Is There a Link Between Porn Culture and Human Trafficking? Ft. Nicole Smith

Show Notes

Unveiling the dark truth about human trafficking | Faithfully Engaged podcast ft. Nicole Smith

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Discover effective strategies for global human rights advocacy that create lasting change.
  • Explore the untold stories of mothers and their struggles with infertility, finding strength and support along the way.
  • Uncover the inspiring journeys of women who redefine what it means to be strong and resilient.
  • Gain insights into shifting societal mindsets and promoting the inherent value of every human being.
  • Learn actionable steps to actively address human trafficking and its underlying causes, making a tangible impact in your community. Nicole Smith is an advocate extraordinaire, dedicated to championing global human rights and shedding light on pressing issues like abortion, religious persecution, and human trafficking. With a heart full of compassion and a mind fueled by her political science and law studies, Nicole has fearlessly navigated the complex world of international affairs to bring about real change. Her career has taken her to the forefront of fighting for justice, whether securing the release of religious minorities imprisoned in Iran or raising awareness about the harrowing realities of human trafficking. But Nicole’s journey doesn’t end there. As a devoted wife and mother of two precious girls, she understands the power of love and the importance of finding a balance between family and her passion for advocacy. Get ready to be inspired as we dive into Nicole’s story, exploring her triumphs, challenges, and the invaluable lessons she’s learned. Let’s empower ourselves to combat human trafficking and its underlying causes. The key moments in this episode are:
    00:00:10 – Introduction,

    00:01:55 – Nicole’s Career Background,

    00:07:29 – Advocating for Religious Minorities,

    00:08:19 – Motherhood and Transformative Experience,

    00:11:26 – Secondary Infertility and Miscarriages,

    00:16:45 – Labor and Delivery,

    00:18:28 – Postpartum Experience,

    00:21:03 – Resuscitation and Diagnosis,

    00:22:25 – Hope and Faith,

    00:26:03 – Celebrating Women’s Strength,

    00:34:01 – The Influence of Culture on Human Value,

    00:36:19 – The Questioning of Human Value After Birth,

    00:38:17 – Foundational Perspective on Human Life,

    00:40:26 – Challenging the Measurement of Human Value,

    00:52:08 – The Demand Behind Human Trafficking,

    00:53:39 – Interconnected Players and Commoditizing Human Value,

    00:55:39 – Moving Beyond Superficial Solutions,

    00:57:46 – The Importance of Holistic Approaches, Nicole’s Links Website: https://www.dignitydefense.org/pro-dignity-no-doubtFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicoleMYSmith/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicolemysmith North Arrow Coffee Support Babies and Great Coffee!: https://northarrowcoffee.co/MvL3lHPodmatch: Want to be a podcast guest? Have your own podcast and want to find guests? Use podmatch! https://www.joinpodmatch.com/faithfullyengaged

Transcript

00:00:10 – Johnny Sanders
Many of you listening or watching to this podcast today care about life, care about human life. Many of you would describe yourselves as pro life and it’s a very important discussion but I very excited to have have this guest today. Her name is Nicole and she has not just a philosophical kind of view of pro life but has some very real and raw life experiences that she has to share for us today. So Nicole, it’s great to have you on and why don’t you tell the guest a little bit about yourself?

00:00:43 – Nicole Smith
Yeah, sure. Well, my name is Nicole Smith and I am married to a wonderful man and have two beautiful little girls. My career beyond motherhood, which is the most important career you could have, as I’m sure everybody else would agree, would also be on the communication sides of global human rights. So I’ve taken on many, many topics over the years, one of which being abortion, but also the cases of the child bribe in Uganda, the sex slave of Afghanistan, the religious minority imprisoned on Iran, and really any continent has been this occupied. I’ve probably dealt with some really tough choices and cultural realities and advocated on the behalf of those that are hurting. So that’s really my career background. But as you said yeah, birth of my second daughter would bring flesh and bone to my career, really make it all the more real and tangible because it became my everyday.

00:01:55 – Johnny Sanders
I’m actually going to throw a little bit of a curveball at you. I said we’re going to jump into your daughter, which we will. But let me actually go the other way first. Yeah, sure. Where did that desire of being in some pretty extreme situations, particularly globally, religious persecution in the Middle East over there that doesn’t scream a lot of little girls favorite dreams when they grow up. Tell us just a little bit about that process of what led you there.

