Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BREAKING: Komen Announced End of Funding to Planned Parenthood

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest breast cancer organization just announced they are stopping all funding to Planned Parenthood through donations and grants. This is big news for pro-lifers who have continuously pointed out and protested the shocking affiliation between Komen and Planned Parenthood given that abortion significantly increases a  woman's risk of breast cancer.

Thanks to pressures from pro-life advocates across the country, Komen has stopped funding the largest abortion provider in the Unites States -- Planned Parenthood.

Read more on Life News.

For the Dignity of the Born and Unborn,


Saturday, January 28, 2012

BREAKING: Abortion center entices with FDA-banned diet pills

Women & Teens Medical Center, a Miami-area abortion mill, is openly advertising legally and medically dubious diet products in the Miami New Times, Secular Pro-Life has learned.

In a December 6, 2011 advisory, entitled "HCG Diet Products are Illegal," The Food and Drug Administration had this to say about Human Chorionic Gonadtropin (HCG) products that supposedly help people lose weight:
HCG is a hormone that is produced by the human placenta during pregnancy. 
Products that claim to contain HCG are typically marketed in connection with a very low calorie diet, usually one that limits calories to 500 per day. Many of these popular HCG products claim to “reset your metabolism,” change “abnormal eating patterns,” and shave 20-30 pounds in 30-40 days. 
“These products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they're losing weight, HCG must be working,” says Elizabeth Miller, acting director of FDA’s Division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud. “But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from the HCG.” 
HCG is approved by FDA as a prescription drug for the treatment of female infertility, and other medical conditions. It is not approved for weight loss. In fact, the prescription drug label notes there “is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”
Despite the medical consensus that HCG does not help people lose weight, Women & Teens Medical Center is openly offering this pseudo-scientific weight loss treatment in the current (January 26) edition of the Miami New Times.
The advertisement as it currently appears in the
online edition of the Miami New Times
Women & Teens Medical Center also advertises the "termination pill," by which they presumably mean the dangerous early-term abortion pill RU-486. According to their website, they also perform abortions surgically.

Women & Teens Medical Center is using deceptive advertising by selling HCG as a weight loss aid and claiming that it is "the most effective."  This is just one of a long string of cases that show abortion centers putting profit over women's health.

HCG is approved only as an infertility treatment, not as a weight loss treatment.  The FDA has indicated that it intends to start cracking down on this off-label, deceptive use of HCG.  Secular Pro-Life urges you to complain directly to the FDA about Women & Teens Medical Center.  Email or call 1-888-723-3366.  It's time to show Women & Teens Medical Center that they are not above the law!
Women & Teens resumed its HCG diet
advertisements after the FDA advisory
was issued

Update: Here is some more information from the FDA regarding off-label prescription use of HCG.  (It is not clear whether Women & Teens is using "homeopathic" HCG, which is banned outright, or simply using prescription HCG in an unapproved manner.)
FDA is aware that healthcare professionals sometimes prescribe prescription injectable HCG for unapproved uses such as weight loss. FDA understands that sometimes approved products are used to treat conditions that the products were not approved for (i.e., “off-label” uses). The “off-label” use of products usually presents greater uncertainty about both the risks and benefits because less information is available on safety and effectiveness. Unexpected adverse events may occur in this context. FDA has received reports of serious adverse events associated with the use of HCG injections for weight loss including cases of pulmonary embolism, depression, cerebrovascular issues, cardiac arrest, and death. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Abortion and the Death Penalty

I am against the death penalty.  Inspired largely by the work of the Innocence Project, I believe our system is too fallible to justly implement the death penalty.  I’m certainly not alone in my stance; there are many people against both abortion and capital punishment.

That being said, I can understand how a person could work to end abortion without trying to end the death penalty.  Yes, both practices kill a human being; that is their similarity.  Now, can you think of any differences?

Capital punishment is far less frequent.  Approximately 50 million abortions were performed in the United States from 1973-2008.  In contrast, from 1977-2008, 1,234 inmates were executed.  In other words, abortions occur (roughly) 36,000 times more often than death row executions.  Even those who feel abortion and capital punishment are equally wrong may understandably devote more energy to the more pressing issue of abortion.

