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Salient. Victoria University Students Newspaper. Vol. 38, No. 4, 1975

Dear Comrade,

Listening to the late news the other night I heard that the anti-abortionist Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child had just held a march in Hamilton. After learning the sad news that Dame Ruth Kirk was unable to make it in time to lead the march, I heard that large numbers of school kids were present.

That made me wonder just how much opportunity these kids have had to make up their minds on the abortion issue. And while I was wondering about it I came across an old SPUC newsletter which left me in no doubt whatsoever.

I quote from SPUC's Newsletter No. 10, May 1972:

'Concerning Panels'

'We know that members all over the country are sometimes asked to present the Society's views on panels which also have speakers in favour of abortion. We asked several prominent members with experience in public life what they think about this form of activity, and they all advised against it.

'Many panels are arranged by secretaries of organisations who want to present an entertainment for their members, and what could be more fun than watching pro-abortionists and anti-abortionists tearing each other to pieces. Much depends on the fairness of the chairman. One of our members who spoke on a panel at Auckland University was given only about five minutes, after a half-hour peroration by the Abortion Law 'Reform' Association, and was not protected from hisses and boos from the floor. Such panels are a waste of time, and do no good.

'If secretaries sincerely want to learn about the menace of legalised abortion, ask to have the stage to yourself, or at most take pari in a symposium in which you have a definite time to present your paper. The argument about allowing abortionists to present their views so that the audience can make up their minds is fallacious. Would a surgeon invite a witch doctor to present his point of view about a clinical problem? Would the Professor of Geography lei the Flat Earth Society lecture to his students? Do not think you are letting the side down when you prudently decline an obviously unfavourable invitation.'

It's worth pointing out that the current President of the Abortion Law Reform Association is Dr Margaret Sparrow of this university's student health service. And according to some fairly recent information ten out of ALRANZ's 19 Vice-Presidents are lecturers at medical schools, medical practitioners, psychiatrists or psychologists. Eleven out of the 16 members of ALRANZ's Advisory Council have similar occupations.

Yours fraternally,

Peter Franks