On Friday, November 14th, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), the pro-life club at the University of Victoria (UVic), will be hosting a debate on abortion. Despite repeated attempts to shut the club and its activities down, the club remains committed to fostering an open dialogue on abortion.
“We realize students at UVic have varying opinions on the issue of abortion” stated Kimberley Van Der Pijl, co-president of the club, “Given the divisiveness and controversy surrounding the abortion issue, we believe that a debate is an ideal opportunity to have a respectful dialogue on our campus about it.”
Professor Eike-Henner Kluge from the UVic’s Department of Philosophy will be debating in favour of abortion and Stephanie Gray will argue that abortion is a human rights violation. These same two speakers debated in October 2009 when YPY hosted a debate that had to be repeated twice to accommodate the number of students that came to listen.
The club has faced discrimination on campus in past year, and had to sue their own student society in 2010 when they were banned from campus following the 2009 debate. They are currently at the center of another lawsuit initiated by former club member Cameron Cote, who is once again asking that YPY be given the same rights and opportunities as any other club on campus. In addition to the ongoing lawsuit, the club had to deal with immature opposition from their own peers; in September some students dumped a bag of used kitty litter on YPY’s info table, and stole part of their display.
The debate will take place at UVic on Friday November 14 at 3:30 in David Strong C103.
For Further Information:
Kimberley Van Der Pijl
By Cana Donovan
I didn’t apply to university because I wanted to hear things I already knew. I applied because I knew I had a lot to learn. I applied because I knew a university campus was a place where my views and opinions would be challenged and examined. And they have been. I am astonished by students on this campus who can’t bear to have their ideas challenged. Shouldn’t new, or different ideas be approached with an open mind, rather than silenced? As a pro-lifer, I am excited to welcome a scholarly debate about abortion on UVic’s campus. All the activism that Youth Protecting Youth does is aimed at creating open dialogue about an issue that often leaves a trail of pain in its wake. Our wish is that students are encouraged to talk about something that is usually hidden from view, despite its relevance. I’m always happy to have a respectful conversation with those whom I disagree with. I don’t worry that someone will have the chance to lay out the pro-choice ideology, and I do not see Dr. Kluge’s generous gift of his time to engage in debate as a threat to my worldview.
There’s been an impressive number of level-headed students who recognize that debate should be welcomed at a university campus, who ultimately wish to learn, with an open mind and heart. Sadly, these students tend to get overrun by those who do see a balanced representation of both sides as a threat. If a person is entirely secure in their personal ideology, then a respectful conversation should pose no problem to them. In fact, allowing the other side time to speak can do nothing but reveal the flaws in their reasoning. When people are so desperate to hinder pro-lifers from speaking at all, it reveals an inner insecurity: that, if allowed to speak, the pro-life position may actually hold water. It’s the equivalent of two children fighting and when one child realizes they’re losing the argument, they slap their hands over their ears and shout “La-la-la, I can’t hear you! Only in this case, the “children” are university students, adults, bearing angry signs, and with words a lot more vicious than “la-la-la.” It took less than one day of advertising for the debate before our club members were threatened with lynching, which was somehow put forth as the action of the progressive and the tolerant.
A university should be a place where a wide range of issues can be debated. The event that will be held November 14th seeks to foster an intelligent, informed, and open campus-wide debate. Children may throw as many tantrums as they like, in the end, there’s no space for them on a university campus.
by Barnabas Ney
The National Campus Life Network’s symposium, “True Patriot Love” was an incredible experience for me. Not as an adventurous university student traveling red eye for an exciting weekend in Toronto, but as one of many with a true common love. Yes a love for a beautiful, though far from perfect, country; yet, more importantly a love for life. We found a sense of joy in the diverse lives of everyone present, joy even in the face of great challenges and hardships.
While we came together to develop and grow as “pro-life” leaders, I believe many of us were reminded of why we speak for those who have no voice. The training and discussions were invaluable as we sought to be more effective, even just as concerned Canadians trying to protect the rights of our unborn fellow citizens. From apologetics to more specific campaign strategies we learned to express our position clearly in the hope of changing minds and winning hearts.
Still, through the entire packed days and late into the night, it was a message of life and love that prevailed. We laughed with a speaker at his references to his energetic young children, we cried at the testimonial of a young mother and fellow university student, but always found courage in friendship to keep our focus before us.
This was a wonderful opportunity to rediscover our duty as citizens to look out for our unborn fellow Canadians, and to take heart in a love of country and life. So I challenge everyone, whether you immediately identify with the “pro-life” cause or not, to be open to the value in our own lives and in the lives of everyone person around us.
Victoria, B.C. (September 11, 2014): On September 10th, two women rushed a pro-life club table at the University of Victoria, snatching the fetal models on display and dumping used cat litter all over the table. Youth Protecting Youth (YPY) was participating in the university’s Clubs Days event and had a recruitment table to sign up new members and engage with other students on the pro-life issues.
Although the fetal models were recovered, club members arrived back this morning to find that the vandals had broken into the closed clubs room and that more filthy litter had been dumped on the table and the fetal models – valued at several hundred dollars – had been stolen.
“This kind of behaviour calls into question whether UVic is an environment where people can express their opinions and beliefs without such disrespectful opposition,” stated Adrian, co-president of the club. “Other clubs and the student body need to be reminded that this kind of criminal behaviour has no place on a Canadian university campus.”
After speaking with campus security, club members made a police report with local authorities.
The club demanded that the University of Victoria Student Society (UVSS) formally condemn the actions of the vandals, and the UVSS has agreed to issue a statement doing so.
