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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In Our Lifetime

On Thursday May 12, 2011, large crowds gathered in various cities across Canada, united by a common message: we wish to see all human beings treated with respect and dignity. All human beings are valuable, regardless of age or race or gender or creed, regardless of relative levels of development or ability, regardless of what they have or haven’t done. A person’s a person, no matter how small or young or old or ill or different from ourselves. The theme at the march in Ottawa put it very bluntly: abortion kills human beings. This is a biological fact, and this is a reality we cannot sit back and do nothing about.

In Victoria, participants made their way from City Hall to the lawn of the BC legislature. Organizers reported a record turnout. There were many enthusiastic high school and university students; there were families; there were tiny babies (born and unborn) being carried along; and there were older people who have seen the pro-life movement grow and develop for many years. There was an atmosphere of hope.

At the lawn, MC Pavel Reid challenged participants to work to bring an end to the injustice of abortion in our lifetime. Archbishop Miller, of Vancouver, spoke of truth. We must always speak the truth in love, and be ready to engage with people persuasively. The truth must not be hidden. Injustice must not be ignored. We must be ready to give an account of why human life needs to be protected. We must educate ourselves, and go on to educate our world.

International pro-life speaker Rebecca Kiessling shared her personal story. She spoke of learning, at eighteen, that she was conceived in rape, and that had abortion been legal at the time, her birth mother would have aborted her. Her testimony was powerful, and gave voice to the fact that those who are aborted are people. There are many missing from our generation, not because they never existed, but because they were killed before even being born. Saying you believe in abortion in cases of rape, Rebecca tells people, is like looking her in the eye and saying you think that her mother had the right to kill her. She was once a fetus in danger of being aborted – now she speaks for those who cannot yet speak for themselves.

Kathereen Kessler, of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, also shared her testimony. In her case, it was the story of the effect that having an abortion had on her life. She shares her story because she deeply regrets her abortion, which she came to recognize as the loss of her child. She is courageous enough to share her story of pain and healing – to be silent no more – because she hopes to spare others similar pain and regret.

Dr. Rev. Robert Fitterer, of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria, spoke of the power of technology and social media in spreading the truth. The face of communication is changing. We can see the unborn more and more clearly through medical technology, and we can see the efforts of those in the pro-life movement across Canada and around the world, whether or not they are reported in the mainstream media. Most importantly, perhaps, he reminded us that the March for Life cannot be the end of our pro-life efforts for the year. If anything, it’s the beginning. It is our duty to defend life not just one day a year, but every single day. This is a challenge, and a difficult one to live up to, but isn’t it what we owe our fellow human beings? If we take up this challenge, if we come to the defense of the defenseless wherever we see human beings denied their dignity, I believe we will see an end to abortion and other affronts to human dignity in our lifetime.


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March for Life 2011

Tomorrow, May 12, the March for Life is taking place in Victoria. All are welcome to join in standing up for the dignity of all human life. Speakers at the Victoria March include Archbishop J. Michael Miller of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, Rev. Dr. Robert Fitterer of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria, and international pro-life speaker Rebecca Kiessling.  The full schedule of events is available here.

Marches will also be taking place across Canada in places such as Ottawa, Edmonton, and Regina.


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Celebrating and Defending Life

“We are here to celebrate life.” These words were spoken by Pope John Paul II in one of his visits to Canada, and were repeated by Bishop Monroe from the Diocese of Kamloops at this year’s March for Life. Over 2000 participants walked through the streets of Victoria to the legislative buildings, bearing witness to their love and respect for life from conception until natural death. Our celebration of the beauty of life is tainted by forty years of unlimited access to abortion in Canada, but we are not without hope that we can make a change.

The march united people of all ages, representing a variety of religious beliefs from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and other communities. It was encouraging to see so many enthusiastic youth lead the way to the legislative buildings, carrying the pro-life banners, and cheering loudly whenever they received positive comments from bystanders. As Rev. Rob Fitterer from Emmanuel Baptist Church noted in his address to the marchers, the younger generation has noticed the devastating effects of abortion and the lifestyles that lead to it and is embracing an authentic vision of life. Nowhere is this more evident than on university campuses, where Youth Protecting Youth and other pro-life clubs across Canada are bearing witness to the truth despite facing censorship. Minerva Macapagal from Capilano College reminded those gathered that although pro-life advocacy on university and college campuses may make us unpopular, it is essential; we who understand the reality of abortion have a responsibility to tell the truth.

Rachel Daniels told the truth as she described an authentic feminism to march participants: “True feminism bears witness to life. True feminism chooses life.” We must be compassionate towards women who are contemplating abortion or who have had one, and reach out to them so they too can understand their dignity as women.

“Give up, you lost.” As Rev. Rob Fitterer pointed out, these words have been thrown in the faces of many pro-life advocates in the past four decades. Since Canada abolished its laws on abortion, over three million unborn babies have died, and countless women and men have been hurt; this is abortion’s legacy. But pro-life advocates are not going to sit back and watch as the children of our nation are killed.

Drawing a confident comparison to VE day, Jose Ruba of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform spoke of a new day – a day coming soon – when we will celebrate victory over abortion. Jeff Charleson expressed a beautiful foreshadowing of the joy we will feel when this day comes, as he sang his uncle’s traditional First Nations song for the marchers. Each of us needs to work in our own way to save the unborn, and someday soon we will celebrate VA day.

Anastasia Pearse, Eric Kyfiuk, & Catherine Shenton, of Youth Protecting Youth






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March for Life

Two weeks from today, the third annual March for Life will take place in Victoria, BC on Thursday, May 13th. The march will begin at Centennial Square at 2:00 PM and will proceed towards the BC Legislature, where a rally will be held beginning at 2:30 PM. The rally will feature some fantastic
guest speakers, including Bishop Monroe from the Catholic Diocese of
Kamloops, Jose Ruba from the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform,
Minerva Macapagal, Rachel Daniels and Rev. Dr. Robert Fitterer. More information can be found at the BC March for Life website, found here.

Canada first decriminalized abortion in 1969, and since then, our nation has witnessed over 3 million babies killed and countless women and men hurt by abortion’s legacy. Please join us at the March as we bear witness to life, the first human right.