A new generation of pro-life students are learning the conflict-management, media and leadership skills necessary to support peers on university campuses across the country.
“There are too many young women who find out they’re pregnant while at university and feel that their only option is to have an abortion,” says Rebecca Gosper, the new director of LifeChoice Australia.
“We want to challenge universities to be supportive of pregnant and parenting students so that women are empowered and able to choose life.”
LifeChoice began with a group of students at the University of Sydney in 2012 and is the country’s only pro-life student-based organisation with affiliated groups at five NSW universities.
Three more groups are planned in Western Australia, Tasmania and rural NSW this year.
Thirteen new group leaders attended a LifeChoice Pulse internship training program at the Benedict XVI retreat centre at Grose Vale this month.
The five-day course covered abortion and euthanasia apologetics, the history of the pro-life movement, leadership skills, and social media training.
Jennifer Gurry, CEO of Diamond Women’s Support, provided interns with an introduction to pregnancy counselling and post-abortive support for women and men.
“We equip them with the knowledge they need to go onto university campuses so spread the word about the beauty of all human life from conception to natural death,” says Ms Gosper, who last year received an ‘Outstanding Young Volunteer’ award at NSW Parliament House for her work with LifeChoice Australia.
Felicity Carolan, a second year Exercise Science student at the University of Wollongong, will establish a LifeChoice club with other students there.
“I’m keen to speak to women on campus and show them that there are options for them other than abortion,” she says.
“There are many students on campus who are already hurting from abortion. Encountering LifeChoice may be the only opportunity they receive for referral for professional support.”
Mary Chaghoury, a third year Bachelor of Science student and the new president of LifeChoice at Macquarie University, said the internship “taught me how to articulate my beliefs on the beauty of human life, and better prepare myself to discuss these tough issues”.