uOttawa Students For Life: People Deserve Better

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Fr. Matthew Wertin

Whatever anyone thinks about it politically, ethically, morally, or even religiously, one thing is certain – abortion does serious damage.  Women still die from abortion, abortion creates physical, emotional, spiritual, and behavioral problems for women, abortion is a form of racism against poor and ethnic women, abortion has lead to increased violence against pregnant women, women are pressured and coerced by family, friends, employers, institutions of learning, and sexual predators into having abortions, abortion is a band-aid that allows society to abandon women, and abortion negatively affects future relationships.  (To confirm these findings and to learn more, please go to www.silentnomoreawareness.org, or get a copy of their work, “What’s So Bad About Abortion?”)

The voices of women who have had abortions are resoundingly clear – “abortion hurts women.”  One woman, Sabrina, said, “My life just started spiraling down in destruction, and I attempted suicide three times.”  Another, Shelly, said, “Abortion did not end my pain; it began it.”  Now men are even coming forward saying, “We regret lost fatherhood through abortion.”  One man, Scott, said, “I didn’t defend the life of my own daughter.  Based on misinformation, selfishness, fear, shame, I let her die to an abortionist’s knife and I died the same day.”  The list of negative emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual effects of abortion is hauntingly grave and long.

Just as every community, big and small, has women who are experiencing or will experience an unplanned pregnancy and need alternatives to abortion, so too every community has women and men, families, who are suffering from the effects of an abortion and need healing.  The fear, the pain, the confusion, as well as the need for guidance, help, and compassion are real and present in each of these situations and in each of these people.  It should be a priority of every community, therefore, in striving to meet the needs of others in their community, to do what they can, by offering resources, compassionate care, and social action, to bring about an end to abortion, give help to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, and extend healing, forgiveness, and mercy to those suffering from the wounds of abortion.  Abortion hurts everyone and helps no one, which is why we can and should join together in making it unnecessary, unthinkable, and unused as an option for anyone in any circumstance.  Women deserve better than abortion.  Men deserve better than abortion.  Every member of the human family deserves better than abortion.  Will we help those in need?

For opportunities for confidential care and healing, please go to http://www.newwine.ca/post-abortion-healing-recovery.htm or PROJECT RACHEL: Post-abortion healing and reconciliation. Project Rachel is a sensitive, private and confidential experience; it is for women or men who have been hurt by an abortion. Info: 416-629-8264; info@stmarysrefuge.org. All calls/emails are private and confidential.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

uOttawa Students For Life: Choosing Love on Valentine’s Day

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Head on over to NCLN for a great post on Valentine’s Day by uOSFL alumnus Rebecca Richmond!

Love wants the highest good for the other person. As such, love is not self-serving, but is oriented towards the other. It is more than a onetime proclamation or commitment, but rather is revealed in our daily actions as we serve others.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

uOttawa Students For Life: How Much Does a Baby Really Cost? Reflections After the First Year

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Naomi Charles

I was pregnant for the first time, and feeling a bit anxious, so I asked my brother whose wife had a baby the previous year, “How much does it cost to have a baby on a monthly basis?” David said, “If you can afford a coffee a day, you can afford to have a baby.”

Well, my baby girl turned a year old yesterday, and I have kept track of all the money we spent on her and guess what? David was right. All told, we spent $641.00. That is $52.41 a month and $1.75 a day! (Isn’t that the price of a coffee these days?)

Now what does $1.75 a day include? Well, everything: diapers, baby food, clothes, presents, toiletries, official documents, medicine, and even her birthday party expenses.

So why did I bother to do this? I wanted to prove something. Many people say they can’t afford children unless they have all the education they want, a good career and a double-income family. Also, my research could save lives! Just last week I read that a father dropped a cinderblock on his newborn baby (born to his girlfriend in a car) because they already had a one year old and couldn’t afford another baby.

Many modern sources you look to will not give you the impression that having a baby is affordable. For example, babycenter.com indicates that, “You’ll spend almost $10,000 on your baby’s first year, according to the thousands of moms who took BabyCenter’s exclusive survey.” The CanadianFinanceBlog.com provides a “reasonable expectation” of the costs of the first year as $11, 025. The breakdown is Food: $1646, Clothing: $1879, Health Care: $154, Child Care: $4,990, Shelter, Furnishings, Household Operations: $2,356.

