A couple of months ago I was up at Boston University visiting my older sister who is studying health science and hoping to go into physical therapy. While I was with her, I decided to tag along for one of her classes that I found particularly interesting: "Medical Ethics". The professor talked a lot about quality of life and the ethics of doing everything you can as a physician to protect lives and to save lives, not to harm them. So naturally after this class, I thought "wow, well it only makes sense that a physician, from a medical ethical standpoint, would see abortion as counterintuitive to their purpose as a physician." I did a little research and found that there is actually a large group of physicians across the United States who are committed to protecting the lives of unborn children, so that is what I want to talk to you about today.
Physicians for life was sponsored by the Alabama Physicians for life in 1986. According to the website, it "exists to draw attention to the issues of abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, cloning, infanticide, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, out-of-wedlock sexual activity and the medical merits of risk elimination through sexual abstinence." The main purpose of the organization is to provide accurate information and facts concerning the issues mentioned above. They also provide a very large collection of resources about abortion recovery, testimonies, and scientific information on child development.
I think that this is a really cool organization that many of us might not even expect to exist. I think that it would be difficult to be a physician and encounter such struggles ethically but I am happy to see that there are groups of people to support those with pro-life values. I am going to leave you all with a very interesting video I found in their resources that is relevant to my last post on fetal development. If you click the link below, make sure you're logged into your facebook, and it should take you straight to a video of an unborn child developing in the womb! Very cool! Alright, I hope you enjoyed this post! Comment your thoughts below!
Story of my blog
In my social media class, we were given the opportunity to write a blog on WHATEVER topic we wanted. At first I thought maybe I would blog about figure skating or Minnesota, but in the back of my mind I was hoping to write about the pro-life movement. I told some friends about ym idea and they thought I was crazy and "preparing myself for failure." I was nervous that writing from an unpopular opinion on a college campus wouldn't go over well, but I have endless amounts of encouragement from my professor and classmates. I feel so blessed to be in a class that is so welcoming to different views. So why did I write about this for my blog? I am writing about the pro-life movement in hopes that someone out there is listening and may feel inspired to help find a better solution to this brokenness in our culture. I think it is so easy to just say things are too complicated to fix or people are just too divided on the issue to make compromises. I truly think that our generation will be the people to change that. I think that we all have a lot more in common than we think and I really hope that through this blog people are reorganizing that more and more.
My passion for the movement
As I mentioned in my first blog post, my passion for the pro-life movement began at a fairly young age when I heard the story of my best friend who's mother was pressured to get an abortion but didn't follow through. I later learned that my grandmother had a similar story when she found out she was pregnant with my mother. Two people, who mean the world to me, were at risk of not being here because of abortion. This really hit home for me so I began doing more and more research about the topic and began listening to prominent pro-life speakers. I went to the RNC in 2012 in Tampa Bay, Florida where I heard Phyllis Schlafly speak at a pro-life rally and at the past RNC in Cleveland, I heard Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame football coach, speak at the pro-life rally. I have also heard some Catholic nuns speak about the movement and every time I hear someone talk about it, I realize how broken our culture truly is. This has inspired me to be pretty involved in the movement. I participate in the March for Life, I am a member of Students for Life, and I am now a blogger for ProLife Youth. I would like to become more involved with the movement in the future by volunteering at crisis pregnancy shelters, but I am still working on that! For now, I hope that by sharing my view it will allow people to look at other perspectives on the issue and make the issue a little less polarized. I hope that you all have been enjoying what I have been writing about and keep tuning in for some more articles soon!
The main audience I am trying to reach is GW students and teachers and ultimately, I think that is the audience I am reaching. According to Weebly's analytics, most of my blog traffic is coming from people following a link (which is most likely from our SMPA blogroll link). There are some other "unique" visitors, which are probably coming from Twitter since I have tweeted about my blog on my personal Twitter account. To boost engagement, I am going to do three things. I am going to share my blog on my Facebook page, make a weekly tweet to promote my blog, and ask a friend to share or retweet one of my posts to reach a wider audience! I will keep you posted on how successful this is in boosting engagement but in the meantime check-in on Sundays for more interesting posts about the Pro-Life movement!
