Youth Protecting Youth

Defending the Dignity of All Human Life


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The Cost of Abortion

Monday, January 28, 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the Morgentaler v. The Queen decision, in which the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s last law restricting abortions, effectively declaring open season on pre-born children and leaving them to defend themselves. Since that time abortion has been fully legal in Canada through all nine months of pregnancy, from fertilization until the child “has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother. But who has been paying for what the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada calls “reproductive freedom, and what has it cost them?

Pe-born children have been paying the price for this supposed fundamental human right. According to Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, at least 2,263,482 pre-born babies have paid for our “right to choose” with their lives since the Morgentaler decision. Many more deaths are unaccounted for, due to lack of reporting. Because of their age and level of development, they don’t have a voice of their own, and their silent screams have gone unheeded; the horrific images of their broken bodies are their last cry for us to stop paying the bills with their lives. But even with all of their blood, there have been expenses yet unpaid, and others have been forced to cover the costs that remain.

Next on the list of people who have paid for the consequences of this court decision are the women and men who have been affected by abortion. Though organizations such as Silent No More Awareness Campaign have been established to support those who now regret their abortions, countless women and men have been forced to silently endure the pain of realizing what abortion meant for their pre-born child.

Lastly, we as taxpayers have by and large been the ones to front the money for abortions in our respective provinces. With the exception of Prince Edward Island, where abortions are not performed, Canada’s provincial governments pay for abortions with taxpayers’ money, and it is conservatively estimated that $80 million is spent each year to pay for the one hundred thousand or so abortions that are performed nation-wide annually.

Bearing these things in mind, let us critically consider whether or not the purchase has been worth its price, because the cost will keep rising unless we change things, and we know who will have to keep paying the tab.

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Silent No More makes an impact

Last Monday, March 28th, about 50 people went out of their way to stop in front of the SUB and listen to the stories of three courageous women as they spoke of how abortion has affected each of their lives. The fact that these women were sharing from their own experiences made the presentation quite powerful. A number of students who heard the presentation reflected on what the message meant to them. The event’s emcee had this to share:

I was riveted by the power of all three presenters’ speeches. I find it’s difficult to get first-hand accounts of abortion, because it is not a subject I feel comfortable asking about, nor one that women freely talk about. After the presentation, being a healthcare worker, I asked a colleague for her anonymous experience with women who have had abortions (I was emboldened by the presentation) and she said it was all but universal that these women have extreme difficulties post-procedure. She added that many of them feel few immediate effects, but develop psychological problems even a decade later. This made me think of cigarettes: perhaps I want to smoke, but I should be made aware of the long-term effects.

Another student shared this with us after hearing the stories:

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign was a shocking snapshot of life pre and post-abortion. I was surprised to hear that all three speakers chose the abortion unwillingly and out of fear, to mask the shame of admitting they were pregnant. It was particularly numbing to know that one woman’s mother and grandmother drove her to the hospital, exterminating their grandchild and great-grandchild in the process.

Although a large number of the students who came to listen to the speakers were pro-life, a large group of other students professing to be pro-choice were also present. One of YPY’s executive members shared this experience after interacting with some students:

I had the privilage of speaking with a number of students throughout the day, some of whom professed to be “pro-choice” and some of whom professed to be pro-life. … Two of the students who had stopped to observe the campaign outside of the library said that they were personally opposed to abortion. After asking them whether or not they were personally opposed to rape, and whether or not they felt they would be placing their subjective morality on someone who was not opposed to rape, they came to understand why abortion is not merely a matter of personal preference or belief. If any human life has value, then all must have equal value and must be protected.

We are extremely thankful for the people from Silent No More Awareness Campaign for coming and sharing with us their experiences. Many students were touched and many more went away thinking about the issue and how it not only affects the lives of pre-born children, but all who are involved in the choice of abortion. For more information about the Campaign or more personal testimonies about abortion, see their website here.


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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.