Wednesday, April 29, 2020

How To Help Women With Unplanned Pregnancies During COVID-19

As has been stated a thousand times before, we are in unprecedented times. The novel coronavirus has forced many to stay inside our homes and self-quarantine, so that we protect ourselves and others from contracting the virus. However, while this may protect us from the virus, this practice of social distancing and self-isolation is taking a hit on many people's mental health.

The people who may feel most alone are women with unplanned pregnancies. As a woman who had an unplanned pregnancy at just twenty years old, I experienced feelings of worry, hopelessness, and despair. I had never felt more alone. Women with unplanned pregnancies are feeling more alone than ever, and may think that abortion is their only way out. Even with states closing down businesses like hair salons and coffee shops, abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood are considered by some to be an "essential service," so abortion-friendly states are making sure that they stay open. Listed below are some ways that you can ensure women do not turn to Planned Parenthood during their crisis pregnancy and instead choose life.

1. Reach Out. If you know of a woman who is going through an unplanned pregnancy, make sure to reach out regularly through texting, calling, or video call. Just because you can not be physically present with her, does not mean that you can not provide support over the phone or computer. Use the 2020 technology to your advantage. If the woman stresses that she feels she has no one to talk to, encourage her to reach out to her local pregnancy center, which may be able to provide over the phone counseling free of charge.

2. Offer Assistance. Many women with unplanned pregnancies consider abortion because they do not have the finances to support a child. If you are financially stable enough, consider supporting a woman with an unplanned pregnancy by offering to help with rent or groceries for a month. Additionally, you can also offer to drop off groceries to her house, if she does not feel comfortable with going to the grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some women with unplanned pregnancies come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and may depend on mass transit to get to doctors' appointments. You can offer to drive them if you are healthy and feel comfortable, so that they do not have to risk catching the coronavirus while on the bus.

3. Offer to Babysit. Many single mothers work multiple part time jobs in order to support and provide for their families. Pregnant women who already have children may not have the luxury of staying at home if they are considered to be an essential worker. Essential workers are not only doctors and nurses, but they are also mail carriers, grocery store clerks, and bus drivers. Not all day cares are currently open, so if the woman is an essential worker but has children at home who need to be watched, you can offer to babysit for free. Please only do this if you feel comfortable and only if you are healthy. It is suggested that you take your temperature before you go anywhere, as one of the first signs of the coronavirus is a fever. It is also important to note that some carriers of the coronavirus are asymptomatic, so please do not be offended if the woman does not want to utilize your services at this time. She is trying to make the best decision for her family and make sure her children stay healthy and safe.

4. Provide Resources. Many people who are no longer able to work now qualify for unemployment. Connect her with resources to obtain unemployment benefits if her job was lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ask her if she needs more assistance. The government has many programs such as SNAP food stamps, and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, to make sure that no family goes hungry. They also have Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for those who may need financial assistance. Pregnancy resource centers also often provide diapers, wipes, clothing, and other necessities to new mothers in need.

5. Ask Her. When in doubt, ask the woman how you can best assist her. What she needs more than anything is someone to listen to how she is feeling, and provide her support without judgment. She may bring up abortion, and it is not your place to judge, but rather to listen, and provide her with alternative resources. Once you have gained her trust, she will be able to tell you what she needs more clearly.

These are just a few ideas for things you can do if you know a woman is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy during COVID-19. At a time where abortion centers are deemed to provide "essential services," we must remind the pro-choice community that we offer an essential service. We can provide women with love, support, and resources. She does not have to think that abortion is her only option, and with your support and guidance, she just might choose life.

[Today's guest article is by Annaliese Corace. Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.]

Monday, April 27, 2020

SFLA offers pro-life projects/events from home

Our friends at Students for Life of America (SFLA) have organized three events we'd like to promote.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28: Webcast
Following up on last January's incredible National Pro-Life Summit, SFLA is holding a 2-hour webcast on Tuesday starting at 8pm EST. Topics include "Tools for Engaging with Culture," "The Emerging Battleground of Chemical Abortions & What You Can Do," and November election efforts. This event is free but registration is required.

Ongoing: Support for Families in Need
SFLA is connecting donors with Amazon wish lists and diaper funds for charities and families in their communities. I donated myself and it's incredibly easy. Just sign up here, and you'll receive an email with all the information you need to make a difference.

