Civil liberties' group sides with campus pro-lifers

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  • February 6, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - Campus pro-life groups have gained an ally in their battle to be heard at universities across Canada.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has urged student unions at universities and colleges to not deny club status to groups that oppose abortion. The association made its view known in a letter sent to student unions across Canada in late January.

The letter came just days before a pro-life club was charged by the University of Calgary with trespassing for setting up a display university administration deemed controversial in November. The CCLA was not aware of the Calgary club’s current summons to court at the time of the interview with The Register. (see Pro-life students face trespassing charges )

“While in favour of freedom of choice, we are also in favour of freedom of speech,” CCLA general counsel Alan Borovoy told The Catholic Register.  “We called on them to be less restrictive of groups, that they should not withhold or revoke club status simply on a group’s position on abortion.”

Borovoy said club status entails a number of things, including giving pro-life clubs an effective ability to operate on campus.

“It might also mean to have their material posted on the student union’s web site or bulletin board, or to have access to a meeting room on campus. We weren’t talking about supplying funding,” he added.

He also said a group or club should not be punished for what one individual may do that goes against the rules. For example, if someone threw an object at another person during a debate, that one person should be dealt with individually, unless it was an action planned beforehand by the group.

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