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Monday, August 31, 2020

Rehumanize Conference Recap

Rehumanize Conference speakers Jazzi Milton, Herb Geraghty, Kristen Day, and Tom Shakely

Saturday's Rehumanize Conference was incredible. The organizers did a terrific job pivoting to a virtual format. One happy side effect: the conference attracted attendees from most U.S. states and several other countries, including Germany, Japan, and Australia! For most, it was the first time they'd been able to attend. It was a great demonstration of radical inclusivity, which (as organizer Herb Geraghty reminded us) requires an examination not only of who we are working for, but who we are working with.  

Rehumanize International's executive director Aimee Murphy kicked it off with her argument for the consistent life ethic, rejecting the notion that human rights should be based on one's innocence or usefulness. My favorite quote: "I constantly get asked how I approach the voting booth, and my answer is always: 'With angst and trepidation.'"

The morning panel on police, prisons, and the death penalty was excellent. Zuri Davis, who reports on exoneration stories, prosecutorial misconduct, and prison abuses for Reason, talked about the legal doctrines that stand in the way of accountability. She urged us not to let criminal justice fade as an issue after November. Abraham Bonowitz of Death Penalty Action described his work bringing together the "voices of experience," including wrongfully convicted people, former executioners, and the family members of both murder victims and death row inmates. Hannah Cox of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty shared her insight that "support for the death penalty runs about a mile wide and an inch deep." She works both with people who oppose the death penalty for moral reasons, and with those whose reasons are strictly practical. But the most impactful panelist for me was Miea Walker of Forward Justice, who shared the struggles she faced reintegrating into the community after serving a prison sentence. She is currently focused on COVID-19 decarceration efforts; her former cellmate died from the virus in May.  

The next panel was "Pro-Life Perspectives." Kristen Day of Democrats for Life of America had harsh words for her party's destructive disregard of babies who are "unwanted." Aside from being morally appalling, she argued that the party's abortion stance is responsible for a loss of electoral advantage at the state level. She noted that the 2020 DNC was muted on abortion, especially compared to 2016: "They know it's a losing issue." Tom Shakely of Americans United for Life discussed long-term policy strategy. Jazzi Milton of Pro-Life San Francisco talked about her mission to extend her city's welcoming reputation to the most vulnerable children in the womb. She declared: "If we can make San Francisco pro-life, the world will follow!" 
 
I then attended a breakout session on feminism and the consistent life ethic, led by pro-life atheist Rachel Peller. Rachel shared stories from her time as a Birthright volunteer, including helping a woman escape an abusive relationship and observing that the vast majority of abortions are motivated by economic insecurity. Her desire to identify and address the root causes of abortion led her to pursue a degree in women's studies. She gave an excellent overview of pro-life feminist traditions, noting that there has never been a single definition of feminism; we really have feminisms, and participants in feminist movements must adapt to challenge a variety of gender-based power structures. 

Next up was Robert Saleem Holbrook of the Amistad Law Center & the Human Rights Coalition, who lost two cousins to gun violence. He also participated in a drug-related homicide when he was sixteen years old, for which he served 27 years in prison. Having been on both sides of the issue, he said "There's no wall between victims and offenders." He advocated moving away from harsh sentences like life without parole (which he calls "death by incarceration") and toward approaches that get to the root of community trauma, arguing that we need not sacrifice public safety to do so. He also shared this excellent short documentary about women serving life sentences for crimes committed in their youth:

 

The next session I attended was Aimee Murphy's breakout on sexual violence. She bravely shared the details of her own rape and trauma response, which I will not recount here. Suffice to say that she is a powerful advocate for educating people about consent from a young age. 

David Swanson of World Beyond War spoke on the topic: "Can War Ever Be Just?" He answered in the negative. Much of his keynote was devoted to a discussion of World War II, since it is often cited as the prototypical just war. His argument was that the United States and other Allied countries had ample opportunities to prevent the Holocaust before World War II broke out, but failed by their racist refusal to accept Jewish refugees. The costs of war, particularly its opportunity costs, were also discussed. 
 
