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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.

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Dear reader

Thanks to the support from people like you, last year a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Domestic Abuse Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this is not the end for our opposition.

We are currently facing major threats on five separate fronts:

  1. Pro-abortion MP Rupa Huq has brought forward an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to introduce a jail term of up to two years if a pro-lifer offers support or advice to a woman near an abortion clinic. This is a threat to unborn babies and to freedom of speech.
  2. The assisted suicide lobby has brought forward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.
  3. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  4. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  5. The abortion lobby is expected to make another attempt to change abortion law to allow abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. 

Fighting both the abortion and assisted suicide lobbies over this period has already made a huge dent in Right To Life UK's limited resources.

To cover this gap and ensure we effectively defeat these proposals during this period, we must raise at least £200,000.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will make a significant difference.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

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