Welcome Ashley! NCLN Western’s Summer Intern!

BLOG_Portrait_PICNCLN 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!

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March for Life Recap!

It was so great to see so many of you on that sunny Thursday, walking alongside thousands of other pro-life people from Ontario and beyond!

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of some of the awesome events that took place!

Wednesday afternoon, our Executive Director, Rebecca Richmond, along with one of our students, Taylor Hyatt, and a few other alumni and notable pro-lifers, took part in the filming of EWTN’s National Pro-Life Roundtable. Through different sessions, various pro-life leaders were able to contribute their thoughts and experiences on topics such as the history of abortion in Canada, the recent Supreme Court Decision regarding Euthanasia, as well as the involvement of youth in the movement. The special will be aired on EWTN in the fall, before this year’s election. We’ll post a link when the dates are announced!

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Thursday morning, the air was electric with excitement as crowds began to fill Parliament Hill. For many, the March is a beautiful reunion of friends and family – and for us, its a reunion of staff and students from various campuses!

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Thursday evening, NCLN hosted the 7th Annual Life & Justice Student Dinner. The event is truly a celebration of our students as they close a school year of campus activism, and look forward to continuing their mission of bringing joy, hope, and healing to their campuses in the summer and coming school year.

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Students Christine Helferty (Queen’s Alive) and Michelle Caluag (University of Toronto Students for Life) gave beautiful testimonies of their campus experiences, how NCLN mentored them as leaders, and how they saw the pro-life message transform their peers.

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Michelle shared, “The reality is, being motivated is not enough. You have to overcome those fears. Don’t let them stop you. And remind yourself that you are much stronger than any of your fears. That’s one of the important lessons I’ve learned through this journey [on campus].”

Rebecca Richmond, our keynote speaker for the evening, gave her final address as Executive Director of NCLN. Beginning her presentation, she listed a number of stressful and challenging experiences that students have had sharing the pro-life message on campus. She quickly reminded us though, of the countless, incredible, life-changing moments that are happening on campus because of the work of pro-life university students.

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“But I also don’t believe in naive optimism. Things aren’t going to inevitably get better,” she continued, “It’s not inevitable that good things continue on campus; that pro-life students will continue to step up; or that NCLN is able to continue its work…

..Where your ‘yes’ counts is in your day-to-day lives, on campus and off. In attending that meeting, answering that email, in having that conversation that you’d rather not have, asking that question in class that draws attention to you.

When your ‘yes’ counts is in your day-to-day choices. The little things that no one might notice but that ultimately make all the difference.”

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We want to thank all of our students, across the country, for their incredible perseverance and service in this campus movement. We also want to thank all of our supporters, for uniting their passion to our cause and walking with us in this movement. The March for Life events were a wonderful celebration, and we look forward to continuing working with all of you throughout the year.

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To see the full album of March for Life photos, click here.

If you’d like to support the work of NCLN, please click here.

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A Note from Rebecca on her Upcoming Departure from NCLN

Written by Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director

AGP_3888“I just wish I could do this full-time.” The thought kept popping into my head as an undergraduate student several years ago. I had become involved in founding and leading – thanks to some peer pressure – the pro-life club at the University of Ottawa. The realization of how important it was to reach out to our peers with the pro-life message had somehow made my paralyzing shyness less paralyzing and was shifting my plans, my priorities, and my future.

And so, upon my graduation in 2010, I was recruited to work with National Campus Life Network as the Executive Director. I was doing campus pro-life outreach full-time. I was no longer reaching one campus but helping students across Canada reach their campuses too. One year on staff turned into two and somehow turned into five.

Five years of working with incredible staff members and board members – past and present. These women and men constantly inspire me with their dedication, their talents, and their passion. They have challenged me, encouraged me, and journeyed with me as we’ve navigated the challenges and opportunities of the Student Pro-Life Movement. I am very excited to see Anastasia Pearse take on the direction of NCLN, bringing her determination and enthusiasm to the organization and the movement in a new way. Although I’ll be leaving staff, I look forward to continued involvement with this wonderful organization.

Five years of working with the most amazing students in the country. Students who make sacrifices on a daily basis with their time, as they balance multiple commitments with their life-saving work. Students who persevere and are bold and courageous even when facing censorship, discrimination or opposition on campus. Students who speak the truth with great love and great compassion, who are becoming – and are already – the nation’s great pro-life leaders. Students who graduate and go on to lead in pro-life organizations, in their fields and in their families.

