1) When did you decide to start the Students for a Culture of Life Group and Why?
The group was founded in the Fall of 2010. We founded it in order to promote a greater appreciation for all human life on our campus and to give a voice to a position that is not often discussed, and often misunderstood. We also wanted to educate the student body on what abortion is and on the consequences it has. We hope our presence on campus will prompt students to thoughtfully consider this important issue.
2) Why do you think it is important to establish your presence on campus?
We think a pro-life presence on campus is essential for three reasons:
First, because the pro-life message is simply not being heard nor understood there. In a survey we gave out during recruitment week, and in the conversations we had with people in general, the overwhelming opinion of students is that morality is a matter of opinion. In other words, of personal preference or choice. The pro-life position, then, brings another dimension to the field, namely, that morality has its basis in reality, and not in mere opinion.
Second, because there is a dangerous trend toward assigning value to human life based on what a human being can do, rather than it being based on what a human being is.
Third, the message that abortion is an injustice to the aborted, and hurts the “aborter,” must be made known to all society but more so in universities because it is on our age group that the majority of abortions are performed.
We are trying to promote this message peacefully, through education and dialogue.
3) What are the goals of your student group this year and in general?
Our goal is to inform and educate students on life issues (mainly through guest speakers and disquisitions by our own members), with a particular focus on abortion. We also raise awareness on the resources available for men and women who have dealt with abortion or who are facing crisis pregnancies.
For our next event we will be bringing in Dr. Larry Rados, who will be speaking on euthanasia. It will take place at 7:00pm on the 25th of October, in the UMSU Council Chambers. For more information, visit our website at http://umscl.wordpress.com/ or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see many of you there!
4) What was your reaction to your Silent No More Awareness Campaign presentation this morning (October 4th)? What was your reaction to the protest/statement that the Womyn’s Centre made during the presentation?
Many of us were grateful for the courage of the three speakers who shared their traumatic and deeply personal stories of abortion. We wish that they would have had support and would have heard the truth about abortion before they made their decision to abort. Our hope is that their stories of regret, healing and hope will spare other women from making such a decision (and men from promoting it) as well as being the start of the healing process of others who have also been involved in abortion.
We are thankful that the Womyn’s Centre attended the event and listened to the women who shared their testimonies. We are glad that they were engaged in the presentations and were interested in asking questions. Many of their questions, however, seemed to indicate that they misunderstood the purpose of the presentation: to present the lived experiences of men and women who have been in contact with abortion rather than a mere political agenda.
5) Are your beliefs and or your organization connected to religious beliefs in any way?
We attest that Life can be defended on the basis of facts and reason alone. And therefore we have no need of – nor do we intend on – making any reference to the revelation, sacred texts or articles of faith of any specific religion in our defence of life. For instance, it is a scientific fact that new life begins when a sperm fertilizes an egg. The argument of whether that life is a human being distinct from the mother is dependent upon reason, and not on articles of faith. Because of the approach we are taking in educating people on abortion, euthanasia and other life issues, the group is open to dialogue with anyone, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Some members of our group are Christian, but we base our pro-life arguments on science and logic, not on Christian Revelation.
6) On your website you use the terms “culture of life” and “culture of death,” could you explain a bit about these terms? To what do they refer?
We believe that man and woman have an inherent dignity, from conception to natural death, which comes from the very nature and of their being (as opposed to their doings, i.e. functions, jobs, circumstances). Because of this, it is inalienable and cannot be taken away from them based on their doings or circumstances. To the extent that this dignity is respected in all aspects of a given culture, that culture we call Culture of Life.
However, the culture that surrounds us often treats certain human beings as disposable due to their circumstances through the practice of abortion and promotion of “euthanasia.” Our culture also treats human beings as commodities through practices such as embryonic stem cell research and in-vitro fertilization. These practices effectively result in a culture in which human life is discarded when it is not wanted. We call such a culture, a Culture of Death.
7) Any additional comments?
We encourage students to visit the website for the campaign: www.silentnomoreawareness.org. We also recommend students who seek healing to contact Rachel’s Vineyard (Winnipeg retreats) at email@example.com. Their website can also be found here: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/,
If there are any pregnant women who are in need of support during their pregnancy, the group can provide resources for them and also help them get the respective connections. To contact UMSCL, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like again to thank Angelina Steenstra, Heather White, and Anita Sonntag for coming down to share their testimonies with us at the UofM. We hope your stories have reached out to those suffering, and have also touched those who were contemplating on having an abortion.