An anti-abortion charity has been banned from a university freshers’ fair because it wanted to display life-like fetal dolls.
Bosses at Life have accused Warwick University Students’ Union of censorship after they were barred from opening a stall at next week’s event.
The charity had planned to open a stand displaying life-like plastic fetal dolls showing the size of unborn babies aged between 11-20 weeks.
Post-abortion counsellors were also expected to be on hand to speak to women who had undergone a termination or suffered a miscarriage.
Director of education at Life, Anne Scanlan, said: “Life has on many occasions been impeded in its right to freedom of expression on university campuses because of the actions of student unions some of which have adopted a pro-abortion policy.
“We had at least two serious confrontations with student unions at university freshers’ fairs last year with threats by them to make us leave the premises if we didn’t remove fetal models which we had on display.
“No university or institution on their campus should be allowed to discriminate against prolife students or prolifers in general.
“For too long, student unions have operated as a law unto themselves. Whilst universities provide lip service to the principle of free speech, on their campuses free speech is often impeded or blatantly violated by student unions.
“When it happens, universities remove themselves from any responsibility for this contradictory state of affairs.
“Whatever your opinions, pro-life campaigners deserve to have their views heard and challenged and a university should be the place to do it.
“If this was a ban on an Islamic stand there would be uproar but it seems fine to stop our charity from informing people about what we stand for.”
Life have now complained to the regulatory body, the Office for Students, about the ban.
Warwick Students’ Union defended the decision, saying it supported pro-choice.
A spokesperson said: “The Students’ Union has a policy that was voted on by our members to support a Pro-Choice stance.
“In addition, we are under no obligation to allow external organisations to use our
spaces, and as such are able to exercise the right to choose who we allow to exhibit on the premises.”
Students at the university have slammed the ban, accusing the union of “dictating debate” and “operating in an echo chamber.”
One first year student said: “University life should be about having your own arguments challenged and listening to all sides of a debate.
“I have always hated the idea of so-called ‘safe spaces’ and no-platforming speakers who might have controversial things to say.
“Abortion is a topic which should be discussed at university and what better way than to have a pro-life charity have a stand at freshers’ fair.
“Too many students’ unions dictate debate and only want to operate in an echo
chamber of their own views.
“It’s dangerous not to hear opposing views, however extreme or unpalatable they might be.”
Life will hold stalls at four universities next week.
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