fbpx

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

Share Button

News release: Motion to Ban University of Manitoba Pro-Life Club Defeated But Concerns Regarding Future Censorship Remain

News Release

MOTION TO BAN UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA PRO-LIFE CLUB DEFEATED BUT CONCERNS REGARDING FUTURE CENSORSHIP REMAIN

WINNIPEG, MB (October 9 2013) – On the evening of October 7th, the University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life (UMSCL) were glad to witness the defeat of a motion calling for the revocation of their club status. However, they are continuing to express concern about two other motions passed by the University of Manitoba Student Union (UMSU).

“We were encouraged to hear members of the council defend free speech on campus and see the motion to revoke our student group status defeated soundly,” states Cara Ginter, vice-president of UMSCL. “Unfortunately, two other motions were passed that could be used to censor our student group and others in the future.”

The first motion was put forward by two students as a response to a pro-life display hosted by the club September 23-25. This display, called the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), uses large posters with pictures of aborted fetuses and victims of historical genocides to argue that abortion is a human rights violation. Council members, including Nursing, Law, and Education representatives, spoke against the motion and it was ultimately defeated.

Two other motions were also presented by the council’s Student Group Promotions and Affairs Committee (SGPAC), which express concern over the content of the display and resolving that (1) the council meet with the university administration “to push for a reconsideration of the review and approval process for public displays” and (2) that the policies governing the penalization of clubs and revocation of club status be reviewed and clarified.

“We applaud the student union’s defeat of the first motion and hope they will use that good sense moving forward,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network (NCLN), an organization that supports pro-life students in Canada. “UMSU is certainly within its rights to review its own policies and even discuss the display approval process with the administration – as long as they don’t attempt to hinder the club’s right to exist and exercise its freedom of expression on campus.”

“The display was a great opportunity to dialogue with students about the issue of abortion,” says Ginter. “We’re looking forward to continuing this conversation over the course of the year, educating our peers about this important human rights issue.”

-30-

For more information please contact:

Cara Ginter, vice-president, University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life: caraginter@hotmail.com

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network: westerncanada@ncln.ca

John Carpay, JCCF President and lawyer acting for the students: 403-619-8014, jcarpay@jccf.ca.

Share Button

Press Release: Student Trespass Charges Withdrawn in Carleton University Free Expression Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Student Trespass Charges Withdrawn in Carleton University Free Expression Case

OTTAWA, ON. November 1, 2011- Trespassing charges that were filed against members of Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life student club at Carleton University, were withdrawn by the Crown yesterday.

On October 4, 2010, members of Carleton Lifeline, a pro-life club at Carleton University, were arrested for attempting to peacefully display the Genocide Awareness Project, an exhibit which compares abortion to other forms of genocide. The University deemed the Genocide Awareness Project to be “offensive” and directed the Ottawa Police Service to arrest and charge four Carleton University tuition-paying students and a Queen’s University student with trespassing. The charges were scheduled to proceed to trial today and tomorrow (November 2nd, 2011).

The Crown stated that the basis for withdrawing the trespass charges is that the issues dealing with the relationship between a university and its students was already being dealt with in Lobo et al. v. Carleton University et al., the civil action brought by two Carleton Lifeline members, Ruth (Lobo) Shaw and John McLeod, against Carleton University and members of its administration.

In July, the Ontario Superior Court heard a motion brought by Carleton University which sought to strike Carleton Lifeline’s Statement of Claim, the document initiating the lawsuit. Had the university been successful, this would have ended the suit. In a split decision, Justice Toscano Roccamo ordered that the action could continue but ordered Carleton Lifeline to make several amendments to its Statement of Claim.

In a subsequent decision regarding costs of the motion to strike, Justice Toscano Roccamo ordered the students to pay Carleton University’s legal costs in the amount of $18,400.87 plus applicable taxes. Carleton University had asked that the students pay $21, 467.68 in legal fees.

