Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Lord of the Rings, OSFL, and You

By Daniel Gilman

As a little child I dreamed of great adventures, and as a teen I loved Lord of the Rings. But as a student at the University of Ottawa, I’ve had the privilege of making a practical difference promoting respect for all human beings through my involvement with Ottawa Students for Life. Yes. This has everything to do with you putting your name forward for the OSFL election: please keep reading.

Seriously, the closest I’ve ever come to being part of anything like the comradery of the Fellowship of the Ring is through this club. Just like in the Fellowship, we’re made up of a great variety of people united by a respect for the sanctity of human life.

Just like in any of those fairytale adventures, our journey is sometimes rough. It is sometimes discouraging, often feels futile, and always takes time away from home work. It’s a tough cause. Few people today advocate for children in the womb. Few people today take the time to listen to women suffering from an abortion. Few people today are willing to do anything to educate their peers on the reality of foetal development. I don’t always feel as if I’m like living my childhood dream. Sometimes I feel like an integral member of the team, and sometimes I feel redundant and out of sync. But I am committed to this cause regardless of how I feel. I pray that I will have the strength to endure.

Gandhi said that the test of a just society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. I say that society is made up of individuals like you and me. I honestly wish I could spend more of my time focused on school and having a good time; I wish the vulnerable members in our society were cared for, but often they aren’t. Like Frodo in Lord of the Rings, “I wish none of this had happened.” But the reply of Gandalf holds true, “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

And while I used to dream of being part of the Fellowship of the Ring, I now realize that those characters should be envious of me because I am making a difference in the real world, while they’re relegated to the realm of fiction. Being part of OSFL is like being part of Lord of the Rings but way more awesome–it’s real!

So… I suggest putting your name forward for an OSFL leadership position. For more info on how to do this click here

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Happy International Women’s Day!

by Rebecca Richmond

Now, I’ll admit that I have mixed feelings about the fact that there’s pretty much a day for everything under the sun. I mean, there’s Towel Day (think Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Pi Day, International Cat Day, World Rubber Day, World Turtle Day and the ever popular International Talk Like a Pirate Day to name a select few.

But regardless, let’s take the opportunity and better appreciate, celebrate, and honour women. I’m all for that. And while we’re doing that, let’s face a grim reality: missing women. Sex-selective abortion has resulted in a countless number of missing women in the world. In my mind, sex selective abortion is one of the manifestations of the way in which abortion oppresses women. It offers parents the “right to choose” to keep or kill their child on the basis of their child’s sex. China and India are two countries where this constitutes a major problem. But it’s also not illegal in Canada. You don’t need a reason to abort. And, by that logic, no reason to abort is wrong. There are laws in Canada that prohibit discrimination against women in employment, but no laws touch on killing your unborn child because she’s a female.

Hmm…. What wrong with this picture?

To borrow feminist terminology: abortion is a mechanism through which gender discrimination and oppression (a.k.a. patriarchy, although the term for feminists represents a more radical vision than the more commonly held conception) reproduces itself as a system that devalues women and violently intervenes within the mother’s womb to alter the composition of the family and the demographics of society.

Abortion hurts women. Not only the individual women who undergo abortions, not only the female babies whose lives are sacrificed on the altar of choice, but women in general. And so, today, Monday March 8th, I’m taking a moment to reflect. Yes, I’m tired and a bit worn out, but I can’t afford to take a break from pro-life. Too much is at stake.

Edit: Check out this article from The Economist about the same topic.

OSFL Elections: March 24th, 7:30 p.m.

Our Great and Glorious Pro-Life Club is approaching times of change. An exodus of leadership is forthcoming, the likes of which has not been seen in this club since beyond our memory. A void in leadership is emerging. Who will stand between us and the forces of Chaos? Who will lead us in the campaign against the Culture of Death? Who will be the next generation of Ottawa Students for Life?

Okay…so that was a little melodramatic. In fact, the club is well-trained and well-poised to continue at the University of Ottawa. However, we do need students to step into leadership roles. Please seriously consider this. The club has been, for many of those involved, a highlight of their time at university. It’s an incredible opportunity to grow as a leader, as a team player, and as a person. Check out our blog in the weeks to come for stories on how involvement in Ottawa Students for Life has affected our current and past leaders. All those who take on leadership positions will receive training and mentoring. Position descriptions can be accessed at this link. Please email us with any questions. If you’d like a chance to sit down with an executive member and ask questions one-on-one, just let us know and we’ll set something up.

