fbpx
National Campus Life Network > Blog > Rebecca Richmond

5 Ways to Actually Welcome September

It’s almost the end of August.

And with those words, students everywhere are gasping in horror. WHERE HAS THE SUMMER GONE?!!! If it’s nearly the end of August then… SEPTEMBER IS NEXT!

If this realization feels as if a locker full of textbooks, course packs, and pro-life club brochures just crushed your soul, don’t panic. Take 2 deep breaths and read on:
5 ways september blog meme
Although there is a lot that goes into a school semester filled with pro-life campus activism…and actual schoolwork, you can relax by doing 5 simple things THIS week to take the pressure off.

1. Get the ball rolling by organizing your WEEKLY exec meetings now.

Ask your club secretary to take the lead on this by setting up a Doodle to figure out the best meeting day/time. Your club secretary should also follow-up with members until they give their availability and then report back on the best options.

In many cases, your exec members will already have their schedules and you can get this task out of the way early; if they don’t yet have their schedules, find out when they will have them and create a reminder in your phone/calendar so that you can start the process in a couple weeks or so.

2. Remind your club members about applying for the NCLN Symposium.

The earlier your members apply, the more time they’ll have to secure funding to offset the costs. Have you sent out a general email about this to your membership? Have you personally encouraged members to attend? Should YOU attend? Click here for details!

3. Get set for Clubs Days/Orientation Days/Frosh Week

by booking a table and organizing people to prepare the needed materials. It’s a simple task but important. Need help with your table? Check out NCLN’s Tabling Guide!

4. Do you need to re-register your club to maintain club status?

Look up the dates now to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines. (If you are interested in starting a club, contact your Campus Coordinator today to get their help as you begin the process!)

5. Talk to an NCLN staff member!

Our Campus Coordinators are here to help you stay on top of tasks like these. Just give us a shout and we’d be thrilled to talk to you and/or your entire club by email/phone/Skype/text or in-person and help you prepare for the upcoming semester. Our staff also comes on campus to offer training and assistance – contact us to schedule a Campus Visit!

Spend a few minutes on these tasks and you can get your fall semester off to a great start. And don’t forget that we’re here to help!

 

Share Button

We #SurvivedMorgentaler: Canadian Youth Speak Out on the 26th Anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler

We #SurvivedMorgentaler: Canadian Youth Speak Out on the 26th Anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler

Toronto, Jan 28, 2014  – As Canada marks the 26th anniversary of the R. v. Morgentaler decision that decriminalized abortion, making Canada one of the only countries in the world with unrestricted abortion-on-demand, Canadian youth are mobilizing to speak out against the Supreme Court decision that decimated their generation and is decimating the next.

“In just over a quarter century we’ve lost a quarter of our generation,” states Rebecca Richmond, the Executive Director of National Campus Life Network. “We survived R. v. Morgentaler and, as survivors, we have the opportunity and obligation to speak up and defend the next generation who are being killed through abortion.”

“With each passing year, 100,000 Canadian babies lose their lives to abortion,” comments Alissa Golob, the Youth Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition Youth. “This anniversary is an important moment for our generation to remember those who have been lost since the Supreme Court decision, and even before with the 1969 Omnibus Bill, and recommit ourselves to ending this injustice.”

Campaign Life Coalition Youth (CLCY) and National Campus Life Network (NCLN) are spearheading the social media campaign on January 28th. They are asking Canadian pro-lifers to join the Tweet-A-Thon and post on Facebook to educate their peers and motivate them to end abortion in Canada.

#SurvivedMorgentaler and #EndAbortion are the suggested hashtags and a Facebook event has been set-up for participants to join.

“The majority of Canadians aren’t even aware that we have no abortion law in our country, let alone that we are the only western democracy without a law,” states Alissa Golob. “This is an important opportunity to start a conversation with our peers and help them understand what R. v. Morgentaler has meant for our country and our generation in particular.”

“Twenty-six years of R. v. Morgentaler has meant twenty-six years of abortion on demand. That is twenty-six years too long,” agrees Rebecca Richmond. “We are not going to abandon the next generation to the same fate that ours suffered.”

About Campaign Life Coalition Youth
Campaign Life Coalition Youth is a division of Campaign Life Coalition, the national, non-profit organization involved in political action and advocacy for legal and cultural change in Canada with respect to protecting human life and the family. CLC Youth’s mission is to educate youth and to create opportunities for young people to engage in this modern-day civil rights movement. For more information visit www.campaignlifecoalition.com.

