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Does Religion Matter at All?

Jul 08, 2014 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Responses to Readers

About a month ago, Abort73 received some scathing feedback from a middle-aged man in Minneapolis. Scathing feedback is not that uncommon for us, but it’s usually too vague and nondescript to even answer. In this case, however, the accusations were very specific. Here’s how his diatribe opened:

Why doesn’t [Abort73] suggest rejecting religion, particularly the Abrahamic varieties? This seems like the clearest and most helpful information, as the more secular a population is, the more societal health increases, including fewer abortions. States in the USA with the highest teen pregnancy rates are all compromised [sic?!] by religious fundamentalists.

Whether religious fundamentalists comprise or compromise those states with the highest teen pregnancy rates, his material assertion is the same: the more religious the state, the higher the teen pregnancy rate—and the higher the abortion rate. Never having examined the connection between a state’s religious fervor and its rate of teen pregnancy, I had to do some digging to determine whether our detractor was right. As it turns out, he’s half-right.

Listed below are the ten (actually 11) most religious states in America according to Gallup’s 2013 survey results. The first number is the percentage of residents who are considered “very religious”—a designation applied to anyone who says religion is important to their daily life and who attends religious services on a weekly basis. The second number is the state’s national

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“The Smartest Thing I Ever Did”

Jun 11, 2014 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion Arguments

Abort73 receives frequent testimony from women who have gone through an abortion. Most of the stories they share are posted in our “Abortion Stories” section, and the vast majority—somewhere around 95%—are stories of regret. From time to time, however, we hear from women who sing the praises of their purported abortion. Such was the case last month when we heard from a 30-year-old Seattle woman who calls her abortion “the smartest thing [she] ever did.” One of the challenges in reading stories like hers is that they don’t sound nearly as outrageous as they should—for the simple fact that the word “abortion” is clinical and abstract. As such, I’m going to share her story just as she submitted it, but I’m going to replace each mention of abortion with a more straightforward description. My edits are marked with brackets:

[Paying someone to violently kill my unborn child] was the smartest thing I ever did. At 21, I was in a terrible relationship with a guy who didn’t want me to work because he was convinced I was cheating with everyone there. I wasn’t, but he still expected his bills to be paid, and he couldn’t hold down a job. It was an emotionally and occasionally physically abusive relationship.

[Having someone kill our tiny and helpless child] was the kick in the pants I needed to get my life together. He wasn’t fit to be a father; he wasn’t the kind of role model I wanted. I’d been on birth control and trying to find a way out of our lease.

When I got

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Saving Preemies

May 28, 2014 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion Arguments

There’s an interesting phrase in the opening sentence of this week’s cover story from TIME magazine. The article is titled, "A Preemie Revolution," and the first sentence reads as follows: "It’s a safe bet that David Joyce knows more than you did when you were his birth age [emphasis added]." Unfortunately, "birth age" is not a designation we hear much. "When I was your age…" is a common descriptor. "When I was your birth age…" is not.

Why the distinction? In the article’s case, it’s because the entire piece focuses on the astounding, medical progress taking place in the realm of preemie care—the preemie revolution! David Joyce was born nearly three months early, on January 28. Between his birth date and due date, close to one million additional babies were born in the United States. According to their birth certificates, all of these babies are younger than David Joyce. In actuality, the vast majority of them are older. David Joyce may have exited the womb first, but most of these "younger" babes have been alive longer.

It is precisely here where the designation, birth age, becomes a helpful one. It reminds us that we’re all older than we think we are; it reminds us that our lives didn’t begin at birth. It may even prompt me to change the way I answer the question, "how old is your son (or daughter)?" "My son was born 11 years ago," is a more factually accurate response than to simply say, "11." It may not always be practical to make such a distinction, but we should

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T-Shirt Wearing 101: Lessons from Moneyball

May 13, 2014 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Ministry Updates

With last week’s release of the new Abort 73 (Huskies) T-shirts and tank-tops—so named for the UCONN jerseys they were inspired by—it’s a good time to revisit the underlying purpose of every Abort73 shirt in existence—all 50,000 of them! From the very beginning, Abort73 has been an attempt to think outside the “pro-life” box. That is especially true of our shirts, which have long been our primary means of advertising. Abort73 T-shirts are not meant to be educational or inspirational. They’re meant to introduce people to Abort73.com. Why? Because the Abort73 website does what no pro-life T-shirt comes close to doing. It educates and informs. It answers objections. It takes people beyond slogans, stereotypes and party-line sound bites. It provides evidence and documentation. Abort73.com has the potential to change the way someone thinks about abortion. T-shirts do not.

Of course, T-shirts do a lot of things that websites cannot—like walk the streets and deliver an unsolicited message. Their ability to infiltrate campuses and communities is why Abort73 continues to invest so heavily in their production. But here’s the problem. The Abort73 shirts that should be the most popular tend to be the least popular, and the Abort73 shirts that should be the least popular tend to be the most popular. I call it the Moneyball effect. If you’re not familiar with the movie (or the book it was based upon), Moneyball tells the mostly true story of the 2002 Oakland A’s. Central to the drama

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Making the Tragedy of Abortion Personal

Apr 22, 2014 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Miscellaneous

In a world as big as ours, tragedy is always striking somewhere—but we rarely notice. Even in our own communities, most tragedies remain impersonal and abstract—a mere headline or news report that is quickly forgotten. With rare exceptions, it is only when there is a personal connection that we begin to feel the actual weight of devastation.

Such was my family’s experience this past Easter morning when a three-alarm fire tore through a house across the street from us. My wife and I awoke at around 3:45 to yelling and loud pops. It sounded like fireworks, which we hear a lot in our area, but the screaming portended something much worse. When my wife looked out the window, she saw flames underneath the house (which is on stilts), yelled for me to call 911 and ran out the door. With heart racing, I called 911 from our deck. As I spoke with the dispatcher, the flames climbed to the second and third stories. A man jumped or fell from the top balcony while my wife was in the street. Other neighbors carried his limp body out of the driveway, fearful that the car under the house would explode. The few minutes that it took for the fire trucks to arrive seemed like an eternity.

Forty-five minutes later, the fire was contained, but one woman was dead and her husband—the man who jumped from the balcony—would die the next day. The four children in the house all made it out alive, but two of them lost their mom and step-dad; the others lost their aunt and uncle. We did not know the

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