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: Let There Be Life Conference 2018 at UC Berkeley

The Let There Be Life Conference co-hosted by Berkeley Students for Life and Pro-Life San Francisco was a smashing success. Not only did each speaker cover very different content, but the style of each speech was entirely different. There were speeches in the style of spoken word poetry, rigorous academic discussion, sermon*, humorous dialogue, rousing call to action, and many others. It was engaging and inspiring to see so many different types of people uniting to educate and empower one another to work against abortion.

But let me back up. Fellow SPL co-leader Ellen and I arrived at UC Berkeley around 7:30 am and set up the Secular Pro-Life table. I was impressed at how many pro-life groups tabled for this event. We were right next to the table for Abide Women’s Health and across from our buds Rehumanize International and of course Josh Brahm’s Equal Rights Institute, but there were many great groups all around. People came up to chat with us about SPL and grab a brochure, and we got to say hi to many pro-life friends from around the state and country who I rarely get to see in person. That’s always one of the best parts of making it to a pro-life conference.

After about an hour of breakfast and chatting, Terrisa used her iconic bullhorn to get the conference underway. Pro-Life San Francisco very thoughtfully had staff to keep an eye on the tables so the tabling people could go inside and watch all the talks. The morning speeches went like this:

A Unified, Diverse Pro-Life Movement
Elijah Thompson

Elijah started off the conference with a talk about “blooming where you’re planted” i.e. focusing on your strengths and your natural circles of influence.
Building a Pro-Life California
Terrisa Bukvinac & Karen Rose

Terrisa & Karen outlined a strategy for persuading more pro-choice Californians to consider the pro-life position. They especially emphasized unifying the diverse pro-life groups around our similarities and de-emphasizing our (many) differences.
The Most Persuasive Pro-Life Argument
Josh Brahm
Josh, in usual comedic style, illustrated how to engage pro-choice people in a non-threatening, convincing way through open-mindedness, clarifying questions, and respectful dialogue. He finished his talk by outlining the Equal Rights Argument, which his team has found very effective at helping people see the pro-life view.
Deconstructing Three Pro-Choice Myths
Monica Snyder
Speaking probably a bit too quickly, I gave an overview of the data surrounding three commonly perpetrated pro-choice myths: (1) we don’t know when human life begins, (2) most late-term abortions are for medical reasons, and (3) pro-life laws don’t decrease abortions. (You can see the sources for the presentation here.)
Bad Words: How Our Words Dehumanize
Herb Geraghty
Herb gave a passionate, honest talk about the language society has historically used (and continues to use) to dehumanize and marginalize vulnerable groups before oppressing and often killing people in those groups. Sadly, even pro-lifers sometimes use dehumanizing language regarding certain topics, which can undermine our credibility when we say all humans have equal value. “Whether it’s the violence of war, torture, abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, human trafficking — all of these acts are perpetuated by dehumanizing language that makes the victim seem somehow ‘subhuman.'” Check out this excellent graphic Rehumanize International created to illustrate the point.
Or The Culture Will Decline
Walter Hoye
In a talk almost like a sermon*, Walter cut deep to the truth with facts about the rapidly declining fertility rate of black Americans which threatens to eliminate black culture. He specifically addressed the staggering abortion rates among the black population, and the targeting of black people by the abortion industry.

*The content here was not that of a sermon; it was not about religion at all. But the style very much reminded me of a sermon with the speaker’s variable pace and the way he engaged the attendees.

After Walter’s talk the conference stopped for lunch. Everyone stretched their legs and walked out to a beautiful warm day. We grabbed our sunglasses and sandwiches, chips, and cookies (included with the conference tickets) and Ellen and I continued tabling for Secular Pro-Life. Many attendees came up to congratulate us on SPL’s talk, which they enjoyed very much, and to get copies of our 5 page source list. Several of the attendees said they appreciated the analytical approach, and shared that they too had backgrounds in STEM and so were partial to a more data-centered discussion. I’m always pretty happy to meet other STEM pro-lifers. It may be the first conference Ellen or I have attended where we talked a lot more about the research and not as much about religious diversity, although there were several of those discussions too. Either way everyone was friendly and encouraging, and we ended up giving away all but one of our copies of the source list. There was a lot of interest, which was pretty great.

