LifeChoice UNSW, a club with aims to foster debate and discussion around the issues of abortion and euthanasia, held its Inaugural General Meeting on Wednesday 22nd August. Later that day the article “Concerns as Anti-Abortion Club Convenes on Campus” was published in Tharunka. The article contained many fallacies and misrepresented LifeChoice UNSW in multiple ways, and sought no comments from any members of the LifeChoice UNSW group.
The article created a false view of the intentions and aims of LifeChoice UNSW. LifeChoice UNSW is primarily interested in promoting discussion about the issues of euthanasia and abortion; it is not a lobby group designed to “push an anti-abortion agenda”.
Within this article, allegations were made that LifeChoice UNSW is ‘anti-women’. As a women and a feminist, I consider this particularly offensive and antithetical to the aims of our club to promote the dignity of all human life. The statement that LifeChoice UNSW “voted against respecting women” misrepresents an amendment that was put forward by SRC Welfare Officer Kieran Adair. Whilst the issue of bodily autonomy, which more accurately reflects the proposed amendment, is frequently and rightly considered when discussing abortion, the perspective of LifeChoice UNSW is that the issue of abortion is based on the nature of the maternal bond and the beginning of human life.
Other concerns raised in the article are not founded in truth, including that, “the majority of members in support of LifeSoc are men.” The club is evenly represented by men and women, as is the executive. Furthermore, the accusation that “it was clear that non-Arc members were voting for LifeSoc’s executive” is a fallacy as all those who voted at the IGM are UNSW students, and also unproblematic as Arc does not require members of clubs (apart from the club executive) to be Arc members.
In spite of an ostensible desire to protect woman’s rights, the sole intention of the ‘protesters’ was to disrupt the meeting. Indeed, due to this predominantly male opposition, women students attending the IGM were unable to voice and express their views. “Circus tactics,” including a motion for the constitution to be written in Latin, were undertaken not only to stall the progress of the meeting, but also to stifle members’ freedom and right to express an opinion.
These motions were voted down in a democratic vote by those who believe in the importance of student discussion on the issues of abortion and euthanasia. The decision of the ‘protestors’, after the close of the IGM, to bizarrely throw condoms at our members only further demonstrates that they were not interested in intellectual discourse but censoring student democracy.
The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of our most precious rights, particularly within the context of a university. The behaviour of the ‘protestors’ highlights the need for open discussion and debate on the ethics of abortion and euthanasia. LifeChoice UNSW aims to foster this discourse within the university, as the whole notion of the University is centred on the contest of differing views, and indeed this is something that ought to be encouraged, not persecuted.
Far from removing women’s rights, our group aims to uphold the right of innocent human beings to life, since the inviolability of the personal dignity of the human person extends to the unborn. Similarly, attempts to censor our nascent society seem to indicate an evident resistance to openness and discussion. The idea of banning the group from activity on campus, would to be against the freedom of speech in which we should all be allowed and would consequently be detrimental to campus life.
I again encourage all students, irrespective of whether they agree with the values of our club, to support free speech at our university.
President, LifeChoice UNSW