Pro-life student group wins right to presence on Aberdeen University campus after legal challenge

(Photo: Facebook/The Aberdeen Life Ethics Society)

A pro-life student group has been told it can formally have a presence on Aberdeen University campus following a legal challenge.

The Aberdeen Life Ethics Society (ALES) was informed that its application to affiliate had finally been accepted by the Aberdeen University Students' Association (AUSA) after the pro-life group began legal proceedings last month. 

ALES launched a legal challenge after its original application for affiliation last October was turned down because its values were not in line with AUSA's pro-abortion policy

As part of its official position, AUSA said it was committed to promoting abortion rights in Northern Ireland and opposed the "unreasonable display of pro-life material within campus and at events". 

Lawyers for ALES argued that AUSA and the university were in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

In papers lodged by ALES at Aberdeen Sheriff Court last month, the group said legal action was being pursued after "repeated efforts to resolve this problem through internal bureaucratic channels".

An AUSA spokesperson confirmed that an application from ALES to affiliate was approved on May 13.

"AUSA's Pro-Choice policy remains under suspension and steps are being taken to ensure that AUSA can continue to be pro-choice," the spokesperson said. 

ALES welcomed the turnaround, calling it a "positive" result. 

"The pro-life position may be a minority viewpoint, but it is fully protected by the law," it said. 

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has also welcomed the outcome. It accused AUSA of a "blatant attempt to censor the pro-life voice on campus" and said news of ALES' successful affiliation was a "victory for the pro-life voice in universities". 

It follows a similar case at Glasgow University where Glasgow Students for Life's application for affiliation was only approved by the student council after it was threatened with legal action.