Capital punishment requires due process. Before being sentenced to death, the accused is given the opportunity to defend his or her case. We have a carefully established system meant to fairly determine whether a person is guilty of a crime and, if so, whether that guilt forfeits his or her life. Imagine the outrage if people could be sentenced to death without any accusations, any evidence, or any defense.  The fetus has no defense before death; the fetus’s life is subject to the mother’s will alone.

Capital punishment is designed for the guilty.  Many pro-lifers believe taking an innocent human life is wrong; capital punishment is meant to fall outside this realm.  At least in theory, all those on death row have committed heinous crimes. In contrast, the fetus cannot be said to be guilty of anything, seeing as a fetus never has the opportunity to make a decision.

Over the past several decades in the US, abortion has taken tens of millions of defenseless and innocent human lives.  Capital punishment has taken less than 2000 previously defended and presumably guilty human lives.  People weighing diverging factors will often come to diverging conclusions.  I see no hypocrisy in this.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Exciting announcement!

Coming off an incredibly successful weekend in San Francisco, CA and Washington, D.C., we are excited to announce that Secular Pro-Life will be sharing the pro-life, pro-woman, and pro-science message at the American Atheists convention on March 25-26!

American Atheists has no official position on abortion, but supports the idea that "human beings are capable of creating a social system based on reason and justice."  It is our mission to show how pro-life values and policy fit into that system.

As the number of atheists increases, outreach to atheists absolutely vital if the pro-life movement is to make abortion unthinkable.  Currently, less than one fifth of atheists openly identify as pro-life.  Among religiously unaffiliated women facing unplanned pregnancies, half have abortions. Secular Pro-Life is the only pro-life organization with the credibility and resources to address this problem.

We have calculated that we can organize an effective outreach at the American Atheists convention for under $900!  This includes the booth sponsorship fee, first trimester fetal models, a new banner, and literature on maternal mortality and abortion.

Please use button below to make a contribution toward this important work.  Your donation will be earmarked for the American Atheists convention, and used for no other purpose.  Thank you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quick News Update 1/25/12

Illinois - Abortion rate reached a 37 year low in Illinois in 2010. 41,859 abortions were reported in 2010; 32,760 were performed in 1973. This is also 9% lower than 2009 numbers. The reason? Differing groups in Illinois are unsure, but the bottom line - fewer abortions is a step in the right direction.

Virginia - While the Virginian legislature discusses the issue, it appears that 54% of Virginians support requiring an ultrasound to be viewed before performing an abortion. Women are more supportive than men of the measure (57% to 50%). State Senator Jill Vogel (R) is leading the charge to get this legislation passed in Virginia.

Washington, DC - Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) has proposed legislation to prohibit abortions in DC after 20 weeks. Franks cites the study showing that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks into the pregnancy. National Right to Life Committee plans to make this a top legislative priority in the coming year.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Secular Pro-Life on National Public Radio

We had a very busy weekend!  Hundreds of campus pro-life advocates visited our table at the Students for Life of America conference, obtaining solid information and adding their names to our email list.  Many also added their names to our pledge: "I pledge to treat every pro-lifer as an ally, even if their religious or political beliefs differ from my own."  You can see photos of our D.C. activities on the facebook page.

Yours truly (SPL president Kelsey Hazzard) also got to be on National Public Radio's "Tell Me More."  It was a great success.  Secular Pro-Life was mentioned by name numerous times, and we are already receiving emails from pro-life listeners who learned how to better articulate their position on secular grounds!  Listen for free here.

I was a bit concerned going in.  SPL member Sean C. pointed out that the program featured pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger (of the Too Many Aborted campaign) back in July, and he complained that some of his strongest comments were edited out.  In my case, the broadcast was edited for time, but I did not find the cuts to be unfair or biased.  Without further ado, here is the transcript, with some editorial comments of my own in [bold brackets].

