Three Issues and an Affiliation Later

As a concerned student, I wonder how LifeChoice UNSW gets its funding, and why lunatics like this are funded in the first place.

I am aware that they are anti-abortion, which is fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but they have posted articles saying that rape is irrelevant with regards to abortion, that if a woman is raped, she shouldn’t have the right to have an abortion. This is simply not on.

These people should not be supported by the University.

Dominic Bowd

I think it is totally inappropriate that Arc is supporting and funding displays where model plastic foetuses, miniature baby feet badges, and pamphlets containing extremely graphic images are on display for all to see.

During LifeWeek, a stall was located in front of the main library, the most public space on campus. It is a certainty that a number of women who have had abortions, or who are planning an abortion had no choice but to confront what was on display. Women should not be the sole target for such highly charged shock tactics.

A campus must be a safe space, and women who have had or who are planning an abortion have a right to feel safe. Women who attend UNSW should not feel beleaguered, harangued or pressured about private and personal reproductive health choices. Arc’s first responsibility is to do everything it can to guarantee a safe space for all students.

Patrick Wright

I celebrate the right to abortion. I believe reproductive freedom is a foundational part of women’s liberty, our ability to live full and meaningful lives (I say this as a person who, had abortions been globally available fifty years ago, might not exist!)

I am, however, disturbed by the attempt to block the LifeChoice organisation from Arc affiliation. So long as they advocate their views peacefully, and do not interfere with women exercising their right to terminate a pregnancy, they are entitled to say what they like and to apply for funding like any other student organisation. Sure, they have an ‘agenda’, but so do many other student groups. I doubt, for instance, that a student with Zionist views would be welcome to run for the position of President at the Students for Justice in Palestine group, which is currently affiliated with Arc.

If, like me, you believe that women’s bodies belong to the women themselves, there are many useful things you can do, including donating to an organisation such as IPAS which provides safe abortions worldwide, provide loving support and practical assistance to any woman you know who finds herself unwantedly pregnant, and let the members of LifeChoice know that if they are raped, or fall accidentally pregnant, you will support them whatever decision they make – even though they have previously tried to deny this choice to others.

Su-Min Lim

I like to think university students are highly educated and informed. Under the guise of informing and fostering debate, this club is a step backwards for women’s rights to choose what happens to their bodies.

Rochelle Flaherty

It’s not every day that a student society which has yet to hold its first event or even affiliate with Arc is the subject of four of the snarkiest hack jobs in a single Tharunka issue. Such was the case with LifeChoice UNSW.

Kylar Loussikian triumphantly declared us duplicitous because we aim to promote discussion while adhering to a set of philosophical principles (“Real Choice, Not Life Choice”, No. 12, Vol. 58). We have never pretended to espouse both pro-choice and pro-life views, only that we want to have a chance to express LifeChoice’s pro-life perspective.

Clearly our illustrious editor doesn’t understand the concept of student debate. Discussion in the real world requires dissenting perspectives. And that’s exactly what LifeChoice wants to provide: an alternative perspective on how we can approach issues of human rights, dignity, and personhood.

Loussikian’s accusation could be made against literally any society on campus. Where was the protest when the Greens held their regular ‘politics in the pub’ event last week? I had a look at the UNSW Atheist society Facebook page, and there was not a single article in favour of a theistic worldview.

Complex ethical questions deserve to be rigorously debated. This is especially true at a university, the marketplace of free ideas in our society. At LifeChoice, we’ve been called ‘moronic sycophants’, radically political, and even misogynistic. None of this even faintly resembles reality.

Despite Loussikian’s protests to the contrary, this has everything to do with free speech, not just for pro-life students but anyone who disagrees with the narrow ideological agenda of our campus elite.

We can’t impose our views any more than other students. We don’t want to see law changes, or lobby any politicians. We simply want to express our views, have them heard and challenged at our university.

Anna Fernon
President, LifeChoice UNSW

LifeChoice UNSW has been newly established on campus, yet there have been plenty of mixed messages about our club. Kylar Loussikian’s opinion piece “Real Choice Not LifeChoice” (No. 12, Vol. 58) was particularly egregious.

Should we separate the right to freedom of speech from the right to Arc affiliation and consequent funding? A club without affiliation is barely able to book a room let alone hold an event. LifeChoice would be greatly restricted in comparison to other clubs on campus.

Loussikian is also wrong in his suggestion that the club doesn’t meet its aims because we only provide one side to the discussion on abortion. As a pro-life club, we provide ethical objections to abortion. LifeChoice promotes these ideas through its public and online forums.

The discussion relies on others who hold differing views to ask questions, debate and give explanations as to why they believe abortion should be a choice.

The discussions taking place on our online forums are rigorous and contested.

No political or religious clubs on campus are required to promote the opposite side of the debate in order to be affiliated. It would be ridiculous for the Labor Club to invite Tony Abbot to come and talk about his hopes at the next federal election.

In the end, after all the hyperbole, misrepresentation, and deranged conspiracy, Loussikian shows he has little understanding of discussion or our club.

Francesca Perrottet
Vice-President, LifeChoice UNSW

Editor’s Reply: The distinction between LifeChoice and a range of other clubs that don’t promote the opposite side of the debate is simple; they provide a forum for their views that don’t directly impinge upon the health of others through pressure, harassment and the dissemination of dangerous advice.

Discussions about abortion should take place with a healthcare professional or a qualified psychiatrist, not a group of students with questionable ties to radical pro-life organisations who consistently attack abortion law-reform groups and advocate for the restriction of the availability to abortions.

Pressuring women at their most vulnerable, with plastic models of embryos, for instance, is an appalling action by any student group; the cover of ‘discussion’ and ‘debate’ is laughable. Grow up.

Kylar Loussikian
Editor