fbpx
National Campus Life Network > Blog > youth protecting youth

Youth Protecting Youth: Silent No More makes an impact

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

Last Monday, March 28th, about 50 people went out of their way to stop in front of the SUB and listen to the stories of three courageous women as they spoke of how abortion has affected each of their lives. The fact that these women were sharing from their own experiences made the presentation quite powerful. A number of students who heard the presentation reflected on what the message meant to them. Kimberlee Graham-Knight, the event’s emcee, had this to share:

I was riveted by the power of all three presenters’ speeches. I find it’s difficult to get first-hand accounts of abortion, because it is not a subject I feel comfortable asking about, nor one that women freely talk about. After the presentation, being a healthcare worker, I asked a colleague for her anonymous experience with women who have had abortions (I was emboldened by the presentation) and she said it was all but universal that these women have extreme difficulties post-procedure. She added that many of them feel few immediate effects, but develop psychological problems even a decade later. This made me think of cigarettes: perhaps I want to smoke, but I should be made aware of the long-term effects.

Another student shared this with us after hearing the stories:

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign was a shocking snapshot of life pre and post-abortion. I was surprised to hear that all three speakers chose the abortion unwillingly and out of fear, to mask the shame of admitting they were pregnant. It was particularly numbing to know that one woman’s mother and grandmother drove her to the hospital, exterminating their grandchild and great-grandchild in the process.

 

Although a large number of the students who came to listen to the speakers were pro-life, a large group of other students professing to be pro-choice were also present. One of YPY’s executive members shared this experience after interacting with some students:

I had the privilage of speaking with a number of students throughout the day, some of whom professed to be “pro-choice” and some of whom professed to be pro-life. … Two of the students who had stopped to observe the campaign outside of the library said that they were personally opposed to abortion. After asking them whether or not they were personally opposed to rape, and whether or not they felt they would be placing their subjective morality on someone who was not opposed to rape, they came to understand why abortion is not merely a matter of personal preference or belief. If any human life has value, then all must have equal value and must be protected. 

 We are extremely thankful for the people from Silent No More Awareness Campaign for coming and sharing with us their experiences. Many students were touched and many more went away thinking about the issue and how it not only affects the lives of pre-born children, but all who are involved in the choice of abortion. For more information about the Campaign or more personal testimonies about abortion, see their website here.


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Silent No More Awareness Campaign coming to UVic

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

March 28th, 2:15 PM, Student Union Building, UVic

 

In my experience, one of the most powerful ways that I have come to know and accept certain ideas or messages into my own life is through personal testimony. Learning through the personal testimony of others can be a powerful way to learn how to deal with a personal situation. As a club that seeks to uphold the dignity of all human beings, it is important for us to remember that not only does abortion kill pre-born human beings, but also that it may deeply hurt the people who make that choice.

 

YPY invites you to come hear a group of speakers from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign as they share their personal stories: how abortion affected their lives, and how they have healed. They speak from experience and their stories are very powerful. They will be speaking outside the Student Union Building at around 2:15 on Monday March 28th.


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Embryo Research: Experimenting with Humans?

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

Ever wonder what embryonic stem cell research is? It is essentially an area of research involving the use of human cells that have the ability to differentiate into many other different types of human cells. However, how researchers go about acquiring these cells is a topic of ethical debate. A reflection on this topic and how it relates to the abortion debate can be found here in an article by Abort73.com.

This Tuesday, March 15th, Youth Protecting Youth is hosting a presentation by Dr. Clement Persaud on the topic of embryonic stem cell research and the ethical questions associated with this process. The presentation will begin at 6:00 PM (in the Bob Wright Science Building, room B150), and will feature a presentation of approximately 45 minutes regarding embryo research, human embryo hybridization and other related biological processes. He will address the ethical issues involved with such procedures and propose practical points of action. This presentation is particularly relelvant to any student or person in the field of biology, medicine, embryology, or ethics. There is no cost to this presentation. We invite you to join in this event which will be sure to be very informative.

