NRL News

More about why the abortion debate cancelled at Oxford

by | Nov 19, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Tim Stanley and Brendan O'Neill were scheduled to debate the proposition, "This House Believes Britain's Culture Hurts Us All" before Oxford University caved in to pro-abortion pressure.

Tim Stanley and Brendan O’Neill were scheduled to debate the proposition, “This House Believes Britain’s Culture Hurts Us All” before Oxford University caved in to pro-abortion pressure.

On Wednesday NRL News Today filed a post about the cancellation of a debate at Oxford University. The debate topic [the “motion”] was to be, “This House Believes Britain’s Abortion Culture Hurts Us All.” There would be pro and con speakers.

But, as increasingly is the case, the debate was cancelled under heavy pressure from the usual pro-abortion set, masked as concern over “security and welfare issues.” More details have come in since we posted.

For example, a student, Niamh McIntyre, boasts in an opinion piece for The Independent headlined, “I helped shut down an abortion debate between two men because my uterus isn’t up for their discussion: The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalised groups” (emphasis added).

After the event, sponsored by Oxford Students for Life, was cancelled, McIntyre suddenly feigned innocence:

But cancelling the debate is not a violation of free speech; myself and other undergraduates do not have the power to actually censor.

However they can pressure a spineless administration to cancel the debate—I guess that doesn’t count as “censorship.” And besides, as she writes in the next paragraph, Oxford Students have “plenty of platforms to air their views,” so if this particular debate was cancelled, what’s the big deal?

Of course, if the shoe was on the other foot, I’m guessing McIntyre wouldn’t be quite so cavalier.

Click here to read the November issue of
National Right to Life News,
the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

Columnist Tim Stanley was going to be one of the presenters (you can read the opening remarks he would have delivered, published by the Catholic Herald, at

In his own column, Stanley explains that after the Christ Church college location was nixed

The pro-life society tried to find an alternative venue but everyone else said “no”. I believe that two colleges agreed only to later rescind their invitations. I was sitting in Paddington Station (in a duffel coat and hat!) ready to jump on a train to Oxford at 4.40pm when I was told that the debate was finally, totally called off.

Vulgarity is increasingly the calling card of pro-abortion feminists and that was amply on display. Suffice it to say that their choice of gutter language was matched only by their contempt for Stanley and for the speaker on the other side who had the misfortune of also being male.

Stanley observes ruefully

I would’ve thought that the one place in Britain where you could agree to disagree amicably would be Oxford University. But I was wrong. For instance, I’ve discovered that you’re only allowed to debate abortion there if a) you’re a woman and b) you’re all for it. Any other approach to the subject is liable to attract a mob….

and then concludes

On the subject of abortion, the Left can enjoy that authoritarianism because contemporary society broadly agrees with them. But a day will come when they try to argue for something that proves unpopular and they, too, will be gagged. And I’ll be there to defend their right to say something that I disagree with.

Because the older you get the more you realise that just as important as your beliefs are your freedom to articulate them without fear.

Categories: Pro-Lifers