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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

New Project: How To Be Pro-Life

Person holding a sign: "Protect the Preborn"
Secular Pro-Life is excited to launch How To Be Pro-Life, a guide to advocating for preborn children in your community! Whether you're brand-new to the cause or have been actively anti-abortion for decades, we hope this will inspire you. 

This project seeks to answer the common question "But what can I do?" So far, we have 52 answers — one for every week of the year — and counting. You can search by categories like introverted or extroverted, educational or legislative, and donations of money or time. We even have a few ideas for our friends of faith to promote pro-life values in their places of worship (although, as you would expect, secular items dominate the list). Got something to add? We'd love to hear it!

You can find How To Be Pro-Life on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and our website. Your first task: follow and invite a friend! Remember: No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. 


[Photo credit: Maria Oswalt on Unsplash]

Monday, April 19, 2021

Book Review: "Random Family" Teaches Valuable Lessons About Pregnancy and Poverty

I recently read Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's 2003 masterpiece Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx. LeBlanc spent over a decade chronicling the lives of people in some of New York's poorest neighborhoods at the height of the crack epidemic. As so often happens when I read to try to take a break from pro-life advocacy, it turned out that Random Family has a lot to say about abortion.

The subculture Random Family explores has a reputation for treating human life as cheap. In some ways, that checks out: drug cartels run the streets, boys join violent gangs, and domestic and sexual abuse are rampant. And yet...

You could hate a rival all you wanted to, but pregnancy merited respect. There were girls so hard that they paid no mind to a belly, but Coco wasn't one of them. After all, the unborn baby was innocent.

Typical pro-choice euphemisms are completely absent from the protagonists' language. Teen and unplanned pregnancies are common, but abortion is rarely on the table. When it is, everyone recognizes the reality that abortion kills a baby. 

Coco considers abortion twice. First, she becomes pregnant while her true love, Cesar, is incarcerated, and Cesar breaks up with her:

Coco reasoned that since the baby made her lose Cesar, the loss of the baby might bring him back. She made an appointment for an abortion. She went to the clinic but forgot her Medicaid card. She rescheduled and missed the second appointment. She finally went for a third, but she'd lost heart. Coco's sister, Iris, remembered Coco punching herself in the stomach and throwing herself against the wall. "She did everything to try and get rid of that baby," Iris said. But the baby survived all of it, so Coco reckoned it was fate.

That baby is Nikki, Coco's second daughter. Two more daughters follow. Coco then attempts to obtain birth control, prompting the sole appearance of Planned Parenthood in the narrative. Planned Parenthood does not come off well:

Coco kept her appointment at Planned Parenthood and decided on the Depo-Provera shot, but she didn't react well to it. She bled heavily for a solid week; when she reported to Planned Parenthood again, she was instructed to continue taking Motrin. Coco asked if she could get her tubes tied and was told she had to make several appointments, including one for an hour of counseling. Between her chronic problems with Frankie and with Pearl, she never made it back.

Yes, you read that right: Planned Parenthood, which regularly battles against basic informed consent laws for abortion, required a mother of four to have an hour-long counseling session and jump through hoops before she could get a tubal ligation! Perhaps they were hoping to have her back as an abortion customer. Little surprise that Coco becomes pregnant with a fifth child. She feels overwhelmed and ambivalent — but her oldest daughter, eight-year-old Mercedes, intervenes:

Coco considered getting an abortion, but then she thought about what people would think of her for murdering an unborn child. One night, she polled her daughters on the way to the dollar store. "Mommy might take out the baby. I went through the same thing with the four of ya'aw, but I thought I could do it, and there's so much I want to do for you — you know how Mommy wants to go to Great Escapes? And I swear, I'll get you there this summer if I have to rent the damn van myself. But I can't do this."

"Mommy, that ain't right," Mercedes said.

"I know, Mercy, but Mommy can't do it. You see the problems I got with Frankie now?"

"But Mommy, it ain't right," Mercedes said again.

