Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Year in Review

What an incredible year 2019 has been! The U.S. abortion rate hit a record low, the Supreme Court is widely believed to have a pro-life majority, and Secular Pro-Life has been hard at work.

Winter: Secular Pro-Life marked its tenth anniversary in January. We took to the streets in Washington, D.C. (March for Life) and San Francisco (Walk for Life West Coast) in support of prenatal rights. The 2019 March for Life theme—Unique From Day One: Pro-Life is Pro-Science—was just perfect. The New York Times released an explosive report that Planned Parenthood discriminates against its pregnant employees. Late-term abortion took center stage as New York passed, and Virginia attempted to pass, extreme pro-abortion and even pro-infanticide laws. SPL president Kelsey Hazzard had an op-ed in the New York Daily News. On this blog, SPL co-leader Monica Snyder demonstrated that most late-term abortions are not medically necessary and debunked eight pro-choice talking points. Interest in abortion reached a record high, as shown in Google trends.

Spring: "Baby Chris" was conceived in March, taking our blog readers along the nine-month journey from fertilization to birth. Monica gave a presentation to pro-life youth in Oregon on how to debunk three major pro-choice myths. Unplanned hit U.S. theaters on March 29. In April, Monica testified before the California legislature against the horrific bill to turn public college health centers into chemical abortion vendors. She also presented the case against abortion to public health students at UC Berkeley. The "Strange Planet" webcomic briefly became a pro-life issue, because 2019 is a bizarre timeline. In May, we sounded the alarm at pro-choice advocacy for DIY chemical abortions, which will put women at risk of the very "back-alley" problems they claim we need legal abortion to avoid. SPL co-leader Terrisa Bukovinac attended a Senate symposium on sex trafficking and its impact on women's reproductive health. 

Summer: Kelsey and Terrisa attended the Pro-Life Women's Conference (where we recruited volunteers for a project you will hear more about in 2020); meanwhile, Monica had to school everybody on what a heartbeat is. We reported again that Google Trends showed a record level of interest in the abortion debate, beating the prior record set only a few months earlier. Kelsey brought the secular pro-life message to youth activists at the Louisiana Right to Life PULSE summer camp. Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died at age 99, leaving a tragic abortion legacy. Kelsey challenged the pro-choice contention that we're out to control women's bodies with a thought experiment, and participated in a live debate on YouTube. Terrisa spoke at the Democrats for Life of America conference. And Monica gave birth to her son!

Autumn: We took part in the "Let There Be Life" conference at UC Berkeley (which Terrisa led while wearing her other hat: president of Pro-Life San Francisco), and the annual Rehumanize conference. At Rehumanize, Kelsey presented the secular case for life, and for the first time, SPL also organized a workshop on secular resources for healing, which was very well-received. On the blog, we responded to Slate's criticism of the phrase "except in the womb" and examined abortion's perverse effect on families suffering after miscarriage. Our facebook page grew to 30,000 fans—a massive 40% leap from the beginning of the year. And of course, we turned our attention to January 2020, preparing for the next March for Life season! If you like what we're doing, please donate as you are able

President's message: Every year, I prepare the year in review and marvel at how much this community has been able to accomplish with a shoestring budget and no paid staff. 2019 was particularly challenging because I have taken on additional pro-life activities outside of SPL; most notably, a mom who chose life under difficult circumstances has been staying at my house, and I am also writing a pro-life novel which I expect to have available for your reading pleasure in 2020. (The title is No Right To Be Here and I promise to keep you posted.) None of this would have been possible without Monica, Terrisa, all our guest authors, and the many other volunteers who have helped SPL in myriad ways over the past year. Thank you all so much!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Top 10 Stories of 2019

The most-read articles on the Secular Pro-Life blog in 2019 are...

10. Are Human Embryos Human From the Beginning?—Spoiler alert: Yes. 

9. I Used to be Religiously Pro-Life—Guest author Laura Vilaro describes her shift from opposing abortion purely because of her Catholic upbringing, to reaching a fuller understanding of abortion as a human rights violation. 

8. The people whose lives you suggest aren't worth living? They can hear you.The Good Place actress and walking social media disaster Jameela Jamil attempted to exploit children in foster care to justify killing her child in an abortion. People who grew up in foster care weren't having it. Their responses are amazing.