“In previous years the UVSS has attempted to ban and censure the club and was sued by the club in 2010,” stated Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network, a national organization that supports pro-life students. “It’s reassuring to see that student society representatives were helpful and apologetic in the wake of this incident and we look forward to a strong statement from the UVSS condemning this theft and vandalism.”
“This incident has not prevented us from continuing our outreach,” commented Kimberley Van Der Pijl, who witnessed yesterday’s attack and serves as co-president of the club. “We’ve had very positive conversations with so many students and many have signed up for the club.”
The members of YPY hope that the fetal models will be recovered, and that students who disagree with their message will learn to voice their disagreement in a mature, respectful manner.
For additional information or comments, please contact:
Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network,
firstname.lastname@example.org 604-365-3484 (tel: 604-365-3484)
Induced abortion has a negative impact on the mental and physical health of women who have undergone the procedure. Various complications during induced abortion have the potential to put a women’s immediate physical health at risk. Much of this immediate risk is associated with fetal matter left in the uterus following the abortion procedure. These “retained products of conception” may lead to infection and damage of the uterus and cervix (Stubblefield, Carr-Ellis & Borgatta, 2004) which, as we will see below, additionally carries implications for long term health. Perforation of the uterus is seen to occur approximately 19.8 times for every 1000 induced abortions (Ring-Cassidy & Gentles, 2002). When perforation of the ascending uterine artery occurs, symptoms may include“severe pain, a broad ligament hematoma, and intra-abdominal bleeding” (Stubblefield, Carr-Ellis & Borgatta, 2004). Pain levels during induced abortion may not be accurately described to a pre-abortive woman, one study found that 97% of post-abortive women reported experiencing pain and of these, 61% indicated that the pain experienced was moderate to severe (Ring-Cassidy & Gentles, 2002).
The effects of induced abortion do not end after a woman’s initial recovery; it is evident that a post-abortive woman may experience consequences of her abortion later in her life as well. Breast cancer is a significantly greater risk for a woman who has undergone induced abortion, with post abortive women 30% more likely to develop breast cancer than women who have not experienced abortion (Ring-Cassidy & Gentles, 2002). This is largely due to the effects of estrogen following termination of a pregnancy, though it is interesting to note that women experiencing spontaneous abortion do not experience this elevated risk for developing breast cancer (Ring-Cassidy & Gentles, 2002). Infection following induced abortion is not simply a short term, resolvable issue; when a pelvic infection causes scarring of the fallopian tubes we see an increased risk of later ectopic pregnancy (Ring-Cassidy & Gentles, 2002). Abbas & Akram (2002) agree that induced abortion is a leading cause of ectopic pregnancy and report that 10-15% of 1st trimester maternal mortality is due to ectopic pregnancy. It has also been observed that number of abortions correlates positively with likelihood of later ectopic pregnancy (Ring-Cassidy & Gentles, 2002). During induced abortion from the second trimester forth, cervical dilation is often required; in cases of dilation to eleven millimetres one study found that two thirds of women experienced decreased cervical resistance which has the potential to impact later pregnancies in some cases leading to spontaneous abortion (Ring-Cassidy & Gentles, 2002). Here we merely touch on a few of the many long term impacts induced abortion has on a woman’s physical health. Unfortunately women in difficult pregnancy situations are often focused on the immediate impact a child will have on their present life. These physical influences are not easily avoided or treated and should be a serious consideration in a woman’s decision to abort her pregnancy.
Various mental health concerns are associated with induced abortion, including anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. One revealing study shows that 65% of the American post-abortive women surveyed reported multiple symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The statistics for each of these symptoms are interesting as well, for example 50% of American women in this study reported an avoidance of thinking or talking about their abortion and 47% experienced unwanted memories of their abortion (Rue et al., 2004). In regards to generalized anxiety disorder, it is evident that post-abortive women experience higher rates than do those who carry their unintended pregnancy to term (Cougle, Reardon, & Coleman, 2005). Cognitive avoidance of the abortion is hypothesized to play a role in these increased rates of generalized anxiety disorder (Cougle, Reardon, & Coleman, 2005).
Depression and suicide appear to be major influences on the lives of post-abortive women. Fergussen et al. found a statistically significant increase in a young women’s likelihood of depression after induced abortion while effectively adjusting for a wide range of confounds (2006). It has also been noted that married post-abortive women are more likely to be at high risk for depression than women who carried unintended pregnancies to term (Reardon, 2002). Statistics on post abortion suicide rates are truly saddening, with Finland data showing post-abortive women approximately twice as likely to commit suicide within a year of their pregnancy as women having gone through a miscarriage, and almost six times as likely as women who gave birth (Ring-Cassidy & Gentles, 2002). The mental health risks of abortion are particularly startling. These are problems that are not easily resolved and will likely reoccur throughout the lifetime of a post-abortive woman.
Induced abortion has the potential to cause serious mental and physical damage to women’s health. Short and long term physical ailments, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression and suicide are all risks for women who have experienced the termination of a pregnancy. Looking at probability and statistical significance is important in determining exactly how detrimental abortion can be to a woman’s health. At some point though, we must recognize that numbers are not the most important factor. Every single woman is valuable and thus deserves to be protected and properly informed of all possible health risks associated with induced abortion.
Youth Protecting Youth is hosting the Silent No More Awareness Campaign at UVic, and the date is fast approaching! On Friday, March 21st outside the SUB, men and women will share their testimonies of abortion and how they came to find healing. Please feel free to stop by between 11:30am and 2pm to support these courageous individuals and share the pro-life message on campus.
For more information visit http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org