Have a Pro-Active Christmas break!

The Christmas break is always much anticipated after a long, busy Fall semester. It is time to get some needed sleep and celebrate the joy of the season with our family and loved ones. However business at abortion clinics still continues and children are still being killed. So how can we use this time off to become better advocates for life and continue to do our part to help end the legal slaughter of unborn human beings? Here are some ideas 🙂

  • Head to unmaskingchoice.ca and watch their apologetics and strategy training videos.
  • Visit blogs like prowomenprolife.com to keep up on the latest pro-life news.
  • Read your local newspaper and look for articles related to pro-life issues and write letters to the editor defending life.
  • Search up good apologetics books to get familiar with the issues and  learn how to better defend your pro-life viewpoint. Recommendations are: Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Dr.F.BeckwithThe Case for Life (Scott Klusendorf) Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (Robert George and Christopher Tollefsen) Why Pro-Life? (Randy Alcorn). You can find lots of good resources just by searching the author’s name.
  • There are may short articles on various common questions brought up in the abortion debate here: http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5349
  • Learn about historical social justice movements by reading books such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Autobiography and Bury the Chains (Adam Hochschild)
  • Find out about why women are speaking up to share how they regret their abortions and why men are regretting their lost fatherhood: http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/about/ A good read is Forgiven of Murder by Denise Mountenay
  • Give a donation to groups who provide support and services to women in crisis pregnancies and their children such as Birthright, the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre, Elizabeth House and Emma House.
  • Obviously there are many other things out there that can be done but hopefully this gives you a few good ideas! Don’t forget to write to us at prolife@ucalgary.ca to let us know when you are available in the New Year to come to our Pro-Life Apologetics training sessions!
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Bill C-510: Roxanne’s Law

Coming up on December 13 Bill C-510 will be up for a second reading and debate in the House of Commons, followed by a vote on the law on Dec 15. Go to the website: www.roxanneslaw.ca to find out ways you can support this law which would make it illegal to force women to have abortions. The law was inspired by a young lady who was killed by her boyfriend when she stood up to him and refused to have an abortion. A large number of abortions that take place involve some level of coercion on the part of family or friends of the pregnant women and this law will give these women legal recourse to help protect themselves and their unborn children from this kind of pressure.

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Campus Pro-Life Clubs on the Michael Coren Show

Watch leaders of pro-life clubs across the country Ruth Lobo (President) and James Shaw (VP) of Carleton Lifeline and Campus Pro-Life President Alanna Campbell, Rebecca Richmond (Executive Director) and Theresa Gilbert (President) of the National Campus Life Network (NCLN) and Jojo Ruba, Co-Founder of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform as guests on the Michael Coren Show.

Episode from October 21, 2010: http://www.ctstv.com/michaelcoren/episodes.php

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Carleton Students Arrested for Displaying GAP

As most people have heard already, the students at Carleton University who tried to set up GAP were arrested and charged with trespassing last month (the amount of time I have not updated our blog it seems!). Instead of reiterating the whole thing here I’d like to direct you to their website where you can find all the information and updates: http://carletonlifeline.wordpress.com/

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The Genocide Awareness Project comes to Carleton University

Our friends in the pro-life club at Carleton University will be setting up GAP on their campus this week. We applaud them for their courage in taking a stance despite the potential controversy and standing up for life on their campus. Hopefully many minds and hearts will be changed as a result! Below is their press release:

CONTROVERSIAL ABORTION EXHIBIT SPREADS TO OTTAWA
Students at Carleton University Get Eye-Full

OTTAWA. This October, 4, Carleton Lifeline will re-open the abortion debate—and it will be hard to ignore them.  The students will display six 4×8 foot bloody images from the controversial Genocide Awareness Project (GAP: www.unmaskingchoice.ca/gap.html).  The GAP graphically compares abortion to historical atrocities, such as the Holocaust, and has been met with resistance most particularly at the University of Calgary. This Monday from 10am to 4pm, their exhibit will be displayed in the Quad at Carleton University.  With students passing through that area on their way to and from class, heads are expected to turn. “A university is the marketplace of ideas and we want to use that platform to show that abortion is an act of violence that kills a baby,” said club president Ruth Lobo, a Human Rights major.  “We know this exhibit is effective at changing peoples’ minds because they’ve said so.”

