Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Year in Review

2015 was an amazing year for Secular Pro-Life! Here are just a few of the highlights:

January: Secular Pro-Life once again attended the March for Life in D.C., the Walk for Life in San Francisco, and the Students for Life of America conferences in both cities. We provided campus leaders from dozens of schools with free secular outreach materials to distribute at their schools. Also, the pro-life documentary film 40, which features Secular Pro-Life prominently, had its TV debut.

February: SPL president Kelsey Hazzard spoke at the annual conference of the American Association of Pro-Life Ob/Gyns (AAPLOG), promoting SPL's Prevent Preterm project. We also kicked off our Website Under Deconstruction blog series, calling out abortion businesses across the country for lies and omissions on their websites.

MarchWebsite Under Deconstruction continued. We analyzed "the abortion religion." We made the case for a trans-inclusive pro-life movement. And 40 was broadcast in Spanish.

April: We said goodbye to, our site warning women about abortion businesses with a history of malpractice, health code violations, etc. Don't worry; the site isn't gone! We transferred it to Online for Life, an organization that specializes in reaching abortion-minded women through Google searches. It was a perfect fit and we're excited to see the site's reach grow under OFL's care.

May: We taught pro-life students in Texas about the secular approach. Where Hope Grows came to theaters. And the House voted to ban abortions after 20 weeks.

June: We launched Prevent Preterm, an educational campaign focused on preventable risk factors for premature birth—including abortion. Hazzard and abortion advocate Peggy Noonan went head-to-head in a debate podcast. And when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, we were the first to offer an in-depth analysis of what Kennedy's majority opinion could mean for the future of the right to life.

July: The Center for Medical Progress videos were released. Enough said.

August: Secular Pro-Life representative Terrisa Lopez spoke at the rally against Planned Parenthood in San Jose.

September: We celebrated the 39th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, the federal policy that refuses to subsidize abortion through the Medicaid program and has saved the lives of over a million Medicaid kids. Already, we'd spent several months making big plans for the 40th anniversary on September 30, 2016. (You will hear a lot about this in the coming year.)

October: For the third straight year, Hazzard addressed the pro-life student leaders of New England at the Life and Truth conference at Yale. We debunked the claim that "nobody likes abortion." And just for the heck of it, we released a satirical video inspired by Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

November: We marked Prematurity Awareness Month with a renewed focus on Prevent Preterm, including an extended facebook advertising campaign. But the month ended on a tragic note, when Robert Lewis Dear killed three people and wounded several others at a Colorado Springs abortion center.

December: Our facebook page hit 10,000 likes. We continue to work on our Hyde Amendment project. And of course, we're getting ready for the 2016 March for Life, Walk for Life, and SFLA conferences—just a few weeks away! We hope to see you there.

Thank you so much for your support in 2015. Everything we do, we do on a modest budget with no office and no paid staff. Our overhead costs are minimal. When you donate to Secular Pro-Life, your gift counts in a big way! Please consider donating to make 2016 our best year yet. We appreciate your generosity.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Top Ten Graphics of 2015

Our most liked and shared graphics of 2015 are:

10. Bill Nye vs. Inigo Montoya

For more on Bill Nye's questionable understanding (to put it charitably), check out our most-read blog post of 2015

9. Adoptees respond to #ShoutYourAbortion with uplifting tweets

8. Parents chime in with more shouts against abortion

7. We choose the red pill

6. Now this looks like a job for me...

5. It's like raaaaiiiiin on your wedding day...

4. Planned Parenthood gets owned

3. Just a bunch of food for thought
This is the only graphic in our top 10 that we didn't create ourselves. We stumbled upon it and loved it too much not to share. If you know the origin of this meme, please let us know so we can give credit where due!

2. Pro-choice problems
And our top graphic of the year, drum roll please...

1. Internal contradictions

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Top Ten Articles of 2015

Our most-read posts of 2015 are:

10. Woman blinds herself with doctor's help. Her body, her choice? This was our take on the disturbing story of a woman who desperately wanted to become blind, and allegedly convinced a psychologist to sign on.
The thought of someone having drain cleaner poured into their eyes certainly sets off the cringe reflex, of course. It's painful and gross. But if you really believe that bodily integrity is a value so important that it justifies abortion, there is no logical reason to find the psychologist's actions here morally repugnant. If anything, you should be encouraging the development of less painful blinding procedures. That Ms. Shuping had to take the "back-alley" drain cleaner route is a travesty. Somebody call NARAL.
9. Why did you convert to the pro-life side? We posed this question on facebook and dozens of you responded, citing prenatal development education, the effects of abortion, relationships with pro-lifers, and your own pregnancies.

8. I am equal, not the same. Guest blogger Sean Cahill fights back against "the idea that women are inherently flawed because they get pregnant and men don’t. To say we need abortion to be equal is in fact undeniable proof that we are far from equal. We cannot accept that to remain equal to men, we 'need' to rid our bodies of new human beings. We are not liberated until both sexes are fully accepted as they are."

7. Donald Trump is a Disaster Waiting to Happen for the Pro-Life Cause. This one's self-explanatory. It broke the top ten despite the fact that it was only published a couple weeks ago. Obviously the topic inspired passion.

6. What Amnesty International Isn't Telling You About Its Paraguayan Abortion Campaign. For political reasons, Amnesty was desperately trying to put a 10-year-old rape survivor through a late-term abortion that would have been more medically invasive than birth. (Thankfully, Amnesty did not succeed. In the end, her doctors were able to save both her and her baby.)

5. Be smart about sidewalk counseling signs. Dos and don'ts.

4. Abortion is a symptom, not a solution. Sean strikes again with her pro-life feminist take on the reasons women have abortions.

3. How I left the pro-choice movement and found true liberation. One woman's moving story.
I had my own abortions, for varying reasons. If I said I didn’t regret them, I would be lying, but liberated women aren’t allowed to feel regret over a clump of cells that would ruin their lifestyle. We couldn’t show other women our tears, because then they might not be able to kill their clump of cells, and then their lifestyle would be ruined.
2. BREAKING: Planned Parenthood uses partial-birth abortions to harvest fetal organs for sale. This was the very first video from the Center for Medical Progress back in July. The "for sale" aspect wound up getting the bulk of the media attention, but I found PP's unambiguous admission that it was using a "breech" method to avoid damage to the organs to be much more disconcerting.

And our most-read article by a landslide...

1. Dear Bill Nye: Where's the Science, Guy? Taking down Bill's pseudoscientific ramblings in support of abortion.
Science can’t tell us what to value in human beings or when we should protect one another. Those questions fall within the realm of philosophy, a realm Nye steps squarely into when he implies a value judgement based on how easily organisms can naturally die. His implication isn’t a scientific fact, it’s a philosophical position, and Nye’s famous nickname doesn’t give him the right to conflate those two completely different approaches. It’s especially loathsome that this hand-wavy philosophical viewpoint is trying to be passed off as “science” by one of our country’s biggest science advocates. That’s not okay no matter how quirky his bowtie is.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hiatus for Christmas

Yes, Virginia, secular people celebrate Christmas! Also, as a practical matter, we've learned that blog traffic declines precipitously this time of year, what with people spending time with their loved ones instead of debating strangers on the internet.