 


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: UVSS Takes Action against YPY

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

In October of 2010 we hosted Jose Ruba of CCBR, who gave the presentation, “Echoes of the Holocaust.” The UVic Students’ Society Board of Directors has now voted in favour of a motion that will censure YPY for hosting the event because they allege that our actions contravened the club harassment policy. YPY is specifically being reprimanded for advertising the event in such a way that it “misled” students, and allegedly harassed them as it compared abortion to the Holocaust. There seemed to be little consensus at the UVSS board meeting as to whether harassment had actually occurred: many board members seemed to think that since people had been upset, something needed to be done to deal with YPY, whether or not we had actually broken any rules.

 

The Motion:

Whereas a Complaints Committee was struck in response to complaints received regarding an event called “Echos of the Holocaust” hosted by the club Youth Protecting Youth; and

Whereas the complaints committee investigated several different complaints; and

Whereas by hosting an event “Echos of the Holocaust” Youth Protecting Youth allowed for people to be misled about the nature of the event and the Complaints Committee deems this to be in violation of the harassment policy, clubs policy part 2; and

Whereas significant concerns were raised by students about off the conduct of campus groups such as, “The Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform”; and

Whereas the UVSS would like to find long lasting, proactive solutions to reoccurring issues; therefore,

BIRT the UVSS investigate the possibility of mediating with Youth Protecting Youth to help prevent further issues; and

BIFRT Youth Protecting Youth be censured for violating the harassment policy found in clubs policy part 2; and

BIFRT the Political Action Committee hold a restorative justice event; and

BIFRT legal counsel be consulted to investigate if there can be changes to policy that would address concerns around the conduct of off campus groups or speakers.

We hosted the presentation because we believe we continue to experience “echoes of the Holocaust” today. Just as the Holocaust and past genocides are characterized by their unjust denial of personhood to a group of human beings and their systematic destruction of this group, so too do we see denial of personhood and systematic destruction with abortion in our society – the group targeted is the unborn. In two previous blog posts we addressed this comparison and the false accusations made about the event.

Yes, we knew that some people would be offended by the presentation. But what are we supposed to do? Stay quiet to avoid offending some people, while we silently watch 100,000 Canadians die every year because of abortion?

Let us remember that feeling offended and emotionally upset because one disagrees with a viewpoint does not mean one is being harassed. After all, no one has a legal right to be free from offense. Students who see and dislike our posters are not being subjected to a “hostile, intimidating, threatening or humiliating environment.[i]” The Clubs Harassment Policy states that harassment is defined as “treatment” of a person. If merely expressing our beliefs in advertising constituted “treating” people in a harassing manner, then no one would be able to express his or her views without fear of censure.

We are truly sorry that some people felt emotional or upset when they saw our posters. But abortion is emotionally upsetting. We do not want any woman or child to be hurt by abortion, and therefore want to provide students with as much information as possible so they can choose life-affirming options for themselves and their unborn children. This presentation was one way to express these beliefs.

The presentation did not pose a threat to anyone who attended; we are all adults capable of choosing for ourselves what we want to believe, and this presentation did not force anyone to do anything. We simply stated that genocide is horrible, the Holocaust was horrible, and we see that abortion is horrible because like the Holocaust and other widely recognized genocides, it involves the denial of personhood to and subsequent killing of innocent human beings. We wish none of these things ever happened, and we want to better uphold the dignity and value of every human being, born or unborn.

It is unfortunate that the UVSS Board of Directors has chosen to censure YPY and thinks it is necessary to mediate with us and host a restorative justice event. Although we welcome and encourage dialogue on the abortion issue, we have not harassed anyone, and so the actions taken by the board are based on a false “guilty” verdict. In addition, we worry that a policy made to govern who can and cannot speak on campus wouldn’t be applied equally to all clubs, and could be used to censor YPY.

