Saturday Dec 17, 2022
Saturday Dec 17, 2022
Saturday Dec 17, 2022
George White and his wife Charlene were shot multiple times and left for dead during an armed robbery at his place of business in Enterprise, Alabama, on February 27, 1985. George lived — his wife did not. Thus began a 7-year legal nightmare as George was charged, convicted, and ultimately exonerated of his wife's murder. This grisly experience led George to meet other murder victim family members, and he now works with Journey of Hope from Violence to Healing, a crime victim advocacy group that seeks to abolish the death penalty and replace it with effective, constructive solutions.
Learn more about Journey of Hope at https://www.journeyofhope.org/.
Learn more about Rehumanize International at https://www.rehumanizeintl.org/.
Monday Nov 21, 2022
Monday Nov 21, 2022
It's time for a crash course in the legal history of religious liberty! Can a "Satanic abortion ritual" trump pro-life legislation? How does religious liberty impact efforts to protect life in the womb?
Kelsey Hazzard, founder of Secular Pro-Life, provides a valuable introduction to a new frontier in abortion litigation.
Below are the legal opinions cited in the presentation.
Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990)
Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 250 (1993)
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 573 U.S. 682 (2014)
Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944)
Jehovah’s Witnesses in the State of Washington v. King County Hospital Unit No. 1 (Harborview), 278 F.Supp. 488 (W.D. Wash. 1967)
In re Clark, 185 N.E.2d 128 (Ohio Ct. of C.P. 1962)
Hoener v. Bertinato, 67 N.J.Super. 517 (1961)
Learn more about Secular Pro-Life at secularprolife.org.
Kelsey Hazzard: Hello everyone and welcome to Religious Liberty Justifications for Violence: a Legal Analysis. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Kelsey Hazard. I am the founder and president of Secular Pro-Life. SPL is an atheist led organization advancing secular arguments against abortion and uniting people of every faith and none to protect prenatal human beings.
I'm really excited about this presentation. Although I am an atheist, I have always taken a strong academic interest in religion. My undergraduate majors were religious studies and psychology, and then I went to law school where I just devoured all things First Amendment. So I wanna thank Rehumanize International for giving me this wonderful opportunity to, to geek out with an audience.
You have probably seen headlines about satanist groups and pro-abortion Jewish synagogues filing lawsuits against pro-life legislation planning that it violates their religious freedom. And maybe you've thought, well, that's ridiculous. You can't just kill somebody and say, Oh, but it's my religion. And if that was your reaction, Your intuition is correct.
I am going to conclude that these lawsuits, these lawsuits ought to fail. But to discuss this issue intelligently beyond just our intuitive reactions requires understanding some key concepts of religious liberty law. So, this session is your crash course. I have five housekeeping matters before I begin.
One, I have a lot of citations. You can find all of them in the most recent post at secular pro-life dot org slash blog. I've also dropped it in the chat, and if you're watching the later recording, there should be a link in the description. Two. A disclaimer. I am a attorney. I am not your attorney.
This presentation is for general educational purposes only. It is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a lawyer who's licensed in your jurisdiction to give you advice that's tailored to your situation. Number three, I realized that this conference attracts attendees. From around the world.
In fact, I think I saw a poll earlier that about a quarter of you are from outside of the United States of America. I am focused here. This presentation is specifically about US law. Number four. If you have questions or comments, please put them in the Q and A tab. I'll circle back to them at the end if we have time.
If you put them in the general chat tab, I might miss them. So please use that Q and A tab. Finally, number five. This session is going to touch on quite a few beliefs. Satanism Judaism, Native American Spirituality, Santeria, Evangelical Christianity, Jehovah's Witnesses. In the Immortal words of Stefan from Saturday Night Live,
this club has everything. If you happen to belong to any of the religious communities I just mentioned, I apologize in advance for how cursory and surface level my comments are going. You could devote a lifetime of study to any one of the religions I mentioned, and many people have. We have 45 minutes.
It is what it is. And I'm sorry. So all of those housekeeping matters are done. Let us dive in with a Native American church and the case of Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon versus Smith. That's mouthful. We usually just say employment division versus Smith. Mr. Smith
ingested peyote for sacramental purposes during a Native American ceremony. Somehow his employer, a drug rehab center, found out about that and fired him. He applied for state unemployment benefits and he was denied. Oregon's position was using hallucinogens is illegal in our state. You used them. There is no religious exception, so it's your own damn fault you lost your job.
We're not paying you unemployment. Mr. Smith argued that this violated his first amendment right to free exercise of religion. The case went all the way to the us Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court ruled against him. The court supported Oregon's position. Their reasoning, and I'm paraphrasing here, Was, what are you nuts?
We can't start making religious exceptions to drug laws. Every heroin addict in the country is going to take advantage of that. Laws would mean absolutely nothing. It would be chaos . So he lost, he lost his case. And the legal standard that was announced in Smith was that if a generally applicable, incidentally burdens religious exercise that is not a First Amendment violation.
The law will be upheld and the state does not have to create an exception or an accommodation for that religious person. So what does the Supreme Court mean by generally applicable law? The best way to illustrate that is with a counter. Let's talk about Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye versus city of Hialeah.
I love this case, not just because it's fun to say, although it it definitely is Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye. I also just find it super interesting and my favorite law professor Douglas Laycock, happens to represent the church. So, first some background. This is where Santeria makes an appearance. And if your only familiarity with Santeria is the Sublime song, you have excellent musical taste.
Don't practice Santeria ain't got no crystal ball — just don't pop a cap in Sancho, this is a consistent life ethic conference. By the way, I have no way of knowing if my stupid jokes are landing. So please, please be gentle. Santeria is most commonly practiced in Cuba. It arose from the interaction of African religions brought by enslaved people, and Catholicism brought by colonizers.
When Cuban American refugees settled in South Florida, they brought Santeria with them. Santeria worship sometimes involves ritual animal sacrifice, which makes it a very foreign and objectionable, scenario to a white American audience. When a Santeria priest announced that he was opening the Church of the Lukumi Babalu in Hialeah, a Santeria congregation, it did not go over well.
As the Supreme Court put it in its opinion, the prospect of a Santeria church in their midst was distressing to many members of the Hialeah community. And the announcement of the plans to open a santaria church in Hialeah prompted the city council to hold an emergency public session on June 9, 1987. That session and some later ones produced numerous resolutions and ordinances, which taken together prohibited the Santeria animal sacrifices.
So this went up to the US Supreme Court. And the, the justice said the justices had no trouble figuring out that this was not a generally applicable law. It was a unanimous decision. The city argued, Hey, they we're just promoting animal welfare, and we have legitimate public health concerns as far as the animal remains go.
But that was unconvincing because the ordinance. Were just riddled with exceptions for commercial meat production, for hunting, for pest control, and even for kosher slaughter. The court called it a religious gerrymander. I'll quote again from the opinion. The net result of the gerrymander is that few, if any, killings of animals are prohibited other than Santeria's s.
Which is prescribed because it occurs during a ritual or ceremony, and its primary purpose is to make an offering to the Orishas, not food consumption. Indeed, careful drafting insured that although Santeria sacrifice is prohibited, killings that are no more necessary or humane in almost all other circumstances are unpunished.
In other words, this law was discriminatory. And since the law was not generally applicable, The Smith's standard did not apply. Instead, the court used a much tougher standard, what we call strict scrutiny. There must be a compelling interest in support of the law, and the law must be narrowly tailored to advance that interest with the least religious burden possible.
Remember that test: compelling interest, narrowly tailored. That's strict scrutiny. And there's a saying in the legal community: strict in theory, fatal in fact. Meaning hardly anything is going to pass the strict scrutiny test. Hialeah's anti sacrifice — anti sacrifice law, certainly did not, and the church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye emerged victorious.
So at this point you might be wondering how this is relevant to anti-abortion laws. After all, we aren't targeting a particular religion. We didn't convene an emergency city — city council session to ban the satanic abortion ritual. We aren't trying to save only the babies conceived by mothers of a particular faith group.
We wanna save as many babies as humanly possible. That's how pro-life laws are written. They're broad. They're generally applicable. Yes. Yes. That, that is right. However, The American public really did not like the outcome in Employment Division versus Smith. A lot of people on both sides of the aisle felt that Smith should have won that case, and it's not hard to see why.
Right? He's a very sympathetic plaintiff. He wasn't hurting anybody. Native American use of peyote is thousands of years older than the United States itself. The war on drugs really has run a muck here. Why couldn't have Org — why couldn't Oregon have just made an exception for him? Don't we have freedom of religion in this country?
And that was bipartisan sentiment at the time. So Congress passed a law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. And what RFRA did was take that compelling interest, strict scrutiny test that was used in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye and say that's going to be the test for all religious freedom claims, including claims for an exception to a generally applicable law.
Now, the federal RFRA only applies to federal laws, but almost half of the states enacted their own state level RFRA. That includes much of the south and also some deep blue New England states. The end result is that whether you are going to take more of a Smith approach or more of a church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye approach depends on where you live.
I told you that RFRA was a bipartisan sentiment at the time. Not so much now. Over the years, increasingly high profile RFRA claims involve L G B T issues. For instance, conservative Christian florists seeking exceptions from anti-discrimination laws so that they can refuse to serve same sex weddings. RFRA itself didn't change, but it acquired this anti-gay connotation that left a lot of liberals with a sour taste in their mouths.
And like so many other issues, opinions about RFRA grew more and more partisan, more and more polarized. And then the Supreme Court decided Burwell versus Hobby Lobby. This was a huge RFRA case. It was only eight years ago. It got a ton of press and I'm sure many of you already know all about it. But I'm gonna summarize it.
So as part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, whatever you wanna call it, I don't care. Employers of a certain size were required to provide contraceptives — coverage for various contraceptives with no copay. Hobby lobby did not object to most of the contraceptive methods on the list, but it identified four that
it said weren't really contraceptives, that that was a misnomer. These were really abortifacients. They weren't preventing conception, they were preventing a newly conceived embryo from implanting. Hobby Lobby considered that to be an early abortion, and the company owners' Evangelical Christian faith would not allow them to be complicit in funding their employees abortions.
Hobby Lobby brought a case under RFRA. The Supreme Court used that two part strict scrutiny test. Remember: compelling interest and narrowly tailored. The court assumed that the government does have a compelling interest in ensuring access to contraception. It was that second part of the test whether the law is narrowly tailored to advance the compelling interests by the least restrictive means, which is where the contraceptive mandate failed.
And that was largely because a religious exception already exists. The Department of Health and Human Services, HHS had created an exception, had had given accommodations to churches and religious non-profits that had a problem with funding contraceptives. In those cases, the government covered the cost without the employer's involvement, thus advancing the compelling interest in contraceptive access without a religious burden.
So the accommodation was obviously possible. It was being done. It's just that HHS would not extend that accommodation to Hobby Lobby on the ground that Hobby Lobby was a for profit company. A slim majority of the justices, five to four, said that under RFRA, that doesn't matter. For-profit or nonprofit status doesn't matter.
So Hobby Lobby got its exception from the contraceptive mandate. The mandate itself was not struck down, by the way. It's still in effect, albeit with greater, broader, religious exceptions than HHS wanted. Women are still getting their pills. Sky didn't fall, but plenty of people were convinced that the sky was falling and RFRA took another hit in the court of public opinion.
So the religious liberty challenges to pro-life laws that we're seeing today are largely RFRA lawsuits. When you read the press about them, the narrative is basically, Ha ha ha, conservatives we're using your religion law against you. Like it's some kind of Gotcha. Hopefully by virtue of this presentation, you understand why that take is ahistorical.
But forget the press. Let's take a fair look at the lawsuits themselves, starting with the Satanists. First of all, to correct a myth, Satanists, do not literally worship Satan or even believe in the existence of Satan. Satanism is a naturalistic system, but you do not necessarily need a deity to qualify as a religion under the First Amendment.
Sincerely held Moral beliefs will suffice. For purposes of today, satanism is a religion, and Satanists provide a useful public service, in my view, keeping local governments in compliance with the establishment clause. I see you've, put up a 10 Commandments monument. Where do we apply to erect our statue to Baphomet?
It's those, it's those guys. You, you've seen the satanists. One of the better known Satanist communities is the Satanic Temple, which follows seven tenets. The first tenet is one should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with roots, in accordance with reason.
Unfortunately, that noble tenant goes straight out the window when it comes to abortion. In that case, they emphasize the third tenet: one's body is inviolable, subject to one's own will alone. Classic sovereign zone. The Satanic abortion ritual involves reciting and contemplating that third tenet while getting an abortion.
For the purpose of casting off guilt, shame, and mental discomfort that the satanist may be experiencing about the abortion. So the argument is not that abortion is a required part of Satanic practice. It's not like making a hodge. They're not sacrificing babies to earn points. That's not what's going on here.
The argument is just that if a satanist is going to have abortion, this is the ritual that goes along with it. And by restricting abortion, you're also restricting the ritual. The Jewish lawsuits, by contrast, Argue that Jewish law actually requires abortion, at least in some circumstances. For instance, the complaint brought against Florida's 15 week ban, which is still pending.
That complaint asserts that late term abortion is required under Jewish law, if necessary, to promote the woman's mental wellbeing, which obviously goes far beyond Florida's normal health of the mother exception. To be abundantly clear, that is not a universal interpretation of Jewish law. Those plaintiffs do not speak for all Jews.
There are pro-life jews, and Jews are welcome at this conference. Let's assume that we are in a RFRA jurisdiction. If a state wants its pro-life laws to apply universally without granting an exception to anyone who claims a religious freedom to abort, remember what the state has to. One, the law is supported by a compelling interest.
And two, the law is narrowly tailored to advance that compelling interest with the least possible burden to religious exercise. We all know what the compelling interest is. It's human life. The plaintiffs will say, Not to our religion, it's not. And I say, Bring on that debate. The science of life at fertilization is settled.
