Secular Pro-Life at the DFLA Conference!

This weekend I had the honor of attending and speaking at the Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) Conference in Denver, Colorado. I myself am a registered Democrat and pro-life activist operating in San Francisco, one of the most left-leaning of America’s progressive cities.

A progressive local group in Colorado had purchased a billboard sign attached to a truck that read “Hey, DFLA Attendees! Abortion Access is a progressive value” and hosted a press conference to denounce DFLA with speakers from NARAL as well as local Democratic leaders. Their protest was met with members of DFLA holding signs that read “Planned Parenthood is Anti Union” and “Pro-Life For the Whole Life”. We outnumbered them and chanted “Love Both”. A few of us interrupted the press conference with slogans like “You can’t achieve equality by killing people” and “Stop killing the poor”. We also ensured that there were pro-life signs visible throughout the speeches.

The conference itself was well organized and featured a diverse set of speakers with a range of subjects. Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa and I first did a panel on pro-life feminism where we discussed the relationship between feminism, pro-life values, and progressive thought (video here). I covered some dos and don’ts when communicating with feminists and left-leaning people like myself. I also spoke on a second panel about cultivating the whole life movement through secular and Millennial outreach. The message, while controversial for many audiences, was very well received by the democratic participants.

It’s no mystery that the Democratic Party has actively been silencing pro-life leadership and while still a significant minority, pro-life Dems are losing ground. But yet we are hopeful. The statistics show Millennials, although very left-leaning, are still undecided on abortion. Democrats cannot likely win elections in key areas without the support of pro-life Democrats. Based on my first-hand experience in San Francisco, there is reason to hope that the anti-capitalist and socialist movements will recognize the immense political and financial greed emanating from Planned Parenthood and the monstrous profit margins from the destruction of innocent human lives. Ending Planned Parenthood’s influence the democratic party must remain a top priority and with a pending FBI investigation as we speak, it’s all hands on deck. And when we make democrats pro-life we will achieve cultural victory.

Secular Pro-Life at the DFLA Conference!

This weekend I had the honor of attending and speaking at the Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) Conference in Denver, Colorado. I myself am a registered Democrat and pro-life activist operating in San Francisco, one of the most left-leaning of America’s progressive cities.

A progressive local group in Colorado had purchased a billboard sign attached to a truck that read “Hey, DFLA Attendees! Abortion Access is a progressive value” and hosted a press conference to denounce DFLA with speakers from NARAL as well as local Democratic leaders. Their protest was met with members of DFLA holding signs that read “Planned Parenthood is Anti Union” and “Pro-Life For the Whole Life”. We outnumbered them and chanted “Love Both”. A few of us interrupted the press conference with slogans like “You can’t achieve equality by killing people” and “Stop killing the poor”. We also ensured that there were pro-life signs visible throughout the speeches.

The conference itself was well organized and featured a diverse set of speakers with a range of subjects. Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa and I first did a panel on pro-life feminism where we discussed the relationship between feminism, pro-life values, and progressive thought (video here). I covered some dos and don’ts when communicating with feminists and left-leaning people like myself. I also spoke on a second panel about cultivating the whole life movement through secular and Millennial outreach. The message, while controversial for many audiences, was very well received by the democratic participants.

It’s no mystery that the Democratic Party has actively been silencing pro-life leadership and while still a significant minority, pro-life Dems are losing ground. But yet we are hopeful. The statistics show Millennials, although very left-leaning, are still undecided on abortion. Democrats cannot likely win elections in key areas without the support of pro-life Democrats. Based on my first-hand experience in San Francisco, there is reason to hope that the anti-capitalist and socialist movements will recognize the immense political and financial greed emanating from Planned Parenthood and the monstrous profit margins from the destruction of innocent human lives. Ending Planned Parenthood’s influence the democratic party must remain a top priority and with a pending FBI investigation as we speak, it’s all hands on deck. And when we make democrats pro-life we will achieve cultural victory.

