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“No Choice”: A Magazine Reviews Canada’s Pro-Life Movement

The cover of the summer issue of Maisonneuve Magazine.



Prepare to grin, grimace and grump: this article has it all. 

Given that the article published in the arts and opinion magazine Maisonneuve was nearly a year in the making and given that NCLN staff were interviewed, we were interested to see what the authors would say about Canada’s Pro-Life Movement.  It’s a mixed bag, but certainly an interesting read.

The lovely ladies of ProWomanProLife have responded, calling out the authors for their assertion that “strict physicians’ guidelines cap abortions at twenty-four weeks” (those guidelines are found where exactly?). 

And Faye Sonier ‘howls with laughter’ at the comment that pregnancy centres are notoriously litigious:

“Yes, those crazy pro-lifers and their buckets of money – money collected from ye olde money tree in the parking lot.  Money that they then throw at their team of lawyers.  Lawyers they keep on retainer and on-call, to address any perceived slight.  Yes, that sure sounds like the reality of non-profit and charitable organizations everywhere.  And to support their claim, they provide a single example.”


But we do appreciate that the authors consider Canada’s young pro-life leaders to be “camera-ready spokespeople – twentysomethings who seem more like news anchors than activists”.  (It’s nice to know we have a future in broadcasting after we end abortion.)  There were even some complimentary remarks about NCLN as ‘polished’ and ‘media-savvy’.  That said, we have no idea what or how NCLN, as they allege, “encourages members to collectively blog their outrage when conflicts arise.”

 You can read the full article here (and collectively blog your reactions thereafter?).



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What Happened to Motion 408 and Why it Matters: A Summary

What Happened to Motion 408, Why It Matters,

and What it Means for the Abortion Debate in Federal Politics

  By Rebecca Richmond


Although  Motion 408 wrapped up in the spring and we are approaching fall, people are still curious about the fate of the motion.  I make this mostly unsubstantiated assertion based on the fact that it still comes up in conversation.  

 This interest is heartening because regardless of whether your interest in Canadian politics tends towards compulsively checking Twitter feeds, reading Hansard and watching CPAC or whether it tends to be more limited (and you have no idea what Hansard or CPAC is), the fact remains that what happened this spring with Motion 408 was important.  But, surrounded by parliamentary procedure and committees, not to mention the question of privilege and the Liberal motion concerning S.O. 31s, it can be a bit confusing.   Even friends and colleagues who had followed the issue to a certain extent were asking for explanations. 

 I looked for a summary of the situation and, not finding one, began to write.  What was originally intended to be a simple blog post turned into a series of posts and then was never posted at all.  I decided that it was too late and retired the document to a folder of drafts.

 But people continued asking about it and, so, upon request, it was emailed to a few friends.  More requests resulted in it being made more public.  So enjoy!

To open the article, click here.


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#Brochoice and The Bro Code: It’s a Wonder They Ever Met ‘the Mother’

Have you heard of brochoice?  Ben Sherman recently explained their philosophy as he rallied men to protest a bill in Texas that protects women and preborn children.  NCLN’s Rebecca Richmond responds in the blog piece below.

By Rebecca Richmond

Ben Sherman has come under fire for saying what countless people have been thinking.  If people are surprised, it is only because they are surprised someone had the gall to say such things out loud.  So I would actually like to thank the bro for his refreshing honesty. 

Photo credit: Students for Life of America
Photo credit: Students for Life of America

He saw the blue shirts closing in on the Texas Capitol; he knew that HB2 posed a challenge to abortion on demand in his state; and he, apparently, thought to himself: “challenge accepted”.

He called his fellow Texas men to action because,

Your sex life is at stake. Can you think of anything that kills the vibe faster than a woman fearing a back-alley abortion? Making abortion essentially inaccessible in Texas will add an anxiety to sex that will drastically undercut its joys. And don’t be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by.”

In other words: rise up, men of Texas, to protect your vibe-y, anxiety-free, casual sex outside of relationships!  

#Brochoice might end up trending on Twitter but it’s not novel at all. So excuse me while I pull out my ‘Intervention Banner’ and address the reality of the situation.

First, Mr. Sherman did get something right.  He admitted that “those pregnancies didn’t happen all on their own.”  He understands that, should a woman not decide to abort his preborn child, he would have responsibilities.

But then he actually tries to claim that this bill would endanger Texas women.  True story.  Please explain to me how applying safety standards normal for other out-patient surgical centres to clinics offering abortions (a.k.a. invasive surgical procedures) is contrary to women’s health and well being?

And then there’s the issue of late-term abortions on pain-capable preborn children.  Maybe he doesn’t realize that the majority of Texas women oppose late-term abortion and, in fact, that late-term abortions are quite risky for women.

No, the point of the brochoice argument obviously doesn’t have anything to do with the well being of women.  It rests on a man’s desire to maintain abortion on demand to ensure that men can have an active sex life without the risk of diaper duty.

The term brochoice might be relatively recent, but we’re all very familiar with the concept.  The thing is, although the rest of society tiptoes around the connection to abortion, Ben was just stating what is made out to be the ‘norm’.  Look at our TV shows, our movies and our books.  Look at How I Met Your Mother, the sitcom entering its 9th season which boasts an average viewership of 9 million each year. 

And that viewership includes, I’m sure, many of us that find brochoice despicable.  I’ve known many men I hold in high esteem – who would never ever live that kind of lifestyle – make light of The Bro Code, the guide to help men accomplish perhaps the most important challenge society faces – getting laid.” And Barney Stinson, that playboy character who lives by the code?  Everyone thinks he’s hilarious.