And when you read the Dobbs opinion, I don't think you can escape the conclusion that the government now has a legally compelling interest in preventing abortions. Is there any way to promote that compelling interest without creating a religious clash? Not that I see. One day with the development of artificial, artificial wombs?
Maybe. That, that would be great. But with current technology, no. So I believe that anti-abortion laws should survive a RFRA challenge. They survive strict scrutiny. The lawsuits will fail. But Kelsey, someone asks, What about strict in theory, fatal in fact? Thank you, person who has been paying attention. You should be skeptical.
Can I point to any specific legal precedent that a state's interest in, in protecting human life, and in particular young human life, and preventing human death, can trump a religiously motivated medical decision? Well, folks, I promised you Jehovah's Witnesses, and I'm a woman of my word. Several bible verses prohibit eating blood and instruct Israelites to remove blood from their meat.
Jehovah's Witnesses interpret those versions to prohibit not only eating blood through the mouth and digestion, but any consumption of blood, including taking blood intravenously. They oppose blood transfusions on that religious ground. This belief is very sincerely held. Many Jehovah's Witnesses would rather die than accept a blood transfusion.
Many have proved it. Normally, we trust parents to make medical decisions for their children, but when Jehovah's Witness parents refuse to allow life saving blood transfusions for their kids, authorities often intervene. And when that happens, the parents go to court demanding vindication of their religious liberty.
There's whole line of cases about this going back decades. And most of them cite this powerful quote from the Supreme Court case of Prince versus Massachusetts. Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves, but it does not follow that they are free in identical circumstances to make martyrs of their children. Oddly enough, Prince didn't involve blood transfusion or any other life or death issue.
Prince was about a Jehovah's Witness who had her daughter, selling religious pamphlets late at night in violation of a child labor law. But the Supreme Court's rhetorical flourish about making martyrs of your children made it clear how it would come down in a blood transfusion case. And courts across the country took that unsubtle hint.
For example, a Washington Court rejected a Jehovah's Witness blood transfusion lawsuit on the compelling authority of Prince. An Ohio Court wrote, no longer can parents virtually exercise the power of life or death over their children. Nor may they abandon him, deny him proper parental care, neglect or refuse to provide him with proper and necessary subsistence education, medical or surgical care, or other care necessary for his health, morals, or wellbeing.
And while they may, under certain circumstances, deprive him of his liberty or his property, under no circumstances, with or without due process, with or without religious sanction, are they free to deprive him of his life. That same court went on to say the parents in this case have a perfect right to worship as they please and believe what they please.
They enjoy complete freedom of religion, but this right of theirs ends where somebody else's right begins. Their child is a human being in his own right with a soul and body of his own. He has rights of his own. The right to live and grow up without disfigurement. Okay. You're thinking those were all born children.
Okay. Allow me to introduce you to the New Jersey case of Hoener versus Bertinato. Mr. And Mrs. Bertinato were Jehovah's Witnesses. Mrs. Bertinato was pregnant with her fourth child. This was an issue of RH incompatibility. I am not qualified to explain that in any detail, so I'll just quote the court.
Her first child was born without the necessity of blood transfusions and is a normal child. This accords with the medical testimony at the hearing that the mother's RH blood condition adversely affects the second and subsequent children, but rarely is harmful for the harmful to the first born. Second child needed a blood transfusion immediately.
The parents refused and the baby's doctors filed an emergency petition. The court briefly placed that baby in state custody just long enough to accomplish the blood transfusion. The child survived, and the child was returned to the parents. I'll quote again. Gloria Bertinato's third pregnancy resulted in a baby who also — excuse me.
Gloria Bertinato's third pregnancy resulted in a baby who admittedly also needed a blood transfusion to save its life, but defendants again refused to permit this on religious grounds. No legal proceedings were instituted to compel the transfusion. The infant died. For baby number four, the county would not allow that tragedy to be repeated.
They were ready. Officials filed their lawsuit before the child was born, to ensure that a blood transfusion could occur. The lawsuit, quote, charges that the defendants, by their refusal to authorize the transfusions, are endangering the life of the unborn child, and are therefore neglecting to provide it with proper protection,
in violation of New Jersey law. The court acknowledged that the parents' religious objections were sincere. But the parents' constitutional freedom of religion, although accorded the greatest possible respect, must bend to the paramount interest of the state to act in order to preserve the welfare of a child and its right to survive.
The court cited Prince and various other Jehovah's Witnesses blood transfusion cases, and then it asked, should the outcome be any different because this child is still in the womb? And the answer was a resounding no. This was pre-roe. So the court embraced the science and stated medical authority recognizes that an unborn child is a distinct biological entity from the time of conception,
and many branches of the law afford the unborn child protection throughout the period of gestation. Of course, in the Dobbs era, that protection is finally being restored. A pro-abortion American is free to embrace a religious belief that human life does not begin at fertilization, but she is not free to make a martyr of her child.
That concludes my prepared remarks. I appreciate your time, and I look forward to answering your questions. Um,
Elizabeth asked, what was the name of this case? I don't know which case you're referring to. All of the cases are in that citation, that link I gave at the beginning. And you should be able to, hold on. Are you talking about the most recent case I was talked? The, the last case I mentioned, Hoener, H O E N E R, versus Bertinato was the case with the, the unborn child of Jehovah's Witness.
Love all the jokes in geek. Thank you, . I, I know that we, we cover some dark topics at the Rehumanize Conference. I'm a big believer in, trying to lighten the mood. I don't see much in Q and A tab, so I'm just gonna scroll back through the chat tab. Let me see if there's anything here. , As a fellow lawyer, I feel that caveat to my core.
Yes. Thank you, Leah. Um,
Oh my God. . Sorry. The poor, poor dog. Okay. Jews have been pro-life for millennia, so Yeah. I, I agree. Joey. Thank you, joey, for rick rolling us . Okay. Um. Ben says, these seem like really strong precedents, especially because some of them are arguably about letting die rather than killing and are thus even stronger than what you'd need in the abortion case.
Excellent point, Ben. Yes, I, I certainly, hope that the courts see it the same way. The, the downside to the Jehovahs Witness precedence is that they are older and they are not Supreme Court precedents. But as I mentioned, the, the Supreme Court precedent in Prince, although not about blood transfusions, has, has largely been, taken up in that line of cases.
And I think it would, still function in the same way in the unlikely event that one of these religious freedom abortion cases makes its way all the way to our highest court. How would you summarize this to say 240 characters? Like to tweet at Catholics for Choice? You might need a thread , or you can just, link to the eventual video of this presentation.
I believe Rehumanize is going to make this footage available, and then we'll get the closed captions going and put it up on YouTube, hopefully within the next few weeks. But yeah, more, more generally, I think, the, I don't know, maybe I should start tweeting at Catholics for Choice about this. What are you seeing in the legal field regarding RFRA changing its function post Roe?
I don't know that it's really changing its function necessarily. So some of the plaintiffs, and particularly the satanist plaintiffs, I think are bringing these lawsuits, not solely because they're pro-abortion, although they are — I think they would also, as a, as a strategic matter, like to push on RFRA.
I think I, and I think that's why we're seeing the press around it that we're seeing. This is like — even if they were to lose and they, they have to know that they're likely to lose, this is, this is a press thing and this is a, a matter of, trying to, get, get some more public opposition to RFRA.
So. I, I don't, I haven't seen a whole lot of traction on that front. I haven't seen any legislatures, taking RFRA off their books, but you never know. . David asks, How long, how do you do your legal prep? Sorry, I'm struggling to read this because other things keep popping up. How do you do your legal research and how long does it take?
Did you know most of these cases offhand or did you have to look them up? So I knew some of the big ones offhand. I knew. Employment Division v Smith. I knew Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye. I knew Prince vs. Massachusetts. I knew Hobby Lobby. You know, like I, I refreshed my memory by rereading those opinions, but I knew that that was where I needed to start.
And then I did have to do some additional research, when it came to the, the pen — the pending lawsuits, and also the Jehovah's Witness line of cases. I, I, because I am a practicing attorney, I have access to Westlaw, which is the, legal database. That was very helpful. And, you know, also just, I, you know, I started by just doing a general search for law review articles about Jehovah's Witness of blood transfusion that compiled some of the cases.
And that was, that was a good start. And I, was definitely working on this presentation as late as last night. So , I'm glad it came together. I am a better procrastinator. But that's, yeah, that's how it all happened. Let's see.
Ben asks, Apart from law, what do you think about the ethical argument from religious freedom or religious pluralism, that being pro-life depends on controversial slash contested views about the grounds of personal identity and dignity. And so no one view should be legislated for by a pluralist society.
The problem is that your, your law is going to pick a line. That's what laws do. If. That, that that argument, that poor pluralism argument treats birth like it's a neutral line. It's not. The, the law is gonna pick a line and every line is gonna offend somebody . That, that's just, that's just life in a democracy.
So I don't, I don't find that argument particularly, persuasive from our loyal opposition. My, I would go a step farther and say that the only neutral way to go about this is to say that, you know, human rights begin when human life begins. And that that has to be defined in a scientific way, rather than a philosophical way because, there, there's, you know, you all of these, different guideposts that are being posed.
Bear a lot of resemblance to ensoulment, which would be an establishment of religion. I hope that makes sense. , Given your rationale, how would any abortion be legal without demonstrating an exceptional need such as life of the mother? I, I do oppose abortion other than for the life of the mother.
Mother, excuse me. Under Dobbs, the state, it, it is still a state by state thing. I'm getting into — the 14th Amendment argument is definitely beyond the scope of what I can do in the next nine minutes. But the, so, the idea is that you're, you know, the people of a state, through their legislatures, demonstrate what the interests of the state are.
Right? So Florida or, you know, let's, you know, take, take like Alabama, right? Alabama has, an active, pretty, pretty strong anti-abortion legislation post Dobbs. That is an indication that the state of Alabama has a compelling interest in preventing abortion and protecting human life. California obviously does not think that it has that compelling interest, so that —
I, I don't know if I'm answering your question. But I, I hope, I hope that helps. How can interested people get involved with Secular Pro-life and what are your current needs? Yeah, definitely you can get involved in Secular Pro-life. We are always in need of volunteers. We, look for people to write guest pieces on our blog.
We look for translators. We wanna get our message out in languages other than English. You can email me, email@example.com, or you can email our executive director Monica at Monica, secularprolife.org and, get connected to some volunteer opportunities that way. And you can also donate, via our website or our Facebook page.
In Canada not long ago, an immigrant couple were convicted of the honor killing of their daughter. The couple sincerely believed that it was their moral duty to kill their daughter, but the majority in Canada, fortunately in the case of that issue, and unfortunately perhaps some other issues imposed their views on the minority.
Sometimes it is good to impose views — not a question, a comment supporting something you said. I, yeah, that, that's an excellent example. I would stick with the Jehovah's witness example, just because it's a little less inflammatory. . I, I'm not in the habit of, comparing pro-choice people to supporters of honor killings if I don't have to.
I think the Jehovah's Witness comparison is, more diplomatic and civil. But on principle, yes, you are correct. The the same reasons that, you shouldn't be able to, claim a religious exemption to commit an honor killing are, are the same reasons that you shouldn't be able to claim a religious exemption to have abortion.
Yeah, neutrality just seems impossible here. No neutrality when lives are on the line. Oh. Maria wrote, We will be publishing a handful of the session recordings on our YouTube in the coming weeks, but all attendees should have immediate access to all the recordings for rewatch and hopin on Monday, and that access will last for a full year.
All right. Thank you. Maria. I don't. I'm, I'm guessing that's only for people who bought a ticket, though. I don't think Catholics for Choice bought a ticket. It's their loss. It's their loss. Okay, we've got about five more minutes together and I think I went through everybody's questions we might end earlier, which is, a secular miracle for a conference like this.
I see Leah is on Team Westlaw. Yes, Westlaw all the way. I don't use Lexus. Never have. Um,
oh. And Herb says, Thank you. All right. Herb, did you wanna come into the presentation and say anything?
I was gonna do that, and then I just realized I'm in the same room as Kane who is on a panel right now, so nevermind. I'm leaving
Yes, Secular Miracle would be a great band name, absolutely Ray. Hmm. Can you maybe conscience rights for physicians? Oh, can I comment on that? It's a big problem here in Canada. I unfortunately don't know much at all about Canadian law. I don't, to my knowledge, Canada doesn't have something like RFRA.
So I am unfortunately not the person to ask. But, yeah, RFRA certainly can be used, for conscience protections in, in some situations. That wasn't within the scope of what I was researching, for this presentation, but I have seen that anecdotally. Um,
the danger there, of course is that, you're treating, objection to abortion as inherently religious, which it isn't , but, Okay. Anything else? Always heard Canada is pretty bad for conference rights. Yeah. Yeah. That, that's what I've heard also. Oh, something in the Q and A. Thank you. What do you think of efforts to argue for pro-life conclusions within religions on specifically religious grounds?
Eg. Do you think Catholic should be arguing against Catholic for Choice? Primarily just using general moral argument. To avoid creating the impression that it's really a religious issue, or do you think there's a role for intra religious debates to be more well religious? I, I think that if you are part of a religious community, and members of your community are out doing stupid things or unethical things, you should go get your guy.
That's, I, I have no problem with you using a religious argument with someone that you know to be religious. Now if you're in a public Twitter argument with Catholics for Choice, then maybe consider that you're not so much trying to persuade them. You're trying to persuade the audience. So in that case you might take a more ve route, but yeah, individually, like in a one on one or small group setting, if you are speaking with co-religionists, I don't have a problem with you, using a religious argument.
