Youth Protecting Youth

Defending the Dignity of All Human Life


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Pro-Life is Pro-Woman

 

By Bianca Rojo

Almost a month after the March for Life in Washington, I am still thinking about the theme from this year’s March.  Before I get into that, however, here’s a little history lesson about the March for Life in Washington.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the pro-life movement, it’s that we, as pro-lifers, must always remember how we came to where we are today.

Forty-two years ago, on January 22nd, 1973, the US Supreme Court issued its decision in favour of Roe in the infamous court case Roe v. Wade.  The Supreme Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state’s two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting women’s health and protecting the potentiality of human life.[1]  Since then, according to the Guttmacher Institute (AGI), more than 53 million legal abortions occurred in the United States.

So, every year, on the anniversary of this U.S. Supreme Court Decision, hundreds of thousands of people march for life in Washington, DC.  This year, even in the midst of an impending blizzard, people from across America realize the gravity of the issue and want their politicians to know that the death of another human being due to abortion is an issue that must be addressed.  This brings me to the reason why I am writing this blog. This year the theme for the March was: “Pro-life and Pro-woman go hand-in-hand.”   This theme struck a chord with me.  It’s something that I’ve always thought about.

Almost every time I do activism, whether it’s on or off campus, I am told that because I am pro-life, I am not pro-woman.  That is the furthest from the truth you could get.  First, as a woman, I believe that all women, no matter what age, ability, or circumstance they are in deserve to be treated equally among their peers, whether or not they are in the womb.  More importantly, I believe that every human, no matter what age, ability, or circumstance, belonging to the human family is entitled to human rights.

Furthermore, being pro-life recognizes that there are two lives at stake when abortion is involved: the pre-born child AND the mother.  As pro-lifers, we must always remember this because to recognize one, but not the other would not be pro-life; it would just be pro-birth.  Caring for the mother and child before and after birth is paramount.  That is why I think pastoral support is so vital in the pro-life movement.  The women who are considering abortion are considering it because of the difficult circumstance they are going through.  Women who have experienced abortion and who are traumatized from their experience should be given all the help and healing they can get.  There are single mothers who may need financial support or a shelter to live in during and after pregnancy.  Women who are trapped in abusive relationships need the support they can get to get out of these relationships.  Women who are considering abortion should be given access to support that will help her carry the child to term.

Alice Paul, a women’s rights activist, once said “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women,” and I have to agree with her.  The moment we, as a society, treat women as property instead of investing the time and energy to empower them, through emotional support and other means, we go down the same path that lead us to the necessity for the March for Life.  These women will have no other option to turn to other than to have an abortion.  Women deserve something better than abortion.  They deserve to be respected.  That is why it is important for us to know how to talk about abortion with someone who is considering it.  It is why the pastoral arm of the pro-life movement is so vital.  This is why every year Youth Protecting Youth fundraises for a bursary to be awarded to a single mother attending post-secondary.  Pastoral work is not only life-saving, it is empowering.  So, Washington’s March for Life took the words right out of my mouth: “Pro-life and pro-woman go hand-in-hand.”

If you or someone you know is considering an abortion check out our resources or email us at youthprotectingyouth@gmail.com and we can help you get the resources you need.

Reference:

  1. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 162


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RE: “National Down-Syndrome Awareness Week”

by Barnabas Ney

November 1-7 has been designated “National Down-Syndrome Awareness Week” by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. This is an important event, a celebration of our common humanity in all its diversity and I would like to share some thoughts on this topic.

Whilst there are a plethora of reasons to talk about such an event and Down Syndrome (DS) in general; my main motives are simple. One might say “it is all in the family”: my mother, at the time Dr.. Peeters, was a geneticist/ pediatrician who worked closely with Dr. Jerome Lejeune (the geneticist who discovered that Down syndrome was due to trisomy of the 21st chromosome and who was an outspoken advocator of the pro-life position).  A cousin works as in an advocacy group defending and assuring the best care for people with disabilities. I also have an inherent love for all those with Down Syndrome and greatly admire their individual strengths and abilities.

