December 10 is Human Rights Day

On December 10th, people around the world will observe Human Rights Day. We hope you will too! This date is very meaningful, as the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It’s a day to celebrate; however, in Canada, it’s also a day to recognize our shortcomings. In our country, there are no rights or protections given to children before birth, even though they are fully human, and simply at a different stage of development.

With this in mind, this Human Rights Day, we’re asking our local representatives to remember that human rights are for all human beings.

In the lead-up to December 10th, we’ll also be taking the opportunity to run a public education campaign illustrating the need for protection of all children before birth in Canada. Above is a sample of a social media ad we’ll be running on Facebook and Instagram for people in our area. In addition, we’ll be distributing ‘Human Rights for All’ buttons to our supporters, and airing educational ads on the Fergus Grand radio station.

What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document proclaimed by the UN in 1948.  It outlines the fundamental human rights of all members of the human family, and calls for these rights to be recognized around the world.  An additional document, the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, further highlights what protections all children should receive: “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.” 

Shockingly, in Canada, there are no protections for children before birth. Abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy, and abortions are available at up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in multiple locations in Ontario. At this stage of development, 66-80% of preemies born will survive.

There are over 100,000 abortions in Canada every year. Each of these children before birth is a human being with value, and deserves to be protected.

How Can You Participate?

Write a letter: Write to your local member of parliament to encourage them to stand up for human rights, and to remember that children before birth are part of the human family too. You can download a sample letter to get started, or write your own.

When you send a letter, contact our office at info@guelphforlife.com to let us know, so we can keep track of how many letters have been sent!

Image of a person writing a letter

Participate on social media: On December 10th, use the hashtag #StandUp4HumanRights, which is the official hashtag of Human Rights Day. We’ll be contributing to the human rights conversation on social media by sharing messages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

If you believe in human rights for all human beings, we encourage you to join us in participating this Human Rights Day to speak up for children before birth.

 

Documentary Screenings: Fatal Flaws

We are excited to announce three local screenings of the new ‘Fatal Flaws’ documentary, which will take place in Erin, Fergus, and Guelph in September and October.

The documentary ‘Fatal Flaws‘ is a thought-provoking journey through Europe and North America that asks one of the most fundamental philosophical questions of our time: should we be giving doctors the right in law to end the life of others by euthanasia or assisted suicide?

Filmmaker Kevin Dunn uses powerful testimonies and expert opinion from both sides of the issue to uncover how these highly disputed laws affect society over time.

So far, this film has had a significant impact. “I had always hoped this film would be a game-changer,” says Kevin Dunn, director of the film. One impressive example of this happened in May of this year.

A screening of Fatal Flaws was held in Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, days before a vote on the issue of assisted suicide. If it had passed, Guernsey would have become the first location in the British Isles to legalize assisted suicide. One of the government representatives who would be voting came to a screening, and it completely changed his mind on the issue. As a result, assisted suicide was not legalized.

We are now facing the impact of legalized assisted suicide & euthanasia in Canada, and have seen almost 4,000 Canadians die as a result. The most recent government report on assisted suicide & euthanasia, detailing July to December of 2017, shows that over 1500 Canadians ended their lives with the help of a doctor during this span of time – a 30% increase from the last six-month period.

elderly women and younger woman holding hands
Seniors and those living with chronic illness and disability should receive support, companionship, and care during difficult times. The new Fatal Flaws film shows how legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia puts people in danger.

As we’ve seen in Belgium and the Netherlands, legalization of assisted suicide can often begin with stringent requirements that become broader as the years go on. In Canada, we may soon be faced with legalized euthanasia & assisted suicide for minors and those with mental illness.

A recent article from England highlighted the story of a man with Borderline Personality Disorder who is requesting assisted suicide from the Dignitas centre in Switzerland. He would not be the first person with a mental health struggle to have his life ended prematurely by Dignitas (see here and here).

