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Friday, July 30, 2021

Pro-life feminist groups file amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson

Secular Pro-Life is proud to be one of the amici represented by this amicus brief just filed. Details below.

DOBBS AMICUS FILED BY PRO-LIFE FEMINIST GROUPS AND 240 WOMEN SCHOLARS AND PROFESSIONALS  EXPOSES THE LIE THAT WOMEN NEED ABORTION FOR EQUALITY


For Immediate Release: Media Contact: Helen Alvaré, halvare@gmu.edu, Teresa S. Collett, teresa.s.collett@gmail.com 


July 29, 2021- Washington, D.C. In an amicus brief filed in Dobbs v. Jackson by pro-life feminist organizations and 240 women scholars and professionals, amici urge the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (1992) and Roe vs. Wade (1973). Law professors Teresa S. Collett and Helen Alvaré and legal scholar Erika Bachiochi represented amici. 


On behalf of amicus Feminists Choosing Life of New York, Michele Sterlace, Esq., LLM, commented: “This brief overthrows the fiction that women need and rely upon abortion rights to participate equally in civil society; this was central to the Casey Court’s decision to uphold Roe.”  


The brief summarizes the empirical evidence and data relating to women’s economic and social achievements since Roe, and concludes: “There simply is no causal link between the availability of abortion and the ‘capacity of women to act in society.’”  The brief empirically shows that “no consistent correlation” exists between “abortion rates or ratios” and “women’s participation in the labor market and entrepreneurial activities, as well as their educational accomplishments, professional engagement, and political participation.”


“Pro-life feminists have argued for decades that abortion rights harm rather than empower women and their opportunities to advance,” states Sterlace, “and the brief also explores and proves this with objective evidence.”  The brief makes an evidentiary showing that abortion correlates with “ the feminization of poverty, and women’s declining levels of happiness.”  It also reveals that the entire argument that women need abortion to achieve equality is based on a “male normative experience of reproduction as the model for economic and social participation.” This has “actually retarded meaningful accommodation of pregnancy and motherhood in the workplace and other spheres of society.”  


According to Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, founder of New Wave Feminists, another organizational amicus: “For far too long feminists have been fighting for a piece of the pie while settling for the crumbs. We’re here to demand a future where women are able to participate in society without having to sacrifice their children on the altar of ‘equality.’ We are able to do something men cannot – bring new life into this world. Patriarchy gained its power by using violence against the vulnerable, and we refuse to replicate that model as it has no place in a truly equitable future for every member of the human family.”


And Kathy McQueen, president of Feminists for Nonviolent Choices, another organizational amicus, states: ”Pregnant women, especially poor pregnant women, need economic and social resources, in order to achieve equality, not abortion. The  pro-choice narrative dehumanizes children in utero and their pregnant mothers. It elevates the right to kill unborn offspring as a rite of passage to equal status. This not only twists reality, as the brief demonstrates, but undermines efforts to enact and implement crucial policies necessary for pregnant women and mothers to participate in society on equal footing with men. Roe and Casey have hurt women. It's time both are overruled.” 


To review the filed brief, go to any of the above amici’s websites or https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/dobbs-v-jackson-womens-health-organization/.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Blog Hiatus

A key volunteer is going on vacation, necessitating a hiatus of this blog until mid-August. We'll have some exciting announcements when we return! In the meantime, Secular Pro-Life will continue to share abortion-related news and commentary via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Monday, July 26, 2021

The People Have Spoken and the Pro-Life Flag Is...

The Pro-Life Flag Project has announced the winning design, by Brazilian artist Nanda Gasperini!

There is ample symbolism in this deceptively simple design. The white background symbolizes non-violence in the womb as well as the innocence of the unborn child. The two baby feet represent the humanity of the unborn child; baby feet have been a symbol associated with the pro-life movement since the iconic Precious Feet lapel pins were named the international pro-life symbol in 1979. The two pink hands represent the pregnant mother, holding and protecting her child. The white heart in between the feet symbolizes the pro-life movement’s love for both the mother and her child. The two stripes emphasize the TWO distinct human lives present in a pregnancy. The stripes also form an "equals sign," stressing that the unborn child is equally and fully human, and therefore deserving of equal human rights.

