Pages

Friday, July 30, 2021

Pro-life feminist groups file amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson

Secular Pro-Life is proud to be one of the amici represented by this amicus brief just filed. Details below.

DOBBS AMICUS FILED BY PRO-LIFE FEMINIST GROUPS AND 240 WOMEN SCHOLARS AND PROFESSIONALS  EXPOSES THE LIE THAT WOMEN NEED ABORTION FOR EQUALITY


For Immediate Release: Media Contact: Helen Alvaré, halvare@gmu.edu, Teresa S. Collett, teresa.s.collett@gmail.com 


July 29, 2021- Washington, D.C. In an amicus brief filed in Dobbs v. Jackson by pro-life feminist organizations and 240 women scholars and professionals, amici urge the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (1992) and Roe vs. Wade (1973). Law professors Teresa S. Collett and Helen Alvaré and legal scholar Erika Bachiochi represented amici. 


On behalf of amicus Feminists Choosing Life of New York, Michele Sterlace, Esq., LLM, commented: “This brief overthrows the fiction that women need and rely upon abortion rights to participate equally in civil society; this was central to the Casey Court’s decision to uphold Roe.”  


The brief summarizes the empirical evidence and data relating to women’s economic and social achievements since Roe, and concludes: “There simply is no causal link between the availability of abortion and the ‘capacity of women to act in society.’”  The brief empirically shows that “no consistent correlation” exists between “abortion rates or ratios” and “women’s participation in the labor market and entrepreneurial activities, as well as their educational accomplishments, professional engagement, and political participation.”


“Pro-life feminists have argued for decades that abortion rights harm rather than empower women and their opportunities to advance,” states Sterlace, “and the brief also explores and proves this with objective evidence.”  The brief makes an evidentiary showing that abortion correlates with “ the feminization of poverty, and women’s declining levels of happiness.”  It also reveals that the entire argument that women need abortion to achieve equality is based on a “male normative experience of reproduction as the model for economic and social participation.” This has “actually retarded meaningful accommodation of pregnancy and motherhood in the workplace and other spheres of society.”  


According to Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, founder of New Wave Feminists, another organizational amicus: “For far too long feminists have been fighting for a piece of the pie while settling for the crumbs. We’re here to demand a future where women are able to participate in society without having to sacrifice their children on the altar of ‘equality.’ We are able to do something men cannot – bring new life into this world. Patriarchy gained its power by using violence against the vulnerable, and we refuse to replicate that model as it has no place in a truly equitable future for every member of the human family.”


And Kathy McQueen, president of Feminists for Nonviolent Choices, another organizational amicus, states: ”Pregnant women, especially poor pregnant women, need economic and social resources, in order to achieve equality, not abortion. The  pro-choice narrative dehumanizes children in utero and their pregnant mothers. It elevates the right to kill unborn offspring as a rite of passage to equal status. This not only twists reality, as the brief demonstrates, but undermines efforts to enact and implement crucial policies necessary for pregnant women and mothers to participate in society on equal footing with men. Roe and Casey have hurt women. It's time both are overruled.” 


To review the filed brief, go to any of the above amici’s websites or https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/dobbs-v-jackson-womens-health-organization/.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Blog Hiatus

A key volunteer is going on vacation, necessitating a hiatus of this blog until mid-August. We'll have some exciting announcements when we return! In the meantime, Secular Pro-Life will continue to share abortion-related news and commentary via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Monday, July 26, 2021

The People Have Spoken and the Pro-Life Flag Is...

The Pro-Life Flag Project has announced the winning design, by Brazilian artist Nanda Gasperini!

There is ample symbolism in this deceptively simple design. The white background symbolizes non-violence in the womb as well as the innocence of the unborn child. The two baby feet represent the humanity of the unborn child; baby feet have been a symbol associated with the pro-life movement since the iconic Precious Feet lapel pins were named the international pro-life symbol in 1979. The two pink hands represent the pregnant mother, holding and protecting her child. The white heart in between the feet symbolizes the pro-life movement’s love for both the mother and her child. The two stripes emphasize the TWO distinct human lives present in a pregnancy. The stripes also form an "equals sign," stressing that the unborn child is equally and fully human, and therefore deserving of equal human rights.

You can order a flag here, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pro-Life Flag Project's partner organizations (including Secular Pro-Life). You are also encouraged to make use of the design in your own pro-life work, such as by incorporating the flag into local promotional materials, akin to how the rainbow flag is used throughout the LGBTQA+ rights movement. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Behind the Scenes with a Pregnancy Helpline Worker

Secular Pro-Life co-leader Monica Snyder interviewed Petra Wallenmayer about her experiences as a pregnancy helpline worker. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. (Portions that were cut for length may appear in a later post; stay tuned!)

Q: What are the primary pressures that women are feeling or concerns that you hear?

A: FEAR, in general. Fear of what the future holds and how they will be able to handle everything. "I absolutely cannot have a kid right now" — fear of pregnancy, parenting, childbirth, and the future. Then there are the financial pressures: not having insurance; concerns about the cost of prenatal care; the cost of abortion; the cost of raising kid(s); not having a job; being homeless; still living with parents; boyfriend or significant other doesn't have a job, can't afford baby items or a bigger place to live, et cetera.

Others cite not feeling ready to parent; they feel too young, financially unstable, or mentally unwell. Maybe she has health problems, or hasn’t finished school yet.

Finally, there's lack of support from family, friends, and/or the significant other. Callers feel alone and overwhelmed.

Q: What support is typically lacking that causes women to need the line?

