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Friday, September 28, 2007

PRESS RELEASE

The Death of Free Speech at Memorial University of Newfoundland:
MUN Students’ Union disallows pro-life group

On Wednesday, September 26, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union Board of Directors (MUNSU) met for its regularly scheduled meeting. One of the highlights of the agenda was the proposal to ratify, or give official club status to, Memorial University of Newfoundland Students for Life (MUN for LIFE). When it came to this point the meeting, everyone was hesitant to speak. The chair asked for a motion to approve and one was not tabled. A motion to deny was put forth and the flood gates holding back the conversation opened wide. Every speaker, except for one, identified themselves as pro-choice and echoed the comments of the previous speakers. The motion to deny ratification passed nearly unanimous. MUSNU signaled the death of free speech on a university campus.

The dominate arguments brought by MUNSU personalities to deny MUN for LIFE their rights were 1) MUNSU is a local of the pro-choice Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) 2) MUNSU could not ratify a group in opposition to its beliefs.

If MUNSU only ratifies groups that it agrees with, why is it that an assortment groups with competing ideologies are listed on their website. For example, there are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Pagan groups. There are Progressive Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic groups. Surely, MUNSU can not agree with every one of these groups. If MUNSU can grant ratification to these groups, it should be able to allow MUN for LIFE its democratic and university rights to free speech.

If CFS is an obstacle, why it is that a number of other CFS locals have pro-life groups? A small example of these would be the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Dalhousie, Carleton, and Saskatchewan. Once again, MUNSU is grasping at straws for excuses to silence the voice of the pro-life movement. MUN for LIFE members have paid CFS and MUNSU union dues and must now be granted their rights to free speech and association.

In November 2006 the Carleton University Students’ Association passed a motion to silence pro-life student groups on their campus. As a result, Carleton Lifeline’s ratification was placed in jeopardy. A heated debate, which attracted national media coverage, ended in Carleton Lifeline’s membership increasing and work continuing.

Patrick Hanlon, the President of MUN for LIFE, is encouraging his fellow union members and all concerned individuals, regardless of their position on life issues, to demand MUNSU to immediately reverse the decision made at the September 26 meeting. If this decision is not reversed, a dangerous precedent is set in place for MUNSU, and other Student Unions in Canada, which would allow the silencing of any other group that a union wishes not to have democratic and university rights.

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Patrick Hanlon
MUN for LIFE President
709-579-1500 MUNforLIFE@gmail.com
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To respectfully contact the MUNSU executive and voice your opposition to the decision:
James Farrell, External Director, munsu@munsu.ca
Bradley Russell, Student Life Director, studentlife@munsu.ca
Stella Magalios, Campaigns Director, campaigns@munsu.ca
Stephanie Power, Advocacy Director, advocacy@munsu.ca
Nick Eisnor, Finance Director, finance@munsu.ca
Phone: 709-737-7633
Fax: 709-737-4743
Mail: MUNSU, Suite 2000 – University Centre, MUN, St. John’s, NL A1C 5S7

To respectfully express your concerns to the university administration:
Dr. Axel Meisen, President and Vice Chancellor of MUN, president@mun.ca
Dr. Lilly Walker, Dean of Student Affairs and Services, lwalker@mun.ca

You may carbon copy or send best wises to:
Patrick Hanlon, MUN for LIFE President, MUNforLIFE@gmail.com

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Now here’s a scary thought – sex selection tests used for selective abortion in Canada. But of course, if you want to cook a frog, you put him in warm water first… This sort of thing is easy for people to accept if they’ve already accepted the idea of abortion-on-demand in general. If elective abortion is permissible, then what’s wrong with opting to perform the procedure for the purposes of sex selection? I find that most people who want to support elective abortion are not willing to support many natural extensions of the idea.

In other news, science fiction ideas are being put into practice in the UK, where human-animal chimeras could be created within months.

I guess almost anything goes when society loses sight of the dignity of the human person and the value of human life.

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Amnesty International has recently released its new policy supporting abortion. While they stop short of taking a(n) (obvious) stance on abortion-on-demand, one of the main points of the new policy involves “ensuring that any woman, who has become pregnant as a result of sexual violence, including incest, has access to safe and legal abortion services.”

Now, let’s be clear – sexual violence is a horrible crime. But it has no affect whatsoever on the answer to the fundamental question at the centre of the issue of abortion – “what is the unborn?” If the unborn is not human, then there is no real moral or ethical objection to abortion, whether sexual violence is the cause of pregnancy or not. But if the unborn is human, then nothing can justify purposely ending the life of an innocent human being, not even sexual violence.

However, the most troubling part of the policy is that they are still trying to pretend that their position is neutral! It’s one thing for an organization to take a pro-choice position, but they could at least admit to doing so!

Amnesty International does not take a position on whether abortion should be legal or whether it is right or wrong. Amnesty does not counsel individuals as to whether they should continue or terminate a pregnancy, nor will Amnesty campaign generally for abortion.