Join us then, as we choose the future leadership of our club. Help us to select the ones who will lead us forward. Or even, put yourself forward as a champion of the Right to Life. Let this club of ours remain strong and united as we continue to build a culture of life!

The technical details:
Event: OSFL General Elections
Date: Wednesday, March 24 at 7:30 pm
Place: stay tuned
What to do if you are interested in running: peruse the Official Job Descriptions Page and send in your self-nomination to ottawastudentsforlife@gmail.com .
Your nomination should include:
> Name
> Year
> Program of study
> Past involvement with the club
> Position(s) of interest

Where to Turn

By Eliza Jane Phillis

As support coordinator of OSFL, I would like to bring attention to some of the organizations in Ottawa which exist to help women facing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy. These organizations work hard to defend the rights of the women they support and their children. Therefore, I believe they deserve some recognition for their work. Also, I hope that if anyone reading this, or someone they care about, is ever faced with the fear and confusion of an unplanned pregnancy, they will remember that these organizations are there to help with options counselling, physical and emotional support, and, if needed, post-abortive counselling.

As well, if you are interested in learning more about these organizations or volunteering with them, I strongly urge you to follow the links below.

First Place Pregnancy Centre is an organization which we have supported in the past as a club. They offer real options counselling, support for women during and after their pregnancies, and support and counselling for women suffering after an abortion.

Birthright of Ottawa is another organization dedicated to counselling and helping women facing an unplanned pregnancy. They provide one-on-one support during the difficult decision making process, as well as referrals to a number of important services such as medical care, professional counselling, and other community resources.

The Miriam Centre in Orleans offer assistance and support to mothers during their pregnancy, as well as assistance and resources for new mothers/parents facing difficulty, and support for parents who have lost a child to miscarriage, abortion, or infant death.

Rachel’s Vineyard is an international organization which organizes retreats to bring healing to post-abortive men and women. They are holding a retreat in Ottawa next month. Please check their website for more information. The information on who to contact specifically for the Ottawa retreat can be found by clicking here.

I strongly urge every pro-lifer to check out the links above and to become familiar with the services offered by each of these wonderful organizations. An unplanned pregnancy can happen to anyone at any time, and having the resources readily available for the woman who comes to us seeking guidance can make all the difference in the world. But remember, that the first resource for these women is you, and the greatest gift you can give is love.

Changing the Rhetoric

by Reita S.

When I was about 7 years old, I learnt all about cells from TV. I suspect it was either Bill Nye the Science Guy or Magic School Bus. Using Lego or blocks or grains of rice, they demonstrated that all living things are made of little pieces. Every person is composed of three trillion cells, if I recall correctly, and cells die and replace themselves at different rates.

All this to say that from a very young age, educational programming taught me that, at my basic level, I am a mass of cells. The same TV shows also explained that I had something called DNA, which was rather like a zipper or a ladder. (They knew from the start I would never be a scientist.) Apparently my DNA wasn’t like anyone else’s, unless of course I was an identical twin, which I’m not.

So, to recap, I am a bunch of cells, several trillion, all with unique roles and life spans, and I am also genetically unique from everyone else in the world (except potential evil twins).

Why then is the pro-choice cry so often “the foetus is just a clump of cells”? Simple: dehumanization. My roommate and I recently had a discussion about meat. Though she loves fish, she is unable to go purchase a whole fish from the store. Why? She can’t eat “something with a face”; however, fillet that fish and serve it to her and she’ll eat it happily!

In the same way, saying abortion kills an unborn child (which it does) is “eating the animal with the face”. You feel guilty because you feel empathy for the child. You know that it had to suffer and that it had to die. You are angry at the injustice when you remember every child you ever held.

Getting rid of the “unwanted clump of cells” is having your fish and chips. You are totally divorced from action that produced your desired outcome – you don’t feel guilty because there was never anything real to convict you.

This is an issue of rhetorical double-talk. Pro-choice activists and abortion clinics have convinced the public that the foetus is practically a non-living thing. It is a package of parts which can be assembled at birth, if the mother so chooses, to create a ‘real child’.

Rhetoric’s purpose is to persuade. Rhetoric’s goal should be to persuade people of the truth. Don’t be fooled by pro-choice rhetoric, which seeks to validate its own position by redefining simple biology. From the moment you are conceived to the moment you die, you are “a clump of cells”. Does that mean you deserve life any less?

For more information, please see this interesting post by John Sutherland at http://www.johnonlife.blogspot.com.