Youth Protecting Youth

Defending the Dignity of All Human Life


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Reflection on support for mothers

An article recently appeared on Fox News, reporting on an organization called Students for Life of America investigating the University of North Carolina’s student health plan. Another organization known as Feminists for Life also offered its reflection on the UNC health plan and the actions of Students for Life of America. In their reflection, Feminists for Life president, Serrin Foster, points out that “the issue is not just the school’s insurance coverage”, but that “it is also common for students to have no maternity coverage in their health insurance” In other words, not only is it a sad reality that abortion is covered by many student health care plans and health packages offered by employers in both the United States and Canada, but there is also commonly very little support for student mothers in general, such as no maternity coverage for students in the health insurance plans. In British Columbia, all abortions are tax-funded. According to the University of Victoria’s Housing website, there are 181 housing units designated as “Family Housing Units” with reasonable rent costs, although in order to be eligible, parents must be taking a full load of courses. In addition, it is recommended that mothers apply a year in advance due to the high demand for these units. The reality for many women is that the prospect of no health insurance coverage and minimal financial support services to help off-set the cost of raising a child can be a significant factor in pushing a woman to decide to abort her child. Women who are pregnant should feel that they have the support to be able to give birth to and raise a child while still being able to pursue her education. As a society, we need to better support women in this regard. Women need to know that there are services and support available to help them to choose life for their child, rather than feeling that abortion is the only option.

 In the meantime, we are very excited to announce that Youth Protecting Youth will be offering an annual bursary for single mothers on campus. This bursary exists to support mothers and help enable them to pursue a university education while still supporting a child.  This bursary can be applied for by completing a General Bursary Application. We hope that this bursary will be a building block in the effort to change the culture and the way society views children in the context of education. It can never be acceptable to kill a born child for the reason that the child would interfere with the education of the parents. We will continue to work towards the day when this will also be true for the pre-born child. For more information about services in the Victoria area, see the “Need Help” section of the YPY blog.


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Echoes of a lecture

Tonight I attended Jojo Ruba’s talk “Echoes of the Holocaust.” It has a plain message: the millions of abortions that are performed each year are echoes of the bloody atrocities which humanity has committed against her own kind. Throughout the centuries, societies have been collectively guilty of standing idly by as her members enacted terrible violence against the weak and marginalized. I do not need to name those atrocities of the past, but I will say that my society is guilty of being apathetic toward the hundreds of children that we are killing everyday within the walls of our hospitals and clinics. I share in that guilt.

Some may disagree with me on this point. Many do not believe that we are killing our own children. Many do not believe that any people are actually being harmed. That is the point of the question, though. I know that it is difficult to hear, and I don’t say this to capitalize on the pain of any past generations. Some did not believe that they were killing their own people as the Jews and Gypsies and gays were being gassed in the concentration camps. Those people were wrong.

But I do not want to dwell on that point. I do not like to speak with a tone of condemnation. Even as I write this, believing and accepting the guilt of my culture, I don’t condemn anyone. I believe that I can name the wrong that is being done, and work to put an end to it, but I do not wish to leave in this note the impression that there is only despair for those who have been active participants in the wrong. I accept the guilt of my own passive participation as well.

As I think upon tonight’s presentation, I recall a comment made by a young woman. She accused Jojo of basing his presentation on the fallacy of “false analogy” because she believes that a human being has to have a certain level of cognitive capacity in order to be a person. Frankly, the analogy can only be false if her belief is true and that is what is being contested. If Jojo’s belief is true, then the analogy is apt.

So, the crux of the question comes when we try to understand the reasoning behind the belief that we are justified in judging the value of others by their capabilities—cognitive or otherwise. What we know is that there is extensive pressure toward abortions for women who are carrying Down syndrome babies (trisomy 21) and other trisomy conditions. The judgement is passed on them is that their lives will be of little value and not worth living. What I know is that I cherish my life experiences with those people I have met who have Down syndrome. I have never met one who wishes that he or she never lived.

I have a friend who’s second child had trisomy 13. She was traumatized by the pressure that was put upon her by her doctor and the hospital staff who urged her to have an abortion. She was given little support when she refused. My friend entrusted her child to the care of those medical practitioners, but they considered the child of no account. But the child was accepted and loved by his family from the time he was conceived until the day he died. His little heart did not have the strength to keep him alive more than a few months after his birth, but his parents’ hearts had the strength to love him through his short life.

So it came to my mind that it is not possible for us to judge people according to their capabilities. Often, neither we nor they will have any control over what those capabilities are. We can only judge others according to our own capability to love them. That is all. Whether man or woman, black or brown, gay or straight, intelligent or simple, born or unborn: our judgments are nothing other than our own successes or failures at love.

