Friday, June 30, 2017

Planned Parenthood Closings in California by Michelle Rodriguez

Three Planned Parenthood clinics located in Vacaville, Pittsburg, and central Richmond, California are scheduled to be shut down this summer. This news comes shortly after the release of the organization’s annual report which showed a sharp decline in services such as cancer screenings, STD testing, and contraceptive care. Prior to closing, the Pittsburg location was open only a few days a week because of the absence of patients.  

Planned Parenthood Northern California’s spokeswoman, Miriam Gerace explained to The Sacramento Bee that the clinics are shutting down largely due to low Medicaid reimbursement rates. As a result, State Treasurer John Chiang announced lawmaker’s plans to allocate $20 million dollars to local reproductive health clinics. “The Community Clinic Lifeline Grant Program,” his office says, “will help small or rural nonprofit clinics, including Planned Parenthood clinics, keep their doors open and provide critical services,”

PPNC is specifically shutting urban centers because they admit that their patients there already have other nearby clinics to rely on. According to Gerace, the organization is planning on expanding their services at rural clinics.

Pro-life leaders in the state believe that much of the reason for these clinics closing is due to an increasing popularity of affordable, comprehensive healthcare providers that offer reproductive health services. There are over 35 Federally Qualified Health Centers within 10 miles of these three clinics. In fact, in the Vacaville location, there is a competing, accessible provider in the same building! 

Planned Parenthood is showing signs of hurting even in states with allied politicians. While they lobby, we will continue to support nonviolent health clinics for the people that need them. We encourage you to donate to authentic women's healthcare at

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Show Solidarity with Ireland to #SaveThe8th

Ireland has long been a model for pro-life advocates in the United States. The 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution protects the right to life for all people, including those in the womb. When the Eighth Amendment was passed, abortion lobbyists predicted that women's health would suffer. Instead, Ireland enjoys lower maternal mortality rates than neighboring countries—and much lower than the United States.

Of course, the abortion industry can't let that narrative stand. Ireland has come under immense international pressure to revoke the right to life for the youngest people within its borders. And recent political events have Irish pro-life advocates very worried. In the words of Life Institute:
As you know, the 8th amendment (which guarantees the right of life of both mother and child) is under serious attack by pro-abortion extremists. They have the backing of wealthy foreign donors and organizations like Amnesty International. They also have the full sympathy of the media. For this reason each of us must do our best to spread the “save the 8th” message ourselves. We must be the ones to show our friends, our neighbours, and our government that the Irish people do not want abortion in this country and do want to protect our life saving laws.
The 8th Amendment has saved the lives of over 100,000 Irish children.

Irish supporters of the right to life are gathering this Saturday, July 1 for the All Ireland Rally for Life. The rally will begin at 2:00 p.m. local time in Parnell Square, Dublin. And while most Americans can't make it in person, we have a responsibility to show our solidarity from across the pond. And it's very easily done, so no excuses:
  • Take a photo in support of the 8th Amendment! Rehumanize International suggests shooting with a local landmark in the background. Don't have a local landmark? Get creative!
  • Send your photo to for use in their campaign.
  • Use the hashtags #SaveThe8th, #AbortionDiscriminates, and #WeStandWithIrelandForLife on social media.
And if you really want to go the extra mile, organize a gathering on or near July 1 in your town! Rehumanize International says: "To create your own Rally For Life to #SaveThe8th and stand with Ireland, just shoot me an email at with your name, your location, and your event’s date and time. Your event can be as large as 30+ at the Hollywood strip or as small as your family at your neighborhood park."

The unborn children of Ireland are under threat, and sad to say, that threat is largely funded by pro-abortion individuals and lobby groups in the United States. It's time for us to counter the "ugly American" effect and show our appreciation for Ireland's pro-life, pro-woman example.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pro-Life Women's Conference Recap

Birth Moms panel at #ProLifeWomen17

The 2017 Pro-Life Women's Conference was amazing. A picture is worth a thousand words, so check out our photo album on facebook.

Friday Night
Secular Pro-Life's conference booth was set up just a few yards away from our friends at Rehumanize International, with whom I also shared a hotel. Quick plug: their latest project is Create | Encounter, which wants your visual art, creative writing, musical works, etc. related to any and all life issues. Submissions are due July 31; details here.