In what seemed like no time, lunch was over and we were ready for the second half, which included the following talks:

Pro-Life When It Counts
Marie Stettler


Marie shared her story about her unexpected pregnancy, in which she made a hesitant decision to abort, tried to use abortion pill reversal to undo it, but ultimately lost her child. She has since become a nurse with Culture of Life Family Services, the same organization that had tried to help with the reversal. You can read more about her journey here.
Pro-Life and the Church
Amy Ford
Amy shared her own experiences with an unplanned teen pregnancy and emphasized the importance of the church being a safe place for pregnant women and girls.
Strange Fruit
Cessilye Smith
Image may contain: one or more people

Cessilye opened by darkening the room and showing Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit. Cessilye then spoke softly but poetically and movingly about the disproportionate struggles black women face with pregnancy and childbearing, all while a silent array of powerful photos of black women faded in and out to a darkened room.
Accelerating the End of Abortion
David Bereit
David gave a rousing speech about how even one person can make a huge difference in creating a culture of life and called on all of us to work together and coordinate our efforts.

Bringing Life to the Golden State
Catherine Glenn Foster
Catherine discussed the importance of voter education in California. She also talked about the need for unity amidst diversity in the movement (a recurring and excellent theme for the conference).

Don’t be an A**hole
Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa

Destiny talked about building bridges with pro-choice feminists, explaining how treating people respectfully and being approachable makes it easier to work together, whereas being more aggressive and assertive has the opposite effect.
The Wild West Coast: PP Sells Baby Parts
David Daleiden
David showed us (1) the CMP video he took of Dr. Deborah Nucatola detailing how she surgically obtains and sells fetal organs for money, (2) documents explicitly listing prices for fetal organ costs separate from the already-listed cost reimbursements, and (3) advertisements from procurement companies explicitly highlighting the financial gains abortion clinics may realize if they sell late-term fetal organs and other tissues.

Despite David’s dispassionate and informative demeanor, the presentation was horrifying and infuriating. It was interesting that the conference organizers chose to end on this note, as I think it left attendees feeling a strong sense of urgency to continue and expand their pro-life efforts.

Overall it was a phenomenal conference. It seemed like there were speakers to represent such a wide variety of pro-life people and I think a lot of people left feeling we are united, so I guess the conference organizers really hit the target theme. If you are able to go to a Pro-Life San Francisco event in the future, we recommend it. You can see more pics from this year’s conference here.

Recap: Let There Be Life Conference 2018 at UC Berkeley

The Let There Be Life Conference co-hosted by Berkeley Students for Life and Pro-Life San Francisco was a smashing success. Not only did each speaker cover very different content, but the style of each speech was entirely different. There were speeches in the style of spoken word poetry, rigorous academic discussion, sermon*, humorous dialogue, rousing call to action, and many others. It was engaging and inspiring to see so many different types of people uniting to educate and empower one another to work against abortion.

But let me back up. Fellow SPL co-leader Ellen and I arrived at UC Berkeley around 7:30 am and set up the Secular Pro-Life table. I was impressed at how many pro-life groups tabled for this event. We were right next to the table for Abide Women’s Health and across from our buds Rehumanize International and of course Josh Brahm’s Equal Rights Institute, but there were many great groups all around. People came up to chat with us about SPL and grab a brochure, and we got to say hi to many pro-life friends from around the state and country who I rarely get to see in person. That’s always one of the best parts of making it to a pro-life conference.

After about an hour of breakfast and chatting, Terrisa used her iconic bullhorn to get the conference underway. Pro-Life San Francisco very thoughtfully had staff to keep an eye on the tables so the tabling people could go inside and watch all the talks. The morning speeches went like this:

A Unified, Diverse Pro-Life Movement
Elijah Thompson

Elijah started off the conference with a talk about “blooming where you’re planted” i.e. focusing on your strengths and your natural circles of influence.
Building a Pro-Life California
Terrisa Bukvinac & Karen Rose

Terrisa & Karen outlined a strategy for persuading more pro-choice Californians to consider the pro-life position. They especially emphasized unifying the diverse pro-life groups around our similarities and de-emphasizing our (many) differences.
The Most Persuasive Pro-Life Argument
Josh Brahm
Josh, in usual comedic style, illustrated how to engage pro-choice people in a non-threatening, convincing way through open-mindedness, clarifying questions, and respectful dialogue. He finished his talk by outlining the Equal Rights Argument, which his team has found very effective at helping people see the pro-life view.
Deconstructing Three Pro-Choice Myths
Monica Snyder
Speaking probably a bit too quickly, I gave an overview of the data surrounding three commonly perpetrated pro-choice myths: (1) we don’t know when human life begins, (2) most late-term abortions are for medical reasons, and (3) pro-life laws don’t decrease abortions. (You can see the sources for the presentation here.)
Bad Words: How Our Words Dehumanize
Herb Geraghty
Herb gave a passionate, honest talk about the language society has historically used (and continues to use) to dehumanize and marginalize vulnerable groups before oppressing and often killing people in those groups. Sadly, even pro-lifers sometimes use dehumanizing language regarding certain topics, which can undermine our credibility when we say all humans have equal value. “Whether it’s the violence of war, torture, abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, human trafficking — all of these acts are perpetuated by dehumanizing language that makes the victim seem somehow ‘subhuman.'” Check out this excellent graphic Rehumanize International created to illustrate the point.
Or The Culture Will Decline
Walter Hoye
In a talk almost like a sermon*, Walter cut deep to the truth with facts about the rapidly declining fertility rate of black Americans which threatens to eliminate black culture. He specifically addressed the staggering abortion rates among the black population, and the targeting of black people by the abortion industry.

