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We #SurvivedMorgentaler: Canadian Youth Speak Out on the 26th Anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler

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. 

Media Contacts:
Alissa Golob, Youth Coordinator, Campaign Life Coalition, P: 416-204-9749, C: 647-678-016,  alissa@campaignlifecoalition.com
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director, National Campus Life Network,  C: 416-388-0461, director@ncln.ca

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5 Things the Youth of Canada Should Know About R.v. Morgentaler

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.

Because Roe v. Wade is so widely spoken of, even in Canada, people can be easily confused. R. v. Morgentaler was the January 28, 1988 Supreme Court decision that struck down the existing (and inadequate) abortion laws in the Criminal Code of Canada. The previous law, established in 1969, allowed for abortions in hospital performed for reasons of the mother’s ‘life or health’. ‘Health’ was not defined, however, and it was Therapeutic Abortion Committees within the hospitals that had to evaluate the cases. As such, access to abortion could vary substantially in different parts of the country, depending on who sat on the committees. The case of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who served jail time for his illegal abortions, reached Canada’s highest court and, on January 28th 1988, the court handed down its decision, striking down the abortion laws. No law has been passed since.

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 follow us on instagram!
  • 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
*Although, granted, Roe v. Wade has had a significant impact on Canada.
 

Morgentaler 2014 Meme2. R. v. Morgentaler did NOT make abortion a ‘right’.

No ‘right to an abortion’ exists in law in Canada. Not only is there no law, but the Supreme Court never established a ‘right’ like Roe v. Wade did. In fact, the Supreme Court justices were very clear about the fact that Parliament does have jurisdiction to define protections for the child within the womb. The decision, which was 5-2, was split into four separate judgments, and the only Justice who came close to defending an abortion right even stated in her judgment that the state still has an interest in protecting preborn human life:
“The precise point in the development of the foetus at which the state’s interest becomes ‘compelling’ I leave to the informed judgment of the legislature which is in a position to receive guidance on the subject from all the relevant disciplines. It seems to me, however, that it might fall somewhere in the second trimester.”  Justice Bertha Wilson, R. v. Morgentaler, January 28, 1988, Supreme Court of Canada (page 113).

You can listen to an interview where Don Hutchison, Legal Counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, addresses this: Abortion Debate in Canada Interview

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.

Blaise2014Meme

 

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.

 

Educate your campus on the truth about abortion. Try the QA Project!

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Growing up in the Shadow of R. v. Morgentaler

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

Gavin Richmond, 1897-1917
Gavin Richmond, 1897-1917

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.

Blaise2014Meme

 

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Winners for the 2013-2014 Pro-Life Club Grant Announced

Congratulations Guelph Life Choice and Western Lifeline!

Guelph Life Choice and Western Lifeline, the pro-life clubs at Guelph University and the University of Western Ontario, are the proud recipients of the 2013-2014 Pro-Life Club Grants. These grants, with $750 being awarded to each club, are made possible by The Interim newspaper and Niagara Region Right to Life, and are facilitated by National Campus Life Network.

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Western Lifeline taking part in 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil

“Pro-life university students face a lot of challenges as they work to bring the pro-life message to their campuses,” said Rebecca Richmond, NCLN’s Executive Director. “The generosity of The Interim and Niagara Region Right to Life helps support and encourage students and also provides financial support to fund their activities.” 

The purpose of the grant is to recognize the work of pro-life clubs and assist them in their efforts on campuses.  Club members submit applications outlining the activities they plan to run on campus, with the goal being to effectively reach and impact the campus with the pro-life message.

This year’s winners are thrilled to be the recipients of the grant. Life Choice at Guelph’s plan for the coming semester includes hosting the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. They also hope to initiate a new project of creating care packages with key items for expectant and new moms on campus; these packages will be available through student support services. 

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Guelph Life Choice during Clubs Day with Rebecca and Clarissa

“We are so excited to implement our plans in the winter semester,” says club Vice-President Meagan Nijenhuis. “During the fall semester we were able to build a strong foundation for our pro life group, and we are so proud of all our members.”

“We will continue to grow and learn, and together we will do whatever we can to bring awareness to our campus,” continued club President Celine Mammoliti. “This grant will definitely help us with our goal to successfully provide alternative options on a campus that generally fails to give women real choices.”

Western Lifeline, located in London Ontario, is focused on an upcoming debate between Dr. Fraser Fellows, an abortionist, and Maaike Rosendal  of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Carolyn Murray, president of the club, stated, “Western Lifeline is extremely thankful to be awarded the grant. Our hopes to host a professional debate on campus – the largest event of the year – are now possible, as we strive to reach even more university students with the pro-life message.”

As a busy fall semester draws to a close, it is evident that the spring semester has a great deal of exciting activism in store. 