Mikhayla Stover, who wittily described herself as an expert in "immigration policy and making people really depressed at parties," provided a 101-style introduction to the disastrous history of United States interventions in Latin America. It is summarized in a three-part vicious cycle: (1) destabilization, e.g. sponsoring coups and promoting banana republics; (2) deflection of responsibility; and (3) detention of immigrants who cross the border into the United States. She also talked briefly about the narrowing paths to legal immigration and the rise of private prison companies.

Ismail Smith-Wade-El, an anti-racist advocate and local elected official, asked: "Do we love America enough to deal with racism in a meaningful way?" Doing so will require us to recognize forms of racism more subtle than slurs and burning crosses. He encouraged us to expand our horizons to include problems like gentrification, acknowledge internal prejudices (rather than claiming colorblindness), seek out perspectives different from our own, and actively intervene in racist situations as they are happening. He made the point that racist systems harm everyone, including white people, quoting Zora Neale Hurston: "Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."
 
John Kelly of Not Dead Yet gave a powerful keynote on ableism, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. He shared some startling statistics on the reasons people give for physician-assisted suicide; many are based on the ableist idea that dependence on others is humiliating, making issues like incontinence a fate worse than death. He connected this attitude to surveys showing that white, affluent, privileged people are the most likely to support assisted suicide, while people of color and other marginalized groups broadly oppose it. He lamented abhorrent media treatment of disability, from news coverage that identifies with parents who kill their autistic children, to movies like "Me Before You" promoting a better-dead-than-disabled narrative. All of this has been made worse by COVID-19, especially for people living in nursing homes. The case of Michael Hickson is the stuff of nightmares. 

The final breakout I attended was a joint presentation on creative expression. Maria Oswalt of Rehumanize International focused on visual art, urging artists to carefully reflect on both the message and the medium. (Her prime example of what not to do? The infamous Pepsi/Kendall Jenner commercial.) Sarah Terzo of PLAGAL+ and Live Action took up poetry and fiction. She gave numerous examples of works with consistent life ethic messages, noting that science fiction is a particularly good way to humanize the "other" and expose the evils that logically follow from dehumanization. 

And speaking of creative expression, the conference concluded with the annual Create | Encounter release party. You can check out all the winners and honorable mentions here, but if you only have time for one thing, make it this poem by our frequent guest contributor Acyutananda.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Pro-Life Happenings THIS WEEKEND

It's a very busy time for Secular Pro-Life!

Saturday, August 29 (TOMORROW) from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern: Join us for the virtual Rehumanize Conference! This can't-miss event brings together activists on a range of issues — including abortion, racism, the death penalty, and much more — to learn from one another and promote the value of every human being. It's not too late to register! More info here and here

Sunday, August 30 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern: Tune into the Modern-Day Debate channel on YouTube for — what else? — an abortion debate! The pro-life side will be represented by Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard and pro-life libertarian Kay Fellows. The pro-choice side will be represented by YouTubers Hannah Reloaded and NineTail CosmicFox

In case you missed it, part 1: Last Saturday, Rehumanize International and Americans United for Life released a vital agenda for restorative justice after Roe v. Wade is reversed. Secular Pro-Life is pleased to endorse this plan because we know that our work will not end with Roe's reversal; defiant illegal abortionists will need to held accountable, and we will need to bring healing to individuals, families, and communities impacted by abortion. These concrete restorative justice proposals will guide our way. Read more here, or watch the presentation here.