"We'll help you, Mommy," Nikki said. "We can make the bottle." 

With her daughters' encouragement, Coco chooses life for their little brother La-Monté.

Another close call occurs when Cesar's sister, Jessica, is in prison and begins a sexual relationship with a guard named Torres:

The prison authorities had given Jessica a pregnancy test that August, which was negative; but by October, the blood test came back positive. Jessica asked for an abortion but said the prison refused to give her one unless she paid for it. She didn't have the money. She called her former pro-bono attorney, but by the time he had intervened and the abortion was scheduled, Jessica had spoken with Torres and changed her mind.

The officials' refusal to pay for an abortion with taxpayer funds saved two lives; Jessica was carrying twins. LeBlanc writes:

Babies were about hoping and growing, not just surviving. They pulled you into the future, even if you were literally imprisoned by your past. Any belly — inside or outside of prison — required at least the perfunctory gestures of optimism. . . . Ida was the cook of the bunch, and she made it her business to keep Jessica full of food. Ida had been pregnant when she was arrested and still regretted her abortion; Jessica's pregnancy offered her a second chance to do right.

Random Family is anecdotal and several years old, but more recent data agree: low-income, marginalized communities tend to hold anti-abortion values. A 2019 Gallup poll found that a strong majority of Americans with household incomes under $40,000 took pro-life positions, saying that abortion should be illegal in all (30%) or few (40%) circumstances. Among those with incomes over $100,000, the pro-choice position prevails. The abortion industry cynically casts itself as the voice of low-income people, but that's a lie. If elites actually listened to the poor, they would learn that abortion is not an acceptable solution to the problems of poverty.

Friday, April 16, 2021

The importance of being a parent when children won't live long after birth

Editor's note: We believe it's important for more of the public to be aware of perinatal hospice services. We recently published overviews of what perinatal hospice entails and state laws regarding patient notification of perinatal hospice options. In today's post, guest blogger Leslie Corbly summarizes a recent article published in The Journal of Pediatric Nursing: "Being a parent: Findings from a grounded theory of memory-making in neonatal end-of-life care," which details ways to help parents process and grieve their children who live only a short time after birth. Everyone grieves differently. There's no right or wrong way. But we hope this information will help more parents who may not know how to process or what to do.

Photo credit: Pixabay from Pexels

***

This research article deals with neonatal palliative care guidelines which increasingly encourage parents to (1) provide care to their dying babies, and (2) spend time with their babies before and after death. The purpose of this specific article was to explore and better understand how parental actions of providing care and spending time with their dying babies impacted the memory-making process of the grieving parents.

Although globally millions of babies die within the first month after birth, most parents grieving such a loss face a unique challenge because their grief is rarely recognized by society, meaning it is rarely publicly acknowledged, mourned or socially supported. This “disenfranchised grief” makes it more difficult for parents to find appropriate ways to create meaning during the emotional turmoil inherent in losing an infant.

The acts of spending time with the baby before and after death, as well as caring for the baby in a paternal manner—such as bathing, dressing, and holding the child—transform the intangible nature of such a loss into a tangible engagement between parent and child. This article focuses specifically on creating a substantive theory of memory-making in neonatal end-of-life care. In doing so it relies on a study from 2015 grounded in the theory of “affirmed parenthood.” The core of affirmed parenthood relies on three psychosocial procedures: (1) creating evidence, (2) being guided, and (3) being a parent. When a parent losing a baby engages in these three processes, the parent is able to create strong memories and images associated with the child, rely upon those who can help the parent to engage with the baby despite fear, and accept the role of parent, even in the brief period of the baby’s life.

Researchers used a qualitative method and interviewed couples who had faced the trauma of losing a baby during the neonatal time period. Parents spoke candidly of the importance of having time spent with their child. One parent noted the “precious” nature of the time spent with his child. Even though he only had an hour and a half with his baby, this time provided him the ability to say goodbye to his child. A mother who lost her twin children described the time spent with them as humanizing, allowing her to see her babies as “real people” rather than “just something that happened.” Indeed, this time made her children “a real part of our lives, and not just this bad thing that happened in the hospital one time.”

