and safety regulations to speak of. Like Pennsylvania, it's a perfect testing ground for the theory that women are better off when the abortion industry self-regulates. No one can argue with a straight face that there is any lack of "abortion access" in Nevada; in fact, there are seven abortion businesses in Las Vegas alone.

But that didn't stop Van Thiel from making a quick buck off of vulnerable women.

Pro-choice advocates like to say that there will be abortions no matter what, so we might as well make them legal and safe. But perhaps it's time to turn that on its head. There will be illegal abortions no matter what, so we might as well enact abortion laws that recognize the humanity of the preborn child and the predatory nature of the abortion industry.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New Secular Pro-Life video

We're doing something a little different today. Enjoy:



From the description:
And now for something completely different! If you stand for the right to life and have banged your head against the wall in a few too many online abortion debates... we hope this makes you smile!
If you're a pro-choice moderate who keeps things civil, this video isn't really about you. Please understand that we frequently encounter people who are actually pro-abortion, not pro-choice (see here for examples: http://bit.ly/1LGlIxm) and sometimes we just need to let off some steam.
And finally, if you don't know the original song, you need to fix that. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y8aYd9uqFY

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I am equal, not the same

Motherhood and career success should not be mutually exclusive.

[Today's guest post is by Sean Cahill, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law. She says: "Because it changes the way my voice is heard when it comes to life issues, I feel compelled to state that I'm a woman, despite what my name suggests."] 

Throughout history, women have been told we are inherently and biologically inferior to men. Our inferiority is evidenced solely by the fact that we are women. Our own biology, fertility and ability to bear children have been used to subordinate and objectify us. These have been used to prove we could never be equal to men. Early Roman law described women like children, forever inferior to men. Confucius stated: “It is a law of nature that women should be held under the dominance of man.” Aristotle agreed: “The female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities, we should regard the female nature as afflicted with a natural defectiveness.”

Napoleon Bonaparte said: “What a mad idea to demand equality for women! Women are nothing but machines for producing children.” In an argument against woman’s suffrage in the U.S., a senator wrote: “Woman is woman. She can not unsex herself or change her sphere. Let her be content with her lot and perform those high duties intended for her by the Great Creator, and she will accomplish far more in governmental affairs than she can ever accomplish by mixing up in the dirty pool of politics.”

Men have been held as the default. As feminist author Simone de Beauvoir wrote: “being a man is [of] no peculiarity’ [while] simultaneously it is acknowledged that ‘the body of woman [is] a hindrance, a prison, weighed down by everything peculiar to it.’ In this way, the male body and man as social being is ‘neutral’ and ‘unaltered’ and therefore good. It is the woman who is distinguished in her deviance from the default. Hers is a body crafted in the perfect image of man, but taken tragic and disgusting wrong turns in the journey to finality.” The early feminists fought against this idea of men as the standard. They argued that women, while different, deserved equal rights.

The legalization of abortion is described constantly as the liberation of women. As one pro-choice organization puts it: “In the early 1970’s, the woman’s movement demanded that abortion be legalized... It was clear that, without [abortion], women couldn’t be the equals of men – no matter what advances women made in the job market or in higher education.”

Women who bear children cannot be equal? Is a pregnant woman who must choose between her career and unborn child liberated by the availability of abortion?

Roe v. Wade was not our liberation, it was our defeat. It was when we stopped fighting the idea of a male default, when we stopped saying “we’re different but not inferior.” With a host of options both natural and artificial to time or avoid conception, a woman who does become pregnant needs to end the life of her unborn child to remain a fully functioning member of this society? Pregnancy is not an infliction to be cured. To celebrate abortion is to agree with the archaic view of women as inherently flawed. It is to admit that our amazing ability to sustain a new life forecloses the possibility of being equal. Mary Catherine Wilcox explains: “To say that in order to be equal with men it must be possible for a pregnant woman to become un-pregnant at will is to say that being a woman precludes her from being a fully functioning person.”

There are real problems in this society that need to be solved, but the female body and its ability to sustain a new life that has already come into existence is not one of them. We must stop dealing in this archaic thinking: the idea that women are inherently flawed because they get pregnant and men don’t. To say we need abortion to be equal is in fact undeniable proof that we are far from equal. We cannot accept that to remain equal to men, we "need" to rid our bodies of new human beings. We are not liberated until both sexes are fully accepted as they are.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Why did you convert to the pro-life side?