In case you missed it, part 2: 'Tis the week of strategic planning! On Wednesday, Students for Life Action released their Blueprint for a Post-Roe America, a youth-led plan to build and sustain a pro-life society, which Secular Pro-Life has also endorsed. The six key points are (1) reverse Roe and Doe; (2) curtail the expansion of the abortion industry; (3) promote adoption and foster care reform; (4) support pregnant and parenting students; (5) encourage family-friendly workplaces; and (6) defund the abortion industry. Add your name to the blueprint and check out the launch video, featuring Kelsey Hazzard alongside Kristan Hawkins, Christina Bennett, Charlotte Pence Bond, and Joshua Edmonds!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Book Review: "Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women"

In her new book Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women, author Lyz Lenz seeks to demythologize motherhood and explore its human, physical reality. Belabored does an admirable job of examining how narratives of motherhood are constructed in American culture, and how those narratives often erase the humanity and lived experiences of marginalized pregnant people. Though Lenz is unapologetically pro-choice, this book can help pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike understand how our society treats various types of mothers. With this knowledge, we can work toward a more inclusive, life-affirming world for all.

One of Lenz's most compelling points is that our cultural mythology of motherhood focuses almost exclusively on married, middle-class, able-bodied white women who can afford to stay home and care for their children 24/7. America does not consider Black, LGBTQ, disabled, or fat women to be ideal mothers. Nearly half of pregnant women in the U.S. are considered obese, and study after study shows that doctors routinely fail to see the woman for the weight, making generalizations based on biased and obsolete data. Fat mothers' food choices and those of their children are judged and scrutinized, and if they are not strictly regulating their bodies, society treats them with condescension and scorn. All pregnant people deal with this to some extent, with random strangers touching their stomachs without consent and offering unsolicited advice, but the judgment is much harsher for fat women.

Black women are also excluded from the mythology of American motherhood. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, with an estimated 700-900 deaths annually, a staggering sixty percent of which are preventable. The maternal mortality rate for Black women is three times higher than that of white women. Due to unconscious bias in the medical system, pregnant Black women are often undertreated for pain, and when they report symptoms, they are less likely to be believed. Lenz also calls out the virulent homophobia that pregnant LGBTQ people face when seeking care: being misgendered, being forced to fill out forms assuming a heteronormative family structure, having the nonbirthing partner being barred from the delivery room even in situations where a heterosexual male partner would be permitted. Lenz discusses how the patriarchal medical establishment discredited midwives and over-medicalized the female body, taking childbirth out of supportive feminine communities and relegating it strictly to hospital settings controlled by men. A quarter of women report experiencing some form of trauma or PTSD after childbirth, feeling that their autonomy and wishes were not respected. Despite these powerful discussions, the book takes a strong pro-choice stance and is inconsistent in discussions of preborn life.

Lenz refers to her first pregnancy as "the first time I created life." But later in the book, she refers to zygotes as potential life. Lenz writes exquisitely about the feelings of grief, shame, and emptiness that accompany miscarriage, stating that for the intangible worth we ascribe to every human being, including the viable fetus, no tangible substitute exists. But the worth is ascribed, not inherent. The worth exists only so long as the unborn child is wanted and planned. 

Lenz defaults to the common pro-choice argument that the truth of when a human life becomes a person is and always will be unknown, because it's a question of philosophy, not science. She dismisses pro-lifers' claim to speak for the unborn as "creating a divide where none exists" between mother and child. Apparently, by asserting the individuality of preborn children, pro-lifers turn pregnancy into an adversarial relationship. She seems to want to have her cake and eat it too: to see the pregnant person and preborn child as simultaneously a united whole and two distinct entities. Lenz raises this fascinating question about the relationship between mother and child: "Even after the umbilical cord is cut, is the separation total?" She acknowledges that newborn children contain cells from both of their parents and are still completely dependent on them for care, yet she sees no cognitive dissonance in the fact that it is somehow okay to kill those children inside of the womb but not outside of it. The author clearly considers newborn children to be persons, so despite all her talk about autonomy, independence is clearly not the defining criteria of personhood. I can only assume that the author believes in the magical power of the birth canal to turn human lives with little outside moral relevance into actual people.