No parents interviewed expressed regret spending time with their baby just prior to, or even after, death. In fact, having the opportunity to touch and hold the baby was a memory parents cherished. One mother described the profound emotional impact of having the opportunity to nurse her child prior to his untimely death, “[h]olding him was huge. Huge.” A grieving father recalled the importance of cuddling his baby: “We had many cuddles. Up on our chests, in our arms. We cuddled heaps…Physical touch was very important.” The simple act of holding the baby gives parents the ability to engage with their child in a unique manner. One mother described studying every detail of her children, a memory she still clings to, “I can still close my eyes and see their faces eight years later.”

Although holding, touching, and otherwise engaging with the child were important aspects of taking on the role of parent and seeing the child as a unique individual, caring for the child in tangible ways, such as bathing, also proved to be an important and cathartic experience for parents. One parent described the act in a simple, yet profound manner, “I’m really, really glad we got to bathe him.” For parents who were unable to bathe their child, this can be a source of further grief and regret. One parent describes longing for the chance to bathe his baby, even after the baby’s untimely death. One mother recalls similar longings, reiterating that the chance to bathe her child was something she desired.

Clothing is also a way in which parents can meaningfully engage with their child. One parent recalled her desire to utilize the baby clothing made by her mother. Another recalled going through a pack of clothing at the hospital with the assistance of her nurse and piecing together an outfit for her child based on what she wanted her child to be adorned in. Unfortunately, some parents found a lack of control over the clothing of their child as a source of regret. One parent described feeling as though her desire to cloth her child in preferred clothing rather than the clothing on hand at the hospital was “superficial,” yet important “I really wanted him in the clothes that I had,” she said.

Parents engaged with their children in various ways to form bonds with their infants. Parents sang, read, and spoke to their children as a way of engaging with them and building a bond where the parent could see their child as a unique individual while also solidifying their role as the child’s parent in a tangible manner. In this way the parents were able to overcome the feelings of helplessness by doing something for and with their child, even if the action was as simple as singing a nighttime song. Parents were able to transform their experiences and become the parents to their vulnerable babies, despite the short time they had.

***

Help make sure parents know the options available to them: advocate for perinatal hospice notifcation in your state. Read more here, from HowToBeProLife.com.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

We Asked, You Answered: How Former Pro-Choicers Changed Their Minds

We asked our Facebook followers: "For those of you who used to be pro-choice, what made you change your mind?" The post blew up, with hundreds of thoughtful comments. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Jamie S.: Actually listening to pro-life people instead of just dismissing them, and researching the science of the developing embryo as my unborn baby developed inside of me. I began questioning what I was actually fighting for - what could be more important than the tiny little life that was growing inside of me, whose sole protector was me?

Bradley B.: I hate to admit this but it was one of those great big billboards showing baby remains on my college campus. In my case it was an arm and a torso next to a dime. It was just so visceral and made me truly stop and consider what we are doing.

Maribel L.: First sonogram of my little bean, who we then lost. Completely solidified when I saw my 26 weeker grow in an incubator. I saw his eyelashes grow out during his stay. You can't convince me that is NOT a person in the womb, no matter the gestational age.

Tess S.: Basically realizing that it was inconsistent to support abortion being legal only in the first trimester if abortion needs to be available because of bodily autonomy. I never agreed with late-term abortion but I thought it should be legal in the first trimester. Eventually I came to realize that the only really consistent positions to take was either the pro-life position or allow abortion basically up until birth. I thought about how generally speaking we see humans as valuable because of what they are, regardless of ability or age.

Chad K.: Science made me change my mind.

KC K.: Hearing conversion stories from former abortionists, especially Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

Lynn W.: Found out how MANY abortions were done, and then decided one was too many, after befriending numerous women who experienced long-lasting trauma from their abortions.

