University of Manchester Pro-Life Society recruits two new female committee members

The society had previously received criticism for being made up of just two men

The Manchester Pro-Life Society, associated with the University Of Manchester’s Students’ Union, has announced two new committee members, both female.

The society had previously received criticism online, including for having an entirely male committee, with two men holding both roles of president and treasurer.

Despite an anonymous petition created to dissolve the Pro-Life Society now receiving over 18,000 signatures, the society announced its two new members on its Instagram page yesterday.

The two new committee members, Inge-Maria, a Dental hygiene student, and Lajoie, who is studying Children’s nursing, have undertaken the roles of vice-president and diversity and inclusion respectively.

The announcements were made on the societies Instagram page, where comments have been restricted by the account. This has led to the comments on the account’s posts being holistically positive and pro-life, including comments that read “fighting the good fight” and “thank you for starting this necessary society.”

However, student opinions regarding the committee make-up have not been as positive, with one student saying sarcastically “two guys trying to dictate what women can do with their bodies, 10/10”, and others branding the society as being “backwards”. Another added how the society “is going to advocate for nothing that actually improves the lives of women and children across the globe”, while one student explained their discontent at “two men telling women why they should be pro-life when they will never have to go through what a women does.”

On the 12th February, an anonymous petition was created and was subsequently sent to University of Manchester Students’ Union asking it to dissolve the society. The petition has since gained over 18,000 signatures.

The petition was a started by an unnamed student who succinctly outlined their worries as being “deeply troubled by the potential harm that could be caused by our university’s Pro-Life Society.” One comment on the petition said “radical and dangerous, outdated beliefs like this have no place in such a modern university.”

Manchester Students’ Union published a statement saying that the Pro-Life Society was officially affiliated on the 11th January 2024, following society registration guidelines, as well as quoting legislation that requires Student Unions to comply with new freedom of speech.

The SU outlined that despite complaints and the petition gaining over 18,000 signatures, “it’s not possible to stop a society from affiliating for their legal views that are country to the views of other students.”

Following the SU announcement, the anonymous student who created the petition posted an update, thanking people for their support. They also wrote that the petition is “in no way calling for any harassment or intimidation of the members/committee of the Pro-Life society personally”.

Addressing the statement issued by University of Manchester Students’ Union, they expressed their disappointment in the society being “within its legal right to exist”. Instead, they explained how the petition can still be “capable of being a force of good”. They added: “It acts as a powerful representation of the sheer number of people opposed to pro-life culture, which we should all remember. You have the right to choose, and even if this society exists, that won’t change.”

At the end of the update, the student wrote “Stay safe everyone, and remember it is YOUR CHOICE and we support whatever that choice is”.

If are a student at the University of Manchester and feel you have been affected by any of the issues discussed, you can find support here.

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