“Bill Barr, do your job!” SPL joins rally outside DOJ to demand PP indictment

Watch the full live stream of the rally here.

Multiple pro-life organizations rallied outside the offices of the US Attorney General to demand indictment of Planned Parenthood (and its business partners) for fetal organ harvesting and organ trafficking after three years of an open investigation. Signs with messages such as “PP sells body parts” put succinctly their calls for indictment.

Terrisa (right) preparing to kick off the DOJ protest.
Photo courtesy of Pro-Life San Francisco.

Our own Terrisa Bukovinac began the proceedings by calling on AG Barr to indict PP now that even more evidence of PP’s long term practice emerged from the Daleiden trials. Bukovinac noted her FOIA requests to the UCSF for records on fetal harvesting have been significantly delayed: “I shouldn’t have to sue for what the DOJ already has.” She believes actual DOJ prosecution would challenge and inhibit the crime of fetal organ harvesting and trafficking. 
Pro-life protesters with a sign quoting parts of the agreements to sell fetal organs.
Photo courtesy of Rehumanize International.
Jamie Jeffries of Abortion on Trial spoke on just how common the practice of fetal organ harvesting is, and the perverse incentives it produces on medical providers to encourage abortions. These same providers rarely ask for maternal consent to harvest organs. Jeffries introduced Nicole Atkins, who was injured by an abortion which was altered — without her consent — so that the abortionist could extract her baby’s brain; Atkins spoke on the need to inform women on the “mental, emotional, and physical toll” of abortion, including death, as her sister, Keisha Atkins, died from an abortion. A lack of law enforcement on this practice has real victims.

Photo courtesy of Rehumanize International.

Rehumanize International likewise called on Barr to begin prosecutions “now,” given the quantity of evidence produced by the graphic conversations recorded by the Center for Medical Progress and by the subsequent trial of the undercover reporter. (Watch Aimee Murphy’s full speech here.) Other speakers pointed out that after two Congressional investigations and FBI inquiries, the foundation for the DOJ to act is well established. One characterized the “harvesting of human organs from victims of violence” as “disgusting.”

Several speakers, including Mayra Rodriguez (former Employee of the Year of PP of AZ) cataloged serious legal infractions from PP: helping minors avoid parental reporting laws; failing to investigate human trafficking; committing Medicaid fraud; falsifying medical records to hide medical malpractice; having unsanitary practices; and harvesting and trafficking in fetal organs. Herb Geraghty of Rehumanize International and The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians noted his shock that Planned Parenthood still receives taxpayer funding at all (watch his statement here). Planned Parenthood as a whole has a widespread culture of corruption.

Bill Barr can and must prosecute Planned Parenthood for its crimes. There is more than enough evidence for an indictment. Democrats for Life argued that Trump’s election was in large part a pro-life mandate, and many chanted “Bill Barr, do your job!”

The attorney general is the top cop. “When someone traffics in baby parts, we expect the cops.”
Photo courtesy of Rehumanize International.

The unlikely story of the pro-life author of “Reconsidering Fetal Pain”

[This post is a transcription of a story I told verbally.]

Okay so I want to share this amazing story.

First the background. In the abortion debate there’s controversy over the fetal pain issue. For a long time the prevailing scientific wisdom (though not a consensus) was that fetuses probably couldn’t feel pain before 24 weeks, and maybe even later. And then recently—in January of this year, actually, 2020—an article came out in a well reputed journal—The Journal of Medical Ethics—called “Reconsidering Fetal Pain.” And there were two things about this article that I found remarkable. The first was that it basically argued that fetuses might experience pain as early as 12 or 13 weeks (so significantly sooner than was previously thought). This possibility has major implications for the abortion debate because something like 10% of abortions happen later than 12-13 weeks, and, you know, what does it mean ethically? So that’s the first major point of this article.

But the other thing about it that was interesting, and the thing that originally caught my eye, is that it was authored by two men who made a point of noting more than once during the article that they do not agree on the abortion debate. One of them is pro-life; one of them is pro-choice. And they were trying to say that their findings and conclusions regarding fetal pain should be considered apart from the politics of abortion, which should be axiomatic but unfortunately is not. Either fetuses can experience pain or they cannot, and we should explore that question regardless of the implications it has, rather than consider the implications and then only explore the question if it’s safe, basically. Anyway, it seems very rare for the two sides of the abortion debate to collaborate on anything, and so it was remarkable to me to see that these two authors who apparently are quite opposed to each other on the abortion issue are with each other on the fetal pain issue.

And I guess I should say: a third important point of the article (that I didn’t realize initially and learned later) is that the pro-choice author, Dr. Stuart Derbyshire, is actually the author of some of the most cited prior work on fetal pain. Specifically, he authored the 2006 British Medical Journal article “Can fetuses feel pain?” in which he argued pain experience may require both neural circuitry (which embryos and early term fetuses lack) and mindful experience (which even late term fetuses don’t yet have). Stuart also co-authored the 2010 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ highly influential research overview “Fetal Awareness,” which argues fetuses can’t feel pain until at least 24 weeks, and possibly not at all during pregnancy, because they are always in a “sleep-like” state. And then in 2020 Stuart co-authored “Reconsidering Fetal Pain,” which directly contradicts some of his prior work.

So this article is remarkable both because it involves collaboration between pro-life and pro-choice researchers, and because it involves one of the researchers publishing an article that contradicts his prior work, which—even outside the abortion debate—is not very common. So I thought that was fascinating.

Oh, and a distant fourth: it was very well written. I know how difficult it is to communicate technical ideas in layman’s terms that are easy for people to access and read, and it was very well written in that sense too.

So four major takeaways of this article:

  1. It argues that fetuses might feel pain as early as 12 or 13 weeks instead of 24 weeks.
  2. It was coauthored by a pro-life researcher and pro-choice researcher.
  3. The pro-choice author was contradicting his own prior work. And
  4. It was just really well written.

So it definitely caught my attention.

A month later, maybe less, I was on the Secular Pro-Life account on Twitter. And the way I use the account is I mostly just send out original content and try not to spend too much time getting into comment threads and arguments. I just don’t think it’s a very productive use of time, usually. And I don’t usually look at other people’s profiles that much either.

But every now and then if I see someone tweet something I think is particularly clever or funny, I might skim their profile and see if they have more content like that. So I was on Twitter and I saw someone make a comment on a NARAL tweet, I think, that I thought was particularly funny. So I clicked on his profile to see if he had more like that, and the pinned tweet to the top of his profile was this article—”Reconsidering Fetal Pain”—and he had pinned it because he was one of the authors! He was the pro-life author. His name is John Bockmann. And I was a little astounded. I just didn’t think there’d be reason for my circle to cross with his. It never occurred to me to look for him on social media or anything.

But as soon as I saw that he was the pro-life author, I direct messaged him and basically said “I really liked your article. Great work. I would love to ask you some questions about it if you have time.” And he said “Yeah, that’s fine. Go ahead and email me and I’ll get back to you in the next few days because I’m busy with [whatever].” And so immediately, like in that moment, I emailed him I think a dozen questions off the top of my head about how this article came to be. He indulged me over the next few days and wrote me lengthy responses. Through that back and forth I got to hear more of his story, and I have to say it was fascinating. Very inspiring. And he gave me permission to retell it here.

So, according to John, he was not particularly involved in the abortion debate before. This is one of the remarkable things about this story. I work with pro-life activists all the time, and while I don’t think I know everybody, I know a lot of people or at least have heard of them, and I had never heard of him before. And it turns out he was not affiliated with any pro-life groups. He doesn’t really know a lot of people in the movement. He came at this, from my perspective, totally out of nowhere. He wasn’t especially pro-life—maybe personally pro-life, but hadn’t given it a lot of thought—and a couple things happened that made him change his mind and get more involved.

First, he had children. He got to witness his wife’s pregnancies and the love he felt for his children even before they were born, and that moved him. He felt more passionate and personal about this issue.

Second—and I think this is really important—he saw David Daleiden’s videos about Planned Parenthood’s late-term abortions and selling of fetal body parts. John was just thunderstruck. Horrified. And he really wanted to do something, to be involved somehow. It moved him to want to try to effect some kind of change.

At the time he was in his program to become a military physician assistant, and he had to do a master’s thesis. He was originally going to focus his thesis on obesity. But when the CMP videos came out, John decided he would like to change his project to fetal pain. His thought process was that if we can’t stop late-term abortion from happening, we at least have a responsibility to understand what it means, what it does, and to handle it as humanely as possible. So he started looking into fetal pain.

So that’s the first part of the story: he was moved by his own experiences of fatherhood and his own feelings of love for his preborn children, which I find is an extremely common reason for people to convert to being pro-life. And then also David Daleiden’s videos inspired John. I think this is very important because there’s no way to know how many effects those videos had. I don’t think that they had the effects that Daleiden was hoping for. Planned Parenthood has not disappeared, and if anything they have gone after him very aggressively. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be for him, both financially and in terms of the stress of fighting with them. And also the frustration of not seeing them taken down at least a few notches, much less entirely. That’s frustrating, but there’s no way to know who else has been influenced and in what ways, and I imagine that there are countless little interactions that have helped people move more towards our view on things. And you never know which of those interactions, which at the time may seem small, can lead to bigger changes, such as this story—where John was so moved by those videos that he decided to change his thesis and it resulted in a major journal article.

So John Bockmann decided to study fetal pain for his physician assistant program. And in the course of studying that, he read a lot of articles about fetal pain, including ones by Stuart basically saying that fetuses can’t feel pain until about 24 weeks. So John was really involved in that research and very familiar with it when he happened to read a New York Times article in which Stuart seemed to contradict his prior research. I don’t think most people would notice such a contradiction unless they happened to be following his work pretty closely.

And this brings us to the second part of the story that I find moving: I think there are a lot of pro-life people who would view Stuart and authors like him as “the enemy.” I mean he was one of the lead voices basically saying we shouldn’t worry about fetal pain. And if he was wrong, and if it’s true that fetuses feel pain, do you know how many thousands of late-term abortions we perform every year without regard to the suffering that happens before death? It’s of grave moral importance, in my opinion, and I can see how a pro-life person would view Stuart with anger.

But John read Stuart’s work and, instead of lashing out, he did what I would think of as sort of the Josh Brahm approach to the abortion debate: he reached out to Stuart. He emailed and essentially said (I’m paraphrasing), “I’ve been following your work and I noticed you said this in your interview and it seemed to contradict this aspect of your paper, and I was wondering how you reconcile that? What changed?” And so in May 2016 they started chatting over email. They got to know each other and became friends, which is hugely important. People change their minds through friendship as much as or more than through logic and debate. And in the course of them becoming friends and discussing the fetal pain issue, Stuart changed his mind, or at least thought there might be significant factors that he should address. In February 2018, Stuart was asked to write an article on the current state of fetal pain scholarship, and he reached out to John for input. After much debate and collaboration, they wrote and rewrote their ideas into the article “Reconsidering Fetal Pain.” And as of today, their paper is the 5th most downloaded paper for the Journal of Medical Ethics of all time and in the top 5% of 15M+ research articles scored by Altmetric.

In other words, John Bockmann, who was not particularly involved in the pro-life movement, was moved by fatherhood and the CMP videos to get involved, and when he did get involved he approached the opposition with respect in a spirit of friendship. He didn’t change Stuart’s mind entirely—Stuart is still pro-choice—but he changed Stuart’s mind on fetal pain, and who knows who’s reading that article now? And who knows how it influences their work? Who knows what influence it could have in the long term on the abortion debate? I think John did more than most people ever do, and he did it all because he was curious, respectful, and open. And I just thought it was a wonderful story.

Post script: I asked John to review this blog post for accuracy, and he added this note:

We can find important common ground with our ideological opposites, whether or not any minds change. This ability has huge implications for happiness and meaning, especially with how polarized our world is becoming. We must engage with curiosity, respect, and passion. I want everyone to know this!

John Bockmann

The unlikely story of the pro-life author of “Reconsidering Fetal Pain”

[This post is a transcription of a story I told verbally.]

Okay so I want to share this amazing story.

First the background. In the abortion debate there’s controversy over the fetal pain issue. For a long time the prevailing scientific wisdom (though not a consensus) was that fetuses probably couldn’t feel pain before 24 weeks, and maybe even later. And then recently—in January of this year, actually, 2020—an article came out in a well reputed journal—The Journal of Medical Ethics—called “Reconsidering Fetal Pain.” And there were two things about this article that I found remarkable. The first was that it basically argued that fetuses might experience pain as early as 12 or 13 weeks (so significantly sooner than was previously thought). This possibility has major implications for the abortion debate because something like 10% of abortions happen later than 12-13 weeks, and, you know, what does it mean ethically? So that’s the first major point of this article.

