Students vote to keep anti-abortion group
Wed, 18 Jul 2012 2:12p.m.
By Dan Satherley
Members of the Auckland University Students' Association have voted to keep Pro-Life, an anti-abortion club, affiliated with the union.
The group, which claims to have over 400 members, was facing disaffiliation after complaints to AUSA it was harassing students and spreading misinformation about abortion.
A flyer distributed by Pro-Life on the university campus claimed abortion procedures can lead to death, infertility and mental health problems.
At a meeting today called by the AUSA for the purpose on voting whether to disaffiliate the club, students voted 227-125 in favour of keeping Pro-Life affiliated, with 12 abstentions.
Under criticism that the studies quoted in the pamphlet were out of date and not relevant to New Zealand, club president Amy Blowers – who wrote the pamphlet – said in front of the large crowd of students she stood by everything in it.
"I believe that women are smart enough to make up their own minds [on abortion]," said Ms Blowers.
Pro-Life president Amy Blowers addresses the crowd
Several students got up to speak before the vote, including AUSA women's rights officer Angela Smith, who said voting to disaffiliate Pro-Life would not be curtailing their freedom of speech.
"I for one don't want to be affiliated with a club that's pro-life… that wilfully misconstrues medical procedures in New Zealand in a way that's harmful to the public," she said, urging students to vote to disaffiliate the club.
AUSA clubs and societies representative Kit Haines said he was "on the fence… I don't know if I'm pro-life or pro-choice."
But, he added, being disaffiliated from AUSA didn't mean the club ceased to exist, it just meant they would lose access to AUSA-supplied benefits like room booking and funding.
"I wouldn't say losing this stuff is losing your freedom of speech," he said, adding that Pro-Life had never actually applied for any funding from AUSA.
A student who identified herself as Sophie agreed, saying: "Sorry to disappoint anyone who thought they'd be defending civil liberties – no one's actually being silenced here."
Another speaker, who identified himself as disabled, a member of Pro-Life and a teacher at the university, said he supported Pro-Life's right to publish their views "and feminists' right to say we're wrong".
Students vote on the motion to disaffiliate Pro-Life
Pro-Life says they were not informed of the complaint or given a chance to respond before the meeting was called.
The crowd cheered most speakers fairly evenly, the only boos coming when Ms Blowers said she stood by everything in the pamphlet.
Ms Blowers declined to comment when contacted by 3 News after the vote, and the group's spokesperson could not be reached.
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21/08/2012 8:18:51 p.m.
Good to see that democracy is at work and that a few 'butt-hurt' individuals won't silence the rest. The students made the right choice :)
19/07/2012 11:58:35 a.m.
I'm anti abortion but have a family member whom has had 3 abortions in the last 10 years - personally I believe she's selfish and am disgusted by her reasoning of aborting a life that is precious. If you can't handle the responsibility of having sex - and I'm sure nearly everyone knows that having sex can possibly produce a child - don't have sex then or use your brain and use proper contraception. One night of pleasure - many nights of pain and a loss of a precious life.
18/07/2012 5:49:26 p.m.
hi all, not to be mean to anyone but i dont like abortion as this now a days is used by many ladies as a form of contraception, it shocking to think that people dont dont care just abort no worries, when there are couples that strugle to have a family and would love to adopt is such a crying shame that abortion is now so easy for girls to get done now.
18/07/2012 5:45:44 p.m.
Wait till they have been put in the position. See what decision they make then
18/07/2012 4:53:39 p.m.
As a pro-choice supporter, I think this is the correct result. I think the best solution to this issue is for concerned pro-choice students to set up their own organisation to counter anti-abortion propaganda on campus with balanced, factual material about reproductive choice.
18/07/2012 4:27:05 p.m.
As a graduate of UA, I am enormously pleased to see this absurd motion defeated. Free speech is critical to the health and vibrancy of our student democracy and the intellectual integrity of our universities.
If you can't handle the fact that people have different opinions to your own, then I suggest you quit uni and go back to your high school bubble. I would say 'get a real job' but the workforce is a horrifying place if you despise diversity and free expression.
18/07/2012 4:08:48 p.m.
good on ya about time somebody stood up and said these thing against abortion. in my opinion generally abortion is used as a selfish method, only in extreme cases should it be used and even then I think it needs to be well thought over. If ya didn't want the kid maybe you should keep your pants on first. I know this wont go over well with some people, but ya know what who cares.
18/07/2012 4:07:00 p.m.
This article does not mention one of the final points that ProLife Auckland presiden, Amy Blowers made - that the main study that the pamphlet referenced concerning the psychological complications associated with a pregnancy termination was a recent New Zealand study, that 3 of the other references were from the 2000s and only one of the references was a study from the 90s - ie the claim that the pamphlet was based largely on outdated references and not studies relevant to NZ was false.
18/07/2012 3:56:25 p.m.
The group should stay!
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