CATHOLIC students at the University of Queensland in Brisbane have vowed to fight on in their campaign to present anti-abortion material at the St Lucia campus despite being placed on 12 months probation by the student union council.
The students, members of the Newman Society, are determined to push on with promoting their pro-life message in the face of opposition.
Australian Catholic Student Association (ACSA) national chaplain Jesuit Father Gregory Jordan has praised the students for their “courageous stand” on an issue about which he said “the Church has been dormant for too long”.
UQ Newman Society secretary Elise Nally told The Catholic Leader earlier this week that sanctions recently applied by the union’s clubs and societies committee meant that all material, even that relating to coming World Youth Day events, would have to be vetted by three officials, including union president Josh Young.
The union’s probationary order came on May 7 after the society ran three stalls in April displaying a poster and flyers showing photographs of the stages of development of a human foetus. The material was on display outside the student cafe.
Ms Nally said members of the Newman Society were determined to continue to present a balanced view of the reality behind abortion and the options available.
“University can be a time when young women might be faced with the difficult challenge of an unplanned pregnancy,” she said.
UQ student union president Josh Young said there was nothing new about the requirements that university clubs or societies present material for distribution to relevant union officers for approval.
Mr Young also said as president of an “unincorporated body” he had a “serious personal legal obligation” in the matter.
“The union’s stance hinges on a 1993 referendum regarding free safe abortion on demand,” Mr Young said.
“That referendum was carried by about 1900 pro-choice to 1400 against and 200 abstaining.”
Mr Young said he had also told the Newman Society they were welcome to petition for a new referendum.