Friday, 22 September 2017

Pro-Life at Freshers' Fair...

It is that time of year again: when new undergraduates are turning up at University for the first time, and are presented, at Freshers' Fair, with a huge array of clubs, societies, sports, causes and activities which would like them to get involved.

Rightly, various pro-life groups take stands at Freshers' Fairs around the country. It is an important opportunity to get young people to think about the realities of abortion, and the implications of those realities for their own behaviour. And, of course, to recruit the more sane students to the pro-life cause.

But in more than one case, I am hearing reports that the pro-life groups are being subjected to inquisitorial meetings by the Student Union reps. This is after they have gained permission for, and frequently paid for, their stand.

The SU reps have, for example, quizzed them on their counselling - is it non-directive, and is it BACP accredited? And they ask them to remove the models of the developing child from their display, in case they should upset anyone.

The models, of course, are both medically accurate and entirely inoffensive, as the attached pictures (from Life's successful London roadshow) make clear. Of course, if someone has had an abortion, she might find them disconcerting or upsetting: but that says more about the reality of her abortion than it does about the models.

But my questions are: do these same SU Reps ask all other organisations who offer advice about non-directionality and BACP accreditation?  And do they ask any other stalls that have images that might upset someone (say the Amnesty group, or the Anti-Hunting group...) to remove them?

And to ask the questions is to answer them. We know that these are prejudicial demands made of pro-life groups for political reasons. And that is unjust.


Pray for all the brave pro-life students, volunteers and workers who run these stalls; whilst the majority of students seem interested and prepared to engage in a civilised way, even when they disagree, there are a few ideologues out there whose compassion for women is so great that they feel the need to abuse women who run these stalls for the crime of disagreeing with them. It can be extremely stressful.

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