Tag Archives: NCLN

What’s Wrong With an Emotional Response?

by Kate Larson

The October 4th arrest of students at Carleton University about to take part in the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), the display of graphic posters comparing abortion to the Holocaust and similar atrocities, made me think about the use of images in discussions of abortion. At both this year’s and last year’s abortion debates hosted by Ottawa Students for Life, the pro-choice speakers re-iterated the common argument that the use of images of abortion in discussions of the subject is intellectually dishonest and emotionally manipulative. This implies a number of things: firstly that images are being used in place of logical arguments, rather than to enhance them or to promote discussion of them, secondly that words are somehow neutral and have no manipulative power of their own, and lastly that emotions have no place in just decision-making.

            The National Campus Life Network website is just one place where rational arguments against abortion are laid out clearly and compellingly. No images are used to fill logical holes. There are no holes to fill. As for the OSFL debates, full logical justification of the pro-life position was given. A short video was shown of an abortion being performed, and the audience was warned that it might be disturbing and that they were welcome to cover their eyes or turn away if they wished. The video did not substitute for any argument, but only served to remind the audience, if they chose to view it, of the reality of something that is too horrifying for words to adequately convey.

            This brings us to the emotional resonance of words. Words can be carefully chosen to increase or decrease the emotional impact of what a person is saying. They are certainly not mere servants of fact. One has only to consider how abortion is often referred to in society to see that. Terms such as “a woman’s right to choose” or umbrella terms such as “reproductive rights”, “reproductive freedom”, “reproductive choice”, and “body rights” are not factual references, they are names chosen to make the killing of babies sound positive, desirable, and even necessary. It seems to me there can be no intellectual honesty and lack of emotional manipulation in a position that doesn’t even properly name what it attempts to justify.

            Why do we debate issues such as abortion? We do so because we do not live by logic alone. The desire to make just decisions is motivated not by statistics or cost-benefit analysis but by love and compassion for others and hope that our society will be better for everyone if we do what is right and oppose what is wrong. Logical argument is important, but it is this love and compassion and hope that makes us more than automatons and ought to help ensure that we do not blithely allow innocent human beings to be killed. Of course people will have an emotional response to images of abortion: the images are awful. They are also real and no amount of rhetoric is going to make them seem positive, desirable, or necessary.

Oh, Toronto!

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.

Being pro-life at uOttawa

by Theresa Stephenson

This is my speech from the National Campus Life Network dinner that followed the March for Life, regarding my experience in leadership and pro-life activism on the uOttawa campus.

~ ~ ~

A few days ago I met up with a friend of mine for a chat over a cup of coffee. Our opinions tend to differ on every possible subject and topic. When he asked me how I enjoyed my first year at uOttawa I told him all about the pro-life club – its members, activities, events – and about the amazing things I had learned from my involvement over the past year.

His reply to me was “Theresa, I understand your opinions on these issues. I know you’re pro-life and you can make valid arguments. You’re a rational and intelligent person, but I could name a hundred things that are more worthwhile to protest than abortion.”

He couldn’t be more wrong.

When life and death is in the balance, nothing could be more important. Every year, almost 100,000 beating hearts are stopped by abortion in Canada. Women are being brutally battered, physically and psychologically hurt by these procedures in clinics and hospitals. Families are being shattered. And all of this is permissible by law. All of this is considered the status quo. These issues are the most important to be fighting against.

It’s not easy being pro-life. We’re certainly not the cool kids on campus. At best, our peers might put up with us if we’re fairly quiet about our radical opinions. At worst, our freedom of expression is denied and our voices are silenced. All this makes our work that much harder.

We’re standing up for each person’s right to life while most people ignore it. We’re standing up against injustices and that goes against the grain. It’s a hard thing to do, and I know there are times when I feel overwhelmed by the unfathomable daily loss of human life.

But the dark clouds part and the shadows are dispelled when the truth touches the heart of even one person. Last September, I met a remarkable young woman who has become a very close friend. She was pro-choice. After a couple of months and many conversations, I saw her heart change. She is now actively pro-life. Seeing this one mind change is truly encouraging. Seeing this one person bravely embark in the new territory of pro-life activism is inspiring. One such transformation is the perfect antidote to discouragement.

This past year, I made some incredible friends in the club. The strength and camaraderie in the group inspires me to keep fighting and working. And not only the members of uOttawa Students for Life, but tonight as we gather from various campuses we remain united in the goal to make abortion unthinkable.

All good things must come to an end

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.