If we want to change hearts and minds regarding abortion, it's helpful to know what's converted people in the past. Recently we asked our Facebook followers, "Did you or someone you're close to go from being pro-choice to pro-life? If so, what changed your mind?"

We got some amazing answers, and there were definitely some consistent themes: learning more about fetal development, learning about the effects of abortion, and having good relationships with pro-lifers. But by far the most common reason people cited for converting to the pro-life position was experiencing their own (or their partners') pregnancies.

Below are a sampling of the answers we got, but you can see the full extent of them here.


Fetal Development

Leon V. – An embryology class. It was so obvious.

Laurie L. – I was pro-choice until I saw the fully formed fetuses at the Our Body exhibit at the museum. I was awed at how early they looked human. These were not balls of cells. I was instantly converted.

Reth S. - The first case I had as an intern in the delivery room was a stillborn. I saw his parents crying and that was all I needed to see to understand the humanity of a child.

Gisele T. - I was pro-choice. Science and philosophy changed my life.



Effects of Abortion

Buster A. – Science. Also, a few friends got pregnant and I saw the coercion they were put through to kill their boys.

Stephanie R. – Being pro-choice is the standard over here [in Australia]. It’s just assumed if you have a pregnancy at the wrong time you simply terminate it. It was that kind of attitude that led me to having abortions myself, including one I didn't even think twice about because it was just so easy and acceptable. I think as soon as I was presented with a case against abortion, and I actually had to think about it, I started asking questions and I started changing my mind.

Pro-choice rhetoric started to seem like all lies, manipulations, and false information. It contradicted my own deeply held beliefs about being responsible for our choices, not initiating violence, and ending discrimination. I couldn't reconcile being warm-hearted towards every other member of the human species but going hard and cold when it came to the weakest and most vulnerable.

Lauren E. - I drank the Kool Aid indoctrination of "it’s none of my business what someone else does with her body." Then I came home from a date to find my lifeless roommate's body in the living room, having attempted suicide on her baby's 8th "death day." Suddenly her body became my business, like it or not. She lived. I have since met many more victims.

If abortion clinics had to pay for post-trauma care (surgical reconstruction, psychiatry/psychology, relationship therapy, and parenting skills), they'd be out of money in 90 days. The industry is only lucrative if they end lives at $600 for every 20-minute procedure and leave the collateral damage and death to the rest of us. NARAL loves to delete this testimony, because it's an inconvenient truth. Another's life and body is your business.

Once your eyes are opened, there's no turning back.



Relationships with Pro-Lifers

Roni C. - The humility of certain Pro-Lifers in the face of name-calling (even from myself) and their consistency in debate (for example, maintaining a central point no matter how much pro-choicers jumped around), and the fact that I was not treated like a monster for being pro-abortion-choice (even on the radical end) all played a huge role in my conversion--one that cannot be appreciated enough, among other things.

Evan L. – I dated a wonderful girl years ago who was conceived through rape. Her biological mother strongly considered aborting her, but in the end decided not to. She grew up in orphanages and was later adopted and eventually learned of her past (and met her biological mother). I suspect that I'd always been secretly “consistently pro-life,” but when I learned that the woman who had impacted my life in such a wonderful way was very nearly put to death because of who her father was and the circumstances behind her conception, it made me feel like I was going to vomit. I realized then and there that abortion isn't politically “progressive” at all, and that I would have to accept the responsibility of holding a political view that was going to be unpopular in my particular social circle (very far to the Left). Rape is a horrible thing, to be sure; rape plus abortion is even more horrible.

Lindsey W. – When an acquaintance from school showed me a picture of her son she had given up for adoption after being pregnant at 15, I realized this was a baby and that he might not have existed if my friend had decided to have an abortion. She had been interested in getting one and I said nothing to stop her (her body, her choice right?). I realized that if I would defend his life as an infant, I couldn't sit back when he was a baby still growing in the womb. It also showed me that adoption is a realistic and practical option, even for a teen. This friend was so happy she had chosen life, despite the despair and fear she initially experienced.