00:02:28 – Nicole Smith
Yeah, actually it’s funny you say that because I’ve had that brought up quite a bit throughout my career. How do you handle such tough topics so often? But really it originated my parents were church planters as a child and they dealt with a lot of at risk youth, so they dealt with a church planting for youth ministries. And so I don’t know, it’s just like a family cultural reality that if someone was in need, you get up, you help. Right? And so I just grew up that way. My brother and I were very oriented and wired that way because that’s how we were raised. And as I got older, my family is not really oriented this way but more in the political spectrum. I became just really intrigued by politics very early in life, which my parents allowed me to foster in my own way. So as I got older I decided that I wanted to go and get an undergraduate in political science and then I pursued a master’s in law in public policy. I was not really prepared for what God had in store. With the use of that education, I had more of a mindset that I would go into constitutional law. And the irony of all irony is one of my very first jobs out of my master’s was at a constitutional law firm, but I was on the communication side. We called it the Court of Public Opinion, and they had an extensive network of affiliates on a global scale. So things that we did in the United States were oriented towards life and liberty issues. So that’s a lot of where the abortion topic came in, though I did deal with it in Europe and that kind of stuff as but yeah, that global aspect kind of came into play with those global affiliates. And so some of the biggest work that we did were mostly with religious minorities that were imprisoned in Iran, Sudan, Turkey, all sorts of different countries. That was very common for people to be thrown in prison for apostasy or a threat to national security. Iran would use that reasoning a lot. Well, if you go into Iran court systems, you’re not going to expect that a Christian would get fair due process of law, right? So essentially what we would do is bring awareness to these cases globally. We would raise a bunch of petition signatures. One of our cases got over a million petition signatures. We present it to the political process. President Obama caught attention of it and put one of our clients on the Iranian deal and he was released back to the United States, another one out of Sudan. This poor woman was actually pregnant, had to be imprisoned with her young child because if she’s a Christian, her children can’t be raised by have to. Children are actually imprisoned with their parents. It’s pretty messed up. But yeah, her case, Angelino Jolie, ended up taking on to it also the Pope. She was eventually released and now lives in the United States. So again, those are sort of that path that I didn’t really anticipate at the outset. I sort of got into this digital communication world that I wasn’t actually trained for, but I was very intimately aware of the intricate knowledge of really the policy processes and that kind of stuff. So it actually gave me kind of a leg up in that world. And I saw great success and success being that we saw great outcomes. Like people were freed out of prison in Iran. It would take time, but some pressure and some good political maneuvering. We got into places and people were released. So it was pretty amazing. But I got that question quite often. I would go to these conferences and you circle up and everybody’s like, hey, what do you do for your company? What company do you work for? I’m like, I sell shoes and I sell coats and whatever. And what do you do? I’m like free religious minorities out of, why are you here? I was like, Because people do need to be freed from these places, and these are the tools that we’re able to use to really impact outcomes that are just unreachable, like, really was just unreachable. The outcomes for these people would largely mean a death sentence. And I mean, literally, they would die because they’re very short timetables for their release. Sometimes it’s just like six to eight months, sometimes it’ll be several years. But still in Iran, they hang you up out for the public to see and literally execute you in those manners. So it’s just really brutal.

00:07:29 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, brutal is a good word. Very, very intense. Now, when you’re bringing I’m just trying to work on my own timeline here. When you were doing that, were you married and a mom at that point, or did that happen later?

00:07:47 – Nicole Smith
Yeah, actually. So I was married in school. We actually got married. My husband’s a civil engineer, so he took his time going through school. So I was already married. I think I was about three years into my career. Four years into my career, I ended up giving birth to my first child. And I really like to tell this story because motherhood really is just a very transformative experience. At least it was for me. I kind of look at it like entering the world of Oz. It was in black and white. And then I enter into Technicolor, and the birth story that I have for my first daughter is just it taught me how strong women were. And I know not all women have to take this path, but I’m kind of one of those, like, hey, go with the flow type girls. I was like, If I can do it without an epidural, I’m going to do it well. I had a 29 hours labor without any medication, and I pushed for 15 minutes. I burst almost every blood vessel in my face to give birth to a child. And then I’m walking up and walking around within minutes after giving birth, and for months and months after that, my husband kept going. You did that? That’s amazing. I called it the birth high. He was just like, oh, my gosh, that’s amazing. And I know after that point, I was just like, oh, man. Kind of bought into this cultural lie in a way probably not on a high level surface. My mom was a homemaker, and she made it a very prideful endeavor, career endeavor, to go in and be a homemaker. She always was very adamant that you called it homemaker. I’m not a stay at home mom. I’m not just a mom that stays home. Like, I have a career path that I have chosen, but I was very different than my mom, personality wise. I knew that I wanted a bit of balance of home ownership in the sense of what I create in my home, but also work outside of the home in my own capacity, in the own way, and own balance, too, because you can’t have all things at once, right? In those early years of my oldest daughter’s life, especially that first year, it was a very enriching experience. It was just beautiful. She was so sweet. She was just this beautiful little girl. And I’d gotten into an awareness of female strength that I’d always try to unwittingly compare myself to men in some ways, because I did have this idea of wanting to go and work in a nontraditional, I guess, role in some respects. And then it just gave me such a deep, abiding awareness of, oh, my gosh, I am incredible. I could do absolutely nothing else for the rest of my life. And I’m just amazing. I did that. And then I sustained that baby, that body that I grew, and with my own body, that just blew my mind. So that first year was just really just a beautiful experience. And so much so that we decided we wanted another little one about the time she was a year old. And that’s when things in our story sort of try to shift where I experience something that’s called secondary infertility. Didn’t realize that was a thing, but I think it’s like 20% to 30% of infertility are second or multiple childs. Usually you think it’s like the first kid, you struggle. But a lot of stuff was going on with my body I didn’t understand in the hormone space that gave me this physical ailment that would prevent me from conceiving a child. And so I went on this really intense journey of healing because it actually put me in an immense mind bending pain. I can’t describe how painful it was. It was 24/7 for three years straight. I kind of liken it to being doused with kerosene, and you just feel like you’re on fire all the time. I’ve never been set on fire, but that’s what I feel like it would be. And so I sort of went on this journey of discovery, of how to get this ailment gone. Inflammation in my body that was just constantly racking my immune system. So after two years, I sort of transitioned into a new season, which is a season of miscarriages. Unfortunately, the inflammation was going away, which meant I would get pregnant, but then it was hormone responsive, so I’d get pregnant and it would respond and I would lose the baby. So for about a year, I started to go through an even more dark season than I ever imagined before. Here you want a baby. And then man, my oldest, she just children are just so spiritually aware on a level. Here she is, like two, three years old, and I’d be like, laid out on the floor just sobbing because of losing another child. And my three or four year old’s, like, laying her hands on me, praying for healing and praying that maybe God will let this baby stay with us instead of going with Jesus. And I’m just absolute just a beautiful but it was a struggle, too, because I felt this is another season that was hard to describe. It was almost like I was losing two children, because when I’d lose a baby, I was put into this really dark space that I was losing my baby in front of me because I was losing the experiences with her where I was supposed to feel joy at all of her firsts. And I wasn’t feeling any joy because I was just so wracked with grief. And of course, my body is just tired and in pain all the time. So I got a lot of people tell me all the time that, well, you should be grateful you have a child. And I said, But I don’t think you understand what the implications of what’s happening. And I don’t know if you have children, but do you have children?