Friday, May 1: Pro-Life Sidewalk Chalk Contest
Spread the pro-life message, and as a bonus, get some fresh air while enjoying a creative activity! SFLA says:
There’s a fun new trend Americans are participating in while many are under “Shelter in Place” orders…using the end of driveways and other publicly viewable areas to chalk messages for passersby!
Photo via Rock for Life
So, Students for Life is launching a brand-new initiative… The National Pro-Life Neighborhood Chalk Day & Contest! And it’s happening Friday, May 1st, 2020.
Check out the event website for contest rules. Winners will get free t-shirts and other goodies, with a top prize of free tickets to the 2021 National Pro-Life Summit!

Friday, April 24, 2020

We asked, you answered: How has the pandemic impacted your abortion views?

We asked our followers on social media: "While we all try to manage life during a pandemic, do you find you're thinking less about the abortion issue? Too many distractions? Or are you thinking about it more since so many more people are now navigating increased financial stress and other issues?" In no particular order, here are some of your responses.

A woman sidewalk counsels while
wearing a mask.
Photo via Pro-Life San Francisco
Heather J.: As a resident of Texas, I’m thinking a lot about it. Our governor has shut down abortion clinics to conserve PPE for COVID-19 patients. That has created an increased need for pro-life organizations to step up and help these women. Lives are being saved!

Rebecca C.: To be perfectly honest, I’ve been thinking about it less. 😕

Denisse B.: More, waaaaay more

Pablo M.: The same. Pro-choicers here in Argentina have made a commitment that abortion shall be legalized this year, and they will abide by it, no matter what happens with the epidemic.

Rachel S.: I'm still thinking about abortion often but in the context of a comprehensive ethic of human life and dignity. I also feel sad and angry when I hear some people who call themselves pro-life making economically driven utilitarian arguments about deaths related to COVID-19.

Grace P.: I have to admit, less. Right now what I'm worried about is keeping me and my family healthy and safe. I think when "shit hits the fan," as they say, everything else but that falls away for a lot of people, like myself. That being said, it does anger and concern me that our rights to assembly are being taken away. For instance, those pro-lifers getting arrested for praying outside of a clinic recently even though they were observing and practicing social distancing was outrageous. We have to stand up, virus or no, if this kind of thing continues.

Alyson C.: I am thinking about it a lot. I think Planned Parenthood is being exposed for what it is: a company that only cares about making $ off of the killing of children. I also think women are seeing that there is help for them when they are in unplanned pregnancy crisis, and that they don’t have to kill their baby—there are other options. I know a lot of crisis pregnancy centers, and pro-life groups, that are being overwhelmed with women coming to them for help right now... and people are stepping up financially, and in other means, to help them.

Little Grey Fish: Not very honorable but I find myself avoiding it because I'm so stressed and anxious I can't mentally handle thinking about the murder of babies.

Charmain B.: I’ve been taking walks and there’s a private abortion clinic in an office complex near my house. I’ve seen people out there protesting. They are the ones whose signs have photos of aborted babies on them. They have signs saying this isn’t a way to parent. It’s all condemning; there’s no hope of—we’ll find ways to help you raise your baby or we’ll help you find someone to adopt.
As someone who had an unplanned pregnancy years ago, I want to ask those people how are they helping these women? Are they offering aid to them or just condemning them? I’ve been trying to figure out what to say and wondering if my words would even make a dent.

Kim H.: What is clear to me is that individuals are sacrificing bodily autonomy with social distancing for a limited amount of time to save lives in our communities. The pro-choice argument, as professed by the likes of NARAL or PP or NOW is so very libertarian because there is not a willingness to give up autonomy for another however many months of a pregnancy to protect and save the life of a human being. Of course, there are many nuances regarding support for women and financial stability and the list goes on... I am not discounting those issues in the least.but at the very bottom line, I find it so ironic that we are giving away our autonomy so willingly (and I am one of those people) to social distance, but see a very similar situation of time limited sacrifice of one's autonomy to bring a child into the outside world.

Kristin M.: I'm worried the economic depression is going to cause more abortions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

SPL president on TV tomorrow night

Hazzard in July 2019
Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard here. I'm excited to announce my appearance on EWTN's pro-life interview show, Defending Life

The episode that includes my interview will air tomorrow, April 23 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. (And if you're a real night owl, it will air again on Monday, April 27 at 3 in the morning.) The title of the episode is "Reaching Millennials with the Pro-Life Message."

