Christine Helferty has been a strong leader on her campus at Queen’s University, and we are so thrilled to welcome her to the team this as our 2015 Summer Intern in Toronto! Christine will be helping us this summer with pro-life activism, planning campus campaigns for the fall, and much more. We find her so inspiring – we know you will too!
1) How did you get involved in pro-life campus activism?
Pro-life campus activism found me before I stepped foot in a university classroom! During my first year at Queen’s my older sister was the president of the pro-life club on campus, which meant that I was helping her recruit new students for the club before my classes even started. My parents and siblings fostered in me an appreciation for the beauty and sanctity of human life from a young age. I have known since elementary school that I want to dedicate my life to ending the injustice of abortion. University life has given me a million opportunities to embrace this mission.
2) How did you get to know NCLN?
My first encounter with NCLN was during my first year of university when two of the staff members came to Queen’s University to assist our club with a pro-life event. Following this I attended NCLN’s annual symposium in my second year of university. From this time I have been in contact with various NCLN staff members and have been impressed and grateful for their encouraging words, sincere care, and motivational challenges to succeed on campus as a pro-life student.
3) Why did you apply for the NCLN internship this summer?
I applied for NCLN’s internship because I believe in the extraordinary value of this organization, and I want to contribute to the mission of spreading the pro-life truth one student at a time, one seed at a time.
4) How do you spend your weekends and free time?
In my spare time I love to sing, play the piano, walk through beautiful trails, read, play volleyball, and spend time in the company of friends and family. My latest discovery has been swing dancing, which I have sincerely enjoyed and hope to continue to improve at!
5) Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me, and the list only gets longer each day! I certainly am inspired by my parents who have laid down their lives for their children every day, the great martyrs throughout history who sacrificed their very lives for a greater good, and the people I encounter in my every day life who fearlessly give all they are for the good of others.
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!
NCLN Western is pleased to welcome Ashley Bulthuis as our 2015 Summer Intern! Ashley has been a member of the University of the Fraser Valley Life Link club, and will be heading to Capilano in the fall to start a pro-life club on their campus! Ashley is very talented, compassionate, and continues to be a driven leader in this movement. This summer, she’ll be coordinating our Western Summer Semester, designing fresh online graphics, helping us create new resources for campuses across Canada, and many other great projects.
To introduce you to this wonderful woman, we’ve asked her a few questions!
1) How did you get involved in pro-life campus activism?
I was a student at the University of the Fraser Valley. There was a pro-life club on campus that my friends were members of. Naturally, I was curious, and sat in on a few meetings. One thing led to another and eventually, I became President of UFV LifeLink.
2) How did you get to know NCLN?
I first became familiar with NCLN by attending their Annual Symposium and sitting in on the motivational speeches and workshops offered there.
3) Why are you looking forward to your NCLN internship this summer?
I am MOST for designing my heart out this summer, planning events like the Symposium, and organizing fundraising parties!
4) What do you hope to get out of your internship this summer?
What I hope to get out of this internship is the ability to deliver a motivational pro-life presentation to my peers, to expand my knowledge on the abortion debate though extensive reading and research, and to utilize my knowledge and training to kickstart a pro-life club at Capilano University.
5) What are some of your interests?
I’m obsessed with art, philosophy, poetry and music. Oh, and did I mention that I’m a total font-a-holic? Say “NO” to Helvetica!
We’re looking forward to working with you this summer, Ashley! Thank you for giving so much of your time and talent to this movement!
Written by Meagan Nijenhuis, Summer Intern
The Symposium introduced me to the people working the front lines of the Pro-Life Movement: other students leading campus clubs from across Canada and men and women leading organizations full-time. The people were so incredibly friendly; they were absolutely delighted to meet you. And when I went on the Florida GAP tour in February, my travel-weary self was immediately greeted by at least 4 different smiling faces asking me: “Would you like to play cards?”, “How was your flight?” “When did you last eat?”, “Oh, wait… what’s your name? Where are you from?”. Our Movement is all about loving and caring for people. We see the value in the person next to us.
But how do people on the outside see us?
They are fed the popular media’s bias. To them, we are the cold-hearted “anti-aborts” with the sole desire of withholding rights from women. We are stereotyped. Many assumptions are made. Let’s bust this stereotype and show our campuses the true faces of the Pro-Life Movement.
This is just another reason to do more activism on your campus: more and more people will have the, “Oh, I didn’t expect to have such a great conversation with you” moment. They won’t be able to paint our smiling faces with a negative stereotype anymore. When they read about the Movement in the media, they’ll have that personal connection.
The first time many people on your campus will personally meet someone from the Pro-Life Movement is at your pro-life event, whether it be tabling, clip-boarding, running a debate or having a speaker come in. How will you change their perspective of you? I was taught by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform that “It doesn’t necessarily matter what you say to them but how you treat them. That’s what they’ll remember.” Not everyone is easy to connect and communicate with but it’s absolutely imperative that we have the same love and value for the person we’re defending the preborn children’s cause to as we have for the preborn children themselves. There’s no way they will even begin to take you seriously if you don’t make loving them a top priority.
One of the ultimate ways to show you value them is to listen intently (rather than just waiting to speak). Understand their concerns. There may be a lot that they’re not telling you. With Canada’s 26 years of entirely unlegislated abortion, many have been direct victims of the culture of death. Many young people know a woman who’s had an abortion: a family friend, their own mother or even themselves. With the highest number of abortions being performed on women of university age, we are ministering to people who’ve been ravaged by “choice.” These young men and women desperately need a smiling open face and a listening heart. And that’s where we come in.
Meagan Nijenhuis, Summer Intern
I was thrown into the deep end, finding myself vice president of Life Choice at the University of Guelph before I even had time to put on my swimming goggles. My parents raised me to respect all human life but until university, the extent of my involvement had been showing up at 40 Days for Life once a year. I had been to a maximum of four meetings and suddenly I was on the executive. I needed to orient myself in the pro-life world. And fast. I had a pro-life club to help run. The NCLN Symposium gave me the water wings to survive the plunge into campus activism.
The Symposium introduced me to other student leaders from across the country, giving me a glimpse of the magnitude of the movement. I was surrounded by so many others who were also in the “deep end”, bringing the message of life to a campus shrouded with a culture of death. Sometimes life brings you together with people for an instant and then you go your separate ways. In the Pro-Life Movement, it has to be different. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other and continue onward together, no matter the distance that separates us. We are a team. I’ve been able to keep in contact, bounce ideas off and team up with students from across Canada because of relationships fostered at the Symposium.
As a newbie to the pro-life front, I wasn’t aware of the army of organizations that fight for preborn human rights. At the Symposium I was able to not only learn from many of them in sessions and workshops, but also to have one-on-one conversations with these renowned leaders throughout the weekend. The Symposium expanded my network of resources to include more experienced people I would be able to fall back on for advice while leading Life Choice through the fall and winter semesters.
The Symposium saturated us with helpful information from a wide range of disciplines. Over the course of the weekend talks were given on the psychology of those you talk to on the street, the current state of abortion law in Canada and different projects you can run on your campus like the Silent No More Awareness Campaign or “Choice” Chain among others. They were pumping more and more air into my water wings.
This introduction to the Pro-Life Movement fueled a zeal to protect all human life and gave me both the tools and the connections I needed to tread the waters of campus activism. I was set for life in the “deep end.”