Pages

Thursday, May 24, 2018

It's wrong to vote on rights


In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued a then-novel decision legalizing same-sex marriage. In response, opponents of same-sex marriage pursued a state constitutional amendment nullifying the court's decision. To place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, however, they first had to go through the state legislature. One of the central arguments traditional marriage groups made to their legislators was a democratic one; the people should have a direct vote. LGBT citizens and their allies campaigned just as strongly, using the slogan "It's wrong to vote on rights." Ultimately, the LGBT groups carried the day, and the measure never appeared on the ballot.

"It's wrong to vote on rights" has been on my mind a lot lately as Ireland prepares to vote on the abortion referendum tomorrow. The 8th amendment to the Irish constitution, in place since 1983, provides: "The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right." The abortion lobby now asks Ireland to repeal the 8th amendment and strip the right to life from unborn children.

I won't belabor all the arguments in favor of voting no. You know them well. The tens of thousands of people alive today because of the 8th amendment... Ireland's stellar record on women's health, enjoying a far lower maternal mortality rate than its pro-abortion neighbors... the threat repeal poses to people with disabilities... and above all, the principles that all human beings are equal and might does not make right... all of these points and many more have been aptly made by the many wonderful Irish activists working to preserve their nation's pro-life legacy.

I can only affirm that it's wrong to vote on rights. It's fundamentally wrong to vote on fundamental rights like the right to life.

The fact that the referendum is happening at all is disgraceful. May Ireland redeem itself and soundly defeat this attack on human dignity. May Ireland save the 8th, and with it, countless lives.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Abortion Front and Center in the Nebraska Primaries


Last week, abortion supporter Kara Eastman narrowly defeated moderate former Representative Dan Ashford in the Democratic primary for Nebraska's second congressional district. Although Rep. Ashford was generally unfriendly to the rights of unborn children during his brief time in Congress, he did vote in favor of a 20-week abortion limit during his stint as a state-level lawmaker.

The Democratic Party's pro-abortion wing is prematurely ecstatic:
“Now we see, time and time again, that we do not need to abandon abortion in order to win,” Heidi Sieck, a Nebraska native and co-founder of #VoteProChoice, said after Eastman’s victory.
...which completely misses the point. No one is arguing that abortion industry favorites can't win Democratic primaries! That's commonplace. The argument is that abortion extremism hurts Democrats in the general election, which is probably one of the reasons why the national party backed Ashford.

Huffington Post author Daniel Marans writes that Eastman's "candidacy in the general election provides pro-choice liberals an opportunity to show that progressive Democrats are just as capable as moderates of winning in challenging territory." It also offers an opportunity to show exactly the opposite. If Eastman crashes and burns, abortion is likely to play a significant role.

Eastman's general election opponent will be Republican incumbent Representative Don Bacon, who narrowly defeated Ashford in 2016. Rep. Bacon is "proud to stand in defense of the unborn as a strong advocate for pro-life policies" and has the endorsements of various pro-life organizations.

Meanwhile, in the Nebraska Senate race, pro-life incumbent Senator Deb Fischer, who is a co-sponsor of the 20-week law, won her primary and will go up against Planned Parenthood candidate Jane Raybould.

The general election will take place on November 6.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Your donations are now tax-deductible!

Secular Pro-Life is thrilled to announce that our application for 501(c)3 status has been approved!

There has never been a better time to donate to Secular Pro-Life. We are gearing up for some major events next month: the launch of a brand-new project on June 15, the Pro-Life Women's Conference from June 22 through 24, and speaking at the National Right to Life Convention on June 30. On top of that, we're updating our print literature and amplifying our reach on social media.

And for the first time, your gift to Secular Pro-Life is completely tax-deductible!

If you appreciate Secular Pro-Life's unique role in the struggle to protect the youngest, most vulnerable human beings from destruction, please donate as you are able. We greatly appreciate your contributions, and will use them wisely to reach people that faith-based organizations cannot.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

New project launching June 15

In exactly one month, Secular Pro-Life will launch a new project. We are not at liberty to divulge the details yet, but if you join our facebook event, you'll be the first to know!

Special thanks are owed to the members of the project advisory board (organizational affiliations for identification purposes only):
  • Angel Armstead
  • Andrew Bair of Beltway Right to Life
  • Lauren Enriquez of Human Coalition
  • Beth Fox
  • Austin Johnson
  • Jenna King
  • Juliana Kriner
  • Valeria Lopez, returning from the #HelloHyde advisory board
  • Gina Mallica, returning from the #HelloHyde advisory board
  • Purity Thomas, pro-life teen activist known for being assaulted while sidewalk counseling
  • Tarquis Thomas, a/k/a Stargift Tarakasha, returning from the #HelloHyde advisory board (no relation to Purity Thomas)
  • Nia Robert
  • Albany Saindon
  • Rebecca Stapleford, who you may know from her guest writings on this blog
We can't wait to show you what we've been planning on June 15!

Monday, May 14, 2018

It's been five years since Kermit Gosnell's conviction


Yesterday, as pro-life advocates around the United States celebrated Mother's Day, Kermit Gosnell marked the five years of life as a convicted felon.

Gosnell, the notorious Philadelphia abortionist, was convicted on May 13, 2013 of three counts of murder, one count of manslaughter, and 211 counts of violating Pennsylvania's abortion waiting period law. The murder counts were for the deaths of three infants known only as Baby A, Baby C, and Baby D. The manslaughter count was for the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, a Bhutanese refugee who died after Gosnell administered her an overdose of sedatives during her abortion at 19 weeks.

Abortion advocates are sick of hearing about Gosnell. He was an outlier, they claim. Why are we still harping on this, five years later?

The truth is we have no idea if Gosnell was an outlier. He, like many others in states with abortion-friendly governors, operated without oversight for years. The reason he finally got caught? His over-prescription of narcotics caught the attention of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