A: Affordable medical care, or information on how to access affordable medical care. They do not have insurance, they can't find an OB/GYN who will take them unless they jump through a bunch of hoops first, or there are no OB/GYNs with availability. Additionally, many have no idea how to apply for pregnancy insurance through the state or how to ask a hospital system for a payment plan, financial assistance, and things like that to help with delivery costs.

They don't have a good social support system or are too afraid to let people who may support them know they are pregnant. Much of this fear is driven by their assumptions of how people will respond, whether the assumptions are rooted in actual past experience or not.

Information or knowledge about their bodies, birth control, pregnancy, and abortion in general is lacking — so educational and/or familial support is required.

Q: What do you think women need the most in crisis situations?

A: They need emotional support — someone who will listen and not judge them, someone who will encourage them, someone who can offer alternatives and new perspective — and physical support — someone who can help them make phone calls, help getting to appointments, a doctor for prenatal care, insurance, financial aid, classes to prepare for birth and parenting a newborn, and baby and maternity items. If you can help your friend arrange for any of these services, that's a big deal. 

Q: Do callers report being coerced either way?

A: Not all the time, but often, yes.  Culprits usually include the significant other or self-described "baby daddy" and/or the woman or significant other's parents; occasionally a friend or friend group, as well. 

A lot of our callers are underage. A lot. Thirteen is not too young to talk to your kid about sex, periods, and pregnancy! Sometimes minors are afraid their parents will force them to get an abortion. Sometimes these parents are described as religious or really conservative or old-fashioned. It is about how the child perceives their parents valuing their family image. Sometimes these parents are not described as religious, but the fear stems from the fact the parent is a single parent or was a young single parent for a while, and will do anything to prevent their daughter from being in their situation. Whether the parents are religious or not, a lot of the fear of parents forcing them to get an abortion stems from the daughter thinking the parents will be angry/humiliated their daughter is pregnant and that no one can know. 

The boyfriends can be manipulative; they'll offer to pay for an abortion, tell her all the reasons they are not ready for a kid right now, offer to help her schedule an abortion and/or drive her there... but they are not very supportive if she mentions wanting to keep the baby. 

Sometimes the significant others are outright coercive or abusive. I've had many men call and they are abortion-shopping for their woman, and I have no idea if that is something she wants or if she even knows he is doing that. Those calls kind of creep me out. I've had men yelling at the woman calling, telling them to put the phone down/hang up/stop talking to us because nothing is going to change the fact that they're getting an abortion. Women have told me their boyfriend has threatened to leave them — if they live together, kick them out — if they have the baby. Women have called feeling crushed and angry after finding out their boyfriend already scheduled the appointment for an abortion without ever talking to her beforehand.

Q: How can one best support a woman who finds herself pregnant unexpectedly?

A: Be there for her. You can start by gathering information for her and going over it with her, like how to apply for Medicaid during pregnancy in her state or a list of OB/GYNs in her area that might be taking new patients. Help her make phone calls to pregnancy help centers, doctor's offices, WIC, Medicaid, and so on. A really big need for a lot of women is transportation to appointments. You an also help arrange a baby shower and/or registry. If she needs to tell her partner or family and is scared, offer to be with her when she breaks the news or to be available to talk right after.

Obviously, avoid shaming her. Don't tell her she should have known better, or ask how could she let this happen to her. Trust me — she already feels enough guilt and shame. You don't need to add to it! Even if you're shocked and surprised, still try to communicate clearly that you'll be there to support her if you can help in any way. Don't participate in nasty conversations and gossip about her; shut that down.

No one has to do all the things. You are only human, and you can only do what you can do. What is appropriate to do for her or say to her also depends sometimes on how well you know the woman needing help. You can always do your part by supporting pregnancy support organizations in your area! Donate money, volunteer, ask if they have a list of needed items you can fill. 

[Photo credit: Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash]

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

LAST CHANCE to vote for the Pro-Life Flag!

One of the three designs below will become the official flag of the pro-life movement, endorsed by dozens of partner organizations (including Secular Pro-Life). A runoff vote closes tomorrow. Use this link to vote.

Flag C's central symbol is an established icon in the global pro-life movement already! A simple but abstract depiction of a pregnant mother and her unborn child, this image has taken off as a unifying symbol in the South American pro-life movement. Often accompanied by the words "Salvemos Las Dos Vidas" ("Let's Save Both Lives"), this design stresses both the mother and child. It was created collectively by pro-life groups for the purpose of global pro-life use and unification. While it is not yet as well-recognized in the United States and Europe, adopting this symbol on the official pro-life flag would truly create a sense of unification within the global pro-life movement. The flag's design is simple, symbolic, and recognizable. The central symbol depicts love and representation for both the mother and her unborn child. The two background stripes of purple and white again stress the TWO lives present in a pregnancy: the mother and child. This flag shouts "Love them both."

Flag D's central symbol is a mother's hands holding her child. The symbol also resembles a budding flower, symbolizing new life. The two colors represent the two distinct lives present in a pregnancy: the mother and the child.

Flag F's central symbol is the iconic "precious feet" (representing the child). The feet are being lovingly held by a pair of hands (representing the mother). The two stripes in the background form an "equals" sign, representing that the unborn child is equally human. The two stripes are also symbolic of the two lives present in a pregnancy: the mother and her child. The subtle heart between the feet symbolizes the love that the pro-life movement shows to both the mother and her child.

All credit and many thanks to the Pro-Life Flag Project for organizing this design contest!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Responding to a Common Pro-Choice Tactic

Herb holds a sign: "Big clumps in solidarity with little clumps"

"It's just a clump of cells, not a baby."