Tidings of comfort and joy to you, and may there be peace on earth. We'll be back next week with our year in review.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

We Asked, You Answered: How Do You Define Rape Culture?

As a feminist pro-life organization, we believe that abortion is in many (if not most) cases a symptom of societal failures to accommodate women. Abortion is interconnected with other problems women face, including sexual assault.

So far, I think many pro-life and pro-choice people would agree. But pro-life and pro-choice circles often have different vocabularies for discussing these issues, making it harder to find common ground. So last week, we asked our facebook fans:
What do you think people mean when they use the phrase "rape culture"?
Here are a few of your answers (hyperlinks added by the editor):

Marie R. - Probably varies in different cultures, but it includes basically the principle that sexual intercourse and its consequences are only the responsibility of the woman, the idea that it is a woman's fault if she gets raped because she "provoked" her rapist (not dressed appropriately, drunk, flirtatious etc...), or even, in more severe cases, that a woman's consent or absence thereof is irrelevant to the man's right to have sex with her. And, more subtle but unfortunately frequent, the idea that a child conceived through rape must be eliminated, leading to the assumption that if the victim keeps her child, it wasn't "really" rape (consenting to the child's life being interpreted as consenting to the intercourse). Also the assumption that a woman who reports being raped must be lying, because a small minority of women who have done it are assumed to represent the others.

Anthony T. - When I hear the term rape culture I think of a society that is more prone to blame survivors of sexual assault rather than believe and support them. I also tend to associate the phrase with a lack of justice, such as rapist parental rights.

Heidi K. - A culture that makes it easy for non-consensual sex to occur, to be minimized as not that big a deal, and that focuses on "rape" as a violent act by a stranger who comes out of nowhere to attack rather than understanding it as non-consensual intercourse, which might look very (very!) different. And suggesting that these elements are entrenched in parts of American society, from college party culture to porn to Game of Thrones, is not at all absurd.

Mindy W. - Rape culture should be used in reference to institutionally approved/aided/abetted rape as a tool/punishment/reward—much like that seen within our prisons. But it is instead used by people to make due process and crime investigations look like we're oppressing rape victims. If you don't believe a rape happened just by the accusation—you support a rape culture because somehow you believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. If you believe that an individual's protection is ultimately the responsibility of the individual, you support rape culture, because you don't support overarching legal authority to change society as a whole. We don't live in a rape culture because we have laws against it, societal consequences for even those merely accused—not convicted—of rape. The phrase is emotional blackmail against society to enact changes in law that would completely remove the right to due process on part of the alleged rapist.

Cari B. - I was raped when I was 16 by my 27-year-old boss. I didn't report it. I didn't tell anyone but my best friend. I just quit my job and chided myself for being so stupid as to let him take me home. I felt I should have known better. So I suppose, a rape culture would be one in which a sixteen year old girl gets raped and assumes it was her fault because she hadn't done enough to protect herself.

Elizabeth R. - Men expect to get what they want when they want it and are surprised if a girl says 'no.' Or don't even know what NO means any more. That's rape culture.

Jamie E. - That women can be cat called, degraded, raped, beaten, yet somehow they brought it on themselves.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Tonight: Webcast spotlights former abortion workers

Tonight at 8:00 pm Eastern, 7 Central, there will be a free webcast featuring four former abortion workers. They will discuss what they saw in the abortion industry and how they got out, and will answer questions.

The webcast is sponsored by And Then There Were None, an organization run by former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson that helps abortion workers leave and find non-violent jobs. Johnson is a Christian and considers And Then There Were None to be a ministry; however, ATTWN serves ex-abortion-workers of all faith backgrounds (including atheists) and is happy to connect them to a spiritual adviser of whatever denomination they may request.

Learn more about the webcast and register here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Atlanta news team shines a spotlight on unsafe legal abortion

WSB-TV of Atlanta did what I wish more media outlets would do: it surveyed the health records of its local abortion centers and completely demolished the pro-choice narrative of poor bullied women's health providers versus unnecessary anti-choice regulations. You need to watch this. The report opens:
Unsterilized instruments, dirty linens, and expired medications: just some of the findings after we combed through five years of state inspections at Georgia's abortion clinics.
Incredibly, they got a Planned Parenthood representative to agree on camera that inspections are a matter of women's safety, not politics. But the inspections don't paint a pretty picture. The violations are even more egregious than the introduction implies; some medications were expired by more than ten years, and important equipment was repaired with duct tape and cardboard.

And if Planned Parenthood officials thought that they would get friendlier coverage in exchange for the PP representative's appearance on the program, they were sorely mistaken. The report is not subtle about Planned Parenthood's record. ($1,400 refers to the fine.)

A state health official explained that abortion centers are to be inspected "periodically," which in her view means every two to three years, but that there's "no set rule." The inspection agency only has about 100 inspectors responsible for 15,000 facilities, including the state's five abortion businesses.

My jaw just about dropped with this exchange:
Reporter: Do you feel like the state is doing everything that it can to protect women at these clinics?
Planned Parenthood spokesperson: I think there is probably more they could be doing.
After which Planned Parenthood turned right around and blamed inspectors who "have biases against abortion care."

Seriously, go watch the report.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Donald Trump is a Disaster Waiting to Happen for the Pro-Life Cause

We don't often get explicitly political at Secular Pro-Life. Our membership includes conservatives, liberals, moderates, and libertarians. We are Democrats, Republicans, independents, and members of third parties. Secular Pro-Life doesn't endorse candidates. We occasionally report on elections and debate the virtues of single-issue voting, but that's about as far as it goes.

But with Trump madness failing to subside, I feel compelled to say publicly: Trump as the GOP nominee, or (FSM forbid) the President, would be a disaster for the pro-life cause.

We need good Supreme Court nominees, and we know we won't get them from any Democratic commander-in-chief. We may have some decent Democratic options in state-level races (thanks, Democrats for Life of America!), but when it comes to the top of the ticket, the abortion industry has a stranglehold on the party. So it makes sense that pro-life organizations urge us to vote Republican for president. In some years, it's an enthusiastic endorsement; in other years, we're asked to hold our noses.

If it comes down to it, I will refuse to hold my nose and vote for Trump. I have many personal reasons for this, but keeping my focus on abortion, here are three.

It's not clear he's even on our side. His positions on life issues are incoherent.

Take Trump's statements on taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood. In early August, he advocated a federal government shutdown to defund PP. A week later, he repeated the myth that abortion is a small part of what PP does, drawing praise from PP spokesman Eric Ferrero, but suggested that PP "maybe" should be defunded "if it doesn't stop doing abortions." At the end of August, he referred to PP as an "abortion factory."