That is part of a pattern. Time and time again, dangerous abortionists operate unimpeded for years, even decades, leaving a wide path of destruction in their wake. The abortion industry routinely refuses to police its own. To give just three examples (which are by no means the only ones):
  • Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari received a $10,000 slap on the wrist in the 2003 abortion death of Regina Johnson; horrifically botched an abortion in 2008; also in 2008, forced a woman to go through with an abortion after she had changed her mind; was cited for numerous health and safety violations in 2009; also in 2009, missed an ectopic pregnancy; and remained in practice until his retirement in 2013. 
  • James Pendergraft's medical license was suspended four separate times, but each time, he was allowed to resume his butchery. Like Gosnell, his downfall only came when he was caught dealing drugs—but even now, a Florida abortion facility affiliated with Pendergraft continues to operate without a license. 
  • Abortionist Steven Chase Brigham is so horrific, the vehemently pro-abortion blog RH Reality Check reported: "Since the early 1990s, public records show, Brigham’s patients have suffered emergency hysterectomies, severe bowel injuries, severed ureters, and sweeping lacerations to the uterus. Over a period of two decades, Brigham has been barred from practicing medicine in at least six states, sued by his landlords and business associates, and even served jail time for failing to pay taxes. And yet today, Brigham remains in control of a network of 15 abortion clinics in four states, and there appears little that most state authorities are able—or willing—to do about it."
Gosnell himself showed early signs of psychopathy on Mother's Day of 1972:
It was called the Mother’s Day Massacre—the brainchild of Harvey Karman, an eccentric California man without medical training who had served 2½ years in prison for performing illegal abortions in the 1950s. Karman teamed with a young Philadelphia doctor who offered to perform abortions on 15 impoverished women, each between four and six months pregnant, who were bused to the Philadelphia clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972.
What the women didn’t know was that they were guinea pigs for a device Karman had invented, which he called the “super coil.” He had tested it only on wartime rape victims in Bangladesh, where he had traveled under the sponsorship of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
That young Philadelphia doctor, of course, was Gosnell. The way the “Super Coil” worked was that a bunch of razors were coated with a protective gel and wrapped into a ball before being placed into the mother’s uterus. After warming up in the body, the gel would melt and the razors would spring open, cutting up the baby.
Of the 15 mothers who underwent the procedure, nine suffered serious complications, including one who needed a hysterectomy. Others had a punctured uterus, hemorrhage, infections and retained fetal remains. Karman’s conviction (only for practicing medicine without a license) was overturned and Gosnell totally got away with it. 
Imagine if Gosnell's license were revoked in 1972! Karnamaya Mongar, and tens of thousands of innocent children, might still be alive.

Justice delayed is justice denied. If health officials acted promptly to shut down abortionists upon their first offense, countless lives would be saved, and women would be spared injury and heartache.

Pro-life, pro-woman advocates are working hard to make that happen, but the usual suspects are fighting progress. Five years after Gosnell's conviction, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are in court, trying to eliminate an Indiana law that requires annual inspections of abortion centers and reporting of abortion complications.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Review: Ctrl Alt Delete

Last month, an independent journalist contacted Secular Pro-Life, asking for our thoughts on a web series called Ctrl Alt Delete. Its creators are strong abortion advocates with the stated goal of "normalizing" abortion "through the hahas." They also aim to dispel the stereotype that women who have abortions are irresponsible.

Each video in the series features a different woman pursuing abortion—except for a recurring character who is in the abortion facility waiting room every time. (I think this is supposed to be funny?) The episodes are quite short, so the seven-part series is only 20 minutes long.

As you probably guessed, Ctrl Alt Delete didn't bring the hahas for me. The agenda of "normalizing" the death of helpless children in the womb just doesn't tickle my funny bone for some reason.

And yet... I didn't totally hate it, either. The acting and production values are solid, and it's an interesting glimpse into abortion supporters' psychology.

The journalist asked me for my thoughts on how abortion was portrayed and what portrayals I would like to see from Ctrl Alt Delete in the future. At this point I don't know whether the proposed article will ever be published (I'll add a link if it is), so please allow me to share my thoughts:
In their quest to dispel stereotypes, the creators of Ctrl Alt Delete have completely neglected the most common reasons women have abortions; of all the characters, none felt pressured by others to have an abortion and only one cited financial insecurity. Of course, it's hard to create a comedy series that incorporates those tragic realities. The only way to portray abortion positively is to portray it falsely.
The conspicuous absence of any information about the child's development, and how abortion terminates the child's life, is irresponsible. 
The show also relies heavily on stereotypes about pro-lifers on the sidewalk. A more realistic depiction would, at a minimum, include offers of free assistance at a pregnancy center. 
On a positive note, I do appreciate that Ctrl Alt Delete included young people and women among the anti-abortion characters. I also appreciated the surprising move of putting a population control activist in the role of abortion counselor; most abortion supporters shy away from explicitly acknowledging that connection. 
In future episodes, I'd be curious to learn more about the "frequent flier" character. Why does she use abortion as her primary form of birth control? What are her interactions with the sidewalk advocates like? 
Watch the series for free here and give us your take in the comments.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

This Mother's Day, remember mothers in need

Mother's Day is this Sunday. We celebrate the birth mothers, the adoptive mothers, and all the women who have contributed to our lives. Let us also keep in mind those whose mothers or children have passed away, and others for whom Mother's Day can be a difficult time.

To honor all the mothers in your life, Secular Pro-Life encourages you to help mothers in need. Here are a few ideas.

Donate to your local pregnancy care center or diaper bank. Especially now that pregnancy care centers are under attack from organized "fake clinics" slander campaigns, it's crucial to ensure that low-income mothers are able to obtain baby supplies, parenting classes, job training, and all the other support they need to choose life.

Cornerstone Pregnancy Resource Center in Sioux City, Iowa, is particularly in need of your help. It suffered a fire late last month that destroyed its ultrasound machine and many other items. Cornerstone PRC is operated by Sue Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood manager. You can help by buying supplies via their Walmart registry.

Buy your Mother's Day gifts using Amazon Smile. Many pro-life non-profits are registered with Amazon Smile, which sends a portion of your purchase to the cause.

Give to a bail fund. Last year, activists organized a national campaign to bail out mothers from jail so they could celebrate Mother's Day with their families. While it does not appear that the nationwide campaign is repeating in 2018, you can do this on your own by giving to a bail fund and asking that your gift be directed to a mother. Bail funds cover bail for people who have been charged, but not convicted, of a crime and cannot afford to pay bail to enjoy freedom before trial. Here are links for bail funds in Massachusetts, Brooklyn, the BronxMemphis, Seattle, Chicago, and Connecticut.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Iowa passes heartbeat bill; abortion industry responds with desperation and lies


Last Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed historic legislation to prohibit abortions where the baby's heartbeat can be detected. The law includes exceptions for medical necessity, rape, and incest.

The heartbeat law will not immediately confer protection on any Iowa children. There will be a legal challenge, and the law will almost certainly be enjoined while the case is pending. And the abortion industry plaintiffs will succeed in the lower courts, which have no power to alter deviate from unjust precedents set by higher courts. Iowa lawmakers knew all of this when they cast their votes. This is a long-term strategy; it will take a couple of years for the law to reach the Supreme Court, by which time they hope that one or more of the older pro-abortion Justices will have been replaced with a pro-life Justice. If they're right, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Justice Kennedy, who has long provided the decisive fifth vote condemning preborn children to death, has been the subject of retirement rumors for years. He is 81 years old. The oldest member of the Court is 85-year-old Justice Ginsburg, a strong abortion advocate who will surely refuse to retire if there is any chance her replacement will recognize the right to life. Justice Breyer, also a reliable vote against pro-life legislation, is 79.

Even if the heartbeat law is ultimately killed by the courts, however, it still has some value as an educational tool. Recall that the pro-life movement pursued a ban on partial-birth abortion for well over a decade before it was finally upheld by the Supreme Court; during those years, partial-birth abortion was frequently in the news and the public was informed about the brutality of abortion methods. In the case of the heartbeat bill, we're educating the public about prenatal development. The heartbeat bill has forced abortion advocates to adopt the talking point that the heartbeat begins "around six weeks, before some women even know they're pregnant." It's impossible to reconcile that statement with the ignorant clump-of-cells view of abortion, or with prior pro-abortion obfuscation about when the heartbeat begins.

