“Choice” Chain at U of T

UTSFL "Choice" Chain

Of all the days this week to pick to start our “Choice” Chain campaign at the University of Toronto, Wednesday’s snowstorm was less than ideal compared to the balmy Monday, Tuesday and Friday this week. But it wasn’t a snow day for U of T — or for abortion clinics — so a little bit of snow wasn’t going to stop us.

UTSFL "Choice" Chain

We stayed out for a bit over 2 hours, and were surprised at how many people stopped to talk or take a pamphlet, even in the snow. We had 9 volunteers with 4 “choice” signs and 2 life signs on display at the heart of campus.

UTSFL "Choice" Chain

1977196_721092631256175_72504150_n

Thanks to our activism team members who braved the snow this week to make the humanity of pre-born children and the inhumanity of abortion known on campus. If you’re interested in getting involved with the UTSFL Activism Team to change hearts and minds about abortion and save the lives of pre-born children, send us an email at students.forlife@utoronto.ca!

UTSFL "Choice" Chain

Abortion Debate

“Be it resolved that abortion hurts women.” On November 8, 2013, University of Toronto Students for Life hosted a debate on this topic between pro-life activist Stephanie Gray and abortionist Dr. Fraser Fellows. However, the debate soon went beyond its framework, reaching out to the audience and making us responsible to determine the future of abortion in Canada.

Stephanie Gray began the evening with a description of the ways that abortion hurts women. “Abortion hurts a woman because of what it does to her child,” she said, after showing a graphic depiction of the abortion procedure.

Dr. Fellows began his argument with the “why” behind abortion. He said that abortion is never an easy decision, and that desperation is what leads a woman to it. “To deny a woman abortion is to expose her to injury and death,” he said.

In the period of questions that followed, Dr. Fellows tried to discredit Stephanie Gray’s studies and statistics. Stephanie tried to get Dr. Fellows to admit that he is in the business of killing pre-born humans. Stephanie also touched on the issue of sex-selective abortion, which Dr. Fellows does not perform. When asked why choosing to have an abortion because one’s child is female is different from abortion for any other reason, Dr. Fellows said that society has judged sex-selective abortion to be wrong. The nuances of this remark would permeate throughout the evening.

As the debate continued, the idea of abortion laws as the responsibility of society was emphasized by both speakers. Stephanie Gray pointed out that abortion itself never eliminates the problems that drive women to have abortion. “Abortion does not un-rape a rape victim,” she said. She called for a movement to get to the heart of the motivations for abortion and to solve these issues in ways that do no harm to mother or child. Dr Fellows admitted that he is at arms length from the abortion decision process. He then made an astonishing declaration, considering his position: that every woman regrets abortion for one reason or another. Dr. Fellows told the audience that the reason he participates in debates such as these is because he does not believe that we should become complacent about the issue of abortion. He claimed that he is just providing safe access to a service that society has deemed necessary.

So we are left with a debate that went way beyond a mere discussion of the issues. It effectually presented us with two calls to action. One, gathered from Stephanie Gray’s remarks, is the responsibility to alleviate situations that lead women to abortions, such as poverty. This call includes supporting our pro-life crisis pregnancy centers and making them known in our communities. The second call, gathered from Dr. Fellow’s remarks, is much more daunting, but also more crucial. For the most part, the scientific and technical realities of abortion are no longer hidden. There is no way to debate what abortion does and how it does it. But why abortions have to occur remains a contentious issue. Therefore, it is our duty, as pro-life activists, to show people why abortions do not have to occur. It is our duty to show them why abortions should be unthinkable. It is our duty to advocate for the pre-born and to change hearts and minds. As Dr. Fellows admitted, if we want to eliminate “abortionist” from the list of medical professions, what we have to do is to change the way that society thinks of abortion once and for all.

Life Week: November 4-8

We’re making next week Life Week at the University of Toronto!

Look for us on campus!

First, we’ll have a visible public presence on campus early in the week, with activism projects and information tables. If you’d like to help out, please contact us for more information.

