universities pro-life societies

These eight UK unis have active pro-life societies, and they were all approved by the SU

A new pro-life society at Manchester Uni was approved by the SU this week


Whilst at university, it may appear that the majority of your peers are pro-choice but the continued emergence of pro-life societies at UK universities suggests otherwise. With the overturn of Roe v Wade in America in 2022, with some states making abortion illegal, the debate of pro-choice versus pro-life has been rife online.

Even though university students appear to be overwhelmingly liberal, there are students who wish for their universities to have a pro-life society. There have even been cases where students who are pro-life have threatened Student Unions with legal action if they do not allow pro-life groups to open on campus, reported The Guardian, with students claiming it is a prevention of their free speech.

In a lot of cases, all that is needed for a society to be formed is a minimum of three committee members and Students’ Union do not have the power to shut down pro-life societies purely down to “contrary views” so one could easily be set up at your uni as well. These are all the UK universities that currently have active pro-life societies:

University of Exeter

The University of Exeter’s pro-life society, Exeter Students For Life, was formed in March 2019. In a post made to their Instagram, the society’s committee for 2022/ 23 was revealed to be all men and only one woman.

Over the past academic year, the society has received condemnation from fellow students, with a petition which warned of its “dangerous ideology” gaining 8,000 signatures in just a few days. Students also called on the University of Exeter to ban the society.

In response to the pro-life society, pro-choice students at the University of Exeter formed formed a group called SAFESEXE, which describe themselves as “Exeter based anti rape culture, pro-consent education initiative”.

The group wrote an open letter addressed to the University of Exeter, arguing that Exeter Students For Life “completely goes against the value of radical inclusivity set out by @exeterguild”. Despite their efforts, Exeter Students for Life is still an active group and available to join on Exeter’s student union website.

The University of Exeter’s Students’ Guild issued a statement acknowledging opposition to the pro-life society but said it supported “freedom of speech”.

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford’s pro-life society, Oxford Students for Life, is active on social media with over 550 followers on Instagram. The society hosts events with guest seekers and also has bake sales to raise money for UK pro-life charities.

Their most recent speaker was disability rights activist Heidi Crowter, who has Downs Syndrome. In the UK, a baby can be aborted after the standard 24 weeks if they have Downs Syndrome.

At the Freshers’ Fair in 2021 the society caused upset to other students, who, in protest attempted to block others from accessing the stall and took leaflets and posters down.

The society said the incident left the society members feeling “distressed” but they were happy to have got people talking.

University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham made the society Students for Life affiliated with the university in July 2019. This came after legal threats from the society’s former president Julia Rynkiewicz, who argued that she had a right to free speech.

In a statement made to Nottinghamshire Live, the midwifery student said: “It’s important to have both views at the university – pro-life and pro-choice. The university has pro-choice policies and there’s nothing representing us when there should be.”

University of Nottingham has been the subject of criticism by pro-life supporters this academic year, following the rejection of their Catholic Chaplain over his pro-life tweets.

Father David Palmer, the former Catholic Chaplain for the university criticised President Biden’s planned parenthood and abortion policies on Twitter, suggesting that he was a hypocrite as these policies contradict the core values held by the Catholic Church. He referred to abortion as being the “slaughter of unborn children”.

The university said it did not have a problem with Palmer’s views but instead a problem with the way he delivered his views. The university said Palmer could no longer be recognised as an official Chaplain, however, it would still allow him to deliver services as a guest speaker.

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham’s pro-life society, Birmingham Students for Life, says: “We wish to bring a greater dialogue on campus about important topics such as abortion and euthanasia amidst others.

“We want to raise money for charities that support women and their children, through pregnancy, and the years after.”

The organisation offer activities such as bowling and pizza for those who are involved with the society, however they are not very active on social media. The group only post a few times a year, and accumulate about seven likes per post, suggesting a pontential lack of demand for the group.

University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews SU offers membership for their pro-life society, Students for Life. The group maintain on the SU website that they are “dedicated to affirming human dignity from fertilisation to natural death”, saying “that all lives are valuable, regardless of ability, situation or circumstance.”

University of Aberdeen

The society at the University of Aberdeen is called Aberdeen Life Ethics Society. On the Aberdeen University Student’s Association page, the group advertises itself as “a non-sectarian society which believes in the intrinsic value of all human life, from fertilisation until natural death. This means we are particularly opposed to violent acts such as abortion and euthanasia.”

The society advertises meetings, public events, on campus activism, social events and charity work. They further advertise access to a private Facebook group “to connect with other like-minded students”.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan University offers a pro-life society on their SU website, Manchester Students For Life. This society has a small social media following, with a grand total of zero followers on their society Instagram account. Their Facebook page is slightly more impressive, with three whole likes.

On the university’s SU page, the group say they are “a group of students who believe in the inherent dignity of the human person and in the inalienable right to life from conception until natural death.”

University of Manchester

The latest of the UK universities to have a pro-life society set up is the University of Manchester. The committee is made up of just two male members however they claim to The Tab that their membership now has “great diversity”.

An Instagram page, which was created just over a month ago on January 11th, currently has three posts, one of which shares the societies objectives: “We aim to create a Pro-Life culture on campus, to engage students on life issues and promote respect for the dignity of human life from conception.”

Since it’s conception, the society has been met with much contention from fellow students at the uni with a petition to shut the society down receiving over 10,000 signatures in just two days however the SU confirmed that it is not legally able to dissolve the group.

Do you know of a pro-life society at a UK university that has been missed from this list? Get in touch: [email protected] 

Related titles recommended by this author:

I had to tell someone to keep their unwanted baby: My life working at a UK abortion clinic

Wait, why are women being told to delete their period tracking apps?

‘She’s got problems downstairs’: Deliveroo rider targets student for ordering thrush cream