William A.: Their rhetoric is convincing if you don't think about it. The "abortions will still happen even if you make them illegal" was convincing to me for a long time till I realized if we apply that logic equally nothing may as well be illegal.

Stefan S.: I used to say to myself "I personally would never want anyone I'm with to have an abortion, but everyone else has that choice." But I slowly came to the realization that morality can't be fluid. It's a fixed idea. Therefore if I believed it was wrong for myself, it must be wrong for everyone. Arrogant, I know, but that was really only the first step.

Elise M.: I used to be pro-choice in that I saw abortion as killing, but I reasoned that sometimes killing is justified (like in self-defense). Then, once I explored the actual reasons that someone would need to end a pregnancy in order to save their life, I quickly realized that abortion was never medically necessary. In a medical emergency, it's far quicker to deliver a baby via c-section, than to perform a late-term abortion. I also learned that most life-threatening medical complications in pregnancy occur later on, when an abortion is actually full-on labor and delivery of a dead baby. This completely changed my mind and made me see that abortion was never necessary. Even if the baby would certainly die if delivered early, it's still acceptable if the life of the mom is at stake. What's not acceptable is killing the baby first and then delivering it. What nonsense.

Lisa D.: When safe, legal, and rare became commonplace, desirable, and celebrated.

Robert W.: Becoming a mortician. When you deal with death every day you realize how valuable all lives are, at every stage of development.

Peggy A.: The total subjectivity and intellectual dissonance of - if the baby is wanted it's tragic if there's miscarriage but if the pregnancy is unplanned ... completely ok and even celebrated to end the baby's life. My own deep grief - when I couldn’t even describe it as that - testified to the inherent worth of my child's life.

Come to the light side. We have cool signs and even cooler people.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Women Share Experiences at Deceptive Abortion Facilities

The documentary Life After Abortion features testimonies from post-abortive women. 

One woman described a worker’s anger when she looked at the ultrasound screen: 

[I] turned to look at the screen and thought, "That looks like a baby." Well, she got very upset and yelled at me, and said, "Turn around, don't you dare look at that!”

Ultrasound at 7 weeks, 2 days
Another woman says, "As I was watching the monitor, the nurse and the doctor asked me not to watch. They turned the monitor away."

A third woman asked to see her ultrasound:

As the nurse was performing the ultrasound, I watched her, and she was looking at my baby on the monitor. And I asked her, I said, "Can I see my baby?" And she took the monitor, literally, with her hands, and turned it away from me.

Another woman believes the abortion worker deceived her:

[T]hey had the screen turned away from me. And I asked to see it. And she said, "I don't think it's a good idea." 

I told her, no, I really wanted to see it before I went through with it.

So, she ran the probe across my stomach, turned the screen toward me, and showed me a dot on the screen. I thought, "That's it? Well, I can do this.”…

I bought the lie. I now know she didn't show me my baby. She just showed me a dot on the screen so that I would go through with the abortion.

One woman told the following story:

They proceeded to tell me that I was too far along in my pregnancy to have what they called an "easy" abortion, that I was going to have to take a two-day procedure, they were actually going to put me into labor, and the word surgery was used. I began to get frightened. I told them I couldn't stay two days for this procedure. My parents did not even know I was pregnant, and I had to go home that night. 

Just before I got to the car, someone from the office staff came running after me and said, "Wait, wait, we made a mistake! We'll take care of your problem, you'll be gone in 30 minutes, and you'll never think about this day again." I followed them back in because I believed them.

This facility's fear of losing a customer, and their decision to do a two-day procedure in 20 minutes, could have destroyed this woman's chances of ever carrying a baby to term. 

In a late-term abortion, a woman's cervix must be dilated wider than in an earlier abortion because the baby is bigger and must pass through it, either whole (in an induction procedure) or in pieces (in a D&E). Dilating the cervix quickly could traumatize it to the point where it cannot function properly in a future pregnancy, causing miscarriage or premature birth. 

