“Choice” Chain is a pro-life activism activity that involves engaging passersby in dialogue while holding photographs that show what abortion does to a baby. I participate in Choice Chain in hopes that fewer abortions will happen as a result. Sometimes people assume that condemning women who have had abortions is the goal, but it’s not at all. Showing the pictures is an effective way to spread the life-saving truth: abortion kills a human being. I’ve seen tons of positive interactions and changed minds; I’ve even met a child who was saved from abortion when his mother saw the signs.
But during “Choice” Chain a few weeks ago, it was my turn to learn about abortion. A few women have told me that they had abortions. When that happens I try to listen compassionately to their stories, which are tragically so common. But as soon as we began the display on that Saturday, I got the chance to learn from someone with a different kind of experience.
At first I assumed the man who approached me was being rude. He pointed to the picture of the aborted fetus: “I’ve cut up thousands of those.” But I sensed a sincerity that belied his words. “What do you mean?” I asked. He is a pathologist at Victoria General Hospital. He had indeed cut pieces from thousands of aborted babies for samples. I didn’t ask his name, and I don’t think he would’ve given it. He thought we might be interested to hear what he had to say because we’re not likely to get such information otherwise. He was right. I’ve known for a while that approximately 300 abortions happen every day in Canada but I’d never heard about it firsthand from someone who deals with the aftermath.
“Some are quite a bit older than that” he said, pointing to a sign showing an 8-week old aborted fetus. He had obtained tissue from thousands of dead babies every year, some of which were at least as old as the 2nd-trimester neonatal preemies that, instead of being aborted, were treated with delicate care. He described gently and carefully obtaining blood from preemies that could just as easily have been aborted, sampled and thrown in the trash. He said “I used to be more on the pro-choice side, but seeing so many of these makes you think about it.” When you take samples from aborted fetuses you can see the body parts. It makes you think twice “when someone drops a jar and the abortion falls on the floor and blood goes everywhere and everybody can see what it is.” [this is a graphic video showing "what it is"]
He thought we’d be interested to know just who gets abortions. In one sense, the age of the woman doesn’t matter; situations surrounding abortions are often complicated, but every innocent death is tragic. Apparently it’s most common for young women to have abortions. Not surprising. But then women from 20 to about 35 don’t get many. The 2nd most common group is women of about 35 and up. That was surprising. He suggested they’d had enough kids and didn’t want larger families, or they didn’t want the higher risk of complications associated with pregnancies near the end of childbearing years.
He really didn’t like how “just anybody can get an abortion for any reason” but he didn’t say he was pro-life. He was adamant to discuss it with “ideology aside.” He didn’t get behind religious or other “ideological” oppositions to abortion. Instead he told me that he just wants people to know the truth. I should’ve pointed out that many of us who call ourselves “pro-life” have the same straightforward, untwisted aim.
He said that everyone is sent down to Victoria to get abortions; none are performed up-island. He attributed this to pro-life activism in some communities on Vancouver Island. I’m not sure if that’s common knowledge or not but I hope this is encouraging to those activists. He also noted that whenever a medical study comes out that is not in favour of abortion, even in the interest of the health of the mother, it is shouted down. “Ideology aside” again, he was frustrated that, as a medical person, you can’t even discuss these possibilities.
He thanked us for being out on the street and said that people need to see the pictures. I offered him a business card for “Silent No More,” thinking that their healing mission might help him. He said he didn’t need it – “I’m fine.” Despite his confidence, I think he wished, with some bitterness, that everyone knew what he did for a living. He seemed easygoing, confident and friendly. Looking back now I wonder why he opened our conversation so candidly: “I’ve cut up thousands of those.” What do you say to that? I first thought he was trying to get a rise out of me so I was calm. But maybe outrage would have been better – maybe outrage would have validated his experience. Because abortion is truly outrageous, and this man knew it firsthand.
Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.
Today MP Mark Warawa announced that he will not be appealing Motion 408 any further, but will instead be introducing a new bill. However, Mr. Warawa intends to continue raising awareness on the issue of gendercide.
“It’s unfortunate that Motion 408 will not be going forward because of the PROC committee’s disregard for parliamentary procedure,” says Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network (NCLN). “We are truly grateful for Mr. Warawa’s efforts in addressing this issue and are glad to see that he will continue to champion the cause.”
Pro-life students across Canada joined Mr. Warawa in raising awareness about the issue of gendercide as they took part in the Defend Girls campaign, which was brought to campus by NCLN. This campaign involved distributing over 10,000 resources educating students about the issue abroad and in Canada, and screening the award-winning documentary, ‘It’s a Girl’.
“Our government and other party leaders may not be willing to condemn this discrimination against girls,” states Miss Richmond, “But polling has shown that Canadians condemn the practice of sex-selective pregnancy termination. Motion 408 may not go forward but educational efforts must continue.”
