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 Clarissa Luluquisin, Central Campus Coordinator
As NCLN’s Central Campus Coordinator, my job involves getting my boots on the ground (specifically winter ones in this weather). I trek to campuses across the province to train and assist pro-life students in their outreach, and my favourite project to help with is the club information table.
What can be better than engaging with a person one-on-one, hearing their thoughts on abortion and responding to their concerns, and thanking them for taking a moment to speak to you?
Can you tell that I’m an extrovert?
Although events like debates and movie screenings can be very impactful, the information table marks the start of many personal relationships of the pro-life club’s members with soon-to be club members, as well as engaging with students who are not informed about abortion. It is pro-life activism and recruitment – all packaged into one easy event!
How you begin these relationships matter, and in maintaining these relationships, your club has a greater opportunity to grow. And the more it grows, the more people there will be working alongside you to spread the pro-life message. This engagement is all the more important with lives on the line.
Check out our information guide on tabling here, and also find my 5 suggestions:
1. Create an eye-catching display board with a variety of resources on the table.
Make an event out of it with your Exec too – no need to do this all on your own. And if you’re short on resources, contact your local campus coordinator and you’ll be sent a bunch for free. Don’t forget to print out a sign-up sheet too!
2. Start all conversations with a kind smile.
People want to talk to people who are friendly and approachable, and this is harder to do on some days, with all that you have on your plate.
Think of laughing babies and joyful mothers if you need some motivation!
3. Speak with compassion and conviction.
Asking someone how they feel about abortion can bring up a lot of different emotions in a person. Whether it be anger, sadness, or indifference, listen attentively, tell stories, and ask good questions. Agree with them where you can, and explain with clarity where you cannot. Illustrate your points well and schedule an apologetics trainings for your club members every once in a while to refresh yourself.
4. Follow up personally with the people who have signed up for your email list and invite them to the next meeting or club event.
This cannot be emphasized enough. A day or two after your table, send a personal email to the student you spoke with, thank them for taking the time to chat with you, and invite them to your next meeting. If you got along really well, why not suggest meeting up for coffee to tackle a bit further that interesting point they brought up?
5. Debrief with your club members.
Whether in between conversations, or soon after a day of tabling is done, debriefing about your conversations is so essential. How else are you ever going to get better and spread the message as effectively as possible? If you didn’t like how you said something, think about it some more, and come up with ways with your fellow club members you would have liked to say it instead.
Ready? Set? GROW!
Have any stories about tabling on your campus? Send us an email!
Two years later we are back in Ottawa with our son William. I now run an activism group here called Ottawa Against Abortion that does much activism and recruiting. God had a plan for my life that I could have never predicted for myself, but it has been challenging, awesome and stretched me in ways I could have never predicted.
Ruth, you are a shining example to so many. Thank you for working so hard at Carleton to defend life, despite the many obstacles. Continue to be that shining example of leadership and love in your beautiful family!
Last December, NCLN staff and attendees of our Christmas Social in Toronto sent a Christmas card to Mary Wagner, who has been in jail since August 2012 for reaching out to women in crisis pregnancies. This woman is truly a hero as she has saved the lives of so many.
The following is what Mary wrote to us in reply. We hope her words inspire you as you continue to dedicate your time and energy to this urgent cause.
Dear Rebecca and friends of Life on campus,
Blessed and happy new year! Thank you so much for your lovely Christmas card and for your prayer and encouragement. It was a joy to hear from you. Though I was a student many years ago, I vividly remember the many challenges of public pro-life efforts on my U Vic campus. I will keep you in my prayers. Don’t be timid – you are involved because you cherish life and that each person is unique, priceless and created to love and be loved. It is a message everyone needs to hear. Your work among your peers is a genuine service (though some certainly do not see this). May Our Lord bless you abundantly as this new year unfolds. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and all LOVE.
