Pro-choice student groups protested at the University of Calgary in 2006 when the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) set up their Genocide Awareness Project (Photo: CCBR)

Pro-life activist will compare Holocaust to abortion on SMU campus

Advocates from women's and Jewish groups reject the analogy.


A pro-life activist who equates abortion with the Holocaust will bring his controversial message to Halifax.

Jose Ruba is co-founder of the pro-life Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform and former executive director of the National Campus Life Network, two groups fighting to bring the anti-abortion message to campuses across Canada.

Ruba's lecture, entitled "Echoes of the Holocaust," will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at Saint Mary's University in the Burke building.

University of Calgary this week charged students with trespassing after they displayed posters provided by Ruba's group that show Holocaust and genocide victims alongside aborted fetuses.

Saint Mary's student Joseph Westin is one of the organizers of Thursday's event.

Enlarge Image Enlarge image
Joseph Westin is the founder of SMU's Students for Life

The founder of the group Saint Mary's Students for Life, doesn't equate one "atrocity" with another, but says he does see similarities between abortion and the Holocaust.

"They're targeting a section of society, which happens to be unborn babies and they're eradicating them," he says. "They're saying they're not people and it's legal, just as it was in [Nazi] Germany."

Dan Kelly, chaplain at Saint Mary's University, is also one of the organizers.

"People need to be well informed about this decision (to abort) and there's a lot of biases. The truth is not getting out there," he says. "I don't foresee any controversy. Why? Are you trying to create some?"

Advocates from Jewish and women's groups speak out

Members of the Jewish community reject Ruba's analogy.

"To compare a legal and medical procedure, whether you agree with the law or not, with the systematic murder of six million men, women and children simply because they were Jews, is wrong and totally unacceptable to the Jewish community," says Jon Goldberg, executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council.

"While the debate about the validity and appropriateness of abortion is certainly legitimate, using this tactic debases the argument and is completely inappropriate."

Westin says he doesn't intend to trivialize the Holocaust.

"We're not taking away how horrific it was. We're saying, there's something . . . going on in our society behind closed doors and we're just letting it happen, which relates to the Holocaust ... They took (the Jews) away behind closed doors and they let it happen, and it was all perfectly legal."

Georgia Schurman, a coordinator at the SMU women's centre, is "horrified" by the comparison.

"This is hate speech being paraded as freedom of speech," she says. "Comparing a woman's right to choose with the systematic murder and torture of millions is completely reprehensible and just plain awful."

"Women should always have the right to choose what they want to do with their body, and should also have a campus that respects that legal choice."

Westin promises Ruba won't simply yell "abortion is wrong," but will encourage conversation and debate at Thursday's event. He defends the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's use of graphic images of abortion and the Holocaust as an effective way to shed "light" upon the "horrors" of abortion, which he also likens to the Rwandan genocide.

Goldberg disagrees.

"(Such images) diminish the unthinkable nature of the Holocaust and trivialize and demean the horror of its hate and evil," he says.

The event is sponsored by the National Campus Life Network, an umbrella group that helps pro-life student groups on campuses across Canada. Some of the pro-life groups are in a legal battle to get support from their student unions. The Canadian Federation of Students has backed student unions that won't give money or office space to pro-life clubs. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association this week joined forced with the pro-life campus groups that complain their free speech is under attack.

Westin hopes Ruba's lecture will act as a catalyst to increase membership in his organization, Students for Life. The 14-member group needs six more members to qualify for ratification from the students union at Saint Mary's University.

Comments on this story are now closed

Pro-aborts which what they should be called not Pro-choicers. It is just an attack on freedom of speech. Pro-aborts want to silence Pro-lifers. Because they know once the truth is out there that they are wrong.

Posted by Dean Clark | Feb 6, 2022

I've corrected the chaplain's name to avoid the wrong attribution of quotes. Thank you for pointing that out, Life.

Posted by Lizzy Hill | Feb 6, 2022

Just to inform everyone that the timing is actually 7pm and the chaplain is Father Dan Kelly. Please come to the meeting and find out that the presentation is not designed to offend anyone.

Posted by Life | Feb 5, 2022

My apologies. Conference services said the talk ran from 6-9. I took the chaplain's name off the website, but clearly should have confirmed it.

Posted by Lizzy Hill | Feb 6, 2022

sure, but that works both ways. you can flip around pro-life and make it anti-choice if you want to also. Of course there are ways to make both sound wonderful or horrible by just playing with the words.

Posted by lizzy Hill | Feb 8, 2022

The 'words' are more accurate one way than the other. Pro-aborts are supporters of one choice. They work hard to prevent info about a range of other choices. Pro-lifers work hard so that everyone has the life to make choices in. A dead person cannot choose.

Posted by lwestin | Feb 11, 2022

Well, done Joseph. you stick to your convictions and keep insisting on an apology. A Catholic University should in fact be right behind you and not ducking for cover. Praying for your success and your ministry on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves.

Posted by Fr Peter Dwyer | Mar 2, 2022