NewsWed Mar 15, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST
Astonishing Success of Pro-Life Project at Canadian University
By Luke Jalsevac
HAMILTON, March 15, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Arriving at Hamilton’s McMaster University on a snowy Tuesday morning for their regular classes had no idea they were in for a sobering dose of the reality of abortion. Early in the morning, LifeLine, the McMaster pro-life group, had set up displays of photos depicting the grisly truth of abortion all around campus. The project was entitled simply “Unmasking Choice.”
The effect on the student population was powerful and immediate.
Johanna Miller, president of LifeLine, could not contain her excitement when she spoke to LifeSiteNews later in the evening. “From the responses of the students it was obvious that many had never been exposed to the pro-life message before,” effused Johanna.
“Our intent was to give students the chance to see and hear the truth, and it worked, because many students came by and said that throughout the entire campus, even in classes, everyone was talking about abortion. Apathy was everywhere on campus before, but this has really shaken people up.”
A counter-protest formed within half an hour of the display being erected, but Johanna reports that this actually helped their cause. “The protestors actually got people talking. Students were going back and forth between the two groups asking questions and seeking out counter-arguments.”
Johanna was relieved that the protest did not result in any physical confrontation. In fact, the pro-abortion protestors came to the pro-life students at the end of the day and thanked them for being so peaceful, and they even shared hot chocolate together.
“University is a place to be informed of the facts, to be critical of commonly held beliefs, and to engage in honest and open debate,” it says on the LifeLine website. And since the establishment of most universities no longer encourages genuine debate, these students boldly took matters into their own hands.
Johanna did say, however, that she has been surprised by the support the pro-life club has received from security and even some members of the administration at the secular university: “There must be a few people at the higher up levels who are working quietly to ensure that we are given the necessary freedom to pursue our mission.”
In the weeks leading up to this demonstration the pro-life club had flooded the university newspaper with letters outlining and defending the pro-life position. Pro-choice students then responded by flooding the paper with letters supporting abortion. This was followed in turn by another wave of pro-life letters. The editor of the paper finally got fed up and said she was not going to print any more letters on abortion.
But that was before yesterday’s display took the campus by storm.
Johanna says she is amazed at how events have unfolded over the past couple of years since McMaster LifeLine was formed. She recalls being reluctantly dragged into the position of secretary last year, but how quickly her mentality began to change as she got involved. “Last year we did the usual things that pro-life clubs do – set up information tables, handed out buttons and pamphlets, and brought in a few speakers. This was as necessary for the executive as it was for the students since we really had a lot to learn.”
But it was last year’s March for Life in Ottawa, which was attended by 15 McMaster students, that was the catalyst for ratcheting up their activities to the next level.
“For the first time I saw the hugeness of the pro-life movement,” said Johanna, “and in the midst of the great crowds of enthusiastic youth I realized that we are nothing without each other, and that in some way we are all responsible for abortion.”
She continued, “We are just following those in the pro-life movement who have paved the way. We are simply picking up the torch. When you begin doing pro-life work it pulls you in and takes you over.” But she clearly loves it, for she knows she is fighting for the truth and for life. “Please take a stand one way or the other. Don’t be apathetic,” is all she asks of the students.
Strategically building on the momentum of their demonstration, LifeLine has sponsored a debate for today between the McMaster debating society and Stephanie Gray, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, over the question of whether abortion should be legal.
If yesterday’s events aren’t enough to get students interested, LifeLine has bombarded the campus with flyers advertising the debate, even putting them under all the professor’s doors.
LifeLine then plans to end the year with a campaign advertising the Canadian March for Life in May. Their glossy, professional flyers will challenge the students to join “The Human Rights Movement of the 21st Century.”
“We are going to make the March for Life the biggest thing on campus,” says Johanna passionately. “This will be the culmination of our year where we will stand together with people from across the country in solidarity for life.”
LifeSiteNews.com will present part II of this report after Wednesday’s debate