EWTN is a Catholic channel, so in the spirit of confession... this interview happened so long ago that I don't remember a single thing I said. I'll be watching right along with the rest of you. I can't wait to hear my astonishing, fresh insights.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Coronavirus, Liberty, and Abortion: Does the Right to Life Supersede All Other Rights?

A woman wearing a mask and scrolling on a cell phone

In the current debate over abortion, most abortion advocates say that a mother has the right to abort a child for any reason, including to protect her career, to avoid financial hardship, to avoid mental health issues, or just because the child is not “wanted”. It’s been curious, then, to watch how many of those who are vocally “pro-choice” are now advocating that the government force all Americans to give up their careers, their means of maintaining financial stability, and in many cases, their mental health, for the sake of saving lives.

To be clear, I take the virus very seriously, and I believe that everyone should voluntarily participate in social distancing. My point is not that the actions taken have been wrong; my point is that I think almost everyone knows, at some level, that our freedoms should be limited when they have to potential to harm the most vulnerable among us.

The extreme measures being taken to slow the novel coronavirus have been painful for many. It has resulted in catastrophic amounts of unemployment, skyrocketing numbers of those reporting mental health issues, increases in addiction and abuse, education being negatively impacted (or entirely disappearing from children’s lives, based on resources available to the family), and even a loss of liberties guaranteed by the bill of rights (freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, etc.). We have been shown the science behind “flattening the curve” and told we must accept these challenges and restrictions for the sake of saving lives. The rhetoric is convincing; if we are unwilling to stay home, whatever the cost, we are risking the lives of the most vulnerable in society: the elderly, the immunocompromised, those with underlying conditions, and the individuals on the frontlines of healthcare and food production. Everyone, including many celebrities and politicians who are “pro-choice” without restrictions, has jumped on board this train. It doesn’t seem like a hard concept. Almost everyone in society can accept that even extreme hardship must be endured, if it is for the sake of protecting innocent lives. The real question is, why are we unable to apply this logic to abortion?

How do we tell someone they are a bad person if they don’t want to watch their small business crumble to potentially save the life of someone they don’t know, but tell a woman it’s perfectly fine to deliberately end her child’s life if she isn’t financially ready for a child? How do we shame a mother for going to a park or grocery store with her kids when her mental health is unraveling because she can’t get out of the house or doesn’t have other options to find food for her family, but tell a woman she is a hero for aborting a child who might have negatively impacted her mental health? How do we tell people that they must sacrifice the very freedoms promised by the constitution for a person who is unconnected to and unloved by them, but tell a women she can kill a child who she brought into existence by an act of will (in most cases) if she doesn’t care about or want that child?

If we really believe that the right to life and the protection of innocent humans is more important than any other right, we should apply this consistently across the board. We should remind everyone that the possibility of pregnancy is a biological reality anytime we’re discussing sexual liberty. That possibility imposes real challenges, but we should work to address these hardships in the same way we’re looking to minimize the current hardships, rather than accepting casualties. If we can give up our rights—and insist others do the same—in the face of a few million deaths due to the novel coronavirus, why can we not do the same in the face of over 60 million abortions in the United States since Roe v. Wade?

[Today's guest post is by Holly Carter. Photo credit: Engin Akyurt on Unsplash.]

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Listen: Secular Pro-Life on Irish Radio

Irish pro-life advocates rally

Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard was recently interviewed for "On the Level," a radio show on Life FM, a Christian radio station in Cork, Ireland. The segment covered everything from the origins of Secular Pro-Life, to the rape exception, to differences between the American and Irish anti-abortion movements.

You can listen at this link starting at 35:20. Please note that the link may be overwritten at the end of the week. We will try to come up with something more permanent.

Monday, April 13, 2020

"Fewer rights than a corpse!" rebutted

Okay, stop me if you've heard this one:
Bodily autonomy means every person has control over how their body is used. It's why you can't be forced to donate organs, even if you're dead. By saying a fetus has a right to use a woman's body, you're making it so that women have less bodily autonomy than a corpse. 
We've talked plenty about the bodily autonomy argument in general (see here, here, and also the Equal Rights Institute's excellent analyses here), but today, I want to focus specifically on the "zinger" above, which you'll find worded in various ways online and which always concludes with a comparison of pregnant women to corpses.