So how did I manage to spend so little on her first year? First, I was committed to being as economical as possible because I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Today, this is rare because many mothers feel they cannot manage the family finances without going back to work. There is also societal pressure to feel inadequate if you are not contributing a cheque
each month. It’s the “just a mom” syndrome.

One thing many new moms don’t account for (and how can you?) is the generosity of everyone around you when you’re going to have a baby! Often babies in the womb and out seem to emit some sort of compulsion field that causes everyone around them to want to give something. I cried at my baby shower because I was so overwhelmed and I prayed that every baby would be so welcomed. If you are part of a community, whether it is your family, a church, your workplace or circle of friends, they will want to share with you when baby comes.

Another big money saver is cloth diapers. I know, you may be thinking, a lot of work, a lot of mess and rashes too. Well, I researched a good kind by talking to other moms who used  them, and when asked at my baby shower what I needed, I said Motherease cloth diapers. They have snaps, not pins! They were about $12 each and many women bought them, so I had a whole collection of one-size-fits-all and a few newborn ones, plus two covers of each size. I use them when we are at home and use disposable ones when we are out and for overnight.

I didn’t buy a bunch of baby equipment. The only thing I bought was a car seat for $50. I was given a high chair, a stroller and a play pen which she uses as a bed. It travels well. That’s all. I didn’t want a change table, (the floor is safer) or an exersaucer, but I was given a jolly jumper. I didn’t buy any toys. The funny thing is, toys are nice, but what babies really want to play with is real stuff, like Tupperware, car keys, books, and the baby wipe container. Why buy toys that will just add clutter? Plus, if you are home with your baby, you don’t need many toys to entertain them because YOU get to play with them!

I’m not sure who spends $1879 on baby clothing! Thrift stores are great and secondhand baby things often look brand new because the little tykes grow out of them so quickly. A person can also sew clothing to save money. It takes some time and energy during baby’s nap but if you can sew, go for it!

Okay, breastfeeding is key! Not only is it the BEST food for baby, but it’s a lot cheaper than formula. Not that it is easy, especially at the beginning when you are getting the hang of it, but don’t give up and get some good advice from nurses or experienced mothers. As you go on, it is comfortable and convenient, and your milk is ready to go whenever and wherever your baby needs it.

Also, after 6 months, as much as you can, have baby eat what you eat. Those jars of baby food must add up. Get a manual baby food grinder and when you sit down for supper, grind whatever they can eat. Gradually baby will transition to eating everything with the family.

I would budget $100 per month for baby and at the end of the month put what is left in a savings account for her. It’s been adding up. And guess what? The government gives you $100 a month for the Universal Child Care benefit plus there is family allowance. So how can we not afford a baby?

Every baby and situation is unique. One friend was not able to nurse and her baby required special expensive formula. But this mother is excellent at making the most of coupons so when she buys groceries, she can save up to $45 at a time. Each family finds their own money-saving skills.

A simple life, without too much stuff, can be very enjoyable. My daughter certainly isn’t deprived. She’s very happy, always looks cute, enjoys her food, her library books, going outside and playing with Mommy and Daddy. And I can’t even begin to tell you how much we enjoy her. Everyday she does something new and her smiles and laughter lift us up like nothing else. I
look forward to spending these years with her discovering the whole world and the One who made it, for about the price of a coffee a day.

By the way, my little girl is going to be a big sister in a few months and I’m not worried about having 10,000 dollars in my pocket!


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

The Experience of the Washington March for Life

By Kathleen Dunn

Kathleen is the President of the Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro Life Club at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy (Barry’s Bay, ON). This post originally appeared on the blog of Catholic Chapter House on February 1st.  It appears here with permission.

This past Monday, January, 24th, the streets of Washington were flooded with 400,000 devoted Pro Life activists  for the National March for Life. Among this multitude of young people, I had the privilege of standing with twenty of my classmates and three staff members from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy. It was a rousing experience, as many of us have never attended such a large Pro Life rally before. With generous donations from the local Knights of Columbus, and St. Hedwig’s parishioners, we were fortunate to be able to afford the adequate rental vans to commute the group of us down to the States from Barry’s Bay, Ontario.

