National Campus Life Network > Articles by: kgeenen

Separating fact from fiction

Separating fact from fiction

Dialogue continues in the student newspaper after the February flag display at the University of Victoria

The Martlet is the University of Victoria’s student newspaper. // Photo: The Martlet

By: Kevin Geenen

We often complain about the lack of media representation for pro-life news. However, sometimes an article comes our way that we can respond to, and in this way, continue to challenge culture by engaging in dialogue.

On February 27th, an article titled “Abortion: everyone’s right and nobody’s business” appeared in the Martlet, the University of Victoria’s student newspaper. The article came as a response to Youth Protecting Youth’s (YPY) flag display that took place on campus just a few days earlier.

Pro-Choice Article

The courts struck down Canada’s abortion law citing Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically, “the right to liberty”.

In this article, we can see that the humanity of the pre-born is at the core of our disagreements about abortion. The article’s author, UVic student Natasha Simpson, writes: “Since the 1988 R. versus Morgentaler ruling, Canada has been one of the few countries that does not legally restrict abortion. Previously, women had to endure an intimidating process that disregarded their charter right to “life, liberty and security of the person” and denied them agency over their own bodies.”

Simpson correctly recognizes that Canada has absolutely no abortion laws. I wonder if she realizes that, in this legal vacuum, sex-selective abortion specifically targets innocent baby girls? Anyways, I digress.

The pro-life perspective maintains that every woman should definitely have autonomy. However, abortion crosses a line. A woman’s autonomy is not as important as the life of another human being.

Humanity of the fetus

“The rights of the woman cannot be overridden by any alleged rights of the fetus, because according to the Canadian criminal code, a fetus is not a human being until it is born,” continues Simpson.

Simpson is right that, legally, in Canada a fetus “becomes a human being… when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.”

Former Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth.

In 2012, MP Stephen Woodworth brought forward a Motion to study this 400-year-old definition of a human being, but his Motion was shut down.

I think that we would all agree that the biological evidence of what constitutes a human being is far superior to any legal definition. To bring up an extreme example, in Hitler’s Germany, it was legal to exterminate Jews, was it not? Since when does legality constitute or define morality?

Embryologists Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Muller write in their book Human Embryology & Tetratology that: “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity.”

Don’t you just love science?

“A genetically distinct human organism exists within her”

When talking about pregnancy, we are not solely dealing with a woman’s body anymore; a genetically distinct human organism exists within her.

Simpson closes with a common argument made by pro-choice advocates. She says: “The problem is not the personal beliefs of pro-lifers. The problem is their perceived moral obligation to impose these beliefs on others.”

She continues, “Other women’s bodies and healthcare choices should not be their concern.”

  1. Nobody is imposing their beliefs. Pro-life organizations (like YPY) engage in rational conversation with people about the arguments why abortion is wrong. Is it a problem to question the dominant beliefs of society in a rational, respectful way?
  2. If one applies Simpson’s argument to other human rights injustices such as slavery, the argument does not stand. Does one have to be a slave owner or a slave in order to be concerned about slavery? Clearly not.


I applaud Simpson for trying to justify her position. However,  science and reasoning are not on her side. It is hard to defend the pro-choice perspective when the ideology’s every argument is not backed by facts and fraught with inconsistency. Inconsistency with far-reaching consequences.

As the flag display powerfully showed, about three hundred children lose their lives to abortion each day in Canada. This injustice is “everyone’s business” not in a callous, trivial manner, but as Martin Luther King Jr. urged, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

NCLN 2018


Blog post author Kevin Geenen is a political science and communications student at the University of Ottawa. Email: kvngeenen@gmail.com.

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Trudeau or Nothing

Trudeau or Nothing

Canada Summer Jobs Program attestation hurts students

Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Government continue to defend the Canada Summer Jobs Program attestation.

By: Kevin Geenen

If you have been paying attention to the news throughout the past month, then you will know that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada added a discriminatory attestation to the Canada Summer Jobs Program.

The attestation is a values test that is discriminatory to those who hold a pro-life position or those who simply wish to remain silent on the issue of abortion. Employers are caught up in the middle of this dilemma. They risk signing the attestation while denouncing their values – or not receiving necessary funds at all. Many students worry that they will be unemployed during the summer months.

Viewpoint discrimination is not new. It has been happening at universities across Canada in attempts to silence pro-life students. For example, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa passed a motion last November stating that: “No resources, space, recognition, or funding will be allocated to enhance groups/individuals with the primary/sole purpose of pro-life activities.”

Ruth Shaw, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network.

Ruth Shaw, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network, says that it all started in 2006 when “there was a massive turn against pro-life clubs” in the policies and actions of various university administrations.

“This censorship became normalized, paving the way for others,” she says. The federal government is following suit by censoring summer jobs.

On a positive note, the deadline for applications to the Canada Summer Jobs program was extended to Feb. 9, meaning that there is still time for people to lobby the government about the discriminatory clause. Lobbying can come in the form of signing a petition, sending an email, or sharing your story.

Perhaps the best option for employers is to check off the attestation, but cross out the parts that infringe on the organization’s beliefs. Another option that groups are using is adding a footnote or additional sheet clarifying where they stand on both abortion and gender expression.

The attestation itself states that “Canada Summer Jobs applicants will be required to attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights…” The attestation then defines reproductive rights as “the right to access safe and legal abortions.”

Essentially, the Government is saying that, if groups want to receive funding, they must support abortion.

Many students worry that they will be unemployed during the summer months.

The Government published “Supplementary Information” on its website on Jan. 23, clarifying the wording of the attestation. The “Supplementary Information” says that an organization’s values and beliefs alone do not constitute ineligibility.

However, values manifest themselves through words and actions (for if they did not, then we would question whether one holds their beliefs with any importance). That is why no pro-life organization can sign the attestation.

After the “Supplementary Information” was added, nearly 90 religious organizations, including the Canadian Council of Imams, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops, and the Jewish Shaarei Shomayim Congregation sent a joint letter to the Liberal Party calling on them to “amend the guidelines and application process.”

Prime Minister Trudeau defended the attestation by falsely referring to abortion access as a “Charter right.”

“An organization that has as its stated goal to remove rights from Canadians, to remove the right that women have fought for to determine what happens to their own bodies, is not in line with where the Charter is or where the government of Canada is,” said Trudeau.

Let’s be clear: there is no Charter right to abortion, but there are rights to freedom of conscience, religion, belief, opinion, thought, and expression.

If we want to live in a democratic society, then this type of discrimination must be eradicated. Although, the media attention is nice. 

NCLN 2018

Blog post author Kevin Geenen is a political science and communications student at the University of Ottawa. Email: kvngeenen@gmail.com.

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