MARTIN: I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.
Coming up, if you've ever cared for an elderly parent or needed care yourself, you know it can be an overwhelming and exhausting experience. Our next guest has some wisdom to share that we hope will be helpful. We'll speak with Jane Gross. She's the author of "A Bittersweet Season: Caring For Our Aging Parents and Ourselves." That's a little later in the program.
But first, we wanted to spend some time talking to women about an issue that still fires some of the most intense political disagreements of our time. That issue is abortion.
Despite dreary skies, demonstrators are in the nation's capital today for the March for Life, the annual event marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. That's the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
The debate over abortion rights is still raging in state legislatures. A new report by the abortion rights group, NARAL Pro-Choice America, says that in 2011, some 69 new laws were passed around the country that made it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion. That's just one short of the record for new restrictions that was set in 1999.
To mark this anniversary, we thought it would be a good idea to hear from those who are most likely to be affected by the legal status of abortion. That is to say young women. Fifty-one percent of women who have abortions each year are 24 years old or younger, according to the latest data available from the Guttmacher Institute. That's a research group that focuses on reproductive and sexual health issues.
We have with us today three young women who were born well after Roe v. Wade was decided, but whose lives continued to be touched by that decision. Joining us now, Kelsey Hazzard. She is a law student at the University of Virginia. She founded a group called Secular Pro-Life, a group that opposes abortion rights.
Mara Hollander is a senior at Georgetown University here in Washington, D.C. She supports abortion rights. And Lauren McEwen is a senior at Howard University, which is also in Washington, D.C. She's the life and style editor for that campus' newspaper, The Hilltop. Welcome to you all. Thank you all so much for joining us.
MARTIN: And I'm going to start with you, Kelsey, because you are active in this issue.
HAZZARD: I certainly am.
MARTIN: And I wanted to ask how you got interested in the issue and how you arrived at the position that you have now. Did you grow up with it?
HAZZARD: You know, I really didn't grow up with it. My parents certainly inculcated me with certain values about treating other people the way that you want to be treated and caring for weaker members of society. But they really didn't talk to me specifically about abortion and they weren't, you know, activists in any way.
[Here, I talked about becoming involved in the pro-life movement in college, with the help of Students for Life of America.  SFLA arranged my appearance on the program, so I was eager to get a plug in.  Unfortunately, that got cut.]
For me, it really has to do with the science and human rights-based arguments against abortion. You know, if someone is a human being - and science tells us that the unborn are - I'm just very, very uncomfortable with making these political distinctions that a certain age group or ethnicity group or whatever group - however you're going to define it - that a certain group isn't going to have a right so basic as the right to life.
MARTIN: Mara, what about you? You support abortion rights for women. How did you arrive at your point of view?
HOLLANDER: I do support abortion rights. I think abortion rights are important for women. I grew up surrounded by a lot of strong women who taught me that women should be able to make their own decisions and have a certain level of bodily autonomy that is the ultimate level of bodily autonomy to decide what happens to them in their existence.
And as I grew older, this became more and more important to me. I think, while I respect Kelsey referring to the science, I do think the science is not as clear as some people will suggest. I think, when people talk about life beginning at conception, I do not believe that. And because I do not believe that life begins at conception, because I don't think the science demonstrates that life begins at conception, women should be able to make their own decisions...
[After we left the studio, Hollander and I went out to lunch (McEwen couldn't go), and I asked her when she thinks human life begins.  Her answer was "At birth."]
MARTIN: Did your parents - I asked Kelsey this question, too. Did you grow up with your parents talking to you about this?
HOLLANDER: My parents did talk to me about it. I think when I was younger it was harder for me to understand. I think that abortion is a bit of a complicated issue, so just being told by my parents was helpful, but it wasn't enough for me to understand. I really had to come into the beliefs on my own, I think.
MARTIN: Interesting. OK. And, Lauren, you know, we're glad you're here because a recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that most Americans - actually, 60 percent - fall somewhere in the middle when they're asked whether they think that abortion should be legal or illegal. And also, as an African-American, African-Americans tend to have an interesting perspective on this. They tend to believe for themselves, personally, that abortion is not the right choice, but they don't tend to think they can make that choice for other people. And I understand that that's kind of where you are.
MCEWEN: That's exactly where I am. My mother always raised me not to believe that abortion was really an option for myself, mostly because she never wanted me to feel that kind of guilt and she just was afraid of - girls, like, making that kind of decision and then regretting it later.
MARTIN: Do you have an opinion that you claim as your own about this?
MCEWEN: Definitely. I just think it's very easy to be either/or when you're not in the situation. Luckily, I haven't had to face that kind of decision - and knock on wood. Just God forbid. But I don't know what I would do.
[McEwen made a comment along the lines of "I bet you one unplanned pregnancy that you're secretly pro-choice."  It got cut, which makes my subsequent disagreement seem a little out of the blue.]
HAZZARD: I understand. I would like to...
MARTIN: Kelsey?
HAZZARD: Sorry. This is Kelsey. I'd like to just politely disagree with Lauren a little bit. And I know that every person is different. But among my pro-life friends and activists who I know, a lot of them have become even stronger in their views or come to the pro-life position as a result of personally experiencing pregnancy.
MARTIN: You have had friends who've had what we would call unplanned or...
MARTIN: ...what some people call crisis pregnancies?
HAZZARD: Oh, yes.
MARTIN: And did they all choose to keep the...
