Diving into the Year

Rebecca Richmond

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Here we are, somehow, in September.  

This time of the year is full of memories for many of us: memories of back-to-school shopping, serious contemplation over our first day of school outfits, sharpening pencils and packing our bulging backpacks.  I recall always being so careful to go to bed at an early hour, and often being unable to fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning because I was so wired.  Despite little sleep, I would jolt out of bed as soon as my alarm went off.

That was not the case this morning.  I am not in school but my entire job is oriented to supporting students, so when you start school, our busy summer shifts into hyper drive for the fall.  But this morning I did not want to be conscious, not because I was tired, but because I did not want to face the challenges of the day.  No, to be entirely accurate, I didn’t want to face the challenges of the day, the week, the semester, the year…you get the picture.    

It’s not that I mind hard work.  I happily give up evenings and weekends, like every other pro-life activist in the country, to do what needs to get done.  No, my problem isn’t the work.  It’s the fear that I won’t be capable of the work.  It’s the fear of failure: of letting people down, of not being able to do it all, of not being able to do it all perfectly.  My perfectionist tendencies needle me and procrastination is an almost irresistible temptation.  And yes, I succumbed briefly to the temptation of the ‘snooze’ button this morning.

It is easy to disguise these fears with the easily accepted explanation of being “too busy”.  The reality is, no matter how ‘busy’ we are with school and work, we do have time.  We make time everyday for things that aren’t really priorities – or shouldn’t be anyway – in our lives.  We make time for Facebook, we make time for Youtube videos,  for watching TV, for random Google searches we can’t even recall the original purpose for.  We make time for people, socializing, going out.  And we do make time for pro-life activism, but we all struggle to keep up.  Those emails that must get written, the meetings we promised to attend, the tasks we promised to take on are all important aspects of that activism.  They are the little choices that build a foundation for having an impact on campus.

Time is part of the issue, but what is the deeper root of our problem?  What are we afraid of?

Are we afraid of what other people will think? Maybe we’d rather keep our activism on the down low; we’re still doing pro-life things…as long as no one we know notices.  

Are we afraid that we won’t be able to fulfill our responsibilities properly, so we procrastinate until we have to bow out with an excuse?

Are we afraid that we’ll let our fellow club members down?  Afraid that we’ll let the cause down?

These are all real fears that can paralyze us, if we let them.  So as we go back-to-school and prepare ourselves for the year, let’s give ourselves a good dose of perspective.  I dare you to ask yourself a dangerous question, a question that radically changed my time at university and continues to get me out of bed even on daunting mornings: is the fear that is holding me back more important than the message I have to share?  Or, will the reality of 300 innocent lives lost every day to abortion in Canada propel me to overcome my fears and insecurities?

I know that standing here, on the brink of a new semester, can be daunting.  All of us would prefer to merely dip our toes or wade in the waters of the cause.  But injustices are never righted by people taking an occasional lukewarm interest.   Conviction must lead to commitment if we are to succeed in ending abortion.  It requires us to be brave and bold enough to stop hugging the shoreline and dive past our fears into the deep uncertain waters of a life lived for others.

So sign up for an executive position with your club, organize that first club meeting, plan those events, book those club tables, remind those friends about getting involved, and live as if somebody else’s life depends on it – because it does.


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Back-to-School Activism Ideas

We know that planning a semester of pro-life activism can be overwhelming – especially as you see your course-load for the semester! But ensuring that your campus hears the pro-life message doesn’t have to be difficult. So long as you plan ahead, cooperate with your team and make your club a priority, educating your peers will be effective, impactful – and even fun!

Need some ideas on how to spread the pro-life message on your campus? Here’s a list of events you can host on your campus:

Formation:  Instill within your club members a sense of mission (why it’s critical to be actively pro-life on campus), a sense of belonging (why they are needed in this particular club), and provide them with opportunities to be formed as pro-life activists. KeepCalm

  • Offer an apologetics workshop (don’t forget NCLN staff are available to offer workshops on how to defend the pro-life position).
  • Share and watch great teaching videos from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Clubs Days/101 Weeks/Clubs Fairs/Frosh Week: Whatever your school calls it, these tables are great opportunities for recruitment and outreach. Download our Clubs Days and Tabling Guide to learn more about how to have a great and effective table!

