Pro-life students at UK university fight student union adopting pro-abortion policy
CARDIFF, Wales, November 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life students at the University of Cardiff, Wales, are attempting to stop the university’s student union from adopting an officially pro-abortion position that would have the effect of censoring their pro-life views.
A motion will be brought forward November 21 at the Students’ Union AGM meeting that, if passed, will censor pro-life students and groups on campus by restricting their speech, expression, and activities. A similar motion at the university was defeated in 2014.
Cardiff Students for Life, the student pro-life group at the university, have expressed concerns that the resolution will be used to censor pro-life views. Earlier today they issued a statement on Facebook, saying:
It is important for all our members to show up for the event because a motion for the university to become pro-choice is being brought forward. This does NOT represent all of the University’s students. Also, it gives the VP of Societies the sole authority to ensure that societies do not spread 'misinformation', a completely undemocratic solution. Make sure that you come and vote tomorrow evening for our freedom of speech and conscience.
The first resolution of the motion states:
Cardiff University Students’ Union will publicly announce their stance as pro-choice and clearly state on the CUSU “Pregnancy Support” webpage and any other applicable webpages such as in the “Policy” webpage.
In the notes that precede the resolutions it is asserted that “[t]here has been misinformation about the medical procedure of abortion spread by Students’ Union affiliated societies as well as in the general media.”
Later in the notes to the motion, it states: “Any misinformation spread about reproductive health or any activities conducted against the Students’ Union’s policies by Students’ Union affiliated societies should be investigated and steps taken so this does not occur again.”
The pro-life students have received public support from both the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), the U.K.’s largest pro-life lobbying organisation, and from the university’s Catholic chaplain, Fr. Sebastian Jones.
Fr. Jones, who has been the Catholic chaplain of the university for the past ten years, issued an open letter that states that should the motion pass the university’s Catholic society will resign its membership from the university’s official Guild of Societies and will instead function independently. Fr. Jones stated that the motion would place any Catholic who remained a member of the student union at the risk of excommunication from the Catholic Church.
The motion if adopted would violate Cardiff University’s principle of inclusivity and diversity which to date has extended to all people of faith. Faith is a protected characteristic [under the UK Equality Act, 2010]. Cardiff University's Catholic students and staff would be directly discriminated against with the passing of this motion by the Students Union. No Catholic could remain a member of an organisation that upholds as a constitutive policy the promotion of, and material support, for the procurement of abortions. For a Catholic to participate in such an organisation would risk them incurring excommunication from the Catholic Church. This is a wholly unreasonable burden for Cardiff University to permit its own Catholic community to be confronted with. Such a burden as the exclusion from one's own faith community would not be proposed to other faith communities and rightly so.
SPUC has condemned the motion, describing it as an “undemocratic and a shameful attack on young students.”
SPUC deputy CEO John Deighan said:
Universities should and need to be the very places where individuals can share their ideas, express their views and debate them freely and openly. The bullying approach adopted by the Students’ Union is part of the continuous onslaught to stifle freedom of speech and stamp out any semblance of a pro-life voice on campus. Not only does Cardiff Students' Union wish to censor those they disagree with, but they also want to prevent others from hearing reasoned opinions that challenge pro-abortion views.