March for Life Victoria Recap!

Written by Ashley Bulthuis, NCLN Summer Intern

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Last week, we celebrated the March for Life in Victoria, the very heart of parliament in British Columbia. Around 2,000 participants assembled to raise awareness on the polarized issues of abortion and euthanasia.

The day started with prayer, offered both at the Reformed prayer service and masses in St. Andrew’s and in St. Patrick’s Churches.

The March began at 1:45 in Centennial Square. From there, the crowds departed, hitting the pavement brandishing “We Choose Life” signs. Participants joined together specifically to oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to nullify the law against doctor-assisted suicide, with the theme for this year’s March being “Every Life’s Worth Living.”

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The swarming sea of people streamed through the city streets, coming to a standstill at the B.C. Legislative Buildings for the rally at 2:15. Music from a live band flooded the air as participants rested on the grassy lawn, soaking in the glowing, midday sun.

The keynote speakers included Bishop Gary Gordon, PJ & Pamela Lewis, Emily Mraz, Dr. Will Johnston and Courtney DeGeest. The Master of Ceremonies was Pavel Reid. Bishop Gary Gordon, from the Diocese of Victoria, opened the rally, expressing how thankful he was for those who participated in the March, and emphasizing the importance of bringing the pro-life message back home to our communities.

Courtney deGeest is a full-time mom to 3 boys, and passionately advocates for children with special needs. She gave a personal account relaying the challenges and joys of raising her son Asher, who has had serious health and developmental complications from birth. PJ and Pamela Lewis, from Mission, BC, similarly affirmed the value of all people regardless of their abilities or disabilities. They shared their experience of having a daughter who was born with a rare genetic disorder, passing away just after birth, and spoke of their joint journey of healing and finding peace amidst the incredible loss.

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Emily Mraz, president of the pro-life club at Simon Fraser University, recounted an experience she had speaking to a woman who had had an abortion. Through her story, Emily conveyed the need for us to compassionately reach and touch a person’s heart before we can change their mind.

Dr. Will Johnston, chair of the Euthanasia Coalition of British Columbia, concluded the rally, stating that “Supplying real healthcare means supplying therapy. Therapy improves function, therapy does not intentionally create a corpse.” In addition to declaring his philosophy of healthcare, Dr. Johnston emphasized that our government needs more than a year to make such a massive decision regarding assisted suicide. He stressed the need for us to contact our politicians to encourage them to take more time to discuss this decision that will impact all Canadians.

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The rally was followed by the Pro-Life Gala. This was hosted by National Campus Life Network and the pro-life club at the University of Victoria, Youth Protecting Youth. The guest speaker was Bishop Gordon; he shared his experience of volunteering at a pro-life table while he was studying. He described how challenging it can be to talk about the issue with one’s peers, and how much courage it takes to reach out and initiate these discussions. Bishop Gordon expressed his gratitude towards the pro-life students for their hard work, and applauded them fors promoting the cause of the unborn.

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The need for pro-life activism on campus was affirmed by Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for NCLN. She spoke about NCLN’s mission, which is to train and support pro-life students to effectively reach out to their campuses. The finances raised during the Gala supported NCLN’s outreach as well as the YPY bursary for single student mothers.

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Overall, it was a bittersweet day. The bitter taste of injustice is still in our hearts, yet the sweetness of hope remains as aftertaste, thanks to the compelling words of all the speakers and the courageous souls of those who came out to the March.

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For Immediate Release: THEFT AND VANDALISM AGAINST PRO-LIFERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA

For Immediate Release

THEFT AND VANDALISM AGAINST PRO-LIFERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA

Victoria, B.C. (September 11, 2014): On September 10th, two women rushed a pro-life club table at the University of Victoria, snatching the fetal models on display and dumping used cat litter all over the table. Youth Protecting Youth (YPY) was participating in the university’s Clubs Days event and had a recruitment table to sign up new members and engage with other students on the pro-life issues.IMG_20140910_095529035

Although the fetal models were recovered, club members arrived back this morning to find that the vandals had broken into the closed clubs room and that more filthy litter had been dumped on the table and the fetal models – valued at several hundred dollars – had been stolen.

“This kind of behaviour calls into question whether UVic is an environment where people can express their opinions and beliefs without such disrespectful opposition,” stated Adrian Canagasuriam, co-president of the club. “Other clubs and the student body need to be reminded that this kind of criminal behaviour has no place on a Canadian university campus.”

After speaking with campus security, club members made a police report with local authorities.

received_m_mid_1410383571133_ffb87cd4fbfb4a2319_0The club demanded that the University of Victoria Student Society (UVSS) formally condemn the actions of the vandals, and the UVSS has agreed to issue a statement doing so.

“In previous years the UVSS has attempted to ban and censure the club and was sued by the club in 2010,” stated Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network, a national organization that supports pro-life students. “It’s reassuring to see that student society representatives were helpful and apologetic in the wake of this incident and we look forward to a strong statement from the UVSS condemning this theft and vandalism.”

“This incident has not prevented us from continuing our outreach,” commented Kimberley Van Der Pijl, who witnessed yesterday’s attack and serves as co-president of the club. “We’ve had very positive conversations with so many students and many have signed up for the club.”
The members of YPY hope that the fetal models will be recovered, and that students who disagree with their message will learn to voice their disagreement in a mature, respectful manner.

