Strife begins at misconception
Editorials / May 22, 2013
How pro-life group Protectores Vitae is using a straw man to promote their cause.
By The Runner
Protectores Vitae are deliberately misrepresenting themselves to promote their agenda to students. The group is using sex-specific abortions as a pro-life issue instead of what it is – a feminist issue. The controversial club made their first public appearance at the Langley campus as part of Welcome Week. Their display relied heavily on the documentary It’s a Girl, which focuses specifically on China and India to expose the extreme lengths people have gone to ensure their children are male. The documentary does touch on sex-specific abortions, making it borderline-relevant to Protectores Vitae.
According to their official club description on the Kwantlen Student Association website, their mandate is to educate students on “life issues, specifically abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.” Unfortunately for them, It’s A Girl is not an anti-choice film, nor is it necessarily a pro-choice film, either. Sex-selective abortion is explored as part of an overarching problem regarding the status of women in these societies.
It isn’t just about fetuses, it’s about female babies that are killed or abandoned, the female children who face neglect and the women who are abused and murdered by their families or spouses. It’s a Girl does not offer a concrete answer to a “life issue,” it opens up a conversation about very complex women’s issues. Sex-selective abortions are not happening because abortions exist, they happen because women are seen as worthless in these communities.
This blatant degradation of women is the focus of the film, and it is beyond ironic that Protectores Vitae chose to use it as branding when presenting themselves to new students. How can they shame those featured in the documentary when they are guilty of perpetuating the same sentiments, which are the root of practices they are campaigning against? When Protectores Vitae actively promotes an anti-choice agenda, they are also advocating removing women’s rights to their bodies. It diminishes the role a woman plays in their own life, and normalizes their subordination.
This oppressive behavior is mimicked in their lofty goals of “educating” students on other life issues. A quick aside – students should be wary of groups that want to tell them how they should feel about complex and ambiguous moral and ethical issues. Perhaps if Protectores Vitae was more of a philosophy club they might receive more respect for their views. As it is, they are a university club, which feels their opinions on assisted suicide somehow outweighs that of the chronically ill.
Most misleading of all the club’s propaganda is the image they would like to project as being compassionate. By aligning themselves against sex-selective abortion – an area of discomfort amongst both pro-and-anti-choicers – they can appeal to many. After all, who at Kwantlen would support a “gendercide?” However, at their core, their views are laughably naive and dangerously oppressive. In our opinion, Protectores Vitae’s use of the sex-specific abortions to promote their agenda is manipulative. There is no compassion in working to remove the rights of others.