Another woman said, "They explained to me that it was a blob. That it wasn't anything yet."

A woman who had doubts about her abortion said the following:

The nurse asked me if I was okay with the procedure, and I said, no I really wasn't, because it seemed like it was killing a baby. But they all looked very professional. They showed me a filmstrip of, just, blobs of tissue. So, I thought, "They're the adults. They're the professionals. This must be okay." So, I went ahead with the procedure.

Another woman said:

There was no concern. "Why are you upset?" They just kept telling me, "It's okay. It's a blob of tissue. You're a college student, you have your whole life ahead of you. You already have one child."

Another woman was lied to about her baby’s development:

And she told me that it wasn't even a baby yet, that it was just a clump of cells. And I didn’t know anything about fetal development, so I believed her. And, in fact, I felt relieved because I thought, "Well, if it's not a baby yet, then I'm not doing anything wrong."

Another woman said, "They said it was easy, they said it was simple. You know, you write your check for $300, and all your problems are solved. I wish someone had told me what really happens."

An abortion worker put an arm around an ambivalent woman and led her into the procedure room:

I felt almost like I was being pushed in there. She didn't want to help me. She wanted me to have this done, and she wanted to make sure I wasn't going to leave. This lady got what she wanted.

Another woman changed her mind on the abortion table and sat up, only to be pushed back down by a worker and told abortion was best for her. She gave up and submitted to the abortion.

Other women and workers have described similar behavior

Abortion facilities make money only if women go through with their abortions. They don't make any money from women who change their minds and walk out the door. Therefore, they have a vested interest in encouraging women to have abortions. 

These testimonies are only a tiny fraction of the thousands of stories from post-abortive women who have experienced dishonesty and/or coercion in abortion facilities. 

Pro-choice activists accuse crisis pregnancy centers of deceiving women. They make sweeping generalizations based on questionable claims of fraud from a few "undercover" pro-choicers who visited pregnancy centers with the intention of discrediting them. But the pro-choice movement refuses to address the many, many accounts of women who were deceived in abortion facilities

[Today's guest article is by Sarah Terzo. Sarah is a pro-life atheist, a frequent contributor to Live Action News, a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and the force behind ClinicQuotes.com. She has a free short pro-life e-booklet that exposes the abortion industry, which you can download here.]

Friday, April 9, 2021

Tomorrow: Save Hyde Day of Action!

Today at the National Press Club, a coalition led by our very own Terrisa Bukovinac (in her role at Democrats for Life of America) will hold a press conference promoting tomorrow's Save Hyde Day of Action. Terrisa's prepared remarks follow. Action events are taking place in 20 cities nationwide; find the one closest to you here

* * *

Every year for forty-five years, Congress has passed the Hyde Amendment with consistent bipartisan support. The Hyde Amendment stops taxpayer money from funding abortion in government health programs. This common sense measure protects the consciences of the majority of Americans—not only people of faith, but also atheists like myself—who do not want their hard-earned money to destroy human life. 

The Hyde Amendment is also one of the most effective abortion prevention policies we have. To date, the Hyde Amendment has saved the lives of over 2.4 million Americans. This is personal. I know people who are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment. Statistically, you probably do too. These are our neighbors, family members, co-workers, and friends. 

But where we see precious human beings, the abortion industry sees billions in lost revenue. The Biden Administration’s despicable attack on the Hyde Amendment is an attack on the most vulnerable among us: babies conceived in low-income families. 

Gallup polls consistently show that low-income people are more pro-life than the wealthy, and people of color oppose abortion more than white people. If it were up to the communities most impacted by the abortion industry, the Hyde Amendment would not only be safe in this year’s budget: it would be made permanent. We know that repealing the Hyde Amendment isn’t about racial or economic justice. That’s a cynical ploy. What’s really going on here is simple: with abortion rates at record lows, and abortion centers shutting down left and right, they’re looking for a government bailout to keep their deadly business afloat! 

