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Abortion Victim Photography: A Justifiable Defence of the Preborn?

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By Josh MacMillan, NCLN Campus Coordinator

“You’re disgusting!”
“How could you be showing such a thing!”
“F*** you!”

Our NCLN staff and students are not unfamiliar with these words as pro-life students across the country use abortion victim photography in their outreach on campus. I was at a recent ‘Choice’ Chain at Ryerson University during which pro-abortion protestors tried to cover up the images we were showing. The frustration the protesters expressed was palpable and real.

It isn’t hard to understand why people are so angry, and I certainly agree that these images are gross, disturbing, and hard to stomach.

The images we show during ‘Choice’ Chain, the truths that we are exposing, are disturbing to the greatest extent. But what is also disturbing is that as a society we are largely complicit in allowing this act to continue. It is these facts that cause many to recoil in anger and disgust.

One doesn’t want to believe that we have allowed this to continue. We would prefer to be uninformed. Or less informed, for that matter. We are told that it would be better if we simply didn’t use the images and used only words instead, because the images are simply too much to bear.

But are they too much to show? I have struggled with this question for years.

And after thinking about it, and taking part in events that use abortion victim photography, I have my answer: no, it is not too much to show. The images reveal the truth about abortion. The images are horrible and disgusting because abortion is horrible and disgusting.

It is a truth that we would rather not see, but it is in seeing abortion’s reality that we can clearly understand the toll abortion takes on innocent human lives. And I have personally witnessed people who have changed their hearts and minds and saved lives because they have seen this reality.

As a society, we value freedom. We value the ability to make an informed choice about the actions we take. We become angry when we are duped into buying into something that isn’t true. To make free choices, we want all of the information.

When we consider what abortion is, we need the facts. And the facts aren’t pretty.

I don’t fear showing the images, because I am showing the results of a choice. We all need to confront the reality of that choice, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes us. If we’re okay with abortion, we should not be so upset by these images. If we aren’t comfortable with what we see, maybe we need to reconsider if we agree with the act being shown. If abortion is a human rights violation, our discomfort is nothing compared to the injustice of abortion.

These images are the only cry for help that the unborn have to utter for themselves. These are the facts of their lives. With this information we can make a free and informed choice. Will we continue to tolerate this inhumane killing of innocent human beings, or will we reject it?

Yes, the images of aborted babies are disgusting. But the day these cease to be disturbing, the day we choose to ignore the facts about abortion and the reality of what it does to preborn humans, will be a sad day indeed for our country.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” – William Wilberforce

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Introducing our NCLN Summer Intern, Maria McCann!

We at NCLN are so excited to have Maria McCann join us this summer as an intern at our Toronto office! She will begin her 4th year of her undergraduate degree this summer at Western University in London, Ontario (UWO). She is studying English Literature, French, and Italian. She is passionate about Shakespeare, science fiction, coffee, and every breed of dog known to man. Of course, she is also passionate about justice; in particular, she wants to see the injustice of abortion end in her lifetime.

Maria and her brother, John-Paul
Maria and her brother, John-Paul

Tell us your story and how you became pro-life.

My “pro-life story” began years ago with the birth of my little brother, John-Paul. He was born very prematurely, which caused him to have brain damage and numerous ensuing disabilities. He faces many challenges in his everyday life, as he navigates a world designed for the able-bodied. In spite of (or perhaps because of) his difficulties, he lives every day with an enviable joy.

He has truly taught me that life does not have to be perfect in order to be beautiful.

His very existence challenges the culture of death: a culture that says he should have been aborted before birth…a culture that now suggests that even born people like him are perhaps better off dead than disabled. For all of my childhood and adolescence, I understood the pro-life movement as important for protecting the rights of John-Paul and of other vulnerable people.

How did you get involved in your campus pro-life club?

Near the end of my second year of undergrad, some gentle nudges by the Holy Spirit led me to joining the executive team for Western Lifeline, the pro-life club of UWO. In 2015, several of us decided to attend NCLN’s Symposium, a “boot camp” for pro-life students. The weekend conference turned out to be life-changing for me, learning how to talk to people about abortion with both conviction and compassion.

I was deeply moved by their message that, with 100,000 pre-born babies being killed every year through abortion in Canada, this is not a movement. This is an emergency. That sense of urgency motivated me to engage in weekly activism with Western Lifeline. That sense of urgency motivated me to spend my spring break doing pro-life activism through the Genocide Awareness Project. And that sense of urgency has motivated me to join the staff of NCLN as a summer intern.

Why did you decide to spend a summer working with NCLN?