But the other thing about it that was interesting, and the thing that originally caught my eye, is that it was authored by two men who made a point of noting more than once during the article that they do not agree on the abortion debate. One of them is pro-life; one of them is pro-choice. And they were trying to say that their findings and conclusions regarding fetal pain should be considered apart from the politics of abortion, which should be axiomatic but unfortunately is not. Either fetuses can experience pain or they cannot, and we should explore that question regardless of the implications it has, rather than consider the implications and then only explore the question if it’s safe, basically. Anyway, it seems very rare for the two sides of the abortion debate to collaborate on anything, and so it was remarkable to me to see that these two authors who apparently are quite opposed to each other on the abortion issue are with each other on the fetal pain issue.

And I guess I should say: a third important point of the article (that I didn’t realize initially and learned later) is that the pro-choice author, Dr. Stuart Derbyshire, is actually the author of some of the most cited prior work on fetal pain. Specifically, he authored the 2006 British Medical Journal article “Can fetuses feel pain?” in which he argued pain experience may require both neural circuitry (which embryos and early term fetuses lack) and mindful experience (which even late term fetuses don’t yet have). Stuart also co-authored the 2010 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ highly influential research overview “Fetal Awareness,” which argues fetuses can’t feel pain until at least 24 weeks, and possibly not at all during pregnancy, because they are always in a “sleep-like” state. And then in 2020 Stuart co-authored “Reconsidering Fetal Pain,” which directly contradicts some of his prior work.

So this article is remarkable both because it involves collaboration between pro-life and pro-choice researchers, and because it involves one of the researchers publishing an article that contradicts his prior work, which—even outside the abortion debate—is not very common. So I thought that was fascinating.

Oh, and a distant fourth: it was very well written. I know how difficult it is to communicate technical ideas in layman’s terms that are easy for people to access and read, and it was very well written in that sense too.

So four major takeaways of this article:

  1. It argues that fetuses might feel pain as early as 12 or 13 weeks instead of 24 weeks.
  2. It was coauthored by a pro-life researcher and pro-choice researcher.
  3. The pro-choice author was contradicting his own prior work. And
  4. It was just really well written.

So it definitely caught my attention.

A month later, maybe less, I was on the Secular Pro-Life account on Twitter. And the way I use the account is I mostly just send out original content and try not to spend too much time getting into comment threads and arguments. I just don’t think it’s a very productive use of time, usually. And I don’t usually look at other people’s profiles that much either.

But every now and then if I see someone tweet something I think is particularly clever or funny, I might skim their profile and see if they have more content like that. So I was on Twitter and I saw someone make a comment on a NARAL tweet, I think, that I thought was particularly funny. So I clicked on his profile to see if he had more like that, and the pinned tweet to the top of his profile was this article—”Reconsidering Fetal Pain”—and he had pinned it because he was one of the authors! He was the pro-life author. His name is John Bockmann. And I was a little astounded. I just didn’t think there’d be reason for my circle to cross with his. It never occurred to me to look for him on social media or anything.

But as soon as I saw that he was the pro-life author, I direct messaged him and basically said “I really liked your article. Great work. I would love to ask you some questions about it if you have time.” And he said “Yeah, that’s fine. Go ahead and email me and I’ll get back to you in the next few days because I’m busy with [whatever].” And so immediately, like in that moment, I emailed him I think a dozen questions off the top of my head about how this article came to be. He indulged me over the next few days and wrote me lengthy responses. Through that back and forth I got to hear more of his story, and I have to say it was fascinating. Very inspiring. And he gave me permission to retell it here.

So, according to John, he was not particularly involved in the abortion debate before. This is one of the remarkable things about this story. I work with pro-life activists all the time, and while I don’t think I know everybody, I know a lot of people or at least have heard of them, and I had never heard of him before. And it turns out he was not affiliated with any pro-life groups. He doesn’t really know a lot of people in the movement. He came at this, from my perspective, totally out of nowhere. He wasn’t especially pro-life—maybe personally pro-life, but hadn’t given it a lot of thought—and a couple things happened that made him change his mind and get more involved.

First, he had children. He got to witness his wife’s pregnancies and the love he felt for his children even before they were born, and that moved him. He felt more passionate and personal about this issue.

Second—and I think this is really important—he saw David Daleiden’s videos about Planned Parenthood’s late-term abortions and selling of fetal body parts. John was just thunderstruck. Horrified. And he really wanted to do something, to be involved somehow. It moved him to want to try to effect some kind of change.

At the time he was in his program to become a military physician assistant, and he had to do a master’s thesis. He was originally going to focus his thesis on obesity. But when the CMP videos came out, John decided he would like to change his project to fetal pain. His thought process was that if we can’t stop late-term abortion from happening, we at least have a responsibility to understand what it means, what it does, and to handle it as humanely as possible. So he started looking into fetal pain.

So that’s the first part of the story: he was moved by his own experiences of fatherhood and his own feelings of love for his preborn children, which I find is an extremely common reason for people to convert to being pro-life. And then also David Daleiden’s videos inspired John. I think this is very important because there’s no way to know how many effects those videos had. I don’t think that they had the effects that Daleiden was hoping for. Planned Parenthood has not disappeared, and if anything they have gone after him very aggressively. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be for him, both financially and in terms of the stress of fighting with them. And also the frustration of not seeing them taken down at least a few notches, much less entirely. That’s frustrating, but there’s no way to know who else has been influenced and in what ways, and I imagine that there are countless little interactions that have helped people move more towards our view on things. And you never know which of those interactions, which at the time may seem small, can lead to bigger changes, such as this story—where John was so moved by those videos that he decided to change his thesis and it resulted in a major journal article.

So John Bockmann decided to study fetal pain for his physician assistant program. And in the course of studying that, he read a lot of articles about fetal pain, including ones by Stuart basically saying that fetuses can’t feel pain until about 24 weeks. So John was really involved in that research and very familiar with it when he happened to read a New York Times article in which Stuart seemed to contradict his prior research. I don’t think most people would notice such a contradiction unless they happened to be following his work pretty closely.

And this brings us to the second part of the story that I find moving: I think there are a lot of pro-life people who would view Stuart and authors like him as “the enemy.” I mean he was one of the lead voices basically saying we shouldn’t worry about fetal pain. And if he was wrong, and if it’s true that fetuses feel pain, do you know how many thousands of late-term abortions we perform every year without regard to the suffering that happens before death? It’s of grave moral importance, in my opinion, and I can see how a pro-life person would view Stuart with anger.

But John read Stuart’s work and, instead of lashing out, he did what I would think of as sort of the Josh Brahm approach to the abortion debate: he reached out to Stuart. He emailed and essentially said (I’m paraphrasing), “I’ve been following your work and I noticed you said this in your interview and it seemed to contradict this aspect of your paper, and I was wondering how you reconcile that? What changed?” And so in May 2016 they started chatting over email. They got to know each other and became friends, which is hugely important. People change their minds through friendship as much as or more than through logic and debate. And in the course of them becoming friends and discussing the fetal pain issue, Stuart changed his mind, or at least thought there might be significant factors that he should address. In February 2018, Stuart was asked to write an article on the current state of fetal pain scholarship, and he reached out to John for input. After much debate and collaboration, they wrote and rewrote their ideas into the article “Reconsidering Fetal Pain.” And as of today, their paper is the 5th most downloaded paper for the Journal of Medical Ethics of all time and in the top 5% of 15M+ research articles scored by Altmetric.

In other words, John Bockmann, who was not particularly involved in the pro-life movement, was moved by fatherhood and the CMP videos to get involved, and when he did get involved he approached the opposition with respect in a spirit of friendship. He didn’t change Stuart’s mind entirely—Stuart is still pro-choice—but he changed Stuart’s mind on fetal pain, and who knows who’s reading that article now? And who knows how it influences their work? Who knows what influence it could have in the long term on the abortion debate? I think John did more than most people ever do, and he did it all because he was curious, respectful, and open. And I just thought it was a wonderful story.

Post script: I asked John to review this blog post for accuracy, and he added this note:

We can find important common ground with our ideological opposites, whether or not any minds change. This ability has huge implications for happiness and meaning, especially with how polarized our world is becoming. We must engage with curiosity, respect, and passion. I want everyone to know this!

John Bockmann

Interview: Pro-life Democrats reflect on the Democratic Party and the pro-life movement

Secular Pro-Life strongly encourages pro-lifers from different backgrounds to seek to understand one another and form coalitions in the fight against abortion. SPL’s main focus, obviously, is on different religious backgrounds, but the longer we’ve done this work the more we’ve realized how important it is to amplify the voices of all kinds of non-traditional pro-lifers. 

In this post we want you to hear from pro-life leftists and Democrats. We interviewed six people—Jenna, Kristin, Travis, Paula, Theresa, and Benjamin—who identify as pro-life or anti-abortion.

SPL is run by a liberal, a moderate, and a conservative. Not all of us (especially the conservative) necessarily agree with every view expressed in this post. In fact there are some parts some of us very strongly disagree with. Nevertheless, we post the content unedited (except for brevity) in order to give a voice to people against abortion who are often overlooked. We hope the perspectives here will help all of us gain better insight into different paths one can take to being pro-life.

Click to enlarge.


1. How would you describe your position on abortion? How long have you held that position and how did you arrive at it?

Jenna: I was raised pro-life, but it was seeing the Lennart Nilssen Nova special in fourth grade that I really, incontrovertibly became pro-life for my own reasons. I even found myself thinking that the abortion debate was over now—the humanity of the human embryo and fetus was right there, in front of our eyes.

Kristin: I am anti-abortion and view it as no different than killing anyone else. I have felt that way since I first heard what it was back when I was 14. It was an instantaneous repulsion. I heard that it was the termination of a pregnancy, knew from my middle school biology classes that that would mean killing another living human being, and was immediately against it and horrified that it was a thing to begin with. As an energetic feminist I instantly saw it as the exploitation of women, assumed that conservative deadbeat dads must be behind it, as there was no way that hoards of women were up and making the decisions to kill their children. I used to get anxiety attacks about it and had a lot of survivor’s guilt given that I made it out of my mother’s uterus alive whereas so many were killed.

Travis: Ever since I knew abortion existed I have been against it, even though both of my parents are pro-choice. It has never made sense to me why someone would terminate a healthy pregnancy. Politically, I do not think abortion can be eliminated by judicial order; we must change hearts and minds first. I support allowing individual states to determine their abortion policies, so Louisiana and Alabama can outlaw abortion but New York and California can keep it legal. Eliminating abortion in states where abortion rights are popular would have a severe political backlash. The Trump administration has been good business for Planned Parenthood, with abortions and revenues on the rise. I support exceptions for rape and incest until 24 weeks and after that only for non-viable pregnancies and serious health risks to the mother.


Paula: I believe in the sanctity and worthiness of all life from conception to natural death. I was raised Catholic, but I also base my beliefs on science. Genetics fascinate me and the uniqueness and worthiness of each conceived human being is very real to me. I have always been pro-life, even as a child.

Theresa: I’m unwaveringly against abortion, regardless of reason for seeking one. And I’ve been against it since the moment I was aware of its reality, which was probably in middle school or early high school. Back then, it began as a matter of having been formed by Catholic Church teaching within my parish community and at home from my parents: that human life has inherent and non-refutable value and the willful and intentional destruction of human life is absolutely not acceptable, especially within the womb.

Benjamin: I am pro-life and have been so consistently since my early twenties (I’m now in my early forties). I am conflicted on the rape/incest question, as well as abortion in cases of disability. I don’t care what anyone says—these are heartrending cases for the expectant mother/parents who deserve the sympathy of pro-lifers rather than judgment. 

I grew up Jewish in the rural South (the “buckle of the Bible Belt”), which imparted on me “outsider status”—an identity that I embraced. My congressional district was (and is) super-majority Republican. This along with my parents’ influence (who had come from elsewhere) led me to gravitate to more liberal politics—which, of course, included a reliably pro-choice position on abortion. I recall laughing at my pro-life 8th Grade health teacher (male—also a football coach) when he told our class that abortion was performed with “scissors” and that “sometimes the baby comes out crying.”

2. How would you describe your political position with respect to American politics (e.g. liberal, moderate, conservative, Republican, Democrat, etc.)? How long have you held that position and how did you arrive at it?