Most pro-lifers won't go more than a month or two without hearing this stubborn phrase. Pro-choicers often chant it as a one-liner to shoot down a pro-lifer's honest argument or just to express their unyielding abortion support. In cases where they actually believe it and are willing to discuss with you, it's important to have a few handy points up your sleeve to get them really listening.

Despite this phrase being both inaccurate and usually thrown about only to deceive or provoke anger, in a culture where '"repeating something enough makes it true," it has become a widely-held "fact" among the public. However, there is much to rebut against this argument, and that’s why it gets so tough. Where do we even start?

Well, to begin with, I often like to point out that every human alive right now, including both the pro-choicer and the pro-lifer, are also clumps of cells (or clusters of cells, blobs of tissue, etc.). This can prompt the opposition to get more specific as to the differences they are trying to highlight between the born and the unborn that they believe justify abortion. Two different paths can be taken from there, depending on their argument. The first is more scientific, and the second more philosophical. Ordinarily, they will both be touched upon at some point, in the respective order.

The first argument is that while all humans are technically "clumps of cells," what they mean is that early embryos or zygotes mostly consist of cells containing genetic information that are blueprints for any and all of their future body parts, called "(embryonic) stem cells," whereas older fetuses and born human bodies are more organized into groups of like cells, such as skin, organs, hair, etc. However, even in the earliest stages of fetal development (such as the blastocyst - a child around the age they implant in their mother’s uterus 3-5 days after fertilization), she is organized into parts, with her inner cells making up her body and the outer ones developing into her nourishing placenta. A bit later, when the child is 2-3 weeks old in the womb as an embryo, she has three layers of cells in her tiny body: The top layer (ectoderm) which gives rise to her outermost layer of skin, central and peripheral nervous systems, eyes, and inner ears; the middle layer of cells (mesoderm), from which her heart, primitive circulatory system, bones, ligaments, kidneys and much of her reproductive system will form; and the inner layer of cells (endoderm) where the child’s lungs and intestines will develop. By week 7-8, all of the fetus’s major organs/parts (heart, brain, spine, limbs) are fully formed and mostly functional. So, just as adult human bodies are more complex than those of infants, so born humans' bodies are more structured than those of unborn humans. But, that doesn't mean unborn human bodies are unorganized and inactive as the term "clump of cells" would imply — in fact, as we can see, they are quite complex already!

Some may object that while fetuses are not always clumps of cells, abortions take place so early in the pregnancy at which time they are not developed enough to be considered a "child." Countless embryology textbooks and medical professionals have confirmed the fetal development research outlined above. With that information in mind, let us take a look at further studies regarding the development of the fetus when most abortions are performed. Most mothers find out they are pregnant when they are between 4 and 7 weeks along - on average, around 5 and a half weeks. The earliest almost any abortion (chemical or surgical) can be performed is after 4 weeks gestation, when the child already has a detectible heartbeat. Although a majority of abortions are done in the first trimester of pregnancy, the child at that stage is already developing to a much greater extent than those who call him or her a "clump of cells" would like you to think, or even believe themselves. Moreover, abortions in the second and even third trimester are legal in the United States, happen tens of thousands of times a year, and are routinely committed for non-medical reasons.

Finally, there is the philosophical argument for abortion: using the phrase "clump of cells" to imply that the unborn are not "fully human," nor worthy enough to be called human beings nor a member of humanity. It's hard to argue with the science that proves fetuses are living human organisms, so some will take it a step further and admit they are, but still insist the unborn should not be treated as valuable "persons" like born humans are, because (1) they aren't as developed, (2) they are much smaller in size, and (3) they are more dependent upon others — especially their own mother — for survival. Your job is to get to the root of why they think these things matter so much that they determine which humans are "persons" who have human rights. When you look closely enough, you'll see that all these "requirements" are arbitrary and nonsensical, just as saying that a human's biological sex, skin color, or abilities (mental, physical, etc.) determine whether he or she has basic human rights. When we base human rights such as the right to life on anything other than someone's actual humanity, we are in for a lot of trouble. Talk about being on the right side of history for this one!

[Today's guest post is by Liana Joy. If you would like to contribute a guest post, review our guidelines and email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration.]

Monday, July 12, 2021

Pro-Life Flag Project Finalists Selected: Vote Now!

One of the six designs below will become the official flag of the pro-life movement, endorsed by dozens of partner organizations (including Secular Pro-Life). A ranked-choice vote is taking place now through July 19. Use this link to vote. 

Flag design A:

Flag design B:

Flag design C:

Flag design D:

Flag design E:

Flag design F: 

Personally, I ranked them A, C, B, F, E, D. But they're all fantastic and there's no bad outcome here. All credit and many thanks to the Pro-Life Flag Project for organizing this design contest!


Friday, July 9, 2021

Why Pro-Life Advocates Should Care About Medical Marijuana

Alabama recently legalized medical marijuana, but only for a limited set of medical conditions. One condition that made the list is "persistent nausea not related to pregnancy." 

Policymakers apparently excluded pregnancy-related nausea out of concern that marijuana would negatively impact an unborn baby's health. There is not much evidence for that, however. Researchers have struggled "to separate the effects of prenatal marijuana from other factors -- notably cigarette smoking." One study found negative impacts among babies born to mothers with "cannabis use disorder," but data on moderate and prescription users is lacking.  

Missing from this conversation is that in some cases, medical marijuana can benefit an unborn baby.

