“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.

Female Republican politicians were the most vocal about defunding Planned Parenthood

On May 18 the Journal of Women, Politics, & Policy published “Standing Up For Women? How Party and Gender Influence Politicians’ Online Discussion of Planned Parenthood.” In this study, researcher Morgan Johnstonbaugh analyzed tweets by members of the 114th House of Representatives regarding Planned Parenthood. She narrowed the focus to tweets made between July 1 and Novemeber 1, 2015, during a heated debate on whether to defund PP in response to the CMP videos suggesting PP sells fetal organs.

Johnstonbaugh hypothesized that women would write more tweets about Planned Parenthood than men, and Democrats would write more than Republicans.

For her hypothesis about gender, Johnstonbaugh theorized that “men may be disinclined from dicussing and addressing women’s issues because feminine issues are perceived as having lower status.” (If she is aware of the “no uterus, no opinion” factor — the vocal and persistent insistence that men have no right to speak about abortion — she doesn’t mention it.) Johnstonbaugh’s analysis did find that female Democrats are more vocal about this issue than male Democrats, and female Republicans are more vocal about the issue than male Republicans.

For her hypothesis about political party, Johnstonbaugh theorized that there would be more PP-related tweets from Democrats than Republicans because Democrats focus more than Republican’s on women’s issues. To her surprise, though, her analysis found the opposite to the be the case.

Female Republicans constituted 5% of the House and wrote 12.6% of the tweets about Planned Parenthood while male Republicans made up 51.7% of the House and wrote 68.6% of the tweets about Planned Parenthood.

and

While it is clear that women write more tweets about Planned Parenthood than men within their political party, female Republicans are the most active members in the online discussion.

Female Republicans were the most vocal group, followed by male Republicans, female Democrats, and lastly male Democrats.

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah

As I read these results I wondered if they reflect the “intensity gap” between pro-choice and pro-life people: the idea that those of us against abortion are more likely to feel passionately about the issue than those who support the status quo. For example, according to PRRI, “Americans who oppose the legality of abortion (27%) are significantly more likely than those who support the legality of abortion (18%) to say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on the issue.”

Apparently Johnstonbaugh didn’t enterain the intensity gap theory, though. Instead she speculated that Republicans wrote more PP-related tweets because pro-life ideas are simplistic, whereas the pro-choice perspective is too nuanced to convey over Twitter:

This unexpected finding may be related to the ease with which provocative pro-life propaganda can be spread on Twitter by incorporating videos, images, and only 140 characters for each message, compared to regulations or statistics meant to support Planned Parenthood, which may require a greater amount of text or explanation.

This theory is so transparently biased I actually laughed a little when I read it. I expect pro-lifers will continue to mystify researchers who can’t see past their own worldviews.

Not all pro-choice tweets require a lot of nuance.

Johnstonbaugh points out that previous research found female Democrats are traditionally the most vocal about women’s issues, suggesting an apparent contradiction with this study’s finding. However the contradiction exists only if we view Planned Parenthood solely through a “women’s issue” lens. Johnstonbaugh’s additional analysis confirms that many people see more factors in the PP controversy.

She examines how often House members framed the Planned Parenthood discussion in the following ways:

  1. Women’s Issue: defunding PP is important particularly to women
  2. Planned Parenthood Healthcare: defunding PP will harm people who rely on the org for healthcare
  3. Alternative Healthcare: there are better healthcare options than PP
  4. Fetal Rights Issue: defunding PP will help protect unborn children
  5. Condemn Planned Parenthood: defunding PP is a way to condemn PP for immoral treatment of fetal tissue
Unsurprisingly, she found almost exclusively Democrats used the frame “Planned Parenthood Healthcare,” while Republicans used the frames “Alternative Healthcare,” “Fetal Rights Issue,” and “Condemn Planned Parenthood.” Both parties used the frame “Women’s Issue,” though Democrats used it more. But here’s the important part:

While both female Republicans and Democrats discussed Planned Parenthood as a women’s issue and healthcare issue, Republican women also discussed it as a fetal rights issue.

If you have any understanding of the pro-life perspective, this finding should be predictable. Pro-life people recognize the fact that abortion kills humans. We view those humans as children (morally relevant young humans deserving protection). So we view abortion first and foremost as a human rights violation. Of course pro-life politicians are going to discuss Planned Parenthood in the context of fetal rights. That’s basically another way of saying pro-life people will discuss abortion from a pro-life perspective.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri

Johnstonbaugh’s finding about Republicans vs Democrats is mystifying only if you view PP solely through the “women’s issue” framing, but I don’t know why anyone would do that. You don’t have to be that involved in the abortion debate to know that many people view PP as a more complicated and controversial organization. Huge swaths of the country — including countless women, btw — see abortion as an issue that affects not only women but also preborn children. Pro-life Republican women might be less vocal about women’s issues generally, but Planned Parenthood is not simply a “women’s issue” topic. It goes well beyond that.

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana

Johnstonbaugh called her findings about Republicans vs Democrats “unexpected,” “counterintuitive,” and “surprising,” but they shouldn’t be. Pro-lifers have been quite vocal, for decades, about the facts that we view abortion as a human rights issue and we care deeply about the problem. If pro-choice people could internalize our most basic premise — not agree with it necessarily, just recognize it’s what we think — they would be caught off guard less often.

