Building the Garden of Grace on Giving Tuesday

Is Guelph the most generous city in Canada?  We’ll find out in just a few days.

This year, our community will be taking part in an initiative called GuelphGives to mark ‘Giving Tuesday’.

What is Giving Tuesday?  From the GuelphGives website:

You’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday—days great for the economy and for getting a good deal—well now we having GivingTuesday…a day that is great for the community!

Guelph Gives LogoOn Giving Tuesday, which lands on December 2nd, everyone will be encouraged to support local charities by donating or volunteering.  If you stop by the Quebec Street Mall that day, have a look at the Giving Fair taking place from 10am-6pm.  You’ll see tables representing the participating charities, including Guelph & Area Right to Life.

Guelph Gives will be a catalyst to bring the community together in support of all the good work that happens right here in Guelph.

On December 2nd, we will be asking for your support with a very special project: The Garden of Grace.

The Garden of Grace will be a place of prayer and healing for women who have lost their children during or shortly after pregnancy – including those lost through abortion or miscarriage.  The landscaped garden will feature two beautiful statues: an angel mourning over an empty crib, and Jesus kneeling with a baby in his arms.  It will be located on the grounds of the Church of Our Lady Immaculate.  This garden will be the first of its kind, and a much-needed place of remembrance for so many women and families.

Angel leaning over an empty cradle

This is one of two beautiful statues that will be part of the Garden of Grace.

We will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in support of this project on December 2nd.  Since the Garden of Grace will truly be built by the community, for the community, what better way to start it off than with GuelphGives!

How can you be a part of GuelphGives and making the Garden of Grace a reality?

Help to spread the word about GuelphGives by using the #guelphgives hashtag on twitter.

Visit the Giving Fair at the Quebec St Mall to sign up for volunteer opportunities, donate, and learn more about our project.

Most of all, give!  Whether you’re able to give of your time and talents, or donate, together we can make amazing things happen.

Our Garden of Grace crowdfunding campaign will be continuing in the weeks following Giving Tuesday, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on our progress.

See you next Tuesday!

 

 

Niki Ashton: What About Maternal Health?

Niki Ashton, an NDP Member of Parliament, recently introduced a bill affirming “a woman’s right to choose abortion”.  She extends her vision of ‘choice’ to the entire international community, asking Canada to focus international aid on contraception and abortion, all in the name of equality and human rights.

Here in Canada we are faced with the full spectrum of pills, patches, shots, and implants, on top of unrestricted access to abortion.  Estrogen-progestin birth control pills are a Class 1 carcinogen and increase the risk of breast, liver, and cervical cancer.  Serious, sometimes fatal, side-effects such as blood clots have led to class-action suits against the makers of Yaz/Yasmin birth control pills, NuvaRing, and the Mirena IUD.  Each of these can act as abortifacients.  ‘Reproductive freedom’ is not exactly free when you’re paying such a high price.

The Gates Foundation’s plan to spend a cool $5 billion foisting these same products on developing nations prompted a response from Obianuju Ekeocha, a Nigerian woman with concerns about the impact of contraception:

“Where Europe and America have their well-oiled health care system, a woman in Africa with a contraception-induced blood clot does not have access to 911 or an ambulance or a paramedic. No, she dies.”

Complications from abortion can also require serious medical intervention.  Many developing countries lack the simple medical framework needed to help with childbirth, let alone complications such as infection and incomplete abortion.

We should pay attention to Ms. Ekeocha’s words: “Listen to the heart-felt cry of an African woman and mercifully channel your funds to pay for what we REALLY need.”

In Nigeria, as in many other developing countries, maternal mortality is high due to preventable complications of childbirth such as hemorrhage, sepsis, obstructed labor, and pre-eclampsia.  There is a great need for skilled birth attendants and basic medical care.  In Uganda, only half of rural women have access to a skilled birth attendant.  Yet USAID spends twice as much on ‘family planning’ as they do on maternal health in that country.

