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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.”

  • Ioannes Patricius

    Lolllllllll it doesn’t make me uncomfortable but it does make me laugh! Did you read the Chesterton? He also said that when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing – they believe in anything! Good grief. No, Guest, life is a thing, as all men have found out when it suddenly ran out for them. Good grief!

  • aearon43

    We are Christian not Hindu because of the great mercy of the saints who wanted to guide the lives of poor innocents to God. That is to say, because someone cared enough to show our ancestors the light. Just like, someone who’s father is a musician stands a better chance of being a successful musician himself. We don’t say, oh, he’s no good because his father’s a musician, do we?

    As for the souls who were never introduced to Christ, the Church does acknowledge that some might reach him through respect for the natural law. Christians do not believe Hinduism to be totally worthless, just imperfect. 

  • aearon43


    for our union to do the same’ … and to force everyone else to do so, too. Might makes right, then, does it?

  • aearon43

    Keep making excuses for murder. 

  • aearon43

    Might makes right?

  • aearon43


    Suck on that, haterz.”

    Can anyone translate that for the English speakers?

  • aearon43

    It’s a victory for truth and free speech.

  • buckingham88

     Guest could be talking about some people who are born with both male and female organs and make a choice as to which they end up being.He may also be talking about some , usually men, who psychologically think and desire to be female despite being anatomically male.Once castrated,put on female hormones and given appropriate surgery to feminise,these people are regarded as transexual.Some can end up with a set of sexual organs opposite to their inclinations.But as in all things they are people first and many refuse to define themselves in terms of their sexuality but their personhood.Few people are afraid of them.

  • Cjkeeffe

    You simply do not have an arguement – your whole system of debate is based on “throwing you dummy out!” Perhaps you should leave philosophy alone and stick with biological research (if indeed you are a student)

  • Cjkeeffe

    Why have you failed to address the consequences of an abortion on a womans mental health and also the increased risk of concieveing a disabled child – or are facts a mystery to you?

  • Guest

    Actually, pro-choicers fully support a woman or a trans*man’s right to raise a child in exactly the same way as they support the right to safe, legal abortion.

  • Guest

    You can call us twerps as much as you like but ‘unrepresentative’? Really? We passed this motion through democratic means – everyone got a vote and the majority voted pro-choice.
    Because they value the lives of women and trans*men and respect their right to make decisions for themselves.

  • Guest

    Actually the cuts ARE affecting repro rights, but maybe that’s another story for another time.
    Contraception saves lives. Every day.
    And with regards to the pill specifically, women need it. Because we like sex and don’t like unplanned pregnancy.

  • Guest

     TL;DR

  • Cjkeeffe

    Ahh wikipedia so it must be true. I hope you use better sources than that for you university course!

  • Cjkeeffe

    Ahh things we owe Islam, no rights for women, rape victims expected to marry their abusers, forced to wear a persian construct of burga and hajob when the Qu’ran merely says cover your arms and hair to women. A fatwa if you disagree with them, Islam has become stagan to some degree from the medival high point.

  • Cjkeeffe

    Ahh so voted in your two thousands. Wow thats a very big number well done!
    But interesting to see your union using negative terms i..e pro choice for pro death peole and anti choice for pro life people. Strikes me as a abuse of language.

  • Guest

    But counting them is like counting children you considered having.

  • Guest

    Islam has its foul reactionary elements, yes. It also has its progressives and its own historical gifts to the world. Much like your own faith. You’re all the same.

  • Guest

    I only demanded information sources where people made absurd claims, or ones which it was not clear where they came from. If I said anything in particular you want to know more about, please just specify.

  • Guest

    Which is pretty similar to what someone of another faith would say if I asked why they weren’t Christian. Why should I believe you not them? You’re both equally implausible.

  • Guest

    Actually, I’m pretty pleased, we won the referendum, and the only part struck out was one I didn’t like!

  • Guest

    What does this even mean? You’ve not responded to anything raised…

  • Guest

    Love it, soon as you can’t respond, resort to some soothing soundbites. It’ll be ok, don’t worry.

  • Guest

    Don’t think you understand what a union is for.

    A union is where people come together, decide democratically what their interests and beliefs are, and then take collective action for those interests and beliefs. If we decide democratically that fighting for the right to choose is in our interests or we believe it is right and worth our time, then that’s what we do.

  • Guest

    You can be pro-life and pro-choice. The crux of the question is,  should we have the right to choose? You say yes, we say no. If you ask, are abortions right, the pro-choice camp is split, some say they are a legitimate choice, others discourage but respect the right, therefore talking about pro-/antiabortion is unhelpful and does not speak to the major division here.

  • Guest

    lol

  • Guest

    “life” is not a thing, it *describes* a set of things.

    And your arguments are irrelevant. The effect of theism or atheism on what kind of morality we can have does not speak to the truth of the existence of god.

  • Guest

    And also, not forgetting the myriad other reasons that the pill might be prescribed.

  • Guest

    Dispute something actually in the article, and I might have time for your objections.

  • Guest

    Love it – when you run out of ripostes, just TELL the other side they’re losing.

  • Honeybadger

    Contraception saves lives??????

    ‘Because we like sex and don’t like unplanned pregnancy’.

    I bet you don’t like the sexually transmitted diseases that come with it that no contraption of contraception can save!

  • Honeybadger

    The contraceptive pill is packed with hormones for hormonal problems which need correcting.

    But hormones are delicate – why pack your body with hormones for the sake of not taking responsibility or respect for yourself?

  • Honeybadger

    And you expect me to believe pro-choicers fully support a woman or a transistor radio’s right to raise a child?

    What language are you speaking now? It appears to be CR&P!

    A child is a gift, not a RIGHT!