Jenna: I’m pretty far left and consider myself a Democratic Socialist. I first started leaning left when I struck out on my own at 18, and came face to face with low wages and a lack of healthcare resources. As income inequality widens and our health care system erodes further, I move farther left.

Kristin: Generally I just say that I am everything on the left. I have often called myself a hippie, even as a kid. I have been anti-war since I was young and have always hated violence and supported equal rights for all. I was about 13 when I first started to understand Democrat vs. Republican and started to say I was a Democrat, and then liberal vs. conservative and used “liberal” more often. I came out as atheist right before that. I agree with general left-wingers, though my main ideals are more anarcho communist in nature. When I found out what communism was in my high school history class, which was basically described as a society that is governmentless, moneyless, and classless, where people come together to take what they need and only what they need so that there is enough to go around for everyone, I had a eureka moment of “That sounds like a utopia!” and knew that even if that is hard to attain, that is what I think the goal of humanity should be. I have often thought of it as weird to say that, given that all humans are for all intents and purposes created equal, one human or a group of humans should rule over all others when we are essentially all peers. Still, I understand that moving the status quo is better than doing nothing at all so I agree with pushing Democratic and Socialist policies such as raising the minimum wage or supporting universal healthcare in the meantime, but I would like to see an end to Capitalism.

Travis: I have stereotypical liberal positions on most issues with the exception of abortion and religious freedom issues. On economic issues, I am more liberal because I find American capitalism is morally corrupt.

Paula: For many years I was a Republican. I was upset that the Democrats had abortion rights in their platform. However, I was seldom able to vote for Republican candidates because they seemed to ignore the needs of the poor and vulnerable. I often did “write-ins.” I was an Independent for a few years and I might return to that status someday. For now, I am firmly a Democrat. I joined the party when Obama was running because I wanted to vote for him in the primary and you must be affiliated with a party in my state in order to do that. I guess I am a liberal. I worked as a social worker before I retired and I saw with my own eyes the need for safety nets such as food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, SS benefits. I resist labels.

Theresa: I am more liberal leaning nowadays. Ultimately the issues are more important to me than partisanship. Human dignity, rights, and life transcend partisanship. I was once registered as a Republican because I voted with the idea that abortion was the most important issue. It remains a grave issue to me, but I left the Republican Party as of 2016, completely appalled at the nomination of Donald Trump, a man so vile and repulsive in his words and in his treatment of anyone who will not feed his ego. I knew that it was not possible for me to both oppose abortion and support a man who was clearly not consistently pro-life, if he was even pro-life to begin with.

Abortion has always been a grave evil to me, but I’ve since come to understand that human life is not a single issue phenomenon, and abortion cannot be the only important issue to focus on. Babies aren’t born in vacuums and choices, especially the decision to abort, aren’t made in a vacuum either. Every life issue that impacts you or me or others impacts the unborn too. If an expecting mother is facing a crisis, that crisis will affect her child, too—often and unfortunately in the form of abortion. So if I care about unborn children, I really ought to care about all issues that affect their mothers and families. Whether it is the environment, healthcare, childcare, a living wage, parental leave. Whether it is racism, misogyny, ableism, and any forms of bigotry. Valuing the rights of the unborn begins before conception, with ensuring that society supports the needs of women so that they are capable of bringing a child into the world freely, without distress. And every child deserves to be born into a loving and well-supported family.

I didn’t come to this more comprehensive position right away: it’s been an ongoing progression from my Catholic liberal arts college through today (I’m now in my thirties). It was a college Sociology course that started my personal growth, but it was also listening to various arguments from both pro-life and pro-choice people over the years. I came to understand that life isn’t so simple, and that my experiences are not the same as others’. Listening to understand has helped me empathize with people who are struggling in ways I never did.


Benjamin: I am probably what would be called a “moderate” Democrat. I take issue with the direction that the party seems to be going. I know that I am getting more fiscally conservative as I get older—this has coincided with a rising income, so perhaps I am blinded by my own self-interests. I admire the passion of the younger Democratic activists but I believe that too much of what the party is pushing now is exclusionary. There appears to be a purity test on almost every issue, as well as a hyper-focus on social issues (like race/gender) that I believe is short-sighted, not to mention a mistaken electoral strategy. (I refer the reader to the recent election results in the United Kingdom.)

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3. How do you see the anti-abortion position fitting in with other Democratic values?

Jenna: Democrats protect the vulnerable in society. We work tirelessly for born children, and for equality for marginalized people. Being anti-abortion truly seems to be more in line with Democratic values than with the values of a party that does so little to help people thrive.

Kristin: I view it as the same as my other left-wing beliefs: it’s all about supporting the most innocent, vulnerable, poor, downtrodden, voiceless, helpless, and defenseless. There is no group that fits these words more than the pre-born, other than non-human-animals. So I see being pro-life as just about the most liberal thing there is. It fits in with my stances of being a vegan and feminist, anti-war, not anti-death penalty, anti-police brutality, and supporting the rights of all who are disenfranchised. I’m against the violence and oppression of anyone.

Travis: The Democratic Party supports more pro-life positions than the Republicans, with abortion being the main exception. The positions of Democrats on the death penalty, LGBT rights, immigration, and gun control tend to more closely align with a consistent life ethic than Republicans’ positions. Also, Democrats don’t support an unapologetic racist and sexual predator for president. 

Paula: I believe in social safety nets. I also appreciate the Democratic Party’s support for civil rights, public schools, immigration, and refugee services. Statistics demonstrate that abortions go down when Democrats are elected.

Theresa: As a whole the Democrat Party fights for civil rights for most human beings. Unfortunately, they fail entirely when it concerns unborn human beings. Without a doubt, the Democrat Party establishment firmly supports abortion. But I also acknowledge their position regarding a living wage; their support for LGBTQIA people, people of color, and the disabled; their position regarding affordable healthcare; their call to employers to provide parental leave for new parents, their opposition to discrimination against religious minorities, and their advocacy for the environment. These are all issues that matter when it comes to deciding whether to have a child—whether to get pregnant in the first place, or if already pregnant, whether to carry the baby to term.

Benjamin: I’m not sure. I believe that the party has become so doctrinaire on the abortion position that its “values” have become muddled. I like to say that Democrats have the moral advantage when it comes to guns and the environment; Republicans have the moral advantage regarding the abortion issue.

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4. Regarding abortion, the Democratic Party platform says in part:

We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing. We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people. We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.

What are your thoughts on this stance?

Jenna: I disagree, and especially with the idea of revoking the Hyde Amendment. Hyde, along with gestational limits, have long allowed pro-life Democrats to have an uneasy truce with the pro-choice plank of the party.

Kristin: That is an inherently oppressive stance because they conveniently leave out that abortion kills distinct living human beings. We know way too much about science to ignore that elephant in the room. And I view it as inherently manipulative toward women to try to convince us that the deaths of our children equals healthcare and our rights to our own bodies, choices, and lives. An abortion is considered botched if it doesn’t end someone else’s life and destroy their body. I love the quotes “Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women” and “Abortion is a tool of the patriarchy.” Ignoring what abortion is and trying to get us to support it with all this other talk about access and healthcare is exploitative.

Travis: I don’t have a problem with funding Planned Parenthood, since they do other things besides abortion and the federal funds they receive cannot go to abortion. I do wonder what was wrong with the “safe, legal and rare” wording the Democratic platform used to have. The current wording and many politicians seem to celebrate abortion, rather than looking at it as a tragedy. I understand that Democrats feel the need to not stigmatize women who have had an abortion, which I respect. The onus of abortion is heaped on women, while the father escapes relatively unscathed. But taking a life or pretending that something with different DNA and a heartbeat isn’t a life doesn’t comport with Democrats’ other values. At least the word “rare” respected the value Democrats place on life and made the platform less revolting to people who vote solely on the abortion issue.

Paula: I support the Hyde Amendment. I was so disappointed in Joe Biden for caving into pressure regarding his support of the Hyde Amendment. I don’t want my tax dollars to be spent on abortion (or war or the death penalty or ICE). The Hyde Amendment seems like a good compromise on an issue that is so divisive. I am also very disappointed that abortion has become a litmus test for Democrats, and I don’t feel welcome in the party. I have FB friends who have blocked me over abortion. It saddens me that we can’t find some areas of agreement or compromise.

Theresa: I believe everyone should have access to affordable healthcare, but abortion is not healthcare in the first place. The medical profession has a grave duty to first do no harm. And abortion, as opposed to miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, is the deliberate destruction of the developing human embryo or fetus. Intentional destruction of life is something I will always oppose. By all means, if women need contraception or any other means to prevent—not terminate—a pregnancy, prevention would be far more preferable to ending a life. Punish rapists and end rape culture instead of arguing that abortion is a necessity in cases of rape. Insisting that babies conceived in rape should be aborted does absolutely nothing to stop rapists. How many abusers take their victims to have abortions, only to continue with the abuse? End rape culture.
 

Benjamin: I strongly disagree. The term “reproductive health” was conceived in a focus group. (Though it’s not as bad as “abortion care.”) On the other hand, in this day and age, who (other than activists) cares about what is in a party platform?

5. Have you interacted much with Democratic activists or politicians? If so, how has that gone? If not, why not?

Jenna: Yes, some. It’s gone well, but I have mostly interacted on conservation issues rather than abortion issues.

Kristin: Not much yet. I would like to though, to see if I can get anywhere with getting them to understand the viewpoint of those who are pro-life, and how [the Democratic Party is] screwing themselves over by rejecting pro-lifers. I have Facebook commented to local Democratic politicians before and one seemed civil at first but then blocked me after I started talking about science.

Travis: I have had little involvement with Democratic activists and politics because my children take up most of my free time.  


Paula: Not personally, although I do keep informed. I write letters and send emails occasionally.

Theresa: I have only minimally interacted with my Democrat representatives in Congress, particularly regarding the issue of gun violence. I merely expressed my concerns to my Congressman and he responded by acknowledging that he shares my concerns and has voted in support for certain restrictions. Of course, this remains an ongoing battle so there isn’t any definitive conclusion to this issue at all.

Then there is the matter of the Women’s March in DC. I’ve wanted to participate in the Women’s March but I do not feel welcome since I do not share their support for abortion and they have made it clear that pro-life feminists aren’t welcome. But perhaps I shouldn’t think about my own personal comfort zone. If I intend to support Democrat candidates over Republican ones, I do intend to challenge them to give a greater support for life and to work towards decreasing the numbers of abortion.

Benjamin: Not really.

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6. If you could sit down with DNC leadership to discuss the issue of abortion, what would you want to say to them?

Jenna: I’d tell them that when she was pregnant with me, my mother was poor, mentally ill, in an abusive relationship, about to be single, and experienced complications that caused her doctors to say I would to be disabled. I’d tell them my life is worth living and that I, and people like me, can hear them when they talk about the reasons women “need” access to abortion.

Kristin: Ignoring or denying the humanity of the pre-born makes them look like a bunch of anti-science flat-earther ripoffs, so they need to actually admit that abortion causes real deaths, and that a lot of women have PTSD from abortions because of those deaths. [Party leaders] need to work with pro-lifers to hear our concerns instead of just ignoring everything and pretending that we just want to control women’s bodies. We are women and a lot of us are strong feminists. Stereotyping the pro-life movement as a bunch of old, white, christian, conservative men will get them nowhere because most of us don’t fit into that caricature, so they’re just speaking past us. That’s why the abortion debate is still fiery and has not budged in decades. And, most importantly, if they want to win against people like Trump, it is imperative that they start understanding that it is because the pro-life movement sees abortion as killing babies that so many pro-lifers are single issue voters and voted for him just because he is pro-life, whereas pro-life Democrats could win.

Travis: I would say that Democrats are politically dead on the state and federal level in the South and the Great Plains because of their abortion position. Widening the tent for people who are against abortion would be a great way to attract people uncomfortable with the racism of the Republicans.

Paula: I would want them to understand that their rigid support of abortion, without any restrictions or nuance, forces some reluctant folks to vote for Republicans. They are shooting themselves in the foot. This issue is being successfully manipulated by Trump and the Republicans. I have a FB friend who calls abortion a “shield” for all the terrible, cruel policies that are not pro-life being pushed by Trump and Republicans. Whenever I object to a policy that is immoral, I hear, “but abortion.” I would like Democrats to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn; a little human being in the first stages of life. Democrats used to be better at that.

I would also encourage them to talk about how abortions go down when they hold office. Democrats do more than Republicans to help women choose life. They should also show some respect for us. Apparently 1/3 or all Democrats are pro-life. They need us.