Michelle R. – When abortion is discussed in the textbooks, it's illustrated as a debate where angry people go hold up signs and neither side is right or wrong. Kind of feels like a waste of time and something that doesn't affect us at all.

I was brought up by pro-choice parents. I feared overpopulation and blamed poverty, deforestation, extinction, and war on unplanned children. My dad told me that abortion was a responsible act. "If I ever got pregnant," I told myself, "those religious nuts would not help me stay in school,"

Afterward. I fell in love with a pro-lifer, and while I was pregnant with his child many people strongly encouraged me to abort, including my parents. This is when I became personally pro-life, politically pro-choice.

A year after that Myspace died and I made a Facebook account. I was browsing pages and came across NARAL Pro-Choice America and Let's find 1,000,000 people against Abortion. At the time NARAL had forums and when I commented on there they made a mockery of my grammar and parenting status. The posts by the page were nothing but hate towards the other side, and there was way more glamorization of abortion than what I was comfortable with.

On the pro-life page, however, they posted and argued from a scientific point of view, they shared stories of women who conquered mountains, and they encouraged pro-lifers to donate their time, money, and supplies to parents in need and post-abortive women. When I talked to the admin and other people that follow the page, even though they knew I wasn't full on pro-life they were very respectful and actually believed in me (graduating high school with a child).

I was a new parent and I wanted to make the world a better place for her. Guess what side is actually getting stuff done?



Pregnancies (and miscarriages)

Elizabeth D. – I went from being pro-life with exceptions for disability and rape (so essentially still pro-choice) to pro-life with no exceptions. My mind was changed when I lost my second son at 16 weeks gestation. I delivered him and held him and looked at his perfectly formed body including fingernails. He was a beautiful baby even if the doctors said he would have been born with disabilities. Babies like him deserve a chance at life.

Sabri B. – I used to be pro-choice. When my husband and I were trying very hard to conceive, abortion began to feel wrong to me. Why would someone want to kill an unborn baby, while others longed for one so badly? Then I finally got pregnant. As my pregnancy advanced and I began feeling my baby and learning about her intrauterine development, I became more and more pro-life. Fetuses are definitely not masses of cells! My baby is now 17 months old, and she's the love of our lives. I just can't understand how someone can even think of abortion as "liberating" and "empowering." It sounds inhuman and bizarre at the same time.

Kristen R. – I think it was when I thought I was pregnant. I was already leaning towards being pro-life, but this really hit home. Now I have a baby (8 years later, after difficulty) and it has only reaffirmed my feelings. I heard my baby's heartbeat at that first appointment and couldn't conceive of how anyone could think that this baby was not a person. I felt her move before 20 weeks. It hurts my heart that anyone could think that child was okay to kill.

Candice N. – My mother was a teen in the 70's and pro-choice. She believed the medical professionals who claimed that the unborn child was only tissue. Why wouldn't anyone believe a doctor? Then in '81, she was pregnant with her first child, my older brother. She received a pamphlet from the OB on fetal development. It was then that she discovered that the unborn child's heart was beating long before she found out she was expecting. The living baby was unique and distinct from the beginning. Since then, she has been staunchly pro-life. I'm so thankful too! I became pregnant at 16 and if it wasn't for her showing me images since I was child of the living unborn child, I might have aborted my first baby—who is now 15!

Jeff S. – It happened for me when I heard my son's heartbeat for the first time when my wife was pregnant. A few years later my wife had an ectopic miscarriage that almost killed her. She was ten weeks. It really hit home when we had to fill out a death certificate. Years still after that, when our son was 13, we found out my wife was pregnant again. It was very unexpected, but our second son has been the thrill of a lifetime.

Gina P. – Miscarriage prior to my son and threatened miscarriage with both my son and my daughter. I saw them on ultrasound at 6-7 weeks; their hearts were beating.

Susan T. – Seeing my baby's heartbeat on a sonogram at 10 weeks changed my mind. I had always believed magazine articles that described fetuses as a "clump of cells." The more I learned about fetal development the more I realized these were tiny lives and abortion is ending that young life.

Lesli L. – I did when I became pregnant. I realized I was ignorant about fetal development and ignorant to believe the lies. I heard my son's heartbeat at 6 weeks and was forever changed.