Abortion industry groups are caught off balance, as demonstrated by this unintentionally hilarious quote by a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood's Iowa affiliate:
“The bill weaponizes fetal heartbeat, which is by all accounts an arbitrary standard that bans abortion long before the point of fetal viability,” Lee said in an email to Reuters.
You guys. They think that heartbeats are "arbitrary" and that fetal viability isn't! I actually laughed out loud when I read that.

Another response from the abortion industry has been much less amusing. They've resorted to fearmongering, falsely telling Iowans that medical schools are required to teach abortions, and therefore the heartbeat law will cause the state's only ob/gyn residency program to lose its accreditation, and therefore the state's ob/gyn shortage will get worse.

Wait a second, you might be thinking. If every medical school has to do abortion training to be accredited, how are Catholic medical schools a thing? Right you are. There is a federal law that addresses this very issue: if an accrediting body penalizes a school for not teaching abortions, the school is deemed accredited anyway. But that fact didn't stop the Iowa City Press-Citizen from running an entire article based on the premise that the heartbeat bill could "effectively kill the only obstetrics and gynecology residency program in the state."

I brought this up with Robin Marty, who is one of the most honest pro-abortion journalists out there. You can read our twitter conversation here. Suffice to say, the article is indefensible and its authors, Aimee Breaux and Will Greenberg, should be ashamed of themselves.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Create|Encounter pro-life art contest seeks submissions


Create|Encounter, a project by our friends at Rehumanize International, is once again seeking submissions of artwork in any media (poetry, prose, painting, sculpture, music, you name it) that explores themes related to the value of human life. Abortion-related works are common, but since Rehumanize International is multi-issue, submissions concerning other forms of aggressive violence (including war, human trafficking, and abuse) are also welcome.

This is the second annual contest. I had the pleasure of seeing last year's winning works in person, and can testify that the pro-life movement is insanely talented. Those works are now posted online; check them out for inspiration!

Winners in select categories will receive free admission to the Life/Peace/Justice Conference, which will take place October 12-14 in Pittsburgh. All recognized works will be featured at the conference and in a special issue of the Life Matters Journal.

All guidelines can be found here, and the submission deadline is July 15. Get cracking!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Pro-life advocates call for Title X reform


Yesterday, a coalition of more than 85 anti-abortion organizations, led by the Susan B. Anthony List, sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, urging HHS to implement rules that disentangle abortion businesses from the Title X grant program. Secular Pro-Life was among the signatories. The letter was also signed by 41 Senators and 153 Representatives.

As we've previously noted, defunding Planned Parenthood is a complicated task in part because Planned Parenthood (and, to a lesser extent, other abortion vendors) takes advantage of multiple taxpayer funding streams. Title X is a family planning grant program that sends $50-60 million to Planned Parenthood each year, which is approximately ten percent of its annual taxpayer funding haul.

That wasn't always the case. During the Reagan administration, HHS required Title X grantees to comply with regulations that created a strong buffer between abortion and tax dollars. An abortion vendor that wanted a Title X family planning grant had to isolate its abortion activities from its legitimate healthcare activities. Specifically, they were required to "maintain an objective integrity and independence from the prohibited abortion activities by the use of separate facilities, personnel, and accounting records." The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this rule in Rust v. Sullivan, which remains good law.

Those regulations were rescinded by President Bill Clinton, but can be revived. Doing so is a relatively simple way to remove taxpayer subsidies of the nation's largest abortion chain.

The Susan B. Anthony List reports that fewer than one eighth of the 4,000+ Title X grantees nationwide are Planned Parenthoods, adding: "The Reagan-era regulations would not decrease funding for Title X by a single penny. Funds would instead be directed to service sites willing to comply." Already, abortion advocates and their media allies are misrepresenting the proposed regulation as a "cut" to Title X.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Screening of "Pro-Life Feminist" This Thursday in NYC


The short documentary film Pro-Life Feminist will be screened in Greenwich Village this Thursday, May 3, at 7:00 p.m. The screening is hosted by EXPECT, the young adult arm of the Human Life Review, and will be held at the Sheen Center Loreto Theater at 18 Bleecker Street, New York, NY—ironically, right next door to the Planned Parenthood center named for infamous eugenicist Margaret Sanger.

Best of all, Thursday's screening will have all three subjects of the film in attendance! Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, Christina Bennett, and Aimee Murphy will take part in a Q&A session, along with director Jim Hanon.

Tickets are $17, and it's well worth it. As we said in our previous review of Pro-Life Feminist:
This film is less about pro-life feminist arguments (although they are included) and more about getting to know pro-life feminists as people. Granted, I know the three main subjects of the film personally; I'm biased. But showing where pro-life feminists are coming from—all three have relevant personal histories that color their perspective—might be our best hope for shattering the stereotypes that have held the pro-life movement back. Sometimes, we must humanize ourselves before we can humanize children in the womb.
Pro-Life Feminist is incredibly wide-ranging. Topics of discussion include everything from sexual assault, to the intersection of abortion and race, to pro-choice lawyers' exploitation of the plaintiffs in Roe and Doe, to "bro-choice" objectification, to the strong women who inspire us, and so much more. And yet the narrative flows smoothly. The cinematography is gorgeous, too.
This documentary is incredibly thought-provoking and the Q&A is sure to be amazing. If you live anywhere near New York City, don't miss your chance!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Abortionist's manslaughter trial underway in New York


When Kermit Gosnell went on trial for multiple infanticides and one maternal death, media coverage was initially abysmal. It took a massive public shaming campaign to bring reporters to the courtroom.

New York abortionist Robert Rho is now on trial for "only" one death. The victim, 30-year-old Jaime Morales, was killed during the commission of a late-term abortion. The media coverage this time around is worse than abysmal; it's practically non-existent. While there was some coverage of Rho's arrest in 2016, the only information we have about the trial comes from pro-life activist Lauren Handy, who has been observing the proceedings and giving her accounts to the Operation Rescue blog.

I certainly do not intend to criticize Lauren, who is a personal friend and is undoubtedly doing the best she can under the circumstances. But she is neither a professional journalist nor a lawyer, and she has not been able to attend every day of the trial. She shouldn't have to be the one doing this, and the public deserves more comprehensive coverage of this story.

With that caveat, here's what we've learned so far.

Rho is charged with reckless homicide in Jaime Morales' death, which occurred on July 9, 2016. Rho did notice the complications, but attempted to correct them himself and did not call an ambulance. Morales fainted and was still woozy when Rho sent her home. Morales passed out again in her sister's car; her sister took her to the hospital, but it was too late.

Rho has a long history with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. OPMC officer Paula M. Breen was the prosecution's first witness. She testified that Rho had been under investigation since 2013 "for infractions involving sedation and office staff." (He also has been sued for malpractice three times and for sexual harassment twice.)