00:14:16 – Johnny Sanders
I’ve got two little ones, and I got one on the way.

00:14:19 – Nicole Smith
Congratulations.

00:14:20 – Johnny Sanders
Thank you.

00:14:21 – Nicole Smith
That’s awesome. Yeah. So, you know, probably observed with your wife or even for yourself, when you want a kid, you just really want a kid. It’s like this switch that goes off. It’s wild. So, yeah, it was just this deep, dark cycle of about three years when the Ailment was starting to I’m finally finding the solutions. That was great that I get pregnant with my youngest daughter, and she is a fighter. So we named her Cosette, and it has kind of two uses meanings, victorious, little one. I really enjoy meanings. I usually base it off of family names, but this one really stuck. And I was like, she’s alive, she’s here, she’s growing. When none of her siblings were able to, she’s victorious little one. And so the pregnancy was okay. Wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great. And that’s really when we go into a new season, too, that I don’t know if I’ve skipped ahead of your schedule, but we’ve arrived at my second daughter’s birth.

00:15:31 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, that’s fine.

00:15:32 – Nicole Smith
Okay, good. Yeah. So this is COVID. She’s a COVID baby. She was born in April 2020.

00:15:43 – Johnny Sanders
She’s really a COVID baby.

00:15:45 – Nicole Smith
She’s, like, at the height of it. Oh, my gosh. Yeah. I don’t know if anybody remembers this or if you do, if you experienced it, but it was like literal parking garage gynecological exams. You had to go into parking garages to get your prenatal testing. Most everything was telehealth. It was awful. So, unfortunately, I went into labor before. They didn’t give me my 36 week test and shot to make sure I didn’t have an infection. They usually do because of COVID They pushed everything back. Well, I went into labor three weeks early, so 27 hours labor. They didn’t touch me but a few times. And as it turns out, I had what they call prolapse cord. That’s when the cord comes out in advance of the baby that was discovered at 27 hours, and you’re just laboring. And again, I don’t have an epidural. I didn’t it the first time. I didn’t do this time either. And you’re just laboring and everything’s fine. Actually, my husband had started to take a nap because it had been a while. I don’t fault him for that. And the doctor finally comes in like, hey, it’s been a really long time, but it’s looking like the baby might be in a little distress. I need to check you. So she checks me and, yeah, prolapse cord. She yells out, like, 20 medical professionals are in that room scrambling to get me covered up and rushed to the or. I have no idea what a prolapse cord is. They’re very rare. And my husband stands up all of a sudden, what’s happening? Nobody comes to tell him what’s happening. Really rushed the or. I don’t have an epidural, so I feel everything that they’re doing. Shoving the catheter in the doctor’s hand has to still remain up there to keep the cord, the baby off the court as long as possible. And I start to couple, tears roll down, and this sweet anesthesiologist says, I know you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right now, but we do this all the time. You’re going to be okay. And I was like, but I’m not falling asleep. What are you going to do? Are you just going to rip her out of me while I’m awake? And she said, no, we’re going to put you under general. And at that point, I black out. And when I wake up, I have no baby for hours. I have no baby, and I’m delusional. I have no idea where I’m at. Because when you don’t have an epidural, they do put you under general. And when you come out, you just feel everything because there’s no epidural to sort of taper off and then pain medication to come into play. So they put me on a narcotic, but it never did anything. It just made me high as a kite. Honestly, I was just out of my mind delusional. And finally they bring her to me, and almost immediately we know something is wrong. She’s acting erratic. She can’t latch. She looks like she’s having seizures, all this stuff. But it takes four days for them to formalize that there’s something wrong. And they send us off into NICU again, height of COVID so no family could be there. My husband couldn’t be there. Here I had just had major surgery without any pain medication. And then when you’re in upper NICU, the intensive NICU, they just give you a chair in the corner. And I couldn’t put my feet up. There was no place. And at the end of the day, they get you in a raffle, and you get to maybe stay in a separate room. And you go in from, like, 06:00, and you have to be out in the morning and then right back to your chair again. And at night, just a massive box with a really thin mattress on it. That’s what I slept on. And my body would go into shock. I would just shake uncontrollably from the pain and up the next morning right back out, because I had memorized their shift changes so I could follow what was happening. Well, they never told me this, actually. Three weeks later, during a shift change, I heard one of the nurses during a shift change say that she had been resuscitated at birth. They never formally told me that she was ever resuscitated, and confirming was the insurance that said resuscitation of infant $746. It was a line item, yes. So we just it was it was hard because, you know, again, you’re doing this by yourself and you have a near five year old. At this point, they isolate you. It was indescribable experience. But I had this one really impactful conversation I had with my husband over the phone late night. He just didn’t want to get off the phone with me. Got to understand, my husband’s very introverted and quiet talking is not really his jam. So I’m like, I just want to get off the phone, I want to go sleep. And he goes, Nikki, this is it, our daughter. She is our mission. She’s giving life and breath to the identity that we have in Christ, the identity we have as his image bearer. It doesn’t matter her outcome. She is important, she is precious. She is ours, and she’s who we prayed for, it’s who God gave us. And it would be six months when she would receive the formal diagnosis of cerebral palsy, which is essentially brain damage. And the way every case of cerebral palsy is different, because the damage done to the brain is a unique brain done, the damage is done to a unique brain. So everyone is just like our idea. CPU is always they’re bedridden, they’re in a wheelchair the rest of their life. They can’t speak, they can’t do a lot of stuff. And early on, you don’t know, they just have guesses, educated guesses. And she had to get a gastric tube because she was unable to feed. She is three and a half. She is free of that gastric tube. She can now eat, she cannot speak, she cannot walk, but she will one day. It’s a matter of when, not if. And so the prognosis that she had at the early outset, never eat, never walk, never talk. She will be a victorious little one. She’s just chipping away at every little one. And so I remember a NICU standing over her, and God, now I know why you gave her that name. And I insisted that everyone call her by her full name. Her nickname is ETI, but we call her Cassette because I wanted even a doctor that didn’t believe in God that every time that they uttered her name, they were speaking a blessing of victory over her every single time. And so through prayer, she will have victory. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when. So that’s where things sort of have given a deeper meaning to my mission.

