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Aberdeen student pro-life society victory

© Heartland Arts / Adobe Stock

A pro-life student group has been granted affiliation at the University of Aberdeen after it took legal action against the University of Aberdeen and its student association for alleged “unlawful discrimination”.

In what appears to becoming a pattern at universities in Britain, Aberdeen Life Ethics Society (ALES) applied to become affiliated with the Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) and was initially refused on the grounds that ALES pro-life views directly contradicted AUSA’s ‘pro-choice’ policy.

The ‘pro-choice’ policy commits AUSA “to campaign against” groups that offer pro-life advice and “to offer no funding, facilitation, or platform to any such group”.

It seems however, that such a policy could in fact be illegal as it apparently contravenes the Education Act (No. 2) 1986 , the Equality Act 2010 and Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Section 43 of  places an obligation on universities “to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the establishment and for visiting speakers.”  The obligation is not merely to refrain from limiting or infringing freedom of speech, but rather this law imposes a positive and proactive legal duty to ensure that freedom of speech is secured.

Indeed, after months of obstruction for AUSA, the ALES took the AUSA to court in April.

Appealing to Section 10 of the Equality Act, which treats “philosophical belief” as a “protected characteristic”, and the European Court of Human Rights, which has specifically ruled that opposition to abortion falls within the category of belief guaranteed by Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, ALES’ lawyers alleged “unlawful discrimination” and violation of rights protected by UK law.

Following this legal action, it seems the AUSA has relented, suspended it’s ‘pro-choice’ policy, and accepted affiliation of Aberdeen Life Ethics Society.

As noted, this is not the first instance of a pro-life student group not being permitted to affiliate with a students’ union. While some might not be concerned about this, recognition as an official student society is essential as it typically permits student groups to book university rooms for their events and entitles them to a certain amount of funding. Without this status, which other groups with diverse ideological beliefs are entitled to, pro-life groups are relegated to second class status and are significantly hindered in their proper functioning.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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