The Philippines has a maternal mortality rate ten times that of Canada’s.  In some areas, as few as 24% of births are supervised by a skilled birth attendant.  Contraception has not helped them: it is used at the same rate as Japan, which has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world, yet the Philippines’ maternal mortality remains high.  Still, in 2012, USAID spent over $16 million on ‘family planning and reproductive health’ for the Philippines, and just over $3 million on maternal and child health.

USAID Philippines spending

When we offer abortion and contraception instead of basic health care, we are making reproductive decisions on behalf of women.  We are telling them that we can’t help them improve their health care system, but we’ll pay for them to stop having children, or end the lives of their unborn children.  How pro-choice does the NDP look now?

This is not the first time reproductive decisions have been made on behalf of poor and marginalized groups.  Funding from the UNFPA and USAID goes into unmistakably coercive contraception, sterilization, and abortion programs in countries such as China, Kazakhstan, and India.  As recently as the 90s, Peru was home to a nightmarish UN- and US-funded population control project that led to thousands of forced sterilizations.  Indigenous Peruvian women were told that unless they agreed to the procedure, their children would be denied medical care or food assistance.

Pushing contraceptives and abortion on women who simply want simple medical care in childbirth is not the answer.

 

This article was written by Hanna Barlow, Program Manager of Guelph & Area Right to Life.  It appeared in the Summer 2014 edition of the Guelph & Area RTL newsletter.  To receive the quarterly newsletter, read more about how to become a member.

 



 

A Message of Hope: Be There on April 23rd

Angelina Steenstra at the 40 Days for Life Closing Celebration

Angelina Steenstra became involved in the pro-life movement after her own painful experience of abortion.  Since then she has done so much to expose the truth about the harmful emotional and physical effects of abortion.  Angelina is the National Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in Canada, which works to make the public aware of the devastating effects of abortion and provides opportunities for women and men to share their abortion testimonies.

Angelina Steenstra

Angelina Steenstra of Silent No More Awareness

On their website there are over 2000 stories of abortion regret.  The very real experiences of these women – and men – are a stark contrast to pro-abortion claims that abortion is just another medical procedure, and that the child is just a ‘bunch of cells’.  Abortion regret is something that women may hold on to for decades.  Silent No More recently found that more than half of the women who had contributed testimonies did not begin to seek healing until more than 20 years after the abortion.  However, healing can happen whether it begins 20 weeks or 20 years after an abortion.

The stories from those who are Silent No More are not just of regret, but also of healing; the act of sharing these stories is a step in the healing process.

Angelina, drawing on the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, writes:

“I dreamt of a day when men and women, who have experienced abortion in their lives, would stand up across this nation and tell the truth about what abortion had done to their lives.  I believed that in telling the truth, people would discover freedom, and in doing so would reach others who were isolated and alone, giving them hope.”

As much as there is sadness in recounting these stories of loss, Angelina is right: there is hope.  The truth is a powerful tool, and it is boldly displayed in every Silent No More sign that reads “I regret my abortion.”  It has the power to bring about change, in one person and in entire communities.

On Wednesday, April 23rd, this message will be the central focus of our 40 Days for Life Closing Celebration.  Admission is free (a goodwill offering will be received).  Join us in the lower hall of St. Joseph’s Parish (409 Paisley Rd, Guelph) at 7:00pm.

Please do not miss this chance to hear Angelina’s message of hope and healing.

40 Days for Life Guelph: Who Do You Pray With?

Pray to End Abortion

We’ve already reached Day 10 of this year’s 40 Days for Life Campaign!  If you haven’t yet had the chance, we encourage you to visit the vigil calendar and sign up for a time of prayer in front of Guelph General Hospital.

When you participate in the vigil, pray at home, or take part in a fast, you are united in your efforts with thousands of people worldwide.  This focused effort extends all across the world, from right here in Guelph to Cape Town, South Africa and Melbourne, Australia.

We could give you a list of ten reasons to get involved (or even forty, if you have time!), but you only need one: this is where we come together.

Across the world, in the peaceful silence of prayer and constant vigil, our message radiates even more powerfully because we are joined together.  In community with each other, we turn our hearts to God to ask for forgiveness and change.

