Stirling University’s Union has suspended its Catholic Society for supporting an anti-abortion protest outside a Glasgow hospital.
Complaints were made after the society made a social media post in support of the ’40 Days for Life’ campaign and had arranged for a minibus to take them to Glasgow from Stirling for the protest.
The international campaign aims to “end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses”.
Supporters of 40 Days for Life have been protesting at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and plan to every day for the entirety of Lent, which is from February 22 until April 6.
The society also attended 40 Days for Life protests last year.
The Catholic society’s post read: “40 Days for Life started this Ash Wednesday and it is hoped some students can join.
“There will be a minibus leaving St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Stirling at 3pm to take students and others to pray (for an hour, 4-5pm) for the most vulnerable in our society – the unborn – and to combat the brutality of Abortion through peaceful prayer only.
“We’re usually back around 6pm. This will take place 5-6 Saturdays throughout Lent at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Glasgow.
“If you are interested in attending please either turn up on the day or get in touch for more info. Many thanks to 40 Days for Life and God Bless.”
In a social media statement, Vice President Communities Jess Reid said: “Earlier this morning, we received complaints regarding an affiliated society’s support of the 40 Days for Life protests and plans for students to attend this protest.
“This goes against our values and policy as a Students’ Union as well as my own. I am extremely angry and disappointed to have taken this action.
“To be part of our Union all societies have agreed that ‘The Club/Society will adhere to the Students’ Union’s ED&I Policy’. Within this policy it states;
“No one should be denied opportunities or should face any form of discrimination, including harassment and bullying, based on any of the following protected characteristics: Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex, Sexual Orientation, and Pregnancy and Maternity.’
“In addition to this, in October 2022, with the support of my fellow Officers, I passed a motion that our Union will campaign in support of the Safe Access (Abortion Services) Scotland Bill. This motion includes that the Union is to ‘actively oppose all anti-choice protests and activities across Scotland’.
“Therefore, the decision has been made to suspend the society while there is an ongoing investigation into these complaints. I will always support any person’s right to access Abortion Services safely and believe wholeheartedly that we have taken the right action.”
Green MSP Gillian Mackay is introducing legislation to create abortion buffer zones outside of medical facilities.
This would introduce safe zones at all medical facilities that provide abortion care and prevent protests within 150 metres from the entrance of these sites.
It would become a criminal offence to contravene the provisions of a safe access zone.
The Stirling Catholic Society has been approached for comment.
Featured Image Credit: Stirling University Catholic Society
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