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Students block union’s attempt to stifle free speech on abortion

By on Tuesday, 27 March 2012

University College London (PA photo)

University College London (PA photo)

A student rebellion has crushed an attempt to ban free discussion of abortion at a leading British university.

The National Union of Students at the University College London abandoned its plans to impose pro-abortion speakers on students’ groups if they ever tried to arrange a talk by a speaker critical of terminations.

The climbdown was forced by a coalition of students who objected to what they considered to be an attack on free speech.

Union trustees accepted advice from their own lawyers that the students were right to claim that the move to curtail free speech had been “completely illegal”.

The students had claimed that the resolution had breached Section 43 of the 1986 Education Act that protects freedom of expression in universities and had threatened the union with a legal challenge.

Trustees were also told that proposals to affiliate and donate to the political Abortion Rights campaign were also against the charity laws that govern students’ unions.

Their decision to drop the pro-abortion resolutions could have huge repercussions in students’ unions across Britain that already give money to Abortion Rights, including those of Oxford, Leeds and Goldsmith College at the University of London.

The row erupted after the UCL Catholic Society invited Lord Alton of Liverpool, the former Lib Dem MP, to give a talk about the right to life last October.

The students union passed a motion stating: “Any future open events focusing on the issue of termination invite an anti-choice speaker and a pro-choice speaker as well as an independent chair, to ensure there is a balance to the argument.”

Cajetan Skowronski, the incoming president of the Catholic Society, said that afterwards “students from all kinds of backgrounds approached us and said ‘if you want to challenge this we will support you because it’s ridiculous that a union is trying to impose one opinion on us, especially at a university”.

“We had support from people who were pro-choice as well as those who were pro-life,” he said.

Catholic, Jewish and Sikh students later informed the union in a joint letter that they would not abide by the resolution.

Students then initiated legal action against the union which resulted in a meeting of the trustees who threw out the resolutions.

Mr Skrowronski, who attended the meeting, said the trustees took the simple view that “if it’s illegal we can’t do it and if it’s impractical we can’t do it”.

Neil Addison, the director of the Thomas More Legal Centre who advised the students, said: “I am delighted with this result which is due to the courage of pro-life students refusing to be intimidated.

“I find it worrying that a students’ union should be so ignorant of the concept of free speech and demonstrate such a totalitarian and intolerant mindset,” he said.

“Pro-abortionists are increasingly trying to prevent the pro life message being heard and to close down debate on the subject of abortion,” Mr Addison added. “That will not be allowed to happen.”

  • ms Catholic state

    Not as much as you owe to Christianity…which is practically everything.  Sorry I can’t be more Politically Correct than that!

  • Guest

    Well, on polyamory and incest – in general, if totally consenting adults want to engage in platonic, romantic and/or sexual interactions, I don’t see what possible business we have condemning or stigmatising them. I don’t know how small your horizons and how unambitious your aspirations for society are, but I feel like there are bigger things that I want to deal with in the world than pursuing people for having sexual preferences and desires different to mine.

  • Guest

    Thanks, but if I only have 80 years or so, I’d rather spend it making my life and the lives of others as good as they can possibly be.

  • Guest

    Do you really think if I instinctively understood what you believe, I would be arguing and doing what I do? Obviously, I live the way I do because I think you’re wrong. Otherwise I would be an idiot.

  • Guest

    Christianity was founded on the Jewish and classical and pagan cultures that preceded it. And much ancient scholarship was preserved and advanced by Muslim civilisation, which flourished while Europe was rather less golden. Meanwhile, we have early Christians to thank for e.g. the sacking of the Library of Alexandria and the destruction of vast swathes of ancient human knowledge and civilisation.

    You can’t just bluntly assert “oh christian cultures are best” without evidence. And even if you could, and they were, that still wouldn’t make Christianity’s beliefs any more *true*

  • Guest

    Ah, the old twist on Godwin’s law. As any discussion on miscegnation grows longer, the probability of someone playing the racism card approaches 1.

  • Bert

    Your argument is so infantile that I was reluctant to even reply.  However:

    Multiples grow out of a zygote, not an embryo.

    Tumours are not separate people,  The cells originate in their host and, if their DNA is different, that difference is caused by an outside factor (the disease).  Therefore, the cells are still part of the host and do not represent a separate human being.

  • Bert

     gen·der (jěn’dər)

    The sex of an individual, male or female, based on reproductive anatomy.

  • ms Catholic state

    That’s good.  Just make sure you have no innocent unborn blood on your hands either…and all will be well in this world and the next.

  • ms Catholic state

    Christianity established by Christ God Himself.  Can’t do better than that.

  • Bert

    The Library of Alexandria was burned by Julius Caesar, not by Christians

  • Bert

    Then I suggest you fire whoever is reading this stuff to you and hire someone else.

  • Guest

  • Guest

    Genetic differences in tumours originate from the same causes of mutations from an original source as do genetic differences between twins. And regardless, you used genetic uniqueness as your criterion. Do you now wish to add ANOTHER absurdly irrelevant criterion to personhood, about the causes of genetic differences?

  • teigitur

    I sometimes wonder about post-natal abortion. I waver from time to time when I come across people like you.

  • teigitur

    Yep, that about sums you up. Idiot.

