UCC Censors Pro-Choice Students

Any excuse will do for the University College Cork “Societies Guild” in order to suppress the freedom of speech of pro-choice students. First it was that “a society already exists which caters for debate in the area of abortion and choice”. That society being the clearly anti-choice “Prolife” society – who have no interest in debate on the issue.

Well-funded by conservative christian groups, in Ireland and abroad, the actions of this group are the very reason that UCC students felt the urgent need to provide another side, a pro-choice side, to the debate. The anti-choice idea of debate is expensive billboards against stem cell research and parading around campus with glossy posters of foetuses, labelling anyone who disagrees with them as “murderers”.

Second it was due to the “flaws in the constitution”. A surprising conclusion given that the draft constitution written by the pro-choice students was based on a template provided by the Societies Guild themselves!

When the pro-choice students were told that a more broadly-defined society, that took into account issues such as women’s health and reproductive rights, would be accepted, they did as they were asked. Instead of acceptance the response they received was that a number of other societies dealt with these issues!

None of the listed societies, whether they be debating societies, anti-choice or health promotion societies are interested in promoting the cause of a woman’s right to choose and her reproductive rights, week in, week out. It is this need that inspired 100’s of UCC students to sign petitions for the right to organise on campus.

But it hasn’t been just petitions - the pro-choice UCC students have been meeting weekly to discuss their plans, share their knowledge and skills and invite guest speakers to talk about pro-choice activism. They have held information stalls and communicated with the media, on campus and across Cork, even appearing in the national press.

With exams around the corner, the battle has subsided for this year. But those UCC students, including a number of Cork WSM members, who have been meeting and organising weekly over the past year, are not going away.

They will return re-energised in September and this time won’t be taking ‘No’ for an answer. The message that it is a woman’s right to choose will not be stifled in UCC – whether the students who organise are recognised or not.

Workers Solidarity 109 May - June 2009 Edition

Download the PDF file of WS109