As an initiative of our school’s Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro Life Club, we felt there were a number of reasons why we should make the pilgrimage to Washington’s March. First of all, as the Academy educates a number of American students, we felt it important to give them the opportunity to attend their nation’s march with strong support from their peers. Secondly, the United States is a country that is influential both culturally and politically. As Canadians, we have a government who doesn’t seem to have the backbone to make these important decisions. If the American government changes its laws on abortion, we can have hope that Canada would emulate this movement towards the sanctity of life. Finally, and most importantly, as Pro Lifers, Catholics, and simply as human beings, we have the duty to protect the innocent, no matter what country they are from. If we have any opportunity to pray for, support, and stand up for the voiceless, we have the responsibility to do so.

With that being said, so began our 12 hour trek, beginning in Barry’s Bay, early on the previous Saturday morning. Everyone gathered in the school parking lot, with excited spirits, ready to get started on our pilgrimage. With blessings from Fr. Brian Christie, we set off in 4 vehicles towards our destination. Thanks be to God, we arrived safely and we were welcomed by the Thomason family, who so generously put all of us up for the next three nights in their beautiful, Virginia home.

After spending Sunday afternoon exploring the sights of Washington, we attended the National Prayer Vigil for Life Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. This is where our March for Life experience truly began. We joined 10,000 Catholics, packing the pews and filling the aisles, for the celebration of this Holy Mass. I don’t know how this great number of us fit in this Basilica, large though it was. I had never seen this many Catholics – mainly youth! – under one roof before. Hundreds of bishops, cardinals, priests, seminarians, and other religious attended as well. This in itself was an uplifting sight to see. The Mass was beautiful, traditional and reverent, complete with booming organ and a spectacular choir. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, was the principle celebrant of the Mass, and gave a motivating homily to the multitude of Catholics who attentively listened from any and every spare floor space in the Basilica. This Mass, I felt, was the most beautiful part of our pilgrimage, as the spiritual battle is the most necessary victory for the Pro Life Movement.

The following day brought the March itself. We stood together at the National Mall and watched as thousands upon thousands poured onto the open grass. As I sat on my friends shoulders, and looked out across the sea of people, I could not even see to the end of the crowd. It was such an incredible, exciting and empowering group to be a part of. Again I must mention what a testament to our future it was to see that the majority of people attending the March were young people – from universities and high schools all over the country.

We listened as a number of senators and prominent leaders gave motivating speeches to the crowd. Their booming and extremely passionate voices gave encouragement to us to have hope for and to fight for respect for life. Soon enough, the March began. Although it wasn’t a particularly long walk distance wise, it took a few hours to complete as we slowly filled the streets to march towards Supreme Court. Various clusters of people began praying rosaries, Divine Mercy chaplets, novenas, singing hymns and belting out Pro Life chants. The catchy, “Obama, Obama! You had a pro life mama!” was my personal favorite. Despite sore feet, legs and voices, everyone valiantly completed the March at around 4 in the afternoon. Some continued on to pray in front of the Supreme Court building, others left to catch their busses back to their home state. A beautiful and important day had been experienced, full of prayer, sacrifice, and devotion. The passion and zeal of Pro Life Americans was uplifting and inspiring to all of us, and encouraged us to bring that enthusiasm back to Canada.                                     .

Some might find it strange that we would attend another country’s rally against their government. For us, though, it was a missionary trip to help those who cannot help themselves. Just like any university may make a trip to a third world country to build homes for those in poverty, we, too, can make a pilgrimage to another country, to help save those lives that are being murdered on mass every day. Through prayer, support, example and in standing up for truth, it is our duty as human beings to protect God’s children no matter where they are.

The Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro Life Club of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy would like to thank the Barry’s Bay Knights of Columbus, as well as the parish of St. Hedwig’s in Barry’s Bay for their enormous support of prayers and donations to this pilgrimage to Washington. Also, a great thank-you to the Thomason family, and the local Mom’s group for cooking for us, and giving us a place to sleep during our pilgrimage.