That same article highlights the fact that, rather than just being a personal choice, this kind of decision can have a ripple effect on family, friends, and society:

“Suicide and assisted suicide or euthanasia are generally talked about as if they were completely separate, but as… testimony shows, someone taking their own life by any means has a devastating effect on family and wider society. In addition, contrary to what some people claim, legalising assisted suicide actually increases the overall suicide rate.”

It’s more important than ever to become well-educated on this topic, share information with friends and family, and become involved with protecting life in Canada.

The documentary screenings in Erin, Fergus, and Guelph this September and October are an excellent way to learn more about this important issue.  We encourage you to attend, and bring family and friends. Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will be at the Guelph & Fergus screenings on October 18 & 20 to answer questions. For more information, contact our office.


Screening Information:

Erin: September 22  – St. John Brebeuf Catholic Church, 6:30pm, 26 Millwood Rd.  For information, contact the Right to Life office.

Fergus: October 18 – Fergus North Canadian Reformed Church, 7:30pm, 6534 1 Line, Fergus. Featuring guest speaker Alex Schadenberg. For information, contact the Right to Life office.

Guelph: October 20 – Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate (Parish Hall), 11:30am. Brunch & screening featuring guest speaker Alex Schadenberg. Tickets are $10 each. For information, e-mail the Basilica Catholic Women’s League at aflo@mgl.ca or call 519-824-7797.

Please note: these screenings have now taken place, but there may be more scheduled in the Guelph area for November 2018. Contact our office for information.

7 Reasons Why Christians Should Attend the Local Life Chain

On Sunday, October 1st, people of faith all across North America will be participating in Life Chain, a public prayer witness to end abortion.  Locally, this will be happening in Guelph, Fergus, and Rockwood.  (Note that the Rockwood Life Chain will be taking place on September 24th.)

The Life Chain encourages Christians to participate in a time of prayer and witness, but all people are welcome to join, regardless of their faith background.

If you’ve never been to a Life Chain before, here are seven great reasons why you should join us for this powerful event!

1) To both receive ministry and to minister to the public, aided by the Holy Spirit. If we the church accept the ministry God has for His sons and daughters, He will empower us to minister truth to motorists and pedestrians and do so with humility, compassion, and conviction.

2) To provide God a witness to anoint and use to save lives and change hearts in each local area. Life Chain is only a first step into pro-life activism, but it’s an important step that tests our hearts and helps prepare us to defend the defenseless among us. Such is the story of the Good Samaritan and the story of Christ’s Bride, the humble sheep who meet urgent needs in Matthew 25. Let us the church love the Preborn and embrace mercy and justice.

 

3) To join a national prayer chain that seeks God’s forgiveness and intervention. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray… [2 Chron. 7:14].” Consider the moral decay today in church, government, academia, and commerce. Consider the attack on traditional marriage. Consider the epidemics of pornography, sexual disease, and divorce. All are linked to abortion and innocent blood.  With abortion legal throughout the entire pregnancy in our country, Canada has become one of the world’s most violent nations.  Legal abortion and its grievous impact will cease when the church unites against it.

4) To better understand the impact abortion is having on our country and why the church must end the killing. The church can defeat legal abortion and its allies if we move beyond the “abortion issue” and value preborn humanity as we should. Our lukewarmness grieves God, who assures us He does not forget “the cry of the afflicted [Psalm 9:12].” Of Judah, God said before their captivity, “They do not plead the cause of the fatherless to win it [Jere. 5:28].”

5) To move the church from the sanctuary to the “city gates” and “marketplace.” For 48 years (since Canada’s abortion law was first expanded in 1969), we the church have yielded substantially rather than press for a breakthrough against legal abortion. Now, resolute pastoral exhortation and mobilization of laity are essential.  Wrote Afro-American pastor Clenard Childress, Jr. in No Shepherds Cry: “The pew cannot do what the pulpit is supposed to do.” Of urgent need are shepherds who will lead, who will equip themselves for battle and inspire their sheep to do likewise. Then endangered lambs will have protection.

