Formed by students and for students, National Campus Life Network (NCLN) is the heart of the Pro-Life Student Movement in Canada. NCLN equips students to build a campus culture that respects and upholds the value and equality of all human life from fertilization to natural death; these students will in turn transform society, as they go […]Read more
University can be an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time. As you start a new chapter of your life, you’re looking for the people, the program, the clubs into which you fit. You’re looking ahead to your future career and future life. But don’t miss out on the present. As a university student, you have an […]Read more
By Rebecca Richmond
These words, taken from the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, are so contradictory to the unrestricted access to abortion in our country. How can this be? More people like you need to speak up for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves.
Today is National Child Day in Canada. Challenge yourself to speak to at least one person today about the need for our country to protect the youngest of our kind. For it is only in sharing the truth in our words and actions that we can hope to bring light where there is darkness.
Universities can do better – both in Canada and in the UK, as the recent situation at Oxford University illustrates. National Campus Life Network stands in solidarity with Oxford Students for Life, whose abortion debate was cancelled by the university due to protesters saying they would be present and disruptive. Universities ought to protect debates like these, ensuring that they can happen – particularly when they are threatened.
“A protest group of around 300 people called “What the f**k is ‘Abortion Culture’?” appeared on Facebook that promised to “take along some non-destructive but oh so disruptive instruments to help demonstrate to the anti-choicers just what we think of their ‘debate’.” Read more on The Telegraph
On November 18th, Oxford Students for Life posted on Facebook, “We are sorry to announce that, after a day of hard work, we haven’t found a venue for the debate.
We only expected to have the same rights of expression as any other Oxford student society, and we’re disappointed that scare tactics proved successful.”
We stand with you, Oxford Students for Life.
Show your support by sharing this story. #IStandWithOSFL
Get the play-by-play on BuzzFeed.
McMaster Lifeline held an event on campus: “Abortion: Reproductive or Human Rights?” presented by Maaike Rosendal of The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.
Though it was protested and interrupted with yelling and chants, we want to give a big congratulations and thank you to McMaster Lifeline, Maaike, and those who respectfully attended and engaged in the discussion, for being willing to bring such an important message to campus.
What is a university, unless a place to respectfully share and discuss ideas and opinions? Needless to say, the pro-choice position embarrassed themselves that night.
See below for CCBR‘s official press release regarding the incident:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: McMaster Students Shout Down Anti-Abortion Speaker
Between 20 and 25 students shouted down an anti-abortion speaker Thursday night at McMaster University, disrupting the presentation, stealing a box of books and DVDs, and chanting until the police arrived.
The lecture was organized by McMaster Lifeline, a student organization dedicated to raising awareness about the abortion issue, and featured Maaike Rosendal, a speaker with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (www.endthekilling.ca). Pro-choice students apparently took issue with the fact that a speaker with anti-abortion views would be allowed to speak, and responded with various chants and signs featuring slogans like, “Pro-sex. Pro-child. Pro-woman. Pro-abortion.”
Audience members expressed irritation that the presentation was disrupted. The popular Facebook Page “Stuff McMaster Professors Say” posted the following statement: “Professors, TAs, and students alike attended this meeting simply wanting to learn more about the prolife view yet people got into unnecessary fights, violating their right to the freedom of speech. The presenters still went on but what they did gave a bad name for prochoicers and the University of McMaster… People in university hold different views from you. That doesn’t mean you should attack people. That doesn’t mean you should silence people. Grow up.”
“It’s a shame that pro-choice students think the only way they can win this debate is by silencing it,” Maaike Rosendal of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform noted, “We are more than happy to engage in dialogue, but at too many universities abortion supporters simply want to shout us down and shut us down.”
The McMaster incident follows on the heels of similar incidents at McGill University, the University of Waterloo, and Brock University. After the police arrived, they ensured the rights of all were respected and the presentation was able to proceed.
Find video footage of the incident here.
For more information, contact Maaike Rosendal at 1-403-360-2376.
We are so sad to hear the news that Brittany Maynard took her own life on Saturday, November 1st, after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family, and we hope that they find hope and healing after this traumatic experience. We are also so sad to see a precedent set by the actions of Brittany and her family. In the face of suffering, our response should not be to give up and put an end a life that is so valuable.
No matter the state of suffering or hardship, our first and only intention should be to alleviate the suffering as much as we can and show our loved ones that they are valuable and have a purpose in this world, even through their illness.
In light of Brittany’s suicide, we want to encourage all of our students to go out of their way to show love and hope to all those around them. Treasure each life in front of you as if it were your very own. Take your club to visit hospices and homes for the elderly. The present moment can always welcome joy and hope, no matter what the future holds. Be a loving presence to those who may not have friends and family to hold their hand or hear their voice. May no one ever lose sight of their own value and purpose on account of our reluctance to reach outside of ourselves and touch the heart of another. Though we cannot reverse the actions of Brittany, we can do much to ensure that life and love prevail where death and fear overwhelm.
