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uOttawa Students For Life: Thriving On Joy

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

There’s a great story today in the Ottawa Citizen about a local man who didn’t let a life-altering accident keep him down. He accepted the cards he had been dealt and turned them into a winning hand. It seems he’s writing a book, which sounds like it would be quite the inspiration, no matter your particular circumstances.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Happy Valentine’s Day!

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by YPY Info Officer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Oh Valentine’s Day. For many, this is a day that leaves us with one of two questions. Some, who have been pampered with gifts of flowers and words of affection from a significant other, ask themselves what they have done to deserve such love and appreciation. Others, who were not pampered with gifts or who do not have a significant other, ask themselves what they need to do in the future to deserve that flower or word of affection.

So often we base our value on what other people think of us, and we attempt to draw parallels between what we have done or what we can do and how much we are valued by others. We have been told on countless occasions that nothing comes for free, and that if we are to receive anything, even a kind word or a bouquet of flowers, we must earn it, maybe by “putting out.” Although some may subscribe to this system, those who are a part of Youth Protecting Youth at the University of Victoria do not, and we want you to know it:

Today, YPY club members will be giving out free flowers. We recognize that your value is not dependent on your achievements, and that your dignity does not rest on what you are capable of. You are a valuable, dignified human being, regardless of what we think, regardless of what others think, and to be brutally honest, regardless of what you think. You needn’t do anything to earn our affirmation. We want you to know that you are valuable no matter what.

carnations_2

 


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Saint Paul Students for Life: Public Prayer for Life

This post was written for Saint Paul Students for Life by frkenmikulcik. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

In Ireland, this Sunday, we celebrate the ‘Day for Life’. The bishops made their appeal in a special pastoral message which will be read and distributed in all Catholic parishes on the island this weekend and which also marks the start of a month of prayer around the theme “Choose Life!”, announced last month. Ireland’s Catholic bishops have called on “all who believe in the equal dignity and beauty of every human life” to “join us in calling on our public representatives to respect the humanity and life of children in the womb and to reject abortion.”
Throughout Canada and the US, something similar called the 40 Days for Life is currently in course. It began on the 26th of September and runs until the 4th of November. There have now been ten coordinated 40 Days for Life campaigns since 2007, mobilizing people of faith and conscience in 440 cities across the United States and Canada, plus cities in Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belize, Denmark, England, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Poland, Puerto Rico and Spain.
On Friday, 5th of October, a small group of students from St. Paul’s University and some others gathered to pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet outside the abortion clinic in Bank Street here in Ottawa. To be honest, I was slightly nervous as this was my first time to participate in any kind of public display of Pro-Life prayer. Thankfully in Ireland, abortion is still illegal and we don’t have abortion clinics or abortion mills. Before we went to Bank Street, we went to St. Patrick’s Basilicaand prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. From there onwards I was at peace. I asked the Lord to give me strength to be his instrument, silent and convinced of the precious gift of life.

We made our way down to the venue where a small group of people had already gathered to support the 40 Days for Life.One of the priests pointed out the location of the clinic as we were standing on the opposite side of the busy street. In my head I guessed that it would be a backstreet dingy and dark building but this was a shiny main street building, flanked by McDonalds and Curves. The irony is that Curves, an international chain of women’s gyms, often direct their advertisements towards women who want to get back their figure after giving birth! A glitzy Rolex jeweller shop front was the main attraction of the whole building. No-one would know that on the third floor of this same building, abortions were taking place. There was something very eerie about the normality of life around this centre of death. I wondered to myself, how many people know what goes on in there? Or if the people in the Rolex jewellers are aware of what is going on over their heads as they spend hundreds of dollars on jewellery. Again, ironically, one of the priests pointed out to me that the trees on the street are all protected by netting so they don’t get damaged. Somewhere along the way our priorities have seriously gone out of synch!
We prayed the Rosary, taking a decade each. Some people stopped and stared. Others awkwardly moved along quickly or ignored us pretending not to see us. Children waved and smiled. Life went on around us. People ate their lunch on the street benches beside us as teenagers giggled and laughed, texted and called friends. As we prayed, I offered each Hail Mary for those mothers, prayed that Mary, our Mother, would touch their hearts so as to welcome the life that God had allowed them to conceive. She knew too well what it was like to experience a pregnancy that was not expected, not planned, yet it was God’s will that she bring forth a child.
It was very fitting that we also prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on the feast day of St. Faustina. Each invocation ‘for the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world’, reminded me also of Jesus’ words: “forgive them Father for they do not know what they are doing”. Deep down, I believe that these mothers and fathers do not know the full extent of the harm which they are doing to themselves, not to mention, their unborn baby.

