Student pro-life group reinstated after legal challenge

A pro-life group at the University of Aberdeen has been reinstated to the students’ union after a 13-month battle.

Last year the Aberdeen Life Ethics Society (ALES) was told it could no longer affiliate with the student body – making it ineligible for grants and unable to use campus facilities.

After being threatened with legal action, the Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) has reversed its decision.


AUSA initially claimed that the National Union of Students had a pro-abortion policy which prevented the group from being affiliated.

But Alex Mason, a spokesperson for ALES, argued: “The pro-life position is admittedly an unpopular minority opinion on this campus, but it is fully protected by law.”

Last week the pro-life group members announced, “we have officially received affiliation!”

‘Human life’

They added: “We look forward to actively engaging with the student body and working to foster a civil yet honest conversation about the vitally important ethical issues surrounding human life.”

As pro-lifers, we endeavour to be a voice for the voiceless and a defence for the defenceless.

Aberdeen Life Ethics Society

The group also thanked pro-abortion students who had taken a “fair-minded approach” to the case, saying, “they may not agree with our position, but they adamantly believe that we should be free to espouse our belief on campus”.

The case is the latest of many attempts to shoot down pro-life debate in Scottish universities.

‘Worth fighting for’

In 2015, the Strathclyde Students for Life Group applied to be affiliated with its students’ union but was rejected on the basis that: “Allowing an anti-choice group to form would be a barrier to freedom, equality and body autonomy.”

And in 2018 Glasgow University also prevented Glasgow Students for Life from becoming a registered society.

Eventually both universities backed down.

ALES concluded: “Let no one say these battles are not worth fighting. These battles aren’t just about us. As pro-lifers, we endeavour to be a voice for the voiceless and a defence for the defenceless. That privilege will always be worth fighting for.”

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