Proponents of the controversial new anti-abortion club on campus, LifeChoice, were up in arms at the colourful reception their society received.
Claiming free speech, Anna Fernon and Louisa Bonaventura decried the petition that is trying to stop the club affiliating with Arc, the student organisation.
“I ask all students, irrespective of whether you support the values of the club, to support free speech on campus,” Anna Fernon wrote in a letter published in this issue of Tharunka.
Let me make this as clear as possible. The issue of LifeChoice’s affiliation with Arc has nothing to do with free speech. It has everything to do with funding.
No one is arguing that those who hold the discriminatory views of some in LifeChoice should be locked away or silenced; they only point out that they believe it would be against the aims of inclusion and tolerance for Arc to fund a club with the sole aim of restricting the choice of women.
But that’s not what LifeChoice is about, is it? According to their executive, it’s about engaging in rational discussion about controversial issues. A discussion considers arguments and comments to reach an outcome. For LifeChoice, the outcome is predetermined, the discussion a shallow farce.
Fernon told Tharunka reporter Renee Griffin that members with pro-choice views were not welcome to join the club, only to attend events.
LifeChoice, as a club, already has a predetermined view; “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,” Anna Fernon wrote to us.
On the LifeChoice online blog, a recent entry argues against the approval of anti-abortion drug RU486; another argues against a new book by bioethicist Peter Singer that points out restricting abortions would force women to seek illegal abortions from unsafe providers. There are no articles about pro-choice arguments.
The claim that the club provides a space for “reasonable and informed discussion” characterises the club as an empty shell for interested students holding a variety of views to use as a space for debate.
This is not the case. The club and its executive hold a singular view that abortion is morally objectionable and completely unsafe.
The most depressing part of this debacle is that it seems the LifeChoice executive don’t realise the enormous logical flaw in their “inclusion and discussion” argument, but then again, if logic was their strong suit, they probably wouldn’t be running an anti-abortion society.
When it comes to Arc funding, what’s the difference between LifeChoice and a myriad of other clubs whose views on abortion would mirror those held by LifeChoice? One thing: these other societies, the majority religious organisations, allow students to enjoy the company of likeminded individuals without specifically aiming to disenfranchise or target one group and push one agenda.
LifeChoice has one sole purpose; the restriction of abortion for women, even extending to cases of incest or rape, views that are so outlandish and marginal that few religious denominations insist on them.
The issue of Arc’s affiliation of LifeChoice has almost nothing to do with “censorship of a nascent society,” nor is it evidence of “resistance to openness or discussion.”
It has nothing to do with “[the] free communication of ideas and opinions,” as an article on the LifeChoice website claims.
If Arc decides to affiliate LifeChoice, they are subsidising what is so obviously a PR front of the Catholic Church, manned by its moronic sycophants, intent on presenting a one-sided argument against abortion and restricting individual choice.