Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Times: The only thing we are totally against is abortion - SDM

Tuesday, 27th October 2009 by Christian Peregin

There is "no conflict" between the values of the majority of students and those of the Christian-democrat organisation elected to form the University Students' Council, according to the organisaton's president, Lauro Fava.

Mr Fava, who heads Studenti Demokristjani Maltin (SDM), was asked to react to a recent survey which found that the majority of University students did not oppose divorce, gay marriage, the morning-after pill, cohabitation rights and the introduction of a condom machine on campus.

The survey was conducted and published by a new "progressive" student organisation called Move, which said it too was in favour except on the morning-after pill, which it was still discussing.

The only thing that students were adamantly against (79 per cent) was abortion, which even Move disapproved of.

But even though the SDM is known for its traditional values, advocating Christian Democratic principles, Mr Fava said the only thing his organisation was completely opposed to was abortion.

He said divorce was a debate the country had to have but stressed the need to keep children in mind and to provide family-friendly measures which prepared people for marriage.

He added his organisation believed in the need for the state to regulate cohabiting couples, which may include civil unions between gay couples.

"But I don't think I would commit to the word marriage," he said.

On the condom issue, which has haunted students for the past 10 years but especially more recently, he said this was a "non-issue" and SDM was neither in favour nor against.

He said sexual education should take place in secondary schools, because by the time students came to University they knew what they should or should not do.

On the morning-after pill, he said this was being discussed internally. "If the pill is abortive then we are against it. But science is undecided about this. That's the only thing that's stopping us from saying we are in favour of it," he said.

In light of all this he was confident there was "no conflict" between SDM's values and those of the majority of students.

He added, however, that students did not elect SDM members into the students' council for the past three years just because of their values since there were other factors, such as their candidates, manifestoes and track-record.

He also had doubts about the methodology of the survey because it was carried out on random face-to-face interviews with around 400 students and he felt there could be flaws in this sample method.

Meanwhile, KSU president Carl Grech also questioned the sampling method but praised Move for their initiative and for a successful launch which got people talking.
When asked for KSU's stands on the various issues raised, he said the only official stand he knew of was the recently updated sexual health policy which focused on abstinence, being faithful and "contraceptives". The policy did not cover the condom machine issue.

He argued that all the talk about condoms had overshadowed more important educational issues like student mobility and University funding, but stopped short of saying it
was not a priority.

"If there are students who care so much about this issue, it is a priority, and it will be discussed in due time," he said, adding that a simple survey did not change anything as yet.

Asked about the other issues, he said KSU developed its policies through the Social Policy Commission, which brings together students from all active organisations to make their voices heard and come up with policies. "If someone raises the issues there, the policies would be made," he said.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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