God keep you,
We #SurvivedMorgentaler: Canadian Youth Speak Out on the 26th Anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler
Toronto, Jan 28, 2014 - As Canada marks the 26th anniversary of the R. v. Morgentaler decision that decriminalized abortion, making Canada one of the only countries in the world with unrestricted abortion-on-demand, Canadian youth are mobilizing to speak out against the Supreme Court decision that decimated their generation and is decimating the next.
“In just over a quarter century we’ve lost a quarter of our generation,” states Rebecca Richmond, the Executive Director of National Campus Life Network. “We survived R. v. Morgentaler and, as survivors, we have the opportunity and obligation to speak up and defend the next generation who are being killed through abortion.”
“With each passing year, 100,000 Canadian babies lose their lives to abortion,” comments Alissa Golob, the Youth Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition Youth. “This anniversary is an important moment for our generation to remember those who have been lost since the Supreme Court decision, and even before with the 1969 Omnibus Bill, and recommit ourselves to ending this injustice.”
Campaign Life Coalition Youth (CLCY) and National Campus Life Network (NCLN) are spearheading the social media campaign on January 28th. They are asking Canadian pro-lifers to join the Tweet-A-Thon and post on Facebook to educate their peers and motivate them to end abortion in Canada.
#SurvivedMorgentaler and #EndAbortion are the suggested hashtags and a Facebook event has been set-up for participants to join.
“The majority of Canadians aren’t even aware that we have no abortion law in our country, let alone that we are the only western democracy without a law,” states Alissa Golob. “This is an important opportunity to start a conversation with our peers and help them understand what R. v. Morgentaler has meant for our country and our generation in particular.”
“Twenty-six years of R. v. Morgentaler has meant twenty-six years of abortion on demand. That is twenty-six years too long,” agrees Rebecca Richmond. “We are not going to abandon the next generation to the same fate that ours suffered.”
About Campaign Life Coalition Youth
Campaign Life Coalition Youth is a division of Campaign Life Coalition, the national, non-profit organization involved in political action and advocacy for legal and cultural change in Canada with respect to protecting human life and the family. CLC Youth’s mission is to educate youth and to create opportunities for young people to engage in this modern-day civil rights movement. For more information visit www.campaignlifecoalition.com.
About National Campus Life Network
National Campus Life Network is the only national organization that exists to educate, network and support post-secondary pro-life students across Canada. NCLN supports over 30 campus groups across the country and plays an important role in mentoring new leaders into the pro-life movement.
Alissa Golob, Youth Coordinator, Campaign Life Coalition, P: 416-204-9749, C: 647-678-016, email@example.com
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director, National Campus Life Network, C: 416-388-0461, firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Rebecca Richmond
1. R. v. Morgentaler is not Roe v. Wade
and Roe v. Wade does not apply to Canada.* Why? For the simple reason that we don’t live in the United States of America.
Don’t assume that your club members will know much about the legal status of abortion. A few ways to help educate your club members on subjects like this include:
- Share NCLN articles (like this one!) and resources with your club members. Better yet, encourage them to ‘Like’ NCLN on Facebook and sign up for Campus Connections so that they get these updates directly;
- A good basic primer on the history of abortion law in Canada can be found here: CCBR: History of Abortion Law in Canada
- Good talking points on the legal status of abortion can be found at WeNeedALaw.ca: Talking Points
3. R. v. Morgentaler resulted in a legal vacuum on abortion.
Since the decriminalization of abortion, abortion has existed in a legal vacuum because of the lack of laws. This has led to/or permitted:
- Sex-selective abortions, which disproportionately target baby girls. Because sex is generally not known until later in pregnancy, sex-selective abortions are also late-term abortions. Although sex-selection is more commonly associated with countries like India and China where the massive sex-ratio discrepancy ratios have been attracting international attention, the problem also exists in Canada. Researchers have found similarly skewed sex ratios among certain communities in Canada and the former interim editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal even called for a ban on releasing the sex of the baby until 30 weeks in order to help stem these abortions.1
- Children born alive (after an unsuccessful abortion) and left to die.2
- Abortions outside of hospitals. Clinics are now able to provide abortions and, because reporting is not mandatory for clinics, we don’t even know the numbers of abortions being done outside of hospitals. Indeed, abortion statistics have become harder to come by thanks to obfuscation by provincial governments.3
- Legal issues. Andre Schutten, a former club leader of McMaster and Legal Counsel for the Association for Reformed Political Action, described the legal issues that courts run into thanks to R. v. Morgentaler and Parliament’s refusal to address the legal void.4