Angela S. – Like so many other people here, I had an unplanned pregnancy. I had only been dating my boyfriend for 6 months. I was in college and barely made any money. When my test came back positive, the first thought was “I have a baby inside me. Not a clump of cells or some non-sentient being.” Up until that moment I didn't care about abortion; it was none of my business. In that moment, however, abortion was the furthest thing from my mind. This was our first picture of our first daughter. The fortune was from dinner that same evening. I kept it like this on our fridge the whole pregnancy. It was hard having a child the way we did, but, man, she is worth it.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Upcoming events: #ProtestPP, remembering the victims of the one-child policy, and more


There are several upcoming events that may be of interest to our readers.

The #ProtestPP rallies on August 22 were so successful, the organizers have prepared an encore. There will be more protests tomorrow at Planned Parenthood locations across the country. Find your protest here.

On September 25, China marked the 35th anniversary of its one-child policy, which can only be described as a human rights disaster. As we previously reported, Americans United for Life had planned an event to mark this tragic anniversary, but it was postponed for security reasons. (To my knowledge, there was no specific threat; AUL's office is in a central area of Washington, D.C. and gets caught up in security issues on occasion.) The event has now been rescheduled for Tuesday, October 13 at 6:00 p.m. It will feature the incredibly brave Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, Reggie Littlejohn of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, and Americans United for Life CEO Charmaine Yoest. Registration is required. Details here.

The annual Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity is coming up. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 20 and check out SilentDay.org.

And finally, registration for the Students for Life of America conferences is open! The east coast conference will be in Upper Marlboro, MD (the D.C. burbs) on Saturday, January 23, the day after the March for Life. The west coast conference will be in San Francisco on Sunday, January 24, the day after the Walk for Life. Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard will speak at both conferences. Registration is required, and they always sell out, so don't procrastinate! Get all the details and purchase your tickets at SFLAlive.org.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Video: Interfaith Panel at Vita et Veritas 2015


Last weekend I had the great pleasure of participating in the Vita et Veritas (Life & Truth) pro-life conference at Yale University for the third year in a row. Joining me on the interfaith panel were Matt Bennett (Protestant), Cecily Routman (Jewish), and Suzy Ismail (Muslim). Enjoy!




Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nancy Pelosi's dubious "smackdown"

Congresswoman Pelosi
[Today's guest post is by JoAnna Wahlund.]

Maybe someone out there can explain this, because I am really confused.

Nancy Pelosi held a weekly briefing on October 1. You can watch the video here.

At one point, a CNS news reporter asked, “In reference to funding for Planned Parenthood: Is an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being?”

Pelosi responded: “Why don't you take your ideological questions—I don't, I don't have—”

Point of Confusion #1: “Ideological” is defined as “an adjective that describes political, cultural, or religious beliefs.” The question “Is an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being?” isn’t a question about political, cultural, or religious beliefs. It’s a question regarding scientific fact. So why does Pelosi call it an ideological question?

In fact, the reporter follows up with yet another scientific (not ideological) question. “If it's not a human being, what species is it?”

Pelosi’s baffling response is decidedly unscientific and and rife with logical fallacies:

Pelosi: “No, listen, I want to say something to you. I don't know who you are...”

Point of Confusion #2: So what? How does his identity change his questions or make them less relevant?

Pelosi: “…I am a devout practicing Catholic, a mother of five children. When my baby was born, my fifth child, my oldest child was six years old.”

Point of Confusion #3: How is that relevant? What does this have to do with the scientific question as to whether or not an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver is a human being?

Pelosi: “I think I know more about this subject than you, with all due respect.”

Point of Confusion #4: How does her response prove that she “knows more about this subject” than the reporter? He asked her a scientific question and she responded with, “I’m a Catholic with five kids, so I know more about this than you.” Um, what? That makes no sense. As Secular Pro-Life’s very existence proves, you don’t have to be a Catholic, Christian, or theist to know that abortion is wrong (and sadly, some Catholics, like Pelosi, don’t know or won’t acknowledge that abortion is wrong). Abortion is first and foremost a human rights issue, not solely a religious issue.

Moreover, I happen to be a “devout practicing Catholic” myself. Unlike Pelosi, I actually believe and practice what the Catholic Church teaches regarding abortion, a teaching of which Pelosi, who claims to be both “devout” and “practicing,” is ignorant.

