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ANTI-ABORTION GROUP AT RYERSON FILES LAWSUIT OVER ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ANTI-ABORTION GROUP AT RYERSON FILES LAWSUIT OVER ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION

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October 14, 2015. TORONTO, ON— Pro-life students at Ryerson University have filed a lawsuit against the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) over denying their club, Students for Life at Ryerson (SFLR), status.

On February 23rd, 2015, the RSU Board of Directors unanimously voted that SFLR would not be allowed to form a pro-life club. This vote marked the last step in an appeal process that began in the fall semester after SFLR was rejected by the Student Groups Committee on the basis that the RSU, “opposes…groups, meetings, or events that promote misogynist views towards woman [sic] and ideologies that promote gender inequity, challenges women’s right [sic] to bodily autonomy, or justifies [sic] sexual assault”.

“Our club stands for human rights for all human beings, including those at the earliest stages of life. We also want to support pregnant students on campus who want alternatives to abortion,” states Carter Grant, a third year business major and Vice-President of SFLR.

Pro-life students at Ryerson were first denied club status back in 2003.  Now students are taking the decision to court to assert their right to be treated fairly by their student union, and to not be discriminated against on the basis of their pro-life viewpoint.

What is happening at Ryerson is not an isolated event.  Pro-life students across the country have faced similar censorship at other institutions, including at the University of Victoria, University of Calgary, York University, Carleton University, Trent University, Lakehead University, and Capilano College.

As a strong advocate for freedom of expression, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) strongly opposes these acts of discrimination and is assisting the students with this case.  CCBR’s new legal department, CCBR Legal, has retained experienced constitutional lawyer Carol Crosson to defend the students.  Ms. Crosson says that, “pro-life students have been denied rights on campuses long enough.  This is the time to end this battle and enshrine students’ rights on campus.”

Through CCBR Legal, CCBR provides legal representation for those in the pro-life movement.  As history as shown, legal representation is an integral part of successful social movements.  The law protects the right for pro-life individuals to share their message on the same basis as others and CCBR Legal is determined to protect this right.

For more information, please contact Carol Crosson at 403-796-8110 or ccrosson@crossonlaw.ca, and Carter Grant at 647-213-4242 or carter.grant@ryerson.ca.

 

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Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

Written by Anastasia Pearse

Yesterday I went to a presentation by Wendy Davis, hosted by Simon Fraser University. Her presentation was entitled “Walking and Talking: Using your Feet and your Voice to Change the World.” Wendy is the former Texan Senator known for her 11 hour filibuster in 2013, where she attempted to block Senate Bill 5, which placed restrictions on abortions and higher standards on abortion clinics.

Wendy  highlighted how throughout history, injustices were fought by individuals who stood in others’ shoes. For example, it was a court of males who voted to give women the right to vote, and it was white men who gave black Americans equal rights. Victims so often depend on the feet and voices of others in order to have their rights fought for.

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I agree that in the face of injustice we must stand in the shoes of the victims. But why are we ignoring the 100,000 children who die each year in our country because of abortion? Why are we not walking in the shoes of these victims? Why  are we turning a blind eye to the children being denied their fundamental right to life because of their gender, or disability, or because they may be seen to be an inconvenience to their parents? Why are we allowing the euphemistic terms of women’s “choice” and “reproductive rights” to mask the reality that these women are in fact victimizing their children?

Wendy Davis, we cannot ignore the injustice of abortion and the victims it creates. For we see that abortion does not in fact empower women, but rather victimizes them and their children. It’s time that we walk in the shoes of these victims, and question abortion.

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Resolve to Reach Out

On butterflies, duffel bags, and the end of info tables

Written by Joanna Krawczynski

 

Okay, I’ll admit it: the idea of campus outreach, like clipboarding and tabling, does get my heart beating a faster out of excitement for these opportunities to reach my peers with the message of life.

Actually doing campus outreach… to be honest, that can get my heart beating for a different reason, racing with the cold determination of nervousness that makes me feel faint. Or nauseous. Or a combination of the two. Either way, I know I’m not the only one (feel free to sing along). However, I also know that if I do not give myself a swift kick in the pants and stop dwelling on worst-case scenarios, I will spend the rest of the afternoon hiding behind my info table or clipboard. And my campus will be poorer because of it.