Female Republican politicians were the most vocal about defunding Planned Parenthood

On May 18 the Journal of Women, Politics, & Policy published “Standing Up For Women? How Party and Gender Influence Politicians’ Online Discussion of Planned Parenthood.” In this study, researcher Morgan Johnstonbaugh analyzed tweets by members of the 114th House of Representatives regarding Planned Parenthood. She narrowed the focus to tweets made between July 1 and Novemeber 1, 2015, during a heated debate on whether to defund PP in response to the CMP videos suggesting PP sells fetal organs.

Johnstonbaugh hypothesized that women would write more tweets about Planned Parenthood than men, and Democrats would write more than Republicans.

For her hypothesis about gender, Johnstonbaugh theorized that “men may be disinclined from dicussing and addressing women’s issues because feminine issues are perceived as having lower status.” (If she is aware of the “no uterus, no opinion” factor — the vocal and persistent insistence that men have no right to speak about abortion — she doesn’t mention it.) Johnstonbaugh’s analysis did find that female Democrats are more vocal about this issue than male Democrats, and female Republicans are more vocal about the issue than male Republicans.

For her hypothesis about political party, Johnstonbaugh theorized that there would be more PP-related tweets from Democrats than Republicans because Democrats focus more than Republican’s on women’s issues. To her surprise, though, her analysis found the opposite to the be the case.

Female Republicans constituted 5% of the House and wrote 12.6% of the tweets about Planned Parenthood while male Republicans made up 51.7% of the House and wrote 68.6% of the tweets about Planned Parenthood.

and

While it is clear that women write more tweets about Planned Parenthood than men within their political party, female Republicans are the most active members in the online discussion.

Female Republicans were the most vocal group, followed by male Republicans, female Democrats, and lastly male Democrats.

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah

As I read these results I wondered if they reflect the “intensity gap” between pro-choice and pro-life people: the idea that those of us against abortion are more likely to feel passionately about the issue than those who support the status quo. For example, according to PRRI, “Americans who oppose the legality of abortion (27%) are significantly more likely than those who support the legality of abortion (18%) to say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on the issue.”

Apparently Johnstonbaugh didn’t enterain the intensity gap theory, though. Instead she speculated that Republicans wrote more PP-related tweets because pro-life ideas are simplistic, whereas the pro-choice perspective is too nuanced to convey over Twitter:

This unexpected finding may be related to the ease with which provocative pro-life propaganda can be spread on Twitter by incorporating videos, images, and only 140 characters for each message, compared to regulations or statistics meant to support Planned Parenthood, which may require a greater amount of text or explanation.

This theory is so transparently biased I actually laughed a little when I read it. I expect pro-lifers will continue to mystify researchers who can’t see past their own worldviews.

Not all pro-choice tweets require a lot of nuance.

Johnstonbaugh points out that previous research found female Democrats are traditionally the most vocal about women’s issues, suggesting an apparent contradiction with this study’s finding. However the contradiction exists only if we view Planned Parenthood solely through a “women’s issue” lens. Johnstonbaugh’s additional analysis confirms that many people see more factors in the PP controversy.

She examines how often House members framed the Planned Parenthood discussion in the following ways:

  1. Women’s Issue: defunding PP is important particularly to women
  2. Planned Parenthood Healthcare: defunding PP will harm people who rely on the org for healthcare
  3. Alternative Healthcare: there are better healthcare options than PP
  4. Fetal Rights Issue: defunding PP will help protect unborn children
  5. Condemn Planned Parenthood: defunding PP is a way to condemn PP for immoral treatment of fetal tissue
Unsurprisingly, she found almost exclusively Democrats used the frame “Planned Parenthood Healthcare,” while Republicans used the frames “Alternative Healthcare,” “Fetal Rights Issue,” and “Condemn Planned Parenthood.” Both parties used the frame “Women’s Issue,” though Democrats used it more. But here’s the important part:

While both female Republicans and Democrats discussed Planned Parenthood as a women’s issue and healthcare issue, Republican women also discussed it as a fetal rights issue.

If you have any understanding of the pro-life perspective, this finding should be predictable. Pro-life people recognize the fact that abortion kills humans. We view those humans as children (morally relevant young humans deserving protection). So we view abortion first and foremost as a human rights violation. Of course pro-life politicians are going to discuss Planned Parenthood in the context of fetal rights. That’s basically another way of saying pro-life people will discuss abortion from a pro-life perspective.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri

Johnstonbaugh’s finding about Republicans vs Democrats is mystifying only if you view PP solely through the “women’s issue” framing, but I don’t know why anyone would do that. You don’t have to be that involved in the abortion debate to know that many people view PP as a more complicated and controversial organization. Huge swaths of the country — including countless women, btw — see abortion as an issue that affects not only women but also preborn children. Pro-life Republican women might be less vocal about women’s issues generally, but Planned Parenthood is not simply a “women’s issue” topic. It goes well beyond that.

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana

Johnstonbaugh called her findings about Republicans vs Democrats “unexpected,” “counterintuitive,” and “surprising,” but they shouldn’t be. Pro-lifers have been quite vocal, for decades, about the facts that we view abortion as a human rights issue and we care deeply about the problem. If pro-choice people could internalize our most basic premise — not agree with it necessarily, just recognize it’s what we think — they would be caught off guard less often.

What changed an abortion counselor’s mind

Linda Couri worked at Planned Parenthood but left and became pro-life. She gave an interview on the WeDignify podcast where she spoke about her experiences working for the largest abortion provider in America.