*The content here was not that of a sermon; it was not about religion at all. But the style very much reminded me of a sermon with the speaker’s variable pace and the way he engaged the attendees.

After Walter’s talk the conference stopped for lunch. Everyone stretched their legs and walked out to a beautiful warm day. We grabbed our sunglasses and sandwiches, chips, and cookies (included with the conference tickets) and Ellen and I continued tabling for Secular Pro-Life. Many attendees came up to congratulate us on SPL’s talk, which they enjoyed very much, and to get copies of our 5 page source list. Several of the attendees said they appreciated the analytical approach, and shared that they too had backgrounds in STEM and so were partial to a more data-centered discussion. I’m always pretty happy to meet other STEM pro-lifers. It may be the first conference Ellen or I have attended where we talked a lot more about the research and not as much about religious diversity, although there were several of those discussions too. Either way everyone was friendly and encouraging, and we ended up giving away all but one of our copies of the source list. There was a lot of interest, which was pretty great.

In what seemed like no time, lunch was over and we were ready for the second half, which included the following talks:

Pro-Life When It Counts
Marie Stettler


Marie shared her story about her unexpected pregnancy, in which she made a hesitant decision to abort, tried to use abortion pill reversal to undo it, but ultimately lost her child. She has since become a nurse with Culture of Life Family Services, the same organization that had tried to help with the reversal. You can read more about her journey here.
Pro-Life and the Church
Amy Ford
Amy shared her own experiences with an unplanned teen pregnancy and emphasized the importance of the church being a safe place for pregnant women and girls.
Strange Fruit
Cessilye Smith
Image may contain: one or more people

Cessilye opened by darkening the room and showing Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit. Cessilye then spoke softly but poetically and movingly about the disproportionate struggles black women face with pregnancy and childbearing, all while a silent array of powerful photos of black women faded in and out to a darkened room.
Accelerating the End of Abortion
David Bereit
David gave a rousing speech about how even one person can make a huge difference in creating a culture of life and called on all of us to work together and coordinate our efforts.

Bringing Life to the Golden State
Catherine Glenn Foster
Catherine discussed the importance of voter education in California. She also talked about the need for unity amidst diversity in the movement (a recurring and excellent theme for the conference).

Don’t be an A**hole
Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa

Destiny talked about building bridges with pro-choice feminists, explaining how treating people respectfully and being approachable makes it easier to work together, whereas being more aggressive and assertive has the opposite effect.
The Wild West Coast: PP Sells Baby Parts
David Daleiden
David showed us (1) the CMP video he took of Dr. Deborah Nucatola detailing how she surgically obtains and sells fetal organs for money, (2) documents explicitly listing prices for fetal organ costs separate from the already-listed cost reimbursements, and (3) advertisements from procurement companies explicitly highlighting the financial gains abortion clinics may realize if they sell late-term fetal organs and other tissues.

Despite David’s dispassionate and informative demeanor, the presentation was horrifying and infuriating. It was interesting that the conference organizers chose to end on this note, as I think it left attendees feeling a strong sense of urgency to continue and expand their pro-life efforts.

Overall it was a phenomenal conference. It seemed like there were speakers to represent such a wide variety of pro-life people and I think a lot of people left feeling we are united, so I guess the conference organizers really hit the target theme. If you are able to go to a Pro-Life San Francisco event in the future, we recommend it. You can see more pics from this year’s conference here.

Secular Pro-Life at the DFLA Conference!

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

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

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

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

Secular Pro-Life at the DFLA Conference!

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

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

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

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

SPL at the Californians for Life Summit 2017

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

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

SPL at the Californians for Life Summit 2017

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

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

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt’s Arraignment in San Francisco

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

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

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

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

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt’s Arraignment in San Francisco

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

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

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

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