This is the second part on a series of posts about why you should join the Students for Life Committee at the AGM on May 1st. Last week we heard about the big debate we organised with the Bristol Debating Union on assisted dying. This week we hear about one of the many talks we host. In the last three years we have hosted well over 20 speakers from academics (Professor Neil Scolding, Prof. Gavin De Costa, Prof. David Paton, Stephen Barrie), to well known pro-life advocates both from the UK (Ann Scanlon, Dan Blackman, Peter Williams) and the USA (Bryan Kemper and Joseph Meaney), to even one talk from nun! (Sr Rosanne Readdy). The last talk this term will be at the AGM from the renown Anthony McCarthy (SPUC, ex Anscombe bioethics) talking about embryology and the ethics of stem cell research.
Prof. David Paton talking last term on what laws reduce abortions
Here is the current Vice President Jenny Markey’s account of the talk from Joseph Meaney (Human Life International)
Last term, Bristol Students for Life was pleased to welcome Joseph Meaney, international coordinator of Human Life International, who provided a talk on the issue of maternal mortality in the third world and the need for a pro-life response. Too often, when discussing the often shocking situation of maternal health in the developing world, the standard response is to call for abortion and contraception to be made more widely available in the countries most gravely affected by maternal deaths. As Meaney’s talk made clear, such an approach is not only frequently disrespectful towards the cultural values of these countries – many of which made clear their distaste for these practices in protesting the arrival of organisations such as Women on Waves, which attempt to provide abortions where this procedure is illegal – but frequently gives little practical help to the women who need it most, focussing on campaigning for abortion rather than taking steps to improve maternal care.
In contrast to this approach Meaney referenced MaterCare International, whose work to provide high quality medical treatment for women and children in the developing countries includes reconstructive surgery for women suffering from obstetric fistulae, setting up maternity centres in rural areas and helping traditional birth attendants to carry out safe deliveries and recognise and refer high-risk pregnancies.
The talk also discussed sex-selective abortion, a tragedy which many of those who identify as pro-choice struggle to confront effectively. All too often, despite their discomfort with this form of “gendercide”, feminist commentators nonetheless declare that it is always the right of the woman to choose an abortion, a sad irony given that crimes such as these take place in societies which do not value women, who are under immense pressure to produce sons. As Meaney’s talk made clear, the most effective way in which to help women in the developing world is not to campaign worldwide legalisation of abortion, but rather to ensure that mothers everywhere can enjoy the high quality medical treatment taken for granted in the wes