Why do pro-life students do what they do?


September is upon us and campus pro-life clubs across Canada are gearing up for another year of activism among their peers. Every year, pro-life students balance their studies with the task of informing their campuses about the reality of abortion: it kills a human being and it harms women and society.

Not everyone agrees with these sentiments, especially on the predominantly liberal-minded Canadian campuses, which makes getting this message out extremely tough and a continual challenge. But that does not stop many dedicated and enthusiastic students from standing up for our most vulnerable Canadians and joining the pro-life movement to help uphold the dignity of all human beings.

Life on campus is jam-packed with classes, reading, labs, reports, work and social events. It takes a certain passion and conviction for someone to make the commitment to spreading the message of life on campus with all of the other commitments and pressures to believe otherwise.

What motivates a young adult to prioritize getting the pro-life message out to his or her peers? Why do some students believe the message, but do not act, while others would not feel right without acting on their convictions? How do they keep going, despite all of the obstacles up against them?

Lorena Plastino, a third-year student at the University of British Columbia, heads up the pro-life club on her campus, UBC Lifeline. She shares that, although “my (Catholic) faith has led me to my pro-life belief, my understanding of science and desire for human rights for all people have fed the fire for an active and passionate response to the atrocity that is abortion.” Her studies in cell biology have led her to “a greater respect for (human) life and a greater desire to protect it.” As well, she is motivated by her “outrage at the outstanding degradation of human life that manifests as a belief that human life in the earliest, most vulnerable stages is disposable.”

Her concern also lies with the women who face the decision on whether to choose life or choose death. Instead of causing women to feel their only choice is to abort, she feels that society should be “protecting and helping women who are carrying a child they did not plan or feel that they cannot care for.”

Andre Schutten, a recent McMaster University graduate, has been active in his church and in school, giving Pro-Life 101 presentations. He has been responsible for organizing buses to attend the March For Life filled with teens and young adults. As a Reformed Christian, he notes that “faith is a big motivator in being pro-life … However, living pro-life was different.”

Although he grew up in a pro-life family, surrounded by pro-life friends and attended a pro-life church, it was not until he heard a speech by Dr. John Patrick that he decided to become actively involved in the movement. What struck him then was that “to be pro-life required some sort of action, some sort of response.” He now attributes his motivation for living and acting pro-life to the solid philosophy about the value of all life, coupled with his faith background and the undeniable scientific proofs we have regarding the humanity of the unborn.

Sarah Boldick, a student at the University of Saskatchewan in her second year of law school, attributes her passion for pro-life work to her desire to “help all the victims who cannot help themselves, from babies in their mothers’ wombs, to the sick and elderly in hospitals.” When she realized that she wanted to work for justice, being pro-life flowed naturally. She recognizes the injustice of abortion and wants to be a part of the movement that changes that. When she had her conversion to Catholicism three years ago, that “just intensified my pro-life convictions.” She co-founded the U of S Students For Life club and is the current president.

Nicole Lau, a third-year history and ethics, society and law student at the University of Toronto, is the president of the Students For Life club. A major factor motivating her to be active in the pro-life movement was seeing an abortion on video and grasping the reality of the procedure. It became clear to her that abortion “is the murder of an innocent human being, which makes it a complete violation of fundamental human rights, and each time it happens it is a blow to the intrinsic dignity of human beings.” She is Catholic and notes that as such, she is often discredited for having religious motivations, even though fundamentally her objection to abortion is rooted in the view that persons have intrinsic dignity, which is a concept that crosses faith and cultural lines.

A student from the University of Victoria, who asked that her name not be used, has a deeply personal reason for her motivation for actively being pro-life. She was an unplanned and inconvenient pregnancy, yet was given the gift of life. Because she values her life so much and is thankful for her parents’ choice, she can’t help but be involved in spreading the pro-life message. She knows that “the circumstance of my origins by no means compromise my integrity and human dignity.” Not only this, but also the fact that she has seen the pain and hurt abortion causes women. “Abortion is an enemy to women,” she says.

The motivation to be actively pro-life comes from many different avenues, but we all share one unifying goal: to make abortion unthinkable in the minds of Canadians.

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