In the United Kingdom, Pro-Life student groups have recently suffered several instances of discrimination and persecution from their anti-Life counterparts. A peaceful debate between a Pro-Lifer and an abortion advocate was canceled at Oxford late last year, for example, after anti-Life students banded together and threatened to sabotage the event if the debate took place as scheduled. More recently, when a Pro-Life student group was ratified at the University of York, “fury” over the group’s approval has led opponents to call expressions of the Pro-Life viewpoint “disgusting.”
The group, Life Matters, holds bi-weekly meetings at the University amidst outcry from students who fundamentally misunderstand their mission. York Vision, the student newspaper, quoted an LGBTQ Network leader on campus who believes that the objective of Pro-Life student groups is to intimidate women:
YUSU choosing to allow it means that they’re going to be handing over cash, and legitimacy, to a group who’s modus operandi is the intimidation of women, and who spread a message that is fundamentally at odds with women’s liberation – shaming women for having control over their bodies.
Laura Doherty, the president of the new group, stated that the group does not expect everyone on campus to agree with the Pro-Life ethic, but that their right to share their convictions and to “try to convince people of their merits” must be protected. “If people are expressing their difference of opinion on social media, then they’re showing just how important this topic is by engaging with the issues,” said Doherty. “We welcome people willing to engage in calm and reasoned debate with us on these topics.” Unfortunately – as the Oxford debacle demonstrated – the meaning of free speech has been wildly misinterpreted by anti-Life pundits in the United Kingdom lately.
Life Matters exists to educate the University of York about Pro-Life issues including abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research. We applaud their perseverance in the face of vociferous anti-Life opposition. In fact, we spoke to several of our own Pro-Life student fellows here in Texas and have some very encouraging letters of support to share with the University of York.
You can follow the Life Matters group on Facebook here.