It's worth noting that Trump used to identify as pro-choice. That's not a deal-breaker by itself, necessarily; there's nothing inherently wrong with candidates changing their minds on an issue if they can articulate good reasons for it and follow through consistently. Trump, on the other hand, just seems to say whatever he thinks his audience of the moment wants to hear.

His off-the-cuff blustering and insults will bite the pro-life movement in the ass. Preborn children need thoughtful, persuasive advocates. The pro-life movement is trying to sway hearts and minds on what many people consider a complex moral and philosophical issue, and we need to be able to articulate the pro-life position clearly and persuasively. Lives hang in the balance.

Trump is the opposite of clear or persuasive. Trump says ignorantmean-spirited things all the time. When (not if) he does it on our issue, the abortion industry will have multi-million-dollar ad buys ready to go. Imagine Todd Akin times 100.

And finally, the biggest reason of all...

If Trump does oppose abortion, it's for all the wrong reasons. Trump has amply demonstrated that he does not have much love for humanity. His deplorable treatment of women, Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and anyone who disagrees with him goes way beyond the realm of normal rough-and-tumble politics and into the realm of dehumanization. It's one thing to argue that the United States cannot make adequate provisions to screen refugees from regions devastated by ISIS; it's quite another to call for a national registry of Muslims, or for systematic assassination of anyone unfortunate enough to have a terrorist in their family.

Trump's opposition to abortion clearly is not rooted in respect for the immeasurable value of human beings. Respect is not part of Trump's moral vocabulary. What it is rooted in, only he knows in his heart. My money is on simple pandering.

Thankfully, the race is far from over. Once undecideds are accounted for, Trump's position in the polls is considerably less impressive. He has no endorsements from any senators, representatives, or governors. And I can tell you that pro-life leaders are not gunning for Trump. The movement hasn't coalesced around a single alternative at this early stage, but we don't need to; any of the viable primary candidates would be better than Trump. So let's shout a clear message from the rooftops.

PRO-LIFE AMERICANS: REJECT DONALD TRUMP. Reject him to pollsters. Reject him on social media. And above all, reject him in the voting booth. Do it for the babies.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lies, Damned Lies, and Planned Parenthood Polls

Poll results are easily manipulated by the wording of the question. USA Today gives a perfect example:
In the poll, 46% agreed with the statement: "Heated political rhetoric about Planned Parenthood and abortion bear some of the responsibility for what happened" in the [Colorado Springs] shooting.
In contrast, 36% agreed with the statement: "The event was a random act of violence and not connected to politics."
The rest were undecided.
This is a textbook example of a false dichotomy.

The idea that the shooting was "not connected to politics" is ridiculous. Of course it was. It just doesn't follow that people who talk about those politics "bear some of the responsibility for what happened."

Here are a few of the plausible options not set forth in USA Today's poll:
  • Political rhetoric about Planned Parenthood gets heated, but pro-lifers do not bear any responsibility because Dear is fully responsible. Every year, millions of people engage in extremely contentious abortion debates without shooting a dozen people.
  • Political rhetoric about Planned Parenthood and abortion is truthful and therefore appropriate. Abortion workers sometimes use gruesome language to describe abortion, even calling it "killing," and pro-lifers have every right to amplify those statements.
  • Robert Dear was an extremely disturbed man who drew inspiration from politics in picking Planned Parenthood as his target; therefore it's wrong to say that the shooting was completely unconnected to politics. But if Planned Parenthood had not been in the news, Dear would have committed a shooting somewhere else.
  • "Heated political rhetoric" is an abstract concept that cannot bear responsibility for anything. (Seriously, how bad is the wording of this poll?)
The same USA Today article also claims that a majority of Americans oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, but doesn't mention the wording of that poll question. In light of the number of people who have been wrongly told that "defunding Planned Parenthood" means taking money out of the women's health budget—when in reality, the proposed legislation doesn't take away a dime from women's health (other providers get the money)—I'm willing to bet that number is inflated too. In fact, a recent poll making exactly that distinction found that a majority supported "shifting Planned Parenthood federal funds to community clinics that perform the same services, but do not perform abortions." 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Share your dialogue pet peeves!

Your president, Kelsey Hazzard, here. As you know, I'm speaking at the Students for Life of America conferences next month! The topic is improving the diversity of student pro-life organizations. Obviously, my angle is religious inclusion. My lovely co-presenter, Christina Bennett, will speak to race.

We met at the Yale conference in October and hit it off immediately. We decided that we want to do something more engaging than the standard one of us talks, then the other talks. We hit on a brilliant idea: since I'm a White "none" and she's a Black Christian, we're going to put on an exaggerated what-not-to-say skit. I'll be playing the role of the condescending White person ("Did you know that Margaret Sanger was a racist? Huh? Did'ja know that?") and Christina will be playing the role of the obnoxious Christian ("So, like, how are atheists moral? Why don't you just go around raping people all the time?").

We're going to hammer out the details soon. What annoying pro-life conversations have you experienced? Share your pet peeves in the comments, and your bad dialogue could wind up in our script!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tomorrow: Webcast on abortion pill reversal protocol

Tomorrow at noon Eastern time, Dr. George Delgado will present to medical students at Stony Brook University in New York on the abortion pill reversal protocol. His talk will be live-streamed at this link.

The so-called "abortion pill" is really two drugs, taken several days apart. The first part suppresses progesterone, a critical hormone to maintain pregnancy.* The lack of progesterone kills the embryo, but not instantaneously. That makes it possible to "reverse" the process if a doctor acts quickly to restore a higher level of progesterone. That's the reversal protocol in a nutshell.

Although the medical community is obviously Dr. Delgado's primary audience, Medical Students for Life is also promoting this event to the public at large. That's because the public has an important role to play in spreading awareness of the protocol.

The abortion pill reversal protocol isn't a fancy new pharmaceutical product that lends itself to a major advertising campaign. Rather, it is a new application of long-used hormone therapies. As points out, "the type of progesterone used for treatment is the same as the progesterone made in a woman’s body."

Word of mouth is key. The longer a woman waits, the less likely the protocol is to succeed. It's on us to make sure every abortion-minded woman knows about this option from the get-go. So tune in and learn more tomorrow at noon!

* The second part of the chemical abortion process expels the dead embryo from the uterus.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

TV show featuring people with Down Syndrome premieres tonight

Tonight at 10pm Eastern (9pm Central), the new reality series Born This Way premieres on A&E. The show features seven young adults with Down Syndrome: Elena, Megan, Steven, Sean, Rachel, Cristina, and John. The series is scheduled to run for six episodes, which will cover such topics as marriage, life goals, family relationships, and limitations imposed by society.

People with Down Syndrome have enjoyed an increased presence in popular media over the last few years, from Glee to Where Hope Grows, but remain under-represented. Negative perceptions of Down Syndrome continue to dominate, and as a result, up to 90% of people diagnosed with Down Syndrome prenatally are killed in abortions.

