Victory

Deny LifeChoice's application to affiliate with the UTS Union

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The UTS Student Charter refers to students' right to 'be treated equitably and with courtesy and respect, irrespective of gender' and 'to enjoy a learning environment which is free from sexual, racial, or gender-based harassment and other forms of intimidation' (1).

The LifeChoice club, and other pro-life groups, contradict the rights of UTS students. The issue of abortion affects people with the reproductive capacity to give birth. This group comprises of exclusively women or people who have been raised or socialised as women (trans-men, gender diverse individuals and so on). Pro-life groups such as LifeChoice target women and the choices they make regarding their reproductive health. This constitutes 'gender-based harassment and other forms of intimidation'.

The choices women make regarding their pregnancy should be properly informed and unchallenged by partisan groups who seek to persuade women to choose a particular option. It is acceptable for a woman to personally oppose abortion, however, receiving endorsement and funding from a university-based organisation to encourage these views in the wider student body is intolerable and contradicts the underlying values of UTS, namely, to 'Empower each other and our students to grow, contribute, challenge and make a difference' (2). Students cannot feel empowered, grow or adequately contribute to the community if they feel that their personal choices regarding their mental or physical health are being unjustly challenged.

The 'LifeChoice' organisation states in their 'About' section of their website that their aim is to 'promote the dignity of human life from conception to natural death, through reasonable and informed discussion on the issues of abortion and euthanasia in Australian society' (3).

As reported in the Australian, the National Union of Students is wary of the activities of this organisation, which appear to contradict their stated aim of hosting 'reasonable and informed discussion'. The President of the National Union of Students, Jade Tyrrell, stated that groups such as LifeChoice are 'extreme political causes that adversely affects one group of people' and they shouldn't receive student money through the SSAF to fund their activities (4).

The 'LifeChoice' club at the University of Sydney strayed further from their aims by producing a booklet which contained false information about the abortion-inducing drug RU486. For example, the booklet claimed that women who use RU486 have “the same risk of up to 20%” of having mental health problems. American Psychological Association, John Hopkins University, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists surveys have found that there is no increased risk of mental health issues when using RU486 (6)

(1) http://www.gsu.uts.edu.au/policies/studentcharter.html#rights
(2) http://www.uts.edu.au/about/university/uts-strategic-direction
(3) http://www.lifechoice.net.au/about/
(4) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/lifechoice-club-gains-momentum/story-e6frgcjx-1226632540147
(5) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/pro-life-society-affronts-women/story-e6frgcjx-1226385366707
(6) http://www.honisoit.com/2013/05/lifechoice-educational-pamphlet-debunked/
(7) http://utsvertigo.com.au/webexclusives/no-club-for-you/



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