A key issue in the trial is to be the procedure that was used for the abortion. Morales was between 24 and 26 weeks pregnant. Such a late-term abortion typically takes place over several days, with laminaria (sanitary seaweed) being used to gradually dilate the cervix in the days leading up to surgery. The prosecution argued that Rho recklessly attempted to commit the abortion procedure in just one day, without laminaria. There was conflicting testimony on the question of whether or not laminaria were stocked at Rho's abortion facility.

The prosecution also presented testimony from an expert anesthesiologist, who opined that Morales' anesthesiology report had been forged, and from Planned Parenthood abortionist Steven Chasen, who testified that Rho's method of dilating Morales' cervix was improper.

In cross-examination, Rho's attorney has repeatedly raised Morales' alcohol consumption as a possible factor in her death.

Lauren also observed tensions between Rho and his attorney and overheard some of their conversations. Critically, Rho has plans to open a new abortion facility if the jury finds him not guilty (although he no longer has a license to practice medicine in New York, so it's unclear where he would go). This case will not only determine whether or not Jaime Morales receives justice, but could also determine whether or not Rho will go on to injure more women.

The prosecution rested its case on Friday. The trial continues today and is expected to last through May 3.

The maximum sentence for reckless homicide is 15 years. Rho's fate will be decided by a jury of eleven men and four women. Most of the jurors are people of color. We fervently hope they will provide #JusticeForJaime.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Down Syndrome Abortion and the Courts: Part II


In January, we wrote about the passage of laws against Down Syndrome abortion in North Dakota, Indiana, and Ohio, and mentioned that Indiana's law had been struck down but was on appeal.

Unfortunately, last Friday, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against Indiana's protection of babies with Down Syndrome. Judge Manion wrote a separate opinion, essentially expressing support for the law but stating that, regrettably, Supreme Court precedent ties the 7th Circuit's hands.

Indiana can still appeal to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court is more likely to take the case if there is a circuit split; that is, when two federal appellate courts have reached different conclusions on the same issue. Accordingly, the pro-life movement continues to pursue anti-ableist abortion legislation in multiple jurisdictions.

Pennsylvania is next on the list. A bill against abortion for Down Syndrome passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives last week with bipartisan support. However, it faces a tough road in the state senate, and Governor Tom Wolf is a known abortion industry supporter.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Women fired for exposing abortion emergency to have their day in court

Life Legal Defense Foundation, perhaps best known for representing David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress, also represents Sally Passmore and Paula Thyfault. Like David and Sandra, Sally and Paula used the power of video to expose abortion industry wrongdoing, at great personal cost.

Sally and Paula worked for 21st Century Oncology, a cancer treatment center in Jacksonville, Florida, that happened to be located next to All Florida Women's Center, an abortion business operated by Patrick J. Kelly. Sally and Paula were active in their local pro-life community, and when Patrick Kelly found out that they had participated in anti-abortion rallies (though at other abortion centers, not his own), he took it upon himself to make repeated complaints to 21st Century Oncology's human resources director.

This went on from 2010 to 2014. For four years, the abortionist next door tried to get Sally and Paula fired from their jobs because of their opposition to abortion.

In September of 2014—just two months after All Florida Women's Center was cited by state health officials for, among other things, lack of emergency preparedness—an ambulance arrived for a botched abortion victim. Several 21st Century Oncology employees, including Sally and Paula, gathered in the parking lot. Sally legally recorded video footage on her cell phone, which you can view here.


Patrick Kelly, apparently angry that the medical emergency had been made public, complained once more to 21st Century Oncology. This time, Sally and Paula were fired. Their co-workers, who had also gathered in the parking lot but whose abortion views are not known, were not fired.

Life Legal Defense Foundation sued 21st Century Oncology on Sally and Paula's behalf. The proceedings were repeatedly delayed, in large part due to 21st Century Oncology filing for bankruptcy. Finally, earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida considered 21st Century Oncology's motion to dismiss the case, and held that the case will go forward. A case management conference is scheduled for this Friday.

The court's order wasn't all positive, however. Life Legal Defense Foundation's complaint set forth several legal theories of the case, but the court is only allowing one: religious discrimination. This means that if Sally and Paula succeed, their victory would not set a protective precedent for atheists and agnostics who are similarly fired for being pro-life.

Friday, April 20, 2018

It's time to make plans for the Pro-Life Women's Conference!

The Pro-Life Women's Conference is just two months away, and we can't wait to see you there!

When: Friday, June 22 at 5:00 p.m. through Sunday, June 24 at 3:15 p.m.
Where: St. Charles Convention Center in St. Louis, MO
Cost: Early bird registration (through May 31) is $149; student rate is $109. Meals included. Hotel discount available.

The speaker lineup is amazing, with topics ranging from racial disparities in women's healthcare to frozen embryos to the menstrual cycle to empowering single moms... seriously, check out the full schedule because I have barely scratched the surface.

Just as important as the presentations themselves are the wonderful people you will meet, which is why I'm pleased to see that this year has added networking time. Also new this year: a self-care workshop and an art contest. And as you'd expect, this event is very family-friendly, with a nursing station and a welcoming environment for small children.

This is the third annual event, and Secular Pro-Life is proud to be a three-time co-sponsor. It just so happens that the conference will happen just ten days after the launch of our (currently top-secret) new project. Come by our sponsor booth to learn all about it! We'll also have free secular literature for you to take home and use in your pro-life advocacy.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"May your character be so solid..."

I've not previously commented about this, in the interest of not giving attention to ideas that do not deserve it, but now that it has become a news story I feel compelled to speak out.

The pro-life, pro-woman organization New Wave Feminists (NWF) was founded by Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, and for a long time, her second-in-command was a woman named Kristen Hatten. Around the time President Trump took office, Kristen had a sudden change of philosophy and adopted alt right, "ethnonationalist" ideas... crudely expressed in the form of disturbing, racist memes which I will not link to here. Destiny immediately removed Kristen from NWF and brought on Cessilye Smith (who is black) as her new co-leader.

In other words, Destiny did everything right, and as we all know, no good deed goes unpunished. Destiny's punishment arrived yesterday in the form of a venomous Huffington Post article, which—despite being about a pro-life organization's rejection of racism—takes every opportunity to falsely portray pro-lifers and racists as natural allies. It contains such gems as: "throughout the history of the abortion wars, a great deal of violent energy has been generated at the confluence of anti-abortion activism and white supremacy," "the movements share heroes," and "the kinship isn’t hard to understand: both are movements of the status quo, dedicated to preserving a white patriarchal order."

(Yes, you read that right. The pro-life movement, whose raison d'être is the reversal of a 45-year-old Supreme Court decision, wants to preserve the status quo. Whatever you say, HuffPo.)

It's a depressing read with an accusatory subtext: that NWF (and, by extension, pro-life advocates in general) cynically distanced itself from Kristen for purely optical reasons. As opposed to, you know, because we value people of color.

I would like to turn this around into something positive. People of color, like all people, are valuable first and foremost because human beings have inherent worth. But allow me to also shed some light on the valuable accomplishments of pro-life people of color—because Secular Pro-Life would look a lot different without them.

