AUSA is Pro Choice – So What?

We don't need a Pro Life society on campus


Michelle Robinson | Mon, 21 Jan 2019


Image Courtesy of NARAL, Flickr

In a controversial move two council members are lobbying for neutrality towards abortion. 
 
This is not a new issue – less than three months ago similar complaints were registered after AUSA refused to affiliate with a “Pro-Life” society. In response to these complaints, Harry Chalkin confidently assured the council that AUSA is, and always will be, pro-choice. 
 
To kick off the new year in style, a lonely motion with minimal support is aiming to neutralise AUSA’s official stance. It shouldn’t be surprising that both supporters of the motion are men. At the risk of sounding “anti-men”, I’ll simply say that if I needed an abortion these two would be my last resort for any knowledge, understanding or even unbiased medical advice. We’ve seen it all before just on a much larger scale.
Abortion rights in the US are constantly policed by 4000-year-old infertile senators who couldn’t impregnate anyone if they tried.
Only this time it’s by much younger, still uninformed, men specifically targeting a vulnerable population of university students.
 
In perhaps a misguided display of religious tolerance, the motion argues that this change in AUSA policy would uphold freedom of religion. Ironically it is not hard to imagine these two particular individuals disproving the likes of burkas and halal meat in the cafeteria. The strange assumption that religion is a monotonous population echoing anti-abortion views demonstrates total ignorance and a lack of respect for the varying opinions within religious groups. Some denominations of multiple religions actively support abortion, and assuming pro-choice opinions are restricted to the godless is disrespectful to those trying to change the status quo within their own religious groups.
 
 Further in the motion, these two white men also bring out the D word: discrimination.
Clearly being well-versed in the phenomenon, they beg AUSA to stop discriminating against “pro-life” societies actively working to shame and misinform defenceless people. Though, to their credit, they ask for no endorsement of ‘either side’.  They also seem to want permission to display “pro-life” content on campus. What this entails, I don’t know, but as an embryologist I can imagine this contains several anatomical and physiological inaccuracies about development, and alleged concern for the mental health of those who have had, or need, abortions. The bizarre notion that “pro-life” views should be advertised, as if we had pro-choice ‘Abortions: two for the price of one’ posters around campus, is wholly insensitive. Imagine you, your partner, or a member of your family harbouring an unwanted being in their uterus and seeing ‘you’re a dick for doing this’ posters on the way to the hospital. 
 
Strangely, “pro-life” activists have been spotted on campus before. 40 years for life, a group of people pursuing the goal of ending worldwide abortions, protested last October outside the maternity hospital. I personally think this is disrespectful, ridiculous, and wonder how they intend to prompt global change by irritating regular people trying to peacefully get on with their lives.
 
As with the ancient senators in the US, 40 years for life and those behind the motion presumably have concerns for the ‘lives’ of small cell masses. All the while ignoring contemporary issues such as child poverty, homelessness and neglect. People have abortions for many, many reasons and it is a complicated decision for any individual. If you really want to make a difference first accept the fact that slut-shaming mothers and the rising costs of child-rearing may be at the heart of the abortion issue. Start lobbying for a living wage, support young mothers, maybe even donate to charity once in a while and you might actually help someone in need. Otherwise you need to accept that people will have abortions, whether you like it or not, and organising motions to allow disrespectful and potentially scientifically incorrect views to be freely spread does not constitute real political activism.
 
AUSA exists to support students, and that means when students have abortions they should not be afraid to seek help from the university. Though some will not need help as they are confident in their decision, access to things like university counselling could save a life. The idea that supporting the decision to have an abortion is “biased” comes solely from people who know, perhaps through the fact that they’re sexually unwanted or they can’t physically have abortions, this will never affect them. The same goes with opposers to campaigns prioritising ethnic minority voices, also a motion in student council, who only disagree with amplifying minority voices because they are, as white people, always listened to.
Despite my clear bitterness about men speaking on this issue, if you’re a woman or non-binary person who doesn’t support abortion, you too can shut up. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one. It’s that simple. Don’t stop AUSA from supporting those who do.
 

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