Monthly Archives: December 2010

Another Side of the Abortion Industry

by Anastasia Chvedova

Imagine opening a newspaper one day and finding a horrifying story about hundreds of people being killed each week and their bodies being sold for research and product manufacturing. Such stories often belong only in science fiction novels or movies. We know something similar happened in the Holocaust, but we don’t really expect it to happen today. However, recently I came across news that is perhaps not very far off. If anything, this information shows the lack of respect our society has for the unborn and the prevalence of the idea that they are not living persons. Prior to doing this research, I had no idea of this side of the abortion industry, and I am guessing that it is not extremely well known. Specifically, I am talking about the ways aborted fetuses are used in research, industry, and medicine.

An article recently published on LifeSiteNews.com describes the use of fetal body parts such as eyes, ears, limbs, brain and skin. Shockingly, these body parts are now an “indispensable commodity for many U.S. researchers and scientists.” They are used by the government, universities, pharmaceutical and biotechnology laboratories to produce cosmetics, food additives, and other products.

How do we know about this now? Dr. Theresa Deisher, a well-known molecular and cellular physiologist with years of experience in top pharmaceutical companies, recently gave a talk in Washington, DC, at a pro-life conference. She spoke of the “commoditizing” and “dehumanizing” treatment of unborn human beings that has occurred over the past few decades, changing the popular perception of them by suggesting they are not in fact human “like the rest of us.” I was surprised to learn that the more grown an unborn child is, the more valuable their body parts are for research – which suggests just how deeply this “dehumanization” has in fact taken root in our society.

Just how many fetuses are we talking about here? For example, “Puget Sound Business Journal discovered that the University of Washington filled out more than 4,400 requests for fresh fetal body parts from fetal tissue for the purpose of biomedical research in 2009.”

That is just one part of the story. There is another way in which fetuses are used: in vaccines. A few months ago, I (unknowingly) got vaccinated for the chickenpox. Later, I learned that viruses used in the Varivax vaccine are typically grown in cell lines derived from deliberately aborted babies! Upon learning this I was appalled and in a way felt violated, because if I had known this information, I would not have chosen to receive this vaccine. (Perhaps in this way, people should be given the “right to choose”?)

Many vaccines currently in use were developed using human cell lines, for example: VARIVAX (chickenpox), Havrix (Hep-A), VAQTA (Hep-A), Twinrix (Hep-A/Hep-B), POLIOVAX (polio), IMOVAX (rabies), MERUVAX II (rubella), M-R-VAX (measles/rubella), BIAVAX II (mumps/rubella), and M-M-R II (measles/mumps/rubella). One article I found suggests that each dose of the chickenpox vaccine contains “residual components…including DNA and protein of cells derived from the aborted baby”. Unfortunately, no alternative, pro-life substitutes currently exist for the chickenpox, Hepatitis A, and rubella vaccines.

A well-known quote says, “A society is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members.” I think this information gives us even more reasons to educate people on the pro-life view and help society see what is being done to its most vulnerable persons, the unborn. After all, who is more dependent, more small and defenseless, than they are? They are unable to speak up for themselves, and all we have for their testimony are the many images of aborted babies. However, we are able to speak, and perhaps it has never been more important to do so than today. It says something when the bodies of these children are used to grow viruses and test new products like cosmetics and food additives. It somehow makes widespread abortion even more inhumane, when the unborn are being used as commodities in our industrial, commercialized age.  In my opinion, every life is valuable and irreplaceable. For this reason, researchers need to find new methods of developing vaccines, even if those methods are more costly. As pro­-lifers, we should remember what we are proclaiming: that these unborn babies have been made for something much greater – to live, to learn, to be known, to love and be loved.

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Life is Wonderful

by Kate Larson

 As Christmas approaches, many people will make time to watch It’s a Wonderful Life at least once. Having seen it again recently myself, I was struck by some parallels between the pro-life movement and George’s story.

First, here is a brief synopsis for those unfamiliar with the movie. (Those who have been eagerly anticipating seeing it again since the credits rolled last year are invited to skip to the next paragraph.) George Bailey has big dreams. He wants to travel the world and then become a great architect. Every time he’s about to leave Bedford Falls, however, something comes up that requires him to choose between what he ought to do and what he saw himself doing. He ends up taking over the family business, providing loans to ordinary working people who would otherwise be swindled by the town mogul, Henry Potter. Thanks to him, his neighbours start successful businesses and own their own homes. Time and again he stands up to consummate businessman Potter, and just manages to keep operating. Then, thanks to his uncle and business partner accidently misplacing $8,000 that was meant for the business’s otherwise empty bank account, George faces the closure of his business and a prison sentence. There seems to be no solution and, in despair, he considers drowning himself. Fortunately, his family prays for him and an angel, Clarence, is sent to earth to convince him of the value of his life. Clarence shows George what the world would have been like if he had never been born and thus enables him to appreciate what he has and to see that his integrity has been rewarded. Rather than not achieving his dreams, he has achieved them in a more profound and fulfilling way than he could have envisioned.