6) To honor our youngest citizens who perish needlessly, usually within blocks of multiple church altars. Let us acknowledge the nearly 4 million preborn children in Canada who have died from surgical abortions.

7) To help build a resolute army of Christians who are pro-life in both word and deed. Let us engage the enemy, boldly and strategically, until the curse of legal abortion is lifted and Canada again provides security and freedom for every citizen, born and preborn. That we can do. We have the means. Let us attain the will.

For all the details on Life Chains in our local area, please visit our website!

The material from ‘7 Reasons Why Christians Should Attend the Local Life Chain’ has been adapted from the National Life Chain Coordinators.

Upcoming Event: Intro to Natural Family Planning

image of young couple holding hands

As pro-life people, we know that life is valuable from the very beginning. However, some might not be aware that hormonal birth control may sometimes cause a very early abortion. Birth control pills and other hormone-based contraceptives are called ‘abortifacients’ because of this.

These types of contraceptives are thought to work in several ways. They can prevent the release of an egg (ovulation), but they may also thin the lining of the uterus, making it impossible for a newly conceived child to implant in the womb. When hormonal birth control acts in this second way, it isn’t ‘preventing pregnancy’ at all; a human embryo is lost because the pill has made it impossible for that embryo to implant in the womb.

image of young couple holding hands

Thankfully, there are positive alternatives for couples who need to avoid a pregnancy. ‘Natural Family Planning’, also known as fertility awareness, has been gaining popularity in recent years. It is an entirely natural method with no side effects that encourages women to be aware of the naturally fertile and infertile times throughout their cycle. There are several NFP methods, all of which are based on tracking physical signs of fertility, sometimes including a woman’s body temperature.

NFP is sometimes confused with the so-called ‘rhythm method’, which involves calendar tracking. But in fact, NFP is a science-based method that is tailored to each woman’s unique situation. Its effectiveness is just as high as other common contraceptive methods, and sometimes higher.

“More and more, women are looking for natural ways to really understand their fertility, rather than suppressing it.”

What is the cause of NFP’s rise in popularity in recent years? More and more, women are looking for natural ways to really understand their fertility, rather than suppressing it. NFP is also a non-invasive method, with no impact on the environment. Unlike certain types of artificial birth control, it in no way harms a developing child.

For those who belong to the Catholic faith, since NFP is a way of spacing pregnancies using the natural changes in a women’s fertility, it is an accord with Catholic doctrines of being open to life and the unitive aspect of married life. However, Christians of many denominations, as well as secular people, are embracing the method as well.

Did you know NFP can also be used by those who are trying to achieve a pregnancy?

Did you know NFP can also be used by those who are trying to achieve a pregnancy? Awareness of one’s cycle can give women insights on the best times to conceive, or even make them aware of potential hormonal imbalances or medical issues.

On Saturday, September 16th, Guelph & Area Right to Life will be hosting an information session on Natural Family Planning.  It will be a great opportunity for single people or couples at various stages of life to learn more about the methods.  Join us at the Parish Hall of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph, from 10am to noon!  Admission will be by donation.

A teacher couple from Serena, a Canadian organization that teaches the sympto-thermal method of NFP, will be presenting the session. Information on other methods of NFP (including the Creighton and Billings methods) will be available as well. Through Serena, NFP is taught by experienced teacher-couples who mentor and support couples that are learning NFP. This training and follow-up is provided free of charge.

Primum Non Nocere – First Do No Harm

Guest Post by Dr. P.H. Ling, FRCS

Doctor assisted suicide is not health care; it is the premeditated and deliberate taking of a human life, no matter what euphemisms have been fabricated to assuage those who are tempted to believe, perversely, and generally without guile or malicious intent, that it somehow demonstrates respect for human life.

So far, much of the public awareness has centred on the rights (or even perceived obligations) of individual physicians to provide medically induced death, but more recently, hospitals and other health care institutions have exercised their right, on grounds of conscientious objection, to opt out of being forced to participate in such irrevocable acts. These rights of conscience are fully guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and there is rightly nothing ambiguous in the wording of the Charter.