Leaflet-ing/Distributing Resources: Our Right to Know brochures are great for distributing on campus.  Leaflet-ing is as simple as organizing a small group of students to offer resources and dialogue with your peers in busy places on campus. Contact NCLN to order brochures for your campus!

Surveying: All you need are clipboards, pens and surveys.  This is a great event to engage your peers in dialogue as you ask them to complete a short survey on life issues. Like leaflet-ing, it is low-cost and easy to organize.  Contact NCLN for sample surveys you can use!

Movie Night: This can be a great way to get to know your peers in a social setting, while being inspired by an impactful movie. Check out films like October Baby, Bella and It’s a Girl!

Chalking: A fun activity that can be done to advertise for a particular event or used to educate on abortion statistics.  This can be a great social activity for after a club meeting!

“Choice” Chain: A project by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.  Contact them for more information on how to bring this to your campus.

Guest Speakers/Debates: A large event is a great way to engage your campus, but they do take time, organization and effort.  Make sure you have enough time to organize an event like this properly and be in touch with NCLN.  Our strategy workshops can help your club organize a high-impact event.

Do not hesitate to contact NCLN for advice on executing these plans and for more ideas! Remember: NCLN is here to help YOU! We are always just a phone call, email or Facebook message away!

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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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Coming to a Campus Near You!

Here’s what’s in store on the campuses over the next couple of weeks!

Over 15 campuses will be hosting public screenings of the ‘It’s A Girl’ documentary.  The film talks about the impact of gendercide and sex-selective abortion, specifically in India and China.  Mark Warawa (MP – Langley) will also speak on Motion 408 following the B.C. screenings.   

Here are the screenings dates coming up in the next few week with links to their Facebook event page.  Check one out at a campus in your area and keep coming back to this page for screenings being added!  
Brock Life-line promoting their upcoming screening of It's A Girl on Friday, March 8th.
Brock Life-line promoting their upcoming screening of It’s A Girl on Friday, March 8th.

Thursday, March 7th

 Friday, March 8th
Tuesday, March 12th 
Wednesday, March 13th
Thursday, March 14th
Monday, March 25

Thursday, March 28

Wednesday, April 3

  • York University, Student Centre 307, 4:30PM
  • Tyndale University College, Chapel, 6:30PM
The DefendGirls campaign  has gotten off to a great start, with more campuses using these resources to raise awareness on sex-selective abortion, gendercide, and to build support for Motion 408.
Members of Queen's Alive during their DefendGirls Awareness Week
Members of Queen’s Alive during their DefendGirls Awareness Week

Queen’s Alive distributed DefendGirls materials last week, screened, ‘It’s A Girl’, and will be hosting a Euthansia Debate on March 13th, featuring  Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Dr. Udo Schuklenk, a philosophy professor.  They will address the question, “Should assisted suicide and/or voluntary euthansia be decriminalized in Canada?”

University of Waterloo Students for Life will be doing a number of events for their Life Weeks, including having the Silent No More Awareness Campaign give personal testimonies on the hope and healing found after having an abortion, and inviting  Stephen Woodworth (MP, Kitchener Centre) to speak on Motion 312 on March 13th.  Check out the details on the outcome of this event here.
NCLN’s Executive Director, Rebecca Richmond, will be speaking to Brock Life-Line in St. Catharines on the impact of sex-selective abortion and gendercide in our world and our country. She will also expand on Motion 408 and what campuses can do to raise awareness and build support for the motion.
We are excited for all these events, and more!  Further details to come on the  ‘It’s a Girl’ documentary screenings and other events!  Stay tuned!
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Growing up in the Shadow of R. v. Morgentaler

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.

25 years too long.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.

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The Case of Savita: Important Articles to Review

The tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland has caught the world’s attention.  Pro-choicers allege that Savita was a victim of Ireland’s laws against abortion and that these laws must be changed allow for legalized abortion.