Couri believed in Planned Parenthood’s mission, which she saw as educating young people about sex and providing health care. In retrospect, she thinks one reason she worked at Planned Parenthood was the affirmation they gave her about her own abortion. Couri was strongly pro-choice but had never been able to convince herself that abortion was not killing a baby. When she had her own abortion, she says she just “tucked it away into a little spot far, far away for a long time” and tried not to think about it.

Workers at the Planned Parenthood facility affirmed her choice and eased any lingering sense of guilt:

[I] could surround myself with a lot of really good, caring women, self-sacrificial women working at Planned Parenthood, who would surround me and say, “yeah, it’s okay. It’s okay that you did this. It was your right. Not only that, it was probably better for the whole world.” And so, it helped to keep the psychological distress of the abortion at bay. 

While working at Planned Parenthood, Couri struggled with the issue of abortion:

What did cause me distress was the issue of abortion, merely because although I was pro-choice, i.e., you shouldn’t take away the right of a woman to control her own body – I was highly convinced of that – but I also knew that something really bad was happening, like killing very small people. So that had always made me uncomfortable. But the dissonance that that created, I often was able to avoid. Avoid, and just not deal with it. 

Couri mainly worked in sex education, but she was sometimes asked to counsel women considering abortion. One day, she was asked to talk to a pregnant 16-year-old. Couri says:

She’s crying and scared. My job was to go through her options, and after comforting her and letting her know it would be okay, I said, “Well, you have three options. The first is, you can keep the baby. That will be difficult, but we can help you through that.… And I said, “you could give up your baby for adoption. That too will be hard, but we can help you with that.” Because we did have connections with adoption agencies, and to help girls through their pregnancy. And then I said, “or you can have an abortion.” 

Although Couri attempted to be neutral, she was convinced that abortion was the best choice for the girl:

[I]n my mind, at the time, I really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, believed that abortion was the best option for her. I saw her carrying the baby and keeping the baby as really ruining her life. For making her life way too difficult. And I saw her, quote, “giving the baby up” for adoption … But I also saw that option as being very difficult. So, in my mind, abortion really was the best option. After all, I had had an abortion, and it [had] seemed like the best option to me – I was unscathed, right?
But I saw it as her choice, so I presented these three options. 

The girl asked Couri, “Please tell me one thing. If I have an abortion, am I killing my baby?”
Couri describes her response:

It was hard, because I knew that she was. But I decided to answer by saying, “Well, you will be terminating the product of your conception.” Which was meant to deflect the question. And I knew it. And she looked at me kind of confused, and she scheduled an abortion. Which I really thought was the best option for her, but I was really stressed out, because I didn’t answer her question. [I] rhetorically tricked her. 

Couri felt guilty for being dishonest. She went to her supervisor:

I went to go talk to my supervisor. Who was really great. I said, “I just lied to her.” And she and I – we didn’t play the semantics game, like, oh, it’s not a life, it’s not life – we both kind of just went straight to the issue, which was like, this is the best option for her. Abortion’s the best option. This is a hard job that we have, and it’s a hard choice, but [it’s] the best choice for her and for her life. That’s what we believed. But still, there was, like, this fuzzy dissonance. It was like static in my head. 

This was not the last difficult conversation Couri had with other staff. One day, a nurse who worked at the facility came into Couri’s office, upset and on the verge of tears. Couri explains:

She came into my office, and she seemed to be upset, and she shut my door. And she said, “I don’t understand why I’m so upset, Linda. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but for some reason it’s really getting to me because I just saw a little hand, during an abortion procedure.” And, she and I sat, knee to knee – two women that were being paid very little to do the work that they do, feeling like we had a mission – sitting knee to knee holding each other’s hands. And being really sad, kind of weeping a little bit, and saying, “Are we doing the right thing?” And spending a bunch of time convincing each other that we were. Hugging each other and saying “Carry on. Onward and upward! Let’s go do the right thing.”

These incidents unsettled Couri, but then she discovered something else. Couri was thinking of doing an academic research project on women’s responses to abortion. In the past, the abortion facility had left journals in the recovery room for women to write down their feelings after abortion. Couri decided to look at them for her research. Couri had always believed that she was helping women by providing abortions. But she was in for a shock:

I noticed that in the abortion clinic that there were stacks and stacks of journals down there… So, I was like, oh wow this is great. I have untainted, qualitative research in terms of how women feel right after their abortion. So, in my mind it would’ve been a fabulous research study. So I went down to the clinic one day when nobody was there, and was just like, I’m going to peek through them and kind of see what they say. And some of them said things like, “I’m so relieved, everyone here has been so kind,” but as I started flipping through the journals there were entries like, “Oh my God, what have I done? I killed my baby.” Like, panicked writing. 

These entries had a profound effect on her:

And I can remember the feeling I had where I was literally confused. I was like, wait what? I couldn’t believe it. I had fully expected that people would [be] relieved. You know, projecting myself onto them – that they would be relieved. But it was all these other reactions and they were written down. It caused me to double take, and I was like, wait what? People – and then I started thinking, where do these people go? Some of them are young. What did they do? They’re leaving here. What kind of support systems do they have? They feel this way – it really messed with my world.… It did not match up with what I thought reality was, and I couldn’t deny it, because it was written down. There was no agenda behind these people writing it down. It was just pure unadulterated reaction to how they felt after an abortion. 

The journals caused Couri to reconsider what she was doing. It began to dawn on her that abortion was not helping women. At first, she tried to set up a post-abortion support group in the facility. But she had trouble attracting women to it. Many women seemed to want to forget their abortions happened. They did not want to return to the abortion facility or talk to Couri.