00:24:04 – Johnny Sanders
Wow. Yeah. So many winding roads, ups and downs throughout the precursor, the build up of trying to get pregnant to having pregnancy, and then, obviously, the birth itself, and then afterwards, already proving so many people wrong.

00:24:30 – Nicole Smith
Amen.

00:24:31 – Johnny Sanders
And what an incredible story of perseverance, of strength. That kind of goes back to what you’re talking about before, of I see this a lot with women that, yeah, well, I’m just a mom, or just this, just that. And I look at my wife like I said, my wife’s pregnant right now. And her pregnancies, she is a blessed soul. She is sick, like, the entire nine months.

00:25:08 – Nicole Smith
Oh, my gosh.

00:25:09 – Johnny Sanders
All three. And all three. The babies are due in the summer, so she’s throwing up while it’s 100 degrees. But then that baby’s born and she feels great. But what an incredible thing. There’s nothing more for those of you that are listening, if you’re not a parent and you’ve not experienced that, there literally is nothing like it in the world.

00:25:38 – Nicole Smith
No, it isn’t.

00:25:40 – Johnny Sanders
It’s incredible, like, absolutely incredible that that is your child that came out of in your case, out of your body. If you’re the husband, out of your wife’s body, it’s amazing. And for our culture to really downgrade that oh, I know. Is awful.

00:26:00 – Nicole Smith
It’s a great disservice to women, honestly. And I think it started off really in a quiet manner. Right. We’re wanting the suffragettes didn’t downgrade their womanhood in order to obtain what they should be, which is equal footing within society to be able to vote. Right. And then we’ve moved so much that this idea of equal footing within equal access and equal outcome, that it slowly just eats away at the reality, the truth, that we’re seeking out this male view of the bombastic strength, which is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. Men are just the way that God makes you. To be strong and powerful and to protect is something of its own brand of beauty that should be celebrated. But in an attempt to get these little gains, what they saw as gains, they whittled away the reality of women’s strength. And it is a great disservice. Again, I don’t think I fully bought into it, but really at the surface, under the surface, I feel like I did until I had kids, and I’m like, oh, my gosh, this is just amazing. And everybody has different experiences. I understand. But when you really think about the fact you grew a person, and when you equate, especially when you’re saying your wife is sick, but they equate the energy outputs required at different stages in gestational development, it’s insane that women are still upright still walking around, still taking other children, taking care of other children, still doing jobs. I know my husband, when he has a cold, he’s definitely not us. We make fun of it so much in society. But it’s true that’s actually female strength exemplified we can endure intense amount of internal pain and still continue to push because we can deliver human life through our body. And I know most women are like, I can’t do that. No, you can. You just don’t want to because you have an epidural. It’s a wonderful option, don’t get me wrong, but you can actually do that. That’s what you’re designed to do. And so when we have these moments of resilience that transcend what men are like, how do you do that? It’s because of that. And I think we’ve sort of forgotten because we don’t really think of it in that way. This is us being strong and powerful.

00:28:58 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. And I like the way you put that of men. And obviously we’re talking in generalities of everybody, but yeah, that strength I’ll speak for on my behalf. I’ve always been a pretty happy go lucky. Like, I’ve never been in a fistfight. That side of physical strength, of having to bash heads in or whatever, has never been my big thing. But I don’t remember this specific moment. But I remember when I was dating my wife, and I don’t think we were even engaged at that point that I’m thinking of, but these thoughts of like, hey, if somebody looks at her the wrong way, I’m going to do something. It was just this inner thing, this inner protection protector. I hadn’t felt this like I had protection for my sister and for my nieces, but not this intensity. And like you said, that’s beautiful on its own, right? But yeah, nobody that knows my wife and has known the difficulties of pregnancies that she’s gone through, and she stays at home with our kiddos and raises them. Nobody can say that she’s weak because she’s sick. Like, no, she’s incredibly strong. All this while raising a baby. And baby, which is for all we know for now, has been super duper healthy. And we’re really grateful for that. But yeah, strength is the right word. Just because she can’t lift as much weight as I can does not mean that she’s not strong.