40 Days for Life provides daily devotionals to unite us in purpose, whether we’re praying at the vigil or from home.  The prayers may be for women who are at risk of having an abortion, children at risk of being aborted, men and women who carry the pain of a past abortion experience, those who work in the abortion industry, the healing of our nation, and renewal in our churches.

Our prayers and public witness can make a difference in this community by encouraging people to recognize the value of all human life.  For more information on the 40 Days for Life campaign in Guelph, visit our website or contact us!  Phone: 519-836-6311.  E-mail: facts@guelphforlife.com

 

Life Week at the University of Guelph

It’s a busy week for the pro-life students at the University of Guelph.  Life Choice, the campus pro-life club, will be hosting several events to bring the pro-life message to the University community.

They’ll be focusing on current life issues both on the local and international level, from the recent opposition to pro-life bus ads in Guelph, to gendercide in India and China.

G&A Right to Life’s own Jakki Jeffs will be speaking on campus this Friday at 1:30pm (Mackinnon building, room 231).  She’ll be discussing the issues surrounding our pro-life bus ads.  All are welcome to attend!

This Thursday, Life Choice will be showing It’s a Girl, a stunning documentary that exposes the practice of gendercide.  Shot on location in India and China, it explores sex-selective abortion and infanticide, the role of China’s one-child policy, and the factors that have led to an estimated 200 million girls being ‘missing’ today.  The screening is at 7pm in Mackinnon 227.

it's a girl

For more information on these events, send an e-mail to uoglifechoice@gmail.com

A Light for Life at the Supreme Court Prayer Vigil

candle1

January 28 was an anniversary we at the office wished we didn’t have to mark.  It was on that day in 1988 that the Supreme Court struck down the existing abortion law, leaving us where we are today: with no protection for unborn children at any stage of pregnancy.

For those who are unaware of the legal history of abortion in Canada, it is well summed-up in this article by Paul Ranalli, MD, which appeared in the National Right to Life News:

…Canada’s initial loosening of the previously strong protection for the unborn was smuggled by then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau into a 1969 “omnibus” bill, a sprawling piece of legislation. The intent was to quietly open up a range of exceptions to the legal sanctions against abortion, while still keeping it within the federal criminal code.

A much more modest law than the Roe v. Wade result, it was still considered controversial enough that it was passed as quietly as possible. And it worked. Only pro-life activists realized the serious nature of the threat to the unborn and raised a protest, but the majority of the press and public, while not yet in the universal pro-choice lockstep that we see today, were less perturbed by the change in the law.

The second and final judicial blow to protection for the unborn in Canada came in 1988, when a challenge to the existing abortion law by renegade abortionist Henry Morgentaler led the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down the law on the narrow grounds that access to hospitals with abortion committees and services were unevenly available across the country, and that this regional difference constituted a threat to the security of women, as defined by the recently drafted Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982).

And so, on January 28 of this year, members of the community braved the bitter cold to join Guelph & Area Right to Life at our Supreme Court Prayer Vigil in front of Guelph General Hospital that evening.  Jakki Jeffs, president of Guelph & Area Right to Life, describes the scene:

“We had 10 turn out on a very, very cold winter evening who walked with candles lighting up a little path in front of Guelph General Hospital. We had frozen feet, fingers, noses and toes but we walked, talked and prayed for an end to abortion in our city and in Canada. We know that our little lights were joined by thousands of others across the country and while we could not see each other, this light for life will bring a new day to Canada very soon.

We mourned the almost 6,000 children who perished by abortion at Guelph General Hospital in past years and prayed for change of heart in Guelph. Abortions can be performed in physician’s offices up to 13 weeks and we have no way of knowing if this is happening in Guelph. So we pray that our Guelph medical establishments, personnel and counseling will be directed to supporting life not abortion.”

 

 

 

Thank You for Supporting Our Bus Ads

Thank you for taking part in the Statement of Support for Guelph & Area Right to Life’s Pro-life Bus Advertisements. As previously noted, the Statement was created in response to a petition opposing these ads and to exemplify significant backing for them. The Statement was not created as a request for action from city officials or Guelph Transit.

