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Stephanie Gray holds her own against pro-abortion crowd.

London, ON -- One year after the University of Western Ontario (UWO) awarded infamous abortionist Henry Morgentaler an honourary degree, the abortion debate has re-ignited.

On March 21, 2006, Stephanie Gray, executive director of the Canadian Centre For Bio-Ethical Reform, spoke against abortion at King's College at UWO. Police and security were brought to the scene to handle expected disruption from abortion advocates. 130 people attended the talk of which about half were vehemently against Gray. Several spoke out of turn throughout the presentation. One student was so disruptive that security told him to leave. He refused but remained silent for the remainder of the presentation.

Gray was protected that evening by an undercover police officer. Before the presentation started, she was given a security briefing, which included having a uniformed police officer in the next room, ready to whisk her to a police car if violence broke out.

That evacuation plan was required since many of the abortion supporters were unruly. "Their intolerance was appalling," said Gray. "In my four years of giving presentations and debates at university campuses across North America I have never encountered such a rude and disruptive audience. Abortion supporters 'talk' tolerance but these ones sure don't 'walk' it." Throughout the presentation, random audience members stood up and faced their backs to Gray. Others placed pieces of tape on their mouths with "choice" written on them.

The crowd became greatly agitated when Gray spoke about personhood. She explained that denying the unborn their status as persons was analogous to past atrocities when societies denied, for example, Jews their personhood. She pointed out that the reason abortion supporters despise the comparison was their denial of the value of the unborn. "And that is exactly the issue," said Gray, "Are the unborn human beings like born people or aren't they?"

A female student was critical of Gray's reliance on science to prove the unborn are human, saying, "Science has been wrong before." When Gray asked the young woman for an alternative scientific explanation she did not offer one. Gray explained that when human sperm and anegg unite, a whole, living, human being comes into existence, one that has the genetic material needed to inform and organize its growth. She referred to Moore and Persaud's embryology textbook, Before We Are Born, used by medical students at the University of British Columbia. It says, "Human development begins at fertilization."

A pro-abortion medical researcher also claimed that the science cited by Gray was wrong. He said that the unborn become independent beings at birth. Gray responded that the issue was not when someone becomes independent, but instead when one becomes human. She said that after fertilization the unborn get bigger, become more developed, change their environment, and become increasingly independent--changes that people go through post-birth as well--but that their human nature remains consistent.

One young woman said that preventing abortion would force women to have children. That assumes, however, countered Gray, that a pregnant woman doesn't already have a child. "But that's the issue," said Gray, "does she?"

Another student told Gray that the time and money pro-lifers put into their campaigns should be directed to alleviating poverty. Gray retorted with an analogy saying that people don't criticize the Cancer Society for not addressing AIDS, because they recognize both as legitimate causes. "So," Gray asked, "is a pro-life campaign a legitimate cause like a program to help born people? Well, are the unborn human like born people? That's the issue."

During the question and answer period, a male student shouted at Gray, "You're insane!" Gray responded by thanking the student: "By calling me insane you're showing me that my arguments are so good you are unable to refute them; instead, you resort to attacking what you perceive my character to be."

Another student complained, "This isn't a debate!" Gray responded that she was willing to debate but many abortion supporters declined the opportunity. In fact, Henry Morgentaler was recently asked to debate Gray at McMaster University in Hamilton. His assistant declined on his behalf.

Following the talk, pro-life organizers handed out cookies to attendees. Pro-abortion students were taken aback at the kind gesture. The host's outreach and Gray's composure showed the abortion supporters that pro-lifers are respectful and kind even when abortion supporters treat them with hostility (, Mar. 27, 2006).
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Title Annotation:Canada
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2006
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