You can order a flag here, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pro-Life Flag Project's partner organizations (including Secular Pro-Life). You are also encouraged to make use of the design in your own pro-life work, such as by incorporating the flag into local promotional materials, akin to how the rainbow flag is used throughout the LGBTQA+ rights movement. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Behind the Scenes with a Pregnancy Helpline Worker

Secular Pro-Life co-leader Monica Snyder interviewed Petra Wallenmayer about her experiences as a pregnancy helpline worker. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. (Portions that were cut for length may appear in a later post; stay tuned!)

Q: What are the primary pressures that women are feeling or concerns that you hear?

A: FEAR, in general. Fear of what the future holds and how they will be able to handle everything. "I absolutely cannot have a kid right now" — fear of pregnancy, parenting, childbirth, and the future. Then there are the financial pressures: not having insurance; concerns about the cost of prenatal care; the cost of abortion; the cost of raising kid(s); not having a job; being homeless; still living with parents; boyfriend or significant other doesn't have a job, can't afford baby items or a bigger place to live, et cetera.

Others cite not feeling ready to parent; they feel too young, financially unstable, or mentally unwell. Maybe she has health problems, or hasn’t finished school yet.

Finally, there's lack of support from family, friends, and/or the significant other. Callers feel alone and overwhelmed.

Q: What support is typically lacking that causes women to need the line?

A: Affordable medical care, or information on how to access affordable medical care. They do not have insurance, they can't find an OB/GYN who will take them unless they jump through a bunch of hoops first, or there are no OB/GYNs with availability. Additionally, many have no idea how to apply for pregnancy insurance through the state or how to ask a hospital system for a payment plan, financial assistance, and things like that to help with delivery costs.

They don't have a good social support system or are too afraid to let people who may support them know they are pregnant. Much of this fear is driven by their assumptions of how people will respond, whether the assumptions are rooted in actual past experience or not.

Information or knowledge about their bodies, birth control, pregnancy, and abortion in general is lacking — so educational and/or familial support is required.

Q: What do you think women need the most in crisis situations?

A: They need emotional support — someone who will listen and not judge them, someone who will encourage them, someone who can offer alternatives and new perspective — and physical support — someone who can help them make phone calls, help getting to appointments, a doctor for prenatal care, insurance, financial aid, classes to prepare for birth and parenting a newborn, and baby and maternity items. If you can help your friend arrange for any of these services, that's a big deal. 

Q: Do callers report being coerced either way?

A: Not all the time, but often, yes.  Culprits usually include the significant other or self-described "baby daddy" and/or the woman or significant other's parents; occasionally a friend or friend group, as well. 

A lot of our callers are underage. A lot. Thirteen is not too young to talk to your kid about sex, periods, and pregnancy! Sometimes minors are afraid their parents will force them to get an abortion. Sometimes these parents are described as religious or really conservative or old-fashioned. It is about how the child perceives their parents valuing their family image. Sometimes these parents are not described as religious, but the fear stems from the fact the parent is a single parent or was a young single parent for a while, and will do anything to prevent their daughter from being in their situation. Whether the parents are religious or not, a lot of the fear of parents forcing them to get an abortion stems from the daughter thinking the parents will be angry/humiliated their daughter is pregnant and that no one can know. 

The boyfriends can be manipulative; they'll offer to pay for an abortion, tell her all the reasons they are not ready for a kid right now, offer to help her schedule an abortion and/or drive her there... but they are not very supportive if she mentions wanting to keep the baby. 

Sometimes the significant others are outright coercive or abusive. I've had many men call and they are abortion-shopping for their woman, and I have no idea if that is something she wants or if she even knows he is doing that. Those calls kind of creep me out. I've had men yelling at the woman calling, telling them to put the phone down/hang up/stop talking to us because nothing is going to change the fact that they're getting an abortion. Women have told me their boyfriend has threatened to leave them — if they live together, kick them out — if they have the baby. Women have called feeling crushed and angry after finding out their boyfriend already scheduled the appointment for an abortion without ever talking to her beforehand.

Q: How can one best support a woman who finds herself pregnant unexpectedly?

A: Be there for her. You can start by gathering information for her and going over it with her, like how to apply for Medicaid during pregnancy in her state or a list of OB/GYNs in her area that might be taking new patients. Help her make phone calls to pregnancy help centers, doctor's offices, WIC, Medicaid, and so on. A really big need for a lot of women is transportation to appointments. You an also help arrange a baby shower and/or registry. If she needs to tell her partner or family and is scared, offer to be with her when she breaks the news or to be available to talk right after.