As campus pro-life leaders, we have addressed questions from our peers including “what if the woman’s life is in danger?”  But we probably haven’t had to respond to a specific situation like that of Savita’s.  But unless you live within a very secure pro-life bubble (or a bubble that is cut off from newspapers and the internet), you will mostly likely have to respond to this situation.  Does Savita’s tragic death illustrate why legal abortion is necessary?  Should Ireland ‘liberalize’ their abortion laws?

The following are excerpts from a few must-read articles.  Each analysis should be read in its entirety to better understand the facts and how we should respond to them:

MaterCare International, a group of obstetricians and gynaecologists dedicated to “improving the lives and health of mothers and babies both born and unborn,” has analyzed the situation.

“With the exception of the rare and tragic case of Savita Halappanavar, Ireland’s practice of maternal medicine has been impeccable in recent decades. Ireland, along with other countries where abortion is not permitted by law, boasts one of the lowest maternal mortality ratios in the world. It ranks sixth lowest in the world for its maternal death ratio (5.7 per 100,000 live births), thus making it one of one of the safest places in the world for women to deliver their children. To dramatically alter these successful medical practices medical in order to cater to boisterous and uneducated lobbying would be a mistake. 


For many obstetricians, a maternal death resulting from a direct obstetrical cause, such as in the case of a septic miscarriage, is an extremely rare event which legalizing abortion will not prevent. What will prevent these deaths is intensive obstetrical care, provided with the intention of saving both lives.”


Andrea Mrozek, Manager of Research and Communications for the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, writes in an op-ed for the National Post:

Pro-choicers have long held that maternal mortality rises without abortion. Yet the record shows that Canadian maternal mortality declined precipitously prior to the legalization of abortion in Canada. Canadian abortion laws began to open up in 1969 and abortion became available on demand without any restriction after the 1988 R. v. Morgentaler decision.

This shows abortion does not save women’s lives, but good medical care does. Ireland’s own statistics reflect this truth. The United Nation’s 2005 report on maternal mortality found Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world, despite largely banning abortion procedures.


We do know that Savita was 17 weeks pregnant. Had she had an abortion, it would have been a more complicated one. Abortions get more dangerous as the number of weeks progress. Second trimester abortions may involve the use of forceps to remove dismembered body parts. This is not a faceless mass-precisely because by this point ears, eyes and eyelashes are developing, as are major body systems.

A truly interested person might ask questions around the nature of Savita’s sickness, and whether the miscarriage was the prime culprit in her death. We don’t know whether she received antibiotics, how much or when. Without the right dosage of antibiotics, an abortion might just as likely have resulted in sepsis and death.

Stephanie Gray, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, writes:

  So instead of jumping to the conclusions that Halappanavar needed an abortion and that Ireland needs to legalize the killing of the youngest of its kind, the reasonable approach would be to get to the bottom of what Halappanavar’s condition was and examine how it was, or was not, responded to.  We have yet to hear from the hospital and the medical professionals involved as to what precisely happened, but with this report of her dying from E. coli ESBL one wonders how killing Halappanavar’s baby Prasa would have killed the E. coli.


And yet, The Toronto Star would have you believe, “There’s a very simple reason why Savita died. It’s because she wasn’t listened to.” On the contrary, much more needs to be known about how she died.  But what we do know is that jumping to the conclusion that abortion should be legalized in Ireland overlooks the underlying medical condition and makes the dangerous assumption that we need to kill one person to save another.


Ireland’s Youth Defence has reported on  what Irish Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have to say about women’s health and abortion in their country.  

Dr John Monaghan on Newstalk: The whole thing has become very inflamed. We cannot at this stage judge what the true medical facts were. I cannot see how legislation would have influenced this particular scenario. In the light of the [Medical Council] guidelines I quoted to you a few minutes ago, it would be legitimate under the current regulation that a doctor would intervene to deliver the baby in the situation where the mother has become septic. To me as a clinician that would fit in with those guidelines. So I am not sure how legislation could deal with this particular case as I understand it.

