Central Ontario pro-life supporters are concerned over the distribution of pro-abortion literature to some students at a college of Trent University in Peterborough.
In September, students enrolling at Traill College received a brochure from the Peterborough chapter of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL). The brochure was included in an information kit given to Traill College students at the start of the fall term.
The multi-paneled, full-color brochure lists three Peterborough-area agencies women can visit for abortion referral information. It also warns of “other centres” which it claims pressures women into making decisions not right for them. “They (the other centres) may try to feel guilty or not give you all of the facts,” the brochure reads.
In addition to describing abortions as “quite simple and safe,” the brochure includes a section on recognizing “phony abortion counselling services.” It tells readers that do not have a doctor or nurse practitioner on staff, or which show films or slide shows, presumably on fetal development.
The CARAL brochure includes an illustration showing two women standing on a staircase. In the foreground is a young man wearing a crucifix on his lapel. A caption above the illustration reads: “Careful, honey, he’s anti-choice.”
Judy Grasmuck, a college administrator with Trent University, said only academic and student service material is included in official information kits prepared by the university. She said some of the colleges affiliated with Trent might not include information they feel is relevant to students.
“There is no official support by the university for any one of these kinds of organisations (such as CARAL),” Grasmuck said. “It’s possible that a student volunteer involved in the September orientation activity got a hold of the brochure in question and included in the Traill College information kit.”
Nonetheless, Lorraine McNamara of Oshawa is disappointed that CARAL literature found its way into a student information kit. McNamara was shown the brochure by her daughter, a third-year history student and Traill College.
“Even my daughter was surprised that this kind of literature was being distributed,” McNamara said. “If CARAL is allowed to advertise to students, surely pro-life groups should also be allowed to disseminate their own information.”
Paul Morgan, president of Peterborough Right to Life, said his organization has never formally approached the university to distribution pro-life material.’
“I’m not certain how far we’d get this them,” he said.