Planned Parenthood Closings in California by Michelle Rodriguez


Three Planned Parenthood clinics located in Vacaville, Pittsburg, and
central Richmond, California are scheduled to be shut down this summer. This
news comes shortly after the release of the organization’s annual report which showed
a sharp decline in services such as cancer screenings, STD testing, and
contraceptive care. Prior to closing, the Pittsburg location was open only a
few days a week because of the absence of patients.  

Planned Parenthood Northern California’s spokeswoman, Miriam Gerace
explained to The Sacramento Bee that
the clinics are shutting down largely due to low Medicaid reimbursement rates. As
a result, State Treasurer John Chiang announced lawmaker’s plans to allocate
$20 million dollars to local reproductive health clinics. “The Community Clinic
Lifeline Grant Program,” his office says, “will help small or rural nonprofit
clinics, including Planned Parenthood clinics, keep their doors open and
provide critical services,”

PPNC is specifically shutting urban centers because they admit that
their patients there already have other nearby clinics to rely on. According to
Gerace, the organization is planning on expanding their services at rural
clinics.

Pro-life leaders in the state believe that much of the reason for these
clinics closing is due to an increasing popularity of affordable, comprehensive
healthcare providers that offer reproductive health services. There are over 35
Federally Qualified Health Centers within 10 miles of these three clinics. In
fact, in the Vacaville location, there is a competing, accessible provider in
the same building! 

Planned Parenthood is showing signs of hurting even in states with
allied politicians. While they lobby, we will continue to support nonviolent
health clinics for the people that need them. We encourage you to donate to authentic women’s healthcare at https://www.fundwomenshealth.com/.

Planned Parenthood Closings in California by Michelle Rodriguez


Three Planned Parenthood clinics located in Vacaville, Pittsburg, and
central Richmond, California are scheduled to be shut down this summer. This
news comes shortly after the release of the organization’s annual report which showed
a sharp decline in services such as cancer screenings, STD testing, and
contraceptive care. Prior to closing, the Pittsburg location was open only a
few days a week because of the absence of patients.  

Planned Parenthood Northern California’s spokeswoman, Miriam Gerace
explained to The Sacramento Bee that
the clinics are shutting down largely due to low Medicaid reimbursement rates. As
a result, State Treasurer John Chiang announced lawmaker’s plans to allocate
$20 million dollars to local reproductive health clinics. “The Community Clinic
Lifeline Grant Program,” his office says, “will help small or rural nonprofit
clinics, including Planned Parenthood clinics, keep their doors open and
provide critical services,”

PPNC is specifically shutting urban centers because they admit that
their patients there already have other nearby clinics to rely on. According to
Gerace, the organization is planning on expanding their services at rural
clinics.

Pro-life leaders in the state believe that much of the reason for these
clinics closing is due to an increasing popularity of affordable, comprehensive
healthcare providers that offer reproductive health services. There are over 35
Federally Qualified Health Centers within 10 miles of these three clinics. In
fact, in the Vacaville location, there is a competing, accessible provider in
the same building! 

Planned Parenthood is showing signs of hurting even in states with
allied politicians. While they lobby, we will continue to support nonviolent
health clinics for the people that need them. We encourage you to donate to authentic women’s healthcare at https://www.fundwomenshealth.com/.

SPL at the Californians for Life Summit 2017

[Today’s guest post is by Michelle R.]