That's your business. I'm, I'm an atheist. That's, that's not my realm at all. So something came up in chat. Con — that's the problem we're having. Conscience is always being framed as religious, but conscience is not itself exclusive to religion. Yeah. And so that kind of gets back to my point earlier about, satanism being considered a religion.
And you, you can see that also in, consci— conscientious objector rules for military, you do not have to be, religious to, to claim, an interest in pacifism. I read about a pastor who has a ministry flying women from places where abortion is illegal to get abortions legally. That's just gross.
Okay. I think we are done. Thank you all so much for your time. I am going to maybe hang out a little bit at the Secular Pro-Life Expo booth if anybody wants to continue this conversation. And, yeah. Thank, thank you so much for, for dropping in. I really, and, and for, for asking such thoughtful questions.
Thursday Nov 17, 2022
Thursday Nov 17, 2022
From abortion to police brutality and the death penalty, Black Americans suffer disproportionate amounts of state-sanctioned lethal violence. This roundtable discussion from our 2022 Rehumanize Conference brings together Black activists who hold a Consistent Life Ethic to discuss the critical importance of challenging racial injustice as we advocate for human rights for all human beings.
Watch the video version of this session on our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j91o_IL63Kw
Herb Geraghty: So this session is titled Black Lives Matter from Conception to Natural Death. I am so grateful to be joined by these three individuals. I'm going to just briefly introduce each of our participants and then hand the conversation over to them.
First, Jack Champagne is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He currently works as an educator in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He formerly worked for the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender's Office, the Innocence Project, the Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
He is also a staff writer for Rehumanize International. Cherilyn Holloway is the founder of Pro Black Pro-Life. She specializes in initiating tough conversations surrounding racial equity, including in the womb. She travels the country, educating her community about the negative messaging they receive regarding motherhood and the sanctity of life.
Finally, Gloria Purvis is an author, commentator, and the host and executive producer of the Gloria Pur podcast. Through her media presence, she has been a strong Catholic voice for life issues, religious liberty, and racial justice. She has appeared in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, PBS News Hour, npr, Newsweek Live and she hosted Morning Glory, an international radio show.
She recently debuted a video series entitled Racism, Human Dignity, and the Catholic Church through the Word on Fire. I. Again, I am so, so grateful for each of our participants. With that said, I am going to get out of here and give them the opportunity to discuss their work and tell us what Black Lives matter from conception to natural death means to you.
Thank you all. Thank you.
Jack Champagne: Thank you, Herb.
Gloria Purvis: Jack, why don't you start us off.
Jack Champagne: Oh man, . I was, I'm, I'm a,
Cherilyn Holloway: I was gonna vote for Jack.
Jack Champagne: Ah, alright then. So yeah, I was, I was, I, I've spent most of my life kind of with the sort of mainstream understanding of, uh, of life issues, of kind of being, you know, kind of,
not super, uh, decided on the issue. It was actually working at the capital habeas unit that I actually, developed a, I mean, you try working with condemned prisoners and not develop a healthy respect for human life. It's, you know, dealing with, you know, prisoners who do not have living victims and who are themselves usually scheduled to die at the hands of the state.
Having to advocate for these people and, you know, if you don't have an opinion on the death penalty going in, you will definitely have one coming out. And, I mean, it, it's a, it's a powerful experience, you know, just looking at the conditions they live in, the legal issues, that, uh, that surround capital punishment, and, uh, you know, just working under, Marshall Diane, who I think is still working there, who was a, who was a very, you know, loud voice against the death penalty.
Just kind of, just kind of, you know, uh, formed my thinking on that. And of course it's, you know, Uh, very short distance from there to, you know, you know, concern about the lives of the disabled and the unborn. And you know, that, that, that of course interacts with my, my perception of race, both as, uh, both as a black man and as somebody who was clientele was almost always black men as well.
So, you know, that's, that's. Uh, you know, that's, that's, I I have a very tangible, you know, grasp on what that looks like for me. I don't know about the, I don't know about you, uh, you all, but that's kind of where I come from with it.
Gloria Purvis: Uh, you know, I, I think, I'm a child of south. I mean, I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina.
Which is where the Civil War started. Long history of bad race relations, . Still, we have people having a love affair with the lost cause mythology that the South had race relations, uh, correct by subjugating black people and that we were happier with the way that it was and that they had it right in terms of human relations between men and women.
Uh, right in terms of the race question, but it wasn't. And, this — growing up in that environment, but at the same time, growing up in a very strong black community, in that environment, in a strong black community of people who, despite all the obstacles were achievers, were people who created things within the black community.
And so while I grew up down there, I also had an environment where black excellence was normal, was normative. And, encountering people there that thought that, you know, I shouldn't think so highly and be so sure of myself. And that was their problem, not mine, but at the same time also seeing the
uneven application of law enforcement, the uneven application of good healthcare. You know what I mean? Things like that, that you just as a black person moving through the world is paying attention. You see these things. And then, as a person of faith, also as a person that, believed in the science, you know, and I studied biology, uh, I understood that the human person.
It, you know, is a human person, is a human life, a member of the human family from that moment of conception. And it just made sense to me, that we'd wanna protect and defend that life from the moment of conception all the way through natural death. And it was inconsistent to me to, in, on the one hand, say, we wanna defend lives in this instance,
and yet in another instance, get rid of that life it in as a means of empowering others. So it just seemed illogical to me, some positions that I've seen in different justice movements. So it made me question, well, what is justice really? And as a, a person of faith and studying with the Catholic church understands justice, being justice means every human
person — life being, uh, gets what they, you know, they merit something their life merits, protection, nurturing, flourishing. And that's what each of us is entitled to. Whether we're, whether we're the condemned on death row, whether we're in the womb, whether we're on our deathbed as a sick person, our lives of worthy of protection.
And, and, and now even I think people are struggling with the notion that the death penalty should be no more. You know, we, we have this idea that really is really vengeance if you ask me. It's not justice. This idea that, you know, people need to get what's coming to 'em in a negative way without ever looking,
also, at the way racism influences how the death penalty, who gets the death penalty. How, someone's wealth or lack thereof, influences who gets the death penalty, influences who even gets arrested and prosecuted. So, uh, there's so much uneven in our legal system. I've learned to call it the legal system instead of the justice system.
There's so much uneven in our legal system that, it, it, it really, in terms of fairness, makes no sense to have the death penalty. Not to mention that each and every person, no matter what they've done, has made the image and likeness of God and is worthy of dignity and respect. And we as believers, I'm speaking as myself, are called to respond differently to persons who have harmed the community.
We want restorative justice, not, not vengeance. And I think that's a difficult thing for people, but we can get into that and, and all, uh, later, but just as a high level, that has influenced, you know, my views and understanding of the human person and, and the dignity and why their lives need to be respected and protected.
Cherilyn Holloway: Yeah, that's, both of those are like, spot on. So I, got into this. I was a community outreach director for a pregnancy center. I had made two previous abortion choices and I came outta those really feeling duped. Like I wasn't given all my options. And had I been given all my options, I would've made different choices.
And I didn't want another woman to have to go through that. I had no idea that there was like a pro-life, pro choice. I had no clue. I was completely ignorant. And even when I joined the first pregnancy center, it wasn't something that they talked about. Nobody ever talked about Roe versus Wade. Nobody ever talked about the March for Life.
It was just kind of like hand to the plow. We're just helping women. And it wasn't until I moved back to Ohio. I'm originally from Oberlin, Ohio, where the college is, and I grew up just with this, bubble. And in the bubble we were all like working towards justice. And so , you know, racial justice, food equity, everything you could think of, you know, Oberlin College was a first college to openly accept gay and lesbian couples.
It was before like, I don't know, there's a session earlier where someone was saying that like being trans really was, wasn't a big deal in the 2000s and now it's a big deal. Like that is, that was my world and. So I grew up in a very different community that was surrounded by all white rural communities that were extremely racist.
And so it wasn't that we were going out somewhere far to do work. We were, had work to do right where we were in our county. And so I moved back to Oberlin. and, uh, became the executive director of my local pregnancy center. And that's where I learned about this pro-life, pro-choice, uh, overturning Roe versus Wade.
But the biggest thing I learned about was the disparities of abortion in the black community. And I couldn't wrap — I'm very li I'm not very sensational. Like I'm not, nobody would describe me as sensitive. Nobody would describe me as overly emotional. I'm very logical, data driven, straight to the point.
And to me it just, I couldn't figure out why the, why everyone didn't know this. Like why isn't this obvious to everyone else? Like, I know I'm not like crazy, but this is obvious. And so when I began to go to conferences and look around and see, you know, five to 10 people that look like me and wonder, and everyone's stopping me saying, Why isn't the black community enraged about the abortion numbers?
And I'm like, Have you, I don't know. Like I'm trying to figure it out myself and like, Well, what can we do? And so then I started pushing back and asking, Well, what do you do for their other circumstances? Like what do you do to help them with the children that they already have? Like, what are you doing to help them find, you know, equitable jobs?
Like how are you helping them in other ways? Like, what else are you doing aside from, you know, telling them that we're having too many abortions? and I've — I kept being met with the same response, which was, Oh, well we wanna keep to the main thing. The main thing. It doesn't really matter if the baby doesn't make it out the womb, but it does matter because unless you are pregnant, you're not really thinking about abortion.
So it absolutely does matter. If we're not actually doing something in the community to help the lives that are earth side, then it does matter. And so there just became, Pretty obvious tension between me and, uh, some of my, uh, pro-life comrades , because I wasn't going to be the person who, who just stood and talked about, you know, racism and the abortion issue without tying everything else together.
And that's how I began to reach my community, inadvertently just without knowing, just randomly talking to people at the barbershop in the grocery store and , uh, wherever I could, because I talked to people everywhere. Um right. And that led me to start Pro-Black Pro-life just to be able to have a place. Where people who thought like me, because I just like, I can't be the only one gonna keep me to have this place.
And then I built it. People came . That was kind of my, uh, way into really thinking about how Black lives matter from womb to tomb and how to be able to communicate that to the greater black community.
Gloria Purvis: You, you know, Cherilyn. That question that you know, well, why aren't black people more outraged about abortion?
I would hear a, a flavor of that just about everywhere I went. But it was asked in a way, like in some cases like, is your community stupid? You know? Right. It's so condescending. And so when I felt like it, 'cause a lot of times I was like, remain in your ignorance because I don't have the wherewithal right now emotionally to deal with this.
But in, in cases where I felt that it was worth having the conversation, I help people understand that there's a difference between abortion and the kinds of racialized, other racialized violence that we experience. I said, So for example, abortion. An abortion is something somebody has to go out and get.
I said, me walking through the street and getting cold jacked by the police, I have to do nothing except be me and move through the space. So in terms of, uh, actual threats, nobody's jumping out and putting an abortion on you per se, you know what I mean? Right. So in terms of actual threats, what I'm thinking about as I'm leaving out of the safety of my home are those things that I cannot control.
So I cannot control being followed in the department store and having security called on me. I cannot control when the doctor is ignoring me. When I say I'm, I'm hurting, you know, I need help with this pain. I cannot control when, I come in for a job interview and although I'm qualified and my name hints my ethnicity, that I'm not given the job.
But I can control whether or not, at least in some sense, of going to choose abortion. So the threats are perceived differently. You know, the existential threats are perceived differently. Even though our community is heavily targeted, uh, for abortion and heavily marketed to, for abortion and all that kind of stuff, it's just perceived as a different kind of threat.
So while it's not that we're not outraged, it's just that we got a lot of other things we got like going on. We got a lot already going on. So it's not that we don't care, it's not that it's, it's frankly that the people asking question are so far removed and so uninvested in the black experience that they can't fathom that we move through the world differently than they do.
Jack Champagne: Mm-hmm. . Yeah, I think, I think, I think Cherilyn gets at something. When she talks about how isolating it is to sort of be in the black community, but also be pro-life because you're kind of, you know, the, there's sort of some kind of, there's kind of a regulatory capture in black communities in which the most politically active of us also feel the need to go in, all in on being pro-abortion, because that's where the political allies are.
And then on the flip side, you have, you know, pro-life movement, which is not, uh, not always responsive to black voices. And black voices are not always present, you know, and I had occasion to think about this, you know, when, uh, Kamala Harris, you know, had brought, brought those leaders together to talk about, you know, reproductive justice and how effectively they were able to, to, do the messaging on that as sort of a civil rights.
Uh, sort of or group, you know, you had buy in from Al Sharpton, from Mark Morial of the Urban League, from the NAACP, from all of these groups, these big names, and it was, it was, and you know, it's stunning how easy it was and how effectively they had kind of, you know, seized on this black organizing tradition and had kind of made it into —
you know, this is the natural continuity of, you know, this black organizing tradition and kind of how uncritically, you know, is kind of accepted in these communities. So, you know, that isolation, it does have real political results and, you know, we're seeing it become, you know, increasingly stark and, you know, sort of a post Dobbs reality where, you know, these sharp political lines are being drawn.
Cherilyn Holloway: Yeah. And I think that, I mean, I, I feel like. We'd be remiss if we didn't address the fact that the idea of a black woman, woman, having the right to have an abortion really becomes a rights issue. It's a control issue of a right that she did not used to have. Mm-hmm. . And so we can't ignore that. Right? We can't ignore that.
There was a time when black women were not in control of their bodies and were not in control of what, you know, when they had babies and how many they had, and their children were sold, you know, into, in being enslaved. We cannot ignore that. And so this, this idea, you know, overturning Roe and the Dobbs decision takes us back to to, you know, black women not being able to control their bodies is, is a very real fear for some black women.
But, but on the flip side of that, on the flip side of that, there's a huge difference between women's rights and reproductive justice, right? And so what ends up happening is that the Women's Rights Movement does what the Women's Rights Movement does, right? It isolates black women. Because what women's rights are fighting for are very different than what black women are fighting for with reproductive justice, right?
