Female students at the University of Manchester say they fear for their safety after a pro-life group was set up in the students’ union.
The Manchester Pro Life Society, created on January 11, says its goal is to “create a pro-life culture on campus, engage students in life issues and promote respect for the dignity of human life from conception.” .
However, shortly after the founding of the society, whose president and treasurer are men, a petition to dissolve its activities was opened, which has already accumulated more than 16,000 signatures.
The petition, which was first posted by an anonymous student, says they are “deeply concerned about the potential harm our university’s Pro-Life Society could cause” and encourages people to sign it “if you believe every woman should have their right.” respected without fear or stigma within our university community.’
However, the University of Manchester students’ union has said the society was established within the rules of its society registration process.
A pro-life society set up at Manchester University with a male president (George Vincent, pictured) has sparked backlash.
The petition, posted on Change.org on February 12, claims that the society’s existence “adds to the stigma already prevalent around abortion, a legal right in our country.”
She adds: “Women at our university should not have to face additional pressure or judgment on such personal matters.”
While the anonymous writer implores people to sign the petition, they argue that the partnership “has the potential to cause distress among students who may need access to abortion services now or in the future.”
The president of the society is George Vincent, an Art History student who includes GK Chesterton’s St Francis of Assisi as his book ‘Desert Island Discs’ which he would take with him if he found himself banished to a remote part of the world.
In October 2023, Vincent spoke with the guardian about his pro-life views while participating in an experiment in which he had dinner with a man who has different political views.
The society’s treasurer is medical student Jacob Karinatan, who says his book ‘Desert Island Discs’ is The Lord of the Rings.
The society’s Instagram page states that the group’s purpose is to “support the dignity of every human life.”
She said: I recognize how much pain there must be for a woman in that situation. But I don’t think that an abortion solves that problem, it doesn’t make the trauma go away.
‘We need to support them. And if that means adoption, we shouldn’t ostracize people for giving up their children.’
The society’s treasurer is Jacob Karinatan, a medical student whose favorite book is The Lord of the Rings.
On Monday, a student at the University of Manchester told Independent He said the establishment of the society was like “the beginning of a Margaret Atwood novel” and accused the students’ union of “enabling misogynistic hate speech.”
Heather Bowling, a second-year linguistics student, said: “Society has made me feel weak and inferior to my male counterparts. I have received countless messages from girls fearing for their safety.
Furthermore, he accused the UB of representing the interests of the men who founded the society before the thousands of people who had signed the petition.
FEMAIL has contacted the University’s students’ union for comment.
Heather revealed that she has spoken to women on campus who have had abortions in the past and who say they now feel “personally victimized and threatened” by the presence of society.
Another student who chose to have an abortion in the past recalled the feelings of “guilt” she experienced at the time, which she said had been exacerbated by the things “people say” about abortion.
While he acknowledged that he believes in free speech, he added, “I don’t see why men form anti-abortion groups when there are so many men’s issues they could work on.”
Amid backlash over the group’s “exclusively male” origins, the Manchester Pro-Life Society announced Tuesday that the committee had gained two new female members, Inge-Maria as its vice president and Lajoie as its head of diversity and inclusion.
Inge-Maria studies hygiene and dental therapy, while Lajoie studies children’s nursing.
As the backlash against the society grows, an Instagram profile titled ‘Stop Manchester Pro-Life’ has been created, encouraging people to organize and protest against this controversial society.
He has organized what he describes as a “peaceful demonstration” against the society on February 29, the same date the Pro-Life group scheduled its first meeting.
When contacted by FEMAIL, a spokesperson for the Instagram campaign said: “This is not just a women’s issue, it affects anyone who is assigned female at birth and there are many male allies and gender diverse people who support us.”
They added that campaign leaders “understand freedom of expression” but stated that the Pro-Life group “continues to publish facts and statistics that are simply inaccurate without a source.”
“We ask the university to do something,” he concluded.
In a statement to FEMAIL, the University of Manchester Pro-Life Society said: ‘The Pro-Life Society exists to promote the wellbeing and dignity of every human life, from conception.
‘We are a positive society, which exists first and foremost to help and support people at all stages of life. We exist to encourage students to think critically about the way we define and value human life.’
The statement goes on to argue that its membership is diverse and that women play a “crucial role” in the society’s work.
He added: However, we believe that these issues are relevant and important for people of both sexes and affect everyone. The right to life is not a gender-specific issue. It is also important to note that we are not an anti-abortion society but a pro-life society.
“This means that while we oppose abortion, we are also concerned about other threats to life, including assisted suicide, the death penalty, deaths that occur due to poverty and low standards of living, structural problems in infrastructure criticisms such as the NHS and climate change.
The statement added that the society will “promote a culture of campus life” by organizing events and fundraising, as well as “campaigning for greater support for pregnant and parenting students by the University, the Student Union and the Government”.
The society also stated that its members and followers have been the target of “hatred” that it has denounced.
“We hope to have reasonable and dignified conversations with everyone in the future so that we can create a better campus and society, where everyone is valued and respected,” he concluded.
The society did not specify who had directed the “hatred” toward its members; However, an edit of the Change.org petition emphasized that the purpose of the movement was “in no way soliciting harassment or intimidation of the Pro-Life society members/committee personally.”