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Strut Safe condemns University’s “disinterest, dismissal & flippancy” in not commenting on upcoming pro-life talk in 40 George Square

Womens’ safety group Strut Safe has criticised the University of Edinburgh’s “disinterest, dismissal and flippancy” in refusing to comment on the Life Society’s planned pro-life talk tomorrow.

The talk, scheduled to take place at 7pm in 40 George Square, is expected to be made by Margaret Akers, an anti-abortion campaigner.

Responding to The Student’s request for comment about the talk being hosted in a University building on Saturday evening, a spokesperson for the university said:

“I’m afraid that we will be unable to provide you with a comment at this time.”

Women’s safety charity Strut Safe’s founders, Alice Jackson and Rho Chung, said to The Student: “At a time when reproductive rights are so under threat, we are not at all surprised by the University of Edinburgh’s silence on this matter.

“Time and time again the University displays disinterest, dismissal and flippancy when it comes to issues such as these.

“The University remains steadfast in its commitment to creating a welcoming environment for only the most privileged students it can imagine.

“We are reminded of their refusal to address their own broken redressal system and serve justice for survivors of sexual assault.”

Several other societies and political action groups provided comments to The Student about the University’s unwillingness to address the situation.

EUSA’s Women’s Liberation Campaign declined to provide an official comment to The Student, but said that the campaign views the decision to get an abortion is deeply personal and which should not be influenced by third parties.

The campaign also made reference to a demonstration they had orgnaised on 14 September which demanded the reprimand of John Mason MSP (SNP) for his anti-abortion views.

The next day, the party reprimanded Mason for his views, with a letter to him saying: “Your behaviour and conduct have been extremely disappointing, and we believe that you have brought the parliamentary group into disrepute.”

Strut Safe’s founders criticised Akers’ organisation, SPUC, and the anti-abortion movement as a whole, saying:

“We echo and commend FemSoc’s statement on the threat and misinformation spread by the SPUC and we condemn the SPUC’s exploitation of victims of domestic violence to misrepresent and threaten abortion rights and access.

“Abortions are healthcare and everybody deserves the right to a safe and legal abortion. We stand forever in solidarity.”

Speaking to The Student, Edinburgh University Feminist Society reiterated a portion of a comment they provided the prior day, saying:

“The Feminist Society do not condone the presence of organisations who have historically spread harmful and outright incorrect information on the property of an educational institution that prides itself as one of the finest in the UK.”

Strut Safe’s statement to The Student reads in full:

“At a time when reproductive rights are so under threat, we are not at all surprised by the University of Edinburgh’s silence on this matter.

“Time and time again the University displays disinterest, dismissal and flippancy when it comes to issues such as these.

“The University remains steadfast in its commitment to creating a welcoming environment for only the most privileged students it can imagine.

“We are reminded of their refusal to address their own broken redressal system and serve justice for survivors of sexual assault.

“We echo and commend FemSoc’s statement on the threat and misinformation spread by the SPUC and we condemn the SPUC’s exploitation of victims of domestic violence to misrepresent and threaten abortion rights and access.

“Abortions are healthcare and everybody deserves the right to a safe and legal abortion. We stand forever in solidarity.”

Image David Hume Tower” by maniacyak is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

By Joe Sullivan

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