You never know who’s passing by: A year of QA

“I’ve never really thought about this before.”

“I’m not going to change my mind.”

“When you put it that way, it sounds really bad to support it.”

“My mother should’ve had one.”

“I should change my mind on this.”

“I’ve had one.”

You never know what kind of conversations you’re going to have when you grab that clipboard and muster up the courage to QA. You never know who you’ll encounter, what their stories are, where they’re coming from. You never know until you just do it. 

The QA (Question Abortion) project was introduced at the beginning of this school year by NCLN as an easy means for university pro-life clubs to reach their campuses. It’s quite simple really— just a clipboard, a questionnaire, and a postcard all yielded by a willing activist. This project takes no time to prepare, no money to run, next to no planning ahead. It’s really so easy. 

Except for the part where you stick yourself in the middle of a sometimes fiercely pro-choice environment, exposing yourself to ridicule, rejection, hostility, or just plain apathy. 

Why would we subject ourselves to this?  I can’t deny that every time I agreed to grab that clipboard, I wanted to be anywhere else. It’s more than mildly uncomfortable to stand among busy students rushing to their classes, buses, clubs, to stop them to ask about such a controversial topic. I also can’t deny that when a person walks by, I come up with assumptions of what they’ll say, what they think. Whether it’d even be worth stopping them to talk. Almost every time though, I’m way off. You never know what kind of conversations you’ll have. 

When I stopped Kim* to ask her thoughts on abortion, she didn’t know that Canada had no abortion restrictions, but she thought that that was a good thing for women. I asked her about pre-born women, and if they should have human rights and laws protecting them from being aborted because they are girls. After a while she said she’s never thought about it in this way and can see that a pre-born human’s life isn’t less important than a born human’s choice. She left that conversation questioning abortion. 

When I chatted with Mark*, who thought 3 months was a good gestational restriction for abortions, I asked him if there’s a difference in humanity between a 2 month fetus, a 5 month fetus, and a born infant? He answered that the difference is in development, and I asked him if humans who are younger have less of a right to life than those who are older. He wasn’t sure how to answer but said he would think more about it. He left that conversation questioning abortion. 

During a conversation with Jamie*, who spoke despondently and didn’t look up much, she answered repeatedly with, “it’s not that simple…” She spoke of her mom’s situation being pregnant at a young age and having to drop out of school. I asked her if she thought her mom should’ve aborted her, and with tears in her eyes, she responded with, “yes.” My heart broke hearing this girl’s pain, and all I could say is, “I don’t think she should’ve. Because she didn’t, you’re here now. You’re alive, and you’re important to people. I don’t know you, but I know that is true.” My words seem to have brought on more tears, and then with a quiet voice she told me and another club member about her own abortion. She shared her experience, her desperation at the time, and the pain she suffered with now, and all we could do was listen to her with compassion. At that point she didn’t need to know about pre-born children or human rights…she needed her pain acknowledged and to know that there’s someone who hopes that she’ll be alright. She left, hopefully questioning the low self-worth she held. 

Yes Guelph has thousands of students, and it’d be impossible to reach every one of them, let alone change their minds or heal their hearts. But in order to make an impacting difference, you have to start somewhere. This year our club started somewhere, and we started with a brave face and a simple question:

“Hey there! Do you have a minute for a couple questions?” 

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Why 10,000 Flags Doesn’t Mean I Hate Women

[This is an expanded version of the letter to the editor published in The Ontarion]

As a woman, I always find it strange when I’m accused of hating women and wanting to rob them of their rights. Of course I don’t, but sometimes the actions I take and the opinions I present warrant that very accusation from others. Such as two Wednesdays ago. I’m part of the campus club LifeChoice, the the group of students who organized the flag display that got some students raging. Each flag represented 10 abortions, tallying up to the 100,000 that are performed each year in our country. It was a display that no12107106_10154010699502334_3415015951637911202_n one could ignore, and it presented a point of view that many didn’t agree with.

I assure you I don’t enjoy being hated, and I don’t enjoy doing things that make people angry. I couldn’t count on my fingers and toes the number of times I’ve been told that I’m a terrible human being and should be ashamed of myself– somehow being pro-life does that to you.

Many people in support of abortion define ‘pro-life’ individuals as being ‘anti-woman’s rights,’ ‘anti-choice,’ or ‘forced-birthers’ (a new term I just heard), but let me make this clear: I’m all for human rights, I love choices, and I don’t believe in forcing people to do something they don’t want to do. What being pro-life means is this: believing that all humans should get human rights, regardless of their age, level of development, ability or disability, gender, race, or sexual orientation, and these fundamental rights include the right to make our own choices; but yet, these choices must always take into consideration the harm they may bring to other human beings.

Simply put, here’s why we did what we did: Science tells us a human fetus is a human being (the law of biogenesis proves that the offspring of two humans can be nothing but human); most people are in agreement that all human beings have human rights; abortion ends a human life, thus violating a human’s right to life; and in Canada there is no legal protection for a human fetus at any point during the 9 months of pregnancy. There is a class of Canadian citizens, the youngest ones not yet born, who are not being protected by law. Because of this,100,000 innocent human beings are legally killed each year  in Canada. If 100,000 Canadians were killed each year because of their gender, race, age, or sexual orientation, I’d sincerely hope there’d be an uproar, a group of people fighting for them, large displays imploring others to not ignore their plight…

Making the statement that pre-born children should have their human rights recognized does not translate to “women shouldn’t have rights and those who have abortions are evil.” Yes, we acknowledge that abortion is a complicated issue, and making it illegal is not going to solve the problems women experience when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. One thing that almost all pro-choicers and pro-lifers agree on it this: no woman wants to have an abortion. Abortion isn’t a pleasant procedure, and very often it leaves women dealing with a lot of pain and trauma. Of all the post-abortive women I’ve met and talked to, I’ve never met someone who experienced full relief and no regret. If women don’t want abortions, and abortions also hurt women, and every year 100,000 women go through this, can’t pro-lifers and pro-choicers agree that there’s a problem here?

As a club we were making the point that abortion violates a human being’s human right to life, and if no woman actually wants an abortion, don’t both mother and child deserve better? Instead of Canada disregarding a woman’s struggles by simply providing her with a quick way to eliminate her child, can’t our country start providing the support that a woman needs to give her child life while not having to sacrifice her education or well-being?

I understand that an unplanned pregnancy during a time such as university would be unbelievably hard. I’m not saying a student who has an abortion did an inconceivable thing. Honestly, I understand. Maybe abortion seems like the only choice, but our club wants women to know that it’s not. There ARE options, and there ARE people who will help a woman make the right choice. For the sake of her child, there is a right choice. Sometimes the right choices are the hardest ones. A woman who goes through with an unplanned pregnancy has to be incredibly brave, strong, and has to put up with a lot of challenges; however, all of us have mothers who went through that for us. As a club we’re asking women to consider the hard choice, but know that there is support available.