Despite its inconsistencies regarding preborn life, Belabored is a powerful book about pregnancy and motherhood that pro-lifers can get much out of. In addition to working to end abortion, pro-lifers can and should work toward improving birth outcomes for Black, disabled, fat, and LGBTQ people. Birth should be an empowering experience, not a traumatic one, and we can work to stamp out racist, ableist, and homophobic biases in our communities and healthcare system that rob pregnant people of their autonomy and humanity during their prenatal, delivery, and postnatal periods. We can normalize nonbinary/transgender pregnancies instead of treating them as sad aberrations. We can tell more inclusive stories about motherhood, focusing on the experiences of invisible and marginalized mothers. In this way, the pro-life movement can help our world see mothers not just as vessels for preborn children, but as nuanced, multi-faceted human beings with complex needs. Only then will we build a culture in which abortion can become unnecessary and unthinkable.

[Today's guest post is by Sophie Trist. If you would like to contribute a guest post, email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration.]

Monday, August 24, 2020

Yeah, about that bizarre "Satanic abortions" story

Earlier this month, you may have seen a few headlines about "Satanic abortions" that made you roll your eyes and flash back to kooky chain emails you received from your uncle in the early 2000s. Allow me to explain what is going on. 

Let's begin by clarifying the nature of the Satanic Temple, which despite the name does not worship Satan or any other supernatural being. It's actually an atheist group which promotes seven tenets, some of which sound pro-life — like support for science and "compassion and empathy toward all creatures" — but in the abortion context, the humanity of unborn children is always sacrificed at the proverbial altar of Tenet #3: "One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone." (A full rebuttal of the "sovereign zone" argument for abortion would make this blog post several times longer, so I'll just link to our good friends at the Equal Rights Institute.) 

The Satanic Temple is known for enforcing church-state separation through a variety of legal campaigns. For instance, when towns try to erect Christian symbols on public land, the Satanic Temple will apply to erect a statue of their own (pictured right) as permitted by Supreme Court precedent. The town then has three choices: (1) allow the Satanic statue; (2) stop erecting any religious symbols at all; or (3) discriminate against the Satanic Temple, prompting a lawsuit which the town will inevitably lose. Although this approach has given the Satanic Temple a trollish reputation, it's a win-win-win as far as the law goes. 

They are now trying to replicate that strategy in the abortion context, by presenting abortion as a religious ritual subject to the protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The idea is to create a scenario where a court must either (1) strike down pro-life laws, or (2) undermine RFRA, with either result advancing the Satanic Temple's goals. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might notice an ironic, unintentional point of agreement between Secular Pro-Life and the Satanic Temple — we have previously argued that pro-abortion beliefs are essentially religious.

But the Satanic Temple is wrong about the law. Their scenario doesn't present the catch-22 they think it does. A judge can and should treat abortion as a religious ritual subject to RFRA, and still uphold the pro-life laws that are being targeted.

To understand why, we need to look at RFRA. Contrary to popular perception, RFRA is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, where people can claim a religious exemption from any law they don't like. To take an extreme example, RFRA will not embrace your attempt to restore Mayan religious practices, complete with human sacrifice atop a stately ziggurat. That's because RFRA does not apply when the government can show that the challenged law "(1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest."

If that sounds familiar to you, it should: it mirrors the Supreme Court test that already governs abortion law

When it comes to protecting unborn babies, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized what it calls a "state's interest in potential life." That is the compelling governmental interest furthered by pro-life legislation. Although the phrase "potential life" is obviously unscientific nonsense, this legal doctrine has nonetheless created an opening for states to save some actual lives from abortion. The Supreme Court permits pro-life laws so long as they do not create an "undue burden" on a mother's right to abort her child. The measures the Satanic Temple seeks to challenge, like waiting periods and informed consent, received a green light from the Supreme Court years ago under that test.

For the Satanic Temple to succeed, it's going to have to convince a judge that the "least restrictive means" and "undue burden" tests are substantially different and should lead to opposite results. That's some pretty fine hair-splitting if you ask me. I will keep an eye on it, but for now, I suggest you rest easy and take the Satanic Temple's legal threat about as seriously as an early 2000s chain email. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Join us for a virtual conference next Saturday, August 29!