The #HelloHyde campaign? That was led by women of color. Our 2017 Students for Life of America conference presentation? Yup. Our upcoming project that launches in June—I'm not at liberty to discuss it yet, but you're going to love it—brings back the #HelloHyde volunteers plus many more.

At the foundation, I don't think I would have become a pro-life activist at all if not for the support I received from people of color. I got involved in the pro-life movement as a college student, attending the University of Miami—where the overwhelming majority of the pro-life student organization was Latinx. If they hadn't been there, who knows? I could have dedicated my time to some other club and Secular Pro-Life wouldn't even exist.

I'm just speaking from my own experience, of course, and I don't want you to come away with the impression that racial diversity in the pro-life movement is somehow new. People of color have made substantial contributions to the cause from the beginning. What I would give for Hollywood to make a Mildred Jefferson biopic!

I don't really know how to end this article, so I'll close with some good advice by Cessilye Smith of New Wave Feminists:

"May your character be so solid, that people would never think that your silence is low key acceptance of something evil."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Secular Pro-Life has applied for 501(c)3 status

This is a transcript for a live video which was posted to our facebook page on Sunday.

Hi, everybody, it's Kelsey Hazzard, the President of Secular Pro-Life, and as you can tell by the title of this video, I'm not going to make it a big surprise or anything, we've applied for 501(c)3 status and I just wanted to talk a little bit about the history and why it is that we're doing it so you can be fully informed.

Secular Pro-Life was actually, we've been around for almost ten years now. We got started in January of 2009, so we are coming up on our 10 year anniversary. And this whole time we have not had any special tax status with the IRS. We have been incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in the state of Florida, which is where I live, and obviously that comes with responsibilities to manage your donations wisely. But we haven't gone that next step of getting the 501(c)3 status.

The main reason for that was that we've traditionally relied on donors who are gonna give no matter what, who are just so invested in our mission, and a lot of our donors are young adults who are kind of just getting started in life and take the standard deduction. So offering that tax deductibility for your donations didn't really matter to most of our donors.

But as we've gotten bigger and as we've developed as an organization, we started considering the 501(c)3 tax status and we put up a poll on facebook a while ago asking you all, would it make a difference if we were a 501(c)3? And about half of you said yes. And in the comments, the feedback that we got for that was, a lot of you said it wasn't so much about the tax deduction as it was about the status itself and the legitimacy that brings and the transparency you get with the annual form and that kind of thing, for the financials. And again, just to be clear, we have had that legal responsibility from the beginning to use your donations wisely and we've obviously abided by that, but people wanted that additional transparency and thought that that would be valuable, and we agree.

So we have gone ahead and submitted our application for 501(c)3 status! And we should hear back, the IRS says it's on average 90 days, so we hope to hear back soon. In the meantime, the way it works is that once the status is conferred, it's retroactive. So if you were to make a donation today, and then we get the tax-deductible status, your earlier donation would become tax-deductible. So that's how that operates, and yeah, we should hear back pretty soon. I don't expect any... obviously there are no guarantees but I don't expect any issues with our application. It's a pretty straightforward process.

I really want to thank you guys for your support, and if you do feel it in your heart to make a donation, you can do that on our website; it's just secularprolife.org/donate. And again, thank you all so very much and we look forward to continuing to our cause in the future. Bye!


Monday, April 16, 2018

No, defunding Planned Parenthood did not make maternal mortality skyrocket in Texas


In 2011, Texas redirected taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood to federally qualified health centers and other comprehensive healthcare providers. The next year, maternal mortality in Texas allegedly skyrocketed. Pro-lifers were immediately blamed. Planned Parenthood funding had been saving lives! Post hoc, ergo propter hoc!

That explanation was unsatisfying, because Planned Parenthood doesn't offer birth care. Nor would Planned Parenthood's provision of contraceptives explain it; FQHCs offer contraception too, and besides, the maternal mortality rate is calculated per 100,000 births, so it should be unaffected by changes to the pregnancy rate and birth rate.

So what was causing more Texas mothers to die? And what could the pro-life movement do to prevent these deaths?

Nothing — because in fact, the maternal mortality spike was an illusion. The Washington Post reports:
For the past few years, Texas’s maternal mortality rate was so high it seemed unbelievable.
As it turns out, according to a study released this week it was, indeed, not to be believed.
This week, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force released a study in Obstetrics & Gynecology that found the maternal morbidity figures from 2012 — which had Texas mothers dying at rates that shocked experts and the public — were based on sloppy and erroneous data collection.
So sloppy, in fact, that more than half of the deaths that were recorded as pregnancy-related that year were recorded that way in error.
Specifically, the phantom mortality increase arose from changes to Texas death certificates, which resulted in more coroners incorrectly checking a box to indicate pregnancy-related death.

A recently published report combed through this data and determined that "after all of the data-collection errors were excluded, Texas’s 2012 maternal mortality rate was corrected from 38.4 deaths per 100,000 live births to 14.6 per 100,000 live births." That's considerably lower than the current (2015) national average of 26.4 deaths per 100,000 births. Put another way, not only did Planned Parenthood defunding not cause a spike in maternal mortality, it's actually safer to give birth in Texas than it is to give birth in the United States as a whole.

To be clear, even one pregnancy-related death is too many. None of this takes anything away from the fantastic pro-life initiatives, like Abide, that are working hard to improve the health of Texas mothers and babies. And as the Washington Post points out, the United States has a long way to go before it matches the maternal mortality rates of other developed countries.

Friday, April 13, 2018

#ProtestPP returns on April 28


"Today, we're going on the offense."

That's what Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens told the media just a few weeks ago. She went on to declare, "We're pushing for efforts in all 50 states."

More than ever, we must push back against the nation's largest abortion chain. There have been positive signs; the abortion rate is at a record low, and just this week, the state of Tennessee turned off its spigot of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood. But the organization remains flush with cash, and is investing it to expand abortion. It has its eyes on the midterm elections, where it hopes to use Trump's unpopularity to oust pro-life politicians at all levels of government.

In light of these challenges, #ProtestPP organizers have announced the third annual event, to take place at Planned Parenthood locations across the country on Saturday, April 28. A full list of locations can be found here. The nature of the event varies by location; some will be religious prayer vigils, while others will be of a secular nature (rallies, pickets, etc.).

We strongly encourage you to participate, and send us pictures of your most creative protest signs! Above all, remember to stay safe and protect those around you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Celebrating Human Dignity Through Art

Last year, our friends at Rehumanize International launched Create|Encounter, an art and creative writing contest for works that explore life-related themes and elevate the inherent value of every human being. Winners were exhibited at the October Life/Peace/Justice Conference in Pittsburgh.

Rehumanize International just put all of the winning pieces and honorable mentions online, and they are definitely worth your time. Bias alert: an excerpt from my screenplay, Only Human, is included (or you can get the pdf version here). But don't limit yourself to that! There are many works to explore, including some truly beautiful poetry.

In more good news, Create|Encounter is officially coming back in 2018! Get those creative juices flowing, because the call for submissions will open on May 1, just three weeks from today.