For the women who have had abortions and for whom the choice has already been made—we don’t hate you nor do we want to shame you. I feel for how hard that choice must have been for you. Too many women are making the choice for the wrong reasons (i.e.. fear, lack of financial support, pressure from those around them etc.); and women deserve better options and support. The display showed the consequences of a society that does not provide this support to women; I know that seeing this reality can trigger feelings for those who have personally experienced abortion. We cannot change to past for these women;  however, we hope to raise awareness and work for a better future for the youngest Canadians and their mothers – a future where both are fully supported in their right to life.

So yes, our display led to a lot of outrage and false judgments about our club. I do find it frustrating that a display that says “100,000 human beings lose their lives each year” was translated into “Let’s throw women in jail!” and “Let’s force desperate women to resort to coat hangers.” Those students who actually had a conversation with us that day hopefully came to realize that that’s not what we were saying, but many others didn’t and instead they misjudged us. Regardless of the responses, we don’t regret what we did. It was an important message of the point of view that quite often isn’t welcomed to speak out. It’s the point of view that speaks out for the rights of vulnerable humans who can’t yet speak, while reaching out to help (and not hate!) their mothers who feel desperate enough to make life-ending choices. Does our point of view not have a right to be expressed?

 

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Crime of Omission

Post written by LifeChoice Exec member Mackenzie

I’d like to think I was like every other first year student when I stepped foot on campus for the first time in 2013. My mind buzzing with the anticipation of all new things to come, arms full of more stuff than I could reasonably carry and entirely lost trying to navigate my way to my dorm. On the car ride, I had daydreamed about what my university experience would be like: All the clubs I was going to join, the friends I was going to make, the parties I was going to go to, and most of all, I promised myself I would work hard to keep up my previously exceptional GPA. And for the most part, the first few months of university life were exactly what I thought they would be. Well… except for the overwhelming exhaustion I couldn’t seem to kick, despite taking the sleeping medication my doctor had promised me would fix the problem. “It’s just the heavy school schedule” I told myself. Little did I know I was quickly losing hold of the dream I had envisioned for myself during that morning drive in September.

It was the morning after a wild party, held in our room the night before when everything started to come tumbling down. I awoke, groggy and head spinning, my boyfriend laying in bed next to me. A sickly feeling was rushing over my whole body. I ran to the bathroom and threw up like I had never thrown up before in my life. Then I nearly passed out on the bathroom floor. Once I mustered up the energy to drag myself back to bed, I laid there in silence, staring at the ceiling. Something was very wrong. I have been drinking and attending house parties since I was 14 years old. Never once have I thrown up from consuming alcohol.

Fast forward to a few days later. Early evening, my boyfriend and I were at my parents house getting ready to attend a family event. I was about to hop in the shower, but first, I had to use the pregnancy test we had picked up from the store earlier that day, just as a precaution.

This is a good time to mention that, to me, there was no possible way I could be pregnant. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) at the beginning of August, and had only gotten my period 3 times in the prior year. My doctor told me it was unlikely that I ever ovulated at all, and if I did, it would be be just a few weeks before my period. Since I had a period the first week of school in September, I figured I had some months to go until my next one. The way I saw it, I was practically infertile. Pregnancy was impossible.

So I stood in the bathroom with my boyfriend watching the little wash of red ink flood across the test screen. What a sight it would have been for a bystander to see the utter look of shock on my face when two red lines appeared almost instantly in the results window. And I wasn’t just surprised, I practically went into shock. Without saying a word or looking at my boyfriend, I went and got into the shower. I sat, curled up on the floor of the tub, motionless and not making a sound, letting the hot water pound the top of my head for what felt like an eternity. And then I cried, silent hot tears that would have been virtually indistinguishable from the water running down my face. I stayed like that for a long time. I remember that moment so vividly. I remember being so numb, feeling nothing at all while simultaneously being utterly terrified. I wanted to stay in that shower forever.

It was probably 3 weeks before we told anyone. We wanted to decide for ourselves what was right before being subjected to our parents. We were pretty sure my boyfriends parents were going to lose their minds. I knew my parents were going to be disappointed, but I had grown up in a very accepting home. I always had a sense that if I wound up in this situation, my family would be very supportive of my decision. Why wouldn’t they? I have always been a responsible and mature young woman, practically taking care of myself from the time I was 13. I had been completely independent from them, living on my own since graduating from high school a year before entering university.

In those three weeks my boyfriend and I talked a lot about our future. He was the love of my life; I’d loved him since the day I met him when I was 14 years old, and he loved me. This was by no means a deal breaker. We decided I was going to move out of residence, he would move home from his school in another city and we would get a place together. We didn’t know how, but we planned to get jobs and continue school and we were determined to have the baby that we already loved so dearly. I was “pro-choice”, and had thought about abortion, but I was sure that it wasn’t for me. The fear quickly passed, and those 3 secret weeks became a time of great joy and excitement for what was to come. I still look back to some nights during that time, when I would lay in bed on my back, and he would lay between my legs, kissing my belly and whispering inaudible sweet nothings to the small baby that lay within. I fell more and more in love with both of them with every passing day.

But we were still very young, and despite finding the bravery to love each other and find happiness under those circumstances, we needed guidance and we needed help. There were a lot of questions still floating around about exactly how we were going to make this work, and there were a lot of fears that somehow we were missing a vital piece of aged knowledge that held the key to success under our circumstances. We started looking around for resources and information.

And this is where the story goes sour.

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Let’s start with the obvious problem: our society pushes a pessimistic view that “children are a burden,” not a gift, and “If you have kids without a big house, a fancy car and high powered careers, you are going to ruin your life.” I searched the internet for information about how to manage having a baby at this stage in life. All I found were comments condemning young women for underestimating the responsibility and assurances from up on some high horse that it is extremely hard. According to them, I was going to have to put my dreams on the back burner. Ok. I am lucky enough to have the backbone to understand that some people just want to suck the beauty out of everything in life, so I was able to look past such close-minded thoughts. But a little chunk of my confidence was chipped away.

My biggest concern was being able to finish my degree, so I said forget the internet haters and naturally turned to the next source I could think of, which was my university. At first I looked online at the university website for some information on student parent support, but I found nothing other than a vague statement saying “you have options and support!” Real helpful. Then I saw a personal counselling service offered for free by the school. While the counsellor was very empathetic and shared with me that he was faced with the same situation while in school with everything turning out fine, he failed to address my main concerns. Instead he called up a program counselor and told her my situation. This discouraged me quite a bit but I saw her immediately afterward. She, if anything, seemed a little taken by surprise with my distressed state, and showed very little sympathy, which made me quite embarrassed. She told me the basic information about exam extensions and altered writing arrangements. That was it.

