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uOttawa Students For Life: Jan 24 – The Abortion Debate: A Scientific and Philosophical Review

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

This Thursday, January 24, Stephanie Gray will be presenting The Abortion Debate: A Scientific and Philosophical Review in Ottawa. The event starts at 7:30 pm and is at Dominican College, 96 Empress Avenue. Thanks go to Saint Paul Students for Life for organizing it. This is a great opportunity to hear an experienced speaker lay out the arguments surrounding abortion clearly and cohesively. See you there!


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

Press Release: Ontario students want abortion debate but abortion advocates unwilling to defend their position

March 14, 2012: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ontario students want abortion debate but abortion advocates unwilling to defend their position

Toronto, ON: This March, two Ontario university clubs are hosting abortion debates on campus, but pro-choicers have been unwilling to debate.  Despite contacting over 120 professors, feminist organizations, and abortion advocacy groups, Guelph Life Choice and McMaster Lifeline have been unable to find anyone willing to debate.  Pro-life students from McMaster and Guelph are now issuing a public challenge to pro-choice proponents (specifically professors, doctors, clinic workers, and advocates from pro-choice organizations), inviting them to defend their position on abortion and join in an open and respectful debate.

“There’s been great student interest in having this debate,” states Hanna Barlow, President of the University of Guelph Life Choice.  “But everyone we’ve contacted to represent the pro-choice side has either rejected the invitation or simply ignored it.  It’s very disappointing.”

With the debate scheduled for the end of the month, Guelph Life Choice contacted the Student Help and Advocacy Centre (SHAC) from the student union for help finding a pro-choice advocate.  They declined, stating, “We do not believe that the sexual and reproductive rights of women is [sic] something that should be debated because we see ‘pro-choice’ as the only option. For us, reproductive rights are non-debatable.” (See full email text at: http://uofguelphlifechoice.ncln.ca/2012/03/14/email/)

“Unwillingness to debate is something we’ve seen before on other campuses,” states Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director for the National Campus Life Network, a national pro-life student organization.   “Despite accusations from pro-choicers that we’re closed minded and backwards, they are the ones who keep rejecting our offers to engage in dialogue.”

“Anyone who holds a belief on an issue must have evidence to back up their belief,” states Julia Bolzon, President of McMaster Lifeline.  “If pro-choicers are confident in their position, then they should be willing to defend it in a debate.  We hope pro-choicers will rise to the challenge.”

 

For more information or for those interested in representing the pro-choice side of the debate, contact:

Julia Bolzon – President McMaster Lifeline, 647 221 0912, jbolzon@gmail.com

Hanna Barlow – President Guelph Life Choice, 519 830 9072, hannabarlow@gmail.com

Rebecca Richmond – Executive Director, National Campus Life Network, 416 388 0461 director@ncln.ca

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University of Guelph Life Choice: Email from Student Help and Advocacy Centre

This post was written for University of Guelph Life Choice by University of Guelph Life Choice. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

This is the response from the Student Help and Advocacy Centre, after Hanna Barlow, President of Guelph Life Choice, requested their help in finding someone to represent the pro-choice position in the March 27th debate.

 Hi Hannah,

Thank you for contacting the Student Help and Advocacy Centre (SHAC) at the Central Student Association (CSA). Unfortunately, SHAC is unwilling to participate in this kind of debate due to our "Declaration of Rights of the Woman Student" policy from the CSA that I have copied and pasted below. We do not believe that the sexual and reproductive rights of women is something that should be debated because we see "pro-choice" as the only option. For us, reproductive rights are non-debatable. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to e-mail shacedu@uoguelph.ca.

Regards,

Alexandra Holtom
-----------------------------------------
Education and Events Coordinator
Student Help and Advocacy Centre
University Centre Level 2
University of Guelph
______________________________________________

4.2 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS OF THE WOMAN STUDENT

The Central Student Association endorses and will work to enact the following Declaration of Rights of the Woman Students:

1. All women have the right to freedom of choice of lifestyle, employment and education as full and equal participants in Canadian society.