How is that even possible? If their policy is to “ensure” abortion services are available in cases of rape and incest, how could they possibly consider abortion to be wrong? If they’ve honestly left open the possibility that abortion is wrong, then they’ve also left open the possibility that they, as a human rights organization, are “ensuring” that it be legal to commit that wrong. Clearly, they don’t believe that their organization stands for something wrong.

Why can’t they at least be honest?

They dodge the question of “what is the unborn?” with comments like, “AI takes no position as to when life begins.” How is that even possible? Surely, there must be some point at which they believe human rights are owed? Do they oppose infanticide? Well, then they must have some idea of when life begins! It’s kind of hard not to, being a human rights organization and all, writing a policy on abortion. But, apparently, it’s hard to admit it.

Not only do they pretend not to take a stance, but they try to take cheap shots at the pro-life movement.

Some people believe that life begins at conception and therefore, abortion represents a violation of the right of life of a fetus. Such views are sometimes grounded in particular religious beliefs.

How can they try to pretend to be neutral with statements like that? The second sentence is completely unnecessary. It is an empty rhetorical attempt to try and draw attention to religious arguments while making no mention whatsoever of the overwhelming scientific evidence upon which most pro-life organizations form the basis of their arguments.

Amnesty International takes a stance in defence of abortion by looking at the hard cases and avoiding the fundamental issue at hand. There are countless examples. Here’s one of the most extreme:

In Nigeria, a woman who actually had a miscarriage was accused of aborting the fetus and threatened with the death penalty.

That is an extreme case and a terribly unjust situation. But what is the main problem? The death penalty. Extreme and unjust punishment can be countered without defending the act of abortion. Nevermind that this appears to be an isolated incident – a grave violation of human rights, nonetheless, but a poor candidate upon which to base a worldwide policy.

In short, it is quite clear from Amnesty International’s new policy on abortion that their view of human rights does not and cannot extend to the unborn, yet they pretend they are not taking a moral stance on the matter. Not only is their stance in violation of the rights of the unborn, but their inability to own up to it is flat out cowardly.

All of the quotes used in this post were from these documents: http://www.consistent-life.org/aiabortiondocs.pdf

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LifeSiteNews.com has an interesting and upsetting article reporting on new legislation that’s been tabled in New South Wales that would allow therapeutic cloning. Archbishop Cardinal George Pell has been vocal on the matter, speaking out against the legislation:

To produce a human embryo with the express purpose of destroying it for research—as if it were a lab rat—is a perverse new direction for human experimentation.

No Catholic politician—indeed, no Christian or person with respect for human life—who has properly informed his conscience about the facts and ethics in this area should vote in favour of this immoral legislation.

You can read the full article here.

There are some other articles which are less decidedly pro-life than LifeSiteNews.com. The one caution though with how the mainstream media treats the issue is how they focus on the Cardinal’s position in the Church. It is true the he is speaking especially to Catholics, but he’s not making an argument that “God says so” or anything like that. The argument that this legislation is unethical – that human embryos should not be treated as medical raw material – is an argument that everyone, no matter their religion or lack thereof, needs to seriously consider. Human embryos are indeed unique human lives, unique human beings in their earliest and most vulnerable stages. Anyone who believes that humans lives should not be raw material for experimentation should be in serious opposition to this legislation.

Some Other Articles:

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Students for Life is against embryonic stem cell research, but not against stem cell research in general. Of course not! Adult stem cells have provided many cures and treatments for serious disease without any moral questionable practices, compared to the destruction of embryos for research that has led to absolutely no reliable medical cures or treatments with embryonic stem cells.

After 20 years of research, there are no approved treatment or human trials using embryonic stem cells. Their tendency to produce tumors and malignant carcinomas, cause transplant rejection, and form the wrong kinds of cells are just a few of the hurdles that embryonic stem cell researchers have been unable to overcome.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell with sources:

Embryonic stem cells have not yet been used for even one therapy, while adult stem cells have already been successfully used in numerous patients, including for cardiac infarction (death of some of the heart tissue)

It is remarkable that in the debate–often carried on with little competence–the potential of embryonic stem cells is exaggerated in a one-sided way, while important moral questions and issues of research strategy are passed over in silence.

From The Case for Adult Stem Cell Research

Over the weekend, Ontario and Calfornia announced a deal to boost stem cell research, embryonic and possibly adult stem cell research. What drives me insane is that none of the major news outlets even attempt to distinguish between the two when reporting on the story! Here’s what CTV had to say:

U.S. President George Bush and most of Schwarzenegger’s other Republican colleagues are opposed to stem cell research because embryos are destroyed in the research process.

McGuinty to ink stem cell deal with Schwarzenegger

Clearly, an attempt to paint those opposed to embryonic stem cell research as anti-science and anti-progress, when there is no attempt to even mention in passing any of the moral or ethical questions involved in embryonic stem cell research, or any of the serious obstacles to finding effective embryonic stem cell treatments compared to the huge successes in recent years with the uncontroversial adult stem cells.

Think free! Do your research! (Wikipedia, though not guaranteed to be accurate, is a great starting point with scientific links to dig deeper into the matter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell)

Adult stem cells offer us great promise for medical advances, for cures and treatments without ethically questionable practices! The distinction is an important one.

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