HAZZARD: Not all. No. Some - you know, I do know people who've had abortions and that doesn't prevent me from being friends with them. I know a lot of pro-life people who have had abortions and they were pro-choice. They had an abortion and then, through that experience, wound up, you know, getting to a point where they said, I don't want any other woman to have to go through what I've been through.
MARTIN: If you're just joining us, you're listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News.
It's been 39 years since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion, to some extent, in this country. I'm joined by three young women with different perspectives on abortion rights. They were all born after the decision - well after the decision - but they're living with it now.
Lauren McEwen is the student editor of the Howard University newspaper. Mara Hollander is a student at Georgetown University and is an abortion rights supporter. And Kelsey Hazzard is a law student at the University of Virginia and founder of a group called Secular Pro-Life.
You know, one of the interesting things about Mara and Kelsey that both of you are activists and have strong points of view on this issue. So, you each said you started with a position and then you studied more that reinforced the position you already had.
[I had mentioned earlier, in a bit that got cut, taking a course in prenatal development offered by the University of Miami.]
MARTIN: And I'm curious about. Mara, if that tells us something about why we continue to fight over this.
HOLLANDER: Yeah. I mean, I think people become very ingrained in their positions on these issues. Obviously, it's a very complicated issue. If you do believe that life begins at conception, I do see where Kelsey is coming from. If you do believe that life begins at conception, it would be very difficult to sit across the table from me while I'm saying that abortion is OK.
That said, because I don't believe that life begins at conception, most of the arguments that I see support your point of view. And I think that is at the very heart of the abortion debate.
MARTIN: Let me ask you this, though. Kelsey says that she has met people - she's known people who have had abortions and she can still be friends with them. What about you? Can you still be friends with somebody who has a very strong position against or who feels that women should not have the right to choose abortion?
HOLLANDER: I definitely am. One of the great things about being at Georgetown is that I'm surrounded by people with all sorts of political views. It is a Catholic, a Jesuit university where the...
MARTIN: Position is...
HOLLANDER: The position is one of a pro-life position. There are a lot of pro-life conferences on campus. And I do have friends who are very strongly pro-life and who will be attending the march and some of the rallies this week. I'm still friends with them. I don't think I would go to them were I in a situation where I felt I needed to make a choice and that's unfortunate to me.
MARTIN: Kelsey, can I ask you a question? Because this is something that came up when, you know, Sarah Palin was running for - was on the ticket to be vice president of the United States. And she - Mrs. Palin, Sarah Palin, as a public position, strongly opposes Roe v. Wade and does believe it should be repealed.
HAZZARD: Oh, yes.
[I was confused by this next question.  Martin first asked if I thought the actions of Sarah and Bristol Palin were hypocritical because they chose to keep their babies in tough circumstances.  My first answer was to say, well, the Palins can't control the fact that we have Roe v. Wade, so we can't fault them for "exercising choice" in carrying their kids to term.  She then rephrased the question, but I still didn't completely understand what she was trying to get at.]
MARTIN: And the argument that her critics have made of her is that she - this is - your conviction about this arises from the fact that you have a choice. Does that make sense?
HAZZARD: To me, it really doesn't because, I mean, she did give birth to that child and Bristol did give birth to that child because they were not going to deny the right to life of their children, even if the law of the land is that other children may not have those rights. They were going to say, well, this is my public position and I'm going to live my private life, you know, consistently. Well, I think that's not hypocritical at all.
MARTIN: I think the argument that some people make - that critics make is that what's wrong with the position that Lauren has enumerated, which is that, if that's your personal conviction, that's fine for you. But why do you feel you have the right to deny others the right to make a decision that's best for them? I think that's the argument.
HAZZARD: What I would say to that is simply that, if you look at abortion as a violation of the rights of the fetus, then it's not enough to just say, well, you know, it's up to you. It's your choice. Because there's another individual in the mix here who doesn't have a voice in the decision. And because of that, the legal system has to step in to protect those individuals even if their parents, you know, do not want to step up and take that position.
MARTIN: Lauren, you wanted to add something.
MCEWEN: I do. I just struggle with that because of the fact that, nine times out of 10, when most young women especially are thinking of aborting a baby, they're thinking about this because they are afraid that they can't provide for that child because of their status in life.
HAZZARD: That's absolutely true. I do understand that. And I think that the pro-life movement is making strides toward, you know, creating more resources, but that a lot of work needs to be done.
MCEWEN: I just struggle with that because...
MARTIN: Go ahead, Lauren.
MCEWEN: I'm sorry. I struggle with that because the majority of the people who I've spoke to who have usually been pro-life also don't support things like WIC and welfare for these mothers. So, the only time the baby is actually important to them is when it's in the woman's womb.
And I struggle with that. As with a lot of people I've met. You might not feel that way, personally, but I just struggle with that idea because most of the time, these are just girls who feel like they don't have any other option other than to either put their baby in foster care once they have it or to get rid of it while it's in the womb. And it's just so many girls who have done it before regret it. But they don't regret it because it hurts them to think about it again. But they don't regret it thinking that, my child wouldn't be able to make it on what I make.
