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Friday, October 25, 2013

Got Stories?

Hey pro-lifers, we need your help!

You see, being at the fair for the past week, we've learned a few things.... A lot of people are interested in what we have to say. A lot of people need to hear what we have to say. And a lot of YOU have incredible personal stories about what we do and why we do it. 

So here's our idea: 

Do you have a pro-life story to share? Were you adopted? Did you or someone you know consider abortion but chose life? Have you had upsetting experiences with doctors who were not pro-life? Were you once pro-abortion and had a conversion experience? Have you had any conversations about life that left an impression on you? 

If you can say "yes" to any of these questions (or ones like them!), we invite you to share them with us, and we will publish them on this blog. 

Here are a few ground rules, though.

1) Keep it at or below 500 words. If your story is shorter, great! We can publish several at the same time. If your story needs significantly more than 500 words to be told, perhaps we can consider a guest post.

2) Abortion and euthanasia are not pretty subjects, but remember that many other people have been hurt by them, too. Please avoid bad language, graphic descriptions, and angry outbursts.

3) Don't over-share. While we appreciate your willingness to share with us, we ask that you be mindful of the privacy of others. Consider changing names and locations (just tell us if you've done so) and leaving out specific dates, especially if other people are involved in your story.  

4) Using "Pro-Life Story" as your subject, please email your story to Erin at 

Thanks in advance!

*NCRTL reserves the rights to decide what gets published and to make minor editorial changes as necessary*

Friday, October 18, 2013

Euthanasia: Why Not?

While the cultural battle rages most obviously around abortion, another threat to human dignity, euthanasia, has been in the background for decades. And while many will concede that the killing of an innocent child is morally questionable, they might disagree when it comes to euthanasia. After all, isn’t it more compassionate to allow someone to avoid the pain, embarrassment, and drawn-out suffering that old age so often brings? And aren’t those of us who want to force Grandma to live against her will somehow doing something inhumane? For Christians, it may be most natural to respond that only God may choose when we die and that people have dignity at every age, but with the average secular American, this tactic won’t work.

Fortunately, there are intelligent ways to argue against euthanasia without resorting to religious beliefs, and the easiest way to learn them is to divide the arguments into two categories: autonomy and quality of life.
The basic premise of the autonomy argument is that people should have the right to decide when they want to die. Proponents of euthanasia want laws allowing the elderly and terminally ill to have this option, but it’s impossible to limit this “right” to only certain people. What if an eighteen year old has been dumped by her boyfriend and decides that life is no longer worth living? Most people would agree that this is no reason to allow her to kill herself, but a law preventing such cases could be challenged on the basis of discrimination. In the Netherlands, for example, euthanasia was once limited to the terminally ill; today, children as young as twelve may legally seek assisted suicide, and doctors have more power over their patients’ lives than ever before.
Another way to address autonomy is to explain how those seeking suicide are never truly autonomous. Two separate studies, one conducted in Missouri and the other in Great Britain, found that of those considering suicide, 93% suffered from a mental disorder that impaired rational decision making. Another study discovered that of the terminally ill, 24% expressed a desire for assisted suicide, but of that 24%, every single patient had a mental disorder. In other words, in the overwhelming majority of cases, depression or another mental disorder, not the illness itself, caused suicidal thoughts, and mental illnesses are treated separately. Remember, too, that it’s terrible to assume that because someone is terminally ill, they should want to die. Most people who receive a terminal diagnosis are sad because they want to continue living.
This brings us to the quality of life arguments. These are harder to argue because they are much more personal; people are concerned about living in pain, facing a life of disability, or being a burden upon a loved one. What most people don’t realize is that we have the ability to control pain in up to 99% of cases. Too often, however, doctors and nurses do not receive adequate education in pain management, leaving them helpless or unsure of themselves when their patients are suffering. Instead of focusing on euthanasia, we should work for greater education in pain management so that healthcare providers at a clinical level can use it. After all, killing someone in pain does not solve the problem of pain, and we shouldn’t solve problems by killing people.
Also within the quality of life category is the disability argument; in our culture, it is far too commonly assumed that because someone has a disability, that person’s life is not worth living. Besides being incredibly discriminatory, this is just wrong, and certainly not compassionate or respectful. Allowing a disability exception within euthanasia laws just says that anyone who doesn’t meet our standards is disposable. A better response is to work as a society to be more accommodating; for example, we already require new buildings to be handicap accessible, indicating that we value people in wheelchairs despite their inability to walk. Many people with disabilities will tell you that they only feel different when other people treat them that way. Somehow, I suspect that being told they qualify for assisted suicide isn’t what they have in mind when it comes to equality.
Finally, people are frequently concerned about dying alone or being a burden on their loved ones. However, telling the elderly that we will be “compassionate” and allow them to die is actually confirming their fears of being burdensome and unlovable. Instead, telling Grandma that we will care for her and love her no matter what is much more reassuring; it says that we value her as an individual, and not because she’s “useful” or self-sufficient. Caring for others and allowing ourselves to be cared for is part of the human experience, and no one could survive long without other people there to help them.
Many proponents of euthanasia may never have heard persuasive, rational arguments against it, so hearing the subject presented in this way might be the key to more fruitful discussion. For anyone seeking more information or interested in learning where these studies come from, National Right to Life has an excellent series of articles on euthanasia (found here), as well as other issues of medical ethics.