Some of our readers may remember Baby J and Mama L, but for those who did not follow their story, the Cliff's Notes version is that Baby J was conceived under incredibly difficult circumstances. His survival is thanks to many factors, including Mama L's courage and the dedication of numerous pro-life organizations and individuals. Mama L and Baby J lived with me and my wonderfully supportive roommates for several months before and after Baby J's birth, and New Wave Feminists organized a fantastic Amazon baby registry that quickly sold out. 

Mama L has given me permission to discuss an aspect of her story that has not previously been shared: she used medical marijuana while pregnant with Baby J.

This is actually a big part of why Mama L decided to live with me in Florida. She is from the Midwest, and while there were many wonderful pro-life advocates closer to home, she desperately needed to reside in a medical marijuana state. Mama L experienced hyperemesis gravidarum and struggled to keep food down. Medical marijuana is the one thing that could keep her symptoms under control and maintain her appetite. Without it, I am convinced that Mama L, Baby J, or both would have been malnourished.

Kelsey holds Baby J

Mama L used medical marijuana responsibly, under the care of a doctor, and her prenatal care providers were aware of the situation. Baby J was born full term and at a healthy weight. The biggest scare on Baby J's birthday was not medical in nature; it was a threat that social services would be called because THC showed up in Mama L's blood work. I happen to be a lawyer, and thankfully, I was able to throw a little weight around to keep that from happening. But it was a completely unnecessary source of stress on what should have been a joyful occasion.

"Nausea related to pregnancy" is no joke. It can threaten the health of both mother and child. In severe cases, it could even erode a mother's resolve to choose life. Malnutrition and abortion are real risks. Why don't these concerns carry the same weight as the concern over medical marijuana's potential but unproven harms?

I don't think Alabama policymakers acted maliciously when they excluded pregnancy-related nausea from the medical marijuana program. They probably had the best of intentions and were just being overly cautious, given the scarcity of solid research in this area. But as the state's medical marijuana program evolves, I hope they will reconsider. The next child like Baby J could live in Alabama. Medical marijuana is a pro-life issue.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

THIS FRIDAY: Nationwide Rallies to Support the Hyde Amendment


This article is especially important for those of you who live in Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Texas. 

Congress is in recess and its members are home to engage with their constituents. This is the perfect time to talk to your representatives about the importance of the Hyde Amendment. This bipartisan measure stops taxpayer funding of abortion, particularly through the Medicaid program. Over 2.4 million Americans are alive today thanks to the Hyde Amendment.

But where we see neighbors, classmates, and friends, the abortion industry sees lost revenue. The "pro-choice" lobby has been gunning for repeal of the Hyde Amendment, putting pressure on Democratic lawmakers to withdraw their support and enact a budget full of abortion industry subsidies. 

Democrats for Life of America has identified Democratic representatives who have voted for the Hyde Amendment in the past and need encouragement from their voters to do so again. In partnership with Students for Life of America and other groups, they will be holding "Mobilize for Hyde" rallies this Friday, July 9 at 11:00 a.m. local time at each of the following locations: 
Taxpayer-funded abortion is deadly for children — and politically unpopular enough to be deadly for a Congressional career, too. If you are able to attend any of the above rallies, do your part to hold elected officials accountable!

Monday, July 5, 2021

June Recap

 (Click here to sign up for these email updates.)

June Recap

Projects
Athiest Terrisa snuck into the Fight for Life and Faith rally in Washington DC to challenge the clergy to use their unique positions of influence among the faithful to fight for protection of the most vulnerable humans: the unborn. Breitbart picked up her passionate speech here.

In case you missed it, the panelist discussion Terrisa was featured in, "Birth Control Bedfellows: A Discussion with Unsung Heroes for Better Contraceptive Access" has finally been uploaded.  You can watch it here.

Kelsey has written an article for the Human Life Review on the upcoming Supreme Court case regarding a 15-week abortion ban. Stay tuned as that becomes available in July.

Monica has been hard at work managing SPL's social media accounts. If you are looking for a short, succinct way to pass the pro-life message along, check out our Twitter account in particular.


Nobody should be allowed to kill prenatal humans in 140 characters or less. See the original tweet here.

Twitter
For June we gained 198 new followers, bringing us to 14,079 total. We sent 161 tweets, which were viewed 463,500 times, including this tweet from Kelsey, viewed over 29,500 times, getting the point across that finishing off the job of killing your victims is not better than having survivors around to speak out against your cruelty.


See the original tweet here.


Facebook
We are at 35,297 followers on Facebook. Our content was viewed 326,849 times, including 37,312 views of this post about the toxic culture among too many doctors that any child less than perfect deserves death before they are born.

See the related blogpost here.

Blogger
Our three most-read blog posts for June, in increasing order: Like what we do and have something to contribute? Consider writing a guest post. Guest posts help us cover a more diverse range of perspectives, topics, and experiences. If you have an idea for a piece you'd like to submit, please email us at info@secularprolife.org.
What You Can Do
There are plenty of ways to help with pro-life work. This month we recommend:
  • Join in one of the many rallies around the country to show your support for the Hyde Amendment.
  • Join one of the many Standing With You retreats across the country in early August to learn how to be an ally for pregnant and parenting students on campus.
  • With many organizations still relying heavily on online meetings, now is a great time to sponsor a pro-life speaker to your community. It's never been more affordable to bring an experienced perspective to energize the pro-life message in your area.
  • Email Monica (monica@secularprolife.org) if you're interested in submitting guest blog posts on legislation or peer-reviewed research.
  • And, of course, you can always donate:


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.