We can do our part by showing media influencers that positive portrayals of Down Syndrome will attract an audience. So watch tonight, and every Tuesday night! And if you have thoughts to share, post them to our facebook page. We may feature your comments in a future review.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Abortion in "Why Women Shouldn't Marry"

I recently re-read the wonderful book Why Women Shouldn't Marry: Being Single by Choice, by Cynthia S. Smith and her daughter Hillary B. Smith. (It was originally published by Cynthia alone in 1988; the second edition, to which daughter Hillary contributed, came out in 2008.) The book is not against all marriages per se, but urges women not to marry just because that's what's expected of them, because they're lonely, because their friends are all getting married, etc. Their point is that it's much better to remain single than to be stuck in a marriage with the wrong person. The book is framed by interviews with women who are single, divorced, living with a long-term boyfriend, and various other scenarios.

The authors write from an expressly feminist position, and while they don't discuss the morality of abortion, they drop numerous hints that they're pro-choice. So it's interesting to note that in the few cases that abortion comes up explicitly in their interviews, the role it plays in the interviewees' lives is anything but empowering.

The first (and most positive) mention of abortion comes in an interview with Vera, a single woman whose father committed suicide when she was young. This event convinced her that men "are not trustworthy, they are not dependable. ...Vera was drawn to having affairs with married men because in doing so, she was only confirming her lack of respect for all men. In her view, their willingness to break nuptial vows only proved how untrustworthy, weak, and immoral they were." While I find this reaction understandable from a psychological perspective, it certainly isn't healthy. The authors emphasize that Vera is "strong" and "honest," and I'm sure she is. But most of us can agree that deliberately seeking out married men is not acceptable behavior, and suggests a disregard for others. I wouldn't expect someone with that personality to regret her abortion, and indeed she doesn't:
All of Vera's relatives had multiple marriages with much unpleasantness involved. Eight cousins had produced only a total of two kids among them. She herself loved children—her career involved working with them—but she never wanted to have any. After speaking for more than two hours, she casually mentioned that she had an abortion when she was twenty-two, and of all the decisions she had made in her life, this was one she never for a second regretted.
Next up is Paula, an attorney who was happily single until she hit 30 and suddenly felt that she had to find a husband; it was now or never. "Paula panicked and became an absolute neurotic on the subject until her friends became disgusted with both her conversation and behavior." She began dating Arthur, a mediocre man she met through a personals ad.
Not only was Paula hysterical about impending spinsterhood, she was also fearful of infertility. "How do I know I can ever have babies?" she wailed to her friends. So she decided to test her childbearing ability by not using contraception and then found herself in the mixed-emotional state of pregnancy. She was glad that she could conceive, but unwilling to concede to a marriage with Arthur. So she told him nothing and had an abortion.
The authors obviously disapprove of Paula. This is a cautionary tale, not a feminist model. Still, I was shocked that they included it. The idea that a woman might get pregnant just to see if she can, and then abort, sounds like an insane anti-abortion fable until you read it in a feminist tome. So much for all women treating abortion with the gravity and seriousness it deserves. (Paula goes on to marry Arthur, and we never find out if she tells him about their dead child.)

Finally, there is Gloria. While Paula was a cautionary tale on the danger of rushing into marriage, Gloria is a cautionary tale on the danger of trying to manipulate a man into marriage. From my perspective, she is also a cautionary tale on the danger of getting involved with a "bro-choice" man.

Gloria manipulated Don into moving in with her, and about a year later, issued an ultimatum: marry me, or I'm moving to San Francisco for a new job. "She had received the job offer months before, but held off telling him in order to force him to make a fast, now-or-never decision." He reluctantly chose to marry her.
For two years, things were great, and Don began to congratulate himself that he had made the right decision. They traveled, went to the theater, opera, ballet—all Don's interests. Then one evening, Gloria hit him with the bombshell.
"I'm pregnant. We're going to have a baby."
His face turned stony. "Oh no, we're not. I told you I never wanted kids."
He had. But totally confident in her manipulative talents, Gloria felt she would change his mind when the time was ripe. The debate went on for days, but he was adamant.
"Either you have an abortion, or I'm out of here," he said with such utter finality that she finally realized she had hit something she had never before encountered—an impenetrable stone wall ...
Many women would not have yielded, but Gloria had such confidence in her ability to convince anyone that she felt perhaps it was only a matter of poor timing. She would give in now, but come back in a year after giving him months to contemplate the guilt she would make him suffer. He took her to the doctor, and she had the abortion.
The following year, she once again became pregnant. But this time, she was prepared.
"I'm pregnant. I'm going to have a baby—your baby. I'm getting too old to expect this to happen again. I will not give up this child."
Again he refused to budge. No children. No way. This time she was prepared with a new tactic.
"I'll make you a deal. Why not wait until the baby is born, and after you've seen him or her, if you still feel you don't want to be a father, the baby and I will leave, and you'll never have to see us again."
He looked at her grimly. "I'm on to your manipulating techniques, Gloria. You assume I'll fall in love with the baby at first sight and get hooked. But you're wrong. Decide now—it will be me or your child."
She did not believe him. He drove her to the hospital for the birth and brought her and the baby home. When she got there, she found he had removed all his belongings. He dropped her off and left immediately. The divorce papers followed.

Friday, December 4, 2015

On the road to 10,000 likes

Our facebook page is so close to 10,000 likes, we can taste it. We have less than 200 to go. Our goal is to hit the sweet 10K by New Year's Eve.

If you just follow the blog but not our facebook page, you're missing out! We post lots of additional content there. So go like us. And if you already like us, please invite your friends.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What creates babies: sex, or choices?

[Today's guest post is by Sean Cahill, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law. She says: "Because it changes the way my voice is heard when it comes to life issues, I feel compelled to state that I'm a woman, despite what my name suggests."] 

The idea that childcare is primarily or entirely the mother’s responsibility runs so deep that many on both sides of the abortion debate view it as an unwavering constant we must accept. Pro-lifers claim that childcare and child-rearing need to be more valued so women won’t feel they “need” an abortion, which of course is not untrue (a thoughtful conversation exemplifying this principle appears in the comments here). Pro-choicers believe that because childcare is indeed “women’s work,” women who do not want to be wholly responsible for caring for the children they bear need abortion. For example, in arguing that abortion regulations violate the Equal Protection Clause, law professor Reva Siegel writes:
Because abortion-restrictive regulation coerces women to perform the work of mother-hood without altering the conditions that continue to make such work a principal cause of their subordinate social status, it is a form of status-reinforcing state action that offends constitutional guarantees of equal protection. 
Instead of daring to insist that men share equally in child-rearing, we submit to the sexist notion that a child is a mother’s responsibility opposed to a parent’s responsibility.