One of our favorite pro-life gatherings of the year, Rehumanize Conference, is fast approaching! It's virtual this year, making it accessible to people around the world. It's also very affordable, with a suggested donation between $5 and $75 as you are able. 

The speaker lineup is incredible, and Breakout Session 2 gives you a choice between two atheists with deep ties to SPL: Terrisa Bukovinac sharing her on-the-street activism insights from San Francisco, and Sarah Terzo co-chairing a discussion about spreading the message of human value through the creative arts. Secular Pro-Life is a proud sponsor, and we will have a live-feed exhibit booth where you can say boo to me during breaks.

If you're on the fence and wanting a better idea of what to expect, you're in luck: tomorrow at noon Eastern time, hop onto the Rehumanize International facebook page for a live presentation by executive director Aimee Murphy and Americans United for Life CEO Catherine Glenn Foster. They'll be discussing how the restorative model of justice can address illegal abortions after Roe is overturned and the right to life restored. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Shouting About Heartbeats

Sonogram of a six-week-old human in the womb

I recently stumbled upon a Facebook post by Shout Your Abortion, setting forth "language to avoid when talking about abortion" and their preferred dehumanizing euphemisms. Most of it was unsurprising (Abortion supporters hate the word "baby"? You don't say!), but this one caught my attention: 

Avoid the phrase "heartbeat bill"
These bills ban abortion at 6 gestational weeks. Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and more have passed these bills, but they are unconstitutional and not in effect.
Why? An embryo does not have a heartbeat at 6 weeks. To call this ban a "heartbeat bill" is not only medically inaccurate, but reinforces negative stigma
Alternative: "6-week ban"

We have written before about the pro-choice movement's steadfast science denial on this issue. Shout Your Abortion is simply wrong; a human embryo does have a heartbeat at six weeks. If you find that fact stigmatizing, ask yourself why. 

But there's an additional level of irony here that we should take a moment to appreciate. 

Here are the relevant portions of Louisiana's heartbeat bill:

Except as provided in Paragraph (2), (3), or (4) of this Subsection, it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly perform an abortion with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being when a fetal heartbeat has been detected. 
"Fetal heartbeat" means cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac

Georgia's heartbeat bill

No abortion is authorized or shall be performed if an unborn child has been determined in accordance with Code Section 31-9B-2 to have a detectable human heartbeat except... [exceptions follow]

'Detectable human heartbeat' means embryonic or fetal cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the heart within the gestational sac

Contrary to Shout Your Abortion's post, Alabama does not have a heartbeat bill; it went a step further and passed a total abortion ban instead. But here are two more states that do have heartbeat bills: 

Iowa's heartbeat bill

A physician shall not perform an abortion upon a pregnant woman when it has been determined that the unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat, unless, in the physician's reasonable medical judgment, a medical emergency exists, or when the abortion is medically necessary.

"Fetal heartbeat" means cardiac activity, the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac.

Mississippi's heartbeat bill

Except as provided in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (2), no person shall knowingly perform an abortion on a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the unborn human individual that the pregnant woman is carrying and whose fetal heartbeat has been detected.

"Fetal heartbeat" means cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac.

Notice what they all have in common? None of them identify a gestational age. Georgia notes the existence of a heartbeat by six weeks in a related informed consent measure, but not in the body of its heartbeat bill; the other states' heartbeat bills don't mention the six-week milestone at all! These abortion limits are based on the presence of a detectable heartbeat, rather than on a particular week of pregnancy. 

That means that Shout Your Abortion and its cohorts must have followed this three-step process: 

1. Read bills banning abortion when there is a heartbeat.

2. Determine that the laws ban abortion after six weeks, because that is when the heartbeat (steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart) begins.

3. "Don't call it a heartbeat bill! That's scientifically inaccurate! Call it a six-week ban!"

Step four: rational people's heads explode.

