Merry Christmas from NCLN!

 

Dear Friends,

 

Our staff at NCLN wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas. We are so incredibly blessed to be able to work with and for you as we support pro-life student leaders and share our life-affirming, life-saving message on university campuses. We have much to be thankful for and rejoice over as we celebrate this joyous season!
As we reflect on the meaning of the season, there is so much that affirms and encourages us in our pro-life ministry. We encourage you to take  couple minutes to read our Christmas reflection, written by our Western Campus Coordinator, Joanna.

GEARING UP FOR 2016!

 

To ensure you’re equipped to start off the new year, we have a variety of resources, campaigns, and events to help you impact your campus!

 

SPARC up your campus!

SPARC 

Our monthly SPARC outreach will continue, starting in January with a pro-life t-shirt day on January 28th (commemorating the 28th anniversary of the R. v. Mortgentaler decision that struck down all laws against abortion in Canada). Click here to download the Spring 2016 SPARC Calendar!

 

Order a Without Exception Tshirt!

 

Geared for Life T-Shirts

Check out our Geared for Life page and order a pro-life t-shirt! Wearing the t-shirt is a simple way to be a pro-life witness, and can lead to many fruitful conversations. Buy one by January 8th so you have a chance to receive it in time for our January SPARC event!

 

 

Responding to Physician Assisted Suicide in Canada

Our staff are working with LifeCanada on a campaign we can use on our campuses and in our communities to educate people about physician assisted suicide, and to move them to action as we support the vulnerable in our society. To kickstart the campaign, our NCLN Western Office will be co-hosting a workshop in Vancouver on Saturday January 30th. Stay tuned for further details.

 

QA project

The QA Project

Need more resources to fuel your QA Project activism? Visit our Geared for Life page to order cards, pins, and stickers online!

We pray you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for all the amazing work you’ve done to bring more light and hope into this world.

Love,

Your NCLN Team

Merry Christmas

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Stop the Madness!

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Written by Ashley Bulthuis (Summer Intern 2015)

I recently heard Dr. Will Johnston’s speak at the March for Life in Victoria. His speech was profound. It was foreboding. It was a foretelling of what will come if the federal government rushes into enacting a law on assisted suicide that does not ensure the lives of all Canadians are valued and protected.

Dr. Will Johnston is the chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of British Columbia. During the rally he highlighted the need to place our focus on life-saving health care, stating “supplying real healthcare means supplying therapy. Therapy improves function, therapy does not intentionally create a corpse.” Our future doctors are at risk of playing the double role of health care provider and grim reaper if laws are not made to protect Canadians from physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. What a chilling prospect Canadians may face! As a millennial, I cannot help but wonder what this means for my generation.

The outcome of this decision impacts more than just our grandparents’ generation. Each of us will have to face the reality of death at some point, whether it be for a close family member, friend, or ourselves. If assisted suicide becomes permissible in Canada, it will open access to legalized killing in our country, providing a lethal alternative to the rightful dignity of a natural death. By legalizing this we fail to realize that our generation is sealing the lid to our own tomb.

Is this honestly what we want to aspire to?

To put the frenzied state of our current situation in perspective, consider the following insight from Dr. Johnston: “Parliament is warned to make the law stringent and rigorous, supposedly excluding some people from a new right for which their own subjective preferences are the only qualification. If you were a guest at this Mad Hatter’s Tea Party your best question would be who could you say ‘no’ to?” Having stringent regulations ultimately will not prevent innocent lives from being taken in the end, as there will be continued pressure to widen the regulations to include more people.

But we can do our part to prevent this madness from continuing. I encourage you to take part in Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s Give Us Time campaign, which has sent out 80, 000 postcards asking politicians to hold a Royal Commission on assisted suicide, and invoke the Notwithstanding Clause so Parliament can draft effective assisted suicide legislation. Parliament currently has less than one year to draft legislation, but more than a year is needed to make such a massive decision. This is especially important in light of the upcoming federal election this fall, which will draw attention away from the Assisted Suicide debate. You can visit the campaign site to download the postcard, and encourage others to do the same!

Life is precious, let’s join together to protect it!