Black women are fighting for this idea, not just to have an abortion. The abortions like the caveat, like it's stuck on the end and doesn't actually make sense because all the other rights have to do with, maternal mortality, infant mortality, being able to take care of their children. Having healthy relationships, having healthy schools, healthy childcare, like all of those things are in the reproductive justice, like being able to have a good birth experience — and then abortion is like tacked on that, and it almost doesn't make any sense. Where, in the women's rights movement, it's solely about abortion.
That's it. and what black women are saying, like our issues are more complex. And I feel like even on the pro-life side, that's what we're saying, right? We're saying, yes, we get it. We're pro-life, but our issues are more complex. If we cannot figure out why women are jumping in and go upstream and stop that, we're just gonna be steady pulling 'em off the river. And there is no, there is no relief
when we're consistently pulling them out the river. We're not actually solving the problem. And for 50 years we have not actively solved this problem . And so now everyone's like, Oh, well, you know, what does post, you know, Dobbs look like? Well, it looks like what it should have looked like in 1973. Like, we should have been working to solve some of these systemic issues that Gloria just named in order to help women.
If 70% of women, black women, are having abortions for financial reasons, and we're talking that they only need $20,000 more to, to make a choice, to say, to keep their baby. And I say only because I know that there are people who are donating $20,000 to pregnancy centers. Which they need to do. Don't stop doing that.
But it's — there is no lack of funds in the pro-life movement.
Gloria Purvis: Okay. So couple things. I do think it's a temptation — and I think it's not, I think it's on purpose that, around abortion, it's always marketed to black women as if you're losing something. Oh, these rich white women can do it, and if you can't do it, therefore it's not equal.
And I think that's the biggest bunch of hokey. Because frankly, the thing that we want that, that that white women take for granted, isn't abortion. We want safe and affordable housing, clean water, jobs for our spouses, a good education for our children. And I think it is an absolute insult that the thing that they're like, well, you can have this thing though.
You can have abortion, and you should really be rallying for abortion because that makes you equal to these wealthy white women. I'm like, no it doesn't. All it does is remove our children from these substandard conditions, while we still remain in those substandard conditions. Let's remove the substandard conditions from our community.
That is what we need to be focusing on. If you want equality for black women, for black men, for black families, for black children. And so it has just been. Just, I, I, it has just been shocking to me how much, how much energy and effort is put into abortion. I mean, I just saw a member of the Divine Nine say something positive about abortion.
Kamala Harrison, I are both members of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. I'm hoping the sorority doesn't say anything along those lines, but they probably will, if they haven't already. So it is absolutely, like you say, Jack, going to all these large black organizations and getting their buy-in and getting them to send a message out to their membership.
And I think we need to start speaking, you know, among our friends, among our families. So whoever wants to listen in our churches, our parishes, our sororities, fraternities, our fraternal groups, whatever, to challenge, you know, this notion that abortion is a good thing for the black community. I think we also need to understand the idea of rights. Rights
cannot go contrary to the nature of a thing. And so for people to, at at least in my opinion, call abortion a right. I'm like, but that goes exactly against the nature of what it is to be female, to be able to conceive and bring life forward. So to me, to say that it's a right to terminate that pregnancy — as if our biology is some inherent injustice against being female. To me,
it's very anti-woman. And it never allows us to have these broader conversations about what the economy, what our culture, what society needs to look like, to be more inclusive of women as we are. I mean, if, if the answer for every difficulty that we experience is, you know, get that abortion, that's gonna liberate you, that's gonna free you, you can go and achieve, you can make more money.
Then we never really talk about the structures or the systems that hold us back from achieving and making money. And then one last thing I wanna say: when they do studies on who wants an abortion, it's typically those women or families making a combined income of more than a hundred thousand dollars a year.
Those making less — like, let's say 40,000 or less — by and large want to keep their children. So abortion is even being marketed to the very communities, poor black women, as liberating with those poor black women do not want abortion. And then one lesson, I will say this: bell hooks, who died recently, talked about in the feminist movement, how black women's aims were very different from white women.
They weren't pushing for abortion. But because white women carried the day, abortion became central to being feminist, to being liberated, but that is not at all what black women wanted. So yeah, I think we need to recapture what it means to, as black women, what, what, uh, equality and liberty really means. And I don't think, having the ability to end the lives of our children in the womb is the answer.
Jack Champagne: We popped over to the Q and A real quick. There are two kind of related questions. I wanted to see what y'all thought about — uh, first one's anonymous. Uh, it says, As advocates for racial justice and people who have interacted with the pro-life movement, which is often tied to conservative circles, what are some strategies you might suggest for how we can push back against the racism that has grown so loud in the G O P and Trump movements.
And then second one, uh, this is, uh, Miles Bedlan, I think. How can we make the pro-life movement appeal more to black Americans? I've noticed that the pro-life movement is overwhelmingly white.
Cherilyn Holloway: I'll do, I'll do the second question. Yeah.
Gloria Purvis: You know, sometimes I'm, sometimes I'm like, I really think some that's gonna be something that, white pro-lifers need to take up.
I really am not interested in, to tell you the truth, I'm really not interested with the limited energy I have and having to fight the obvious racism. Right? And quite frankly, the people who are prone to those kinds of behaviors or coded, coded language, probably can't hear me when I talk to them about why something is racist or inappropriate.
But they probably could hear, uh, their fellow white pro-lifers explaining or calling out why something is racist or dehumanizing to black people. And so I'm gonna really invite all my white pro-lifers to, to take up that, to take on that calling something out directly and helping people recognize that something's racist.
Because I'm finding that unless the slur, a racial slur is used, people cannot recognize that something is racist. And I'm like, you know, there's a lot of coded language. There's a lot of — people know not to just come out with racial slurs, but they still can be very racist in their language and the way in which they address certain things.
So, white pro-lifers, call 'em out, and also make room for black pro-lifers to come and just speak and be a part of the movement. Invite us to come and talk at your conventions, your meetings and things like that. If you want us to be more included and at the same time, call out, you know, these racist talking points that you see sometimes in the movement.
Cherilyn Holloway: Oh, well I'm gonna tell you right now, like, don't invite me unless you're ready to burn it down. Like, if you're not ready, don't invite me, because I'm, I'm just, I'm gonna say what I wanna say and it may upset some people, and that's just the way it is. So, if you're not ready to restart, uh, or if you haven't recently restarted, you know, and I 100% agree with, like, I don't have the bandwidth.
Like I, I don't, like, I spent a couple years very early on answering these questions and my final answer was — a very sweet southern white woman stopped me at a conference and said, how do we reach the black community? And I said, Let us do it. Like each state, like state, like if you're not there, like, that doesn't mean like there shouldn't be services or things like that, but we don't trust you.
Yeah, like we do not trust, you know, the G O P, the Trumpist movements, we don't trust, you know — we don't trust it. And so, you know, I picked the name Pro Black, Pro-Life for a reason. Because I was done, but I felt like I wanted to still own the pro-life where like — you're not, I'm pro-life. You're not going to convince me to call myself something else.
Like it is what it is, but I'm womb to tomb. I'm gonna tell you what it means to me and like it'll love it. Like it doesn't matter. It's not gonna change the way I feel. And so the pro-life movement itself is not going, we're not going to be able to make a mass appeal. What we, what we're gonna need to do is be more present,
and seen, so that people who are sitting in the closet with their pro-life views, that they feel like they're, they're consistent, but everything around them is inconsistent, right? So like here, we all have a consistent life ethic. This — we know this exists, but people don't know this exists. And so when I talk to people, you know about being pro-life or about the womb, or about.
They all say the same thing. I just went to a doctor and she goes, and she goes, Well, what do you do? And I told her what I did and she goes — It's just her and I there. And she's like, I'm pro-life too. I'm like, Why are we whispering? Because, right. It's just me and you. Right. But the idea was, she was like, But I don't wanna tell somebody else what not to do.
And I told her, it's not about telling somebody else what to do, but people need to know. So when people know better, they do better. And most of the people in the black community, not the people that we see, you know, at these large national conventions, not, these are the people that I'm talking to. Most people in my church and in my community don't know the truth about abortion.
They don't. They think that it's legal, so it must be okay. And so we just need to continue to speak the truth. You know, if you're gonna platform someone, you know, a black, you know, a black speaker, don't ask 'em what they're gonna say. Like, listen to a couple of their stuff. Ask 'em to come and let them have at it.
Like, don't always tell people like, If you're gonna raise some money, don't ask me. Because I can't promise you people are gonna give.
Gloria Purvis: Cherilyn let me ask you something because I think the name Pro-Black is in the name Pro-Black Pro-Life — putting Pro-Black right there. I think it sends a message because there are. Prominent black voices in the conservative pro-life movement who are def — definitely anti-black. I mean, I'm thinking of one woman in particular who I will not name because I feel like I'd conjur the devil if I ever mentioned the name.
But, so anti-black in the things that she says and I'm like, how do people, in the pro-life movement, listen to this person and not hear the odious anti-gospel message in what she says. And I've come to recognize because they have not unlearned the racist conditioning that they've been exposed to just by mere fact of being born and going through the educational system or even
entertainment, uh, system in the United States that has definite, uh, programming around blackness that seems to reinforce a criminality. A promiscuousness, an ignorance, a laziness, an untrustworthiness, just everything negative that you could think of, is out there. And so there hasn't been this unlearning and with people like this particular person and, and there are many of them, smaller level, you know, I, I can think of a number of people trying to, go for her crown, but they cater to that, those kind of,
talking points about this inherent brokenness in black culture and which, you know, tries to imply there is something inherently criminal and broken in us, which is just nonsense. And so I will say, yeah, have the black person come speak, but please do check to make sure they're not reiterating a bunch of anti-black talking points, because we don't need more of that.
No, you know, it, it doesn't, it, it does nothing to help the movement and it certainly says to other black people, other healthy, normal black people out there that they are not welcome.
Cherilyn Holloway: Yeah. And, and, and people, like the person you speak of, they're not talking to the black community. That is something that I often have to talk about in trainings and what I'm speaking is that they're, they're, they, they're saying that that's who they're talking to, but we're not listening to them.
Right. So they're not. They're talking to you, like, they're talking to a white, conservative audience saying what the white, conservative audience wishes they could say to black people. But at the end of the day, ain't nobody saying that to black people. Cause black people ain't listening. Right. So Jack, do you have anything to say?
I was gonna go to more questions cause I think we have 10 minutes.
Jack Champagne: So, so I'm very much in the Cherilyn Holloway school of Prepare To Get Your Feelings Hurt. , I'm gonna, I'm gonna answer it like this because it also tangentially answers Ben Conroy's question, which is that, you know, I was born Jackson, Mississippi, Heart of the Beast.
Did a lot of work in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, you know. Things that black people care about, voting rights, uh, rights for convicted felons, rights for housing. I see never one pro-life person involved with any of that. There are more black people in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana than there are anywhere else in the country.
And I didn't see one black person involved with any, you know, any pro-life, anything. And I didn't see any outreach from pro-life people to any of these groups. All of my volunteers were, you know, working for democrat, governors, governor candidates, pro — pro-choice people, you know, those are the people who were asking me to speak at events.
Those are the people who are asking me, how can I help? Those who are people — you know, fundamentally it's a problem that conservative, uh, a lot of pro-life people, they fundamentally don't respect black voices and they don't care about black issues. And that is, that is probably the most fundamental problem.
There's no, you know, magic tool. There's no, there's no way to speak about these issues. Sometimes it's just caring. Sometimes it's just caring about, uh, helping people that can't help you. You know, we shouldn't, we shouldn't really be having a conversation about how we convince, can convince pro-life people to care more about racial justice —
that should just be an inherent part of their calculus. But it's not because they're not pro-life. They're anti-abortion. And some of them are self-conscious about that. Some of them were like, I don't wanna be pro-life, I just want to be anti-abortion. And you know, because it requires them to do it, requires them to do things that don't directly benefit themselves and instead benefit a community that they don't care about and can't get anything from.
And, you know, you can't tell me. You cannot tell me you are working in some of the only counties in the country that have a majority black population and you can't find any black people that agree with you? Give me a break. Like that is not, That is, That is a, Wow. That is, That is, That requires such an instrumental view of black people.
That, you know, it, it kind of makes you tell on yourself like, Oh yeah, they might agree with me on abortion, but they might be too militant. They might be, they might care too much about racism. You know, they might not talk about it in a way that, you might, you. You, you might, you might offend my audience and things like that, right?
So, you know, you need to, you need to, you need to step, basically what you need is you need to step outside of this, this paradigm in which, "I will only care about black people if they can help me. I go, I can only care about black people if they're not too extreme." You know that, this is why, you know, we get anti-black, black people
that are so highly valued in the movement because that's all the only voices that the movement values. And will tolerate.
Gloria Purvis: Exactly. And will tolerate. So. Well, you know, Jack, you made me actually think of a time that I went to Community Action Arkansas and there was a bunch of black people that I was down there with, and we were talking about the upcoming election.
And this was before Trump. And the issue of abortion came up, and every single one of those persons that I spoke to was pro-life, but they also told me their experience of going down to — I don't know how they did the primaries or something, you had to vote by party or whatnot — so they had to go down where all the Republicans were, and the open hostility that they experienced from these white Republicans when they went over there to vote pro-life made them say, "They don't want us here."
And so, they have no interest in our thriving as a community. And so their actual experience of the so-called pro-life movement in their state when it came time to exercise their right to vote, was that it was very much anti-black. And they didn't see, so, they don't vote Republican because of their particular experience of that party in their local experience, and what their party locally has done or not done, you know, for or against the black community.
And so while they are pro-life, they cannot vote locally with the Republicans who are so called the party of life because of their overt racism. Mm-hmm. , so you know. I, I, So at the same time, and I get it, I was like, Hey, I'm not telling you to go vote with people who'd, you know, just as soon slit your throat or hang you up from a tree.
