Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Pro-Life Fight for Women's Rights

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

[Update: Readers have confirmed that one Planned Parenthood facility, in Collier County, Florida, has announced plans to offer parenting classes.]
I want to discuss an argument that the pro-choice advocates have used for decades, which I am sure all of you have heard. It is the women’s rights argument, which completely disregards the pro-life belief that the baby in the womb is human, but one that still must be discussed. They argue that a pregnancy puts an undue burden on a woman that a man does not have to deal with and is not legally obligated to take on. Obviously there are rules about financial commitment for a man, but the argument is also talking about the physical ramifications of pregnancy, the inabili
ty to work during the last couple of weeks and immediately after, and the problems of raising a child on one’s own if the mother has no one else to support her.

The first thing I always point out to people with this argument is that, yes, it is true that most abortions occur because of these problems. The women feel they are too young to have a child and care for it on their own, or if they are older, do not have the financial means to care for it. They are scared, mentally traumatized by this decision that they face, even if they have no pro-life leanings, and especially if they do have that background.

What are the pro-choice people doing to help them? What are they doing to make it actually be a “choice”? Right now these women feel that they have no choice. They have no one to support them, no assistance with raising a baby, nowhere to turn. Abortion is the only option, and pro-choice people seem to have no problem telling them it is their only option, no matter whether they actually would like to have baby or not – just look at Planned Parenthood’s website if you don’t believe me. If they truly want to make it a “choice,” why don’t abortion clinics and organizations like Planned Parenthood work to create resources for women who want to choose a different way – who want to actually have a choice? 

But no, they are doing practically nothing to help these desperately scared women who actually want to have the baby and love it. They give no support in basic needs once a woman has a baby, even something as simple as parenting classes. [1] How is that fighting for women’s rights? How is this helping women during a time when the difference between the challenges women face versus those men face is the very worst?
Above: Pro-life volunteers collect supplies at the
 National Community Baby Shower Day
This argument goes both ways. If the pro-life movement wants to go anywhere in this country, there are things that need to change. Politicians need to change their arguments and their focus. The best place to start is by fighting for women’s resources once they have children. They need to fight for more funding for daycare for single women who have to work, make laws to force businesses to provide more time and resources for pregnant and mother employees, and use their resources to create more charities and organizations for mothers and pregnant women to turn to when they need help.

Pro-life pregnancy centers already do a great job of this, working to provide classes and counseling for expectant and new mothers, as well as baby items and other help once the baby has arrived. [2] Unfortunately these institutions often base their counseling and reasons to not have an abortion solely on religion, even if they are not affiliated with a church. Of course pro-life institutions affiliated with a church can continue to make religion a factor, but others really need to use a more effective method to speak to everyone who walks in their doors. For instance, in order to volunteer at the pregnancy resource center in my current town, they require a recommendation letter from your church, and the application only has questions about when you accepted Jesus into your heart on their application, rather than about how you would debate abortion laws, why you think abortion is wrong, or how you would handle situations with expectant mothers who want to choose an abortion. This organization is not affiliated with a church, yet they are excluding any volunteers who are not religiously affiliated or are of a different faith!  By doing so, they exclude any volunteers who might be able to relate to the women they are talking to and do any good with changing someone’s mind about having an abortion. 

We see this in politicians all the time. The only ones who are brave enough to openly declare and fight for pro-life stances while running for office encase it in a religious argument, only giving reasoning based on the Bible. How is this going to change anyone’s mind if you are purposely only appealing to those who already agree with you? If they already have your background and beliefs, they are not the ones you are trying to change.

We need more pro-life politicians who are visibly active in the fight for authentic women’s rights.  By showing that the pro-life debate has nothing to do with women’s rights but about human rights in general, the pro-life movement will make great strides toward convincing more people that, regardless of their religion or lack thereof, abortion is not about curtailing women’s rights.

[1] To see if the Planned Parenthood in your area provides parenting resources, enter your zipcode here: If you find one with that resource, please leave a comment with the city that it is in, because I could not find one. The only advice they have on parenting is listed here:, which only lists the reasons you might not want to have a child and offers advice services on how to decide whether you want your child.
[2] Almost every pregnancy resource center provides these resources to women. Please search for the pregnancy resource centers in your area in order to find out more about the resources they provide and how you can help.


Drew Hymer said...

i tried volunteering at a pregnancy resource center but it rejected me because of my non-belief.

It's not helpful to ask PRCs to drop their religious requirement. Most of these folks see Jesus as the best way to save both mother and baby.

If you want to have a non-religious PRC, start one.

Fellow Pro-lifer said...

I just wanted to thank all you secular pro lifers for acknowledging through science that embryos and fetuses are in fact alive. You prove that it's not just a belief held by "religious" people but can even be a belief held by a non religious, science oriented person. Keep up the good work :)

Mal said...

Thank you for your post and exposing how Planned Parenthood's name is simply a marketing tactic to make their business seem more helpful than they actually are. Since they only deal with "reproductive health" (another marketing phrase to make killing the unborn sound like a form of health care) and do not offer any services to actually support parenthood that is planned, a more appropriate name for them would be "Unplanned Pregnancy Termination Center" or even "Abortions are Making Us Rich Center".

I think it is sad that CPC are restricting volunteers to Christians. I think the requirement should be a belief in the rights in the unborn and a desire to help the mothers, rather than a belief in Jesus. Maybe they are unware that a secular person can have strong beliefs on the evil of abortion. Probably, because seems such a rarity.

That said, you should know that not all those with religious beliefs are prolife. Regarding your statement: "How is this going to change anyone’s mind if you are purposely only appealing to those who already agree with you? If they already have your background and beliefs, they are not the ones you are trying to change." ... you may be surprised to find how many church-going people are actually apathetic to the issue of abortion.

Blondie said...

Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRC"s), generically called cpc's, provide free services to women facing an unplanned pregnancy. They receive support & funding by the personal donations of local churches, and sometimes donations by churches. As an outreach of the local church (generic Christian church), they are ministering to these clients as followers of Jesus Christ. Thus, their policies call for all board & staff to be followers of Jesus Christ. AS a former Executive Director & Nurse Manager of a PRC, we did not try to force our religious views onto clients. We encouraged clients to take time as they considered all their options and we provided information regarding those options, if the client agreed. You may not be aware that PRC's do not receive funding from the government or from insurance companies.

Scooniecat said...

As a long time volunteer at a PCP, I have approached my counseling from both the religious approach & the secular approach. I listen to what each client has to say and then respond to them in the way I believe will best touch the heart and mind. The center where I volunteer, which is one of the oldest in our city, doesn't not have any religious requirement. Ifwe as client advocates choose to speak of God and pray with our clients it is encouraged. We are basically a Catholic center, but noone is discouraged from becoming a client advocate, just as long as they are truly pro life. As an advocate who has work with post abortive clients I firmly believe we must do everything and anything we can to protect both the unborn child's rights and that mother's rights..

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Chaoticblu said...

Nice piece. In regards to support for women going through a pregnancy crisis: it's definitely out there, I've come across a few sites myself. But they do seem to be mostly religious sites. On top of that , they are not advertised that much, though that is changing. Once in a while I'll see a commercial for adoption or a pregnancy crisis hotline. But these sources to help woman and families facing an unplanned pregnancy need to be made more well known.