A Catholic university lecturer in Belgium was suspended earlier this month after he angered pro-abortion feminists by distributing a pro-life paper to his students.
Stéphane Mercier lectures on philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvaine in Belgium. Several weeks ago, Mercier handed out a paper to his students in which he discussed his arguments against abortion, according to the Catholic Herald.
A feminist group learned about the paper and protested Mercier, prompting the Catholic university to suspend him “until further notice,” the report states.
The university’s actions against Mercier run afoul of Catholic Church teachings about the sanctity of human life. The church holds that every human life is valuable from the moment of conception to natural death and should be protected.
Here’s more from the report:
Mercier told the Catholic Herald that he had asked students to “reflect on the arguments by themselves. I said repeatedly that no one should feel forced to agree with me.”
He added that he had only been encouraging the students to consider the issues. “I did my job, and I’m now under a disciplinary procedure which really doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Mercier was suspended after a protest from the feminist campaign group Synergie Wallonie.
The group drew the university’s attention to the written text accompanying Mercier’s lecture. He says he often distributes a text to help students think about the lecture and review their notes. The paper questions the concept of a “right to choose” an abortion.
On March 24, a university news release stated that administrators were investigating Mercier and beginning disciplinary proceedings against him. The university also suspended the two courses that Mercier was teaching.
“The UCL recalls that, in the spirit of the Act decriminalizing abortion voted in 1990 [in Belgium], it respects the autonomy of women to make this choice, in the circumstances specified by the legislator,” the university stated in the release.
Mercier told the Herald that he sees the situation as a spiritual battle.
“The worldly powers that be, and the spiritual powers of darkness, are at war with everything truly Christian,” Mercier said. “So we’re fighting for life and for the Lord’s commandments against evil powers.”
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His case is another example of the increasing hostility on college campuses to pro-life viewpoints. In Europe and North America, college students and faculty face hostility, vandalism and suppression of free speech while trying to argue for the rights of unborn babies.
Earlier this month, pro-abortion students in Scotland petitioned Aberdeen University leaders to take down a pro-life poster in the Catholic chaplaincy, a building on campus that the university does not even own. The pro-abortion students claimed the poster advertising a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil was “actively harmful” to women.
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-life students in America face similar hostility. In October, pro-abortion feminists vandalized a student pro-life display at Marquette University in 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.