2. All women have the right to access to post-secondary education.

3. All women have the right to employment, and the right to equal opportunity to employment with equal pay for work of equal value.

4. All women have the right of access to quality, fully government subsidized child care, provided by adequately trained and paid child care workers, since access to education is limited by lack thereof.

5. The right to a financial student assistance program which meets the needs of full-time, part-time, and single parent students, the majority of whom are women, and which does not require dependence on their parents or spouse.

6. The right to concrete programs for re-entry of women into post-secondary education to aid women in overcoming the barriers of interrupted studies and inadequate backgrounds.

7. The right to academic counseling which informs women of all educational and employment opportunities available in order to actively combat streaming of women into traditional fields.

8. The right of women students to organize since women’s organizations within the student movement are necessary to actively raise the issues faced by women students, to provide a place for women to develop organizational and political skills and to provide a forum where women can develop a sense of unity and co-operation.

9. The right of women students to a students’ union which recognizes, promotes and funds a women’s organization on campus to facilitate involvement in women’s issues.

10. The right to an education through non-sexist instruction, textbooks and materials, recognizing that some literature and materials must be viewed relative to their historical or social context but that all instruction, contemporary textbooks and materials should be free of sexual stereotyping and discrimination.

11. The right to an educational environment free of advertisement , entertainment programming and/or materials which promote violence against women, sexual stereotyping and discrimination.

12. The right to government-funded women’s studies courses in post-secondary institutions.

13. The fundamental right of all women to control their bodies:

a) access to safe, reliable birth control and family planning information and the right of choice in the method;

b) freedom of choice choosing one’s stance in the matter of abortion;

c) access to quality health services and counseling which meet the needs of women students and respect a woman’s control of her body;

d) freedom of expression of sexual orientation;

e) freedom from sexual assault and all other forms of violence.

14. The right to an educational environment free of sexual harassment.

15. The right to effective, legal and academic grievance procedures recognized by students, faculty and support staff.

16. The right to celebrate International Women’s Day on campus.

(January 1994)

Read the comments at the University of Guelph Life Choice website.

McMaster Lifeline: Press Release: Ontario students want abortion debate but abortion advocates unwilling to defend their position

This post was written for McMaster Lifeline by McMaster Lifeline. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

March 14, 2012: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ontario students want abortion debate but abortion advocates unwilling to defend their position

Toronto, ON: This March, two Ontario university clubs are hosting abortion debates on campus, but pro-choicers have been unwilling to debate.  Despite contacting over 120 professors, feminist organizations, and abortion advocacy groups, Guelph Life Choice and McMaster Lifeline have been unable to find anyone willing to debate.  Pro-life students from McMaster and Guelph are now issuing a public challenge to pro-choice proponents (specifically professors, doctors, clinic workers, and advocates from pro-choice organizations), inviting them to defend their position on abortion and join in an open and respectful debate.

“There’s been great student interest in having this debate,” states Hanna Barlow, President of the University of Guelph Life Choice.  “But everyone we’ve contacted to represent the pro-choice side has either rejected the invitation or simply ignored it.  It’s very disappointing.”

With the debate scheduled for the end of the month, Guelph Life Choice contacted the Student Help and Advocacy Centre (SHAC) from the student union for help finding a pro-choice advocate.  They declined, stating, “We do not believe that the sexual and reproductive rights of women is [sic] something that should be debated because we see ‘pro-choice’ as the only option. For us, reproductive rights are non-debatable.” (See full email text at: http://uofguelphlifechoice.ncln.ca/2012/03/14/email/)

“Unwillingness to debate is something we’ve seen before on other campuses,” states Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director for the National Campus Life Network, a national pro-life student organization.   “Despite accusations from pro-choicers that we’re closed minded and backwards, they are the ones who keep rejecting our offers to engage in dialogue.”

“Anyone who holds a belief on an issue must have evidence to back up their belief,” states Julia Bolzon, President of McMaster Lifeline.  “If pro-choicers are confident in their position, then they should be willing to defend it in a debate.  We hope pro-choicers will rise to the challenge.”