My experiences on campus have led me to believe that NCLN’s mission is crucial, as students are desperately in need of the pro-life message.

Changing our campuses and inspiring youth today will lead to massive changes in the future, when those young people become the leaders of our society.

On a personal note, NCLN has been a huge support for me over the past year in my work with Western Lifeline, and I want to be that kind of support to other student leaders. I am excited for the projects in store for this summer, such as weekly activism doing clipboarding and Choice Chain. I am eager to help develop new materials that will aid students in the coming year.

Where are you most likely to be on the weekends?

On the weekends, you’ll likely find me checking out thrift stores for vintage tops, or used bookstores to feed my reading addiction. If I’m not at a thrift store or bookshop, I’ll be getting coffee and froyo with friends, or watching reruns of Doctor Who.

If you could be any person in history, who would you be?

I have a pretty specific time and location in mind. I’d love to be a modern-art lover in the early 1900s in Paris. It would be the epitome of cool to sit in a parlour chatting with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso—the cult figures of literary and artistic modernism. I would basically be their groupie.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would love to spend a summer touring Italy, especially Tuscany. I have been learning Italian for the past couple years and would like to put my learning into practice. The Italian language and culture are so beautiful, and I want to taste some authentic Italian cuisine! It would also be amazing to see Rome, a city steeped in history.

Send Maria a welcome note! Write to us at info@ncln.ca

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ANTI-ABORTION GROUP AT RYERSON FILES LAWSUIT OVER ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ANTI-ABORTION GROUP AT RYERSON FILES LAWSUIT OVER ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION

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October 14, 2015. TORONTO, ON— Pro-life students at Ryerson University have filed a lawsuit against the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) over denying their club, Students for Life at Ryerson (SFLR), status.

On February 23rd, 2015, the RSU Board of Directors unanimously voted that SFLR would not be allowed to form a pro-life club. This vote marked the last step in an appeal process that began in the fall semester after SFLR was rejected by the Student Groups Committee on the basis that the RSU, “opposes…groups, meetings, or events that promote misogynist views towards woman [sic] and ideologies that promote gender inequity, challenges women’s right [sic] to bodily autonomy, or justifies [sic] sexual assault”.

“Our club stands for human rights for all human beings, including those at the earliest stages of life. We also want to support pregnant students on campus who want alternatives to abortion,” states Carter Grant, a third year business major and Vice-President of SFLR.

Pro-life students at Ryerson were first denied club status back in 2003.  Now students are taking the decision to court to assert their right to be treated fairly by their student union, and to not be discriminated against on the basis of their pro-life viewpoint.

What is happening at Ryerson is not an isolated event.  Pro-life students across the country have faced similar censorship at other institutions, including at the University of Victoria, University of Calgary, York University, Carleton University, Trent University, Lakehead University, and Capilano College.

As a strong advocate for freedom of expression, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) strongly opposes these acts of discrimination and is assisting the students with this case.  CCBR’s new legal department, CCBR Legal, has retained experienced constitutional lawyer Carol Crosson to defend the students.  Ms. Crosson says that, “pro-life students have been denied rights on campuses long enough.  This is the time to end this battle and enshrine students’ rights on campus.”

Through CCBR Legal, CCBR provides legal representation for those in the pro-life movement.  As history as shown, legal representation is an integral part of successful social movements.  The law protects the right for pro-life individuals to share their message on the same basis as others and CCBR Legal is determined to protect this right.

For more information, please contact Carol Crosson at 403-796-8110 or ccrosson@crossonlaw.ca, and Carter Grant at 647-213-4242 or carter.grant@ryerson.ca.

 

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The Pro-Life Leaders’ Book List – Part 3

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Time for part 3 of our series, featuring the top book recommendations from Canada’s Pro-Life Leaders!

We’ve already heard from: Jonathon Van Maren (CCBR), Anastasia Pearse (NCLN), Alex Scadenberg (EPC), Andrea Mrozek (IMFC), and André Schutten (ARPA) (Part 1), as well as Mike Schouten (WNAL), Stephanie Gray (International Speaker), Clarissa Canaria (NCLN), and Maaike Rosendal (CCBR) (Part 2).

Stay tuned next week for the ‘honourable mentions’ – books that were in second place in the minds of these Canadian leaders, but are definitely still worth reading!

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beckwithJojo Ruba, Executive Director of Faith Beyond Belief

Politically Correct Death by Francis Beckwith

“Pro-life philosopher Francis Beckwith insightfully lays out the arguments around the abortion debate. By organizing sections into definitions, quotes and stats etc., Beckwith provides an easy to flip- through book that will help you find quick references for the pro-life position.”

