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Press Release: B.C. Pro-Life Student Group Denied Right to Exist on their University Campus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kwantlen Pro-Life Student Group Denied Right to Exist on their University Campus

LANGLEY, B.C. (November 27 2012) – Students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University have obtained legal representation to fight a recent rejection by the student union of their application to form a pro-life club on campus.

The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA), which represents the students from the university’s four Vancouver Metro area campuses, explained its decision by stating that the creation of the Protectores Vitae club “is clearly against our own standing policy on Abortion and a Woman’s Right to Choose.”

“We’re very disappointed,” said Oliver Capko, president of the pro-life group. “Our student association is supposed to represent us and not censor us for having a different position.”

“They are in violation of their own policies,” stated Anastasia Pearse, the Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network, an organization which supports pro-life students across Canada. “Their own policy states that the association can’t censor or interfere with a club, even if it disagrees with its beliefs. Free speech and debate, even on controversial issues, should not be stifled at a university simply because those in positions of authority are pro-choice.”

It also appears that the association may have made amendments on October 26 to Article 2 of its Club Procedures Policy in an attempt to create a stronger basis for denying status. The changes significantly increased the ways in which the student association could justify the denial of club recognition.

The club is demanding that the Kwantlen Student Association grant them status. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has taken the case and is acting on behalf of Protectores Vitae.

“We sincerely hope that it will not be necessary for Mr. Capko and other students to sue the KSA,” said John Carpay, lawyer and President of the JCCF. “The student union has no legal authority to impose its own views about a moral or political issue on all students by denying club status to students who disagree with the student union. The student union has an obligation to treat all students equally and fairly, without denying the right of students to freely associate on the Kwantlen campus and form the clubs of their own choosing.”

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For media requests, please contact:

Oliver Capko, President Protectores Vitae, kwanlenprotectoresvitae@hotmail.com, 604-772-1156

John Carpay, President, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, 403-619-8014 or jcarpay@jccf.ca

 

Further details can be found on the club’s website.  

To support free speech at Kwantlen, click here.

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Kwantlen Protectores Vitae: Press Release: Kwantlen Pro-Life Student Group Denied Right to Exist on their University Campus

This post was written for Kwantlen Protectores Vitae by Kwantlen Protectores Vitae. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kwantlen Pro-Life Student Group Denied Right to Exist on their University Campus

LANGLEY, B.C. (November 27 2012) – Students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University have obtained legal representation to fight a recent rejection by the student union of their application to form a pro-life club on campus.

The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA), which represents the students from the university’s four Vancouver Metro area campuses, explained its decision by stating that the creation of the Protectores Vitae club “is clearly against our own standing policy on Abortion and a Woman’s Right to Choose.”

“We’re very disappointed,” said Oliver Capko, president of the pro-life group. “Our student association is supposed to represent us and not censor us for having a different position.”

“They are in violation of their own policies,” stated Anastasia Pearse, the Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network, an organization which supports pro-life students across Canada. “Their own policy states that the association can’t censor or interfere with a club, even if it disagrees with its beliefs. Free speech and debate, even on controversial issues, should not be stifled at a university simply because those in positions of authority are pro-choice.”

It also appears that the association may have made amendments on October 26 to Article 2 of its Club Procedures Policy in an attempt to create a stronger basis for denying status. The changes significantly increased the ways in which the student association could justify the denial of club recognition.

The club is demanding that the Kwantlen Student Association grant them status. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has taken the case and is acting on behalf of Protectores Vitae.

“We sincerely hope that it will not be necessary for Mr. Capko and other students to sue the KSA,” said John Carpay, lawyer and President of the JCCF. “The student union has no legal authority to impose its own views about a moral or political issue on all students by denying club status to students who disagree with the student union. The student union has an obligation to treat all students equally and fairly, without denying the right of students to freely associate on the Kwantlen campus and form the clubs of their own choosing.”

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For media requests, please contact:

Oliver Capko, President Protectores Vitae, kwantlenprotectoresvitae@hotmail.com, 604-772-1156

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator of the National Campus Life Network, westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604-365-3484

John Carpay, President, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, 403-619-8014 or jcarpay@jccf.ca

 

Read the comments at the Kwantlen Protectores Vitae website.

