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.
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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.