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University students sign petition against pro-life society

A pro-life society has recently been introduced at the University of Manchester, causing a controversy leading to more than 15,000 students signing a petition for the society to be dissolved. 

The student-organised petition challenged the college for choosing to permit the society to form, alleging that it contributes to an "already prevalent stigma" regarding abortion.

A statement from the Manchester Pro-Life society states that “The Pro-Life society exists to promote the wellbeing, and dignity of every human life, from conception. We are a positive society, one that exists first and foremost to help and support people at all stages of life. We exist to encourage students to think critically about the way we define and value human life.” 

The society states that they are “not an anti-abortion society but a pro-life society.”

In a statement to the BBC, a spokesperson on behalf of the pro-life society  said: 

"We exist to encourage students to think critically about the way we define and value human life.”

"While we oppose abortion, we are also concerned with other threats to life including assisted suicide, the death penalty, deaths occurring through poverty and poor living standards, structural issues in critical infrastructure such as the NHS, and climate change."

The petition, which was launched on the 12th of February, was started by a student at the University of Manchester. The student who started this petition remains anonymous. The petition reads “I am a concerned student at the University of Manchester, deeply troubled by the potential harm that could be caused by our university's Pro-Life Society. The existence of this society adds to an already prevalent stigma surrounding abortion, a legal right in our country. Women at our university should not have to face additional pressure or judgement on such personal matters.”

The students' union stated that it could not prevent the society from forming due to its beliefs, and that it was bound by the 1994 Education Act, the 2010 Equality Act, Section 43 of the 1986 Education Act, and new legislation that will go into effect later this year to protect free speech on university campuses.

The University of Manchester Students' Union executive officers issued a statement on the Student Union website that stated: "We believe that fostering a culture of proactive involvement enables students to voice their opinions, challenge perspectives, and contribute to a diverse and inclusive campus environment.”

"As a students’ union, operating as a charity, we must also ensure equitable access to resources, participation in activities, and the formation of groups for all members, irrespective of their lawful views.”

Link: https://www.instagram.com/manc...

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