SecularProLife &

Secularprolife has a webpage that it calls; “Abortion”. is designed to give the appearance that secularprolife is concerned about the well-being and safety of women who are seeking abortions.


The reality is the page was created to spread uncertainty and fear to women who use the site. The scenario plays out as follows; a woman sees the site, looks through it and based on what she sees there she comes to the conclusion that an abortion is such an unsafe procedure that she’s better off avoiding the danger and should instead carry the pregnancy to term.

The site also doubles as an intimidation tool to be used against doctors. It doesn’t matter what type of doctor you are, if you’re a family health doctor and abortion consists of 1% of your medical activities, they’ll label you an ABORTION DOCTOR and list your name next to numerous other doctors who secularprolife have judged to be unsafe doctors ( judgment passed using their hard earned degrees in Looking Shit Up On-Line from Internet University).

Some things never change. This is just a modern version of the same tactics the anti-abortion movement has been using since the 1910s. Strike fear into the female populace, isolate and ostracize them, and persecute the doctors who treat those women. For over half a century this was the strategy used by the anti-abortion movement and with the official legalization of abortion in the 70s along with the newly empowered female populace it took a few decades for the anti-abortionists to adjust their old fear and intimidation strategies to the then liberal brave new world (Operation Rescue finally perfected it with their so called “Summer of mercy” in 1992).

If you doubt the claims I’m presenting then let me ask you this:

If the site was really genuinely concerned about the well-being of women then why do they present this false dichotomy-description of malpractice suits?

Barring a passing mention of the possibility of patients losing cases, their entire “about this site” page is written to suggest that the fault of the lawsuit always falls on the doctor’s head, there’s no suggestion that the lawsuits might be unwarranted.

The reader easily infers from the page that not only are abortion medical mistakes common, but statistics on abortion medical mistakes are not representative of what’s really going on. According to Abortion there are many reasons why abortion mistakes are not reported. The reader is left with the ominous feeling that there’s a massive cover up of what is in reality a very dangerous medical procedure. It’s with this in mind that the reader then sees not just the names of doctors who have been involved in medical malpractice suits but also doctors who have not. Tossed in with their support of the myth of abortion trauma syndrome, has placed itself clearly in the realm of being no more than a propaganda tool designed to spread misinformation.

Nowhere does secularprolife mention that there’s such a thing as frivolous lawsuits, or that insurance companies will often settle a claim and pay off the patient because it’s the cost effective option. Where I come from we call that paying “the douche-bag tax” and  it is often cheaper to pay the douche-bag tax than to go to trial. Considering we live in the most litigious nation in the world; that some patients might be wrongly pursuing lawsuits is a possibility worthy of mentioning.  I think that a site that was truly concerned about the safety of women would present all the facts and not cherry pick details to skew perspective, wouldn’t you agree?

Also, consider this:

There were approximately 840,000 abortions done in 2004 of which ten women died due to medical mistake or complications. That’s less than a 0.0005% death rate. The death rate from medical misadventure in 2004 where the cause was random foreign objects being accidentally left in patients during surgery was 6.25% (that’s about 55 deaths, five times greater than abortion medical misadventure deaths). To give you a little more perspective, the total number of deaths from decubitus ulcer in 2002 was 34,320 deaths out of 98,000 preventable medical misadventure deaths.

Another name for decubitus ulcers is bedsores.

So assuming these rates are fairly static from year to year (they are) that means that 35% of people die from bedsores compared to 0.0005% of women dying from abortions. Let’s repeat that so it can really sink in:

35% die from bedsores compared to 0.0005% from abortions.

But SPL (secularprolife) doesn’t want you to know or think about that because it gets in the way of their trying to drum up fear over a fictional safety issue they’ve created to try to scare women into not getting abortions.

I’ve now done three videos that show that Secularprolife uses three of the more highly questionable tactics used by the religious pro-life groups.

First, attacking Planned Parenthood by using both misrepresented numbers and quote-mining what they say. Second, the Holocaust baiting they’ve done by using the magic six million number, plus the use of the same (but reordered) name as the holocaust remembrance site projectsixmillion, and actually mentioning the holocaust in their debate with Matt Dillahunty (to name one example of an incident of usage), and third promoting a false impression of abortion being dangerous while using intimidation tactics against doctors by posting their names on a site designed to suggest only irresponsible doctors end up on it, and if they aren’t listed as guilty it’s only because they haven’t been outed yet.

I’d like everyone to keep in mind that while all of this is morally reprehensible, none of it actually proves that their positions on abortion are incorrect. That’s an entirely different matter; although if their arguments are based on reason and not emotion you have to wonder why they rely on tactics so heavily grounded in misrepresenting facts and appealing to emotion?

What I’d like to do now is address some of those arguments however I’ve had some trouble locating an official list of what they consider sound secular pro-life arguments against abortion. I’m aware there’s been some trouble with people who have addressed their arguments in debate being told afterward that “that person wasn’t representing our positions properly” and I don’t have time to waste with that sort of silliness. So what I’m going to do is request that Secular Pro-life make up an official declaration of their position.

If they don’t respond to this request then I’ll just ask them for it when I see them at the Salt Lake City Atheist Convention in two weeks and then we’ll take it from there.