University of Guelph Life Choice: Women’s Rights vs. Women’s Rights

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

In Canada, it is legal to get an abortion through all nine months of pregnancy – no questions asked. Women might seek abortions because they don't feel ready to have a child, because they can't support one financially, or because they did not intend to get pregnant. Or they might seek an abortion because they've found out that their unborn child is a girl.
In India and China, sex-selective abortion is extremely common. In most countries around the world, the ratio of girls to boys is approximately 1:1, but in some areas of India it has dropped to around 700 girls for every 1000 boys born (according to the organization 'Save Girl Child' in India). This may come from a cultural preference for sons, the effects of which are more dramatic in countries with a restriction on the number of children a couple can have. Because of this discrimination in the womb, ten million girls have 'gone missing' in India alone over the last twenty years, according to Save Girl Child. This trend is not limited to India and China, though; it happens in our own backyard as well, as reported in a recent editorial in the Candian Medical Association Journal.
It seems inevitable that in a country with no restrictions on abortion, we would eventually run into these sorts of moral quandaries. If the idea of aborting girls en masse to satisfy misogynystic cultural leanings gives our collective consciences a twinge, what about fetuses with disabilities? Studies in the UK show that up to 90% of fetuses diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted.  In 2009 alone, “2,085 abortions were [due to the] risk that the child would be born handicapped” in Britain, according to the Department of Health; this includes children with correctible disorders such as cleft palate and club foot. When our culture accepts as normal the act of aborting a child who has physical imperfections, then anyone who is less than perfect should start to feel lucky that they made it out of the womb.
Where do we draw the line? Where does the free exercise of one's 'right' to abortion become outright discrimination against women and the disabled? The idea of freedom of choice is being used to prevent women's lives from starting; your right to choose is in direct conflict with another girl's right to life. If sex-selective abortion, and the idea of ending someone's life just because they have a disability, strikes you as an inexcusable brutality incongruous with our culture of equality, then we have to ask ourselves how we can protect unborn children from this type of discrimination. Then we're faced with an even bigger question: if unborn children have a right to a discrimination-free chance at life, what other rights might they also have?

- Hanna Barlow

[As seen in the Opinion section of The Ontarion, Feburary 16, 2012.]

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

U of G Life Choice: Women’s Rights vs. Women’s Rights

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

In Canada, it is legal to get an abortion through all nine months of pregnancy – no questions asked. Women might seek abortions because they don’t feel ready to have a child, because they can’t support one financially, or because they did not intend to get pregnant. Or they might seek an abortion because they’ve found out that their unborn child is a girl.
In India and China, sex-selective abortion is extremely common. In most countries around the world, the ratio of girls to boys is approximately 1:1, but in some areas of India it has dropped to around 700 girls for every 1000 boys born (according to the organization ‘Save Girl Child‘ in India). This may come from a cultural preference for sons, the effects of which are more dramatic in countries with a restriction on the number of children a couple can have. Because of this discrimination in the womb, ten million girls have ‘gone missing’ in India alone over the last twenty years, according to Save Girl Child. This trend is not limited to India and China, though; it happens in our own backyard as well, as reported in a recent editorial in the Candian Medical Association Journal.
It seems inevitable that in a country with no restrictions on abortion, we would eventually run into these sorts of moral quandaries. If the idea of aborting girls en masse to satisfy misogynystic cultural leanings gives our collective consciences a twinge, what about fetuses with disabilities? Studies in the UK show that up to 90% of fetuses diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted.  In 2009 alone, “2,085 abortions were [due to the] risk that the child would be born handicapped” in Britain, according to the Department of Health; this includes children with correctible disorders such as cleft palate and club foot. When our culture accepts as normal the act of aborting a child who has physical imperfections, then anyone who is less than perfect should start to feel lucky that they made it out of the womb.
Where do we draw the line? Where does the free exercise of one’s ‘right’ to abortion become outright discrimination against women and the disabled? The idea of freedom of choice is being used to prevent women’s lives from starting; your right to choose is in direct conflict with another girl’s right to life. If sex-selective abortion, and the idea of ending someone’s life just because they have a disability, strikes you as an inexcusable brutality incongruous with our culture of equality, then we have to ask ourselves how we can protect unborn children from this type of discrimination. Then we’re faced with an even bigger question: if unborn children have a right to a discrimination-free chance at life, what other rights might they also have?