For this post, I am sharing an infographic I created demonstrating the characteristics of the baby during a pregnancy. I think the development of the baby is often overlooked and not discussed enough in the abortion discussion. So, if you would like to learn about what characteristics develop and when, refer to the photo below!
As I said in my last post about post-abortion healing, I was hoping to create a series of posts discussing different post-abortion healing resources. I wanted to share a variety of resources including religious and secular resources. My last post was about Rachel's Vineyard, a retreat center for post-abortion healing, which is a Christian service. I was hoping to follow-up with a secular service but after doing my research I have found that this essentially does not exist. While retreats often have a religious focus, I think that providing a secular post-abortion healing retreat could be extremely beneficial to our country and world. While non-religious people seeking post-abortion healing can always look into counseling, I think that having that community aspect of a retreat and sharing in others experiences is essential to proper healing. At this point, the Catholic Church and some other Christian denominations really dominate the post-abortion healing process. In years to come, I would really like to see the secular pro-lifers really step it up and begin providing more post-abortion healing services.
Abortion is such a hot button issue that I think sometimes it is easy to argue the facts and forget the people involved in the issue itself. For this post, I want to focus on specifically on women who have had abortions and offer a resource for those women in search of peace and healing in their lives. This post goes back to the original reason I began this blog. I truly believe what I said in my original post that “when one heart stops, another one’s broken.” If I could accomplish one thing in this blog, it is to provide a resource to women who are struggling with their abortion. These next few posts will be about post-abortion healing and they are going to be a mix of resources that include both religious resources and secular resources. To begin, I am going to share a little bit about Rachel’s Vineyard. Watch introductory video below:
Rachel’s Vineyard is a Non-Profit Organization, established in 1995, that offers weekend retreats across the United States and Canada for both men and women who are struggling after an abortion. The goal of Rachel’s Vineyard is to help these people find peace and inner-healing. The weekend retreats are three days long and men and women are joined by counseling staff, other men and women who have experienced abortions, non-judgemental lay people, along with a priest or minister. People have found this retreat very effective and are able to live their lives at peace with themselves. It’s a journey but no one should ever feel alone or like they have nowhere to turn. Below are some of the responses people have had after attending the retreat.
I think it amazing that people have devoted their time to help people struggling with these unresolved feelings post-abortion. If any knows of anyone struggling with this, I have provided links to the website for Rachel’s Vineyard and a link to the page where you can search for retreats in your area. Like I said before, no one should ever feel alone or like they have nowhere to turn. There is a place for hearts to heal and as a country and as a world, we need to lead those people to a place where they can find peace.
“He heals the broken hearted” Psalm 147:3.
So last week, I posted about a group that is part of the pro-life movement but doesn't get much attention from the media and the general public which has created a very stereotypical "pro-life" supporter that I described in my previous post. To continue shedding light on pro-life groups that are often swept under the rug, today I am going to share some thoughts on the Secular Pro-Life movement because, one, I don't think it gets the attention it truly deserves, and two, because I think this part of the pro-life movement is essential to creating a "pro-life" culture.
As stated on their website: "Secular Pro-Life is a group for pro-life atheists, agnostics, humanists--any pro-life secularists. Part of our mission is to create a space for non-religious pro-lifers to gather and discuss our perspective on abortion within the context of our secularism." To me, this group seems particularly important. I think that many people who are not involved in the pro-life movement use the "it's because of their religion that they're pro-life and that's a separation between church and state issue" as a means to shut up the pro-life movement.
Monica Snyder is a pro-life atheist and I think she makes a very good point against the opposition's attacks stating that the Pro-Life Movement is based on religion.
Here I would just like to insert a personal aside. I am not pro-life because of my religion, I am pro-life because of my morals. My morals may be fundamentally aligned with my religion but it is not because of a religious doctrine that I am pro-life. There are many non-religious pro-life people just like there are many religious pro-abortion people.