You know, in reality, while they may say they're pro-life, they're not really talking about your lives in the womb. When they're saying that they're pro-life, That's not their vision of being pro-life. So maybe that's the reality for quite a number of folks. So.
Jack Champagne: Yeah, I mean, we, we, what we, what we want is, It's relatively simple.
It's if you can be a pro-life candidate and have a stance against racism that is not limited or qualified, you're golden. You — there's no one — there's no one else like you in the country. Yeah. And it's so easy and people stumble on it so much, and I simply don't understand it.
Gloria Purvis: Can we, I see one question.
Cheryl, did you wanna say something else?
Cherilyn Holloway: Yeah, I was gonna read a question. Yeah, go ahead. Go ahead. So Lisa Stiller said, How do you answer people that say reversal of Roe negatively impacts BIPOC communities the most? So my first response is always, Why? Why does it negatively impact — and they're gonna always say the thing.
Same thing, right? Poverty. So we don't have an abortion issue. We have a poverty issue. Mm-hmm. . And so if you want to not negatively impact the black community, help them get outta poverty. Mm-hmm.
Gloria Purvis: and Lisa, please remind them. Killing the poor does not solve poverty. Never. Okay. And that's what what they're saying, you know, is the solution to poverty for these BIPOC communities is to eliminate their children. Again, eliminating children from a substandard condition instead of eliminating the sub standard conditions from the community.
Cherilyn Holloway: ,
yeah, this is another good one. That I may have an answer to. I don't know. What are some things you've seen well-intentioned activists do in an attempt to be pro-black that have been unhelpful?
Oh, so a big one for me. This is a huge pet peeve for me and I hate to say that like I was inadvertently a part of it. Like I didn't know I was beginning my years, you guys. So this is like a pass. This is my pass. I don't like it when people take sayings and, change them to fit what they want. I forget what the word is.
There's like a word for this,
Gloria Purvis: Appropriation? Is that it?
Cherilyn Holloway: Like Black Lives Matter, right? Right. So when black activists take that and they put like pre-born in front of it or all, or like when someone does that, and I feel like that is well intentioned. I get it. I get the intention, but the saying Black Lives Matter is true.
There's nothing wrong with that saying, right? And I feel like if you're saying Black Lives Matter as someone who's pro-life, you should mean from womb to tomb. So it, it, it, uh, irritates me or agitates me or aggravates me. Like it won't send me like off the rock or when people do that, like when there are activists that take things like that and that's just an example, but I've taken other things with other, like it picking up other issues and tried to like formulate them into.
Gloria Purvis: Oh, conflating them?
Cherilyn Holloway: Yes, Conflate. Thank you .
Gloria Purvis: You're welcome. Yeah. I don't know if I've ever seen anybody be attempt to really be pro black. I mean, I just remember there was a big brouhaha about a, pro-life organization on their — was it their Instagram? Around the time of the George Floyd murder, for some reason they put up this unhelpful thing that more black children die in the womb than they do in police custody.
Cherilyn Holloway: They're more safe. They're more safe in police custody.
Gloria Purvis: Oh, they're safer. I mean, what, how — Just yeah, as if they were trying to, redirect the conversation — again, we can walk and chew gum. And also why, why the need to have to downplay our real suffering? And the real threats to our lives by, uh, from, unjust policing, you know, and to try to say, Oh, no, no, no.
You don't have time to be, You're safe actually. You're safer in police hands than you are as a black child of woman. Please shut up. That it was not only unhelpful, it was, it was, it, it was so insensitive. Was very insensitive. It was so insensitive. And I think there was another, one last instance that I'm sure you all aware of is there was a well known pro-life activist on Twitter that.
Jumped into Bishop Talbot Swan's Twitter feed to tell him that he was a problem with the black community and, and that he was, you know, all this stuff on abortion, which clearly the person had no idea that Bishop Talbot Swan is a member of Church of God in Christ, which is like one of the largest black Christian denominations that is pro-life.
Yep. And, and, and that Bishop Swan had actually written an open letter to Hillary Clinton, challenging her on her abortion support and its negative impact on the black community. But this very well known pro-life white activist just, I guess, felt that she needed to help him understand that the real racism.
Because that's the words she used, that the real racism was an abortion or something like that. I can't remember what it was, but the, the idea that she was gonna tell this man, this civil rights activist, this pro-life, uh, bishop from the Church of God in Christ, that she knew better what the real racism was than he did as a black man moving through this earth.
For the number of years that he did. It was clearly, I guess supposed to be pro-black because she's gonna educate about real racism. But it was just very, ignorant and, tone deaf and condescending.
Jack Champagne: Yeah, I mean, I can virtually guarantee you that just living as a black person in America makes you more of an expert on racism than just about anybody on the planet.
You know, it, it's one of those things where if you feel the need to redirect discussion about issues that directly affect black communities to abortion. What you're saying is that you don't actually care about black lives. You care about this issue and you want to use that in order to draw attention to the issue you do care about.
And you have to be very, you know, you need to be cognizant of the fact that that's what you're doing — intentionally or not, that's what you're doing. And you know, that is very off putting that, that's something,
Gloria Purvis: Well, it, it shows a sense of entitlement that you feel entitled to — that we don't have the agency to decide what we wanna discuss, uh, at a particular time and place.
I had a girlfriend that was at, talking about racism and, uh, someone jumped up in the q and a and said, Well, why aren't you talking about abortion? Da da, da, da, as if we were not entitled to discuss racism at that time. You know, somehow we should not be concerned about racism, as it demonstrates itself through, uh, abuses in the legal system, through abuses and policing and whatnot — that over and above all else, we had to only always and everywhere discuss abortion.
And it is so, uh, to me, indicative of that person's, like you said, Jack, lack of respect for us and also doesn't — don't respect that we have our own minds and we can decide what it is that we wanna talk about at any time. Uh, and we can decide what we wanna focus our conversation on a particular moment.
It doesn't mean, uh, we will never address abortion. It means right now this is what we wanna talk about. And if you can't handle that, or you can't participate or listen quietly, please go. Leave. We, we don't need you to be a part of it. We certainly don't need you trying to deflect, you know, from it. Mm-hmm. .
Jack Champagne: Yeah.
Oh, we just got the five minute warning.
Cherilyn Holloway: Okay. It's two minutes. It was two minutes. Two minute. Okay.
There aren't, I think Aimee asked about books. One is Killing the Black Body. It used to be up there. It's up here and I can't remember who it's by. Killing the Black Body is a good one about reproductive justice and the history of black women and their bodies.
Gloria Purvis: Was that Harriet Washington? Oh, I'm thinking Medical Apartheid.
Go ahead. Apartheid — oh, Dorothy Roberts. Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts. Yeah.
Cherilyn Holloway: And the other one I would highly recommend is, So You Wanna Talk About Race, which is by, uh, Ijeoma Oluo. And that one is just really, really good. It's an easy read, like easy by, not a lot of tension, but a lot of like, true fact. I ha— I have eight kids.
Like it just.
Gloria Purvis: That's gonna happen.
Cherilyn Holloway: Wouldn't be a live from me without a child showing up.
Gloria Purvis: When I mention Medical Apartheid, I will tell you how Washington is very much pro-choice for abortion. But just in terms of, getting some history of the abuses of the black body in the United States, Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington was a, was a good read. But with warning, she is very much pro-abortion, pro-choice.
And that kind of comes across. Maybe right before we go, if I, I wanna ask each of you maybe, what is the one thing I think that still gives you hope, in discussing racial justice?
Cherilyn Holloway: Go ahead, Jack.
Jack Champagne: Well, when I, when I, was, uh, when I was, uh, when I was watching, John Lewis's, uh, funeral, uh, a couple years ago, I was, uh, I was with my grandfather. And He, he, he leaned over and told me and, uh, asked me: do you know anything he did while he was in Congress? And that was very funny to me.
But I always thought that, you know, I always, you know, I always think to myself, it's kind of nice that my grandfather who was born in like 1927 is able to take something like that for granted. and, you know, it is, it is, which is to say that, you know, there's a lot of work to do, but we still have accomplished a lot in a relatively short amount of time.
In about less than the eighth of the time that we've been here in this country. We've accomplished a lot and, uh, you know, being able to, uh, share that moment with my grandfather. Is a, is a, is a very nice experience. So, uh, I look forward to being able to, you know, uh, look at an all black Supreme Court with my grandsons.
Gloria Purvis: Hey. Hmm.
Cherilyn Holloway: Uh, I think the thing that gives me hope is, is people. I, you know, like I said, what I, what I know most is that people who live their everyday lives who don't think about the abortion issue, or even like the racism issue all the time like I do, are always open to these conversations and always seem like they just learned something.
Like, there's always like a light bulb moment, like, Oh, I never thought about that. And so it's, you know, my hope is in the, that I'm like planting ideas in people's heads and concepts and things for them to continuously think about as they see the news stream, you know, going across. Is, is why I feel like I, I'm always hopeful it, you know, not what I see on the news, not where I see the media focusing attention, not where I see any of these, but the everyday people I talk to, that literally,
have these light bulb moments. That's what continues to give me hope.
Gloria Purvis: I would say what gives me hope is the prevalence of these kinds of conversations that are happening now. The fact that I've, you know, I'm able to have this conversation with both of you, to me, is — it gives me hope because it signals two things or three things, maybe. A, we exist. B, we can be in community. And three, we can use the microphone that's not controlled by major media to still get our messaging out.
To be able to use the current technology now to give another narrative about pro-life and pro black from the womb to the tomb. And so I hope that the, the three of us together can at some point do this again on a larger stage for more people. So that gives me hope.
Cherilyn Holloway: Thank you everybody.
Gloria Purvis: Thank you.
Herb Geraghty: Thank you.
Thank you three. So, so, so, so, so much for this, uh, for this round table discussion. We are so grateful. I know that the chat has been very active and very grateful for your perspective. This was wonderful. Thank you so much. We are now going into our break. We will reconvene in the sessions at 7:15 Eastern.
Thank you all.
Wednesday Aug 31, 2022
Wednesday Aug 31, 2022
Wednesday Aug 31, 2022
In this episode, Herb and Emiliano are joined by the founder of Rehumanize International, Aimee Murphy, who has just released a book with New City Press! Titled Rehumanize: A Vision to Secure Human Rights for All, this book includes a digestible yet systematic analysis of the ethics, history, and public policy surrounding modern issues of dehumanization and the Consistent Life Ethic.
Learn more: rehumanizeintl.org/book-tour-2022
Tuesday Jul 19, 2022
Tuesday Jul 19, 2022
Tuesday Jul 19, 2022
In this episode, our hosts Herb and Emiliano are joined by Serena Dyksen, who underwent an abortion after being sexually assaulted at 13. Now the founder of an abortion recovery ministry called She Found His Grace, Serena shares her story to bring hope and healing to others.
Learn more about She Found His Grace at shefoundhisgrace.org.
Learn more about Rehumanize International at rehumanizeintl.org.
Sunday Jun 26, 2022
Sunday Jun 26, 2022
Sunday Jun 26, 2022
To commemorate International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26, our hosts Herb and Emiliano are joined by James Yee, a former Muslim chaplain to the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.
Learn about Rehumanize International's stance on torture at rehumanizeintl.org/torture.
Saturday Jun 04, 2022
Saturday Jun 04, 2022
Saturday Jun 04, 2022
In this episode, our hosts Herb and Emiliano chat with Emily Albrecht of Equal Rights Institute to discuss the nation's reaction to the Dobbs v. Jackson leak and how pro-lifers can compassionately respond to misinformation.
Learn more about Rehumanize International at rehumanizeintl.org.
#ProLife #DobbsVJackson #RoeVWade
Saturday May 28, 2022
Saturday May 28, 2022
Saturday May 28, 2022
In this episode, our hosts Herb Geraghty and Emiliano Vera talk through their initial reactions to the leak of the Supreme Court's draft opinion on the Dobbs v. Jackson case.
[00:00:00] Emiliano Vera: All right, everybody. Welcome back to the Rehumanize podcast.
[00:00:05] Herb Geraghty: It's happening!
Roe v. Wade is coming down, or at least it looks like it. No guests today. Just going to be me and Emiliano. I'm Herb here as always. We have a lot to talk about when was the last time we recorded?
[00:00:19] Emiliano Vera: I think it was before I went on Easter break. Yeah, we're right after I came back. I don't know. I have no conception of time anymore.
[00:00:30] Herb Geraghty: That's all right. But yeah, no, the, there obviously there's been a whole lot happening in the whole world, but I think the biggest piece of news is the leaked draft of the Dobbs decision by Politico, like two weeks ago. I time has been totally at a standstill for me since that's happened. I have, I have no idea how long it's been.
I think it's been about two weeks since recording, since we have been recording this. And yeah, so, I mean, if you somehow follow Rehumanize and haven't heard there's been a draft of what looks to be the Supreme court's decision, the majority opinion. In the Dobbs V Jackson case, which for a while we've been saying has the potential to overturn Roe V.
Wade. And the majority of justice says as of May 2nd have ruled in favor of overturning Roe and upholding the 15 week ban.
[00:01:29] Emiliano Vera: Have you read the the opinion and it's a super majority, right? It was six three, not five, four, right.
[00:01:36] Herb Geraghty: I
wait, I'm pulling it up now because I couldn't, I couldn't remember who, who signed onto it.
No, as of the, the leak, it was only Thomas Gor Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett and Alito Roberts hadn't signed on, but it wasn't, we, we still don't know. We only have the draft of the opinion. Right. I don't know if he is. Concurring or joining a dissenting or doing something else that's funky, or if he just hasn't decided yet, and he's going to sign on to the majority.