About National Campus Life Network
National Campus Life Network is the only national organization that exists to educate, network and support post-secondary pro-life students across Canada. NCLN supports over 30 campus groups across the country and plays an important role in mentoring new leaders into the pro-life movement. 

Media Contacts:
Alissa Golob, Youth Coordinator, Campaign Life Coalition, P: 416-204-9749, C: 647-678-016,  alissa@campaignlifecoalition.com
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director, National Campus Life Network,  C: 416-388-0461, director@ncln.ca

Share Button

5 Things the Youth of Canada Should Know About R.v. Morgentaler

Written by Rebecca Richmond

1. R. v. Morgentaler is not Roe v. Wade 

and Roe v. Wade does not apply to Canada.* Why? For the simple reason that we don’t live in the United States of America.

Because Roe v. Wade is so widely spoken of, even in Canada, people can be easily confused. R. v. Morgentaler was the January 28, 1988 Supreme Court decision that struck down the existing (and inadequate) abortion laws in the Criminal Code of Canada. The previous law, established in 1969, allowed for abortions in hospital performed for reasons of the mother’s ‘life or health’. ‘Health’ was not defined, however, and it was Therapeutic Abortion Committees within the hospitals that had to evaluate the cases. As such, access to abortion could vary substantially in different parts of the country, depending on who sat on the committees. The case of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who served jail time for his illegal abortions, reached Canada’s highest court and, on January 28th 1988, the court handed down its decision, striking down the abortion laws. No law has been passed since.

Don’t assume that your club members will know much about the legal status of abortion. A few ways to help educate your club members on subjects like this include:

  • Share NCLN articles (like this one!) and resources with your club members. Better yet, encourage them to ‘Like’ NCLN on Facebook and follow us on instagram!
  • A good basic primer on the history of abortion law in Canada can be found here:  CCBR: History of Abortion Law in Canada
  • Good talking points on the legal status of abortion can be found at WeNeedALaw.ca: Talking Points
*Although, granted, Roe v. Wade has had a significant impact on Canada.
 

Morgentaler 2014 Meme2. R. v. Morgentaler did NOT make abortion a ‘right’.

No ‘right to an abortion’ exists in law in Canada. Not only is there no law, but the Supreme Court never established a ‘right’ like Roe v. Wade did. In fact, the Supreme Court justices were very clear about the fact that Parliament does have jurisdiction to define protections for the child within the womb. The decision, which was 5-2, was split into four separate judgments, and the only Justice who came close to defending an abortion right even stated in her judgment that the state still has an interest in protecting preborn human life:
“The precise point in the development of the foetus at which the state’s interest becomes ‘compelling’ I leave to the informed judgment of the legislature which is in a position to receive guidance on the subject from all the relevant disciplines. It seems to me, however, that it might fall somewhere in the second trimester.”  Justice Bertha Wilson, R. v. Morgentaler, January 28, 1988, Supreme Court of Canada (page 113).

You can listen to an interview where Don Hutchison, Legal Counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, addresses this: Abortion Debate in Canada Interview

3. R. v. Morgentaler resulted in a legal vacuum on abortion.

Since the decriminalization of abortion, abortion has existed in a legal vacuum because of the lack of laws. This has led to/or permitted:

  • Sex-selective abortions, which disproportionately target baby girls. Because sex is generally not known until later in pregnancy, sex-selective abortions are also late-term abortions. Although sex-selection is more commonly associated with countries like India and China where the massive sex-ratio discrepancy ratios have been attracting international attention, the problem also exists in Canada. Researchers have found similarly skewed sex ratios among certain communities in Canada and the former interim editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal even called for a ban on releasing the sex of the baby until 30 weeks in order to help stem these abortions.1 
  • Children born alive (after an unsuccessful abortion) and left to die.2
  • Abortions outside of hospitals. Clinics are now able to provide abortions and, because reporting is not mandatory for clinics, we don’t even know the numbers of abortions being done outside of hospitals. Indeed, abortion statistics have become harder to come by thanks to obfuscation by provincial governments.3
  • Legal issues. Andre Schutten, a former club leader of McMaster and Legal Counsel for the Association for Reformed Political Action, described the legal issues that courts run into thanks to R. v. Morgentaler and Parliament’s refusal to address the legal void.4

 

4. R. v. Morgentaler made us survivors. 

In the quarter century since the 1988 decision, a quarter of our generation has been killed by abortion. It is more than a statistic; we are truly a survivor generation. Everyday when we’re on campus, we walk not only amidst those who are grappling with their abortions but also many who survived when siblings did not, or who may have only narrowly survived themselves. Perhaps we, ourselves, are those very people. This sobering reality means that our generation has a great deal of healing to do; it also means that we, as survivors, must speak up for all those who were silenced.

