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.