The "less than a corpse!" argument is easily refuted, for the simple reason that the premise is factually incorrect. Corpses do not have bodily autonomy.

Please note that I developed the idea for this article before the novel coronavirus dominated the news, so I will not be writing about the horrors of cancelled funerals and mass graves which undoubtedly go against the wishes of the deceased and their families. That is much too raw, and in any event, the absence of corpse rights was a reality long before the pandemic. So let's take a mental time machine back to normal circumstances, with its expectation that your wishes around death will be honored.

It probably goes without saying that if your wishes were to require directly killing another person ("But I really, really want to share my tomb with servants for the afterlife, like an ancient Egyptian pharaoh!"), that is not going to fly. Since the pro-life position is that abortion is a direct killing, the organ-donation-from-corpses argument is already falling flat. But let's continue anyway.

What happens to a corpse is determined by a living representative. During your lifetime, you can designate any responsible adult to be your representative. Naturally, you'll want to select someone who shares your values and is willing to take on the task. That person then bears the moral responsibility to carry out your wishes, or if you haven't stated them, what the person reasonably believes your wishes would have been.

Note, however, that I said moral responsibility. Legally, there is no Corpse Bodily Autonomy Authority looking over your representative's shoulder to make sure they're doing what you wanted. If you wanted to be buried, but the representative finds that too expensive, no one is going to stop them from cremating you instead. If you weren't keen on donating your organs, but your representative signs off on it, you can bet your ass (and every other body part) that a hospital is going to accept those life-saving organs.

And, importantly for the abortion comparison, there are cases where the state can override the wishes of the deceased and the representative in the interest of others' safety — such as mandatory autopsies for homicides and other suspicious deaths, even over sincerely held religious objections. This recently made the news when the state of Alabama executed Nathaniel Woods, a Muslim death row inmate. Alabama's treatment of Woods has been criticized on many fronts, from executing him in the first place when he was merely an accomplice and not a direct murderer, to keeping his imam, Yusuf Maisonet, from being present at the execution. And then there's what happened afterward:
Woods was pronounced dead at about 9 PM, but the injustice didn’t end with his life. It followed him into the grave after he was given an autopsy against his wishes and religious beliefs. Maisonet said that when he received Woods’ body, “he was cut up, with no one bothering to sew the wounds back up.” To the imam, this was “an act … larger than Nathaniel, it was about sending a message of intimidation to anyone who supported him.”
Woods had clearly designated Maisonet to represent his interests in death, but a lot of good it did him.

If you didn't choose a representative during your lifetime, the state will select one for you by giving the duty to your spouse or, if you are not married, your closest relative. And if you happen to be estranged from your next of kin, things can truly go off the rails:
Jennifer Gable, an Idaho customer service coordinator for Wells Fargo, died suddenly Oct. 9 on the job at age 32. An aneurysm, according to stunned friends.
Just as shocking, they say, when they went to Gable’s funeral in Twin Falls, Idaho, and saw her in an open casket — hair cut short, dressed in a suit and presented as a man.
“I am disgusted,” Stacy Dee Hudson posted on Facebook. “A great and dear friend’s mom went to the funeral today. It was not closed casket. They cut her hair, suit on. How can they bury her as Geoff when she legally changed her name. So very sad. Jen you will be missed and people who know you know that you are at peace.”
Gable was transgender, born Geoffrey, but living the past few years as Jennifer.
To be clear, I'm not saying that what happened to Woods and Gable was right; carrying out their wishes would have harmed no one. What I am saying is that comparing their situations to the situations of people who are prevented from killing their unborn babies is ridiculous. Pro-life laws take away exactly one "right" — the pseudo-right, invented in Roe v. Wade, to kill one's offspring in the womb. Protecting babies does not, and cannot, reduce women to the legal status of corpses.

An old cemetery in the woods
Photo by Tom Wheatley on Unsplash

Friday, April 10, 2020

Annie's story: unintended pregnancy threatened her athletic scholarship — and her pro-choice views

[Today’s guest post is by Annie Gasway, who converted from being pro-choice to pro-life because of her experiences with unintended pregnancy.]

