An Open Letter to the Brandon University Students for Life

(Krista Mills / The Quill)

Recently, your Pro-Life Club has been handing out flyers and writing on sidewalks citing intentionally inaccurate statistics regarding abortions undergone in Canada. The Women’s Collective has found these demonstrations both disturbing and dangerous, as they are propagating misinformation and distorted patriarchal beliefs about a legal, and normal, medical procedure.

Your club has every right to voice an opinion on this matter – and it is blatantly obvious that, at best, all you have is an opinion—but if it is your desire to be a respected contributor to this discourse, it is your responsibility to fact-check your statements, especially since reproductive rights are such a stigmatized and controversial subject. The behavior of your members has been both triggering and denigrating towards women in general: there is no excuse for this. We live in an age where information is easily accessible and the only excuse for not accessing it is a desire to intentionally remain obtuse. You do not seem to realize that it is not your duty, or your right, to police the bodies of other women. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states these rights are peoples’ individual rights – a decision that was used to declare your stance on this issue unconstitutional. Fetuses cannot perceive feelings, have no conscious thoughts, or concept of existence; therefore, they cannot fear death or perceive pain. These are not fully developed children that are being “murdered”. These are not toddlers and babies that are dying in Canada. If you really cared about the health of children, toddlers and babies, you should instead join with our progressive movements on lobbying government and other officials for these health care protections.

The Women’s Collective finds it incredibly hypocritical that your expressively anti-abortion club focuses on the “deaths” of “millions” of fetuses but does not take a stance on the real and alive children that are dying in droves or are being exploited—such as what is happening in Syria, specifically in Aleppo—everyday. You identify yourselves as pro-life, but we find that your negative implications and focus upon the removal of fetuses clearly limits you to an anti-abortion paradigm. Your narrow view does not account for the many routes a woman can take regarding her reproductive health and rights. The Women’s Collective understands the unique nature regarding each woman’s situation and seeks to provide comprehensive, choice-centered information.

Feminism is all about respecting equality. Part of being a feminist is understanding that women may make decisions others may not agree with, and that is perfectly acceptable.  Your Pro-Life Club shames both women for making choices that they feel they need to make, and the women and others who support those rights. You are afforded a right to disagree and express your opinions on campus, but that freedom of speech does not exonerate you of fair criticism. Your statistical claims are indefensible and your members’ behaviors are inexcusable. Your attempts to assert your opinions as facts and general closed-mindedness should exclude you from this and other women’s rights dialogues.

With respect to the counter-protest chalking on public sidewalks around campus, we are thrilled to see student activism retaliating against these attacks on women’s freedom and autonomy. We encourage this sort of peaceful activism and are happy to stand with you against this spread of misinformation and hate.

Brandon University Women’s Collective