Already, Democrats in Congress failed to include Hyde Amendment protections in the COVID relief bill. They have irresponsibly allowed abortion businesses to exploit funding that should have helped Americans survive the pandemic. That is outrageous. 

The American people do not support taxpayer funding of abortion. When Democratic officials abandon their decades-long support for the Hyde Amendment, and cave to abortion extremists, they will feel the pain at the ballot box. 

Tomorrow, April 10, is the Save Hyde Day of Action. Across the country, people of all political persuasions, of every faith and none, will hold demonstrations to support the Hyde Amendment. This is just a first step in holding politicians accountable. We will not rest, and we will not be silenced. We will keep proclaiming the truth: the Hyde Amendment saves lives!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

March Recap


 

Projects
Monica had a busy month. She researched and wrote this month's top post about some important findings from the Turnaway Study that thus far have received little publicity. She also solicited and edited guest blog posts regarding perinatal hospice. But most of all Monica has been hard at work on the upcoming How to Be Pro-Life website. Her goal is a list of at least 52 ideas before website launch, and in March she researched and wrote two dozen entries, bringing her to a total of 43. With any luck the website will be ready to launch this month! If you want to follow that project, you can preemptively sign up on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Secular Pro-Life is gearing up to participate in a couple of events in April. Kelsey will be speaking at the 2021 Consistent Life Virtual Conference, taking place Saturday, April 24. Consider joining in by registering here. We also encourge you to get involved with the Save Hyde National Day of Action. Volunteers are needed, so please check out what you can do here.  



Get Involved.  Save Hyde!

Twitter
We gained 196 new followers, bringing us to 13,172 total. We sent 102 tweets, which were viewed 286,000 times, including this tweet, viewed 14,705 times about the flawed, common pro-choice response, "You can't force your religion on everyone else."


Facebook

We are at 32,950 followers on Facebook. Our content was viewed 265,604 times, including 19,517 views of this discussion:

Blogger
Our three most-read blog posts for March, in increasing order:Like what we do and have something to contribute? Consider writing a guest post. 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.
Thank you to our supporters
Thank you to those of you who donate to support SPL. We're run by dedicated volunteers who would not be able to devote our time and energy without your help. 

If you like our work, please consider donating: 

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If you don't use Paypal, you can also go to our Facebook page and click the blue "Donate" button under our cover photo on the right. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Four Ways that Chemical Abortion and Telemedicine Will Change the Abortion Debate

A person in a yellow sweater using a laptop

Use of chemical abortions is increasing rapidly. So-called ‘medical’ abortions were almost one-third of the total in the US in 2016 – a vast number considering the Food and Drug Administration only approved the use of the ‘abortion pill’ in 2000. In many other countries chemical abortions are over fifty per cent of the total. In Ireland, over 98% of abortions are from pills taken in the first trimester. 

Telemedicine abortions are also on the rise – and COVID-19 has only hastened this process. With telemedicine, a woman seeking an abortion never physically meets a doctor for a consultation: it all happens online via video link or otherwise. Earlier in the year Ireland approved telemedicine abortions for the duration of the pandemic, and it’s unlikely that they’ll be completely abandoned after it’s over. 

The implications of the increased use of chemical abortion for the abortion debate are both huge and surprisingly under-discussed. Here are four ways that chemical abortions and telemedicine are likely to reshape the abortion debate as we know it.

#1: Abortion will become easier to access, and harder to regulate

It almost goes without saying, but as pill-induced abortions and telemedicine become increasingly the standard way to get an abortion, the barriers to getting an abortion will get lower. If you have to physically attend one or more appointments before getting an abortion, that’s more time to think about the decision.

If getting an abortion no longer involves going to a particular location but just involves issuing a pill via an online consultation, the whole process becomes harder to regulate. What abortion laws do exist will become more difficult to enforce – and as this low-friction form of abortion becomes standard there’ll be more pressure to remove laws like ones requiring waiting times.

