Thursday, 3 May 2012


I'm in the paper again, beefing about anti-choicers. This time I'm only on page five so it looks as though my five minutes of fame might be almost over already.

But seriously, urghhhhhhh some vomit-inducing quotes from pro-lifers going on in there:
she hoped for a “talk about whether we feel it’s a necessary/viable move to challenge OUSU’s official stance as pro-abortion… given that they are meant to represent the whole student body.”
Pro-choice is not the same as "pro-abortion". Being in favour of women being allowed to choose an abortion does not mean you are in favour of abortions. Being "pro-abortion" would be encouraging women to have unprotected sex as often as possible so that they could regularly get abortions.

Far from being "pro-abortion", OUSU seems to be quite in favour of safe sex. They seem pretty strongly in favour of providing access to condoms and pregnancy tests. They do seem to be doing quite a lot to reduce the number of abortions that might be happening, via trying to stop unwanted pregnancies happening in the first place.

OUSU supporting an organisation that campaigns for protecting a woman's right to choose is not encouraging anyone to get an abortion. To say this is like saying that OUSU providing access to free condoms for students is encouraging all students to have premarital sex, and that some students are adherents of religions that forbid premarital sex.


The ridiculous faux-argument they are using is just utter shit. It's like campaigning against there being a vegetarian option at meals, because I don't like any of that hippy bullshit and I would always choose the meat option.
“I am glad that college upheld our rights to freedom of speech and association, and our right, as members of the JCR, to use a room on college premises. Not to have done so would indeed have been a threat to essential liberties… I feel we dispersed some of the stereotypes surrounding typical ‘pro-life campaigners’, and were glad to take note of some very interesting university relevant issues raised by those who disagree with our essential ethical stance.”
Can you taste the delicious irony of people seeking to obstruct women's reproductive rights conjuring up their "essential liberties"? Do me a favour.

I wanted Hertford to do something about the meeting because they were spreading misinformation (they deny lying, but potata potato) and I felt that by giving them a room Hertford could be seen to be endorsing their views. Dr Alison Woollard wrote a letter which made the college's stance very clear and changed my views regarding whether the meeting should be allowed to go ahead, from 'I feel very uncomfortable about this' to 'I still feel uncomfortable but whatever, the show must go on'. She wrote:
Thank you for your thought-provoking e-mail. On balance, I would be very uncomfortable about refusing permission for this meeting to go ahead, as this would establish a role for College authorities in "policing" the content of all student discussion meetings. A very large variety of different student groups use meeting rooms to discuss many different issues, and as long as the meetings abide by College rules and are cognisant of UK law, I feel that the principle of freedom of speech should be adhered to. This principle, naturally, extends to students with opposing views being able to express these with due respect. If such a meeting, or any other activities of any particular pressure group within College, led to any individual student feeling coerced or victimized in any way, than that student would be free to make an appropriate complaint. 
By allowing student members to use college rooms for meetings, the College is not in any way endorsing the views of students attending such meetings. Indeed, with respect to sexual health and welfare the College provides resources to students in the form of access to the College Nurse and Doctors, who will provide sympathetic and impartial advice and/or referral in the case of an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, in line with BMA guidelines.
So, innit. Point well made there Alison. Another reason I felt so uneasy about it all was how they were attempting a sort of outreach program via lies (or accidental lies if you swallow that rhetoric) to the college's undergrads.

It is unfortunate that elements of the material put out by Students for Life Oxford turned out to be inaccurate, and those responsible should act to put out an appropriate correction.

Well, they did. Yay.

Part 2 coming soon: Why their apology didn't go far enough. Clue: it contained yet more misinformation.

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