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11-PRO-LIFE

University pro-life ban is a damaging step too far

This week's editorial leader

Caution is always advised before reading too much into student politics. Universities serve society as places of learning but also as a ‘safe space,’ if you will, for young people to indulge their more fanciful ideas without doing too much damage.

Still, occasionally youthful follies veer so wildly away from sense a corrective is needed. This is the case at Strathclyde University this week, where the refusal of a student union to accept that pro-life arguments should be heard has opened the door to greater injustices.

The refusal to allow a pro-life group to affiliate to the union is troubling. It indulges the modish idea that the wrong sort of ideas must be banished away. The grounds given, that some pro-life groups do things that are intimidating, is amusing, given that the Strathclyde student association recognises three separate Socialist groups, who presumably where not called to account for Josef Stalin before being permitted to join.

The idea that speech should only be free if you agree goes far beyond students these days sadly. The focus on trying to trying to banish any pro-life ideas from the public square is one we must beware. We can see where it leads, as passing a blanket ban on any group who opposes abortion has rightly incensed Catholics at Strathclyde for fear the Catholic society is now in breach of Association guidelines. The same may also be true of the Muslim society.

Where these groups to be disaffiliated, the union would likely face law suits for suppression of religious belief.

This is a classic example of what goes wrong when you restrict freedom of speech. Suppression is like a virus: it only expands, til freedom rears up and slaps you in the face.

Hopefully, common sense will prevail and the union will realise it has gone too far, and accept the rights of the pro-life society to be heard as part of the student community.

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