Last February, a group called Saint Mary's Students for Life invited Jose Ruba, co-founder of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, to bring his anti-abortion message to SMU. Ruba juxtaposed images of aborted fetuses and Holocaust victims to illustrate his group's motto, "When personhood is denied, the unthinkable becomes reality."
His presentation was met with protests from pro-choice students, and Jane Gavin-Hebert felt SMU should have recognized Ruba's lecture as hate speech.
Gavin-Herbert has organized today's (Thursday, January 28) Trust Women conference at SMU. She hopes to move beyond the pro-choice/pro-life debate, discussing wider ranging issues of reproductive justice at the Trust Women conference.
Loretta J. Ross, national coordinator of SisterSong, a US group fighting for reproductive justice for women of colour, is at the conference. Ross became pregnant through incest as a minor and was sterilized by a Dalkon Shield IUD at 23. To Ross, reproductive justice is an umbrella term including adequate childcare, support for single mothers, building community, job security for pregnant women, access to healthcare and more. "It's the 'oh my god' conversation that makes you decide whether to have a baby." SisterSong is an inclusive organization, composed of both pro-life and pro-abortion women. "Our pro-life people are the sane ones, not the crazy ones that go around throwing bloody fetuses," Ross laughs.