Hey guys, today we have an exciting feature from Glasgow University, namely an interview with one of the clubs and societies on campus which gets lots attention - Glasgow Students for Choice (GSC)! The committee members, Chiara, Georgia and Lily shared some experiences regarding this society with us. Have a look!
How was GSC created and why was there a need for this society?
Chiara: In 2018, the University of Glasgow affiliated with a pro-life society, despite a large petition going round to say no to this affiliation. There was no pro-choice society at the university and I think that was a major reason for why it was started by Elinor Tipper, Cat and Leigh after this affiliation. For a major university like Glasgow to give a platform to anti-choice propaganda is massively concerning - especially as so much of what they put out is misinformation that creates stigma and stifles positive and factual conversations. We hope that by having Glasgow Students for Choice we can help tackle stigma but also create a positive community where people feel comfortable discussing anything with us.
Georgia: I also think that since 1 in 3 women will have an abortion by the time they are 45 (BPAS), it is a common situation for people at uni to find themselves in but, due to the stigma, it is not spoken about enough. Having a society that supports people having or considering an abortion is essential to making campus feel safer and more welcoming!
Lily: As a central part of reproductive rights, abortion simply should not be stigmatised. Rights are not conditional. With the continued persistence of harmful protests outside clinics, distributions of misguided information, and proposals of legislations to restrict access and quality of services, it is crucial that we exist as a society to provide a safe space and help people in any way we can. There is still much to be done.
What actions does GSC take to support sexual health and choice at the Glasgow campus?
Chiara: we have four main aims in the society which include: destimagitising abortion, increasing awareness of global issues with reproductive rights, increasing safe sex awareness as well as continuing to support Northern Ireland now they have decriminalised abortion. We are currently running Myth Busting Mondays in which we pick a topic each week and we deliver some facts to help address some misinformed and damaging ideas. We also have set up an online blog, Voice for Choice, where people can write in articles and pieces on any of the topics we represent. We think discussing these issues frankly is one of the most effective ways to help reduce the stigma and shame around these topics. We have lots of advocacy goals planned for the University to take up as well that we will be working on throughout the year, such as improving our Good Cause Policy so that claims can be made on issues such as abortion, miscarriage and emergency contraception.
Lily: We have also developed 5 information sheets under the titles of: ‘What are your options if you find yourself pregnant’, ‘Contraception’ and ‘Emergency contraception’, ‘If you choose to have an abortion, what are your options?’ and finally ‘Support - useful organisations’. These aim to provide clear details both on a general level and for those specifically in Glasgow seeking guidance on any of the topics. We hope this helps in the effort to evade and override the spread damaging misinformation.