Please note the petition asking for the removal of G&ARTL’s ads has failed a) because of wording b) because of who it is directed to. The office of the Mayor, The City of Guelph nor Guelph Transit possess authority to remove or restrict advertisements. Mayor Karen Farbridge has specifically stated:

The City is taking no action to remove or prohibit these ads. We are aware that there is legal precedent to suggest the City – as a public institution – cannot decline an organization’s purchase of ad space because there is disagreement with a political position put forward in the ad. To do so would be in contravention of the right to freedom of expression in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Along with this statement, Mayor Farbridge has noted the receipt of much support for G&ARTL’s bus advertisements. Again, many thanks for your participation. Your response to the opposition of our fundamental freedoms is of great significance.

Support Pro-Life Bus Ads in Guelph

guelphbusads1Dear friend,

Your response is needed. This month (January, 2014) a petition was created to express opposition to Guelph & Area Right to Life’s bus ads. Over 2500 people have signed this petition. While this petition carries very little usefulness a) because of wording b) because of who it is directed to, the petition does make these bus ads appear unpopular. It has been sent to Mayor Karen Farbridge, the City of Guelph and Guelph Transit. As a result Guelph & Area Right to Life is asking you to express your support for Guelph & Area Right to Life’s bus advertisements in two easy steps.

1) Copy and paste the Statement of Support in an email to us at facts@guelphforlife.com

2) In your forward write
a) Your first and last name
b) Your organization (if applicable)
c) Your mailing address (you will not be added to a mailing list)

d) Your phone number

Your name and organization will be included in a list of social movements, human rights organizations and individuals who share the beliefs expressed on Guelph & Area Right to Life’s bus ads. This list will be sent to Guelph’s mayor, the City of Guelph and Guelph Transit.

 

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT

Guelph & Area Right to Life’s advertisements carried on Guelph Transit buses express important belief held by Canadian citizens; Canadians believe 1) scientific data exists to provide evidence showing a human who is not yet born is a human child and 2) there are alternatives to abortion.

Expression of this belief, and opposing beliefs, is protected under Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: “Everyone has the…freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication”. While this belief is offensive to some, the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards states offense “…is not sufficient grounds for objecting to an advertisement…”.  Further, these ads do not breach or violate the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.

The social movements, human rights organizations and individuals listed below welcome and support the initiative taken by Guelph & Area Right to Life to express their belief and opinion through advertisements carried on Guelph Transit.

Unacceptable Risk: Canada and the RU-486 Abortion Pill

pillsOn November 25th an article entitled “Medical abortion in Canada: behind the times” was printed in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and a cover story was carried in national newspapers entitled “Canadians should have access to abortion pill RU-486, leading medical journal argues.”

In my experience, RU-486 is the ‘chemical coat hanger abortion’ of the 90’s.  It has bubbled under the surface and now, once again, proponents desire it in Canada. In an amazing research book entitled “RU486 – Misconceptions, Myths and Moralswritten by three pro-abortion feminists in 1992, they declared: “[RU-486] constitutes a new form of medical violence that endangers women’s lives and violates their right to be free from bodily harm.”

In an open letter to MPs in Australia in 2005, Renata Klein, one of the book’s authors, stated:

Then, as now, some of you will be astonished that as an internationally recognised feminist and academic who has worked on reproductive issues for 25 years and strongly supports a woman’s right to safe legal abortion, I will side with what are seen as conservative and anti-abortion views.

However, then, as now, I cannot support the view that chemical abortion is seen (a) as good reproductive choice for women, and (b) as a safe alternative to already available abortion by aspiration. I write to you because I am appalled by the misinformation given to the public by supporters of RU-486, who continue to claim chemical abortion is safe, and who portray it as a simple procedure; take three RU486 pills and –bingo! You are no longer pregnant.

In the article entitled “Canadians should have access to abortion pill RU-486, leading medical journal argues,” we are told that RU486 is the “gold standard” and “essential medication”. Shockingly, we are informed that cancer and ulcer drugs are currently used “off-label” by physicians to cause abortion and this is “second rate”  and “cumbersome” but seemingly fine for Canadian women!