While Secular Prolife hasn't made a huge impression on the general public, I think that within the pro-life movement, this group is really making a difference and changing hearts one heart at a time. If you would like to to learn more about Secular Prolife, check out the link below and please enjoy a few videos that I've shared from them!
There's kind of a stereotype for the people who support the pro-life movement: Catholic/Christian, middle class, white, etc. And yes, I definitely fit that criteria. However, these next few posts are to show the diversity of the movement and shed some light on groups within the pro-life movement that are ignored by the media and overlooked by the general public.
This weeks group is PLAGAL, or the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians. PLAGAL began in 1990 as local groups in both Washington DC and Minneapolis, MN (shout out to my favorite state). The movement began as "Gays Against Abortion," but the name was changed in 1991 to the name it has today with a more positive tone and includes a larger community. The group participates in annual marches including the March for Life and Pride Marches.
Photo Credit to PLAGAL.org: Picture Gallery
The group said that "Our membership includes women and men of various sexual orientations, political affiliations, and geographic locations-- all committed to raising awareness of the pro-life ethic as consistent with the gay and lesbian struggle for human rights." So basically, PLAGAL believes that fighting for the rights of unborn children is consistent with their battle for equality. They say that "human rights begin when human life begins." They fight for both the rights of the unborn and equal rights for gays and lesbians.
I find this group very interesting and inspiring. They are already fighting an uphill battle themselves yet they are willing to take on another very hot button issue because they are firm in the belief of protecting life and promoting human rights. The Vice President of PLAGAL, Tim Cravens asked "How can we fight for the humanity of those within the LGBT community while ignoring the humanity of the unborn child? As members of the LGBT community, we know all too well what it is like to be considered less than human. We know what it is like to be unwanted. It is a false belief that if we support a woman's so-call "right to choose," we are securing the rights of those within the LGBT community."
It is really interesting to see the parallels between the two movements and amazing to see this community come together so passionately to participate in the pro-life movement. What do you think of this group? Do you agree with their logic? Please share your comments below! I hope you enjoyed this post! Get ready for another exciting post next weekend!
If you would like more information on PLAGAL, check out their website:
Since I made my blog, I have been getting a lot of great feedback. It has been refreshing to hear a lot of my peers voice that they have similar perspectives on the life issue. However, I have also received some confusion concerning my very first post that I hope to clear up in this post before I dive any further into specific issues. In my first blog post, I said at the end of my post that "I'm not here to say the government should decide your fate but instead I am here to encourage young women to choose life."
To clarify, I am going to begin with saying that the issue of abortion is very complicated and is deeply woven into our society. It encompasses so many different facets of social issues including: maternity leave, child care, women's health, and more. What I was trying to say in my first post was that for me personally, changing laws to prevent abortion is only half the battle of winning the pro-life movement. The other portion is creating a culture where choosing life is always the more appealing option. I want to change hearts not laws. I think laws should be made to protect our most vulnerable in society but I think that on a grassroots level, we need to inform people about the reality of abortion and continue to improve child-care in our country. Like I said before, we should create laws to protect the unborn but it shouldn't start and end there. Simultaneously we need to create a culture that favors life.
I hope that this clarified things and I welcome any comments and questions below. Thanks so much for tuning in this week! There will be more to come soon!
After marching in the march for life, many criticisms surrounding the diversity of the movement arose from several news sources. Some accusing only Catholic students from catholic schools being bused in from across the country for the event. Although many religious people are very involved in the Pro-Life movement, there are minority groups that also support the movement that just aren't as widely recognized by the media. After doing some research, three groups really stood out to me. The first group was PLAGAL or the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians. The second group, the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League. And the third, Secular Pro-Life. There were a couple of comments last time about including non-religious arguments for pro-life and I think these three organizations are perfect examples of those who might not believe in a divine being but still hold firm pro-life beliefs.