While abortion advocates claim abortion is necessary to address the inequality present in the realm of child-rearing, in actuality it hinders and may even foreclose efforts to alter these societal conditions, making abortion a barrier to sex equality instead of a tool to achieve it. A woman gets to decide if a child is born, and then as many say, she must raise that child because after all it was her choice. Her body, her choice becomes her problem. The availability of abortion does not free women from the “burden” of motherhood, but ensures that pregnancy and childcare continue to be viewed as entirely women’s issues, as opposed to human ones. 

Faced with the fact that child-rearing was viewed as entirely the responsibility of mothers, and thus a frequent barrier to educational and career goals, some women chose to deny the scientific reality that at conception, a new human individual exists with a unique DNA sequence different from any before. Instead of facing outward and scorning any person that would dare ask us to change this, we looked inward. Instead of changing society, we begged for the “right” to change ourselves. We began to claim conception should be unrelated to whether an infant is born nine months later. Because fatherhood was voluntary, motherhood should be too. And now we are told individuals have a right to sexual pleasure regardless of their procreative plans. (For examples look here, here, or here.) A woman consents to sex, not pregnancy, and definitely not parenthood. Anyone who believes otherwise is derided as a "slave to biology," as if biology were deliberately trying to oppress us (and not, you know, keeping us all alive). No longer will mere biology determine our fate! All women will have the right to the outcome we desire from any sexual experience. Conception does not necessarily create a child you must parent; instead, a woman’s choice creates that child. 

We espouse this sexual freedom, this disconnect from sex and the possibility of creating a child, and still expect men to “step up and take responsibility.” A man must be prepared to accept the responsibilities of parenthood whenever he has sex because abortion is a woman’s right. We expect these men to take responsibility... but responsibility for what, exactly? If sex doesn’t make a baby, if sex is not consent to a pregnancy or parenting, then why should men feel responsible for the child that results from the unilateral choice his partner makes? This is a question many men have asked, even going so far as arguing for a right to a “financial abortion,” a right to sign away any parental rights or obligations, including child support, before birth. (For examples, look here, here, and here.)

Instead of saying at the moment a pregnancy is discovered: “You are both parents, now be parents; your unique distinct child(ren) exists,” society decided the better conversation would be: “You could be parents in nine months, a child could come into existence, now let her decide.” We expect the sex that is pre-disposed to walk away because of their biological disconnect to conception, the sex whose irresponsibility is one of the very reasons women fought for the right to abortion in the first place, to welcome a child he had no say in, with open arms, love that child and financially support that child. Sadly but not necessarily surprising, in2014, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.4 million — were being raised without a father and nearly half (45%) lived below the poverty line.  80% of all single parents are mothers opposed to fathers.

Abortion was not a step forward for women, children or society. It ensured that pregnancy and child-rearing would be cemented as women’s issues. As Jo McGowan Chopra states:
We are still dealing on their terms. We are still accepting the idea that pregnancy and birth are women’s problems to be dealt with by women – and abortion makes things easier. With abortion readily available, the community need not feel any particular responsibility… the woman has taken care of her little “problem” and everyone can breathe a little easier.
Consider instead, a society that accepts the fact that women and men create children through the act of sexual intercourse, not through any subsequent choice, and therefore should be equally responsible for those children. Since we (women) are the ones to carry and sustain a new life for nine months, shouldn’t we be the benchmark for these issues?  Shouldn’t men rise up to our level? What if we chose to deny the sexist notion that women were wholly responsible for child-rearing, instead of denying biological reality? What would happen if we convinced society to embrace pregnancy and child-rearing as human issues, not women’s issues? Perhaps women could be accepted as we are.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Adoptees speak out

There's a tendency in pro-life circles to romanticize adoption. The reasons for that are understandable. For many people, adoption is the best available alternative to abortion, but choosing adoption remains clouded by myths and outdated fears from the old days when girls went to "visit extended family" for nine months and adoption was considered a shameful affair. In the face of that kind of dark, stigmatizing misinformation, of course we want to emphasize the positives of adoption.

But that risks becoming shallow and flat. There are many types of adoption. There are open adoptions and closed adoptions. There are international adoptions and domestic adoptions. Adoption as an abortion alternative, with the birth mother making plans before the baby is born, looks very different than adoption from foster care, which is initiated by the state responding to possible abuse or neglect. And of course, no two adoptees are alike, because no two people are alike!

So with that in mind, I was pleased to see two media outlets magnifying the voices of a diverse range of adoptees recently.

First up is Buzzfeed, applying it's "I'm X, but I'm not Y" formula to grown adoptees:

And at The Toast, Nicole Chung shares her insights about the difference between "open adoption" and "openness in adoption." You should really read the whole thing, but here's a taste:
I wouldn’t say that my family had a great deal of trouble discussing my adoption. We were always open about the fact that it had happened, that it formed our family, that it was nothing of which to be ashamed; my adoption was never a source of distress or drama for my parents. They were also glad to talk with me about their infertility once I was old enough to ask, and share how it had felt to be approaching ten years married with no children.
But we all struggled when it came to talking about my birth parents, their decision to give me up, and exactly what it meant — and how hard it often was — to be a family that was multiracial and multicultural through adoption. The judge who finalized my adoption told my parents, Just assimilate her into your family and you’ll be fine, and this was advice they took to heart. There was very little room for me to admit how much it bothered me that I had so little in common (not just in appearance) with my adoptive family. It was impossible to share feelings of inadequacy or rejection, or even explain the humiliation of hearing racial slurs at school. In a thousand tiny ways, both spoken and unspoken, most avenues for expressing any ambivalence about my adoption, or admitting to obsessive wondering about my birth family and my confusing identity, were closed.
So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that my parents weren’t comfortable with what they perceived as my birth family’s attempt to pry my adoption open after years of silence. When I was five or six, my birth parents reached out to us through the attorney who had facilitated my placement. Spooked by the sudden contact, my adoptive parents sent a message back through the lawyer saying that I was fine; they were unwilling to share any photos or provide more detailed information. Being in regular communication, as my birth parents had requested, was definitely out of the question. 
I wouldn’t learn of this lone overture toward a more open adoption for over a decade.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Colorado Springs Shooting: What We Know

Graphic via Life Matters Journal

You already know that on Friday, a gunman killed three people and injured nine others while firing shots from a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood abortion center.

61-year-old Ozy Licano was sitting in his car in the parking lot when he encountered the gunman, identified as Robert Lewis Dear. Dear fired through Licano's windshield. Thankfully, Licano was not seriously injured. Dear then retreated into the Planned Parenthood facility and stayed there for several hours, firing shots into the parking lot at the police officers who had gathered to address the situation. 

One police officer, Garrett Swasey, was killed. Two other individuals were also killed, and nine people were injured. Details about those victims have not been released at the time of this writing; however, they were not police officers, and Planned Parenthood has confirmed that they were neither staff nor patients. By process of elimination, we can guess that the victims were simply people who were in the parking lot at the wrong time, perhaps running errands. (The Planned Parenthood is located near various stores.)