“We are pleased that the Crown has decided to withdraw these unjust charges” said Ruth (Lobo) Shaw, former president of Carleton Lifeline. “We have always maintained that we had the right to exhibit the Genocide Awareness Project on campus and that our arrest was unlawful. The withdrawal of these unjust charges is confirmation of that fact.”

Despite the withdrawal of the charges, the civil action against Carleton University is ongoing. “Although we no longer need to defend ourselves against the trespassing charges, a lot of work still needs to be done to move our lawsuit against Carleton University along and to clarify the legal rights of students to campus free speech and expression,” said John McLeod, current president of Carleton Lifeline.

To support Carleton Lifeline’s Defense Fund, please visit www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com.

For further information, please visit www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com or contact Carleton Lifeline’s Legal Counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos at (613) 241-2701.

-30-

Share Button

400 Protestors Expected at UBC’s Abortion Display

Press Release: Controversy Erupts at UBC

Bloody Abortion Signs Confront Students and Mob Responds
 
Vancouver, BC. On Thursday, March 10, a UBC student pro-life club, Lifeline, will re-open the abortion debate—-and it will be hard to ignore them.  The students will display eight 4×8-foot bloody images from the controversial Genocide Awareness Project (GAP: www.unmaskingchoice.ca/gap.html). The GAP graphically compares abortion to historical atrocities, such as the Holocaust, and his been met with resistance across North America.  In fact, a Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=167649023284651&index=1) opposing Lifeline’s display at UBC reports over 400 people plan to protest the event.

GAP will be displayed from 10am to 2pm at the SUB Lower Plaza, by East Mall Road (close to University Boulevard).  Lifeline president Ania Kasprzak says she hopes UBC won’t allow protesters to censor her group’s display:
“UBC’s own policy on academic freedom supports our right to express ourselves through GAP,” stated Kasprzak.  She quoted their policy which states, “Behaviour that obstructs free and full discussion, not only of ideas that
are safe and accepted, but of those which may be unpopular or even
abhorrent, vitally threatens the integrity of the University’s forum. Such behaviour cannot be tolerated.” 

Kasprzak continued, “A university is the marketplace of ideas and we want to use that platform to show that abortion is an act of violence that kills a baby.  We know this exhibit is effective at changing peoples’ minds because they’ve told us that.” 

In a 2008 Globe and Mail interview, UBC President Dr. Stephen Toope lamented that “in Canada we have seen many examples of students trying to
shut down speakers with whom they disagree.” Dr. Toope asserted that “the
role of the university is to encourage tough questioning, and clear expressions of disagreement, but not the ‘silencing’ of alternative views.”

 But one of the opponent’s to GAP, Anna Wärje, doesn’t want Lifeline’s message to be seen.  She posted the following on the growing “Protest GAP” Facebook group: “UBC is requiring us [Students for Reproductive Rights (SRR)] to stay 30 feet from the display and not block or impede the display in any way. Last year, UBC tried to make SRR admin responsible for outside parties blocking the display, but I am not taking that sh** this year. There is nothing illegal about blocking that display, and only UBC students are susceptible to ‘university discipline.’ So…if you’re not a UBC student, don’t even pay attention to this bullsh**. Or if you’re a UBC student who doesn’t care about the university’s disapproval of your conduct.” 

It remains to be seen whether UBC will intervene to stop the planned censorship-through-physical-obstruction of Lifeline’s display.  In March of last year when abortion advocates blocked Lifeline’s display, UBC security did not directly remove the censures; instead, they called in the RCMP.  But a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89QICRBJ65o&feature=channel_video_title) shows police informing Lifeline’s opponents that they could continue to engage in this physical obstruction and suppress Lifeline’s speech. 

The GAP has been exhibited on or near campuses in BC, Alberta, Manitoba,
and Ontario.  Last October, Carleton Lifeline students were arrested when
they attempted to set the display up.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJkBQn1-r8&feature=channel_video_title).