“These rights of conscience are fully guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”

If much of the mainstream media were to be believed, most or all criticism of such institutions has implied that only Christian hospitals have been the obstructers. Yet, just prior to the federal passage of Bill C-14 (the “right to die” legislation passed by the current government), the Canadian Medical Association revealed that only 20 percent of all doctors, at most, would be willing to administer death to their patients, and that over twice as many – 42 percent – would actively refuse to do so.1,2 With 80 percent of doctors being unwilling, it is clear that the doctors’ collective reluctance to participate in the deliberate deprivation of human life extends beyond any one religious group.

“The Canadian Medical Association revealed that only 20 percent of all doctors, at most, would be willing to administer death to their patients, and that over twice as many – 42 percent – would actively refuse to do so.”

The authorities’ vague promises of safeguards are not reflected in the improvised, chaotic manner by which these new steps have been implemented. In Ontario, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, speaking on behalf the provincial government, has in fact expressed uncertainty over how to deal with hospitals that exert their right to eschew participation in medically assisted suicide.3 Even supporters of medically assisted suicide have expressed surprise that far more Canadians who have had their lives taken in this manner, did so within hospitals, rather than at home, as they had wrongly predicted.4 It is within this misread context of ad hoc erroneous assumptions that the said death legislation has been rushed through, so that people in a precarious and delicate state of mind can endure “death with dignity” – an abstract construct whose validity has yet to be affirmed by anyone subjected to this one-way journey.4

A growing number of seniors’ care homes, many without religious affiliation, have also objected to being pressured to participate in medical euthanasia, and surely the elderly are most at risk for coercive manipulations of this kind.5

elderly women and younger woman holding hands

Strangely enough, while the same federal Canadian legislation that opens the way to unclear parameters for the legal application of medical homicide protects participating health care workers from prosecution, it leaves a gap in the protection of health professionals who abstain on grounds of conscientious objection.6

In Canada, it is justly possible to express one’s moral and legal right, as a conscientious objector, not to participate in the slaughter of war. We have a moral duty to protect those who have sworn, in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath, that they will protect life and firstly do no harm. Ultimately, the human conscience cannot be suppressed, and our health care facilities’ moral stand is a collective manifestation of this refutation.

For more information on the campaign for doctors’ conscience rights in Ontario, visit www.canadiansforconscience.ca

References

  1. A Canadian Approach to Assisted Dying: CMA Member Dialogue Summary Report, 2016.
  2. Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Poll, as cited in Postmedia News (canada.com), Feb 8, 2013.
  3. CityNews (Toronto), April 14, 2016.
  4. Most of the Assisted Deaths in Ottawa Have Been in Hospitals. Ottawa Citizen, January 10, 2017.
  5. St Paul’s Hospital Among 12 Facilities Objecting to Assisted Dying. Saskatoon Starphoenix, December 7, 2016.
  6. Doctor-assisted Dying Bill Restricted to Adults Facing “Foreseeable” Death. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News, April 14, 2016.

 

New ‘Protect Them’ Postcards

Protect Them Here - portrait

Last week, we officially began our “Protect Them” postcard campaign.  Have you sent your postcard yet?

Alliance for Life Ontario has invited all pro-life groups to distribute these postcards.  Each one can be signed and sent to the Prime Minister’s office, to draw attention to the lack of protection of unborn children in Canada.

Each postcard presents the question: we protect children by using carseats and safety cribs — why don’t we protect them in the womb?

Over 100 'Protect Them' postcards, ready to mail!
Over 100 ‘Protect Them’ postcards, signed and ready to mail!

The back of the postcard reads:

Protect Them Here - side2

So far, we have distributed nearly 800 of these postcards to local groups and churches. Each person who signs them will be helping to send an important message from all over the province.