RU-486 will take us down one more level – a drug which has been specifically designed to starve a child, followed by the administration of another drug, Cytotec to induce labour and expel the dead or dying child. Four visits at minimum to the facility, then the wait for your chemical miscarriage, at home alone, work or play, plus another internal examination – and by the way, bring what’s left of the child with you. Doesn’t this all sound very liberating?

The columnist noted that one woman had died of a bacterial infection during 90’s clinical trials held in Canada. She did not mention that the doctor leading the research admitted that they did not inform women of a letter from the manufacturers of Cytotec, the second drug used, that it was dangerous for women to use it “off-label”.

The columnist noted that other women across the world have died but that “investigations could find no explanation for the cluster of what are normally rare infections, she [Sheila Dunn, CMAJ article author] said, adding that there had been none in recent years.

I imagine neither of these women had time to check the FDA website and particularly the Mifepristone US Post-marketing Adverse Events Summary through 04/30/2011, which noted that of the 2207 adverse events listed, 612 women were hospitalized, 339 experienced blood loss that required transfusions, 256 had infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, pelvic infections with sepsis, with 48 being severe, hospitalized for 2-3 days. 58 women had ectopic pregnancies; the RU-486 regimen is contraindicated for women with ectopic pregnancies! Several of the women (7 of 14) who died in the US “died from sepsis (severe illness caused by infection of the bloodstream) after medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol…Sepsis is a known risk related to any type of abortion”. (See FDA Mifepristone information page.)

It also points out that 7 women were infected with Clostridium sordelli that did not present “the usual symptoms.” There was no fever! The side effects of these infections are abdominal pain or discomfort, weakness, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.  However, all of these are expected side effects of chemical abortion.

If Clostridium sordelli presents with no fever, this is extremely significant and dangerous for women: how will they or the facility recognize the infection? 17-year-old Holly Patterson and others might still be alive if their abortion facility had done so.

Guest Post by Jakki Jeffs, Executive Director of Alliance for Life Ontario and President of Guelph & Area Right to Life

Mary Wagner: Reaching Out

At the heart of the pro-life movement is a desire to reach out to those in need.  Unborn children need a voice to speak up for their right to be born.  Women facing an unexpected pregnancy need support, understanding and encouragement as they accept their role as a new mother.  Whether we stand in front of the abortion facility displaying life-affirming messages, fundraise for a crisis pregnancy center, or debate abortion with students on a university campus, we are reaching out.  It is always our hope that the pro-life message, given with love, will touch a person’s heart and increase their understanding of the value of human life.

Reaching out: this is something that Mary Wagner has done again and again.  She will be spending this Christmas behind bars, in the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton.  She has been arrested numerous times, most recently on August 15th, 2012.  She entered a Toronto abortion facility and attempted to peacefully speak to the women there, and was arrested on the charge of “mischief” (interference with lawful employment / operation of a business).  Mary remains in prison because she will not accept the bail conditions that would force her to stay away from the abortion facility.

Mary Wagner

Mary Wagner

Mary’s legal counsel believes that her actions may fall within a section of the Criminal Code of Canada that allows a person to prevent assault on another human being.  Mary was counseling women to choose life for their children, so the question is whether that section of the Criminal Code “covers all human beings or just those who are already born,” stated her lawyer.

With kindness, and bearing roses, Mary bravely reached out to abortion-minded women, asking them to change their minds and choose life.  Her actions have truly saved lives.  We too are given opportunities to reach out, to speak up, and to share the truth that life has value.  Some of us, like Mary, courageously seek conversation with mothers in the very moments before their children’s lives are slated to be taken away.  In the interactions we have each day, we can – with courage – also speak up for life.  Like Mary, we can change hearts through kindness and truth.

While we prepare ourselves to reach out to those around us, we can also reach out to Mary.  You are encouraged to send her a Christmas card, letting her know that she is loved and supported.  Take the time to read an open letter from Mary, found here.

Cards can be mailed to:

Mary Wagner
Vanier Centre for Women
P.O Box 1040
655 Martin St.
Milton, ON
L9T 5E6

Note:

When sending Mary a card, do not include any stickers (return address, pro-life stickers), or any laminated items. Do not include any questions about the daily activity of the detention centre.  Put your address directly on the card or letter, as the envelope may not be given to her.