The pro-life movement is not a religious movement. The pro-life movement is a human rights movement. There are many religious people that support this cause but it is not because it is found in the bible or because their priest or pastor told them to do so. As a religious person myself, I can say that I am pro-life because I think it is a violation of human rights to kill an unborn child, and many others feel this way as well. I am not going to dive into each of these organizations in this post but I will do separate posts on each of the three listed above in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please enjoy the following videos to gain a little perspective on the diverse perspectives of the pro-life movement.
I am a woman, I am a millennial, and I am pro-life. I know, that's crazy right? Well actually it's more common than you might think. This past Friday, January 27th 2017, hundreds of thousands of people from across America made the trek to DC to march for unborn children and their mothers. I would like to preface this article with mentioning that this a movement of love, not just for the unborn but also for the mothers who have been and are in a situation where they are faced with the option of aborting their baby. In this post, I am going to share a little bit about my experience at the march and end with telling you why I marched.
My Friday morning started a little different than most Friday mornings. Instead of waking up early to head to the rink, or head to class, I woke up at 5:30 am and headed to the Verizon Center where thousands gathered for a rally and mass. Here I was reminded that it is okay to speak up when we feel something is unjust. Often times our voices are silenced by fear of what others might think of us, but it is so important for all of us to stand for the things we believe in. After mass we made our way to the Washington Monument where several speakers spoke about the importance of life and the hope that one day we will live in a world where people recognize and value the life of each unborn child. The keynote speaker was Vice President Mike Pence who delivered a memorable speech. Following the speech, two things he said really struck me. The first was he said, "We will continue to win the hearts and minds of the rising generation if our hearts first break for young mothers and their unborn children." I think it is so important to show empathy to any young women who feels like they must consider the option of abortion. I would argue that most women do not want to get an abortion but instead feel they have to because of financial reasons, social criticism, etc. and we (as pro-lifers) need to recognize that hardship. The second thing Vice President Pence said was that "life is winning again." It is so easy, on a college campus, to feel like we are not heading in that direction but after seeing the hundreds of thousands of passionate young men and women here this weekend, I am confident that what he said is true.
Before I tell you the reason I marched on Friday, I want to give a little background on when my pro-life beliefs really formed. I was in middle school when I first started gaining interest in the world of politics, so casually in dance class with one of my best friends we would discuss politics while tying our pointe shoes or grabbing a drink from the water fountain. What I learned one day, is that my best friend could have been one of the millions of babies that are aborted every year. She told me everything. She told me how her mother was young, 16 years old, and how everyone in her family told her to abort her except for one aunt. And she could have. And I never would have known my friend. This world would have had an empty place that could have only been filled by her life. But by the grace of God, her mom went against everything. She didn't care if society told her she was too young, she didn't care if her family wasn't going to support her, she didn't care if people would judge her. All she cared about was this life inside her and she knew it was up to her to protect it. This is when the pro-life movement really struck me because I couldn't have imagined my life without this friend and I began thinking about how often women must be in this situation and how hard it must be. After learning about this, I began talking to my mom about abortion and how sad it made me. My mom then told me about my grandma and her story. My grandma was 18 when she had my mother. And like the story of my best friend, my grandma's family encouraged her to get an abortion. "She's too young," "She isn't ready," "What would others say?" These are the words that were spoken to my grandmother. So what did my grandma do, she felt something pulling at her heart and decided to go against everyone. She didn't care if society told her she was too young, she didn't care if her family wasn't going to support her, she didn't care if people would judge her. All she cared about was this life inside her and she knew it was up to her to protect it. Society has created this environment of shame for pregnant women. When a woman is pregnant when they're too young, or out of wedlock, or not financially stable, society condemns them and gives them a supposedly "easy way out." So why did I march this weekend? I marched for the women who have had abortions. I marched for those searching for healing. I marched for the women who find themselves in a situation where they are confronted with the option of abortion so they might be strong enough to go against what society says is okay. Life is precious and we should protect it to our fullest ability. I know people don't want the government to force them to do anything. People want to make their own choices. I'm not here to say the government should decide your fate but instead I am here to encourage young women to choose life. I want their to be support and opportunities to make life the more appealing option.