Related & helpful articles:
- The Danger of Assisted Suicide Laws
- Seminarian with Terminal Brain Cancer Response to Brittany Maynard
Last night, SFU Lifeline and SFU Health Ethics Club hosted a public debate on Simon Fraser University campus: “Should Abortion Be Legal“?
About 125 students and guests attended to hear Stephanie Gray, on behalf of the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, present the pro-life position and Umer Altaf, President of the SFU Debate Society, present the pro-choice position.
Appealing to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Stephanie claimed that abortion should be illegal, since the pre-born are human beings, and ending an innocent human being’s life would be a violation of their human right to life.
Umer based his argument on what he claimed were three logical conclusions: something receives our moral consideration in the face of termination if it can feel pain, if it will be missed by loved ones, and if they have wants and dreams that won’t be realized if their life is taken. When the pre-born can’t feel pain, will not be missed and does not have dreams to be realized, the pre-born are not worthy of our moral consideration and thus abortion should be legal.
Stephanie and Umer debated the implications of making abortion illegal, also weighing the effects that abortion and pregnancy have on women. Umer claimed that there are different levels of suffering, and abortion alleviates some of the suffering that a woman would face in a crisis pregnancy. Stephanie proposed that a civil society should certainly alleviate suffering, but not eliminate sufferers.
Students were able to ask questions during the final session of the debate, and the open discussion continued well after the debate officially ended.
Who won the debate? Stay tuned for a video of the full debate online. We’ll let you decide.
Written by Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator
Have you fallen prey to the slacktivist mentality?
Wikipedia tells us that the term slacktivism “describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it take satisfaction from the feeling they have contributed.”
Examples? Signing an online petition, ‘liking’ a Facebook post, re-tweeting an article, or sharing a video or an article on your page. These are all activities that, although they may be well intentioned evolve around good causes, cannot substitute old-fashioned, real-world active participation in a cause. These “actions” may ease our guilt of being inactive in a cause, but one cannot simply “like” a Facebook post and then wipe our hands and say our work is done. However: this could be a good first step.
Can we use this slacktivist mentality for the greater good?
We need to meet people where they are at right now. Given our technology-saturated culture, most people are probably currently on their computers or smartphones. So let’s start where they are, and move them to action with a touch of their screen or a click of a mouse. But I know that human beings are capable of much more than moving their fingers.
Don’t get me wrong – keep liking and sharing our NCLN Facebook posts and re-tweeting our tweets! Your social media feed may be the first and only place that someone in your network hears the pro-life message. But don’t stop there. Talk face to face with someone about what you have heard or learned.
My challenge to you:
READ this post. LIKE it on our National Campus Life Network page. SHARE it on your page. But don’t stop there. I challenge you to speak to TWO PEOPLE this week about abortion. They could be friends or classmates who you’ve never spoken to about the issue, or even the person next to you on the bus. Share your truth-sharing conversations with the hashtag #2PersonChallenge – you’ll be surprised as to what a difference one conversation can make in someone’s attitude towards abortion. Share these stories on social media and in the comments below!
Your story can be a simple impacting moment, such as this student’s story:
After telling my classmate that I was headed to a pro-life club meeting, I asked her what she thought about abortion. After I discussed the humanity of the pre-born with her, she was amazed at their development so early in the pregnancy, and couldn’t believe that there are no abortion laws in Canada! #2PersonChallenge
Move your club members to action, as well as those two people you reach out to, by encouraging them to take up the #2PersonChallenge as well! If each of us takes on this challenge, think of how our efforts will multiply!
Vancouver, B.C. On Tuesday October 28th, SFU Lifeline will be hosting a debate on the legality of abortion, organized by university students who cite Justin Trudeau‘s abortion comments as a motivating factor for the events.
“We actually wanted and invited Mr. Trudeau to participate in the debates,” stated Emily Ryznar, a third year student at Simon Fraser University and president of the pro-life club, SFU Lifeline. “He has made strong statements about a woman’s ‘right to choose.’ Seeing as the university is considered to be a marketplace of ideas, we believe it is an appropriate venue for him to defend his position and engage in discussion on the issue.” Unfortunately Mr. Trudeau’s secretary stated that he was not available to participate.
Mr. Trudeau has stated that abortion is “not for any government to legislate.” Pro-Life students on university campuses beg to differ, citing it as the government’s duty to protect all human beings in Canada, including the 300 pre-born humans who are killed every day in our Country through abortion.
Stephanie Gray, an international pro-life speaker and author, will be representing the position that there should be laws against abortion – countering Trudeau’s claim that the government should have nothing to do with abortion; this follows her statement that abortion is a violation of the human rights of pre-born human beings. Umer Altaf, president of the SFU Debate Society, will be representing the position that there should not be laws against abortion, defending abortion as a woman’s choice.
“Our universities are places where ideas should be shared and contentious issues discussed,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network, a national pro-life student organization. “The most recent CIHI stats reveals that over a quarter of abortions are performed on university–aged students. If this is a choice young women are making, it is important that they consider what precisely they are choosing and know what abortion alternatives exist.”
