LifeChoice UNSW Update

Dear Members,

Thank you to all who attended LifeChoice UNSW (LifeSoc)’s Inaugural General Meeting on Wednesday, 22nd August. The democratic meeting of UNSW students saw the introduction of LifeChoice UNSW’s executive and constitution. LifeChoice was established to foster discussion on the issues of abortion and euthanasia in Australian society. As a non-partisan and secular society, LifeChoice UNSW consists of UNSW students from a diverse background brought together by a common idea that human life is special and carries with it certain rights in our society.

Immediately following LifeChoice UNSW’s IGM, a petition entitled “How about I make my own ‘life choices’ (stop the UNSW anti-choice society)” was put into circulation. Every student has a right to express their views but the argument that LifeChoice should be banned from campus life can only be considered antithetical to the principles of free speech and inclusivity which Arc promotes. LifeChoice promotes the discussion of ideas and no way impinges on the freedom of other students. Indeed, the whole notion of the University is centred on the contest of differing views, and is something which should be encouraged, not persecuted.

In no way does LifeChoice UNSW “seek to actively promote the dis-empowerment of women,” as the petition states, nor is it an “attack on women’s rights”. LifeChoice UNSW’s branding as a “single-issue lobby group” represents a poorly informed misconception of the club. Rather, the club stands as an education focussed group aiming to promote the dignity of life, foster discussion and provide information about euthanasia, abortion and their alternatives.

LifeChoice recognises that abortion and euthanasia are controversial issues, and provoke many different perspectives and opinions. They are also incredibly relevant, and deserve to be considered fairly and reasonably amidst the cut-and-thrust of intellectual discourse at UNSW. It is in this unique way that we hope to further enrich our already vibrant student life and ensure that the University of New South Wales remains a friendly and non-confrontational environment.

This idea of ‘the academy’ – where the ideas that will shape tomorrow are discussed and debated – will become utterly meaningless if we do not uphold the freedoms of speech and association. When we are met with ideas that conflict with our own worldview, we do not censor discussion, but take it as an opportunity to enrich our own student experience. LifeChoice is committed to student discourse. Ultimately, the right of our members to participate in that discourse, and so express their views and associate with like-minded members, is not contingent on whether their fellow students agree with them or not. For these reasons, Arc would be fulfilling its duty to students, protecting freedom of speech and promoting inclusivity by affiliating LifeChoice UNSW.

LifeChoice UNSW will, in the near future, hold an Annual General Meeting to fulfil the protocol required to become affiliated with Arc. Following this AGM, LifeChoice UNSW will be considered for affiliation with Arc by the Student Development Committee (SDC).

LifeChoice UNSW asks all students, whether they agree with the values of our club or not, to support freedom of speech and uphold the integrity of Arc and of our University.

Kind regards,

Anna Fernon
President, LifeChoice UNSW

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  • Natalie

    “Free speech” is an interesting notion. It becomes quite circular, if you say, “I have a right to promote this opinion” yet at the same time it is being said that, “the other opinion that this society should not exist is actually denying me of my right”. By saying that you are entitled to free speech, is not the most sound answer to criticisms of the value of the agenda of a club.

    If free speech is the basis for the validity of the existence of something, it means that both the proponent of the ideology and the criticism are equally valid. “Free speech” cannot therefore, be a fallback for entitlement, because if it was, both your reasoning and the criticsm would be equally valid which means that both the future existence and nonexistence of the club would be equally valid outcomes and both cannot be at the same time. What you are ultimately saying is that your right to free speech is more important than the criticsm. Are you not ultimately stripping the criticsm of it’s validity by seemingly equalising the playing field and calling it free speech, but you are actually saying your view is more accurate? it is circular.

    You are equivocating validity (right to speech) with the soundness of the aims of the values of the club, which is what the criticsms are aimed at. Therefore the point has been avoided here.

    There has been no adequate commentary as such, on the right of women as is being espoused by this club. If I was Arc, I would not be satisfied with this level of engagement on this topic.

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