If abortion supporters had proof that the human heartbeat does not begin until some later point in pregnancy, it would be in their financial interest to argue that heartbeat bills don't apply until that later point. But they don't make that argument, because at some level they know the truth. They're just unwilling to contend with the harsh reality that abortion stops a beating heart.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Colorado Voters Prepare for Late-Term Abortion Referendum

Pro-life advocates demonstrate in front of the Colorado state capitol building
Image credit: Respect Life Denver Facebook page

"The abortion lobby, for a very long time, has tried to silo abortion by characterizing it as just a religious issue, just a theological difference of opinion. When what we're really talking about is violence, lethal violence, against a flesh-and-blood human being. And you don't have to be religious to recognize that."

So said Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard during a recent interview on a Denver-based Catholic radio show. The interview covered the secular case for life and related topics, especially Colorado's upcoming referendum (Proposition 115) against late-term abortions. If recent events have you down about the presidential election, you certainly are not alone; don't forget about referenda and down-ballot races!

LISTEN HERE

10:50 — Interview begins

11:40 — The mission and history of Secular Pro-Life

15:15 — Common ground across religious differences; dialogue tips

19:35 — Colorado's extreme laws allowing abortion even in the third trimester

21:10 — Our partnership with the Equal Rights Institute

22:02 — Pro-life and pro-woman

24:45 — Arguments against late-term abortion

26:18 — How to connect with Secular Pro-Life; Rehumanize Conference on August 29

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

MONDAY: Speak Up for Life at the Democratic National Convention

As you have no doubt heard, Joe Biden announced yesterday that Sen. Kamala Harris is the Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States. The Democratic Party's pro-abortion policies are bad enough, but the selection of Harris — who, in her previous role as Attorney General of California, pursued a legal vendetta against pro-life journalist David Daleiden (even going so far as to order a baseless raid on his home) — leaves no doubt that Biden has abandoned pro-life voters

We cannot reward this extremism with silence. It's more important than ever for left-leaning and moderate pro-lifers to make their voices heard! 

Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) is holding a virtual pro-life caucus to coincide with the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on Monday, August 17 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. 

Are you fed up with abortion extremism in the Democratic Party? Are you left-leaning, moderate, independent, or a Republican who would consider voting Democrat if the Party wasn’t so Pro-Abortion? Are you tired of having your vote taken for granted? You’ve come to the right place!

Join our Executive Director, Kristen Day, DFLA Board Member, Terrisa Bukovinac, and the LEGENDARY Pro-Life Democrat, Louisiana State Rep. Katrina Jackson, (and many more!) for our Pro-Life Caucus hosted LIVE from outside the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, WI! 

The event is free, but registration is required. Sign up today!


Monday, August 10, 2020

We Asked, You Answered: Systemic Factors Driving Abortion

Woman holds a sign that reads "Abortion is a flesh tax on the poor"

We recently posted on the Secular Pro-Life facebook page: 

An author working on a book about political engagement asked: "Conservatives I speak with often blame the federal government for a lot of social problems, while liberals tend to blame capitalism. Viewing the issue of abortion from a systemic standpoint, what are the institutional sources of this problem?"

After telling him that volumes could be written on that question and giving him an academic lead, I answered: "Blaming the federal government or capitalism is too simplistic; we've long lived with both, and yet abortion rates have varied tremendously over the years. We know that the most common reasons women give for seeking abortions are financial—and pro-life organizations do a lot to try to ease those financial burdens, which often saves lives—but that can't be the whole story either, beause children outside the womb are expensive too, and yet low-income mothers don't kill their older children a million times a year. It's complicated. Government refusal to recognize prenatal rights, corporate failure to provide adequate family leave, poverty, lack of health insurance, cultural acceptance of dehumanization (i.e. "clump of cells"), social shaming of pregnancy in teens and unmarried people, fear mongering about disabilities, foregoing or misusing contraception, predatory men abandoning their responsibilities... all these factors and many others play a role."

What additional factors can you think of? And if you could change just ONE thing to prevent abortions, what would it be?

An excellent conversation ensued. In no particular order, here are a few comments that caught our eye.