Obviously it wasn't supposed to come out. And so we we don't exactly know. We know that the justices can change their mind up until the day that it's released, that this was supposed to be sort of a long process of editing these drafts. So we, we have no reason to believe that the final that what has been published is the total final draft.
But if it is what is going to be released as the official opinion, it rocks to answer your question. Yes. I read most of it. I'm not a legal scholar, but luckily my girlfriend is a law student then. And she has read the entire document and the, that first night that it really, it was released. She read the entire thing and was pulling out important quotes for me.
And so that was extremely helpful to understand exactly what was going on because I read the Politico argument and basically the, the messages, the Roe V. Wade was egregiously wrong from the start and it's coming down. And this 15 week ban is constitutional which of course will open the gates to banning abortion in other ways and earlier in gestation because we no longer have the the precedent of Roe upholding the imaginary constitutional right to abortion.
But yes, I've read most of it. But a lot of the kind of footnotes I'm like, this is all legal jargon. I don't fully need to understand because I'm not a constitutional lawyer. But yeah, what I've read, I like I'm excited. It seems good.
[00:03:40] Emiliano Vera: Yeah. I read probably like 20 pages of it. And like on Facebook and kind of like the, the week afterwards or not just Facebook, I'm not really on Facebook a lot.
And the social media is there were like some, several kinds of like pro-choice people citing some of the, the language is used in decisions as kind of like apocalyptic. Like a harbinger of what's to come for other rights, like that were established by privacy's. So either LGBT rights or, or rights to birth control or something like that like things established by Griswold and other cases what do you make of those kind of interpretations that like, oh, the, this, this document that came out are setting up to just like knocked down like a whole other slew of anything that has to do with privacy is going to get overturned now.
[00:04:49] Herb Geraghty: Yeah. So I think that. I when I first saw kind of the uproar about that from a lot of pundits I was also concerned because at that point I hadn't read the decision yet that the actual Monday night I I happen to already be in DC for other events. And so when it was released, the people I was with and some other people from rehumanize and partner organizations were outside the court within the hour demonstrating.
And by the time we were there, I think the article came out at like eight 30 and we were there by nine 30 and there was already hundreds of people demonstrating almost all. Pro-abortion. I think that a lot of people just heard the news and immediately wanted to protest. And the pro-life movement had not come together yet.
So it, it really was just kind of us out there at the Supreme court. And so I, I did not have time that night to actually read the opinion. And so that next day I also saw a lot of that, like Alito is coming for all of our rights there it's, it's not just abortion that we know there is no right to an abortion.
There's no right to take the life of another human being. However, because of the sort of political movement that has championed the rights of the unborn I think people had some legitimate concerns about other rights that some people claim did build off of decisions like Griswold and Roe and Casey.
And so like at rehumanize international, we don't really take official positions on things outside of issues of aggressive violence. And so. You know, in our capacity as an organization, we don't really take strong positions on things like birth control or LGBT privacy rights to yeah. Just don't hurt people.
But as an individual, you know, I have political positions outside of the, the mission of rehumanize international. And so I was concerned about the, kind of the, the claims that the draft decision seems to be gearing up to come after other rights particularly LGBT rights that were determined in like Lawrence and Obergefell in terms of like, you know, same-sex sexual relationships and marriage.
And so I think like if I spent a couple hours being like, oh no, should I be concerned about this opinion? Like, should, should I actually, you know, Advocate, you know, there's not much to do for the Supreme court. They're not there, they're an unelected body. So you just kind of have to hope that they do what you want.
But I did share those concerns, but once I actually read most of the opinion I it's, it's hard for me to really see it that way that the Supreme court is coming after other privacy rights. I mean, in a leader's opinion
[00:07:35] Emiliano Vera: seemed like very, very like specific about like Roe vs Wade and abortion.
[00:07:45] Herb Geraghty: Yeah. I mean, let me pull up some of it, because I think that Alito in the draft goes out of his way to be very, very explicit that this is only about abortion. In his discussion of privacy rights. Let me pull up the quote. Here it is, this was from the opinion. Roe's defenders characterize the abortion, right?
As similar to the rights recognized in past decisions involving matters, such as intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage, but a portion is fundamentally different as both Roe and Casey acknowledge because it destroys what those decision called fetal human life and what the law. Now, before us referring to the Mississippi law describes as an unborn human beings.
At further distinguishing abortion from same-sex marriage. Alito says none of the other decisions cited by Rohan Casey involved, the critical moral question posed by abortion. And then he goes on to say that therefore, these are unrelated and do not take what we are saying about there not being a privacy, right.
To dismember a baby to mean that other privacy rights are non-existent. In general, I mean, I'm not a constitutional layer. I know that a lot of people have, you know, even like LGBT affirming or LGBT people have sort of said like actually these decisions that we have, like trying to base them on the privacy, right.
That were established in decisions like RO are actually not great legal precedent anyway, because a lot of these privacy rights always said like this doesn't it. Maybe I support the ruling, like plenty for 50 years pro abortion I'm pro choice legal scholars have been saying like, no, I think abortion should be legal, but the constitutional
[00:09:30] Emiliano Vera: thing, like a bad, badly determined decision.
[00:09:35] Herb Geraghty: Exactly. And people, you know, sort of on all sides of the issue, I've said similar things about . And so I think that it Alito comes from a particular position on you know, LGBT marriage rights that I would, I would probably disagree with him on. However, when the court looks at previous court decisions to determine precedent, what they're looking at is what's actually written in the opinion, not, oh, well, what did Sam Alito think at the time that he was writing this?
And the language in this draft decision is explicit that this is referring to abortion because it is distinct from other privacy rights, whether you believe in these privacy rights that they are found in the constitution or not, or if they're just good in and of themselves, and they're not explicitly in the constitution or they are or whatever.
I think it's important to note that it is very different. Then, then these other rights, because they have the question of this unborn human being. I think that these past couple of weeks, since the decision has leaked, I I've seen from pundits and the media and, you know, people on social media, a lot of fear-mongering about different things.
I think that this kind of LGBT rights has been one that that's been particularly effective in scaring people about this draft decision. I think also you know, misinformation about miscarriage and particular like miscarriage management procedures, and it may be necessary. Topic pregnancies, things that people do have, I think, legitimate fears about.
Because they've been told by the media and by the abortion industrial complex that pro-life Americans are trying to criminalize things like miscarriage and treatment for ectopic pregnancies, which is just not true. I think every, every once in a while there like a fringe legislator that doesn't know what he's doing, there was one in Ohio once that that it made it into a bill that treatment for epileptic pregnancy, though, it wouldn't be illegal.
Like it said something like, ideally this would be the, the embryo would be reimplanted in the womb, which at this point there's not really the medical technology for that to happen. Anyway. So the only treatment for atopic pregnancy includes ending the life or the, or the child's life ending as a result in order to save the life of the mother.
I have never met a pro-life person who actually opposes that. I've never met a pro-life person who opposes DNCs for miscarriages, for children who have already died. However, we see this fear-mongering and propaganda from a lot of people in the media and the abortion industrial complex in order to intimidate people into thinking that the status quo is kind of this neutral.
Human centered way of legislating abortion. But the reality is that the status quo is egregious. We in this country, we have two over 2000, about 2,500 individual children being killed every day by abortion. Like this, it is extremist. We have abortion post viability in many states in this country, totally legal with, you know, not even talking about like medically indicated ones where, you know, the, the woman's health may be in danger or the child may,
[00:13:10] Emiliano Vera: which we know the majority of post viability abortions are elective and not done to save the life of the mother or because of fetal non compatibility with life or something like that.
[00:13:21] Herb Geraghty: Yeah. I think that basically these past couple of weeks have been an exercise for me, sort of in on the front lines, talking to people. Outside the court protests and on social media and speaking to the media, it's really just been an exercise in correcting a lot of misinformation. I mean, plenty of people still believe that overturning Roe will make abortion illegal.
Like that's, that's just not true. It will. It will send me a shoe back to the states and legislators will be able to listen to their constituents who want abortion to be illegal in those states and legislate accordingly. Although we know that the, the abortion issue will still be extremely important in, in many states that that seemed to be signaling that they not only are going to continue to have sort of extremist post viability abortion laws.
But they're actually trying to become sanctuary cities for abortion, where they are putting taxpayer money into getting people from other states into their states in order to get abortions there. And so I, the people I think on both sides, there's just not a lot of clarity about exactly what this decision means.
If it, if it even comes down, if it comes down in this way we've seen the pro-abortion movement trying to actively intimidate the justices into changing their minds. We've seen you know, through protests, including outside the homes of these justices explicitly telling them, you know, we're not going to accept this decision.
You need to change your mind. I'm hopeful that, you know, Alito and Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett and the rest of them aren't successfully intimidated. And I, I don't think they will be But I think that it's important right now that we, as pro-lifers push back against that narrative that we show the reality of the pro-life movement, which was, which is that we are a movement that exists to protect human rights and to serve pregnant people.
And in particular, low income women who face you know, difficult pregnancy circumstances and, and make it clear that we are standing with them, that, you know, the abortion industrial complex for years has pushed this narrative that abortion is needed, that violence is needed in order to have equality or liberation or As Yellen recently said, you know, it needed for the economy, which is truly shocking, which is like, that's some
[00:15:58] Emiliano Vera: evil capitalist propaganda.
[00:16:03] Herb Geraghty: Yeah.
[00:16:03] Emiliano Vera: It's wild. To me, just the blatant illiteracy in the general public about what abortion laws in the United States actually are compared to abortion laws in the entire rest of the world, including you know, the established social democracies of Western Europe, like a country, for example, like Sweden, where abortion is a permitted.
Up to the first. I can't remember if it's 12 or 14 weeks, but like throughout Europe there are limits on on abortion that are less than the law that is being challenged in the Supreme court from Mississippi. So like, you can talk about the differences in like access, for example, where in the United States you have to pay for abortions out of pocket.
Except for in the largest states that commit the most abortions like California and New York that are covered by Medicare. And in which case it is socializing. You don't have to pay out of pocket if you are under a certain income level. But for most of Europe, most of the world The the week limits on abortion are already much, like, much more than any type of limits are tolerated at all in the United States without having like a massive up a massive uproar about it.
[00:17:49] Herb Geraghty: Yeah. I think that if the majority of EU countries in particular, 12 weeks as the limit for elective abortion,
[00:17:56] Emiliano Vera: yes. I saw somebody somebody who I, I like and follow on Twitter said something a while ago about, oh, Greece is a really interesting example that it's a, a socially conservative religious country where abortion is legal and publicly funded and then asterisk up to 12 weeks.
And I was like, you realize that the Mississippi law puts a 15. Week limit on abortion, right? Like there's just a complete disconnect from reality of what abortion law currently is in the United States, a complete disconnect from reality about what overturning Roe would actually do, which once again, would not make abortion illegal in the United States.
It would return to the status quo that it was before 1973, where the states could it like through their own democratic legislatures decide themselves, you know, before an unelected body of nine male justices decided that Nope, this is just the law now. In the article that I'm writing for rehumanize right now, I also point out that the legalization of abortion.
Pretty closely followed the urban uprisings of the sixties in the civil rights movement. And like the, the debate out of New York especially is pretty like blatant they're like, yeah, we hope that we'll be able to reduce the amount of births on do you unwed mothers and two people on welfare.
And then like other than states like New York and California the other states that were taking out borrow or that were taking up the liberalization of abortion law before Roe was decided, were the states in the south that were in the process of basically getting reprimanded for their sterilization laws that were horrible and Found to be illegal and basically just replacing sterilization laws with abortion.
So it was not like a bunch of liberal states. It was Republican California, Republican New York and the south that were the states that were liberalizing abortion before Roe just came in and did everything, you know, funded the entire
[00:20:15] Herb Geraghty: point about that we all know that the sort of rise of the abortion movement was very much led by the leaders in the eugenics movement in the, in the, at that time.
And I think that the, that point you made about, you know, reducing, you know, it was clear, it was clearly racial and it was clearly able to rest. But I think the, the, the class-based nature of it too is so important. Like you said, like, We want to limit the amount of people on welfare and their ability to continue having children, because that is more children that need state support.
And I think that we talk about that as, you know, as kind of a memory of the past that now the abortion rights movement has really situated itself on the left and as a movement, you know, for social justice and for women's rights. And for health, health care justice which is, you know, to us or appalled by, because we know that abortion is, is an act of violence.
And so it doesn't really make sense in that context. But they sort of no longer lead with eugenics first. Rhetoric. However, in these past couple of weeks, when I have been talking to people, I've seen the
[00:21:34] Emiliano Vera: eugenic rhetoric pop out on social media and just like in comments
[00:21:40] Herb Geraghty: and I, and I, I'm not great at the, at the discourse on social media.
I have. A difficult time talking to people behind a screen, because I think that it's just not my calling. I'm much better at face-to-face conversation. And I, because I think that it's happened multiple times because when we were out there in front of the court, about half the time, you know, people really came up to us and they saw our signs with secular pro-life messaging and consistent life ethic messaging and you know, sort of liberal leaning or left leaning pro-life messaging.
And they came up to us and they were really surprised and interested, actually interested in what we have to say. And so I think that for a lot of people, their guard was down a little bit when they were discussing this. And I heard so many people explicitly say, you know, bring up things like, well, our tax dollars are going to have to pay for all of these children born.
If abortion is illegal and
[00:22:39] Emiliano Vera: they should have been doing that.
[00:22:41] Herb Geraghty: Well, so my thing Emiliano is that what, when they would say that almost every time, I would say. Do you really mean, do you really mean that? Do you really have a problem with poor people having more children? And they would sort of think about it for a moment and then, and then say, oh, no, no, no.
Not if they want to, I don't mind if my tax dollars are paying for, you know, things like WIC and good programs that help you know, mothers and children and low-income families. However, in the back of their mind, they've sort of been told that that's one of the reasons that they need abortion. And I think that, or that we need abortion as a country.