But what is The Bro Code other than cheap tricks to ‘bang chicks’?  And who is Barney Stinson other than a horny womanizer?

But we laugh at it.  We normalize it.  We might not live that kind of lifestyle ourselves, but we almost don’t expect society to know any better. 

Let’s call a spade a spade. 

Women deserve better than brochoice.  But guess what, men deserve better than brochoice too.  Men deserve to grow up with fathers.  Men deserve to be loved and protected by their fathers at all stages of development, and not sacrificed on the altar of their dear dad’s sex life.  Men deserve to have real meaningful relationships with women.  And men deserve to have role models that are not Barney Stinson or any other fictional playboy

Because it’s a wonder that Ted, the main character of How I Met Your Mother, actually finds the mother.  The show, despite the title, has never been about the mother, but rather about the glorified culture of sex without consequences.  The show might not have involved abortion, but we all know that it’s part and parcel of a lifestyle that requires abortion on demand.

But pro-life men, on the other hand, are – or ought to be – the role models.  In their families, in their workplaces, on the streets or on campus, pro-life men present a very different model with their willingness to stand up for life, to endure the abuse of angry passersby, and to sacrifice their time, their talents and their reputations in order to protect women and children.

So brochoice men, keep it in your pants.  If you want to show the world that you have balls, then take off the orange shirts and #stand4life in true blue.


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Morgentaler & My Generation

By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director

Recommit ourselves to a legacy of life - Copy small

 I should not have been looking at my phone as I walked down the stairs, for I nearly slipped and fell when a text message popped up on my screen: “Morgentaler died.”

My heart dropped.  As long as there is life, there is hope, and I sincerely hoped that Henry Morgentaler, Canada’s most prominent abortionist and abortion advocate, would experience repentance and conversion.  I held onto that hope because of what it would mean for the cause of life in Canada, but also for the sake of his own life and soul.

 I was shaken.  Morgentaler has always been a larger-than-life figure and often on my mind.  His biography sits on my bookshelf and, every time I see it, I recall the stories of his life that I read in those pages: the activist upbringing, the suffering of the Holocaust, his complicated relationships with women, his imprisonment, the Supreme Court decision, and the expansion of his clinics.  He remains an icon for abortion in Canada and the builder of a dark and blood-stained legacy that lives on, though he does not.

Like the rest of my generation, I  grew up in the shadow of the 1988 R. v. Morgentaler decision. The 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court case this past January 28th was a personal one for us.  It has defined us as survivors for, in a quarter century, a quarter of our generation has been wiped out by abortion.

We, as young people, have never known our nation without the dark shadow of abortion and the decision that allowed that shadow to persist.  We have never known Canada without Morgentaler.  He, now, may be gone from this earth, but abortion is not.  

 There has been, as was to be expected, a flurry of activity in the media as everyone weighs in on his legacy.  But let us not forget that unrestricted abortion in Canada has been the result of more than Henry Morgentaler.  It is the result of many committed activists, committed financial donors, judges, and politicians; but society is also complicit.  We began to lose in the court of public opinion before we lost in the court of law.

So, for us, Morgentaler’s death must not be simply a time for analysis.  It cannot be a time to sit back and merely approve or condemn his actions.  It must be a time when we recommit ourselves to action and transforming society.  We need to build a legacy of life that goes beyond having convictions and actually ends this injustice.   Being pro-life should be less of a label and more of a lifestyle.  

We have our work cut out for us, but we cannot shrink from the task we face.  A quarter of our generation is dead because of abortion and we cannot and will not abandon the next generation to the same fate.  I have said it before and I will say it again: 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.

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Statement on the Death of Henry Morgentaler

National Campus Life Network is saddened to hear of the passing of Henry Morgentaler, Canada’s most prominent abortionist and pro-choice activist.  Despite his deep involvement in the injustice of abortion in Canada, there was always hope that he would follow in the footsteps of abortionists like Dr. Bernard Nathanson and repent.  It is our sincere hope that he experienced a change of heart. 

We are grieved at the destructive legacy that Henry Morgentaler has left, having performed thousands of abortions personally and making hundreds of thousands more possible through his clinics and the 1988 Supreme Court decision that struck down the abortion laws.  We, as young people, have felt the impact of his legacy with a quarter of our generation having been killed by abortion in the quarter century since the R. v. Morgentaler court case.  We will continue to work with students across Canada to ensure that the next generation is spared the same fate.


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M408 Won’t be Appealed, but Education on Gendercide will Continue

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.

Anastasia and Kathleen with Warawa
NCLN’s Anastasia and Kathleen with MP Mark Warawa at Trinity Western University’s screening of ‘It’s a Girl.’


“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.” 

On May 9th Canadians across the country will be marching in solidarity for the annual March for Life.  The event theme for the B.C. March and National March is that of female gendercide.

NCLN’s Defend Girls resources are still available and still relevant if you would like to use them to educate on this important issue. 

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Life Link Statement in Response to Misleading Comments Made by the UFV

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.

UFV Life Link banner

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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.

Club members of UFV Life Link wearing their DefendGirls t-shirts.
Club members of UFV Life Link wearing their DefendGirls t-shirts.

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:

Ashley Bulthuis, President, UFV Life Link, ufvlifelink@gmail.com, 778-549-8233
Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network, westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604 365 3484

To view the censored resources and the letter from the JCCF, please visit: http://ufvlifelink.ncln.ca/2013/04/08/censorship/

For statements from the JCCF and WeNeedALaw, please visit their respective websites: www.jccf.ca and www.weneedalaw.ca

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