Pro-life group banned by Aberdeen Uni SU

Another Scottish University has prevented a pro-life society from becoming affiliated with its students’ union.

Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) has a pro-abortion policy and will not offer “funding, facilitation or platform” to the Aberdeen Life Ethics Society.

Last week Glasgow University also prevented their pro-life group from affiliating with the union, while in October, a similar ban on pro-life groups at Strathclyde University was overturned after a long-running battle.

Repressed freedoms

Critics argue that this decision, once again, leaves free speech “hanging in the balance”.

Aberdeen Life Ethics Society has challenged the ban on their pro-life views, saying that they are being unfairly censored.

Alex Mason, a spokesperson for the group, said: “AUSA is the latest in a long list of students’ associations which selectively repress the freedom of speech of certain students and societies.”


He continued: “AUSA’s willingness to censor dissenting speech, even though such speech is protected by UK and EU laws, should be chilling to any fair-minded student who believes the free exchange of ideas is essential to a university’s ethos.

“The pro-life position is admittedly an unpopular minority opinion on this campus, but it is fully protected by law”.

AUSA’s pro-abortion policy, which was agreed in November 2017, means the group will not be able to access funding to run and promote events.

Free speech

Earlier this month, Sir Michael Barber, Chair of the Office for Students, said that ‘uncomfortable ideas’ should not be banned from campuses.

He said: “Free speech is one of the most precious freedoms ever established, and universities above all should be places where it is cherished.”

A recent Government report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights affirmed: “Our evidence suggests that incidents where freedom of expression has been restricted usually involve groups who are perceived as minorities”.

It continues, “these could include pro or anti-abortion views, issues of sexuality or gender, and matters concerning faith or atheism.”

Related Resources