 (A version of this article was first published on Ignitum Today)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pro-Life 101: Final Thoughts

*This is the seventh and final installment in a series of posts on pro-life apologetics based on the “When They Say, You Say” talks developed by Olivia Gans Turner and Mary Spaulding Balch. While reading in order is not strictly necessary, you may find it helpful. Post 1Post 2. Post 3.  Post 4. Post 5. Post 6. 

Over the last couple months, we've broken down the pro-abortion arguments into five categories and discussed how to address each one. We've also talked about how language influences what we say. Today we'll wrap up our Pro-Life 101 series with a few more thoughts.

While the main arguments fall into the five categories already mentioned, sometimes people will slip into a sixth....the ad hominem attack! When there's nothing left to say, you will become the target. The following are some common ones:

You're a man. 

You're too old to have children.

How many children have you adopted?

Remember, abortion is a human rights issue. It doesn't matter if you're an older man who's never had children--you have a right to speak up for your fellow humans! Always go back to your basic talking points, that life begins at conception and that mothers deserve better care than abortion. 

Your conversation may not change someone else's mind, but you never know what seeds you may plant or who else may be listening. And of course, your words are only a small part of what it means to be pro-life. More than anything else, the witness of your life, the things you do with it, will change the world. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Forty Years of Pro-Life Work!

While 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade decision, this year also marks 40 years of life-saving work in North Carolina. On Saturday, September 28, NCRTL celebrated the occasion with 160 friends and supporters at a banquet in Greensboro. 

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest
The evening began with a reception with Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, who greeted guests and posed for pictures with them. Forest is only the second Republican lieutenant governor to be elected in North Carolina since 1897, and he has been active in pro-life work for many years, including acting as former chairman of the board of Wake Forest Pregnancy Support Services.

Following the reception, guests were seated for dinner and the evening’s program began. After leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, Allen Morris, director of Concerned Methodists, presented Barbara Holt with the group's Trooper for Christ Award. Morris explained that while the award traditionally goes to members of the Methodist church, the organization felt that Holt deserved recognition for her years of devotion to pro-life ministry.

Guests waiting for the program to begin
Holt then gave some updates about NCRTL’s progress in recent years. As you know, North Carolina has passed some important pro-life legislation, including the Woman’s Right to Know/informed consent law, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, a ban on sex-selection abortion and webcam abortions, opting out of federally funded abortion in the health care exchange, and increased regulation of abortion facilities. Holt also talked about the success of NCRTL's first Camp Joshua and our increased presence on social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

NRLC President Carol Tobias
Guests were then treated to an address from special guest Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. Tobias commended NCRTL for not only the laws passed, but also for the number of pro-life members elected to Congress. Tobias encouraged North Carolinians to keep up the good work, noting that the pro-life movement is one characterized by love. Even though we may never meet the people we work so hard to save, she said, the fruit of our efforts is important nonetheless.

Lieutenant Governor Forest, the featured speaker, also spoke positively about the progress made in North Carolina. He recognized the legislators in attendance, saying that although he is the one often in the spotlight, the citizens owe their gratitude to the hard-working members of the General Assembly who face so much opposition for being pro-life.  Forest focused much of his speech on the need to return America to her roots. The misrepresentation of separation of church and state, he said, is responsible for the culture today because once you remove God from the public sphere, you lose respect for human life, too.

The evening’s program ended with a benediction, but many people stayed afterward to chat with one another. It was truly wonderful to see so many pro-life people enjoying each other’s company, and we at NCRTL are blessed to have all of your support!