I see three parallels between George’s experience and the pro-life movement. The first is that we too have a big dream, one of the biggest anyone could have, to render abortion and euthanasia unthinkable. It is so big that it may take more than your or my lifetime to achieve it. We may carry on, standing up for life at every opportunity, but feel that the world around us hasn’t changed. Yet we don’t know how our actions affect others. Aside from loaning the residents of Bedford Falls the money to have houses and businesses, George did three vital things. He saved his brother’s life, he prevented a child’s death by pointing out a mistake made by his first boss, Mr. Gower, and he married and had children. Yet, when he was shown what life would’ve been like without him, he was shocked to see that his brother had died, that Mr. Gower was homeless after serving twenty years in prison, that his wife had never married and that his children did not exist. He measured his actions against his dreams and was, therefore, blind to their good. Just because we have not achieved our big dream does not mean we are not getting there. When we are protesting, it is easier to hear the insults shouted at us than to see the person who takes quiet note of our signs. Meanwhile, that person’s life could have been profoundly affected and they could, in turn, profoundly affect, even save, the life of someone else. We may not always be able to see it, but that does not mean that change is not being wrought and that that change may not be deeper and last longer than we could imagine.

The second parallel is that it is not easy fighting for our cause. Like George, we are the underdogs. Henry Potter is the pro-choice status quo of our university campuses and our society-at-large. He believes that there are no vulnerable people, only problems. He proposes solutions that seem reasonable but are cruel. He seems to be helpful, but only hurts. No, being pro-life is not easy, but nothing of such importance can be.

This brings us to the third parallel. Like George, we in the pro-life movement can get discouraged to the point where we consider stopping our work. At the moment, some campus pro-life clubs are having to go to court for the right to exist. Talks are being shouted down and protests prevented. We may seem to be, as George seemed to be, in an untenable position. Fortunately, we already know two major things that George learned, that life is wonderful and that everyone should have the chance to be born and contribute to their world. When Clarence was fighting to save George’s life, it seemed at first like a losing battle. However, he didn’t give up and neither should we.

A Pro-life Hero Passes Away

By Alana Beddoe

On Dec 3rd, pro-life leader Heather Stilwell passed away with her family by her side. Stilwell was recently honoured at the International Pro-life Conference in Ottawa with the Mother Theresa award. At that event she declared, “I will fight abortion until the day I die.”

Heather Stilwell worked as a school trustee for 15 years and was a founding member of the Christian Heritage Party. She also served as the president of the Pro-life Society of BC. Even in her illness, she taught about the value of life and dying with dignity. I have the pleasure of knowing one of Heather’s daughters, who spoke of the wonderful opportunity to hold her hand, pray and listen to music with her in the last few weeks of her life.

More information about Heather Stilwell and the award she received can be found here.

How to Support Roxanne’s Law

A vote on Roxanne’s Law will be held on Wednesday, December 15, in the House of Commons. The goal of Bill C-510 is to provide legal protection for women who are being coerced into having an unwanted abortion. There are a few things we can do to show our support for this worthy initiative. First, write to your MP to let him or her know that you support the bill. You can use sample letters or print off and mail in a postcard. Next, sign the online petition. And then make a video! Click here for straightforward guidelines and see the sample above for inspiration. (The project is led by a religious group but all are invited to participate.) Don’t delay in showing your support!

Baby Bonanza!

by Katrina Bennett 

It is now December and that means our annual baby shower and Christmas social! We will be collecting items to help First Place Pregnancy Centre, which offers compassionate support and assistance to women facing unplanned pregnancies. The event itself takes place on Saturday, December 4th from 6:30pm to 11:00pm at Café Alt (in the basement of Simard). There will be fun activities, awesome people, and good food.  However, if you aren’t able to come out to the event, you can also drop off your donations at the Clubs Coordinator office, in the UCU room 030A (in the basement of the university centre). Suggested donations: diapers, diaper cream and wipes, maternity wear, baby clothing (especially for winter and for boys), nursing privacy shields and pacifiers.

 Hope to see you there!