Theresa: Human rights begin the moment there is new human DNA. Life is the first and foremost human right and to deny it to the most vulnerable is absolutely not acceptable. Abortion takes the historical and lasting oppression of women and displaces it on helpless children. And a person isn’t valuable because he or she is wanted, but because he or she is human. 

A woman’s right to choose is like any other right: we are always free to choose, to speak, to worship or not, to protest and to bear arms, but none of us are free to exercise our rights in a manner that will infringe on the rights of others. We aren’t islands. We are members of society and our choices do not only affect ourselves. Freedom exists so long as we are responsible with it. If you claim to value a woman’s right to choose, provide her with better options. Unwanted pregnancy is not a default state of existence. Pregnancy can be avoided. Or, if in certain situations, it can’t be avoided, provide all the necessary societal support that makes it easier to choose life. Support single mothers. Give them access to a living wage, to affordable healthcare and affordable childcare, to maternity leave. Punish those who commit domestic violence or sexual assault and rape. There should be severe consequences for those who would assault and abuse women.

Benjamin: I would say that pro-life voters should not be ostracized. I live in New York and it’s basically a thought crime to be pro-life. There is certainly a silent plurality here, however, that consider the mainstream New York “Democratic” position on abortion to be downright barbaric. Recall Gov. Cuomo’s “celebration” of the recent New York abortion law by mandating that the Freedom Tower be lit in pink (the law itself is truly remarkable in what it allows).

7. Due to the DNC platform and the statements of major Democratic candidates, a lot of pro-lifers assert a person cannot vote for Democrats and call his or herself “pro-life.” What’s your response to that?

Jenna: Neither major party is pro-life. But given two imperfect choices, between the party I disagree with on just the matter of abortion—which Democrats are better at reducing than Republicans—and the party I disagree with on every other subject, I’m going with the lesser evil. Denying people a living wage, family leave, universal health care, affordable daycare, and gap mending benefits drives people to think abortion is their only or best choice. I can’t be party to that, or to the many other dangers and indignities the Republicans impose on people. And I haven’t found a third party I can be totally on board with.

Kristin: Given the endless amounts of other issues that are really important to people, I can understand why someone would want to vote for a pro-choice Democrat, and I think that people who say those voters can’t be pro-life are ignoring all of these other issues. There are so many things that are super important to me besides abortion that I could never vote for a conservative. I don’t really consider bombing people in other countries to be consistent with my pro-life beliefs. The “you’re not really pro-life” mentality could easily go either way, so it’s best for people to vote with their conscience instead of what other people label them. I likewise have a hard time voting for a pro-choicer, so I have yet to vote for a person. I will vote for left-wing pro-lifers, but I don’t blame anyone for voting for pro-choice Democrats.


Travis: Neither party is pro-life; the Republican Party platform states that it’s against abortion but that doesn’t make it pro-life. As a voter, we have to determine which candidate most closely adheres to a consistent life ethic. Since most Republicans have declared fealty to Trump, they cannot argue that they are more pro-life than a Democrat.

Paula: I totally understand that position. Hillary was the first Democrat I ever voted for in a national election (Obama only got my vote in the primary). I never vote for Republicans either. However, I will vote for the Democratic candidate in the next election. I don’t care who it is. That is how imperative it is to get Trump out of office. As a Catholic, abortion is considered a great evil. I know many fellow Catholics who cannot vote for a Democrat due to that conviction. However, the Church says that we must vote our conscience. If we are not voting for a candidate because they are for abortion, but because they are less evil than the other candidate, it is okay. Also, there is a good case for saying that abortions go down when Democrats are in office. Social programs help pregnant women choose life.

Theresa: I disagree. I no longer vote according to one issue because a human life is not ever one issue. Life is more than being born. We all have needs, aspirations, personalities, experiences, and different perspectives. Our lives involve so many different issues from the womb until the tomb. I recognize how privileged I am, never having worried how bills would be paid, never enduring an abusive relationship, never being a victim of discrimination. I have always been free to make my choices, my dignity has always been intact, and I am content and at peace. Is it so unreasonable that I should want this dignified existence for all human beings? And if I have been so fortunate as to never have had a crisis pregnancy, I want the same for all women. At the moment only the Democratic Party supports policies that will best respect human dignity. When it concerns the quality of life for Americans, we shouldn’t fear government overreach as much as we should abhor the government’s indifference to people in need. Human life and dignity should be our highest priorities.

If anything, I cannot consider myself pro-life if I choose to turn a blind eye to all of the faults of the Republican Party and continue to vote for and support them. I firmly believe that being anti-abortion alone is not enough. Opposing abortion alone doesn’t make one pro-life if one doesn’t value needs of all after the baby has been born. There are nine months of development in the womb, and 70 or so years of life outside of the womb. To be pro-life means to defend life for the duration of those 70 years.

Benjamin: I’m torn. I see their point but I care too much about the environment to hand over the reins to the Republicans. 

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8. Have you interacted much with the overall pro-life movement (e.g. walks, rallies, meetings, lectures, protests, political activities, sidewalk counseling, pregnancy centers, etc.)? If so, how has that gone? If not, why not?

Kristin: A little bit. I have volunteered with crisis pregnancy centers which has taught me a lot, especially that they help a ton of low-income minority families by giving free supplies. I have gone to my local March for Life a few years in a row and that taught me that the pro-choice counter-protesters have absolutely no idea who pro-lifers are as people and why we are pro-life. They just read off chants from a script, stereotyping pro-lifers as religious conservatives. I have done small things like sidewalk chalked or hidden drop cards in various places. I returned to a chalking I did to see that people had actually taken the effort to grab a bunch of handfuls of grass and dirt from the local park and smear it on the chalk so that people wouldn’t see it. I definitely want to do more and would like to start up my own local activism group.

Travis: I’m interpreting “pro-life” in this question to mean anti-abortion. I only use the term “pro-life” for people who are pro-life on all issues, not just abortion. I would never attend a rally that welcomes Trump or people like him, so I have never gone to the March for Life rally even though I live in the DC area. I am turned off by the misogyny I see underlying the anti-abortion movement. I knew one male Trump supporter who was obsessed with the idea that Hillary had an abortion but didn’t bother to ask how many Trump may have paid for. The comment sections of sites like LifeSiteNews are full of vile, hateful nonsense. I am embarrassed to admit I’m for more restrictions on abortions because I realize I’m aligning myself with male zealots who don’t respect women’s needs and autonomy when it comes to cases of rape and non-viable pregnancies.

Paula: I ran a pregnancy support and adoption agency for a Catholic Social Service agency for 10 years. We also had a program for post-abortion healing. It felt good to offer alternatives to abortion. Most of the parents we helped were able to find a way to give birth and raise their children. We helped them find the resources and support they needed to do that. Adoptions were hard, but we promoted open adoptions and the birth parents were empowered to pick the parents themselves and develop a good relationship with them. Occasionally, adoption was the only path they could take to give life.

The complicated grief of abortion was very difficult to resolve primarily because of politicization of this decision. They did not know where to go to talk about their grief and they could not forgive themselves. Many did not want the abortion in the first place, but felt pressured by boyfriends, parents, husbands, professionals, and friends. Financial circumstances also played a big role in some abortion decisions. The women and men I met regretted their decisions and came for healing. It did not feel like a “choice” to them. For many, there was an emotional and mental price to be paid for their abortion. Sometimes the grief and loss of their unborn children did not surface until decades after the abortion. Many had problems with addiction, promiscuity, and relationships after the abortion. I know that the clients I met might not be considered representative of all post-abortive men and women, but it made me determined to help parents of unborn children choose life. After the birth of a beautiful child, there is seldom regret.

I demonstrated in front of a PP clinic once. It was right after the undercover videos of the Planned Parenthood doctors came out. I don’t know if baby body parts were sold illegally, but I was sickened by the callous way the doctors discussed killing babies and picking out body parts, all while sipping wine and munching on salad. I needed to do something to protest and I joined a group in front of the local PP. As an aside, this was the first time I understood why some do not trust mainstream media. No one was covering this except Fox news. That was an eyeopener. I am not a fan of Fox news but it was the only place I could get information about this situation.

Theresa: When I was in high school and college, I attended the March for Life in Washington D.C with my Catholic schools. It was certainly quite the experience to be present with so many other pro-life supporters, even in the bitter cold. It has been almost 20 years since I’ve been to one of the marches. As of more recently, I interact mostly with pro-life groups online. It is often quite informative as over the years, the discussions I have had have further shaped my stance against abortion and they have convinced me more and more of the necessity for a more whole life approach.

Benjamin: Not much. I recently saw a group of people outside a church that had participated in a march for life and told them how much I admired their efforts.

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9. How accessible is the pro-life movement for you? How could it be more accessible? What are some ways other pro-lifers could make Democrats and leftists feel welcome?

Jenna: I haven’t interacted with the PLM in real life for years, for a variety of reasons. We don’t have much of an alternative PLM here in the Seattle area, and I don’t want to be part of the conservative movement. A big part of it is the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. It would be very hard for me to stand next to someone who shares the goal of preventing abortion, but then would deny a loving family, which might include people I love, from adopting a child. That’s certainly not the only leftist stance I find a lot of mainstream PLM activists are antagonistic to, but it’s a big one. So I’d say not tying anti-LGBTQ activism to pro-life activism. Also, not devaluing other human lives—immigrants, chronically ill people, the poor and homeless.

Kristin: Because I tend to stick to my progressive, feminist, atheist pro-life bubble, it seems hopeful and welcoming in those groups and with those people. When I venture out into the mainstream pro-life spaces, I start to remember that there are still people who argue with us that atheists have no moral grounding to be pro-life or we’re going to hell for being atheist, or pro-choicers who tell us we cannot be pro-life feminists. There is still too much religious imagery and quotes, which makes the movement seem alienating to those who are secular. You can be religious but there’s no reason to bring it to pro-life events and pages, just like you wouldn’t hold a cross while giving a homeless person a meal. Conservative pro-lifers tend to not trust left-wingers and still frame it as a “left vs. right” concept, thus ignoring us. A big step in the right direction would be if these conservatives, especially the ones who have an audience such as those who associate with Fox News, would make sure to never frame the issue in a left vs. right way but rather just “pro-life vs. pro-choice.” It would be amazing if they would take a minute of their time to mention that there are lots of left-wingers who are pro-life and perhaps even mention organizations such as Democrats for Life of America or Rehumanize International. Can you imagine what it would be like if Steven Crowder or Ben Shapiro said, “Also there are a lot of lefty feminist pro-lifers these days too. Check out the organizations New Wave Feminists and Consistent Life for more info on that”? That would be amazing. Basically, give us a platform, let us speak, and promote us like crazy. Abortion would end so quickly if that were to happen, because we can reach the people that the stereotypical pro-lifers can’t.

Travis: I would only feel comfortable with an anti-abortion movement that is consistently pro-life. I would never be a part of an anti-abortion movement that is homophobic. LifeSiteNews posts anti-LGBT stories and, from my experience, anti-abortion and anti-LGBT tend to go together. The current anti-abortion movement overlooks an unrepentant Trump’s serial adultery and sexual harassment but won’t do the same for the perceived sexual sins of the LGBT community. I cannot be a part of that hypocrisy and hatred. I do follow New Wave Feminists on Twitter and Facebook and NWF has given me hope that I can find an anti-abortion group to call home. Also, Christian activist Shane Claiborne is consistently pro-life. If there was a march for the consistent life ethic, I would participate enthusiastically.

Paula: I don’t find it accessible at all except through facebook. Facebook has allowed me to make friends who share my values. So many people who call themselves pro-life are Republicans and sadly they seem to be under the spell of Trump. It is weird to me.

Nancy Pelosi made a statement a short time back that helped me feel welcomed. She said something about some of her own family members being pro-life. I can’t find the exact quote but I heard it when she was being interviewed. I will say this: Democrats are not doing a very good job of making me feel welcomed. They come across as very extreme and rigid. Our way or the highway!

Theresa: The movement itself is accessible enough. We don’t have to go far to find pro-life groups on social media, for instance. And my parish supports local pregnancy centers. But in truth, it has become more and more alienating when there is this commonly expressed belief that you can’t be pro-life and Democrat or liberal leaning. I don’t know that I need to feel particularly welcome because ultimately my concern is to uphold consistent respect for human dignity. I don’t believe as I do to fit in; I care for the sake of the unborn and their families.