As a student, I experienced how critical the support of NCLN and its staff was to the success of our pro-life club and my growth as a leader. After five years on staff with NCLN, I believe even more strongly in the importance of pro-life campus outreach and the essential way that National Campus Life Network equips students to be leaders at universities across Canada.

I have seen firsthand the difficulties that the university environment can present. But I have also seen firsthand how much hope there is on campuses, and how student leaders and NCLN are making a real difference in real lives and in the future of our nation. I believe in universities – and I’m going to return to university now. I believe in students – and I’m going to be a student once again. It will be incredibly difficult to leave this staff team, but I am looking forward to returning to university to pursue graduate studies. Universities produce Canada’s next generation of leaders – I intend to be one of them.

I will be stepping down from the Executive Director position on July 31st and officially leaving staff on August 31st. I am very grateful for the encouragement and support of NCLN’s staff and board during this time of transition, and I look forward to my continued involvement in this incredible organization.

Will you help me support NCLN in its incredible work? I am becoming a monthly donor. Would you consider a monthly or one-time donation in order to support us through this time of transition?

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5 Steps to Making the Most of Your Tabling Event!

By Clarissa Luluquisin, Central Campus Coordinator

 As NCLN’s Central Campus Coordinator, my job involves getting my boots on the ground (specifically winter ones in this weather).  I trek to campuses across the province to train and assist pro-life students in their outreach, and my favourite project to help with is the club information table.  

What can be better than engaging with a person one-on-one, hearing their thoughts on abortion and responding to their concerns, and thanking them for taking a moment to speak to you?

Can you tell that I’m an extrovert?

Although events like debates and movie screenings can be very impactful, the information table marks the start of many personal relationships of the pro-life club’s members with soon-to be club members, as well as engaging with students who are not informed about abortion.  It is pro-life activism and recruitment – all packaged into one easy event! 

How you begin these relationships matter, and in maintaining these relationships, your club has a greater opportunity to grow.  And the more it grows, the more people there will be working alongside you to spread the pro-life message.  This engagement is all the more important with lives on the line.  

Check out our information guide on tabling here, and also find my 5 suggestions:

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1. Create an eye-catching display board with a variety of resources on the table.

Make an event out of it with your Exec too – no need to do this all on your own.  And if you’re short on resources, contact your local campus coordinator and you’ll be sent a bunch for free. Don’t forget to print out a sign-up sheet too!

2. Start all conversations with a kind smile.

People want to talk to people who are friendly and approachable, and this is harder to do on some days, with all that you have on your plate.
Think of laughing babies and joyful mothers if you need some motivation! 🙂

3. Speak with compassion and conviction.

Asking someone how they feel about abortion can bring up a lot of different emotions in a person.  Whether it be anger, sadness, or indifference, listen attentively, tell stories, and ask good questions.  Agree with them where you can, and explain with clarity where you cannot.  Illustrate your points well and schedule an apologetics trainings for your club members every once in a while to refresh yourself.  

 4. Follow up personally with the people who have signed up for your email list and invite them to the next meeting or club event.

This cannot be emphasized enough.  A day or two after your table, send a personal email to the student you spoke with, thank them for taking the time to chat with you, and invite them to your next meeting.  If you got along really well, why not suggest meeting up for coffee to tackle a bit further that interesting point they brought up?

5. Debrief with your club members.

Whether in between conversations, or soon after a day of tabling is done, debriefing about your conversations is so essential.  How else are you ever going to get better and spread the message as effectively as possible?  If you didn’t like how you said something, think about it some more, and come up with ways with your fellow club members you would have liked to say it instead.  

Ready? Set? GROW!

Have any stories about tabling on your campus?  Send us an email

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84 Years after the Persons Case Canada Still has Lessons to Learn

Written by Kathleen Dunn

84 years ago today, on October 18th 1929, Canadian women were recognized as persons under the law.  Lord Sankey of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England reversed the Supreme Court of Canada’s earlier decision and ruled in favour of female personhood. “The exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours,” he said.

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As a woman, I’m thankful that the Famous Five took matters into their own hands when our femininity was used to marginalize and exclude our gender. In the face of injustice, these women had the strength and courage to take matters into their own hands and fight for their personhood.

But as I reflect on the importance of this day, my thoughts are unquestionably drawn towards the preborn: the only group of Canadian human beings without the status of personhood.

Like the preborn, women were not recognized as persons, despite their fundamental human equality. But unlike the preborn, these women had their own voices and could speak up to defend themselves.  The preborn, while being denied personhood and human equality, are violently killed before even given the chance to speak for themselves.

