Another attack on the rights of pro-lifers on our Canadian campuses has occurred. This time, the attempt to silence pro-life students came from the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students Union Board of Directors (MUNSU). MUN for LIFE, Memorial’s pro-life club, was denied ratification on Sept. 26 at a MUNSU board meeting.

Up until then, Patrick Hanlon, club president, and members of the club were active on campus with information booths and postering, among other things. The club was able to operate despite a ruling back in 2003, which banned any pro-life activities. A rejuvenation of “pro-choice” policy emerged when the club applied for official club status. Instead of dealing with the original motion to ratify MUN for LIFE, a new motion was brought forth to deny the club.

Much discussion ensued at the meeting, with most of the speakers identifying themselves as pro-choice. The motion was passed almost unanimously, because the students’ union said the MUNSU is a local of the pro-choice Canadian Federation of Students and that it cannot ratify a group dedicated to a different set of beliefs than its own.

It is important to note that when it comes to other clubs, MUNSU has no problem accepting an application for a club that goes against its views. There are clubs for pagans and Christians, as well as various political parties. Campus pro-lifers note that obviously, the MUNSU cannot agree with all of these clubs whose ideologies are in opposition to each other. Also, there are a number of other universities that have official pro-life clubs that are with the CFS. Some of these include Dalhousie, Saskatchewan, Waterloo and British Columbia.

Hanlon is finishing up his BA in political science major/religious studies minor and a certificate program in Newfoundland studies in December 2007. He is used to this kind of opposition from the MUNSU, since his efforts to get a pro-life club ratified in the past have been denied. Despite what could be a very discouraging series of events, Hanlon says, “The more they try to discourage us, the more we are encouraged.” MUN for LIFE has received much support from various groups of people, besides numerous letters from across Canada. The Anglican/United/Catholic/Salvationist/Pentecostal Campus Ministry Department has spoken in its favour. And, although university administration does support MUN for LIFE, they do not have much control over the MUNSU.

MUN for LIFE is adamant about having a pro-life voice at the university. Hanlon shares, “The university should be a place for open dialogue and freedom of speech. It is a place where the ideas and values of our society take root. Therefore, MUN for LIFE has a duty and a right to be an active group on campus.”

Hanlon also notes an important reason to be active on campus: “The average age of a mother to have an abortion in Newfoundland is in the early to mid 20s, so uiversity students need to hear this message now before it is too late”.

Nothing new

Carleton University, in Ottawa experienced the same situation last year. It gained national media attention as many Canadians on both sides of the abortion issue expressed their outrage at the blatant discrimination given to pro-life students. Carleton Lifeline has since been granted club status, after much debate, media attention and many letters from concerned Canadians. Unfortunately, there seems to be a trend on our Canadian campuses to silence pro-life students, with MUN for Life and Capilano Heartbeat in British Columbia continuing to strugggle for their right to free association and free speech.

The good news is these pro-life students are willing to fight for their right to be heard on their campuses and will not give up the battle anytime soon. They will see the situation through to the end. Theresa Matters

Youth Issues Correspondent

Another attack on the rights of pro-lifers on our Canadian campuses has occurred. This time, the attempt to silence pro-life students came from the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students Union Board of Directors (MUNSU). MUN for LIFE, Memorial’s pro-life club, was denied ratification on Sept. 26 at a MUNSU board meeting.

Up until then, Patrick Hanlon, club president, and members of the club were active on campus with information booths and postering, among other things. The club was able to operate despite a ruling back in 2003, which banned any pro-life activities. A rejuvenation of “pro-choice” policy emerged when the club applied for official club status. Instead of dealing with the original motion to ratify MUN for LIFE, a new motion was brought forth to deny the club.

Much discussion ensued at the meeting, with most of the speakers identifying themselves as pro-choice. The motion was passed almost unanimously, because the students’ union said the MUNSU is a local of the pro-choice Canadian Federation of Students and that it cannot ratify a group dedicated to a different set of beliefs than its own.

It is important to note that when it comes to other clubs, MUNSU has no problem accepting an application for a club that goes against its views. There are clubs for pagans and Christians, as well as various political parties. Campus pro-lifers note that obviously, the MUNSU cannot agree with all of these clubs whose ideologies are in opposition to each other. Also, there are a number of other universities that have official pro-life clubs that are with the CFS. Some of these include Dalhousie, Saskatchewan, Waterloo and British Columbia.

Hanlon is finishing up his BA in political science major/religious studies minor and a certificate program in Newfoundland studies in December 2007. He is used to this kind of opposition from the MUNSU, since his efforts to get a pro-life club ratified in the past have been denied. Despite what could be a very discouraging series of events, Hanlon says, “The more they try to discourage us, the more we are encouraged.” MUN for LIFE has received much support from various groups of people, besides numerous letters from across Canada. The Anglican/United/Catholic/Salvationist/Pentecostal Campus Ministry Department has spoken in its favour. And, although university administration does support MUN for LIFE, they do not have much control over the MUNSU.

MUN for LIFE is adamant about having a pro-life voice at the university. Hanlon shares, “The university should be a place for open dialogue and freedom of speech. It is a place where the ideas and values of our society take root. Therefore, MUN for LIFE has a duty and a right to be an active group on campus.”

Hanlon also notes an important reason to be active on campus: “The average age of a mother to have an abortion in Newfoundland is in the early to mid 20s, so uiversity students need to hear this message now before it is too late”.

Nothing new

Carleton University, in Ottawa experienced the same situation last year. It gained national media attention as many Canadians on both sides of the abortion issue expressed their outrage at the blatant discrimination given to pro-life students. Carleton Lifeline has since been granted club status, after much debate, media attention and many letters from concerned Canadians. Unfortunately, there seems to be a trend on our Canadian campuses to silence pro-life students, with MUN for Life and Capilano Heartbeat in British Columbia continuing to strugggle for their right to free association and free speech.

The good news is these pro-life students are willing to fight for their right to be heard on their campuses and will not give up the battle anytime soon. They will see the situation through to the end.