Since their establishment late last year, there has been an onslaught of outrage and online abuse directed at the university’s new pro-life society (then known as GUPUPS). Most of these angry comments seemed to only consist of hot air, of exaggeration and assumption. There is nothing more frustrating than those, whether conservative or liberal, that are politically charged but remain stubbornly, and unabashedly, ignorant. So, in the spirit of free speech, and with an impatience for informed debate, I contacted the society to see if they would be willing to shed any more light about who they are: what do they stand for? what are they here to say?
This was their reply.
– Reiss McInally, Political Editor
Glasgow Students for Life (GSL), formally Glasgow University Protection for Unborn People Society (GUPUPS), was started in November 2017. We founded this society to provide support for women that find themselves in crisis pregnancies: those considered to be difficult due to social or financial pressures.
At GSL, we live in the real world. We are aware of the multitude of social, economic and emotional issues surrounding an unexpected pregnancy. But it is this awareness that makes our society valuable: we aim to approach these problems directly, and to help people find solutions that will allow them to raise their child in a loving and supportive environment.
Many people unfortunately hold the view that having a child at university will prevent the parents from attaining a degree, or at least a grade that reflects their real potential. Whilst we are not claiming that raising a child as a student is easy, we believe that it is possible to study and have a child with the correct support.
There has been a notable lack of this kind of on-campus support at our university. Therefore, we believe that our presence is necessary in order to show female students that there is an alternative to abortion, should they wish to keep their unborn child.
To be clear, we do not seek to judge women who are considering, or have had, an abortion – we fully appreciate that this is often an extremely difficult and emotionally distressing situation for a mother to find herself in. Rather, a primary aim of our society is to make relevant support available for those who need it. We also hope to work with, and raise money for, charities such as Rachel’s Vineyard and The Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative.
Rachel’s Vineyard is a charity which offers weekend retreats for women who are emotionally struggling after an abortion. At the moment, mental health awareness is at the forefront of many university campaigns, and so we feel that this is an especially relevant and worthwhile charity for us to be supporting and promoting.
It is not uncommon for women to feel forced into choosing an abortion, and the feelings of regret which may follow this can be extremely damaging. Rachel’s Vineyard’s weekend retreats give women a safe space and a healing environment to address unresolved conflict within themselves regarding their loss. The charity offers them support to reach a point of self-forgiveness and healing. It is emphatically non-judgmental, and many of those who run the weekend retreats have been in similar situations themselves.
The Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative works with women who are pregnant, or new families with young children, and in need of financial and practical support. They supply mothers with such necessities as baby clothes, bedding, prams and much more, relieving them of some of the pressures of raising a child. This can make all the difference for women, whether their pregnancy was planned or not, who may have previously thought that it would be near impossible to raise a child.
These charities encapsulate the essence of our society. While, here at GSL, we appreciate that we cannot simply encourage people to choose Life, we hope to show students that it is a legitimate option. We will work to tackle factors such as poverty, shame, or a lack of community/ familial support, which can force some down the route of abortion.
GSL is Pro-Women, as well as Pro-Life. We wish to offer women an alternative; only then are they able to make a real choice.
We aim to be a visible and approachable society on-campus: one that women can trust to direct them towards appropriate sources of support and help should they choose to contact us, no matter what their needs are. For example, we promote sources such as ‘Positive about Down syndrome’, a website by parents of people with Down’s syndrome, as well as those who have the condition themselves, that offers a personal discussion of the complexities of raising a child with Down’s syndrome.
Our Pro-life conviction means that we firmly believe in the inalienable right to life for all children, regardless of gender, ability or manner of conception. And while choosing Life is not always the easiest option, we believe that it is the most worthwhile.