Lia Mills is an independent pro-life speaker who held a workshop on Canadian political history of abortion at the Culture of Life 2013 event at St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School. Photo by Jean Ko Din

Culture of life grows among students

By  Jean Ko Din, Youth Speak News
  • March 1, 2013

RICHMOND HILL, ONT. - The pro-life movement is spreading in the halls of St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School.

The Richmond Hill high school hosted a social justice conference Feb. 20 to help educate students about abortion and the pro-life movement. This year’s conference was entitled “A Culture of Life 2013: It’s a child not a choice.”

This is the second year the school’s Social Justice Council has organized a pro-life conference and council members only look to grow from here.

“We were surprised at our success last year because we didn’t know what to expect,” said Rebecca Ng, a Grade 11 student and co-chair of the Social Justice Council. “Now that we know people are interested in it and we have a chance to allow other people to hear what we have to say, it’s a lot more motivating for us.”

More than 400 people attended the event.

Every year, the council organizes a Social Justice Week to help educate fellow students about global issues. Issues explored in previous years include poverty, global water scarcity and children’s rights. But after taking on the large topic of abortion last year, the council decided to make it an all-day conference.

Danielle Han, Grade 12 student and president of the Social Justice Council, says abortion has been something the council has been interested in for years, but were afraid to address.

“Last year, we decided to take the risk because it’s something that we genuinely cared about,” said Han. “There are so many people who passively agree with (abortion) and they shouldn’t because they’re ignorant about the topic.”

Many prominent pro-life speakers presented workshops to educate the students about the main issues concerning the topic.

Stephanie Gray, co-founder of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, was the keynote speaker. She argued that abortion can essentially be seen as age discrimination. She presented scientific studies on the stages of pregnancy and said that life begins at fertilization just as a photo begins at the moment it is captured.

Alissa Golob, youth director for Campaign Life Coalition, hosted a Jeopardy game in an interactive workshop to discuss important arguments that exist in the abortion debate. Students also learned about the abortion laws that exist in Ontario and Canada.

Lia Mills became a well-known speaker against abortion when her mother posted a YouTube video of her five-minute speech for a school assignment at the age of 12. The video went viral and, now at the age of 16, she has been invited to speak at conferences across North America.

Michael Coren, columnist for The Catholic Register and other media, held an open discussion workshop where students learned the different factors that increase the likelihood of parents wanting an abortion. Coren also touched on the issue of euthanasia.

With the success of this year’s event, the council is looking to expand the conference to more schools.

“Hopefully, we can leave our legacy,” said Ng. “People will want to learn about this and we will make the school known for this.”

(Ko Din, 22, is a third-year journalism student at Ryerson University in Toronto.}


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