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News release: Motion to Ban University of Manitoba Pro-Life Club Defeated But Concerns Regarding Future Censorship Remain

News Release

MOTION TO BAN UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA PRO-LIFE CLUB DEFEATED BUT CONCERNS REGARDING FUTURE CENSORSHIP REMAIN

WINNIPEG, MB (October 9 2013) – On the evening of October 7th, the University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life (UMSCL) were glad to witness the defeat of a motion calling for the revocation of their club status. However, they are continuing to express concern about two other motions passed by the University of Manitoba Student Union (UMSU).

“We were encouraged to hear members of the council defend free speech on campus and see the motion to revoke our student group status defeated soundly,” states Cara Ginter, vice-president of UMSCL. “Unfortunately, two other motions were passed that could be used to censor our student group and others in the future.”

The first motion was put forward by two students as a response to a pro-life display hosted by the club September 23-25. This display, called the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), uses large posters with pictures of aborted fetuses and victims of historical genocides to argue that abortion is a human rights violation. Council members, including Nursing, Law, and Education representatives, spoke against the motion and it was ultimately defeated.

Two other motions were also presented by the council’s Student Group Promotions and Affairs Committee (SGPAC), which express concern over the content of the display and resolving that (1) the council meet with the university administration “to push for a reconsideration of the review and approval process for public displays” and (2) that the policies governing the penalization of clubs and revocation of club status be reviewed and clarified.

“We applaud the student union’s defeat of the first motion and hope they will use that good sense moving forward,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network (NCLN), an organization that supports pro-life students in Canada. “UMSU is certainly within its rights to review its own policies and even discuss the display approval process with the administration – as long as they don’t attempt to hinder the club’s right to exist and exercise its freedom of expression on campus.”

“The display was a great opportunity to dialogue with students about the issue of abortion,” says Ginter. “We’re looking forward to continuing this conversation over the course of the year, educating our peers about this important human rights issue.”

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For more information please contact:

Cara Ginter, vice-president, University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life: caraginter@hotmail.com

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network: westerncanada@ncln.ca

John Carpay, JCCF President and lawyer acting for the students: 403-619-8014, jcarpay@jccf.ca.

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What Have We Gotten Ourselves Into?

By Rebecca Richmond

I was new on the job and only a recent grad myself on October 4th, 2010. The NCLN Symposium had just finished and we caught a train to Ottawa to help out Carleton Lifeline as they put on the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP).  Well, as they tried to anyway.

Carleton arrests resizedMy job that morning was to take photos just in case.  And take photos I did, recording moments that seem more like a dream than a memory: friends being handcuffed and driven away in police vans.

What had I gotten myself into?

Three years later, as I enter my fourth year on staff with NCLN, I often find myself wondering the same thing. As do, I know, too many students who may not have to face handcuffs, but still have to fight long and hard for their rights on campus.

Since joining staff with NCLN I have worked with clubs coast-to-coast as they face discrimination. This fall is no different. Just one month has passed since school has started and already clubs are fighting opposition.

In Winnipeg this coming Monday, the University of Manitoba Student Union will vote on a motion to ban the pro-life club on campus – University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life – because the club ran the Genocide Awareness Project  (GAP) last week.  While the university acknowledged the free speech rights of the students to run the display, the student union members appear to require a bit more education on what freedom of expression entails.

In Victoria the legal representative and former president of the University of Victoria’s pro-life club, Youth Protecting Youth, is suing the university because of the censorship of the club’s “Choice” Chain event last winter and the restrictions placed on the club to prevent them from hosting similar events. 

And these are just the recent developments. It would take longer than one article to go through everything students went through last year – or even last semester.

So what have we gotten ourselves into?

We’re in a human rights movement, a culture war, a battle for the soul of a nation.   We fight for the very principle that holds – or ought to hold – our society together: that human life is valuable and that all humans, no matter what their abilities or circumstances might be, have a right to life.  We are counter-cultural and, as such, we challenge our society.  When we speak truth, it unsettles, disturbs and offends those who would rather remain in denial. When we speak up, others may try to shout us down or shut us down.  It has always been this way; why should we expect any different?  But we must also ask ourselves, what cause was won without sacrifice?  What victory was secured without a price?

No, it’s not fair.  And we will fight for fair and equal treatment for pro-life students.  But we do so, or at least the students and NCLN do so, because of the cause that got us into trouble in the first place.  When we fight for our rights, we do so not for ourselves, but for those we fight for: the preborn children who are being slaughtered every day in our country and for their wounded moms and dads.

It would be easy to say that we’ll take up the challenge after our education, when we have a steady job and a few more letters behind our name, when we have more time and aren’t constrained by midterms, papers or our course schedule.  But we cannot wait until tomorrow when we are presently in such a critically important environment.  Being a university pro-life activist might cost us something but I also believe, like Martin Luther King Jr. did, that it is worth the cost.

“Make a career of humanity,” he said, “Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

But ultimately it is the lives on the line that keeps us going when the opposition mounts.  It is the witness of friends, like the students arrested at Carleton in 2010, who inspire us.  It is the truth awakened in our own hearts that compels us to end the injustice of abortion and build a Culture of Life – starting with our campuses.