HOLLANDER: I think another important - this is Mara. I think another important factor to consider here is what is happening to the woman while she is pregnant. There is precedent that says that human beings cannot be forced to forego their bodily autonomy for other - pretty much anything. You can't be forced to consent to a medical procedure if you are declared competent. You cannot be forced to donate an organ to another person, to give up a kidney, to donate blood.
And one of the biggest issues that strikes me here is that we are - if it's even just for nine months, even if you do have an option for foster care at the end of that, even if there are resources for women at the end, which I do think need to be there, you're still removing women of their bodily autonomy and their ability to make decisions for those nine months.
[I was itching to respond to this but, unfortunately, we ran out of time.]
MARTIN: What about those who would argue that, except in the cases of rape and incest, that the woman made the choice to have sex and, therefore, the consequences of that, she should be responsible for?
HOLLANDER: I think that sexual development is different for a lot of different people. I think that some people can be healthy sexually while remaining abstinent and that's great for those people. I think we also need to consider people who approach their sexual development differently. Some who use contraceptives incorrectly because they don't know how, they weren't taught. People who don't know how to use contraceptives at all and, therefore, don't use them. I think it's more complex than just the rape and incest issue.
MARTIN: OK. Kelsey, what about - would you respond to Lauren's point, which is that her perception is that a lot of the people she sees as being pro-life only care about the fetus as long as it's in the mother's womb, but don't care about the child after that and don't seem to show any regard for the child's quality of life afterwards.
HAZZARD: Right. I think that problem really arises from this political alliance that is somewhat strained, the political alliance between the pro-lifers and these fiscal conservatives. And that's done so that we can elect pro-life people to office. But pro-life pregnancy centers rely greatly on WIC. You know, pro-life pregnancy centers are connecting women in crisis to government programs. They rely on those things.
So the pro-life movement - there is this tension in trying to get our representatives, especially the ones who are more fiscally conservative, to say, hey, you know, I realize that the budget is a mess, but these are vital programs. And, you know, please don't eliminate them.
MARTIN: We only have a couple of minutes left. And so, before we let you go, this has been an interesting discussion. Obviously, we're not going to resolve this issue here that has bedeviled this country for - what - you know, 40 years and truly even before that.
But I did want to ask each of you for a closing thought and I think I'm interested in this whole question of - if we were to get together - you all are very young. As I said, you're of an age where - and I'm not going to ask each of you what you think you would do if faced with this. I mean, Lauren, you talked about that a little bit because - a little personal. But I do wonder whether when you are no longer of the age when this is a pressing issue, when you're - you know, as we mentioned, a majority of the people who have abortions in this country are younger than 24.
MARTIN: Five years from now, if we get together - 10 years from now, if we were to get together, where do you think we'll be?
HAZZARD: That's a really interesting question. I do think that it's a more pressing issue for young people. We see a lot of young people at the March for Life. It's become a very youth-oriented issue. But I certainly think that I'll still be involved in the pro-life movement and working on those issues in 10 years, 15 years.
MARTIN: You think there'll still be issues to work on?
HAZZARD: Oh, absolutely.
MARTIN: You think the issue will still be with us?
HAZZARD: Even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, then it just goes to the states. Even if abortion is outlawed entirely, then we still have to be working on resources for women and educating people about how to have a healthy pregnancy. There is always going to be pro-life work to be done.
MARTIN: Mara, what about you?
HOLLANDER: Well, I hope that this remains an issue in 10 or 15 years because I can't imagine this going in the direction I would like it to by then. [Best quote of the whole show.]  So, I hope that we're still discussing it. And I think that one area that it seems that all three of us have been able to agree on is that we'd like to see more resources for women throughout their pregnancies and as well as after.
And I think that, at least my personal opinion would be that it would be beneficial to work with pro-life advocates on an issue which most of us can agree, which is stopping pregnancy before it happens. And one of the - and some of the ways that we can do that include contraceptives, birth control and, for some people, abstinence if that is a decision that works for them.
Ultimately, though, I think that women do need to be able to have the choice. And I think that this probably will eventually go back to the states. And I hope that each state is going to make decisions that recognize where its women are and what kind of resources they have available to them.
MARTIN: Lauren, what about you?
MCEWEN: I still think I'll feel the same way. I still think that I'll feel that I don't agree with it for myself, but for other people - my friends who have come up to me and said, I'm thinking of doing this, I can't tell them, no. I can't tell them that's not their right. And I still hope that we'll still have this option because I'm afraid that if we don't, women will turn to back alley people who will do things for them and will turn to alternatives that could leave them in more danger than actually having an abortion at Planned Parenthood or some welcome and friendly resource for them.  [Again, I really wish there was time for me to respond to this.]
MARTIN: Do you think this issue will still be here 10 years from now?
MCEWEN: I definitely do.
MARTIN: Because?
MCEWEN: Just because people are always going to have unplanned pregnancies and people are always going to have situations where they might want to have an abortion. It's never - that want and that need isn't going to go away, but our argument about it will still be here, regardless of what happens.
MARTIN: Lauren McEwen is a senior at Howard University. Mara Hollander is a senior at Georgetown University. Kelsey Hazzard is a law student at the University of Virginia and she founded a group called Secular Pro-Life. She's actually here in Washington, D.C. today to attend the annual March for Life and they were all here with us in our Washington, D.C. studio. Ladies, thank you all so much for joining us.
HAZZARD: Thank you so much for having us.
MCEWEN: Thank you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Walk for Life West Coast

