By Citra Sidhu
PRO-LIFE STUDENTS at Cambridge University are preparing for a universitywide referendum to determine whether or not the student union will affiliate to the National Abortion Campaign, (NAC).
The majority of college representatives had originally voted to affiliate last term without any public debate, after the motion was presented by the university's women's officer.
But a number of students from the university's pro-life movement — CUpro-life — complained, and when the second vote was taken following consultation with students, the majority of representatives voted against affiliation. A referendum was immediately called for by NAC supporters.
Sarah Makin of StudentLife Net, an organisation aimed at helping pro-life university students influence the politics of their student unions, said: "Before the second vote, CUpro-life put forward the idea of a referendum if it didn't go their way.
"When it did, the NAC supporters made sure the referendum suggestion was kept in, in a last desperate attempt to force the motion on the students."
The NAC, which campaigns nationwide for abortion up to birth and advocates training nurses to specialise in performing abortions, has 15 universities currently affiliated to them. Direct affiliation to the proabortion pressure group from individual universities is also strongly encouraged by the National Union of Students.
Rupert Beale, a medical student and member of CUpro-life, said: "If we lose, we will be forced to leave the student union, but in practice it won't really affect us because this year the
university has introduced the Cambridge University Card. We would also be forced to disaffiliate from the National Union of Students."
However, Mr Beale is confident that they will win the referendum.
He said: "Medics here think idea of training of nurses to perform abortions is outrageous. It's like training nurses to perform hip replacements.
"What about the additional risks'? That's why medics train for six years. Also most people think abortion up to birth is ridiculous. We are simply not expecting people to affiliate to something so extreme."