This little but powerful group of prayer meets every Friday to pray whether it be sun, rain or snow. Next Friday, 12th of October, 2nd day of the Year of Faith, the students from St. Paul’s will pray at the site for the whole day from 7am to 7pm to continue the prayer for the 40 Days for Life. The Word of God will be proclaimed throughout that time too. On this day, our priests will offer Mass for this intention. Many others who cannot make it to pray on site will pray from their homes, their communities or wherever they may be. Please join with us wherever you are and pray that hope will shine through for those who see abortion as the only way out. If we create a culture where life is valued, we really will live the fullness of life which Jesus promises us (Jn 10, 10).

Sr. Mary-Louise PDDM

Read the comments at the Saint Paul Students for Life website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Silent No More makes an impact

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyinfoofficer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Last Monday, March 28th, about 50 people went out of their way to stop in front of the SUB and listen to the stories of three courageous women as they spoke of how abortion has affected each of their lives. The fact that these women were sharing from their own experiences made the presentation quite powerful. A number of students who heard the presentation reflected on what the message meant to them. Kimberlee Graham-Knight, the event’s emcee, had this to share:

I was riveted by the power of all three presenters’ speeches. I find it’s difficult to get first-hand accounts of abortion, because it is not a subject I feel comfortable asking about, nor one that women freely talk about. After the presentation, being a healthcare worker, I asked a colleague for her anonymous experience with women who have had abortions (I was emboldened by the presentation) and she said it was all but universal that these women have extreme difficulties post-procedure. She added that many of them feel few immediate effects, but develop psychological problems even a decade later. This made me think of cigarettes: perhaps I want to smoke, but I should be made aware of the long-term effects.

Another student shared this with us after hearing the stories:

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign was a shocking snapshot of life pre and post-abortion. I was surprised to hear that all three speakers chose the abortion unwillingly and out of fear, to mask the shame of admitting they were pregnant. It was particularly numbing to know that one woman’s mother and grandmother drove her to the hospital, exterminating their grandchild and great-grandchild in the process.

 

Although a large number of the students who came to listen to the speakers were pro-life, a large group of other students professing to be pro-choice were also present. One of YPY’s executive members shared this experience after interacting with some students:

I had the privilage of speaking with a number of students throughout the day, some of whom professed to be “pro-choice” and some of whom professed to be pro-life. … Two of the students who had stopped to observe the campaign outside of the library said that they were personally opposed to abortion. After asking them whether or not they were personally opposed to rape, and whether or not they felt they would be placing their subjective morality on someone who was not opposed to rape, they came to understand why abortion is not merely a matter of personal preference or belief. If any human life has value, then all must have equal value and must be protected. 

 We are extremely thankful for the people from Silent No More Awareness Campaign for coming and sharing with us their experiences. Many students were touched and many more went away thinking about the issue and how it not only affects the lives of pre-born children, but all who are involved in the choice of abortion. For more information about the Campaign or more personal testimonies about abortion, see their website here.


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Silent No More Awareness Campaign coming to UVic

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyinfoofficer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

March 28th, 2:15 PM, Student Union Building, UVic

 

In my experience, one of the most powerful ways that I have come to know and accept certain ideas or messages into my own life is through personal testimony. Learning through the personal testimony of others can be a powerful way to learn how to deal with a personal situation. As a club that seeks to uphold the dignity of all human beings, it is important for us to remember that not only does abortion kill pre-born human beings, but also that it may deeply hurt the people who make that choice.

 

YPY invites you to come hear a group of speakers from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign as they share their personal stories: how abortion affected their lives, and how they have healed. They speak from experience and their stories are very powerful. They will be speaking outside the Student Union Building at around 2:15 on Monday March 28th.


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Embryo Research: Experimenting with Humans?

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyinfoofficer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Ever wonder what embryonic stem cell research is? It is essentially an area of research involving the use of human cells that have the ability to differentiate into many other different types of human cells. However, how researchers go about acquiring these cells is a topic of ethical debate. A reflection on this topic and how it relates to the abortion debate can be found here in an article by Abort73.com.

This Tuesday, March 15th, Youth Protecting Youth is hosting a presentation by Dr. Clement Persaud on the topic of embryonic stem cell research and the ethical questions associated with this process. The presentation will begin at 6:00 PM (in the Bob Wright Science Building, room B150), and will feature a presentation of approximately 45 minutes regarding embryo research, human embryo hybridization and other related biological processes. He will address the ethical issues involved with such procedures and propose practical points of action. This presentation is particularly relelvant to any student or person in the field of biology, medicine, embryology, or ethics. There is no cost to this presentation. We invite you to join in this event which will be sure to be very informative.