- Hanna Barlow

[As seen in the Opinion section of The Ontarion, Feburary 16, 2012.]

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

University of Victoria Pro-Life Club Censored Once Again

February 7, 2012: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

University of Victoria Pro-Life Club Censored Once Again

Victoria B.C.-The University of Victoria Student’s Society (UVSS) Board of Directors passed two motions to publicly censure the pro-life club on campus, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY) last night, February 6th. The first motion was put forward in response to complaints stemming from an event the club held last November called “Choice” Chain and charged the students with violating the UVSS Harassment Policy. The second motion was passed in response to a poster the club put up on campus in October. As a result, YPY will be denied their ability to book public space on campus for their events and is forbidden to hold “Choice” Chain or other similar events. The club is also banned from putting up posters until a new policy is written by the UVSS to govern poster content. The board also ordered YPY to write a letter of apology to groups who were offended by the poster.

“Choice” Chain is a project developed by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) and consists of volunteers holding three by four foot signs with graphic images of first trimester aborted fetuses. The volunteers engage passers-by in dialogue about abortion. More information about the project can be found here: http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/projects/choicechain

“This is a disappointing development,” said Cameron Côté, YPY Vice-President and coordinator of the “Choice” Chain event. “People may have felt offended by the images but that in no way constitutes harassment. If you merely have to claim your feelings were hurt or you disliked someone’s message or way of expressing themselves to find that person guilty of harassment, freedom of speech ceases to exist. While we recognize that some people do not like our message, that doesn’t mean we should be censored.  ”

Campus Outreach Director for CCBR, Alanna Gomez, stated, “The charges of harassment have no grounds. There were no complaints made about the conduct of the students, because they acted respectfully and peacefully. The only complaints were based on the negative feelings people had because they didn’t like the pictures the students were holding. Just because someone doesn’t like a picture doesn’t mean they have been harassed, which is what the UVSS is trying to claim.”

The poster that resulted in the second motion was developed by National Campus Life Network (NCLN), and compares the current denial of legal personhood to the pre-born in Canada with similar treatment of other groups in the past. The poster can be viewed here: http://www.ncln.ca/resources/print-resources/person-poster/

“I thought the UVSS had moved past this type of discrimination and censorship since the settlement of YPY’s lawsuit in July 2010,” said Anastasia Pearse, former YPY president. Pearse currently works as the Western Campus Coordinator for NCLN. “Censorship of the abortion debate at a university is shameful and unacceptable.”

“YPY will not tolerate this ideological discrimination,” said Côté. “We must all demand that our   society be free of discrimination and censorship of minority or unpopular viewpoints. If there is a right not to be offended than we cannot have freedom of speech in this country or on campus.The legal killing of so many innocent human beings is a disturbing topic, but it is far too serious to suppress or ignore.”

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For further information:

Cameron Côté (YPY Vice President) – 778-678-4275, youthprotectingyouth@gmail.com

Alanna Gomez (CCBR Campus Outreach Director) – 403-690-5217, acampbell@unmaskingchoice.ca

Anastasia Pearse (NCLN Western Coordinator) – 604-365-3484, westerncanada@ncln.ca

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Press Release: Student Union applies double standard to pro-life students at the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Student Union applies double standard to pro-life students at the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton)

Dec. 19, 2011. Fredericton, New Brunswick:  Pro-life students at the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) Fredericton campus were shocked last week to learn from their student newspaper, The Brunswickan, that their club would not be recognized by the Student Union due to a “lack of information”.

“The whole situation has been incredibly frustrating,” says Amanda Magee, the President of UNB Students for Life.  “We have given the Student Union information.  We have offered to be present to answer questions.”

UNB Students for Life applied for club status in October, not anticipating any issues given that a pro-life club is active at the UNB Saint John campus and had also existed at the Fredericton campus only a few years previous.  When their contact on council, Andrew Martel, requested additional information from the club, they replied, ensuring that the information would be received before the next Council meeting on November 20th.  Despite this, Andrew Martel stated at the meeting, according to the Nov. 20th minutes, that he did not receive any information from the club.

“We’ve had to rely on the student newspaper and the minutes of the meetings to piece things together,” adds Magee.  “And the Dec. 4th minutes still aren’t available so we’re not entirely sure what happened.”