Friday, July 2, 2021

Senator Manchin Vows to Oppose Taxpayer-Subsidized Abortion

The lives of 60,000 children a year depend upon one person: Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

As many of our readers know, the Hyde Amendment is a rider to the annual federal budget which limits taxpayer funding of abortion, particularly via the Medicaid program. Since 1976, it has been enacted every year with bipartisan support. The Charlotte Lozier Institute calculates that the Hyde Amendment prevents approximately 60,000 abortions every year, sparing the lives of 2.4 million low-income babies over the past 45 years.

But where we see neighbors, classmates, and friends, the abortion industry sees lost revenue. The "pro-choice" lobby has been gunning for repeal of the Hyde Amendment, and it obtained a significant victory when Hyde was conspicuously omitted from President Biden's budget proposal this year. 

Thankfully, a budget proposal is merely that: a proposal. It will evolve considerably as it makes its journey through Congress. The House of Representatives has a pro-abortion majority and will doubtless send a budget without Hyde to the Senate. There are 50 Democratic Senators and 50 Republican Senators. The filibuster is not a factor, so if it came down to a party-line vote, Vice President Harris — a vicious opponent of the right to life — would break the tie.   

Enter Senator Manchin. He has bravely defied the Democratic Party's extreme abortion orthodoxy, vowing instead to support the Hyde Amendment "in any way possible." His compassion extends to the constituents who are much too young to vote for him: helpless children in the womb. Thanks to him, it won't be a party-line vote. The Hyde Amendment has a fighting chance. 

This is not the time to declare victory, by any means. Senator Manchin will come under enormous pressure from pro-abortion forces in Congress and in the media. There will be primary threats. There will be false accusations of racism. And if Senator Manchin stands tall, abortion lobbyists could try to get the support of a GOP Senator or two (although pro-abortion Republicans are likely to vote against the budget for unrelated reasons). I won't even rule out the possibility of a government shutdown over this issue, in which case the pro-life movement must forcefully and repeatedly point out that pro-abortion politicians are responsible for throwing out decades of consensus. And then, of course, we have the 2022 midterms to worry about. 

For now, though, let's just take a moment — whatever your political persuasion — to tip our hats to Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Thank you, Senator, for your courage. We stand with you. 


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Register for a Weekend Retreat on Pregnancy Resources

Standing With You (formerly known as Pregnant On Campus), a Students for Life of America initiative, equips pregnant and parenting students and their pro-life allies across the country. For young advocates who want to take their pregnancy resource skills to the next level, Standing With You is offering weekend retreats in 19 locations from Thursday, August 5, to Saturday, August 7. The registration cost is just $10!

Standing With You writes
If you've always wanted to learn firsthand how to empower women to choose life, this is the retreat for you. Over the course of the weekend, you'll learn different methods of supportive services activism on campus and in the community. You'll learn why it is essential to ensure that life-affirming resources are promoted through your efforts and how they save lives. You'll hear from national speakers about advertising effectiveness, sidewalk counseling, and Support After Abortion, all while spending a fun weekend with pro-life friends in your area.

The 19 retreat locations are:

  • Allentown, PA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Hartford, CT
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Jackson, MS
  • Omaha, NE
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Port St. Lucie, FL
  • Portland, OR
  • Richmond, VA
  • Rochester, NY
  • Sacramento, CA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Twin Cities, MN
This is a fantastic opportunity to connect with like-minded, life-affirming people and improve your ability to support families in need. Register today for a retreat near you!

[Photo credit: Omar Lopez on Unsplash]

Monday, June 28, 2021

"No Uterus, No Opinion": Four Responses

Whenever anyone says to me, "Men can’t get pregnant, so they shouldn’t talk about abortion – more often sloganized in the form of "No Uterus, No Opinion" – I am torn between responses. There are four ways that I could reply. If not possible or worth it to cover all four of them, I have to select one of them as the most likely to be effective according to how I gauge the particular person and the particular situation.

Here I will give the four responses, counting down from the one I use the least to the one I use the most.

But first, let's discuss the difference between opinions and arguments. An opinion is what we will find in an opinion poll. We will find the statement of the opinion; and we will often be informed that the opinion is that of, for instance, a white female Protestant aged between 25 and 40. A reader of the poll will not be told the arguments with which a person might support their opinion.

I don't want to discuss here real opinion polling on abortion. Such polling actually finds very little difference in attitudes that correlates with gender. But suppose an observer knows what opinions on abortion various people have, and knows nothing else about the people except a little demographic information including gender. Such an observer might well reflect that many women have actual experience of pregnancy and childbirth that no men have. And even many females who have no actual such experience, possess a biology that puts them at the risk that some day they will find their nutrients being siphoned off, and experience morning sickness, and be at risk of pain and even death in childbirth, and face decision-making about the child once it is born, and maybe eventually experience post-partum depression. Facing those future risks might well give even a woman who has not experienced pregnancy and childbirth a greater instinctive empathy than men could normally possess, for those who do experience pregnancy and childbirth.

And I would agree with that. I think one gender must in fact appreciate better than the other the plight of a woman who might consider abortion, and that woman is one of the two principal parties whenever an abortion is proposed. So I actually agree that normally a woman's opinion on abortion should carry more weight than a man's, if we know little else about the two individuals. But from that does it follow that men's opinions should remain unexpressed? Below I will get to the answer.

Regarding arguments, now – arguments have no gender. Virtually all arguments, pro-choice and pro-life (and astute and silly as well), have no doubt been advanced over the years by both men and women. So when someone presents us with an argument, we have to deal with the argument. If it's a pro-life argument, we cannot logically deal with it by complaining, as one former Planned President did and as countless pro-choicers have done in some similar form, "I'm tired of men trying to control women's bodies."