Over 50,000 people came together Saturday January 21 to attend the Walk for Life West Coast! Young, old, and of different backgrounds were together to walk in solidarity for the lives lost and affected by 39 years of legalized abortion since the Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade

The pictures say it all:

Hundreds of young people came together earlier in the morning
Young people jump for joy on their way to Civic Center
Over an hour before the rally even started
Film crews interview attendees
Love these shirts
Occupy sign had to be in there

Another great sign

Dear Mommy

Just before the end of the walk

Groups filter in at the end of the walk with their awesome signs

For the Dignity of the Born and Unborn,


Walk for Life West Coast 2012

Last Saturday (January 21st) was the Walk for Life West Coast in downtown San Francisco.  Secular Pro Life representatives Neil and Ellen Snyder attended, carrying the SPL banner with the slogan: “Call me an extremist, but I think dismemberment is wrong.”  (This is my personal favorite slogan. If you like it too, you can get the bumper sticker at the SPL Zazzle Store.)
After the Walk, Neil and Ellen shared some of their impressions (and photos) with me.

The Walk began at City Hall. Neil and Ellen arranged the SPL banner in front of the Asian Art Museum while listening to some of the speakers.  

Neil noted the speakers talked a great deal about faith and how abortion is against God’s rule.  Ellen found the speeches emphasized sin. It’s completely understandable that a large gathering of people with common beliefs will view abortion through the perspective of their faith.  However each year I can’t help but wonder how many potential pro-lifers feel too alienated by a religious-specific perspective to join us.  