What I had really been looking for in all this was a place I could turn to for information about financial support for young parents, how student parents manage to carry on with school, what the first year would be like and what resources I could utilize to help me get through it all. And I was also looking for student support, such as a student parent group or crisis pregnancy group that would allow me to make friends in my situation so I wouldn’t feel so alone on campus. I knew on a campus of over 22,000 students I couldn’t be the only one going through this, but I had no idea where to look and no one I asked was pointing me in the right direction.

After a few days of looking for resources I was in a very discouraged state. My composure was seriously shaken. To make matters worse, the time that we had to tell our parents was shorter than we had originally anticipated. I had seen my doctor just a few days prior, and had experienced the most profound moment of my life as I saw the small fluttering heartbeat come into view on the ultrasound screen. But the baby was bigger than we thought it would be. I had taken a few pregnancy tests in September and October because of how exhausted I was feeling, and they were all negative, so I assumed I was only a few weeks along. My doctor wanted to do an ultrasound anyway because I hadn’t had a period since early September, but told me it was probably going to be too soon to see anything. We found out we had in fact conceived in the third week of September. At this point I was almost 3 months pregnant.

As I said previously, we were both set on keeping the baby. By then we had told all our friends and they were very happy for us. But at this point in my life I wasn’t opposed to abortion, and because my time was limited and I wanted to hear what my parents had to say, I let my doctor schedule an appointment for me to have an abortion in case I changed my mind last minute. Interestingly enough, and take this as you will, I didn’t ask for that appointment. My doctor had mentioned abortion many times during our visits and told me It was best that I made the appointment just in case. I didn’t have to go if I didn’t want to. At this point all I knew about abortion was that it was a procedure that ended a pregnancy, it was mildly painful, yet apparently most women felt relief afterwards and it was strongly advocated for which gave it a good reputation.

To our major surprise my boyfriend’s parents were extremely calm and supportive. They told us they would support us no matter what we chose. This gave us a lot of hope. Even more to our surprise, though, was the lack of support we received from my parents, not to mention the downright cruelty. Just a few days before the appointment I told my Mom. She was understanding and quite heartbroken for me. She asked me what I wanted to do, and I told her I wanted to keep it. I asked her to tell my Dad.

When she had told him, they invited me over to talk alone without my boyfriend, and since the tone was pretty good thus far, I was totally blindsided by what I walked into. My Father was furious. I endured an hour of being told that my life was over, I was going to be poor for the rest of my life, I would never finish school or get a good job, my boyfriend would leave me as soon as the baby was born and I would never get a guy again because “no one wants a girl who has a baby.” These were all my fears. These were all the things I had read and heard over the weeks. I had been relying on my parents, my most trusted support network, to shield me from these things. But in the moment of my greatest weakness, they tore me down that much more. When asked how I would afford to live on my own, I turned to my mom with desperation in my eyes and expressed that I had hoped to live at home just until I saved enough money to get my own place. To my utter disgust, the woman who had sympathized with me so deeply the day before totally turned her back on me, telling me, “Oh come on, I work full time, how am I going to sleep with a baby crying at all hours of the night.” I was speechless. At that moment I felt more alone than I ever had. My Father proceeded to tell me that an abortion was, “just a small quick procedure” and that the pregnancy was, “just a cluster of cells,” making it explicitly clear that he expected me to to go through with it.

I went to my room that night and cried myself to sleep, loud heartbreaking sobs that echoed through the whole house all night long. I thought if I cried long enough and loud enough my parents would come to my side and comfort me, and perhaps be moved by my profound sadness into reconsidering. They never came. I had found no support from my school or my parents, the two most important things in my life at that point. Although I had the undivided support of my boyfriend and his family, I was assured by my Dad, the man I looked up to most in this world, that he was going to leave me faster than I knew what hit me. I was numb, more numb than the day I read that positive test in the bathroom, more numb than I’d ever been in my life. And I stayed that way, almost as if I’d gone into autopilot.

The next morning my boyfriend and I woke up at 6:30 am. We got dressed in our sweatpants and hoodies and crawled into the car. I drove to the clinic as my boyfriend didn’t have his license. The experience felt something close to walking yourself to the hangman’s noose. I cried the whole way there. When we arrived we stopped on the road for what felt like an hour. We just sat in silence in the car. We discussed turning around and telling my parents we went through with it and letting them discover the lie in their own time. Every day of my life since then I wished I had done just that. But I was too numb to muster the strength for any act of rebellion that day. Sometimes I wish there had been pro-life picketers outside the clinic that morning. It may have given me the final push I needed to snap out of the trance.

In the clinic we were taken into a room and seen by a nurse. In hindsight, I know now they were supposed to give us emotional counselling and ensure the decision was really what we wanted, but at the time I did not know that. This is an example where

regulations towards abortion that are deemed “good practice” and which are meant to “make it safe” fall short. The nurse quickly asked if I was sure it’s what I wanted, I said yes, she checked a box on her sheet, and with that the topic was left alone. I think with a proper interview and a bit of prying I would have explained what was really going on and I could have been turned away like I should have been. It would have taken someone especially distracted to not notice how solemn and emotionless we both were, which should have been a red flag.

They made my boyfriend stay in the waiting room and put me in a room with other girls awaiting the procedure. There were women from all walks of life there, but the most heartbreaking to me was seeing a young girl no older than 15 sitting in a chair in the corner looking scared to death. I started to feel sick, then dizzy. I got up and left the room. Walking down the empty hallway towards the entrance, I yelled for help as I felt myself getting more dizzy, but no one was around. Finally I turned a corner into an office with nurses sitting at desks and was caught just seconds before I lost consciousness. When I came to, I threw up for a few minutes and then was sent back to the room to wait.

Eventually a nurse came to take me to get an ultrasound. In the room, the screen was turned away from me so I couldn’t see the baby. I asked to see the screen, and the nurse simply told me the monitor did not pivot. End of discussion.

The procedure itself was fine, and I have only the drugs to thank for that. My boyfriend came in the room and held my hand. There was a trolley beside the bed with various instruments and a thick long tube attached to a clear glass jar. I was terrified. I cried out in shock when the doctor put her fingers in me, to which she responded “We know you can fit a penis in there, so this shouldn’t be that bad.” I was offended by her lack of respect. I was still frantically panicking when one nurse asked if I wanted anti-anxiety medication through my IV, which I reluctantly agreed to. Never having any such medication other than that one time, I don’t know what is typical to expect, but what I was administered was very strong. My head started to spin and the world went soft, as though I was standing in a cloud. They started the procedure immediately without really giving me warning or time to prepare, and although I felt some pain it was like I could not react to it in my feather-light state. And then it was over as fast as it began, and I was sent home shortly after.