 

For more information or for those interested in representing the pro-choice side of the debate, contact:

Julia Bolzon – President McMaster Lifeline, 647 221 0912, jbolzon@gmail.com

Hanna Barlow – President Guelph Life Choice, 519 830 9072, hannabarlow@gmail.com

Rebecca Richmond – Executive Director, National Campus Life Network, 416 388 0461 director@ncln.ca

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Read the comments at the McMaster Lifeline website.

U of G Life Choice: Press Release: Ontario students want abortion debate but abortion advocates unwilling to defend their position

This post was written for U of G Life Choice by U of G Life Choice. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

March 14, 2012: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ontario students want abortion debate but abortion advocates unwilling to defend their position

Toronto, ON: This March, two Ontario university clubs are hosting abortion debates on campus, but pro-choicers have been unwilling to debate.  Despite contacting over 120 professors, feminist organizations, and abortion advocacy groups, Guelph Life Choice and McMaster Lifeline have been unable to find anyone willing to debate.  Pro-life students from McMaster and Guelph are now issuing a public challenge to pro-choice proponents (specifically professors, doctors, clinic workers, and advocates from pro-choice organizations), inviting them to defend their position on abortion and join in an open and respectful debate.

“There’s been great student interest in having this debate,” states Hanna Barlow, President of the University of Guelph Life Choice.  “But everyone we’ve contacted to represent the pro-choice side has either rejected the invitation or simply ignored it.  It’s very disappointing.”

With the debate scheduled for the end of the month, Guelph Life Choice contacted the Student Help and Advocacy Centre (SHAC) from the student union for help finding a pro-choice advocate.  They declined, stating, “We do not believe that the sexual and reproductive rights of women is [sic] something that should be debated because we see ‘pro-choice’ as the only option. For us, reproductive rights are non-debatable.”

“Unwillingness to debate is something we’ve seen before on other campuses,” states Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director for the National Campus Life Network, a national pro-life student organization.   “Despite accusations from pro-choicers that we’re closed minded and backwards, they are the ones who keep rejecting our offers to engage in dialogue.”

“Anyone who holds a belief on an issue must have evidence to back up their belief,” states Julia Bolzon, President of McMaster Lifeline.  “If pro-choicers are confident in their position, then they should be willing to defend it in a debate.  We hope pro-choicers will rise to the challenge.”

 

For more information or for those interested in representing the pro-choice side of the debate, contact:

Julia Bolzon – President McMaster Lifeline, 647 221 0912, jbolzon@gmail.com

Hanna Barlow – President Guelph Life Choice, 519 830 9072, hannabarlow@gmail.com

Rebecca Richmond – Executive Director, National Campus Life Network, 416 388 0461 director@ncln.ca

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Read the comments at the U of G Life Choice website.

PRESS RELEASE: Abortion Debate on B.C. Campuses

March 7th, 2012: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ABORTION DEBATE ON BC CAMPUSES

Vancouver, B.C. University pro-life clubs across British Columbia are bringing the abortion debate to their campuses in an unprecedented manner. Over the next week, six B.C. university campuses will be hosting multiple events, seeking to engage their peers on the issue of abortion.

“Our universities are places where ideas should be shared and contentious issues discussed,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network, a national pro-life student organization. “A recent CIHI report reveals that over a quarter of abortions are performed on university–aged students. If this is a choice young women are making, it is important that they consider what precisely they are choosing and know what abortion alternatives exist.”

Despite Prime Minister Harper’s repeated refusal to reopen the abortion debate in Parliament, pro-life student groups across the country have continued to be active on this issue, even amidst censorship and discrimination like that experienced most recently by Youth Protecting Youth at the University of Victoria.

Events include academic debates, resource distribution, information tables, and abortion imagery projects, all aimed at educating and engaging students in dialogue on the abortion issue. These clubs are also calling on their local politicians, asking them to bring the abortion debate to parliament.

Along with Canadian campus groups, others across the country are also working to raise awareness on the need to dialogue about abortion. Jakki Jeffs, director of Ontario’s We Want the Debate Campaign, has stated that, “the suppression of any debate in a democratic society is unacceptable.” The Alliance for Life of Ontario campaign is demanding that, “the current censorship of the debate around abortion be ended, and that an open and informed discussion be held in public.”