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Natalie Sonnen, Executive Director of LifeCanada

unprotectedUnprotected by Miriam Grossman, MD

“It is an excellent read in terms of understanding the terribly self-destructive climate on our college campuses that has led to a brutal and unforgiving hook-up culture in which young women are most often the victims. Abortion is discussed, but also the reality that our beautiful gift of fertility that we take so much for granted is in fact very fragile and will not withstand this totally abnormal culture. Sexually transmitted diseases (many undetected for lack of symptoms), abortion, hormonal contraceptives and the putting off of childbirth are contributing to an epidemic of infertility, a devastating condition. This condition, and its modern remedies of IVF, have life-long implications that are rarely considered until it is too late. A must read for university students AND their parents.”

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Rebecca Richmond, outgoing Executive Director of National Campus Life Network

viritus leadershipVirtuous Leadership, by Alexandre Havard

“This was one of the first books I read when I started working for NCLN and it has shaped my view of leadership – and subsequently shaped our organizational culture as well (because I’ve made everyone else read it too). Havard challenges the idea that leadership is temperament, experience, or something we’re born with. His vision of leadership is that leadership is character, and the content of character is virtue. As such, leadership is not an exclusive or exclusionary position – all of us are called to be leaders. Havard’s vision of leadership is about more than building a successful company or achieving a social goal; it’s about making the world a better place by exercising true, virtuous leadership.”

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Kathleen Dunn, Director of Digital Media & Promotions of National Campus Life Network

case for lifeA Case for Life, by Scott Klusendorf

“This book needs to be on the shelf of every pro-lifer, both new and experienced! Covering the foundational arguments and etiquette for pro-life dialogue, Klusendorf’s words are both powerful and practical. After reading “A Case for Life,” I felt I had a well-rounded grasp on the facts of the discussion, and much more confident in taking the message to real people on the street.”

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for part 4!

Photo by Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon, CC 2.0

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University of Toronto Students for Life: Debate: Abortion: A Human Right or Human Rights Violation?

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by ctimperley. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

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Join us Thursday, March 12th from 6:30-8:30pm in Room 1101 of Sandford Fleming for a debate featuring Maaike Rosendal of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform and Professor Wayner Sumner of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

Part of #LifeWeek2015!

For more information and to RSVP, check out our Facebook event page.

For more updates about #LifeWeek2015, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check out our calendar.

 

Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: What We Accomplished Last Semester

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by Sarah Blake. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through the school year and already in 2015! UTSFL is hopeful as we gear up for a New Year of pro-life activism. But before we get too caught up in our plans, let’s remind ourselves of the ways that we reached students, faculty, and staff with the pro-life message last semester:

We reached out to lots of students with our table at various Clubs Fairs…
 September 1       September 2
…and sold baked goods as a fundraiser for Aid to Women.

October 5

Some of us were able to attend the NCLN Symposium, which gave us the tools and wisdom to make our club as effective as possible.

September 3

We helped organize a group to participate in LifeChain…

October 1

shared the story of the life of Elliot Hartman Mooney in “99 Balloons”…
October 3                  October 2
and welcomed the Sisters of Life who taught us about Understanding the Heart of a Pregnant Woman in Crisis.

October 4

We hosted an event in which Maaike Rosendal from the CCBR taught us how to dialogue on abortion…

November 1a

and used our newly-acquired skills to speak to students about the current status of abortion law in canada (hint: there is no law).

November 1

And we finished off the year with a Christmas Social, in support of Birthright!

December 1

December 2December 3

Happy New Year to all! Let’s see what we can accomplish this semester!

Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

McMaster Students Shout Down Anti-Abortion Speaker

McMaster Lifeline held an event on campus: “Abortion: Reproductive or Human Rights?” presented by Maaike Rosendal of The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Though it was protested and interrupted with yelling and chants, we want to give a big congratulations and thank you to McMaster Lifeline, Maaike, and those who respectfully attended and engaged in the discussion, for being willing to bring such an important message to campus.

What is a university, unless a place to respectfully share and discuss ideas and opinions? Needless to say, the pro-choice position embarrassed themselves that night.

See below for CCBR‘s official press release regarding the incident:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: McMaster Students Shout Down Anti-Abortion Speaker

Between 20 and 25 students shouted down an anti-abortion speaker Thursday night at McMaster University, disrupting the presentation, stealing a box of books and DVDs, and chanting until the police arrived.