But I can’t speak for everyone who is pro-life and more liberal. If people feel alienated from the pro-life movement, it can do nothing but hurt our cause. Pro-lifers as a whole need to recognize that we will not agree on everything, but we all share the desire is to end abortion. We should strive to work in the most effective manner possible. For too long I voted based only on opposing abortion, and there was nothing to show for it. Abortion continued with each vote I cast for Republicans and babies were continuously slaughtered regardless of the words on the lips of these politicians. Abortion itself is a more deep and insidious problem. We don’t treat diseases by addressing a single symptom—we attack the virus itself, and the symptoms will then disappear. Abortion is a symptom and we have yet to eradicate the underlying disease that is the overall lack of respect for human life and dignity.

Benjamin: Secular Pro-Life is a great example. Unfortunately many Democrats see the pro-life movement as male-dominated and “anti-woman” (false!) as well as religiously dominated (true). Just keep doing what you’re doing.

Interview: Pro-life Democrats reflect on the Democratic Party and the pro-life movement

Secular Pro-Life strongly encourages pro-lifers from different backgrounds to seek to understand one another and form coalitions in the fight against abortion. SPL’s main focus, obviously, is on different religious backgrounds, but the longer we’ve done this work the more we’ve realized how important it is to amplify the voices of all kinds of non-traditional pro-lifers. 

In this post we want you to hear from pro-life leftists and Democrats. We interviewed six people—Jenna, Kristin, Travis, Paula, Theresa, and Benjamin—who identify as pro-life or anti-abortion.

SPL is run by a liberal, a moderate, and a conservative. Not all of us (especially the conservative) necessarily agree with every view expressed in this post. In fact there are some parts some of us very strongly disagree with. Nevertheless, we post the content unedited (except for brevity) in order to give a voice to people against abortion who are often overlooked. We hope the perspectives here will help all of us gain better insight into different paths one can take to being pro-life.

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1. How would you describe your position on abortion? How long have you held that position and how did you arrive at it?

Jenna: I was raised pro-life, but it was seeing the Lennart Nilssen Nova special in fourth grade that I really, incontrovertibly became pro-life for my own reasons. I even found myself thinking that the abortion debate was over now—the humanity of the human embryo and fetus was right there, in front of our eyes.

Kristin: I am anti-abortion and view it as no different than killing anyone else. I have felt that way since I first heard what it was back when I was 14. It was an instantaneous repulsion. I heard that it was the termination of a pregnancy, knew from my middle school biology classes that that would mean killing another living human being, and was immediately against it and horrified that it was a thing to begin with. As an energetic feminist I instantly saw it as the exploitation of women, assumed that conservative deadbeat dads must be behind it, as there was no way that hoards of women were up and making the decisions to kill their children. I used to get anxiety attacks about it and had a lot of survivor’s guilt given that I made it out of my mother’s uterus alive whereas so many were killed.

Travis: Ever since I knew abortion existed I have been against it, even though both of my parents are pro-choice. It has never made sense to me why someone would terminate a healthy pregnancy. Politically, I do not think abortion can be eliminated by judicial order; we must change hearts and minds first. I support allowing individual states to determine their abortion policies, so Louisiana and Alabama can outlaw abortion but New York and California can keep it legal. Eliminating abortion in states where abortion rights are popular would have a severe political backlash. The Trump administration has been good business for Planned Parenthood, with abortions and revenues on the rise. I support exceptions for rape and incest until 24 weeks and after that only for non-viable pregnancies and serious health risks to the mother.


Paula: I believe in the sanctity and worthiness of all life from conception to natural death. I was raised Catholic, but I also base my beliefs on science. Genetics fascinate me and the uniqueness and worthiness of each conceived human being is very real to me. I have always been pro-life, even as a child.

Theresa: I’m unwaveringly against abortion, regardless of reason for seeking one. And I’ve been against it since the moment I was aware of its reality, which was probably in middle school or early high school. Back then, it began as a matter of having been formed by Catholic Church teaching within my parish community and at home from my parents: that human life has inherent and non-refutable value and the willful and intentional destruction of human life is absolutely not acceptable, especially within the womb.

Benjamin: I am pro-life and have been so consistently since my early twenties (I’m now in my early forties). I am conflicted on the rape/incest question, as well as abortion in cases of disability. I don’t care what anyone says—these are heartrending cases for the expectant mother/parents who deserve the sympathy of pro-lifers rather than judgment. 

I grew up Jewish in the rural South (the “buckle of the Bible Belt”), which imparted on me “outsider status”—an identity that I embraced. My congressional district was (and is) super-majority Republican. This along with my parents’ influence (who had come from elsewhere) led me to gravitate to more liberal politics—which, of course, included a reliably pro-choice position on abortion. I recall laughing at my pro-life 8th Grade health teacher (male—also a football coach) when he told our class that abortion was performed with “scissors” and that “sometimes the baby comes out crying.”

2. How would you describe your political position with respect to American politics (e.g. liberal, moderate, conservative, Republican, Democrat, etc.)? How long have you held that position and how did you arrive at it?

Jenna: I’m pretty far left and consider myself a Democratic Socialist. I first started leaning left when I struck out on my own at 18, and came face to face with low wages and a lack of healthcare resources. As income inequality widens and our health care system erodes further, I move farther left.

Kristin: Generally I just say that I am everything on the left. I have often called myself a hippie, even as a kid. I have been anti-war since I was young and have always hated violence and supported equal rights for all. I was about 13 when I first started to understand Democrat vs. Republican and started to say I was a Democrat, and then liberal vs. conservative and used “liberal” more often. I came out as atheist right before that. I agree with general left-wingers, though my main ideals are more anarcho communist in nature. When I found out what communism was in my high school history class, which was basically described as a society that is governmentless, moneyless, and classless, where people come together to take what they need and only what they need so that there is enough to go around for everyone, I had a eureka moment of “That sounds like a utopia!” and knew that even if that is hard to attain, that is what I think the goal of humanity should be. I have often thought of it as weird to say that, given that all humans are for all intents and purposes created equal, one human or a group of humans should rule over all others when we are essentially all peers. Still, I understand that moving the status quo is better than doing nothing at all so I agree with pushing Democratic and Socialist policies such as raising the minimum wage or supporting universal healthcare in the meantime, but I would like to see an end to Capitalism.

Travis: I have stereotypical liberal positions on most issues with the exception of abortion and religious freedom issues. On economic issues, I am more liberal because I find American capitalism is morally corrupt.

Paula: For many years I was a Republican. I was upset that the Democrats had abortion rights in their platform. However, I was seldom able to vote for Republican candidates because they seemed to ignore the needs of the poor and vulnerable. I often did “write-ins.” I was an Independent for a few years and I might return to that status someday. For now, I am firmly a Democrat. I joined the party when Obama was running because I wanted to vote for him in the primary and you must be affiliated with a party in my state in order to do that. I guess I am a liberal. I worked as a social worker before I retired and I saw with my own eyes the need for safety nets such as food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, SS benefits. I resist labels.

Theresa: I am more liberal leaning nowadays. Ultimately the issues are more important to me than partisanship. Human dignity, rights, and life transcend partisanship. I was once registered as a Republican because I voted with the idea that abortion was the most important issue. It remains a grave issue to me, but I left the Republican Party as of 2016, completely appalled at the nomination of Donald Trump, a man so vile and repulsive in his words and in his treatment of anyone who will not feed his ego. I knew that it was not possible for me to both oppose abortion and support a man who was clearly not consistently pro-life, if he was even pro-life to begin with.

Abortion has always been a grave evil to me, but I’ve since come to understand that human life is not a single issue phenomenon, and abortion cannot be the only important issue to focus on. Babies aren’t born in vacuums and choices, especially the decision to abort, aren’t made in a vacuum either. Every life issue that impacts you or me or others impacts the unborn too. If an expecting mother is facing a crisis, that crisis will affect her child, too—often and unfortunately in the form of abortion. So if I care about unborn children, I really ought to care about all issues that affect their mothers and families. Whether it is the environment, healthcare, childcare, a living wage, parental leave. Whether it is racism, misogyny, ableism, and any forms of bigotry. Valuing the rights of the unborn begins before conception, with ensuring that society supports the needs of women so that they are capable of bringing a child into the world freely, without distress. And every child deserves to be born into a loving and well-supported family.

I didn’t come to this more comprehensive position right away: it’s been an ongoing progression from my Catholic liberal arts college through today (I’m now in my thirties). It was a college Sociology course that started my personal growth, but it was also listening to various arguments from both pro-life and pro-choice people over the years. I came to understand that life isn’t so simple, and that my experiences are not the same as others’. Listening to understand has helped me empathize with people who are struggling in ways I never did.


Benjamin: I am probably what would be called a “moderate” Democrat. I take issue with the direction that the party seems to be going. I know that I am getting more fiscally conservative as I get older—this has coincided with a rising income, so perhaps I am blinded by my own self-interests. I admire the passion of the younger Democratic activists but I believe that too much of what the party is pushing now is exclusionary. There appears to be a purity test on almost every issue, as well as a hyper-focus on social issues (like race/gender) that I believe is short-sighted, not to mention a mistaken electoral strategy. (I refer the reader to the recent election results in the United Kingdom.)

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3. How do you see the anti-abortion position fitting in with other Democratic values?

Jenna: Democrats protect the vulnerable in society. We work tirelessly for born children, and for equality for marginalized people. Being anti-abortion truly seems to be more in line with Democratic values than with the values of a party that does so little to help people thrive.

Kristin: I view it as the same as my other left-wing beliefs: it’s all about supporting the most innocent, vulnerable, poor, downtrodden, voiceless, helpless, and defenseless. There is no group that fits these words more than the pre-born, other than non-human-animals. So I see being pro-life as just about the most liberal thing there is. It fits in with my stances of being a vegan and feminist, anti-war, not anti-death penalty, anti-police brutality, and supporting the rights of all who are disenfranchised. I’m against the violence and oppression of anyone.

Travis: The Democratic Party supports more pro-life positions than the Republicans, with abortion being the main exception. The positions of Democrats on the death penalty, LGBT rights, immigration, and gun control tend to more closely align with a consistent life ethic than Republicans’ positions. Also, Democrats don’t support an unapologetic racist and sexual predator for president. 

Paula: I believe in social safety nets. I also appreciate the Democratic Party’s support for civil rights, public schools, immigration, and refugee services. Statistics demonstrate that abortions go down when Democrats are elected.

Theresa: As a whole the Democrat Party fights for civil rights for most human beings. Unfortunately, they fail entirely when it concerns unborn human beings. Without a doubt, the Democrat Party establishment firmly supports abortion. But I also acknowledge their position regarding a living wage; their support for LGBTQIA people, people of color, and the disabled; their position regarding affordable healthcare; their call to employers to provide parental leave for new parents, their opposition to discrimination against religious minorities, and their advocacy for the environment. These are all issues that matter when it comes to deciding whether to have a child—whether to get pregnant in the first place, or if already pregnant, whether to carry the baby to term.

Benjamin: I’m not sure. I believe that the party has become so doctrinaire on the abortion position that its “values” have become muddled. I like to say that Democrats have the moral advantage when it comes to guns and the environment; Republicans have the moral advantage regarding the abortion issue.

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4. Regarding abortion, the Democratic Party platform says in part:

We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing. We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people. We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.

What are your thoughts on this stance?

Jenna: I disagree, and especially with the idea of revoking the Hyde Amendment. Hyde, along with gestational limits, have long allowed pro-life Democrats to have an uneasy truce with the pro-choice plank of the party.

Kristin: That is an inherently oppressive stance because they conveniently leave out that abortion kills distinct living human beings. We know way too much about science to ignore that elephant in the room. And I view it as inherently manipulative toward women to try to convince us that the deaths of our children equals healthcare and our rights to our own bodies, choices, and lives. An abortion is considered botched if it doesn’t end someone else’s life and destroy their body. I love the quotes “Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women” and “Abortion is a tool of the patriarchy.” Ignoring what abortion is and trying to get us to support it with all this other talk about access and healthcare is exploitative.

Travis: I don’t have a problem with funding Planned Parenthood, since they do other things besides abortion and the federal funds they receive cannot go to abortion. I do wonder what was wrong with the “safe, legal and rare” wording the Democratic platform used to have. The current wording and many politicians seem to celebrate abortion, rather than looking at it as a tragedy. I understand that Democrats feel the need to not stigmatize women who have had an abortion, which I respect. The onus of abortion is heaped on women, while the father escapes relatively unscathed. But taking a life or pretending that something with different DNA and a heartbeat isn’t a life doesn’t comport with Democrats’ other values. At least the word “rare” respected the value Democrats place on life and made the platform less revolting to people who vote solely on the abortion issue.