NCLN’s Defend Girls resources are still available and still relevant if you would like to use them to educate on this important issue.
In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates that between 100 Million and 200 Million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide.” Last year, the Canadian Medical Association Journal and CBC’s The National reported on increased sex-selective abortion here in Canada.
Join us this Friday, April 19th, at 7pm at the University of Ottawa’s Café Alt (60 University Private) for a screening of “It’s A Girl” – a documentary film that examines this troubling phenomenon – and a discussion of how we can combat it. We’re committed to providing an open, supportive environment in which anyone interested in combating gendercide feels welcome.
After the film (around 8:15 PM), we’ll be hosting our Annual General Meeting and elections, so please feel free to stick around if you would like to get more involved in the pro-life movement on campus.
For the Facebook event, see: https://www.facebook.com/events/146483725529670/
Have questions? Feel free to post them here or email us at email@example.com. Thanks!
Information & Resources:
Here’s the CBC Report on sex-selection abortion in Canada: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/06/12/ultrasound-gender-testing.html
Here’s the Canadian Medical Association Journal article on sex-selection abortion in Canada: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/184/3/E163
“It’s A Girl” Film Site: http://www.itsagirlmovie.com/
DefendGirls.ca is an activist group calling on Parliament to pass Motion 408, which would “condemn sex-selection pregnancy termination”: http://www.defendgirls.ca/
Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.
UFV Life Link Statement: April 9, 2013
Response to Misleading Comments Made by the University of the Fraser Valley
This statement is in response to misleading comment made by the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) concerning the cancellation of the Life Link event on Wednesday April 10th.
UFV alleges that the LifeLink event was merely postponed and not cancelled. However, in correspondence with the club leaders, UFV stated that the “room booking for the 10th of April has been cancelled and we would request that you remove your posters advertising this event. We also request that you remove the event posting that is located on the weneedaLaw website.” The university did state that the event could continue on the date booked, but only if it was off campus.
Life Link was told, in the email from Friday April 5th, that “if you wish for your Life Link event to happen at UFV the date will have to be postponed.” Considering, however, that the campus is entering exams and the semester is ending, this still means, in effect, that the event has been completely shut down – at least until the next school year starts in September.
The cancellation also failed to address why a risk management plan could not have been discussed when the event was booked three weeks ago or even in the last few days, after the university became concerned about potential protesters. Comments made in the University’s April 5th email to Life Link such as having the event off campus and the need to ensure “an event that provides a balanced view of the issue at hand” also demonstrates the university’s desire to censor the pro-life message.
The university also claims that it does not object to anti-gendercide materials on campus. Why then were club resources restricted to a classroom? The university has stated to the media that graphic or potentially upsetting/offensive resources may be subject to ‘alternative arrangements for display’ out of public space. This indicates that UFV considers the resources in question, which show a pregnant women’s belly and state facts on gendercide and which have been used on other Canadian universities, to be ‘graphic’ and, as such, subject to university censorship.
The University’s Friday April 5th email sent to Life Link can be viewed here.
The resources in question can be viewed here.
Press Release: UNIVERSITY OF THE FRASER VALLEY SHUTS DOWN EVENT AND CENSORS ANTI-GENDERCIDE RESOURCES
UNIVERSITY OF THE FRASER VALLEY SHUTS DOWN EVENT AND CENSORS ANTI-GENDERCIDE RESOURCES
ABBOTSFORD, BC (April 8 2013) – Students at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford BC are calling on their university administration to reverse the cancellation of a pro-life presentation scheduled for Wednesday, and to reverse their decision to censor the club’s anti-gendercide resources. The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Life Link club has secured legal counsel from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which issued a letter to the university on Monday April 8th with the demand.
“Our club has distributed resources, held a debate and organized other presentations on abortion,” states Ashley Bulthuis, Life Link’s president. “A documentary on gendercide has even been screened on campus this year. Why has the university suddenly disregarded its commitment to free speech in regards to the gendercide and abortion issues?”
The administration, citing security concerns, told the UFV Life Link club that the event was cancelled due to the possible presence of protestors. The presentation by Mike Schouten, Campaign Director of WeNeedALaw.ca, concerns the current legal status of abortion in Canada.
Earlier in the semester the administration had banned the students from distributing anti-gendercide resources that highlighted the missing women worldwide and the fact that this practice is occurring in Canada. The university told the students they would only be able to distribute such resources in a closed room.
“The university ought to safeguard free speech on campus especially when there is a possibility of others – like the possible protesters – who might try to suppress it,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network (NCLN), an organization that supports pro-life students. A recent study found that “87% of Canadians oppose sex-selective abortion and 25% say it is occurring in their own communities. Why won’t the university allow students to raise awareness about this horrific practice?”
