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Cardiff University votes against pro-choice motion

2nd December 2014

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A motion at Cardiff University that sought to make the students’ union officially pro-choice has been defeated – and according to the Independent the result was such a landslide that votes weren’t even counted.

The motion, which was proposed by Rachel Melhuish, chair of the Cardiff Women’s Association, sought to disallow pro-life groups from campaigning under the banner of the students’ union, as well as requiring all abortion materials to be academically referenced.

The vote took place on Thursday amongst heavy opposition from pro-life groups, including Students for Life, whose President Jonathan O’Connell said that it would “restrict students’ freedom of expression as well as directly limiting the religious freedom of certain student groups” and that it “simply cannot be allowed to pass.”

According to Rosie Amery of Keep Cardiff Uni Free, which co-ordinated the campaign against the motion, the debate was “heated” and “reflected the fact that feelings have been running high on both sides all week.”

Of the seven motions put forward at Cardiff’s Annual General Meeting, four were passed and two, including the pro-choice motion, failed. One, calling for greater representation for LGBT+ women in the union, was referred to the Student Senate for further discussion.

Cardiff Postgraduate Officer Ollie Wannell spoke against the pro-choice motion on Thursday, despite being pro-choice himself, because he believed that “those who are pro-life should have an equal opportunity to voice their opinion and enter the debate on an equal level with me.”

Wannell added that “if the union is to achieve its vision of supporting every student and being totally inclusive, then it must remain neutral on contentious issues like this, where student opinion is divided. To narrow the debate and isolate a group of students would go against those principles.”

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