The program opened with Lacey Buchanan, who spoke about her experience as a mother. Her son, Christian, has an extremely rare disability. Among other things, his eyes never developed. She struggled with people who've stared at Christian, made insensitive comments, and even attacked her as a "bad mother" for not aborting him! But the family has persevered, and the more she publicly advocates for him, the better it's gotten. She had a wonderful message about the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Next up was a panel of women who had all received poor prenatal diagnoses. Some did indeed give birth to children with disabilities; in other cases, the doctors turned out to be wrong. All of them described immense pressure from their doctors to abort, even after repeated refusals. One asked for a note to be placed in her chart that she was keeping the baby and did not want to hear any more abortion talk, to no avail. The most moving story came from a woman who received a scary initial test result. She asked the doctor for more testing, and was told "The only test I'll perform on your daughter is an autopsy." After sharing this, she asked her daughter to please stand—she was there attending the conference, 19 years old and perfectly healthy!

After lunch, there was a panel of pro-life physicians. Much of the discussion focused on natural family planning (NFP): what it is, and what it isn't. Specifically, it is not the rhythm method, and it is not just having a period tracker app on your phone! Effective natural family planning methods use personal indicators like cervical mucous and temperature readings to determine when you are ovulating, as opposed to when the "average" woman in an "average" cycle is ovulating. NFP allows women to either avoid pregnancy or try to conceive, and charting also offers doctors insight into underlying hormonal issues that may be treatable. The panelists were religious, and opposed hormonal birth control for a mix of medical and religious reasons, but noted that NFP can benefit women from all walks of life. This led to the memorable line "Atheists have cervical mucous too!" (Can confirm.)

Two breakout sessions were scheduled for the afternoon. All the speakers and topics looked interesting, and it was hard to pick. For the first session, I attended a presentation on pregnancy loss from a woman who had experienced seven miscarriages/stillbirths at various gestations. She shared that she was well supported when she lost a child later in pregnancy; people brought her meals and sent sympathy cards and listened. But that was not the case when she miscarried early, and that hurt. The pro-life community needs to step up in those situations, and we shouldn't expect women's grief to follow the classic linear "seven stages." Life is much messier than that.

The second breakout session I attended focused on sex trafficking. The speaker was a social worker who shared (with names changed, of course) how her clients, often young teens, were recruited into prostitution rings through a combination of seemingly legitimate job opportunities, manipulation, and force or the threat of force. Helpful tip for pregnancy care centers: trafficked women and girls are often supervised by a handler, except when they are in the restroom. When a client goes to the ladies room to take a pregnancy test, give her the opportunity to tell you what is going on. This can be accomplished with a sign and a message box. Naturally the message box must be checked after each pregnancy test.

The morning's keynote speaker was Melissa Ohden, who shared her story of surviving a saline abortion, growing up in a loving adoptive home, and eventually reconnecting with her birth mother—who, as it turned out, had been coerced into the abortion by her mother, Melissa's grandmother. You can read more about Melissa's incredible journey here.

Next up was a panel entitled "Engaging the Black Community." Much of it was church-focused, which is not surprising given the large role Black churches play in social and political life. But here's an important takeaway for the pro-life movement in general: be mindful of Martin Luther King Day! It often falls on or near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when we have memorial events and rallies planned. But Planned Parenthood is attending the MLK events, and if we aren't, we're giving the abortion industry a free pass. Schedule accordingly.

The final event of the conference was also one of the most moving. Seven birth mothers shared their pregnancy and adoption stories. They were incredibly diverse; some never considered abortion, others wavered back and forth, and others were dead set on abortion until a pro-lifer changed their mind. One woman was incarcerated during her pregnancy and gave birth in shackles, a terribly inhumane practice that everyone, whether pro-life or pro-choice, should oppose. There were many adoptive parents and adoptees in the audience, and the Q&A was truly beautiful.

Throughout the weekend, I had the opportunity to network with like-minded women from all over the country, and I also got to hold three different babies. This is the most mom- and child-friendly conference on the planet. Whenever a mom needed a break, there was a line of people volunteering for a shift. If you want to see what pro-life means in practice, this is it! The date for the 2018 conference is TBD (I assume it will be sometime in the summer), but the location has been announced: St. Louis, MO. See you there!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Join us at the Pro-Life Women's Conference THIS WEEKEND!

Tonight's the night! The second annual Pro-Life Women's Conference kicks off with a reception at the Orlando World Center Marriott. The keynote speaker is Abby Johnson, famous for leaving her job as a Planned Parenthood facility manager and blowing the whistle on Planned Parenthood's Medicaid fraud and other misdeeds.

