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Press release – Police protect young female pro-life speaker from screaming pro-abortion mob in Manchester

Manchester Police protect young female pro-life speaker from screaming pro-abortion mob


Manchester: Police protect young female pro-life speaker from screaming pro-abortion mob

A “screaming pro-abortion mob” forced local police to provide an escort to a pro-life speaker at the University of Manchester who had to take transport to a different location because it was “not safe” to go directly to her accommodation.

For the second time this year, on Thursday evening (11/04) police had to be called to protect pro-life students from a barrage of abuse and physical intimidation by pro-abortion student protestors at the university after Madeline Page, CEO of the Alliance of Pro-life Students (APS), delivered a talk titled “Grill the pro-lifer”.

As Madeline left the talk with a police escort, a large mob of students followed her down the road screaming abuse at her, forcing her to change her travel arrangements because it was “too dangerous”. The CEO of APS was not able to relax even after the event as the next day, after the talk the previous night, she was accosted by a pro-choice student whose face was covered with a scarf and who shouted at her outside a university building. After calming the student down, Madeline was able to walk away.

The second time Manchester pro-life students have faced verbal abuse and physical intimidation

At the end of February, the University of Manchester student pro-life group had to face a similar ordeal and were left “terrified” as they faced a barrage of spit, verbal abuse and threats – including rape threats – from a pro-choice crowd of up to 250 people as they tried to hold a pro-life talk.

On that occasion, a number of pro-life students were spat on, one of the female committee members received a rape threat, while a heavily pregnant pro-life 22-year-old woman had to be escorted home in a police van due to concerns for her safety. She said “I really thought our lives were in danger”.

Madeline Page, the CEO of APS said:

“This was an opportunity for any student, whatever they think about abortion, to ask questions and for me to explain why I am pro-life. I gave 15 minutes of input followed by an hour of discussion. Before the event even started though, I knew there were going to be problems”.

“There had been a concerted hate campaign about me before I had even arrived at the university. One social media user described me as a ‘f**king n*b head'”.

“The talk was scheduled for 7pm but the university had organised for the building to be cleared and staff advised to vacate the building two hours beforehand for their safety”.

“By the time I arrived, there was already a group of protesters shouting and chanting. As soon as they saw me, I had a number of them screaming ‘f**k you’ and calling me a ‘c**t’. Police had to intervene to force the protestors to let me inside the building”.

“The actual talk was fine. Three pro-choice students attended to ask questions and were perfectly respectful”.

“When we left the event, the police were really helpful but the mob still did their best to intimidate those present. I was separated from the rest of the group and swarmed by students hurling verbal abuse. The police had to form a physical barrier between the mob and me for my protection”.

“I had to change my pick-up location because the police advised that the initial one was not safe and it also would not have been safe to go directly to my hotel”.

“I eventually found a corner location where the police could stop the pro-abortion students getting any closer to me. They left shortly afterwards because the mob realised this was making them look really bad”.

The next day, I was passing the university building where my talk had taken place and a student ran over to me shouting aggressively, with a scarf covering his face. He said I was not welcome on campus and made all sorts of unfounded accusations which, once I had calmed him down, he revoked”.

Inge, a first-year student at Manchester University who attended the event said:

“It was almost as bad as the last time protestors abused me and the pro-life society at the university”.

“It’s so concerning that they’ve whipped themselves up into such a frenzy that they won’t even listen to what their opposition has to say. They must have so little confidence in their own arguments that they have to scream down ours”.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said: 

“The pro-choice protesters at the University of Manchester have once again disgraced themselves and their university. It is astounding that the university apparently does so little in the face of the physical intimidation and vile verbal abuse that the pro-life students, and Madeline in particular, had to face”.

“This was an opportunity for them to ‘grill the pro-lifer’, to ask her difficult questions and make her justify the pro-life position on abortion. They chose to squander that opportunity and hurl abuse instead. The University of Manchester must make suitable provision to ensure that this does not happen again”.

“The government passed the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act in 2023 to alleviate censorship on campus and restore freedom to freely express and exchange ideas in universities. While not all of the provisions of the Act are in force yet, it seems that institutions like the University of Manchester will soon have to do much more to protect the rights of students to speak freely about their beliefs, including about abortion”.

A pattern of censorship

Since 2017, student representative bodies at Aberdeen University, Glasgow University, Nottingham University and Strathclyde University have all tried to prevent student pro-life groups from being affiliated with their university and benefiting from the same privileges available to any other student group. In each of these cases, the students’ unions had to reverse their decision after the groups threatened legal proceedings against them. Students at Birmingham University also had significant difficulty becoming affiliated with the university but eventually won out against significant opposition.

In 2019, in the first case of its kind, a midwifery student at Nottingham University was suspended and faced possible expulsion from her course after a lecturer raised concerns about her role in the University’s pro-life group. Only after beginning legal action was the University’s decision overturned. Towards the end of 2020, this incident was closed after the university extended an apology to the student and offered compensation for her unjust suspension.

Almost a quarter of pro-life students have been “threatened, abused, alarmed or distressed” for being pro-life at university, according to a 2021 poll.

According to polling by the national student pro-life group, the Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS), over 71.9% of pro-life students report that they have faced situations in lectures or seminars where they felt they could not speak about their views.

23.8% of those surveyed said they had been “threatened, abused, alarmed or distressed – by actions or words – by another student or academic” because of their membership of a pro-life society. A further 35% of the participants reported that they had seen events cancelled due to the “de-platforming” of pro-life speakers. 65% of pro-life students had “witnessed another student being discriminated against or harassed for holding pro-life views”.

A 2020 survey undertaken by Survation found that 27% of university students have ‘hidden’ their opinions that they believe may be at odds with those of their university.

The same survey found that 44% of students believe that their lecturers would treat them differently if they made their views known, and that 38% believe that their future careers might be adversely affected if they openly expressed their true opinions.

The survey, which received responses from 1,028 current university students and recent graduates across the country, showed that 40% of students have witnessed an increase in the cancellation of events due to the views held by the speaker at their university.


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