Blaise2014Meme

 

5. We will not let R. v. Morgentaler define the NEXT generation.

Beyond standing against the lethal devastation that abortion has wreaked upon our generation, we also must stand up for the next generation. It is now our generation that is having the abortions, many unaware of what their ‘choice’ really means, many unaware of the impact abortion will have on their lives, many unaware of the support and resources available to them, and many facing pressure and coercion to abort.  As young men and women who survived, we now have the opportunity and obligation to reach out to those facing untimely pregnancies and secure the freedom of the next generation. We grew up in the shadow of R. v. Morgentaler, with one quarter of our generation paying the price for our society’s lack of protections for all human beings at all stages. We cannot, must not and will not abandon the next generation to such a fate.

 

Educate your campus on the truth about abortion. Try the QA Project!

Share Button

Turning Busy Into Beautiful: Practical Steps to Take as Students and Pro-Lifers

By Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director

Sleepy head

I noticed a disturbing trend in my language this fall. A four-letter word was figuring prominently in my vocabulary: busy.

Busy, busy, busy. My answer to questions about how I was doing, my running monologue in my head: busy, busy, busy. 

The more I heard myself use it, the more I realized that I was using it as a crutch in so many ways.  The more I heard others use it, the more I realized it was an exhausting to listen to and not terribly attractive to witness. And I don’t know about you but, no matter what my schedule or responsibilities consist of, I want to lead a beautiful life, and not a ‘busy’ one.

And so I welcomed the insights within a blog article entitled “Busy Isn’t Respectable Anymore”  that circulated on social networks recently. In it, Tyler Ward outlines how ‘busyness’ is no longer respectable but actually can indicate, among other things, that we’re not managing our time well, that we lack self-confidence, and it can even negatively impact our work as well as our lives. He goes onto describe an experiment a friend undertook in which he eliminated the word ‘busy’ from his vocabularly for an entire year.  If you haven’t yet read the article (too busy? hmm?) then do so now.

 Done reading? Welcome back.

What does this mean for us as students, as pro-life student leaders and activists? How can we turn ‘busy’ into beautiful?

I suspect I’ll be figuring out the answer to that question for the rest of my life but in the meantime, I’d like to propose two ways we can turn busy into beautiful – and improve our effectiveness as pro-life campus leaders in the process.

1) Adjust our attitudes.

Attitude is contagious. How we decide to approach our to-do list, our balancing of school, courses, athletics, AND pro-life activism will rub off on others. Do we talk about it as a complaint, a burdensome thing that is sucking the very life out of us? Well, good luck recruiting new members if that’s the sales pitch! Is it a privilege, a sacrifice worth making, an amazing group of people to collaborate with? Now that is the kind of group I would want to join.

A positive attitude, even amongst a very full schedule, actually goes a long way to contribute to your wellbeing. And a busy attitude? Well, as Ward’s article states,

“Busy, it would seem, is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The more we said it – the more we felt it.  The more we felt – the more we acted like it.  The more we acted like it – (well, you know the rest).  Guess what?  When we quit saying it, we reversed SOME (not all) of the craziness.” 

It’s not that you ignore the fact that there’s a lot going on; you simply don’t allow it to make you miserable and frantic. And believe me, operating at a frantic pace really just manages to exhaust you and everyone else.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, occupied and ‘busy’. What matters is, ultimately, what I did and if what I did really mattered. Did I take care of what really mattered so that the staff and students’ needs are being served? Was my team served or did they suffer because of my leadership?  

It’s a work in progress, but trust me, even a bit of progress can go a long way to help you and those around you – including your club.

2) Focus on the beautiful, not the busy.

In attempting to remove ‘busy’ from my vocabulary, I struggled to figure out what to say instead. I decided to try to share a bit of beauty instead of just the busy. It helped me adjust my attitude, as I discussed above, because I began noticing how much beauty is in my life. 

I also began to realize I was missing out on a lot. It’s much easier to answer ‘How are you?’ with ‘busy’ and leave it at that. It’s easier to talk about the to-do list circulating in my brain instead of the amazing things I get to be a part of. 

So instead of pulling out a laundry list to impress people with how little you sleep and how much you work, speak instead of something that has blessed you or interested you. Even simple questions like “How are you?”, “How was work?”, “How was school?”, “How is the pro-life club?” are opportunities to value those we come into contact with, to truly engage with them in a conversation, and to invest in the relationships.