I’ll admit I was a little nervous when Terrisa invited me to
the Californians for Life Summit. Despite being pro-life for several years, I
didn’t feel comfortable attending pro-life events. In 2016, I went to OneLife
LA with a secular friend who was pro-choice but open to learning more. I
invited her to the event with hopes that she would see a welcoming, productive
movement. At the event, we were surrounded by literature about political topics
not related to abortion and signs that read “RESPECT GOD’S LAW” and “REPENT” in
bold, red letters. One women angrily interrogated us when I told her that we don’t
pray.  What I thought would be a great
opportunity to show my friend an inviting, loving community ended up being an
apology for the uncomfortable treatment by my fellow pro-lifers.  
Fast forward to last Saturday and I am now at the Summit
three hours away from my warm bed about to introduce myself to a group of
statewide pro-life leaders. As I rehearsed what I was going to say, I got the
idea to introduce myself as a former pro-choicer.
It was a great idea, because it
encouraged the start of important dialogue. People approached me to ask what
made me change my mind. The focus of the majority of the conversations were
about how we can create a more comprehensive movement and naturally they wanted
input from non-traditional pro-lifers. Many of these groups were enthusiastic to
share new projects aimed at diversifying their message.
The interactions were mostly positive, but demonstrated that
there was still progress to be made. One PRC director talked to me about how
important it is to have a welcoming community. I felt that we were reaching an
understanding, so I asked if non-Christians were allowed to volunteer at her
center. She responded, “no, because we do things in a way that Christ would and
atheists cannot replicate that,” I was running out of time, but this would have
been a perfect opportunity to explain ways in which we can assist pregnancy
centers that do not interfere with their mission. How many other atheists like
me have skills to contribute but are dismissed because we can’t do things “the
Christ way”? I thought about this particular conversation on the drive home and
wondered if anyone has ever previously asked her that question.  
Overall, I was taken by surprise with the amount of gratitude
that people had for us several secularists at the event. I got so many hugs,
handshakes, and even shared tears with some of the guests. I strongly encourage
all nonconventional pro-lifers to go out there and share your ideas. Leaders in
the community want to hear from us and learn from us.  The larger our presence, the more
revolutionary our impact will be. 
I was thanked for being so open-minded, but what is considered
to be tolerant is just common sense to me. I’ll admit I had preconceived
notions prior to attending, and I’m sure that there were opinions about my blue
hair and piercings long before I said anything. Stereotypes get shattered when
you have real conversations. Breaking down misconceptions, even of each other,
is lifesaving work in action.

SPL at the Californians for Life Summit 2017

[Today’s guest post is by Michelle R.]

I’ll admit I was a little nervous when Terrisa invited me to
the Californians for Life Summit. Despite being pro-life for several years, I
didn’t feel comfortable attending pro-life events. In 2016, I went to OneLife
LA with a secular friend who was pro-choice but open to learning more. I
invited her to the event with hopes that she would see a welcoming, productive
movement. At the event, we were surrounded by literature about political topics
not related to abortion and signs that read “RESPECT GOD’S LAW” and “REPENT” in
bold, red letters. One women angrily interrogated us when I told her that we don’t
pray.  What I thought would be a great
opportunity to show my friend an inviting, loving community ended up being an
apology for the uncomfortable treatment by my fellow pro-lifers.  
Fast forward to last Saturday and I am now at the Summit
three hours away from my warm bed about to introduce myself to a group of
statewide pro-life leaders. As I rehearsed what I was going to say, I got the
idea to introduce myself as a former pro-choicer.
It was a great idea, because it
encouraged the start of important dialogue. People approached me to ask what
made me change my mind. The focus of the majority of the conversations were
about how we can create a more comprehensive movement and naturally they wanted
input from non-traditional pro-lifers. Many of these groups were enthusiastic to
share new projects aimed at diversifying their message.
The interactions were mostly positive, but demonstrated that
there was still progress to be made. One PRC director talked to me about how
important it is to have a welcoming community. I felt that we were reaching an
understanding, so I asked if non-Christians were allowed to volunteer at her
center. She responded, “no, because we do things in a way that Christ would and
atheists cannot replicate that,” I was running out of time, but this would have
been a perfect opportunity to explain ways in which we can assist pregnancy
centers that do not interfere with their mission. How many other atheists like
me have skills to contribute but are dismissed because we can’t do things “the
Christ way”? I thought about this particular conversation on the drive home and
wondered if anyone has ever previously asked her that question.  
Overall, I was taken by surprise with the amount of gratitude
that people had for us several secularists at the event. I got so many hugs,
handshakes, and even shared tears with some of the guests. I strongly encourage
all nonconventional pro-lifers to go out there and share your ideas. Leaders in
the community want to hear from us and learn from us.  The larger our presence, the more
revolutionary our impact will be. 
I was thanked for being so open-minded, but what is considered
to be tolerant is just common sense to me. I’ll admit I had preconceived
notions prior to attending, and I’m sure that there were opinions about my blue
hair and piercings long before I said anything. Stereotypes get shattered when
you have real conversations. Breaking down misconceptions, even of each other,
is lifesaving work in action.

