Love wants the highest good for the other person. As such, love is not self-serving, but is oriented towards the other. It is more than a onetime proclamation or commitment, but rather is revealed in our daily actions as we serve others.
by Rebecca Richmond
[A note from uOSFL: Many people think of university as a time to do ‘crazy things’ that we give up when we become ‘serious adults’. While we hope that she is beyond all-nighters, cramming, and living on ramen noodles, our former President Rebecca Richmond , who has recently begun in her new job as Director of National Campus Life Network, is a testimony to the fact that activism doesn’t end when you receive your diploma!]
No, I will not be a Torontonian or “from Toronto.” I will simply be a girl from the Ottawa Valley who happens to live in Toronto.
I always vowed that I would never live in Toronto, and I can’t believe that I’ll be moving there next weekend. But, since the beginning of my involvement with the Campus Pro-Life Movement, you wouldn’t believe all the things I can’t believe I end up doing!
It’s not easy to be a campus pro-life leader. There is so much to be done, but so little time with all the other commitments you have to juggle as a student. Fortunately, we’re not alone. UOttawa Students For Life has benefited so much from the help and support of National Campus Life Network (NCLN). NCLN is the only national organization that exists to educate, support and network pro-life post-secondary students across Canada. NCLN has trained us to be more effective as club leaders and as pro-life advocates. They’ve provided us with effective resources designed for university campuses. They’ve connected us with other pro-life groups, including other campus groups as well as community and national groups. They’ve given us advice and encouragement, helping us to set goals and carry out our plans. NCLN made club pro-life advocacy more manageable, maximizing our effectiveness and minimizing the burden of additional work.
During my time with uOSFL, I repeatedly said, “I want to do this full-time!” Now, I have that opportunity. I am very excited to be working full-time with NCLN, now that I’ve graduated from my studies at uOttawa. It is an incredible honour and privilege to be able to support campus pro-life clubs in Canada.
I will miss Ottawa terribly but I know that the sacrifice of moving away from Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley will pale in comparison to the joys of working with NCLN.
by Rebecca Richmond
I spent Saturday in my living room, surrounded by mounds and mounds of papers. Four years worth of paper to be exact: neat notes I took in class, well-cared-for coursepacks, assignments, journal articles, receipts, financial records, bits of this and that. Much of it – perhaps even most of it- got recycled. The end result was a feeling of nostalgia that has lingered…
See, I finished my last exam of university last week and now, I must turn to the daunting task of packing up. My roommate and I have given notice to our landlord and are trying to figure out, after four years, who owns what in this place. “Whose casserole dish is this?” “Aw… I don’t own any cutlery of my own!”
The rather sad task of saying goodbye to friends has begun and I fall asleep dreaming of the best manner in which to pack the over abundance of belongings I seem to have accumulated.
University has been a good four years. Not always easy, but always interesting. I believe, and I hope, that I’ve developed my intellectual capacities, my critical thinking and writing skills, and, perhaps, gained a better understanding of the world. But I can’t recall anything from that one economics class I was required to take, and I doubt I can tell you many facts or figures from various other classes.
But for two and a half years I’ve been a pro-life activist with uOttawa Students for Life. It’s been the highlight of my university career. I certainly remember more from that than from economics! It gave meaning to my studies and helped define these past four years.
I will miss city, the University, the club, my friends, and being (relatively) close to my family. But all good things must come to an end. One chapter of my life closes, and another begins. I’m sad to leave uOSFL but I’m also happy, knowing that it is in such capable hands. I’m confident that Theresa, Amanda and the amazing leadership team will take the club to new heights next year, building on a foundation that I was privileged to help lay.
Pro-life has always been a passion of mine. Now, it’s more than that. It’s a choice that I’ve made. Pro-life isn’t just something I believe; it’s a mission I have to live. Leaving Ottawa and uOSFL isn’t the end of that choice and that mission. No, it’s just the beginning.
by Rebecca Richmond
All in all, not bad coverage. So much for the abortion debate being over….
It’s awful what groups like that of the University of Calgary and Victoria and have to endure. Their examples of courage, selflessness, perseverance and determination are inspiration for us all.
by Rebecca Richmond
I have a confession to make: I am a flawed human being. The flurry of activity that constituted my Easter weekend flowed into the craziness of paper-writing and, failing to check the blog schedule, I realized only today that I was supposed to have submitted my blog entry last night.