The lecture was organized by McMaster Lifeline, a student organization dedicated to raising awareness about the abortion issue, and featured Maaike Rosendal, a speaker with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (www.endthekilling.ca). Pro-choice students apparently took issue with the fact that a speaker with anti-abortion views would be allowed to speak, and responded w10525987_303306069874813_8279273968683516785_nith various chants and signs featuring slogans like, “Pro-sex. Pro-child. Pro-woman. Pro-abortion.”

Audience members expressed irritation that the presentation was disrupted. The popular Facebook Page “Stuff McMaster Professors Say” posted the following statement: “Professors, TAs, and students alike attended this meeting simply wanting to learn more about the prolife view yet people got into unnecessary fights, violating their right to the freedom of speech. The presenters still went on but what they did gave a bad name for prochoicers and the University of McMaster… People in university hold different views from you. That doesn’t mean you should attack people. That doesn’t mean you should silence people. Grow up.”

“It’s a shame that pro-choice students think the only way they can win this debate is by silencing it,” Maaike Rosendal of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform noted, “We are more than happy to engage in dialogue, but at too many universities abortion supporters simply want to shout us down and shut us down.”

The McMaster incident follows on the heels of similar incidents at McGill University, the University of Waterloo, and Brock University. After the police arrived, they ensured the rights of all were respected and the presentation was able to proceed.

Find video footage of the incident here.

For more information, contact Maaike Rosendal at 1-403-360-2376.

Source: http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/blog/2014/11/10/immediate-release-mcmaster-students-shout-down-anti-abortion-speaker

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Symposium Speaker Interview: Maaike Rosendal!

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Maaike Rosendal is a lovely lady that everyone needs to meet. Married to Nick Rosendal, they have two of the cutest boys you could ever see and a new baby girl (!!!). Just as she is patient and compassionate with her own children, she communicates to people on campus with a listening heart and a gentle voice while powerfully bringing the pro-life message to the people of Canada. As Campus Outreach Director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), Maaike has been influential in changing campus culture across the nation. We are so excited that she will be speaking at the Symposium this fall because now you CAN meet her. We asked her some questions so you can become just as excited as us.

1. Can you pinpoint an event or time in your life when you became extensively involved in the Pro-Life Movement? What convicted you?

It’s hard to think of something in particular since I was raised in an actively pro-life home, but there are two events that stand out for me. The first one was a silent pro-life demonstration which I attended as a teenager, outside of the Parliament buildings in the Hague in my native country of the Netherlands. I remember looking at the crowd around me and thinking, “What if we all stood up for life, every single day?” The second was a prayer vigil outside an abortion clinic, which I went to with my dad and sisters. The commitment of the few doing outreach there and the steady stream of women entering and leaving the clinic left me shaken and more resolved to do whatever I could to stop abortion.

2. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned working for CCBR?

I’ve truly learned the meaning of the saying by Augustine: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” My amazing colleagues and I have seen that when either one of those two components are missing, we are out of balance and things soon go wrong. On the flip side, when we do everything in our power to make a difference while realizing that we are entirely dependent on God and His blessing on our work, amazing things start to happen. It’s a lesson I need to be reminded of on a regular basis!

3. What is the most inspiring conversation you’ve had while talking to a pro-choice student on campus?

The most inspiring conversation I’ve had took place while doing the Genocide Awareness Project(GAP) at the University of Lethbridge. I stood in front of a large display with abortion victim photography when a female student walked past. I asked her what she thought about abortion and she responded angrily, “I will suck a fetus out of my uterus if I want to!” We engaged in discussion about what the pre-born really are. 15 minutes later she said, “Okay, you’ve convinced me that embryos and fetuses are human beings, but why should they have more rights than adult women?” When she had to go, I thanked her for taking the time to talk. She said, “I came here expecting to be yelled at by a bunch of bigots with terrible pictures. Instead, you guys listened and explained humanity and personhood.” And after a long pause: “I’m not sure I can accept the implications yet because that would make me pro-life, but really appreciate the discussion.” It’s humbling, exciting, and inspiring to be part of a change like that!

4. What is your favourite thing to do on a family outing?

We are privileged to have a large conservation area close to our house; Nick and I love to go there with our kids to walk, bike, or picnic, and still plan to camp by the river at some point. One of the things I enjoy the most about it is discovering nature through the eyes of a child; it’s a beautiful experience!

5. Why are you excited to speak at the Symposium?

If you’re a pro-life student wanting to make a difference on your campus, the NCLN Symposium is without a doubt the best place to start. In 2008, attending the Symposium provided me with skills, knowledge, confidence, and connections that helped me run our campus club and engage with fellow students about abortion. I’m excited to now return to the Symposium as a speaker for the second year in a row to provide attendees with pro-life apologetics and practical tips and, of course, to have a good time together!

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