The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) started a student project a few years ago called ‘Synergy’, or the Student and Youth Network for Reproductive Justice, and a post on their website caught my eye last week because the author made a number of points that I actually agreed with. Surprising? No, not really.
Consider that our two organizations, despite being on opposite sides of “reproductive justice” issues, exist for similar purposes. Both Synergy and NCLN exist to help network and support efforts across the country at the post-secondary level. Naturally, both organizations believe strongly that the university environment is a critical place to promote our cause and both Tara Paterson, the article’s author, and I both emphasize the importance of being active on issues of injustice.
Tara, Synergy’s Student Network Coordinator and the Chair of the University of Victoria Students’ Society (not our favourite student union), points to the growing momentum of pro-life activities on university campuses (“hotbeds for anti-choice activities”) and the fact that, historically, activism on universities was a significant part of the pro-choice movement. “The shift,” she writes, “from campus as a hub for pro-choice activity to one where anti-choice clubs monopolize a lot of student media and politics is worth noting. We have a unique opportunity here to reclaim the campus as a site of political organizing for reproductive justice.” So although I believe we are still far from “monopolizing” campuses, Tara and I both identify universities as critical ground to take in the fight for justice and human rights
Unfortunately, Tara failed to understand the purpose of some of the projects used on campus, such as those used by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. She also errs in her description of Carleton Lifeline’s lawsuit against the administration. And I will not bother to address her laughable statement that, “the anti-choice lobby is a well-funded machine backed by right-wing bigwigs and the Catholic Church.” (But if anyone knows a right-wing bigwig with deep pockets and a hankering to support a worthy pro-life organization, please send them our way.)
But Tara is absolutely right to insist upon a pro-active stance when it comes to fighting injustice. She calls pro-choice students to action. As pro-lifers, we need to bear this in mind as well. If our position on abortion is just that – simply a belief that abortion is wrong – then we will never end this atrocity in our country and we will never succeed in building a society that respects and affirms the value and dignity of every human life. But if our respect for human life and our love of our fellow human beings flows into pro-life action, then consider the impact that would have!
And like Tara, we too should “grow our networks, hold events, share resources and otherwise inspire our campuses.” We must continue and increase our activities. Synergy may accuse us of ‘taking it upon ourselves to offend them’, but the reality is that abortion IS, itself, offensive because it takes the life of an innocent human being. And while both Tara and I may share a passion for ‘justice’, we must root that justice in an objective morality that ensures that all human beings, regardless of their size, location, dependence or development, are given human rights. Without this, Synergy’s call to action does not right an injustice, but, sadly deepens and perpetuates one.