Obviously, avoid shaming her. Don't tell her she should have known better, or ask how could she let this happen to her. Trust me — she already feels enough guilt and shame. You don't need to add to it! Even if you're shocked and surprised, still try to communicate clearly that you'll be there to support her if you can help in any way. Don't participate in nasty conversations and gossip about her; shut that down.

No one has to do all the things. You are only human, and you can only do what you can do. What is appropriate to do for her or say to her also depends sometimes on how well you know the woman needing help. You can always do your part by supporting pregnancy support organizations in your area! Donate money, volunteer, ask if they have a list of needed items you can fill. 

[Photo credit: Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash]

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

LAST CHANCE to vote for the Pro-Life Flag!

One of the three designs below will become the official flag of the pro-life movement, endorsed by dozens of partner organizations (including Secular Pro-Life). A runoff vote closes tomorrow. Use this link to vote.

Flag C's central symbol is an established icon in the global pro-life movement already! A simple but abstract depiction of a pregnant mother and her unborn child, this image has taken off as a unifying symbol in the South American pro-life movement. Often accompanied by the words "Salvemos Las Dos Vidas" ("Let's Save Both Lives"), this design stresses both the mother and child. It was created collectively by pro-life groups for the purpose of global pro-life use and unification. While it is not yet as well-recognized in the United States and Europe, adopting this symbol on the official pro-life flag would truly create a sense of unification within the global pro-life movement. The flag's design is simple, symbolic, and recognizable. The central symbol depicts love and representation for both the mother and her unborn child. The two background stripes of purple and white again stress the TWO lives present in a pregnancy: the mother and child. This flag shouts "Love them both."

Flag D's central symbol is a mother's hands holding her child. The symbol also resembles a budding flower, symbolizing new life. The two colors represent the two distinct lives present in a pregnancy: the mother and the child.

Flag F's central symbol is the iconic "precious feet" (representing the child). The feet are being lovingly held by a pair of hands (representing the mother). The two stripes in the background form an "equals" sign, representing that the unborn child is equally human. The two stripes are also symbolic of the two lives present in a pregnancy: the mother and her child. The subtle heart between the feet symbolizes the love that the pro-life movement shows to both the mother and her child.

All credit and many thanks to the Pro-Life Flag Project for organizing this design contest!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Responding to a Common Pro-Choice Tactic

Herb holds a sign: "Big clumps in solidarity with little clumps"

"It's just a clump of cells, not a baby."

Most pro-lifers won't go more than a month or two without hearing this stubborn phrase. Pro-choicers often chant it as a one-liner to shoot down a pro-lifer's honest argument or just to express their unyielding abortion support. In cases where they actually believe it and are willing to discuss with you, it's important to have a few handy points up your sleeve to get them really listening.

Despite this phrase being both inaccurate and usually thrown about only to deceive or provoke anger, in a culture where '"repeating something enough makes it true," it has become a widely-held "fact" among the public. However, there is much to rebut against this argument, and that’s why it gets so tough. Where do we even start?

Well, to begin with, I often like to point out that every human alive right now, including both the pro-choicer and the pro-lifer, are also clumps of cells (or clusters of cells, blobs of tissue, etc.). This can prompt the opposition to get more specific as to the differences they are trying to highlight between the born and the unborn that they believe justify abortion. Two different paths can be taken from there, depending on their argument. The first is more scientific, and the second more philosophical. Ordinarily, they will both be touched upon at some point, in the respective order.

The first argument is that while all humans are technically "clumps of cells," what they mean is that early embryos or zygotes mostly consist of cells containing genetic information that are blueprints for any and all of their future body parts, called "(embryonic) stem cells," whereas older fetuses and born human bodies are more organized into groups of like cells, such as skin, organs, hair, etc. However, even in the earliest stages of fetal development (such as the blastocyst - a child around the age they implant in their mother’s uterus 3-5 days after fertilization), she is organized into parts, with her inner cells making up her body and the outer ones developing into her nourishing placenta. A bit later, when the child is 2-3 weeks old in the womb as an embryo, she has three layers of cells in her tiny body: The top layer (ectoderm) which gives rise to her outermost layer of skin, central and peripheral nervous systems, eyes, and inner ears; the middle layer of cells (mesoderm), from which her heart, primitive circulatory system, bones, ligaments, kidneys and much of her reproductive system will form; and the inner layer of cells (endoderm) where the child’s lungs and intestines will develop. By week 7-8, all of the fetus’s major organs/parts (heart, brain, spine, limbs) are fully formed and mostly functional. So, just as adult human bodies are more complex than those of infants, so born humans' bodies are more structured than those of unborn humans. But, that doesn't mean unborn human bodies are unorganized and inactive as the term "clump of cells" would imply — in fact, as we can see, they are quite complex already!