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Think About What You Saw

By Clarissa Luluquisin, NCLN Central Campus Coordinator

I’ve been on staff with NCLN only a few short months now but I’ve quickly learned that my job follows me home – or even on weekend road trips. Last weekend, while in Washington DC, I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum. I expected to be horrified and moved by the history I would see. I was, yet the hardest part of the experience was knowing that while the horrors of the Holocaust is a part of history, the slaughter of preborn Canadian children is all too current.

What particularly stood out to me was the propaganda the exhibit displayed, used to dehumanize the Jewish people and make their destruction possible. The propaganda also was directed to encourage all Germans to participate in Hitler’s vision of a united nation and an ideal race.

Nearing the end of the exhibit, I was overwhelmed with grief for the victims, but also felt a strange twinge of emotion for the ordinary people of Germany. I pitied them. They were not given the truth. They were fed with perverted truths and outright lies. Their bitterness and sentiments of loss resulting from World War I were twisted and used against them. It does not erase guilt, but it does illuminate their behavior.

The parallels to our own society’s acceptance of abortion immediately struck me. So many default to “choice” because it appeals to a politically correct notion of morality. After all, how does “choice” not sound like a good thing? They are fed with “my body, my choice”, “men have no say in this women’s issue”, and “it’s a lump of tissue”.  And so Canada allows the destruction of innocent life.

For me, the exhibit reaffirmed that the Holocaust, and the minds behind it, systematically sought the deliberate destruction of certain identifiable groups – primarily 6 million Jews. This was accomplished under the guise of a better Germany. But the Holocaust ended; yet, today, abortion seeks to deliberately destroy the preborn child – 41 million worldwide yearly – under the guise of “choice”.

The magnet I picked up at the museum’s store is what initially inspired this post in the first place:

The next time you witness hatred

The next time you see injustice

The next time you hear about genocide

Think about what you saw

Because of what I have seen, I am even more convinced.

Yet, as pro-lifers, we must do more than simply remember what we saw. We must be moved to action each time we see hatred and injustice. Pro-lifers must never cease to share truth with those caught in the current of ‘choice’. We must awaken our culture to the slaughter our society’s actions and apathy perpetuate.

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Pro-Life Rally in Victoria to “Speak for Life”

Pro-Life Rally in Victoria to “Speak for Life.”


On May 10th, Pro-Life British Columbians from across the province will march to the Legislature in the 5th Annual March for Life in Victoria.  With the abortion issue receiving such prominent attention in the media lately, organizers expect a large turnout this year.  This year’s theme, “SPEAK UP FOR LIFE,” challenges all British Columbians to raise their voice for the protection of the lives of the unborn.

Recent news stories about gender selection abortion and designer babies, and the current Parliamentary Motion calling for a committee to review the Criminal Code’s definition of a human being, have all drawn much needed attention to this issue. “The attention these issues have received, and polling data results, clearly show that Canadians are concerned by the complete lack of restrictions on abortion,” said March for Life media spokesperson, Anastasia Pearse.

“Our intention here today is to peacefully and prayerfully bring attention to the victims of abortion in our province,” she added. “We want to raise awareness and ask people to think before they choose abortion. They need to know the facts and be fully informed of all of the risks before they make these life changing decisions.”

The March for Life is organized to be a celebration of lives saved as well as a commemoration of lives lost. In BC, despite a severe lack of transparency in abortion record keeping, it is estimated that over 14,000 abortions are performed every year. “As tax-paying citizens, our money is being used to fund these abortions,” states Pearse. “We are marching today to speak out against this atrocity, to speak up for those 14,000 British Columbians who never had the chance to speak for themselves. We cannot remain silent when so many lives are at stake.”

This year’s March for Life is part of a national day of marches across the country. The BC March is co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus BC & Yukon State and Campaign Life Coalition British Columbia. The March begins at 2:00pm in Centennial Square.

For more information, contact:


Anastasia Pearse,

March for Life Media Relations





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