Police have urged the public not to speculate about Dear's motive, but of course everyone wants an explanation. Initial rumors that Dear had camped out in the Planned Parenthood after a failed bank robbery, based on an eyewitness report of patrol cars swarming the nearby Chase Bank followed by the sound of gunfire, were quickly debunked. At this point it is at least clear that the shooting began in Planned Parenthood's parking lot.

We don't know much about Dear, but what little has been released is a sad echo of the many mass shootings our nation has endured. He lived in a shack with no electricity or running water. Although he had no diagnosed mental illness (which could have prevented him from obtaining a firearm), a neighbor says that Dear advised him to "put on a metal roof to block any government surveillance." Dear's responses to police interrogation have been "rambling," but he did say "no more baby parts" and something about President Obama. He has had past run-ins with the law, including allegations of animal abuse and domestic violence, but no convictions.

None of this is particularly surprising; mass shooters are rarely the picture of mental health. But what everyone wants to know is: was this about abortion? And if so, should the pro-life movement be blamed?

The "no more baby parts" comment, if accurate, is probably a reference to the undercover videos released over the summer which showed Planned Parenthood officials callously discussing the harvesting of abortion victims' organs for research. That's a strong indication that abortion motivated Dear. And yet Dear's victims had no apparent connection to Planned Parenthood. In fact, Officer Swasey was pro-life, and already being lauded by the pro-life community as a hero (as he should be).

So now what?

I've seen two reactions dominate the pro-life community. The first is horror and sorrow, just as any sane person would react to any mass shooting. The second is condemnation, and anger that this could have been done in our name. As one commenter on our facebook page put it: "I'm finding myself empathizing with Muslims at this moment... Feeling like I need to make some kind of comment or statement defending the pro-life movement because of this even though some deranged shooter has nothing to do with being pro-life." The analogy is an apt one. 44% of Americans identify themselves as pro-life, and popular pro-life policies—like banning abortion after the first trimester and requiring informed consent—command solid majorities. We're easily talking about over 150 million people that are all being painted with the same brush.

But getting defensive is the wrong response. If it's true that Dear was motivated by our criticism of Planned Parenthood, that would mean that he somehow got the first half of our message—Abortion is wrong—but not the critical second half, the why—because life is precious. That should concern us. Not because Dear was "one of ours," not because the media wants to guilt us, not because Planned Parenthood is fundraising off of it, not because vigilantism hasn't tarnished any other causes (it certainly has), but because one of our central goals is to effectively educate people about the value of human life. We obviously failed on that count when it came to Robert Dear.

It is in times like these that I wish I believed in the power of prayer. That would at least give me something nice to say. But it's not on God. It's on us. As hard as we've been working—the shooting came just days after the CDC reported that abortions are at an all-time low, with tens of thousands of abortions prevented through peaceful, lawful means—we have to work even harder to ensure that every human life is protected.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Hiatus

Due to the authors' travel plans for Thanksgiving, the blog is on hiatus until Monday, November 30. We wish you a happy time with your loved ones.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's not about who matters more

Everyday Feminism recently published a comic on the "32 types of anti-feminists," with each type getting a panel. Some of them are pretty funny and sadly accurate.

And then there's this straw man:

Where to begin?

Okay, let's begin with appearances. What's up with his eyes? And his hair? And his nose? And the nervous shaking? He looks drunk or high! I hesitate to suggest that there's such a thing as a "typical pro-lifer," but it definitely wouldn't be that guy.

An intellectually honest illustrator can certainly do better than depicting a nascent human life as a speck. Most abortions take place in the latter part of the first trimester (8-12 weeks). Here's a more realistic depiction (via, which strangely enough supports abortion):

Before I go on to the words uttered by our inebriated caricature friend, let me tell you a story.

Clarence, a man in his early 50s, lived in Florida. He was often unemployed and had only an eighth-grade education. He had married four times, had six children removed from his care by social services, and lived his life in poverty. In 1961, Clarence was accused of stealing $55 and a few bottles of beer from a pool hall and was arrested.

He had no money to pay an attorney, but since the charges were not capital, the court declined to appoint a lawyer to defend him. He conducted his own defense, failed, and began a five-year prison sentence. From prison, Clarence sued the director of the Florida Division of Corrections, claiming that he had violated Clarence's rights under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Supreme Court considered the matter. If the Court had begun with the question, "Who matters more?", poor Clarence would have had a very hard time proving that he was more important than a government official. Thankfully, that is not how the law works.

Clarence is Clarence Earl Gideon, and the Supreme Court case is Gideon vs. Wainright—the landmark ruling in Clarence's favor that granted all criminal defendants the right to court-appointed counsel.

Asking "who matters more?" completely mis-frames the problem. Abortion is a legal issue, and like any other legal issue, involves competing interests. Gideon's right to counsel was deemed more important than Florida officials' interest in avoiding the cost of hiring public defenders. And pro-life people deem an unborn child's right to life more important than a mother's right to avoid the costs associated with childbirth and adoption.

That does not mean that children are "infinitely more important" than their mothers.* It only means that children are in a vulnerable position that demands protection of their rights. In much the same way that opponents of feminism wrongly characterize feminism as putting women above men, pro-choice feminists wrongly characterize us as putting unborn babies above women.

Mother and child are equal. We will continue working until the law recognizes this truth.

* In my own experience, pro-lifers tend to hold mothers in high esteem. We certainly never call them "ovens."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Why I'm Optimistic About the Future of the Right to Life

[Today's guest post by Barry Stefan is part of our paid blogging program.] 
"The equal protection of the law should extend to all members of the human family, old or young, black or white, able or disabled, gay or straight, born or unborn—those are the values of human dignity and human equality that should be reflected in our laws, our lawmakers, and our law enforcement.”
~ David Daleiden, Center for Medical Progress 
“They’re human beings today, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to make my own reproductive choices, as a right that every woman has and should maintain.”
~ Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in response to the question of whether or not her children were human beings before they were born 
I’d like to take a moment and reflect on what a great time it is to be pro-life. Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I see a changing tide. First, we had David Daleiden - the man responsible for pulling back the curtain on what daily life is like for those who traffic in the business of abortion (spoiler alert: they use dark humor as a tool for self-preservation. “Another boy!!!” Slice.) - speak eloquent truth to power. Speaking in a way that might surprise some to learn he’s Catholic, he tied the struggle to end abortion with the struggle against racism and the fight for gay rights. Meanwhile, the head of the DNC offered a non-answer to a direct question as to whether her children were human beings in the womb.”They’re human beings,” she said, coming dangerously close to correctly answering the question, “today.” Ok, so this latter response is nothing new. Dehumanizing nascent human life as non-human beings has been the bread and butter of pro-choice politics for decades. But Daleiden’s decidedly secular language provides a fresh counterpoint and suggests a new emerging narrative; not an us vs. them story of the God fearing vs. the civic minded, but the story of an ideology’s forced self reflection as society broadly adopts its moral language.