The conference will continue tomorrow and Sunday with a wide array of panels and breakout sessions. This year's theme is "Life Empowers Women." Topics will include adverse prenatal diagnosis, race relations, adoption, sex trafficking, the consistent life ethic, and sidewalk advocacy. Secular Pro-Life has an exhibit booth, and we encourage you to come say hello! There will be many other familiar faces, including: our dear friend Aimee Murphy of Rehumanize International; Christina Bennett, who you'll recognize from our Students for Life of America conference presentation back in January; SPL blog contributor Sarah Terzo; and Gina Mallica of the #HelloHyde campaign.

Registration is required. If you ask me, the ticket price is well worth it. Get all the information you need and sign up ASAP at See you soon!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SPL at the Californians for Life Summit 2017

[Today's guest post is by Michelle R.]

I’ll admit I was a little nervous when Terrisa invited me to the Californians for Life Summit. Despite being pro-life for several years, I didn’t feel comfortable attending pro-life events. In 2016, I went to OneLife LA with a secular friend who was pro-choice but open to learning more. I invited her to the event with hopes that she would see a welcoming, productive movement. At the event, we were surrounded by literature about political topics not related to abortion and signs that read “RESPECT GOD’S LAW” and “REPENT” in bold, red letters. One women angrily interrogated us when I told her that we don’t pray.  What I thought would be a great opportunity to show my friend an inviting, loving community ended up being an apology for the uncomfortable treatment by my fellow pro-lifers.  

Fast forward to last Saturday and I am now at the Summit three hours away from my warm bed about to introduce myself to a group of statewide pro-life leaders. As I rehearsed what I was going to say, I got the idea to introduce myself as a former pro-choicer.
It was a great idea, because it encouraged the start of important dialogue. People approached me to ask what made me change my mind. The focus of the majority of the conversations were about how we can create a more comprehensive movement and naturally they wanted input from non-traditional pro-lifers. Many of these groups were enthusiastic to share new projects aimed at diversifying their message.

The interactions were mostly positive, but demonstrated that there was still progress to be made. One PRC director talked to me about how important it is to have a welcoming community. I felt that we were reaching an understanding, so I asked if non-Christians were allowed to volunteer at her center. She responded, “no, because we do things in a way that Christ would and atheists cannot replicate that,” I was running out of time, but this would have been a perfect opportunity to explain ways in which we can assist pregnancy centers that do not interfere with their mission. How many other atheists like me have skills to contribute but are dismissed because we can’t do things “the Christ way”? I thought about this particular conversation on the drive home and wondered if anyone has ever previously asked her that question.  

Overall, I was taken by surprise with the amount of gratitude that people had for us several secularists at the event. I got so many hugs, handshakes, and even shared tears with some of the guests. I strongly encourage all nonconventional pro-lifers to go out there and share your ideas. Leaders in the community want to hear from us and learn from us.  The larger our presence, the more revolutionary our impact will be. 

I was thanked for being so open-minded, but what is considered to be tolerant is just common sense to me. I’ll admit I had preconceived notions prior to attending, and I’m sure that there were opinions about my blue hair and piercings long before I said anything. Stereotypes get shattered when you have real conversations. Breaking down misconceptions, even of each other, is lifesaving work in action.

Monday, June 19, 2017

What's in store for pro-life politics? Watch Georgia to find out.

Congressional candidate Karen Handel
Tomorrow, residents of Georgia's 6th Congressional district will hold an election to replace their previous representative, Tom Price, who left the position to become the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price, who has a strong anti-abortion record, carried the district with ease for over a decade. But the current race is too close to call.

The Republican candidate is Karen Handel, Georgia's former Secretary of State. But pro-lifers will know from her past service as Senior Vice President of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. During her tenure, Komen decided to end its relationship with Planned Parenthood, both because of Planned Parenthood's many scandals and because, for the millionth time, Planned Parenthood does not do mammograms. Planned Parenthood responded with a disgusting campaign to turn its supporters against Komen; sadly, Komen caved and agreed to divert breast cancer funds to Planned Parenthood, at which point Handel resigned. (This is a very truncated summary of what happened; Handel wrote a whole book about it if you're interested.)