Krystal W.: I think the culture around pregnancy needs the most change. Stop telling women and men that they can't do things when they have children. Every time they say that, I think of someone I know who did those exact things. Can't go to school and be pregnant, can't get a good job, can't have a social life, can't be happy, can't retire, can't afford it (because yes kids can be pricey but guess what poor people have always had the most children and it works out), etc.

Leette E.: EDUCATION. Our continued failure to provide all children with comprehensive sex education which should include embryology and prenatal development is a huge part of the reason abortion is still an issue.

Victoria R.: More 👏🏻Paid👏🏻Parental leave👏🏻 At his first job my husband didn’t even really get any sort of family leave at all. Now he gets 16 weeks paid! Definitely looking forward to that aspect of baby #2 waaaayyyyy more

Crystal K.: I would change the way that society views women's bodies. Pregnancy is not a disease that the woman needs rescued from, nor are babies tumors that need removal. Pregnancy, in fact, is an indicator that women's bodies are doing exactly what they were designed to do. Men are NOT the ultimate standard to aspire to physically, and we shouldn't have to change our physiology to match theirs to be accepted in society.

David J.: The one and only thing would be a Constitutional amendment protecting life in the womb. The only factor that ended slavery forever was the 13th amendment. The only thing which will end abortion forever is a Constitutional amendment.

Abigail H.: Stop viewing human beings as objects. Women aren’t objects for pleasure. Babies aren’t clumps of cells in the womb. We, as individuals, are not cogs in the machine. When we truly respect the dignity inherent in human life, we may be able to move past viewing human bodies as commodities.

Katie G.: The fact that government officials vote to give Planned Parenthood more money and that Planned Parenthood pays for their political campaigns is a huge, unaddressed conflict of interest.

Chrysten C.: Birthing a child in a hospital should cost less than an abortion. Unfortunately, when one is financially struggling, that comparison between a few hundred and thousands is a practical deterrent.

Elizabeth B.: White male business leaders say that women need legal abortion to achieve economic parity. This is only true because they disproportionately control the business world and they do not want their employees to have maternity leave, time off to care for sick children, flexible work schedules, etc. And to the extent they can minimize women taking maternity leave, they can also justify the lack of paternity leave policies. These a**hats see children only as impediments to profits.

Mark K.: I know it sounds old school, but teach young men how to be responsible!


Photo credit: Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

Friday, August 7, 2020

Secular Pro-Life July Recap!


(Click here to sign up for these email updates.)

July Recap

Projects
To prepare for Joe Biden's selection of his running mate in early August, we published a series of articles on the top twelve contenders and their positions on abortion. Spoiler alert: They all hold extremist positions.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

In response to an activist judge's decision to suspend the FDA's safety regulations on abortion drugs - including the crucial in-person dispensing requirement, which helps keep abortion pills out of the hands of abusive men - we joined a coalition of pro-life organizations calling upon the FDA to remove abortion pills from the market altogether.

We exposed multiple private abortion businesses and industry lobby groups that received taxpayer subsidies through the Paycheck Protection Program, despite the fact that the program was intended for smaller businesses that are having trouble surviving during the pandemic.

We are excited to participate in Students for Life of America's fellowship programs this year! Kelsey will mentor a pro-life college student through the Wilberforce Fellowship and Terrisa will mentor a pro-life high school student through the Stevens Fellowship.

Secular Pro-Life is proud to co-sponsor the Rehumanize Conference, which will take place on Saturday, August 29. This year it is all virtual, so consider signing up



This year will include our very own Terrisa Bukovinac as a speaker


Twitter
We gained 140 new followers, bringing us to 11,913 total. We posted 65 tweets, which were viewed 127,700 times. 11,075 of those views went to our response to Created Equal's question "If your pro-choice friend asked you why you are pro-life, what would you say?" Another top viewed tweet was our reaction to the pro-choice slogan "Fund Abortion, Build Power".






"All cruelty springs from weakness", as Roman Philosopher Seneca observed centuries ago.

