UCD students have voted for a pro-choice stance in the Students’ Union abortion referendum despite protests from an on-campus pro-life group.
The referendum, held on October 1st and 2nd, resulted in only 8 per cent of voters choosing the pro-life option, with 53 per cent of the university’s student population voting over the two days.
However, UCD’s Life Society has voiced its unhappiness with the referendum as members feel certain protocols were not followed.
“We do not believe the SU had any mandate to hold a preferendum on such a divisive issue-especially when, horrifyingly, there were no attempts made to inform or educate students on the issue or hold any debates. We did not, and do not understand why a preferendum was held or what purpose it hopes to have – it does not represent the student body”, says Kathryn, a society representative.
She added that the society is contemplating its future in the university as it’s, “paying fees to an SU that does not represent us”.
Some students were in agreement that very little was done to promote the referendum from both sides. Rachael Mongan, a second year Arts student, claimed she didn’t even know there was going to be a vote.
“I didn’t see one leaflet or poster about the SU abortion referendum at all. Usually you see people on campus handing out information but I didn’t see one person doing that. It was the total opposite for the Seanad referendum though; you couldn’t get away from students campaigning for it. Even still, if the majority of people voted pro-choice then I don’t see any issue.”
Following the result, a UCD pro-choice group is attempting to gain official status as a society from the Societies Council Board. In an interview with UCD’s newspaper, The University Observer, the group’s auditor, Suzanna Lee, said that because the majority of students voted for a pro-choice stance it would make sense to have an official society, especially as a pro-life society already exists on campus.
UCD has joined a list of other students’ unions that have chosen to take a pro-choice position regarding the abortion issue. University College Cork, Trinity College, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and NUI Galway have already confirmed their positions as pro-choice supporters. DCU also adopted a pro-choice stance following a referendum in May this year.
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