#2: It will be even easier for men to force women into abortion

There have already been several reported cases of women being slipped abortion pills without their knowledge or consent: see for example this report in the Washington Post. For each crime like this that’s reported or even prosecuted, it’s probable that others go unnoticed. As chemical abortion and telemedicine become even more common, expect to see more “miscarriages” that are in fact forced abortions by the father.

#3: The marginalisation of the abortion ‘clinic’

The ‘abortion clinic’ currently occupies a central place in the abortion debate; think of the battles in US politics over abortion centre closures or in the UK over exclusion zones around facilities; think of the methods of pro-life activism such as sidewalk counselling that are based around reaching out to women going into facilities. Clinics also play a big role in the picture of abortion that exists in a lot of people’s imagination – think of the scene in Juno which depicts an abortion facility as a banal, indifferent place.

All of this will soon be largely a thing of the past. Abortion facilities already play little to no role in some jurisdictions: in Ireland abortions are mostly handled by GPs and hospitals, though there are a handful of clinics too. But even in those jurisdictions where most abortions are done by private providers, chemical abortions and telemedince will bring about radical changes. As they become more prevalent, the physical space of the facility will matter less and less to the practice of abortion. Pro-life work will have to respond: a set of strategies drawn up for the age of the abortion clinic won’t suffice in a post-clinic era. To take one example: as sidewalk counselling becomes less possible (even the good sort), pro-lifers will need to explore other avenues for reaching out to women and presenting them with alternative options.

#4: Images will become less relevant, and good arguments will become more so

Abortion pill abortions are early abortions. Babies at 9 weeks gestation look a bit less like born babies than babies at 16 weeks gestation do. What’s more, with telemedicine abortions there’s no opportunity for an ultrasound: it almost doesn’t matter what the baby looks like if you can’t see them.

One of the differences between abortion and some other human rights questions is the relative invisibility of the people whose rights are in question. Human beings are good at ignoring human rights abuses when they don’t have to look at them. 

For years the pro-life movement has put a lot of its faith in the power of increasingly accurate ultrasound images to reveal the humanity of the pre-born child. Those images have undoubtedly had a humanising effect: but as more abortions are done early and without ultrasounds being available, that effect may start to trail off rather than become more significant. Already, early abortions are the norm: in a survey of 40 high-income countries with permissive abortion laws, it was the case in a majority of the countries surveyed that around 90% of abortions happen before 13 weeks, and approximately two-thirds happen before 9 weeks.

An obvious implication of this is that ethical and philosophical arguments about the moral status of the fetus – like the equal rights argument – are going to become increasingly important to the abortion debate. This will only become more true as pregnancy tests become more and more able to identify a pregnancy early and chemical abortions get earlier and earlier. It was never the fact that a pre-born child looked human that granted them equal rights: making that clear will be all the more important as time goes on.

[Today's guest article is by Ben Conroy. Ben Conroy is committee member of The Minimise Project, a secular pro-life organisation from Ireland, which aims to reduce the abortion rate by enabling and facilitating better conversations about abortion between pro-life and pro-choice people. Check out their blog at theminimiseproject.ie.]

[Photo credit: Christin Hume on Unsplash]

[Help make sure chemical abortion pills don't end up in the wrong hands: report illegal distribution of abortion pills to the FDA. Read more here, from HowToBeProLife.com.]

Friday, April 2, 2021

Supreme Court Will Hear At Least Two Abortion Cases Next Term

The United States Supreme Court's next term will not start until October, but it is already shaping up to be one to watch! The Court has accepted two abortion-related cases for hearing. Although neither one is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, we can expect to receive important signals on where the Justices stand. The very fact that they accepted two abortion cases is a signal in itself; the Supreme Court only hears about 100 cases per term, declining the vast majority of appeals. Clearly, the newly appointed Justices are not afraid to take on a hot-button issue.