The measure of our success can be seen in the world around. The homeless and addicted suffer because of our failure to love. The elderly and the sick suffer because of our failure to love. The imprisoned suffer because of our failure to love. Women suffer the choice between their futures and their children because of our failure to love. Children in the womb suffer because of our failure to love. We have judged them and told them their value by our own capabilities—by our own hearts.

We need a change of heart. We need to understand that we each live not only for ourselves, but for the people around us. We need to understand that we don’t love others because they are what we want. We love them because they are. That is the only reason. We owe them all the love that we are capable of giving.

I don’t know if these words mean anything to those who read them. I don’t know if anyone will believe them sincere. All I know is that they are the words that my heart is speaking after tonight’s presentation. I can only hope and pray that I will live by them from today forward.

Contributed by YPY member Del Myers


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Who inspires you?

I was recently given a wonderful opportunity: I got to meet Nick Vujicic, a 27-year-old motivational speaker from Australia. To date, he has traveled to 32 countries and spoken to millions of people about his story and his faith.

What makes this man so inspirational? He was born without arms or legs. His parents didn’t expect this while his mother was pregnant – they found out when he was born. I encourage you to learn more about his story. This man has overcome so many obstacles and has dedicated his life to helping others.

But what is this doing on the pro-life club’s blog? The unfortunate reality of our society is that when a woman is pregnant and prenatal testing reveals that the baby may have some sort of disability, there is significant pressure for her to choose abortion. After meeting Nick Vujicic we met a woman whose young daughter was born without arms. Doctors encouraged her to have an abortion, but she chose not to. Her daughter is two years old now, and she’s a wonderful little girl.

Many times in discussions of abortion people have said to me “What about babies that are going to be born with disabilities? Isn’t it better to spare them from such a difficult life?” I ask you: Would someone be justified in killing Nick Vujicic because he has no arms or legs and faces many challenges in his life because of this? Of course not! Would someone be justified in killing a toddler born without arms because she will face many obstacles as she grows up? Of course not! Would someone be justified in killing a newborn baby because of his or her differences or disabilities? Of course not! So why would we kill an unborn human being for these reasons?

This brings us back to the fundamental question in the abortion debate: what are the unborn? As American apologist Gregory Koukl says, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.” Biologically, from the moment of fertilization, there exists a unique individual of the human species – a human being.

Our value is determined by what we are (human beings), not by what our capabilities are. We don’t have to look too hard to find examples of people who inspire us precisely because they have overcome significant challenges in their life. Who inspires you?


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LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

I find it interesting, although not entirely surprising, how often events in university student politics call to mind the work of George Orwell. Maybe it started back when board members asserted that no one was discriminating against YPY because of our beliefs: after all, we still had club status, our funding had just been denied (at that point without even pretending to follow the Harassment Policy) – can anyone say “All clubs are equal, but some clubs are more equal than others”? Recently, I’ve had the urge to refer to the UVSS Organizational Development Committee meetings to change Clubs Harassment Policy as the Ministry of Truth. Their changes to the policy have made it less about preventing actual harassment, and more about preventing people from saying anything that those in charge think is politically incorrect or offensive.

“The enemies of intellectual liberty always try to present their case as a plea for discipline versus individualism. The issue truth-versus-untruth is as far as possible kept in the background.” – George Orwell in “The Prevention of Literature”, Polemic (January, 1946)

This is what I keep hearing over and over again at UVic and in Canada as a whole. We’re told that of course, there should be freedom of speech, but there have to be limits. And those limits turn into attempts to prevent people from saying anything that might, maybe, offend somebody. That kind of thinking is what has so damaged the credibility of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions (see Ezra Levant’s Shakedown).

This kind of thinking is why YPY is told not that what we say is wrong, but simply that we aren’t allowed to say it. In the fall, we were told the issue of abortion was not up for debate. That makes no sense given the significant numbers of people holding opposing views on the topic. But some people at UVic don’t want to talk about it (or hear about it), so apparently the debate doesn’t exist. This brings to mind the image of a small child with her hands over her ears screaming “LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” when someone says something she doesn’t like.

After our free speech protest, someone made a comment suggesting that we shouldn’t have had signs saying “Abortion ends a human life” and “Some choices are wrong”, essentially because such statements upset people. Excuse me? The signs’ statements are objectively true. If we want an intellectually healthy society, we can’t allow the potential emotional impact of something to become more important than whether or not it’s true.

“If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.” – George Orwell in “Freedom of the Park”, Tribune (December, 1945)

Pro-life activists fit rather well into the category of “inconvenient minorities” in Canada. And their (our) free speech is being taken away, even though the law should be protecting it. Recent events at the University of British Columbia show this all too clearly. Free speech means free speech for everyone. Things would have been dandy at UBC if the pro-life and pro-choice groups had stayed within their booked display areas and allowed one another’s messages to be heard. Instead, a group who could perhaps be described as anti-pro-life stood in front of Lifeline’s display and shouted uncreative slogans. The right to speak freely and express one’s beliefs does not extend to actively censoring the speech of others.

