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Civil liberties debate boiling on campus

Free speech versus a woman’s right to choose: The issue is coming to a head — again — on university campuses across Canada.

Free speech versus a woman’s right to choose: The issue is coming to a head — again — on university campuses across Canada.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is campaigning to overturn decisions by several student unions to withdraw funding and resources from pro-life organizations.

The civil liberties group, though “strongly pro-choice” on abortion, says the students’ move violates an even more important democratic right — freedom of expression.

The rights fight started last June when the York Federation of Students adopted a motion denying certain pro-life groups access to student resources, such as meeting facilities.

But the civil liberties group said just because its view is disturbing isn’t sufficient reason to shut it out.

“These may be valid reasons to challenge anti-abortion organizations, but not to muzzle them,” the civil liberties group writes in its letter. Instead of trying to starve these organizations of access to meeting facilities and campus newsletters, students should challenge their views in public debates, it says.

By going public, the civil liberties group says it hopes students will lobby their leaders to overturn their decision.

 
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