Paula: I support the Hyde Amendment. I was so disappointed in Joe Biden for caving into pressure regarding his support of the Hyde Amendment. I don’t want my tax dollars to be spent on abortion (or war or the death penalty or ICE). The Hyde Amendment seems like a good compromise on an issue that is so divisive. I am also very disappointed that abortion has become a litmus test for Democrats, and I don’t feel welcome in the party. I have FB friends who have blocked me over abortion. It saddens me that we can’t find some areas of agreement or compromise.

Theresa: I believe everyone should have access to affordable healthcare, but abortion is not healthcare in the first place. The medical profession has a grave duty to first do no harm. And abortion, as opposed to miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, is the deliberate destruction of the developing human embryo or fetus. Intentional destruction of life is something I will always oppose. By all means, if women need contraception or any other means to prevent—not terminate—a pregnancy, prevention would be far more preferable to ending a life. Punish rapists and end rape culture instead of arguing that abortion is a necessity in cases of rape. Insisting that babies conceived in rape should be aborted does absolutely nothing to stop rapists. How many abusers take their victims to have abortions, only to continue with the abuse? End rape culture.
 

Benjamin: I strongly disagree. The term “reproductive health” was conceived in a focus group. (Though it’s not as bad as “abortion care.”) On the other hand, in this day and age, who (other than activists) cares about what is in a party platform?

5. Have you interacted much with Democratic activists or politicians? If so, how has that gone? If not, why not?

Jenna: Yes, some. It’s gone well, but I have mostly interacted on conservation issues rather than abortion issues.

Kristin: Not much yet. I would like to though, to see if I can get anywhere with getting them to understand the viewpoint of those who are pro-life, and how [the Democratic Party is] screwing themselves over by rejecting pro-lifers. I have Facebook commented to local Democratic politicians before and one seemed civil at first but then blocked me after I started talking about science.

Travis: I have had little involvement with Democratic activists and politics because my children take up most of my free time.  


Paula: Not personally, although I do keep informed. I write letters and send emails occasionally.

Theresa: I have only minimally interacted with my Democrat representatives in Congress, particularly regarding the issue of gun violence. I merely expressed my concerns to my Congressman and he responded by acknowledging that he shares my concerns and has voted in support for certain restrictions. Of course, this remains an ongoing battle so there isn’t any definitive conclusion to this issue at all.

Then there is the matter of the Women’s March in DC. I’ve wanted to participate in the Women’s March but I do not feel welcome since I do not share their support for abortion and they have made it clear that pro-life feminists aren’t welcome. But perhaps I shouldn’t think about my own personal comfort zone. If I intend to support Democrat candidates over Republican ones, I do intend to challenge them to give a greater support for life and to work towards decreasing the numbers of abortion.

Benjamin: Not really.

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6. If you could sit down with DNC leadership to discuss the issue of abortion, what would you want to say to them?

Jenna: I’d tell them that when she was pregnant with me, my mother was poor, mentally ill, in an abusive relationship, about to be single, and experienced complications that caused her doctors to say I would to be disabled. I’d tell them my life is worth living and that I, and people like me, can hear them when they talk about the reasons women “need” access to abortion.

Kristin: Ignoring or denying the humanity of the pre-born makes them look like a bunch of anti-science flat-earther ripoffs, so they need to actually admit that abortion causes real deaths, and that a lot of women have PTSD from abortions because of those deaths. [Party leaders] need to work with pro-lifers to hear our concerns instead of just ignoring everything and pretending that we just want to control women’s bodies. We are women and a lot of us are strong feminists. Stereotyping the pro-life movement as a bunch of old, white, christian, conservative men will get them nowhere because most of us don’t fit into that caricature, so they’re just speaking past us. That’s why the abortion debate is still fiery and has not budged in decades. And, most importantly, if they want to win against people like Trump, it is imperative that they start understanding that it is because the pro-life movement sees abortion as killing babies that so many pro-lifers are single issue voters and voted for him just because he is pro-life, whereas pro-life Democrats could win.

Travis: I would say that Democrats are politically dead on the state and federal level in the South and the Great Plains because of their abortion position. Widening the tent for people who are against abortion would be a great way to attract people uncomfortable with the racism of the Republicans.

Paula: I would want them to understand that their rigid support of abortion, without any restrictions or nuance, forces some reluctant folks to vote for Republicans. They are shooting themselves in the foot. This issue is being successfully manipulated by Trump and the Republicans. I have a FB friend who calls abortion a “shield” for all the terrible, cruel policies that are not pro-life being pushed by Trump and Republicans. Whenever I object to a policy that is immoral, I hear, “but abortion.” I would like Democrats to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn; a little human being in the first stages of life. Democrats used to be better at that.

I would also encourage them to talk about how abortions go down when they hold office. Democrats do more than Republicans to help women choose life. They should also show some respect for us. Apparently 1/3 or all Democrats are pro-life. They need us.

Theresa: Human rights begin the moment there is new human DNA. Life is the first and foremost human right and to deny it to the most vulnerable is absolutely not acceptable. Abortion takes the historical and lasting oppression of women and displaces it on helpless children. And a person isn’t valuable because he or she is wanted, but because he or she is human. 

A woman’s right to choose is like any other right: we are always free to choose, to speak, to worship or not, to protest and to bear arms, but none of us are free to exercise our rights in a manner that will infringe on the rights of others. We aren’t islands. We are members of society and our choices do not only affect ourselves. Freedom exists so long as we are responsible with it. If you claim to value a woman’s right to choose, provide her with better options. Unwanted pregnancy is not a default state of existence. Pregnancy can be avoided. Or, if in certain situations, it can’t be avoided, provide all the necessary societal support that makes it easier to choose life. Support single mothers. Give them access to a living wage, to affordable healthcare and affordable childcare, to maternity leave. Punish those who commit domestic violence or sexual assault and rape. There should be severe consequences for those who would assault and abuse women.

Benjamin: I would say that pro-life voters should not be ostracized. I live in New York and it’s basically a thought crime to be pro-life. There is certainly a silent plurality here, however, that consider the mainstream New York “Democratic” position on abortion to be downright barbaric. Recall Gov. Cuomo’s “celebration” of the recent New York abortion law by mandating that the Freedom Tower be lit in pink (the law itself is truly remarkable in what it allows).

7. Due to the DNC platform and the statements of major Democratic candidates, a lot of pro-lifers assert a person cannot vote for Democrats and call his or herself “pro-life.” What’s your response to that?

Jenna: Neither major party is pro-life. But given two imperfect choices, between the party I disagree with on just the matter of abortion—which Democrats are better at reducing than Republicans—and the party I disagree with on every other subject, I’m going with the lesser evil. Denying people a living wage, family leave, universal health care, affordable daycare, and gap mending benefits drives people to think abortion is their only or best choice. I can’t be party to that, or to the many other dangers and indignities the Republicans impose on people. And I haven’t found a third party I can be totally on board with.

Kristin: Given the endless amounts of other issues that are really important to people, I can understand why someone would want to vote for a pro-choice Democrat, and I think that people who say those voters can’t be pro-life are ignoring all of these other issues. There are so many things that are super important to me besides abortion that I could never vote for a conservative. I don’t really consider bombing people in other countries to be consistent with my pro-life beliefs. The “you’re not really pro-life” mentality could easily go either way, so it’s best for people to vote with their conscience instead of what other people label them. I likewise have a hard time voting for a pro-choicer, so I have yet to vote for a person. I will vote for left-wing pro-lifers, but I don’t blame anyone for voting for pro-choice Democrats.


Travis: Neither party is pro-life; the Republican Party platform states that it’s against abortion but that doesn’t make it pro-life. As a voter, we have to determine which candidate most closely adheres to a consistent life ethic. Since most Republicans have declared fealty to Trump, they cannot argue that they are more pro-life than a Democrat.

Paula: I totally understand that position. Hillary was the first Democrat I ever voted for in a national election (Obama only got my vote in the primary). I never vote for Republicans either. However, I will vote for the Democratic candidate in the next election. I don’t care who it is. That is how imperative it is to get Trump out of office. As a Catholic, abortion is considered a great evil. I know many fellow Catholics who cannot vote for a Democrat due to that conviction. However, the Church says that we must vote our conscience. If we are not voting for a candidate because they are for abortion, but because they are less evil than the other candidate, it is okay. Also, there is a good case for saying that abortions go down when Democrats are in office. Social programs help pregnant women choose life.

Theresa: I disagree. I no longer vote according to one issue because a human life is not ever one issue. Life is more than being born. We all have needs, aspirations, personalities, experiences, and different perspectives. Our lives involve so many different issues from the womb until the tomb. I recognize how privileged I am, never having worried how bills would be paid, never enduring an abusive relationship, never being a victim of discrimination. I have always been free to make my choices, my dignity has always been intact, and I am content and at peace. Is it so unreasonable that I should want this dignified existence for all human beings? And if I have been so fortunate as to never have had a crisis pregnancy, I want the same for all women. At the moment only the Democratic Party supports policies that will best respect human dignity. When it concerns the quality of life for Americans, we shouldn’t fear government overreach as much as we should abhor the government’s indifference to people in need. Human life and dignity should be our highest priorities.

If anything, I cannot consider myself pro-life if I choose to turn a blind eye to all of the faults of the Republican Party and continue to vote for and support them. I firmly believe that being anti-abortion alone is not enough. Opposing abortion alone doesn’t make one pro-life if one doesn’t value needs of all after the baby has been born. There are nine months of development in the womb, and 70 or so years of life outside of the womb. To be pro-life means to defend life for the duration of those 70 years.

Benjamin: I’m torn. I see their point but I care too much about the environment to hand over the reins to the Republicans. 

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8. Have you interacted much with the overall pro-life movement (e.g. walks, rallies, meetings, lectures, protests, political activities, sidewalk counseling, pregnancy centers, etc.)? If so, how has that gone? If not, why not?

Kristin: A little bit. I have volunteered with crisis pregnancy centers which has taught me a lot, especially that they help a ton of low-income minority families by giving free supplies. I have gone to my local March for Life a few years in a row and that taught me that the pro-choice counter-protesters have absolutely no idea who pro-lifers are as people and why we are pro-life. They just read off chants from a script, stereotyping pro-lifers as religious conservatives. I have done small things like sidewalk chalked or hidden drop cards in various places. I returned to a chalking I did to see that people had actually taken the effort to grab a bunch of handfuls of grass and dirt from the local park and smear it on the chalk so that people wouldn’t see it. I definitely want to do more and would like to start up my own local activism group.

Travis: I’m interpreting “pro-life” in this question to mean anti-abortion. I only use the term “pro-life” for people who are pro-life on all issues, not just abortion. I would never attend a rally that welcomes Trump or people like him, so I have never gone to the March for Life rally even though I live in the DC area. I am turned off by the misogyny I see underlying the anti-abortion movement. I knew one male Trump supporter who was obsessed with the idea that Hillary had an abortion but didn’t bother to ask how many Trump may have paid for. The comment sections of sites like LifeSiteNews are full of vile, hateful nonsense. I am embarrassed to admit I’m for more restrictions on abortions because I realize I’m aligning myself with male zealots who don’t respect women’s needs and autonomy when it comes to cases of rape and non-viable pregnancies.

Paula: I ran a pregnancy support and adoption agency for a Catholic Social Service agency for 10 years. We also had a program for post-abortion healing. It felt good to offer alternatives to abortion. Most of the parents we helped were able to find a way to give birth and raise their children. We helped them find the resources and support they needed to do that. Adoptions were hard, but we promoted open adoptions and the birth parents were empowered to pick the parents themselves and develop a good relationship with them. Occasionally, adoption was the only path they could take to give life.

The complicated grief of abortion was very difficult to resolve primarily because of politicization of this decision. They did not know where to go to talk about their grief and they could not forgive themselves. Many did not want the abortion in the first place, but felt pressured by boyfriends, parents, husbands, professionals, and friends. Financial circumstances also played a big role in some abortion decisions. The women and men I met regretted their decisions and came for healing. It did not feel like a “choice” to them. For many, there was an emotional and mental price to be paid for their abortion. Sometimes the grief and loss of their unborn children did not surface until decades after the abortion. Many had problems with addiction, promiscuity, and relationships after the abortion. I know that the clients I met might not be considered representative of all post-abortive men and women, but it made me determined to help parents of unborn children choose life. After the birth of a beautiful child, there is seldom regret.