You can pick up a postcard from our office — or pick up a whole stack to hand out to your friends and family!

 

Our First ‘Light Chain’ Event Was A Success!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first-ever Light Chain!  If you passed by Guelph’s City Hall on January 28th, it would have been hard to miss it: nearly fifty pro-life supporters joined together to display the number 3,703,195 in six-foot-tall lettering, lit up against the night sky.

LightChain1-crop-med

That number represents the total number of abortions in Canada since 1969.  The goal of the event was to shed some light on the impact abortion has had in our country.  So many people are not aware of how many abortions occur each year in Canada, or the fact that abortion is legal throughout the entire pregnancy.  Currently, Canada has no law on abortion – no protection for human beings at their earliest stages.

The Light Chain was a great step in our efforts to educate the community about life issues.  Pro-life supporters were holding signs with positive messages, including pregnancy help information and “Protect Life From Conception – No Exceptions”.  However, the number itself prompted the most discussion.   One man asked ‘What does the number stand for?’  When a volunteer explained its significance, he responded, ‘That is a very big number.  That really is a big number’.

The idea for the event came from Alliance for Life Ontario, who encouraged all pro-life groups in the province to hold a Light Chain on January 28th.  That particular date is significant because it is the anniversary of the 1988 Supreme Court decision that resulted in Canada’s abortion law being struck down.  Many Right to Life groups held events to mark the day, and Light Chains were held in Welland and Hamilton.

We look forward to hosting this great event again next year!

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It’s Not Too Late – Reversing the Abortion Pill

worried young womanWhen Emily left the abortion clinic, she was filled with regret. Only 19 years old, she was unexpectedly pregnant and felt overwhelmed by the thought of having a child. She had gone to Planned Parenthood and taken the abortion pill, and she cried the whole way home.

Thankfully, her story doesn’t end there. Searching online, Emily found information on Abortion Pill Reversal. Calling their helpline, she spoke with a nurse right away who told her it wasn’t too late to save her child’s life.

The abortion pill, which was recently approved for use in Canada under the name ‘mifegymiso’, is a two-step process. First, a pill called mifepristone is taken to cut off the unborn child’s supply of nutrients. Then, 24-28 hours later, a second pill, misoprostol, is taken to induce contractions so that the child will be pushed out of the mother’s womb.

In Canada, this can be done up to 49 days of pregnancy. This is measured from a woman’s last period, so the actual age of the child at this limit is 35 days, or five weeks. At this time, the child’s heart has already been beating for two weeks, and brain development is well underway. (For more information on prenatal development, visit the Endowment for Human Development website.)

The Abortion Pill Reversal procedure began in the United States, where the abortion pill is responsible for nearly half of all non-hospital abortions. If done shortly after the first pill is taken (24-72 hours), it is successful about 55% of the time. It consists of a progesterone treatment that works to reverse the effects of the mifepristone. Thankfully, there are now doctors in Canada who can provide the service as well. The method has received the support of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

photo of a baby's feet Emily gave birth to her son Ezekiel. Her amazing story is one of many; nearly 200 babies’ lives have been saved by reversing the effects of the abortion pill. You can read more amazing stories and view videos on the Abortion Pill Reversal website. (Watch a video of Emily’s story here.)

At Guelph & Area Right to Life, we believe it is crucial to spread the word about this reversal procedure as the abortion pill becomes available in Canada. This year, we will be running advertising campaigns in our community to let people know about this life-saving option. If you would like to donate towards this message, we invite you to contribute online through CanadaHelps!

Have you taken the abortion pill? It may not be too late!  Call 1-877-558-0333.  This Abortion Pill Reversal helpline is accessible from Canada, as well as the United States.

More information on the dangers of mifegymiso: Health Canada’s ‘Myths & Facts’ page 

Regret taking the abortion pill? Please call now.