N.B.  The views expressed by guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

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uOttawa Students For Life: The Pain of Abortion

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Kate Larson

If, like me, you were unable to attend the Silent No More event on Feb. 2, I direct you to their website where you can listen to or read stories from women who have regretted their abortions and found healing. The stories are short, but there is a lot of pain in them, pain in the circumstances leading up to the abortions, pain in the procedures themselves, pain in the fear, self-loathing, depression and other negative emotions many women experienced before, during and after the abortions, pain in their regret at the decision, and pain in the healing process. The stories, however, end hopefully. While the regret at choosing abortion does not go away and has led these women to speak out, the stories describe finding forgiveness both from others and from themselves, and experiencing a sense of being set free from the past.

The latter cannot be said of the comparatively few testimonies I have come across from women who apparently do not regret their abortions. They may genuinely feel this way, or genuinely believe they feel this way. They are entitled to their opinion. What strikes me about these stories, however, is how much more negative they are than the stories of regret, despite being considered “positive” experiences of abortion. I don’t just mean negative in the obvious sense of considering that there is nothing regrettable in ending a human life. I mean negative in the sense that they detail all the pain of the stories of regret without the redemption.

Many of the “no regrets” stories describe women being in the same situations and experiencing the same fear, anger, shame, and pressure upon discovering they were pregnant as they do in the stories of regret. Both types of stories describe women having similar reactions during and after their abortions, such as crying, hatred of themselves and those around them, initial relief, and emptiness. The main difference is in how most of the stories conclude. The stories on the Silent No More website end with the admission that, though the hurt caused by abortion never goes away, healing is possible. Many of the so-called “positive” stories of abortion conclude that the author has no regrets because she considers herself undeserving or unfit to be a parent, because she has made and sees herself continuing to make bad decisions, or simply because she did not know of, or wish to know of, any other option at the time. Far from proving that the negative consequences of abortion are either non-existent or inconsequential, the “no regrets” stories show women in pain and as in need of healing as the women of Silent No More. The real difference is that the women of Silent No More have found healing and want to help others begin that long process.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

Where do we go from here?

By Garnet Van Popta

Garnet Van Popta is an alumnus of uOttawa Students For Life and a guest blogger for NCLN.  He is currently studying at Humber College.

I’m sure most of you have heard the discouraging news from Parliament Hill.  Roxanne’s Law, Bill C-510, was defeated last Wednesday after the second reading in the house.  Am I surprised?  Sadly, no.  It seems that politicking is more important than standing up for what is right these days.  But even though I’m not surprised, I am discouraged.

Roxanne’s Law would have been a law that stood up for women in Canada.  It did not alter or restrict access  but abortion but would have ensured that a woman’s choice to keep her baby was protected.  It protected choice.  But of course, this was seen as a “back-door way” to restrict women’s rights.  Two thirds of MPs voted against the bill and among them was our prime minister.

Mr. Harper, with respect, I’m  sick of hearing about how you don’t want to open up a debate about abortion.  The debate is open. I would think that it’s getting hard to ignore.  It’s in the newspapers, on TV, on university campuses across the nation, and on the streets of our cities.  Now please do your job and talk about it.  Since 1988, Canada has had no law on abortion.  The Supreme Court, in R. v. Morgantaler, threw out the abortion law of the time and left it up to Parliament to enact a new one.  Well, it’s been 22 years (pretty much my whole life).  I think maybe it’s about time to address the legal vacuum abortion finds itself in.

If you feel the same way, why don’t you write our prime minister an email (pm@pm.gc.ca)?  Find out how your MP voted and email him or her about it.

To Mr. Bruinooge and the 96 other MPs that voted in favour of this bill, I thank you.  It took courage to take such a stand in an environment in which lies are held up as the truth.  Event though the bill was defeated, you were successful in getting the issue of coerced abortion on the minds of Canadians.  Moreover and most importantly, you stood up for what is right and just.

I hope you, the reader, are also feeling discouraged by the defeat of this bill. Your discouragement means you’re not satisfied when our elected officials sacrifice the truth for a lie.  But don’t simply be discouraged; take that and run with it.  We must continue to work for change in Canada.

I’m convinced that this change must happen at the grassroots level.  We need to talk to people: with coworkers, classmates and friends.  If you want a good conversation starter, why not talk about Roxanne’s Law?  “Did you hear about that bill that got voted down this past week…?  What do you think about abortion anyway?”  I, myself, resolve to do this more.

We must not allow the failings of our government to drive us into despair and inaction. Edmund Burke once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  Let that inspire you to press on.


