Election’s confusing pro-life choice

first_imgYesterday’s OUSU VP Women byelection was mired in controversy as it emerged that one of the two candidates had not mentioned her anti-abortion links on her manifesto. Lucy Underwood, one of the two candidates for the post, is the current President of the Oxford Pro- Life Society, whose stated aim is “to campaign around Oxford for the protection of human life”. However the role of VP Women involves “producing the Unplanned Pregnancy: Your Options pack and overseeing the work of OUSU’s Promoting Choice Committee” as well as always being “available to see students to give confidential nondirective welfare support, particularly on pregnancy”. Ms Underwood, who has not been involved in political campaigns on any issue apart from antiabortion before, mentions cutting student numbers and post-exam celebrations on her manifesto but fails to mention her Pro-Life role. Her only mention of pregnancy came under the title “Choice and free speech for women” where she said that “the pregnancy advisory handbook and OUSU counselling services should be open to all legal organisations who wish to advertise.” It is thought this was a reference to OUSU’s long-standing policy not to allow the anti-abortion organisation Life to advertise in the pregnancy advisory handbook on the grounds that it provides directional advice. At hustings Ms Underwood claimed her Pro-Life links were irrelevant and that OUSU should not take a “political line” on the issue. She did explain to Cherwell that she had declared her Pro-Life role on her nomination form and had no duty to mention it on the manifesto. She explained that she hoped to be able “to provide all the choices” to Oxford’s women. Bex Wilkinson, Ms Underwood’s competitor and a former OUSU Council Delegate and Executive Member, states quite openly on her manifesto that she has been a Pro- Choice Officer and is endorsed by former Pro-Choice Officers. Wilkinson won by a landslide majority.ARCHIVE: 2nd week TT 2004last_img

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