Monday, September 25, 2017

The Ewing Family's Story

[Today's guest post by Feleica Langdon is part of our paid blogging program. Feleica is a provincial pro-life speaker in Newfoundland and the regional coordinator in NL of Campaign Life Coalition working alongside the provincial coordinator, Margaret Hynes.]

When Jeannie Ewing was pregnant with Sarah—her second child with her husband Ben—everything seemed to be progressing normally. The Ewings opted out of the amniocentesis and nothing abnormal showed up on ultrasounds. When their daughter was born, it was discovered that she had Apert Syndrome.

Upon physician consultation they were told what Apert Syndrome was and the challenges they and their daughter would face.

Apert Syndrome is a condition that causes people's skull and facial bones to harden prematurely, which means they don't have the soft spot (fontanelle) as babies on their heads. Their skulls are already fused at particular sutures. These sutures need to be opened up in order to allow the growing brain room to expand. Because of this, people like Sarah have very distinct facial features and often misshapen heads. They have droopy eyes, a small nose, protruding forehead, and small mouth.

Throughout their lifetime, people with Apert Syndrome undergo on average between 20 and 60 surgeries. It's a very mysterious disease and there is still much research to be done. Some people with this condition die prematurely from complications of surgeries and undiagnosed secondary conditions, like seizures or heart ailments. It's a very sneaky disease.

The couple was shocked! They didn't know how long that they would have with Sarah or even what their lives would look like, but their love for her surpassed any prognosis they were given. They certainly didn't want a life full of surgeries and therapists and specialists, but she was their precious baby girl!

Sarah's life has taught them to never take time for granted and that every person has a special purpose in this word. No one on earth is guaranteed a long life.

The Ewings have gotten to know other families of children with Apert Syndrome; tragically, three of those children have died prematurely. The Ewings weep for those children taken far too young, and their parents who are left with unfathomable grief. They also reflect on their own daughter and are faced with the question of if the condition will cut their little girl's life short too.

Apert Syndrome is a fragile condition; it is like a sniper that attacks seemingly at random. As with many diagnoses, Apert Syndrome  doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care how old you are, how many loved ones will be left behind to grieve, or what great moments that will be missed out on. It is because of Sarah that her family hold their loved ones that much tighter!

Their big-hearted warrior has also taught them that we all have our own unique attributes, challenges and imperfections, all of which should be embraced. Every challenge we face has something beautiful to teach us and the world. Jeannie says:
Sarah, because she looks different, reminds people who encounter her that we are all fallen and broken in some way. She wears that on her face, while some people's brokenness is hidden. In her brokenness, there is beauty. There is joy. There is love. She is very social. She accepts everyone wholeheartedly and allows people to be comfortable in who they are around her. It is because of that I have had incredible conversations with perfect strangers when her and I are in public. Sarah gets to the heart of what matters to people.
Families who are faced with extra needs need extra support. The Ewings' hearts fill with gratitude for all of the help they have received. They had several friends who helped keep house, offered free babysitting, helped with fundraisers, sometimes made monetary or gift card donations, and prepared meals after surgeries. Jeannie's friend, Julie, has also been there for her personally:
I think, when you are a caregiver, it's easy to get lost in the person for whom you're caring. But my friend saw that and frequently came to our house to check on me, not Sarah. She asked if I was getting enough rest, if I needed anything, how I was coping, etc. She brought over "mommy" care packages with dark chocolate, nice lotions and soaps and local honey.
In addition to this, a gentleman named Brian Sapp made cherished videos of the Ewings. He is a professional videographer/photographer and teaches media to middle school students. He spent hours interviewing the family and putting together a video for their website.

If you have been given a prenatal or post-natal diagnosis, reach out to life-affirming and supportive resources around you. Get educated, connected to support groups, and accept help from your inner circle. Embracing life knowing you are supported EMPOWERS!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Rock you like a hurricane

Your president Kelsey Hazzard here with a quick personal note. I am in the path of Hurricane Irma and need to devote some time to prepping. Also, while I'm reasonably confident about my physical safety during the storm, reliable internet is probably too much to ask. Therefore I will be on hiatus for a bit. SPL's co-admins in California may have time to contribute a blog post or two, and they'll still be sharing items of interest on the SPL facebook page, but expect less activity. Your patience is appreciated.

Meanwhile, if you haven't already done so, I encourage you to contribute to the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort. Please give money, not stuff. Well-meaning people who give random items from their closets often make things worse. I'm aware of two pro-life organizations in Texas taking financial donations; they are on the ground and know what items are needed:

Being pressured to abort? Pro-lifers want to help.

[Today's guest post by Adam Peters is part of our paid blogging program.]

The Supreme Court said there’s a right to abortion. However, it also said there’s a right not to have one, and that right applies to minors. Unfortunately, this is something many won’t accept: mothers often feel pressured to abort, and can face blackmail, financial coercion, and threats of violence when they refuse. If you're in this situation, then there's a lot to worry about. The good news? Pro-lifers want to help.

