I’m posting my letters to Gilary and Hamid of the York Federation of Students, and to Mr. Tiffin, the VP of students, regarding my dismay over their attempts to ban pro-life clubs on campus. “From Andrea, with love,” was not, incidentally, my chosen sign off. But it sounds like From Russia, with Love, making an afternoon of letter writing into a James Bond affair. How exotic.
Dear Mr. Tiffin:
I am writing to register my disapproval of the recent attempt of the York Federation of Students to silence those who oppose abortion on campus.
The recent and ongoing attempts of the York Federation of Students have been of great interest to me—especially given the flawed justification for the ban. I started ProWomanProLife.org in order to provide a voice for those many, many women who are pro-life because they are pro-woman. Abortion is not a woman’s right. Equality for women on campus, as elsewhere, is not contingent on access to abortion. I represent hundreds of women across Canada who are against abortion, precisely because we are in favour of women’s rights.
There is a growing body of research to suggest post-abortive women do not fare as well as other women who have not had abortions. There are higher rates of depression, depressive episodes, suicide, suicide ideation, alongside a host of other negative repercussions, physical and mental.
The health and welfare of every woman, especially vis-à-vis high abortion rates for those who are of university age, should be of grave concern to the York University administration.
I would encourage you to ensure that the pro-life side is given fair treatment and equal funding alongside all other clubs and positions at the university. And I would challenge you to publicly support these pro-life students—if not in the name of life, if not to support true equality and true rights for women, then in the name of freedom of speech.
Dear Hamid and Gilary:
I am writing to ask you to reconsider your views on pro-life groups on campus.
I started ProWomanProLife.org in order to provide a voice for those women who are pro-life because they are pro-woman. I believe ours is a unique approach to the abortion debate.
Why? Firstly, we are pro-life precisely because we are pro-woman. Secondly, I am not interested in legislative action. Rather, I am interested, as my web site explains, in seeing abortion dwindle and decrease in Canada because that is what women choose. Thirdly, we are a non-religious group. We are made up of a team of nine bloggers now and I encourage you to log on to the site, and comment where you see fit. I welcome any and all comments, negative or positive. Each woman is able to blog with maximum freedom of expression and as a team we represent the breadth and depth of what “anti-choicers” can look like.
We are convinced at ProWomanProLife that women are not served well by abortion, this based on good, peer-reviewed research. We believe that women can get better, and indeed, deserve better than abortion. And we believe that women ought to be able to discuss this issue with the maximum freedom of expression.
So it is with great sadness that I realize, were a student chapter of ProWomanProLife.org to develop at York University, it would be banned.
I would encourage you to reconsider your view of so-called anti-choice groups on campus. Tolerance can only exist where there is disagreement—certainly you would not ban every conflicting view. I believe that pro-life clubs on campus can only serve to strengthen the type of strong community you seek to foster at York University.