I demonstrated in front of a PP clinic once. It was right after the undercover videos of the Planned Parenthood doctors came out. I don’t know if baby body parts were sold illegally, but I was sickened by the callous way the doctors discussed killing babies and picking out body parts, all while sipping wine and munching on salad. I needed to do something to protest and I joined a group in front of the local PP. As an aside, this was the first time I understood why some do not trust mainstream media. No one was covering this except Fox news. That was an eyeopener. I am not a fan of Fox news but it was the only place I could get information about this situation.

Theresa: When I was in high school and college, I attended the March for Life in Washington D.C with my Catholic schools. It was certainly quite the experience to be present with so many other pro-life supporters, even in the bitter cold. It has been almost 20 years since I’ve been to one of the marches. As of more recently, I interact mostly with pro-life groups online. It is often quite informative as over the years, the discussions I have had have further shaped my stance against abortion and they have convinced me more and more of the necessity for a more whole life approach.

Benjamin: Not much. I recently saw a group of people outside a church that had participated in a march for life and told them how much I admired their efforts.

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9. How accessible is the pro-life movement for you? How could it be more accessible? What are some ways other pro-lifers could make Democrats and leftists feel welcome?

Jenna: I haven’t interacted with the PLM in real life for years, for a variety of reasons. We don’t have much of an alternative PLM here in the Seattle area, and I don’t want to be part of the conservative movement. A big part of it is the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. It would be very hard for me to stand next to someone who shares the goal of preventing abortion, but then would deny a loving family, which might include people I love, from adopting a child. That’s certainly not the only leftist stance I find a lot of mainstream PLM activists are antagonistic to, but it’s a big one. So I’d say not tying anti-LGBTQ activism to pro-life activism. Also, not devaluing other human lives—immigrants, chronically ill people, the poor and homeless.

Kristin: Because I tend to stick to my progressive, feminist, atheist pro-life bubble, it seems hopeful and welcoming in those groups and with those people. When I venture out into the mainstream pro-life spaces, I start to remember that there are still people who argue with us that atheists have no moral grounding to be pro-life or we’re going to hell for being atheist, or pro-choicers who tell us we cannot be pro-life feminists. There is still too much religious imagery and quotes, which makes the movement seem alienating to those who are secular. You can be religious but there’s no reason to bring it to pro-life events and pages, just like you wouldn’t hold a cross while giving a homeless person a meal. Conservative pro-lifers tend to not trust left-wingers and still frame it as a “left vs. right” concept, thus ignoring us. A big step in the right direction would be if these conservatives, especially the ones who have an audience such as those who associate with Fox News, would make sure to never frame the issue in a left vs. right way but rather just “pro-life vs. pro-choice.” It would be amazing if they would take a minute of their time to mention that there are lots of left-wingers who are pro-life and perhaps even mention organizations such as Democrats for Life of America or Rehumanize International. Can you imagine what it would be like if Steven Crowder or Ben Shapiro said, “Also there are a lot of lefty feminist pro-lifers these days too. Check out the organizations New Wave Feminists and Consistent Life for more info on that”? That would be amazing. Basically, give us a platform, let us speak, and promote us like crazy. Abortion would end so quickly if that were to happen, because we can reach the people that the stereotypical pro-lifers can’t.

Travis: I would only feel comfortable with an anti-abortion movement that is consistently pro-life. I would never be a part of an anti-abortion movement that is homophobic. LifeSiteNews posts anti-LGBT stories and, from my experience, anti-abortion and anti-LGBT tend to go together. The current anti-abortion movement overlooks an unrepentant Trump’s serial adultery and sexual harassment but won’t do the same for the perceived sexual sins of the LGBT community. I cannot be a part of that hypocrisy and hatred. I do follow New Wave Feminists on Twitter and Facebook and NWF has given me hope that I can find an anti-abortion group to call home. Also, Christian activist Shane Claiborne is consistently pro-life. If there was a march for the consistent life ethic, I would participate enthusiastically.

Paula: I don’t find it accessible at all except through facebook. Facebook has allowed me to make friends who share my values. So many people who call themselves pro-life are Republicans and sadly they seem to be under the spell of Trump. It is weird to me.

Nancy Pelosi made a statement a short time back that helped me feel welcomed. She said something about some of her own family members being pro-life. I can’t find the exact quote but I heard it when she was being interviewed. I will say this: Democrats are not doing a very good job of making me feel welcomed. They come across as very extreme and rigid. Our way or the highway!

Theresa: The movement itself is accessible enough. We don’t have to go far to find pro-life groups on social media, for instance. And my parish supports local pregnancy centers. But in truth, it has become more and more alienating when there is this commonly expressed belief that you can’t be pro-life and Democrat or liberal leaning. I don’t know that I need to feel particularly welcome because ultimately my concern is to uphold consistent respect for human dignity. I don’t believe as I do to fit in; I care for the sake of the unborn and their families.

But I can’t speak for everyone who is pro-life and more liberal. If people feel alienated from the pro-life movement, it can do nothing but hurt our cause. Pro-lifers as a whole need to recognize that we will not agree on everything, but we all share the desire is to end abortion. We should strive to work in the most effective manner possible. For too long I voted based only on opposing abortion, and there was nothing to show for it. Abortion continued with each vote I cast for Republicans and babies were continuously slaughtered regardless of the words on the lips of these politicians. Abortion itself is a more deep and insidious problem. We don’t treat diseases by addressing a single symptom—we attack the virus itself, and the symptoms will then disappear. Abortion is a symptom and we have yet to eradicate the underlying disease that is the overall lack of respect for human life and dignity.

Benjamin: Secular Pro-Life is a great example. Unfortunately many Democrats see the pro-life movement as male-dominated and “anti-woman” (false!) as well as religiously dominated (true). Just keep doing what you’re doing.

“Except in the Womb”

Over at Slate, abortion supporter Christina Cauterucci has an article about the phrase “except in the womb.” To call it an “article” is a bit generous. It’s really more of a rant. The thesis is basically “I do not like it when anti-abortion people say this.” Still, her annoyance is at least partially justified. For instance, when she says:

The ultimate message of “except in the womb” is that no one is allowed to try to change the world for the better until they try to criminalize abortion.

I immediately thought, Now you know how we feel when abortion supporters argue that we can’t try to save babies’ lives until we’ve adopted every child from foster care!, or until we’ve reformed immigration!, or whatever the popular distraction of the moment is. No one doubts that foster care and immigration reform are good causes. There’s no need to make it a competition.

Via Dank Pro-Life Memes. Image description: One person says “Killing homeless should be illegal.” A second person responds “How many homeless did you invite to your house?”

The use of “except in the womb” is sometimes perfectly on point, sometimes analogous to the “not until” pro-choice argument, and sometimes completely inappropriate. Surprise: context matters! So let’s consider each of Cauterucci’s examples, and my (admittedly subjective) verdicts on each.

Statement: “Climate change activists want to save future generations, except in the womb.”
Verdict: Mostly bad

In general, using “except in the womb” in connection with climate change is bad form. It’s a classic example of what Josh Brahm calls “fetus tunnel vision,” defined as “the inability to see and/or acknowledge human rights injustices without equating or comparing them to abortion.” The world has plenty of problems to tackle; we can acknowledge them on their merits without twisting everything into an abortion debate.

The one exception I’ll allow is when climate change activists promote abortion as a form of population control, particularly for low-income minorities, to save the planet—as Sen. Bernie Sanders recently did. It’s completely appropriate (indeed necessary) to call out the eugenicist roots of that thinking, and “save future generations, except in the womb” is a fine start.

But the usage Cauterucci cites was directed at Greta Thunberg, not Sen. Sanders, and it’s pretty blatant fetus tunnel vision. Cauterucci’s annoyance is understandable. I share it.

Statement: “Abortion care coverage for Peace Corps volunteers in the field? That’s supporting peace, except in the womb.”
Verdict: Spot on

I have no complaints about this use of “except in the womb.” Abortion is an act of violence, completely incompatible with any institution claiming a mission of peace. And it’s obviously not a case of fetus tunnel vision since, as Cauterucci herself acknowledges, it directly concerns abortion policy.


Statement: “Opposed to Indiana’s ban on abortions sought due to fetal genetic disorders? That’s celebrating people with disabilities, except in the womb.”
Verdict: Also spot on

You can’t celebrate people with disabilities if you think they’re better off dead. You really think people with disabilities don’t notice your “fetal anomalies” abortion advocacy? It’s hurtful. “Except in the womb” is great in this context; better yet, let’s point ableist abortion supporters to pro-life statements from folks with disabilities.


Statement: “When Kamala Harris called for stricter gun laws after the Parkland shooting, it showed she cared about children being slaughtered—except in the womb.”
Verdict: Borderline

If a pro-choice Joe Schmo brings up gun control and a pro-lifer responds with “except in the womb,” that’s clearly fetus tunnel vision, and also wildly insensitive to the families who have lost children to gun violence. The loss of life at Parkland is horribly tragic, full stop. Turning it into an abortion debate benefits no one.

The one reason I call this borderline is because it is not Joe Schmo; it’s Sen. Kamala Harris, a public figure with a long history of hostility to unborn babies. Her political hypocrisy is gross and rage-inducing. Still, there’s probably a better way to make this point.

Statement: “When Nancy Pelosi condemned Basher al-Assad for killing children with chemical weapons, she said she told her grandson the victims were ‘children wherever they are’—except in the womb.”
Verdict: Also borderline

Same as above.


Statement: “In replies and quote tweets on Twitter, conservatives regularly append the phrase to anything a perceived liberal says that rests on human decency or a shared set of morals. They’ve tacked it onto a March for Our Lives sign that said ‘I don’t want [kids] to die’…”
Verdict: Definitely inappropriate. 

This is akin to the “Joe Schmo” hypothetical above—except that, for all you know, the person at the March for Our Lives is pro-life on abortion! That’s just tribal antagonism for the sake of it. Knock it off.

Statement: “…to Rep. Eric Swalwell’s claim that he wants to protect children’s dreams…”
Verdict: Probably inappropriate. 

You can make the borderline case as with Sen. Harris and Rep. Pelosi above, except that Rep. Swalwell and his abortion advocacy are less prominent.

Statement: “… to Planned Parenthood’s post–Christchurch massacre tweet that said, ‘we all deserve to live free from fear and violence’…”
Verdict: Absolutely fine.

C’mon. It’s Planned Parenthood. They killed 332,757 helpless human beings last year. They don’t get a pass.

Statement: “…and to many, many invocations of #BlackLivesMatter.”
Verdict: NO. NO NO NO. NO.

Fetus tunnel vision and racist undertones? Not a winning combination. Please, for the love, do not do this.

Do you agree with my verdicts? Let’s hear your arguments in the comments.

“Except in the Womb”

Over at Slate, abortion supporter Christina Cauterucci has an article about the phrase “except in the womb.” To call it an “article” is a bit generous. It’s really more of a rant. The thesis is basically “I do not like it when anti-abortion people say this.” Still, her annoyance is at least partially justified. For instance, when she says:

The ultimate message of “except in the womb” is that no one is allowed to try to change the world for the better until they try to criminalize abortion.

I immediately thought, Now you know how we feel when abortion supporters argue that we can’t try to save babies’ lives until we’ve adopted every child from foster care!, or until we’ve reformed immigration!, or whatever the popular distraction of the moment is. No one doubts that foster care and immigration reform are good causes. There’s no need to make it a competition.

Via Dank Pro-Life Memes. Image description: One person says “Killing homeless should be illegal.” A second person responds “How many homeless did you invite to your house?”

The use of “except in the womb” is sometimes perfectly on point, sometimes analogous to the “not until” pro-choice argument, and sometimes completely inappropriate. Surprise: context matters! So let’s consider each of Cauterucci’s examples, and my (admittedly subjective) verdicts on each.

Statement: “Climate change activists want to save future generations, except in the womb.”
Verdict: Mostly bad

In general, using “except in the womb” in connection with climate change is bad form. It’s a classic example of what Josh Brahm calls “fetus tunnel vision,” defined as “the inability to see and/or acknowledge human rights injustices without equating or comparing them to abortion.” The world has plenty of problems to tackle; we can acknowledge them on their merits without twisting everything into an abortion debate.

The one exception I’ll allow is when climate change activists promote abortion as a form of population control, particularly for low-income minorities, to save the planet—as Sen. Bernie Sanders recently did. It’s completely appropriate (indeed necessary) to call out the eugenicist roots of that thinking, and “save future generations, except in the womb” is a fine start.