Shortly after gaining this new perspective, Couri left the abortion industry.

[Today’s guest post is by Sarah Terzo.]

What changed an abortion counselor’s mind

Linda Couri worked at Planned Parenthood but left and became pro-life. She gave an interview on the WeDignify podcast where she spoke about her experiences working for the largest abortion provider in America.

Couri believed in Planned Parenthood’s mission, which she saw as educating young people about sex and providing health care. In retrospect, she thinks one reason she worked at Planned Parenthood was the affirmation they gave her about her own abortion. Couri was strongly pro-choice but had never been able to convince herself that abortion was not killing a baby. When she had her own abortion, she says she just “tucked it away into a little spot far, far away for a long time” and tried not to think about it.

Workers at the Planned Parenthood facility affirmed her choice and eased any lingering sense of guilt:

[I] could surround myself with a lot of really good, caring women, self-sacrificial women working at Planned Parenthood, who would surround me and say, “yeah, it’s okay. It’s okay that you did this. It was your right. Not only that, it was probably better for the whole world.” And so, it helped to keep the psychological distress of the abortion at bay. 

While working at Planned Parenthood, Couri struggled with the issue of abortion:

What did cause me distress was the issue of abortion, merely because although I was pro-choice, i.e., you shouldn’t take away the right of a woman to control her own body – I was highly convinced of that – but I also knew that something really bad was happening, like killing very small people. So that had always made me uncomfortable. But the dissonance that that created, I often was able to avoid. Avoid, and just not deal with it. 

Couri mainly worked in sex education, but she was sometimes asked to counsel women considering abortion. One day, she was asked to talk to a pregnant 16-year-old. Couri says:

She’s crying and scared. My job was to go through her options, and after comforting her and letting her know it would be okay, I said, “Well, you have three options. The first is, you can keep the baby. That will be difficult, but we can help you through that.… And I said, “you could give up your baby for adoption. That too will be hard, but we can help you with that.” Because we did have connections with adoption agencies, and to help girls through their pregnancy. And then I said, “or you can have an abortion.” 

Although Couri attempted to be neutral, she was convinced that abortion was the best choice for the girl:

[I]n my mind, at the time, I really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, believed that abortion was the best option for her. I saw her carrying the baby and keeping the baby as really ruining her life. For making her life way too difficult. And I saw her, quote, “giving the baby up” for adoption … But I also saw that option as being very difficult. So, in my mind, abortion really was the best option. After all, I had had an abortion, and it [had] seemed like the best option to me – I was unscathed, right?
But I saw it as her choice, so I presented these three options. 

The girl asked Couri, “Please tell me one thing. If I have an abortion, am I killing my baby?”
Couri describes her response:

It was hard, because I knew that she was. But I decided to answer by saying, “Well, you will be terminating the product of your conception.” Which was meant to deflect the question. And I knew it. And she looked at me kind of confused, and she scheduled an abortion. Which I really thought was the best option for her, but I was really stressed out, because I didn’t answer her question. [I] rhetorically tricked her. 

Couri felt guilty for being dishonest. She went to her supervisor:

I went to go talk to my supervisor. Who was really great. I said, “I just lied to her.” And she and I – we didn’t play the semantics game, like, oh, it’s not a life, it’s not life – we both kind of just went straight to the issue, which was like, this is the best option for her. Abortion’s the best option. This is a hard job that we have, and it’s a hard choice, but [it’s] the best choice for her and for her life. That’s what we believed. But still, there was, like, this fuzzy dissonance. It was like static in my head. 

This was not the last difficult conversation Couri had with other staff. One day, a nurse who worked at the facility came into Couri’s office, upset and on the verge of tears. Couri explains:

She came into my office, and she seemed to be upset, and she shut my door. And she said, “I don’t understand why I’m so upset, Linda. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but for some reason it’s really getting to me because I just saw a little hand, during an abortion procedure.” And, she and I sat, knee to knee – two women that were being paid very little to do the work that they do, feeling like we had a mission – sitting knee to knee holding each other’s hands. And being really sad, kind of weeping a little bit, and saying, “Are we doing the right thing?” And spending a bunch of time convincing each other that we were. Hugging each other and saying “Carry on. Onward and upward! Let’s go do the right thing.”

These incidents unsettled Couri, but then she discovered something else. Couri was thinking of doing an academic research project on women’s responses to abortion. In the past, the abortion facility had left journals in the recovery room for women to write down their feelings after abortion. Couri decided to look at them for her research. Couri had always believed that she was helping women by providing abortions. But she was in for a shock:

I noticed that in the abortion clinic that there were stacks and stacks of journals down there… So, I was like, oh wow this is great. I have untainted, qualitative research in terms of how women feel right after their abortion. So, in my mind it would’ve been a fabulous research study. So I went down to the clinic one day when nobody was there, and was just like, I’m going to peek through them and kind of see what they say. And some of them said things like, “I’m so relieved, everyone here has been so kind,” but as I started flipping through the journals there were entries like, “Oh my God, what have I done? I killed my baby.” Like, panicked writing. 

These entries had a profound effect on her:

And I can remember the feeling I had where I was literally confused. I was like, wait what? I couldn’t believe it. I had fully expected that people would [be] relieved. You know, projecting myself onto them – that they would be relieved. But it was all these other reactions and they were written down. It caused me to double take, and I was like, wait what? People – and then I started thinking, where do these people go? Some of them are young. What did they do? They’re leaving here. What kind of support systems do they have? They feel this way – it really messed with my world.… It did not match up with what I thought reality was, and I couldn’t deny it, because it was written down. There was no agenda behind these people writing it down. It was just pure unadulterated reaction to how they felt after an abortion. 

