Anyone who attends the Special General Meeting (SGM) that has been called to try and disaffiliate the student club Prolife Auckland this coming Wednesday will be presented with a statement from the Auckland University Student’s Association (AUSA) along the following lines:
“This meeting has been called by the AUSA Executive for the disaffiliation of the club Pro-Life Auckland, for propagating harmful misinformation on the topic of abortion and medical practices in New Zealand.”
Apart from the fact that the AUSA has decided to try and disaffiliate the student club Prolife Auckland WITHOUT following proper due process and natural justice (i.e. not even speaking to the accused party before meeting to deliberate on this matter, holding deliberations in secret, not informing the accused party that they had even put or trial or subsequently found guilty, etc), there is an even more problematic issue here.
The accusation that Prolife Auckland propagated “harmful misinformation on the topic of abortion and medical practices in New Zealand” is completely false and without merit, and if it is allowed to be used as a justification to hold this SGM and disaffiliate Prolife Auckland, then this means that the SGM and any action taken against Prolife Auckland as a result of it will be COMPLETELY lacking in justification.
Don’t believe me?
Read the Right to Know pamphlet that Prolife Auckland handed out, and which this allegation has been based on, for yourself.
Not once does that Right to Know pamphlet make ANY statements that are “harmful misinformation” about “abortion and medical practices in New Zealand”.
Basically, the people who are going to try and present this allegation at the SGM this Wednesday need to back up such a serious allegation by PROVING that:
a) the information in the Right to Know pamphlet WILL DEFINITELY cause some form of REAL harm (i.e. actual harm, not simply people trying to make silly claims of harm such as ‘I feel hurt by people expressing opinions about abortion that I disagree with’)
b) that the information contained in the Right to Know pamphlet was DELIBERATELY falsified by Prolife Auckland, or that they knew that information contained in that pamphlet was false and they still chose to distribute the pamphlet anyway
If the AUSA President Arena Williams, or any current member of the AUSA Executive, can prove to me how either of these things is possibly true, then I’ll give them $100.
Yep, I’m totally serious.
I’m that convinced that certain members of the AUSA, led by President Arena Williams, have made a false allegation against Prolife Auckland, and are now trying to take away Prolife Auckland’s right to freedom of speech based on this totally false allegation, that I’m prepared to put $100 on the line.
That’s right Arena Williams, and the small cadre of AUSA Executive members supporting this attempt to take away a student club’s right to freedom of speech At Auckland University, the Radical Feminist is calling you out to PROVE that the allegations you have made against Prolife Auckland are actually true!
Here are ALL of the claims made in the Right to Know pamphlet (bold capital emphasis and numbering added by me) – after each point I have clarified why each of these points is NOT “misinformation” in red text:
1. “Many NZ women often end up making this life altering decision without having access to all of the important information they deserve to have.”
The accuracy of this statement is easily supported by talking to the NZ women who have experienced abortion, and who have subsequently stated that they were NOT well supported or informed at the time they made their decision. Also notice how this statement is careful NOT to say that ALL New Zealand women make the decision to have an abortion without having access to all the important information they should be provided with.
2. “Abortion isn’t a risk-free procedure, and for many women it certainly isn’t the quick fix it’s often perceived to be, with a range of serious risks associated with it.”
This statement is absolutely true, and can be supported by multiple sources of well established research which show that abortion has risk-factors associated with it that will be experienced by a consistent percentage of women who have abortions each year.
3. Terminating pregnancies CAN lead to reproductive problems, which CAN include subsequent premature births, miscarriages or even infertility.”
This statement, as it appeared in the Right to Know pamphlet, was supported by a footnote reference to a study which was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Also notice how this statement is careful to use the word “can”, not once, but twice – in other words, this pamphlet is stating that NOT all abortions will result in these negative outcomes – so there’s no scaremongering here with the totally false claim that EVERY abortion results in these outcomes.
4. “In the worst case scenario abortion CAN even cause death to the woman – Australia recently experienced its first adult death as a result of medical abortion, which is supposed to be one of the safer methods of terminating a pregnancy.