The debate will be held at SFU Burnaby on Tuesday, October 28th at 5:30pm in C9001.
For further information contact:
Emily Ryznar: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anastasia Pearse: email@example.com
Written by Clarissa Canaria
Two weeks after the Symposium, what better way to recap its awesomeness but through a list?
Alongside exercises in pro-life activism (literally), parodies made applicable to pro-life students on campus are a blast – especially when everyone sings along!
Babies – you fight for their rights like nobody else
The way that you stand for life gets us overwhelmed
And when you’re wearing your shirt, it ain’t hard to tell
That you know, oh oh, preborn life is beautiful!
The ultimate in team-building: Giant Dutch Blitz! This is an NCLN Symposium tradition. If you haven’t tried this in it’s card game version, you must!
(Or, come to the Symposium next year (: )
3) Babies everywhere!
What better way to remember the group of human beings we are fighting for than seeing them ex utero?
2) Stellar Speakers and Presentations
The giants of the Canadian pro-life movement come to the Symposium to speak on so many relevant topics. And, in many cases, attendees have the chance to speak with them one-on-one after their presentations. This is such a unique opportunity, making the Symposium extra special. (If you missed the Symposium, check out our list of speakers to learn more about their work!)
1) The Network
From regional break-out sessions, to meal times, to the Saturday evening social, the building of relationships among students and feeling the sense of solidarity with them is so essential. We are all there to learn how to serve our campuses better – knowing that others are doing that alongside you on campuses across the country, you can’t help but feel your sense of mission renewed.
Do you have a Symposium testimony to share? We’d love to hear from you! Email Kathleen: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share your story!
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director
A look of horror is sometimes what I get when I give pro-life campus leaders a critical recommendation for improving their club – both in the sense of developing a larger club membership AND in terms of effectiveness on campus: weekly planning meetings. I can imagine what’s running through their minds:
“club planning meetings are long and exhausting and I don’t have any more time and everyone’s already overwhelmed and people forget about meetings and wouldn’t it be easier to do it all over email anyway and…this will never work.”
But hear me out: from personal experience and from years of experience with students nationally, I can tell you that they will actually make your life easier, not harder. And they work. And when there are 300 pre-born lives being destroyed through abortion daily, a weekly meeting doesn’t seem like that big of a sacrifice.
But if you need some compelling reasons to convince your fellow club members of the need for weekly planning meetings, we’ve got you covered:
(1) Consistency Cuts Down on the Time You Spend Organizing Meetings:
Does it sometimes seem like it takes eons to organize a meeting with your team members? And then half the people forget and don’t even show up? Weekly meetings helps cut down organizing time AND people are less likely to forget.
Because, if you’re meeting at the same time and the same location every week, it becomes a regular part of their schedule, like a class or extracurricular activity. And it saves time because you don’t have to deal with massive email threads every couple weeks to figure out a meeting time/date! Depending on your school’s set-up, you might even be able to book that timeslot/location one time for the entire semester!
Organize the weekly meetings in advance by having the club secretary set-up a Doodle, the club exec members can fill in their availability according to their class schedule, and you can find the best time for the most amount of people. Then stick to that time/day/location for the rest of the semester!
* Extra tip: One student leader recommends texting members before the weekly meeting. It “reminds your members that they are important as you’re reaching out to them to check if they’re coming.”
(2) Delegating tasks is easier and tasks actually get done:
It’s much much easier to divvy up tasks during a group discussion in-person, rather than over email. And consider when people (including yourself) actually do the tasks they were delegated – probably the day before, morning of, or 5 minutes before the meeting. So, if you’re meeting weekly, generally speaking, tasks are going to get done on a weekly basis at the very least. Planning, staying on top of your activities, and seeing your goals become realities depend on work getting done regularly (weekly!).
(3) More fun:
Seriously. If you’re meeting weekly, your meetings are going to be shorter (in most cases, keep it under an hour!), less frustrating, and less overwhelming. Your weekly meeting should feel like a boost to your week as you reconnect with your team members, encourage one another in your pro-life mission (both in terms of your club activities and in your classes, among your friends, etc.), and feel a sense of accomplishment as you stay on track with your goals.
(4) It actually works:
In my own experience and in the experience of students we’ve worked with nationwide, weekly meetings actually work. Every time a club has started weekly meetings, good things happen. But don’t take my word for it, or the rest of the NCLN staff members’ word, or the word of other student leaders – just try it. Contact your NCLN Campus Coordinator with any questions you might have about running weekly meetings or even have us Skype in on some of your meetings for 10-20 minutes to help out with planning, give feedback, and answer questions!
(5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10…..a million…and 1) It’s worth it:
We’re all busy people, balancing school with part-time jobs, family, friends, and extra-curriculars. But if we know that 100,000 abortions are taking place in Canada each year, if we know that our age demographic is undergoing the most abortions in Canada, if we know that our universities matter in terms of building a true Culture of Life, then taking an hour each week to unite as a team and work on making a difference is not too much to ask.