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What does it mean to be "pro-life" ? Interview with Maeve Roche from Campaign Life Coalition

By Joanne of Arc for Quebec Life Coalition— Photo : Joanne Of Arc

On Saturday, January 14th 2023, Quebec Life Coalition is hosting a Students For Life Event in Montreal, Quebec.

The purpose of this event is to encourage all pro-life students to come together for an afternoon of discussion, training and networking.

Amongst the different speakers that will be present at the event, we have invited Maeve Roche from Campaign Life Coalition who is their Youth Coordinator to speak about her involvement in the culture of life.

Maeve has agreed to speak with us prior to the event, so that you could get to know her better as well as learn more about what it means to be "pro-life". 

Joanna from QLC: Thanks so much for making the time to talk with us. Can you please present yourself, your age and your current job position ? 

Maeve from CLC: My name is Maeve Roche. I am 20 years old and serve as the Youth Coordinator at Campaign Life Coalition. Central to my role is engaging and mobilizing youth to become pro-life leaders in their own communities. As youth coordinator, I run our youth social media pages (@clcyouthprolife on all platforms), organize youth events and trips, namely the National March for Life in Ottawa’s Youth Banquet and Summit, run our summer internship program, do ‘Pro-Life 101’ presentations at schools and youth groups, bring a delegation of youth to the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women and much more!

Joanna from QLC: How long have you been working for CLC ?

Maeve from CLC: I have been with CLC for almost 3 years. I was a summer intern in 2020 and 2021 and worked part-time through the school year. I began officially working full-time for CLC in November of 2021.

Joanna from QLC: What is your background (work/school education)?

Maeve from CLC: I studied philosophy at the University of Toronto for a year and bit before I decided to pursue full-time, pro-life work.

Joanna from QLC: What does it mean to be pro-life to you?

Maeve from CLC: While the term “pro-life” is often convoluted to convey generality, being pro-life is the desire to afford equal human rights to all human beings, from the moment of conception until natural death. Pro-lifers can summarize their philosophy through this syllogism: it is wrong to kill an innocent human being; abortion kills an innocent human being; therefore, abortion is wrong. To be pro-life is to oppose the killing of the preborn. Working in the pro-life movement runs so much deeper, you work alongside people who have the same calling, who you genuinely love and admire.

Joanna from QLC: Why is it important to be active in this movement according to you?

Maeve from CLC: With the pro-life movement’s concerns being that of life and death, it is integral that those who oppose abortion take action. When we talk about abortion, we are talking about a grave human rights injustice. The unborn are the victims of dehumanization and violent slaughter, 3.4 million preborn children have been killed since the decriminalization of abortion following the R v. Morgentaler case. We cannot sit idly by as human beings are being killed. We must work to both change the hearts of the public and of lawmakers in order to protect innocent human beings. Being personally pro-life does not afford human rights to innocent human beings, we have to be practically pro-life, as well, and there are many facets and opportunities to do so.

Joanna from QLC: How long have you been involved or passionate about the pro-life movement?

Maeve from CLC: I have been involved in the prolife since high school, close to 7 years. I was raised Catholic and learned about abortion when I was quite young. My dad is a high school religion and philosophy teacher and I deeply admired his vast knowledge about both the world and theology as a whole. In turn, through our close bond, I adopted many of his passions and interests, namely an interest in philosophy and understanding moral issues. I’m not exactly certain what sparked it, but there was something about the moral issue of abortion that I really felt connected and drawn to. It was probably one of the first things that truly broke my heart. As a child, you often see the world through rose-coloured glasses, but there comes a point when you begin to realize that the world is much more hostile and sinister than you were led to believe. Legal baby-killing is certainly one of those things, that upon discovering takes place, can truly alter your perception of society. I attended the National March for Life in Ottawa, organized by CLC, for the first time when I was in grade 9 and began interning for CLC in the summer of 2020, through their summer internship program.

Joanna from QLC: What does a day to day look like for you?

Maeve from CLC: Each day with CLC is unique, as we frequently adopt new campaigns/efforts. When in the office, my work could consist of social media posting, recording our podcast “Womb With A View” (on all platforms), planning youth events (like our trip to the Washington D.C March for Life, United Nation’s Youth Delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women, the March for Life Youth Banquet and Summit taking place on May 11th and 12th and much more), preparing to run our Summer Internship Program (for which applications are now open on our website), organizing Hamilton’s 40 Days for Life Campaign, preparing for pro-life 101 presentations for schools and youth groups, running our Virtual Pro-Life Club. It really depends on the day. There is plenty of travel involved as well, which is such a blessing.

Joanna from QLC: What is the most important aspect of your job?

Maeve from CLC: The most important aspect of my job, as youth coordinator, is to not only expose young people to the reality of abortion in Canada, but rather, to mobilize young people to take action in their respective communities. As Jim Hughes, President Emeritus of CLC, often says, “Youth are not the future of the pro-life movement, they are the present.” It such a blessing to be granted the opportunity to connect with passionate, young pro-lifers across the country and build community with them.

