Secular Pro-Life turns ten years old in January, and to mark our anniversary, we plan to launch a new project in 2019. We will need lots of volunteers, and you’ll hear more about how you can help in the coming months. Right now, though, our biggest need is a name.
You’ve no doubt noticed the abortion movement’s increased emphasis on storytelling. Through campaigns like #ShoutYourAbortion, as well as articles by individual journalists who celebrate the deaths of their preborn sons and daughters, they hope to “normalize” and “destigmatize” abortion. The storytelling approach obviously privileges those who are still alive to tell their stories. The preborn children never get that chance. By erasing abortion victims from the narrative, they can frame any opposition to abortion as “shaming” of women who have aborted, and thereby silence pro-life voices.
These heartbreaking stories can fill us with anger, but we must return the children to the narrative in a loving and compassionate way. Of course, the pro-life movement has long memorialized abortion victims. But generally, pro-life memorials have attempted to cover all of the tens of millions who have died since 1973 (or, in a few cases, those whose bodies have been recovered). That made sense when the abortion movement took a generalized “war on women” approach. But now, the abortion movement is focusing on individuals. We will respond in kind by memorializing the specific children whose deaths are lauded in the press.
Bearing in mind that the details may change between now and January, here is what we are generally contemplating. We will launch an internet database of children to memorialize, based on articles compiled by our volunteers. Each entry will give whatever details are available about the child’s brief life.
Pro-life advocates will then memorialize each child with a good deed. As each child is memorialized, his or her entry will be updated to reflect that information. Where possible, we will recommend a memorial deed connected to the reasons for the child’s death. For instance, if the mother aborted due to educational worries, a donation to a pregnant and parenting student scholarship would be appropriate; if the child was aborted for having a disability, we’ll suggest a donation to an anti-ableist organization or a group that provides care to people with that disability. More generalized good deeds, such as planting a tree in the child’s memory, will also serve as memorials. Donations to candidates for office will not be accepted.
To roughly illustrate, here are two hypothetical entries:
Child of Rebecca L.
History: Rebecca L. was 15 years old when she became pregnant. Child of Rebecca L. was killed so that Rebecca L.’s parents wouldn’t find out she was sexually active. Rebecca L. “could not talk to anybody about any other options.”
Memorial Status: Child of Rebecca L. has not yet been memorialized. We suggest a donation to an educational program for pregnant teens or a pro-life pregnancy counseling service. Contact [[NAME]] to claim this memorial.
Fourth Child of Deborah C.
History: Deborah C. was 34 years old, and had previously aborted [[First Child of Deborah C.]] and allowed two more children to live, when Fourth Child of Deborah C. was conceived due to IUD failure. Fourth Child of Deborah C. was suspected to have a disability, due to Deborah C.’s use of a medication that was contraindicated during pregnancy. However, Deborah C. states that she would have aborted Fourth Child of Deborah C. even if (s)he proved to be healthy, citing childcare expenses.
Memorial Status: Memorialized by Jane Doe of Chapel Hill, NC with a $100 donation to Child Care Services Association.
Secular Pro-Life is ready to give these forgotten victims of abortion the recognition they deserve, but we are struggling mightily to condense the concept of this memorial into a single original phrase. If you have an idea, please send it to email@example.com or share it in the comments. Likewise, if you belong to an organization that is interested in partnering with Secular Pro-Life on this project, please let us know!