Rewind a couple months.

It was my first time clipboarding – and we were downtown Vancouver. I was being ignored, misunderstood, turned away, and the courage I thought I had was steadily dwindling. Almost by accident, I walked into the conversation of two tradesmen from Quebec.Your shadows talk while you listenBoth carried grungy-looking duffel bags and wore wrinkled clothes as well as unshaven, though genuine, smiles. The eyes of the younger fellow lit up more often than his cigarette as he talked. The other fellow seemed old enough to be the father of the younger man. The older man’s deep, browned wrinkles told a part of his story that he did not seem ready to share then. His was a fatherly tone, though he was adamant that a woman should be able to abort her child if she will be unable to care for the child after birth. After about a half hour of conversation, I had to run to catch up with my clipboarding crew. But before I left the conversation, the younger fellow stopped me.

“Can I show you something?” he asked. “I want to show you a photo of my son.”

The man’s pride for this little one was unmistakable as he pulled out a school photo of his smiling seven year old, looking smart and bright-eyed. My heart just about melted. The young man shared that he was here on the other side of the country for this little guy, catching jobs to make their ends meet. I went home feeling helpless, torn between feelings of joy for the younger man’s determination to support his son, and sadness for the stubborn resolution of the older man, whose comments conveyed the perspective that children without caring parents are better off eliminated. To follow this logic is to say that it is a greater tragedy to be unwanted and alive, than to be unwanted – and killed. Fast forward about a month and a half. I’m just getting the hang of Vancouver’s transportation system, catching the skytrain home after a day of campus activism. My head is buzzing, trying to debrief the day’s conversations as well as make sure that I get on the right train. As I slide onto the train and carve out a place to stand, the smell of cigarettes makes me catch my breath. There is a pile of beaten-up bags at the feet of a fellow passenger. I lift my eyes, piecing together the baggy pants, layers of clothing, and a salt-and-pepper scruff crowning the unshaven face of a man with deep, browned wrinkles. “Bonjour, Monsieur…!” I greet the familiar face with astonishment.

His eyes wrinkle around the edges as he smiles back, “I did not think that you would recognize me.”

Of course I recognized him, though I was definitely not expecting to see this man, the older tradesman from that afternoon of clipboarding, ever again. The man shared how he was heading back to Montreal after traveling all across Canada for work. The man then paused, motioning to his bags,

“You know, I’ve been here in Vancouver, on the streets. No home or apartment. My sleeping bag is in there.”

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The duffel bag lay sprawled at his feet. The man glanced back at me and continued, “You know, my kids, I’ve got five of them. My kids, they are all grown up and established. I gave them all I could. Now it is time for me to live my life.”

Hold on. Where are his children now, and why don’t they seem to care that their father is living on the streets? My heart ached as this man shared the story his wrinkles betray.

How did I not see this earlier? His earlier assertion that an unwanted life is better off destroyed came from a deeply personal place, a place beaten up and worn like the baggage at his feet.

I wanted to do something to help this man, to show him his worth, but the best I could do was to learn his name, shake his hand, and wish him well, as we both had another train to catch.

Reflecting on this, I realize that we have an incredible opportunity as pro-life leaders. We have peers who also carry around with them that heavy feeling of being unwanted. Like the student who was abandoned by his father when his mother decided to give him life. Or the girl whose parents remind her daily that she is not the boy they wanted.

But how can we help our peers to see the value of their lives, if we let the butterflies in our stomachs keep us from reaching out to initiate a conversation?

Okay, granted – maybe they don’t have time for a conversation. Are we doing any harm by wishing them a good day?

Brochures and pamphlets are helpful resources to have on hand, and an info table can be an effective background tool,

but there is a reason why we work with student leaders, not printing machines.

In our activism, let us resolve to reach out and, in doing so, touch the heart of another. We have the opportunity – indeed, the responsibility – to encourage our peers to recognize the value of their own lives, to be voices declaring the profound truth that every life is wanted.

Without exception.
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And so begins another year!