The journals caused Couri to reconsider what she was doing. It began to dawn on her that abortion was not helping women. At first, she tried to set up a post-abortion support group in the facility. But she had trouble attracting women to it. Many women seemed to want to forget their abortions happened. They did not want to return to the abortion facility or talk to Couri.

Shortly after gaining this new perspective, Couri left the abortion industry.

[Today’s guest post is by Sarah Terzo.]

The Comfortable Pro-Choice People

Last year before the San Francisco Walk for Life, Monica (SPL co-leader) gave a brief speech about “comfortable” pro-choice people, essentially outlining the most ubiquitous myths that allow people to be comfortable with the pro-choice political position. [And she did this speech before pro-choice people started insisting embryos don’t have hearts.] You can watch the video here and/or read the transcript below. Sources are linked in the transcript.

My name is Monica Snyder, I’m an atheist, and I work with Secular Pro-Life. And normally I do discussions about diversity and inclusivity and fact-based research, but that’s not what I want to talk about today. I have been thinking a lot about—I’m pretty fed up, actually. And that’s what I want to talk about today.

I’ve worked with Secular Pro-Life for 10 years. I’ve had many, many conversations about abortion—some of them have been very good. I’m always happy to have thoughtful dialogue with people who are interested in exploring each other’s views. Even if we’re not going to change minds, I’m happy to have thoughtful dialogue.

Kinda over the other kind of conversation though—and by that I mean conversations with who I’ve started to think of as the casual, comfortable pro-choice person. And by that I mean people who—this isn’t a top political topic for them; it’s not something that they know a lot about or dig into a lot, but they still identify as pro-choice because they’ve picked up on the idea that that is the right side to be. The right side of history, the side of progress and freedom of religion and equality. And so even though they don’t know a lot about the situation, it doesn’t stop them from being kind of scandalized that I think…whatever it is I think, they don’t actually have any idea, but it probably involves hating women or something. And so they sort of clutch their pearls at the fact that I’m against abortion. They talk to me as if I owe them an apology or an explanation, even as they say many nonsensical things that they can’t back up in any way.

So, for example, many people have no understanding of American abortion law. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that abortion is illegal after the first trimester. That’s not true literally anywhere in the country. Even in the most restrictive state—Mississippi—you can get a non-medical abortion until the 5th month, okay? They think that anti-choice forces are bringing us into the dark ages. They don’t realize we have some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world. We are 1 out of only 7 countries where it’s legal to get a non-medical abortion after 20 weeks—right there with North Korea and China. They don’t realize that Roe v. Wade makes us this way. They think that all Roe v. Wade did was made abortion a legal option. Actually what it did was make it almost impossible to have any kind of restrictions before viability, which is about 6 months into the pregnancy.

And even if they believe me when I tell them that, it doesn’t shock them because they don’t know anything about fetal development at 6 months into the pregnancy! These are the same people who will tell me that biology—not philosophy—biology doesn’t tell us when life begins, which is complete anti-science nonsense. They’ll use the phrase “clumps of cells” as if we’re aborting amorphous spheres of genetic material instead of small humans with heartbeats and brain waves and organ systems. And if you show them video footage of Planned Parenthood harvesting those organs, they’ll just say “Heavily edited! Heavily edited!” over and over again, even though there’s no evidence that part was heavily edited. They don’t know what they mean when they say that. There’s no evidence of audio manipulation, and Planned Parenthood itself doesn’t even deny that they take organs from late-term fetuses. But sure, they’re taking brains and livers from “clumps of cells.”

And if they believe that part, they still think that it’s only because late-term abortions are done for severe medical reasons. So even if, yes, they take those, it’s from a tragic situation that had to happen anyway so at least it’s useful, right? Unfortunately, the research actually shows that even at 21 weeks or later, 80% of these abortions are not done for health-related reasons. It is a pleasant fiction to think that we are tearing children apart limb from limb only in the most tragic and dire situations. The reality is far less…comfortable. We even have abortion providers—and they’ll talk openly, in interviews, publicly, about how in third trimester they will abort healthy, viable babies. But the comfortable pro-choice people don’t want to talk about that, or hear it at all.

And even if they believe me when I point out that we’re killing small humans, that are abortion laws are insane, and that late-term abortion is not usually for health reasons, what is the comfortable pro-choice person supposed to do? They can’t be on our side! We’re the side of the old, rich, white conservative Christian men, right? Unfortunately that’s not really real either. Actually young people are just as likely to be against abortion as our parents and our grandparents. Poor people are more likely to be against abortion than rich people. Latinos are more likely to be against abortion than white people. And it’s true that we skew conservative and Christian, but 1 out of 5 Democrats is against abortion. 1 out of 5 non-religious people is against abortion. And what about the men thing? Everyone’s heard the “war on women” trope, right? All of the highly educated empowered women are fighting to control their bodies while regressive religious men are trying to stop them, right? Right? NO! Actually women are just as likely as men to be against abortion. There are literally tens of MILLIONS of American women against abortion! And when I point this out you see their true feminist colors, because then the answer is it must be that I am an internalized misogynist! I couldn’t possibly be against abortion because it’s destroying millions of humans! It must be because I hate myself. What a convenient, comfortable theory so that you don’t have to think too much about this. Everyone who disagrees with you is just deep-seated prejudice, right?