What is clear is that the pro-life nature of the club has some Councillors concerned.  Some Councillors said that club would be “contentious” and “inviting debate”.  Others, such as Jordan Thompson, the President of the Council, stated that, “the Student Union is not the moral police. As long as the clubs and societies are functioning with certain conduct, it is not our prerogative to judge them on our certain beliefs.”

“It’s a double standard,” comments Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network.  “Simply browse through the listing of clubs on campus and you’ll find clubs with controversial positions.  The Council has asked for additional information; what they need is information concerning what the role of a student union is and is not.  Determining which views are accepted and which are discriminated against is not part of their mandate.”

UNB Students for Life will be addressing the issue at the next Council meeting in January.

“We have a right to be on campus,” asserts Magee.  “Issues like abortion should be discussed and debated.  Resources on positive alternatives should be promoted.  All we want is the same rights as other clubs so we can do these things on campus.”

For more information, contact Amanda Magee, UNB Students for Life President, 506 852 4399.

For additional comment, contact Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network, 416 388 0461 (office), 416 388 0461 (cell).

National Campus Life Network is a national pro-life organization that exists to educate, network and support pro-life post-secondary students across Canada.

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Further Information

Prepared December 18th, 2011

  • Oct. 14th: University of New Brunswick (Fredericton) Students for Life submitted their application for club status to the Student Union. The application complied with the clubs and societies policy.
  • Nov. 6th: Student Union council members begin deliberations on whether or not to grant status to the club (Minutes are available online at http://www.unbsu.ca/content/240480 Discussions concerning the club begin on page 15).
  • Concerned that the club could be “controversial”, “touchy” and “negative”, the council resolved to ask for additional information and defer the decision until the next meeting.
  • Nov. 14th: The club receives a request for additional information from Andrew Martel and replied on Nov. 18th.
  • Nov. 20th: Student Union councillors resume debate concerning the club (see minutes at http://www.unbsu.ca/content/240480, starting on pg 14).
    • Andrew Martel, the Vice-President Finance and Operations, stated that he contacted the club for more information and did not hear back from them.
    • Councillors raised objections to the club as it would be a “single issue” club with “political will or intention” (Councillor Gormal-Asal, pg 14), “contentious” and “inviting debate” (Gorman-Asal, pg 15), and potentially disseminating “misinformation” for the pregnancy centre (Glenwright, pg 15).  Other council members stated that the student union should not be a “morality police” (Chamberlain-Boyle, pg 14, and Thompson, pg 15).
    • The issue was deferred until more information about the club was presented.
  • Nov. 23rd: An article in The Brunswickan reports on the debate.  http://thebruns.ca/articles/49984 This is the first the club has heard of the situation.
  • Nov. 24th: The club emailed Andrew Martel, expressing their concern with the manner in which their application was being debated and including additional information on the club. A meeting with the Student Union was requested.
  • Nov. 28th:  Andrew Martel responded by email.  He stated he would provide the responses to the Council that Sunday and suggested that the club attend the meeting so as to answer questions.  The club immediately replied, requesting information on how to find the meeting.  A follow-up email was also sent shortly thereafter, but no answer was received.  As such, no members of the club attended the meeting.
  • December 4th student union meeting. (Minutes for the Dec. 4th meeting are not yet online.)
  • Dec. 5th: Andrew Martel contacted the club by email, requesting further information on what groups and centres the club would be referring students to for help with unplanned pregnancies or post-abortion counselling. The club replied on the same day with additional details and links to the centres’ websites.
  • Dec. 7th: An article in The Brunswickan reported that the club had been denied status at the Dec. 4 meeting, citing “insufficient information from the club.”  In the article, Andrew Martel stated that if more information from the club is received, he will bring it forward.  The information that is needed  is “where the resources are coming from and where they will be directing students.”  http://thebruns.ca/articles/50519
  • Dec. 14th: An email is received from Andrew Martel, informing the group that their information was submitted too late for the last meeting (although additional information had been provided on Nov. 28th, a week before the Dec. 4th meeting).  He will bring forward information from the Dec. 5th email at a January meeting.