 


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: International Women’s Day

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyinfoofficer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Today is a day to celebrate all women!  It is a day to be grateful for all the advances made towards equality of all people.  Many victories and many struggles have brought about the acknowledgement of personhood, the right to vote, shift toward equality in the workplace, the right to inherit property, and other advances towards a society that respects all people, regardless of gender, as valuable, autonomous individuals. We have inherited this legacy from many courageous women whose vision of justice was profound and dynamic.  As we respect their achievements, we should also ask ourselves whether we are fulfilling their vision.

How can we say that feminism has been victorious if women are still forced to choose between their education and careers and their children? Feminists for Life is an organization that says “abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women.” The prevalence of abortion is a symptom of – not a solution to – the problems that still exist in our society. Feminists for Life seeks solutions to these problems because they believe women deserve better than abortion. On their website, you can read quotes from many of the early feminists which indicate that these women would not accept abortion as a way for women to gain equality, and that they saw it for what it was: killing children.

“When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 

 And therein lies the real question: how can abortion be a step towards equality when abortion law inherently treats the unborn as non-persons. The early feminists fought hard for women to be recognized as persons under the law. What would they think of a society that treats unborn children as non-persons? So often the pro-life movement is regarded as against women’s rights. As Andrea Mrozek of ProWomanProLife wrote in an article entitled “Pro-life doesn’t mean anti-woman”:

“There’s no battle between feminists and freedom. Being pro-life is a distinctly pro-woman stand; it is only for a lack of freedom of speech in Canada today that the debate is rarely framed this way. The abortion debate is only partly a question of rights. It is, more often, a question of life. With each repetition of “my body, my choice,” women’s rights to complete information, to intellectual integrity, to the scientific roots of life, furthermore to her own physical and mental health, are denied.”

 

She goes on to point out that in many cases, abortion does not get to the root of the problem:

“Asking why a woman wants an abortion highlights the real problem. Is it because her parents will throw her out of the home? Is it because she was raped? Is it because her culture demands she produce a boy, yet she knows she is carrying a girl? In each of these cases, abortion does not address the problem, but sweeps it under the carpet. Abortion clinics can’t ask the whys of it all: That’s an infringement of women’s rights — the unalienable right to suffer in silence. Pro-lifers support women, not abortion. Freedom of information has been curtailed such that no one understands how this could work. If abortion is not about another person, as well as the woman, none of this debate matters. If the fetus is a person too, then offering women one life-and-death choice without first fully discussing what is at stake is a denial of women’s rights beyond comprehension.”

 

So while we celebrate the achievements of feminists over the years, let us remember that we are still far from achieving personhood and equality for all human beings, both in Canada and in the world at large. Let us work towards real solutions to the challenges women face. We all deserve better than abortion.

Further links of interest: 

An open letter to pro-choice advocates by a woman who had two abortions can be found here.


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Social Interaction in the Second Trimester

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyinfoofficer. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

The following is a reflection by Youth Protecting Youth’s vice-president of activities:

An argument I’ve heard several times against recognizing the unborn as persons is that they are less cognitively developed than others, or that they don’t do the things that born people do, like interact and form relationships. The reason, of course, for these differences is that the unborn are at an early stage in the complex process of human development. They aren’t “supposed” to be able to do those things yet. To say they are not persons because of this is simply discrimination based on level of development.

Let me state from the beginning that the reason I believe abortion is wrong is because it is an action that directly and intentionally kills an innocent human being. I recently came across an article, though, which provides even more food for thought on just how human the unborn are.

Researchers in Italy used 4D ultrasound technology to observe twin fetuses at 14 weeks, and again at 18 weeks, of development, noting that a twin pregnancy “offers the unique opportunity to explore social behavior before birth”. The type and frequency of movements was recorded. The researchers observed that the twins reached out to touch one another, and that their motions toward one another were different than their motions toward the uterine wall. The frequency of interaction was higher at 18 weeks than it had been at 14 weeks. They stated:

“We conclude that performance of movements towards the co-twin is not accidental: already starting from the 14th week of gestation twin foetuses execute movements specifically aimed at the co-twin.”

A while ago the National Post ran a story that stirred up a lot of controversy: there is an increase in cases of mothers pregnant with twins deciding they want one child, not two, and requesting a procedure called “selective reduction”, in which one twin is aborted. Obviously my objection to this procedure is that it kills a baby, and as one person quoted in the article suggests, treats babies as a commodity. My immediate question, though, was what would it be like to find out later in life that you had a twin but your parents only wanted one of you, so they aborted the other? Given the new insight into social interactions between twins early in development, I think the effect of this procedure on the surviving twin becomes an even bigger question.


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.