Karen Handel practically embodies the idea that standing up for women's health means standing against Planned Parenthood. Her pro-life, pro-woman credentials have won her the support of every major right to life organization.

The Democratic candidate is Jon Ossoff, whose campaign website equates Planned Parenthood with women's health. It's a stark contrast, to be sure. But Ossoff isn't so much running against Handel as he is against Donald Trump. Ossoff's campaign slogan is "Make Trump Furious." That sentiment has raised millions of dollars, mostly from outside the state. As a result, the Handel-Ossoff race is set to become the most expensive House seat election in U.S. history—and there is a real chance that the seat, which Republicans have held since 1978, will turn blue.

Ossoff was initially a long-shot candidate. A February article by local news station WSB-TV described him as "a documentary filmmaker who was until recently unknown to even veteran Georgia strategists," but noted that he had "quickly captured the imagination of Democrats hoping to notch an early victory against Donald Trump."

It is difficult to imagine a 30-year-old Republican winning a 2008 special election in a deep blue district on a "Make Obama Furious" platform, or a 30-year-old Democrat winning a 2000 special election in a deep red district on a "Make Bush Furious" platform—especially against someone as experienced as Karen Handel. But we are living in different times, and Donald Trump is a uniquely hated figure in American politics. There is no evidence to indicate that Georgia voters have suddenly embraced abortion. Rather, this has become a referendum on Trump, and unborn children are caught in the political crossfire.

Secular Pro-Life predicted that the election of Donald Trump would be "a disaster" for the pro-life cause and that the pro-life movement's response to Trump's nomination would have "years-long, life or death consequences." Tomorrow's results will tell us just how damaging the consequences of President Trump can be.

Friday, June 16, 2017

New Study Sheds Light on Prenatal Cognition

[Today's guest post by Caitlin Fikes is part of Secular Pro-Life's paid blogging program.]

I believe that there is a common and insidious cultural misconception with regards to fetuses: the subtle idea that birth is the true beginning of a human’s life, not only because that is when he or she is first socially acknowledged and welcomed by the rest of the species, but also because deep down we assume that birth is when the young humans themselves first experience anything of significance in the world. After all, what could fetuses be doing in there if not sleepily kicking around in the womb, waiting for life to begin? We seem to have this perception that a fetus is utterly unaware of anything, pending the moment of awakening.

By contrast, infants from the very second they emerge are perceived as awake and alert. We marvel that a baby is constantly seeing, hearing, observing, learning, developing, experiencing. It is as if we believe that birth is the moment when a young human is switched from OFF to ON, sort of like a machine you just finished constructing and are now ready to plug in for the first time.

But the truth is rarely so simple, and in actual fact scientific studies are repeatedly demonstrating that there is very little infants do that fetuses haven’t done first (and that the womb may be a more stimulating and interesting place than we thought).

For example, scientific studies have confirmed that fetuses can hear voices and distinguish between unique speech patterns, allowing them to recognize (and prefer) their mother’s voice over any other’s. It has also been shown that a fetus will learn to recognize a song or story repeatedly played/read to them, retaining a familiarity with that tune or story post-birth. This is referred to by scientists as “preconscious learning.” A fetus’s brain will even notice when a familiar song is played slightly incorrectly, requiring some basic ability to remember what the song ought to sound like and then compare the two.

Adding to this list is the latest discovery, and this one’s on the level of groundbreaking: new research out of Lancaster University in the United Kingdom demonstrates that fetuses will react to face-like shapes in the same way infants do. Researchers shone different collections of red dots to fetuses while observing their responses via ultrasound, and the fetuses displayed particular interest in face-like clusters. As the researchers themselves point out, “This tells us that the fetus isn’t a passive processor of environmental information. It’s an active responder.”

This paper is trailblazing because it’s the first real study on what fetuses see, and confirms that they do have visual experiences while in utero. The womb is not pitch-black like many assume (and nor is it silent either). One of the paper’s authors describes what fetuses likely experience as similar to being in a room with the lights turned off and the curtains drawn over the windows, yet it’s very bright outside. Fetuses are thought to begin to see as early as 20-24 weeks gestation, so they’ll have quite a while to watch shadowy shapes pass by before they are even born.

This study is also important because even though it’s been known for a long time that infants are particularly interested in face-like shapes, scientists often speculated if maybe infants prefer those shapes because human faces are what infants see first and most often—almost like imprinting. This study indicates that preference may run deeper than that.