The reality is that I am a young, atheist, pretty broke, Millennial woman who is strongly against abortion, and I am standing right HERE! So stop acting like I don’t exist!

So all I ask is that if you’re going to defend our insane abortion laws, at least own what you’re defending. The inconvenient truth is that we’re killing small humans, our laws are insane, and we do late-term abortions even for non-medical reasons. And if you own that in your position, you’re not the one I have a problem with, because you’re doing it with eyes wide open. But if you are comfortable being pro-choice because you bury yourself in euphemisms and nonsense, then I ask you to step up. If you really want to defend this, do it with eyes wide open. That’s all I’m asking, thank you.

SPL banner at the Walk. Click to enlarge.

The Comfortable Pro-Choice People

Last year before the San Francisco Walk for Life, Monica (SPL co-leader) gave a brief speech about “comfortable” pro-choice people, essentially outlining the most ubiquitous myths that allow people to be comfortable with the pro-choice political position. [And she did this speech before pro-choice people started insisting embryos don’t have hearts.] You can watch the video here and/or read the transcript below. Sources are linked in the transcript.

My name is Monica Snyder, I’m an atheist, and I work with Secular Pro-Life. And normally I do discussions about diversity and inclusivity and fact-based research, but that’s not what I want to talk about today. I have been thinking a lot about—I’m pretty fed up, actually. And that’s what I want to talk about today.

I’ve worked with Secular Pro-Life for 10 years. I’ve had many, many conversations about abortion—some of them have been very good. I’m always happy to have thoughtful dialogue with people who are interested in exploring each other’s views. Even if we’re not going to change minds, I’m happy to have thoughtful dialogue.

Kinda over the other kind of conversation though—and by that I mean conversations with who I’ve started to think of as the casual, comfortable pro-choice person. And by that I mean people who—this isn’t a top political topic for them; it’s not something that they know a lot about or dig into a lot, but they still identify as pro-choice because they’ve picked up on the idea that that is the right side to be. The right side of history, the side of progress and freedom of religion and equality. And so even though they don’t know a lot about the situation, it doesn’t stop them from being kind of scandalized that I think…whatever it is I think, they don’t actually have any idea, but it probably involves hating women or something. And so they sort of clutch their pearls at the fact that I’m against abortion. They talk to me as if I owe them an apology or an explanation, even as they say many nonsensical things that they can’t back up in any way.

So, for example, many people have no understanding of American abortion law. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that abortion is illegal after the first trimester. That’s not true literally anywhere in the country. Even in the most restrictive state—Mississippi—you can get a non-medical abortion until the 5th month, okay? They think that anti-choice forces are bringing us into the dark ages. They don’t realize we have some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world. We are 1 out of only 7 countries where it’s legal to get a non-medical abortion after 20 weeks—right there with North Korea and China. They don’t realize that Roe v. Wade makes us this way. They think that all Roe v. Wade did was made abortion a legal option. Actually what it did was make it almost impossible to have any kind of restrictions before viability, which is about 6 months into the pregnancy.

And even if they believe me when I tell them that, it doesn’t shock them because they don’t know anything about fetal development at 6 months into the pregnancy! These are the same people who will tell me that biology—not philosophy—biology doesn’t tell us when life begins, which is complete anti-science nonsense. They’ll use the phrase “clumps of cells” as if we’re aborting amorphous spheres of genetic material instead of small humans with heartbeats and brain waves and organ systems. And if you show them video footage of Planned Parenthood harvesting those organs, they’ll just say “Heavily edited! Heavily edited!” over and over again, even though there’s no evidence that part was heavily edited. They don’t know what they mean when they say that. There’s no evidence of audio manipulation, and Planned Parenthood itself doesn’t even deny that they take organs from late-term fetuses. But sure, they’re taking brains and livers from “clumps of cells.”

And if they believe that part, they still think that it’s only because late-term abortions are done for severe medical reasons. So even if, yes, they take those, it’s from a tragic situation that had to happen anyway so at least it’s useful, right? Unfortunately, the research actually shows that even at 21 weeks or later, 80% of these abortions are not done for health-related reasons. It is a pleasant fiction to think that we are tearing children apart limb from limb only in the most tragic and dire situations. The reality is far less…comfortable. We even have abortion providers—and they’ll talk openly, in interviews, publicly, about how in third trimester they will abort healthy, viable babies. But the comfortable pro-choice people don’t want to talk about that, or hear it at all.

And even if they believe me when I point out that we’re killing small humans, that are abortion laws are insane, and that late-term abortion is not usually for health reasons, what is the comfortable pro-choice person supposed to do? They can’t be on our side! We’re the side of the old, rich, white conservative Christian men, right? Unfortunately that’s not really real either. Actually young people are just as likely to be against abortion as our parents and our grandparents. Poor people are more likely to be against abortion than rich people. Latinos are more likely to be against abortion than white people. And it’s true that we skew conservative and Christian, but 1 out of 5 Democrats is against abortion. 1 out of 5 non-religious people is against abortion. And what about the men thing? Everyone’s heard the “war on women” trope, right? All of the highly educated empowered women are fighting to control their bodies while regressive religious men are trying to stop them, right? Right? NO! Actually women are just as likely as men to be against abortion. There are literally tens of MILLIONS of American women against abortion! And when I point this out you see their true feminist colors, because then the answer is it must be that I am an internalized misogynist! I couldn’t possibly be against abortion because it’s destroying millions of humans! It must be because I hate myself. What a convenient, comfortable theory so that you don’t have to think too much about this. Everyone who disagrees with you is just deep-seated prejudice, right?