This is not to say the religious marchers are unwelcoming.  On the contrary, during the 2011 Walk I received many compliments and support regarding our SPL signs.  During this year's Walk several young Catholic marchers helped Neil and Ellen carry the considerably large SPL banner.  With their assistance, our representatives were able to hold the banner high while discussing the secular perspective on abortion with fellow protesters.
The banner could be seen quite well from a distance. :)
The Walk was as large as ever, numbering in the tens of thousands.
Of course there was plenty of religious expression:

(Prayer circle.)
 And plenty of reaction to religious expression:

("Not the Church. Not the State. Women decide our fate!")
With this ongoing religious/anti-religious conversation, I’m all the more grateful that we were once again able to have an SPL presence at the Walk.  Many thanks to Ellen for getting the photos, and to Neil for getting, as he put it, "quite a workout" as he steadfastly carried the banner for the duration. :)
(Photo courtesy of
(Neil fighting the good fight.)


The Students for Life of America conference yesterday was a great success!  The internet access here leaves a lot to be desired, so details (and pictures!) will have to wait.  Thank you for your support!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The meaning of choice

Today is the second annual "Ask Them What They Mean by 'Choice' Day," a pro-life response to the "Blog for Choice" abortion effort.

As I write, I'm promoting Secular Pro-Life to campus activists at the Students for Life of America conference, so I've been thinking about what "choice" means to this age group.  (I myself am 23 years old-- plus 9!)  Arguably, American teens and college students have more choices than any generation at any time and place in history.  We choose where to go to school, what to study, whether and who to marry, and what type of career to pursue.  We need to remember how incredibly fortunate we are to have these choices.

We are also incredibly fortunate for another reason: we are alive.  We are not forgotten, rotted away in landfills or burned in incinerators.  We made it out of the womb and took our first breaths.

One third of our generation was not so lucky.  That is the dark side of "choice."

The power of choice must be exercised responsibly.  Some choices are good, and some neutral, but the "choice" that abortion proponents speak of is harmful.  As the old saying goes: "It's easy to be pro-choice when you're not the one being killed."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Appearance on NPR's "Tell Me More"

Kelsey Hazzard, who is a Students for Life of America Wilberforce Fellow and the founder and president of Secular Pro-Life, will represent pro-life youth in an upcoming broadcast of NPR's "Tell Me More."  The episode will air on Monday, January 23 at 2:00 p.m. EST.  If your affiliate does not carry "Tell Me More," fret not!  A recording will be available online after the broadcast.  Learn more here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

See you soon

The blog will be on hiatus for the next few days, due to travel and preparation for Roe memorial activities.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

March with Secular Pro-Life

We invite you to join us for the March for Life in Washington, D.C. and the Walk for Life in San Francisco, CA.  You can get all the details in our January e-newsletter.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Amnesty International doesn't get it

"Justice is never advanced in the taking of human life."           --Coretta Scott King
Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Dr. King is widely regarded as one of the world's great human rights leaders.

Today and every day, [we] stand together to defend the full body of human rights that Dr. King so bravely and eloquently espoused.

. . . 
"Morality is never upheld by legalized murder," [Coretta Scott King] said.

More killing is not the answer.  
Dr. King described violence as, "a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars." 
The above quote, eloquently invoking the King legacy in defense of human life, is excerpted from an e-mail that arrived in my inbox on Thursday. The sender?  Amnesty International, seeking my support for their campaign to abolish the death penalty.

This is the same Amnesty International that defends the taking of preborn human lives by abortion.  They say that pro-life efforts to extend human rights to the weakest members of our society are "misguided" attacks on the "right to health."

Sorry, Amnesty International, but you just don't get it.  Justice is never advanced in the taking of human life.

Friday, January 13, 2012

39 Years of Roe v Wade

It's hard to believe that January 22nd marks the 39th anniversary of a supreme court decision that changed our country forever. This decision made it a private right to legally kill your unborn child in the womb through all nine months of a woman's pregnancy. Roe v Wade = 55,000,000 children dead today. 55,000,000 who never took their first breath and whose children we will never meet. That number does not even include chemical abortions which are extremely common; nor does it include the many abortions that aren't required to be reported in various states.

In nine days our country will mourn the loss of these children. We will walk in solidarity for the lives that are missing. Many will never know an aunt, uncle, brother, sister, cousin, or perhaps best friend. What are you going to do to mourn the loss and tell the world this is enough and you are pro-life?

Walk for Life -- San Francisco, CA

The 8th Walk for Life will be on January 21, 2012

*50,000 participated in 2011

March for Life -- Washington D.C.

The 39th March for Life will be on January 23, 2012
*200,000 participated in 2011

Who will stand up and say no if we don't?