Most important of all, the implications of this successful attempt to visually communicate something to a fetus in a simple way will almost certainly lead to new and extremely exciting studies of fetal cognition—for example, exploring if fetuses can distinguish numbers and quantities, as newborns do.

And once we know more about not only how fetuses are developing physically, but also their cognitive abilities, well… I suspect that it will become harder and harder for some people to insist that a fetus and an infant are worlds apart, or that a fetus doesn’t even count as human at all. And now we come to the crux of the matter: beyond the scientific curiosity of it all, what do studies like these tell us about the topic of abortion?

The fact is, no matter how many of these incredible studies emerge, they can’t definitively answer the ethical and legal questions our society has raised surrounded abortion. Science doesn’t dictate morality. It is absolutely, 100% possible for two reasonable, intelligent, and compassionate people to both read the same studies of fetal development with wonder and fascination, and still reach vastly opposing conclusions about whether causing the intentional death of a human fetus should be illegal.

So if you do draw a line between a human worthy of rights and protection vs a clump of cells that is not—and since the majority of Americans support abortion restrictions at some stage of development, it’s clear many Americans believe a line should be drawn somewhere—how do you decide where? When the heartbeat begins? After the first trimester? Viability? Birth?

Science can answer many of the questions we raise in order to navigate the murky waters of morality, and it can shine a light on crucial truths. Study after study is constantly showing us that human fetuses are hitting many milestones far earlier than previously believed, which ultimately makes it more difficult to argue that society’s insistence of relying upon any of those developmental milestones to tell us when a human life earns acknowledgement is not completely arbitrary.

This most recent study of what fetuses are capable of is yet further indication that as monumental as birth is, it is not the beginning of a human being’s life, learning, or experiences, or the start of anything that wasn’t already happening before. The physical movement of a baby from within the womb to outside the womb does not really endow it with all that many new abilities or change anything intrinsically about it, biologically speaking, so why should that change its worth? A question worth pondering.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Upcoming Events

It's hard to believe we're almost halfway through 2017 already. We have a very busy schedule for the remainder of this year, and we would love to see you!

Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17 in Bakersfield, CA
Join us at the Californians for Life Summit this weekendPro-life supporters from throughout the state, from all areas of expertise, will come together, meet one another, share ideas, learn about what is being done successfully, participate in strategic planning, find ways to overcome challenges, be inspired, and be encouraged. SPL's Terrisa Bukovinac, who is also the president of Pro-Life Future of San Francisco, will give a presentation on secular messaging

Thursday, June 22 in San Francisco - 9:30 a.m.
There will be a public hearing on the motion to disqualify Judge Orrick from presiding over the case against David Daleiden and Sandra Merrit of the Center for Medical Progress for going undercover to expose Planned Parenthood. Judge Orrick and his wife have strong ties to Planned Parenthood that they failed to disclose to the defendants, and this bias makes it impossible for Judge Orrick to give David and Sandra a fair day in court. Pro-life advocates led by Terrisa Bukovinac will attend the hearing to give their encouragement to David and Sandra during this difficult time.

Friday, June 23 through Sunday, June 25 in Orlando
We are thrilled to co-sponsor the second annual Pro-Life Women's Conference. Last year's event in Dallas was so inspiring and informative. Come by the Secular Pro-Life exhibit booth and say hello!

Saturday, July 1, in Milwaukee
Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard will once again present at the National Right to Life Convention on making the secular case against abortion. This annual convention brings people together from all fifty states. The convention will begin on Thursday, June 29, with Kelsey's presentation on the final day.

Saturday, July 1, in Dublin
The All Ireland Rally for Life takes place in a few short weeks! Secular Pro-Life sadly won't be able to make it, but we strongly support this crucial event for our friends across the pond. Ireland has shown that it's possible to have pro-life laws and excellent women's health outcomes (including a lower maternal mortality rate than neighboring pro-choice countries). The abortion industry can't stand that chink in its narrative armor, so it is putting tremendous pressure on Ireland to "get with the times" and revoke the right to life from its constitution. Please rally if you're able; Irish babies need your support!

Saturday, August 5, in St. Davids, PA (just outside Philadelphia)
The Consistent Life Network will hold its 30th anniversary conference at Eastern University from Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6. Kelsey will speak in a Saturday afternoon session opposite Catholic advocate Tony Magiano. Other workshop topics include sex trafficking, restorative justice, messaging, pacifism, and the just war theory.