The students said they hope to achieve debate about abortion, and they hope their message won’t be censored. Their exhibit comes on the heels of the University of Calgary Campus Pro-Life (CPL) club’s GAP display.  Out west, the students have faced censorship attempts from U of C — from the university having them charged with trespassing (the charges were eventually stayed) to charging them with non-academic student misconduct.

“We hope Carleton upholds our rights to free speech and academic freedom and encourages healthy discussion,” said history major James Shaw. “And if people are bothered by the pictures, I ask them to consider, if there’s nothing wrong with abortion, why would a picture of it bother someone so much?” A press conference will be held on campus in the Quad at 9 am on Monday October 4th 2010.

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Press release September 27, 2010

STUDENTS RISK MORE PENALTIES FROM UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY FOR DEFYING CENSORSHIP 

CALGARY – Despite warnings from the University of Calgary administration, members of the Campus Pro-Life (CPL) student group found guilty of “Non-Academic Misconduct” for having set up a pro-life display on campus this past April are once again displaying the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on the U of C campus. The controversial display compares abortion to past historical atrocities, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. The display is scheduled to be set up between the MacEwan Student Centre and Science B buildings today (September 27th) and tomorrow (September 28th).

 “The images are difficult to look at, admittedly we don’t like looking at them either, but the images are only upsetting because abortion is upsetting,” stated CPL President Alanna Campbell.

 After the display was previously exhibited last April, members of the group that they were charged and found guilty of a ‘Major Violation’ under Section 4.10 of the University of Calgary’s Non-Academic Misconduct Policy for “failure to comply with a Campus Security officer or University official in legitimate pursuit of his/her duties” by refusing to turn their display inward. Other major violations in this category include sexual assault, the use of explosives and firearms, and selling illegal drugs. The guilty verdict was “a formal written warning” that if the students “fail to comply with directives of Campus Security staff in the future” it will “result in more severe sanctions,” wrote Acting Associate Vice-Provost Meghan Houghton, who was the sole decision-maker in the guilty verdict. More severe sanctions can include the possibility of expulsion. The University’s Appeal Board refused to hear the students’ appeal, and members of the student group will appeal the guilty verdict to the Board of Governors.

“This will be the tenth display of GAP on campus. We have always found that this display has a large capacity for healing, educating, and raising awareness,” said CPL Vice-President Cameron Wilson. “That makes this display, without a shadow of doubt worth the cost that the university seeks to exact from us individually.”

The group has displayed its Genocide Awareness Project on the University of Calgary grounds, without incident, nine times since 2006. In 2006 and 2007, during the first four Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) campus displays, the University defended the students’ right to expression under the Charter, but in 2008 the University reversed its policy without explanation. In 2009, the University charged six students with trespassing in relation to the display, but the Crown Prosecutor stayed these charges prior to a trial scheduled for November of 2009. Since then, members of Campus Pro-Life have been threatened with Non-Academic Misconduct upon each display, and the University has found eight students guilty of Non-Academic Misconduct.

“We believe in the effectiveness of the display and we believe in our right to display it. For these reasons, we will not give in to intimidation and will challenge all attempts at censorship. We are proceeding now just as we have in the past,” stated Peter Csillag, CPL Vice-President.

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Press Release September 9, 2010

UNIVERSITY DENIES HEARING FOR PRO-LIFE STUDENTS

CALGARY – The University of Calgary upheld an earlier decision finding eight of its students, who set up a controversial pro-life display on campus in April 2010, guilty of “non-academic misconduct”. A five-person Appeal Board wrote to each member of Campus Pro-Life indicating that they will not conduct a hearing, and that the Appeal Board affirms the “guilty” verdict imposed in May 2010 by Vice-Provost Meghan Houghton.

“We are astonished that they will not even give us a hearing with the Appeal Board to present our case,” stated Alanna Campbell, CPL President.