But the usage Cauterucci cites was directed at Greta Thunberg, not Sen. Sanders, and it’s pretty blatant fetus tunnel vision. Cauterucci’s annoyance is understandable. I share it.

Statement: “Abortion care coverage for Peace Corps volunteers in the field? That’s supporting peace, except in the womb.”
Verdict: Spot on

I have no complaints about this use of “except in the womb.” Abortion is an act of violence, completely incompatible with any institution claiming a mission of peace. And it’s obviously not a case of fetus tunnel vision since, as Cauterucci herself acknowledges, it directly concerns abortion policy.


Statement: “Opposed to Indiana’s ban on abortions sought due to fetal genetic disorders? That’s celebrating people with disabilities, except in the womb.”
Verdict: Also spot on

You can’t celebrate people with disabilities if you think they’re better off dead. You really think people with disabilities don’t notice your “fetal anomalies” abortion advocacy? It’s hurtful. “Except in the womb” is great in this context; better yet, let’s point ableist abortion supporters to pro-life statements from folks with disabilities.


Statement: “When Kamala Harris called for stricter gun laws after the Parkland shooting, it showed she cared about children being slaughtered—except in the womb.”
Verdict: Borderline

If a pro-choice Joe Schmo brings up gun control and a pro-lifer responds with “except in the womb,” that’s clearly fetus tunnel vision, and also wildly insensitive to the families who have lost children to gun violence. The loss of life at Parkland is horribly tragic, full stop. Turning it into an abortion debate benefits no one.

The one reason I call this borderline is because it is not Joe Schmo; it’s Sen. Kamala Harris, a public figure with a long history of hostility to unborn babies. Her political hypocrisy is gross and rage-inducing. Still, there’s probably a better way to make this point.

Statement: “When Nancy Pelosi condemned Basher al-Assad for killing children with chemical weapons, she said she told her grandson the victims were ‘children wherever they are’—except in the womb.”
Verdict: Also borderline

Same as above.


Statement: “In replies and quote tweets on Twitter, conservatives regularly append the phrase to anything a perceived liberal says that rests on human decency or a shared set of morals. They’ve tacked it onto a March for Our Lives sign that said ‘I don’t want [kids] to die’…”
Verdict: Definitely inappropriate. 

This is akin to the “Joe Schmo” hypothetical above—except that, for all you know, the person at the March for Our Lives is pro-life on abortion! That’s just tribal antagonism for the sake of it. Knock it off.

Statement: “…to Rep. Eric Swalwell’s claim that he wants to protect children’s dreams…”
Verdict: Probably inappropriate. 

You can make the borderline case as with Sen. Harris and Rep. Pelosi above, except that Rep. Swalwell and his abortion advocacy are less prominent.

Statement: “… to Planned Parenthood’s post–Christchurch massacre tweet that said, ‘we all deserve to live free from fear and violence’…”
Verdict: Absolutely fine.

C’mon. It’s Planned Parenthood. They killed 332,757 helpless human beings last year. They don’t get a pass.

Statement: “…and to many, many invocations of #BlackLivesMatter.”
Verdict: NO. NO NO NO. NO.

Fetus tunnel vision and racist undertones? Not a winning combination. Please, for the love, do not do this.

Do you agree with my verdicts? Let’s hear your arguments in the comments.

Recap: SPL at the Democrats for Life of America Conference

Many of our followers know by now that SPL is run by three atheist women: Monica the conservative, Kelsey the independent, and me (Terrisa), the flaming liberal. Naturally, when Democrats for Life of America cleverly sought out a secular speaker for their national conference in Lansing, Michigan, I was happy to fulfill the role!

I work full-time in the pro-life movement and have been to countless pro-life conferences. The first thing that is noticeably different about the DFLA National Conference is just how much resistance it inspires from pro-choice groups. This year, a local groups took out three (yes three!) expensive billboards with the MSU specific message “Go Green, Go White, Go Home Dems for Life!” Little did they know that DFLA Executive Director, Kristen Day, is MSU alumna! In addition, they dropped off flyers at the conference venue in the days leading up to the event. Similarly, last year at the 2018 conference in Denver, Colorado, a billboard was taken out exalting that “Abortion access is a Progressive Value” and NARAL hosted a press conference outside the venue to address the event!

I find these efforts kind of shocking considering what a relatively small pro-life effort we are. I’ve rarely if ever encountered anything similar at a more traditionally conservative event. Pro-life Dems are often referred to as unicorns, like we’re so rare were a myth. But it’s this effort to counter us that reminds me: Democrats who want to see abortion more restricted than it is today-contrary to the party platform-are actually in the majority. The abortion industry almost exclusively maintains political power through the financial relationship they have with our party. Pro-life Dems pose a unique threat to the future of that relationship.

The conference was lively, fun, diverse, and welcoming. Sure, it skewed a little older and more religious, but the topics and speakers were timely and engaged with topics relevant to us left-leaning types like protecting the life and dignity of immigrants, those who are incarcerated, death row inmates, the LGBT community, enemy combatants, and so much more. It’s pretty cool to be in a room full of people who align so closely in ideology to your own. Especially since being a pro-life activist alone can be so isolating.

I presented a talk that Kelsey, Monica, and I developed together earlier this year, discussing the relationship between millennials, secularists, and leftists, why it matters, and what we can do about it to effectively win hearts and minds for life! Due to the nature of the conference it has a bit more of a left take on the concept but be assured, SPL is nonpartisan and welcome to all! Check it out here.

Then on Tuesday, DFLA hosted a press conference outside the Democratic Presidential debate in nearby Detroit, Michigan. They have created a political action committee to compel a qualified pro-life Democratic candidate to come forward and run for President of the United States in 2020! I spoke about the need for someone to represent the majority of Democrats and even Millennials by supporting abortion restrictions. Kristen Day urged the party not to ignore the 1 in 3 Democrats who are pro-life.

It’s an interesting time for being a pro-life Dem. Our party platform is as extreme as it gets, even calling for an end to the Hyde Amendment, which has saved more than 2 million lives. If you’re left-leaning and pro-life, now’s the time to be heard! Pro-life Dems are uniquely equipped to reach the next generation and replace the abortion influence with a culture of life. And together with our right leaning pro-life fam, we can end the abortion regime in America forever.

Recap: SPL at the Democrats for Life of America Conference

Many of our followers know by now that SPL is run by three atheist women: Monica the conservative, Kelsey the independent, and me (Terrisa), the flaming liberal. Naturally, when Democrats for Life of America cleverly sought out a secular speaker for their national conference in Lansing, Michigan, I was happy to fulfill the role!

I work full-time in the pro-life movement and have been to countless pro-life conferences. The first thing that is noticeably different about the DFLA National Conference is just how much resistance it inspires from pro-choice groups. This year, a local groups took out three (yes three!) expensive billboards with the MSU specific message “Go Green, Go White, Go Home Dems for Life!” Little did they know that DFLA Executive Director, Kristen Day, is MSU alumna! In addition, they dropped off flyers at the conference venue in the days leading up to the event. Similarly, last year at the 2018 conference in Denver, Colorado, a billboard was taken out exalting that “Abortion access is a Progressive Value” and NARAL hosted a press conference outside the venue to address the event!

I find these efforts kind of shocking considering what a relatively small pro-life effort we are. I’ve rarely if ever encountered anything similar at a more traditionally conservative event. Pro-life Dems are often referred to as unicorns, like we’re so rare were a myth. But it’s this effort to counter us that reminds me: Democrats who want to see abortion more restricted than it is today-contrary to the party platform-are actually in the majority. The abortion industry almost exclusively maintains political power through the financial relationship they have with our party. Pro-life Dems pose a unique threat to the future of that relationship.

The conference was lively, fun, diverse, and welcoming. Sure, it skewed a little older and more religious, but the topics and speakers were timely and engaged with topics relevant to us left-leaning types like protecting the life and dignity of immigrants, those who are incarcerated, death row inmates, the LGBT community, enemy combatants, and so much more. It’s pretty cool to be in a room full of people who align so closely in ideology to your own. Especially since being a pro-life activist alone can be so isolating.

I presented a talk that Kelsey, Monica, and I developed together earlier this year, discussing the relationship between millennials, secularists, and leftists, why it matters, and what we can do about it to effectively win hearts and minds for life! Due to the nature of the conference it has a bit more of a left take on the concept but be assured, SPL is nonpartisan and welcome to all! Check it out here.

Then on Tuesday, DFLA hosted a press conference outside the Democratic Presidential debate in nearby Detroit, Michigan. They have created a political action committee to compel a qualified pro-life Democratic candidate to come forward and run for President of the United States in 2020! I spoke about the need for someone to represent the majority of Democrats and even Millennials by supporting abortion restrictions. Kristen Day urged the party not to ignore the 1 in 3 Democrats who are pro-life.

It’s an interesting time for being a pro-life Dem. Our party platform is as extreme as it gets, even calling for an end to the Hyde Amendment, which has saved more than 2 million lives. If you’re left-leaning and pro-life, now’s the time to be heard! Pro-life Dems are uniquely equipped to reach the next generation and replace the abortion influence with a culture of life. And together with our right leaning pro-life fam, we can end the abortion regime in America forever.

Recap: 2019 Pro-Life Women’s Conference

The fourth annual Pro-Life Women’s Conference gathered 800 passionate advocates together in New Orleans, and what a weekend it was. This blog post will only capture a fraction of the amazing presentations, projects, and camaraderie. (Be sure to check out our photo album too!) I left feeling so enthusiastic about helping moms, saving babies, and defeating the exploitative abortion industry.

On Friday, we joined a pre-conference coffeehouse meetup organized by New Wave Feminists; they shared their plans to start local chapters and engage in new charitable projects, like delivering supplies to immigrant shelters in Texas and offering new clothes to rape survivors whose clothing is confiscated as evidence. The conference kicked off that evening with dinner and a speech by Michele Sterlace-Accorci of Feminists Choosing Life of New York, who provided an excellent introduction to Erika Bachiochi’s pro-life feminist scholarship.

Saturday brought many worthwhile presentations. A panel of physicians spoke on women’s health issues. Interestingly, abortion was not their primary focus; for this audience, the risks of abortion are well-known. Instead, they spoke about how modern medicine has largely failed to take women’s menstrual symptoms seriously, find root causes, and treat them appropriately. Pro-life women’s health groups have an opportunity to do better and build trust with patients, giving them holistic care at every stage of their lives.

A panel on abortion regret and healing featured Christian women who are working within their faith traditions to improve churches’ responses to pregnancy outside of marriage. One woman explained that she aborted—twice—after seeing her congregation act judgmentally toward another unwed pregnant woman. Another shared that her mother pressured her into an abortion in the interest of avoiding embarrassment at church. These attitudes must change if we are going to achieve an abortion-free society.

At the Secular Pro-Life exhibit booth, we recruited over 60 volunteers for the launch of a new project (stay tuned!) and had countless delightful conversations. One Catholic woman told us that her favorite response to the “keep your rosaries off my ovaries” nonsense is to say “Ewwww, I don’t want to get my rosaries dirty!” I can’t recommend that as part of a productive dialogue, but I appreciated her sense of humor!

My favorite presentation on Sunday came from Morgan Hill of the National Safe Haven Alliance. When she was a newborn, she was abandoned in a dumpster and left for dead. Thankfully, she was discovered and given necessary medical care. She is now an advocate for Safe Haven laws, which allow scared mothers to drop off their unharmed newborns at fire stations and hospitals, no questions asked. Every U.S. state has a Safe Haven law, and over 4,000 babies have been safely surrendered. The National Safe Haven Alliance operates a hotline (1-888-510-BABY) that supports mothers in crisis; they focus on finding other solutions, such as parenting, temporary care programs, and adoption, and offer Safe Haven as the last resort. One woman called the hotline after scheduling a late-term abortion. After she was reassured that the Safe Haven law would allow her to remain anonymous, she cancelled the appointment and gave her baby life!

Former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson closed out the conference with a call for pro-life organizations to begin the task of societal reform within their own houses, by ensuring that their staff have paid parental leave. Planned Parenthood is notoriously bad at this, and we must lead by example. In Abby’s words: “We can’t afford NOT to do it.” Abby also cited the conference’s ASL interpreters and other accessibility measures as leading by example.

If you’re sad you missed out on this year’s conference, I have good news for you! Tickets are already available for the 2020 Pro-Life Women’s Conference, to be held in Indianapolis.