Some may object that while fetuses are not always clumps of cells, abortions take place so early in the pregnancy at which time they are not developed enough to be considered a "child." Countless embryology textbooks and medical professionals have confirmed the fetal development research outlined above. With that information in mind, let us take a look at further studies regarding the development of the fetus when most abortions are performed. Most mothers find out they are pregnant when they are between 4 and 7 weeks along - on average, around 5 and a half weeks. The earliest almost any abortion (chemical or surgical) can be performed is after 4 weeks gestation, when the child already has a detectible heartbeat. Although a majority of abortions are done in the first trimester of pregnancy, the child at that stage is already developing to a much greater extent than those who call him or her a "clump of cells" would like you to think, or even believe themselves. Moreover, abortions in the second and even third trimester are legal in the United States, happen tens of thousands of times a year, and are routinely committed for non-medical reasons.

Finally, there is the philosophical argument for abortion: using the phrase "clump of cells" to imply that the unborn are not "fully human," nor worthy enough to be called human beings nor a member of humanity. It's hard to argue with the science that proves fetuses are living human organisms, so some will take it a step further and admit they are, but still insist the unborn should not be treated as valuable "persons" like born humans are, because (1) they aren't as developed, (2) they are much smaller in size, and (3) they are more dependent upon others — especially their own mother — for survival. Your job is to get to the root of why they think these things matter so much that they determine which humans are "persons" who have human rights. When you look closely enough, you'll see that all these "requirements" are arbitrary and nonsensical, just as saying that a human's biological sex, skin color, or abilities (mental, physical, etc.) determine whether he or she has basic human rights. When we base human rights such as the right to life on anything other than someone's actual humanity, we are in for a lot of trouble. Talk about being on the right side of history for this one!

[Today's guest post is by Liana Joy. If you would like to contribute a guest post, review our guidelines and email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration.]

Monday, July 12, 2021

Pro-Life Flag Project Finalists Selected: Vote Now!

One of the six designs below will become the official flag of the pro-life movement, endorsed by dozens of partner organizations (including Secular Pro-Life). A ranked-choice vote is taking place now through July 19. Use this link to vote. 

Flag design A:

Flag design B:

Flag design C:

Flag design D:

Flag design E:

Flag design F: 

Personally, I ranked them A, C, B, F, E, D. But they're all fantastic and there's no bad outcome here. All credit and many thanks to the Pro-Life Flag Project for organizing this design contest!


Friday, July 9, 2021

Why Pro-Life Advocates Should Care About Medical Marijuana

Alabama recently legalized medical marijuana, but only for a limited set of medical conditions. One condition that made the list is "persistent nausea not related to pregnancy." 

Policymakers apparently excluded pregnancy-related nausea out of concern that marijuana would negatively impact an unborn baby's health. There is not much evidence for that, however. Researchers have struggled "to separate the effects of prenatal marijuana from other factors -- notably cigarette smoking." One study found negative impacts among babies born to mothers with "cannabis use disorder," but data on moderate and prescription users is lacking.  

Missing from this conversation is that in some cases, medical marijuana can benefit an unborn baby.

Some of our readers may remember Baby J and Mama L, but for those who did not follow their story, the Cliff's Notes version is that Baby J was conceived under incredibly difficult circumstances. His survival is thanks to many factors, including Mama L's courage and the dedication of numerous pro-life organizations and individuals. Mama L and Baby J lived with me and my wonderfully supportive roommates for several months before and after Baby J's birth, and New Wave Feminists organized a fantastic Amazon baby registry that quickly sold out. 

Mama L has given me permission to discuss an aspect of her story that has not previously been shared: she used medical marijuana while pregnant with Baby J.

This is actually a big part of why Mama L decided to live with me in Florida. She is from the Midwest, and while there were many wonderful pro-life advocates closer to home, she desperately needed to reside in a medical marijuana state. Mama L experienced hyperemesis gravidarum and struggled to keep food down. Medical marijuana is the one thing that could keep her symptoms under control and maintain her appetite. Without it, I am convinced that Mama L, Baby J, or both would have been malnourished.