The reality is that I am a young, atheist, pretty broke, Millennial woman who is strongly against abortion, and I am standing right HERE! So stop acting like I don’t exist!

So all I ask is that if you’re going to defend our insane abortion laws, at least own what you’re defending. The inconvenient truth is that we’re killing small humans, our laws are insane, and we do late-term abortions even for non-medical reasons. And if you own that in your position, you’re not the one I have a problem with, because you’re doing it with eyes wide open. But if you are comfortable being pro-choice because you bury yourself in euphemisms and nonsense, then I ask you to step up. If you really want to defend this, do it with eyes wide open. That’s all I’m asking, thank you.

SPL banner at the Walk. Click to enlarge.

Planned Parenthood wants you to get out and vote!

Planned Parenthood recently released this political ad:

The bolded lines below are a transcription of the ad and the unbolded text are my first thoughts.

Can I be blatantly honest? My life is at stake in this next election. 
Yeah, lots of lives are at stake in that next election. Pro-lifers think about that a lot, trust me.

It is a matter of life and death to have access to quality health care.
It is a matter of millions of lives and deaths if we restrict or liberalize abortion law, considering how much the law affects abortion rates.

Birth control.
Most pro-lifers are fine with birth control. In general people are a lot more fine with birth control than with abortion.


To safe and legal abortion.
Hard pass here.

And accurate sexual education.
Again, agreed.

And that’s not happening right now.
Which part? Contraception use has held steady for well over a decade, and comprehensive sexual education sees wide public support. Planned Parenthood always tries to soften its abortion-on-demand efforts with these other very popular endeavors, but once again they’re really just talking about abortion.

Our reproductive rights have come into question yet again.
If you mean we question whether elective abortion should be a reproductive right, that’s true. No matter who wins the next election, that question is not going away.

I was a young nurse when Roe v. Wade was passed. Now we worry about protecting it every day.
Good. Roe, and the American abortion laws allowed by it, are ridiculous.

There is no reason politicians should be telling me when or if I can build a family.
Are there politicians telling you this? We aren’t saying you either can’t have sex or must have sex. We’re saying don’t kill anyone as a result of your freely made sexual choices. This isn’t actually The Handmaid’s Tale.

We need to go forward, not backward.
Yes! Forward into a society where we don’t legally kill hundreds of thousands of our offspring every year.

We didn’t always have the right to vote. Many of my family members grew up in segregation.
We’re very pro-voting and anti-segregation. *fist bump


My dad grew up in a country where he didn’t have a voice. But I do.
Voting is a way to do something when you wish you could just do something.
That’s the whole point of our system! 
It’s the basis of our democracy.
Yes! Voting is a way to try to create a society that reflects our values and priorities. Or, as pro-choice people like to phrase it, it’s a way of imposing our morality on everyone else, amirite?


Politicians think they decide what we do with our own bodies? 
If by “what we do with our own bodies” you mean non-defensively killing tiny humans, then yes, certain politicians–and the millions of American men and women who voted for them–think we should outlaw that.


But guess what?
We decide. 
To go out there and make the change that we want to see.
We decide who our leaders are. 
Nosotros elegimos nuestro futuro. [We choose our future.]
We decide our future.
And more specifically, apparently, whether the children we carry will even have a future.


We decide.
We decide.
Indeed. We will see you at the ballot box.

Planned Parenthood wants you to get out and vote!

Planned Parenthood recently released this political ad:

The bolded lines below are a transcription of the ad and the unbolded text are my first thoughts.

Can I be blatantly honest? My life is at stake in this next election. 
Yeah, lots of lives are at stake in that next election. Pro-lifers think about that a lot, trust me.

It is a matter of life and death to have access to quality health care.
It is a matter of millions of lives and deaths if we restrict or liberalize abortion law, considering how much the law affects abortion rates.

Birth control.
Most pro-lifers are fine with birth control. In general people are a lot more fine with birth control than with abortion.


To safe and legal abortion.
Hard pass here.

And accurate sexual education.
Again, agreed.

And that’s not happening right now.
Which part? Contraception use has held steady for well over a decade, and comprehensive sexual education sees wide public support. Planned Parenthood always tries to soften its abortion-on-demand efforts with these other very popular endeavors, but once again they’re really just talking about abortion.

Our reproductive rights have come into question yet again.
If you mean we question whether elective abortion should be a reproductive right, that’s true. No matter who wins the next election, that question is not going away.

I was a young nurse when Roe v. Wade was passed. Now we worry about protecting it every day.
Good. Roe, and the American abortion laws allowed by it, are ridiculous.

There is no reason politicians should be telling me when or if I can build a family.
Are there politicians telling you this? We aren’t saying you either can’t have sex or must have sex. We’re saying don’t kill anyone as a result of your freely made sexual choices. This isn’t actually The Handmaid’s Tale.

We need to go forward, not backward.
Yes! Forward into a society where we don’t legally kill hundreds of thousands of our offspring every year.

We didn’t always have the right to vote. Many of my family members grew up in segregation.
We’re very pro-voting and anti-segregation. *fist bump


My dad grew up in a country where he didn’t have a voice. But I do.
Voting is a way to do something when you wish you could just do something.
That’s the whole point of our system! 
It’s the basis of our democracy.
Yes! Voting is a way to try to create a society that reflects our values and priorities. Or, as pro-choice people like to phrase it, it’s a way of imposing our morality on everyone else, amirite?