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt’s Arraignment in San Francisco

On Wednesday, May 3rd 2017, members of the Center
for Medical Progress, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, were arraigned in San
Francisco at the Hall of Justice. Prior
to the check-in I was standing outside the hall with my standard sign I bring
to all pro-life events in San Francisco, bearing the slogan for the
organization which I represent, Secular Pro-Life. It reads “Call me an extremist, but I think
dismemberment is wrong – Pro-Life Atheist”. The very first person I encountered was Sandra
herself!  She seemed in good spirits and
was excited to see some support. She
wanted to know right away about the secular point of view and insisted we
exchange numbers so that we could talk more about secular outreach! She
explained that she was prepared to be taken into custody that morning and was
ready for whatever happened.  We took a
selfie together and I gave her a hug of support.  

Then more of our group began to arrive. We had about 10-15 young people holding
pro-life signs in a matter of minutes on the steps of the hall. Thanks to the efforts of SFLA’s Camille
Rodriguez we had attracted young people from all over California. Their signs
read “PP buys Becerra”, a reference to the California Attorney General who has
charged David and Sandra, and who has publically accepted thousands of dollars
in donations from Planned Parenthood. Other signs included “Planned Parenthood
Literally Sells Baby Parts” with a copy of the actual contract between PP Mar
Monte and Stem Express. Also “We Stand with David”, “We Stand with Sandra”, and the ever popular “We are the pro-life
generation”. We had quite a presence by
the time David arrived and he seemed pleased and optimistic about the day, despite the seriousness of it all. 

Shortly after the check-in at 8:30, David was released and
Sandra was taken into custody. David had been booked previously in Los Angeles
and posted bail at that time. The
arraignment was set for 1:30PM that afternoon. We agreed to reconvene at that time.
By 1:00 PM almost our entire initial group, including some
additions, gathered again on the steps of the Hall to ensure a display of
support for David as he arrived once again. We were quite the spectacle and I was pleased with the turn-out.
We entered two separate courts where we were asked to
proceed to another room. Finally, the
third being the charm, the arraignment began. The courtroom was small, but we filled it
completely. It was a satisfying display
of support.  
Sandra’s counsel argued for her release based on the unlikelihood
that she might flee. He pointed out that
she was faced with similar charges in Texas and flew to the state to face those
charges. She does not have  a passport, the case is not new (dating back
to 2015), and the fact that she is a grandmother living with her daughters were
all highlighted by her attorney. The
Deputy District Attorney arguing on behalf of Attorney General Becerra argued
that although Sandra was not a flight risk, there were 15 “victims” (meaning
those individuals recorded without their consent-in public spaces!) bail should
remain at $75,000. The judge agreed with
the Deputy District Attorney. 
David and Sandra’s new hearing was set for June 8th,
2017. Likely arguments will be heard at that
time so mark your calendars now!
After the hearing Pro-Life Future of San Francisco, of which
I am the President, arranged a press conference outside the hall. Words were shared from David, myself,
Jonathan Keller of California Family Council, as well as others.  

Please continue to support David and Sandra by donating to
their defense, and spreading the news that they are innocent and Planned
Parenthood and their paid-for-prosecutors are guilty!

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt’s Arraignment in San Francisco

On Wednesday, May 3rd 2017, members of the Center
for Medical Progress, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, were arraigned in San
Francisco at the Hall of Justice. Prior
to the check-in I was standing outside the hall with my standard sign I bring
to all pro-life events in San Francisco, bearing the slogan for the
organization which I represent, Secular Pro-Life. It reads “Call me an extremist, but I think
dismemberment is wrong – Pro-Life Atheist”. The very first person I encountered was Sandra
herself!  She seemed in good spirits and
was excited to see some support. She
wanted to know right away about the secular point of view and insisted we
exchange numbers so that we could talk more about secular outreach! She
explained that she was prepared to be taken into custody that morning and was
ready for whatever happened.  We took a
selfie together and I gave her a hug of support.  