Are you scared to say you're pro-life? They're not. Why not join them? Visit the links above for event details.

For the Dignity of the Born and Unborn,


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Too weird to be true?

Karen Santorum with her husband,
GOP presidential candidate Rick. 
Various articles in the pro-abortion blogosphere are repeating a bizarre tidbit about GOP candidate Rick Santorum's wife, Karen.  They claim that in the 1970s, before she met future husband Rick, Karen dated an abortionist named Tom Allen.  Not only that, Allen was 40 years her senior and had actually delivered her, before he got into the business of killing unborn babies instead. Their conclusion: Karen Santorum is a big, fat hypocrite for switching to the pro-life side.

Everything traces back to a single source: a 2005 article in the Philadelphia Citypaper.  No offense to the Citypaper, but it isn't exactly the New York Times; for one thing, the article in question begins "Rick Santorum is taking a piss."  This whole story strikes me as too sensationalist to be 100% legitimate.

But if it is, what should be the pro-life response?

We know that it's possible for pro-abortion people to turn around.  If abortionists (like Bernard Nathanson and Anthony Levatino) and abortion workers (like Abby Johnson and Jewels Green) can come over to the side of life, then certainly having dated an abortionist is not disqualifying.

On the other hand, Nathanson, Levatino, Johnson, and Green had very open conversions.  They all told the world, very publicly, how they came to realize that they could no longer support the killing of unborn children. Karen Santorum is openly pro-life today.  But to the best of my knowledge, she has not addressed the allegation that she used to support abortion, nor, if she is a convert, what caused her to change her mind. (Her story seems to be that she was always pro-life because she was raised Catholic.)  

I'm sure that the Santorums are furious with the pro-abortion movement for their recent exploitation of the death of their son Gabriel.  They have every right to be angry, and I completely understand why they might feel like the best response is to not engage at all.  But these rumors are not going to go away.  Karen Santorum is the only person who can shed light on the story.  I hope she will speak up soon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gay Rights > Preborn Rights?

[Today's post is by Kristan Hawkins, the Executive Director of Students for Life of America.  It was originally posted on LifeNews and on the SFLA blog.]

Like many of you, I made time to catch the most recent GOP debate this past Saturday night hosted by ABC and Yahoo. I winced through the usual back-and-forth between candidates and, at times, their evasive answers to controversial and defining questions. Per usual, abortion, gay rights, and health care were all hot topics.
After noticing the candidates’ responses to questions tailored toward gay rights and, more specifically, how ABC’s hosts were tailoring those questions, I couldn’t help to think of abortion.
Why is that the ABC debate hosts humanized and made you sympathize for gays who are treated unfairly – and rightly so – yet they wouldn’t even utter the words “unborn”, “child”, or even “fetus”? It seemed that the questions surrounding abortion heard in the debate were crafted from an aloof, constitutional rights perspective, but the issues of gay marriage came up from a connecting, human rights perspective.
I posed this very question on my Facebook status Saturday night.
One user promptly commented that maybe if pro-lifers acknowledged the humanity of homosexuals, homosexuals would begin to acknowledge the humanity of the preborn.
Should pro-lifers acknowledge the humanity of homosexuals? Absolutely. And we do. Should we also recognize the humanity of heterosexuals? Of course.
But the abortion debate isn’t about whether or not pre-born babies who are victims of abortion are gay or straight. Any attack on the humanity of anyone – born or pre-born, gay or straight – goes against the fundamentals of the pro-life movement. And anyway, this user’s comment assumes that most supporters of abortion are gay, and this simply isn’t true.
In our society, it has gotten far too easy to brush abortion under the carpet as just another option within the culture of convenience. We are right to condemn the dehumanization of homosexuals – or heterosexuals – in any context.
This isn’t a gay marriage debate; this is a recognition of the basic right to Life for all people.
Stealing is wrong, arson is wrong, embezzlement is wrong, and murder is wrong. But our moral compasses are rendered useless with the pressure to remain “politically correct.”
Abortion has been pegged as a “necessary evil”, something a woman “would never freely choose to do unless she had to”. Something that makes her life easier. But using a derogatory term to refer to a homosexual is downright chastisable. And we are right to chastise those who use these words to dehumanize anyone.
But how has the murder of pre-born children become an easier pill to swallow than ill-suited word choice? Both are wrong, but one is far, far worse.