News

ONTARIO, March 18, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An abortion debate shut down by York University’s student union has been re-scheduled to occur today, March 18, at York University in Toronto.  Tomorrow, March 19, a similar debate will occur at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Tuesday’s debate at York is the latest development since pro-abortion students cancelled the scheduled debate at the last minute. Last month, leaders of York’s student centre executive held an emergency meeting and voted unanimously to cancel an abortion debate between Michael Payton of York’s Freethinkers, Skeptics and Atheists group and Jose Ruba of the pro-life Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR).  Their action caused a national furor, resulting in negative headlines for the union across the country. Shortly thereafter the university disassociated itself from the actions of the student union, and welcomed the debate on property that it controls.

Ruba expressed appreciation for the university’s openness to dialogue, but disgust at the student union.  He explained that all students, including those who disagree with the union’s decision, are forced to pay membership fees.  “It is appalling that pro-life students have to give their money to a union that censors them,” he said.  “If the SU believes so strongly in choice, why doesn’t it give students a choice whether or not to be members?”

Student unions in Canada are becoming notorious for opposing pro-life groups.  In 2006, Ruba participated in an abortion debate at Carleton University which caused a backlash from the student union there.

Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) subsequently declared itself pro-choice and passed a policy affirming that “actions such as campaigns, distributions, solicitations, lobbying efforts, displays, events, etc. that seek to limit or remove a woman’s options in the event of pregnancy will not be supported.”

Undeterred, the pro-life club, Carleton Lifeline (CL), is going ahead with another abortion debate, this time on March 19.  The group is bringing in Ruba’s colleague, Stephanie Gray, to take the stage opposite a representative from the campus debate society.  Finding an opponent for Gray, however, has been a difficult task.

“We contacted more than 10 pro-choice individuals and organizations but no one came forward to debate,” said Heidi Los of CL.  One person they approached, Patricia LaRue, declined participation, stating, “Canadians for Choice has decided not to engage in debate surrounding abortion services. We feel that the provision of basic human rights is not open to debate.”

“The idea that abortion isn’t debatable seems to be a matter of convenience,” commented Gray. “After all, I hardly think Canadians for Choice would hold the position they do if the status quo wasn’t in their favour.  Would they decline debating abortion if we were back in 1969?”

Gray and Ruba are founders of CCBR, a controversial group that has drawn national headlines by driving a truck covered with bloody abortion photos as well as exhibiting the Genocide Awareness Project, a graphic display that compares abortion with the Holocaust.  Their website is unmaskingchoice.ca.

Debate Details:
  *TUESDAY, March 18, 5:30-7:00pm @ York University (Toronto), Curtis Lecture Hall E, Keele Campus (near Scott Library) *WEDNESDAY, March 19, 7:00-9:00pm @ Carleton University (Ottawa), Room 103, Stacie Building

For further information contact:
  Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform: Stephanie Gray (403-200-0777) or Jose Ruba (403-689-5890)