Take it a step farther: use these as opportunities to share the amazing things you are doing on campus. If you have an event coming up, share your excitement about it. Now you have the opening to invite your friend to be a part of it, either by helping with the organizing or even just attending. Imagine the impact this could have on the membership of your club is even a few members of your leadership team started doing this!

 Easier said than done? Absolutely. But make a start:

  • Try eliminating ‘busy’ from your vocabulary – even just for a month;
  • Share the beautiful instead of the busy when people ask you how you are or how school/work/pro-life activism is going;
  • Use opportunities of sharing the beautiful to invite people to be a part of it by joining the club and coming out to the events. 

We, as pro-life students, are the voices of life on our campuses. In most cases, we are the only opportunity that our peers will have to hear the pro-life message on campus. We owe it to our peers and, most importantly, to all those babies whose lives are on the line to speak up and stand up. There are many things we will need to be in order to serve the cause and merely ‘busy’ is not one of them. Let us, instead, be beautiful, bold, courageous, and attentive to what matters and the opportunities that surround us. Let us, together, make 2014 a year of beauty.

Share Button

What Happened to Motion 408 and Why it Matters: A Summary

What Happened to Motion 408, Why It Matters,

and What it Means for the Abortion Debate in Federal Politics

  By Rebecca Richmond

 Introduction

Although  Motion 408 wrapped up in the spring and we are approaching fall, people are still curious about the fate of the motion.  I make this mostly unsubstantiated assertion based on the fact that it still comes up in conversation.  

 This interest is heartening because regardless of whether your interest in Canadian politics tends towards compulsively checking Twitter feeds, reading Hansard and watching CPAC or whether it tends to be more limited (and you have no idea what Hansard or CPAC is), the fact remains that what happened this spring with Motion 408 was important.  But, surrounded by parliamentary procedure and committees, not to mention the question of privilege and the Liberal motion concerning S.O. 31s, it can be a bit confusing.   Even friends and colleagues who had followed the issue to a certain extent were asking for explanations. 

 I looked for a summary of the situation and, not finding one, began to write.  What was originally intended to be a simple blog post turned into a series of posts and then was never posted at all.  I decided that it was too late and retired the document to a folder of drafts.

 But people continued asking about it and, so, upon request, it was emailed to a few friends.  More requests resulted in it being made more public.  So enjoy!

To open the article, click here.

 

Share Button

Morgentaler & My Generation

By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director

Recommit ourselves to a legacy of life - Copy small

 I should not have been looking at my phone as I walked down the stairs, for I nearly slipped and fell when a text message popped up on my screen: “Morgentaler died.”

My heart dropped.  As long as there is life, there is hope, and I sincerely hoped that Henry Morgentaler, Canada’s most prominent abortionist and abortion advocate, would experience repentance and conversion.  I held onto that hope because of what it would mean for the cause of life in Canada, but also for the sake of his own life and soul.

 I was shaken.  Morgentaler has always been a larger-than-life figure and often on my mind.  His biography sits on my bookshelf and, every time I see it, I recall the stories of his life that I read in those pages: the activist upbringing, the suffering of the Holocaust, his complicated relationships with women, his imprisonment, the Supreme Court decision, and the expansion of his clinics.  He remains an icon for abortion in Canada and the builder of a dark and blood-stained legacy that lives on, though he does not.

Like the rest of my generation, I  grew up in the shadow of the 1988 R. v. Morgentaler decision. The 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court case this past January 28th was a personal one for us.  It has defined us as survivors for, in a quarter century, a quarter of our generation has been wiped out by abortion.

We, as young people, have never known our nation without the dark shadow of abortion and the decision that allowed that shadow to persist.  We have never known Canada without Morgentaler.  He, now, may be gone from this earth, but abortion is not.  

 There has been, as was to be expected, a flurry of activity in the media as everyone weighs in on his legacy.  But let us not forget that unrestricted abortion in Canada has been the result of more than Henry Morgentaler.  It is the result of many committed activists, committed financial donors, judges, and politicians; but society is also complicit.  We began to lose in the court of public opinion before we lost in the court of law.

So, for us, Morgentaler’s death must not be simply a time for analysis.  It cannot be a time to sit back and merely approve or condemn his actions.  It must be a time when we recommit ourselves to action and transforming society.  We need to build a legacy of life that goes beyond having convictions and actually ends this injustice.   Being pro-life should be less of a label and more of a lifestyle.  

