York University in Canada Cancels Abortion Debate, Pro-Life Bias Continues

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 3, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

York University in Canada Cancels Abortion Debate, Pro-Life Bias Continues Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 3
, 2008

Toronto, Canada (LifeNews.com) — In another example of the bias that is permeating Canadian colleges and universities against pro-life students, York University canceled a scheduled debate on abortion just hours before its scheduled start. Student leaders there say debating the legality of abortion is akin to debating whether domestic violence is appropriate.

Margaret Fung, president of the Students for Bioethical Awareness, one of the organizations hosting the debate, tells LifeNews.com that student government officials shut it down hours before it was slated to begin.

She said the student government officers displayed an obvious pro-abortion bent in their decision to deny the free speech of the debate participants and observers.

"I was told in a meeting by members of the York Federation of Students that debating abortion is comparable to debating whether a man should be allowed to beat his wife," Fung told LifeNews.com.

"They said that there is freedom of speech to a limit, and that abortion is not an issue to debate. They demanded that the event not take place and shut us down," she added.

The debate was billed with the title, "Abortion Debate: A Woman’s Right or a Moral Wrong?"

Fung’s group, an official York University Student Club, worked with the York Debating Society to organize the forum.

Michael Payton from Freethinkers, Skeptics and Atheists at York was scheduled to represent the pro-abortion side while Jose Ruba from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Awareness planned to speak on behalf of pro-life advocates.

Both sides were ready and willing to debate, but after student government leaders shut the event down, dozens of people were turned away who planned to watch the discussion.

"The Student Centre has made sure that anyone with different views than theirs can’t express themselves, even if both points of view are represented," Fung continued.

"They don’t seem to understand that we live in a free, democratic society. A university is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas not a propaganda machine for political extremists," she concluded.

The stopping of the abortion debate at York University comes on the heels of statements by the Canadian Federation of Students comparing pro-life student groups to the KKK, and announcing their intention to support student unions who ban pro-life student clubs.

In October, the campus pro-life group at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada failed a second time to persuade the pro-abortion student government to allow it to be an official campus group.

Students at Capilano College in August were denied official status from the university and took their case to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

The official recognition by the college is an important distinction. Without it, a campus group can’t post fliers, advertise and hold meetings.

Last year, the student union at the University of British Columbia‘s Kelowna campus refused club status to campus pro-lifers.

And in Ottawa, the Carleton University Students’ Association passed a motion affirming their pro-abortion position and denying official status to a student pro-life group.

ACTION: Contact York University officials at https://www.yorku.ca/yorkweb/org.htm to complain about the shutdown of this abortion debate.