In January 2000, I was 21. I was on a half-ride athletic scholarship (track and cross country) at a Division I university. I was not only Team Captain but also the number one runner. I had everything going for me (and therefore everything to lose). I knew that, so I took precautions to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

But during indoor track season I could run a mile in just above 5 minutes, which was my time for mile repeats just a few months prior. It didn’t make sense. My coach sent me to get tested for anemia, which is how I learned I wasn’t anemic, but I was pregnant. 10 weeks pregnant.

At this point in my life, I was vocally pro-choice. I had friends and rivals who had procured abortions so their athletic careers weren’t hindered by surprise pregnancies. Now it was my turn to consider my options. Instead of returning to my (then) fiancĂ©’s apartment, I drove to a park, sat in my car, and cried. Now that I had to face abortion head on, I couldn’t continue my comfortable lie that a fetus was just a “clump of cells.” I knew there was a tiny human growing within me. Abortion would mean ending my child’s life. I knew this as an objective, undeniable, scientific fact. Another scientific fact: I could not remain competitive at the Division I level much longer. I was in the middle of a moral dilemma, and it quickly dawned on me that I may not really have much of a choice at all.

My Division I coach had full power over my future. He could pull my scholarship at any time for any reason. [Editor's note: Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination against pregnant athletes. When we asked Annie about this factor, she explained that their required student athlete course did not mention that information, and she wasn't aware of that protection at the time she was pregnant.] I knew most coaches pulled scholarships for any “injury” that would take an athlete out of competition for an entire season. Even though the athlete could “redshirt” (sit out) and get the season back later, coaches usually had walk-ons who were talented enough to score points now. Coaches could free up money to give to a “healthy” athlete. As I weighed my options I realized that my rivals who had abortions may not have wanted them. I knew I couldn’t finish my degree without my scholarship. I figured without a degree I didn’t have much of a future. If my friends and rivals’ situations were like mine, and if their coaches threatened to take their scholarships if they chose to stay pregnant, they didn’t have the luxury of choice—the choice was made for them by men with power over their lives. This thought terrified me.

I went back to my fiancĂ©’s apartment and told him. He was also on an athletic scholarship for track. I begged him to go with me to tell our coach; even he was terrified to reveal our pregnancy, but I had to find out if I could keep my baby and my scholarship. I wasn’t going to kill another human on an assumption that I might lose a scholarship.

Turns out I was lucky. My coach didn’t give me an ultimatum; I redshirted my outdoor season, came back the following year, and provisionally qualified for NCAA Nationals in steeplechase [3.000 meter race], my very first race back. I got to keep my scholarship, earn my degree, and have my baby.

Cooper and Annie

This experience made me pro-life. I realized that abortion is weaponized against women. Those in authority—those with the purse strings—can treat pregnancy as an illness and abortion as its cure. I realized women with wanted pregnancies may be manipulated into ending them, and as long as abortion is available “on demand” it will be used to control and manipulate women.

This problem trickles into accommodating difficult pregnancies as well. During my second pregnancy I required strict bedrest. I was teaching full-time, and when I asked my principal for paid leave, he said, “We consider what you are asking for to be ‘maternity leave,’ which we deem a personal choice, and so we do not compensate for it. Now, if you had cancer or something and required extended leave you could take it from the leave pool.” He knew I had just been released from the hospital with a prescription for strict bedrest, but since staying pregnant was my “personal choice” my employer saw no obligation to support me. At that point I was the primary breadwinner for our family because my husband was finishing his degree. We ended up going deeply into debt to pay our bills so we could have our second child. “My body my choice” isn’t true. Even if there is a choice, it is often not made by the woman.

There is a manufactured choice between poverty and motherhood, and abortion on demand makes it so, enabling society to treat pregnancy as a chosen “disease.” Women often aren’t making the choice they want to make. They are making a “Sophie’s choice” based on circumstance forced on them by those who have power over their destiny. It’s pretty easy to put a woman in that position when the people pushing it aren’t the ones who pay the price for it (and in fact will benefit from it). If women lack support for their pregnancies, the solution should be to create that support, not push them to end their pregnancies. I am pro-life because I am pro-woman.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Christopher Hitchens Wound Up Opposing Abortion Choice

[Today's guest post is by Acyutananda.]