In fact, I’m a mother of nine children (five born, one unborn, three lost to miscarriage). My oldest is 10, and will be 11 when his/her youngest sibling will arrive. By Pelosi’s logic, I actually know more than she does about this subject. In fact, I can answer the reporter’s question with actual science:
It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.
~ [emphatically pro-choice] Dr. Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, 2008), 85-86.
Was that so hard?

Pelosi: “And I do not intend to respond to your questions, which have no basis in what public policy is that we do here.”

Point of Confusion #5: So Pelosi believes that matters of science have no basis in public policy? If so, why does the government have an Office of Science and Technology Policy? Would she say that science has no basis in public policy regarding climate change? Is she learning the “science” of abortion from Bill Nye instead of actual scientists? 

Point of Confusion #6: Let’s take a look a sampling of headlines following this briefing:

Nancy Pelosi Crushes Reporter’s ‘Ideological’ Parenthood Question: I Know More Than You - Mediaite

Nancy Pelosi smacks down a conservative reporter’s anti-abortion talking pointsSalon.com

WATCH Nancy Pelosi Put A Right-Wing Reporter In His Place For Pestering Her With Abortion Questionsliberalamerica.org

Pelosi shuts down reporter's ‘ideological’ question on abortionthehill.com

Let me get this straight: Nancy Pelosi responded to a reporter’s scientific questions by calling them “ideological,” claimed she knows more than he does by virtue of being Catholic with five kids, and stating that science has no basis in public policy... and that’s a “smackdown”? She “crushed” and “shut down” the reporter with that response?

Were we watching the same briefing?

I saw a dishonest politician engage in egregious non sequiturs and numerous logical fallacies to avoid answering a question that she knows she can’t answer without also acknowledging that she supports and champions the deliberate killing of innocent human beings (after all, abortion is her “sacred ground”).  

Last time I checked, that wasn’t a “smackdown.” That was a colossal embarrassment and a shocking display of ignorance. I know this not because I’m a Catholic mother of many children, but because I’m a rational human being with rudimentary skills of logic and reason. 

Maybe I should use Pelosi’s criteria and try to find a Catholic mom with even more children to explain this lack of logic to me. Oh wait, this one opposes abortion. So does this one. Hmmm. In fact, all Catholic moms of my acquaintance with 5+ kids are pro-life. According to the Gospel of Nancy, we all know more than she does about abortion. Perhaps she’d like to fly us down to Capitol Hill so we can explain things to her?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Woman blinds herself with doctor's help. Her body, her choice?

You probably read the about the woman who received her fifteen minutes of fame last week for her decision to blind herself, with the assistance of a psychologist:
A North Carolina woman says she is happier than ever after fulfilling her lifelong wish of becoming blind.
Jewel Shuping, 30, has Body Integrity Identity Disorder, which is a condition where able-bodied people believe they are meant to be disabled...
In 2006, Shuping found a psychologist who was willing to help her become blind. The psychologist began putting numbing drops in her eyes, followed by a couple of drops of drain cleaner.
“It hurt, let me tell you. My eyes were screaming and I had some drain cleaner going down my cheek burning my skin,” she told Barcroft TV. “But all I could think was, I am going blind, it is going to be okay.”  It took about half a year for the damage to take effect.
The reaction I've seen on social media has been one of horror, particularly when it comes to the psychologist's involvement. (The Independent reports that "the psychologist was not named and it is not known if they are facing prosecution.") And it appears that pro-life and pro-choice are in agreement for once; the commenters on the (extremely) pro-choice site Jezebel are just as horrified.

You know what? Her eyes are part of her sovereign zone. Her body, her choice.

I was a psychology major in college. My mom has her master's in counseling. I am thoroughly aware that this unnamed psychologist (assuming he or she exists) is in wild breach of all sorts of ethical boundaries for the profession.

But hey, some doctors kill in the name of bodily integrity and are lauded as heroes! This one merely blinded someone. (With consent, I might add, which the abortionist's victim can't give.) So what's the big deal?