GAP first appeared in Canada at UBC in November 1999 and it was violently
attacked by 3 UBC student leaders of the Alma Mater Society. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv7OCW1G0-M&feature=channel_video_title).

For further information contact Ania Kasprzak, Lifeline president, 778-982-1117 (cell). 

-30-

Share Button

A Busy Week

From coast-to-coast, pro-life students are busy on campuses engaging their student body on the issue of abortion.  Last night, Pro-Life at Dalhousie (PLAD) hosted a debate between Stephanie Gray and Professor Mark Mercer.   Sara Hall and Stacy Anderson, our Maritime staff member and board member, drove up from New Brunswick for the occaison.  Also present was Jennifer Derwey, from ProWomanProLife, who wrote the following on the event.

Tomorrow UBC Lifeline will be setting up the Genocide Awareness Project.  Lawyer John Carpay, who represents Lifeline, has the following article in the Vancouver Sun.

Ontario has some exciting events coming soon as well.  Friday, Stephanie Gray will be speaking at Brock University in St. Catharines.  A debate at the U of Toronto will be held on the 14th and at Queens on the 16th.  Lifefairs will be held on several campuses in coming weeks as well as the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

So stay tuned.

Share Button

In their own words

By Rebecca Richmond

These comments were made in Toronto by pro-choice activists at a rally, underscoring the importance and the impact of campus pro-life activism.  Watch the clip here.  In their own words: “We can’t let our guard down”

To better appreciate what they’re saying, I have included a transcript (with my own comments and corrections in line).

“They are heating up their end of things.  They are mobilizing wherever they can to challenge pro-choice forces.  And they are trying to do it a lot on campus.”

Is there any better place to discuss and debate controversial issues and challenge the status quo than on university campuses?

“There’s been a lot of stuff at U of T.”

Go U of T Students for Life! Keep up the great work!

“Coming up on March 14th, there’s going to be a debate at the University of Toronto.  The anti-choice is organizing with a woman from this group called the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, I believe it’s called.”

Yes, there will be a debate and I’m looking forward to it!  Stephanie Gray will be presenting the pro-life position and she is the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform .

“Basically it’s the GAP, the Genocide Awareness Project, what they call it.”

The Genocide Awareness Project is one of the educational tools that the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform uses.  However, the debate in question is not GAP but, as the title suggestions, a debate.  A debate is defined as a formal, regulated discussion of an issue with two opposing views presented.  This debate will, as such, present both sides of the issue of abortion: pro-life and pro-choice.

“Which is these big, monstr – you know, giant-sized signs that they display on campuses and that are so offensive and that are just so horrible.”

The signs are offensive and horrible, but that is because they accurately reflect the offensive and horrible reality of abortion.  To quote pro-choice feminist Naomi Wolf: “The pro-choice movement often treats with contempt the pro-lifers’ practice of holding up to our faces their disturbing graphics….[But] how can we charge that it is vile and repulsive for pro-lifers to brandish vile and repulsive images if the images are real? To insist that truth is in poor taste is the very height of hypocrisy.”
-16 Naomi Wolf, “Our Bodies, Our Souls,” The New Republic, 16 October 1996.

“So they’re going to have a debate on campus with a doctor I’ve never heard of, but I think, if people are interested (and we’ll send out an email about that), it’s on March 14th, I think pro-choice supporters should show up en masse and we should support anybody who’s on campus who’s standing up for choice. “

First off, the ‘doctor’ in question is Doctor Ainslie.  The speaker may not have heard of him but he’s certainly more than qualified.  Professor Ainslie is the chair of both the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Graduate Department of Philosophy.  In January he was named principal of University College.  One of his major fields of study is bioethics.

Second, I hope pro-choicers show up with open minds and with respect for the debate.

“Because they’re trying just basically to populate the campus with their activities and their things.”