My boyfriend had a bedside view for the whole thing and to this day he refuses to tell me exactly what he saw for fear of upsetting me, but on occasion he has mentioned that using a clear glass jar seemed a bit of an archaic practice.

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I arrived home from the abortion, and we stood quietly in the kitchen. My Dad walked in and said, “Did you guys go already?” and we said yes. He looked straight at me and said “See, what did I say, it wasn’t that bad after all.” That moment was the cherry on top of a ruined relationship.

We stayed at my parents house for two months after the abortion. They pretended like nothing had happened and never spoke to me of it again, but I refuse to believe they didn’t see the the steady downward spiral I got sucked into.

No matter how hard I try, I can never put into words the profound pain I have experienced after having an abortion I did not want. I cried every night for months, again the same loud heart-wrenching sobs of someone who’s just lost the deepest love of her life. It’s impossible to explain if you haven’t been there, except to say that I would get hit with a wave of sadness that literally flushed over my entire body, and my heart at that moment would actually hurt, like sharp pains, in a way I imagine a heart attack would feel. I always thought “heartbreak” was a figurative term, but I learned after having an abortion that it is very possible to feel like your heart is literally breaking in two. It’s a sickening feeling that almost can’t be controlled.

There were other effects too, almost too many to list. My relationship with my parents was totally destroyed; I no longer trusted them, and in many ways I blamed them for failing me so severely. My goals and dreams all faded, my motivation disappeared, I started failing classes, not showing up for exams, not studying at all. I always loved school, but in this state, a lot of days I skipped school because getting out of bed was too much effort. I suffered with depression for at least a year after the procedure. I went through periods of self-loathing, numbness, uncontrollable crying, sadness and self isolation. At my deepest moments, my emotions would all disappear except for a pit in my stomach, and my wrists would ache as if asking me to just cut them and get it over with. I know what you are thinking, these are scary words. Trust me when I say they were even scarier feelings, ones that were all too often out of my control. From the stress I developed a horrible gastrointestinal disorder that left me crippled over with stomach pains for months on end. The doctors could not cure me because I could not verbalize or recognize what I was going through. I tried to talk to my best friend about it, but she did not understand. I tried to tell my boyfriend, but he had a hard time being there for me as he was facing his own demons from our choice. I told my Dad on many occasions that I was scared and needed to get help, but he never stepped up and got me there. For a long time I thought it was never going to end.

Though the most severe of the symptoms have faded from my life, there are still days where I relapse back into that deep, painfully heartbreaking sadness, especially on “anniversary dates.” And there are long term effects of being under that much stress and depression for so long. My memory is only a fraction of what it used to be; I hardly remember names, and it takes me twice as long to learn because I have to read information multiple times in order to absorb it. My personality is different too. I used to be an outgoing, energetic person, very positive and carefree right up until the last week before the abortion. Now I identify as being very quiet and introverted, I can hold a conversation but I get tired of social interaction quickly and crave to be alone. I find I have to remind myself to be positive on a daily basis. I no longer enjoy going out to parties and usually feel I don’t have the energy or patience for them. Before getting pregnant I enjoyed the same carefree lifestyle of most young adults, but now I feel as though I’m living a responsibility free life on “borrowed time”, time that I bartered for with my baby’s life. That feeling takes all the enjoyment out of a “child free existence.”

Looking into the future, it scares me to know that I simply don’t know how this is going to affect me moving forward. This is a demon that moves and changes over time. I don’t know how I will feel when I have my first child, or how I will feel if I never again have a chance to have a child, or if it is difficult to conceive later in life. I recently read a statistic that showed a majority of women on average took more than 7.5 years to atone or come to terms with their decision, and it scares me that it will take that long, because it negatively affects my life every single day.

Recently two of our friends got married, and have been sharing with us their plans to conceive soon. I began having dreams where they were pregnant and I would become very upset, almost angry, that they did it sooner than they had planned to. At first I simply thought, “what a strange dream”. But then I began to consider for the first time how I really would feel about seeing my friends go through that process. It’s one thing to see pregnant women or babies on the street, which at one time made me uncomfortable, but this will be my first experience with a friend going through pregnancy who will most certainly want to share every aspect of it with me. I fear the first time she asks me if I want to feel the baby kicking I am going to seriously relapse, and I think my dream is showing me this is happening faster than I’m ready to face it. But other people’s lives carry on, and I can’t quite explain to my friend why I can’t be around her while she’s pregnant. This will be one of many times in my life I’m going to have to learn to cope with the consequences of my choice.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am a different person than I was before the abortion, and I am not better off now than I was before. I wish every day that I could take it all back, choose to keep my baby and go on living the life I was meant to live. Every day since that moment has felt like I’m living a life that is not mine to live. The reality is I made a choice I can never take back.

These are the adverse effects of abortion that women often fail to consider before the procedure.

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I consider myself lucky to have now found healing enough to speak about my experience without bringing up painful feelings. That healing came from a strange place. It started with me in a very low place knowing I needed to do something to just share my feelings, to be understood by people who understood the issue, and I knew I needed to face those feelings head on.

Somehow I found myself sitting in a pro-life club meeting, our Life Choice club here at the university. At first I thought, “Are you crazy? What are you doing here? You’re going to be eaten alive.” Like many people, I had a stigmatized view of the Pro-Life Movement brought on from years of propaganda spread by people of opposing views. But I stayed and I listened. At first a few things were hard to listen to, not because they were offensive or attacking someone of my circumstance, but because they triggered all those hard feelings I was trying to snuff out. But I knew I had to face those feelings and I figured going all in was the best way to do that. Over time though, it got easier to listen to, and I started to view myself not as a victim of a crime of omission, but as a person with some real valuable evidence to bring to the cause. Suddenly I realized I could do more than silently wallow in my own heartbreak: I could redirect my feelings to reflect my aversion to a system that is hurting thousands of women a year, a system that hurt me. For the first time in my life, I thought “Hey, there is something really messed up happening in this country” and I realized it was not my fault I got burned by the system.

I remember, on one of these occasions, our club member Alex giving a talk on how women need, above all other things, love and support when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, and how women need support when they have had to face abortion too. I was so deeply moved by the concern that everyone was expressing for women in like circumstances to mine that I decided to share my story with the group. Now not everyone may agree with my choices in the past, but not at all to my surprise, everyone was respectful about my situation and sympathetic as well as supportive. I knew from then on I was in the right place. I only wish I met this lovely group of men and women prior to making my decision about abortion. But I’m happy I’m here now.

