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Life on the Pro-Life Track

Anastasia Pearse is a hurdler. Not only did she overcome obstacles as a student leader at the University of Victoria, but, as NCLN’s Western Campus Coordinator, she has supported and assisted pro-life students across western Canada as they bring the pro-life message to their campuses. Oh, and she also literally jumps hurdles.

This summer, Anastasia starts a Masters of Leadership program at Trinity Western University. This program is a great fit for Anastasia, allowing her to further explore various aspects of leadership as they apply to non-profit organizations while complementing her ongoing full-time work with NCLN.

In addition to studying, Anastasia will also be competing for the Trinity Western Spartan’s Track and Field team. Aside from being a busy pro-life activist, Anastasia trains and competes at a competitive level in track and field, specializing in the 400m hurdles. Her accomplishments on the track include being part of the BC team for 5 years and coming 3rd in the 400m hurdle race at the national championships in 2010.

In a press release from Trinity Western University last month, Spartans coach Laurier Primeau praised Anastasia’s experience, both on and off the field. “Anastasia brings multiple gifts to Trinity Western, not the least of which is experience,” he said. “As a new program we are very heavy with freshman and sophomores, so to add someone of Anastasia’s calibre with multiple years of varsity track and field under her belt is great from both an athletic and leadership perspective. Her not-for-profit work and versatility in sprints and hurdles gives Trinity Western an incredibly well rounded student-athlete.”

Supporting Anastasia in NCLN’s Western Office is Kathleen Dunn, recently hired to work part-time in our western office. Kathleen will also be continuing her studies at Trinity Western University.

We are excited for Anastasia to have the opportunity to combine her passion for leadership and her talents in athletics with her pro-life work with NCLN. We will be cheering her on as she clears the hurdles of track as well as those of pro-life activism.


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Introducing Clarissa, NCLN’s New Central Campus Coordinator

By Clarissa Luluquisin

It feels like only yesterday that I was a fourth-year student starting a new school year as President of University of Toronto Students for Life. I attended NCLN’s Annual Symposium in 2009, which gave me the necessary skills and strategies to spread the pro-life message on my campus. NCLN helped me cope with the pressures that came with being President, and continually inspired me to do more for my club. NCLN also helped provide me with opportunities to connect with other pro-life students and the pro-life community at large. Eventually, I came to realize that, “Yes, I can, and will be a voice for life!”

Clarissa, in purple, with students and alumni of the University of Toronto Students for Life.

I am so excited to be working full-time to support the pro-life message on university campuses with NCLN. I look forward to getting to know pro-life student leaders on campuses across Ontario, giving them the voice, hope, and courage that were given to me. The work we will do together is surely a path that will lead to building a culture of life in our country!

Feel free to contact me at central@ncln.ca. This position will be made possible through support raising my salary. If you are interested in helping me reach my support raising goal, please email me or make a donation online at www.ncln.ca/donate!

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In their own words

By Rebecca Richmond

These comments were made in Toronto by pro-choice activists at a rally, underscoring the importance and the impact of campus pro-life activism.  Watch the clip here.  In their own words: “We can’t let our guard down”

To better appreciate what they’re saying, I have included a transcript (with my own comments and corrections in line).

“They are heating up their end of things.  They are mobilizing wherever they can to challenge pro-choice forces.  And they are trying to do it a lot on campus.”

Is there any better place to discuss and debate controversial issues and challenge the status quo than on university campuses?

“There’s been a lot of stuff at U of T.”

Go U of T Students for Life! Keep up the great work!

“Coming up on March 14th, there’s going to be a debate at the University of Toronto.  The anti-choice is organizing with a woman from this group called the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, I believe it’s called.”

Yes, there will be a debate and I’m looking forward to it!  Stephanie Gray will be presenting the pro-life position and she is the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform .

“Basically it’s the GAP, the Genocide Awareness Project, what they call it.”

The Genocide Awareness Project is one of the educational tools that the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform uses.  However, the debate in question is not GAP but, as the title suggestions, a debate.  A debate is defined as a formal, regulated discussion of an issue with two opposing views presented.  This debate will, as such, present both sides of the issue of abortion: pro-life and pro-choice.

“Which is these big, monstr – you know, giant-sized signs that they display on campuses and that are so offensive and that are just so horrible.”

