Category Archives: uOSFL

Flags on the Hill

IMG_20141002_080245This morning, members of uOttawa Students for Life joined almost one hundred other volunteers from We Need A Law to plant 100,000 blue and pink flags on Parliament Hill. Each of these flags represents one of the 100,000 children killed by abortion in Canada every year since the Morgentaler decision in 1988.

The children represented by these flags were not much loved in life, and have rarely been remembered in death, except perhaps by their mothers and fathers, many of whom grieve by the loss of their children to abortion. But for most of us, these children’s lives ended so soon after they began that their deaths passed us by unnoticed and largely uncared for. 

Today we took a stand to remember these children and to witness to the injustice committed against them. These children will never laugh or cry. They were never read a book or watch a play. They will never see a sunset. And they will never feel the embrace of the one they love. They were killed before any of that. They are victims of our individualist and consumer culture, as are their parents. But they will not go unremembered, at least not while we have anything to say about it.

Because we are pro-life. We want the unwanted. We defend the defenceless. And we witness to the beauty, the power, and the meaning of every single human life from conception till natural death.

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The Problem of Personhood

The abortion debate is characterized by a mess of misinformation, fallacy, and ignorance. Objections about the quality of a child’s life, a woman’s personal choice, a child’s wantedness, and children of rape are all, in reality, surface level arguments that attempt to mask the real problem faced by pro-aborts: how do they redefine a fetus’ personhood? Most people would agree we can’t kill an 3 year old girl because her mother can’t afford to feed her; we don’t give a mother a “personal choice” to end her life because she is unwanted. A university student cannot be knifed in the back because he was a child of rape. These are not the real issues. In order to justify abortion, it must be established that they do not have any human rights; they must be denied personhood.

Denying personhood is not an easy intellectual or philosophical feat, which is why the above arguments are favorites of those defending the killing of unborn children. Science will not help them out; the evidence clearly shows that a fetus is alive, growing, and has human parents. According to the law of biogenesis, this fetus is human. It’s not a parasite, and it’s not an organ. The problem a pro-abortion intellectual faces is the redefinition of life. They must discern when, if not at conception, human rights do apply. Canada’s criminal code defines it as the moment that the child is completely born; this legal definition has no foundation, no scientific rhyme or reason, and is essentially indefensible from a philosophical standpoint. Others have tried harder to find that crucial point at which human rights apply, and have been forced form conclusions that cross accepted social boundaries. Philosopher Michael Tooney argues that in order for a human to have rights, it must be capable of having interests. Because an unborn child or a newborn presumably does not have the ability to take interest in it’s abilities or future, it does not deserve the protection of its life. Taking a similar but not identical stance, Peter Singer states that a being’s humanity is irrelevant to the wrongness of killing it; rather, it is characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that give someone human rights. He argues that infants and the unborn do not possess these characteristics, and therefore should be able to be killed. The problem is that neither of these arguments is more convincing than the other, or is convincing at all. Attempting to redefine personhood opens up a philosophical can of worms; the necessity of defining some sort of personhood in order to protect human rights in some form results in subjective, arbitary ideas of what merits human rights, as shown above.

The effects of denying personhood are tragic, inevitable, and unfortunately obvious. In Canada, from 2000 – 2009, 491 babies died after they were born alive after failed abortions. According to the Criminal Code, these babies should have rights, and the abortionists should be prosecuted for murder; however, respect for personhood has declined to the extent that there was no criminal investigation. In Belgium, Parliament is poised to allow child euthanasia for gravely ill children; in other words, the state is about to sanction the murder of sick kids. Denial of personhood does not only affect children; in the Netherlands, the number of elderly persons killed by euthanasia has more than doubled in the decade since it was legalised.

These tragedies, this complete disregard for human life, is really but the logical outworking of a dangerous philosophy. Taking the definition of personhood into our own hands and changing it to suit our subjective ideas of the what is a valued life, only leads further and further into the moral chaos described above.

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Have You Contacted Your MP?