4. R. v. Morgentaler made us survivors.
In the quarter century since the 1988 decision, a quarter of our generation has been killed by abortion. It is more than a statistic; we are truly a survivor generation. Everyday when we’re on campus, we walk not only amidst those who are grappling with their abortions but also many who survived when siblings did not, or who may have only narrowly survived themselves. Perhaps we, ourselves, are those very people. This sobering reality means that our generation has a great deal of healing to do; it also means that we, as survivors, must speak up for all those who were silenced.
5. We will not let R. v. Morgentaler define the NEXT generation.
Beyond standing against the lethal devastation that abortion has wreaked upon our generation, we also must stand up for the next generation. It is now our generation that is having the abortions, many unaware of what their ‘choice’ really means, many unaware of the impact abortion will have on their lives, many unaware of the support and resources available to them, and many facing pressure and coercion to abort. As young men and women who survived, we now have the opportunity and obligation to reach out to those facing untimely pregnancies and secure the freedom of the next generation. We grew up in the shadow of R. v. Morgentaler, with one quarter of our generation paying the price for our society’s lack of protections for all human beings at all stages. We cannot, must not and will not abandon the next generation to such a fate.
This post was written for the 25th anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler in 2013. This year, Jan. 28 2014 marks the 26th anniversary.
By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director
My great uncle was several years younger than I am now when he died, only one week away from his 20th birthday. Gavin Richmond’s name is inscribed on the Vimy Ridge Memorial and his life is counted among the 62,820 Canadians who were killed in the First World War. He was part of a generation decimated by the war.
They fought for our freedom and are rightly commemorated for it. But we have not used that freedom responsibly; we have failed to protect the most vulnerable and innocent in our society from a violent death. Today we mourn a shameful anniversary that has made possible the extermination of the lives of a quarter of our generation, but these deaths have no Remembrance Day. They largely go unnoticed and unmourned and, even more horrific, the slaughter continues day after day.
Ours is a generation of survivors. We, the remaining 75%, made it out alive – though some more narrowly than others. I have worked with students whose parents chose life when facing pressure to abort and others whose parents aborted their siblings. Many of us are probably unaware of the twisted legacy abortion has carved in the branches of our family trees.
Dr. Morgentaler’s oft-repeated mantra – still used on every Morgentaler clinic website – is: Every mother a willing mother. Every child a wanted child. This must make us, I suppose, the “wanted” generation that Morgentaler spoke of. Our parents could have aborted us if they had wanted. They were given, in neo-Roman fashion, the power of life or death over their children – death that was, of course, sanitized, state-sanctioned, and even funded by the public’s own tax dollars.
Abortion on demand, made possible through the Supreme Court’s ruling 25 years ago, changed our society with ‘wantedness’ determining whether we live or die for the first nine months of our lives. Yet we do not choose life or death for born humans according to whether or not they are ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’. The thought of classifying human beings in such a manner is profoundly disturbing – or ought to be.
When my own grandmother was pregnant with my father in the 1950s she did not decide to go forward with it based on whether or not he was wanted. (What decision would she have made, I have to wonder, if abortion on demand had been offered to her?) She carried a new life within her and looked out for his best interest by deciding to have my father adopted and raised by a couple who wanted a child. Despite Dr. Morgentaler’s classification of children as ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’, the fact is that children are children regardless of how we feel about their arrival. What is up to us is how we treat them.
