Last Wednesday, in the depths of the Guild’s basement, the controversial Liverpool Pro-Life Society held its first meeting.
Life, a charity which “has been speaking out against abortion, offering a positive alternative since 1970” came to speak on the issues surrounding the Pro-Life movement.
Initially, the speaker approached the issue from a secular humanist perspective – preaching on the issue of human rights, and championing disabled rights in particular.
The Disability Clause to current abortion legislation means that there is effectively no upper limit for abortions of disabled foetuses, meaning that 92 per cent of Down’s Syndrome conceptions end in abortion. In Iceland, no babies have been born with Down’s Syndrome for five years because of similar legislation.
The society members and representatives from Life spoke of the implicit lack of choice in modern society, citing examples of women who had felt forced or trapped into having an abortion. Life offers talking support and practical help to women who find themselves pregnant unexpectedly.
However, the talk soon took a darker turn, when a series of model fetuses were shown alongside an emotive video about life’s beginnings. When discussion opened, the tensions between the Pro-Life society and certain members of the audience became clear. The question of whether Ireland’s abortion laws are effective and good was a particular point of disagreement.
Some audience members shared thoughts in support of the Pro-Life movement however, and verbal conflict ensued when one man said he “let” his girlfriend have an abortion when they were 19. Another man provoked controversy after comparing abortion to beheading a three-year-old child.
Later, the Pro-Life campaigners aired anti-contraception views, saying that in Africa, there had been an increase in abortions when people became “over-reliant” on contraceptive methods. In modern times, people often have sex in the “wrong relationships”, according to the speaker.
One man shouted: “if it wasn’t for contraception, I’d have a lot of kids,” to muffled laughter.
When the topic of rape finally arose, the campaigners remained adamant that abortion was always wrong: “I believe abortion hurts women,” said the representative from Life, “and I can’t help seeing a person there. We can all understand why someone might do it – but it’s about what’s good and right.”
This comes just three days after the Pro-life Society used their Facebook account to publicly call for abortion to be removed from the NHS.
Though the Liverpool Guild of Students is reportedly trying to keep the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice members away from each other’s events, the Pro-Choice society is holding its first event this evening, Monday 20th February, at 6pm.