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Prior to my abortion I was undecidedly “pro-choice”. I would identify as somewhere right in the middle. I am not religious, I had no good reason to be against abortion, even though I knew it wasn’t for me, and was never really the type to get involved in someone else’s choices. I still am not. But now I identify more with being “pro-life” as I feel that there is a lot not being talked about on the issue. I feel women like me all too often lack guidance and end up asking the wrong questions, ultimately leading to a life altering mistake. Most of all, I feel that a majority of the time abortion is a disservice to women, giving them a sugar-coated promise of an “easy way out” without fully disclosing the fine print of what happens to you after you have made that choice.

Prior to having the abortion, I asked questions like “how is a baby going to change my life?”, and most of the responses were negative. They scared me into thinking I couldn’t do it. I lacked resources to support me. It’s a scary world we live in where a mother and father who love each other dearly and desperately desire to have their baby feel they have no choice but to brutally terminate their pregnancy because of the negative, often twisted messages they are being sent about parenthood and success. The messages we failed to receive were those of the sheer poetic beauty of parenthood, the inner strength that comes from having a beloved child dependant on you, and the overwhelmingly positive effect which such responsibility can have on your life and on your success.

The one question I didn’t think to ask was “How is having an abortion going to change my life?”. I think abortion is viewed as a quick fix, a fast procedure that allows you to carry on as though nothing happened at all. So I think often times people don’t consider what life looks like after an abortion. I wasn’t prepared for that answer. I think many women aren’t prepared. I believe if more women asked this question and were educated on the facts of post-abortion reactions they would find the strength to say “abortion isn’t for me”, or at least they would be prepared for the worst.

Many say abortion is a milestone for “women’s rights” and “empowering women.” I no longer agree with that view. From where I’m sitting, it looks like there is a crime being committed against women in this country: a crime of omission. Women are not receiving aid when they are in need. They are not receiving full disclosure of the risks involved with the procedure they are considering. Our society is failing to act and provide women with the resources and support they need. Once backed into a corner, women are being handed a “cure all solution” with a promise to make it all go away. But what no one is saying is that once you become pregnant, your life changes forever, regardless of whether or not you have the baby, and nothing in this world can “make it all go away.”

If a woman truly does not want kids and/or is dead set in her decision, I feel it is not my place to tell her otherwise. You simply can’t win every battle. But nowadays abortions are handed out all too freely. There should be much stricter regulations that require women to see qualified counsellors and undergo a set number of sessions over a few weeks prior to being allowed to have an abortion for nonmedical reasons. There should be policies in place to protect and support women who want their babies but feel backed into a corner. An unplanned pregnancy is a scary and stressful time. Your mind can go in a different direction every day. It’s just too big of a decision to leave to someone without proper counselling and consideration.

I’m not saying women’s choices need to be pried at, or that they should be treated like they are unable to make a decision. I think if more questions were asked we would find more often that it is an issue of feeling inadequate or unsupported, not an issue of women simply not wanting their babies. But those questions aren’t being asked by the medical professionals writing up referrals for abortions . If we ask more questions, we can find the root of the problem and we can create support which helps eliminate the problem all together. If we can do this, one day we might live in a world where unplanned pregnancies are not perceived as life destroying situations. A world where women faced with unplanned pregnancy think, “I can do this” instead of, “Should I have an abortion?” A world where abortion is no longer a common or even necessary thing.

The sad part is, those who are bold enough to stand up and speak the unpalatable truth are condemned and labeled as “religious extremists”  or “women haters.” In today’s culture, we think we have a right to be shielded from views that oppose our own. It’s much easier to stay with the flock and write off statements we don’t like as “crazy talk” than it is to accept that maybe we’ve got it wrong. The problem with this way of thinking in regards to abortion is that it’s enabling the ignorant self destruction of thousands of women each year. I think it’s time to bite the bullet and accept that maybe abortion isn’t the empowering social movement we would all like to think it is.

 

If you’re pregnant or struggling after an abortion and unsure of the resources and support that’s available for you in Guelph, email us at uoglifechoice@gmail.com or visit the following sites:

 http://www.beginningsguelph.ca/ http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/ 

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“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” A Perceptual Controversy (not about a dress)

There are a couple of experiences that I’m fairly certain I’ll never have in my life. For instance, I’m fairly certain I’ll never go to Utah, or eat pickled eggs, or try bog snorkelling. Not to say those experiences are bad…I’m sure they’re all great, but I will probably never try them.

Another thing I thought I’d never do was the very thing I spent my whole reading week doing…

I spent my reading week using abortion victim photography to talk to people about abortion. 

Yeah, I still can’t really believe I did that. 

Using abortion victim photography as a method of changing people’s minds about abortion was something I knew people did, but I used to think it was an overall a bad idea. I thought it was too in-your-face, and I thought it’d make more people angry than change minds. Don’t get me wrong, I was all about ending abortion, but my idea of an effective method was to: (a) be kind to people, (b) address the topic of abortion with pro-choicers only when it came up (which as you can imagine was almost never), and (c) hope to somehow passively change everyone’s mind about the issue! Believe it or not, in the several years I’ve considered myself pro-life, this tactic hasn’t gotten me very far. 

Last September was the first time I heard someone talk about using abortion victim photography and the incredible effect they’d seen. I was definitely surprised and amazed to hear countless stories about people actually changing their minds after seeing the images and having a conversation. Hearing her story made me change MY mind, in the sense that I saw that this method did work. But I was still convinced I would never do it myself.

After that September though, I couldn’t silence a little voice in my head that chanted, “Do it, do it, Alex, you should do it.” Eventually I gave in to that adament voice, and there I was, off to Orlando, Florida to spend a week in front of a huge display of very sad abortion victim photography asking passersby what they thought about abortion.

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A conversation with a girl who was extremely saddened from looking at our display.

That experience, which I never thought I would have, was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I realized how necessary it is to talk to people about this, and how one image and one conversation could change someone so much. 

I had so many challenging, interesting, sometimes heated, often deep, and surprising conversations with people during those few days we spent at the University of Central Florida. The images really got people reacting and thinking. Some people saw the images and changed their minds completely about abortion, while others didn’t. Actually, one thing that surprised me was hearing just how differently some people saw the images. 

“What do you think of the display?” I would ask someone. 

“It’s fine. Those aren’t human.” 

That always caught me off guard. “Wait,” I wanted to say, “You don’t see a human in that picture? Are we looking at the same picture..?”

And you know, some of us see humans, some of us don’t. Some of us see blue and black, some of us see white and gold. How is that possible?

