Letter from USYD: LifeChoice USYD Holds Inaugural Forum

LifeChoice USYD – the controversial anti-abortion society – held their first event on campus on August 9, a seminar on the value of life and the evils of euthanasia.

While the lecture hall was well attended and the speaker, Dr. John Obeid, talked for an hour, it quickly became clear that rather than facilitating debate, the society was focused on presenting one side of the issue, that being the superiority of palliative care and the abject immorality of euthanasia.

The speaker also made sure to represent pro-euthanasia advocates as uncaring and ignorant of the intricacies of medical care, and said members of The Greens were similar to Nazis.

The lecture ended with a Q&A session. Dr. John Obeid, self-righteous from any perspective on the debate, dismissed questions or answered them poorly and moved on to others.

Although it appears some members of the executive have good intentions, it appears as though the society has deceived the student community. Rather than a discussion group society such as the Feminist Discussion Group, LifeChoice is a growing corporation, a lobby group cum NGO, fixed with branding, a snazzy title, and an agenda.

The clearest indication of their agenda is the society newsletter, with the most recent linking to three explicitly pro-life blog posts and one blog post that endeavours to ‘explore the debate’ but seems to veil an obvious insistence in the morality of rejecting abortions.

The establishment of LifeChoice UNSW is the next step in the formation of a network of LifeChoice across university campuses. While they claim that it is to facilitate discussion, the development of a ‘LifeChoice’ brand, and their inaugural event, makes it clear that this is a cross-campus lobby group.

Rafi Alam

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  1. Ahhhh Rafi:

    >"the society has deceived the student community."
    >We've had one event.

    Imagine if they did science like that: "So you've collected one data point? Well no need to wait, it's ready for peer-review!"

    Besides what do you expect us to do? All sit around in a circle singing 'kumbayah'? These kinds of events in which a speaker will talk from experience or present his knowledge or opinion on a topic and then answer questions are standard for clubs and societies like ours.

    Won't even get into the bullshit description of the event, suffice to say, it's bullshit.

  2. even though I despise the anti-abortion society and their whole agenda, it's kind of hypocritical for you to criticize the one sided nature of this event with an equally one sided article.

  3. Brendan Paul Burnett

    I was at the event, and this representation of the proceedings is quite inaccurate. I found Dr Obeid very professional and informed as a professional in the field of practice. And yes he was passionate for his view against euthanasia: he is both passionate and compassionate as a worker in palliative care for the elderly, and I do therefore think some of his more emotional comments were well-grounded. But he wasn't rude or offensive to particular individuals or groups of people. So don't think Rafi's treatment here is a fair representation, and I do find it very biased, and at some points quite irrelevant to that event.

    Students should have the right as taxpaying citizens of the commonwealth of Australia to come together as individuals into a group of like-minded associates only if the group they want to establish is a viable group. For example, I don't think NAZI extremist groups are viable, for example. But surely a prolife group is viable.

    What is not viable is the opposition to LifeChoice on the completely unfounded accusations of their accusers. There's just no evidence of anything Rafi says about lobby-agendas or whatnot. I repeat: There is no evidence for this assertion.

  4. I found your article unprofessional in the sense that it was filled with emotive/biased language and seemed to contain opinions which were formed before the talk and depsite what the talker may say. Next time try reporting pure facts and occurrences and leave the opinions to the readers who are well able to make their own conclusions.

  5. I think what you meant to say is "I work for a pro-life organisation that supports LifeChoice and I disagree with this guys opinion." You're welcome.

  6. I don't get funding from a student union to write this letter; this letter doesn't imply that women and/or doctors who perform euthanasia are murders; this letter is an opinion article. Perhaps form a better non-generic argument next time.

  7. This is a letter, I'm not pretending to be objective.

  8. Poor argument. You're arguing he-says she-says. Fine, I can't prove he said any of those things, and you can't prove the opposite. I don't understand this line of argument. Sorry for not taking a video of it?

    Also, who are you to say a Nazi group is not viable? Both claim freedom of speech. Personally I think both pro-life and Nazis have the right to form groups, I don't think they have the right to claim affiliation to the USU though.

  9. Brendan Paul Burnett

    Nazism is not a viable option for thinking people today because it is manifestly fallacious and harmful to society both morally and socially. Prolife students however represent a significant number of thinking, taxpaying people of the common and academic communities seeking the common betterment. So a prolife group is surely viable whereas a Nazi group is not viable; the Nazi group stands opposed to the foundational values of our Western democracies, whereas the prolife group LifeChoice upholds such things.

  10. They would say that Nazism isn't harmful. They also probably pay taxes. I think pro-life is against the values of Western democracy too, a la freedom of the individual.

  11. Brendan Paul Burnett

    Sure they would, but they'd be wrong. As are you when you make so absurd a claim about prolife opinions as you have just done.

  12. I think you don't understand the basis of my argument. You're suggesting that there is a freedom of speech / association for everyone! except bad ideologies. I'm saying pro-life is a bad ideology. We can argue the morality of it all night but it's useless to, so instead we should look at the fact that first-of-all, stop using freedom of speech / association because you clearly don't believe in it, and secondly it doesn't even APPLY because this is a private organisation funded by members, for members; in a similar way I can't use a church to propagate atheism or a corporation's money to propagate anti-consumerism and socialism, I can't use a student union to propagate anti-abortion views.

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