The chanting/yelling/screaming censorship is nothing new – it happened at St. Mary’s in Halifax, and then it happened at McGill (where the pro-life club just got their club status back, but only after agreeing to all sorts of conditions about what they are and aren’t allowed to say). My issue with this tactic is this: it does nothing to present an argument as to why the protestors believe the things the pro-life side is saying are wrong, and simply brings back that image of the little child going “LALALALA NOT LISTENING! AND I’M GONNA BE SO LOUD NO ONE ELSE CAN HEAR YOU EITHER!”

We need to defend and uphold our right to express our beliefs in the face of opposition. We need to be able to tell the world that abortion kills human beings, and we can’t let those who don’t like that message shut us up.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell in the Preface to Animal Farm


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Accepting Affirmation, Truth and Flowers

By Cameron Côté, proud member of YPY

“Hello, I am a member of the pro-life club on campus. We are giving out flowers today as an affirmation of women’s dignity; would you accept a flower?”

For many of the busy ladies at the University of Victoria, that was all they could take the time to hear as they rushed between classes on Tuesday March 30th, as members of Youth Protecting Youth handed out flowers and pamphlets to any woman on campus who would accept them.

The aim of the day was simple: To affirm the inherent dignity of all on campus, but of the women in particular. This dignity is something that was not given to them as a birthday present from society when their brain reached its full potential. Nor did they receive it in the mail from an unknown sender when they reached puberty, or even from a nurse, when they first opened their beautiful eyes to see a whole new world outside of their mothers’ wombs. This dignity of which I speak was with them from the moment they were conceived, and will be with them until their final breath.

Many women were pleasantly surprised by the affirmation, and, placing the flower proudly in their hair (many blushing), walked away reading a pamphlet, which was a gift that accompanied the flower that explains why many women in our society decide to proceed with abortion. There were, however, a few who did not feel comfortable accepting such a gift. One girl in particular stands out in my mind, with whom I had the privilege of discussing (at length) why it was that she could not accept the flower.

She began by agreeing with me that in our present day and age, society is failing in its duty to provide women with the means to deal suitably with unexpected pregnancies. I argued that although the killing of an innocent child could never be justified by a social situation, women in our society often feel as though abortion is the only way to cope with the terrible circumstances that they are faced with. She countered my argument and said that abortion always needs to be an option in desperate cases – no matter the state of society, but she agreed that society lacks sufficient support for women, and that, with more support, fewer women would be inclined to consider abortion, let alone proceed with it. It was from here that our discussion progressed.

Upon asking her to help me understand what, in her mind, these desperate cases were, she identified the cases of rape, physical inability to carry the child, and overpopulation. We discussed each of these circumstances at length, respectfully hearing the other’s point of view, with each circumstance returning to the simple fact that because an unborn child is a fully dignified human being with personhood, the decision to kill him or her could be compared to the decision to kill any other human being. She had no difficulty accepting that killing any other human being was wrong. This circle of obvious reasoning deeply frustrated her, and after apologizing for the frustration it caused, I admitted to her that that was – without a doubt – where all arguments would return to on such a topic. After accepting that all of her issues were inescapably rooted in the status of the unborn child, she decided to pursue the issue that, although all of these conclusions were correct if it were in fact a child, the “fetus” simply could not be considered a child until after birth.

From here, I not only gently reminded her that she had mentioned earlier that it was in the third trimester that the “clump of cells” officially gained the status of person, but also challenged her to explain what it was about birth that gifted that which was a simple clump of cells mere moments earlier with the full status of personhood. Each of her points was logically examined with the use of a good friend named SLED until she reverted to her original stance that the second trimester was the point of status acquisition. She used exactly the same argument that she had used before, and then unfortunately decided that she could no longer discuss the matter. She genuinely thanked me for the flower and for the time in conversation, and respectfully walked away, flower in hand, reading the pamphlet. Though I knew the situation was not completely resolved, I was confident that I had planted a seed, and I was overjoyed that she had agreed to continue to think about the issue, and that she would return if she had any further questions about the pro-life stance.

Though subsequent conversations were not as long or as in depth, this has been just one of several encounters that I had the privilege of being a part of. We ended the day with a feeling of hope, believing that women and men alike on the campus may have been provoked into personally contemplating the morality of abortion.


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The Two Lists

I came across this article back in January and it has really stuck with me. The author, Jennifer Fulwiler, reflects on how she viewed sexuality, abortion, and the way society treats women in general when she was pro-choice and an atheist. She  then describes how her understanding of these issues has changed since her conversion to the Catholic Church.

