Faces of the Pro-Life Movement

Written by Meagan Nijenhuis, Summer Intern

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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.

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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.

 

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Candy Plus: Making the Most of Your Outreach Tables

 Rebecca Richmond

outreach table

Having a ‘hook’ at tables you are running – such as candy – can be a great way to attract people to your table. Particularly when it’s something like Clubs Days and EVERY club seems to have some sort of treat to draw people to their table.
 

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And although I still have a former club member complaining about the fact that I wouldn’t let him make and distribute fresh waffles at Clubs Days back at uOttawa, I’m all for creativity. (In my defense, we were outside and, as it turned out, the day of the table featured extremely windy weather. Things got sticky enough with the lemonade we were distributing, thanks very much).
 
Sometimes, though, it’s not what kind of treat you use, but how you use it.
 
Brandon University Students for Life, the club I ventured deep into snowy Manitoba to visit last week, demonstrated that creativity and strategic thinking when they told me about how they put stickers with fetal development facts on the candy they were handing out during their Clubs Days.
 
Come for the candy, leave with an educational fact. Tasty tasty facts.
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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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TWU Tabling Event

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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Back-to-School Activism Ideas

We know that planning a semester of pro-life activism can be overwhelming – especially as you see your course-load for the semester! But ensuring that your campus hears the pro-life message doesn’t have to be difficult. So long as you plan ahead, cooperate with your team and make your club a priority, educating your peers will be effective, impactful – and even fun!

Need some ideas on how to spread the pro-life message on your campus? Here’s a list of events you can host on your campus:

Formation:  Instill within your club members a sense of mission (why it’s critical to be actively pro-life on campus), a sense of belonging (why they are needed in this particular club), and provide them with opportunities to be formed as pro-life activists. KeepCalm

  • Offer an apologetics workshop (don’t forget NCLN staff are available to offer workshops on how to defend the pro-life position).
  • Share and watch great teaching videos from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Clubs Days/101 Weeks/Clubs Fairs/Frosh Week: Whatever your school calls it, these tables are great opportunities for recruitment and outreach. Download our Clubs Days and Tabling Guide to learn more about how to have a great and effective table!

Leaflet-ing/Distributing Resources: Our Right to Know brochures are great for distributing on campus.  Leaflet-ing is as simple as organizing a small group of students to offer resources and dialogue with your peers in busy places on campus. Contact NCLN to order brochures for your campus!

Surveying: All you need are clipboards, pens and surveys.  This is a great event to engage your peers in dialogue as you ask them to complete a short survey on life issues. Like leaflet-ing, it is low-cost and easy to organize.  Contact NCLN for sample surveys you can use!

Movie Night: This can be a great way to get to know your peers in a social setting, while being inspired by an impactful movie. Check out films like October Baby, Bella and It’s a Girl!

Chalking: A fun activity that can be done to advertise for a particular event or used to educate on abortion statistics.  This can be a great social activity for after a club meeting!

“Choice” Chain: A project by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.  Contact them for more information on how to bring this to your campus.

Guest Speakers/Debates: A large event is a great way to engage your campus, but they do take time, organization and effort.  Make sure you have enough time to organize an event like this properly and be in touch with NCLN.  Our strategy workshops can help your club organize a high-impact event.

Do not hesitate to contact NCLN for advice on executing these plans and for more ideas! Remember: NCLN is here to help YOU! We are always just a phone call, email or Facebook message away!

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