7. It's not about bodily autonomy. Here's how we know.—SPL president Kelsey Hazzard refutes the bodily autonomy argument for abortion, noting that it doesn't explain pro-choice lawmakers' opposition to protecting infants who survive attempted abortions. 

6. My visit to Planned Parenthood—Guest author Annaliese Corace shares the story of going to Planned Parenthood for an abortion. They misdiagnosed her with an ectopic pregnancy and did not go through with the abortion, which fortunately gave her the chance to see another doctor and reconsider her decision. It turned out that her pregnancy was perfectly healthy, and she chose life for her daughter.

5. Legal Abortion Does Not Save Women's Lives. Here's Proof.—Sarah Terzo debunks the myth, peddled by Planned Parenthood's then-president Leana Wen, that "thousands of women" died each year before Roe v. Wade and will again after it is overturned. (The Washington Post recently named Wen's statement one of its biggest lies of 2019.)

4. How #ShoutYourAbortion Changed My Mind—Guest author Laura Elkins believed that the pro-choice movement was on the right side of history. Then the callousness of #ShoutYourAbortion prompted her to take a closer look.

3. Master post: 21+ week abortions usually aren't medically necessary—Late-term abortion was a major topic this year, with unsubstantiated claims that they are only done for medical reasons dominating the pro-abortion narrative. SPL co-leader Monica Snyder summarizes the available data (including pro-abortion sources) and concludes that most late-term abortions are in fact elective. 

2. When we say "heartbeat" we don't mean "fetal pole cardiac activity." We mean "heartbeat."—The weirdest pro-choice talking point to debut in 2019 has to be this new insistence that embryonic and fetal heartbeats aren't "real" heartbeats. Monica breaks down the nonsense. 

And the most-read blog post of 2019... congratulations, Monica, for writing all three top articles... is:

1. Responding to 8 common pro-choice claims about late-term abortion.—Bookmark this is as a reference, because I guarantee you will see all eight claims resurface in the context of the 2020 elections.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Top 10 Graphics of 2019

Here are the most reacted-to, commented-upon, and shared Secular Pro-Life graphics of 2019! You guys sure do like screenshots and corrections to pro-choice nonsense.

10. For every two Catholic pro-lifers, there is one secular pro-lifer! (Check out this blog post for the underlying data.)

9 (Several images tied). Numerous people who grew up in foster care (and with other challenges) came forward to defend their lives in response to Jameela Jamil's callous tweet suggesting they should have been aborted. It's appalling that their existence and value were ever questioned, but boy did they rise to the occasion! Check out the full collection of screenshots here.

8. Watch out, pro-choicers: Monica is wielding her red pen!

7. These bad Handmaid's Tale analogies are really getting out of hand.

Yes, we screenshot our own tweets and post them to Facebook. Don't judge. 

6. Stop erasing pro-life women!

5. Oh no! Now Monica has a BLUE pen!

4. We will ALWAYS amplify people targeted by the abortion industry.

3. If you don't like human rights violations, don't commit human rights violations!

2. Heartbreaking

And for the top graphic of 2019... Monica strikes again!

1. Tapeworms? Seriously?!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Happy Birthday, Baby Chris!

Photo by Alex Hockett on Unsplash

Just in time for Christmas, Baby Chris has been born! The Endowment for Human Development explains:
The fetus initiates labor resulting in the transition from fetus to newborn. Powerful contractions of the uterus result in childbirth and the expulsion of the placenta, which now weighs about 1/6th as much as the newborn. At birth, the oxygen received through the placenta is suddenly replaced by the onset of air breathing.
Over the past nine months, Baby Chris has grown from a single-celled organism, to a tiny embryo with brainwaves and a beating heart, to a first trimester fetus, to a second trimester fetus, to being capable of surviving outside the womb, to finally being a third trimester fetus. Baby Chris has been the same person all along, and is no more human now than yesterday.

We have documented this beautiful continuum of humanity for educational purposes, and all Baby Chris-related posts are archived here. You can also get prenatal development information at your fingertips (for debates, sidewalk counseling, etc.) by downloading the free See Baby app on your smartphone.

Although "Baby Chris" is a fictional name, one of the coolest aspects of this project was hearing from SPL supporters who happened to conceive in late March and were thus able to follow their own children's progress along with the progress of Baby Chris. We wish you all safe, healthy births and share in your excitement!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Baby Chris is 38 Weeks Old

Image via

[This is part 39 of a multi-part series chronicling a pregnancy through the lens of "Baby Chris." Click here for other parts.]