 

Update:  Media Coverage of the Situation

LifeSiteNews.com:  http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/u-new-brunswick-student-union-denies-club-status-to-pro-life-students

Pro-Woman Pro-Life: http://www.prowomanprolife.org/2011/12/19/bumpy-beginnings/


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Press Release: CUSA Maintains Legitimacy of their Discriminating Policy and their Procedures

November 19th, 2010; FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CUSA MAINTAINS LEGITIMACY OF THEIR DISCRIMINATING POLICY AND THEIR PROCEDURES

OTTAWA – Despite the deposit of a motion to challenge CUSA’s policy banning pro-life clubs, the Student Association maintains the legitimacy of the policy and the manner in which Carleton Lifeline was refused recertification.

In response to a letter from Lifeline’s Legal Council letter of November 15, 2010, Khaldoon Bushnak, VP Internal, wrote to inform Lifeline on November 18th, 2010,  that CUSA maintains the validity of the policy banning pro life clubs and the way in which the Association refused to grant Carleton Lifeline recertification. In response, Carleton Lifeline has threatened legal action against Carleton University’s Student Association.

Read exchange here: www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com

For further information, contact Carleton Lifeline at (613) 600-4791, or Carleton Lifeline’s Legal Counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos at (613) 241-2701.

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PRESS RELEASE: Students’ Pro-Life Club Status Revoked

NOVEMBER 15th, 2010: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STUDENTS’ PRO-LIFE CLUB STATUS REVOKED

Carleton Lifeline told by Student Union it must change its Constitution

OTTAWA – The Carleton University Student Association (CUSA) has notified Carleton Lifeline, Carleton University’s pro-life student group, that the club will not be given club status or funding unless the group renounces its pro-life beliefs in a revised and resubmitted Club Constitution.

This comes on the heels of the arrest of several Carleton Lifeline club members’ arrest last month when they attempted to set up a pro-life exhibit on campus.

“There are two major issues at hand here,” stated Ruth Lobo, president of Carleton Lifeline. “First, is that we are being discriminated against because of our political and ideological values. Second, CUSA has taken our club status away in a way that has violated their own procedural policies regarding re-certification and decertification. We have been a club for 3 years, so why now?”

The club was notified of the denial of status via e-mail from Khaldoon A. Bushnaq, Vice-President of Internal Affairs for CUSA. The email states that Carleton Lifeline’s club constitution is in violation of CUSA’s Discrimination on Campus Policy, which expressly states that CUSA supports “a woman’s right to choose” and will not support any student group that holds a different viewpoint. Carleton Lifeline’s constitution reads “Carleton Lifeline believes in the equal rights of the unborn and firmly believes that abortion is a moral and legal wrong, not a constitutional right. Therefore, Carleton Lifeline shall work to promote the legal protection of the unborn and their basic human rights to life.”

“Our constitution has not changed since our club was first certified in 2007,” said James Shaw, vice-president of Carleton Lifeline. “We have always received funding and status whenever we applied, and were always re-certified as a club from year to year.” Shaw adds that even if other students disagree with their views, a student’s association must respect the diversity of opinion within their own membership.

On November 15, 2010, Carleton Lifeline’s legal counsel wrote CUSA pointing out that their Discrimination on Campus Policy is in violation of CUSA’s own constitution and in violation of a number of Carleton University policies. He also pointed out that the manner in which CUSA denied Carleton Lifeline certification was not in line with CUSA’s own policies and procedures.

“We simply want the same status as other clubs without viewpoint discrimination,” stated club member Nicholas Mcleod. “This decision clearly violates CUSA’s own procedures on certification and re-certification.  As a student, I am forced to give money to CUSA when I pay my tuition which means that I am paying CUSA to discriminate against me. Obviously, our group is going to challenge this.”

For further information, contact Carleton Lifeline at (613) 600-4791, or Carleton Lifeline’s legal counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos at (613) 241-2701. To see copies of the above-noted correspondence, please visit http://carletonlifeline.wordpress.com/

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CUSA’s Shinerama Incident:              http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2008/11/25/ot-081125-shinerama.html

CUSA’s 2006 attempt to ban Lifeline:  http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/jan/07011004.html

See Pg 33 for Discrimination Policy:  http://cusaonline.com/Downloads/cusa_policies_2010.pdf

See Pg 13 Sections 4.1 and 4.2 regarding Certification/Recertification Differences and Section 5.0 for Decertification:                            http://cusaonline.com/Downloads/bylaw_dec_09.pdf

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