Then, we’re hosting three big events at the end of the week:

  1. Thurs Nov 7 @ 7pm: Abortion vs. Childbirth: The Latest Evidence on Psychological Risks (lecture)
  2. Fri Nov 8 @ 9am-4pm: Complications: Abortion’s Impact on Women (full-day conference)
  3. Fri Nov 8 @ 7pm: Stephanie Gray vs. late-term abortionist Dr. Fraser Fellows (debate)

1. LECTURE: Abortion vs. Childbirth: The Latest Evidence on Psychological Risks

Date: Thursday, November 7 at 7:00pm
Location: Father Madden Hall (Carr Hall, 100 St. Joseph Street)
Cost: Free!
https://www.facebook.com/events/607553529290449/

Dr. Priscilla Coleman

Come to this free public lecture, in association with the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, featuring Dr. Priscilla Coleman on Abortion vs. Childbirth: The Latest Evidence on Psychological Risks.

Space is limited, so get there early!

2. CONFERENCE: Complications: Abortion’s Impact on Women

Date: Friday, November 8 9am-4pm (Registration: 8:30am)
Location: Father Madden Hall (Carr Hall, 00 St. Joseph Street)
Cost: Regular $60; Students $20. Lunch and refreshments included.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1426135750943000/

Complications: Abortion's Impact on Women (book cover)

In association with the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, this conference will present explosive new research that shows a multitude of harmful effects on women’s health from abortion. Be one of the first to get the latest findings from this new book. Abortion can impact future infertility, cancer, autoimmune disease, depression and more. Includes powerful personal stories.

Featuring:

  • Dr. Priscilla Coleman
  • Dr. Angela Lanfranchi
  • Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy
  • Professor Ian Gentles
  • Angelina Steenstra
  • and many more.

To register, contact the deVeber Institute via the web, or email or by phone at 416-256-0555.

3. DEBATE: Stephanie Gray vs. late-term abortionist Dr. Fraser Fellows

Date: Friday, November 8 at 7:00pm
Location: JRR Macleod Auditorium, Medical Sciences Building (MS 2158), 1 King’s College Circle
Cost: Free!
https://www.facebook.com/events/235396916614972/

Stephanie Gray

Sponsored by the Canadian Physicians for Life, pro-life speaker Stephanie Gray of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform will debate late-term abortionist Dr. Fraser Fellows on the topic of whether abortion is harmful to women. No matter what you think about abortion, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to here the best arguments from both sides.

Space is limited, so get there early!

Alive and developing

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/our-son-lived-only-minutes-after-birth-but-has-touched-thousands

During summer, many miles away from Toronto, a mother was giving birth to her child. After some minutes he passed away. Why? Well, because he was a 19-week child and, at the same time –although our culture doesn’t consider children to be human persons until the full-term of pregnancy– he was the little human brother of a couple girls. It calls my attention that a 19-week child inside the womb wouldn’t be considered as such, while a 19-week child outside the womb, still highly dependent, is considered a living child –for some minutes. Happily, this small and delicate person spent his last moment in the arms of his mother.

If there’s any error, it would be calling this 19-week baby outside the womb a non-living boy just as it would be an error naming him inside the womb as no-person.  But many prefer other names even related to the problem of dependency. “He is not quite yet a person”, some would argue. But, if this is the case, this non-person-yet or undeveloped person, should ask us when will we see the standard model of a fully developed person? A teenager developing his or her personhood isn’t deprived from the right to life. A father, with a toddler who might be considered less developed, would never think his child has no right to life. So why shouldn’t a 19-week child inside the womb be a person with right to life?

If this model of a fully developed person is ever found, I am afraid many would stop being considered developed persons with the resulting right to life. Thus, nobody says the teenager mentioned above is nothing but an undeveloped person, or a developing person. Let’s just call him or her as it should be: a person, who is naturally characterized for being constantly developing.

But, when did this happen? No magic wand was in the doctor’s hand when we were called persons for the first time. To leave this to mere human consensus would be likewise. And this is the case of attributing personhood only in the moment one leaves his or her mother’s womb. We have to discard such criterion.

It’s A Girl …again!

“In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”” (http://www.itsagirlmovie.com/). The documentary It’s a Girl reveals the issue and it asks why this is happening, and why so little is being done to save girls.