Saturday, October 21 in Pittsburgh
Life/Peace/Justice is back! This wonderful conference is organized by our dear friends at Rehumanize International (a.k.a. the organization formerly known as Life Matters Journal). Kelsey will be among the speakers; the full list has not been finalized, but like Consistent Life, this conference typically covers a wide range of threats to human life and dignity. This year, the pro-life student organizations from Pitt and Duquesne will co-host.

And it's not too early to be thinking about the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January:
  • The March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 19, 2018.
  • The Students for Life of America east coast national conference will be held in Maryland (D.C. metro area) on Saturday, January 20, 2018.
  • The Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life will also be held on January 20. This is a Catholic conference hosted by students at Georgetown University; we've never been before, but this year's theme is "The Future of the Pro-Life Movement in a Secular World," and Kelsey has accepted an invitation to speak. (Astute readers have noticed that Secular Pro-Life will be in two places at once. We will need volunteers!)
  • The Walk for Life West Coast will take place in San Francisco on Friday, January 27, 2018.
  • The Students for Life of America west coast conference will be held in San Francisco on Saturday, January 28, 2018.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

#SockIt2PP is going on the road

Students for Life of America has collected over 200,000 baby socks for its #SockIt2PP campaign. Each sock represents one of the many lives taken by Planned Parenthood each year. The incredible display, which SFLA brought to Washington, D.C. in April, turns heads. Says SFLA president Kristan Hawkins:
There are few presentations I’ve seen as effective at getting young people to rethink their stance – whether they’re self-described as “pro-choice,” or just haven’t fully developed their beliefs on the life issue – as seeing our #SockIt2PP display.
That’s because when they see a mountain of baby socks, it’s easy to envision the little baby feet that should be wearing them if not for Planned Parenthood abortionists.
Before our April press conference, we were carrying boxes of the socks from our moving truck to the location on Capitol Hill. I told every person who walked by what we were doing. And no matter what their political affiliation, age, skin color, or gender, every single person was shocked.

But that mountain of baby socks, as gut-wrenching as it is, actually under-depicts the tragedy. According to its recently released annual report, Planned Parenthood committed 328,348 abortions in 2015. That means the #SockIt2PP display is short by 127,805 socks.

SFLA will continue to collect baby socks until they reach 328,348 or until Planned Parenthood is defunded. (Upon the conclusion of the campaign, they'll be donated to families in need.) But the sooner you can send a sock the better, because SFLA just announced that #SockIt2PP is going on tour in the fall!

They're taking #SockIt2PP to college campuses across the country. The locations haven't been announced yet, but if past tours are any indication, this will reach tens or even hundreds of thousands of students. If you want viewers to understand the full scale of Planned Parenthood's devastating abortion business, take the time to send a sock! You can also donate to the campaign.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Two years without justice for victim of Dayton, OH abortion business

The Women's Med Center waiting room

On June 11, 2015, Women's Med Center in Dayton, Ohio committed an abortion on a woman who was unable to consent. According to a state report—which did not become public until last year—the woman (identified only as "Patient #1") was unable to hold a coherent conversation or even lift her head. Her speech was slurred, and according to the person who gave her a ride to the center, she "took two Soma and several Percocet and probably both Suboxone and perhaps some heroin on the way in." She was described as "semi-conscious with low blood pressure."

Women's Med Center dutifully noted her all of this on her chart, then aborted her baby anyway. Their excuse? If they didn't act quickly, the child might have been born alive. The horror.

If anyone other than an abortionist did what Women's Med Center did—if anyone approached a woman who was too high on recreational drugs to function, either ordered her to undress or personally undressed her, then stuck metal instruments up her vagina and manipulated her cervix—feminist groups would rightly and without hesitation call it rape. Instead, NARAL defended Women's Med Center, calling the health department investigation a "political witch hunt."

When this story first broke last year, Secular Pro-Life drew attention to the cause using the hashtag #AbortRapeCulture. Sadly, only pro-lifers cared. Not a single pro-choice twitter user spoke out against Women's Med Center's abuse.

It's now been two years. Has Women's Med Center suffered any consequences?

The investigation into the medical rape has apparently stalled. Six months ago, Women's Med Center lost its operating license for an unrelated reason, namely, its failure to obtain a transfer agreement with a local hospital, as required by law. Unfortunately, Women's Med Center is allowed to keep doing abortions while it challenges that ruling in court. The legal proceeding remains pending.