I will duck here the question of whether some people who can get pregnant should be called men rather than women. Here I will just say, fine, I'm completely open to transgender men, including those who can still get pregnant, being considered men. But for shorthand purposes in this short article, I have been using "men" to mean people who due to their biological primary sex characteristics never in the course of their lifetimes have the ability to get pregnant, and "women" to mean people whose primary sex characteristics do at some point in their lifetimes offer that possibility.

The four responses, from 4 to 1:

4. "That’s an ad hominem argument."

It’s true that "No uterus, no opinion" is an ad hominem argument. But I would use this response only with philosophy students, for whom it is normal for a conversation to be in part a search for fallacies. To others it would be obnoxious.

3. "Many women use the same argument that I'm making. Whenever you may encounter this argument coming from a woman, you won’t be able to say 'No uterus, no opinion.' You will have to address the argument itself sooner or later. Might as well do it now."

I might use this with somebody who I don't think would immediately get the point of my most preferred response, my number 4. 

2. "Most of my arguments are from pro-life feminists and other pro-life women. Women have been my main mentors. So everything you hear me saying, I'm really saying as a proxy or surrogate for some women."

This is almost the same as number 3. This one depends on information about me individually, which is a limitation in a way, but I feel that the response becomes a bit stronger with the information, so I use this more often than 3.

1. "Okay, if men's opinions on abortion are really worth less, then you are capable of discounting my opinion for yourself, so is there any reason for me as a man to shut up?"

So far there has been no retort, and everyone has been like reluctantly "Well, okay."

My hope has been that my question would make people ask themselves how, in the first place, they would have made a thoughtful case that it is somehow morally wrong for a man to venture an opinion about abortion. But if anyone has introspected so much, they have not yet volunteered it to me.

That concludes the responses that I normally use. I invite pro-life men to state how they respond, and pro-life women to offer us advice. For more ideas, see here and here

[Today's guest post is by Acyutananda. If you would like to contribute a guest post, review our guidelines and email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration. Photo credit: Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash.]

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Two Days Left to Submit Your Pro-Life Flag Design!

This Friday, June 18, is the deadline to submit your entry for the Pro-Life Flag Project!

Secular Pro-Life is one of several dozen organizations partnering with the Pro-Life Flag Project for this design contest. This is an initiative to create the official flag of the pro-life movement. The project involves a public design contest to generate flag designs, followed by a movement-wide vote on finalists from the contest. They want to see YOUR designs and hear YOUR voice in this process.

With the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear Mississippi's ban on abortion after 15 weeks, the abortion lobby is terrified that Roe might finally be overturned or limited. The conflict is entering a new phase, and the Pro-Life Flag Project could not have come at a better time. What symbol will future generations of schoolchildren see in their history books, when they learn about the victory of the pro-life cause? Possibly, a symbol of your creation

The Pro-Life Flag Project has wisely excluded religious symbols from consideration, stating "we want the design to be inclusive of the entire pro-life movement, representing people of all religious backgrounds who oppose abortion." Check out the full guidelines here

Not artistic? Not to worry; you can get involved later in the process by voting for your favorite flag!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Abortion Lobbyists Admit Most Late Abortions Aren't for Medical Reasons

Mother Jones, a left-leaning outlet hostile to the lives of children in the womb, recently published an article about abortions after 15 weeks, sometimes called "late-term" abortions. A Mississippi law protecting children 15 weeks and older from abortion will come before the Supreme Court in the fall.

Author Becca Andrews criticizes her fellow abortion advocates' approach:

You're familiar with the milieu, which goes something like this: Abortions after 15 weeks are rare, and these are heartbreaking cases where the pregnancy was wanted and something went horribly wrong.

But the reality is, these are simply medical procedures given to those who need them. As Laurie Bertram Roberts, who runs the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, puts it, the seemingly arbitrary 15-week mark "was right there where people start getting a little bit like, 'Well, why would someone need an abortion that late?'"

The reasons why people get them are often not all that different from "early-term" ones . . . 

Thanks. We've only been saying this for years. The pro-life claim that second- and third-trimester abortions are happening for non-medical reasons — i.e., elective abortions for socioeconomic reasons or as birth control — is well-supported by the data, including data coming from pro-abortion sources like the Guttmacher Institute.

A pro-abortion author can't simply write the truth and leave it at that, of course. Andrews pivots to blaming pro-life laws for late-term abortions, suggesting that women could kill their babies earlier in pregnancy if only those mean anti-choicers didn't make it so inconvenient. Puzzlingly, however, Andrews tries to illustrate her argument with the story of Jessy Rosales, who got pregnant in California ("a state that's considered to be a bastion for abortion access") and whose abortion at 16 or 18 weeks had nothing at all to do with pro-life legislation. 

The way Rosales speaks about her child's conception and death is frankly infuriating.

When she was 20 years old, she needed an abortion. At the time, she was a student at UC Riverside, where she led a campus reproductive justice advocacy group—she was quite aware of what was happening to her body and familiar with what needed to be done. . . . 
"It absolutely blew my mind, she remembers. "What the fuck is this about? I'm going to get this thing out of me; time's a-tickin' and things are growing."

Let us be clear. Jessy Rosales did not "need" to kill a "thing." She chose to kill a child. At 16 weeks (4 months, pictured below), Jessy Rosales' baby was five and a half inches long with an obviously human appearance Internally, the baby's organs were well established, bronchioles and respiratory sacs appeared in the lungs, and enamel was forming on their teeth. If Jessy was carrying a daughter, the baby had a uterus and fallopian tubes of her own. Of course, that did not save her from "reproductive justice" in the form of dismemberment by medical instruments.