Abortion takes the lives of approximately 300 Canadian preborn human beings every day. Canadian pro-life students refuse to remain silent or be censored while such an injustice is occurring in our society.

Abortion Debates:
Capilano University: March 8th, 1:30 pm, Cedar Building Room 122
University of British Columbia: March 12th, 5:00pm, UBC-Woodward 1
University of the Fraser Valley: March 13th, 6:00pm, UFV Abbotsford Room B101
Simon Fraser University: March 14th, 6:00pm, SFU Burnaby, room TBA

For further information contact:
Anastasia Pearse Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network westerncanada@ncln.ca 604-365-3484

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uOttawa Students For Life: Cause for Hope

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Kelden Formosa

The tall, angry young man had just screamed “semantic witch” at the young woman at the lectern several rows before him. It seems he didn’t like what she had to say – her argument that abortion kills a human being did not appeal to his pro-choice sensibilities, apparently. You would think that Stephanie Gray, the pro-life debater and executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform, might have stumbled, but instead she continued on with her point, taking it all in stride, as the man walked out of the university hall.

The young man was a pro-choice audience member at the abortion debate organized by the University of Ottawa Students for Life and the U of O Med Students for Life this past year. It’s been a few months since the big debate – one which divided our campus and provoked real controversy – but looking back on it now, I think it provides us with some important insights on the future of the continuing public debate on abortion in Canada.

As one of those involved in the organization of the debate (full disclosure), I was quite happy to welcome even the most militant pro-choice activists, including the young man mentioned prior. It is the challenge of pro-life activists to change the hearts and minds of those who disagree with us. Debates, conferences, advertising, writing – pro-life Canadians have done it all, in the hopes that one day human life might be protected from conception unto natural death.

We’ve done it in the face of intense pressure to resign ourselves to the abortion status quo. Our opponents can’t even believe pro-lifers are still around and have even greater difficulty believing that young people and university students could ever be pro-life. For them, the debate ended in 1988, when the Supreme Court allowed for abortion in Canada without any restriction, throughout all nine months of pregnancy. The appalling statistics about abortion in Canada and around the world have barely registered in the consciousness of today’s pro-choice activists: that one in four unborn children will be aborted, including 90% of children prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, and a higher proportion of female children than male ones, seems quite unimportant to them and most of the mainstream media.

But, like it or not, the debate continues. It continues in families and amongst friends, in classrooms and in churches, and most poignantly, in the hearts and minds of vulnerable women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. And this continuation of the debate is the saving grace for the pro-life movement. Because it means that we’re still not comfortable with abortion – that ending the life of an unborn child still strikes us as morally troubling. For pro-lifers, this is cause for hope.

For pro-choicers, this apparently is cause for fear. Before our abortion debate even happened, dozens of major pro-choice activists rejected our club’s invitation to debate. We offered them the opportunity to confront a leading Canadian “anti-choicer” in an open forum, with a neutral moderator. Yet they said no: Dr. Kathryn Treehuba, a U of O professor and abortion provider; Dr. Fraser Fellow, a UWO professor and abortion provider; Joyce Arthur, of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada; Sandra Rogers, a U of O professor; Wayne Sumner, a U of T professor; Heather Holland, of Planned Parenthood Ottawa; representatives from Canadians for Choice, Action Canada for Population and Development and the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health – all of them refused to debate abortion.

So our club decided to hold them accountable. We put up controversial posters highlighting their refusal and wrote a letter to the editor of the student newspaper, making the debate invitation open to all comers. Eventually Jovan Morales, of the Atheist Community of the University of Ottawa, stepped up to the plate to represent the pro-choice side. It seemed for a moment that we would have a civil, if less than ideal, dialogue on abortion.