00:30:42 – Nicole Smith
And I think it’s a limitation on the term. You know, how, like, you look up a word and a dictionary has multilevels of a definition. I think we very much limited the word of strength to something that is outward and bombastic. Bombastic. And that’s a cheapening of that word. There’s more to that. And again, too, like physical strength, but physical tied to an emotional strength that comes with that. I look back at my the first birth I have, of course, that was amazing physical accomplishment to look at my second, and it was an amazing physical accomplishment, too, in its own, right? But the emotional toll and strength that I had to, you know, sort of my NICU experience was I believe that the outward presentation is a reflection on the inward mentality. So I would get up every morning about 06:00, and I would curl my hair and put my makeup on, and I’d put my clothes on and I would open the curtains, and I was open for business. The way I looked at it, it was a really difficult time in which I had to push through emotionally on a level I didn’t know I was capable of. And I had to keep doing that, and I still have to do that today because the reality is my daughter’s not out of the woods. Right. She still has many challenges that she has to endure. But this has built endurance in me to a level that I could not comprehend at the outset and parenthood in general, is that right? Every passing day, week, year is a different set of challenges that we have to figure out the solutions to that build an endurance and awareness of our internal reality that our own struggles, right? We’re not perfect. Now, my daughter’s eight, and I’m like, okay, look, you’re aware Mommy and Daddy are not perfect. She’s like, oh, I’m aware, I know. But just surmount those ever increasing challenges that when they’re little, they have little problems. When they get big, they have big problems, right? So God gives you that build up of endurance through the years as those challenges change. And as a mother, I think that that’s made me stronger in my career as well, because, again, it gave that flesh and blood to when I was working with young child brides in Uganda, I didn’t have the honor of holding her and telling her how important and precious and wonderful that she was. And I knew that behind her there will be hundreds of other little ones that will be put in the same circumstance that she was, that I could buy back her diary and put her back into school. But the culture around her would perpetuate an idea that she wasn’t as valuable as a man. And that wasn’t okay with me. So probably getting back to the career part, how hard it was is that I couldn’t settle for that anymore. That culture could perpetuate this reality that as my daughters grow in, american culture is no different than Ugandan or Iranian or French or Armenian. They’re all the same. They’re all the same. And I know it looks different. Every culture perpetuates this idea that dignity can be measured. Someone can be devalued for another criteria or another. Right? Culture perpetuates that idea, and it has different products. American culture, abortion is one of those realities. Human trafficking, drug culture, porn culture, euthanasia. We have about, what, I believe around seven or eight core, core industries that commoditize the human person and American culture. And we need to change. The mindset around human value. We need to create a mindset within our culture that says, hey, you are the image bearer of the heavenly Father. Heck, you don’t even have to believe in God. Do you see that this is a person with a genetic DNA, and that alone is access to full equal rights of personhood. Because if you don’t look at it as the genetic genesis of the genetic human person, then you are making a philosophical allowment for the measurement of human value. Because it says, hey, culture has the right to measure human value at any point in development, even if it is at six weeks, even if it is at 20 weeks, even if it is at 40 weeks. And I like to try to bring this in too, because it’s more of the reality we were facing too, is that several state governments were presenting death by medical neglect up to 28 days after birth around the same time that my daughter was born. That means that on the table they could have told me, your daughter will have brain damage, do not resuscitate because her value, her quality of life, will she’ll be fed by a G tube, whatever they say, and she’s better off dead. And the people that said it wasn’t a reality that we could enter from the point of the discussion around human value within the womb, could ever exit out of the womb and be put into question. You need to look at California, Maryland and Colorado and some conversations I’ve had with parents, one out of Colorado in particular. Their son had a very similar birth to Cosette. His was just a longer duration without oxygen. So a higher ischemic damage, brain damage. And they approached them and said, hey, why don’t we just put them into extended care? Because when he’s 30 something years old, you’re still going to be wiping his rear end. So we’ll just withhold all medical intervention and just let him die when he’s just fine. So this is the reality that we’re in because we put into question any point in the gestational development. The value of human life was put into question. It will exit the womb. It already has exited the womb. And what you have people that without question say, yes, it is a right for a mom to just let her child die on the table. And that was a reality I could not handle either because that’s the idea that my daughter is not as valuable as her sister and that’s not a world that I’m okay with. And we need a serious rework of our mindset around human value within culture and a big thing. I’ve worked with the abortion discussion for well over a decade because that was a lot of the topics I took on. Seen every imaginable angle from pro life to pro choice. There’s really nothing new under the sun, unless it’s just borderline psychotic. We’re nonsensical. And I always feel like the conversation starts about two to three steps too far down the conversation line. We need to bring it down foundationally. And it’s very hard to refute the idea of human life holding intrinsic value when you place it at that level. Because if you come in on that discussion where you’re like I mean, talk about any talking point in the abortion discussion, it’s all the same. It really is where you just kind of put intention the level of value a human possesses, like the mom, has a greater moral significance than that of the fetus because of the fetus’s point in development makes them more dependent upon. So if that’s the philosophical argument you’re looking at, you’re on a sliding scale of value for your whole life. Because when you exit the womb, you leave that child there, they’re still in a total state of dependence. They need you for a life, for breath. And honestly, you can argue all the way up until through adolescence just a sliding scale of moral value. And then once you hit this certain point, then if you get into an accident and you sustain any type of physical or mental impairment, then your measurable value decreases because it’s off this philosophical concept that it’s physical dependence that is where you derive or lose your moral worth. So again, it’s just this bringing it down another step and really seeing where those conversations lie. It’s really hard to be like, hey, culture should have a right to measure human value. I’m like, well, what about the Holocaust? Kind of what they did? Yeah. No, you don’t support that? Okay, well, let’s have that conversation around the philosophy of how they got there because kind of jumping into that racial idea. We don’t really talk about world War II in particular had multiple racial groups at play at that time. Right? And so we think of it like the Nazis are looking at Jews as a racial inferiority, but they always forget to talk about the Japanese and the death of 20 million Chinese that were killed because of their racial inferiority. And they’ve divided and put us in these different camps and forgetting the narrative that it’s an impact on. It’s a reality of the human condition to try to measure. Right? We like to believe that we’re better than someone else or we’re stronger because we feel weak. And that’s what Hitler played a part in. They felt weak from World War I, and he made them feel strong. He made them feel powerful. And when you feel powerful, you feel powerless, and you are made to feel powerful. You will always degrade someone else’s value in that process to make yourself feel important. And if you make that allowance within culture at any level in development, you get this point in which they can say to my daughter, you’re not worth living. Your value is not worth it because you’re going to have.