The first case, American Medical Association v. Cochran, concerns the federal Title X program, which funds family planning. The Trump administration implemented the "Protect Life Rule" to prevent Title X subsidies to abortion businesses and referral centers. As Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life eloquently puts it: "Title X is intended for family planning, not abortion. Abortion is not family planning. Abortion is always a violent act that ends the life of a distinct and valuable human person. The former administration made the right decision by clarifying the congressional intent of Title X that organizations that profit from abortion cannot receive taxpayer money."

The Biden administration is expected to kill the Protect Life Rule and turn the spigot of taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood back on, but that doesn't make the case moot. The Supreme Court's decision in Cochran could make it easier for the next pro-life administration to re-implement the rule, and strengthen the legal position of states looking to defund Planned Parenthood from their own programs. 

The second case concerns a procedural matter in the lawsuit over Kentucky's ban on dismemberment abortion (also known as dilation and evacuation or D&E). The law was passed in 2018 and has been tied up in the courts ever since. When an abortion supporter won Kentucky's governorship and declined to continue defending the law in court, the state's pro-life Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, stepped in. The question for the Supreme Court is whether AG Cameron's substitution was proper. If the Justices allow AG Cameron to keep up the good fight, perhaps it won't be his last time at the Court. 

[Photo credit: Claire Anderson on Unsplash]

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Pro-life chalk art caused Billie to start questioning her pro-choice views

[SPL recently received this note of encouragement from one of our supporters, and she gave us permission to publish it as a blog post.]

Photo credit: Evie Schwartzbauer

My name is Billie. I am a gay woman and my husband, Alan, is a transgender men, so we both grew up immersed in adamantly pro-choice social circles (as is common in the secular LGBT community). We held radically pro-choice views ourselves until early adulthood, and argued for abortion rights online, etc. I was whole life pro-life in most other areas (anti-death penalty, pro-social supports for struggling parents, even vegan), but not so with abortion.

In my first year of university, I saw some pro-life chalking on the wall outside the campus cafeteria. Specifically it was a statistic about the proportion of children with Down syndrome aborted. At first I dismissed it as a lie or at least exaggeration; I’d been taught to expect that most claims pro-lifers make are lies. I don’t remember what made me pause and do some research, but I was horrified to learn the statistic was true. I had worked with special needs kids my entire life (as had my mother), and I felt they already had enough working against them.

[Related post - When she got a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis, her doctor wouldn't stop suggesting abortion.]

It was a few months before I could bring myself to look up any more information. When I did, I learned more I had been misled about or had been wrong about. I was going through a paradigm shift.

This new knowledge made me really open to different perspectives. I started following both pro-choice and pro-life blogs. I saw more and more claims that both shocked me and were verifiably true. Previously I hadn’t seen ultrasound images or pictures of aborted fetuses. I didn’t know many of the statistics surrounding abortion. It was an eye-opening experience. Additionally, as I watched others debate online, I noticed pro-life advocates interacted with people with much more love and grace than the pro-choice people they were debating. (I know that's not necessarily true everywhere, but it was my experience.)

I had a traumatic childhood and grew up very cynical; I didn’t see much worth living for. But as I found my faith, developed secure relationships, went to therapy, etc, that pessimism started to change, and I came to view life as very precious and fragile. As I learned more about abortion, I would share with Alan, and it didn't take long for him to have a change of heart too.

Since then we've been advocates. We were involved in the pro-life club during and after university. We went to the annual March for Life with a "We're Here, We're Queer, We're Pro-Life" sign (the time we had tomatoes thrown at us!) 


We have several SPL bumper stickers on our car today. We genuinely think SPL has the most effective messages. You focus on science, common sense, and inclusivity. We feel welcome and accepted in your group, and we are so grateful. Secular Pro-Life is absolutely essential to the conversation, so thank you!

[Help spread pro-life messages by creating some chalk art yourself. Read more here, from HowToBeProLife.com.]