University of Toronto Students for Life: #LifeWeek2015: Recap

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

#LifeWeek2015 has officially come to a close and we are blown away by the success of each and every event!

Let’s take a look back at the successes of the past week:

On Monday, we began #LifeWeek2015 with a lecture by Dr. Calhoun of West Virginia University. His talk, titled “The Fetus As Our Patient: Therapeutic Advances in Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy” explored how previously lethal diagnoses can now be treated in utero. Dr. Calhoun’s lecture served to open the audience’s mind to the idea of the pre-born child not simply as a part of the mother, but as a patient on his or her own.

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#LifeWeek2015 continued into Tuesday evening with our panel discussion about Services for Pregnant Women and Common Ground Between Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Groups. The panel featured advocates from both sides of the debate and overall, suggested a desire to help women who find themselves in trying circumstances.

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On Wednesday, we continued our raising awareness about the pro-life movement in the lobby of the Medical Sciences Building with Q&A for a Cookie. With a bowl of questions on one side of the table and packages of cookies on the other, we invited passerby to pick a question, discuss it with us, and earn a cookie in the process. With questions ranging from topics about abortion laws in Canada – or the lack thereof – to services for women in crisis pregnancies, our team dialogued with the University of Toronto community, many of whom became illuminated through this activity to the availability of resources for women in these situations and the need to reconsider for themselves the definition of personhood – all while munching on some cookies!

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On Thursday, #LifeWeek2015 put the pro-life and pro-choice movements in contrast with a debate titled “Abortion: Human Right or Human Rights Violation?”. Featuring Maaike Rosendal of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform and University of Toronto Philosophy Professor Wayne Sumner, the debate showcased both the differences and similarities between each side of the argument, primarily the criteria for human rights and, connecting to our first lecture, the treatment of situations with a pregnant woman as consisting of one patient, the mother, or two, extending to include the pre-born child.

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#LifeWeek2015 concluded on Friday with our regular volunteering at Aid to Women, a prominent crisis pregnancy centre in the city.

Thank you to all who helped us out with the organization and execution of #LifeWeek2015, as well as all those who came out and participated in these events!

We hope that this past week served to affect change in the hearts and minds of the University of Toronto community. As a result of #LifeWeek2015, we hope that you, too, have been inspired to join us in our mission to protect and defend all human life, from conception to natural death.

To be informed regularly about UTSFL’s events and activities, subscribe to our email list on the sidebar of this page!

For more updates, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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

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.



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.

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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Successful Debate @ SFU

Last night, SFU Lifeline and SFU Health Ethics Club hosted a public debate on Simon Fraser University campus: “Should Abortion Be Legal“?

About 125 students and guests attended to hear Stephanie Gray, on behalf of the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, present the pro-life position and Umer Altaf, President of the SFU Debate Society, present the pro-choice position.

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Appealing to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Stephanie claimed that abortion should be illegal, since the pre-born are human beings, and ending an innocent human being’s life would be a violation of their human right to life.

Umer based his argument on what he claimed were three logical conclusions: something receives our moral consideration in the face of termination if it can feel pain, if it will be missed by loved ones, and if they have wants and dreams that won’t be realized if their life is taken. When the pre-born can’t feel pain, will not be missed and does not have dreams to be realized, the pre-born are not worthy of our moral consideration and thus abortion should be legal.

Stephanie and Umer debated the implications of making abortion illegal, also weighing the effects that abortion and pregnancy have on women. Umer claimed that there are different levels of suffering, and abortion alleviates some of the suffering that a woman would face in a crisis pregnancy. Stephanie proposed that a civil society should certainly alleviate suffering, but not eliminate sufferers.

Students were able to ask questions during the final session of the debate, and the open discussion continued well after the debate officially ended.

Who won the debate? Stay tuned for a video of the full debate online. We’ll let you decide.

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Vancouver, B.C.  On Tuesday October 28thSFU Lifeline will be hosting a debate on the legality of abortion, organized by university students who cite Justin Trudeau‘s abortion comments as a motivating factor for the events.

“We actually wanted and invited Mr. Trudeau to participate in the debates,” stated Emily Mraz, a third year student at Simon Fraser University and president of the pro-life club, SFU Lifeline. “He has made strong statements about a woman’s ‘right to choose.’ Seeing as the university is considered to be a marketplace of ideas, we believe it is an appropriate venue for him to defend his position and engage in discussion on the issue.” Unfortunately Mr. Trudeau’s secretary stated that he was not available to participate.

Mr. Trudeau has stated that abortion is “not for any government to legislate.” Pro-Life students on university campuses beg to differ, citing it as the government’s duty to protect all human beings in Canada, including the 300 pre-born humans who are killed every day in our Country through abortion.