The signs are offensive and horrible, but that is because they accurately reflect the offensive and horrible reality of abortion.  To quote pro-choice feminist Naomi Wolf: “The pro-choice movement often treats with contempt the pro-lifers’ practice of holding up to our faces their disturbing graphics….[But] how can we charge that it is vile and repulsive for pro-lifers to brandish vile and repulsive images if the images are real? To insist that truth is in poor taste is the very height of hypocrisy.”
-16 Naomi Wolf, “Our Bodies, Our Souls,” The New Republic, 16 October 1996.

“So they’re going to have a debate on campus with a doctor I’ve never heard of, but I think, if people are interested (and we’ll send out an email about that), it’s on March 14th, I think pro-choice supporters should show up en masse and we should support anybody who’s on campus who’s standing up for choice. “

First off, the ‘doctor’ in question is Doctor Ainslie.  The speaker may not have heard of him but he’s certainly more than qualified.  Professor Ainslie is the chair of both the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Graduate Department of Philosophy.  In January he was named principal of University College.  One of his major fields of study is bioethics.

Second, I hope pro-choicers show up with open minds and with respect for the debate.

“Because they’re trying just basically to populate the campus with their activities and their things.”

We’re trying to save lives and change hearts and minds.  Having activities, events and an active presence on campus are means to accomplish our goals.

“For many of us, we thought we had sort of won this battle many years ago and clearly it’s not, it’s not something we can ever let our guard down.”


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Priests For Life Canada’s Radio Show to Feature NCLN Today

” The Pro-Life Hour” to Feature NCLN Today

Today, January 4th 2011, tune into Priests for Life Canada’s monthly radio show, “The Pro-Life Hour.”  Today’s show addresses the pro-life activities taking place on university and college campuses.  Rebecca Richmond, NCLN’s Executive Director, appears on the show to discuss the work of NCLN.  Ruth Lobo, President of Carleton Lifeline who was arrested in October of 2010 for pro-life activities on her campus, is also featured on the show to update the audience on their situation.

You’ll find the show on Radio Teopoli, AM530 (in the Toronto area) or online at www.teopoli.org at 1P.M., If you’re unable to tune into the show today, you can access the program starting tomorrow at the Priests for Life Canada website and listen in at your convenience. www.PriestsForLifeCanada.com

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The ‘B’ word: Does being pro-life make us bigots?

By Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director

“You’re a religious bigot!”

The accusation caught me by surprise.  I was with the University of Toronto Students for Life at their abortion protest and the pro-choicers had mobilized a counter protest. (see yesterday’s blog post for more details) The man in front of me was in his late 30s or maybe even in his 40s, with a Planned Parenthood t-shirt, a handful of pamphlets called “10 LIES that ANTI CHOICE groups are telling you about abortion,” and a bag of pro-choice buttons.

I wish I had the conversation – if I can call it that – on tape, because it was an interesting one.

“What does ‘choice’ mean?” I had asked.  “Shouldn’t our choices be limited if they result in the death of an innocent human being?”

And then came the ‘B word’.

“But you’re pre-judging me,” I protested, “I haven’t mentioned religion* at all.  Why are you assuming all these things before you even listen to what you have to say?”

But the “conversation” was over apparently, and he walked away from me.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of a bigot is:

“a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”

These are serious allegations and since I was not given an opportunity to respond to them at the protest, I would now like to clear my name.

Yes, I am devoted to the pro-life position.  However:

  • Although I was raised by pro-life parents, I did my own research to form my opinion.  You see, my parents and my teachers always encouraged me to conduct research when forming an opinion.  So I read articles and books.  I investigated fetal development and considered pictures of abortions.  And I thought carefully.
  • I have not shied away from dissenting opinions and sources of information.  For example, I attempted to speak with the pro-choicers at the protest.  In fact, I gladly speak to any pro-choicer who is interested in discussing abortion.  (Please note that when I say “I will speak”, this includes also listening to whomever I’m speaking with.)  I took feminist theory classes in university.  I read pro-choice blogs and articles regularly.

No, I do not treat “members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.”  Nor do I treat pro-choicers and/or men and women who have had or been involved with an abortion with hatred and intolerance.  Trying to have dialogue is not hatred nor is it intolerance.  Telling women they deserve better than abortion is not hatred nor is it intolerance.

So no, I am not a bigot.  And please do me the courtesy of listening before you label me as such.

*Interestingly, the only person I heard mention religion was one pro-choice woman who had the microphone.  She told us she was Catholic and that the Bible says “do not judge.”  One pro-life student turned to me and remarked, “Doesn’t the Bible also say something along the lines of ‘thou shalt not murder’?”  And if she’s going to bring up judging, perhaps she and her friends should take note of that and not call us names without first listening to what we have to say.

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