Exhibit A of this new narrative is the noticeable decline of religious life in America. In some ways, this may come as welcome news to pro-choicers, but there's another phenomenon that should have them worried. While religious decline coincides with more tolerant attitudes for homosexuality across both religious and unaffiliated groups, it has not translated to liberalized attitudes on abortion across these same groups. This is a big deal for a society that conflates traditional marriage and pro-life sentiment as solely religious concerns. I am agnostic on the net effects of religious decline, but it undeniably exposes the myth that defense of nascent human life is cut from the same cloth as denying human rights based on sexual orientation. Before research confirmed the downward trend of religiosity, it was easy enough to point to organizations like Secular Pro-Life who belie this myth, but these types of organizations may well just have been outliers - exceptions to the general rule, perhaps just the occasional progressive misanthrope who, God bless them, misapplies liberal orthodoxy. But the inability of pro-choice sentiment to capitalize in an increasingly secular society indicates secular pro-life thought is not an outlier, but rather a preview of what’s to come.

Declining religiosity is more than just less formal religion. It’s a fundamental shift in the informal, everyday aspects of our life - the way we think, the way we interact and, ultimately, the moral language we speak. Within today's framework of social justice and equality, it's intuitively easier to understand why traditional marriage might never have stood a chance. But it's not so easy with abortion. After all, where's the equality in dividing nascent human life into those who are wanted and those who are not? So while it may be extremely fishy and just a titch ironic, it may not be all that surprising that in these crazy times you can find a devout Catholic speaking eloquently and fluently in defense of equality, while a devout progressive and top Democratic representative clings to just the kind of technicalities one would cling to if they wanted to avoid an honest discussion on the nature of equality. Maybe no one will notice. Just this time. Just this once. Just on this issue.

But we are noticing. And we're noticing because we speak the language of equality. We know the words, we get the concepts, and we understand just how high a standard it is. We know it's disruptive to the status quo and not always comfortable. So we don't blink at the fact that equality might have a disruptive thing or two to say about the manner in which we treat nascent human life. And we’ll call you out on the cake-and-eat-it-too dissonance between a supposed commitment to equality and the desperate attempt to retain the sanctified, but ultimately old-fashioned practice of killing human beings to preserve a grace period to parenthood. Sure, you may want to reap the social and economic "rewards" of eliminating unwanted fetuses, but it's a braver, more equal world out there and equality has something to say about benefitting off the backs of others. The economic spectacle of slavery learned this lesson long ago. Recently, we've learned that we cannot maintain the fiction of a heterosexual society by keeping gays and lesbians in the shadows. And soon we will learn that an attitude that values adult desires and needs over nascent human life is ill suited to meet the high standards of equality. Certainly take all prophylactic measures you wish; Secular Pro-Life encourages it. But killing your offspring is nothing less than discrimination based on level of development, no different than discrimination based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

If you are pro-choice and reading this, you are probably thinking many things, one of which may be that this is all bunch of crap and Ms. Schultz has it exactly right. An embryo, zygote, fetus or any human being that doesn't meet a certain developmental threshold are simply not persons, so inequality is a moot point. To which I would reply that inequality isn't limited to discrete examples of violations of a self-aware, thinking person’s individual rights. It is firstly an arbitrary climate we create through a focus on meaningless traits. If, back in the day, equality came across a freed slave, it would not be impressed. It doesn't care much that this particular individual is free, it cares about why he's free. And if the answer is because his “owner” freed him or anything less than because he's a human being, then no matter how free this person is legally, BOTH he and his enslaved counterparts are victims of inequality because his freedom and their lack of it is arbitrary. This also holds true for any offspring he might beget. If the child is free only because she was born to free parents, it doesn't matter if she goes through life unaware of oppression, discrimination or other setbacks; she's still a victim of inequality.

Nothing about this moral framework changes when the subject is nascent human life. Whether it's the 50+ million unborn lives legally snuffed out since Roe v. Wade or the 100+ million of us who have survived this shameful decision’s limits upon our humanity, the stain of inequality touches us all. The fact that nascent human beings are not self-aware, conscious, or able to feel pain is only relevant because these are precisely the traits used by foes of equality to rob them of their humanity and bring about the arbitrary environment in which we currently live. Schultz doesn't even attempt to pay lip service to this idea. Yet history is replete with stories about how attempts to define human beings have run afoul of the interests of equality. It's such a complete story that one wonders who exactly the last person was that argued a whole class of human life were not persons, proceeded to sanction the killing of that class and was, in the end, morally correct?

This is why, for at least one reason, the decline of religiosity is such a magnificent thing. It is crumbling the pillars of self-preservation on which lethargic pro-choice attitudes rest. The prevailing narrative of abortion as a cosmic fight between the religious and the civic minded provided cover for this lethargy since there’s a certain security in avoiding an issue because the other side speaks a different moral language. But broader society is beginning to speak a more secular language and the needle on abortion sentiment, in stark contrast to traditional/same-sex marriage, hasn't moved an inch. A pessimist might see this and predict another 40 years of gridlock. But I'm optimistic because the persistence of pro-life sentiment in a more secular world means that pro-choice individuals are eventually going to have to confront abortion in their own moral language and it's going to bring about some uncomfortable truths. Like the truth that the unborn are the actual victims of inequality. Like the truth that discrimination based on level of development has vast implications, since all of the human family begins the same way. Like the truth of the massive scale of abortion’s inequality: 50+ million lives irrevocably discriminated against and another hundreds of millions alive today who’s discrimination is echoed by the continued presence of the institution of abortion.

And like the truth that there can be no grace periods. If equality is to mean anything then it must begin when you do. Not “able to do calculus” you, or “capable of desiring to continue as a subject of experience and other mental states” you, or “white” you, or “straight” you, or “wanted” you. Just the you that begins as a speck barely visible to the naked eye and develops into a complex thinking moral being who eventually bears both the power and the responsibility to honor the equality of those who come after you. These are not easy pills to swallow, but equality demands high standards, the most important of which is to get it right from the start.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hulu cowardly rejects "controversial" ads for PP alternatives

Students for Life of America produced two commercials encouraging pregnant mothers to use federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) for their care instead of Planned Parenthood. One ad points out that 94% of pregnant women who go to Planned Parenthood wind up having an abortion, a fact that comes straight from PP's own annual reports. The other mentions Planned Parenthood's abortion quotas, which are verified both by the testimony of former PP workers and by contemporaneous documentation of awards to affiliates that exceeded the quota.