If you don’t understand that reference I just made, I’m super impressed that you’ve gotten away with not getting involved in the most random heated controversy on the internet, and forgive me as I pull you out from under your rock. This is what I’m talking about: 

What colours do you see?

Three days ago the world got into this ridiculously huge debate about the colour of a single dress. While half the world saw blue and black when looking at an image of this dress, the other half saw white and gold. The crazy part is that people are looking at the SAME thing! 

Now while determining the actual colour of this dress isn’t an ethical dilemma, the abortion debate IS, and one way or another, a grave injustice is going on. We all need to figure out if abortion is okay or not okay because one of two unacceptable things is currently happening:

  1. Abortion IS okay and pro-lifers are doing women a grave injustice by stealing their rights to their own bodies… OR
  2. Abortion is NOT okay and is ending the life of an innocent human being. Our nation is not only accepting this violation of human rights, but is also fully funding it through tax dollars.

Now, if the former is true, then I’m in the wrong and I’d appreciate if someone shared with me the truth. It’d be a tough pill to swallow, but hopefully I’d be honest enough with myself to admit I’m wrong and thank that someone for setting me straight.  

Yet I realized that’s why using images is so necessary- they get the conversation started. I used them to share how I see the pictures and hear how other people see the pictures, trying to get them to see that there is only one answer. Because in the case of the mysterious dress, there is in fact a right answer (the dress is actually blue and black, believe it or not…weird…) and so it is with the abortion debate. There is a right and a wrong here, and it was incredible to witness people come to see that. Many people did end up admitting, “I never saw it that way before. Abortion is wrong,” or at least, “I see where you’re coming from, I have to think about this more.”

And I know it’s not a pleasant experience, admitting being wrong, especially after being so sure of the contrary, but you know, discovering truth and admitting you’re wrong is one of those experiences that comes with being human.

So, after it all, I’m really grateful for the experience that I was so sure I would never have. It was hard but so so good. When two people look at the same thing but see something different, and that difference costs lives, that difference desperately needs to be challenged.

And we need not be afraid of that challenge. We just need to be willing to experience it.

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Remembering to Listen, Learn, and Challenge Ourselves as Pro-Life Activists

– Brianne Gayfer, January 2015 –

I have over two years of experience, to date, being somewhat of a pro-life activist. As an extremely shy individual, I have pled my case mainly online, in blog form. Through countless discussions and debates with many people on the pro-choice side I have had my views on abortion stretched and reshaped over and over. I am still pro-life. Perhaps even more pro-life than I ever was before, but I think I have also gained a huge amount of understanding and compassion for both the pro-choice activists and the women who have wrestled with the choice to have an abortion.

Growing up I think I really believed that women who had abortions were evil and people who were pro-choice were crazy baby-haters, which is not all that surprising coming from a background where everyone I knew pretty much believed the same things I did. So I guess what I want to say here, to all pro-lifers, is that one of the most important things we can do for this movement is to start listening to the other side. Maybe once we start listening, we can engage in discussions that actually allow both sides to learn and grow. Both those for and against abortion so often speak defensively or in anger and I think that comes from a place of both sides desperately fearing what will happen if they are shut down

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Talking to many people on the pro-choice side, I’ve discovered something I didn’t really understand before: they are genuinely trying to help women in the best way they know how. I’ve spoken to too many young women coerced into abortions, because of a society that often presents abortion as not only A choice, but the BEST choice or, worse, the ONLY choice. If we can talk to each we’ll hopefully realize that we agree on some things – pro-choice advocates say that what they want for women is choices, but when abortion is presented as the only viable choice, no one wins. We don’t win, because a life is lost. Pro-choice doesn’t win, because there are no choices.

I think there needs to be more times that we can come together – both to support the other choices that women have (or should have) other than abortion, and just to talk. It is good to have people around you who agree with you, who can build you up and fuel you to stay strong in your beliefs, but it isn’t enough. To grow, to understand even your own position as a pro-life advocate, you need to engage with those who don’t agree. Not antagonistically, but earnestly listening, so that when your time comes to speak you can reply in a way that shows that you have taken the time to understand where they are coming from and you are not just arguing with your own preconceptions of what a pro-choice advocate believes.

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The Trap

I’m convinced no one ever wants to have an abortion. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a particularly pleasant procedure to have. I can’t imagine any woman upon finding out she’s pregnant thinking, “yippee! I get to have an abortion! This is going to rock!” I’d bet that’s not how it works. Putting aside for a moment the fact that it ends a human life, an invasive operation that involves picking apart a little fetus inside you just sounds awful. Abortion is awful. And while some people would say abortion is necessary, a human right, an important medical procedure, I really don’t think anyone would say it’s great. Abortion is not great.

Last semester was quite a busy one for our club at Guelph. One event we hosted was called Silent No More, a campaign where women came in and shared their regrets about their abortion experiences. The morning of this event we advertised in our university centre by surveying students and asking them what they thought about the abortion experience, and whether they thought regret was a common and big issue for women. One girl whom I chatted with answered my questions with wariness, cautious not to agree with me or my pro-life views. When I asked her if she thought all women who get an abortion actually want one, she answered with a quote:

“No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

Funny enough, it turns out she was quoting Frederica Mathewes-Green, the former vice-president of Feminists for Life of America. I didn’t know that at the time, and I’m guessing neither did she. Her quote did get me thinking though. The point she was trying to make was that yes, abortion sucks, but it needs to be available to women who find themselves trapped in a pregnancy they see no other way out of. Women don’t want to have abortions, but they have them because they feel like they must in order to survive.

To continue with the animal trap analogy, if one third of the women in our country were getting caught in bear traps and gnawing off their own legs, is the appropriate response of our society to provide them with the tools? Make it free and support them without judgement as they remove their own limbs and go on with life never the same? Hopefully everyone else sees that there should be a more positive solution here. We have to ask ourselves, “is there any way we can help free these women from these traps without cutting off their legs? What do they need, and how can we help them?”

Maybe making abortion more available to a scared pregnant woman isn’t the most helpful thing to do. If knowing that there are services, resources, and support available changes a pregnant woman’s decision to go through with her pregnancy, then isn’t that saying something? If a women chooses abortion because she feels she has no other option, then it’s not actually a choice. This might sound contradictory to say, but I think our campuses needs to be more pro-choice, providing not only for the needs of women who choose abortions, but also for the unique needs of women who choose life, because honestly…I bet that’s not easy.

So to the student who shared with me that quote—if you’re right, then we need change. If women have abortions for the same reasons an entrapped animal gnaws off its own leg, why don’t we do something about that? Women deserve better than this single ‘choice’ that they’re trapped with. Being pregnant ISN’T the bear trap; being pregnant and thinking abortion is the only option is the trap. Being pregnant and alone is the trap. An animal that gnaws off its leg is truly hopeless, but if someone was there to remove the trap, there’s hope in that. There’s life in that.