As such, my offering is short and sweet.
I grew up rather angry at feminists. I blamed them (not suffragettes but the feminists of the sexual revolution era) for damaging society. Oddly enough, I now consider myself a feminist, although with an understanding of gender that conflicts with most other feminists out there (I believe in integral complementarity, in case you’re wondering).
There are, as I’m sure you’re aware, pro-life feminists out there. Check out Feminists for Life and some of their articles: “Women Deserve Better than Abortion” and “The Bitter Price of Choice”. Feminists for Life continues in the tradition of early feminists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who were pro-life.
I’m writing a paper (due tomorrow) for my feminist theories class on maternal feminism (think of the Famous Five and the Persons Case) and new feminism/integral complementarity (think of John Paul II and Edith Stein). It’s interesting stuff, let me assure you. One of the authors I’m reading wrote something I thought I would share with you:
“May will see a betrayal of justice – and assuredly of feminism – in any suggestion that women may bear a special responsibility to nurture the culture of life, which alone can protect our future….No doubt the ideals of service and sacrifice run directly against the grain of our culture, but if we deny their claims we place ourselves at high risk. Until now, feminism in general – and we all know there are marginal exceptions – has waged a fierce battle to permit women to behave like men and, in the areas in which they cannot, to guarantee them the same results as if they had. A new feminism requires that we must the courage and the faith to reverse this paradigm. Women throughout the world are in desperate need of policies that respect and protect them as women – not policies that ensure their access to abortion so that they can become as “free” as men. A feminism grounded in the defense of a women’s right to “choose” to have an abortion is inescapably a feminism that promotes the culture of death. It is never easy to go against the grain, especially when doing so exposes one to social and economic risks. But without the will to defy prevailing ideas, we will condemn ourselves to more of the same….Who knows? If we succeed in defending a culture of life in which personhood is understood as mutual recognition rather than autonomy and no person is ever objectified as the means to an end, men – within the constraints of their differences from us – may follow.”
Excerpt taken from: Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, “Equality, Difference, and the Practical Problems of a New Feminism,” in Women in Christ: Toward a New Feminism, ed. Michele M. Schumacher (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdsman Publishing Co., 2004), 310-311.
Well, that’s my contribution for the day. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I must return to essay writing.
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.
by Rebecca Richmond
Like many others, I was very interested to watch Focus on the Family’s Super Bowl commercial featuring football star Tim Tebow and his mother Pam. Weeks before the Super Bowl, the ad generated about as much buzz as Janet Jackson’s infamous 2004 “wardrobe malfunction.” Some feminists and women’s groups immediately went on the warpath to prevent CBS from letting one woman who chose life despite difficult circumstances tell her story. Note that they hadn’t yet seen the ad.
The entire kerfuffle was in many ways tragic to the point of ridiculous. Did anyone else find it ironic that women’s groups, in the name of choice, were trying to silence a woman’s story of her choice? Did someone rewrite the definition of choice and forget to tell me?
The commercial, when I finally saw it, was cute, positive and utterly benign.
It appears that these women’s groups may have actually ended up shooting themselves in the foot since they brought the issue to the headlines and got America and Canada talking about abortion. They also demonstrated how their position is, in and of itself, contradictory. If women have the right to chose and the right to freedom of expression, they sure shouldn’t be shot down for talking about their choice – whether it’s Pam Tebow who chose life or the women of Silent No More who proclaim that they regret their abortions, as another example.
Someone directed me to an interesting article by Sally Jenkins, a pro-choice columnist who also found the Tebow controversy silly. She writes:
Let me be clear again: I couldn’t disagree with Tebow more. It’s my own belief that the state has no business putting its hand under skirts. But I don’t care that we differ. CBS owns its broadcast and can run whatever advertising it wants, and Tebow has a right to express his beliefs publicly. Just as I have the right to reject or accept them after listening — or think a little more deeply about the issues. If the pro-choice stance is so precarious that a story about someone who chose to carry a risky pregnancy to term undermines it, then CBS is not the problem.