And finally, the dates for the 2018 Life/Peace/Justice conference have been announced. It will take place from Friday, October 12 to Sunday, October 14, again in Pittsburgh. Save the date now, and tickets will go on sale in June.

One of my personal favorites, by Maria Oswalt.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Study confirms safety, efficacy of abortion pill reversal

A peer-reviewed study published in Issues in Law and Medicine confirms that the abortion pill reversal protocol can, when administered promptly, block the effects of a chemical abortion and allow children to grow to term.

A little background. "The abortion pill" is a misnomer. Chemical abortions actually consist of two medications. The first, mifepristone, blocks the crucial pregnancy hormone progesterone. Without adequate progesterone, the endometrium breaks down and the embryo's nutrient supply is destroyed, which causes the embryo to detach and die. The second, misoprostol, expels the embryo's body. The abortion pill reversal protocol is used when a woman takes the first pill, then changes her mind. The reversal technique involves the administration of extra, synthetic progesterone to supplement the woman's natural progesterone and overwhelm the anti-progesterone effect of the mifepristone.

As we've pointed out before, synthetic progesterone has been around for a long time and is a standard treatment for low progesterone in pregnant mothers. The fact that a woman's low progesterone is caused by mifepristone, rather than by some internal cause, does not change the mechanics of the treatment. The abortion pill reversal protocol has been portrayed as "experimental," when it's really just an application of existing treatments to a relatively new situation. (Chemical abortion was not approved in the United States until 2000; the reversal protocol was launched in 2009.)

Therefore, the results of the Issues in Law and Medicine study do not come as a surprise for anyone who's been paying close attention. However, there are two aspects of it that deserve special notice.

First, it should forever put to rest the pro-abortion argument that mifepristone is usually ineffective on its own (with the second pill, misoprostol, apparently doing the real work), so the reversal protocol amounts to a placebo. I've always found "we're selling women a pill that doesn't actually do anything" to be a questionable defense, but setting aside the ethics of it, it's factually wrong. Previous studies found that without any intervention—that is, if a woman changes her mind and doesn't take the second pill, but doesn't seek any help for the first pill she's already taken—the embryo only survives 25% of the time. But with the abortion pill reversal intervention, administered less than 72 hours after the mifepristone was taken, survival rates are nearly twice that at 48%. The abortion pill reversal protocol is significantly more effective when given orally at a high dose (68%) or intramuscularly (64-100% depending on dosage); vaginal administration of progesterone was considerably less effective, bringing down the overall average, and I expect it will not be used going forward based on this study. The age of the embryo also made a difference, with older embryos being much more likely to survive than younger ones.

Second, the study found no evidence that the abortion pill reversal protocol creates any risk to the child. The birth defects rate for children born after an abortion pill reversal was no different than the general population. They were also far less likely to be born prematurely, perhaps a side effect of more careful medical monitoring than the average mother receives in pregnancy.

In response, Slate's Ruth Graham wrote an article acknowledging the safety and efficacy of the abortion pill reversal protocol, but nevertheless expressing skepticism. The article was titled "Abortion Reversal Seems Possible. We Still Shouldn't Promote It." Graham has written about Secular Pro-Life before and I found her to be fair; I suspect that the headline came from an editor, not from Graham herself. Still, this article is disappointing. She writes:
Regardless of whether abortion-pill reversal works, it’s important to note that the percentage of women who regret a medication abortion halfway through is decidedly tiny. [The abortion pill reversal] hotline received 1,668 calls between June 2012 and June 2016 ... Meanwhile, medication abortions now make up almost half of all abortions in the United States, according to a Reuters analysis in 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest count, 123,254 women underwent the procedure in 43 states in 2014—a very conservative estimate, since large states including California and Illinois didn’t report their numbers ... Even going with these incomplete numbers, the number of women who regret their medication abortion halfway through clocks in at just 0.3 percent, with fewer than half asking for the reversal.
She misses the obvious point—women can't request a treatment they don't know about! Pro-life organizations have promoted the protocol with word of mouth and an online presence, but it's not like we have multi-million-dollar advertising budgets. Of those who do know about it, many have likely been dissuaded by the years of false accusations that the protocol is "experimental" or no better than doing nothing (including a recent billboard campaign). Only four states currently require disclosures about the abortion pill reversal protocol as part of their informed consent laws, and those four states account for just 2.1% of abortions in the United States.* Graham's argument becomes circular: few women make use of this, therefore we shouldn't promote it, therefore few women will make use of it, therefore we shouldn't promote it...

She also writes that "the goal when administering the abortion pill should be to make sure patients feel fully confident in the decision, rather than telling them they can always undo it later if they change their mind." Dave Andrusko of the National Right to Life Committee pilloried this quote in particular, saying: "You have to keep the abortion train rolling. Don't tell a woman she could have a second chance. She might take it!" His interpretation is valid, but interestingly, I've heard sidewalk counselors express a similar sentiment: that they don't talk about abortion pill reversal (or other post-abortion resources) on a woman's way into an abortion facility, but only as she is leaving.

The ideal outcome is for a woman not to take the mifepristone at all, and suggesting that she "can always undo it" might make her more cavalier about the decision. I am thankful for the abortion pill reversal protocol and applaud the pro-life medical professionals who have developed and promoted it. But as effective as it is, it does not save the child's life 100% of the time. It is only one tool in our toolbox.

If you are pregnant and have taken the first pill of the chemical abortion regimen, call the Abortion Pill Reversal hotline right away at 877-558-0333.


*Graham's article refers to ten states which have introduced such laws, but according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, only four have actually implemented them: Arizona, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Utah. Those states had a combined total of 20,880 abortions in 2014 (AZ 12,780/1.2%; AK 4,590/0.5%; SD 550/0.1%; UT 2,960/0.3%). 2014 is the most recent year for which complete Guttmacher data is available. Note that many of those 20,880 abortions were presumably surgical, not chemical, making the reversal protocol inapplicable; unfortunately, I could not find that data at the state level.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Making Trouble on Cecile Richards' Book Tour

Cecile Richards recently came out with a ghostwritten memoir, Make Trouble, that glamorizes her role at the helm of the nation's largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood. Pro-life advocates are peacefully protesting outside every stop on her book tour to ensure that her faux feminist narrative does not go unchallenged.

Students for Life of America volunteers are distributing an excellent pamphlet, "Getting Into Trouble," that summarizes Planned Parenthood scandals you won't find in the book—including Medicaid fraud in Texas ("Charging taxpayers for contraceptives for patients who were already sterilized seemed like a good idea at the time"), Planned Parenthood's support of disability-based and race-based abortions, and the precipitous drop in prenatal care services during Richards' tenure.

At her Washington, D.C. stop, Richards was also greeted with tongue-in-cheek references to Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble."


This Wednesday, Richards' book tour takes her to San Francisco, where Pro-Life San Francisco (led by SPL's own Terrisa Bukovinac) will rally in opposition outside the Norse Theater beginning at 7:00 p.m. local time.