We mourn two years without justice for Patient #1 and her baby. To mark this sad anniversary, and to remind Ohio officials of their duty to protect the public from Women's Med Center, we ask that you once again use the hashtag #AbortRapeCulture.

The medical rape of Patient #1 makes a mockery of the claim that the abortion industry is about "choice" and "women's health." Whatever happens, we will not forget.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Secular Pro-Life radio interview transcript

Californians for Life will hold its 2017 summit in Bakersfield one week from today (Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18). Pro-life advocate and atheist Terrisa Bukovinac, who is a longtime Secular Pro-Life leader and also heads up the San Francisco chapter of Pro-Life Future, will give a presentation on reaching secular audiences with the pro-life message.

To promote the upcoming summit, Terrisa appeared on a Catholic radio program earlier this week. You can listen to her interview at this link, starting around the 46-minute mark. It is also transcribed below.

Terrisa at last January's Walk for Life in San Francisco

Host: We are going to the city of San Francisco, the city of St. Francis, where we are joined by Terrisa Bukovinac, from Secular Pro-Life. Terrisa, good morning.

Terrisa: Hi, good morning! Thanks for having me on.

Host: Good to have you with us. You're going to be at this wonderful conference in Bakersfield?

Terrisa: Yes, absolutely. Very much looking forward to this year's summit. We have been there for the last four years, and have had significantly more involvement each year, so this year we're really excited about what we have planned and we really hope everybody can make it.

Host: Tell us a little bit about Secular Pro-Life.

Terrisa: Sure! So, Secular Pro-Life is an organization that primarily creates a safe space for pro-life atheists and agnostics, and other non-traditional pro-lifers. But it's also an organization dedicated to helping the pro-life movement as a whole, using secular arguments, secular reasoning, and ways that we can connect with people using a shared basis of understanding when it comes to the abortion issue.

Host: So, you know, I've been pro-life my whole life, or at least since I first heard about this issue, because it really wasn't much of an issue when I was growing up, or at least an issue that was talked about. I certainly wasn't aware of it. And people have said to me, people on the other side of the issue have said "Well, it's just because you're Catholic, it's just because you're Christian, it's just because that's been drummed into your head since you were a little kid," and I go "No, you know, we didn't talk about it when I was a little kid."

Terrisa: Right.

Host: I was a child of the fifties, you know, it was a different era. And I've always felt, and told people, even if I had no belief in God, I would still be pro-life.

Terrisa: Right, absolutely!

Host: You know, I believe in the Constitution of this country, I believe in the moral foundation of this country—as many problems as we've had, like any other country—I believe in basic human rights, and the right to life, the right to breathe the air, is the most basic of those rights. And then many other rights obviously are very important too, but as we've heard many times, if you don't have the right to life, the rest of your rights don't matter.

Terrisa: Yes.

Host: And it kind of, I guess it kind of hurts and it feels a little bit too dismissive for somebody to say "Well, that's just, that's just because of your religion." Not that having a religious reason would be wrong, but it's... everybody should be pro-life.

Terrisa: Exactly. And there is an effort from our opposition to frame the issue as a religious issue so that it can be dismissed. Those efforts have been made since the very beginning. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who was a co-founder of NARAL, who eventually became pro-life as an atheist, he talked extensively about how pro-life opinions from atheists or pro-life opinions from Protestants were purposefully suppressed in order to frame this as a religious issue. So it's been set up that way by our opposition. It's such an important stereotype to work against, because like you said, it's not based on a religious belief necessarily, unless you consider the belief in human rights to be a religious belief.

Host: Sure.

Terrisa: I think we would agree that most secularists or people of varying religions, for the most part are going to believe in what we would call human rights, and the human right to life. I think that there's ways we can help get around that stereotype, and part of it is doing what you're doing today, by inviting an atheist to speak on your radio show. I think it's really important that we magnify voices of non-traditional pro-lifers, so that other non-traditional people, or people don't traditionally fall into a pro-life category, will feel comfortable identifying as being pro-life. I know I personally did not say that I was pro-life, even though I had pro-life opinions, for years until I actually found Secular Pro-Life and thought oh, there are people like me out there, I can express this openly. So unless we are going to keep the movement 100% Christian, and primarily Catholic, it's going to be really important for us to continue to magnify the voices of non-traditional pro-lifers in order to fight that stereotype that you mentioned.