In April, after setting up the pro-life display on their campus for the ninth time since 2006, members of the group received notification that they were being charged with a ‘Major Violation’ under Section 4.10 of the University of Calgary’s Non-Academic Misconduct Policy for “failure to comply with a Campus Security officer or University official in legitimate pursuit of his/her duties” by refusing to turn their display inward. Other major violations in this category include sexual assault, the use of explosives and firearms, and selling illegal drugs.

“The letters from the Appeal Board do not say who was actually on the Appeal Board or even when they met. It demonstrates the same top-down, unaccountable, closed doors approach that we’ve been dealing with for years,” said Peter Csillag, CPL’s Vice President (internal).

The group has displayed its Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on University of Calgary grounds, without incident, eight times since 2006. The display compares abortion to past historical atrocities, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. In 2006 and 2007, during the first four Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) campus displays, the University defended the students’ right to expression under the Charter, but in 2008 the University reversed its policy without explanation.

In 2009, the University charged six students with trespassing in relation to the display, but the Crown Prosecutor stayed these charges prior to a trial scheduled for November of 2009. Since then, members of Campus Pro-Life have been threatened with Non-Academic Misconduct upon each display, but only now has the University carried out its threats. The recent guilty verdict was “a formal written warning” that if the students “fail to comply with directives of Campus Security staff in the future” it will “result in more severe sanctions,” wrote Acting Associate Vice-Provost Meghan Houghton, who was the sole decision-maker in the guilty verdict. More severe sanctions can include the possibility of expulsion.

“This is simply viewpoint discrimination and has no place in any institution committed to higher education,” said Cristina Perri, CPL’s Secretary.

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A Brief History

Campus Pro-Life, a Student Union sanctioned club at the University of Calgary, has been setting up the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on campus twice per year since 2006. For more information on GAP see unmaskingchoice.ca.

In the spring of 2008, after GAP had been set up on campus without problem or incident on four occasions since 2006, the UofC suddenly demanded that the students set up GAP with the signs facing inwards such that no passersby could see the signs.  The U of C described its demand as “a reasonable compromise.”  The U of C threatened the students with trespassing charges and with charges for non-academic misconduct – with the possibility of expulsion from the university – if the students failed to comply with this new demand.

The students set up the GAP display twice in 2008, for two days in the spring and again for two days in the fall. In the fall, Campus Security took down the personal information of the students participating in the display.

In January of 2009, Calgary Police officers, went to the homes of students individually, and charged each student with “trespassing” for having been involved with the GAP display on campus two months earlier.

In March of 2009, the students attended at Provincial Court and entered a plea of “not guilty” to the trespassing charges.  A trial date was set for November 2009.  Two days before trial, the Crown Prosecutors stayed the charges and so no trial was needed.

In April of 2010, the students set up GAP for two days.  This was the ninth GAP display on campus in 4½ years, and again took place without problem or incident. As usual, Campus Security instructed the students to turn their signs inwards, or leave campus.  Campus Security did not indicate to the students what U of C rule, policy, bylaw or regulation the students were violating.  The students refused to turn their signs inwards or leave campus, and continued to engage in the peaceful expression of their opinions on campus.

Several days after this ninth GAP display, a letter from Associate Vice-Provost was sent to eight students who had participated in the display. She accused each of these eight students of violating the U of C’s Non-Academic Misconduct Policy by “failure to follow the direction of a Campus Security officer or University official in the legitimate pursuit of his/her duties.”

The “Major Violation” category of offenses includes theft, vandalism, arson, violence, firearms misuse, uttering threats, and sexual assault.  One of the penalties which can be imposed in respect of a Major Violation is expulsion from the university.

Each of the eight students attended an individual “hearing” before Vice-Provost.  During these hearings, the students requested a copy of the job description, policy manual or other document or documents setting out the duties of Campus Security.  They were told that those were not relevant facts.

In a letter dated May 5, 2010, the Vice-Provost found the eight students guilty of Major Violation of the Non-Academic Misconduct Policy. She included a warning that if the students set up the GAP display on campus again, and again failed to comply with the U of C’s censorship demand to turn the signs inwards or leave campus, penalties of increasing severity would be imposed.

On May 14, 2010, counsel filed the students’ appeal of the decision with the chair of the Appeal Board. In a letter dated August 20, 2010, Ms. Tierney dismissed the students’ appeal without a hearing.

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