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Brittany Maynard: In Sickness & In Health

Written by Kathleen Dunn

We are so sad to hear the news that Brittany Maynard took her own life on Saturday, November 1st, after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family, and we hope that they find hope and healing after this traumatic experience. We are also so sad to see a precedent set by the actions of Brittany and her family. In the face of suffering, our response should not be to give up and put an end a life that is so valuable.

brittany Full story can be read here. 

No matter the state of suffering or hardship, our first and only intention should be to alleviate the suffering as much as we can and show our loved ones that they are valuable and have a purpose in this world, even through their illness.

In light of Brittany’s suicide, we want to encourage all of our students to go out of their way to show love and hope to all those around them. Treasure each life in front of you as if it were your very own. Take your club to visit hospices and homes for the elderly. The present moment can always welcome joy and hope, no matter what the future holds. Be a loving presence to those who may not have friends and family to hold their hand or hear their voice. May no one ever lose sight of their own value and purpose on account of our reluctance to reach outside of ourselves and touch the heart of another. Though we cannot reverse the actions of Brittany, we can do much to ensure that life and love prevail where death and fear overwhelm.

Related & helpful articles: 
– The Danger of Assisted Suicide Laws
– Seminarian with Terminal Brain Cancer Response to Brittany Maynard

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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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My Aunt’s Killer Should Not Be an Excuse to Kill

By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director

ALS often come up when euthanasia and assisted suicide are discussed. The disease seems to be the poster child for the ‘right to die’ movement, and has been a part of major court cases including Gloria Taylor’s involvement in the recent Carter case and the 1993 Supreme Court case of Sue Rodriguez.

“Don’t you know about ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease?” I’ve been asked by those who support assisted suicide. “How would you feel if it was your loved one dying of ALS? Do you know what the disease does?”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? Yes, I do actually.

Several years ago my dad’s sister – my aunt and godmother – was diagnosed with the degenerative motor neuron disease that had also killed her grandmother many years before. Most patients only live between 3-5 years, but my aunt deteriorated quickly and we lost her on September 29, 2009 – only 13 months after diagnosis.

Even before the disease was officially diagnosed, she had to stop teaching due to problems with balance and standing. She called it ‘getting tippy’. By the time the disease had been officially diagnosed later that August, her mobility had been severely curtailed and the disease was already beginning to affect her speech. She warned my dad to let us kids know that if we picked up the phone and heard a drunk person on the other end, it was just their aunt.

Her approach to the disease mirrored her approach to life: blunt and practical. She quickly mobilized her husband and friends to rearrange the house for her so she had access to her scrapbooking materials and computer, and had a chair lift put in to help her get up and down the stairs. Legal matters were taken care of soon after the diagnosis as well.  There was never any “Why me?” questions; she just hunkered down to handle life as it was presented to her. It was her way of doing things.

Despite living in a small farming community in Saskatchewan, she was able to get the assistance she needed to live at home for several months. Her condition worsened rapidly – much too rapidly – and despite the heroic efforts of my uncle and her home care providers, she had to be admitted to a palliative care unit in a nearby small town hospital early the next spring where she remained until her death in the fall. Her memorial service was held at the community hall to accommodate the crowd of friends, colleagues, family and former students from decades of teaching who came to pay their respects.

ALS is a ghastly disease. My aunt quickly lost her independence, and became reliant on others for the basics that we take for granted. She soon lost her ability to speak, and near the end of her life it was almost impossible for her to communicate. Through it all, her husband and the medical team continued to lavish their love and care on her to alleviate her pain and suffering as much as possible until she died. She was an individual with dignity, and was treated with dignity, despite all the indignities the disease subjected her to.

I hesitated before I began to write, I hesitated before I sent it to my dad to look over, and I hesitated before I posted it. I do not want anyone to misinterpret my meaning. I am not glorifying my aunt’s suffering nor am I trying to make her the new poster child of our movement. My aunt would not be anyone’s poster child, thanks very much. My point is this: I am aware that ALS has a very human face to it. But it is precisely that humanity, and the humanity of all the vulnerable, that puts me firmly against euthanasia and assisted suicide. I hate the fact that my aunt’s killer is being used as an excuse to allow killing. I shudder to think how the medical system would have treated my aunt if euthanasia and assisted suicide was a part of the Canadian health care system. Would they have seen her as a financial burden to the system? Would they have done a cost-benefit analysis on her life? Would her ability to function have come to define her value?