 

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News Release: PRO-LIFE STUDENTS AT BRANDON UNIVERSITY FINALLY RECEIVE CLUB STATUS

News Release

PRO-LIFE STUDENTS AT BRANDON UNIVERSITY FINALLY RECEIVE CLUB STATUS

BRANDON, MB (September 9, 2013) – As the school year begins, a pro-life club at Brandon University has finally been granted full club status after a lengthy process that has taken an entire year.

“It’s been a long, frustrating year so we’re glad to finally have official club status,” said Catherine Dubois, President of Brandon Students for Life. “It has taken a lot of work to get us here, but we are thrilled at the opportunity to spread the pro-life message on campus! Our executive has a lot planned for this semester and so now that we have status we can hit the ground running. We are extremely excited to be ratified and to be able to really engage, connect with, and educate our peers.”

The student union’s decision was communicated to the club’s lawyer, John Carpay, at the end of August. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms had intervened at the end of April by informing the student union that legal action would be taken if club status was not granted.

“It is illegal for a student union to deny club status on the basis of the club’s beliefs, opinions, or philosophy. All students are required to pay dues to the student union, and all students enjoy the same right to start the club of their choice. I am pleased that the situation at Brandon was resolved without needing to go to court,” stated Carpay, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

The controversy began in August 2012 when Catherine Dubois and another club member met with the student union president and vice-president external to discuss starting a pro-life club. They were then informed that the student union would not approve a pro-life club, as they wished to avoid division on campus. The pro-life students filed for status despite this on January 23, 2013 but received a rejection on February 4th, citing conflicts between the union’s bylaws and the club’s constitution.

Students for Life continued their fight for status, and further inquired about what policies their proposed constitution required. After receiving the policies and discussing the issues with members of the student union, the club made amendments and resubmitted on March 5th.

On April 2nd, the club was informed that the student union would defer the decision on whether or not to grant status to next year’s council, thus preventing the club from having status on campus for an entire year.

“Getting club status should not require an entire year or lawyers,” stated Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network, a Canadian organization that exists to support pro-life clubs like Students for Life.“We applaud the student union’s decision, but the club should never have had to go through this lengthy process in the first place.”

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For further comment please contact:

Catherine Dubois, President, Brandon University Students for Life, studentsforlife.bu@gmail.com

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network, westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604 365 3484

John Carpay, President, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, jcarpay@jccf.ca, 403-619-8014

 

Visit Brandon U Students for Life Blog here!

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Does the St. Mary’s Frosh Week Scandal Have Something to Teach Us?

By Rebecca Richmond

In case anyone wasn’t yet aware that Canadian campus culture is in need of some change, Frosh Week at St. Mary’s University in Halifax recently provided a graphic case-in-point.

The shocking Instagram video of the university’s frosh event is a PR nightmare for the institution, making national headlines thanks to the orientation officials championing of underage, non-consensual sex.  Or that’s what the Canadian Press called it.  Last time I checked, ‘non-consensual sex’ was the definition of rape.

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The troupe of chanting boys yelled gleefully:  “SMU boys we like them YOUNG! Y is for your sister. O is for oh so tight. U is for underage. N is for no consent. G is for grab that ass.”

The girls seemed to be giggling awkwardly and someone, obviously, found it entertaining enough to post on Instagram.

The St. Mary’s administration is, understandably, upset and the student leaders will be receiving sensitivity training.  Personally, I think something a little more intensive is in order.  Perhaps a complete psych workup to find out how their critical thinking, reasonable thinking, and thinking in general went completely out the window…

But the broader question for all of us is how did they get an entire group singing along? Unless something has radically changed in a couple years, these students would have, like me, grown up in our politically-correct school system with comprehensive sex-ed, teachers who were very sensitive to gender neutral pronouns, self-defence gym classes, and a heck of lot of quasi-feminist rhetoric.  So…how does this chant happen?  And how did everyone in the video go along with it?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that our society still accepts and even applauds, at times, an objectification of women.  From TV to magazines to storefront displays, marketers play on human insecurities and promote a  sexed up ideal that will somehow, they suggest, fulfill us.  Porn is now a staple of many a man’s browsing history – and increasingly younger and younger boys are exposed to and becoming addicted to porn.  And for us girls there’s Fifty Shades of emotional abuse and an ever-expanding industry of such wasted paper.  (There’s much more that could be listed but this is supposed to be an article and not the introduction to a ten volume book.)

And so, as we enter a new school year, we should be aware that human worth and human respect is under attack in our world, our country, and our campuses.  We must be willing to challenge our culture and insist upon the value of all human beings, none of whom should be spoken of as the SMU boys did.

In our work, we start with the very basic principle: that all human beings deserve human rights.  We reaffirm that all of us are fundamentally equal, no matter our gender, our race, or our age.  And we proclaim boldly that women and men deserve better than abortion and a culture that callously discards the most vulnerable of the human family.

The Instagram video is embarrassing to St. Mary’s University, but it should embarrass Canadian society in general.  It’s time that we realized that healing our culture will take more than decades of ‘no means no’ campaigns.  Pro-lifers realize this.  So welcome to  another school year.  We have work to do.

 

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