So it was natural that my first thoughts of this public awareness campaign were directed towards several children and young adults with DS that I have been privileged to know, and have friendships with, over the years. Their contagious smiles and steadfastness in friendships have warmed my heart on numerous occasions. I wish that more of us had the chance to know and love them.  What is important is that you respect and love them because they are our fellow brothers and sisters and as each one of us is unique so is it with people with Down syndrome.

That is precisely the reason I was so glad to hear of this week dedicated to gaining awareness and, more fundamentally, promoting the culture of life. The Canadian Down Syndrome Society writes that their goals for this week are to raise awareness on how induvial with DS have their own unique abilities and are contributing to their communities, and to strengthen the national effort to ensure equitable opportunities for all.

Now this is something I am of course very happy to hear! Equality of opportunity for all Canadians regardless of genetics or any-other criteria! But wait a minute. What about those not how are not given the opportunity to be born? How about becoming aware of this. Roughly 92% of all pregnancies in Europe that involve babies with DS end in abortion. Approximately 67% is the equivalent statistic. This is the complete antithesis of equality.


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A Hard Truth

by Cana Donovan

Youth Protecting Youth has a reputation at UVic for showing photographs of victims of abortion. I’ve been asked many times (even though, during the time I’ve been UVic, our freedom of expression has been unconstitutionally limited and we haven’t used large, visible signs): why? Why show such bloody and horrible pictures? Why force people to look at something so painful?

Honestly, I hate those pictures.

I see them so often that I have to learn to deal with seeing such a sickening reality. I have to block off my emotions to a  certain degree when I look at those photos. But there’s still many times when I pause, and look, and the full horror of what abortion is crashes into me. I have a vivid memory of holding one particular sign, showing an aborted fetus, and this unnamed child’s hands were splayed in the upper-right corner of the sign—right where my hand sat, holding it upright. I glanced down and saw my hand over the baby’s felt my heart squeeze into a little ball at the sight of that poor child who never got to hold anyone’s hands because theirs was ripped off.

So why do we insist on showing these photographs? Why don’t we silence abortion and hide it under the rug and just show pictures of smiling babies, instead?

I’ve done a lot of activism with abortion victim photography, both on and off campus, but I’ll always remember the first time I stood with those photos, doing a project called “Choice” Chain outside of a high school.

After a week of intensive training with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (who I was doing a co-op with), myself and two other interns launched right into activism—after all, the best way to learn is by doing. We clutched our signs tightly and instinctively stood close together. It was tempting, at times, to use the signs we held as a shield of sorts, as a way to separate ourselves from the chaotic miasma of pain and anger that we faced.

Soon we were moved apart by the knots of high school students that surrounded us. I remember being surrounded by at least twenty teens, most of them screaming at me, calling me names or just shooting out questions at rapid-fire speed. Talking with a crowd like this is a learned art, and I floundered slightly, trying to address everything they said.

I remember the boy who geared up to spit on me. I remember telling myself not to hide behind my sign, but to hold my head high; telling myself not to flinch. He was stopped only by the camera we keep for cases just like these—he knew he was about to do something wrong and didn’t want that on record.

The thing is, when I look back on that day now, all those things become background noise. What I remember most vividly is the girl who came up to me while the crowd was focused on another one of the interns and asked me to explain why I was there, in front of her school, showing such bloody and horrific pictures. She asked me to explain why I called myself pro-life. So I did: I explained that I believed in human rights, rights which apply not only to some humans, but to all humans, regardless of how old they are. She listened attentively and nodded, asking questions along the way, truly wanting to understand my position.

A few minutes into our conversation another angry person came by. This woman wasn’t a student but a parent who was affronted that her daughter might have to see what abortion does. She grabbed the girl’s arm and told her, interrupting me, “You know what you need to do? Just turn your back on these people. Don’t look at their signs and ignore them!”

