Scottish university students are petitioning to have a pro-life poster removed from campus this week, claiming it is “actively harmful” to women.
Censorship has become a huge problem on college campuses in North America and Europe. Pro-life students and groups especially have become targets. Pro-life students frequently see their displays vandalized, and pro-life clubs themselves sometimes are denied the same status and benefits as other clubs on campus.
The Press and Journal reports at Aberdeen University, about 250 students and student groups recently signed a petition urging administrators to remove a poster advertising a 40 Days for Life pro-life prayer vigil. The poster hangs in the Catholic chaplaincy on campus, a building that the university does not own, according to the report.
The pro-abortion petition states: “While we understand the church’s stance on reproductive issues, we feel that it is deeply inappropriate to display posters encouraging people to take action outside maternity clinics. Our campus is a place for discussion, but displaying material that appears to condemn those who have had abortions is actively harmful.”
Here’s more from the report:
Randi Morse, a sex and gender student, 29, said: “Abortion is not an easy choice to make and if a woman has decided to make that choice, it is harmful to make her feel stigmatised for it.”
Jenny Killin, the student association’s welfare officer, added: “Freedom of speech should never be used as an accuse to attack individuals who are exercising bodily autonomy or accessing healthcare. ”
But a spokesman for the Bishop of Aberdeen responded: “Freedom of speech and expression should be at the heart of academic life.
“The decision by the Catholic chaplaincy to display a poster advertising a peaceful pro-life vigil cannot in any way be deemed harmful or distressing.
“The 40 Days for Life Vigils are peaceful, yet poignant reminders of the tragic reality of abortion. Almost half a million unborn lives have been lost in Scotland since the 1967 Abortion Act was passed and it continues to carve a deep scar on our society.”
University officials said they do not have the authority to remove the poster because the university does not own the building where it hangs.
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“This building forms part of the Catholic Diocese and as such, is not a University-owned or managed facility, so it falls outwith our control,” a spokeswoman told the newspaper. “Any posters displayed on University property will be dealt with appropriately.”
Late last year, the British group Alliance of Pro-Life Students reported its students are under “constant attack” at universities in the UK.
According to the APS blog, students at the University of Newcastle recently tried to de-ratify the campus pro-life club, claiming it “is a discriminatory group that alienates and will make many young women feel unwelcome on campus and therefore this society is against union policy.”
Pro-abortion students launched similar attacks at Cardiff University and the University of Liverpool. According to Heathstreet, a pro-abortion feminist group claims the new Liverpool pro-life club is “misogynistic” and a “danger” to women, and should be de-ratified. Students at Strathclyde University have been seeking approval of their pro-life club for months without success, according to APS.
Pro-life students in America face similar hostility. In October, pro-abortion feminists vandalized a student pro-life display at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, LifeNews reported. The university’s student Democrats club later praised the feminists’ actions.
Earlier this month, a pro-life student display at the University of Colorado at Boulder also was vandalized.