Facebook
In June we gained 204 followers, bringing us to 33,022 total. Our content was viewed over 252,950 times, including 21,518 views for our "hard to swallow pills" meme on embryology.



*Side effects may include cognitive dissonance towards claims of supporting abortion and valuing human lives



Blogger
Our three most-read blog posts for July, in increasing order:
  • Pro-Life Messages in Fantasy and Science FictionGuest blogger Sophie Trist isn't saying these quotes are from pro-life authors, but it is kind of hard not to see how they directly relate to the movement.
  • Don't Define me by my DiseaseWe've said it before, but guest blogger Deb Jones gives her personal account on how harmful the message is from pro-choice advocates when they promote abortion for fetal anomalies. Abortion and ableism go hand-in-hand.
  • Amy's Journey from Pro-Choice to Pro-LifeWe all love a change-of-heart story. Guest blogger Amy McDonough goes through what changed her mind and made defending pre-born lives a priority in hers.
We love guest bloggers! Guest posts help us cover a more diverse range of perspectives, topics, and experiences. If you have an idea for a piece you'd like to submit, please email us at info@secularprolife.org to discuss.

Thank you to our supporters
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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Monday, August 3, 2020

In Depth: Abortion in Ireland After Repeal of the Right to Life

Irish women holding pro-life signs

In May of 2018, Ireland tragically repealed the Eighth Amendment from its constitution, which had protected the right to life for children in the womb. The Irish abortion industry began operating in January of last year. About a month ago, the first official statistics showing the impact of repeal were released. Not surprisingly, Ireland experienced a surge in abortions:
This report indicates that 6,666 abortions took place in Ireland, and an additional 375 Irish women obtained abortions in England, for a total of 7,041 abortions in 2019. By comparison, in 2018, only 2,879 abortions were performed on Irish women, and the vast majority took place outside the country.

After abortion was legalized, then, the number of abortions in Ireland increased by nearly 150 percent.
Those numbers are plain enough: abortion activists in Ireland are responsible for the preventable deaths of 4,162 unborn children. But today, I'd like to dig a little deeper into the report and spotlight a few aspects that did not receive as much attention in the initial round of news coverage.

1. Only 24 abortions — a third of a percent — were done for the mother's life or health. Of those, only three abortions were done "in an emergency." This result is not terribly surprising; we know from the experience of other pro-abortion countries, like the United States, that the vast majority of abortions are done for elective, non-medical reasons. But it makes the Irish abortion movement's exploitation of Savita Halappanavar's death that much worse.

2. The number of abortions varied a fair amount by month. I had never before seen a report from the United States, or any other country, breaking down its abortion data by month. Ireland may be unique in this regard. (Correct me in the comments if I'm wrong.) Below, I adjust for the number of days per month to show the relative likelihood of Irish mothers aborting their children in a given month:

Month

# of Abortions

Abortions Per Day

January

625

20.2

February

490 

17.5

March

508

16.4

April

538

17.9

May

580 

18.7

June

533 

17.8

July

602 

19.4

August

530 

17.1

September

506 

16.9

October

545 

17.6

November

548 

18.3

December

592 

19.1


With such a small sample size, it's hard to know what these statistics mean. Irish pregnancy centers, sidewalk counselors, and other pro-life advocates should keep an eye on this data to see if any patterns emerge.

3. What about the abortion rate? Raw numbers like those in the Irish report only take you so far. To truly follow trends from year to year, and see what policies are succeeding and which are failing, you need to look at rates. Two key statistics are (1) the percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion and (2) the number of abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age, typically defined as 15 to 44. I was unable to find the number of pregnancies in Ireland last year, so I can't recreate the first statistic. The number of Irish women of reproductive age, however, is available: 939,866. (That's as of 2016, but I have no reason to think 2019 is substantially different.) 

With 7,041 abortions in 2019, the Irish abortion rate is thus 7.49 per 1,000 women of reproductive age. To give our American readers some context, that puts Ireland's abortion rate between those of Alabama (6.4) and North Dakota (7.9).


[Image Credit: Precious Life]