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Pro-life Students’ Union president forced to delete tweet calling for fewer abortions

A pro-life student has been forced to delete a tweet calling for a reduction in the number of abortions and to remove his role as President of the Students’ Union from his social media profile.

Gabriel Baraldi, a student at Bournemouth & Poole College, published a tweet expressing the view that “abortions should be reduced to when the woman’s life is at risk only”.

screenshot twitter.com 2020.05.06 10 35 17 1

Following its publication, the tweet attracted a number of derogatory and vitriolic responses from those who disagreed, including one which said Gabriel’s mother should have aborted him.

Complaints were then made to Bournemouth & Poole College who passed them on to the Executive Committee of the Students’ Union, which is run by students.

The Executive Committee considered the tweet offensive and, according to Archbishop Cranmer, asked Gabriel to delete it and remove his role as President of the Students’ Union from his Twitter bio – a position he was democratically elected to by fellow members of the Students’ Union. 

Responding to the censorship, Gabriel said: “I hope people are happy they got to shut down yet another debate and point of discussion.”

“You haven’t won the debate, you’ve simply suppressed it,” he added.

Dr Rakib Ehsan, a columnist at Spiked Online which used to rank universities on free speech, picked up on this tweet: “Irrespective of your thoughts on Gabriel’s comment, worth having a look at the responses.

“Many left-wing students/activists are unable to provide a coherent opposing view. Shutdown culture and campus identity politics will create a huge wave of low-grade degree holders.”

While this incident may seem small, it is just the latest example of pro-life speech being censored in education settings across the UK.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, Julia Rynkiewicz was forced to suspend her studies at Nottingham University over her pro-life views.

The final year midwifery student was suspended from her course and became the subject of an almost four-monthlong investigation.

Additionally, she faced expulsion from her degree after lecturers raised concerns about her involvement with the Nottingham Students for Life (NSFL) society.

Julia believes she was unfairly targeted over her views and has asked Nottingham University to make a formal apology. If they fail to do so, she could carry her case through to the ombudsman and then on to court.

Last year, Strathclyde Students for Life in Glasgow were forced to remove their stall from a university freshers’ fair following complaints from the Students’ Union who claimed the pro-life group breached their safe-space policies.

In what appears to 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.

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

“Universities were once considered a key forum in which ideas and opinions could be discussed and argued, however, more and more we are seeing attempts to censor the pro-life view from being discussed on campus.

“It’s sad to see the incredible amount of vitriol directed at Gabriel for expressing a view shared by millions of other people his age. The behaviour of both individual students and the Students’ Union Executive Committee sets a dangerous precedent for freedom of speech and expression more generally.”

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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