Stephanie Gray, an international pro-life speaker and author, will be representing the position that there should be laws against abortion – countering Trudeau’s claim that the government should have nothing to do with abortion; this follows her statement that abortion is a violation of the human rights of pre-born human beings. Umer Altaf, president of the SFU Debate Society, will be representing the position that there should not be laws against abortion, defending abortion as a woman’s choice.

“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.  “The most recent CIHI stats 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.”

The debate will be held at SFU Burnaby on Tuesday, October 28th at 5:30pm in C9001.

For further information contact:

Emily Mraz: sfulifeline@gmail.com

Anastasia Pearse: westerncanada@ncln.ca



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University of Toronto Students for Life: On the analogy between the debates about slavery and abortion in America

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

Over at Public Discourse, Nathaniel Peters offers a review of Justin Buckley Dyer’s analysis on Slavery, Abortion, and the Politics of Constitutional Meaning. It’s a deep dive into the way that the analogy between slavery and abortion plays out in American public discourse and scholarly debates.

All readers will benefit from Dyer’s account of the ways in which the logic of abortion depended on history to justify Roe v. Wade and subsequent court decisions. As Dyer vividly demonstrates, some of that history was dramatically misused.

For example, on Dred Scott:

Dyer is at his most original and scholarly in his contribution to the debate over substantive due process and abortion. The Fifth Amendment prohibits the federal government from depriving any person of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” In Dred Scott, the Supreme Court ruled that a legislative act barring slavery from federal territories “could hardly be dignified with the name due process of law.” In other words, the Court viewed the prohibition of slavery as so patently unjust that, to the justices, it clearly fell outside the scope of the due process of the law. [...]

But, Dyer argues, contemporary opponents of Dred Scott criticized the decision for its view of slaves as property, not its substantive view of due process. For them, natural rights to life, liberty, and property provided the substance that could not be violated by the due process of the law. [...]

Here, Dyer concludes, we see the real parallel between Dred Scott and Roe: In both cases, “the Court treated biological human status as irrelevant to the question of constitutional personhood while constructing a legal community of constitutional persons that did not necessarily overlap with the population of natural persons.”

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, the review goes into far more detail.

A good take-away:

Abolitionism provides the example for how to fight for a cause: underscore the humanity of those whose humanity is denied, provide compassionate care for those affected, name the lies that dehumanize and kill, and tirelessly argue for the truth about “who counts.”

Sometimes, the most important lessons take the longest to learn.

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

University of Toronto Students for Life: Life Week: November 4-8

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

We’re making next week Life Week at the University of Toronto!

Look for us on campus!

First, we’ll have a visible public presence on campus early in the week, with activism projects and information tables. If you’d like to help out, please contact us for more information.

Then, we’re hosting three big events at the end of the week:

  1. Thurs Nov 7 @ 7pm: Abortion vs. Childbirth: The Latest Evidence on Psychological Risks (lecture)
  2. Fri Nov 8 @ 9am-4pm: Complications: Abortion’s Impact on Women (full-day conference)
  3. Fri Nov 8 @ 7pm: Stephanie Gray vs. late-term abortionist Dr. Fraser Fellows (debate)

1. LECTURE: Abortion vs. Childbirth: The Latest Evidence on Psychological Risks

Date: Thursday, November 7 at 7:00pm
Location: Father Madden Hall (Carr Hall, 100 St. Joseph Street)
Cost: Free!

Dr. Priscilla Coleman

Come to this free public lecture, in association with the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, featuring Dr. Priscilla Coleman on Abortion vs. Childbirth: The Latest Evidence on Psychological Risks.

Space is limited, so get there early!

2. CONFERENCE: Complications: Abortion’s Impact on Women

Date: Friday, November 8 9am-4pm (Registration: 8:30am)
Location: Father Madden Hall (Carr Hall, 00 St. Joseph Street)
Cost: Regular $60; Students $20. Lunch and refreshments included.

Complications: Abortion's Impact on Women (book cover)

In association with the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, this conference will present explosive new research that shows a multitude of harmful effects on women’s health from abortion. Be one of the first to get the latest findings from this new book. Abortion can impact future infertility, cancer, autoimmune disease, depression and more. Includes powerful personal stories.


  • Dr. Priscilla Coleman
  • Dr. Angela Lanfranchi
  • Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy
  • Professor Ian Gentles
  • Angelina Steenstra
  • and many more.

To register, contact the deVeber Institute via the web, or email or by phone at 416-256-0555.

3. DEBATE: Stephanie Gray vs. late-term abortionist Dr. Fraser Fellows

Date: Friday, November 8 at 7:00pm
Location: JRR Macleod Auditorium, Medical Sciences Building (MS 2158), 1 King’s College Circle
Cost: Free!

Stephanie Gray

Sponsored by the Canadian Physicians for Life, pro-life speaker Stephanie Gray of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform will debate late-term abortionist Dr. Fraser Fellows on the topic of whether abortion is harmful to women. No matter what you think about abortion, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to here the best arguments from both sides.

Space is limited, so get there early!

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

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.


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


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.