00:42:17 – Johnny Sanders
Know, I think what you’re saying there we’re seeing similar discussions, and you mentioned this briefly on the opposite end, particularly into Canada of euthanasia. When’s the right time to end life? And look, I’m pretty staunchly against the whole practice, so just doing this for kind of the devil’s advocate. I think the intention is behind, oh, Grandma’s been suffering. She’s going to die next month anyway, so why not do the merciful thing and just let her go down easy? That’s what’s but she’s not a dog. Exactly.

00:42:58 – Nicole Smith
She’s not a dog. So I liken this, okay, say Grandma did die, right? You’re driving to the funeral, and you’re greeted by the groundskeeper and says, we’re not going to bury your grandmother. Instead we’re going toss her out in a field, and that’s going to serve as her final resting place. Why is it that that idea of not treating human remains with the dignity that’s deserved when the soul is not there anymore, even if you don’t believe in a soul, that person doesn’t exist, has no breath, no sentience. The idea that you don’t treat that with respect is offensive, deeply disturbing. It’s because it doesn’t matter. That image in and of itself has value, and you cannot just throw it away. You cannot dispense of it as if it’s trash, as if it’s just a carcass of a deer. Even that even deer have value, and all things actually have value if you’re really going to talk about it. But human value is what it is, and you either value it holy or you allow it to be valued, not holy. And it basically says this, if it isn’t to be put into a segmented, weaken a scalable reality. It means that that truth existed always. It means that human value has always been measurable. It’s measurable today, it’s measurable in the future. It’s measurable way back when. That means that slavery, that means that rate, that means that all of that sort of concept is as long as it benefits society in the whole, which slavery, it does have a benefit, a whole holy benefit. And again, one of the abortion debates off arguments is that abortion benefits society wholly because it actually reduces demand for welfare state and all these our prison systems, our school systems, there’s a net benefit to society by allowing abortion that’s population control. And so if you allow that concept, you’re essentially basically saying, if it’s okay today, it was okay yesterday, and then you were okay with every form of dignity measurement that’s ever existed, as long as it wholly benefits society, if there’s a net benefit, it’s okay. And actually, there’s a lot of I mean, I’ve written on this a lot over the years, and especially since my daughter has been born, because there is a lot of ethical, and I say ethical very loosely around net benefited value measurement. So it’s this idea that if society can if the death of a disabled child this is actually from a Princeton ethics professor again, very loosely said that if the death of a disabled infant means that there could be a birth of a non disabled infant and that child’s life is a greater chance of happiness. Then it’s good that the disabled child dies. Because essentially they’re around this concept of happiness being derived from your societal output, how you contribute to society as a whole. That’s how you measure moral significance. That’s how you measure net happiness, which I cannot tell you what it would feel like if my daughter did not have breath in her body. I try to say this in a sense, like, my oldest is so beautiful and sweet, and I don’t lessen her contribution to the world. But my youngest, I think it’s just because of who she is and what she’s overcome. There is just this shining light of joy. And children that I’ve met that are in the same situation as her, they’re so deeply happy. They bring so much joy. And let me tell you, I’m not lessening the impact of the struggle too, because my daughter stopped breathing four or five, six times a day for first two years of her life. Your child chokes on a chicken nugget once, and it’s like it was terrifying. Like, yeah, that was first two years of her life was just a struggle. But I couldn’t imagine not fighting to put that breath back in her lungs every single time to ensure that she is still here. If I could go back and change the circumstance of her birth absolutely. So she didn’t have to struggle through that. But let me tell you, my daughter is not disabled. My daughter is actually I actually look at her comparative to my oldest daughter in the sense of struggle breeds character development. Her first breath on this side of the womb is a testament to that journey of character development that my oldest I have to falsify I know that seems kind of weird. I have to create instances of struggle where she can have development in her character, where my youngest, I don’t have to do that because just by every breath, she’s striving and pushing through in a way that my oldest is not going to ever really fully understand. And me too, I’m fighting with her, but I just look on her in such awe, like, that is human strength. That is human resilience. She is powerful. She is important. She has brought so much happiness with her disability or without this concept of measurable value is a sick thing. It really is.

00:49:02 – Johnny Sanders
Well, you were just talking about the World War II, and I’ve been having kind of this internal debate in my head just about eugenics in general, and that was a huge 20th century, early 20th century theme. And then obviously, World War II like, oh, that’s bad. But my internal struggle here is like, did it ever go away or was it just kind of not talked about as much because it’s pretty apparent. Nobody’s coming out and just saying, yeah, I’m for eugenics, but saying to not treat your daughter, how is that not eugenics? That’s awful.