And while Gloria Taylor and Sue Rodriguez gave a face to the euthanasia and assisted suicide movement in Canada, their stories are not the only stories. Legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia endangers our seniors, our friends and family with special needs and those suffering from diseases. These stories and our stories matter too.

I certainly wish my aunt hadn’t suffered or died, especially from such a horrific disease. I would like to see more research done on currently incurable diseases like ALS. I would like to see palliative care and pain relief improve. But creating a right to kill will not make that happen, nor is killing an acceptable way to ‘alleviate’ suffering. Instead, by allowing doctors to kill the sufferers, it only endangers the lives of all the vulnerable.

For more information and analysis on the Carter Case and the issue in general, please visit our Euthanasia Resource page.

Author’s note: Special thanks to my father for his contributions to this piece and for his encouragement.

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A Sad Decision Made in BC Courts

Josie Wichrowski is a summer intern with NCLN in our Western Office.  On Friday she was present at the B.C. Supreme Court for the ruling on the Carter Case.  The following is her reflection on the decision.

By Josie Wichrowski, NCLN Summer Intern

I was present at the BC Supreme Court yesterday where the decision was made to make an exception to the law, giving Gloria Taylor the right to be euthanized in Canada; this is the first step to legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada.

It was a particularly tense and important moment to be a part of and, whether you were present or not, you are all impacted by the outcome of the case. If this decision is upheld in the Supreme Court and sent to parliament, it will become a part of our constitutional law and it will affect all Canadians.

As a pro-life student who works hard to show my peers that all human life has value, I am appalled by this decision. On campus we want to instill life-affirming values amongst the future doctors, teachers, politicians, and other professionals of our country; but while we are working hard to affirm these values, our very own B.C. Court has just made a judgement that undermines them.

If a “right” to euthanasia and assisted suicide become law, it will only pave the way for more injustices to occur such as increased rates of suicide among those struggling with depression as well as seniors being pressured to accept euthanasia to avoid being a burden to their families. Unfortunately senior abuse is a reality that already happens in Canada, and euthanasia and assisted suicide would only worsen this. Such examples have been documented in jurisdictions such as Oregon and the Netherlands where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal.

Is this what we want Canada to become, a country where we permit people to abuse others who are vulnerable and kill those in pain? The solution to suffering is not to eliminate the sufferer, but rather to alleviate the individual’s suffering.

Dr. Will Johnston, chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and Dr. Margaret Cottle, vice-president, both spoke to media officials and conveyed how deeply disappointed they were in the court’s decision.

Dr. Cottle is a practicing palliative care physician in Vancouver and said if this law is drafted, it will be nearly impossible to prevent other forms of assisted suicide. As she stated, in her profession, “Only 30% of Canadian patients have access to palliative care. Whereas 70% of Canadians don’t…Are we therefore going to go to the drastic position of killing people?” She concludes, “This is a sad day in Canada and for my profession.”

The next question to ask is, is this decision binding for the rest of Canada? It certainly creates a dangerous precedent. What we do know is that an appeal must be made to the Court, and we need to get involved and do what we can to let our fellow Canadians know that we oppose the BC Supreme Court’s Decision. Please write a letter today to your local newspaper and media outlets, outlining your opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide, and the many harms that will result if these are legalized. For talking points, visit http://www.epcbc.ca/p/talking-points_06.html

Please contact Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, asking him to stay the Carter decision and appeal it to the BC Court of Appeal: mcu@justice.gc.ca.

Your voice is crucial to overturning this decision, as we show Canadians and politicians the abuses that would result. We must encourage the EPC as they work to appeal this motion, and discourage Parliament from crafting any law that would support euthanasia and/or assisted suicide. Such a law would have implications on all of us when we are faced with end of life decisions, both for ourselves and those we care for. It is at these moments when people are most vulnerable that we must not be making judgments on whether their life is worth living, but rather be affirming their value and right to life.

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Petition to the Attorney General: Carter v. Canada

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is collecting petitions in regards to the upcoming court case that seeks to reject Canada’s protections against assisted suicide.

For more information on the Carter case and the threat is poses, please see the following article written by Will Johnston, MD, Margaret Dore, JD, and Alex Schadenberg.