The thought of someone having drain cleaner poured into their eyes certainly sets off the cringe reflex, of course. It's painful and gross. But if you really believe that bodily integrity is a value so important that it justifies abortion, there is no logical reason to find the psychologist's actions here morally repugnant. If anything, you should be encouraging the development of less painful blinding procedures. That Ms. Shuping had to take the "back-alley" drain cleaner route is a travesty. Somebody call NARAL.

A while back we posed the following hypothetical scenario to pro-choice readers:
Jane decides to chop off the legs of her embryo, at week 7. Believing that Jane has the right to choose what happens to her body, Dr. John, with help of modern technology, performs the operation and chops the legs off Jane's embryo. In week 10, Jane decides to chop the hands of off her fetus and Dr. John again performs what he reasons to be Jane’s personal choice and right. Taking it to an extreme, Jane decides to pluck her fetus’ eyes out. I'll refrain from continuing this gruesome tale, but it ends in one of two ways: Jane finally decides to have an abortion, or Jane decides to give birth to an blind, amputated child. This second possible outcome reveals the obvious fact that Jane's actions were not done to her own body, but to the body of another individual. 
If it is true that a woman’s right to control her own body extends to her unborn child, then Jane's actions are permissible. Assuming we are not sociopaths, however, we naturally condemn Jane's hypothetical actions as inhumane and morally repugnant. Clearly, Jane's right to control her own body does not extend to her fetus. A woman's right to bodily autonomy does not go that far.
At the time, it was just another outlandish thought experiment, joining famous violinists and kidney donation mix-ups and all the rest. Now, I'm not so sure. A few news reports indicated that Ms. Shuping is dating a man who is blind as a result of natural causes. What if she wants to ensure that they have a blind child together? Obviously she can't blind her child after birth without risking criminal charges. But before? The lack of adequate technology could be the only thing stopping her.

FSM help us all.

Friday, October 2, 2015

"Nobody likes abortion."

A lot of people who support legal abortion object to the label "pro-abortion." They tend to prefer the term "pro-choice," claiming "pro-abortion" incorrectly implies they like abortion or would encourage people to get abortions. In reality plenty of people think abortion should be legal but consider it an inevitable tragedy or necessary evil. They are not pro-abortion any more than people who think adultery should be legal are "pro-adultery."

However, when these pro-choicers reject the "pro-abortion" label, their objections often go beyond "I personally am not pro-abortion" to "There's no such thing as 'pro-abortion.'" For example, in Bill Nye's recent nonsensical video on abortion, he claimed "Nobody likes abortion."

But Nye is wrong. While most Americans see abortion as morally contentious, there's a significant faction who embrace abortion as an unadulterated good. For those curious about what this mentality looks like, below is a sampling from people who actually are pro-abortion:

  1. But your "Abortion is a Miracle" products here. December 15, 2016
  2. "Saying goodbye to abortion shame." Bust, February 16, 2016
  3. "Actually, I Love Abortion." The Frisky, September 25, 2015
  4. "My abortion made me happy: The story that started the #shoutyourabortion movement" Salon, September 22, 2015
  5. "I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice: 10 reasons why we must support the procedure and the choice" Salon, April 24, 2015
  6. "Katha Pollitt On What The Pro-Abortion Rights Movement Gets Wrong About Choice" Huffington Post, October 15, 2014
  7. "Abortion: Not Easy, Not Sorry" Elle, October 14, 2015
  8. "Stop calling abortion a 'difficult decision'" Washington Post, August 15, 2014
  9. "Why I Filmed My Abortion" Cosmopolitan, May 5, 2014
  10. "5 Problems With 'Keep Abortion Rare'" Everyday Feminism, April 25, 2014
  11. "So what if abortion ends a life?" Salon, January 23, 2013
  12. "Abortion As a Blessing, Grace, or Gift -- A Renewed Conversation about Reproductive Rights" Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, January 12, 2013
  13. "It Happened to Us: Abortion" XO Jane, May 8, 2012
  14. "I Love Abortion: Implying Otherwise Accomplishes Nothing for Women's Rights" RH Reality Check, March 14, 2012
  15. "In Defense of Abortion On Demand and Without Apology" Gender Across Borders, September 22, 2011
  16. "Labels, Labels, Labels: The Best One?" The Abortioneers, December 2, 2009

Picture taken by Zombie at one of San Francisco's Walks for Life.