Hello Choose Life!
Choose Life's next meeting will be next Wednesday, October 6, 6:00 - 7:00pm in room 302 of the SSMU Building (3840 McTavish). We'll be discussing our upcoming plans, including what we will be doing to help connect pregnant and parenting students to the support they need. And we'll have snacks :)
Thank you to everyone who turned out to the meeting this week for all of your great ideas and enthusiasm!
For anyone who wasn't there, we decided that two of the things we'd like to focus on for the year are educating ourselves on various life issues and working to make sure pregnant and parenting students at McGill have the support they need. We're getting started on both of these next Monday, September 27:
It was great to meet everyone at our ice cream social last week! Looking forward to seeing you today at:
Lots of people have requested a bit of a summary regarding McGill University pro-life club Choose Life's recent club status suspension and info on how to contact the students' society executives. At the Students' Society (SSMU) Council meeting November 12, the student representatives and executives voted against a motion to outright revoke Choose Life's club status. That basis for this motion was that our events target and harass women, and that we spread false information. Specifically, at the Silent No More Awareness Campaign event, there were pamphlets available that cited the link between abortion and breast cancer and one of the sites listed in the footnote has since changed its information to say that no such link exists. Thus, our opponents argue that we are threatening students' health and safety.
Another motion was brought up, and passed 16-11, to suspend our club status until we work with the Student Equity Committee to agree on a way we can share our message while working within the SSMU's governing policies. Of course, this presumes that we have breached them with our past events in some way. In addition to the reasons listed above in support of the other motion, the Echoes of the Holocaust event and use of graphic images were of particular concern. Presumably, they would like us to agree not to use graphic images again. I haven't met with them again yet, so I don't know exactly what other limitations they would like us to agree to. Among the priveledges that come with club status is the ability to book rooms in the students' society builidng and elsewhere on campus. We have never recieved direct funding from the SSMU (and since the Echoes of the Holocaust event, can never do so).
Here's the concluding part of Margaret Somerville's reaction to the suspension, as published in the Montreal Gazette on Nov. 20.
...the MSA president said that Choose Life members’ freedom of speech could be restricted, because they “were using questionable statistics from questionable sources” to make the case against abortion. So, the MSA president is saying that if we don’t like the statistics or the sources some people use, we need not bring evidence to rebut their claims; rather, we may intentionally silence them.
I thought that was called censorship. It’s deeply concerning that anyone would imagine, even for a second, that challengeable statistics or sources constitute a valid justification for shutting down free speech, let alone someone who is the president of the students’ association at McGill.
MSA spokespeople say they want, as we all do, a safe environment and peace on the campus. But, in a democracy, “good” oldfashioned Maoist “harmony” achieved through suppression of any dissenting voices cannot achieve that.
The National Post's Barbara Kay also had something to say about the suspension.
Here is the contact info for the SSMU executive:
Ivan Neilson, President
Rebecca Dooley, VP University Affairs
Alexandra Brown, VP Internal
Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan, VP External
Sarah Olle, VP Clubs & Services
Jose Diaz, VP Finance & Operations
I can understand the view that forcing a woman to remain pregnant is oppressive. Harder to comprehend, however, is a view like that expressed in Antonia Zerbisias's response to Toronto's 40 Days for Life:
The birds of 'pray' who will be trageting the women's clinics in Canadian cities for the next 40 days really don't care about saving lives.
It's all about keeping women down to those Biblical depths where they are little more than breeding stock, born to serve their masters.
Seemingly the pro-choice protesters at McGill think along the same lines, as they were passing out copies of this article today.
I am optimistic, however, that most people are able to recognize a more complex world than one simply comprised of the oppressors and the oppressed. Perhaps what puzzles me most is that people who by now greet me and other Choose Life members by name honestly believe that each of us is primarily motivated by a desire to strip women of their freedoms.
Happily, I think the remedy is fairly simple: demonstrating our love of and concern for all people--whether they be born, unborn, male, female, Christian, or feminist. Fortunately, we've got 40 days of just that coming up!
...in a bathroom stall, McGill University.
The black line going off to the right leads to further discussion:
"A fetus is a parasite"
"That's what we're calling ourselves now?!"
"If you don't want an abortion just don't get one! Would it be so great to go back to the good ol' days when women used knitting needles to kill the fetus? I don't think so!!!"
I'm happy to know that the abortion debate is not entirely dead, at least not in this biology building at McGill. And rather pleasantly surprised that the last commenter is honest about what abortion is.
I might note that though I refrained from adding to the lively discussion, trying to take a picture in the women's bathroom was not without its awkwardness.
Like the right to abortion in Canadian law, the right to consequence-free sex is imaginary. Unlike abortion, however, consequence-free sex on-demand does not exist in the first place.
...Access to reproductive health information and services builds a foundation for healthier families and communities ... It allows women to continue their education, thereby improving their economic status and the well-being of their families. Additionally, it is critical in preventing unintended pregnancies and ensuring the blessing that every child is a wanted child [emphasis mine].
Two things pop out at me. The first is a discouraging lack of openness to and support of new life no matter the circumstances. But an even more apparent omission is any recognition that having sex is a choice -- a controllable variable that never has entirely controllable consequences.
I understand the logic of preventing unwanted pregnancies to prevent abortions. But despite the sincere and admirable intent, the myth of consequence-free sex underlying this strategy is untenable and only contributes to the belief that unintended pregnancies are merely mistakes for which no one is responsible, and which must be "taken care of" through access to abortion.
Promoting the idea that everyone is entitled to sex minus any responsibility for its foreseeable consequences is dishonest and counter-productive in building a culture of life.