From the EPC’s website:

Last year, Canada’s parliament rejected Bill C-384, a bill to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, by a vote of 228 to 59. After losing the political battle, the suicide lobby is bringing their demand for legalized killing to the courts.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has challenged the Attorney General of Canada to discard Canada’s protections from euthanasia and assisted suicide. In Carter v. Canada, the BCCLA has asked the court to legalize “the administration of medication or other treatment that intentionally brings about a patient’s death by the act of a medical practitioner.” If accepted by the courts, this definition would clearly legalize euthanasia.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition provides this petition to enable all people in Canada to speak out in opposition to the attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide through the courts. We strongly encourage you to print this petition (both sides) and have it signed by friends, family and members of your community.

To print the petition (in English or French) or sign it online, please click here to visit their website.

 

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Supposed ‘rights’ and current needs in the euthanasia debate

by Adam Giancola

Adam is in his second year of studies at the University of Toronto and an Executive member of the University of Toronto Students for Life.  He is volunteering in NCLN ‘s Head Office as our Administrative Assistant.

A recent article in the Montreal Gazette has brought my attention back to one of main focuses that needs to be addressed in the ongoing debate across Quebec over euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.  Time and again we find ourselves drawn only to the polemics of this debate, in which the status of those involved is often relegated to the back burner. I find myself, every now and then, having to remember that politics aside, when it comes to end-of-life issues, we are talking about human lives, and it is not enough to chant our chants and wave our signs unless we have considered the lives of those whom we are defending.

As the Quebec hearings begin to wrap up, I am forced to reflect on the goods they have provided Canadians with over these past few months. It has been, to say the least, informative having had the rare opportunity to really delve into the issue with our eyes open.  I think both sides of this debate, at bare minimum, have grown to recognize the immense difficulties that end-of-life concerns face, and it is from this premise that we begin to assess the repercussions of a prospect like legal euthanasia.

Two participating associations in the Quebec hearings have recently raised concerns about this very prospect. Both organizations have the benefit of providing an internal perspective on this issue, yet what sets them apart is recognition that the difficulties that arise from a question like euthanasia cannot simply be resolved by instating a legal sanction that pays no attention to the fundamental question at hand: quality of life.

For example, “the Association quebecoise de gerontologie, which includes more than 300 health professionals, called instead for the expansion of palliative care services to provide comfort to the terminally ill. And the Association de spina-bifida et d’hydrocephalie du Quebec argued that a debate on euthanasia is premature, given that health services for the disabled are lacking everywhere.”

While the Quebec hearings have certainly done wonders in terms of promoting discussion, what it has failed to accomplish is the fact that concern over end-of-life issues begs a further discussion on the quality and consistency of health care (particularly palliative care) that is presently accessible to Canadians. Catherine Geoffroy, president of the association of gerontologists reminds us that, only 10 per cent of Quebecers have access to palliative care at the end of their lives, and that many elderly die in nursing homes where there is little palliative care.” Furthermore, she explains, “that adequate palliative care can decrease the factors that lead a small proportion of people to demand an end to their lives… Palliative sedation, carried out in a strict medical manner, can respond to the concerns about dying in uncontrollable pain.”

Marc Picard is the president of the association that represents 9,000 people living with spina bifida and congenital hydrocephalus in Quebec. He argues that the government should “fulfil its obligations to provide basic psychological and health services to the population before talking about the possibility of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

While most advocates of assisted suicide and euthanasia are often concerned with the enlargement of rights and the increased privatization of individual liberty, it is clear that we need to step back and think about the best ways to enlarge the health and good will of the lives that are at stake in this debate. As both Catherine Geoffroy and Marc Picard have asserted, changing a law that would give doctors the right to assist in the suicide of their patients is not only premature, but pays no attention to the actual needs of a patient.

As we look back on this unfolding drama that has for the first time in years, put the issue at the forefront of discussion, I cannot help but wonder whether this really has been the case. Ultimately what is required is a careful analysis of the needs of patients, and assisting in their deaths, simply for the sake of upholding their supposed ‘right’ does nothing to mediate the current underlying problems with Canadian healthcare. As Geoffroy herself articulates, “In a society where ageism is rampant, where the elderly are often held responsible for the difficulties in access to health care . . . how can we believe that consenting to euthanasia would be free of all societal pressures?”

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