Time is almost up! The second hour of debate on Motion 312 is tomorrow, Sept. 21, and the vote will be held next Wednesday, Sept. 26. If you haven’t done so yet, please call or email your MP and the Prime Minister. Also check out Let’s Stop the Pretense and Letters4Life. (Be sure to add your effort to the Letter Tracker!)

***You can use this tool to email all MPs at once.

As Margaret Somerville eloquently stated:

More than 100,000 abortions are performed in Canada each year. I suggest that we need to recover our sense of amazement, wonder and awe at the creation of new human life and that an in depth discussion about what our law on abortion should be might help us in this regard.

National March for Life: May 10, 2012

Be there:

If you would like to march with us, we will be meeting at noon on Parliament Hill on the right lawn (in front of East Block) by the Centennial flame. Watch for our big banner!

The full schedule of events is available here.

Also, hurry up and buy your tickets for the NCLN dinner.

And for budding videographers:

Movie Night and Club Elections!

This Thursday, March 22, at 7pm in Café Alt (basement of Simard), University of Ottawa Students for Life is showing the award-winning documentary “The Human Experience.” Popcorn and great people guaranteed! Following the movie, we will have our AGM to vote on constitutional amendments, after which we will proceed with our executive elections. If you would like to nominate yourself for a position, send us an email at info@uosfl.ca

Come one, come all, for one of the final events of the year!

1 in 4 Preborn Children Aborted


by Nicole Pachla

What a terrifying statistic. These words speak for themselves: 1 in 4 preborn children is aborted. What is happening to our nation?! A quarter of our generation has vanished and the next will continue to disappear if things do not change. Abortion is often seen as the default response to an unintended pregnancy and the consequences are deadly.

These preborn children are human beings, from the moment of conception, and they have the right to life just as much as you and I do. Give it a little thought. Those babies were not even given one single chance at life. Is that fair? Is this how a society should function?

Of course, there is no ideal society, but our society should at least strive to protect its weaker members, those who have no voice of their own, instead of mercilessly killing them.

Stand up and speak out for life because this statistic needs to change!

Down Syndrome and Abortion

by Elizabeth Tanguay

The latest fad these days in obstetrics is the Integrated Prenatal Screening test (IPS). Doctors may offer this screening, a combination of blood tests and nuchal translucency ultrasound, for neural tube defects and chromosomal anomalies to pregnant women over the age of 35. These tests can detect the probability of the fetus having spina bifida or Down syndrome. If the chance is greater than 1/200, the screen is considered positive and the parents are then offered further testing, such as chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis, which carry a small risk to the fetus. After this, if the fetus is deemed to have Down syndrome, or trisomy 18 or trisomy 13, the obstetrician will offer the parents the option to terminate the pregnancy. There is no real prenatal cure or treatment for Down syndrome, or trisomy 18 or trisomy 13 or spina bifida, except perhaps later in the pregnancy and in utero, which wouldn’t cure the problem, but would perhaps treat some of the heart, nerve and other organ defects. The reason obstetricians and family doctors offer this treatment so early is to give the parents a chance to abort.

Isn’t it strange, that in this post-Nazi, post-World War II age, in times when we have equal opportunity employers, disability benefits, special parking places for people with a disability, the Special Olympics and the Paralympics, that 90% of children with Down syndrome are aborted? Our modern, tolerant society that says that people with a disability are gifts to society would rather kill them than allow them to be born. This is a classic example of modern eugenics at work, as well as the consumer society we live in. We need to understand that children are not products to be consumed, items to purchase, the latest “thing” you must have: they are gifts, loaned to us for a short time to bring joy, laughter, simplicity, and wonder to the world.

But why would we want to rid the world of children with Down syndrome? The number of people who know a person with Down syndrome is decreasing, but those of us who know them can attest to their gentleness, sensitivity, friendliness, and their genuine love for other people. Parents of these children say that the whole family learns so much more from this child with a disability than they could ever imagine. A lesson we all need to learn is that those with genetic differences have just as much of a right to experience life, love and happiness as anyone else.

