University blog reinstates pro-life article on birth control after complaints

The Women's Center at the University of Idaho has reinstated an article that was removed from its blog because it challenged pro-choice views on abortion and birth control.

Victoria Diloné, the author of 'The Birth Control Pill: An Unethical and Eugenic History', was told the post had been removed because her personal views conflicted with the center's 'feminist' pro-choice ideals.

According to Students for Life, of which Diloné is a member, she was told that although the Center tries 'very hard to allow the writers' voices and opinions to be expressed freely and without censorship, feminism is the grounding philosophy undergirding the topics we allow on the blog, and the lens through which we examine the issues that bloggers write about'.

'On more than one occasion, your personal views have been in direct conflict with one of the fundamental principles and tenets of feminism—that of choice,' the message read.

'Your article is not only not congruent with the Women's Center's views on the topic, it directly challenges them. As such, we cannot publish it. I'm sorry.'

Revision notes sent back to Diloné complained that she had used the article to promote a forthcoming event with a pro-life speaker and had written that gender was determined by chromosomes.

'Leave this part out. Not all women have XX chromosomes, and not all men have XY. Gender also doesn't involve chromosomes,' the blog editor wrote, to which the center director added, 'I agree. Chromosomes have nothing to do with gender.'

Additional notes from the editor said the post needed to be revised before it could be published because it 'had religious content' and 'some content is extremely hurtful to various members of our readership and larger community'.

It has since been reinstated on the blog with a note at the top stating that its removal was 'an error'.

Diloné said, 'When I applied to the center, I was upfront that I was active in the Students for Life group, and no one raised an issue then. It's unfortunate that the Women's Center has decided that feminism means we can't debate issues like birth control or how to best help women. I will continue to share my beliefs and won't be intimidated.'

Pro-life students in Scotland have also complained of bias at universities after student councils blocked registration of their groups.

Glasgow Students for Life had its application for affiliation turned down by the Glasgow University Students' Representative Council. At Aberdeen University, the students' association AUSA rejected affiliation by the Aberdeen Life Ethics Society.

Without formal recognition, the groups are unable to access student association funding or place an information booth at the student fayres. It also restricts their access to campus buildings for events.

Aberdeen Life Ethics Society said the decision was effectively 'censorship' of the pro-life view.

'AUSA's willingness to censor dissenting speech, even though such speech is protected by UK and EU laws, should be chilling to any fair-minded student who believes that the free exchange of ideas is essential to a university's ethos,' it said.

'Moreover, this decision exhibits AUSA's hypocritical enforcement of tolerance. Although our students' association prides itself on being radically tolerant, its willingness to block the formation of a minority-view society illuminates the lopsided nature of how tolerance is actually practised on our campus.'