During his lifetime, Christopher Hitchens seems to have been consistent always in perceiving the rightful place of the unborn as members of our human family; yet he seems to have been “all over the map” regarding public policy on abortion. He said different things about law and policy at different times. And that inconsistency seems to have been partly because he never made the ethics of abortion his main focus; he never became determined to get to the bottom of it. Nevertheless, because of his brilliance and because of his unsurpassed credentials as an atheist, in a world where the abortion-rights position owes a lot of its present ascendance to having succeeded in painting the pro-life cause as purely religious, anything that he said in support of the pro-life cause is understood to matter. In a debate last month, Dinesh D’Souza claimed that Hitchens had been “pro-life,” while Matt Dillahunty responded that Hitchens “wasn’t in favor of making [abortion] illegal.” So what is the reality?

If Hitchens is known to have said different things about abortion policy at different times in his life, what should clearly matter most is the last position he is known to have taken. His last position should reasonably be taken as his most mature and most definitive position. The last statement of his that I have been able to discover came in a debate with Frank Turek on September 9, 2008.* At 00:19 Turek says that Hitchens, in a book of his, advocated the termination of pregnancy in some cases. At 1:37 Hitchens replies:
I do as a humanist feel that the concept “unborn child” is a real one. . . . And I feel a responsibility to see the occupant of the womb as a candidate member of society in the future, and thus to say that it cannot be only the responsibility of the woman to decide upon it. It’s a social question, and an ethical and a moral one. And I say that as someone who has no supernatural beliefs. . . . The presumption is that the unborn entity has a right on its side, and that every effort should be made to see if it can be preserved . . . 
It seems clear that “it cannot be only the responsibility of the woman to decide upon it” aims squarely at some existing contention – that he is disagreeing with something – and that that existing contention is the one that says a woman should have a legal right to choose abortion. Hitchens definitely does not want that (“cannot be”). So when an abortion is proposed, clearly the outcome finally decided will in some cases not be the one the woman wanted, and the change would have been brought about by society exercising its responsibility. Society should sometimes overrule her. Hitchens opposed the policy of abortion choice.

Here some dissection of the word “responsibility” is in order. Normally we speak of a woman's legal “right” to abort, and also of the possible “right” of the state to intervene. But the only possible justification for intervention by the state is a responsibility to protect its members. (Hitchens somehow feels obliged to call them “candidate members,” but he does not discard the clear idea of social responsibility – which in Roe v. Wade was termed “interest.”) Hitchens insists that parties other than the woman bear responsibility, and clearly those parties are society. “Responsibility” can only mean society’s responsibility to intervene in some cases. I cannot hear what he says in any other way.

So the last position that Christopher Hitchens is known to have taken was that in some cases society should overrule the woman. If no later statement of his comes to light, he should go down in history as a pro-lifer in the most common sense of the word; that is, he ended up opposing legal abortion choice. People generally become more pro-life the longer they live, and Hitchens seems to have been no exception.

In 2015, a pro-choice blogger took up the same question – the question of Hitchens’s definitive position on abortion – and came to the conclusion “Hitchens was not anti-choice.” The blogger compiled nine quotes by Hitchens that I recommend reading, six of them from a 2003 article by Hitchens. However, she did not include the above “responsibility” quote. She included a quote that she calls a “smoking gun” justifying her conclusion. In that quote, Hitchens says, “Everything in one revolts against [saying, ‘We will force you to carry a child to term.’]”

That is a strong statement of the strongest argument for abortion rights. There is no denying that. It is the kind of moving statement that Hitchens was capable of. However, it dates to 1991, so by the time of his “responsibility” statement, Hitchens had had seventeen years to mature; and he had had five years to mature and deepen his thinking since his 2003 article.

Some sources claim that Hitchens opposed overturning Roe v. Wade, but such sources as I have seen either offer no support for the claim, or refer to Hitchens’s God Is Not Great. I do not find any support in the e-edition I have of that book, but in any case Hitchens wrote that book earlier than his debate with Turek.

In a couple of talks that, from Hitchens’s appearance, must have taken place subsequent to 2008, he offered a recipe for ending poverty that included “allow women control over – some control over – their cycle of reproduction . . .” Pro-lifers completely agree that no woman should have to conceive against her will. There is no reason to understand that statement as advocacy for abortion rights.