We have our work cut out for us, but we cannot shrink from the task we face.  A quarter of our generation is dead because of abortion and we cannot and will not abandon the next generation to the same fate.  I have said it before and I will say it again: Twenty-five years of R. v. Morgentaler is twenty-five years too long. This culture of abortion on demand may be a stubborn shadow, but we can cast it out if we shine all the brighter with the light of truth, love and life.

Share Button

Growing up in the Shadow of R. v. Morgentaler

By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director

Gavin Richmond, 1897-1917
Gavin Richmond, 1897-1917

My great uncle was several years younger than I am now when he died, only one week away from his 20th birthday.  Gavin Richmond’s name is inscribed on the Vimy Ridge Memorial and his life is counted among the 62,820 Canadians who were killed in the First World War.  He was part of a generation decimated by the war.

They fought for our freedom and are rightly commemorated for it. But we have not used that freedom responsibly; we have failed to protect the most vulnerable and innocent in our society from a violent death. Today we mourn a shameful anniversary that has made possible the extermination of the lives of a quarter of our generation, but these deaths have no Remembrance Day. They largely go unnoticed and unmourned and, even more horrific, the slaughter continues day after day.

Ours is a generation of survivors. We, the remaining 75%, made it out alive – though some more narrowly than others. I have worked with students whose parents chose life when facing pressure to abort and others whose parents aborted their siblings. Many of us are probably unaware of the twisted legacy abortion has carved in the branches of our family trees.

Dr. Morgentaler’s oft-repeated mantra – still used on every Morgentaler clinic website – is: Every mother a willing mother. Every child a wanted child. This must make us, I suppose, the “wanted” generation that Morgentaler spoke of. Our parents could have aborted us if they had wanted. They were given, in neo-Roman fashion, the power of life or death over their children – death that was, of course, sanitized, state-sanctioned, and even funded by the public’s own tax dollars.

Abortion on demand, made possible through the Supreme Court’s ruling 25 years ago, changed our society with ‘wantedness’ determining whether we live or die for the first nine months of our lives. Yet we do not choose life or death for born humans according to whether or not they are ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’. The thought of classifying human beings in such a manner is profoundly disturbing – or ought to be.

When my own grandmother was pregnant with my father in the 1950s she did not decide to go forward with it based on whether or not he was wanted. (What decision would she have made, I have to wonder, if abortion on demand had been offered to her?) She carried a new life within her and looked out for his best interest by deciding to have my father adopted and raised by a couple who wanted a child. Despite Dr. Morgentaler’s classification of children as ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’, the fact is that children are children regardless of how we feel about their arrival. What is up to us is how we treat them.

25 years too long.Those of us who survived now have the opportunity and the obligation to secure the freedom of the next generation. We grew up in the shadow of R. v. Morgentaler with one quarter of our generation missing, but we are now capable young adults: we cannot abandon the next generation to such a fate. Twenty-five years of R. v. Morgentaler is twenty-five years too long. This culture of abortion on demand may be a stubborn shadow, but we can cast it out if we shine all the brighter with the light of truth, love and life.

Share Button

Meanwhile, across the pond…

…is a new organization called the Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS).  Their mission is to “build university communities in England, Scotland and Wales that have a lasting and profound respect for human life from fertilisation to natural death.”

More pro-life societies (i.e. clubs) have been popping up on the universities within the UK and the Alliance of Pro-Life Students, formed by current and former students leaders from a number of these societies, will be:

Building pro-life societies by encouraging students of all religious backgrounds and none to start their own societies.

Supporting pro-life societies by: providing educational resource packs and databases of speakers and reliable sources; helping with event organisation and networking; standing up for the rights of pro-life students to peacefully speak out on life ethics.

Connecting pro-life students: with each other online through our website forum and face-to-face with specialist training days; with other pro-life organisations for internships and volunteering opportunities.

 APS’ first launch event is only ONE WEEK AWAY and we are wishing them all the best as they work to build, support, and connect pro-life post-secondary students in their nation.

Rebecca (on left) and Eve Farren of the Alliance of Pro-Life Students during their meeting this summer.

Our Central Office had the pleasure of meeting with Eve Farren, APS’ Executive Director, this summer (see photo below).  We have since enjoyed staying in touch to talk strategy and share ideas.  And, although many differences exist between the UK and Canada, we found we share a lot in common, including facing similar obstacles on campus.  We look forward to staying in contact and continuing to build this international relationship.  We may be separated by an ocean, but we are united in the cause to bring the pro-life message to the environment that needs it most: university campuses. Find APS on Facebook. 

Share Button