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Youth Protecting Youth: Overheard at UVic

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

Who: Students like YOU.

What: Quotes from Club’s Day

Where: Youth Protecting Youth’s information/sign-up booth

Why (you should read this article):

(a) If you are one of the many who claim to be “undecided,” prepare to be reassured. You are not the only one who is unsure of what you think about abortion.

(b) If you are a pro-lifer like me, you may be surprised!

Clubs Day was a major success. YPY gained many new members and plenty of valuable experience dialoguing with students on important life issues. You may, however, be surprised by the responses we received when we posed the questions “When do you think life begins?” and “Have you ever discussed life issues?” to curious students who stopped by our table. The majority of our audience was, as you may have already guessed, undecided on the issue of abortion. Some conversation-opening quotes we wrote down in response to the questions above were “I guess I’m undecided” and “No, I guess I’ve never really talked about it before.”

With Canada’s abortion laws as they currently are (non-existent), it is difficult not to wonder if the reason is that the majority of our country simply does not care about abortion. Upon reading a poster that stated Canada’s current (lack of a) law: “Abortion is legal in Canada through all nine months of pregnancy,” one abortion advocate confidently exclaimed “That’s not true!” and said she would go look it up herself. Other passers-by conveyed similar notions of disbelief.

The real problem, then, is NOT that people do not care. The problem is that people do not know what abortion really is and what it does to a pre-born child. Specific statements we heard confirming this were “I guess I can’t really take a side because I don’t know much about it,” and “I’m not sure really, but I don’t think an egg is a person.”

In response to the last one, we agree with you. A haploid egg is not a person. However, a newly formed zygote, genetically complete, unique, living and growing, is. Life begins at conception. This scientifically accepted fact is seldom socially accepted.

Comments such as the one above spurred discussions that, on some occasions led from “I guess I’ve never thought about it” to “I want to learn more” to “That makes sense” (actual quotes from a lengthy conversation I had with one young man who shall remain unnamed).

So although we may come across those who, upon hearing our message, mumble “Oh, you’re pro-life?!” there are also many students out there who are thirsting for the truth, but who are afraid to go out of their way to receive it.

I want to end on a happy note. I encountered one beautiful girl named Elisa (permission given to mention) who told me how she had become pregnant in her first semester at UVic, and decided to keep her baby. She said that her parents supported her in her decision and reassured her saying that “It’s not a problem, it’s a baby.” She told me it was the best decision she ever made.

I think we can all be inspired by Elisa’s story, knowing there are beautifully strong heroines out there like her, who, despite unexpected circumstances, are bravely and shamelessly choosing life for their children.

In closing, I am glad you were born.

Loving Life,

Lauren


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

uOttawa Students For Life: Struggle for Free Speech

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

[Note: Today's post comes courtesy of our first guest-blogger, Anastasia Pierce, from University of Victoria's pro-life club, Youth Protecting Youth. We encourage you to visit their site.]

by Anastasia Pierce

As university students we are in the very environment that should encourage freedom of expression as students search for truth and knowledge. To quote one free speech advocate, “In order to get the truth, conflicting arguments and expression must be allowed. There can be no freedom without choice, no choice without knowledge.” We should be respectful of other’s ideas, and free to debate them. Unfortunately these concepts were recently overlooked at the University of Victoria (UVic).

Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), UVic’s pro-life club, has experienced two years of discrimination and censorship because some students felt offended by our message. During this time we were repeatedly denied club funding. This past spring the situation escalated to a point where we were denied club status and policy modifications were made that specifically targeted pro-life advocacy.

The controversy was triggered in spring 2008 when we posted some posters from an organization called Feminists for Life. We continued to distribute the posters, and have been denied funding ever since for having displayed them.

Because of the controversy we decided to host a debate where both sides could present their views on the abortion issue. In fall 2009 Stephanie Gray from the Canadian Centre of Bioethical Reform debated UVic’s philosophy professor, Dr. Eike Kluge. However, this debate stimulated further controversy, leading to a denial of club funding that fall and withdrawal of club status in Spring 2010. Despite multiple appeals to our student society, no changes were made. Therefore, this past May YPY filed a lawsuit against the UVic Student Society.

We are happy to say that after  two months of legal consultation, the case was recently settled out of court. The UVic Student’s Society now recognizes YPY as a club, has granted us funding for the summer semester, has repaid all funds wrongly withheld since fall 2008, and has eliminated the discriminatory policy. They have also agreed to an unusual condition that allows YPY to hold the petition in abeyance indefinitely, making the process required to reinitiate legal proceedings quicker and easier, should it become necessary.

This resolution is a great step forward for pro-life students. We are pleased that UVic once again recognizes the importance of free speech, and respects the varying ideologies that should be welcomed on a university campus. We hope this will set an example for other universities as they encourage dialogue amongst students in the pursuit of truth and knowledge.

YPY will continue to encourage respectful discussion on the abortion issue, and boldly proclaim our message. Inevitably there will be further challenges, but it will not stop us from proclaiming the truth.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.”

The truth we must share on our university campuses is that 300 innocent human beings die every day in our country from abortion, and many women and men are hurt by it. This unfortunate truth will not change unless we speak up and educate students about the reality of abortion, and support pregnant women with other life-affirming options.

No matter how much people dislike our message, and penalize us for sharing it, we must continue to proclaim the truth as we share our message with students and protect the most innocent and vulnerable in our society:  unborn children.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.