But it was not to be. Radical pro-choice activists, many of whom are associated with the Women’s Resource Centre of the Student Federation, decided to come out to our debate in force. This would have been great – if they were really there to engage in a reasoned debate. Instead, they brought their posters and their slogans and their raucous attitudes and little else. Holding signs that declared, “An egg is not a chicken” and “My Body/My Choice,” these activists heckled Ms. Gray, the pro-life speaker, menaced elderly debate attendees and shouted “bulls***” and “what the f***” in response to many of the points made by Ms. Gray. Particularly atrocious was the sign declaring, “I hope the foetus you ‘save’ is gay.” For the record, I wouldn’t mind at all.

But why were they so rude and disruptive? Why not just win the audience over with the logic and eloquence of the pro-choice message? I submit that their behaviour betrays the weakness of their own position. Perhaps it’s just the philosophy major in me, but “My Body/My Choice” is a far better slogan than logical argument. As Ms. Gray said: sure, I have freedom over my body – I can swing my arm, for example – but that freedom ends when it injures another person, e.g. swinging my arm to punch them in the face. When the right to choose ends the life of another person, we can and must restrict it. Similarly, it’s true that an egg is not a chicken, but a preborn child is not an egg – it is a fully human organism, genetically distinct and having within itself the means of its own continuance. Fallacies like the ones presented lie at the heart of pro-choice argumentation.

Now it is possible to be pro-choice and philosophically consistent: you simply have to believe that it is alright to kill innocent human beings simply for convenience’s sake. In my experience though, pro-choice people are just as kind and compassionate as pro-life ones. Few would adopt such a radical position. Instead, not being trained in critical reasoning and open to legitimate concerns of women facing unplanned pregnancy, many accept pro-choice fallacies to justify what is really the easy position on abortion. Pro-lifers recognize that women in need deserve real support and real options and the preborn deserve the most basic of rights – the right to life.

Strikingly, when Ms. Gray showed pictures of aborted children in her presentation, I detected a palpable sense of unease come over the pro-choice activists. Standing near their seats at back of the room, I heard them mutter “these aren’t real” and “it’s not true.” But sadly the images were – medically accurate filming of real, live abortion procedures. If they can’t bring themselves to accept the truth of what they support, then perhaps they aren’t as committed to pro-choice ideology as they would have you believe. And that, more than anything, is cause for hope.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

uOttawa Students For Life: Legalized Abortion: Harm Reduction or Just Harm?

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by James Richmond

I somewhat recently attended a debate hosted by uOttawa Students for Life in mid-November. At this debate, the pro-choice debater, Jovan Morales, posed an often used argument which presents abortion as a ‘harm-reduction’ solution. Essentially, this position proposes that without legalized abortion, women will seek ‘back-alley abortions’ in non-sterile environments where the possibility of infection and maternal mortality is much higher.

There are a number of issues with this argument, and I will briefly address two of them. The first is that I see this approach as merely a band-aid solution. Legalizing abortions to give women access to sterile facilities with skilled physicians does not address what led the women to seek abortion in the first place: Was it a boyfriend who does not wish to deal with the consequences of his actions? Parents who want to avoid family embarrassment? The terrible trauma of rape? The woman who does not want her life to be disrupted by having a child? A lack of support from family and friends? In these situations, I believe there is a cultural problem rather than a medical one. Western culture is self-centric in that we place utmost importance on our personal choices: What is it I want to do? How does this affect me? What about asking what exactly is at stake when it comes to abortion, and more precisely who? We know beyond a shadow of scientific doubt that the preborn are human beings and as such their lives must be protected along with their mothers’.

Furthermore, if the foundation of the argument is based on the health of the mother, institutionalized abortion is no guarantee of even a decrease in maternal mortality rates. A study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) titled “Trends in Maternal Mortality” discovered that from 1990 to 2008, after the legalization of abortion, the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of Canada increased by 94 percent (28) and the MMR of the United States increased 96 percent (32). Legalized abortion is clearly no panacea for women’s health.

The ‘harm-reduction’ argument is also used to push for abortion clinics in developing countries. The National Right to Life group published an article which discusses the myth proposed above by Mr. Morales. I encourage you to read the short document, “Why legalized abortion is not good for women’s health.”


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.