Hitchens seems to have been against legal abortion before he was for it (his above 1991 position) before he was again against it. In a 1988 interview he said:
Margaret Thatcher voted . . . for the abortion bill [liberalizing abortion]. I gather that she’s since changed her position on the latter. My own vote would have been, as so often, exactly the reverse of hers. 
Also worth quoting from that interview (though not all these quotes are on the topic of legal policy):
Nobody on the left can avoid noticing that the so-called “prolife” forces are overwhelmingly female and from income groups that traditionally voted Democratic. Yet this simple rebellion by what one might dare to term humble people has been written off as reactionary by people who can’t or won’t see the essential dignity of the right-to-life position. . . . . . . once you allow that the occupant of the womb is even potentially a life, it cuts athwart any glib invocation of “the woman’s right to choose.” If the unborn is a candidate member of the next generation, it means that it is society’s responsibility. I used to argue that if this is denied, you might as well permit abortion in the third trimester. I wasn’t as surprised as perhaps I ought to have been when some feminists—only some, and partly to annoy—said yes to that. They at least were prepared to accept their own logic, and say that the unborn is nobody’s business but theirs. That is a very reactionary and selfish position, and it stems from this original evasion about the fetus being “merely” an appendage. . . .
We need a new compact between society and the woman. It’s a progressive compact because it is aimed at the future generation. It would restrict abortion in most circumstances. . . .
. . . there is a debased compassion at work. It tends to be one-sided, exclusively focused on the female condemned, as they say, to domestic serfdom. We should recognize that there are proper concerns and aspirations behind this. Women have been kept down for too long. Their struggle for greater autonomy is, in general, a just one. But its simplistic extension to abortion, I think, has aspects of neurosis and over-reaction. I think some women are trying to take revenge in part for centuries of being told by men precisely how they should live. The prolife movement, if it is to be successful, must understand these sentiments. You cannot conduct any intelligent combat if you do not understand the impulses you oppose. 
And in the recent debate with Dillahunty, D’Souza said (at 11:00):
I interviewed Hitchens years ago for a magazine, and we talked about this issue, and he made what I thought was an interesting point coming from an atheist perspective: . . . “Look, it’s one thing if you say that you believe in Hindu reincarnation, [in] which we have many different lives , or if you believe that there is a life to come in which if you happen to be terminated in the womb, you’re going to go to life everlasting. . . . I don’t believe any of that. I believe we have one life – this is it, this is the only one, and so ultimately it’s the only value. And if you have a life that’s coming into being, and it’s snuffed out, all its choices interrupted at the outset . . . you got to think before you do that.” 

* The relevant segment is linked above; to watch the entire debate, click here

Monday, April 6, 2020

Secular Pro-Life March Recap

[Editor's note: After a long while of letting our email list gather dust, we've finally gotten in the good habit of sending a monthly recap. If you'd like to subscribe, click here.]

Each of our co-leaders had in-person events scheduled this month, but not all of us made it before social distancing became the norm.
  • Monica's 3/23 presentation was (temporarily) cancelled. She was going to deconstruct three pro-choice myths at Oregon Right to Life's pro-life youth training camp, but the camp has been postponed until further notice. 
  • Kelsey's 3/28 talk went from in-person to online. She was scheduled to discuss effective education to reach nonreligious people at SFLA's 2020 Florida Leadership Workshop; when SFLA converted the workshop to an online event, Kelsey was still able to speak to student leaders virtually. Watch here
  • Terrisa's 3/4 speech still happened, and it was fantastic. She made her voice heard (like she does) on the steps of the Supreme Court in defense of pro-life Democrat Katrina Jackson's Lousiana bill requiring abortion providers to be held to the same standards as other outpatient surgical centers. Transcript here, video here.
Photo of Terrisa Bukovinac speaking at rally
"The abortion industry cannot police itself! Every time they try, they put profits first and women last!" - Terrisa Bukovinac, Secular Pro-Life

We gained 190 Twitter followers, bringing us to 11,457 total. We sent 119 tweets which were viewed 311,700 times, including thoughts about why pro-choice people seem to know so little about us and how the media blatantly promotes pro-choice narratives. One of our most popular tweets was this quote from Lord Shinkwin regarding abortion and disability:

I utterly reject this medical mindset that clings to the idea that a disabled baby is a medical failure to be eradicated through abortion. I beg no one for my equality. I know I have as much right as anyone to be alive.

In March we gained 235 followers, bringing us to 32,448 total. Our content was viewed over 325,000 times, including nearly 33,000 views of our "They can hear you" photo series. This is an album where we collect testimonials from people who have disabilities, have grown up in foster care, or have otherwise endured particular hardships and reject the suggestion that they would have been better off aborted. For example:

(See Dee's full thread here)

Last year we had a collection of similar testimonials that went viral.