Those of us who survived now have the opportunity and the obligation to secure the freedom of the next generation. We grew up in the shadow of R. v. Morgentaler with one quarter of our generation missing, but we are now capable young adults: we cannot abandon the next generation to such a fate. Twenty-five years of R. v. Morgentaler is twenty-five years too long. This culture of abortion on demand may be a stubborn shadow, but we can cast it out if we shine all the brighter with the light of truth, love and life.
No matter the size of your campus or of your pro-life club, recruiting, retaining and engaging your members remains a critical part of a vibrant and effective pro-life campus group. It is, after all, through the efforts of members that clubs are able to reach their campuses: at events, on the sidewalks, at the club fairs, in the classrooms and in extracurriculars.
The staff of NCLN are available to offer training to help with recruitment as well as to regularly mentor club leaders to improve their membership engagement, but sometimes the best way to learn is from the example of other clubs. We’ve seen Guelph Life Choice dramatically improve their membership engagement and development of club leaders over the past months and we asked Celine Mammoliti, president, and Meagan Nijenhuis, vice-president, to share how they went about this.
This post also marks the start of a series that highlights the efforts, strategies and accomplishments of clubs across Canada. If there is something your club might like to share with the Pro-Life Student Movement of Canada, email email@example.com
Q: On our first campus visit, you both seemed quite disheartened in terms of membership engagement. We’ve seen so much energy since. What changed?
Meagan: We got a lot of engagement at the Club Days booth [at the beginning of September]. From there we found a meeting time that worked for the majority and stuck to the same room and time every week. Then Celine sent out a weekly newsletter which included a reminder and I texted everyone the day of. [At meetings] Celine would do an educational Prezi [presentation] and we’d hash out what was coming up as well as have some incredible discussions! When we did special events we did different times so members who can’t always make it could help out there!
Celine: Gaining new members and seeing how great they are always helps! We have a great team of people and they are all wonderful. Having these people around really helps when you feel isolated on campus, which can happen very easily. It also gives us hope for the future of the club. Also, having NCLN there really helps keep us going when we’re struggling.
Q: Sometimes people feel that they either need to be focusing on recruiting and forming their members OR outreach, as if they should be happening separately. Your club has brought them together. Why is that?
Meagan: You need people to be practicing their apologetics as they learn. It’s like Confucius says, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” There’s always more our club members can be learning! We can continue to grow as we reach out and teach our campus WHY the fetus is a human and why humans have value. We can’t let the semesters slip by without at least giving our fellow students some access to the truth.
Celine: I would say that it’s always more effective to do both, because that is the real meaning of community. We want to show not only our members, but also other students that we care about building community, and that involves both building up your current members and reaching out to others. People are more likely to have a positive view of the group if they can feel a sense of community.
Note: Putting into practice (outreach) what your members are learning is key.
Q: What would you say were the three most important things that you did to help increase
your membership AND your outreach?
1) Our weekly Prezi presentations;
2) Chalking in heavy traffic areas on campus;
3) And getting to know our members and keeping in contact with them through the week.
1) One thing we did, which we learned from NCLN, was to be persistent and keep in touch with members personally. It makes a huge difference to them, and it only takes a few moments to do.
2) Another thing is to focus on the efforts of our members, and continue to encourage them. It’s important to acknowledge every single contribution, no matter how big or small.
3) Thirdly, we’ve been working on our communications with other university groups so that we can build a positive image on campus. What is most important about this is to meet with people face to face, and build connections. By doing this, we can reduce fear and assumptions about our club, and be more productive.
Q: What main piece of advice would you like to share with other pro-life groups across Canada?
Meagan: Get to know your members! They’ll feel more involved in the club and be more likely to help you out with events.
Celine: Hang in there! Sometimes it is really hard to be part of such a controversial movement, but in the end it will be worth it. Stick together, work hard, and have fun. And never forget that you’re not alone in this!
Keep up the awesome work, Guelph Life Choice! We can’t wait to see what this new semester brings!