Neither commercial mentions the more recent scandals about Planned Parenthood selling fetal remains and altering the abortion procedure to avoid damage to desired fetal organs. That's because the ads were in production long before the Center for Medical Progress released any videos. Students for Life of America reports:
This June, Hulu told us they would run our commercials no problem. But last month, after viewing our final versions, they denied us. They said that Hulu won’t run a pro-life commercial. ... The only reason Hulu is now saying our commercials are too controversial is because Planned Parenthood was caught this July in a damning scandal, with high-level officials captured on video discussing the harvesting and sale of baby body parts.
Students for Life of America argues that these aren't "pro-life commercials" at all; they're PSAs for a government health center website. And it's true that nothing in the advertisements says that abortion is wrong. But (in large part due to our efforts!) Planned Parenthood has become synonymous with the abortion debate.

Hulu has run ads for Planned Parenthood before. But now, they want to avoid "controversy."

Sorry, Hulu, but it doesn't work that way. Yes, as a private company, you can censor as much as you like; you aren't breaking the law like pro-abortion public school administrators who bully pro-life student organizations. But you are cowards, and we are going to call you out on it. You just created a much bigger controversy for yourselves.

Students for Life of America has a petition you can sign. Until Hulu responds with an apology and airs the ads, I won't be watching Hulu. Let's hit 'em where it hurts: in the wallet.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Your miscarriage stories

On Tuesday, we posted an article about miscarriage and asked our supporters on facebook: "Have you lost a child to miscarriage? How did your pro-life friends and family react? How did your pro-choice friends and family react?" You had some insightful, moving responses. A selection follows. (You can read them all in their entirety here.) Without further ado, let's bust some miscarriage stigma.

Jessica M. - "We lost a baby at 18 weeks. It was a horrendous thing to go through. A lot of people - Christian, pro-life or otherwise - managed to say the wrong thing. I'm not necessarily upset with them - I earnestly believe they meant well but had no idea what to say. I think people are confused, in general about the unborn, and how to treat grieving parents. I did, and do have the continuous sense that I will have to defend to everyone, forever, that he was a person, which breaks my heart and makes me feel dejected, angry and alone. Even some pro-life Christians, while they wouldn't deliberately take an unborn life, have a deeply-held pragmatism about unborn children and expect you to absorb the loss without a great deal of grief. ... With all of that said, however, the people who really supported me most, who rallied around me and grieved with me, were pro-life. Pro-choice people can just never, ever reach the level of compassion that a pro-life person can, because the best they can do is 'we feel sympathy for you because YOU believe it was a person.' It's a hollow gesture."

Suzanne F. - "Pro-lifers have been extremely supportive about my miscarriage. I haven't had any bad encounters with people who are not pro-life, but then I tend not to share with them."

Michelle E. - "As an atheist I think one of the hardest things to deal with is death. For me my miscarriages are the hardest. Not only is it taboo to grieve, but knowing you won't get to see them again is rough. I will never know my children. I won't see them in heaven, or the next life. Their souls haven't traveled to other children with a better fate. They are gone and the only memories I have of them are very painful. With someone who had lived longer I could honor them in sharing the good times..."

Hillary B. - "Sharing with pro-choice folks is impossible. Their reactions are always minimizing."

Felice F. - "The worst and hardest part was all the well-meaning pro-life Christian friends (who had either never gone through it or who had, but had received the same treatment and thought it appropriate) telling me that at least it was early in the pregnancy and God had a reason and at least I wasn't further along. Abortion at 6 weeks is a horrific crime against a baby, but lose a baby at 12 weeks and at least it wasn't a big deal yet?! ... Fortunately, due to everyone blogging and sharing through various media their stories of loss, more of my pro-life friends are coming around. Some have even pulled me aside to apologize."

Jen G. - "I miscarried in my early 20s and was devastated. I don't feel like anyone really understood my pain - it was blown off. ... Now I just want to hug that young girl and tell her everything I went through was okay. That was my baby! Mourning him and being traumatized by his death was perfectly okay."

Michele G. - "In 2010, at 10 weeks along I found out that my child had a possible chromosomal abnormality. Then at 11 weeks we found out they had a heart condition as well. At 12 weeks we lost her. It was a very difficult two weeks, there was so much to process. But I have to say that all of my friends, no matter their beliefs, stood beside me and helped me get through this period and the depression in the months that followed. I believe that was because no matter where they stood on abortion, they cared deeply about me. At that point it wasn't about my child, it was about me and what I was going through. I thank them every day! Through this day I have a picture hanging in my hallway that is a collage of every sympathy card I received with one of the ultrasound pics inlayed as well."

Steve H. - "My wife and I went through it. To some degree several decades later, we still do. Losing a child doesn't leave you. What we found is that people who had been through it themselves understood, including some pro-choice folks, most of whom had many more reservations about abortion than they did before their own miscarriage."

Marie R. - "My answer to your question is rather bleak. I did not dare to tell pro-choice friends of what had happened, and even in my pro-life family some people expected me to be over it within a month and reproached me my subsequent commitment in the pro-life movement. It was a very lonely time. My husband was as devastated as me, so I did not discuss it with him as much as I needed, as I did not want to poke at a painful wound. My best friend was pregnant (our babies were exactly the same age), so I did not want to scare her by telling her too much. My mother's initially heartfelt support turned into contempt. I was very alone. Now three years (and a living child) on, I'm happy again, and I believe a better and more mature person for it. But it was a very tough experience."

Ann M. - "The worst, absolute worst were the [pro-choice] doctors ... who continually repeated that it was so common. Yes, death is common! We all die. It doesn't make it less painful, less sad, less a shock. The doctors made me feel worse about it."

Stephanie D. - "My pro-choice friends/family were far more supportive of me grieving my miscarriage than my abortion."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Planned Parenthood reconciliation bill heads to the Senate

Via Charlotte Lozier Institute; graphics for other states available on their facebook page

A few weeks ago, we reported that the House of Representatives was taking up a reconciliation bill that would redirect Planned Parenthood funding to more deserving providers. Previous efforts to accomplish this were not reconciliation bills, and were filibustered in the Senate. (A majority of Senators support the right to life, but not the 60% needed to overcome a filibuster.) But a reconciliation bill cannot be filibustered; the Senate has to allow an up-or-down vote.

The House passed it, and now it's the moment of truth: on to the Senate.

The Susan B. Anthony List has a simple form you can use to contact your Senators to urge passage of the legislation. The form letter is short and sweet:
I urge you to support the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (H.R. 3762),* which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on October 23.
This bill uses the reconciliation process to curtail the largest sources of federal funding to Planned Parenthood, those being Medicaid and other mandatory-spending programs – about $400 million. The funding is re-directed to community health centers, which provide comprehensive health care for women but do not perform abortions.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses do not need or deserve taxpayer funding. Most recently, undercover videos show that Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business, has been engaged in unethical and possibly illegal abortion practices connected to the trafficking of unborn children’s organs for profit.
Anyone who tells you that this measure will restrict healthcare access is lying: community health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood locations more than 20 to 1.

*Editor's note: I'll be the first to admit that this is a stupid name for the law, but that's Washington for you. I would have called it something like "the Women's Health Funding Allocation Act."