Can’t we offer that to women?

What if that would change things?

[If you’re pregnant and unsure of the resources and support that’s available for you in Guelph, email us at uoglifechoice@gmail.com or visit the following sites: http://michaelhouse.ca/ http://www.beginningsguelph.ca/ ]

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Dear UofGuelph, You’re Not As Pro-Choice As You Think You Are…

When I started my university experience at Guelph, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this school. Orientation week was when Guelph made its first real impression on me, and one thing really struck me when this school was trying to win me over; I was told that my new university had actually been voted in the past as the “Most Caring University“. I thought that was pretty cool, and as the semester rolled on I realized my school definitely lived up to its title. Guelph cares. With so many support services for mental health, physical health, sexual health, financial help, gender equality, minorities and disabilities of all kinds, Guelph truly takes on the identity of being an all-around loving institution.

Wow, I live in the ideal university world, right? Well actually, in all its efforts to care, the University of Guelph seems to lack support services in one particular area… services for women with an unplanned pregnancy.

Let me ask you- what does a student need when she finds herself with an unplanned pregnancy? Support, information, and options, right?

Well, I don’t think the University of Guelph offers enough of these things…particularly the third thing.

Woah, wait Alex… you’re pro-life, you don’t believe in options! Guelph on the other hand, is pro-choice. They support all the options and offer all the options. 

Do they? Or do they offer just one?

Looking through the uoguelph website and researching what someone looking for pregnancy options would find, and here’s what I discovered:

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Hmm. Interesting how our school says “there are many places you can go for comfort and support where you will be given information to help you reach the decision that is right for you…” but the only decision that’s mentioned is abortion, and the friendly reminder that abortion is free.

What about the option to go through with the pregnancy? The option of parenthood? Or adoption? Yes maybe these options aren’t free and aren’t easy, but is it really pro-choice to not mention them?

Last year, our Life Choice club went to the school’s Wellness Centre with the idea of implementing a care package program through them: diapers, baby blankets, and other little things all packed in a diaper bag and completely funded by Life Choice, to give to any woman who comes to them pregnant and who’s not going to have an abortion. Surprisingly enough, the care packages weren’t accepted because that would go against the Wellness Centre’s “Choice Model“. Offering care packages could be considered a reward or a bribe for women to keep their babies, which would go against their un-pressuring philosophy.

“No no, it’s your choice. I won’t tell you what to do or push any diaper bags on you, but I’ll just kindly remind you that abortion is free.”

Does anyone else smell a double standard…?

The Sisters of Life, a group of women who have devoted their entire lives to help pregnant and post-abortive women say that the main reason women choose abortion is fear- fear that they can’t do it, fear that they don’t have what they need, fear that abortion is their only choice.

Guelph, I know you care, I see that in so much of what you do. Please recognize what is lacking. Don’t point a pregnant woman in the direction of an abortion. Don’t make her feel that it is her only option. Give her HOPE. If there is even one woman out there who chooses abortion because she doesn’t think she has a choice, don’t you care to prevent that? Shouldn’t this change?

Offering pregnant women on campus more resources that don’t point them to abortion, or to places that’ll profit from talking them into an abortion, is the mission of the Life Choice club this year. This Tuesday we’re having a bake sale to raise money for Michael House, an organization that offers shelter and support to pregnant and parenting women. There is help and support for the students on campus who will become mothers- they just need to know about it. I feel like this is a mission that both pro-choice and pro-life people can fight for together.

Motherhood is scary. And I don’t think any of our mothers would tell us it was easy, yet they all believed that it would be worth it. Because of that, we now live. A woman needs to be believed in, so don’t be so quick to tell her abortion is free putting that single choice in her mind as though she’s not strong enough to consider or do anything else. She is. She is strong and good and has the heart and the courage to be an amazing mom whatever circumstance she happens to be in. She is beautiful, supported and capable. And it’s your job to make sure she knows that.

So don’t take away that choice.

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The Road Ahead

Wizard 6 Emerald City

You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. – Rosa Parks 

A little over a week ago I spent a weekend in a place that seemed too good to be true, a made-up land perhaps…actually as more time passes, the more I feel as though I did just dream up the whole thing.

This Oz that I am talking about is the NCLN Symposium- a pro-life conference put on by pro-life power-houses to train and equip members of pro-life clubs on university campuses all across Canada. This was a place where everyone around was, in fact, pro-life and shared the belief that abortion is wrong.

Woah, right?

It was such a great and unusual experience being surrounded by people who feel the same way as I do about abortion and have the same passion as I do to end it. I was in a place where I could openly share how sad I am for the pain abortion causes women, or how angry I am at abortion clinics and their coercive ways used to make ridiculous profit, or how frustrated I am at our culture’s double standard when it comes to human rights. I could share these views openly and everyone agreed and shared similar opinions!  Seriously, not used to that.

Being a pro-lifer at a university such as Guelph’s, I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to being part of the minority who thinks the littlest of us should have the right to live and that the best solution for an unplanned pregnancy ISN’T to “undo” it. I am pretty aware that this isn’t the general consensus at school. With not a single pregnant student in sight and a Planned Parenthood ad in the section of our survival guides that’s supposed to tell us where to go if pregnant, it seems the culture around me is more pro-abortion than anything…

So as you could imagine, it was a breath of fresh air being at this symposium. I wasn’t in Kansas- I mean Guelph, anymore, and a big part of me wanted to stay there forever. That would be counter-productive though… if you want to change the world, you can’t only surround yourself with people who agree with you. So now we’re back to school, but I’ve taken a lot from the weekend with me, and I hope to hang on to all I’ve learned like a life vest in this stormy pro-abortion sea!

There are three specific things that struck me:

We are human rights activists. There’s a significant group in our population who do not have the rights that they deserve, that we all deserve- the right to live, and this is no different from the other major human rights violations in the past. When some people were considered slaves, it was perfectly legal to deny them their rights to freedom. The law said these humans were not persons. Many people accepted that this was how their society had to run. But then there were those few loud and bold individuals who stood up for them. Those human rights activists took on the struggle and fought the unconquerable battle until it was conquered. It’s no different now. We are human rights activists fighting for what will one day end, and when our grandchildren live in a world where, like slavery now, abortion is unthinkable, and they ask us if we did anything about it, we won’t have to be ashamed about our indifference or our silence.