We’re trying to save lives and change hearts and minds.  Having activities, events and an active presence on campus are means to accomplish our goals.

“For many of us, we thought we had sort of won this battle many years ago and clearly it’s not, it’s not something we can ever let our guard down.”

Clearly.

Share Button

LifeCanada Supports Carleton Lifeline

Our friends at LifeCanada just sent out the following press release:

 

LifeCanada/VieCanada

310 – 376 Churchill Ave. N.

Ottawa, ON  K1Z 5C3

Tel: 1-866-780-5433 Fax: 613-722-2201

lifecanada@bellnet.ca

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, 2011

LifeCanada supports freedom of speech for campus pro-life groups

Carleton Lifeline, a pro-life student group at Carleton University, announced today that it is suing the University over discriminatory treatment following the arrest of some of its members this past fall. LifeCanada, a national organization educating on the value of human life, supports the group’s legal challenge and their right to freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech is guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but undemocratic actions in recent years against pro-life organizations demonstrate an effort to suppress any and all opposition to abortion in this country.

“It is shocking that the truth cannot be expressed in this country, especially when it is through a peaceful demonstration at a post-secondary institution,” said LifeCanada president, Monica Roddis. “LifeCanada experienced a similar suppression of facts in our 2008 media campaign about abortion and the law. It is unconscionable that peaceful and law-abiding citizens are not allowed to express their views simply because a handful of individuals don’t approve of what they have to say. LifeCanada fully supports Carleton Lifeline in this legal challenge for their democratic right to freedom of speech.”

In 2008, LifeCanada launched a nation-wide media campaign promoting awareness of the lack of legal restrictions on abortion in Canada. The campaign ads depicted a pregnant woman and the words, “Have We Gone Too Far? 9 Months: The Length of Time Abortion is Legal in Canada. www.AbortioninCanada.ca.” Shortly after the campaign launch, Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), a self-regulatory body overseeing the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, deemed the ads “deceptive”.  An unnamed Appeal Panel made a final, closed decision and the ads have not been displayed on public property since. The ASC claimed the ads were ‘false’ and ‘deceptive’ despite the fact that abortion IS fully legal for the full gestation of a pregnancy in Canada.

– 30 –

Contact: Monica Roddis, President, 604-853-7985

Share Button

Press Release: Carleton Lifeline Sues Carleton University

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PRO-LIFE CLUB SUES CARLETON UNIVERSITY

Carleton Lifeline Seeks Restitution

Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life club at Carleton University, has sued the University and its administration for the discriminatory treatment they have been subjected to during the 2010-2011 academic school year.

“We believe that the behaviour of the University is actionable. We have suffered discrimination and intimidation, we have been arrested and threatened and we are seeking restitution”, said Ruth Lobo, President of Carleton Lifeline. “The University’s discriminatory actions are shocking, to say the least. We want to ensure, through law, that this behaviour is not repeated at Carleton University ever again.”

Lifeline is asking the Court to declare that Carleton University and its administration have breached their own internal policies regarding freedom of expression, academic freedom and discrimination. As such, Lifeline is also requesting that the University is ordered to comply with these internal policies.

On October 4, 2010, Carleton University had members of Lifeline handcuffed, arrested, charged and fined with trespassing for attempting to display an exhibit that the University administration deemed disturbing and offensive due to the graphic images  it used. In November 2010, Carleton University’s administration provided Lifeline with an ultimatum  regarding the expression of their opinions and threatened further arrests.

“Carleton University has allowed other exhibits using graphic images on campus” commented Albertos Polizogopoulos, Carleton Lifeline’s lawyer. “Clearly the University opposes Lifeline’s message and not its medium. This is censorship and viewpoint discrimination and violates Carleton University’s internal policies.”

To view a copy of the Statement of Claim, please visit www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com.

For more information, please call Carleton Lifeline at 613-600-4791 or Lifeline’s lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos at 613 -241-2701 Ext: 243

Share Button