WELCOME BACK to another year of school! We wish all students the best as you start another semester of reaching and engaging the culture.

In light of this year’s Symposium theme, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, we want to challenge you to live out a pro-life lifestyle, without exception.

Sometimes exceptions creep in when it comes to our own pro-life activism. How many times have we put conditions on when or where or how we participate in pro-life activities? Whether this means taking part in pro-life outreach, attending a pro-life event or meeting, talking to friends, family, or colleagues about the issue, or donating to a pro-life group or initiative – all too often we act as pro-lifers, except when it does not fit into our schedules or comfort zone. We want to challenge you to be pro-life – without exception.

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To help you, our NCLN Symposium will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to defend the lives of pre-born children, in spite of the exceptions people may pose to you, or the exceptions you may create yourself. We hope to see you or a representative from your club at our Symposium!

 

 

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Mind Matters, Love Conquers

Written by Ashley Bulthuis, NCLN Summer Intern

Last week NCLN and Advokate joined efforts to co-host our final BC Summer Semester event: training in how to engage others in open, loving conversation, followed  by Clipboarding combined with Student Life Chain. Through our combined efforts, over 40 participants were able to lovingly share the pro-life message with the local community in Abbotsford, showing them that every life is worth living.

Youth from the Gospel Roads Retreat

Our volunteers were primarily composed of high school students in grades 10-12. Most of them were decked out in purple shirts, with the name of their affiliate organization, Gospel Roads, plastered on their backs. These youth joined our event as part of their social justice retreat; the retreat was geared towards helping high school students serve their local community while raising awareness about various social injustices. The students were excited for the opportunity to put their passion for social justice into action as they showed the Abbotsford community that pre-born humans have rights as well!

“Whom you would change, you must first love. And they must know that you love them.”

To help prepare the youth for engaging the community, Joanna, NCLN’s Western Campus Coordinator, presented about the need to speak out in truth and love, sharing the words of Martin Luther King Jr: “Whom you would change, you must first love. And they must know that you love them.”  She shared personal stories of how conveying the pro-life message with a loving, gentle approach is the most effective way to engage our culture. She provided tangible ways the students could put their passion and convictions into action, encouraging them to do all they can to share the truth. As St. Augustine of Hippo said “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.”

Students participating in the Life Chain part of the event

The participants then spent a fruitful hour of activism on the street. Most held Life Chain signs, conveying the messages that “Abortion Hurts Women” and “You’ll never regret loving this much.” Those who more directly engaged passersby through clipboarding carried themselves with great compassion, empathy and courage; they listened patiently to those they were conversing with and responded in a gentle, loving manner, acting as great ambassadors of the message of truth and love. Their enthusiasm bubbled over from their wide smiles and shining eyes and their joy was contagious.

Clipboarders ready for action!

After the event, every single participant enthusiastically said that they would do this again. Educating our minds with pro-life arguments matters, but ultimately, it is love that wins people over.  In the words of Maya Angelou,

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

 

Photo credit: Fr. Jim Zettel, SDB

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see – think – act

Written by Anastasia Pearse

“The way we view something changes the way we think about that thing, which changes the way we act towards that thing. Therefore, if we change the way people see abortion, then we can change the way they think about abortion, and we can change the way they act towards abortion.”

Yesterday pro-lifers from the Vancouver Lower Mainland had a chance to educate and transform themselves as they explored the pro-life position and how they can be a voice for the voiceless victims in our country. They were able to see the logic of the pro-life position and understand the reality of what this means for the children who are killed through abortion, for the men and women who suffer because of abortion, and for themselves personally who are called to bring about an end to abortion.

Emily Ryznar provided the presentation, equipping pro-lifers to change and save the culture as they reach out as a Voice for the Voiceless.
Emily Mraz provided the presentation, equipping pro-lifers to change and save the culture as they become an active Voice for the Voiceless.

Afterwards, the pro-lifers reached out and impacted the culture through ‘Choice’ Chain.
“A woman standing at the bus stop walked over and thanked us for being there. She said she was pregnant at age 16 and “it’s because of people like you that I have my son today!””

