New Zealand university students association threatens to shut down pro-life club
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, July 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The University of Auckland’s pro-life club may be banned by the Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) at a Special General Meeting to be held this Wednesday.
The attempt to ban the club comes after members of the club handed out pamphlets titled “Right to Know,” advocating for the right of women to know the common health risks associated with abortion and the alternatives available to them. The one-page leaflet has been distributed by Prolife New Zealand (PLNZ) clubs at universities across New Zealand.
Pro-Life New Zealand says it has learned that the AUSA meeting was called based upon one anonymous e-mail allegation, which claimed the pamphlets contained “misleading health information” and “lies about health procedures.”
“This meeting is a direct threat to freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas at the University of Auckland,” ProLife Auckland president Amy Blowers said in a press release. “This meeting sets an alarming precedent - what club is going to be targeted next for simply expressing their beliefs and opinions?”
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Prolife New Zealand said that the process followed by the AUSA “has completely lacked proper due process and natural justice,” and lambasted the reasons offered by the students association for seeking the ban as “completely baseless and easy-to-disprove.”
“Not only was this allegation never properly investigated by the AUSA, and the AUSA deliberations regarding this matter conducted in secrecy,” said PLNZ, “but Prolife Auckland were never even informed that an SGM had been called to disaffiliate them - they found this out by sheer chance a week after the decision had been made by the AUSA.”
The pro-life group noted that the medical statements about abortion in the pamphlet are backed up by sources such as the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and other reputable medical journals.
The attempt to ban the pro-life club “only serves to further highlight the prejudice of an intolerant minority against the affiliation of pro-life clubs at the University of Auckland,” said PLNZ. “Most alarmingly, it shows that certain members of the AUSA Executive are willing to deny students their human right to freedom of expression simply for peacefully expressing themselves on campus.”
It was only two years ago that the ProLife Auckland students’ club overcame an eight-year-old policy specifically targeting pro-life clubs at Auckland University. Under that policy, which was in effect from 2002 to 2010, students interested in starting a pro-life club could only apply to do so once a year, at an annual general meeting. This restriction only applied to pro-life clubs; students interested in starting other clubs could apply at weekly meetings.
However, in May 2010 Prolife Auckland announced their successful affiliation at the University of Auckland.
ProLife Auckland president Amy Blowers is urging pro-life supporters to attend the AUSA meeting, which takes place at 1:00pm on Wednesday 18th July, at the AUSA Quad.
“We urge all University of Auckland students who value their academic freedoms and who support freedom of speech for themselves and for others, to come to the meeting on the 18th of July and vote down this unjust and discriminatory motion,” Blowers said.
More information can be found at the Prolife New Zealand freedom of speech campaign website.
The flyer titled “Right to Know” is available here.
Amy Blowers, President of ProLife Auckland
Phone: 021 029 36778
Auckland University Students Association
Arena Williams, President
Phone: 021 309 0789 ext 373
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