Our three most-read blog posts for March, in increasing order:
  • Progressive polling firm tries, and fails, to conduct neutral survey on abortion policy Polling outfit Data for Progress had questions regarding abortion clinic regulations. The firm's questions neglected to mention the major concern of providers having admitting privileges at local hospitals, but did suggest there's concern about the air temperature of patient areas. Even with this biased content, far more poll respondents supported regulation than opposed it.
  • We asked, you answered: wishing you hadn't had the "choice" A polite Twitter user asked whether post-abortive pro-life women wish they hadn't even had the legal option to get an abortion. We posed the question to our FB followers and collected their responses in this blog post. In addition to post-abortive women, women who chose to carry their pregnancies also spoke up about how the legal option of abortion made their pregnancies much more difficult.
  • Pregnancy resource centers need your support now more than ever If you have the ability, now is the time to donate to pregnancy resource centers. Nearly 3 out of 4 women who have abortions say financial strain contributed to their decision, and social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines push centers to postpone their fundraising events.
If you don't have the financial ability to donate during these uncertain economic times, there are other ways you can continue pro-life work while staying home. Check out our list of book and movie recommendations to increase your knowledge or expand your view. And consider sending us guest blog posts! Guest bloggers help us get a more diverse range of perspectives, opinions and experiences. If you have an idea for a piece you'd like to submit, please email us at to discuss.

Thank you to our supporters
Thank you to those of you who donate to help support our work. SPL is run by dedicated volunteers, and we would not be able to devote the time and energy without the help of donors like you.

That said, we are in a better position to weather this storm than many orgs, so if you do have the ability to donate, we recommend contacting your local pregnancy resource centers. We are particularly fond of Abide Women's Health, which had its grand brick-and-mortar opening just before coronavirus really hit. You can check out their Amazon Wish List for in-kind donation ideas, or donate to them directly here.

If you do want to donate to us anyway, here is our PayPal. If you don't use PayPal, you can also go to our Facebook page and click the blue "Donate" button under our cover photo on the right. 

And if you haven't already, come find us on social media:
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Friday, April 3, 2020

New Fellowship for Pro-Life Creatives

Building off its successful Wilberforce Fellowship (for college and graduate leadership) and Stevens Fellowship (for high school leadership), Students for Life of America is launching the Hildegard Art Fellowship:
The Hildegard Art Fellowship is about engaging young artists to use their artistry to change hearts and minds on abortion by becoming artist activists.
Art in its multitude of forms has a unique way to speak to and impact our culture. At Students for Life, we seek to abolish abortion on many platforms including politics, education, and service. The Hildegard Art Fellows don’t just encounter culture; they captivate culture.
The inaugural class will consist of visual artists, five writers, and five performing artists. If you meet the criteria, I encourage you to apply! Speaking as a former Wilberforce Fellow (and current mentor), if the Hildegard Art Fellowship is anything like SFLA's other fellowships, it will be an incredibly valuable experience. The application deadline is May 1. 

And speaking of the arts, a friendly reminder that submissions are open for the Create | Encounter pro-life art contest; you can read more about that here. It's a great time to be a pro-life artist activist!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Video: Effective Pro-Life Education on Campus

Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard here. Last weekend, I was scheduled to speak at a Florida leadership summit for pro-life high school and college students, organized by Students for Life of America. The original venue was shut down due to the coronavirus, but the show must go on, so I presented over Zoom. The video recording is now up on our facebook page. Although my presentation is geared toward students, it contains information that I hope will be helpful to pro-life advocates of all ages.

If you'd like to skip around, here are topic timestamps:

1:32 - 5:22, why outreach to non-religious people is important
5:22 - 9:30, dialogue tips
9:30 - 14:1, the abortion industry's religious strategy
14:12 - 15:45, building a secular organization on campus
15:45 - end, Q&A

Side note: the young woman in the purple shirt who speaks during the Q&A is Gabrielle Gabbard. You might recognize that name because when she started her pro-life club at Gulf Coast High School, the administration wasn't thrilled, and she had to threaten legal action to get the club approved. In a wild coincidence, I am a graduate of Gulf Coast High School. We'll be sure to meet in person once it's safe to do so!