What Else Is At Stake?

By Margaret Stephenson

After 5 students were arrested at Carleton while setting up a pro-life display on campus it seems that our knee-jerk reaction is to denounce the university administration for censoring pro-life rhetoric on campus.

Such censorship should be condemned.

A clear message was sent by Carleton University’s administration: abortion is taboo. Don’t mention it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t protest it. And for heaven’s sake don’t show pictures of it!

But something else is going on here, something that bloggers, on-lookers, and protest-participants decried immediately. Carleton University infringed upon the students’ right to exercise their freedom of speech.

I first heard news of the arrests from my sister (president of uOttawa Students for Life) on Monday morning, just before 10am. I was shocked but not surprised. After all, I had just spent the weekend talking about such incidents with a group of incredible pro-life students from across Canada (where I had the privilege to meet 2 of the brave students arrested). But how frustrating to be in St Catharines, dependent upon sporadic text messages for news from the “front,” instead of in Ottawa! 

I couldn’t help but talk to nearly everyone about the arrests. The first friend I encountered on campus got an earful about the goings-on at Carleton. Much to my annoyance (profound annoyance) her support for the students vanished as soon as I mentioned it was a pro-life protest. …so then does the content of the speech/expression determine whether or not it may be freely spoken/displayed?  Or do we live under a stable, democratic, constitutional monarchy that provides for the freedom of expression?

Today Michael Coren invited his panelists to discuss just that question on his TV show. It’s worth a watch: http://www.ctstv.com/michaelcoren/

Carleton Students Arrested

On Monday morning 5 peaceful pro-life students were arrested at Carleton University while setting up the Genocide Awareness Project display on campus.

Brock Students For Life humbly applauds the courage of each of these students. Through their suffering they draw our attention to an even greater injustice: the killing of unborn children.

The students were denied a public space to air the peaceful protest, and were instead offered a closed room in a remote section of campus.

This is an issue of censorship of an unpopular message by the Carleton University administration, and a shameful violation of the rules laid out in Carleton’s own student handbook.

The students were charged with trespassing.

As a side, note  how an officer claims that the university is private property. It is not private property and is in fact government funded and they say so on their own web site:

By the end of the 1960s, Carleton, like other universities in the province, had become a provincial institution, relying on provincial grants to cover its operating and its capital costs. One consequence was that the regulations governing these grants often shaped university planning.

BSFL at Brock’s O-Week Vendor Fair

By Margaret Stephenson

Members of BSFL brought the pro-life message to crowds of students at Brock today!

BSFL set up a booth at the Vendor and Club Fair which showcases community services, campus services and student clubs. In a flurry of activity a few thousand students checked out the fair today and happily scooped up all the free-bees they could carry.

Predictably, the BSFL table didn’t attract hordes of students. Most passersby noticed us, though. A few abortion advocates asked questions; one hopes to engage us in dialogue later in the semester. Some pro-lifers connected with us, too: we look forward to working together this year!

James, in a stroke of pro-active presidential genius, suggested walking through the crowds to hand out as many of NCLN’s We Know Better Now information flyers as possible. We handed out 500 flyers (497 to be exact – we kept 3 copies at our booth). Tomorrow we’ll pass out another 500. This is what the cover looks like:

Thank-you NCLN for producing a resource that looks so unassuming! We’d ask each student “did ya get one yet?” and almost without fail they’d grab one from us and say “thanks!”  Distributing pro-life info couldn’t be easier.  Some stuffed the flyer into their bags, hopefully to read it tonight or when they rediscover it in a few months on their bedroom floor. Others opened the flyers up right away and started reading. Right away people were talking. Awesome! Let’s get people talking.

Come by and visit our booth at the Vendor Fair tomorrow!

Interesting Tidbit

By Margaret Stephenson

Yesterday evening a kind lady from St Catharines Right to Life shared the following article with me. It was published in the National Post on May 10th, 2010 in response to an article written 5 days earlier.

I was surprised to learn that the Pill acts as an abortifacient! Have a read below.

NB: BSFL does not intend to tackle the topic of contraception.

How the Pill Works

Despite the 50 years since the Pill first came on the market, much misinformation remains concerning the inherent risks associated with oral contraceptive use. Not only is oral contraceptive use associated with an increased risk for stroke and heart attack, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies oral contraceptives as carcinogenic to humans. Oral contraceptives increase the risk for developing breast cancer, cervical cancer and liver cancer.