We’ll screen It’s A Girl this coming Thursday, October 17, in ES B142 (Earth Sciences Centre, 33 Willcocks Street), at 7pm. Help us spread the word https://www.facebook.com/events/280257772099509/

poster

On the death of Henry Morgentaler

Henry Morgentaler

We are saddened to hear about the death of Henry Morgentaler, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family — but our thoughts and prayers are also very much with the 3 million pre-born children who have been killed by abortion in Canada, many by his own hands.

His legacy is blood-stained: over 3 million children have been killed by abortion in Canada — nearly a quarter of our generation have lost their lives to abortion.

His legacy is a Canada, alone among democratic nations in having no legal protection at all for children in the womb, leaving us in the company of only countries like North Korea and China.

It is tragic that Henry Morgentaler used his long life to ensure that the lives of so many Canadian children would be cut extremely short.

These past decades have been witness to his blood-stained legacy, but in the years ahead, our focus is on undoing his work, so that our legacy might be one of ending the killing.

“It’s A Girl” Movie Screening: Monday, March 25

On Monday, March 25th at 6pm in Sid Smith 2135, we’re hosting a free public screening of the documentary It’s A Girl. Help spread the word with our Facebook event. Hope to see you there!

In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.

The war against girls is rooted in centuries-old tradition and sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics which, in combination with government policies, accelerate the elimination of girls.

Shot on location in India and China, It’s a Girl reveals the issue. It asks why this is happening, and why so little is being done to save girls and women.

What will be the new face of euthanasia look like?

Hey guys, first of all Happy Holidays from your friends here at UTSFL. Now onto the main topic: a few weeks ago the always brilliant Margaret Summerville made a speech here at U of T on the subject of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, a topic which is of great relevance to us today because, at this moment as many of you know, the Supreme Court is reviewing a motion from British Columbia about whether to revisit legalizing euthanasia, on a flimsy legal technicality that would overrule an earlier 1993 case which held that Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia were constitutionally illegal. Dr. Summerville also mentioned similar cases going on right now in Belgium where they, after legalizing euthanasia a number of years ago, are at this moment in discussion about whether to allow euthanasia in cases of minors below the age of 18, an extremely troubling concept I will get to later on.

However, as I was doing my research for this topic, I found that euthanasia was not a debate that was limited to Canada and Belgium. A brief Google search revealed a powerfully worded article from New Zealand condemning euthanasia on demand (citing, who else, Margaret Summerville) in regards to a euthanasia on demand bill proposed by an MP; a report from the French government’s president Francois Hollande recommending that French law continue to prohibit legal euthanasia, and a newsbyte from  Ireland indicating a grassroots movements to challenge those countries’ laws on the subject, and that was without even scrolling to the bottom of the page! It seems that all over the world people and governments are grappling with the issue of whether or not doctors, or anyone else for that matter, have the right to kill other people, and whether or not that decision should be effected by whether they wanted to die or not.

It seems ironic therefore that with all the worldwide debate on this issue that I found the best articulation of my feelings on the issue right here at home in the pages of the Globe and Mail from an article written 2 months ago (I know I am seriously behind on blogging but bear with me). Okay it wasn’t the Globe and Mail itself, but rather the Globe’s recitation of the argument made by the government in regards to the British Colombia case. In it, the government argues the case for the slippery slope that could lead people to taking their own lives in a moment of weakness. We often hear the slippery slope argument maligned in our society, and indeed it is often used irresponsibly, but in this situation, in my mind at least, it rings true.

After all, we all remember those people who said (and still do say) that abortion would, once legalized, be used in the vast majority of cases for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest or those pregnancies that risked the mother’s life, despite the fact that these cases represent the tiniest fraction of the actual uses of abortion. These cases appeal to the sense of compassion that we have, and indeed should have, when we are confronted with cases of people in awful situations that they didn’t ask for, trying to do the best they can. We as pro-lifers know the arguments, we know that the life that is about to be taken is valuable, that an innocent child should not held accountable for the crimes of its father, and that abortion will not undo the incredible trauma the women experiences, but will only make another victim. But for all of this, we should have a hard time being strong in our convictions for that person, just as we should have a hard time holding the hand of a person with advanced ALS and telling them that their life is valuable, that their worth comes, not from what they can do or how much pain they are in, but from who they are, even when the pain in their lives makes that life seem like they are not worth living. These situations don’t mean we are wrong, it means we are human.