The anti-gendercide resources were created by NCLN and have been distributed on campuses across Canada. They provide facts on sex-selective abortions and its global consequences, stating that “‘It’s a Girl’ should not be a death sentence.” No other university has been censored for distributing these resources.
UFV Life Link eagerly awaits the university’s response, refuses to allow the university to censor them, and will continue to share their pro-life message on campus.
For media requests, please contact:
To view the censored resources and the letter from the JCCF, please visit: http://ufvlifelink.ncln.ca/2013/04/08/censorship/
The appeal for Mr. Warawa’s appeal to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) has been announced for this Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. EST. It is critical that our voices are heard as the committee prepares to meet. Our elected representatives need to know that we care not only about gendercide, but also about the democratic principles that were called into question this past Thursday when the sub-committee deemed Motion 408 non-votable.
If you have already sent some emails and used Twitter to voice your concerns, thank you – keep it up! If you haven’t yet, please do so tonight or tomorrow (Tuesday). There are some great tools you can use to do this quickly and easily.
Some key ways that YOU can help:
1. Email the members of PROC to express your concern. You can find a list of the members and their emails below, or, use the great SimpleMail tool available from our friends at WeNeedALaw. With a few clicks you can email all 12 members of the committee (plus your own MP and the Prime Minister).
Joe Preston – firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexandrine Latendresse – Alexandrine.Latendresse@parl.gc.ca
Dominic LeBlanc – email@example.com
Scott Armstrong – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Cullen – email@example.com
Parm Gill – Parm.Gill@parl.gc.ca
Tom Lukiwski – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave MacKenzie – email@example.com
Costas Menegakis – Costas.Menegakis@parl.gc.ca
Scott Reid – firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig Scott – email@example.com
Nycole Turmel – Nycole.Turmel@parl.gc.ca
2. Use Twitter to indicate your concern to these MPs. Their twitter handles are listed below:
@CraigScottNDP (on the sub-committee that blocked M408)
@Armstrong_MP (on the sub-committee that blocked M408)
@ScottReidCPC (on the subcommittee that blocked M408)
Don’t forget to tweet @pmharper (Prime Minister Harper) as well and use the #M408 hashtag!
*N.B. If you join Twitter specifically for M408, that’s great. Be aware, though, that ‘mentioning’ or ‘tagging’ a lot of people immediately upon getting a Twitter account will probably result in your account being suspended (it will think you are a spammer). Ease into it with a few general tweets and a few mentions before you get right into it. And don’t forget to follow @NCLN and @NCLNwestern on Twitter!
Can’t think of a tweet? A few suggestions here.
3. Contact your own MP and the Prime Minister’s office. 613.992.4211.
Let them know you are calling in regards to Motion 408. When you are directed to a voice mail system, leave a polite message with your name.
CANADIAN STUDENTS DISMAYED AT M408 BEING DEEMED NON-VOTABLE
OTTAWA, ON (March 22 2013) – Canadian students are expressing their dismay with yesterday’s decision that deemed Motion 408 to be non-votable. This motion, brought forward by Langley MP Mark Warawa, consists of one sentence and calls on Parliament to condemn discrimination against girls occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.
Mr. Warawa has called the decision made by the subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs “shocking and undemocratic”. A Library of Parliament analyst clearly and repeatedly explained that the motion was fully compatible with the criteria for votability.
“All too often, we have seen students silenced on university campuses when exploring controversial topics,” states Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network (NCLN). “It is baffling that Parliament would appear to be experiencing similar problems, especially when the motion at hand is a simple affirmation of a core Canadian value, that is, the equality of girls and boys.”
Students in pro-life clubs across the country have been involved with a national campus campaign this semester, coordinated and promoted through NCLN. This campaign has included screenings of the award-winning documentary “It’s a Girl”, presentations at B.C. universities by Mr. Warawa, as well as the distribution of information, collection of petitions, and other activities focused on raising awareness about gendercide and supporting M408.
“I have personally met a student who survived gendercide abroad,” remarks Anastasia Pearse, who coordinated west coast campus activities with NCLN. “To scuttle the motion in this way is an affront not only to the victims of gendercide – an estimated 200 million worldwide – but also to the dignity of all women in Canada.”
Mr. Warawa has initiated an appeal of the decision, which he will take “as far as necessary.”
“We hope that Mr. Warawa’s appeal will be successful so that parliamentarians will have the opportunity to send a strong message about female equality in our country and abroad,” continues Ms. Richmond. “92% of Canadians think sex-selective abortion should be illegal. For our government to do anything less than condemn this discriminatory practice would be disgraceful.”
For further comment, please contact:
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director, National Campus Life Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416 388 0461.
Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network, email@example.com, 604 365 3484.