Youth Protecting Youth

Defending the Dignity of All Human Life


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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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Press Release: Pro-Life Students take Legal Action against their Student Union

VICTORIA, B.C., May 3, 2010 ‑ Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), the University of Victoria pro‑life students’ club, today filed a petition in the BC Supreme Court initiating legal proceedings against the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS).

The lawsuit seeks various court orders all to the effect that the UVSS has acted unlawfully in denying YPY club funding since September 2008, and recently upped the ante by refusing to ratify YPY as an official club for the Spring 2010 semester. In addition, the Clubs Policy has now been amended to specifically target pro‑life advocacy.

University of Victoria student, UVSS member, and YPY president, Anastasia Pearse commented:

“We have watched pro‑life student groups throughout the province, and across the country, face the stifling and discriminatory decisions of Student Societies that deny them funding or club status.

Our aims are to promote choices that protect unborn human beings and their mothers from the harm of abortion.  We should be granted equal opportunity to share our message.”

The students involved with YPY are members of the University community, which is the very place where controversial topics should be discussed and various sides considered. They recognize that it is their duty to stand up to protect the core value of ideological diversity and the fundamental values at stake in this case including equality and freedom of expression.

The controversy that has sprung up in the media around Prime Minister Harper’s recent announcement that Canada will not fund abortions as part of its G8 child and maternal health‑care initiative for developing countries demonstrates that abortion is still a live issue for debate.  Pearse highlights, “To debate is to engage with opposing ideas and in order to fully engage, we must be free to express opposing views respectfully without censure.”

Joseph Arvay of the Vancouver based firm Arvay Finlay is acting for Youth Protecting Youth.


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Freedom of Expression Update: New Policy of Censorship

Recent posts have addressed the dangers of euthanasia and informed about the struggles of pro-life students at other Universities. Here is an update on our struggle for freedom of expression.

Clubs at UVic receive a small sum of money each semester to support their activities. The University of Victoria Students’ Society has denied us this funding – that every other club receives – for the past two years on the grounds that putting up a few small, non-graphic posters that challenge the morality of abortion (first and second posters used) constitutes harassment of students. This semester, the UVSS revoked club status entirely, pending a modification of clubs policy, because we continued to put up the posters in addition to holding a very well-attended debate. We protested against such unfair treatment.

In the last week of this semester, we were offered club status. However, the catch is we will eventually have to sign policy that would prevent us from voicing some central pro-life beliefs. This is an act of outright censorship initiated by our ideological opponents. Note Part F – Harassment of the new Clubs Policy: Amended Apr 2010.

We will do everything we can to stop this. We can’t be silenced when so many women are suffering, and so many children are dying.


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Pro-Life Students Facing Expulsion at U of C

UVic isn’t the only place where students who speak the truth are facing consequences; pro-life student activists at the University of Calgary are being threatened with expulsion by the university administration because their club has chosen to use graphic methods to tell the truth about abortion. See this press release for more details:

April 18th, 2010 : FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRO-LIFE STUDENTS FACE POSSIBLE EXPULSION FROM U OF C

CALGARY- The University of Calgary has notified eight of its own students that they are being charged with non-academic misconduct, with a possibility of expulsion, for having set up a pro-life display on campus earlier this month.

Campus Pro-Life (CPL) Club President Leah Hallman stated, “We understand the severity of the charges, but our consciences could not contemplate silence, therefore we must stand by our convictions to fight for the lives of unborn children.”

The group’s Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display has been held on the University of Calgary grounds without incident eight times since 2006. The GAP display compares abortion to past historical atrocities, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

“They failed to convince the crown that we were trespassing on our own campus last year so now they want to charge us with ‘non-academic misconduct’ for exercising our right to express our views,” said Peter Csillag, CPL’s Vice-president. “We condemn and will challenge these charges, as we have with all previous attempts at censoring and intimidating us.”

In 2009, the University charged six students with trespassing in relation to the display, but the crown prosecutor stayed these charges prior to a trial scheduled for November of 2009. The University has threatened participating students with non-academic misconduct charges on the occasion of each display, but this is the first time they are following through with their threat.

“Quite frankly, I can’t help but feel like we’re living parts of the novel One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich,” stated Vice-president Cameron Wilson, “it feels almost surreal that we still have to fight this battle on our own campus.”

Campus Pro-Life will be holding a press conference at 10:00am on Monday, April 19th, 2010 outside of the MacKimmie Library Building on the University of Calgary campus to make a formal statement and answer questions pertaining to new developments.