    Safe, legal abortion? What an oxymoron!

  • Honeybadger

    Democracy, democracy, democracy!!!

    Citations, please!

  • Honeybadger

    What?!!

  • Honeybadger

    After all, bra-burner, it does take two to make a baby!

    By the way, the bra was invented by a woman!

  • Diane1522

    lol I was wanting to say that very same thing. well said!! trans man?? self mutilation more like and why on earth would a so call it trans man loling want to keep HER reproductive organs??.  Transgenders have serious psycological issues and these frankenstien doctors need to stop this mutilation of the god given dna of what is 100% male or female.  As for abortion. Its murder in any circumstance.  It is the slaughter of the lambs,  I pray that these women pray for forgivness because whether you believe or not and wether you like it or not, the lord will come to judge the living and the dead…..and there is only two ways to go …light or dark?? heaven or hell!! stop listening to rationalism ladies and listne to your childs heartbeat which is the one thing that begins at conception.  from the moment the cells fuse or lord infuses a soul into that little lamb and there should be no safer place for that little lamb than the mothers womb…………….it deeply saddens me, abortion. even the word it is so cruel and evil to the core.    LET THE LORDS LAMBS LIVE

  • Diane1522

    and??

  • Diane1522

    hahahahaha brilliant……well said im so sick of these people making normal people who may well be repulsed at self mutilation or the sight of what looks like a male carrying a child …….the word frankenstien comes to my mind in these circumstancies.  And ure so right give it a few years and the government will say that its illegal to be a peadophilophobe ect.   The seals are open………..

  • Diane1522

    cant change dna though or do the frankenstien docs do that??

  • Diane1522

    im loving your stance H.  I fully agree with you, the world is going mad and babylon is here its a rising nation of all sorts of evil sodomy fornications transgendering abortion and the raising of children in wrong family units……..the seals are open….read this book with revelations revealed to maria valtorta…the end times.  As a converted catholic its a must read and gets the mind thinking………The slaughter of the lambs is one of the many slaughters depicted in the bible by the prophets………sad so so sad,,,,,,,,,

  • Diane1522

    so I think as I hate peadophiles, how they are a an unwanted being in society and they impose a lifelong affect on a womans or mans life, I think we should start a abortpedoition what about my rights?? what about myyyyy life…..bloody pro choicers get a grip!!!!! murder is murder! and the lord will come to judge……..

  • Diane1522

    Im gonna pray for you pro choicer students ect………you are in grave need of it :(

  • Diane1522

    your soul is dark……..i will pray for you bert

  • Diane1522

    these woman have the choice to chose murder or let the baby live, that child could be adopted not murdered.  aborting a baby in a case of rape ect is one evil leading to another evil…….I in that case think yes its sad for the woman but even sadder and cruel for the little lamb screaming for life…….now whether you believe in our lord and satan is your ultimate choice, but wont change what will occur when christ will come to judge the living and the dead…….and I truly tell you, jesus loves us all and wants no soul to be lost so u think about that when you dismiss our lord jesus christ…..who died for us all. 
    what joy that woman who chooses  life over murder will have in knowing she was stronger and better in the soul to have that baby and allow life…….you pro choicers or whatever you are have alot to answer for…..and have the blood of the slaughtered lambs on your tainted souls………I beg you to pray to our lord to forgive you ….remember he loves you

  • Diane1522

    This world has become babylon.  The evil is so overwhelming worldwide…..and abortion is the tip of the iceberg.   Abortion is murder of the fetus, embryo, baby, child…or whatever rationalism wants to call the little lamb.   I say that because our lord jesus adores his flock and he loves the little children so much for the sake of his sorrowful passion I pray he takes every unborn baby boy and girl into his arms and up to the light and I pray that their mothers and fathers beg and pray for their forgivness for this awful pro choice they are all too often talked into by pro choicers.  largely atheithiests :(.  The women have no idea in 90% of cases what damage this will do mentally to their souls, the guilt eats away til the day she dies.   They will never forget the feeling of their baby passing from her or the sound of the lung collapse or they dont dare spare a though for the incinerator they poor little lambs go to within clinics and hospitals…….that is fact.   Its dreadful and not even a poor lamb concieved by sadly rape deserve that end to their very short existance,   90% of women regret their choice of abortion and it leads to depression.   Or more often than not they go on to within the first year have a baby as the guilt consumes them.   Satan has his claws on society and not believing does not make you immune to his voice.   Blessed is the woman who in her darkest moment chooses life for the lamb she will truly be lead to heaven on her last day and believe me we all to often know how short this earthly life is.  leave the judging of the rapist or abandoning father to our lord, women dont fall victim to satans voice telling you to do it telling you your life will be better, its the best thing all round, I wont cope I will have no support or my career will go down the pan……..tell that voice to STOP and to GO AWAY and listen and follow that voice to go for life, have the baby, take the chance and give your baby the love that you can give …………..god bless 

  • Guest

    You’re right that there is no 100% safeguard for some STIs, but use of condoms, regular check-ups, and being open and honest with your partners goes a long way. It’s a risk, but so is stepping out of your house in the morning.

  • Jason

     Gender as something other than physical sex is a fiction put forward by those seeking to redefine truth to include that which is false.

    Gender dysphoria has no physiological basis. It is entirely a psychological and spiritual disorder – one that I myself have personal experience of.

    Exposing this as fact is not an act of hate at all but rather of love. Even though being in the truth is hard and painful it remains the truth and it is only in truth that you can meet God and discover His power to heal.

    God created us male and female – each different and distinct from the other and each entirely complimentary to the other.

  • Jason

     What choice do you give to the child in the woman’s womb on the matter?

    Abortion is the ultimate anti-choice action.