Joanna from QLC: What led you to work in your current job position? 

Maeve from CLC: As mentioned earlier, it was sort of a long process, but ultimately, I felt as though God was calling me to pursue this work. I was in university, studying philosophy online due to the pandemic. I was wrestling with what I would do when I graduated and kind of had this idea that I was going to end up working in the pro-life movement anyways. I began to struggle with school itself, not so much academically, but more so mentally, I felt like I was wasting time. I decided to defer my second year and was then offered a full-time position with CLC. I do not regret my decision one bit, in fact, choosing to work for CLC was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m so grateful to work alongside such incredible people.

Joanna from QLC: What is the pro-life movement like in your area? (Hamilton, Ontario)

Maeve from CLC: Over the past year, it has really erupted! I’m a Hamilton native and have lived here with my family for the past 15 or so years. In March of 2021, I assisted in the organizing, alongside 2 other amazing pro-life activists associated with Hamilton RIght to Life, of the first ever 40 Days for Life Hamilton Campaign. It took much planning and recruitment of volunteers, but we were able to cultivate a solid community of over 100 dedicated pro-lifers who are willing to publicly witness to the issue of abortion, through prayer in front of McMaster Children’s Hospital (that commits abortions). This past fall campaign, our prayer community was put in touch with a young, pregnant mother through the Sisters of Life, who we assisted in providing goods for both her and her baby. We connected with the St. Vincent de Paul Centre on Barton St. who furnished her new home. BirthRight Hamilton was also instrumental in assisting her in bringing her baby into the world. We have really fostered an incredible community of pro-lifers in Hamilton through our 40 Days for Life Campaign efforts.

Joanna from QLC: What kind of suggestions do you have for the pro-life movement youth in Quebec right off the start?

Maeve from CLC: I think my first piece of advice for anyone who is new to the pro-life movement is to, firstly, become well-versed in apologetics. This probably seems self-evident, but before you engage with pro-choicers or passersby in activism, it is essential that you have the necessary background to coherently and adequately represent the anti-abortion position. I have sat through dozens and dozens of pro-life apologetic sessions, even now I still like to reacquaint myself with the arguments. You can never really receive too many refreshers, even as a seasoned pro-life activist. Even with a thorough understanding of how to respond to various pro-choice arguments, mistakes are bound to happen. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation on the street and perhaps months later thought to myself “I should have said this to that person instead of that”. But even when I do make mistakes in dialogue, I am always eternally grateful that I can at least fall back on a subset of philosophical building blocks to provide some level of insight when I’m presented with a challenging argument.  

Joanna from QLC: What kind of specific actions should the pro-life youth involve themselves in to make a positive change in their respective area?

Maeve from CLC: There are so many opportunities for youth to become involved in the pro-life movement and make change in their respective communities. These actions could include pioneering an activist campaign (like holding a Life Chain or starting a 40 Days for Life Campaign), becoming educated on pro-life apologetics so that they can have meaningful dialogue with friends and family members about abortion, connecting with a local right to life group, volunteering at or supporting a local pregnancy care centre, running baby item drives for pregnant mothers in need in your community, campaigning/canvassing for a pro-life political candidate in your riding, writing pro-life letters to the editor in your local newspaper, creating social media content and videos, and so much more! In getting connected with us at Campaign Life Coalition Youth, we can be a resource to aid youth in mobilizing pro-life activism in their own communities to advance the culture of life.

Joanna from QLC: How can the pro-life movement grow in areas where it is inactive?

Maeve from CLC: As mentioned before, a pro-life community can be built through campaigns and events. By holding events and running campaigns, like 40 days for Life, you are prompted to perform outreach, be it to the general public or religious communities. Events and campaigns can boost morale amongst pro-lifers and aid in building a broader community.

Joanna from QLC: What should we expect from you & your partner Kim on your visit to Montreal for our student for life event on January 14th 2022?

Maeve from CLC: At the upcoming Students for Life Event, we will both share our personal journeys that led us to pursue full-time pro-life work, as well as providing some insight into effective ways for pro-life clubs to mobilize and self-govern.

Joanna from QLC: What are you looking forward to upon your visit here in Montreal, Quebec ?

Maeve from CLC: We’re both really looking forward to connecting with the passionate young people in Montreal who are looking to make real change in their communities to instill a culture of life.

Joanna from QLC: What is one thing you would like everyone to remember after your conference for students for life?

Maeve from CLC: One thing we’d like everyone to remember after our conference is that it’s important to acknowledge that you aren’t alone and to seek assistance from right to life groups to help you navigate the dicey, sometimes hostile, waters of the secular university. There is a demographic that needs to be reached, the demographic that is most likely to seek an abortion in the instance of unplanned pregnancy. University and college pro-life clubs play an integral role in reaching those students before it's too late and providing support after an abortion. Much of organizing a pro-life club is trial and error, but you certainly don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

 


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