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Written by Student Rights on 18 November 2015 at 11am

SPUC speaker to address students at St Andrews

Tomorrow evening, the University of St Andrew’s Students for Life society will host an event featuring a presentation from John Deighan.

Deighan is the Chief Executive of the Scottish branch of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), and will address students on the possible devolution of abortion legislation powers to Holyrood.

While Student Rights believes it is important students are able to express and hear views on both sides of this debate, we are concerned about the content of SPUC’s presentations, as well as its history of intolerance.

In March 2012, it was reported that SPUC had been showing teenagers a presentation which claimed that:

"For some people who've been raped and had the baby, even if they don't keep it, something positive comes out of that whole rape experience".

The group has also stated that abortion increases a women’s risk of developing breast cancer, despite a Cancer Research study of over 40,000 women finding that: “pregnancies that end in an abortion do not increase a woman's chances of developing breast cancer later in life”.

In 2011, SPUC was accused of linking abortion to infertility despite no recorded links, and has suggested that, rather than preventing pregnancy, some forms of contraception “cause an early abortion”.

As well as spreading this misleading information, SPUC’s intolerant views on homosexuality make its unchallenged appearance on campus even more of a concern.

SPUC’s Director, John Smeaton, believes homosexuality is “disordered...radically at variance with the truth and meaning of human sexuality”, and has claimed that, if gay marriage is made legal:

Schools will become a focus for the promotion of radical and explicit homosexual material to schoolchildren”.

Deighan, meanwhile, has a record of perpetuating homophobic tropes, comparing same-sex marriage to incest, and publicity material for LGBT History Month to pornography and racist propaganda.

He has also opposed celebrating LGBT History Months in Catholic schools, arguing that:

The whole aim of the month is to try to change people’s understanding of people who are homosexual and propose them as role models. We would not want to be doing that”.

Here at Student Rights, we believe that SPUC and Deighan’s intolerant views must be countered, and that their misinformation should be debunked.

As such, we hope that students at the University of St Andrews will attend this event to challenge Deighan on his and SPUC’s past statements.