00:49:45 – Nicole Smith
It still exists very much identity politics is very much rooted in a eugenics argument. It is this idea that value is buildable based upon a criteria set out by culture at the time, right? So our culture is setting those value criteria that looks different than it did in Nazi Germany, right? But it’s still the same basic principle. And like I saying know, in Uganda, the principle is the same as in America. We’re doing the same thing. It’s under the same idea that we can measure human value based on a criteria that’s set out by that culture in this time now. And it wasn’t okay then, it’s not okay now, or it was okay then, and it is okay now. You are either in one camp or the other. And that’s why I like to discuss this in a way that the organization that I founded, we haven’t really talked about that yet, was based off that need of connecting the dots, because we’re not connecting the dots very well within these discussions. Again. And that was a struggle. The non connecting of dots was a struggle for me when I was addressing the issue of abortion and communication side of things is because I believe that it was a bit short sighted and you’re addressing too much of the political noise. You’re always going to lose at that level. It was just very frustrating. And especially in the abortion area, it’s such a politically loud area, we can all agree on that. But if you walked over just to the side and let’s talk about human trafficking. It’s a very big discussion, very, very big shift in mentality around that discussion. No matter who you’re speaking to, whether they’re left, right, center, wherever they’re like, yeah, trafficking is bad, we should not do that. Except for the problem is trafficking is not only surviving, it’s thriving. I call it like the McDonald’s. Everybody swears they’re not a part of it, but they’re obviously growing. Right? And the problem is that human trafficking in and of itself doesn’t exist because of trafficking. There’s a demand that drives into trafficking. So porn culture, that is a big part. So the very first person that is dehumanized in the process is a man. A man is taught that he is nothing but a set of chemical impulses that need not be controlled. And an outlet is through. This is pornography. And he starts to consume. And his mentality shifts from the harmless distance to the physical consumer or which offsets the supply and demand. For the willful participants in pornography, the porn industry or sex industry, to the non willful participants in the sex industry. And so if they don’t have enough, willful they’ll get many unwillful participants? Those unwillful participants are getting they get them addicted to drugs, and they get them locked into a legal system that prevents them from thriving and they guilt them into staying. And they’re addicted to drugs anyway, so that keeps them there. So drug culture feeds into it. Then when they’re impregnated, they’re sent to the abortion industry in order to get those sort of symptoms of the consequences of the industry to have that problem removed. And then it’s more connective than we give it credit for. And because of that idea of the complexity of these interwoven players to approach it from that foundational precept too, really, we cannot have any evidence of commoditizing of human value. Because if you just get rid of human trafficking or try to address just trafficking in itself, you’re always going to have a demand feeding into it things that are perpetuating it. So again, I dealt with all these really hard issues, so I just felt God was convicting me. Like, we have to do this differently, can’t do this the same way. Because it’s like we have a dam that is bursting and we’re just sticking our fingers in it and just praying to God that it doesn’t just and it’s about to blow. And so instead of just sticking our holes and waiting for the impending disaster, we have to find the source of the problem itself. And it’s really rooted in this idea of human value changing and shifting our mindset around it culturally.

00:54:52 – Johnny Sanders
So for people that are listening, and I’m going to speak for the audience, I think most are probably going to track with you that, yes, just going to the ballot box, voting for the right person while is not inherently a bad thing. We’re not getting to that deeper level or just having a quick little debate over abortion or human trafficking or whatever it may be. It’s not really sufficient. It’s not getting to the depths there. So those that are listening that are like, okay, yeah, we want to get to the deeper level, but how do I do it? What steps do I take to kind of start changing some minds and being able to have cultural change towards life in that way? What do you think that they can do?

00:55:39 – Nicole Smith
Yeah, so I want to first sort of address how we’re approaching Holistically as an organization and then see how they sort of fit into that. Because one of the big lessons I always learned in communications, which we call digital advocacy, or advocacy in general, is that not everybody can do all things right. The point of entry is sometimes you can sign a petition, sometimes it can share information, sometimes you can donate, sometimes it’s you can volunteer. Everybody has their role to play in the battle at hand. And so coming out of this from organization, we wanted to be holistic about our approach. So we wanted to have kind of a three pronged area of impact. So we want to educate, to change grassroots mindset around human value through the telling of stories and really like my daughter’s story or many others that have experienced this measurement of their value through culture and to really start to think outside, like, oh my gosh, actually we are doing that. Sometimes it’s just about that idea, the question, because the questioning is where we begin to change our concepts about a value. Right. Because I think we’re preaching too much forward and saying, hey, you must believe this well. And they’re like, Why? And so if you start to think holistically about this idea of human value and educate, we can start to see that lot. And this is a longer term goal. Education is a long term. You don’t just see that overnight. But also, not only does culture impact policy impacts culture, right. So we do have to look at policy. And so we’re compiling experts that can help with educating. But we’re also going into the halls of government to try to be a stopgap for laws like the one I mentioned in Colorado that are allowing for the death of infants up to 28 days after birth. You got to stop that stuff before it goes through. Right? And then also additionally, organizations, one of the biggest critiques, especially in the abortion arena, is that you don’t care enough about the person beyond their birth, which is absolutely one of the biggest lies there is, because it’s not true. Because there’s thousands upon thousands upon thousands of nonprofits out there that are working on their little corner of the dignity arena, whether it’s in human trafficking or abortion, whatever it is. And again, even abortion, there’s different aspects of the mother and the child’s care, or if your child has disabilities, or there’s all these organizations that deeply care. But I’ve worked with organizations and they’re really struggling to do their job well. Sometimes they’re not connecting well with other organizations that can help amplify their impact. So we’re trying to work with organizations to find the connectivity to improve how they’re operating so that we can better serve people, transform culture while improving how we serve people. So that’s what we do organizationally. And you as the individual is really to start thinking on that deeper level. And organizationally, we want to share that content that can have that different perspective. But to try to educate yourself because again, we’re coming at this so politically, we’re allowing the political noise to like and even from I would even say from the pro life side, there’s a lot of this noise that’s not helpful. It drives away conversation. It doesn’t exactly lend yourself to building those relationships with people that you go, hey, let’s ask questions. Let’s ask questions about the pro life site. Let’s ask questions about the pro choice site. What do we think about this or that? Or how is the abortion industry commoditizing? Let’s ask about that and ask hard questions. And don’t just let your I wouldn’t call it political bias, but the things that you’re most anchored towards start putting question marks around it so that those question marks make you stronger in your position. They do not make you weaker, they just don’t. And then also to be aware of the public policy process. Because what is very troublesome to me is that these laws can sneak through unnoticed by groups like ours that would really care to do something about, but don’t always have the ear to the ground in all parts of the nation.