For further information, contact CPL Club President Leah Hallman at (403) 808-3412, Vice-president (external) Cameron Wilson at (403) 668-9624, or lawyer John Carpay of the Canadian Constitution Foundation at (403)
619-8014.


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Pro-Women, Pro-Life

Today, Youth Protecting Youth is engaging UVic students in a celebration of the life and dignity of all people, but especially of women. Beside a visual display, YPY members are explaining how their club is both pro-women and pro-life. The display shows women in their beauty and dignity at every stage of life, beginning with a picture of an unborn child and finishing with one of an elderly woman.

Our message to UVic today is that abortion is a sign that society isn’t meeting women’s needs or honouring their dignity. We believe in that dignity, so we are celebrating it with a compliment: giving students flowers. Attached to the flowers is this information about where women (and men) can receive support if they are ever facing crisis pregnancy, or dealing with the effects of abortion.

Options Pregnancy:

250-380-6883

info@optionspregnancy.org


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University of Victoria Pro-life Club, Youth Protecting Youth, Stages a Free Speech Protest

On Tuesday, March 2nd, University of Victoria pro-life club, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), will be holding a free speech protest. The protest will take place from 11:30 to 1:30 outside of the Student Union Building at the University of Victoria (UVic).

The students will be protesting the fact that club funding has been withheld from them for four semesters in the past two years. This semester, after heated discussion, a motion was passed to deny them club status. The club attempted to call a Special General Meeting of undergraduate students to appeal this decision, but their request was denied by the UVic Students’ Society Board of Directors (UVSS).

This semester, YPY once again put up posters from an organization called Feminists for Life. These posters have sparked controversy in the past, and have led to YPY’s current denial of status and funding. The club, however, maintains that while the posters may be controversial, they do not constitute harassment, as has been alleged. Thus, they do not merit the removal of club status and funding.

The message YPY hopes to send is that their right to free speech is being infringed upon.

“In a society with true freedom of speech, people are going to be offended sometimes,” says Anastasia Pearse, president of YPY. “Just because some people disagree with or are offended by a message does not mean it constitutes harassment or is worthy of censorship.”

YPY members believe their message is of utmost importance: if what they say is true, hundreds of innocent human beings are being killed every day in our country. The club seeks to uphold the dignity of all human beings, from the earliest stages of life onwards – including, of course, pregnant women. The posters that have caused so much controversy advocate for better support for pregnant women and mothers in difficult situations.

The university should be a place for open and respectful discussion. This discussion is halted when one side is reprimanded for expressing their views. Through their censorship of YPY, the UVSS is sending a clear message that freedom of expression does not extend to students with unpopular or controversial views.

Links to the posters used by YPY:

Poster 1

Poster 2


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Support from the BCCLA

It’s March 2nd, and Youth Protecting Youth is still being denied its right to freedom of speech. We respond today by staging a peaceful protest at UVic. See the following documents for more information about the censorship applied to YPY.

These statements by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association reflect the position they held when our funding was taken away. Our status has since been revoked as well in an escalation of suppression.

BCCLA demands equal treatment for U Vic pro-life club

The BCCLA also demonstrated their support for Youth Protecting Youth’s free speech with this letter:

Letter to the University of Victoria Student Society


YPY Denied Request for SGM

At the UVSS meeting on February 22nd, Youth Protecting Youth was denied its appeal of the UVSS’  decision to withdraw funding and status pending the result of an Organizational Development Committee, and was denied its request for a Special General Meeting to allow students to vote on the issue.

Watch for further developments and background information about YPY’s free speech battle from YPY’s official blog.


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Maclean’s and Other Publications Feature YPY`s Free Speech Battle

Erin Millar from Maclean’s is keeping her readers up to date on YPY’s free speech struggles with these articles:

UVic student union revokes club status of pro-life club

UVic\’s pro-choicers up the ante against pro-life club

Closed for debate

The Times Colonist featured YPY in early February:

UVic pro-life group states its case to get funding back – Freedom of Speech

So did The Vancouver Sun:

Civil Liberties group against silencing of UVic pro-lifers

The Martlet, UVic’s weekly student newspaper, has published numerous articles about YPY. This article is one of the most recent:

Debate over YPY will see UVSS create “Conditions of Club Status” policy

David Foster has been diligent in documenting the UVSS’ actions against YPY in his student politics blog, Eye on the UVSS:

UVSS vs YPY: No End in Sight

Lastly, the controversy that has surrounded the UVSS and YPY is discussed colorfully in the most recent edition of The Fish Wrap, a publication from the University of Victoria’s Engineering Students’ Society. Copies can be found in the ELW.

UVic pro-life group states its case to get funding back

Freedom of Speech