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Pro-life students continue to be censored in UK universities

A pro-life student group was forced to remove their stall from a university freshers’ fair, raising new concerns over free speech.

Strathclyde Students for Life in Glasgow had displayed educational and promotional pro-life material, some of which offered support to pregnant women and featured a logo of an unborn baby with the words “life is precious”.

Members of the Students’ Union confronted the pro-life group to demand the removal of their material, claiming that it was too graphic and breached their safe-space policies.

Strathclyde Students for Life have asserted that their posters are inoffensive, and drew attention to the fact that pro-abortion activists have a history of trying to deny pro-life groups any presence on university campuses.

Last year, after being threatened with legal action, Strathclyde’s Students’ Union lifted a long-running ban on pro-life groups affiliating with the union. This had prevented the group accessing funding and using university premises for events, .

Catherine Deighan, President of Strathclyde Students for Life, said:

“For our first year coming to the freshers’ fair, we were fully expecting to come in and be treated equally… However, we weren’t provided with this courtesy.”

“We were approached by a Student Association staff member who made us feel very intimidated and uneasy. He ordered us to take down our posters because he deemed them in violation of a new so-called pro-choice policy that the union had put in place…”

“We were told that if we said we were pro-life, this was in violation of their policy. We felt extremely unwelcome and bullied so we had to pack up and leave to protect our society members’ well-being. We have been entirely discriminated against and censored.”

In what is becoming a pattern at universities across the UK, many pro-life groups have been hindered in their ability to speak freely and enjoy the same benefits as other student societies.

Student representative bodies at Aberdeen University, Glasgow University, Nottingham University, and at Strathclyde University have all had to reverse their decisions to refuse affiliation to pro-life groups after the groups raised the prospect of legal proceedings.

In 2018, the Joint Committee on Human Rights released a report on Freedom of Speech in Universities, which criticised growing restrictions on free speech and the new phenomenon of ‘no-platforming’ policies on UK campuses and the exclusion of pro-life views.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“The case at this university alone is disheartening, but it is part of a concerning and disturbing trend across the UK where pro-life groups are having their freedom of speech and association taken away from them. Unfortunately, there is a lot of social pressure on young people to conform to the pro-abortion viewpoint.

“Having lost the debate a long time ago, it is no surprise that pro-abortion students are anxious to stop the pro-life voice being heard on campus.”

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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