01:00:26 – Johnny Sanders
Right?

01:00:27 – Nicole Smith
So we have a place on our website that’s just a contact us forum. We use that for all things. If you’re in Colorado and you see something like that reach out to an organization even, it’s just not ours, but another policy group that’s in your area and just like, hey, really feed into this. Because we need to change culture through the conversations we have and the questions we’re asking. But we also need to make sure that our public policy is just protecting life. And I always try to make this point too, that if somebody tries to say that law is not designed to preserve human value, I ask you to look at our traffic laws. So why do we have traffic laws? We’re like order. No, really. It’s the idea that you can’t just jaywalk and walk out into traffic because you have value, and other people that you could potentially intercept have value too. It’s not just about order. All of our laws, we maintain bodily autonomy insomuch as it affects somebody else’s bodily autonomy. So our laws should, at its foundation, look at not just the order they create within society, but the value and the impact that our choices make on other people’s value. So really thinking more holistically around that and our mindset around what law is actually supposed to do. It’s actually supposed to protect us and so we can maintain proper bodily autonomy. I’m not a fan of that argument. It’s such a silly idea because they’re like, what laws dictate men’s bodily autonomy? I’m like every law, you can’t take a left turn when it’s red. Okay? Pretty much everything is supposed to dictate what you can and cannot do with your body, your intellectual output, because if you’re doing these things, they’re affecting someone else in a negative fashion that should be unlawful.

01:02:34 – Johnny Sanders
Right?

01:02:37 – Nicole Smith
It’s pretty wild.

01:02:39 – Johnny Sanders
I think that’s all great information. Your organization sounds like it’s doing not just great work. I generally will plug for people to be involved if they’re supportive of pro life type of things, of going to your local Cris pregnancy center and things of that nature, which are fantastic. But what I like about what you’re describing of your organization is there’s not a lot of those going around. There’s a ton of crisis pregnancy centers, which are great, but like you’re saying, there are some that thrive and some that don’t. So why aren’t they thriving and how can we help them? I think that’s great. Just the whole basis of your organization is kind of that deeper layer thinking which is desperately needed in this movement. For sure.

01:03:30 – Nicole Smith
Yeah. And I hated this idea. And again, everybody’s kind of I’ve worked in organizations for a lot of times, they get bigger territory and you feel comfy in your territory and you don’t want anybody to step in your territory. And I think that is a harmful thinking because sometimes those territories they need to cross so that those other organizations that can actually build you up and you can build them up, they have strengths that are your weaknesses sometimes. You don’t need to build those parts of yourself up. You just need to deal smart partnerships, get that interconnectivity and the camaraderie around the deep, deep desire for protection of life. Right. So I always take heed to the criticism, right. The pro choice is always going to say, you don’t care, prove them wrong. You care so much that you will go into the places that they are unwilling to go because you see that person that is hurt in a trafficking situation. You see that woman that is being exploited by the abortion industry. You see that man that is addicted to pornography, that is putting his family in a terrible situation, whatever it is, you care so much that you want to exact change, prove them wrong, get up, stand up, do what you need. And we all have our own thing that we’re supposed to be doing, right? You don’t have to do everything. Find your thing, care about that thing and the people that are affected by that thing. It’s just that simple.

01:05:00 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. This has been wonderful. I’m sure we could share stories all day long for audience members that are listening to you, that want to stay plugged into you, follow you on social media, learn more about your organization. How can they be in contact with you?

01:05:21 – Nicole Smith
Sure. Our organization is called Dignity Defense Institute, and it’s dignitydefense.org that you can find us. Dignitydefense.com will bring you to a gun manufacturer. That’s not us, though I kind of appreciate that a little bit in the sense is very important. And we also have our own podcast. It’s called pro dignity. No doubt. And it’s very oriented towards these really tough stories and tough questions surrounding the different ways that American culture measures our value and the impacts and people’s real life. And on our website, pretty much most of the social media is mine at this point. It’s at you’ll pretty much on any platform you’ll find me. But you can look on our website, they’re on there too. So yeah, that’s how you reach us.

01:06:20 – Johnny Sanders
Awesome. Well, I have all that included down in the show notes. And again, Nicole, it’s great having you on. Wonderful stories, wonderful organization, and certainly very thankful for you to be on the show and for you to share that with us today.

01:06:35 – Nicole Smith
Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

01:06:38 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. And thank you to everyone that were listening along with us today. Again, check out all Nicole’s stuff down in the show notes and we’ll see you on the next episode.