Being Pro-life is an action. Okay so I’ve always thought abortion was wrong, but sometimes I just didn’t think about it, and sometimes I felt like it was just too big of an issue for me to be able to do anything…so I didn’t do anything. I justified this by telling myself that I know it’s wrong, I would never have one, and that’s as far as being pro-life needs to go. What’s wrong with this picture is that being an inactive pro-lifer is believing abortion is killing human beings but letting it go on! I know it’s a huge battle to fight, but we’re 100% sure to lose if we fight with apathy and inaction. The Pro-Life Movement is gaining momentum and everyone has something to offer it! We need social media masterminds, prayer warriors, convincing conversationalists, generous funders, maternal support super heroes, and SO much more. Preborn infants can’t speak or act. But we can. And we must.

Finally, Be courageous and have hope, change is ACTUALLY possible. The biggest thing I got out of the weekend was HOPE. It’s so easy to get discouraged and think that no one will ever change their mind about abortion, but I learned that hearts and minds are being changed across Canada. Through logical, loving, and honest dialogue many people are realizing the injustice. The CCBR, Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, is an incredible and gutsy organization that goes out to the streets with the very real images of abortion victims. As alarming as that sounds, a lot of people take those images to heart. Of course people get angry at the display, but then they talk with the CCBR members and come to the conclusion that abortion is in fact taking the life of a person. These conversations aren’t heated debates, like so many of our discussions about abortion end up being; these conversations are rooted in love for all life, and THAT is what changes things. I know this yellow brick road pro-lifers have to walk is not an easy one, but take courage and love those who are pro-choice, because it’s that courage and that love which WILL change hearts and save lives.

I’m writing all of this not just for you to read and hopefully be inspired, but for myself also. I feel as though the fire I have for this cause is blazing and ready to take on the world, but I know being at university is like placing this fire in a blizzard. This battle is so incredibly tough. Discouragement and apathy are sure to take a swing at me this year, but when they do, I hope to read this and remember that we can’t stop because we’re tired, or because it’s hard. We can only stop on the day every heart and mind believes the truth, and the land of Oz- the land that respects all human life, won’t be somewhere over the rainbow, but right here at home.

And there’s no place like home.

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Q&A: What About Overpopulation?

This question comes up a lot.  On the surface, it seems to make sense: we want future generations to be able to enjoy this lovely earth and all the wonders of nature, without overcrowding and destroying the place.  Thus, we shouldn’t create more people than will fit on the earth.

Before considering the topic of overpopulation itself, let’s just correct one assumption in that statement.  Often people see abortion as a preventative measure, to stop population growth before it happens.  The problem with this is that the unborn child already exists.  It’s too late to prevent anything: he or she is nestled happily in the womb, chilling out in the amniotic fluid while his/her cells multiply at an amazing rate.  So what is really being advocated here is killing humans in order to make the world better for the ones who are already grown.  Do you think someone could use overpopulation as a justification for killing a seven-year-old?  Why, then, is it a good reason to kill an unborn child?

If you really want to get into a discussion about overpopulation, Steve Mosher has a wonderful collection of videos.  This video highlights the fact that many countries are now below replacement rate, meaning that people aren’t having enough children to replace the current generation.  As we see already in China, this puts immense pressure on the younger generation to support a huge amount of retirees, and reduces the young workforce, problems that will only be magnified in future generations.

China’s one-child policy, intended to alleviate overpopulation and crowding, has had other devastating effects.  Forced abortion has been taking place there for decades.  Government officials routinely abduct women who are seven, eight, even nine months pregnant, and take them to hospitals where they are forced to have abortions against their will.  ‘Family Planning Officials’ get monetary rewards for limiting births, so the practice is not likely to end soon.  Human rights activist Chen Guangcheng drew attention to this in his village, and was swiftly put under house arrest by the Chinese Government.  Even Batman couldn’t save the day: when actor Christian Bale tried to visit Chen and show his support, plainclothes police officers physically prevented him from entering the village.  Even if Steve Mosher hasn’t convinced you that overpopulation is a myth, surely you can agree that killing children – especially using the Chinese government’s draconian methods – is not a good solution.

 

 

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Speak Up: They Can’t Hear You on the Hill

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with a local MP to discuss the upcoming vote on Motion 312.  For those who aren’t familiar with it, Motion 312 proposes the formation of a committee to discuss the Criminal Code’s definition of when human life begins.  At present, the definition is scientifically out-of-date, declaring:

“A child becomes a human being…when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother…” (Section 223 of the Criminal Code of Canada)

The wording of this is so bizarre that I’m surprised a committee hasn’t tackled it already.  What are they suggesting the ‘child’ is before it’s a human being?  What species is a woman carrying for those nine months?  Technology has given us amazing insights into human development in the womb.  Anyone performing pre-natal surgery, or viewing an ultrasound image, would be hard-pressed to argue that the unborn child is not a human.

Though the MP I spoke with didn’t disagree with me there, he did state that Canadians found the current Criminal Code to be ‘acceptable’, and indicated that most people in the riding agreed with him.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t find it ‘acceptable’ that the current Criminal Code is in direct conflict with biology and sound logic.  Clearly, I’m not the only one: a 2011 poll by Abacus Data showed that 59% of Canadians advocate legal protection for children at some point before their birth.  An astonishing 72% said the same thing in a 2011 poll by Environics.  In each poll, almost 30% believed that such protection should be offered from the point of conception onwards.  Clearly, Canadians are not on board with the unscientific, absurd oddity parading around as law.  Why, then, are our government representatives not aware of this?

I’ll be honest – at 23 years old, I had never met with an MP before.  I have a hunch that there are a lot of youth out there who are not familiar with local politics.   However, in a society where often only the loudest are heard, I think we need to be considerably louder.  We can respectfully make our views known to our local representatives, so they’re no longer laboring under the illusion that they’re accurately representing the views of their riding.  We need to get involved with pro-life activism, to show that we are not okay with the current lack of abortion legislation.  We can become involved on the provincial level as well, and make it known that we do not think our tax dollars should go towards funding abortion on demand.

There are certainly many branches of the pro-life movement that are worthy of our attention.  It’s crucial to talk to individuals, and change people’s minds one at a time.  It’s important to spend time supporting women in crisis pregnancies, and to continue supporting them once their children are born.  However, the law needs to change too.  Every day that abortion is still legal in our country, and our tax dollars are going towards it, we carry the weight of responsibility on our shoulders.

At the end of the day, the goal is to have a country where abortion is recognized as the murder of a human being – recognized both in the hearts of its citizens, and in its law.  In order to achieve this, we need to speak up, shake ourselves out of complacency, and make sure our MPs know that the current state of things is not ‘acceptable’.

For more information on Motion 312, and how to contact your local MP, visit letsstopthepretense.com.  Send an e-mail, call them on the phone, or meet them in person — let them know that you support Motion 312, and you hope that they will too.

 

 

 

 

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