Fulwiler contrasts two lists: the criteria for when our society says it is acceptable for someone to have sex, and the criteria for when our society says it is acceptable for someone to have a baby.

She sums up the connection between our treatment of human sexuality and the issue of abortion with great clarity:

“As long as those two lists do not match, we will live in a culture where abortion is common and where women are at war with their own bodies.”

There’s a lot to think about in the article. Feel free to share your thoughts with us.


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“Gendercide”?

So I found a link here to this article in The Economist. Two things struck me about the article:

The first is that the unborn are unabashedly referred to as “babies” and specifically “daughters” throughout. The author readily admits that the unborn are babies, and that abortion kills them. This is impressive not because it tells us anything we don’t already know, but because it presents abortion as what it is (the killing of unborn babies), without so much of the usual rhetoric surrounding the issue in the mainstream media.

The second is that while the prevalence of sex-selective abortion and the resulting gender ratio are presented as a problem in the article, one cannot actually be opposed to sex-selective abortion while remaining logically consistent with many of the arguments used by those representing the “pro-choice” view.

For example, some who advocate abortion argue that “every child should be a wanted child.” Well, some parents in these countries don’t WANT these baby girls. Why should they have to carry these pregnancies to term and have these children? Does it matter WHY a baby isn’t wanted? How is not wanting me because of my gender any worse than not wanting me because I don’t fit into your plans right now, or because I might have a disability? If “unwantedness” justifies abortion, then couples have a right to abort all these unwanted baby girls. The problem with that argument, of course, is that degree of wantedness doesn’t change the humanity or intrinsic human dignity of the unborn, or anyone.

There are those who argue that if a child is going to be born into a difficult life situation, abortion is the best choice to make. Well, being female in a country with very apparent gender inequality is a difficult life situation. Maybe parents are just sparing their daughters this hardship by killing them before they’re born? Our response to those who face difficult situations, to those who are suffering, should be to work to make their lives better, not to make their lives end. As Stephanie Gray so eloquently puts it, “we need to alleviate the suffering, not eliminate the sufferer.”

But, some might say, perhaps these abortions are bad for society? That may be so, but “nobody should be able to tell a woman what to do with her body and her pregnancy.” After all, my right to “bodily autonomy” should come before my “duties” to society, yes? This argument boils down to biology: the fact is, from fertilization onwards, we’re dealing with two bodies – the bodies of two human beings. That this practice is harmful to society is true, but more importantly, it is fatal to a large number of human beings.

The idea of sex-selective abortion on a large scale is uncomfortable. I suggest that many who accept abortion in general would have a problem with this practice. But if the reasons listed above justify abortion, then there can be no objection to sex-selective abortion, even if it’s bad for society. Those supposed justifications for abortion imply something that simply isn’t true. It is reasonable to say, then, that there must be (indeed, there is) some problem with those justifications.

For an in-depth look at the pro-life argument against abortion (addressing the “pro-choice” arguments above, and many more), visit http://caseforlife.com/ or read the articles in the section “The Case Against Abortion” at www.abort73.com.


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In which Catherine explains the basic beliefs of our club, and perhaps comes off as rather forward

Youth Protecting Youth is a pro-life club. What does that mean? In the media we are often referred to as an “anti-abortion” club. This is true, but incomplete.

Yes, we are opposed to abortion. The important question is “why?” As a group of pro-life individuals, we believe in the intrinsic value and dignity of all human beings. We believe this dignity needs to be recognized and upheld in all human beings – regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, age, or perceived quality of life. For this reason, we are opposed to abortion, euthanasia, and any other action that denies the dignity of human beings.

Those who oppose our club often refer to us as “anti-choice”. Frankly, I find this term ridiculous. If I were against choice in general, I would not be in university. I would have failed every multiple-choice test with which I was presented throughout my life. In fact, if I were against choices, I don’t know how I’d function at all.

So let’s finish the sentence. There are specific matters in which I am “anti-choice”. For example, I am against the choice to drink and drive, I am against the choice to assault someone, and I am against the choice to rape someone. I think most people in our society are comfortable saying they are “anti” those choices. Something those choices have in common is that they hurt or kill other human beings. And that is why I have a problem with abortion: unborn human beings are human beings.

So, dear reader, I want to say that I love you. I might not know you, but I know that you’re a human being reading this, and I want you to know that you have value and dignity as a member of the human family. I love you regardless of the choices you’ve made in your life, regardless of how much or little value you may feel you have, regardless of what you think of me.  Sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I don’t show this love as I should. But I will work to uphold the dignity of all human beings, including you. I hope you will do the same.