SPUC is over half way through its universities tour 2012. Last week SPUC travelled up and down the country speaking to student societies at universities. We invited Joseph Meaney, director of international coordination with Human Life International, to speak about "the global pro-life battle and what you can do".
Our first stop-off was the University of Oxford pro-life society, recently started by a group of students headed by Amy Owens.
After a brief tour of Oxford which turned into an unexpected detour, we finally arrived at the venue and were welcomed by the students with tea.
Joseph talked about the history of abortion and the motivations behind the practise of abortion throughout history. Joseph drew attention to Soviet Russian and 1930s Germany. Then we moved onto the debate about women's rights, radical pro-abortion feminism, and abortion, and concluded with examples and ideas for students to put the pro-life message into action. Starting a pro-life society at university is often not an easy thing to do (Oxford students have already faced opposition). Hosting educational talks, pro-life film screenings, street stalls, and leafleting are practical things that students can do at university and in the towns and cities where they live.
It is always a pleasure to meet the growing number of pro-life students, and SPUC will continue to support Oxford pro-life students in the coming academic year. There were several good questions afterwards and the discussion continued long after the talk was finished. It's fair to say that Oxford is a place where you want to students to be pro-life and bring that message to other students - we know that so many of our parliamentarians and members of the legal profession and media have studied at Oxford.
Oxford itself is home to Dr. Julian Savulescu, the now notorious academic and editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, who allowed the paper "After birth abortion: why should the baby live" and then went on to defend his decision to allow its publication and even tried to give it some respectability by citing "eminent" academics like Peter Singer, John Harris, and Michael Tooley. Sevulescu more recently advocated genetic screening of human embryos to select personality traits. Savulescu's wild claims were swiftly challenged by Dr. James Sherley.
We also used the Q&A to draw attention to SPUC youth and student newsletter. It's aim is to help students become campaigners and students who are campaign-focused and know how to get the message out to the large majority who do not share the radical and fundamentalist pro-abortion mentality of a tiny minority. These are the masses that will only hear the real pro-life message if pro-lifers go out there and give it to them.
Next stop: Bristol