Women are further misguided with respect to the mode of action of oral contraceptives. The primary mode of action of the Pill is to suppress ovulation. A secondary mode is to inhibit transport of sperm through the cervix by thickening the cervical mucus. Should the first two methods fail and conception occurs, oral contraceptives also cause changes in the endometrium to prevent or disrupt implantation of a fertilized embryo.

The first two mechanisms are true contraception. The third mechanism is abortifacient. Many women, on learning that the Pill is an abortifacient, are horrified and so not want to use it.

– Suzana Kovacic, Burnaby BC

Special-needs, special tests.

By Margaret Stephenson

A week ago I was in Wisconsin for a dear friend’s wedding. I shared a hotel room with an old library-pal of mine who studied Medical Science at UWO. Comfortable in our cozy hotel room, we caught up on each other’s news into the early hours of the morning.

She told me about her experience this past year as a student at UWO’s Schulich School of Dentistry. I asked her if she hopes to specialize in a particular area of dentistry. Her reply? She hopes to work with special-needs patients and to build a practice that provides for their particular needs.

Having just heard Stephanie Gray speak about the importance of creating opportunities to speak about life issues, I decided to do just that.

“Did you know,” I asked, “that a majority of mothers opt for abortion when prenatal test results appear to indicate genetic disorders or birth defects?”

She had no idea.

We launched into a discussion of the moral implications and responsibilities of prenatal screening. I’m grateful for our conversation. It’s reassuring to know that at least one Canadian dentist-to-be has a heart for those members of our community dismissed as “less than” because they’re different than most. I just hope that when she opens her practise she has patients.

As I considered this blogpost I spent time paging through the Canadian Down Syndrome Soceity’s website. One article in particular caught my attention: Different is Beautiful. It’s written by Tom Koch, an adjunct professor of gerontology at Simon Fraser University and a research associate in bioethics at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. Koch criticizes the present-day obsession with accepting only “normal” persons and the tendency to abort the “others”:

Across the last century we have learned to value normalcy above difference, and beauty above all. This is the history of the euthanasia movement, and the discrimination that persons in your community have faced. We’re talking about “difference,” about “ugly,” about “them”. Genetics is fueling a new discrimination that is eugenic in nature.


Now the tests – however they are done – don’t tell us much except that the genetic marker is present. They don’t speak to the severity of the condition they predict. Nor, as you all will note, do they speak of the love the child will give its family and friends if it is born. It says, loud and “different”, and for some this is more than enough reason to abort.

Like Koch I believe that each child is of inestimable value regardless of the presence of absence of “genetic markers.” 

Another friend of mine is in her first trimester of pregnancy. As she proudly showed me the ultrasound pictures of her baby she explained that her doctor advised her to undergo prenatal testing. But to what end? Certainly, it is wise to safeguard the health of mother and child throughout pregnancy and to be aware of any complications that may arise during pregnancy. Yet any pretense of running such tests for the sake of the child is discounted when abortion is proposed as a solution, if not the solution, to undesirable test results. The termination of a human life helps no one. It is a grave abdication of responsibility and a fatal denial of the parent’s duty to love and care for his or her offspring.

Let’s create opportunities to talk with family and friends about the present-day correlation between prenatal testing and abortion. Let’s support parents as they raise special-needs children. Let’s learn from my dentist-to-be friend and open our hearts and arms to adults who live with special-needs.


By Margaret Stephenson

As most students at Brock University are enjoying a break from study for the summer BSFL is working hard to prepare for the year ahead. So, following in the cyber-steps of University of Toronto Students for Life and uOttawa Students for Life, BSFL is excited to launch a blog space!

Why? Mostly to give members of the Brock community a chance to interact with our members as we chew over current life topics. We will flex our advocacy muscles as we wrestle with tough life issues and we welcome, encourage, and invite your responses to our  blog posts! Please get involved!

Our club’s purpose is to actively promote the non-negotiable right to life of each human being. At present in Canada this right is blatantly denied to the unborn and is only grudgingly extended to the elderly and the suffering. This purpose is so important to the social, moral, and political fabric of Canada that we joyfully promise to set aside time in our busy lives of study to regularly compose worthwhile posts!

If we need more inspiration to boldly assert our presence on campus let’s mark the final words of our University’s namesake Major-General Sir Isaac Brock. As he died while leading British forces in Upper Canada in the War of 1812, Sir Isaac encouraged his tired troops saying “Surgite!” or, in English, “push on!”

So let’s “push on” into the year with the confidence that our advocacy for the lives of the vulnerable is of great importance. Let’s “push on” in our tireless encouragement of those brave individuals who defend life. Let’s “push on” to make any infraction against the right to life unthinkable.