While it must have been difficult for the Tebows and for Focus on the Family to endure the onslaught of angry women’s groups, the entire debacle may also have helped our cause by revealing the absurdity of the pro-choice claims. If pro-choicers want to be consistent in their claims, they need to start supporting all choices, and not just their preferences.
by Rebecca Richmond
In class this morning I was chatting with the guy who sits next to me about school and mentioned the fact that I was heavily involved with a club on campus. When asked what club, I replied, “Ottawa Students for Life. The pro-life club on campus.”
“Careful. Don’t say that too loud,” he warned with a smile.
Why? Because the class we were in was Feminist Theories, a third year Women’s Studies course I’m taking as an elective. I’ve spent a good portion of my year in classes related to gender issues and even when the class isn’t related, I tend to gear my essays towards life and women’s issues.
That conversation should not have taken place. It should be perfectly natural for me to broadcast my pro-life affiliations and beliefs and to not attract stares, angry glances, and cold or hostile words. But in any sort of course related to women’s issues, and in many other disciplines as well I’m sure, this isn’t the case.
Please believe me when I say that I don’t consider all women’s studies students to be intolerant or belligerent and there are, I’m sure, a few pro-lifers among them.
My point is that a pro-life position is generally considered antithetical to a pro-woman or feminist position. I, however, believe the opposite. I believe that being pro-life is to be pro-woman. I could articulate my viewpoint further, using plain speech or even feminist jargon but I’ll let you hear it from Andrea Mrozek, the founder of the popular blog prowomanprolife.org. (see the ad at the top of our blog).
I will say this, however. On January 28 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada strikes down Canada’s abortion law as unconstitutional, leaving in its wake a vacuum of law. Now women across Canada are taught to believe that this is a simple procedure that won’t hurt or have long term consequences. This vacuum of law has rendered women vulnerable to the pain, the physical consequences, and the emotional bereavement that abortion can carry with it. It has made discrimination against fetuses for any reason legal, including gender (sex-selective abortion) and developmental (abortion of developmentally challenged and handicapped individuals).
It’s time for society to speak up. Women deserve better.
by Rebecca Richmond
I’ve been sitting in front of this computer for over an hour. My screen has several snippets of paragraphs sitting on it as I’ve tried to find some sort of cohesive way to string the ideas in my head together. I’m not a bad writer, truth be told. But it certainly helps to have a bit of direction when a writing assignment comes your way. The only guidelines I got for this was that it had to be epic. Thanks guys. No pressure, huh?
We’ll be blogging three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (excepting Christmas and New Year’s) and you’ll be hearing from a wide variety of club members, from bright-eyed first year nursing students to old fourth year political science students. Everything from commentary on current legislation or stories of our experiences on campus will appear here. You’ll get to know our members, our club, our campus, our successes, and our struggles and we look forward to sharing them with you. This blog is more than just a means of us sharing information with you, but rather a means through which we can better connect with students and community members. So please feel free to comment or to contact us!
What I want to give you, in this inaugural blog post, is an idea of who we are. Not what we do, mind you, but who we are.
So let me take you back in time to last Tuesday evening when several club members assembled in my living room, armed with mugs of hot chocolate and bowls of chips and yummy baked goods, to plan for the coming semester.
We’re a diverse group of men and women. We have first years, fourth years and everything in between. We span the disciplines of health science, nursing, political science, history, philosophy, computer science, and classics. We are of different faiths and from different family backgrounds and we come from different parts of the country.
We have different gifts and talents, but like different parts of the same body, we all work together for this common cause: saving lives. I feel so privileged to work with these club members who selflessly give their precious time and balance school, work, family, and friends with their responsibilities to the club.
When we meet, whether it’s for an event or a planning session, I feel like we’re more than just compatriots in a common cause. We’re also good friends. There’s a great deal of laughter at our meetings along with good-natured teasing and fun. We are a participatory oriented open campus club. Our club leadership team’s role is to help facilitate, involve, and include our peers on campus in the efforts to educate, inform, and empower our campus regarding promoting and protecting the dignity of all human beings from conception to natural death.
I believe that we’re rather extraordinary. Not because we’ve done grand things, although I do believe that we’re doing important work at the university. Whatever we do, though, we do with a great deal of love. And in a world where convenience and difficult circumstances trump the right to life, a great deal of love makes a great deal of a difference.