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“A man was riding by on his bike and stopped to talk when I asked him what he thought about abortion. He said that he didn’t think it’s a good thing, but that if a woman was raped it would be okay. I asked him if he thought it’s okay to kill a child because of the crimes of their father and he stopped to think about it, then broke into a great big smile and said “Where do I sign?!” When he left he said, “I totally support your cause!””

Visit NCLN’s Summer Semester page for more information about upcoming pro-life outreach events!

“If more people can see that abortion is a violation of human rights, more people will act to stop it… No injustice has ever been ended by hiding the injustice that happens and covering up the victims.”

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University of Toronto Students for Life: The beginning of life isn’t controversial

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by Blaise Alleyne. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

It’s not controversial when life begins. Except for when we start talking about abortion, then people want to pretend it’s above their pay grade.

I just came across this little snippet from the Globe about an institute at U of T that I think serves to highlight that:

If you were going to try and solve the riddle of childhood obesity, who would you call? Doctors, geneticists, teachers or social workers? Why not all of them? That’s the premise behind a new research institute at the University of Toronto that will be delving into the potential – and the pitfalls – of early childhood health and well-being.

The Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development, named for the late advocate of early childhood development, pulls together researchers from a wide range of fields under a virtual umbrella to tackle a wide range of issues. They’ll team up on research and teaching that focuses on the first 2,000 days of a child’s life – from conception to age five – in the hopes of pinpointing ways to set children on positive life trajectories.

If you’re doing real science and you have to look to the beginning of life, would you turn to birth? To the ability to feel pain? To consciousness or sentience? To a sperm or egg cell? Obviously, just like the Fraser Mustard Institute, you’d look to the real beginning of life: conception.

The beginning of life is a fact. That fact is only becomes controversial insofar as it’s inconvenient — when you are trying to justify killing through abortion.

Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: #LifeWeek2015: Recap

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by ctimperley. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

#LifeWeek2015 has officially come to a close and we are blown away by the success of each and every event!

Let’s take a look back at the successes of the past week:

On Monday, we began #LifeWeek2015 with a lecture by Dr. Calhoun of West Virginia University. His talk, titled “The Fetus As Our Patient: Therapeutic Advances in Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy” explored how previously lethal diagnoses can now be treated in utero. Dr. Calhoun’s lecture served to open the audience’s mind to the idea of the pre-born child not simply as a part of the mother, but as a patient on his or her own.

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#LifeWeek2015 continued into Tuesday evening with our panel discussion about Services for Pregnant Women and Common Ground Between Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Groups. The panel featured advocates from both sides of the debate and overall, suggested a desire to help women who find themselves in trying circumstances.

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On Wednesday, we continued our raising awareness about the pro-life movement in the lobby of the Medical Sciences Building with Q&A for a Cookie. With a bowl of questions on one side of the table and packages of cookies on the other, we invited passerby to pick a question, discuss it with us, and earn a cookie in the process. With questions ranging from topics about abortion laws in Canada – or the lack thereof – to services for women in crisis pregnancies, our team dialogued with the University of Toronto community, many of whom became illuminated through this activity to the availability of resources for women in these situations and the need to reconsider for themselves the definition of personhood – all while munching on some cookies!

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On Thursday, #LifeWeek2015 put the pro-life and pro-choice movements in contrast with a debate titled “Abortion: Human Right or Human Rights Violation?”. Featuring Maaike Rosendal of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform and University of Toronto Philosophy Professor Wayne Sumner, the debate showcased both the differences and similarities between each side of the argument, primarily the criteria for human rights and, connecting to our first lecture, the treatment of situations with a pregnant woman as consisting of one patient, the mother, or two, extending to include the pre-born child.

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#LifeWeek2015 concluded on Friday with our regular volunteering at Aid to Women, a prominent crisis pregnancy centre in the city.

Thank you to all who helped us out with the organization and execution of #LifeWeek2015, as well as all those who came out and participated in these events!

We hope that this past week served to affect change in the hearts and minds of the University of Toronto community. As a result of #LifeWeek2015, we hope that you, too, have been inspired to join us in our mission to protect and defend all human life, from conception to natural death.

To be informed regularly about UTSFL’s events and activities, subscribe to our email list on the sidebar of this page!

For more updates, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.