The Justice Foundation created its Center Against Forced Abortions “to provide legal resources to mothers who are being forced or coerced into an unwanted abortion.” It provides letters that can be given to partners, parents, and abortion staff detailing the potential legal consequences of a forced abortion. You can get additional information or contact an attorney by calling (210) 614-7157 or sending an email to

Similar organizations include Alliance Defending Freedom, the Thomas More Law Center, the ACLJ, Liberty Counsel, the American Freedom Law Center, Life Legal Defense Foundation, and The Foundation for Moral Law. Of course, if you or someone you know is in physical danger, call law enforcement immediately.

Legal assistance might not be the only support you require; for practical aid, try going to a pregnancy care center. Among the largest pregnancy center networks is Care Net; its local affiliates offer free pregnancy tests, pregnancy related information, adoption counseling, and material resources. Some locations also provide consultations with licensed medical professionals, ultrasounds for pregnancy confirmation, and testing for sexually transmitted infections. Information about other centers and maternal housing can be found at or by texting the word “HELPLINE” to 313131.

Regardless of whether you're being pressured to abort, finding affordable health care can be tough. To help with that, a coalition of pro-life groups created It's a website showing your nearest federally qualified health center, which accepts patients regardless of ability to pay.

And finally, even if you've already started a chemical abortion, you may still have options. For more information,visit and call (877) 558-0333. The line is staffed 24 hours a day and can put you in touch with a doctor who's ready to help.

Sadly, the choice to have an abortion is frequently made under duress. That’s something pro-lifers want to fix.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Transcript: You call this reproductive justice?

[This is a video transcript. For the video, click here.]

Hey everybody, Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard here. I want to talk to you about an article, and normally this kind of thing would appear on our blog, but I just don't think that the written word can quite capture how I'm feeling about this.

But for those of you who are deaf or hard of hearing, or just watching this at work (naughty naughty), there is a link to the transcript in the description, as well as a link to the article that I'm talking about.

So there's this photojournalism piece with the journalism contributed by, I'm going to butcher this woman's last name sorry, Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, with photos by Carolyn Van Houten. It appeared in the San Antonio Express News in late July, and more recently a version of it was published in the New York Times.

It's about abortion in Texas, and there's a lot to dislike about it; like, it's a very obviously biased pro-choice piece. Among other things, they refer to babies being "saved" from abortion, in scare quotes; like, are you suggesting they would have survived? I mean, that has happened, but it's extraordinarily rare, and I don't think that's what you were getting at. You were getting at... something weird.

Right out of the gate they've got their claim that one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, which is a blatant lie that has been debunked repeatedly, including by the Washington Post.

And they also found the most religious people they could possibly find, although to be fair, it is Texas.

But let's set all of that aside, because I want to talk about one aspect of this article that really leapt out at me, and it came from an interview with a young woman named Renee Rivas. Renee is described as being a student at the University of Texas where she is involved in a group called URGE, or Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity—which sort of like the pro-choice counterpart to Students for Life of America. #ProLifeGen

URGE is one of these "reproductive justice" organizations that tries to make abortion more palatable by attaching it to every other cause you can think of. So for instance, URGE has a parenting page on its website where it talks about the need for "affordable prenatal care, accessible child care, quality jobs and financial and moral support to continue their education," all of which sounds awesome.

Let's see how cynical you are. Let's see if you can guess where this is going.

We have a lovely picture of Renee, and it is captioned that she had an abortion because, without it, she would not have been able to pursue an internship with URGE.

If you really want to support mothers in the workplace, you might, I don't know, start with your own friggin' internship. Now, from the article, it's unclear whether she came to URGE with her unplanned pregnancy and they flat-out told her she needed to get an abortion—which would be illegal—or if she just, through her years of campus advocacy on behalf of the organization, knew that it wasn't worth asking... and actually, the latter is more damning.

Either way, she did have her internship this past summer, at the cost of one human life. Shame on you, URGE. Just... shame on you.

"Encounter Youniverse" launch party to feature sneak peek of "Only Human"

An excerpt from Only Human, the life-affirming screenplay by SPL president Kelsey Hazzard, will be displayed as part of the Encounter Youniverse launch party for Create|Encounter!

The event will take place during the Life/Peace/Justice conference on October 20-22 in Pittsburgh.

Encounter Youniverse is a project of Rehumanize International (which also organizes the L/P/J conference). Its mission is "to uphold human dignity by sharing human stories," building empathy and breaking down the barriers that cause dehumanization. Encounter Youniverse is throwing the launch party for its newest initiative, Create|Encounter, which (as you might guess) advances this mission through creative works.

Only Human is a perfect fit. It is a story about what a sidewalk counselor has in common with the abortionist she protests; about radical openness and love for women facing crisis pregnancies; and about a unique ethical dilemma highlighting the fundamental tension between compassion and justice.

It's early, so we can't be more specific than that just yet. For all the latest updates, like Only Human on facebook.

P.S.—The launch party will also feature other artistic works, selected from over 100 submissions to the Create|Encounter contest earlier this summer. A full list is not yet available, but keep your eyes open.