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Students hit out at chaplaincy pro-life posters

Thu 16 Mar 2017
By Alex Williams

Several students union staff are calling for pro-life posters they say are "harmful" to be taken down from a Catholic university chaplaincy building in Scotland.

They have joined nearly 300 hundred people in signing an open letter urging the chaplaincy office to remove the images which support a Lent campaign by 40 Days for Life.

The letter said: "While we understand the Church’s stance on reproductive issues, we feel that it is deeply inappropriate to display posters encouraging people to take action outside maternity clinics."

Encouraging people to fast and pray for an end to abortion, the 40 Days for Life campaign is also holding vigils outside Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.

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The letter goes on to say: "People who access maternity clinics deserve privacy and to encourage - or endorse a campaign that encourages - action outside violates this.

"Deciding to have an abortion is not a fun or easy decision and it is incredibly personal. We have the right to access healthcare confidentially, this campaign directly violates this."

Speaking on Premier's News Hour, Michael Robinson from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) in Scotland said the protest marked an "overstep".

He said: "As everyone knows, and as the letter indicated, the Catholic Church's view on abortion and reproductive issues is very clear and, so, we're highly surprised by the reaction of what can really be considered an overstep and overkill.

"Attacking students who may hold a different view is very disappointing because that's why many students go to university in the first place - to hear new ideas, exchange ideas, debate them and analyse who they are and what they want to be.

The Catholic chaplaincy building at the University of Aberdeen is owned by the Diocese of Aberdeen.

A spokesman for the Bishop of Aberdeen Hugh Gilbert defended the chaplaincy, telling the Press & Journal newspaper: "Freedom of speech and expression should be at the heart of academic life.

"The decision by the Catholic chaplaincy to display a poster advertising a peaceful pro-life vigil cannot in any way be deemed harmful or distressing.

"The 40 Days for Life Vigils are peaceful, yet poignant reminders of the tragic reality of abortion.

"Almost half a million unborn lives have been lost in Scotland since the 1967 Abortion Act was passed and it continues to carve a deep scar on our society."

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking with Michael Robinson from the SPUC in Scotland:

Video Has not been found

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