Denying anti-abortionists club status hurts free speech? -

Denying anti-abortionists club status hurts free speech?

Liberties groups says issues around abortion need further debate, not censorship


The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has weighed in on the controversial debate surrounding the rights of anti-abortion clubs on university campuses.

In a letter, sent last week to the Canadian Federation of Students, the CCLA says denying campus-club status to anti-abortion groups infringes on freedom of speech and is objecting to a resolution supporting student unions that deny the groups funding and office space.

“We decided to weigh in on this, a rather disquieting development in the university environment, which is supposed to encourage debate,” says CCLA general counsel Alan Borovoy.

In their letter, the CCLA asks: “What is there about these anti-abortion groups that warrant such special denigration?” saying that the issue needs further debate, not censorship.

In the Globe, CFS spokesman Joel Duff says the resolution, which was adopted by federation delegates a year ago, lends “moral support” to student unions who are opposed to funding anti-abortion groups. He also points out that the student unions’ opposition to financing was upheld last fall by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.


Denying anti-abortionists club status hurts free speech?

  1. I am wholeheartedly with the grown-ups on this one. How does it go? I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

  2. While I agree with the above poster (dale) on the freedom of speech, anti-abortion groups are making it very hard to accept their place on campus. Every time I saw actions by this group, it was hostile and in-your-face. a) I don’t want other female students who have to live with their choice be called murderers and b) it’s the 21 century, women should have free choice, just like men. everything else is backward thinking. anti abortion groups can then convince me why it is the wrong choice (with alternatives and different views instead of the catholic “this is murder” catch phrase)
    Free speech should not be in the way of personal freedom (of any person INCL women) so if they can tone it down a bit and try not to offend everyone, I am happy to agree on funding anti abortion clubs!

  3. Not getting student union funding does not violate free speech. These groups are still allowed on campus, still allowed to book rooms, hold events, fundraise, and so on.

    Nor have all these cases, Carleton’s in particular, banned “pro-life” groups, there being a clear distinction between a pro-life viewpoint (religious groups, raising awareness about dangers of abortion) and an anti-choice viewpoint (advocating the criminalization of abortion and denying a woman the right to choose). Anti-choice has been singled out, not pro-life, though the anti-choice groups in question cannot understand the distinction themselves because they do not recognize or do not respect that individuals and only individuals have the right to control their own bodies, particularly regarding reproductive processes.

    Those who claim that student unions should not be “banning” such organizations are in fact opening the door to other fundamental rights being violated: freedom of association. If student unions do not have the right to democratically determine how they distribute student union resources, then student unions and their members have all lost their right to freedom of association.