The remaining stops on the book tour are:
  • Tonight, April 9: University of Washington bookstore, 1415 NE 43rd, Seattle, WA at 7:00 p.m.
  • April 10: Powell's Books, 1300 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR at 7:30 p.m.
  • April 11: San Francisco, described above
  • April 12: Dominican University Angelico Hall, 50 Acacia Way, San Rafael, CA at 7:00 p.m.
  • April 13: First Congregational Church, 540 South Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles, CA at 7:00 p.m.
  • April 14: Nicholas Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood, Chicago, IL at 4:00 p.m.
  • April 15: McIntyre's Books, 220 Market Street, Pittsboro, NC at 2:00 p.m.
  • April 21: Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington, NY at 3:00 p.m. 
  • April 22: Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School, 177 College St., New Haven, CT at 2:00 p.m.
  • April 23: Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 10 East 66th St., New York City, NY at 7:00 p.m.
  • May 9: Parnassus Books, 2400 Blakemore Ave., Nashville, TN at 6:30 p.m.
  • May 22: Chappaqua Public Library, 195 S. Greeley Ave., Chappaqua, NY at 7:00 p.m. 
We encourage pro-life advocates in each of those regions to peacefully protest those locations in memory of the more than 3.5 million lives snuffed out by Planned Parenthood during Richards' term as its CEO.

Richards announced her resignation from Planned Parenthood in January, but her replacement has not yet been named. Former Texas legislator Wendy Davis, infamous for her unsuccessful filibuster of abortion safety regulations, is rumored to be in the running.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Three Excellent Reasons Not to Execute Women Who Have Abortions

The Atlantic recently hired, and then promptly fired, conservative columnist Kevin Williamson due to outrage over his position that abortion should not only be illegal, but a capital offense.

Having been a pro-life activist for over a decade now, I can state authoritatively that Williamson's view is fringe. After all, the pro-life movement is driven in significant part by post-abortive women who learned the hard way that abortion is not "empowering" and want to help others avoid the same mistakes.
Kevin Williamson

That being the case, a number of commentators have responded to the Williamson fiasco with accusations that pro-lifers who disagree with Williamson about the penalty for abortion are hypocrites. If we really believe abortion kills innocent human beings, shouldn't we want abortion to be treated like any other homicide, with the death penalty on the table?

No, for at least three reasons. (If you, like me and many others in the pro-life movement, oppose the death penalty in general, that gives you a fourth reason. However, Secular Pro-Life welcomes people with differing views on capital punishment.)

1. Abortion coercion is common, and poorly understood. Hard numbers are unfortunately difficult to come by. A much-cited report by pro-life researchers found that 64% of abortions involve outside pressure, ranging from violence or the threat of violence to blackmail, illegal workplace discrimination, kicking women out of the house, and other coercive tactics. Researchers affiliated with the abortion industry have little incentive to devote resources to the question, but have nevertheless observed and reported the phenomenon in connection with studies of intimate partner violence.

A woman who has experienced a coerced abortion is a victim, not a perpetrator. She certainly isn't deserving of execution!

While it's true that criminal defendants can assert duress as a defense, that is an uncommon scenario—and many states have disallowed duress as a defense in homicide cases. I can think of no other crime in which duress may occur more than half the time. Our system of criminal justice is simply not equipped to handle that.

(A common pro-choice retort is that pro-life concerns about coerced abortion amount to "infantilizing women." If that's you, I humbly suggest, on behalf of all my strong and intelligent friends who've experienced domestic abuse, that you can go embrace a cactus.)

2. Intent is a key element of homicide, and the abortion industry has heavily invested in propaganda to make people believe abortion is harmless. Imagine if eating meat was not only criminalized overnight, but made a capital crime! Even strong animal rights supporters (of which there are many in the pro-life movement) would oppose that as being wildly unfair. Likewise, bringing abortion within homicide law would not do justice. Despite our best efforts, many women still enter the abortion facility believing that abortion destroys mere "tissue." Abortionists are often deceptive, and 21 states don't even have informed consent laws.

Again, this is not about infantilizing women. Everyone, no matter their gender, is entitled to trust the guidance of their doctors—and should not be subject to criminal prosecution when they follow the bad advice of an unscrupulous doctor.

3. Resources are better spent focusing on abortionists. For the same reason that we should prosecute pimps rather than prostitutes, and drug kingpins rather than low-level dealers and addicts, law enforcement efforts to end the abortion epidemic should focus on suppliers. An abortion customer ends one life; an abortion vendor ends thousands, and does so with the full knowledge that abortion is the killing of a living human being.

For all of these reasons and others, women were not jailed for abortion (let alone sentenced to death!) in the years before Roe v. Wade. After Roe is reversed and the right to life is restored, I am confident that Mr. Williamson's ideas will still have no traction.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

TODAY: Rally against California SB320

At 11:00 a.m. Pacific time, pro-life advocates will rally outside the Office of the President at UC Berkeley (1111 Franklin St., Oakland, CA) in opposition to California SB 320. This disastrous bill would turn campus health centers into chemical abortion facilities. You can read more about SB 320 here.

Our very own Terrisa Bukovinac (right), who is also the head of Pro-Life San Francisco, will speak at the rally. Come join us! You can also follow the rally on twitter using the hashtag #StopSB320.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

What publications do you want to see from us?

Secular Pro-Life is the process up updating our publications—including our flagship pamphlet, Why Should Non-Christians Care About Abortion? In addition, we're giving some thought to adding publications on new topics, like bodily autonomy, pro-life feminism, and the "Abortion Religion."

What topics would be most helpful to you? Do you have a favorite blog post that you'd love to have in pamphlet form? Let us know in the comments!

And if you happen to have graphic design skills and would like to volunteer your services, please shoot us an email at info@secularprolife.org with the subject line "Literature Design."

Monday, April 2, 2018

Film Review: Pro-Life Feminist

Pro-Life Feminist is a 30-minute documentary film that has been out for a few months now, but better late than never! This film beautifully integrates interviews of three of my favorite people—Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa (New Wave Feminists), Aimee Murphy (Rehumanize International) and Christina Marie Bennett (various organizations)—with historical footage from the time of Roe v. Wade, along with modern-day headlines and scenes from the Pro-Life Women's Conference, the March for Life, and the Women's March.

This film is less about pro-life feminist arguments (although they are included) and more about getting to know pro-life feminists as people. Granted, I know the three main subjects of the film personally; I'm biased. But showing where pro-life feminists are coming from—all three have relevant personal histories that color their perspective—might be our best hope for shattering the stereotypes that have held the pro-life movement back. Sometimes, we must humanize ourselves before we can humanize children in the womb.

Pro-Life Feminist is incredibly wide-ranging. Topics of discussion include everything from sexual assault, to the intersection of abortion and race, to pro-choice lawyers' exploitation of the plaintiffs in Roe and Doe, to "bro-choice" objectification, to the strong women who inspire us, and so much more. And yet the narrative flows smoothly. The cinematography is gorgeous, too.

I happen to know the religious affiliations of all three women profiled, but you won't. Other than a fleeting mention of prayer that gives Christina away, there's nothing to indicate anyone's religious leanings, let alone any proselytizing.