Check out these excellent articles written by Canadian parents of children who have Down Syndrome:
There’s no such thing as the perfect child
Our daughter’s Down syndrome has taken us on a beautiful journey
Adoption of children with Down syndrome is also increasingly popular: A demand for Down’s
Another great, touching article by the father of a man who has Down Syndrome.

Female Feticide

From Aborting Women’s Rights:

So prevalent is this trend that the delicate balance required to maintain healthy populations is becoming badly skewed. According to an article in The New Atlantis:

“The practice has become so ruthlessly routine in many contemporary societies that it has impacted their very population structures, warping the balance between male and female births and consequently skewing the sex ratios for the rising generation toward a biologically unnatural excess of males. This still-growing international predilection for sex-selective abortion is by now evident in the demographic contours of dozens of countries around the globe – and it is sufficiently severe that it has come to alter the overall sex ratio at birth of the entire planet, resulting in millions upon millions of new ‘missing baby girls’ each year. In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.”

When feminists talk about abortion, they do so in terms of women’s rights. Legalized abortion empowers women, they assert, because it puts them in control over their bodies; it gives them the choice whether or not to bear a child who has been conceived. What these proponents of “liberty” fail to consider, however, is that in many cases women are “choosing” abortion at the behest of someone else. Cultural pressures, fear of retaliation, and other factors are driving them to end the lives of their unborn children because daughters are deemed undesirable. Thus, abortion is being used as an instrument of oppression against females, not as a tool of liberation.

No doubt abortion advocates would argue that it is not abortion that is at fault here, but backward cultures that are misusing the tools of liberty in order to further their misogynistic agendas. Third world abortion might be an abusive, repugnant phenomenon, but that says nothing about its use in the western world. Such logic is nothing short of delusional. When it comes to questions of life and death, there is little gray area. You are either an advocate of life, a supporter of inherent human dignity, or you aren’t. You can’t justify the killing of the unborn the name “choice” and then complain when others exercise that choice in ways you find objectionable.

So this leaves the feminists of the west in somewhat of a pickle. What will they make of these new demographic trends? Will they stick to their guns and defend the use of abortion even as a tool of gender-based infanticide? Will they attempt to somehow construct a “morality of abortion” in which only certain motivations for the procedure are deemed justifiable? Will they evade the issue altogether?

For the sake of millions of unborn women around the world, here’s hoping this trend puts some pressure the pro-abortion movement to reconsider the implications of their inhuman and inhumane conception of human “rights.”

Cause for Hope

by Kelden Formosa

The tall, angry young man had just screamed “semantic witch” at the young woman at the lectern several rows before him. It seems he didn’t like what she had to say – her argument that abortion kills a human being did not appeal to his pro-choice sensibilities, apparently. You would think that Stephanie Gray, the pro-life debater and executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform, might have stumbled, but instead she continued on with her point, taking it all in stride, as the man walked out of the university hall.

The young man was a pro-choice audience member at the abortion debate organized by the University of Ottawa Students for Life and the U of O Med Students for Life this past year. It’s been a few months since the big debate – one which divided our campus and provoked real controversy – but looking back on it now, I think it provides us with some important insights on the future of the continuing public debate on abortion in Canada.

As one of those involved in the organization of the debate (full disclosure), I was quite happy to welcome even the most militant pro-choice activists, including the young man mentioned prior. It is the challenge of pro-life activists to change the hearts and minds of those who disagree with us. Debates, conferences, advertising, writing – pro-life Canadians have done it all, in the hopes that one day human life might be protected from conception unto natural death.

We’ve done it in the face of intense pressure to resign ourselves to the abortion status quo. Our opponents can’t even believe pro-lifers are still around and have even greater difficulty believing that young people and university students could ever be pro-life. For them, the debate ended in 1988, when the Supreme Court allowed for abortion in Canada without any restriction, throughout all nine months of pregnancy. The appalling statistics about abortion in Canada and around the world have barely registered in the consciousness of today’s pro-choice activists: that one in four unborn children will be aborted, including 90% of children prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, and a higher proportion of female children than male ones, seems quite unimportant to them and most of the mainstream media.