Update: 10/24/2015

SecularProLife was a no-show at the Salt Lake City Convention. Since then there’s been a handful of instances were I was offered the opportunity to debate the topic of abortion from the secular perspective, only to have the anti-abortionist activist cancel or not follow up (the last was Albany Rose, a speaker at the DC “March for Life”).

With the present women’s rights crisis happening in America and the ongoing political and physical attacks on Planned Parenthood, it is more important than ever that we continue to challenge the anti-abortion position on all fronts.

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Video of this blog post can be viewed here.

*Note that I’ve used comparative data from two separate years (2002 & 2004).  However an examination of the available data shows that these numbers are fairly static from year to year (although there is some question about whether the hospital medical misadventure deaths are overall much higher).

*Edited to add video link.

13 thoughts on “SecularProLife &

  1. You should really compare death from abortion complications to death from childbirth. According to Wikipedia, in 2008 there were 24 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in the US giving a 0.024% death rate from the only alternative to abortion. That means that abortion is almost 50x safer than giving birth when looking at deaths.

    When you compare emotional (abortion regret vs. postpartum) or physical harm other than death between childbirth and abortion, you can bet that you’ll have similar findings. Funny how the “abortion safety” people never make those comparisons.

    • Abortion seems safer for women in terms of death rate compared to childbirth, but that statistic doesn’t account for the fetus. I think that’s a major issue for the “abortion safety” folks. I can see how it’s useful to compare abortion to childbirth but, in reality, they are not the typical alternatives going through a woman’s (and sometimes her oartner’s) mind when they find out about an unwanted pregnancy. Typically, it’s social concerns (money, schooling, religion, relationship, etc) that shape the decision process (a decision that is under considerable time pressure which typically undermines autonomy/informed consent).

  2. Hey, I’m kind of surprised they’re not listing breast cancer.
    And misleading women to think that “bleeding” is already an adverse effect…
    And yeah, nobody ever had any adverse effects from pregnancy and childbirth. Must have dreamed those…

  3. Pingback: This Week in Religion and Disbelief, Part 1 | Evangelically Atheist

  4. Regarding one doctor they labeled as an “Abortion Doctor” getting sued by a patient: “She also alleged that Egherman pulled part of her intestines out of her vagina. For reasons that are not clear, instead of filing a standard malpractice suit, the plaintiff pursued a novel legal theory, arguing that the forced abortion violated the federal FACE Act.

    The Florida abortion facility where Egherman worked at the time has since closed. It is not known if, or where, Egherman is currently practicing. If you have any further information, please contact us.”

    For some reason, I have trouble believing that they care about the quality of the information they’re using when they have someone making that sort of claim about abortion. I also find it a bit disturbing that they want to stalk that doctor, especially in light of the times when doctors have been murdered for providing abortions.

  5. By the way, Pooka, do you happen to have any better sources for diving into new archives? I’ve been trying to look up something I saw on AbortionSafety there and it’s turned out to be quite the interesting little case. It’s entirely possible that one of the deaths they cite as an example of abortion killing people is nothing but an urban legend.

    I seem to have uncovered a bit of a mystery here.

    See, in New York, they keep talking about Tamika Dowdy, a 22 year old at Long Island College Hospital who died in 1998. They keep claiming that she died from an abortion, but then some of them mention her heart stopping. I find Christian blogs and anti-abortion sites mentioning it, but I can not nail down a source for this.

    The best I can do is a mention of the story being in the New York Post on 12/6/98, where they cite an article that doesn’t provide any more information about her cause of death other than her heart stopping, but don’t provide a link to the actual article or any sort of followup to determine the actual cause of death.

    I find that article somewhat questionable as well, since they end it with “Police officials tried to squelch news of the tragic abortion death by omitting from their daily report that Dowdy died after an abortion, a police source said. They included only the address where the incident took place, not even mentioning an abortion was involved. ”

    Reporters are not always objective, but that seems particularly odd to me.

    Aside from that, the only other news source is a biased article from the New York Sun, which was a conservative-leaning newspaper. that also fails to provide a source.

    This thing seems to be passed around like an urban legend. The linking of her death to an abortion might be, especially given that they never cite any source actually linking her death to the abortion. If anything, the following sentence from that same article seems to suggest a history of heart problems in the family that may have contributed: “Friends said Dowdy was a sweet, churchgoing young woman whose mother died of a heart attack one year ago yesterday.”

    Maybe it’s just because I don’t have a subscription to newspaper archive services, but even the New York Post’s website fails to turn up anything in an archive search of Tamika Dowdy.

    Even over at Findagrave, they don’t have much to say. Not even a photo, just a note that the record about her was added in 2010.

    No follow up articles. Nothing about her life. No obituary. Nothing but one source in one paper that gets cited again and again that even that newspaper doesn’t seem to have archived.

    • Update:

      I have now gotten one other hit off of this. It doesn’t give much more information, though it does complicate the story even further.

      The only new thing it mentions regarding Ms. Dowdy is “The exact cause of death is uncertain; an autopsy performed yesterday was inconclusive, said Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the city medical examiner’s office.”

      That’s interesting if the story’s true, but the article provides us with another problem for this case.

      Citing this article from the New York Daily News: “Tamika Dowdy, 22, who was four months pregnant, died Tuesday”

      Whereas the alleged article from the New York Post says: “As a young woman lay dying in a Brooklyn abortion facility last Wednesday”

      The closest things I have to sources about this woman’s death don’t even agree on which day she died.

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