 

 

 

One Simple Item Changed My Mind About Abortion

Photo of precious feet pin

By Hanna Caruso, Program Manager of Guelph & Area Right to Life

I have not always been pro-life.  When I was younger, I hadn’t given the issue of abortion much thought.  Though it didn’t seem like a good thing, it seemed accepted by society, and I imagined there might be cases where it was necessary.

Abortion was an issue that did not impact me, and so I never thought to find out how often it happened in Canada, or how far along in a pregnancy abortion was legal.

Photo of precious feet pin
Precious Feet Pins are the exact size and shape of a 10-week unborn baby’s feet.

“That all began to change one day when I saw a Precious Feet pin.”

That all began to change one day when I saw a Precious Feet pin.  You may have seen these pins – tiny, gold-plated, life-sized representations of an unborn child’s feet at just ten weeks after conception.  A friend of mine was wearing one on her purse, and I asked her what it was.  She explained the meaning of the pin, and her answer surprised me and changed my thinking entirely.

What turned me from apathy to action was that an unborn child at ten weeks was clearly human.  Having unconsciously absorbed the common misconception that a pregnancy consisted of ‘just a clump of cells’ at that point, I was shocked.

This one event caused me to continue asking questions.  I found out that abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy in Canada, and that there are 100,000 abortions every year in our country.  It was impossible to maintain inaction in the face of that information.  That one pin ended up leading me to become an advocate for unborn children.

Isn’t it amazing how a single individual having the boldness to take one small action – such as wearing a pin – can make such a difference?

Precious Feet pins are an amazing educational tool.  Whenever I visit high schools to do pro-life presentations, I always bring a supply of these pins.  If each student has the boldness to wear that pin on their backpack or purse, I know the ripple effect will change lives and save lives.

The beauty of these pins is that they allow us to look into the womb, at unborn life that we cannot yet see.  It shows us that whether we recognize it or not, abortion impacts us all, because it is a human issue.  When we see that unborn children are fully human, we naturally recognize that they should be protected.

giving tuesday logo

For Giving Tuesday on November 29th, we are asking you to give towards pro-life education by helping us buy these pins!  A donation of $30 would provide the pins to an entire classroom.  A donation of $120 would help to provide pins to 100 people at a Right to Life resource table during a local festival or fair.  We are also putting donations toward the purchase of small prenatal models (11-14 weeks size) for use in schools and in the wider community.  Both of these items are a little over $1.00 each, and they make such a difference.

You can donate online through our CanadaHelps page.  Donate today!

Library Highlight: A Bump in Life

Guest Post by Samantha Pascoal, Summer Student with Guelph & Area Right to Life

“When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude.” – Viktor Frankl, Holocaust Survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning

“This time, she knew things had to be different; because this time, she was pregnant.” – A Bump in Life

image of book coverToo often, I have engaged in the abortion debate with one goal in mind: to win. In most conversations, I have to backtrack, ask myself, “Have I missed the point?” and then have to remind myself of it: we are discussing real people’s lives.

While all of the pro-choice arguments (bodily autonomy! medical necessity! poverty, rape, incest! global warming! non-humanness! Non-personhood! etc!) are wrong, showing a lack of compassion for people in hardship through one’s words and attitudes is perhaps just as wrong.

“..the most difficult changes provide the truest opportunities for rediscovering one’s value and purpose”

A Bump in Life teaches that when someone becomes unexpectedly pregnant, their life circumstances become crises. A little plus sign or a doctor’s nod can cause one’s whole life to change. However, the novel offers hope that this change is never absolutely for the worse, not only because a beautiful new life has been created, but also because the most difficult changes provide the truest opportunities for rediscovering one’s value and purpose.

While the book may be targeted at unexpectedly pregnant young women and their families, it is inspiring to anybody facing difficulty. Through the stories of 22 young women,  I learned how to better support real people – myself included – as we transition over bumps: from grief and despair, to hope, self-discovery, and new life.

Note: “A Bump in Life” is available to borrow from the Guelph & Area Right to Life office library.  Contact us to learn more, at facts(at)guelphforlife.com!