Host: Yeah, you know it cuts—it should cut across all demographics, this right to life. And obviously I know there's great opposition to the way we stand, but it is certainly not... I mean, I remember being part of the civil rights movement in the sixties, and a number of people, even though so much of it was founded in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference—people forget, people call him Dr. King, I call him Reverend King—

Terrisa: Right.

Host: There were a lot of ministers in there, but there were also a lot of atheists in the civil rights movement, and of course they were welcome! Nobody thought there was something, "Well why is an atheist in favor of civil rights?"

Terrisa: (Laughs)

Host: Nobody found that to be unusual.

Terrisa: Exactly. And their messaging reflected that. Their messaging was "I am a man," they didn't—

Host: Right.

Terrisa: They were very cohesive in keeping their messaging accessible to everyone, and they used a shared basis of understanding, and the foundation of human rights.

Host: Right, absolutely. So is there any conflict within the pro-life movement in terms of that? I would think it's, everybody's welcoming everybody, we need all hands on deck!

Terrisa: Yeah, I think that we know that that's the case, that we do need all hands on deck, but I think that there's a disconnect in how we can achieve that. I think it's really important that... There's other positions that people hold in the pro-life movement that are often linked to a pro-life position, such as religious liberty, marriage, opposition to marriage equality, thoughts about chastity, and things like that. And I think that it's fine that people hold those positions, I mean certainly I believe in the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion, so I think that it's... people are welcome to pursue those passions that they may have. But I think that when we do them in the context of a conversation about being pro-life, we're really missing out, because we will initially alienate the people who we are actually trying to convince that this is a human rights violation. So if we're throwing in other political ideas or we're just trying to say that all "Leftists," quote-unquote, are, you know, "of the devil" and "they're doing the devil's work," and things like that; if we fall into that kind of rhetoric, then we're just going to lose.

Host: No, I agree.

Terrisa: We have to embrace everyone.

Host: I say many, many times on this program, obviously this is a Catholic program, we're not Republicans, Democrats, we're not conservatives or liberals, we're Catholic and we're pro-life. And I get frustrated too sometimes when I go to some allegedly pro-life websites and—not the ones that are famous, but some of the ones that are a little bit out there—and you're right, they've got, they're talking about global warming! And all these other issues. I say don't dilute the message, you know?

Terrisa: Right, this is about killing innocent human beings.

Host: Yes, yes.

Terrisa: This isn't about all of these other outlying issues. If we're going to be cohesive in our efforts, if we're going to make the most of these events, like the summit, we have to stay laser-focused on this violation of a fundamental human right, and leave all the other issues aside for our spare time.

Host: (Laughs) For our spare time, that's right.

Terrisa: (Laughs)

Host: Well Terrisa, thanks so much for all you do, thanks for taking the time to be with us this morning.

Terrisa: My pleasure.

Host: And may the good Lord bless your work.

Terrisa: (Laughs) Thank you so much, it was a pleasure being here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pro-lifers raise $16K for young mom Maddi Runkles

Students for Life of America staffers present high school graduate and pregnant mom Maddi Runkles with $16,000 to further her dreams.

As every liberal pundit knows, right-to-lifers hate women and hate premarital sex... which explains why they gave $16,000 to a woman who had premarital sex.

That's sarcasm, obviously, but the second half is true. Pro-life advocates raised $16,000 to assist Maddi Runkles, who made headlines last month when her private Christian high school banned her from her own graduation ceremony to punish her for having sex and becoming pregnant outside of marriage. The school's actions incensed pro-lifers, who pointed out that Maddi was really being punished for staying pregnant. If she had obtained a secret abortion, she would have graduated alongside the rest of her class. The school was making an example of her, effectively encouraging students who find themselves in the same situation in the future to kill their babies, for the sake of the school's sexually conservative reputation.

Students for Life of America led the charge, and while the school stubbornly refused to let Maddi walk at graduation, the pro-life movement stepped up big time. Last week, Maddi not only received her high school diploma—she also received a check for $16,000, funded by pro-life donors.

This is obviously great news for Maddi and her son, but it's not only about them. Students for Life of America deserves massive credit for drawing media attention to this issue, demonstrating to young mothers everywhere that the pro-life movement will stand with them against oppressive school administrations. The next time something like this happens, more young women will know that abortion is not their only, or best, option. Maddi Runkles has indeed become an example—but not the example that her high school intended.