You can decry the "stigma" of late-term abortion all you like. Some things deserve to be stigmatized — and made illegal. 

4-month ultrasound and clinical illustration
Image via the Endowment for Human Development

Friday, June 11, 2021

"Special Pleading for Embryos": A Response

About a week ago as I write this, a pro-choicer tweeted to tell me that I grant women "fewer rights than a corpse." Then the next day, another accused me in a tweet of "special pleading for embryos." A few days after that another said, "Why do unborn people deserve special rights that no other human being has?" We get accused a lot of "special pleading," or "special-rights pleading."

Here I will give David Yim's definition or description of the "special pleading fallacy" (and an example of a special-rights pleading fallacy would be a fallacious pleading for special rights). The bold was added by me:

One way to grasp the meaning of the special pleading fallacy is to focus on a general principle of fairness: We ought to treat individuals alike unless there is some relevant difference between them that merits the differential treatment. If there is no relevant difference between individuals, it would be unfair to treat them in dissimilar ways, especially if the differential treatment conferred a benefit on one, punished the other, or both.

One moral wrong that the special-rights pleading fallacy could bring about would be a reduction of rights for a particular group in a way that violates the principle of fairness, and that is what some pro-choicers accuse us of doing to women. Certainly, the fact that unfairness is a moral wrong is obvious to all. Jonathan Haidt and some associates, who do research in moral psychology, have said that when we are born, we already have in us "six moral foundations," that is, concerns about six moral issues, and they list concerns about fairness (or "reciprocity") as the second of the concerns. (Our specific opinions later in life about what is fair and what unfair will sometimes have been influenced by the culture we grew up in, but the fundamental concern that drives us to form one opinion or other is there at birth.)

His ideas about the innateness of the moral foundations are strongly reinforced by the moral-psychology research done by Paul Bloom at Yale. Bloom has studied the behavior of babies even as young as three months, and says that at birth, babies are endowed with compassion, empathy, and the beginnings of a sense of fairness. Those endowments are "part of our biological nature," he says, and soon we can see the signs. "The earliest signs are the glimmerings of empathy and compassion," but a sense of fairness comes soon enough; by sixteen months, babies prefer a puppet who is seen to act fairly.

So what more than anything gives special-rights pleading its bad name is that often, as Yim has explained, it advocates some kind of unfairness. If there is no unfairness in a certain public policy, you may call advocacy of the policy what you like, but it should not have a bad name on that ground. Are pro-life laws unfair?

If corpses had rights, and the organ "loan" proposed by demanding that a pregnancy be continued is equivalent to the organ donation proposed for a corpse, pro-life laws would indeed grant pregnant women less of a certain right than a corpse. (Regarding some legal misunderstandings that inhere when pro-choicers make the corpse comparison, see this article.) And pro-life laws would also grant pregnant mothers less of a certain right than an embryo that she carries, because we grant her embryo the right to use her body without her consent, since he or she needs the mother's body in order to live, but would not grant the mother the right to take an organ from another person without that person's consent, even if she needed some of that person's body in order to live. 

But still, does that mean that pro-life laws are unfair? The answer is very simple:

Under pro-life laws, everyone before they are born will have the right to use someone else's body without consent, and everyone once they are born will lose that right. All are completely equal.

The third pro-choicer quoted above went on about "Special rights for ZEFs only." But that pro-choicer is simply a grown-up ZEF, so all that that pro-choicer should really be saying is, "Under pro-life laws I would have enjoyed certain rights in my younger days that I wouldn't be enjoying now."

And everyone, once they're a corpse, will be equally protected. All are completely equal. Unfairness means unequal rights or other unequal treatment between one person and another; it cannot mean simply differing rights at different stages of one's own life, in a situation where all persons are in the same boat.

So in other words, when pro-choicers label pro-life laws "special rights," they are really defining special rights to include "differential treatment between the young me and the grown-up me." But since unfairness means unequal rights or other unequal treatment between one person and another, it's clear that in a world where there may be differential treatment between the two me's, but no differential treatment between me and any other person, there is no unfairness. And hence their definition of special rights is not a meaningful one.

Under pro-life laws, there are no special rights, at least not under any meaningful definition. There is no unfairness. Especially when we consider the neediness and defenselessness of unborn children, nothing could be fairer.

[Today's guest post is by Acyutananda. If you would like to contribute a guest post, review our guidelines and email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration. Photo credit: Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash.]

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

No, This Peanuts Cartoon Is Not a Good Anti-Abortion Argument

Although he is considered a pro-life icon today, President Ronald Reagan did not always respect the lives of children in the womb. In his role as Governor of California, he signed a bill expanding legal abortion. He later reversed his position, in part thanks to the positive influence of Mildred Jefferson. (Jefferson was the first Black woman to graduate Harvard Medical School, later led the National Right to Life Committee, and where is my Mildred Jefferson biopic already?!)

Last week, LifeNews reported that, according to recently unearthed correspondence between Reagan and Charles Schultz, a Peanuts cartoon also played a role in Reagan's conversion to the pro-life cause. Here is the cartoon (click to enlarge):

In case you can't see it, the strip is a dialogue between Linus and Lucy:

Linus: I have a question

Linus: What would happen if there were a beautiful and highly intelligent child up in heaven waiting to be born, and his or her parents decided that the two children they already had were enough?

Lucy: Your ignorance of theology and medicine is appalling!