But, like it or not, the debate continues. It continues in families and amongst friends, in classrooms and in churches, and most poignantly, in the hearts and minds of vulnerable women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. And this continuation of the debate is the saving grace for the pro-life movement. Because it means that we’re still not comfortable with abortion – that ending the life of an unborn child still strikes us as morally troubling. For pro-lifers, this is cause for hope.

For pro-choicers, this apparently is cause for fear. Before our abortion debate even happened, dozens of major pro-choice activists rejected our club’s invitation to debate. We offered them the opportunity to confront a leading Canadian “anti-choicer” in an open forum, with a neutral moderator. Yet they said no: Dr. Kathryn Treehuba, a U of O professor and abortion provider; Dr. Fraser Fellow, a UWO professor and abortion provider; Joyce Arthur, of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada; Sandra Rogers, a U of O professor; Wayne Sumner, a U of T professor; Heather Holland, of Planned Parenthood Ottawa; representatives from Canadians for Choice, Action Canada for Population and Development and the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health – all of them refused to debate abortion.

So our club decided to hold them accountable. We put up controversial posters highlighting their refusal and wrote a letter to the editor of the student newspaper, making the debate invitation open to all comers. Eventually Jovan Morales, of the Atheist Community of the University of Ottawa, stepped up to the plate to represent the pro-choice side. It seemed for a moment that we would have a civil, if less than ideal, dialogue on abortion.

But it was not to be. Radical pro-choice activists, many of whom are associated with the Women’s Resource Centre of the Student Federation, decided to come out to our debate in force. This would have been great – if they were really there to engage in a reasoned debate. Instead, they brought their posters and their slogans and their raucous attitudes and little else. Holding signs that declared, “An egg is not a chicken” and “My Body/My Choice,” these activists heckled Ms. Gray, the pro-life speaker, menaced elderly debate attendees and shouted “bulls***” and “what the f***” in response to many of the points made by Ms. Gray. Particularly atrocious was the sign declaring, “I hope the foetus you ‘save’ is gay.” For the record, I wouldn’t mind at all.

But why were they so rude and disruptive? Why not just win the audience over with the logic and eloquence of the pro-choice message? I submit that their behaviour betrays the weakness of their own position. Perhaps it’s just the philosophy major in me, but “My Body/My Choice” is a far better slogan than logical argument. As Ms. Gray said: sure, I have freedom over my body – I can swing my arm, for example – but that freedom ends when it injures another person, e.g. swinging my arm to punch them in the face. When the right to choose ends the life of another person, we can and must restrict it. Similarly, it’s true that an egg is not a chicken, but a preborn child is not an egg – it is a fully human organism, genetically distinct and having within itself the means of its own continuance. Fallacies like the ones presented lie at the heart of pro-choice argumentation.

Now it is possible to be pro-choice and philosophically consistent: you simply have to believe that it is alright to kill innocent human beings simply for convenience’s sake. In my experience though, pro-choice people are just as kind and compassionate as pro-life ones. Few would adopt such a radical position. Instead, not being trained in critical reasoning and open to legitimate concerns of women facing unplanned pregnancy, many accept pro-choice fallacies to justify what is really the easy position on abortion. Pro-lifers recognize that women in need deserve real support and real options and the preborn deserve the most basic of rights – the right to life.

Strikingly, when Ms. Gray showed pictures of aborted children in her presentation, I detected a palpable sense of unease come over the pro-choice activists. Standing near their seats at back of the room, I heard them mutter “these aren’t real” and “it’s not true.” But sadly the images were – medically accurate filming of real, live abortion procedures. If they can’t bring themselves to accept the truth of what they support, then perhaps they aren’t as committed to pro-choice ideology as they would have you believe. And that, more than anything, is cause for hope.