I truly cannot say enough good things about this film. You can rent or own it on demand through Vimeo, or get a physical copy on Blu-Ray. Public screening kits are also available; this would be a great documentary for student audiences in particular. Check it out at LifeFem.com.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Back-to-back weekends in June

You'll have two chances to connect with Secular Pro-Life this June.

The Pro-Life Women's Conference will take place from Friday, June 22 through Sunday, June 24 in St. Louis. Secular Pro-Life is proud to be a conference sponsor for the third straight year! This is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded women, get informed about the latest pro-life efforts, and exchange strategies for serving families in your community. We'll have an exhibit booth.


The National Right to Life Convention is set for the following weekend: Thursday, June 28 through Saturday, June 30, in Overland Park, Kansas. This year's theme is "Love Them All." SPL president Kelsey Hazzard will speak on Saturday afternoon (exact time TBA) about bridging religious divides to prevent abortion. This will be her third straight year speaking at the convention, which attracts pro-life activists from all fifty states. Last year's presentation was live-streamed, and we will try to do that again for those who aren't able to attend in person.

Mark your calendars, and we'll see you in three months!

P.S.—With so many summer events planned, now's a great time for us to update our literature. If you have experience in print media design and would like to lend us a hand, please send an email to info@secularprolife.org with the subject line "Literature Design."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Stockman Test


I grew up in Britain in the 1970's, a time when there was still some residual ethos of empire in a country that had not entirely emerged from World War II. I attended a high school in London which was founded sometime in the late 18th century and, despite the fact that it had been taken over by the state, retained some of the trappings and rubrics that it inherited from ages past. Hence it was an all-boys school, we wore uniforms, played cricket and rugby, and were required to address the teachers (nearly all men) as "sir."

One of the staff teachers was a man called Stockman. I recall him as a tall, heavily-built man with a military background and a slight limp that nobody had the courage to ask him about. He taught history and Latin. He also had a fondness for posing philosophical questions to his pupils that had (on the face of it) very little or nothing to do with the subject being taught.

I was 14 years old when I was sitting in Class 4 with my classmates awaiting Stockman's appearance for a history lesson which was supposed to focus on the Napoleonic Wars. I recall that it was raining heavily; long spears of cold water dashed against the rattling windows. Stockman walked in, put a pile of books down on the desk without so much as a "good morning," and limped over to the window where he stood with his hands behind his back, gazing broodingly out at the rain-lashed roofs.

"Boys" he said, "a question for you: a woman comes to you for advice. She is married and has five children, all of whom are afflicted with physical and/or mental disabilities of some sort. He husband is an alcoholic and has syphilis. They are grindingly poor. So poor, in fact, that she struggles to feed the children she has. She is now pregnant, expecting her sixth child. Advise her."

Silence followed. As the rain continued the break upon the windows in sheets, we dumbstruck little boys all looked around at each other, scanning each gormless face for a clue as to what to say next.

"Come on," said Stockman, "tempus fugit."

Finally, the boy sitting next to me, Bobby Harkness, raised his hand. He was a small, mousey kid with hair that flopped over his eyes and a temerity that belied his slight frame.

"Sir," said Harkness, "she should get an abortion".

"Hmmmm..." was the response from Stockman who was still contemplating the vista, his hands behind his back, as immovable as a statue.

"Anybody else? What do the rest of you say?"

One by one, every boy's hand climbed hesitantly aloft.

"Yes, sir. She should get an abortion."

"No sense in her bringing another kid into the world, sir."

"Abortion, sir. No doubt about it."

"She can't even feed the kids she's got, sir."

Stockman let out another pensive hum before turning smartly on his heels and heading for the desk where he picked up a book, an thumbed through it until he reached the required page and at which point, he looked out at us and said:

"Congratulations, Class 4: you just killed Beethoven. Now, let us begin."

We all quickly glanced round at each other again like a room full of meerkats; some blushing, some chuckling a little and others bemused. I have no idea what expression was visible on my face, but I can tell you that Stockman's little test made a deep impact on me that has lasted all of my life. How can the consensus get it so wrong?

I have no idea as to whether or not Beethoven's family circumstances were quite as dire or grim as Stockman had claimed them to be. But it hardly matters really and that is far from the point. The point he was making was as pinsharp clear to me then as it still is today.

I was raised in a very secular family and I continue to live a very secular life. On the issue of abortion, I have always been rather agnostic, campaigning neither for nor against it. But Mr. Stockman's test imprinted itself on my motherboard and now, over 40 years later, whenever I hear the word abortion, I have the "Pastoral" playing in my head.

How many Beethovens?

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

SPL featured in Illinois Right to Life video

Illinois Right to Life recently launched a new educational program, Heart2Heart, which is designed for classroom use but makes a great addition to pro-life social media too. Secular Pro-Life's very own Terrisa Bukovinac is featured in a just-released Heart2Heart video. Her 10-minute interview is incredibly wide-ranging; she covers everything from her own pro-choice to pro-life conversion story, her quietly pro-life to pro-life activist conversion story, the role of stereotypes in the abortion debate, atheism, feminism, and more. Check it out here.

Monday, March 26, 2018

South Carolina abortion business caught taking victim remains to a gas station

Created Equal—whose "Project Weak Link" has focused on the medical waste companies that facilitate abortion—has uncovered an illegal (and just plain bizarre) scheme to dispose of abortion victims' remains in South Carolina.

On at least five occasions, employees of Greenville Women's Clinic loaded the remains into their personal cars and transported them to a local QuikTrip gas station, where they were transferred to a Stericycle vehicle. Three times, the transactions were caught on video.

The state Department of Environmental Control has issued a citation, but it is not yet clear what punishment (if any) Greenville Women's Clinic will receive. A 2015 citation yielded a fine of $2,570.

Greenville Women's Clinic does not deny the allegations, but claims the gas station scheme was necessary because pro-life protesters blocked the abortion facility's driveway. No evidence has been offered for this claim, which makes little sense; if the driveway was blocked, why would Stericycle's vehicle be the only one affected, while the employee vehicles carrying the remains (and for that matter, all the abortion customers coming and going) were able to leave freely?

Stericycle previously stated, in response to pro-life campaigners, that it would no longer accept fetal remains for disposal. However, Stericycle continues to work with abortion businesses who sign a service agreement, in which the abortion businesses promise not to include fetuses in their medical waste pick-ups. That promise has no teeth, and the abortion businesses cannot be trusted on this point.

It's true that not all "medical waste" from abortion centers consists of human remains; it can also include one-use disposable syringes and similar equipment. But Greenville Women's Clinic generates between 50 and 999 pounds of "infectious waste" per month. If you transport that much waste from an abortion facility and take their word for it that there are no bodies, you are engaged in willful naïveté.

Created Equal says: "As for Stericycle, they continue to enable the abortion industry and refuse to enforce their written medical waste protocol that prohibits the transportation and disposal of dead babies. Stericycle needs to dump the abortion cartel altogether or they will face continued public exposure."