Once again, this statement is absolutely 100% true – abortion can result in the death of the pregnant woman, and Australia did recently experience its first adult female death as a result of a medical abortion as is claimed here. Also, once again notice the vitally important use of the word “can” in this statement – i.e., this doesn’t happen in every abortion, but it still can happen.
5. “Although this tragic scenario [death] is something we have not yet seen in New Zealand, recent figures, obtained from the Ministry of Health under the Official Information Act, show that almost 900 New Zealand women were admitted to hospital between 2009 and 2011 for the treatment of complications following their abortions.”
This is also true. To my knowledge NZ has not yet had a single female death caused by abortion, and recent figures obtained under the Official Information Act definitely did show that almost 900 Kiwi women were admitted to hospital between 2009 and 2011 because of post-abortion complications as is claimed in this statement.
6. “Women who obtain abortions ARE AT INCREASED RISK of subsequent mental health issues, including major depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and drug and alcohol related problems. Studies also indicate that post-abortive women are three times more likely to commit suicide. This indicates that, FOR SOME WOMEN, an abortion causes severe and long-lasting psychological suffering.”
This statement, as it appeared in the Right to Know pamphlet, was supported by TWO footnote references to two different studies which support these claims about subsequent mental health risks that can be caused by abortion. The first study came from the highly reputable British Medical Journal, and the second study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, was led by the highly respected pro-choice researcher Professor David Fergusson (from the Christchurch School of Medicine).
Notice also how the Right to Know pamphlet uses the phrases “are at increased risk” and “for some women” – once again the pamphlet is careful not to make the false claim that ALL abortions result in this negative outcome, or that this negative outcome is a definite certainty.
7. “Women are also more likely to experience severe emotional distress after having an abortion. Such emotional stress MAY NOT diminish with time – instead it MAY actually increase in many cases.”
This statement, as it appeared in the Right to Know pamphlet, was supported by a footnote reference to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Once again, notice the careful use of the phrase “may not” and the word “may” in this statement – once again the pamphlet is careful not to make the false claim that ALL abortions result in this negative outcome, or that this negative outcome is a definite certainty.
8. “Although EVERY WOMAN’S EXPERIENCE IS DIFFERENT, for a significant number of women the negative emotions following an abortion may not even manifest until many years after the event.”
This statement is easily proved true by the published testimony from women who have experienced negative emotional side-effects after having an abortion. Also note the careful use of the phrase “every woman’s experience is different” – i.e. not ALL women will experience emotional pain after abortion, or experience it in this fashion if they do.
9. “This unresolved emotional stress [from abortion] MAY negatively impact a woman’s self-esteem in relationships and in parenting. In addition, women may not even realise that the abortion is the source of these negative emotions, and this CAN prolong the pain they experience, or even prevent them from properly resolving this pain in their lives.”
This statement is also easily proved true by the published testimony from women who have experienced negative emotional side-effects after having an abortion. Yet again, also note the careful use of the words “May” and “can” in this statement, showing that the pamphlet was careful not to make the false claim that ALL abortions result in this negative outcome, or that this negative outcome is a definite certainty.
These are ALL of the claims made about abortion in the Right to Know pamphlet that was handed out at Auckland University several weeks ago by student club Prolife Auckland – as you can see not ONE SINGLE ONE OF THESE CLAIMS could be legitimately classed as “misinformation” or “harmful” – in fact, they were supported by four reference footnotes to published research papers.
Yet despite this vitally important fact, the President, and certain other members of the AUSA want other students to join them in trying to disaffiliate a student club at Auckland University this Wednesday based on these totally false, and easy-to-disprove allegations.
You may not like the opinions of the Prolife Auckland club, in fact you may loathe them, but if you are an honest person of goodwill then there is no way any in hell you could support the totally unjust and unjustifiable bullying that this club is currently being subjected to at Auckland University – especially now that you are aware of the fact that the allegations being leveled against them as the basis for this SGM are complete fabrications.
In most other settings, the actions of any official body making such clearly false statements about another group, and then embarking upon official judicious procedures, based on false allegations, against that other group, would be treated as a very serious and fraudulent violation of ethics and law.