The girl pulled her arm away and said, “Calm down, I’m just trying to talk with this girl.”

When the woman persisted, continually butting into our conversation with angry expletives, the girl sighed and walked around to the sidewalk behind me so that we could continue our conversation peacefully.

It was then that she shared her story with me. The CCBR had been to her school before, and she had seen the signs, and been deeply affected by them.

She told me—this young, beautiful, and bright girl who couldn’t have been older than fifteen or sixteen—that two years previous she’d had a son. She told me how she placed her son for adoption and that it was the hardest thing she had ever done. She told me how seeing our signs brought up all the pain of that separation to the surface, how she was one of the students who screamed at us, who went back inside her school and had an emotional breakdown.

The signs we held, photographs of the suffering of abortion victims, drew people to us and into conversations. The signs take hold of pain caused by a pro-abortion culture and draw it to the surface.

This young girl didn’t have one, and yet the reality was something she couldn’t ignore, something so pervasive in her school and the culture around her that she was deeply affected by it.

At the end of our conversation, we shook hands and she thanked me for coming to her school and for showing the photos. She thanked me for listening to her and for sharing the pro-life position with her. Finally, she told me that she agreed with me: that, even in the cases of young mothers like herself, abortion was never the right response to a difficult situation.

In the end, that’s why we show these photos. The only voice that these children have is the evidence of what was done to them—the brutal depictions of lives ended far too soon, ripped or suctioned to pieces. And every time that evidence is bared, people react strongly—and people change. Countless lives have been saved and countless hearts and minds have been irreversibly affected when they came to understand the truth of abortion.

It’s a hard truth to face. I know this just as well as anyone. I knew it when I spoke to that girl, and I knew it when my hand cupped that of an innocent child’s, wishing what I held was living and well. And I know that if we don’t do something to stop it, more and more children—three hundred every single day in Canada alone—will end up dismembered, decapitated, and disemboweled, their human rights thrown in the trash along with their broken bodies.


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Pro-Lifers and the Season of Summer

   by Bianca Rojo
          In the wake of all the videos released in the United States by the Center for Medical Progress regarding Planned Parenthood harvesting and selling human fetal organs, and a nationwide campaign that was put together by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform and Campaign Life Coalition Youth with respect to Justin Trudeau and his position on abortion, the summer of 2015 should be known as the summer dedicated to educating millions on the issue of abortion.
 
                Yet, in spite of all the pro-life work that was done, the US Senate blocked legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, as expected, and none of the political party leaders in the upcoming federal election has taken the abortion issue seriously.  Personally, I could feel discouraged about the result, but there are two lessons I could draw from this: that more work needs to be done and that I need to be more willing to speak to people about abortion.
 
                When I first saw the videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s actions, I was frustrated.  This is an organization which knowingly and willingly justifies the slaughter of millions of babies a year by using very vague terminology such as “just a clump of cells” instead of “a growing baby.” However, when they want to sell a fetal heart, liver, or brain, they acknowledge the growth and development of a human fetus… but only so that they could profit from it.  As a society we need to re-evaluate this very mentality which Planned Parenthood is profiting from. We need to ask ourselves: Why is it okay to say that abortion is justifiable because the children are unwanted when at the same time children could be “carefully” ripped apart so that their organs could be used for research?  Generally speaking, abortions can happen for any reason or no reason at all.
 
                Whether or not Planned Parenthood is procuring fetal organs from abortions has yet to be determined, but something needs to be done about abortion. But what? We, as a society, need to be more willing to speak up against abortion.  With more politicians in the US willing to openly expose the truth regarding abortion, I need to be more willing to talk about it too.  In particular, with the lack of abortion restrictions in Canada and with 300 children being torn apart every single day, this conversation is one of dire importance and it needs to be discussed, especially among our own peers. 
 
                We need to evaluate our priorities and ask ourselves, “Am I going to let 300 children die tomorrow because I value their organs more than themselves as a human being or am I going to do something about it and do my best to save these children?”