  • Oconnord

    Actually you’ll burn for not attending my Dragon Worship Church. (All we what is your money to buy beds of gold and gems for our Dragon Overlords.) For who could be better at creating hellfire than Dragons. 

    The Welsh are safe though as their flag tickles the Dragon’s fickle ego.

  • teigitur

    If you have had several, then you are an even sadder creature than you portray yourself on here.

  • Nardialop

    That is a “new” argument recently published in a ethicsist Journal. It justifies the killing of infants. We will be hearing about that more frequently.  

  • Gus

    No one is claiming anything other than what the title of this article suggests – “Students block union’s attempt to stifle free speech on abortion”.

    And I wouldn’t be so sure that UCLU will soon affiliate to Abortion Rights as this would be potentially illegal under charity laws.

  • Herpaderp

    Why would someone who wants to be a MAN get pregnant in the first place

  • Honeybadger

    You are absolutely correct, Bert.

    These are the issues which are being pressed on - relentlessly - by the Obama administration in the United States of America… and which American Catholics are currently fighting against.

    I wonder what so-called ‘choice’ do the US Roman Catholics have with what should and should not be paid for out in their health insurance, including contraception and abortion or any other medical procedure against our faith?

    Choice my giddy aunt!

  • Honeybadger

    What planet are you on?

  • Honeybadger

    Neither do I wish to pay for it!

    I’m sick to death of seeing ‘contraceptive pill’ on the back of prescriptions when life-saving medication for a lot of people is to be paid for!

    Where are the cuts in providing so-called family planning? eh? 

  • Honeybadger


  • Honeybadger

    I, too,  was wondering what trans* was. It could have been trans-fatty-acid, transatlantic, transistor…

    Do you think guest think we are mind readers or playing 20 questions?

  • Honeybadger

    Flaming heck! Sensitive soul, aren’t you?

    You can dish it out with the rest of your like in your RomanCatholiphobia but you can’t take it!

    Here it is… on a spoon!

  • Honeybadger

    Ever heard of the one who thought genitalia was a european airline?

  • Honeybadger

    Friends call him ‘phoby’ LOL!

  • Honeybadger

    I know. It reminds me of that old ad that used to be postered up in the doctors waiting rooms in the 1970′s of the pregnant bloke! Remember that?

    In my childhood innocence, I thought it was because he swallowed a balloon or ate too many pies…

    Then I wised up!

    It was meant to get some sort of reproductive message across… who’d have thought something not out of place in science fiction would – gulp! – become science fact?


  • Honeybadger

    Pot. Kettle. Black!

  • Honeybadger

    Here we go with ‘democracy’…

    What democracy? Only for the pro-womb-infanticide inclined and not for the rest of us who value life?

    Pick another vowel and consonant etc. etc. etc. and glue it on another posting.

  • Honeybadger

    It sure is. Disabled people were gassed in the concentration camps, including Pope Benedict’s cousin!

    When visible signs of disability shows up on the ultra sound scan, to many it is an unsigned death sentence.

    Any similarities are purely …. in common with each other!

  • Honeybadger


  • Honeybadger

    You should try rubbing chili sauce (not sweet) on your brain – wherever it is.

  • Honeybadger

    You are losing the argument… as well as the plot, bub!

  • Honeybadger


  • Honeybadger

    Aw, that’s not fair!

    You’ve not come up with any citations to your…. erm… blurbs.

    Fair’s fair… oh, wait! You don’t know what ‘fair’ is!

  • Honeybadger

    A former abortionist converted when that exact same incident happened.

    He was haunted by all the children he aborted.

    One former manager of the American killing machine known as Planned Parenthood has converted, too, and has written a book called ‘un-Planned’.

  • Honeybadger

    Oh, another cr&ppy ‘call yourselves Christian’ chestnut – from someone who knows frog-all about Christianity!

    Go talk to a llama – with any luck, it’ll spit at you!

  • Honeybadger

    Llamas, Alpaccas
    go play with your maracas!

  • Honeybadger

    ‘I would be an Idiot.’

    Wait! You ARE an idiot!

  • Honeybadger

    ‘If thou art the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.’

    Who said that to Christ?


    Needless to say, Christ didn’t do it.

    Hmmm… there is a pattern forming here with you, bub!

  • Honeybadger


  • Honeybadger

    Play fairly, now. Your citations are nowhere to be seen, yet you want us to come up with some…

    Or else you haven’t any to show for your gibberings!

  • Honeybadger

    Wait! I’ve just called ”house”  on the anti-Catholic lingo bingo …

    Quote: Child raping priests are Christian!

    Funny, the first I ever heard about child sex abuse by any cleric was by a Methodist!

    Stick that in your toad-in-the-hole, time waster!

  • Honeybadger


    I could go on!

  • Honeybadger

    Yeah…’simple’ being the operative word!

  • Honeybadger

    Evil, evil, evil!

    Evil respects no-one… not even you!

  • Honeybadger

    I expect you are feeling a wee bit rattled by now that pro-choicers are being exposed for what they are… and those who peddle murder of innocents!

    Soon, you lot won’t be screaming, shouting filthy abuse and making a show of yourselves any more!

    Hip. Hip. Hooray!