However the question to me that this watershed moment of euthanasia debate worldwide evokes is, what next? What will be the consequences of this debate; where are we headed in terms of euthanasia? If indeed we do legalize euthanasia, in twenty years will the average patient asking their doctor to kill them look like a terminally ill patient in great pain with only hours left of life, or will they look like someone else? One of the article I looked at mentioned the possibility of “euthanasia counselling” in Belgium for those over the age of 80, where the government sends people to talk about whether euthanasia is right for them given their advanced age. Will the new face of euthanasia look like a terminally ill person, or an octogenarian convinced that their life has no value by people who don’t want to pay for their medical bills. Such pressure might seem absurd now, but the idea of one person legally killing another person seemed absurd not too long ago.

And then there are of course people with disabilities, particularly those with mental health issues who would, in my mind be particularly vulnerable. One of the key definitions of a person with mental health problems who needs society’s immediate help is intent to harm themselves or others, but what do we do to help these people if harming oneself becomes such a fundamental right that others must help you in your self destruction? Will the new face of euthanasia be a person in chronic unendurable pain or a person with a disease of the mind, a person with clinical depression who, in a moment of weakness brought about by a chemical imbalance, decides to ask a doctor, a person whom society sees as a trusted lifesaving professional, to take their life, but who, with the right medication, could live a normal life like the rest of us. This might seem like something that society would never allow, but are we are really so confident in our justice system and the will of our governments to take on controversial topics, that we can be certain that they will make a legal code so airtight as to remove all the loopholes? Or will the government, as they have done so often before with problems that were made without their consent, ignore the problem and hope it goes away?

And finally there are children: not only is there the disgusting examples of the Gottingen protocol in the Netherlands which allows a grace period to kill disabled children after they are born (believe me I couldn’t make this stuff up) but there is the example I cited earlier on in this post, about extending euthanasia to minors, which to me is a colossal problem in its own right. As of course you all know, children and particularly teenagers have a reputation of seeing the world through the lenses of, shall we say, the melodramatic. I certainly did, and I’m betting that if you look back at your own experiences you will find an instance or two of drama in your teenage years as well. Everything seems like it matters so much more when you are in high school, getting a date can make you feel like you are king of the world, but a bad grade, a stinging comment, a failed relationship, all of these things can make you feel like the world has just come to an cataclysmic end. Now imagine that there was someone there at your lowest moment of in life, someone telling you that there was a way to end it all, that death wasn’t a big deal and that the romance of dying young would teach everyone who had laughed at you how wrong they were. Now imagine that person was a doctor, someone whose job and status made you trust them implicitly, a person for whom your life long attendance at his appointments and your disclosure to him or your most personal medical secrets made you feel that you had a deep personal connection with them. Quick what would you do?

Because that’s the dirty little secret about the face of euthanasia if it was made legal on demand, it’s all of us. All of us have moments in our lives when we are low, not just those with incurable excruciating physical diseases. And that’s why we don’t as a society have doctors who make their money from providing the service of murder, convincing those among us who feel low that they have nowhere to go but down. We are at an unprecedented watershed, my friends, a point where we decide internationally the value of human life and whether those who help save it should also have the power to end it. The choice, like all choices in a democratic society inevitably falls to you.

Anyway this is my opinion about the issue, but I’m infinitely more interested in yours. What do you think the new face of euthanasia will look like? Will it be confined to only the small number of terminally ill patients in pain or proliferate to others? What do you think of the issue more broadly? Pro assisted suicide? Against it? Somewhere in between? Never really thought about it? Tired of the maniac on the message board asking you how you feel about these things? Please leave a comment in the comment section. Anything you have to say about the issue from any point of view (even if it’s to tell me that I am 100% wrong on everything, not the least of which being my atrocious grammar) is greatly appreciated.