Then more of our group began to arrive. We had about 10-15 young people holding
pro-life signs in a matter of minutes on the steps of the hall. Thanks to the efforts of SFLA’s Camille
Rodriguez we had attracted young people from all over California. Their signs
read “PP buys Becerra”, a reference to the California Attorney General who has
charged David and Sandra, and who has publically accepted thousands of dollars
in donations from Planned Parenthood. Other signs included “Planned Parenthood
Literally Sells Baby Parts” with a copy of the actual contract between PP Mar
Monte and Stem Express. Also “We Stand with David”, “We Stand with Sandra”, and the ever popular “We are the pro-life
generation”. We had quite a presence by
the time David arrived and he seemed pleased and optimistic about the day, despite the seriousness of it all. 

Shortly after the check-in at 8:30, David was released and
Sandra was taken into custody. David had been booked previously in Los Angeles
and posted bail at that time. The
arraignment was set for 1:30PM that afternoon. We agreed to reconvene at that time.
By 1:00 PM almost our entire initial group, including some
additions, gathered again on the steps of the Hall to ensure a display of
support for David as he arrived once again. We were quite the spectacle and I was pleased with the turn-out.
We entered two separate courts where we were asked to
proceed to another room. Finally, the
third being the charm, the arraignment began. The courtroom was small, but we filled it
completely. It was a satisfying display
of support.  
Sandra’s counsel argued for her release based on the unlikelihood
that she might flee. He pointed out that
she was faced with similar charges in Texas and flew to the state to face those
charges. She does not have  a passport, the case is not new (dating back
to 2015), and the fact that she is a grandmother living with her daughters were
all highlighted by her attorney. The
Deputy District Attorney arguing on behalf of Attorney General Becerra argued
that although Sandra was not a flight risk, there were 15 “victims” (meaning
those individuals recorded without their consent-in public spaces!) bail should
remain at $75,000. The judge agreed with
the Deputy District Attorney. 
David and Sandra’s new hearing was set for June 8th,
2017. Likely arguments will be heard at that
time so mark your calendars now!
After the hearing Pro-Life Future of San Francisco, of which
I am the President, arranged a press conference outside the hall. Words were shared from David, myself,
Jonathan Keller of California Family Council, as well as others.  

Please continue to support David and Sandra by donating to
their defense, and spreading the news that they are innocent and Planned
Parenthood and their paid-for-prosecutors are guilty!

#ProtestPP San Francisco!

On Saturday February 11, 2017, pro-lifers gathered at Planned Parenthood locations across the country to call upon legislators to strip the organization of its federal funding and reallocate those funds to federally qualified health care centers.  



When I first arrived on the scene it was about 45 minutes before the event was scheduled to start.  Only one of my fellow pro-life organizers was present at the time and there were about 50 counter protesters present.  The group saw me immediately as I turned the corner to proceed down the street to the protest site.  I was wearing a shirt that said “This is what a pro-life feminist looks like” and carrying a large sign with the SPL slogan “Call me an extremist, but I think dismemberment is wrong” along with “pro-life atheist”.  It easily attracted shouts from the other side.  One guy screamed There’s no such thing as a pro-life feminist, to which I replied “We exist! Both sides were fenced off and separated by a couple of yards. There a woman that wanted to talk to me immediately, but the police asked us to stay on separate sides or go beyond the zoned area.  We walked over to the side and had a conversation mostly about all of our common ground (while Planned Parenthood supporters circled us in an attempt to conceal my messaging).  She was surprised to learn that surgical abortions took place in that facility, but was generally concerned about ensuring women had access to health care.  Another woman wanted to have a more public conversation from our respective sides of the barrier.  We established a great deal of common ground, but again differed on how to achieve equality.  




