Roman Catholic student group blocked for encouraging ‘prayer for the unborn’

Stirling University’s Roman Catholic society has been suspended for encouraging students to join a prayer gathering for the unborn outside a Glasgow hospital.

In a Facebook post, the society advertised transport for those attending a vigil near Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. The assembly is part of a worldwide pro-life campaign held over Lent.

But the university’s Students’ Union has blocked the society pending an investigation into complaints made against it for promoting “peaceful prayer” for “the most vulnerable in our society – the unborn – and to show an alternative to abortion”.


In a social media post, the Vice President Communities for the Students’ Union claimed that the Roman Catholic society had acted against the Union’s “values and policy”.

Jess Reid highlighted its equality, diversity and inclusion policy, stating: “No one should be denied opportunities or should face any form of discrimination, including harassment and bullying” on the basis of protected characteristics such as “Religion or Belief” and “Pregnancy and Maternity”.

Last October, the Union passed a motion in favour of the Safe Access (Abortion Services) Scotland Bill, which would impose nationwide ‘censorship zones’ around abortion clinics in the country.

Silent prayer

Last week, the House of Commons struck down a move to make it clear that the freedom to pray silently near an abortion clinic is protected under law.

Seeking to amend provisions under the Public Order Bill outlawing peaceful protest outside abortion clinics in England and Wales, a group of MPs tried to clarify that “a person engaged in consensual communication or silent prayer” within a censorship zone would not be committing an offence.

But the amendment, backed by MPs including Fiona Bruce, Miriam Cates, Nick Fletcher, Carla Lockhart, and Sir Edward Leigh, was defeated in the Commons by 299 votes to 116.

Bristol back down

Last month, Bristol Students’ Union conceded that biological males can be refused membership of all-women university societies under the Equality Act.

Bristol SU had disciplined feminist group Women Talk Back! (WTB!) after it barred men, including men who identified as women, from talks on rape and sexual abuse.

But when a number of WTB! members took legal action, the Union backed down and amended its policy.

It stated: “In accordance with, and as defined in, the Equality Act 2010, affiliated clubs and societies may lawfully offer single sex services and be constituted as single sex associations”.

Also see:

Free speech

Magistrates clear pro-lifers of all charges

Christian MPs welcome Govt’s stance on uni free speech

Observer attacks online ads for pro-life pregnancy services

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