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Abortion debate at England’s Oxford University cancelled because of “mental security issues?”

Why is Oxford University stifling free speech? Image: pcgn7 | Foter | CC BY-NC

Why is Oxford University stifling free speech? Image: pcgn7 | Foter | CC BY-NC

[by Dean Smith] A pro-life group at England’s infamous Oxford University had booked campus facilities on November 18, 2014 for a debate on abortion. Both sides of the issue were to be represented.

Everything was going fine, until a feminist group at the university complained. This resulted in the University stepping in and cancelling the debate citing “mental and physical security issues.” How a debate on campus could cause mental security issues is a bit beyond my pay grade, but the university said protestors could get violent.

The issue would have died there except the media got wind of the cancellation. Stories in The Telegraph and Spectator transformed the debate into a Free Speech issue. Brendan O’Neill, the editor of Spiked, and the pro-life debater booked for the event wrote in the Spectator:

“At one of the highest seats of learning on Earth, the democratic principle of free and open debate, of allowing differing opinions to slog it out in full view of discerning citizens, has been violated, and students have been rebranded as fragile creatures, overgrown children who need to be guarded against any idea that might prick their souls or challenge their prejudices.”

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