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The pro-life movement is unique among social justice movements in that the victims of injustice are entirely unable to advance their own cause. Without pro-life voices like your own, the injustice of abortion will continue to silently and brutally snuff out these young lives.

So when you face discouragement in your pro-life activism, feeling as if your voice can do nothing, remember that the preborn have no voice but yours. Their silent screams will only be heard when we let them ring out through our own mouths, as we choose to defend them.

Emily Murphy, one of the Famous Five in the Persons Case, took these words as her motto: “Whenever I don’t know whether to fight or not, I fight.” So, as we celebrate this milestone for women, let us continually, in every moment, make the choice to fight – to be a voice for the preborn – who are entirely voiceless without us.

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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.”

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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.

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NCLN is here for YOU!

Whether you’re returning to university for another year, starting university for the first time, or watching kids, grandkids or relatives begin their year, it’s an exciting time.  Remember that NCLN is here to support the pro-life message on universities and colleges by supporting the amazing students who are leaders for life on campus.

 Here’s a reminder of what we can do for you:

  •  Personalized Support: Interested in starting a club or nervous about taking on a leadership role? Our Campus Coordinators will meet up for you in-person or by phone/Skype to help you go through the process of starting or running a club. We’re available on Skype, Facebook, Twitter, text message, email and smoke signals. (Okay, maybe not the smoke signals…) KeepCalm
  •  Training: Have you booked an NCLN staff member to provide your club with training this fall?  We will come to your campus to offer presentations on how to dialogue and defend the pro-life position as well as on effective strategies for on-campus activism.
  • Our Annual National Symposium: This is THE essential training event for pro-life students in Canada.  All clubs should be sending leaders to bring back training, resources, connections and inspiration to their campuses.  For more information, check out our website: www.ncln.ca/symposium
  • Resources designed for campus: Need amazing pro-life resources to distribute to your peers?  Take a look at what we offer and let us know what you need.
  • Guides and Manuals: Wondering how to lead your pro-life club or how to run effective activities? Email your campus coordinator to get a copy of our club manual as well as guides such as:

-Hosting Silent No More Awareness Campaign on campus

-Hosting a Guest Speaker or Debate

-Running Clubs Days/Tabling

-and more!

  • Encouragement and Connections: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media so as to stay up to date on events and news and to be connected with the broader Campus Student Movement in Canada and internationally.

 

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest 

 

Don’t hesitate to contact us!:

Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director – director@ncln.ca – Skype: rebecca.grace.richmond

Sara Hall, Maritime Campus Coordinator – maritimes@ncln.ca – Skype: sara.nhall

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinatorwesterncanada@ncln.ca – Skype: anastasia.pearse

Clarissa Luluquisin, Central Campus Coordinator – central@ncln.ca – Skype: clar.lulu

Kathleen Dunn, Director of Digital Media and Promotions – kathleen@ncln.ca – Skype: kathleen_dunn

We are here for YOU!

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“No Choice”: A Magazine Reviews Canada’s Pro-Life Movement

The cover of the summer issue of Maisonneuve Magazine.

 

 

Prepare to grin, grimace and grump: this article has it all. 

Given that the article published in the arts and opinion magazine Maisonneuve was nearly a year in the making and given that NCLN staff were interviewed, we were interested to see what the authors would say about Canada’s Pro-Life Movement.  It’s a mixed bag, but certainly an interesting read.

The lovely ladies of ProWomanProLife have responded, calling out the authors for their assertion that “strict physicians’ guidelines cap abortions at twenty-four weeks” (those guidelines are found where exactly?). 

And Faye Sonier ‘howls with laughter’ at the comment that pregnancy centres are notoriously litigious:

“Yes, those crazy pro-lifers and their buckets of money – money collected from ye olde money tree in the parking lot.  Money that they then throw at their team of lawyers.  Lawyers they keep on retainer and on-call, to address any perceived slight.  Yes, that sure sounds like the reality of non-profit and charitable organizations everywhere.  And to support their claim, they provide a single example.”

 Indeed.

But we do appreciate that the authors consider Canada’s young pro-life leaders to be “camera-ready spokespeople – twentysomethings who seem more like news anchors than activists”.  (It’s nice to know we have a future in broadcasting after we end abortion.)  There were even some complimentary remarks about NCLN as ‘polished’ and ‘media-savvy’.  That said, we have no idea what or how NCLN, as they allege, “encourages members to collectively blog their outrage when conflicts arise.”

 You can read the full article here (and collectively blog your reactions thereafter?).

 

 

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