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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

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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.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Pro-Life Canadians: Please ask your MP to vote in favour of Bill C-233 today

A little girl, viewed from behind, toddles through a rocky landscape

Many of Secular Pro-Life's American readers may be surprised to hear that Canada has no legal restrictions on abortion: it is available at any point in a pregnancy, for any reason. One of the consequences of this legal vacuum is sex-selective abortions: that is to say, fetuses are aborted because they are not the parents' preferred gender. Although both sexes are targeted by sex-selective abortions (either for cultural or "family balancing" reasons), it is most often practiced against girls. 

Bill C-233 is a Private Member's Bill introduced by MP Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, SK) to amend the Canadian Criminal Code in order to prohibit sex-selective abortion. Polling shows that 84% of Canadian citizens believe that sex-selective abortion is wrong. This broad consensus includes people from all parts of the political spectrum, the religious and the secular, and even bridges the pro-life/pro-choice divide. It should be a non-partisan issue, but your MPs need to hear your voice in support of this Bill! 

The House of Commons will be voting on Bill C-233 today, Wednesday, June 2nd. If you have a few minutes, please call or email your MP and ask them to support C-233. I have included a model below for anyone who would like to use it. 

Find your MP's contact information here: https://openparliament.ca/politicians/

Read the Bill here: https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-2/bill/C-233/first-reading

Find more information here: https://defendgirls.com/

You can also easily send an email through https://simplemail.weneedalaw.ca/?topic=370 

Sample email: 

Dear [Mr./Mrs./Ms. MP],

I am writing to you as one of your constituents, to ask you to place your support behind Bill C-233 (the Sex Selective Abortion Act). 

As reported in The Globe and Mail in 2019 (https://nationalpost.com/news/as-abortion-debate-becomes-increasingly-polarized-poll-shows-the-views-of-many-canadians-are-more-complicated), 84% of Canadians believe it is wrong to terminate a pregnancy merely because the parents hoped for a child of a different gender. It is a non-partisan issue that unites Canadian citizens not only across the political spectrum, but also across the pro-life/pro-choice divide.

Sex-selective abortions are overwhelmingly practiced on female fetuses. This is an early form of misogyny that explicitly posits that the life of a girl is intrinsically worth less than that of a boy. There is no room for this view in Canadian society. 

Please stand up for gender equality in Canada by supporting Bill C-233.

Yours respectfully,

[Name]

[City, Province, Postal Code]

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