Carleton Lifeline members, from left, Craig Stewart, James Shaw and Nicholas McLeod, are arrested last October by Ottawa Police for trespassing on the Ottawa university campus after setting up a pro-life display.

Pro-life web site aims at high school students

By 
  • August 26, 2011

TORONTO - A new Toronto-based web resource is seeking to establish the first national network of pro-life high school student clubs.

Student Life Link (www.studentlifelink.ca) is a joint project of the Toronto Right to Life Association and National Campus Life Network. It was first launched in March, with a student conference being planned for this school year. It provides a network and resources for high school students to form and develop pro-life clubs in their school.

Paul Klotz, executive director of Toronto Right to Life, said Student Life Link is “planting seeds” to help build a pro-life culture in Canada and will “help (students) prepare for what they will face in university and the anti-life ideology they would encounter.”

There are a few pro-life clubs in some Greater Toronto Area high schools. But this would be the first time that a network and formal connection between high school pro-life clubs would be established.

“The idea is to encourage and empower pro-life youth to take leadership of the pro-life movement and to decide that they will be the generation to secure the right to life,” Klotz said.

Rebecca Richmond, executive director of the National Campus Life Network, said Student Life Link comes at a critical time when there is hostility in many Canadian universities towards pro-life clubs.

Richmond, 24, recalls the day last October when police arrested members of Carleton University’s Lifeline pro-life group for a controversial pro-life display on campus.

“I was aghast. I couldn’t believe it,” she said, recalling the sight of students being handcuffed and ushered into police wagons, charged with trespassing. “I couldn’t believe that it was 2010 and (happening in) Canada.”

And at the University of Victoria, a pro-life club had its funding withheld for two years before it regained club status after an out-of-court settlement, Richmond said.

These are just two such examples on campuses nationwide.

High school is a critical time to expose youth to pro-life culture, Richmond emphasized, because high school-aged youth are responsible for one-quarter of all abortions being performed.

“It’s a way to reach out in a way that teachers and even parents can’t,” she said.

Student Life Link has a manual available for students and teachers on how to start pro-life clubs. Richmond, a former president of the University of Ottawa Students for Life, said the manual is adapted from the experiences of university pro-life students.

About 400 copies of the manual have been distributed across Canada, while interest has come from as far as South Africa, Klotz said.

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