The 10th ordinary meeting of the 166th session of the
Literific took place on the 4th of December in the Senate Room of Queens University and was attended by 43 members.
Mr Robbie Whitehurst, having won the opportunity to be president for the day presided over what can only be described as a unique evening. President Whitehurst heard questions from Mr Fionn Rogers, Miss Marie-Louise Synott, Miss Gemma Canham, and Miss Emma Chadwhick before the house heard minutes from Miss Marie-Louise Synott because I had a frog in my throat.
President Whitehurst then announced the evenings motion: THB abortion is the mans choice too, he then reminded the house of the importance of respect within the chamber during such a debate. A warning that was totally ignored by our most experienced speakers.
Mr James McAlister opened the case for the proposition by reminding the house of his astounding reputation as a philosopher before telling us that he intended to leave philosophy at the door for this debate. He then went onto give a philosophical argument as to why this motion exists outside the parameters of morality. Mr McAlister told this house that this was not to be a pro-life/pro choice debate and that, given our current political climate, abortion is the mans choice as there are not enough women in the political sphere who make the decisions regarding the laws surrounding abortion. He spoke at length about government and what is normative, and if the secretary may say, did so whilst looking extremely dapper in a nice suit, as opposed to his usual attire of low hanging skinny jeans, a pair of calvins, and a t-shirt. Ultimately he reminded the house that men dictate the circumstances of abortion to women due to the political sphere. He concluded with the idea that this motion was a question of fact over morality.
Miss Julia Andrade Rocha then opened the case for the opposition with an accusation of linguistic gymnastics of the part of the proposition and instead redefined the motion as ‘we should have steps in place facilitate the mans choice’ an idea that she opposed. She argued that for the sake of this debate we should pretend we weren’t in NI because let’s face it, abortion here is a bit of a contentious issue, apparently. For the sake of the debate we need to assume that a woman’s choice actually exists.
She argued that morally a conversation with the man in question should be had but that it shouldn’t be a legal requirement. She argued for the autonomy of a woman’s body before concluding with urging the house to vote op.
Miss Tara Pouryahya continued for the proposition by announcing her confusing on the many interpretation of the motion and insisted that Mr McAlister should stop passing her notes. She argued the personal aspect of the man having a choice but doubted that a woman would be held criminally responsible for such a conversation. She also argued that making the assumption that an abortion would be legal opens us up to other dangerous assumptions. Miss Pouryahya concluded that this debate centres around equality but that equality in reproduction is impossible because of biology. Because men can’t have babies without the help of a lady in 99% of cases.
Miss Gemma Canham in her maiden speech then continued the case for the opposition blatantly asking Mr McAlister what relevance his speech had to the motion and stating that everyone was making the same arguments which helped the opposition. She argued that women should be the ones whom the decision to have an abortion ultimately lies with. She did agree with Mr McAlister that currently men dictate the circumstances in which a woman might receive an abortion because of the political climate, but argued that men should have a contributing opinion where appropriate, but that women should have the final say over their bodies. She argued that it takes two to tango but that legally forcing a woman to have a baby that she doesn’t want would be unethical. She also spoke briefly about the ‘communication problem’ that may result from a one night stand. We’ll leave that one there. She concluded by urging the house to vote op.
Mr James McNaney then closed the case for the proposition with his maiden speech saying that choice as a concept is not easy to define and that we hadn’t taken into account the place of influence. Choice is not a vacuum. He went on to state that taking the debate out of Northern Ireland still wouldn’t help the opposition greatly as 40% of the world do not have access to safe abortions and so it can be said that men make the choice over the lives of women because patriarchy. He reminded the house that this is the way the world is and so fits with the motion but under no circumstances SHOULD this be the case.
Miss Lili Vetter then closed for the opposition arguing that saying that ‘men = government therefore men= choice’ was a dangerous point to make. She said that governmental oppression over a woman’s body should not be construed as choice. She urged the house to remember who an abortion has a mental and physical impact on, the woman in question and therefore refuted the claim that men should have a choice.
The debate then moved to the floor where some very firey points were heard from Marie-Louise Synott, Brenden Kelters, Craig Miller, Brenden Kelters, Emma Chadwick, Rosie Watterson, FIONN Rodgers, and Christine Flemming. James McAlister and Julia Andrade Rocha made their summarising speeches on behalf of their team and the house went to a vote.
After one of the infuriating debates this house has seen, the chamber voted to abstain from the motion with 16 abstentions, 10 ayes and 5 nays.