By this time the crowd is growing on both sides.  While we had about 50 participants on our side, there were easily more than 200 present for the counter protest.  They shouted as a group chants like “my  body, my choice”, to which we responded with “not your body, not your choice”, they said “pro-life you’re the killers, we remember Dr. Tiller” we said, “we remember Gosnell”.  We also chanted “equality, nonviolence, and non-discrimination”, “love them both”, “pro-peace, pro-life”, among other things.  




There was (amazingly!) a large media presence, and anytime the media attempted to take a picture of someone holding pro-life messaging, the counter protesters would move in and attempt to conceal the messaging with their own.  One man yelled pretty consistently directly to me “KKK go home!” while others said “San Francisco stands with us”! To which we replied “We are San Francisco”!  Pedestrians passed by waiving $20 bills (many while giving us the middle finger) and then entered the clinic to make a donation.  The counter protesters responded to this with “you’re helping us raise lots of money, you have to admit it’s kind of funny”. We think they won’t be laughing when we defund Planned Parenthood entirely.

Overall, it was intense to say the least.  I did several local media interviews, and had some great interactions. We definitely broke some stereotypes.  It was exhilarating to see such a sizable counter protest and I think it’s an indication that the pro-choice side is done ignoring us.  We are a real threat now, and once we successfully defund Planned Parenthood, and get abortion money out of the political system, hopefully then we will be able to have an honest discussion in this country about abortion.

#ProtestPP San Francisco!

On Saturday February 11, 2017, pro-lifers gathered at Planned Parenthood locations across the country to call upon legislators to strip the organization of its federal funding and reallocate those funds to federally qualified health care centers.  



When I first arrived on the scene it was about 45 minutes before the event was scheduled to start.  Only one of my fellow pro-life organizers was present at the time and there were about 50 counter protesters present.  The group saw me immediately as I turned the corner to proceed down the street to the protest site.  I was wearing a shirt that said “This is what a pro-life feminist looks like” and carrying a large sign with the SPL slogan “Call me an extremist, but I think dismemberment is wrong” along with “pro-life atheist”.  It easily attracted shouts from the other side.  One guy screamed There’s no such thing as a pro-life feminist, to which I replied “We exist! Both sides were fenced off and separated by a couple of yards. There a woman that wanted to talk to me immediately, but the police asked us to stay on separate sides or go beyond the zoned area.  We walked over to the side and had a conversation mostly about all of our common ground (while Planned Parenthood supporters circled us in an attempt to conceal my messaging).  She was surprised to learn that surgical abortions took place in that facility, but was generally concerned about ensuring women had access to health care.  Another woman wanted to have a more public conversation from our respective sides of the barrier.  We established a great deal of common ground, but again differed on how to achieve equality.  




By this time the crowd is growing on both sides.  While we had about 50 participants on our side, there were easily more than 200 present for the counter protest.  They shouted as a group chants like “my  body, my choice”, to which we responded with “not your body, not your choice”, they said “pro-life you’re the killers, we remember Dr. Tiller” we said, “we remember Gosnell”.  We also chanted “equality, nonviolence, and non-discrimination”, “love them both”, “pro-peace, pro-life”, among other things.  




There was (amazingly!) a large media presence, and anytime the media attempted to take a picture of someone holding pro-life messaging, the counter protesters would move in and attempt to conceal the messaging with their own.  One man yelled pretty consistently directly to me “KKK go home!” while others said “San Francisco stands with us”! To which we replied “We are San Francisco”!  Pedestrians passed by waiving $20 bills (many while giving us the middle finger) and then entered the clinic to make a donation.  The counter protesters responded to this with “you’re helping us raise lots of money, you have to admit it’s kind of funny”. We think they won’t be laughing when we defund Planned Parenthood entirely.

Overall, it was intense to say the least.  I did several local media interviews, and had some great interactions. We definitely broke some stereotypes.  It was exhilarating to see such a sizable counter protest and I think it’s an indication that the pro-choice side is done ignoring us.  We are a real threat now, and once we successfully defund Planned Parenthood, and get abortion money out of the political system, hopefully then we will be able to have an honest discussion in this country about abortion.