Kelsey holds Baby J

Mama L used medical marijuana responsibly, under the care of a doctor, and her prenatal care providers were aware of the situation. Baby J was born full term and at a healthy weight. The biggest scare on Baby J's birthday was not medical in nature; it was a threat that social services would be called because THC showed up in Mama L's blood work. I happen to be a lawyer, and thankfully, I was able to throw a little weight around to keep that from happening. But it was a completely unnecessary source of stress on what should have been a joyful occasion.

"Nausea related to pregnancy" is no joke. It can threaten the health of both mother and child. In severe cases, it could even erode a mother's resolve to choose life. Malnutrition and abortion are real risks. Why don't these concerns carry the same weight as the concern over medical marijuana's potential but unproven harms?

I don't think Alabama policymakers acted maliciously when they excluded pregnancy-related nausea from the medical marijuana program. They probably had the best of intentions and were just being overly cautious, given the scarcity of solid research in this area. But as the state's medical marijuana program evolves, I hope they will reconsider. The next child like Baby J could live in Alabama. Medical marijuana is a pro-life issue.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

THIS FRIDAY: Nationwide Rallies to Support the Hyde Amendment


This article is especially important for those of you who live in Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Texas. 

Congress is in recess and its members are home to engage with their constituents. This is the perfect time to talk to your representatives about the importance of the Hyde Amendment. This bipartisan measure stops taxpayer funding of abortion, particularly through the Medicaid program. Over 2.4 million Americans are alive today thanks to the Hyde Amendment.

But where we see neighbors, classmates, and friends, the abortion industry sees lost revenue. The "pro-choice" lobby has been gunning for repeal of the Hyde Amendment, putting pressure on Democratic lawmakers to withdraw their support and enact a budget full of abortion industry subsidies. 

Democrats for Life of America has identified Democratic representatives who have voted for the Hyde Amendment in the past and need encouragement from their voters to do so again. In partnership with Students for Life of America and other groups, they will be holding "Mobilize for Hyde" rallies this Friday, July 9 at 11:00 a.m. local time at each of the following locations: 
Taxpayer-funded abortion is deadly for children — and politically unpopular enough to be deadly for a Congressional career, too. If you are able to attend any of the above rallies, do your part to hold elected officials accountable!

Monday, July 5, 2021

June Recap

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June Recap

Projects
Athiest Terrisa snuck into the Fight for Life and Faith rally in Washington DC to challenge the clergy to use their unique positions of influence among the faithful to fight for protection of the most vulnerable humans: the unborn. Breitbart picked up her passionate speech here.

In case you missed it, the panelist discussion Terrisa was featured in, "Birth Control Bedfellows: A Discussion with Unsung Heroes for Better Contraceptive Access" has finally been uploaded.  You can watch it here.

Kelsey has written an article for the Human Life Review on the upcoming Supreme Court case regarding a 15-week abortion ban. Stay tuned as that becomes available in July.

Monica has been hard at work managing SPL's social media accounts. If you are looking for a short, succinct way to pass the pro-life message along, check out our Twitter account in particular.


Nobody should be allowed to kill prenatal humans in 140 characters or less. See the original tweet here.

Twitter
For June we gained 198 new followers, bringing us to 14,079 total. We sent 161 tweets, which were viewed 463,500 times, including this tweet from Kelsey, viewed over 29,500 times, getting the point across that finishing off the job of killing your victims is not better than having survivors around to speak out against your cruelty.


See the original tweet here.


Facebook
We are at 35,297 followers on Facebook. Our content was viewed 326,849 times, including 37,312 views of this post about the toxic culture among too many doctors that any child less than perfect deserves death before they are born.

See the related blogpost here.

Blogger
Our three most-read blog posts for June, 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.
What You Can Do
There are plenty of ways to help with pro-life work. This month we recommend:
  • Join in one of the many rallies around the country to show your support for the Hyde Amendment.
  • Join one of the many Standing With You retreats across the country in early August to learn how to be an ally for pregnant and parenting students on campus.
  • With many organizations still relying heavily on online meetings, now is a great time to sponsor a pro-life speaker to your community. It's never been more affordable to bring an experienced perspective to energize the pro-life message in your area.
  • Email Monica (monica@secularprolife.org) if you're interested in submitting guest blog posts on legislation or peer-reviewed research.
  • And, of course, you can always donate:


Paypal
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.