N.B.  The views expressed by guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.


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uOttawa Students For Life: Life is Wonderful

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Kate Larson

 As Christmas approaches, many people will make time to watch It’s a Wonderful Life at least once. Having seen it again recently myself, I was struck by some parallels between the pro-life movement and George’s story.

First, here is a brief synopsis for those unfamiliar with the movie. (Those who have been eagerly anticipating seeing it again since the credits rolled last year are invited to skip to the next paragraph.) George Bailey has big dreams. He wants to travel the world and then become a great architect. Every time he’s about to leave Bedford Falls, however, something comes up that requires him to choose between what he ought to do and what he saw himself doing. He ends up taking over the family business, providing loans to ordinary working people who would otherwise be swindled by the town mogul, Henry Potter. Thanks to him, his neighbours start successful businesses and own their own homes. Time and again he stands up to consummate businessman Potter, and just manages to keep operating. Then, thanks to his uncle and business partner accidently misplacing $8,000 that was meant for the business’s otherwise empty bank account, George faces the closure of his business and a prison sentence. There seems to be no solution and, in despair, he considers drowning himself. Fortunately, his family prays for him and an angel, Clarence, is sent to earth to convince him of the value of his life. Clarence shows George what the world would have been like if he had never been born and thus enables him to appreciate what he has and to see that his integrity has been rewarded. Rather than not achieving his dreams, he has achieved them in a more profound and fulfilling way than he could have envisioned.

I see three parallels between George’s experience and the pro-life movement. The first is that we too have a big dream, one of the biggest anyone could have, to render abortion and euthanasia unthinkable. It is so big that it may take more than your or my lifetime to achieve it. We may carry on, standing up for life at every opportunity, but feel that the world around us hasn’t changed. Yet we don’t know how our actions affect others. Aside from loaning the residents of Bedford Falls the money to have houses and businesses, George did three vital things. He saved his brother’s life, he prevented a child’s death by pointing out a mistake made by his first boss, Mr. Gower, and he married and had children. Yet, when he was shown what life would’ve been like without him, he was shocked to see that his brother had died, that Mr. Gower was homeless after serving twenty years in prison, that his wife had never married and that his children did not exist. He measured his actions against his dreams and was, therefore, blind to their good. Just because we have not achieved our big dream does not mean we are not getting there. When we are protesting, it is easier to hear the insults shouted at us than to see the person who takes quiet note of our signs. Meanwhile, that person’s life could have been profoundly affected and they could, in turn, profoundly affect, even save, the life of someone else. We may not always be able to see it, but that does not mean that change is not being wrought and that that change may not be deeper and last longer than we could imagine.

The second parallel is that it is not easy fighting for our cause. Like George, we are the underdogs. Henry Potter is the pro-choice status quo of our university campuses and our society-at-large. He believes that there are no vulnerable people, only problems. He proposes solutions that seem reasonable but are cruel. He seems to be helpful, but only hurts. No, being pro-life is not easy, but nothing of such importance can be.

This brings us to the third parallel. Like George, we in the pro-life movement can get discouraged to the point where we consider stopping our work. At the moment, some campus pro-life clubs are having to go to court for the right to exist. Talks are being shouted down and protests prevented. We may seem to be, as George seemed to be, in an untenable position. Fortunately, we already know two major things that George learned, that life is wonderful and that everyone should have the chance to be born and contribute to their world. When Clarence was fighting to save George’s life, it seemed at first like a losing battle. However, he didn’t give up and neither should we.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

uOttawa Students For Life: A Pro-life Hero Passes Away

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

By Alana Beddoe

On Dec 3rd, pro-life leader Heather Stilwell passed away with her family by her side. Stilwell was recently honoured at the International Pro-life Conference in Ottawa with the Mother Theresa award. At that event she declared, “I will fight abortion until the day I die.”

Heather Stilwell worked as a school trustee for 15 years and was a founding member of the Christian Heritage Party. She also served as the president of the Pro-life Society of BC. Even in her illness, she taught about the value of life and dying with dignity. I have the pleasure of knowing one of Heather’s daughters, who spoke of the wonderful opportunity to hold her hand, pray and listen to music with her in the last few weeks of her life.

More information about Heather Stilwell and the award she received can be found here.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.