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 firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know, so we can keep track of how many letters have been sent!
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.
When 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.
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.
In late July of this year, the RU-486 abortion pill was approved for use in Canada. The pill, also called mifepristone, and marketed as Mifegymiso, is used to kill a preborn child. By approving this drug, scientists at Health Canada are putting its stamp of approval on this so-called “safe and effective option”.
This is not only misleading, but dangerous – in more ways than one.
As you might have guessed, mifepristone is never safe for the unborn child. In fact, it is lethal: it works by blocking progesterone, effectively starving the developing child of needed nutrients – ending his or her life. Following this, a drug called misoprostol is taken to induce contractions.
It is sad to see a mechanism for ending life being celebrated as a tool for ‘freedom and choice’. Advocates of abortion are hailing RU-486 as a big win for women (the Toronto Star unabashedly proclaims, “Canadian women win gold – the abortion pill”). Yet, by holding on so firmly to a narrative that refuses to question any element of abortion, they are doing women a disservice. Crucial information on the drug’s negative effects is being ignored or dismissed.
Some are still willing to speak up: Renata Klein, an Australian feminist and academic, has released an in-depth analysis of the harms of RU-486. She comes at it from a pro-abortion perspective, but sheds an honest light on the serious side effects that many refuse to acknowledge.
In her recently re-released book “RU 486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals” she describes adverse events such as excessive bleeding, hemorrhage requiring surgical intervention, and fatal sepsis. She notes that Finnish researchers found that 20% of women who took mifepristone experienced an adverse reaction – a number four times higher than for surgical abortions. For example, excessive bleeding (requiring a medical consultation and possibly even a blood transfusion) is a complication that has been experienced by thousands of women.
In Sweden, the drug made headlines in 2004 when it claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl named Rebecca. She had chosen an RU-486 abortion because she was told it was a ‘better’ option than a suction abortion. She was alone at her boyfriend’s apartment when she died due to severe hemorrhage. This occurred even though the hospital followed all ‘safety precautions’. The local publicity led other women to come forward with their experiences of similar severe complications.
This highlights a major concern: after taking RU-486 and misoprostol, women are most often alone. This could lead to life-threatening medical problems going undetected. Ectopic pregnancy (which occurs in 2% of pregnancies in the US) is a serious concern, as explained by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
“She will undoubtedly interpret bleeding and pain as consistent with a pharmaceutical abortion, since these are nearly universal effects of mifepristone and misoprostol. This leaves her with the immediate threat of serious harm, or death, if the ectopic pregnancy ruptures.”
Over the course of ten years in the United States, 58 women were hospitalized after using RU-486 with an undetected ectopic pregnancy, and an additional two women died. Yet the FDA still states that they believe “the benefits of Mifeprex outweigh the risks”.
Sadly, the list goes on. Death due to massive infection (sepsis) after taking RU-486 is another major concern, and it is surprising to see how little media attention this issue has received. The FDA’s adverse event report of 2011 noted that 8 women have died due to sepsis after an RU-486 abortion. This number does not include the additional documented deaths in the UK, Portugal, France, and Canada. How many more might there be in China and India, where RU-486 is used but no adverse event information is available?
This life-threatening complication is all the more concerning because – much like ectopic pregnancy – the warning signs are masked by the expected symptoms of the abortion.
RU-486 is often promoted as a ‘solution’ for women in remote areas who have no abortion facilities nearby. As Ms. Klein states in her book, the seriousness of these complications “again makes it clear how dangerous it can be for women in remote areas without access to emergency hospitalization to be told that [mifepristone] abortion is ‘safe and effective’”. (RU-486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals, p. xix)
Despite all of this, we still hear the stubborn assertion that RU-486 should be available through telemedicine. Amazingly, Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star even calls for the pill to be supplied over-the-counter, entirely removing the requirement for women to see a doctor. This is an absurd and potentially lethal suggestion, revealing a distinct disconnect with the reality of inducing abortion.
Both Health Canada and the drug’s manufacturers have released strict guidelines stating that only physicians can dispense the drug, and that women must have access to emergency medical care. In addition, physicians are required to confirm gestational age, check for ectopic pregnancy and a number of other conditions, and be aware of drug interactions. The doctor must also know the age of the patient, since the safety and efficacy of the drug is not known for patients under the age of 15. These are not requirements that can be casually dispensed with, and to suggest that they should be shows a stunning disregard for women’s safety.
Given the many concerns about RU-486, it is with trepidation that we will wait to see how the landscape will change in Canada when it becomes available next year. What we do know is this: the womb should be the safest place on earth – yet in our country, where there are absolutely no limits on abortion, Health Canada has paved the way for another method of killing. Not only this, but they have put the very women they claim will ‘benefit’ in unnecessary danger.
On Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 Guelph & Area Right to Life was one of many charities and non-profit organizations in Guelph who set up displays in the Old Quebec Street Mall. Guelph Gives had provided this wonderful forum so that we could showcase our work and projects and what an assortment of tremendous organizations were present.
Our display was mostly about babies and how they grow in the womb and so we had many wonderful conversations. One young man was astounded at the image of a tiny 7-week-old child in the womb and asked us if the image was real. He sadly told us that his wife was 7 weeks pregnant and was due to have an abortion on December 9th in Kitchener.
He wore the tragedy of his situation like a mantle and explained that his personal circumstance was not helping, as he had lost his job and his young wife was already looking after two small children and holding down a job. It was not their choice to abort their tiniest child, but circumstances, and they saw no other way out.
We agreed to meet and talk it over, and when we were back in the office we sent out a distress call for prayer and practical support for this little family. In about 48 hours we were swamped with immediate financial assistance and monthly commitments to assist throughout 2015. Our office was filled with diapers for the two little ones and astounding offers of help came through the phone. Presents promised for Christmas, love and support sent to this little family.
High school students, university students, youth groups all donating what they had to help these young parents to bring their baby into the world. Gift cards for food and necessities, offers of babysitting and car rides, offers to adopt the baby or just care for him until Mum felt strong enough to cope, bus passes paid for throughout 2015. Even I have been moved by the sheer enormity of the willingness to assist this family and they are just overwhelmed. It is not going to be easy but they will be fine, because they are part of our family now and we look out for each other!
I have been graced to assist many young women and young families in my years of volunteering with Guelph & Area Right to Life – but I must admit that this outpouring of love and support by so many for this family has brought me to tears.
When I first met them together I was struck by the love they have for each other and their children, their striving to make a life together with all the hurdles they have and have yet to overcome and the challenges facing them. They sat so still in the midst of this turmoil, clinging to each other and gradually to a hope that their baby might yet be born and not aborted.
They will get through and we will be beside them all the way. I asked myself how different this story may have been if we had not been invited by Guelph Gives that Tuesday. This little family is one of many in Guelph who need assistance and I pray that somehow the others will also receive the help they need to get through.
This was the first year for Guelph Gives and financially and in many other ways it was a tremendous success. Well, I believe that this first event was much more than even this because it gave a tiny 7 week baby in the womb a chance at life and the baby’s parents the courage to bring that baby into the world. Guelph Gives Life!!!
Thank you so very much.
– Jakki Jeffs
President, Guelph & Area Right to Life
Note: We are still accepting donations for this family! The outpouring of support from the community has helped them to choose life for their baby, but they will continue to need assistance through 2015. If you would like to assist, you can donate online (indicating that the donation is for the “Guelph Gives Family”) or contact our office for more information.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
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.”
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.
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.