More particularly usually that poor women need abortion. But I think that it's interesting that that messaging is more subliminal now and that most of the people who are using it, I don't think actually mean it. I think that most of these people are actually sort of liberal minded and they, they, they are not.
They are not actual eugenicists, but they have that sort of implicit bias against poor people having children that, that they haven't sufficiently unlearned yet. Because that eugenic rhetoric isn't at the forefront of the movement because they know it's embarrassing and they know it's something that they, you know, the leaders of the movement know that they need to hide it behind the euphemism of choice.
[00:24:06] Emiliano Vera: Well, and I think you see lots of middle-aged and older people still using that, like more readily using that rhetoric because that was the rhetoric until probably like, like the early two thousands like that they, they didn't catch on to like, oh, maybe we're being a little bit too racist too, obviously racist and classist in our messaging until like probably.
I mean, the, the, the coalition and that formed of the democratic party of being like, like liberal international capitalists with like some select human rights groups or like kind of issue based groups like that. Wasn't that wasn't and kind of like leaving unions and workers in the dust, like that wasn't really fully complete until the late nineties or early two thousands.
So like the, just the material conditions for that coalition, where they would have to change their rhetoric to not be explicitly racist or eugenicist, like wasn't there until relatively recently.
[00:25:27] Herb Geraghty: So, what have you felt like has been your experience sort of in your kind of personal life and in an online with the reaction to this decision? I guess both from pro-abortion people in your life and from pro-life people?
[00:25:45] Emiliano Vera: So I have been kind of a reticent to comment directly on, I mean, the, my, most of my interactions now with Americans are on social media.
So I've been kind of cautious to say anything directly on social media, because I've been like, who is everyone is just kind of just blatantly repeating misinformation right now. And should I wait to let people be less mad for a little bit? Or like, does it like, you know, there are studies on this where, you know, responding to factually incorrect information with factually correct information to somebody who is just mad about something doesn't correct them.
And so I've just kind of been watching and on the one hand, very, very proud of not just rehumanize and other kind of consistent life ethic groups, but also like even a lot of the more conservative pro-life groups that I, you know, agree with on abortion, but, you know, might not agree with on a lot of other things.
I've been very encouraged by a lot of their statements. And I rehumanize signed on to a letter that was promoted by a whole huge spectrum of pro-life groups. You know, saying if, if Roe is overturned in abortion at some point does become illegal again that we do not want to see like women charged for crimes.
And so I think that has been the,
[00:27:41] Herb Geraghty: and the people charged for crimes. There are people who have abortions charged for crimes. If a woman is an abortionist then she should be charged with the crime of.
[00:27:50] Emiliano Vera: So exactly. So, so pregnant, pregnant people who choose to have an abortion to acquire an abortion it should not be the ones who are facing the legal penalties of it.
And just kind of general, very strong reaffirmations of, you know, love them both. We're here for the woman and the child and counteracting a lot of the very kind of negative and hysterical misinformation that is being promoted by the other side. And then there's, then there's the other side, you know, I running a lot of leftist circles and things like that, that To see them kind of promoting this, the type of classes and racist propaganda that is justifiable when talking about abortion and completely against everything that they stand for, everything every other time has just been very annoying discouraging.
For me, especially since I gave up social media for lent, and this is like the first thing that happens, like right after I get back onto social media. And I'm like oh, I don't want to, I don't want to see you guys. But yeah just kind of a lot of nervous waiting, I guess for me.
[00:29:02] Herb Geraghty: Yeah, I'll agree.
I think that I have pretty impressed with the kind of traditional mainstream pro-life movement in this moment. I think that there could be a tendency. Among some people or groups to want to take this moment to kind of gloat because the reality is like, we want, like, we're, we're winning. It looks like we're about, we're about to have a major victory in terms of the amount of organizing and work that has gone into, you know, creating a reality where this could be possible
[00:29:37] Emiliano Vera: it is an undeniably good thing.
And I do think there is absolutely room for, you know, healthy celebration. Yeah, exactly.
[00:29:45] Herb Geraghty: I think I've seen that I've seen a healthy celebration and I haven't seen, and I've seen from most pro-life organizations and leaders. Really taking this moment to lead with compassion. And I appreciate that because I think that like we've been talking about right now, misinformation and, and really disinformation about what it will look like in a post Roe America is rampant.
And I think that there are a lot of fears. I think that there's a lot of fear mongering going on. And as a result, a lot of. People in this country who have the capacity to get pregnant are scared when they're being told by people who they look up to that if you have a miscarriage, you could go to jail or that perhaps certain procedures like DNE for miscarriage or DNC for a miscarriage could be could be criminalized and therefore unavailable.
And so you might die of sepsis for, you know, the, the crime of, of your child dying a natural death before they're born. And I think that I, I have been impressed with pro-life leaders, sort of calmly being able to respond to this information, this misinformation and show them that no, that's not what we're doing.
I think that this letter that I am proud to have signed onto from national right to life, but very explicitly says not only. Do we not want laws that criminalize people for their pregnancy outcomes? We not only do we just hope that's not the case, but we, as pro-life leaders are going to work to ensure that is not the case.
You know, we have connections with anti-abortion legislators and we're willing to hold their feet to the fire to ensure that our values of truly loving them, both aren't ignored in favor of sort of retributive prosecutorial mindset of just wanting to punish people who are in desperate situations and feel like abortion is their only option or people who have the, you know, the horrible, unfortunate reality of, of a miscarriage.
And I think that I have been excited to be able to work with a diverse coalition of pro-life people from, you know, all different sorts of backgrounds and across the entire political spectrum, who've been able to come together and say, no, this work isn't over all row does let's turn it back to the states.
And so of course the work isn't over because there's going to be plenty of states where abortion will still be legal and pre-born children will not be protected. So we're going to need to continue to work on making legislative change, but also our work isn't over because half of what the pro-life movement does, isn't legislative at all.
It's about serving pregnant people in our communities and serving young families and young, pregnant uh, young young parenting people young parents, so that they don't feel like abortion as their only option. And I think that the pro-life movement has been doing that over these past few weeks, you know, This decision hasn't even been final yet.
But you know, throughout this time there's still people in our communities who need our support. And so throughout all this time, pregnancy centers have still been operating. Maternity homes have still been operating. We've seen, I've been out on the sidewalk in front of abortion clinics, doing the regular sidewalk outreach that I do, and that I encourage everyone to do.
If you have an abortion clinic in your community, which you likely do if you live in the United States that you know, this work is, is still needed, regardless of if the decision comes out the way we want it to, or not like the, the, the goal of actually making abortion unthinkable is something that is serious to pro-life leaders and pro-life community members.
And I think that I have. Heartened to see that that work hasn't been just totally forgotten because we've had the, we've had this victory, or it appears as though we're about to have a victory within the next two months.
[00:33:56] Emiliano Vera: I think just as the pro-life movement has gotten more internationalized and less focused on just the United States.
Especially with in the wake of some pretty devastating losses in Ireland, across Latin America. I think they're like the experiences of leaders there who were like, oh, we. Waited until way too late to start organizing this and assuming that just because the law was on our side, then we didn't have to have a mass movement behind us.
And so I think there is definitely some good promise, I think in the reaction of pro-life organizations across the spectrum to the leak that, oh, like even if we like, quote unquote win in this, this time, like, that doesn't mean that we're just gonna, you know, pack it up anymore. Because one legislatively there's still other there's still other battles to fight across like literally every 50 states.
But yeah, that there are social aspects to the pro-life work that's still need to be done and still people that still needs to be advocated. And I think, yeah, that's kind of what caught lat America by surprise is just that, you know, all you need is a majority of judges. One time basically to, to implement abortion laws and it, if you're not ready for it, then you're going to get taken off guard and organizing after the fact is too late.
[00:35:32] Herb Geraghty: Yeah. Yup. And I mean, in terms of our work, not being done, just look at the mission of rehumanize even if the decision came down and abortion was illegal across the United States you know, there, there of course would be all of that work of still supporting pregnant people in our community. But our work as a consistent life ethic movement, like that's only one issue to tick off the list.
We still have war and the death penalty and police brutality and torture and euthanasia and all forms of violent discrimination and abuse. So I think, I think that this continues to be a moment of celebration while, and a moment of optimistic celebration, because we're hopeful that the decision will come out sooner than later.
Probably around June, the end of June. But you know, The, the moment of celebration really can only be a short moment before we get back to work. I know, you know, even at the Rehumanize team were sort of planning out our summer and this Dobbs decision being up in the air makes planning things hard because we know that if the decision does come out on a random Monday, we're going to need to mobilize immediately and get all of our supporters out there to continue representing and doing this work and demonstrating for, you know, for the unborn and for this movement.
But we also have plenty of other stuff that we're doing this summer. Even outside of abortion, we have two anti-war conferences that we are you know, partnering with and, and and participating in, we have an anti-death penalty week of action. That's going to be if Roe V Wade gets, or if the Dobbs decision gets decided at the end of June, when we think it will be.
That next day, I'm going to start the an anti-death penalty week of action which is going to be a total whirlwind because I'm sure that things will be very busy and picking up after the Dobbs decision does finally come out. So all of us to say that there, there just is so much work to be done on all of these issues.
And so yes, take this moment to celebrate, but more importantly, figure out what it is that you can be doing within this movement or within other movements or within your own community to serve the needs that, that aren't being met. And to advocate for justice, for, to advocate for justice and for human rights for all human beings.
[00:38:02] Emiliano Vera: So you've been doing a lot of the. Talking to the media talking to counter protestors, or I don't know, maybe you guys are considered the counter protesters. What what,
how do you talk to people? This is something that I'm usually great at, but I have found myself, like, not like, I, I don't think that I would be able to, I feel like I won't be able to help the narrative very much right now while it feels so heated in charge. But then I asked myself, you know, we'll ever be able to say anything again, because like, it's always going to be human in charge now during this entire battle.
So like for, I, I think it's going to be very uncomfortable for especially people in. Either more liberal or leftist pro-life groups or in the consistent life ethic. Where probably like we have a lot, like the majority of our friends are, you know, other liberal leftist people who are pro-choice like what do we do?
How do we, how do we like bring this up? When it's so just heated, but also just filled with disinformation.
[00:39:25] Herb Geraghty: Yeah. So I think it depends heavily on context. I think that I have been having a lot of very sort of high conflict conversations lately because I've been out, you know, doing this kind of rehumanizing discourse with the people who are passionate enough to show up to a protest.
For abortion. And so I think that those conversations are going to be a lot different than people then conversations with people who you might have already in your life. So I can say for the conversations that I've had, it's been really important to take our breath and to actually listen to what the other side is saying.
I think that I have had people come up to me and, you know, sort of come up to me. And some of the people in our team who have been, you know, holding signs and demonstrating in these, these moments of more calm during protests, or even after protests when things are dying down and come up and say, Hey, I really just want to talk.
I want to hear your perspective. And then they ask me. You know, well, why are you against abortion? And I begin speaking and I say, well, so I believe that it should be illegal to kill human beings. And the scientific consensus is that, and then I can't even begin to sort of, you know, make my argument for why I'm anti-abortion, which, you know, if you want, the, the totality of you can go to rehumanizeintl.org/abortion.
But essentially that, you know, the scientific community is out of consensus. We see that the unborn is undeniably a human being. They are living their whole, they are genetically distinct, and I believe it should be illegal to kill human beings. And I see abortion as, you know, a part of that. And so it should be illegal.
And that, you know, there's a lot of other nuances that you need to have in the conversation, but that's kind of my, my main pitch that I make to start the conversation. But I have found that in, in probably most of the conversations that I've had, I'm not even able to get. A fifth word in my main argument before, you know, the person who approached me to have a conversation sort of snaps back and starts yelling at me.
What about rape? What about miscarriage? What about this? You think women should go to jail? You think this, you, Donald Trump said this, your movements as this sort of like a lot of, you know, just sudden reactions that I think are caused by pain and fear because of, you know, the misinformation and the perception that they have of the pro-life movement.
And so it's been really important for me to, to really not kind of snap back in the way that might be natural to me. When someone is lying about me to my face saying that I've voted for Donald Trump and I support all these policies that I don't support and that I, that I do there. And then I, yada yada.
You know, it's easy for me to want to say, no, I didn't shut up. You're wrong. But I've had to remind myself that these people often are coming from a place of fear and have a really serious distrust for the pro-life movement. And so I think that listening to their concerns and affirming their concerns has been important in this moment.
You know, for the people who I tell you, the criminalization of miscarriage has come up in 100% of the conversations that I've had with people on the ground. And so I don't know if that's actually reflective of this wider moment, but I think that it's really been telling to me. And I, I think I sort of have seen pro-life people online respond to that kind of thing with like an eye roll emoji, like, oh, come on, no one wants to criminalize miscarriage, like, you know, kind of diminishing their concerns and talking over them.
And I, and I believe, you know, that's just not a very nice way to communicate with people, but it's also less effective because I, I have had these conversations where, you know, if someone tells me, I am really concerned that I'm going to have a miscarriage and then not be able to, you know, have that child removed in a DNC procedure or, you know, whatever needs to be done, or I'm going to have enough topic pregnancy, and it's going to be illegal for me to it's going to be illegal to get treatment for that, which will lead to my death.
Like that is a real fear that a lot of women have. Based on the misinformation that they've been fed from the, the abortion industrial complex and from the media on this. And so I think that hearing them out and actually listening to them and sort of nodding along and making it clear, like, yeah, no, that, that is really scary.
I'm really sorry that, that, that you're afraid of that. And then once they, you know, sort of tire themselves out at yelling at you from yelling at you about that responding, can I let you know, like ask, actually asking them, can I let you know what I think about that? And actually what the laws that have been proposed and what the trigger laws that are already on the books that are going to go into effect once Roe is overturned.