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For additional information or comments, please contact:

Anastasia Pearse,
Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network,
westerncanada@ncln.ca  604-365-3484 (tel: 604-365-3484)

Adrian Canagasuriam
President, Youth Protecting Youth, UVic
youthprotectingyouth@gmail.com

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Youth Protecting Youth: In Our Lifetime

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

On Thursday May 12, 2011, large crowds gathered in various cities across Canada, united by a common message: we wish to see all human beings treated with respect and dignity. All human beings are valuable, regardless of age or race or gender or creed, regardless of relative levels of development or ability, regardless of what they have or haven’t done. A person’s a person, no matter how small or young or old or ill or different from ourselves. The theme at the march in Ottawa put it very bluntly: abortion kills human beings. This is a biological fact, and this is a reality we cannot sit back and do nothing about.

In Victoria, participants made their way from City Hall to the lawn of the BC legislature. Organizers reported a record turnout. There were many enthusiastic high school and university students; there were families; there were tiny babies (born and unborn) being carried along; and there were older people who have seen the pro-life movement grow and develop for many years. There was an atmosphere of hope.

At the lawn, MC Pavel Reid challenged participants to work to bring an end to the injustice of abortion in our lifetime. Archbishop Miller, of Vancouver, spoke of truth. We must always speak the truth in love, and be ready to engage with people persuasively. The truth must not be hidden. Injustice must not be ignored. We must be ready to give an account of why human life needs to be protected. We must educate ourselves, and go on to educate our world.

International pro-life speaker Rebecca Kiessling shared her personal story. She spoke of learning, at eighteen, that she was conceived in rape, and that had abortion been legal at the time, her birth mother would have aborted her. Her testimony was powerful, and gave voice to the fact that those who are aborted are people. There are many missing from our generation, not because they never existed, but because they were killed before even being born. Saying you believe in abortion in cases of rape, Rebecca tells people, is like looking her in the eye and saying you think that her mother had the right to kill her. She was once a fetus in danger of being aborted – now she speaks for those who cannot yet speak for themselves.

Kathereen Kessler, of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, also shared her testimony. In her case, it was the story of the effect that having an abortion had on her life. She shares her story because she deeply regrets her abortion, which she came to recognize as the loss of her child. She is courageous enough to share her story of pain and healing – to be silent no more – because she hopes to spare others similar pain and regret.

Dr. Rev. Robert Fitterer, of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria, spoke of the power of technology and social media in spreading the truth. The face of communication is changing. We can see the unborn more and more clearly through medical technology, and we can see the efforts of those in the pro-life movement across Canada and around the world, whether or not they are reported in the mainstream media. Most importantly, perhaps, he reminded us that the March for Life cannot be the end of our pro-life efforts for the year. If anything, it’s the beginning. It is our duty to defend life not just one day a year, but every single day. This is a challenge, and a difficult one to live up to, but isn’t it what we owe our fellow human beings? If we take up this challenge, if we come to the defense of the defenseless wherever we see human beings denied their dignity, I believe we will see an end to abortion and other affronts to human dignity in our lifetime.


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: March for Life 2011

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

Tomorrow, May 12, the March for Life is taking place in Victoria. All are welcome to join in standing up for the dignity of all human life. Speakers at the Victoria March include Archbishop J. Michael Miller of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, Rev. Dr. Robert Fitterer of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria, and international pro-life speaker Rebecca Kiessling.  The full schedule of events is available here.

Marches will also be taking place across Canada in places such as Ottawa, Edmonton, and Regina.


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

University of Toronto Students for Life: Working Together To Build A Culture of Life: The NCLN Campus Blogs Aggregator

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by Blaise Alleyne. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

In August, I helped the National Campus Life Network launch the campus blogs section of their new website. I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, and many pro-life students already know about it. These past couple weeks, with the arrests at Carleton, it’s been great to see it serve as a way for pro-life students to band together across campuses.

A feed aggregator is a software application that pulls in syndicated content from a variety of sources and displays it in a single convenient location. You can install a feed reader on your own computer to read content from all sorts of different blogs and websites in one place (an “inbox for the web”), but in this case, we used a web-based feed aggregator to display content from all of the Canadian campus blogs on the NCLN website.

We started off with six blogs—Brock, Alberta, Queen’s, Ottawa, Victoria and Toronto (that’s us!)—but we’ve already see two more campus pro-life blogs appear in the last few weeks—Calgary and Carlton.

The campus blogs aggregator has been a great hub of information with recent events at Carleton, with a preview of GAP from Calgary Pro-Life, our posts appearing alongside uOttawa Students for Life’s show of support, more support from Queen’s Alive, Brock University’s perspective on freedom of expression, and of course posts from Carleton Lifeline itself. I decided to caption some of the photos (which I believe were taken by Ania Biernacka of the University of Alberta on behalf of the CCBR), and Brock Students for Life showed that the students were in good company, by comparing photos of those arrests to the arrests of civil rights activists for “protesting without a permit” in 1963.

And beyond Carleton, there are just some great posts coming from campus blogs, whether it’s UVic’s recap of clubs day conversations, uOttawa spreading the word about 40 Days for Life or finding encouragement from a fortune cookie, Calgary Pro-Life sharing news of their ongoing battles with the university administration, or our own Danny Ricci spreading news from a UTSFL club member about an information series for expectant mothers provided by the U of T Family Care office, or our own Gianna Marks highlighting a remarkable article from the NY Times who refused prenatal testing to screen for Down Syndrome.

I am so impressed by pro-life students from campuses across the country, and we’re only getting started. I’m working with NCLN a bit to help get other clubs online and blogging (more on that later), and I hope that the campus blogs aggregator helps to strengthen the community ties between groups across the country, and challenge us all to keep sharing information, supporting each other and ultimately working to build a culture of life together in our own communities.

Together, in our own communities—that’s what’s so cool about this project to me.


Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.