Linus: I still think it's a good question...

Deep breaths, Kelsey, deep breaths...

To be clear, I do not fault LifeNews at all for covering this story, because an influence on a president's policy views is certainly newsworthy. I also do not fault Charles Schultz, whose goal was presumably to draw an entertaining comic strip, rather than make a pro-life case in the funny pages. 

But now I see this comic circulating in pro-life social media like it's a powerful argument against abortion, and it absolutely is not

I'll start by appealing to the social conservatives in our audience: if there were babies in heaven pining away for willing wombs, wouldn't that be an argument against premarital abstinence? Speaking as an unmarried woman, What if not-yet-conceived but spiritually alive babies are patiently waiting for me? I'd better go have all the unprotected sex I can! Um, no. Any argument that applies equally well to abstinence and abortion is a poor argument indeed.

This focus on heavenly hypotheticals also invites religious justifications for abortion. In alternative views of the spiritual realm, aborted babies are conveniently reincarnated — no harm, no foul — or become guardian angels. What use is it to argue between these different visions of the afterlife, or the beforelife? Science tells us when human life begins: at egg-sperm fusion. It is this science which should inform abortion policy, not spiritual speculation. 

Furthermore, I am deeply troubled by Linus's statement that the heavenly child in question is both "beautiful" and "highly intelligent." This unintentionally plays into pro-abortion rhetoric that only so-called "perfect" children matter. Too many babies are killed in abortions because they are prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome or other conditions that diverge from ableist mainstream standards of beauty and worth. The pro-life movement must stand for the principle that every baby deserves to be free from the violence of abortion. Life is a fundamental right, not something that you earn by being smart or attractive.

In short, Lucy is right: Linus's ignorance is appalling. There are many good arguments against abortion, so don't use this terrible one!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Video: Unsung Heroes for Better Contraceptive Access

A recording of last month's virtual panel "Birth Control Bedfellows: A Discussion with Unsung Heroes for Better Contraceptive Access," hosted by R Street Institute, is now available on YouTube. Our very own Terrisa Bukovinac was one of the panelists. Check it out:

Friday, June 4, 2021

May Recap

 (Click here to sign up for these email updates.)

May Recap

Projects
President Biden has introduced a budget without the Hyde Amendment, opening up federal funding for elective abortions. Secular Pro-Life has been very vocal about the importance of Hyde, and we now join a coalition of over 60 pro-life organizations urging leaders in Congress to reinstate the amendment.

We are pleased to announce that Secular Pro-life has partnered with Pro-Life Flag Project, which is asking people to submit designs to symbolize the pro-life movement. A symbol can be a powerful rallying point. As new challenges to Roe v. Wade come up, we are hoping for many opportunities to use it. Pull out your creative mind and submit a design or stay tuned to cast your vote for your favorite.

On May 25th, Kelsey presented the Secular Pro-Life message to LifeFirst, a Texas-based, religious pro-life organization. She discussed the importance of including secular messaging in their outreach. You can view her talk here.

On May 27th, Terrisa was a featured panelist at an R Street Institute webinar, "Birth Control Bedfellows: A Discussion with Unsung Heroes for Better Contraceptive Access". Alongside her Republican and limited-government advocate panelists, Terrisa spoke to the value of better contraception access as a tool against abortion.

Monica is looking for volunteers comfortable reviewing legislation and/or peer-reviewed research to submit guest blog posts summarizing such information (example here). Whether your background is in law, biology, statistics, social dynamics, or something else, contact Monica if you are interested.

Time to pull out the paints, oil pastels, crayons, or whatever gets you feeling artsy!
Twitter
We gained 324 new followers, bringing us to 13,845 total. We sent 341 tweets, which were viewed 671,000 times, including this tweet, viewed over 22,100 times, where we highlight the most dangerous anti-abortion propaganda of them all: science!

See our collection of biology books here.


Facebook
We are at 35,297 followers on Facebook. Our content was viewed 325,656 times, including 10,078 views of this post about how quickly women denied abortion no longer wish for one:

See the related blogpost here.

Blogger
Our three most-read blog posts for May, in increasing order:
  • The Ableism of Abortion: Guest blogger Laura Wallace points to the link between our current abortion culture and ableism, particularly regarding those with Down Syndrome.
  • How Baby Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Survived Planned Parenthood: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's mother relied on Planned Parenthood when she was pregnant with the future Congresswoman. So how did AOC end up as the one baby to survive Planned Parenthood's hands for every 41 others aborted? This post breaks down the statistics and how, even since the time of AOC's birth, prenatal services by Planned Parenthood have gone down sharply.
  • No, Pennsylvania is not fining women for miscarriages: Fake news is rife throughout Twitter, propagated by people who know better, like aspiring senators. In this post, guest blogger Daniel Gump explains what Pennsylvania's "Final Disposition of Fetal Remains Act" actually does, and how U.S. senate candidate Val Arkoosh lied in her viral tweet describing the bill as a fine for those who miscarry.
Like what we do and have something to contribute? Consider writing a guest post. Guest posts help us cover a more diverse range of perspectives, topics, and experiences. If you have an idea for a piece you'd like to submit, please email us at info@secularprolife.org.
What You Can Do
There are plenty of ways to help with pro-life work. This month we recommend:
  • Submit a design to the Pro-Life Flag Project.
  • Talk with friends or family about abortion (perhaps right now focus on the importance of the Hyde Amendment).
  • Email Monica (monica@secularprolife.org) if you're interested in submitting guest blog posts on legislation or peer-reviewed research.
  • And, of course, you can always donate:


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.