Can I tell you what those actually say? I hear that you're very scared and I want to let you know that we in the pro-life. I don't want that and that our legislators don't want that. And that if there ever are legislators who are working to do things like criminalized treatment of atopic pregnancies or miscarriage management, that we will be with you, and that we are with you in saying absolutely not, we never want a person to go to jail for experiencing the loss of their child, whether it's through, you know, an atopic pregnancy that needs to be at ended or through a natural miscarriage or through, you know, one of those other thing procedures that can be called abortions by certain medical companies.
But when we're talking, when the pro-life movement is talking about abortion, we're talking about elective abortions in which we are intentionally ending the life of a living human child.
[00:45:31] Emiliano Vera: The the, the, the term in romance languages to just be like a lot clearer. So it's in Spanish and French. It's a voluntary interruption of pregnancy.
[00:45:45] Herb Geraghty: That is mine because that is the heart of yeah. In
[00:45:50] Emiliano Vera: In Spanish, aborto means and any, any like premature ending of a pregnancy, natural or unnatural. So like the the, the legal language and like the, the language that is officially used, I think lots of times, actually more in Europe than in Latin America where like American influence has allowed, like the word just aborted the abortion to like be the, the main word.
And then also like with all of the confusions that come along with it, because abortion, abortion means everything rather than.
Or it's like it's equivalent in French, which is like what the laws actually say, but like that. And like it uses the, the the abbreviation IBE and like that I feel just linguistically it gives a lot more clarity about, you know, what the, what the actual procedure that we are discussing is.
[00:46:50] Herb Geraghty: Yeah.
Yeah, because that is, I think these linguistic differentiation. Are extremely important and often overlooked by pro-life people. Because I think that I know people who have had a natural miscarriage and then they are totally just served and upset to find that when they get a bill back from the hospital, it says that they had an abortion because technically speaking for a lot of insurance companies and in the medical field, natural miscarriages are spontaneous abortions.
And then the, the kind of natural stigma that is attached to abortion. And of course there should be a stigma against abortion because it is an act of violence. That stigma is carried over to women who have natural miscarriages which there should be no stigma about like, that's just a horrible, natural death and, you know, we mourn with them.
And so I think that. The abortion industry and the sort of pundits who push pro-abortion rhetoric, they intentionally take that confusion and that unfortunate linguistic situation where there isn't a clear word for elective abortion, for a reason not to save the life of the mother and that the pop culture pop in pop culture.
We mainly just call that abortion. They take that and they intentionally stoke that fear and try to push the narrative that pro-life people want to criminalize things like treatment for ectopic pregnancy, and miscarriage or stillbirth. And I think that, you know, to finish my earlier thought, what is important right now is correcting that misinformation.
But doing so in a compassionate way that recognizes. Yeah. If you believe that people are trying to criminalize miscarriage, that is really scary. I can understand why you are screaming at me right now. And you're so upset with me if you really think that's what I believe. Let me demonstrate to you how that isn't true.
And let me commit to you that I'm on your side when it comes to this issue. And that I am going as a pro-life leader, I am going to work to ensure that no legislator thinks that it is ever appropriate to criminalize these pregnancy outcomes. And so I think that that has been really important, like getting past that, those, those initial fears and reservations about overturning Roe V Wade, before I can really actually talk about my position on abortion, which of course is that it is an act of violence and that it should be illegal.
But you have to be able to get people to that place where they are ready for, you know, the kind of difficult work of re-examining, you know, your deeply held political views on, on this issue. And you need to get them to trust you that you, you know, you are not this caricature of, you know, the, the evil right-wing legislator in Texas who just wants to send women to jail for having abortions or for having miscarriages or for you know, whatever.
I think that this moment for me has really been about deescalating, a lot of conversations and reminding myself and honestly reminding them sometimes like that. We're all just people here that I have a particular political position and. Particular political position. I do not think that you are evil for supporting abortion.
I think that most people who support abortion deeply care about the rights of women and people who can get pregnant and that they are concerned for their wellbeing. And I think that most of them haven't considered enough about the rights of the unborn child. And I think that our work is often, you know, educating them about the science of embryology and fetal development and the reality of what takes place during an abortion procedure and the horror that takes place during that act of violence.
But you know, making it clear to them that I don't think that they're stupid or evil for disagreeing with me on this. I think it's likely that they may be misinformed and that they may be repeating misinformation and correcting it when necessary. But that I think that we should be able to come together and find common ground.
I mean, things like how to better support pregnant and parenting people, whether or not abortion is illegal. And, and those sort of, you know, public policies as well as private charity and the different work that needs to be done in order to create a culture of life where regardless of if abortion is legal or not, people are supported in their pregnancies and in their choice to, to choose life.
And I think that highlighting common ground and working with people to, to really rehumanize this discourse and to rehumanize, you know, people on the other side of the aisle, whether that is, you know, the pro-abortion person or their perception of us as pro-life people has been the primary goal. I think that I haven't had a lot of really strong.
Pro-life conversions in this moment because tensions are so high. However I have, and I, and I've seen my team members who are out in, you know, even better at me, even better than me doing this discourse talking to these people and I'm seeing them plant seeds that at least can sort of give people a little bit of ease that we are not slipping into some sort of Handmaid's tale, dystopia, where you know, women are going to be oppressed and you know, all of our privacy rights and all of our rights are under attack that the people standing on the other side of the issue than you, if you're a pro-abortion person.
Our justice minded. They're deeply concerned about the rights of children and they are also deeply concerned about the wellbeing and welfare of their parents. And, and looking for those places where we can come together and support people. Again, and I keep saying sort of like, regardless of if abortion is on the table or not, because whether or not abortion is legal, those needs are still going to be there.
And I think that we need to pro-life people, especially recommit ourselves in this moment to the service that we already do for people in those difficult pregnancy circumstances.
[00:53:39] Emiliano Vera: Yeah. And also like. It's frustrating to me because I think this could be, and you know, we're doing the work, you're doing the work more on the ground than I am.
I'm just sitting at my computer and writing blog posts. I keep, I keep mentioning this, but everybody watch out for my upcoming thorough economic analysis of the function of abortion to the capitalist class and how it relates to the racist policies of incarceration and defunding of the welfare state after the 1970s.
But like this, the thing that frustrates me is that this could be a moment to discuss, you know, if the media wanted to be honest, how you know, like, what is it, 70% of people They always say that two thirds of people want a row to be upheld. They don't say that, you know, when you actually explain the trimester system, like two thirds of people support putting a limit on abortion to the end of the first trimester and that's which Roe prevents explicitly for those of you don't, who don't know Roe makes abortion effectively legal out all well low-brow and then Casey effectively makes abortion legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
Definitely up until the end of the second trimester. And then after that basically state by state. And so that, that is like wild. Out of step with public opinion which generally sees like even people who consider themselves just kind of, I would say like naturally you're apolitical pro-choice of like, ah, we shouldn't mess with people too much.
The end of the first trimester is where people tend to draw the line of when it's permissible to have abortion, which is also incidentally the line that most European countries draw. So like rather than like allowing us to have a a discourse in which we acknowledged, like the broad overlap like let's say like two-thirds of what we're saying.
Like most people agree on it's just like this hyper partisan, like narrowing in, on a very tiny. Minority of cases and a very tiny minority of what people think is allowable and permissible.
You had a much more hopeful wrapping up to this than I did
[00:56:20] Herb Geraghty: now. It's like, I, I mean, I think the whole thing is hopeful. I think that, like right now, we're kind of, you know, it's, it's easy to kind of get in the weeds of exactly what next steps are, but this is a very hopeful moment. Like I think that life wins.
I think that, you know, I'm never going to forget. Being, I was in an Airbnb with a bunch of pro-life friends already. And we were actually making signs or a different thing, a different pro-life event that we were planning that had to be canceled. And I guess, postponed because then the decision was leaked and suddenly we had to respond to that instead.
But you know, being surrounded by, you know, this community of pro-lifers, you know, I was with people, someone was as young as I think, 20 years old. And then there was also a 16 year old that joined us later that night. And then as old as someone who I believe was like 74 and then, you know, just seeing this totally diverse group of people come together.
When I think I was the first person to get the news, cause Maria Oswalt who is just chronically online sent me the link cause she saw it immediately and sent it to me. And so I read it and I think I read it and I didn't really understand it until I was like halfway through the article exactly what the implications of this were.
And so I said it out loud and then sent it to everyone in the room and we all silently read the article for you know, about five minutes. And then we were like, okay, so we got to get to the court. And so I think like since then I really have been in that. Kind of moment of, again, celebration and joy and jubilation that finally, it looks like we're going to see some justice for the 63 million plus children who have been killed by the abortion regime in this country.
And so I think that, you know, as we're going, as I've said, and we're going to have to keep saying and doing the work is not done. But this is certainly a moment of incredible joy and hope. And I am excited to, to be a part of it with all of my, all of my friends and all of the people in my life who have, you know, like, you know, Mike who was there and was in the seventies who have been working on this, some of them for like 50 years to see this moment and to be there and, you know, like I'm on the bandwagon or I've only been in the movement for like six years and I, I get to be on the winning side.
So that rocks. But to, to be with this community of justice minded, human centered human rights, activists who are seeing a victory. I mean, it's, it, it is a moment of extreme joy and extreme hope. And you know, of course the work doesn't end here and we, and we need to continue this fight in, you know, on many fronts, but overall optimism, joy, et cetera.
So that's a, that's a happy thought to end this episode of the Rehumanize podcast on I hope that we get it edited and out in time before Roe actually does come down. Because again, we don't exactly know when that's gonna happen. Which is such an interesting policy about like the Supreme court just refuses to let us know when they release their, their decisions.
But my guess is it's going to be in late June. Other people feel differently, but that I'm, I'm pretty sure it's going to be in late June. So don't quote me on that, but I will, we'll see, I guess,
[00:59:48] Emiliano Vera: amen. A woman in any of them. I I'm a yeah, well, let's see. What's going on. Let's see what is going on by the time this podcast comes out because who knows?
I am just very, very grateful in this moment to Be really, it seems like on the, on the right side of history like fighting for adjust, cause that looks like it's going to win. Which is like not always a, it's a really weird, really weird spot to be in sometimes when you usually see yourself, like on the losing side, lots of times.
And it's, it's cool to not just be, you know, like treading water or, you know, trying to swim upstream, but actually going with the current of history. So yeah. Any other, any other thoughts before we close up?
[01:00:49] Herb Geraghty: I don't think so. I think I'm exhausted. I think that I need a day or two, cause I really, we have been going nonstop since this decision has come out.
And so I'm excited to see. To take a break, to take a breath, to look at a lot of the, the work that we've put out to find all of the interviews that I did outside the court that I that I haven't seen yet and compile them and to then just sort of get back to the work that we, that we already have been doing.
I know you say you're working on your article for life matters journal and the Rehumanize blogs. So hopefully that'll be out soon and I'm excited to see that. I'm also just excited to, to recommit myself to the other issues. I think that in these past few weeks, this news has been so huge and so abortion has been front and center in my mind.
But during this time there's been one execution and there has been one scheduled execution that. Today as of recording was stayed. And so I think that, you know, this work of the consistent life ethic movement is is ongoing and we don't really have time to take a break or get distracted by just one of these issues because you know, the rest of the world is still moving.
And there are, there's work to be done on all of the many fronts that we that we see as consistent life ethic activists. And so my, my next step, and the next thing I'm doing is I'm editing an article about the death penalty. 'cause that's, that's the second thing on my mind after abortion. And then I'm sure there's going to be some horrible news about euthanasia or
[01:02:24] Emiliano Vera: and invite in Yemen.
Sorry. Biden does reinvaded Somalia as well today, so,
[01:02:29] Herb Geraghty: okay. I haven't been on Twitter and the flowers, so I didn't even know that. And so I'm sure we're going to have to respond to that ongoing violence in Ukraine and NATO expansion and all of these things that we are deeply concerned about. And so.
But it is nice to have
[01:02:45] Emiliano Vera: a win on like the thing that's just like the biggest numerically.
[01:02:48] Herb Geraghty: That's true. It's very nice. It's nice to have a wind period where see, you know, like you said, oh, Biden invaded another country that I didn't even hear about because I,
[01:02:58] Emiliano Vera: for all of the listeners who are not fans of Trump, I, I, including me just yeah.
Point out that Biden reinvented a country that Trump pulled out from. So there is our little dose of late, late capitalist contradiction today.
[01:03:15] Herb Geraghty: Thank you, Emiliano. So I think with that, I think it's clear that we have a bunch of work to do so we should sign off from the Rehumanize podcast and then go get to that work.
Let's go do the work. All right. We're taking. Take a nap and then do the work. All right. Thank you everyone for listening. Peace.
Monday Apr 11, 2022
Monday Apr 11, 2022
In this episode, our hosts Herb Geraghty and Emiliano Vera are joined by Mayra Rodriguez, the former director of 3 Planned Parenthood clinics who was Planned Parenthood’s 2016 Employee of the Year and courageously blew the whistle, winning a 2019 wrongful termination lawsuit against the abortion giant.
Tune in on Spotify, iTunes, or from our website at http://rehumanizeintl.org/podcast.
Follow Mayra's work: https://www.instagram.com/therealmayra.rodriguez/
Thursday Mar 24, 2022
Thursday Mar 24, 2022
Thursday Mar 24, 2022
In this episode, our hosts Herb Geraghty and Emiliano Vera are joined by the founders of Rehumanize DMV (DC/Maryland Virginia), Savannah and Ryan, to discuss their experience launching a Rehumanize chapter in the middle of the pandemic.
Follow Rehumanize DMV on all social media platforms at @RehumanizeDMV.
Learn more about Rehumanize International at rehumanizeintl.org.
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