The continued mistreatment of campus pro-life groups is still receiving much media attention, as can be seen in this recent MSN article. Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, cautions student unions that attempt to silence pro-life groups, as doing so sets a precedent for future debates. “When they’re approaching this issue, they should not diminish their responsibility toward ensuring that university campuses are places where ideas can circulate freely.”


[i] UVSS Policy Manual: Clubs Policy. Part F: Harassment: Definition http://www.uvss.uvic.ca/upload/docs/Policy%20and%20Bylaws/2010-11%20Clubs%20Policy%20%28Amended%202010-06-21%29.pdf


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Youth Protecting Youth: YPY Member Interviewed on “The Koala Bear Writer”

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

As part of National Sanctity of Life month, Youth Protecting Youth’s current vice-president, Catherine Shenton, was interviewed by Bonnie Way, writer of the Koala Bear Writer blog. In the interview, Catherine shared some of her experiences from working in the pro-life field, as well as gives some insight into what YPY does on the campus of UVic. The interview can be read here.

Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

Media Advisory: Controversial Pro-Life Lecture Comes to UVic

MEDIA ADVISORY:

CONTROVERSIAL PRO-LIFE LECTURE COMES TO UVIC

On October 26th, 2010, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), the pro-life club at the University of Victoria, and the Victoria Right to Life Society will host Jojo Ruba of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform to speak on the issue of abortion.

Jojo’s lecture, entitled “Echoes of the Holocaust,” exposes the dehumanization of victims throughout history, and explains the parallels between the unborn children who are killed by abortion today and the victims of historical genocides.

While the presentation has been delivered at many universities across Canada without incident, in early 2009 the presentation was disrupted by unruly protestors at both St. Mary’s University in Halifax and McGill University in Montreal.

In both instances protestors shouted slogans and chants, preventing students from hearing Mr. Ruba’s presentation; campus security failed to stop these protestors from disrupting the lectures (footage of the incidents can be found on Youtube). In each case, the university administration later apologized for the disruptions.

As a club that has recently struggled to be treated with equity on campus, YPY recognizes the absolute importance of freedom of speech. YPY welcomes debate on the issue of abortion, and encourages all who are interested to come to the presentation, and participate in the question period following the lecture.

The “Echoes of the Holocaust” presentation will take place at 5:30pm on Tuesday October 26, in room SCI B150 (in the Bob Wright Centre) at the University of Victoria.


Contact:

Anastasia Pearse, President, YPY &

Catherine Shenton, Vice President, YPY

youthprotectingyouth@gmail.com

www.youthprotectingyouth.com


-30-

Share Button

Youth Protecting Youth: Nazis?

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

On Tuesday, October 26th, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY) will host a speaker from the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR) who will compare abortion to genocide.

YPY held a debate last October which also featured a member of CCBR. The debate included discussion surrounding abortion and graphic media showing it, and was difficult to watch. Outrage, conflict and controversy accompanied the event, and YPY’s club status was revoked (it has since been reinstated[1]). But subjecting oneself to such controversial views and unpleasant material is important because this inflammatory comparison is worthy of critical, reasoned academic consideration.

Exploring emotional responses to vocabulary is a good place to begin. The ability to talk about things constructively is affected by individual emotional responses to them. For example, words like “Nazi,” “genocide” and “abortion” appearing so closely after one another may elicit emotional responses that can blind people to the content of a message and prevent critical consideration. Different ideas about the words’ meanings can also prevent a reasoned exchange; the words “Nazi” and “genocide” are associated with universally deplored, horrible situations involving large loss of life, but we can’t immediately understand the subtleties of what is (or isn’t) implied by their use unless we continue listening. Looking beyond the words and the distress they cause enables deeper investigation of the ideas they attempt to describe.