38 weeks after fertilization (40 weeks LMP), Baby Chris 20 ¼ inches long and weighs 7 ¾ pounds—about the size of a small pumpkin. Baby Chris will be born very soon! Their lungs are ready for life on the outside and should not require special medical assistance.

Shamefully, it is still legal for Baby Chris to be electively aborted in the final week before birth. While Roe v. Wade and Supreme Court's other abortion cases allow states to restrict third-trimester abortions, not all states have done so, and abortion lobbyists are pushing for even fewer restrictions. In no state does Baby Chris enjoy legal recognition as a person with the right to life.

Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of doctors have a conscience and will not perform such a late-term abortion, despite its legality. As a practical matter it is extremely difficult to obtain an abortion at this stage. In medical emergencies where continued pregnancy threatens the mother's life or health, the sensible course of action is to immediately perform a C-section or induce labor; this not only gives the baby a chance to live, but also provides a quicker resolution for the mother than a 9-month abortion procedure would.

To learn more about prenatal development, download the free See Baby app!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Reader Question: What About the Right to Privacy?

We recently received an email from Josephine C., asking: "How do you respond to those people who maintain that prohibiting abortion is an invasion of privacy?" Unfortunately, when I tried to reply, I got an automated error message. Hopefully this blog post will reach Josephine, but even if it doesn't, it's an important issue for all our readers.

I respond that the right to privacy, while legitimate, is not broad enough to encompass acts of violence. For example, domestic abuse is not a "private" matter just because it occurs within the confines of one's home. Because abortion is also an act of violence against another person, it is distinct from the non-violent behaviors—such as sending one's children to private schools, maintaining confidential membership in the NAACP, and using contraception—which originally caused the Supreme Court to recognize a right to privacy in the Constitution.

In addition, a right like privacy, which is merely implied from the Constitution, should not take precedence over the right to life, which is explicitly stated in the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment provides: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Laws permitting abortion are discriminatory and unconstitutional, because they deprive unborn children of life without due process of law.

We welcome reader questions! If you have a topic you'd like to see on the blog, email us at

Monday, December 9, 2019

Baby Chris is 37 Weeks Old

Illustration via

[This is part 38 of a multi-part series chronicling a pregnancy through the lens of "Baby Chris." Click here for other parts.]

37 weeks after fertilization (39 weeks LMP), Baby Chris is 20 inches long and weighs 7 ¼ pounds—about the size of a mini watermelon. He or she is full term and could be born any day! The Endowment for Human Development reports that "[t]he eye of the full-term fetus or newborn has achieved roughly 75% of its adult size and about two-thirds its adult weight."

Although we've been using averages to educate our readers about prenatal development, it's important to keep in mind that every person is different and grows on their own timeline. Many babies are born before 37 weeks or weighing less than 7 pounds; this is perfectly healthy and normal. I myself was not born until three weeks after my due date (an early sign of my bad tendency to procrastinate) at 9 pounds, 3 ounces. My brother was right on time yet weighed in at 10 pounds, 12 ounces!

To learn more about the incredible journey we have all taken from conception to birth, download the free See Baby app.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Please support Secular Pro-Life on Giving Tuesday

We appreciate that you're probably being bombarded by fundraisers, so we'll keep this short and sweet: an anonymous donor will match the first $1000 we raise through Giving Tuesday. If you like the work we do, now is the perfect time to donate! You can give via Facebook or PayPal. Thanks to the generous support of donors like you, we are already more than a third of the way to our goal. Thank you, and have a great day!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Baby Chris is 36 Weeks Old

Image via BabyCenter
[This is part 37 of a multi-part series chronicling a pregnancy through the lens of "Baby Chris." Click here for other parts.]

36 weeks after fertilization (38 weeks LMP), Baby Chris is 19 ½ inches long and weighs 6 ¾ pounds—about the size of a leek. The brain has developed "deep, convoluted grooves — extra surface area for neurons." The Endowment for Human Development notes that brain weight doubles during the last nine weeks of pregnancy:
Much of the brain’s weight gain is due to the thickening of the myelin sheath around the nerves. By the end of pregnancy, the fetal brain is about a quarter of its eventual size and contains nearly all the neurons it will ever have: perhaps 100 billion. Each of these neurons will eventually synapse with as many as 200,000 other neurons, creating an electrical network of almost incalculable complexity.
For more prenatal development info, download the free See Baby app on your device.