Politicians think they decide what we do with our own bodies? 
If by “what we do with our own bodies” you mean non-defensively killing tiny humans, then yes, certain politicians–and the millions of American men and women who voted for them–think we should outlaw that.


But guess what?
We decide. 
To go out there and make the change that we want to see.
We decide who our leaders are. 
Nosotros elegimos nuestro futuro. [We choose our future.]
We decide our future.
And more specifically, apparently, whether the children we carry will even have a future.


We decide.
We decide.
Indeed. We will see you at the ballot box.

My visit to Planned Parenthood

It is universally acknowledged among pro-lifers that Planned Parenthood is an abortion corporation that should not be supported nor funded through taxpayer dollars. But how many pro-lifers can say that they have actually been to a Planned Parenthood, with the intention of having an abortion? Sadly, I have experienced this first hand, and by sharing my story today I hope that I can prove once and for all that Planned Parenthood is not about “women’s rights” or “healthcare,” it’s about profiting from ending lives prematurely.

It all began in November of 2017. I was in my junior year of college and had just discovered that I was pregnant. I was a resident advisor, taking 15 credit hours, and working a part-time job. I was preparing for graduation and applying to graduate school. A baby was honestly the last thing on my mind. “Just get an abortion,” my friends told me. “You don’t want this one mistake to derail your entire life.” Living in a pro-choice society led me to believe that my baby really was just a clump of cells. With no one encouraging me to continue with my pregnancy, I called Planned Parenthood to schedule my appointment, figuring that it was the best solution for my current situation.

I went into the clinic the following day, and was told to sit down and fill out some paperwork. The clinic itself was clean and brightly lit; encouraging plaques were on the wall that said, “I make my own destiny,” and “ This does not define you.” The emotion in the room, however, was something entirely different. Though I was accompanied to the clinic with my boyfriend, many women sat in that waiting room alone. I saw one girl who could not have been more than 15 years old, silently crying as she filled out paperwork. Her mother sat next to her, stony faced and staring straight ahead. I saw another woman with marks on her arms and neck, foundation poorly covering over what the man sitting next to her had clearly given her. Finally I saw two women who were sitting next to each other laughing as they filled out the paperwork. They were talking about getting manicures after their appointments and “making a day of it.” Though we each came from different walks of life, I couldn’t help but feel connected to each of these women, in the worst way possible.

My name was called after about an hour, and both my boyfriend and I stood up to walk inside. “No,” the nurse said, “he has to wait here, and you have to leave your cell phone and any other recording devices with him.” I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, about to go through a very traumatic experience, and not only was I forced to go through it alone, I couldn’t even have my cell phone with me to use as a distraction or to text my boyfriend. Just wanting the entire nightmarish experience over with, I silently handed my cell phone over to my boyfriend and followed the nurse into the back.

Once I was in the back I was told to sign paperwork stating that I had come there of my own free will and that no one was forcing me to have an abortion. I couldn’t help but think of the young girl and the woman in the waiting room who had clearly been abused by her boyfriend. It hadn’t seemed as if they were there of their own free will, and yet these nurses were doing nothing to help them. I dumbly signed my name on the dotted line and followed the nurse into the examination room.

In the room I was forced to get undressed and was only given a small paper sheet gown to cover myself with before the doctor came in. As I sat there shivering, I kept asking myself, “Am I really doing this? Is this what I really want?” The nurse didn’t ask me if I was okay; she simply sat there, filling out paperwork as we both waited for the doctor. Finally, a middle aged man came in the room and shut the door. “Excuse me,” I whispered. “But isn’t there a female doctor who can examine me?” “Listen lady,” the doctor snapped, “We are short staffed as it is, so if you want this procedure then you’re going to have to deal with me.” “Ok,” I said, “I’m sorry.” The doctor then gave me a transvaginal ultrasound and stated matter-of-factly, “This pregnancy is ectopic.” “What does that mean?” I asked. “It means the pregnancy is developing outside of the uterus,” he stated. “It’s most likely developing in the fallopian tube. Based on the date of your last missed period, you should be 6 weeks pregnant. However, there is no pregnancy showing up on the ultrasound, which leads me to believe the pregnancy is ectopic. We can do a test and schedule an abortion for next week.” And maybe it was the fact that the staff here seemed to have no soul and no sympathy towards me or the other girls, or maybe it was the fact that I was all alone back there. “I want to leave, now,” I said. “Alright,” the doctor said, unfazed, “but schedule your abortion with the receptionist before you leave. I’m a very busy man and only have a few open appointments next week.”

I left Planned Parenthood in tears that day. My boyfriend consoled me, and told me that he would support whatever I decided to do. The following week I went to an actual hospital, and received proper prenatal care. My beautiful baby girl showed up on the ultrasound screen that day, no bigger than a pea. She was not an ectopic pregnancy at all; she had simply been hiding from the evil abortion doctor that day. Nine months later I gave birth to beautiful and healthy Noelle. She is perfect and I am so thankful for every moment that I get to spend with her. Sharing this story is not easy, as I still feel guilty for ever even thinking that I could get an abortion. However, I had decided to share my story today so that others can finally know the truth. Planned Parenthood is not about women’s rights, or about reproductive rights. It only has one bottom line, to make a profit. And they make that profit by attempting to exploit young girls like me and by trying to perform as many abortions as possible. Say yes to life and no to the abortion corporation. Say no to Planned Parenthood.

[Today’s guest post by Annaliese Corace is part of our paid blogging program.]