Impeached UCD SU president Katie Ascough received a pro-life award from a UK anti-abortion group in January.
Ascough was chosen as this year’s winner of the Westminster award by the ‘Right to Life’ group for her work on the pro-life campaign. The award recognises “extraordinary and notable work and achievements that safeguard the dignity and right to life of human beings”.
The award is given each year in honour of the group’s founder, Phyllis Bowman. Previous winners include a Chinese human rights lawyer who challenged the country’s one-child policy and Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow of the charity Mary’s Meals.
Ascough accepted the award on the 23rd of January in London.
“I wished to accept the award on behalf of every person who believes children not yet born have the right to life but who finds themselves facing hostility and backlash when they share or speak up for this value,” said Ascough.
“As someone who is pro-choice, I would take issue with the entire concept of the award rather than Ascough accepting it which is to be expected considering she has been very outspoken about her views. I personally don’t think it’s right to award someone for working against awarding human rights, but it’s not surprising in the slightest,” said Faye Helen Butler, a second year UCD arts student.
The ‘UCD for Choice’ group declined to comment on the award.
Ascough was in the third year of her science degree in UCD at the time of her impeachment. She has said that she plans to finish her degree in the future and then move onto journalism because “that’s what [she’s] interested in”.
Ascough said she is “confident the Irish people, with knowledge and thought, will ultimately and fundamentally reject” abortion being available up to 12 weeks.
“I look forward to engaging in respectful debate over the next few months,” Ascough added.
She was impeached from her former role as UCD Students’ Union president in October 2017. The referendum for Ascough’s removal took place after she removed a page containing abortion information from ‘Winging it’, a UCD magazine circulated to students. This was following legal advice and is estimated to have cost the SU around €8,000 in reprinting costs.
The information removed included the prices of abortion in other countries and advice on how to get an abortion pill. It is lawful to provide information in Ireland about abortions abroad, however strict conditions are in place.
Image Credit: University Observer