When someone refers to genocide, it is often assumed that because the speaker is describing a terrible crime against humanity, he or she is implying that its perpetrators are pure evil. That isn’t always the case; genocide is simply a word, coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin as a tool of language to describe the Holocaust. It has undergone minor changes in meaning[2] but it is well-described as the intent to destroy an identifiable group systematically. The use of the term “genocide” doesn’t immediately imply that its perpetrators are extraordinarily terrible people. Indeed, those involved in it are usually normal people:

In the 1960s, researchers at the University of Yale carried out a now-famous set of experiments to test the effect of authority on people’s consciences and decision-making. The experimental psychologist, Stanley Milgram, explains:

In the basic experimental designs two people come to a psychology laboratory to take part in a study of memory and learning. One of them is designated a “teacher” and the other a “learner.” The experimenter explains that the study is concerned with the effects of punishment on learning. The learner is conducted into a room, seated in a kind of miniature electric chair, his arms are strapped to prevent excessive movement, and an electrode is attached to his wrist. He is told that he will be read lists of simple word pairs, and that he will then be tested on his ability to remember the second word of a pair when he hears the first one again. Whenever he makes an error, he will receive electric shocks of increasing intensity…

The teacher is a genuinely naive subject who has come to the laboratory for the experiment. The learner, or victim, is actually an actor who receives no shock at all. The point of the experiment is to see how far a person will proceed in a concrete and measurable situation in which he is ordered to inflict increasing pain on a protesting victim.

The results of the experiment are well-known. Contrary to the researchers’ expectations, the majority of subjects continued to administer shocks right up to the supposed maximum voltage, by which time the “learner” had ceased screaming in agony and was silent as if unconscious.

The ethics of doing this research were contested, but the results were even more controversial. The experiment, carried out shortly after WWII, was conducted with German citizens’ submission to Nazi authority (and American citizens’ susceptibility to similar coercion) specifically in mind. Milgram states:

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.[3]

In conclusion, the perpetrators of genocide need not be evil incarnate – coercion and the reassurance of being in accord with authority alone are enough to suppress most consciences. When women are confronted with an unplanned pregnancy, they can be coerced into choosing abortion by society’s failure to support them. They can be reassured about its legality and safety by practitioners, who are medical authorities. Having been deceived and possesing no malignant intent, they fall prey to promptings to abort in the same way that the “teachers” of Milgrams experiment relinquished responsibility for their actions and cached in their consciences when put under pressure.[4]

Pointing this out isn’t meant to excuse genocide. Nor does YPY condone abortion. It is meant to show that comparing abortion to genocide doesn’t necessarily involve condemning the women who choose it.  Indeed, it shouldn’t; YPY doesn’t believe in condemning people. A crucial distinction must be made between condemning actions and condemning people, and recognizing this distinction is central to being pro-life.[5]

An echo resembles its origin but remains distinct. Many similarities exist between abortion and widely recognized instances of genocide, as do some differences. These can be brought forth and examined critically – in the spirit of inquiry that is so important at university – if there is room for compassion and careful understanding of language and ideas. At this year’s fall presentation, these similarities will be explained and their substance revealed. Take action to consider the urgent consequences for our society if such comparisons do have merit, and make an informed decision by attending “Echoes of the Holocaust” and preparing for the question period that will follow.

Presentation will take place Tuesday, October 26th at 5:30 pm in the Bob Wright Centre: SCI B150.


[1] http://youthprotectingyouth.com/2010/07/19/uvic-pro-life-students-settle-out-of-court/

[2] http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/genocide.html

[3] Milgram, Stanley. (1974), “The Perils of Obedience.” Harper’s Magazine. Abridged and adapted from Obedience to Authority.

[4] It is worth pointing out that YPY believes men to be just as vulnerable to the destructive forces described above as women are. The pressures that society puts on women in such situations are immense, and attempting to sympathize about the anguish of these women doesn’t presume them to be weak or incapable of choosing life.

[5] http://youthprotectingyouth.com/help-for-crisis-pregnancy/


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.

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.